April 26th, 2007

Kor

Regrets

'Twas a remarkably unproductive day yesterday. Well, I did sell those two bookcases, to a couple that seemed like they stepped right out of a Woody Allen movie.

That was funny, including the attempt to get the things into their car.

The exciting part of the day was our refrigerator giving up the ghost. I assume it sprang a freon leak - it runs, but it doesn't get any colder. In what is an unfortunate level of lethargy, I still haven't removed the contents. This will not end well.

I also drove the truck down to the Hamptons, so Timmie could pick up his bike. Woo!

At some point a little after midnight, I decided to grab some food - which put me at Carrow's. Then the truck needed gas - which put me at the Capital Arco...

So I dropped by the HoD and grabbed a few things. Very few, but still, at least a token load. I also exchanged the truck for my car, which is considerably more comfortable - and will be needed this evening.

One of the things that has been hard about moving away from that place has been dealing with the fragmented memories every object kicks up. One of the things I grabbed last night was my afghan.

It was knitted for me (and my wife) by my grandmother, two Christmasses before she died. I'm... not happy with the way I dealt with my grandmother. Hell, there's regret tied up specifically in that Afghan. She asked me the following year to tell her what she'd given me - and I couldn't remember what it was. Which especially sucks because I was (and am) quite fond of it.

She wasn't the easiest person on the planet to get along with, if only because life was always such a burden to her. I'd lay that on the pains of age, except my mother once said that her earliest memory was doing the dishes while her mother languished on a couch.

But on the other hand, once she got through doling out her required list of complaints, she always had interesting things to say - tidbits of information about life, her side of the family, jokes, stories. Stuff I wish I'd hung around more to hear.

My wife actually tried to get me to spend more time on Granny's side of the hill, but I would always find other things to do. And now she's gone.

A lot of my childhood was spent at their old "ranch" in the mountains. I honestly don't even know where it was (I wasn't driving at the time, and didn't bother with geography), and it wouldn't matter too much now, anyway - when they sold the place, it was subdivided.

A certain amount of my twisted nature comes from there. Granny used to bake quince pies and made the best candied orange peel, which is probably where I got a lot of my love of bitter flavors. It was also there that I discovered how much I liked listening to "Night on Bald Mountain" - I have no idea whether I saw Fantasia before or after getting into the piece. But my dreams of it were pretty similar.

Below their house was a swift drop-off down to the creek, covered in a blanket of poison oak. It would have such pretty colors in the fall.

Grandpa grew his own vegetables, and it was while picking string beans that I discovered that they were quite edible raw. Given that I wouldn't touch cooked veggies if a gun was held to my head (My dad says he once backed me against a wall with a single cooked pea on a fork), this discovery, I'm sure, had a definite long-term salutatory effect on my health.

One of their major sources of income was raising squab for upscale City restaurants (look it up). I'd hang out in the feed shed, sitting on the bags of feed, and munching on the birdseed. There's a particular feel and smell to that - it would be hot in there on a summer's day, and an odd sort of dusty, partly from the seed, and partly from the sackcloth itself, which has its own distinctive smell.

They had a sheep or two. I think they had to save up for a couple of seasons, but they eventually put together enough wool to have a blanket made for me. It was the only blanket I slept under for years - and I have no idea what happened to it.

There was quite a height difference between the house and the "ranch" part of their land, and Grandpa had installed a little electric tram thing - basically a platform that ran on tracks - to help carry loads back and forth. In the middle of the platform was a control lever. He was giving a ride up the hill to myself and some cousins when I became mesmerized by the texture of a cog at the base of the lever. I was feeling it with my finger when he shoved the lever forward...

Just one of several situations where (1) I should have been at least slightly maimed, and (2) I don't remember what happened.

Ah well. They're both gone, I didn't bother to learn to know them very well, and their memories get fuzzier every year. Sic transit gloria mundi, and all that.

Since I was in such a melancholy mood last night, I decided to drive some. After a few false starts, I looped across the Dumbarton and back down. For some reason I just wanted the comfort of feeling ocean beneath me, and the bay'll do. Not that I could afford the gas, but hey.

Enough. I need to go get up for the day.
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Sri Yantra

Up and Down

There is a balance

To feel great joy, one must be open to great pain
To feel no pain closes off the chance of joy

Choose

Next to the heights of ecstasy are the depths of agony
On the plains of safety is nothing

Choose

Life is joy, love, laughter, friendship, pain, hate, tears and betrayal
Death is security from change, forevermore

Choose

Buddha chose, but I doubt he chose well
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