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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
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2:17 p.m. - 2012-01-23
49 and doing fine.

Winter, which had been AWOL all season, decided to show up early Saturday morning. Just in time to scuttle the surprise party Mick had set up for my birthday. I'd had a pretty good idea there was a party in the offing by Friday afternoon when he and I did a Sam's Club run and Mick kept loading nibbles and goodies into the cart. Not his style at all. Oh, he likes treats well enough but mini spring rolls? A whole sack of wee meatballs? Cheese spreads and crackers? Ah-ha! Party food. I didn't ask and he didn't tell, thus the polite fiction was kept up. But I knew.

Then the following morning I woke to find the world outside blanketed in the first real snow we'd seen since Halloween. It was still pelting down party for me. I'd never expect anyone to take on the treacherous roads, it was terrible out there! (Snaps to Miss Steph and GBW for even considering it!) A bit gloomy over the spoiled plans I trudged downstairs, hit the go button on the coffee maker and did my thing in the john. Came back out to the kitchen and finally noticed the dining room. Sometime during the night Mick had come down and decorated the heck out of it. Balloons, banners, festive tableware, twirly streamers, the works! I immediately felt better.

Such is my zen these days I wasn't completely crushed over the stupid snow bunging things up. Disappointed, of course, over not having a house full of friends, but January birthdays suck like that and this certainly wasn't the first time the weather had dinked with my birthday celebrations. There would be a party, by gum, even if it was just the three of us! Mick said as much when he came down later. Then we discussed how since most of the food was frozen we'd just leave it in the big freezer downstairs and put together a do-over fiesta in the spring. Perhaps during the lilac time when the worst weather we could expect would be a little rain. It'd be sort of a combination of my birthday and a more relaxed version of the wedding-that-wasn't. Plus with more lead time and better travelling conditions there'd be a way to arrange for more far-flung friends to come and we'll make a really big wing-ding out of it. (Hello Terri, Amy, Paula(s), Michele, Jim, Anna, Sarah(s), Hil, Pam(s), Kathy, Cathy, Karyl, Carole, Katherine, Chris(s), Joe(s), Mary, Liam, Lana, Alison(s), Beth, JJ, Dawn(s), and all y'all!)

Comforted, I popped a roast into the oven for our own little feast and sloped off to the bathroom for a long shower. I was just about finished when Wolf banged on the door and shouted, "Mom! Miss Deb is here!"

I could not believe it! My darling Deb had come all the way up from Maryland through a snowstorm to be here for my birthday! Flabbergasted and thrilled I quickly toweled off and came out to give my wonderful, foolish, loving friend a very damp hug. Such was my glee over this unexpected gift of Deb's visit that it was way later in the afternoon when I finally realized I'd never put any make-up on and my hair was sticking up every-which-a-way because I hadn't even combed it. Didn't matter. Deb and I spent the day talking and laughing and catching up. We had roast beef sandwiches with the guys somewhere along the way and when it got dark we had cake and candles.

Best. Birthday. EVER.

As always I am delighted to be here for yet another year long after my doctor-given expiration date. 49? Good fucking deal. There is much to be grateful for and happy about, and zero angst. Can't say I'll ever be ecstatic over the jowls and the pelican chin, but at least I'm here to have them. If losing my looks is the biggest of my beefs, well, how lucky am I?

I have a beautiful amazing son whose good heart is a constant joy to me. Like my jowls, Wolf's occasional boneheaded teenaged antics aren't the most wonderful thing on my list, but when I think about how far he's come and how his future is so much broader and brighter than we could have believed back when he was an uncommunicative nearly feral child lost and locked behind the autism wall, sure, I'm okay with teenage 'duh!'.

The wheels of justice and financial uncertainty are grinding slowly but surely toward a day when the last of the bullshit from the earlier part of my life is GONE and any screw-ups and problems from there on out are solely of my own making.

Thanks in a large part to this messy dopey blog my life is peopled with loving friends, mentors, interesting opportunities, and fun. The desperate message in a bottle I sent adrift in the cyber sea almost 12 years ago has come back to me in a thousandfold of good things. Say what you like about Andrew, the guy has given me so, so much and I will be here in lowly homely D-land until the place goes dark. I owe him that.

As Deb and I sat here on the Couch of Infinite Time-Suck and talked away the day and then into the night and through most of the next day too I kept coming back to something- the reality of Mick's love and how it has changed everything. All of it good. Always before when Deb and I sat here (and in other places- her house, a convention room in San Diego, the Mall in Washington DC) I was a fuming mess of regrets, tearful anxious hopes, crazed hairbrained plans for trying to nail down a life that seemed so at the mercy of a capricious and unkind universe. I had no peace. I hadn't yet found a way and a place to be. Here in my office on previous visits I was not 50 miles from the place I'd been conceived and born yet I was still running, running, running. Desperate for a place to settle and feel safe. Struggling and thrashing around trying to get out of that chrysalis of horrible pain and unfairness and finally be free and alive.

Now I am. I am free and wholly alive and at peace. Because of Mick and the life we've made together.

Goodness knows when we met Mick and I were halfway across the universe from each other in perspective. The both of us wanting the same things yet the circumstances and screwy particulars of our lives until then had driven us in entirely opposite directions. But thanks to luck, determination and having the smarts to recognize a good thing when we saw it, we started running AT each other. We've spent the last five years duking it out. Fighting, explaining, teaching, learning, we figured out how to be. How to be with each other. And more importantly, how to be the self we'd always longed to be to our own selves.

The LA who exists today is the very one my secret heart had always wished I'd be allowed to be. Seen, heard, respected, and loved. That 'someday' LA is here, alive and well and sitting in this ratty chair. Mick the Hero, forever misunderstood and blocked and embattled is gone and in his place is the Mick who is loving the man he sees in the mirror every morning. When he thinks about his day it's not with a flinch and a curse and a frustrated shake of the fist toward the sky, but with a happy hum of content.

Deluded enablers or wise ones in a state of grace and wholeness?

Does it matter?

Not to us, it doesn't. And that's all that counts.

Starting my 49th year on an up note despite snowstorms, plans gone awry, some things still to be settled and a few questions yet to be answered.

Happy Birthday to me! ~LA

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