I’m Dreaming of the Life I Once Loved

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I love to sleep. As Ernest Hemingway so eloquently claims, “my life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”

For example, just this morning, before I opened my eyes, I received a facetime call from my daughter Julie (I’m at the lake, she’s in the Bay Area house), and the image that appears on my tiny iPhone screen is that of the twins snuggled in my guest room bed. It’s better than coffee! Almost…

Julie says, “Cora has something to tell you Grammie.”

As I’m running through the possibilities in my head (new tooth, broken vase, she knocked the heels off my favorite pumps) I say, “Cora, sweetheart, what happened?”

“I bead.”

“Oh, no, a bead got stuck in your nose?”

“Bead,” she says louder emphasizing the “e”.

Julie offers, “she’s was bleeding Grammie.”

“Oh no, what did you cut?”

Apparently, the girls were fighting over a small ceramic angel (the one featured at the beginning of this post) I have her resting on the piano in the family room (their current bedroom), and somehow during the push and pull over this figurine, Cora’s face took the impact of a two party struggle. Might it be a mistake to confuse children with angels? According to those present blood was everywhere, girls crying, utter mayhem.

“Oh No! My wings are effed up!” Tammara Webber

To be a parent is to show courage and grace under pressure, Julie races off to deal with the injured, while Nic manages the fallout! Kelley is summoned from a dinner party to act as chauffeur, and off they go masked up to the emergency room, hours later, two tiny thumbnail (2)stitches holding Cora’s skin together, they head home, exhausted, and ready for sleep.

The blood has been removed from the crime scene, the house is eerily quiet, Nic is waiting up for his girls, Kelley returns to her dinner party. As Daniel Humbrey’s notes the measure of a persons worth isn’t their emotional reaction to hardship, it’s there actual reaction. Booyah.

I tell Julie, “throw that damn angel in the garbage, she’s obviously fallen.”

But those aren’t the only issues besieging me when I’m awake, there are seasonal mishaps that occur especially during the summer when I tend to live in flip flops. I have an annoying proclivity to stub the same two toes, right foot, outer two, repeatedly. I’m left to wonder how many times can one reinjure the same toes without severe consequences? I’ll keep you posted.

During the summer I also spent a lot of time on zoom calls, not only with my beloved Geckos (spiritual, mental, creative support group), but I’ve been learning about structural racism, COVID friendly lesson plans, and how I can respond responsibly to these issues in the classroom. You might ask what sort of classroom will I be permitted to utilize in the fall?

I’m so glad you asked.

We are preparing for a hybrid model of instruction. I will have half my students in the classroom live, masked, and socially distanced, with the other half on a zoom call from the safety of their homes (not sure what is worse, this virus, or the mental health dystopia we’re creating).

If this sounds challenging it’s because it is.

I’ve developed a worthy strategy to comply with the new learning model, half of the students who will be with me physically in the classroom will do application work that I can help them with, like writing, connecting, applying, and interacting with other students. The other half at home will be reading, watching clips, listening to podcasts, and reflecting on the current topic individually.

So, you guessed it, just when I got my mind wrapped around this absurd approach to teaching, Gavin closed all the schools temporarily, and I’m back to square one.

As Gell Mann claims, “modern education is like being taken to the world’s greatest restaurant & being forced to eat the menu.”

This means we’re back to remote learning which requires a whole new set of lesson plans and strategies. See what I mean about loving my sleep?

I may have mentioned, at least a dozen times, I dream about water when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

In my dreams recently I have survived torrential floods, iconic title waves, overflowing bathtubs, and rivers gone wild, that literally swoop me up, and toss me into the raging waters of something akin to Niagara Falls. I attempt to fly but my clothes are soaked and anchor me to the turbulent water. Are you getting the picture? I wake up exhausted as if I’ve been swimming upstream for a mile.

Is there no escape from the chicanery of life?

That’s why I have wine, silk pillowcases, and the Calm app loaded on my phone.

I’ve learned from Ernest H. that you can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another? Darn, that has been my primary strategy. I move from one house to the other on a continual basis, never knowing where I am when I wake up, or who is in residence with me. I’m not really getting away from myself as much as I’m destroying my lucidity.

Not good for writers, this pandemic is messing with my destiny, uploading a future I’ve taken pains to avoid.

Ernest H. also says write hard and clear about what hurts. The thing is there are thousands of books if you’re dealing with loss, whether it be a loved one, vocational shift, or a split in an important relationship, but there are no books on how to survive a pandemic?

It forces the question, what in tarnation is going on, and how are you dealing with it?

Look how we rallied in the beginning of the pandemic with drive by birthday and graduation celebrations, we learned how to zoom like nobody’s business, and we started spending a lot of time on yoga apps, cooking, and reading! All good things but as you know all good things come to an end. Not COVID!

Now I’m feeling a very human response to all this isolation, I’m anxious, and slightly depressed.

I miss all the normal stuff like hugging, shopping, and dining out but it’s more than those surface things. I miss the ease of connecting with those I love, a last-minute meet up at our favorite restaurant, the one where they know our names, and our order. I miss weddings, graduations, sporting events (I threw that one in for Looney), my students, and impromptu gatherings on the patio but more than that I miss the way we show up for each other especially for the important things in life. I miss traveling with my friends, experiencing the world, the one that used to be my oyster, and finding that damn pearl. I miss my son in Portugal. I even miss bad things like funerals, airport security, and bathing suit shopping. I miss you and your crazy way of being in the world.

I’m dreaming of the life I once loved, wake me when you find it, we’ll grab a flight to Italy for some prosciutto and melon. Ernest says, “Out of all the things you could not have there were some things that you could have and one of those was to know when you were happy and to enjoy all of it while it was there and it was good.” Life is short, we’re all trying to ignore the underlying tension of something happening that we can not prevent, don’t waste time fighting over fallen angels!

I’m Living in the Gap, spending my time in LaLa land, sweet dreams.

How are you dealing with the pandemic? Please share some creative ideas in the comments. 

Anecdotes:

  • “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” Ernest Hemingway
  • “When you wake up with a song stuck in your head, it means an angel sang you to sleep.” Denise Baer
  • Currently reading Olive Kitterridge by Elizabeth Strout and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (I read this one every year).
  • “Everyone has been having a hard time with life this year; not with all of it, just the waking hours. Being awake is the one real fly in the ointment—but it is also when solutions come to us.” Anne Lamott 
  • My creative pasttimes include: playing Mexican Train in the middle of the day, trying new recipes from Diane’s Kitchen, walking the neighborhood, remodeling my kitchen, teaching Audrey her letters, designing a book cover, paint and wine parties, landscaping the courtyard, and dreaming of Paris.

 

 

 

16 Comments

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  1. So nice to read your post today, it made me smile. I miss the ease of living just as you expressed. I miss the newscasts that never mentioned infections, or mortalities. I miss hugging my circle of friends. Thank you for your post! – David

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, David, I’m overjoyed to have put a smile on your face today. That is usually my goal with my blog but sometimes chaos slips in and sucks the joy out of life! It appears we miss many of the same things. Hope all is well with you and yours, thank you for your kind engagement, all my best, C

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  2. The pandemic is so tough, and as it moves on it becomes harder and harder to cope with. I feel for you, it’s so difficult when we want to visit our family. My city in the UK is still in Lockdown, and It’s hard seeing everyone going back to a bit of normality. Nice to read

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    1. Hi Pip, thank you so much for stopping by Living in the Gap and taking the time to join me in the comments. Yes, this pandemic is a struggle, but it helps to reach out and learn how people are managing in different parts of the world. I can’t believe you are reading this blog in the UK! Makes me giddy with joy. We live in California, in the Bay Area, one of the hardest hit in the state, and we too continue the lockdown. Hoping to return normal, whatever that might be, but in the meantime, I’m thrilled to have found your blog and look forward to your posts, C

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  3. A gentle flow through life from you in this post, Cheryl, even with an Emergency room visit. Kisses better for her. Xx. Yes, to all that is not. I dig holes and plant in my lawn, with the view that the holes will one day join and form beds where flowers and veggies can grow side by side. I dream of water and new horizons. I am reading Overstory by Richard Powers, which is stories and really all about trees and nature. When not working, I knit and sit outside listening to the birds and watching the trees. ❤ to you all. xXx

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    1. Hi Jane, I get so excited when I see your name appear in the comments. Your words and energy that flows through your writing is so warm, uplifting, and inspiring. Our little one with the stitches is doing fine, Mom and Dad might be more traumatized. I too have been spending time working on my front garden. I’ve been planting a lot of succulents as the weather in Lake County is extremely hot and dry during the summer. I’m excited to see how they entwine with each other and grow. Love the image of you knitting and bird watching, sounds very calming. I like to read outside enjoying the view of the lake and all the birds that live so peacefully together in this space. Thanks again, my love to you, Cheryl

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      1. Ahhh, Cheryl what a lovely thing to say, Thank you. ❤ To sit and watch life play out across the lake must be such a joy. I hope you blog about your succulents, so we can see the pictures. The seagulls are calling as I write to you. Much ❤ flowing to you and your loved ones and happy planting, my lovely. ❤ xXx

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  4. “To sleep, perchance to dream.”-W. Shakespeare. Though Hamlet is likely lamenting that the long sleep of death may not give him respite from the misery of his existence, we can certainly look to interpret it as a longing for another time or place, similar to us dreaming of an alternative existence. Right now, we have to “endeavor to persevere’ as Chief Lone Watie said in the Outlaw Josey Wales. We are in the midst of the long slog of Covid-19. Things started with fear and apprehension. Are we getting this highly contagious disease, will we die, what can we do and will we run out of toilet paper? Thankfully our butts are no longer sore (if they ever were,) and, if you are reading this, I will assume you are still among the living. Then things moved on to the will we be able to keep our job, make our payments and teach our kids phase. Now we have adjusted to most of that, but have to continue to live with the ongoing risk of loss, absence of joy and the nagging feeling that this will never end.

    Back to the here and now. Hope Cora heals well. I so look forward every week to reading your thoughts and getting a little snippet of your active, chaotic life. We coped with Covid by….going on a Socially Distant Float trip. 5 hours of family time on a raft on a Missouri river….quite fun. As Hemingway says, “Never go on trips with anyone you don’t love.” This trip was great. This is a weird time. I am so looking forward to the end of this plague. I feel for all who have lost love ones, and all who have lost their business (a lifetime of hopes and dreams.) I sort of fantasize about my first vacation post pandemic. A little skiing? A warm place? A movie theater (gasp?!) I guess I am really coping by working, farming and exercising. Dullsville. Anyway, put us on your short list for a post plague adventure.
    Stay well.
    I got no song……..
    Well, I lie. Was gonna go with Yesterday (didn’t quite fit.) Then All Summer Long (video too risqué)
    I like this one though no one else would. Who can argue with “Infinity, like time without a friend.”

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    1. Yeah! A Mike sighting! I look forward to your thoughts and musings, you always have a unique take on things, which branches in places I least expect! I agree, there has been an evolution of thoughts and responses to this COVID virus, I’m not sure we’ve made much progress. We’re in, we’re out, we’re back in! It makes one dizzy!

      This float trip sounds like a blast! I’m all for anything that breaks up the monotony of our restricted existence. Floating down the Missouri river sound subline! I saw that Hemmingway quote about traveling with people you love, couldn’t agree more, the unexpected always happens when your traveling and it’s nice to be surrounded by people who know and love you. Those who will overlook my deficiencies at the very least!

      Cora is healing nicely and the fallen angel has been dealt with appropriately!

      We are all fantasizing about post-pandemic life, it won’t be the same, but I’ll take what I can get, especially if it involves gathering with friends! Someday soon I hope and you and Gail are first on the list!

      So stay healthy and ready to roll! Love, Cheryl

      PS enjoyed the song.

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    1. Hi Cynthia, I think you have a spectacular schedule, way better than gulping down several cups of coffee before I get started on my day. I’m walking about 5 miles most mornings which is my form of meditation. Stay strong, we’ll get through this, looking forward to your new book! C

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