Keep my grandma H in your thoughts…

I’m generally not one to solicit prayers as I lead a pretty secular life with the exception of my adventures in UU land. Being UU, I know and appreciate the fact that everyone has their own spiritual path and far be it from me impose rules about how you should pack for your journey.

So I’m just going to take a moment and ask you to pray, breath, think kind thoughts, send positive energy, meditate, whatever it is you feel called to do, for my grandma H tonight. She’s been battling pneumonia for the last week and my family is really worried about her.

I know I’ve mentioned her in lots of previous posts. She is my mentor, one of my favorite people on this planet. She was diagnosed a few years with Alzheimer’s and I’ve been dealing with the vacancy of our relationship since the days when she first started forgetting my first name or how I fit into her life. I care for her a lot.

I visited her myself this past weekend and I started to write a blog entry about the experience of walking in a dementia/Alzheimer’s ward at the nursing home, but I lost the gusto to finish that entry and I’ve left it saved in my directory to finish later. Suffice it to say, the experience leaves a feeling like a lead weight in my stomach, but I do it every time because I love her.

The night I returned from the nursing home, I said this one simple prayer (and, mind you, I rarely pray for anything because I feel that asking anything for myself of a divine deity is rather selfish, and besides, I have the brains and muscle to fight through any situation myself):

God, give me the strength to accept the outcome of my grandma’s dilemma, whether it’s to bear further witness to her last days or the unwanted ending of a life I cherish.

Okay, a little dramatic. And, admittedly, it sounds like the Serenity Prayer. In my own eternal recovery process as a widow, I’ve found the Serenity Prayer to be one of the most centering and comforting mantras… So probably 90% of the very few prayers I say sound like that. I always feel like I need to take responsibility for handling those things I ask of a greater power. If there is a greater power listening, I’d prefer it give me something I could actually use to better my life–like courage and strength–than a pot of gold or a miracle from the sky. Besides, if there is a greater power, all the prayers in the universe are not going to stop the hands of time or change an entry in the course of past and present history. What is to be will be.

Mars Girl & Grandma H
Thanksgiving, 2005

Valentines Day Gooey-ness

Well, I had dinner out on Valentines Day with a very nice, good-looking man, but I won’t reveal who it was (if you’re pretty smart, you might be able to figure it out). This is probably the first V-Day I’ve celebrated in years so I’m left with that idiotic glow so uncharacteristic of this tough-as-nails Martian chick. (On Mars, women are not given to fits of fancy such as this, so I think you humans are rubbing off on me.)

Anyway, in the style of my favorite blogger who has recently fallen madly in love with a man she met on vacation, I’m soliciting you to share your drippy romantic stories of deep respect, love, or mad passion. What did you do yesterday?

And no scroogey “Valentines Day is a commercial holiday aimed to keep card companies in business and I refuse to celebrate it” comments. I dated about three of those type of men and, frankly, I’m just a bit tired of this excuse for laziness and avoidance of feelings. Whatever happened to the nice gentlemen who opened doors for ladies? I think the feminists of the rabidly angry variety have scared them all away. I’m a feminist, but I still like a guy who treats me like I’m something special to him. It’s all reciprical–one act of kindness breeds another. These are the kind of things you do when you are smitten or in love. You can’t help but want to do things nice for someone for whom you have romantic feelings. At least, that’s how it’s always been for me.

Yes, it’s true; Mars Girl is a hopeless romantic. But let’s try to keep that between you and me.

Babies for Barack!

Shawn, Sarah, and Max at Washington Caucus

My friend, Sarah, and her husband took their nine-month old son, Max, to the Washington state caucus on Saturday to place another vote for Barack Obama. Max might not make the eighteen year old age requirement to vote, but he sure made a precious cheerleader for our team! Here are some of the pictures Sarah sent me earlier today. As you know, I am not easily enamored by babies, but I have to admit Max sure makes me smile. He takes the best pictures!

Looks like Max found a liberal colleague!
(Or he’s into the food in that container.)

Obama for more Cheerios! ;)

Well, if that doesn’t sway swing voters to the left, I don’t know what will! I bet Hillary didn’t have such cute future voters in her camp! Look out, McCain–Babies for Barack are crawling to the polls near you. ;)

Reader Roll Call!

I’ve been getting a lot of comments lately when out socializing where people mention that they’ve been reading my blog. I become momentarily confused as I try to trace down how this particular person may have gotten my blog address. Not that I’m upset; in fact, my narcissistic artist ego loves the attention. I guess often times I feel like I’m writing into a void, especially when I write entries about widowhood. I hear the sound of crickets and I wonder if I’ve gone too far in expounding on my emotional state or my political views. I suppose my ego wants constant validation. Of course, I know that I’m not great every time or that you may not necessarily have anything to say every time.

I want to know who my lurkers are–those of you who read avidly but never comment. Drop a comment and identify yourself. Use an alias, if you must. Tell me how you found my blog (I know I’ve got it listed almost everywhere) and what subject you most enjoy reading about. Are you a blog stalker–someone who checks in every day to see if I’ve posted anything new?

I promise not to pick on you too much. Feed my ego! I might even let you criticize my ego, if you must. Though, remember, you do choose to read this blog so I’m not sure I’ll really take your criticism to heart…

And next time, I’ll return to boring you with my regular rambling posts, which may include an exposition of the surprising discovery of a stout beer that I actually like. Of course, it’s seasonal.

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Mars Girl and Sarah in the Space Needle (Seattle)
circa Sept. 2006

Today is my pen pal Sarah’s birthday. And when I say pen pal, I literally mean the pen. In the days when Sarah and I began corresponding–at the tumultuous age of 12–owning a computer was still a luxury and the only thing I knew about the nebulous concept of a community online board was what I saw in the movie War Games (Joshua: Shall we play a game?). All I had for typing was a word processor (remember those things, anyone?). We had one abiding passion: John Lennon and the Beatles. We addressed each other with handles, which was the pen-palling fad of the day. I was Sexy Sadie; she, Paperback Writer.

Unlike the many pen pals I had at that time (over twenty, believe it or not), my relationship with Sarah has withstood the test of time. Her letters were always my favorite. As geeks on the fringe throughout our school years, I think we shared a common bond and we were able to cope with the difficulties of being unpopular by pouring our hearts out on paper. It was safe because we never saw each other face-to-face. It was like writing in a diary, but knowing that someone else was reading who couldn’t use the information against you. We always seemed to have a lot to talk about–our letters were often twenty hand-written pages long!

In middle school, I wrote Sarah the following poem which was named simply after her. (Please remember that I was in like eighth grade when I wrote this!)

Every day I wait for the mail,
Hoping for a letter from my pal,
And if it arrives, I’m filled with delight,
But if it doesn’t, I’m sad and blight.

She’s interesting, kind, and sweet,
The type of person one would love to meet.
Her letters are long and very deep
Her insights are much like mine. [<–hey, where did the rhyme go?]

And in conclusion I’d like to say
That a letter from my pal brightens my day.

In fact, throughout the years, her letters have brightened my day. Even in this age of e-mail, Sarah and I have continued to communicate the “old fashioned” way because we relish the personal experience of having a physical letter to touch and feel. We do communicate by e-mail, but usually just for quick messages. In fact, you may have seen her comments posted on this blog, for she’s one of my regular readers.

Twenty years is a long time for people to maintain a relationship of any kind. Somehow we’ve done it, through marriages, divorce, widowhood, and one slight tiff. In all these years, we’ve never run out of things to talk about. Even though we’ve changed a lot, it still seems we have a lot of common interests — books, movies, skiing, our tree-hugging liberal tendencies.

In 2007, Sarah and her husband Shawn became the proud parents to a son they named Max. Though I know “nothing about raising no babies,” I’m excited reading about Sarah’s enthusiasm for her new life. It’s wonderful that we can now share the diversity of each other’s experiences, appreciating in each other the things that make us unique individuals. I think that both of us have leveled off from our many turbulent years and are finally finding a comfort within our own skins.

Sarah, Paperback Writer, I count you as one of my good friends and I’m so glad that I found your name in that friendship book so many years ago. Happy Birthday! Our idol, John Lennon, sang that life begins at 40; for you, I hope it begins that way at 33 (oops — hope you aren’t offended that I blasted your age to the world! =). So, here’s to the next twenty years which will probably be a lot different than the first twenty…

Have You Seen This Man?

The man in this photo would like it to be known across my meager internet readership that he is, quote, “quite single” and currently accepting applications/photos from young, single, and “hot” women. He can be located cycling around the Cuyahoga Valley with the ABC on a given Thursday night. Follow the distinctive laughter to the cyclist who will most assuredly be extolling the virtues of having only two front gear rings as he huffs up one of the many hills out of the valley. But if you’re cute and female, he might forgive you for having that extra gear ring in the front.

If your idea of a great bike ride is up hills or in a torential downpour, be sure to sign on for a ride lead by Bruce. He could always use a woman or two to counter-balance the quota of males who show up for his rides. So, please, girls, step forward and give this wingman his day in the sun. =)