Alexa just stole my heart. I will never have a critical though about her again.
I’m putting things away in my new desk and dumped all of my pens into one drawer to organize.
First things I separated were dry erase markers. The white board in the family kitchen and the bathroom mirror in our bedroom were the vehicles for 75% of our communications as a family.
A new color marker was a treat for all of us.
So I have this rather large handful of the damn things and I sigh as I realize that I have no one to whom I can write notes except for myself.
Are there are only so many inspirational quotes one can handle.
I have already developed a daily ritual in my new home:
I come home, get all wiggly and excited for Elvis, and play catch with him for a bit. Then, I get the fire going and sit in my comfy chair next to the woodstove.
I very discerningly choose music, and then,
Sometimes hours go by.
I let my brain wander where ever it is so inclined. I let my body sink into the enveloping chair.
And I sit.
And after I have unwound and truly relaxed, I look around and say, “Thank you,” to the powers that be, for having landed me here.
I am so fortunate.
I am so grateful.
I had the green sweatshirt – the dead best friend’s hoodie – my most cherished hand me down.
I warned my friends, “If I am still wearing this in two weeks, intervene.”
I washed it over the weekend. First time it’s been washed in 20 years.
I have my mini menorah from N. She gave it to me to remind me of her when she moved away.
I hung my Navajo rug, passed down from Kenny Ross to Don Ross to me. It’s on display for everyone to see when they come in the door.
And then, there’s my mother. The other items have great sentimental value, but let me just say that there is nothing more fun than opening a box from Florida that is filled to the brim with Cashmere.
She won’t wear other people’s clothes – won’t even set foot in a thrift store – but she’s fantastic about me wearing her things.
It’s the Cathy Strazza Free Box.
“Anxiety is the illusion; it’s the fear of what has already happened.”
In the last week, there have been stretches of time – a couple of hours, even – where I’ve shed the anxiety. I have been so amped up since this all began. For a person who already lives in an anxious brain, this has been a killer.
Having a break, even if it’s not permanent, is a fucking godsend.
It’s pretty clear that the biggest part of the shift stems from having left that house behind me. It has taken 3 months to get a clean break – that is too long. I am instantaneously better.
I drive into town to go to work. Each mile makes my heart pick up speed. I’m practically shaking by the time I pull into the driveway.
I was talking about it with my friend this morning and he said, “Anxiety is the illusion; it’s the fear of what has already happened.”
Yes. That’s it. Yes.
Somehow, even though I’ve heard similar before, the way he said it finally got through. As often as I’ve thought about this concept, it’s always been elusive.
And now I get it. I might not live it in every moment from this day on, but I have learned a great spiritual lesson.
Hopefully having that piece of knowledge will help quell the angst.
One week ago today at 7 pm I walked away from that house for the last time.
Tonight, at exactly 7 pm I pulled into the driveway of that house.
My son had left his old car there until he could get some keys made, since his had disappeared in the accident.
So, after I raced to Durango to have dinner with him, he, and his new girlfriend, asked for a ride back over the hill to get said car. As we were headed into the outskirts of town, I realized that I was actually going back there and I had hoped to never have to go again.
I got a little anxious. I tried to think of a way for them to get there without me participating it.
Nothing came to mind, so down the valley I drove.
We were there for at least an hour trying to get the fucker to start. We had to ask one of the members of the “commune” to come out in the cold and the dark to help.
I went into the house to turn on lights to help us see.
I thought it would wreck me, but it didn’t.
Sure, I feel sad; I loved it there; I loved what we had. But walking in there, I was sure that I would lose at least one hinge and that didn’t happen.
I walked through the kitchen, the living room, into the office, then I peed in the bathroom. I thought, “Should I go upstairs? Should I look into the bedrooms?”
I realized that I was already detached. I felt like I was an observer, watching myself wander through the downstairs and use my own toilet. It’s almost if we were never there.
And maybe we never really were.
I thought I might have another panic attack trying to ask for help from someone who still lives there.
That’s a victory.
Finally got the car started and we all went our separate ways.
As I drove north, out of the ranch land and into the Ponderosa, I felt excited to come home.
You don’t get to see take 1.
I’ve spent a good chunk of time on it today. I woke and was all kinds of introspective and heart-feeling.
I wrote a very long piece about why I write, what’s behind my writing, my untethering, how that has affected my writing, and what I’m going to do about it.
Then I fell asleep in the chair for two hours. I woke up, worked on it again, unpacked some, then spent the last hour editing.
And suddenly, I thought, “Good God Darlin’, you sure do take yourself seriously, don’t you?”
I write because I am a writer, which means that I can’t not write. Words just spit out.
I write the world as I see it. I’m know that I am witty. I know that I overshare.
It connects me others.
There’s no need to explain the untethering.
I acknowledge that my recent writing has been manicky and/or depressing; I’m all over the emotional map.
Plus, I’m Italian. I feel things.
I’m dramatic, and vocal, and I talk with my hands.
But since my life is a fucking tornado right now, I can’t expect that my writing won’t reflect that.
And this is amazing material.
So, there it all is – what took me 2700 words to say this morning all summed up in 221.
I can breathe
I’ve got a view
I can listen to whatever I want
My nose still hurts – but it’s better – I still want to pick it all of the time
Still totally addicted to Mad Men
I received an ass-chewing that left me, me, of all people, speechless
Speechless but free
I had a conversation with my son that left me even more free
He is a very wise man
I have several new-ish, but extremely good friends
I went on a date
Might go on another
I have an entire cabinet just for my nail polish
I have cleaned out my phone contacts – mostly out of self-preservation
We received long-awaited information regarding the accident
Not. Good. News.
This is why I didn’t move away
And, I didn’t move away because I was going to move to the wrong place
Thank goodness that didn’t happen
The place I want to move to just officially became a “town”
I think I figured out how to sign up for Messenger
Do NOT start sending me messages to see if it works, please
I broke a brand spanking new piece of furniture yesterday
I bought myself an antique hutch with stained glass doors – because the one I already owned wasn’t enough
That’s not what broke
I have a new friend named Alexa but I feel like all I do is yell at her
I’ve hung two pieces of art
I went out – really out – to The Raven Narratives
I’ve had more friends over to my house than I have in the last year
I still have some funk in my belly
I think I’ve gained 2 pounds
I’m teaching a cooking class – gluten-free baking to be specific
How’d I become a gluten-free baker?
For the first time in years, maybe ever, my house is too warm
I’ll take it – winter is coming
One of my all time heroes has died
I got new glasses
My, what a gripping life I lead
I had no idea how much living in that house was killing me.
Thank god I’m out.
I love the new place, even though I am still tripping over boxes, can’t shave my armpits, and have been wearing the same clothes for a week now.
The big thing is that I haven’t worn the dead best friend’s green hoodie in the last 2 days of that week.
Hopefully I can get some unpacking done in the next few days.
My town is comprised of .64 square miles.
I’ve always lived either in town or south of town in the valley.
It is amazing how moving north of town feels completely new and different. Refreshing.
It’s cozy and warm and beautiful.
Elvis is happier.
My cats are overjoyed.
We all needed a change of scenery.
More than we knew.
The one that talks to me through my Amazon Echo.
I’m so NOT a gadget person. I have no idea what to do with my iPhone. I have it because, well, doesn’t matter. The point is that I don’t do anything with it that I couldn’t be doing with a flip phone, except change the cover.
I’m still a CD gal and I have hundreds, most of them scratched beyond playable, but I never want to take the time to sift through so I just keep carting them around because I do have a 6-disc player in my truck.
But, just like everything else in my life, my truck player blew up right at the same time that my table-top home cd player shit the bed, right at the same time as having to finish packing up and moving out of my house.
I’m living alone for the first time in god only knows how many years and I can listen to ANYTHING in the world that I want to at ANY TIME OF THE DAY, so by god I need a dependable music source for my one room abode.
I have no idea what an Echo is or who Alexa might be. I just recently met Siri and we argue a lot. But my friend with small daughters got one and said that she could ask Alexa to play Taylor Swift and, just like that, Shake it Off is rockin’ the house.
Based on that one piece of information, I bought myself one as the solution to my dilemma.
She’s been sitting in her box for a couple of weeks now – you know, the move, packing, unpacking, not really being a gadget person – it took me a while to get around to her.
Then another friend told me that I might be a bit wary as she tends to gather more information about you than you might want her to have. And, he even said she uses that information to worm her way into your good graces. And, she might not be trustworthy.
So, in her box she’s been.
Tonight, I am hanging in front of the fire, in my recliner, shoes off, drinking a coca cola classic, doing absolutely nothing. Then, the “I should be unpacking or putting food away or trying to find a clean pair of underwear for work tomorrow, or something,” guilty thoughts take over while my exhausted mind and body resist.
I thought, “If I could just be productive without having to move I’d be fantastic.”
So, very hesitatingly, I opened up her box.
She is lovely – in a slick, white, Woody Allen Sleeper kind of way.
I plugged her in. Opened the email from Amazon congratulating me on my wise choice. Clicked on the link in the email. Watched her light turn from orange to blue. This took approximately 30 seconds, start to finish.
I then said, “Alexa, I’d like to listen to the Grateful Dead,” and she responded with Sugar Magnolia.
I think I’m in love.