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5:05 p.m. - 2013-05-24
Dear Rand-McNally

I know I've mentioned this before and it probably sounds nuts but I'm able to watch movies in my head while I do other things. Well loved, oft watched movies, of course. Perhaps it's akin to how some folks recite favorite poems and book passages while doing a chore of work that requires a lot of bod but scant attention. I do that too. 'Reading' to myself while my hands are busy at the stove or sink. It's my version of meditating and quieting my mind. 'Watching' a movie like 'Auntie Mame' or 'The Green Mile' with one part of my brain while the other types up rote contracts or plays a match 3 game is as close to Zen as I get.

Lately I've been having what I call 'busy brain'. Even in the usual course of things I'm thinking about 5 or 6 things at once, during a spell of busy brain I've got as many as twenty thought chains running. It's tiring. Wears out the concentration and makes it too crowded in there to be effective with my day to day business. And sleep goes away altogether. Even with the soporific of the Science channel.

What I really need is to run away from home. Take a powder. Get into the wind. Something I've done exactly once since I met Mick. That time in 2010 I 'ran' to my darling Deb's house for the weekend. Used to be I took a mental health break once a year or so. A train trip, a jaunt to the shore, one time a friend visited from Seattle and we had a hilarious three days in NYC staying in a completely non-swank hotel down by Macy's and running around doing all kinds of touristy stuff. Saw 'The Vagina Monologs' starring Katherine Helmond and Haley Mills in a teeny off-Broadway house in the West Village. We were eating cheesecake at the Lindy's right off Times Square at midnight and my friend almost fainted when she realized most of the Yankees' starting line-up was passing us on the sidewalk. On one train trip I woke up at dawn just in time to watch an avalanche in Glacier National Park. I laid there in my berth warm and safe while on the near horizon thousands of tons of snow and chunks of ice the size of my house broke free and silently roared down. On that same trip the train chugged past miles and miles of frost-locked farrowed earth- gorgeous curves and parabolas of brown and white meant to preserve the precious topsoil and in one field a herd of elk stood and stared back as we passed by. On another trip I chased my shadow through the Bad Lands of South Dakota, the wheels of my rickety Mustang singing on pavement gone soft in the day's heat and readying itself for night. Another, a miracle when exhausted from two days of driving with long miles to go I miraculously picked up WABC and Cousin Brucie while still south of Roanoke, Virginia- the first taste of home I'd had in almost two years and, oy, it did my heart good.

I know I've been telegraphing my distress for a while now and a few brave souls have picked up and called me on it. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Amy.) How much I love you for it! What else are friends for than to stick up for you when you're too other-directed and obligated to stick up for yourself?

What a blessing you guys are. Truly.

In pecking this out I see just how much my hungry heart has been starved. An anorexia of self, of soul. Once again my schmucky timidity has cost me. The doormat self that lets those who speak louder have their way because to give in is easier than standing up against the bluster, the angry noisy demands. Telling myself that keeping the peace is more important than keeping my sanity.

Guess it's time for me to locate my spine and tell my guys they'll have to manage without me for a few days. And for me to armor up and stop with the excuses and the apologies. They'll get by just fine. And even if they don't...too bad. Of course I owe my family the best of what I am, but if there's no me left then what do I have to give?

Enough. More than enough. Time to get gone and listen to my own self for a while. Time to be the LA who is beyond Wife and Mom.

Anybody want a houseguest this weekend?

Packing a bag, ~LA

In honor of his 72nd birthday...

5 Wanna talk about it!

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