Breathing Room

An extra room has magically been added to your home overnight. The catch: if you add more than three items to it, it disappears. How do you use it?

Three things isn’t enough unless you don’t count lighting. If you don’t counting lighting and other accessories, well … now I can start building a usable room.

A huge desk (the one I already own will do nicely, thanks). A big bookcase with drawers at the bottom. A couple of comfortable chairs. Then bring on the computers, monitors, gadgets, widgets, lights, printers, scanners. Oh, wait. That’s my office. Never mind.

My office by window light

Can someone just repaint it? It’s Peptol Bismol pink — I have NO idea what I was thinking at the time — but I’d appreciate a new rug and anything other than pink on the walls.



72-garden weeds

The winter killed a lot of the garden and I’m not able to fix it up. But a few things survived. the damage was severe, but not total.

columbine garden

If there was a 911 I could call to help with the garden, I’d be dialing it now! I feel bad for the few flowers left to struggle on without assistance. But there’s nothing for me to do. The garden is on its own.

Solomon's Seal

Solomon’s Seal


The endless recitation of woes on some blogs I used to enjoy are giving me a headache. It’s not lack of sympathy. More like emotional exhaustion. So many people seem to be stuck in the tar pit of youthful misery — bad childhoods, miserable ex-marriages or other horrible relationships.

Don’t they want to move on? Apparently not. The quagmire of despair has become a comfortable place, so they set up a desk, computer and a light — and there they stay. Some of these bloggers continue exploring the depths of their suffering for hundreds — thousands? — of posts. Many are closing in on Social Security yet are still suffering from childhood trauma. So much for time casting a rosy haze over the past.

There ought to be a legal cutoff date at which point you are required to close the book on whatever hideous experiences life dealt you, to come to grips with your rotten childhood and awful former relationships. Or at least be required to find another subject about which to write.

we are not our mistakes

Maybe it’s because they’ve found an audience for posts about suffering and it’s an effective blogging formula? Can they actually still be trapped in the quagmire of painful memory — 20, 30 or 40 years later?

I know lots of people who were abused as children. Even more who had abusive relationships as adults. So many people, it seems more folks than not grew up in dysfunctional families.

And who hasn’t had a terrible relationship or three?

I plead guilty on all charges, your honor.

It was my first husband (before you ask, he died) who gave me a Gibbs slap and got me moving in another direction. Of course, this was before my second marriage, the one in which I managed to step in front of the same bullet I’d previously dodged. NOTE TO SELF: No one is ever too old to act like a moron.

Jeffrey didn’t have a storybook childhood either (who did?), so he had his own issues to resolve. One day, when I was going on about my father (aka, the evil bastard) he said: “You know, you’ve told me these stories before. Several times. Maybe it’s time to move on.”

You have to want to move on. It took time and work, but I’m glad I did it. There have been plenty of new traumas and I doubt I’d have survived if I hadn’t cleared the decks. Nowadays, I’m overloaded. I cannot bear to read another angst-laden tale of abuse, and emotional trauma. I’m aware how awful it can be (is, was).

Been there. Survived that. I support all efforts to free oneself from the lingering effects of the past — but I’ve got a few problems and plenty of personal angst. I’d rather make you laugh than cry.

There’s enough misery to go around without me adding more. For all of us, maybe it’s time to stop defining ourselves as the worst things we experienced. We are not what others did to us. We aren’t our mistakes. As much as we have suffered, we’ve also found fun, joy, friends, love.

We’ve got good memories and positive experiences, though it can seem as if painful memories hold the balance of power. That’s because we empower misery and dismiss happier times.

Misery is like a piano falling on your head; happiness just creeps up on you. The result? Long after the people who hurt us have disappeared from our lives, they are still beating us up. Why? Is there anything to be gained?

Let’s celebrate the good times. Who couldn’t use a few good laughs?