It's been a really long time since I've written- much has happened- more than I ever could have predicted. In a nutshell, I met a wonderful man, and we are now engaged, and moved into our dream home. My niece has been located, across the country, adopted by a loving family. The circumstances are painful- too much to go into right now. But I am so very thankful that she is safe and loved by a very special family, and that I have the opportunity to be her aunt again. Here is the letter I wrote her, below. I am stressed-out by my job on a daily basis, but so very thankful for it, and for the friends and family that I have. There are things that I'd like to change about my life, but I am continually learning how good I have it, compared to others, and it humbles me- I feel so undeserving.
January 19th, 2008
You may not remember me, but I remember you-- how could I possibly forget? I was there on June 11th, 1998, when a very special little girl was born. It was you! And from that moment on, I looked at the world very differently because you were a part of it. I am your Aunt Meredith, but you used to call me Mer, just like everyone else.
I know that it has been a very long time since you saw me or talked to me, and I apologize—until very recently, I didn’t know where you were. A lot of things have happened to both of us since the last time we saw each other—some very good and some very bad. I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to be there and protect you from the bad things that happened in your life. But I am so very happy that you have been adopted by Mike and Sarah and their four kids—you are so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that love and care for you! And you deserve it because you are very special. My dreams have come true to hear that you are in a happy and healthy home. I just wanted to let you know that there is at least one more person, although you may not know it, who lives far away but still loves you very much, and that’s your Aunt Mer.
A lot of time has passed, but I would love to get to know you again, not as the little girl I once knew, but as the beautiful young lady you have become. I have sent an album of pictures of you as a baby and a little girl—I hope you enjoy them—I have so many stories I’d love to tell you about yourself as a baby and a little girl. I know that I look at those pictures and remember those times often— I miss you very much. Not a day has gone by since I saw you last that I haven’t thought about you, missed you, or prayed for you.
I love you very much!
Ciao! Greetings from Trieste (or Basovizza, a small town outside Trieste, to be precise)!
I'm in Italy for work. Not much time for sight-seeing, although I hope to go to Venice tomorrow. Need to give the tourist traps some chance to rip me off, ha ha. But nevertheless, it's been quite an adventure so far.
John was lonely at the prospect of me leaving for an entire week without him and so last friday night, (THIS IS TMI, WARNING!!!!) we were up the entire night rearranging furniture. As in, fucking on every available piece of furniture in my house that would support our combined body weight. Thankfully for future visitors, we are heavy, and I don't have a lot of sturdy furniture, so we didn't desecrate many items. But I was up until 7 am, which set into motion a cascade of events that I am still feeling the repercussions of. Not that I regret it, lol- I had quite a good time moving furniture. :)
Saturday after a morning nap, I hastily packed, dropped the dogs off at doggie daycare for the week, kissed my baby goodbye, and set off for ATL, a 2 hour drive on a good day. I was about 2 hours behind schedule leaving for my flight, due to my nighttime activities and my need for a morning nap. About halfway there, my engine light went on, and I could smell a strange burning smell in my car. My oil pressure gage read normal, as did my temp gage. I needed gas, so I pulled into the gas station and called John. After discussing options with him, I checked the oil- it was fine. I checked the coolant- soooooo NOT fine. I hoped the quickie-mart sold coolant. Guys were giving me weird looks and I was thinking to myself, "haven't you ever seen a chick in a skirt with her her head under the hood of a car before?" But they probably hadn't. I refilled the coolant (it was a 50/50 mix- no water needed- yay!) and gassed up, and I went along my merry way again, crossing my fingers. The check engine light didn't go back on, thank God! But I was even later now than I was before, and I was supposed to catch an international flight. I finally got to the airport, parked in extended stay parking, caught the shuttle, checked my bag and got scolded for the gate agent for not having checked in yet, and then proceeded to the gate after the rather uneventful security check (for a change). I strolled into the gate area as they called for my row to board. Perfect timing! The flight wasn't full, and I ended up having an aisle seat next to a vacant middle seat (score!) with a cute young Irishman at the window. The perfect scenario. He was nice enough to be pleasant when we were bored. but shut up when we both wanted to sleep. This guy had obviously flown before. British Air was great- they serve complimentary beer and wine in coach, so I had wine with dinner, and dinner was actually good, to my surprise, and then I settled down for a long sleep for the trip across the big pond. Next thing I knew, the flight attendants were waking us up for tea & breakfast, and we were landing in less than an hour. Great flight. After an uneventful layover at Gatwick, the second leg of my trip to Venice was just as smooth.
When I landed in Venice, my luck seemed to change. First, I discovered that the airline had lost my bag. Here I was, LOVING British Air, only to find out that they screwed with my luggage. Try explaining what your bag looks like to an airport employee using your minimal italian- and as an added challenge, the airport employee understands minimal english. That was my "being thrown into a lake in order to learn to swim" method of learning basic conversational italian. But we seemed to come to an understanding after lots of pointing and nodding. Next, I went to the rental car window, reservation in hand. The employee for the international reservations told me they accepted Discover. However, when I went to the counter to get my car, they did not accept my Discover card. That was a problem. So I decided to use my check card. When they called for authorization, my bank declined the charge as a security measure because it was "unusual activity" out of the country, and there was nothing I could do to fix it because the customer service people in the US weren't available for another few hours; the time change was a factor. The rental car company had to charge my car on two remaining cards that I luckily took with me on the trip "just in case". Then I had to find the car in the sea of cars in the Venice airport parking lot- finally got it, and I became reacquainted with a manual transmission, which was fun. Luckily I had printed out directions from Marco Polo International Airport in Venice to Trieste, so I knew how to get to town- where the hotel was from there, I wasn't quite sure...
I wasn't prepared for how Italians drove. As I hopped on the autostrada, I saw that there were speed zones, but no real speed limit. In the right lane, people drove moderately slowly. In the left, people drove pretty fast- maybe 160 km/hr or more? I'm not even sure what that translates to, but then there were people that drove so fast they passed everyone on the right SHOULDER. In italy, signs and lines and signals are "suggestions". Although they are a lot more laid-back about the traffic laws, people drove with more common sense, though, it seemed. As I approached Trieste, I got off the autostrada and pulled into a gas station. I needed a map to mind my hotel- I hadn't a clue where it was. I looked in my handy english-italian dictionary, and asked the clerk, who smiled and greeted me with a "prego?"
"Si, la carta di Trieste?"
He looked at me for a second, and then grabbed a map of the area, and gave it to me. He told me how many euros I owed him but I couldn't understand, so I handed him ten and he gave me change (I was thankful I had exchanged money at the airport before I left!).
"Grazie!" I said, and took my map to the car, all proud of my self that I actually had communicated successfully with someone, however briefly.
"Si, Grazie... Ciao!" He said, and waved, still smiling. I could tell that he knew I would be lost in under 5 minutes.
I looked at the map for 15 minutes in my car and went back inside to talk to my new friend. I started with a question.... "Dove il..."
He interrupted me with an "Inglese?"
I gratefully said, "Yes, thank you!"
He spoke about as much English as I spoke Italian, but he grabbed a pen and marked on the map where the gas station was. Thank God, because I had NO CLUE. There are no road signs in the whole country, as far as I can tell. I grabbed my address to the hotel from my bag and showed it to him next. He said, "Ah, Basovizza!" And showed me on the map where to go. After about 10 "grazie's", I left, and we were both proud of ourselves that we were able to communicate.
As I drove down the first road on the friendly gas station man's map, the road opened before me to nothing but sky and air and water and mountain. On the left were the mountains of the italian coast, and on the right was the Mediterranean. It was so beautiful and I was so unprepared for it that I almost drove right off the road. This road wound around the side of the mountain above the city of Trieste, which was built into the mountains and on the harbor of this natural mediterranean port. It was something out of a picture- I had never seen scenery like this with my own eyes. And never having been in europe before, I'd never seen buildings so ancient- everything I'd known was new-world if not modern, American and disposable. This glorious city before and below me had withstood nature and wars, the wrath of man and God, and was a testament to fortitude, strength, and beauty.
As I passed, slack-jawed, by the gorgeous hills of Trieste, and into Basovizza, I wasn't prepared for the small scale of the tiny town. In fact, I drove right past it. Trieste and Basovizza are on the extreme northeastern border of Italy, just on the mainland, and I drove right OUT of Italy and into Slovenia. Yes, border patrol stopped me and I explained that I was trying to go to Basovizza and I was lost. I looked pretty dumb. Luckily, they were amused and let me use their country to make a U-turn.
There is absolutely NO place in the ENTIRE town of Basovizza to park a car. I'm convinced. The town is as old as Trieste, and so was built before the advent of the Model-T. Streets are curvy and narrow, and there is no such thing as new construction. Everything is within walking distance from everything else, so there is no need for a car in town if you reside there, so I was at a loss. I made my own parking spaces like the other visitors on the edges of streets and beside buildings.
I checked into my hotel Sunday night, finally, to find that everything had closed in town except for a gelato bar. Mmmm Ice cream for dinner, anyone? I was starving. I made my way over and had the bast first italian meal EVER. Three scoops of Gelato. I didn't even try out my italian. I just pointed to the size cup and the flavors of the gelato and handed the nice clerk my money. I might have said "grazie", but I don't remember. My first day in Italy was very eventful, and I just wanted food and a bed- I didn't care about conversation.
The gelato was glorious- so much more flavorful than american icecream- I'm not sure how it's made or how it's different, but it is. I walked back to my hotel, stripped down nekkid since I had no change of clothes, ate the rest of my gelato sitting on my bed, and then fell asleep, missing John, and thinking about the deep blue of the Mediterranean.
It's hard to believe that five years ago today I married Steve in an outdoor garden wedding in Tallahassee, Florida- for a bunch of reasons. First off, it feels like yesterday. Five years has flown by in a flash, and I only hope I am wiser for it. Secondly, although time has passed quickly, it's been alternatingly very kind and very cruel, so much so that I feel that I've changed a lot since that fateful day- some for the better, some or the worse, I'm sure. But again, I hope I'm wiser for it.
I never, EVER thought that on our 5 year anniversary that we'd be divorced for over a year. Or that I'd be happily in love- with someone else. Or that I'd be living in BFE South Cackalackee. Life is never what you think it's going to be. I can say that I'm happier now than I have ever been in the last five years, so things are looking up. Steve, I hope things are looking up for you too, and that you've finally found the happiness that's always escaped you.
Awww, my baby got a haircut, finally! What a cutiepie!
On another note, best of luck to you, jeniferrobin. I'll be thinking of you today.
What do the quiz gods know anyway??? CuteLibrarian is a Scorpio, and that's history. My Leo man is working out a lot better for me. :) Growl!!! ;)
Tonight I had dinner and watched a movie with John and his parents and youngest brother, up visiting for the weekend from their hometown about two hours from here. It was a nice evening- I've met his parents once before and they're great people- I can tell where John gets his manners, values, and kindheartedness from. They make me feel comfortable and I hope to get to know them better- it's nice to get to know John in that context too, since his family is important to him.
On the drive home, it was late and the half-moon was setting over the pitch black west horizon. Clouds obscured most of the stars, but the moon was visible through the trees as a blood-red half-orb staining the black velvet-like backdrop of the sky. I pulled over after I reached my exit in the parking lot of a tiny church next to a cemetery and watched the dark red moon sink into the western hills. As it descended, I texted John, in case he was awake:
text #1: You've gotta c the moon- it's red
text #2: Like blood red
text #3: Crazy
text #4: Low on the horizon wsw
My texts went unanswered, and thinking he was probably asleep since it was almost 2 am and his phone might not be in his bedroom, but in the living room instead, where his parents were trying to sleep on the pullout, I decided not to call him, despite the awesomeness of the celestial sight I was viewing, and how badly I wanted to share the moment with him. Better to let him sleep- I have a feeling there will be many more moons we can look at together in the future.
I turned my headlights back on and headed back down the county road towards my house. As I turned into my neighborhood, I rounded a curve and barely missed hitting a huge deer which then ran through a thicket off to my right. I slowed to get a better look and the deer slowed as well; I'd never EVER seen a deer in my neighborhood before, and this was a very large deer, to boot. If it hadn't ran when it had to avoid my dinner, it would have been venison a la asphalt right now...
So I guess sometimes running is good. For a long time I've been running from commitment, from relationships, from trusting anyone after I was hurt so badly in my marriage. But now I feel like I'm running straight for something good this time with John, and it feels good. My eyes are open. Nobody is perfect- we are flesh and blood, born to make mistakes. But we just might be perfect for each other- only time will tell- and my time I will take.
So I've met a nice boy. :) I'm in love, you guys!!! I'll have to update properly at a later time. RIght now I've gotta work on a stinkin proposal...
I'm thinking of getting rid of my land line. It costs me about $85 a month, and the only people that call me on it are telemarketers, friends (when they can't reach me on my cell), and my mom, once a week or so, but even she has learned to call me on my cell almost daily now. I admit it's useful for FINDING my cell when it's lost in the abyss I call my living room, but other than that, it's a waste of money. But I'm having a hard time cutting the cord. Literally. Help?
Should I get rid of my largely-useless land line?
Yes. It is a waste of money, for the reasons stated above. Get over it and cancel your service already- it's 2007!
No- it is always better to have a home phone number "just in case"... of power outtage... in case you lose the cell... if someone needs to look you up in the phonebook, etc. Multiple redundant forms of communication are a good thing.
The last year has brought a lot of changes. I realize that it was about this time last year that I started talking to Iowa Boy- though we all know that ended not-so-well. But it was good for me, that little online on-phone tryst; it helped me get over my feelings for my ex-husband, and introduced me back into the world of dating.
And dated, I have. In the last year I've been a little bit crazy with the guys. I haven't posted the reports of all of my escapades here, because frankly, I'm a little embarrassed about my schoolgirl antics, but it was good to regain my confidence in the dating world again, after my self-esteem took such a hard blow during my marriage. No harm, no foul, though- it was fun for all involved. After the Iowa Boy fiasco, I kept things pretty light with everyone, except for Cute Librarian.
When I first read Marilyn's quote, above, I thought it was so cynical. I ran around with my bleeding heart on my sleeve, and thought that if I don't say "what the fuck" and take a chance, things will never happen for me. And to some extent, I still feel that way. But I think after living the single life for a year, and experiencing the ups and downs and anticipations and disappointments of falling for someone once again, if I am to survive being single for an indefinite period of time, I've got to adopt her philosophy. Or at least put up a good front. No more bloody hearts on sleeves- it's not doing me any favors.
What I've realized also is that even though for all intents and purposes I'm over my ex-husband, the scars are still there, and sometimes they ooze as if the wounds are new. All it takes is an unwitting word or glance from some guy I hardly know, which makes me think that I still have a little ways to go in the healing process. I've got to work on myself before I can be anything for anyone else. And that's okay. I'm not happy. But I'm not a depressed mess like I was a year-and-a-half ago. I owe that to my friends and family, mostly- they know who they are. I owe it to my new surroundings, my new job, my new sense of self-worth; my new life. And I owe it to myself not to go out with every single guy that looks my way- I can sit back and take my time- I owe that to myself, too. I'm going to continue to have fun, but I don't have to do it in the hedonistic caligula-like fashion Ive been doing. It hasn't made me forget my troubles, that's for sure.
"It's better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone." -- Marilyn Monroe
That Marilyn was a lot sadder, and a lot smarter than people give her credit for.
Ahhh, spring is in the air! The semester is over, but the high school kids are still finishing out the year. Prom dresses are selling like hotcakes. Sure brings back memories. In the spirit of spring, I took an online quiz to see which prom dress style/color suits ME best (hahaha)- brown paper bag and potato sack were not choices, so this is what the quiz thingie spit back at me. If you know me at all, I hope you have a good laugh- I sure did!
what color prom dress should you wear