Diametric Opposites Conspire to Inspire

So there’s this turtle video that either has or is fixin’ to go viral. It’s pretty amazing – the Michael Bolton soundtrack aside.

I’m feeling a tiny bit cynical today. When I posted the link to my Facebook, I commented that I have friends who would have insisted, “Oh no, really, I’m fine.”

Perhaps one or two of them really would have been just trying to tan the pasty-white undershell, but others of them would cut off body parts before asking for help.

I’m like that sometimes.

So. What is it that’s so hard about asking for help? Or even accepting it when you haven’t asked?

Given that it is so hard to ask, why is help so often proffered with a sermon? (I do that too.)

Do you suppose the helpful turtle railed on and on about whatever stuck turtle did to get stuck in the first place?

And speaking of stuck, I ran across an exceptionally long Q&A on a website about how to get unstuck. It rocked my world. I shared the link with a friend who said to me afterwards, “I don’t know whether to punch you or thank you.” It’s a powerful piece that does have the effect of a sucker punch – you are warned! The columnist’s response to the letter doesn’t go where you think it’s going to – again, you are warned! Chances are pretty good you’ll be plunged into despair and yet hopeful. You are warned!  The central idea is it’s up to you.

I feel stuck some days. I’m finding inspiration in two diametrically opposed viral pieces – one that says let a friend help and another that says that you have to do it yourself. Both are true. Neither are true. Life is complicated. This too shall pass. Yada Yada.

I ended my 50th year last week. As excited as I was to turn 50, I’m just as glad to leave it. 51 is a nice number – a calmer number, a less fraught with significance number. In spite of my stuckness, I am moving forward in some areas, backwards in others, but I am moving. So, “clearly” (to quote the Princess Bride), I’m not stuck.

The week of my birthday was spent catching up on sleep (primarily) and eating (far too much). I spent time with HMOKeefe, friends and family. I saw some movies. Read some books. Played some board games. I opened presents.

Chef Boy ‘R Mine sent me French champagne and truffles. (Is he a great kid or what?) I’ve yet to partake of them and I’m sure he’s puzzled as to why. The answer, I think, is I’m waiting for the right time. There’s a good chance that tonight might be the right time. If the gorgeous weather of this weekend holds, this evening may find me at the patio table, all loosey-goosey from time in the spa (fitted thanks to HMOKeefe with a new cover) munching, sipping, and wallowing in champagne and chocolate.

We’ll see.

I return to the real world tomorrow. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it. This seems to be a theme with me lately – diametrical opposites. It doesn’t seem like I should be able to hold two opposite ideas in tandem and expect to feel motivated. It could be what an old friend called the Private Benjamin Effect.

Said friend was infuriated by the end of that movie. Goldie Hawn plays an unlikely Army soldier, one who impetuously joined the Army without having investigated the situation too well. One who after a number of missteps and misunderstandings finds what she believes to be True Love ™ only to discover she’s been duped again. The movie ends with Goldie tromping down a dirt road in the south of France. My old friend would point out that she had no money, no plan, no place to go, no way to get there, and wildly impractical clothing.

Sound familiar?

Birthday Balloons

It’s Chef Boy “R Mine’s 25th birthday today. 

Until he was 19, I hung balloons over his crib or bed in the middle of the night so he could wake to a visible reminder that the new day was his birthday.

Once he moved out-of-state this birthday ritual proved more challenging.  Most years I managed in one way or another though not always over his bed.  This year I’m relying on a florist to at least get to his porch.  Twenty-five balloons weighted by chocolate chip cookies are supposed to be delivered before noon today.

I’ve said it before – the day he was born was the best day of my life.

Maiden Mother Crone (The Arrival)

Maiden Mother Crone

I have taken dozens of photos, scrapped hundreds of words, and pulled on my hair. I cannot capture the images and I cannot find the words to describe what I’m seeing, but my Maiden Mother Crone triptych is in my possession. And it is phenomenal.

I’m nearly speechless with awe.

I began blathering about this last year when my friend, the art historian aka The Bitch Across the Hall, snagged some student work. I threatened to steal hers, but as the conversation with the artist, Melissa McCloud, progressed, I found myself commissioning my own set. I fretted for some time trying to figure out how to pay for them only to receive the news that Dr. B.A.T.H. was giving them to me for my 50th birthday.

Melissa McCloud

My 50th birthday, all around, was an occasion that kept me in happy yet overwhelmed tears. The significance of the triptych to my turning 50 is so apparent to me that I’m puzzled when I have to explain it to people.

The average of menopause in this country is 50 and I’m right on track. Menopause is sometimes referred to as the crone stage of life. I’m still mothering my son, albeit in quite different ways, but the hallmarks of motherhood are passing. I’m entering, mostly gleeful, the crone stage.

Here it is Easter weekend. I have in no way marked Easter in the Christian tradition or Ostara in the pagan tradition. I have sat around wiggling my nose hoping to end up with a bunch of completed projects without putting in the time and effort.

It wasn’t working.

I forced myself to pick up the camera and try again. It was an insult to the artist and to my friend not to acknowledge this triptych. In moving about the house trying to capture their beauty, I’m slowly gathering steam.

The Working Drawing

The three women are carved balsa wood. Layers of balsa were glued together (laminated), cut and carved. At my request, they were heavily textured and stained the same color as my woodwork and most of my furniture. I wanted them to slide into this house like they’d always been here and to appear as if they’d organically grown with the barn on this hillside. And they have.

Carved front and back.

There’s no place in this house they wouldn’t be perfect. My struggle is to find the right place where I can see them often and touch them often. They beg for touch. (Besides which, I never get the opportunity to fondle a well-endowed set of breasts.)

Some years ago, I whined and pleaded my way into another piece of art featuring the torsos of three women (Artist: Sherri Weeks.) The multimedia piece has hung in my study for several years now and I never tire of looking at it. In anticipation of the Maiden Mother Crone arrival, I have been preparing the study for installation which has involved a thorough gutting, cleaning, wall repair, dithering about color, and the application of 8 million coats of paint. I have whined.

I have also stalled.

The Other Women

My plan was to install the triptych under the painting and on top the bookcases that serve as a credenza. The one trio of women would mirror the other.

For some weeks I worked feverishly on the study and other weeks not so much. The closer I got to finishing, the more my energy levels waned and then I got zapped by Carlos the Cruddy Cold (who may turn into Boris Bronchitis).

The camera is just inadequate.

Without the ceremony they deserve, I picked up the triptych on Friday. My inertia deepened when I couldn’t get them to photograph well, I couldn’t describe them to my satisfaction, and I couldn’t find the energy to finish the damn study.

Frankly, I’m tired of the chaos of the study project. I want nothing more than to sit in there gazing adoringly at my six women.

Winter is over, the triptych is here and I feel ambition welling akin to the swelling of the branches that will result in leaves and flowers on the plants in my as yet neglected garden.

The women whisper to me to get on with the next stage. The earth has turned, the sun has returned, and the time has come.

The women must be listened to.

Discourse without distraction.

Naked lobster at the elephant table.

I have returned from Massachusetts after celebrating HMOKeefe’s birthday.  It was a wonderful time even if I did give him a cold for his birthday (or tried to).  The champagne was Veuve Cliquot, the lobster 2 lbs and the discourse was without distraction.