Lenora has been terribly excited and nervous all last week. She is flying to meet her boyfriend’s family. Her bags have been packed for three days. She has been going around reminding us to not let her forget her shirt, or her towel, or her pants. It has been so much fun watching her. Last night Lessa, Lenora and I went out for a last Mexican meal then we were off to the airport. Oh, such excitement. I asked, as we started out, if she had her ticket.
“Of course, Mother,” she said scornfully, but I asked to see it.
She didn’t have it and we all laughed. Back at home, it sat pristinely tucked into the book she wanted to read on the plane. She will be gone until August. I will miss her.
The Senlis House christening at Heritage Park this afternoon, Miles asked me what I was doing, and though I doubted that he really wanted to know I told him about the little beach series I was drawing. He said he would give me a show of them, and get me 40% off the framing. The show would be a year from now.
This gives me a year to grow again. My little doodles are so small. Are they enough for a show?
A despondent Lessa has been sitting next to the phone for the last three days waiting for her boyfriend, Jock, to call. No call. He has said she may come out to join him, and now she is waiting for the date and waiting to find out how much the trip will cost. I could give them all I have, fifty dollars, and eat rice all month. It would be worth it to have Lessa gone to something positive. She needs this. I need this. Selfish aren’t we? Finally, Jock calls and says he is sending a plane ticket.
This is my first week on the new schedule, and frankly, I am much happier with it even if I am losing my tan. On Wednesday, I finally reached the doctor who told me the tests came out as clear as a bell. No tumors, no blockages, or anything else he told me. I was hoping for an easy solution to finding the problem. Nope. So although I was heartened by my clean innards, I was depressed that I am still ill and there is no answer.
“Stay off the booze,” the doctor said.
That depressed me further. My solace taken away. My company when I am discouraged, removed. Oh laughter.
Lenora’s home. How wonderful. She didn’t exactly welcome me with open arms at the airport, saying that I was the lesser of two evils. Having Lessa with her in the same city must have been a strain. This morning we talked openly and warmly and we both enjoyed our chat. It is good to have her back, but soon she will be off again to visit with her father.
On Wednesday night, I took my last notes as Secretary for the OB Planning Board. My term was up, and a lawyer was elected in my stead. I am so pleased. It is such a burden off my soul.
Long lines of ants wend their way past my bed this morning. I feel like that line of ants, a whole made up of smaller parts. Yesterday, all I wanted to do was be left alone in the sunshine to pull all my parts into a whole, and instead, I was visited by two old and loved friends. We sat on the beach, Jo very quiet, and Dale talking over her head. This was such a special time for the three of us. We spoke softly. Their presence made me whole.
Jo and Dale. A first use of my camera to document my days. I’m so thankful today to have this image.
Life gets busy again and I am left with disconnected pieces. Lenora came home from Arizona. Oh, how much better she looks after this visit to her father than she did after her trip to South Carolina. The smog mechanics call. The new, very used Toyota I bought has to have a muffler before it is smogged. All my money going into a car again. And I take a vitamin pill and feel ill. No more vitamins. No car either until Tuesday. No matter how fragmented I am today, I think my choice to live this way inching my way back to wholeness is brave. I have held it together well. I could have taken another path back into madness and death.
Although I am sure my face showed no sign of it, I was very excited all the way home on the bus. My new used Toyota, a wonderful trade for my old Fiat and a little borrowed cash, was done, smogged, ready to register and drive. No fuss. No game playing or excuses, it was done. I jumped up and down like a little kid.
Cal, who is here on a long visit, and I went down to the beach and took photographs for an hour or so. Now I have no excuse during the long cold days of winter to say that the beach is empty or I have nothing to draw. Now I can draw in comfort here at home from these wonderful pictures. My old drawing board, which is out in the garage, must be cleaned off and brought in to the house. I have a goal of about one hundred small sketches and ten or fifteen large finished pieces for the show. So far, I have completed forty small ones and one big one.
A Party. Lenora has vacuumed, dusted, and scrubbed the bathroom. All I have left to do is clean up my own eternal mess. I am such a slob. Cleaning up the yard will be easy. Hose it all down and set up tables and chairs for 100. Did I really invite all those friends to a party? I was forty years old yesterday; today we celebrate.
Michael and Bee at the birthday gathering.
The most brilliant flash of the celebration was an idea by one of my old college teachers that my journals be shown along with my sketches in the show. How wonderful I thought, this would tie everything all together and make it a whole.
At twelve-thirty last night, I tossed the last of my friends out the door and was in bed by one. This will be the last annual big party I hold. I have passed the word. Someone else can do it next year if they want one. I cannot talk to people at these large gatherings, and that is what I long to do. Talk.
I read a book on allergies, and it depressed me. It also pulled me toward the future. The author says that trial and error is the only way I can find out what makes me sick. I retreat to bread and butter. Lenora and I went shopping today when the food stamps came. She makes reading labels a game. There is corn in everything, and MSG in everything else. One bread that I had especially liked was made with real butter. At least Safeway’s cheap margarine is made with soy so I do not have to give up margarine on my veggies.
One treat that I can give Lenora is food. We buy what little I can eat, then I feel like an oriental potentate as I take her royally around the store asking at every corner, would you like this, or that? Fig bars and yogurt, peanut butter and jelly. Her lovely slow smile gave me such a pleasure.
Small glimpses of Thanksgiving 1980.