Monday, September 28, 2009

chuburna at dawn

Saturday, September 26, 2009

tile and windows and doors, oh my!

I've been through renovation obsessions in my life, but nothing like what's happening right now, as I envision our little plain (pink) vanilla beach house turning into a lush little gem on the water.

When I bought this 1942 cottage in 1989, I lay awake nights envisioning different colors on the walls, what to do about wall paper, bathroom issues and the like. Then I focused on how to rectify the sins of the previous owners, beyond having ripping up the shag carpet and popping off the mirrored gold stickem tiles that sprouted everywhere on the walls.

In 2000, just before Mike got sick, we were in the midst of a kitchen renovation, opening the wall between kitchen and dining room and expanding the space into what was eventually a glorious, light-filled, exquisite, custom kitchen as perfect as anything I imagined.

The bathrooms were next, but not until the floor nearly collapsed beneath the tub. The result is so pretty, and it's a treat just to brush my teeth over a 1920s carved oak French washstand that we turned into a gorgeous vanity, to take a dip in the clawfoot tub, or to shower surrounded by black marble and sunshine from the skylight above.

But this beach house. I'm stymied. Maybe it will all come together. Aluminum windows are recommended but I want the rot-resistant ultra hard Mexican mahogany. Sliding windows are common, but I want casement windows that will open in, with screens, and the usual protectores made prettier for the outside.

Tile? Tile will be everywhere, covering inside and out in the same floor color. But what color should it be? Mexican Modern, the most evident beach style, calls for creamy travertine or some other kind of light tile, and white walls, glossy surfaces.

I've tried to imagine living in a modern space and I can't see it. I look at the pictures in books and they're lovely, but they're just not me. I need terra cotta tiles and Mexican Talavera as accents. Wooden windows. Ancient old wooden doors. I want colors in the bath and in the kitchen, deep, dark, rich tones that are really at odds with beach life.

In my mind, I'm painting the walls a creamy white, to make up for the richness of tones elsewhere. The sofa and chairs are slipcovered in white canvas and the furnishings are spare, with lots of open space and a few very large, favorite pieces from home.

It doesn't seem like mattresses and box springs are typical, but I want a bed high enough that we can lie there in the morning and without even raising our heads, see the emerald waves of the Gulf right outside the bedroom window.

In my mind it's beautiful and all I want to think about. But other things creep in, like propane tanks, and water pressure thingies, and ceiling fans, and where to put the electrical outlets, and outdoor lighting, and hookups for the washer, and whether we can just skip having a dryer. And what about surge protectors? And water heaters?

It's occupying every waking moment and some in the middle of the night when my eyes pop open with another vision that I simply must remember. In the meantime, I need to do something here, tagging the garden perennials I recognize so I can have a plant sale in the spring. So much to get rid of, inside and out, in this cottage I've lived in for 20 years.

That's what's going on in Tulsa, where we are studiously avoiding anything to do with the H word (+ealthcare) or anything P (olitical). I keep thinking it's probably not smart, planning this move, giving up work at the high point of my earning years, and then something rises up in me and says fuck it, do it now or maybe never. What the hell.

You? Got plans? Dreams? Taking a new, possibly risky direction in life? Tell, please.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

done writing about anything but getting out of here

Done. Can't stand it anymore. From here on, the only thing you'll read here is what it takes to get out of the US and the adventures of moving to and living in another country.

What caused this, you might wonder? Imagine if you live in a state where both senators are utterly worthless, and one in particular, a medical doctor, has aides who say things like this:

“. . .All pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. Now think about that. And if you, if you tell an 11-year-old boy about that, do you think he’s going to want to go out and get a copy of Playboy? I’m pretty sure he’ll lose interest. That’s the last thing he wants.”

That's Tom Coburn's Chief of Staff, Michael Schwartz, expounding on his beliefs about homosexuality. The stupid is burning my eyeballs out this morning. The rest is here, at Think Progress. I read it to Mike and he looked stunned, then said "let's just concentrate on getting out of here, baby."

We will. And I'm going to write about it, but I am turning a blind eye to the rest, to the political bullshit. It's pointless. Nothing changes and nothing changes and nothing changes. On the other hand, I'm moving to Mexico. Hallelujah!


Friday, September 18, 2009

happy right now

I stay angry about the health care disaster in the US. Tuesday I'm admitting Daddy to an assisted living center. My stepdaughter won't speak to me, and insists I fired her, when she actually quit of her own accord. My middle sister had a wreck with someone uninsured, of course. My nephew's recovery from back surgery isn't going all that well.

So what's to be happy about right this minute? I'm trying, and the fact of being able to escape the US in the next 6-8 months fills me with joy. To remember my future home, I watch this a lot.

Things are steadily leaving the house. I remember when I obsessed over finding one of these:

The hunt for a plump, red, Riviera tea pot consumed me for years, long before the internet improved the odds of finding one. Mine's going to Ohio, along with a pair of the Riviera handled tumblers that fueled my relapse into Riviera obsession twenty years ago. I'd collected Riviera in the mid-'70s, then sold the bits I had. Once I found the pair of tumblers for a dollar each, I was hooked again. Now I can't even remember why I cared. At all.

It's hard to believe such a passion could simply vanish, but if I could wave a wand and have all of the stuff I've devoted half a lifetime to collecting suddenly disappear (leaving behind a cash equivalent, of course), I'd be thrilled.

I just heard from our attorney in Merida and he okayed doing some minor construction now. "Take possession," he said. "It will be better to do a little bit now. The house is yours." Sounds good to me.

I took possession of that little beach cottage in my heart and soul the instant I walked in the door. Tonight I'll go to sleep thinking of the day I'll wake up to the sound of waves right outside my window. I can't wait. It keeps me happy right now.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

more teabaggers

Uninformed. Ignorant. Biased. Absurd. Illogical.

teabaggers. god help us.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

on a happier note . . .

the flamingoes of Yucatan.

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restless. irritable. discontented.

It's the dreadful RID syndrome. I am afflicted. It's not an unusual state for late summer, but this year's version is especially severe.

The Doctor's Opinion, opening chapter in the AA Big Book, opines that alcoholics "are restless, irritable, and discontented until they can again experience the ease and comfort that comes at once by taking a few drinks, drinks which they see others taking with impunity." I'm paraphrasing, but that's a pretty close, if not perfect, recitation of a paragraph that was an epiphany for me once I got it.

But I got it almost 27 years ago and I quit drinking as a result. So what's wrong with me now? My friend Joe sends gentle reminders that it's a spiritual problem. My other friend Joe, committed atheist that he is, would scoff at that. But I'm leaning toward the first Joe's opinion: I am spiritually bereft.

When I was a child, my mother used to read a Kipling story to me about how the rhinoceros got its wrinkly skin. The rhino took off his skin one day to go for a swim. As he had previously done wrong in stealing from a man, as he was swimming, the wronged one sought revenge by filling the rhino's skin with cake crumbs. The rhino's efforts to alleviate the itch of the crumbs made his skin wrinkle and so it goes, this parable about karma and what happens if we do shitty things to others.

I'm not wrinkled, but I sure am itchy on the inside. It feels like my skin doesn't fit. I'm not comfortable living this way. It's a familiar feeling with echoes from long, long ago, but I don't have the tolerance I used to.

In direct contrast to the spiritual exhortation to be here now, to live in the moment, this instant of time, I am all over the place. I'm in Mexico. I'm on the coast of Baja snorkeling, in Chile hiking in the mountains, in Florida kayaking the rivers and swimming with the manatees. Do you see the theme? I want to be anywhere but where I am, and it's all magical, glorious, delicious. Where I am is work, effort, drudgery. That's a sure recipe for itchy skin and I can tell you that it a recipe that never fails.

Now the thing is to get out of it. How? How do you get out of your itchy places? Or maybe you don't have them and you can tell me about prevention? What I used to know, what I used to do, doesn't seem to work as easily anymore. Maybe it's just lack of practice.

I used to start out the morning sitting on the deck reading something that would help me get focused. I'd drink a cup of coffee, pet the cat, let little Boo cuddle on my lap for a while. The quiet and the peace seemed to last most of the day. I don't do that anymore.

I used to fall out of bed, onto my knees, to ask for help staying sober, and before bed, I'd say a thank you to the Spirit of the Universe that's brought me this far. Not anymore.

I used to talk about living a spiritual life all the time, with others who were also on a spiritual path. No more.

I used to try to live in the moment, to try to find something joyful in every day, and I sure as hell didn't live my life in the future. Today all I can think about is getting out of the life I have. I want away, to Mexico. Now.

This is how I picture it: I'll finally get rid of all of this stuff that plagues me, I'll close down my business, move to that little beach house, and then ~ then ~ I'll have time for spiritual practice. Then.

It's so ridiculous. It's really basic, AA 101. I have to accept that this is the way things are today and quit living in the future. There is joy to be had in this day, sitting at my desk in my warehouse in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I really want some of that. With my itchy skin, life is just a chore and too long. I want joy. (Now!)

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