catelin: (herahead)


( Jan. 4th, 2009 09:50 am)
It's cold (relatively speaking) today after a few warm days. Yesterday we went to town wearing shorts, but tomorrow looks like it's back to sweaters and boots. Texas weather. Gotta love it. My wind chimes tell me that the wind is picking up and the front is moving in. The year has started off well, very well in fact. Last year was pretty rough, from start to finish.

We had a fairly productive weekend so far. The only low point was the second half of Grindhouse--Death Proof. Not that Planet Terror was any great shakes either, but at least it was gross fun with lots of ooky zombie guts a flying. But Death Proof? I am now thoroughly convinced that Quentin Tarantino is so far up his own ass that he may never come out again.

We started exercising before the new year, and this is what a great man I have. He loves me so much he does silly exercise shows with me in the living room! So we walk every other day and we jump around like dorks every other day. We've been talking about starting yoga together, but we have so much on our plates now that we'll probably hold off on that until after the wedding. I feel so much better already, though. Part of the last year's troubles kept us from getting out and being as active as we would have liked. I've always been pretty physically active, so the change brought a few pounds with it...not a lot, but enough to make me feel heavy and my clothes ill-fitting. I'm way too cheap to buy a whole new wardrobe, so I decided it was time to remedy the problem. A little cleanup of my eating habits and regular exercise has me feeling a million times better.

I think we may head into town for breakfast a little later and finish up some last minute errands before the week starts tomorrow. It's been so nice to have a few days away from work. It really improves my whole state of mind when I have some down time every so often.

Like many of you, I'm determined to be more communicative and reach out more this year, so thanks for bearing with me--through the long quiet spells. There may be more to come, but for now I'm going to really try to write more in general. This has always been a good place for me to cultivate words and it seems that the more I write here the more I write in general. Odd, but true. There are stories I need to finish this year and it's time for that, because I need to begin new ones. I haven't written, really written, in ages. I've gotten flabby and clumsy with my writing. I'll get there, though. This year is going to be significant. I feel it in my bones.
catelin: (sculpture ranch)
( May. 25th, 2008 09:45 pm)
It's been an odd year so far...I have been far less communicative than I have in a long time--and it's not necessarily a bad thing--but I have simply felt the need to process much of my life internally.  I'm not so quick anymore to vomit up every feeling onto the floor before I look at it and try to figure out what it is.  It's been a rough few months in a lot of ways, full of changes and facing fears of all sorts.  I was afraid of growing older, I was afraid of being left, I was afraid of planning for things because I couldn't believe there would be a point to it, I was afraid not to plan because chaos was sure to follow.  I was afraid of how quickly my sons are growing, of how little they seem to need me anymore.  I was afraid of my animals dying, of something terrible happening to my man.

Middle-age, I think, is a stage in life where we all necessarily go through a period where we are scared shitless.  Mine lasted a while, but I am making my peace with all the changing landscapes in my life.  The landscape of my face and body continues to shift and I am at peace with it in a way that I never have been before.  Oddly enough, Madonna had a lot to do with this.  She looks strange to me now, with her ever-so-slight work.  She's still lovely, but she looks nothing like herself.  The one thing I have always chosen, even when I lived in the land of nip and tuck, was to look like myself.  I decided that I was still very happy to look exactly like myself, even if that self is my aging self.

The landscape of motherhood is shifting, but the floor of that sea remains.  My oldest is almost 13 now and hardly lets me touch him.  His favorite answer to almost anything is "whatever" and he hides his beautiful face with too much hair in his green eyes.  Still, he is the same amazing child, even with all his new bravado and tentative efforts to separate himself from me.  That's what he's supposed to be doing.  He's at an age where he's supposed to think I'm a big dork.  I still enjoy the occasional glimmer of unreserved love when he forgets to act like Mr. Cool.  His ten-year-old brother is not far behind him, but I'm ready.  They get bigger, but they are still my sons.  They have learned exactly what I set out to teach them...that they can be themselves, separate from everyone, but still always loved, safe, and connected to family.

The landscape of love and friendship in my life continues to amaze me.  I am, in the end, luckier in love than I ever thought possible, with a man who never fails me.  We are both tough and tender in many of the same ways, but we fill in our gaps with our different approaches and experiences.  Together we are a badass two-headed love monster that can deal with anything.  That's been a nice change from never being able to count on anyone to shoulder the burden with me before.  He's solid, this man of mine, and I have learned that I can count on him and believe in him without reserve.  That knowledge gives a soul a lot of breathing room, and breathing feels good.

Times have been bad and good, all at once, a swirl of life with a pace that leaves me dizzy sometimes.  I feel sometimes like if I stood in the grass and planted my feet for a few moments, I'd be able to see it all moving past--circling and changing even as it is all perceived.

My life's horizons move like oil on water.  That frightened me at first, the uncertainty of it.  There are still times when the uncharted territory of the faraway can leave me in a panic.  Then I began to see that even unfamiliar landscapes are always decorated with markers that I've crafted for myself and those I love over the years--markers that remind me of my strength, of my courage, of my joy, my laughter, everything that I have to offer and everything that I am still learning to give.
I'll be forty-four years old next Sunday. I don't know why, but every time I think of this birthday and its number I picture 44 blackbirds flying out of a pie. It's an odd age, close to 45 and 45 being almost fifty. Weird. I don't feel old. I do feel wise, after a fashion. And happy. Not even happy, so much more than happy. I am blissful.

I got a big promotion at work that came with a fancy schmancy new title. I have a new attorney working with me. Everyone is very happy with the change and feels like the cases are now being handled better. I think I did the right thing in accepting the position. I'm the Chief of the Family Justice Division. See? I told you it was fancy! It's still all the same Creeps & Perverts cases, but the name sounds so much more civilized.

In other news, my man gave me the best Valentine's day gift ever last month--a beautiful new sewing machine. It wasn't anything I was expecting, but it was more perfect than he could have ever imagined. It was the ultimate gift for a holiday marking love. Sewing, for me, is so connected to both of my grandmothers, how they loved me and how much they taught me. When I sit at a sewing machine and work, I can picture both of them sitting there next to me, heads nodding, both of them smiling at how much I can do now. It may seem silly that sitting at a sewing machine binds me to that wonderful universal light--call it love, grace, god, whatnot--but it does. It conjures every good thing I ever had in my life that is related to being loved and loving without reserve. I'd never talked about this with him, so it wasn't anything intentional. But whether happy accident or intuition, it was one of those sublime acts that struck such a heart chord in me that I wanted to melt. I sure do love him.

Last week we drove in a borrowed pick-up to the boonies south of San Antonio and picked up some wrought iron patio furniture. Next week we're heading out on a road trip to the bayou country of southern Louisiana for my birthday. Spring is going to be a season of all sorts of movement and travel, but home for both of us is becoming the little house here at the lake and that makes me grin like a kid.
catelin: (glasses)
( Feb. 11th, 2008 07:57 pm)

My Mother, December 1971

Me, December 1991
catelin: (glasses)
( Dec. 31st, 2007 03:04 pm)
Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.—Alice Walker

I have been thinking a lot the last few days about expectations and the nature of desire. I have long struggled with both concepts and sitting here on the edge of one year looking to another seems a good time to shake a few things out of my head.

I have always lived, as I guess most others have, fueled by varying mixtures of cynicism and hope. Even as I made my peace with what I could not or would not have in my life, I still always kept some secret little seeds of hope to myself. I could never bring myself to truly expect nothing. I did the next best thing. I learned to expect, for myself, very little. Note that I say for myself, not from myself. From myself, I expected everything. From myself, I expected the super human. From myself, I expected to never fail or be afraid. From myself, I expected to never be weak or let anything hurt me. From myself, I expected to be everything that those I loved ever needed or wanted me to be, with seamless perfection. This was my nature, cultivated from being one of those little Lebowski overachievers, performing feats of daring-do and wonder so the people I loved would not stop loving me.

I found my peace in learning to expect next to nothing from anyone or anything. It freed me from the disappointment of being let down by people or circumstances that were not what I’d happily but blindly perceived them to be. I had to do this because I took on each of these disappointments as my fault—as proof that I hadn’t been smart enough, pretty enough, or whatever enough in some way. The dulling of my desire for things made my day-to-day life much easier. I did manage quite well to live frugally on surprise. In fact, I was the frugal gourmet of surprise. My life has been, in so many ways, a lovely banquet crafted from all sorts of unexpected delicacies.

Still, I never brought the secret seeds to the table. I never showed those tiny bits and pieces of desires I had for myself, the things that I felt selfish for even daring to want at all. The crumbs were what I’d done without, what I’d never complained of missing—each full of such terrible wanting and fierce hopefulness. After I met my man the secret seeds grew into all sorts of unruly blossoms and vines. They escaped the confines of my inner heart and sprouted out of my mouth, swirling around my head and being given voice. He built a garden for me, from his own heart, and let all the things that I’d never had much of a place for in myself grow. I began to think that maybe it wasn’t such a bad thing…wanting. The first tentative steps I took toward believing that I could let myself desire something out loud transformed into joyful leaps and bounds of naming everything I wanted to have and do.

I’m sure the more experienced among you probably know what came next. While I was blissfully floating around giving voice to my desires, life intervened. People and circumstances turned out to be different than what I had blindly perceived them to be. I felt a little like Wiley E. Coyote hitting the bottom of the canyon. It hurt as much as I remember anything ever hurting. I cried and cried. I felt stupid. I told myself that I was such an idiot to ever think that I could have anything. I knew better than to expect anything. What could I have been thinking?

Everything that had taken root and bloomed in me over the last few months quickly began to wither. I prepared to collect the husks of my secret seeds so I could put them away again, probably for the last time. The keeper of the garden, however, held on to me. He refused to let me take my secret seeds back and he whispered to me at night to keep everything I’d grown alive. He whispered until I finally quit poisoning the garden and I began to contemplate the possibility that my hopes, even the most secret and delicate ones, might be able to survive outside of my own heart.

I am struggling to find a way to balance the things I have wanted for so long with the realities of the world. I am going to take small tentative steps again, and he’ll hold my hand as he has from the first time I knew I loved him, reminding me that I’m never far from my secret garden and he’ll be there to tend to things when I cannot.

I am going into a new year trying to be as brave as I’ve ever been. I will expect to be beloved and happy, I will expect to be disappointed and hurt, and I will expect to find my legs each and every time so I can brush myself off and move on to the next wondrous thing. I wish you all a brave new year and a crazy quilt garden grown from your own secret seeds.
catelin: (greenwoman)
( Sep. 15th, 2007 09:54 am)
Your feet will bring you to where your heart is. –Irish proverb of which my grandmother was particularly fond.

I have been guarded about writing in specifics about my personal life for quite some time, as keeping a journal over several years will eventually embarrass the shit out of you when you look back at how earnest you were every time you thought something was a certain way only to find out you were mistaken. I’m not one for deleting or privatizing entries. I always leave them. Whether this is from a sense of duty to live my life as openly and honestly as I can or simply a way to secretly punish myself for the stupidities of my past, I cannot say. I like to think it’s the former, though. Still, I have learned to write about things in less concrete ways, so as not to risk committing myself to yet another publicly documented blunder. It's taken me a while to decide what I've wanted to say about this. Even when I decided I should say something, I wasn't sure how to express it in a way that would do it justice. But here goes...I’m going to write about this beautiful place to which my feet have brought me because I can't imagine not documenting the one time I've finally gotten it right.

Movement has been a theme in my life, in ways both big and small, since I was born. I come from a family of nomadic people, immigrants of both choice and necessity. I moved around a lot as a child, and I kept that movement going even as an adult. I would light in a place for a few years and then pick up and begin following the trail to something better again and again. Something better. I was always looking for that. I had love in my life, my two beautiful children, my friends, my family, my funky little house in the hill country. Even with all that, I was lonely. It sounds awful and selfish to say that, but it’s the truth. I had always grown up believing that there was a mate to my soul out there. The whole corny enchilada of lover/best friend/meant-to-be…I held tenaciously to my faith in his existence for years and years. And then, after years of “close but not quite” and especially after my divorce, I gave up on that notion for the most part and put it away.

I figured that maybe I was wrong, maybe there wasn’t really anything or anyone out there that could make a person feel universally answered and justified just by showing up and opening their arms. Even if there were such a thing, I thought, I’d missed it somehow. I was too old. I was simply going to have to be grateful for all the gifts I had in my life, which were no small thing by anyone’s estimation, and get on with living the best way that I knew how. I hated whiners, so I didn't want to be one. I would have to make my peace with being by myself. I knew I was up to the task. I’d always been a loner, from the time I was a child. Being by myself was a skill that the movement in my life had taught me. I was good at it. I was proficient at not needing anyone but myself, and it was something that I did even when I had lovers. I never let myself forget for a second that I was alone. I never felt “not alone” even when I was in love, and the movement drove me away from those loves because it was fed by that tiny but persistent desire for the silly, impossibly romantic enchilada.

Then, when I least expected it, he showed up and he opened his arms. I won’t write about him in specifics, as he is a much more private person than I am in all sorts of ways; but I will tell you that he is the person I was missing. What I have ever thought or written about love has suddenly become so small. Because it’s so much bigger than what I ever thought it could possibly be, and it makes so much more sense than I could have ever previously imagined. And I knew it from the second I looked at him and he looked at me. It was just like that. As goofy as it sounds, it was exactly like that. I knew that I would never leave him and that I would love him for the rest of my life. My dad asked me how I knew. I told him that, from the first time he’d held my hand, I’d never felt like I was by myself. It’s as simple and wonderful as that; the whole corny enchilada is real and infinite. So the movement in my life makes sense to me now, because it was always to this place where my heart is, to this place where his arms are open and he is smiling at me, to this place where he holds my hand and we always move together.
catelin: (Default)
( Aug. 11th, 2007 08:20 pm)
For my friend S., the man who sometimes cannot see his own magnificent wings.


I have watched your journey from a distance,
marveled at the movement of you, sweet traveler,
blessed and cursed with the burden of the
changing landscapes of your own body.

I have held my breath as you wrestle
with deep waters and dangerous currents,
always with such an acute sense of the cost,
marked with sacred heart, bone, and gristle
of how you are finding your way to shore.

I have hoped for you to see yourself
as twilight—the most beautiful and brave
time of the day, where the world would quietly
give way to you without question or judgment.

I have silently applauded your steady navigation
through streams of self-doubt and longing, never
being so vain as to see yourself—a bona fide prodigy,
to have become the man you are without ever having
had the chance to be the boy you should have been.
catelin: (axl rose impression)
( Jun. 19th, 2007 10:14 am)
I have a quiet joy this solstice, and a certain kind of balance between wanting and having that is new to me. Not to be cryptic, but it's raining men. Ok, so that's not cryptic; but it's nice to have rain once in a while. Quality rain, even! I'm still stretching my legs and running my toes through the grass of this new and improved year, so it's especially important for me to give thanks for the sun on my face these days. I am going to be outdoors this summer solstice, like a good little naked baby of mother earth. I feel the sunflowers sprouting from my head just thinking about it!
I saw Ricki Lee Jones recently, one of the few singers I'll still actually shell out money and tolerate a crowd to see. It had been almost fifteen years since I'd seen her last, a whole world ago when I was still running with all the beautiful people in L.A. She played an invite-only show at The Whiskey and she was everything I wanted to be--beautiful and fierce, unapologetic in her delivery, unafraid of being vulnerable in front of strangers. I loved her before that night, but afterward I loved her with a profound fan girl heart that made me giddy about seeing her even a decade and a half later.

She came out and I was taken aback for a few minutes at how changed she was physically. My first thought was, "Holy shit! She's old!"

She was heavier, and her face had the lines of any other woman her age who hasn't gone under the knife in some way. Still, she was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. She was still everything I want to be--beautiful and fierce, weathered a bit but laughing and peaceful to be where and who she was. She's ten years older than me and I couldn't help but see the changes in her as a vision of what I will face in the not-to-distant future.

Getting older is only surpassed in weirdness by watching other people do it before you. What I saw the other night, though, set me at ease about it. In fact, it made me hope that I can be so lucky--to have a face that becomes more transparent with age, to have a face that lets the world know my spirit is steadily finding its way to the surface.
catelin: (birthday)
( Mar. 16th, 2007 07:22 pm)
I am forty-three today. Holy shit. ; )

An Older Woman

I am not that girl.

I tell you this and what I mean is that
I am not 36 and I don’t stay up late much anymore,
I only wake up at four a.m. for no apparent reason.
What I mean is that the last joint I smoked is now old enough to vote.

I am not that girl.

I tell you this and I mean that I am wise
Enough now to see the value in being patient with you,
Even you, with all your flaws and fears and troubles.
What I mean is that I understand the terrible ache for things we can count on.

I am not that girl.

I tell you this and I mean that I am faithful,
To myself and to the truth as it reveals itself to me over time,
I have shed the need to proclaim my purpose so loudly.
What I mean is that I grow more quietly subversive and fierce each day.

I am not that girl.

I tell you this and I mean I may have been her
Or a variation on that same theme of false bravado and fuck off,
Sometime before I learned to be rather than to appear.
What I mean is that I am already what you can only hope she might become.
catelin: (breathe)
( Feb. 23rd, 2006 09:11 am)
Sun, for the first time in days. It's amazing what a break in the clouds can do for a girl's mood. Spring is the brave season for me, and I see it coming even through the cold. I am approaching another birthday and see myself much as I have always been, changed and changing, worked upon by both circumstance and desire.
I burst into tears yesterday. The remark that brought this on was significant only in that it made me realize how changed I was--how changed my life was. Most of all, it made me see that I wasn't the person I'd thought myself to be. This offhand string of sentences from someone younger than me, expressing surprise that anyone had ever found me attractive. There I was, sitting in the car, suddenly feeling like Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. I sat there and held my tongue. I finally blurted out, "You don't know anything about me!" as I slammed the door and stormed into my office. I'd wanted to scream at him about how I used to be something. How I had a life when I was younger that he couldn't even imagine. How I'd been the object of affection of people who wouldn't even bother to give him the time of day. I'd wanted to do all that until I realized how stupid it would have sounded. How ridiculous I would have been. "I used to be a contender!" Blech! I absolutely love the life I have NOW, but I suddenly felt compelled to defend myself with an image of my younger self.

He called and apologized. We are very good friends and he hadn't meant it the way it sounded. I told him that I know I'm getting old. I can see it in my face. I can see it in my body. I realized yesterday, even knowing I'd feel better the next day, that it bothered me. He suggested that it was because my friend is getting married, and here I am still single. But it's not that. It's not that complex; it's not that deep. What I realized yesterday is that I am vain. I have always been vain and I always thought I wasn't. I always thought that I never cared about how I looked. I've hardly ever worn makeup and most days I can't be bothered to do much more than brush my teeth and comb my hair. I always thought that getting older would be fine. What disturbed me was having to admit to myself that it did bother me. The fact that it bothered me at all fucking bothered me even more! I'd always expected to be above such pettiness. I felt like a boob, sitting at my desk crying over something so stupid. I was supposed to be calm...peaceful and serene...gracefully growing old. And here I was bawling like a baby behind my closed office door.

I finally just told myself, "So what?" So I'm vain. So I've got to start growing into a new face. It's not going to happen overnight. I'll have time to get used to the idea. I'll do the best with what I have and become the fabulous old dame I am destined to be. I am the first night of a full moon and I'll be damned if I'm gonna cry about it any more!

I will be thirty-seven years old in a few weeks and for the first time in a long time, I am acutely aware of my age. It's not so much that I would like to be younger, but simply a sense of transition. A friend who is fond of taking photographs of me lately told me that I have an "interesting" face. "You will be like Georgia O'Keefe," he tells me. I look in the mirror sometimes and see shadows of my younger self playing off the aged face that is barely beginning to emerge.

I have become more accepting of my circumstances, less apt to rage against the beds of my own making. There's no weakness it that, much to my surprise. It has actually made me stronger and less likely to wallow in the emotional angst and bullshit I was once quite fond of. I have cleared the path for myself over the last couple of years and I now have an unshakeable feeling that wonderful things are ahead of me.
I had the chance to pose for a men's magazine when I was about 20. No shit. It was back when my tits were still firm and I had an ass that would stop traffic. Some guy who looked like Rod Stewart on crack lit my Camel, gave me a business card and started spewing what sounded like the sweaty, desperate ranting of a novice bullshit artist aching for some coos. Turned out to be legit, though. I was interested not so much because I would have ever done it, but because I was bored and it did give me some sick sense of validation to know that "I" had been chosen. I enjoyed all the tittering gossip that the encounter generated amongst even the most blase of my friends. I was beautiful back then. I was also shallow, lazy, and frightened of being alone. I did change, of course, over the years. I accumulated lovers and friends, traveled, created, destroyed, rebuilt. I went to grad school, to law school, and the school of hard knocks. I spent most of my twenties in Hollywood--first, with a rich, uptight, closet homosexual who paid my rent and fucked me once a week; last, with a perpetual boy--a long-haired beautiful genius whom I still miss sometimes even now. I don't live in the city anymore. I moved back "home" to where I'd spent summers with my grandparents growing up. I have two sons and still no husband. It's strange, really. No one even contemplates the possibility that I've never married. Everyone just assumes I'm divorced. I have, for lack of any better description, what I'd call a pseudo-husband. He's the father of my children and we have a relationship, but we live separately and my life is very much my own. So what does this have to do with the dirty pictures that I never took? It's about looking back and trying to make some sort of linear connection with then and now. I have come to the conclusion that I probably will never find my "soul mate" if such a person exists, and that perhaps my lesson in this life is to learn to be alone, to find a completeness within myself, to be my own "better half." I look back and wonder if I somehow missed something, if I am paying now for my vanity then? Or is it just that this is the great universal plan? I dreamed last night that I was being followed in some sort of festival by a dark-haired man who kept offering me an apple. He wasn't particularly attractive, but I sensed immediately that he and I were the same. I knew that he'd recognized me too. I kept motioning for him to wait, because I was busy with my children and talking to friends. He moved behind an oak tree, and I thought that maybe he'd gone until I could see his feet. He just sat there very patiently, knowing that I would be there when I was done. The first thought I had when I woke up was how if you cut an apple just right, you'll see a five-pointed star. I had a feeling that it was a message from the Goddess, letting me know that there was someone for me after all. I thought it was an odd dream because I haven't been lonely, and I haven't felt that awful pang of yearning for something without a name for many years. My life is full to overflowing, and I'm finding that even as I head toward middle-age, I am so much more lovely for the marks of living I've gathered along the way--my crow's feet, my breasts that sag a bit after nursing two children, my belly that's grown softer, my hands that have roughened with age and gardening. So, while Mr. Hefner might not be interested anymore, there's a five-year-old and a three-year-old that think I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. And, hey...who knows? There may be a dark-haired guy bearing apples in my future as well.


catelin: (Default)


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