At the table in my direct line of sight was a young family. Mom, dad, little daughter, littler son. The children were charming, dividing their time between eating lots of noodles, snuggling with their parents, eating noodles and talking to the koi in the big pond. So cute. Great public manners for such little kids, just like my boys.
Anyway, there was something odd about their conversation, the mom and dad. I was not eavesdropping, the tables are close together, so close that you could reach and take a California roll from the next table and no one would notice.
Anyway, they were talking about naps, for the little ones and it was all back and forth and about schedules for naps and when did little man take his nap and what is happening tonight if he does not nap and little princess did not take any naps yesterday and was soooooo crabby. Interesting, as it seemed as though they were friends and not partners/a couple/something.
Then, when the kids were again grooving with the koi, mom asked dad, "Well, are you dating?" And he answered that he was. A little. Once in a while. Then dad asked mom if she was dating and she told him that she was, once in a while.
And, I realized that they were divorced or permanently separated in whatever way that happens and were spending time together with their children.
It was the perfect example of how people should split up if splitting up is going to happen. I have to share that it gave me such a sense of the integrity and honor of people who choose to manifest their best selves and do the right thing for their children. Even if, heaven forbid, things go wrong sometime in the future, they all have today, right now and for the foreseeable future, a family, even if they do not live together and mom and dad date other people. A little. Once in a while.
After lunch I went to my favorite charity shop, a short walk from the restaurant. Think there might be a theme here. One of my new, albeit future, gigs is that I am being given space in the center when they move to their new location. It is a third of a block west. They did not make their goal of early January because the wiring is all mess-a-licious there. So, no immanent move. The space given to me will be to provide art and craft therapy without the therapy part. I am not a licensed art therapist, although I am think that is something I might like to pursue.
The activities and projects are things that I have done in the past with other groups and locations. It can be powerful work, but I am keeping it in the realm of fun, holidays, seasons and useful things. We will begin with making a book, an artsy journal, some place to write whatever is important to us or grocery lists or to-dos or doodle or whatever anyone wants to do.
I will be concentrating on the process and learning how to do things, oh, like construct a book, a useful skill, as when you learn how to do it you can make books for yourself or for gifts. Learning any new skill means that you have one more thing in your arsenal for taking care of yourself, living frugally and being able to make your own very cool stuff. If all goes well, I will be teaching them to make soap. Yay.
I can hardly wait, and since it looks like there is improvement, forward movement if you will, in my financial situation...finally receiving a portion of the joint resources from that other life...I will be able to fund part of the program instead of having to rely on the generosity the committee has offered. I will also be able to expand the vision (glasses, readers and appointments) project I started last year. Yay.
That is why I visited the shop, to look for materials for the new gig. I did find some remarkable stuff. Yay.
There was a woman at the shop who was looking through the bargain bags they use for all kinds of stuff. Pretty cool, and it is impossible to not find some bag of some stuff that you can use to make other stuff. We started talking and she was commenting on how the shop people really knew the value of what they were selling and I shared with her that when they first opened they were practically giving stuff away. Since it is shop that pays their staff, provides employment for persons with developmental issues, covers the bills and gives every other cent to their work with disabled and old folk who are the recipients of the services at their facilities, I was glad that they finally raised their prices.
She was looking at some brass stencils and whilst she is a huge fan and practitioner of all things scrap booking, she did not know what they were. They are sold in packs of 4 or 5, depending on size, for $3.00. Quite the value. I had looked at the two packs, but could not justify buying either because I could use only two from one of the packages. I showed her how to use them. She told me that she really only wanted one of the stencils, so I told her that one of us should buy the darn thing and share the stencils and the costs. And, that we would meet up at the cashier.
Before I went there, I stopped to take one last look at the cool papers they had and we got to talking again. She was there with her twin sister and their older sister. Spending a few days together, something they do at least once a year. Turns out that the one to whom I was speaking lives here. Her twin lives about five hours north of here. The older sister live about seven hours further north. So, they alternate visits by driving to each of the three places they live, in some kind of rotation I did not understand, but I really do not need to, so there is that.
The twin sister came over again and delivered the message that my new friend :) had better get a hustle on because the bus was leaving in two minutes.
So, we hustled and when it came time for me to pay my share of the cost of the stencils, she gave the two I liked to me and would not take my buck-fifty.
They were so wonderful and it was easy to see how much they loved and cared about each other. Women older than me who get out there and groove with each other a couple of times each year because it is important that they make the sacrifices in time, distance, money and time away from their families, to stay in more intimate contact than through the phone or e-mail, both of which they do regularly.
Another moment of grace and hope and beauty, and in the space of just a few hours.
My final stop before returning home was the market where I carefully chose my groceries, including a bag of frozen shrimp that disappeared from my cart between the time I popped it in there and was going through the check-out. I did not notice until I arrived home because this market bags your stuff before you can do it yourself.
Was it the person behind me who suddenly realized that she had forgotten to grab some of those ridiculously sale-priced, pink and glistening creatures?
Did someone else think that my cart was their cart and took that package of histamine-elevating and throat-clogging crustaceans and put them back?
Perhaps someone saw them in my cart and decided to save me from those cockroaches of the sea. Yes?
Anyway, no sale shrimpies for me. I shop only one day each week. Today was the day. Maybe it will still be on sale next week and it can be spiced and seasoned and sauced to rest...briefly...atop a lovely bed of bean thread noodles. Noodles that actually made it home with me.
The day began, as it always does on Thursdays, at the Center. First was a session with my spiritual counselor. She tells me that I have made a lot of progress and have grown, or at least am growing into this new life. I do not see it, and I suppose that I am looking out and she, and others who have made similar comments, are looking at parts of me that I cannot even see in the mirror.
Next was therapy where I was able to share my clients from yesterday, which also happens to be one of the most interesting days I have had at this job.
I had an insight last week about how my daughter is in relationship with me and it knocked me on my ass. What that means is I have to have some difficult conversations with her and risk all kinds of problems if she wants to know about what happened when all that happened. It might be worth the risk. Or, it might be the beginning of more problems. I tire of hearing myself say this, but there are things that I will never be able to tell anyone. Still, I will risk having to decline to answer, if we manage to learn more about each other and reduce the stress between us. One can only hope. Lordy.
As for the clients...digressing..., but client #4 arrived smelling of alcohol. It was fresh alcohol and when I told him that I could smell it, he asked me, "Oh, is that a problem?" Yeah, the day was full of interesting players.
Following was a support group, yes, I spend more than three hours there some days. It was interesting, as usual, but the theme/query for the session was fairly innocuous. It was to share a story/saying/whatever that you use when you are going through a difficult time and need to provide some self support. Two people nailed it and two people did not, and the conversation went into stunningly personal and intense sharing. After, I was talking to the therapist/facilitator and remarked how amazing that all was and she replied that she had no idea that the conversation and sharing would go where it did. Yeah. Everyone. Amazed. But, even though the work was hard, almost brutal, it was good. And, amazing.
It is time to end a cool and interesting day. I work tomorrow, only five hours, but it is intense and I need to be at my best. I am reading Dean Koontz's Innocence. It is already compelling and it will be a while before I find out what the mystery about the main character is about.