Krissie: Guilt

Photo on 2013-02-15 at 10.35 Behind me is a throw I made for my mother out of Mary Engelbreit tea fabrics. I need to find a place to put it or a place to gift it.
Anyway, guilt. I’ve insisted I don’t feel guilt, and really, I don’t very often. Mainly because I really try to do things for other people, understand if I annoy them, don’t ask for much.
And I know the last couple of days I was feeling guilty about Sally, and pissed that I was.
I adore Sally. We’ve known each other since we were eight years old, and believe it or not she had a much more horrifying childhood than I had. (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is pure fact — Sally and I both came from academic families in Princeton). Anyway, we’ve had our ups and downs, including a long period, close to 20 years, when we didn’t speak. Well, she wouldn’t speak to me. She’s had a really rough life, and I understood. I can have a toxic effect on people, and she needed to protect herself. She blames herself now for it, but I always understood. I just missed her in my life.
But we’ve been bff (literally) and sisters for the last ten years, and we won’t have a falling apart like that. But maybe a small part of me is always afraid she’s going to walk away again.
She’s also very needy. I don’t mind — I was there, a witness to her childhood, and I understand. And she takes care of me when I give her a mental shake and say I’m a mess, but mostly I tend to be … reserved, I guess. I hadn’t realized this until I started typing this morning, but I guess I hold something back, despite how close we are, because I’m afraid she’ll turn her back on me again.
Anyway, I climb mountains for her. And when I got sick it was decided I shouldn’t come in, because her grandson has got low platelets or something and is very susceptible to bugs. But I’d sent a suitcase with my meds into the city with them, and I was going to run out at Jenny’s. So Sally said she’d have her husband send them (Tony was arriving on Thursday). Phew! I’d do without them for a weekend and then be fine.
But I couldn’t get home on Monday (icy roads) and then Richie called to say Tony (Sally’s husband) didn’t know anything about sending the pills. They were still sitting in my suitcase in Manhattan. I couldn’t go up to the apartment because I’d bring cooties (which I understand — we were sooo sick) but I thought maybe Tony could meet me at the bus stop. No, that was too complicated. So they sent them out on Tuesday afternoon, express, and they got here on Thursday, which made it a week without my meds.
And I was angry. Angry that she’d spaced it, angry that I had to make such a fuss, emailing and texting and calling. But mostly guilty that I had to insist someone do something for me, and guilty for feeling angry about it.
She emailed me, all cheerful etc., and the anger disappeared. I think it came from fear that she’d be angry with me for making her do this. Which I guess brings me back to the trust issue. I never realized that I can’t completely trust her.
As for Crusie and me, we got along fine. No grumps or blow-ups (because I don’t survive blow-ups). We managed to sort of camp in the house as she pulled it together (with my minimal help — I think I screwed in a switchplate). But I had good ideas (like move the bed, etc). So basically I’m pretty sure I helped more than I hindered (I could remember where I’d last seen things, etc. and I helped clean up the rental). It was too long a visit given that we were basically camping out, but we didn’t have any say in the matter. The Bubonic Plague and the northeast storm (and then the ice) made it impossible to leave sooner.
No, my vague issues were all about Sally. We’ll talk about it when she gets back — we’re so close that we can. I need to figure out how to let go guilt and anger when I have to ask for something.

Too much rambling, I know. But hey, it helped me work it out what was going on, and that’s one of the things I wanted Refab for. To work out what’s holding me back from my true fabulousness.

Anyway, I’m damned lucky to have Sally (and Jenny and Lani) even if I’m a little nutzoid sometimes.

Krissie: Sisters

Photo on 2013-02-05 at 09.10 So, sisters. Of all sorts. I dreamed about my sister and my mother last night. We were moving my mother from her house (the last time my sister ever helped out, even though she lived about ten years more), and we found that our mother had left everything in her closets. Of course a moving dream was obvious. We were getting the house ready for my cousin and his wife (he’s dead too). I’ve been dreaming a lot about the dead people in my life — who knows why.
Anyway, poor Jenny. She was really a mess. Kept throwing up, couldn’t move, and Jenny’s like a whirlwind. She couldn’t even pick up her computer. So I bustled around (quietly) and did the dishes (don’t tell Richie) and took care of the trash at the other house, etc. Today Jenny’s going to recover and maybe we’ll put up curtains, but really, taking care of sisters is what I do. Well, taking care of everyone is what I do.
Speaking of sisters, I’ll give you a couple of shots of my collection: IMG_0683 and the next shelf:
IMG_0685 and there’s my altar ego (as opposed to my alter ego – heh heh heh) images Ah, that isn’t the right one. I have a wonderful painting that’s actually an advertisement card from the early part of the century that looks like a young me as a nun.
So anyway. Even though I’m not a Catholic I always loved the idea of nuns. Of sisters, living together in quiet peace and harmony, going about their works, everything simple and serene. Of course life wasn’t like that but I could always wish it was.
But I love my sisters. We miss Lani like crazy, and later this week I get to go in and spend time with my BFF, another sister. Photo on 2012-10-11 at 10.08
I’ve known Sally since we were both eight, which makes her literally my BFF (which means I’ve known her 57 years — we’ll both turn 65 this year within a month of each other) so I’m really blessed. Even though I lost my sister and still haven’t dealt with her loss, I’ve got lots of other sisters to fill in. Three of them.
What kind of sisters do you have? Are you guys as blessed as I am? Have you still got biological sisters?
For that matter, any of you ever been nuns? Writer Lynn Kerstan was.

Krissie: At Sally’s

I’m at Sally’s, and we decided to model the boob tube she made for her nursing daughter. It was first designed by Nicole Roberts, and if you can’t make your own go to her website (if you’re nursing or have nursing daughters or sisters) it’s at www.getaboobtube.com. I don’t think it’s copyright infringement — she changed the design a bit and it’s only for her daughter.
You tuck the kid inside so you can easily nurse in public without the kid exposing your boobs. Her daughter and son-in-law are passionate U of Michigan graduates who are going to a major football game this weekend, so Sally came up with this. It’s got tiny M’s as the top-stitching.

Cool, eh? I’m over here writing again but Tony’s in the room, on the phone, and it’s lucky I’m only doing my blog.
Didn’t sleep well last night (the stomach thing) but it turns out I think it’s just stress. Finally at 2 am I took a tranquilizer, fell asleep and my stomach’s been calm since then, so go figure. It’s a gorgeous, windy day, the sun is shining, and in a little while I’ll go home and write some more. It’s all good.
I went to my shrink, sobbing (my mother’s death is really hitting me, what with the memorial service coming up) and made a breakthrough, which I’ll talk about tomorrow. But I’m feeling positive and ready to rumble, though it’s going to be a difficult weekend.
When Sally comes back (she’s coming down to the funeral as well and then staying to visit her daughter and grandson) we’ll fix up the schoolhouse (her rental property) and work up there, and we won’t have all these distractions. Because it’s not working as it is right now. But I have faith.
Sally and I sew together. I sort of taught her how to quilt, but as usual she’s much better than I am, because she’s a perfectionist and I’m kind of slapdash. But what the hell, we have a good time together, and by now both of us have enormous stashes, so we have to start producing. We’re going to write together in the morning and then quilt a couple of afternoons a week. When life calms down.
In the meantime, I’m going to have a cup of tea, put on my earphones and try to write.
But hey, the sun is shining, I’ve got the taxes done, Moonrise did well with the freebie, and we’ll just take it one day at a time.
I gotta say, though, it’s great to have a creative partner. (BTW, Sally was gone last winter and didn’t return here till just before my mother died, which is part of why I felt so isolated when I started this. A lifelong friend (56 years and counting) is one of life’s rare treasures.

Krissie: Yesterday


I almost put the daily photo of me crying after reading all the posts of support. But I figure I’d spare you that. Speaking of vanity, I accidentally got a look at my glorious nekkid-ness while I was dressing this morning and despite my instinctive recoil, I could see that I absolutely looked smaller. So even without the scale progress is being made.
I was going to respond to a whole lot of stuff in yesterday’s comments but then it got too long, so I thought I’d just do it here.
First off, on calling my son Serpent’s Tooth. I was actually doing it for his privacy, as Lani calls her kids Sweetness and Light. It’s done with mocking affection, and part of the mockery is for me. Why should a child have to feel grateful for being brought up? Each child is owed a safe, loving upbringing, and wanting gratitude is obnoxious. However, I went with ST because I’m a writer and it’s Shakespeare.
We’re unfortunately on the front lines with ST because he’s been hanging out over here and then yelling at his girlfriend over our phone in our living room. Trust me, if he’s gotta do it I wish he’d do it elsewhere. Didn’t Cause it, can’t Change it, can’t Cure it.
(No one mentioned Al-Anon yesterday, which has also been helpful).
And indeed, ST has gone through a lot and come out the other side. We’re just going through a bad patch right now, and I thought I’d dump. In fact, I’m much worse about my sister and mother, because I have such anger towards them.

But the good thing I got out of yesterday, despite some of the tension, is what I love about Lani and Jenny. I want them to love my son, and eventually they will when they meet him and when ST gets his shit together, but part of me loves that they’re angry with him because he hurts me. In my life I was never protected. My mother was a narcissist and a rage-aholic, my father a charming bi-polar alcoholic, and they were both too caught up in their own problems to even think about me except as a verbal and occasionally physical punching bag. My childhood was “WHo’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” Mind you, I fought back with brilliant verbiage (my mother used to say I had a “cat-o-nine tails tongue” – we’re always literary in my family, even when we’re angry), but I was a child, dammit. I shouldn’t have had to fight back.
Even as a kid I was the caretaker, the strong one (the reason I’m the one who’s still alive). And caretakers don’t get taken care of. It’s not that I wouldn’t let someone when I needed it. If I really melted down my sister would step in. My father did once when I really needed it. (I may or may not tell you that story sometime). But mostly everyone sees me as not needing to be protected, taken care of.
Which may be why I write such overwhelming heroes and such vulnerable heroines. My heroines have a lot of what I feel inside and cover up. I’m a kick-ass woman — I don’t need to explore fantasies of kick-ass heroines. I’m my own.
So part of me really really loves the fact that Jenny and Lani protect me, and I was already thinking about that when they rushed in later because they perceived someone was being hostile.
Years ago, even when ST was at his worst, drugged up and recovering from a snowmobile accident, my BFF (I’ve known her since I was 8 so that why she’s my BFF – Lani and Jenny aren’t friends, they’re sisters) came over. She was trying to mend our relationship, but she hadn’t spoken to me in 20 years (I’m not exaggerating) and the ST would have none of her because she’d hurt me. I remembered being so surprised and touched by that, even though I wanted him to like her.

Sometimes I don’t have to take care of everyone. Not all the serial addicts in my life (my father, my brother, my son). Not my husband. Sometimes I don’t even have to take care of me. Lani and Jenny will. Richie will. The BFF will nowadays.

It’s a good feeling.

As for the Serpent’s Tooth — he’s made huge strides, and I would literally kill for him. He know he’s got the fiercest, most loving mother in the world. He’s going to be fine.

I just gotta remember to get off the roller coaster.