Posts Tagged ‘Smile-Therapy’

I’ve been kind of sick for too long a while.  I’d rather be sicker and have it over more quickly.  There is simultaneously optimism and fear inside me – and a disheartened kind of grief.  A good, gracious man I know died on New Year’s Eve; he was only 61.  I’m not sure what’s going on inside my head but I need to watch videos like this and seek out information like you get here in order to continue to have faith in humanity

I have to remind myself there are so many amazing things. 

I forgot to bring my camera on my trip to see Jonah yesterday, so I’ll have to share older pics.  Jonah was a good boy.  He didn’t want me to sing, though, even though he was in a parroting mood.  Andy had on the radio and Jonah was humming snippets of the top 40 music and saying things to himself… then suddenly he’s quiet, moving his thumb easily and naturally into his mouth as he turns to look out the window.  It was a warm day – maybe even 40.  My mother and I were quiet on the ride home as she tolerated my music:  things like Kula Shaker, Paul Simon, Radiohead, and Death Cab for Cutie, this day.  I won’t subject her to Greenday or the Grateful Dead; I know where to draw the line.   It was a good visit tinged with the usual feeling that comes inside when you are driving farther and farther away from your innocent ten year old son. 

Today I made chicken cacciatore and M and I are watching Dick Proenneke’s Alone in the Wilderness.   It’s such an amazing documentary that tears come to my eyes as I watch it.  This man built a cabin in the middle of Twin Lakes, Alaska (where he was the only human) and lived there for thirty years, 1968-1998, until he was 81 years old.  He carved spoons and bowls out of wood in a matter of hours.  He could chop down 40 trees and shape them into useable logs to build the cabin, all before noon.  Amazing things.  He built carriers for food and moss.  Caught fish and avoided bear.  Somehow didn’t go insane even while so literally alone.

The things he accomplishes – the way he thinks, the way he moves through the world — it’s so mind-blowing sometimes I have no reaction but to laugh out loud in astonishment.

He builds tools, tables, chairs;  intricate, near-perfect hinges; neat, even boards for shelves and working surfaces.  He narrates most of the movie, sets the camera on a tripod and films himself measuring, building, climbing, chopping, carving, cooking, gardening.  Everything handmade.  A plane would come only, I think, twice a year to bring him very basic supplies.  Are there still people like him, people who know civilization but choose to leave it, with talent and skill and that true harmony with nature?  I am in such awe of it.  No wonder I love Laura Ingalls Wilder.

For me these people speak of possibility, and resilience, and determination.  

It’s good for me today.  So here are some random things while I make my exit to watch some more about Mr. Proenneke:



Silly Me

Silly Me




ScareMeNots recycle!

The Hudson River in March 2002Rhinebeck NY

Baby Jonah...Looking right at me.

Baby Jonah…
Looking right at me.

Gustav Klimt'sThe Kiss

Gustav Klimt’s
The Kiss


my child of the water

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Not a shred of evidence exists in favor of the idea that life is serious. ~ Brendan Gill

Mom and I drove down to see Jonah today, stopping first, as usual, at Andy’s to drop off lunch and get settled before picking up Boo at his house.  She insisted on driving, though she makes me nervous as hell.  We didn’t get off to a great start because she was asking me what I wrote about for my column in the January issue of the Capital District Parent Pages, and I asked her why she didn’t know, and she said she didn’t have it.  She didn’t have any of the issues, in fact.

There is a diner a mile from her house at best; they have the issues for free in the vestibule before you even walk into the restaurant.  Perfect place to pick up a copy, which I’ve told her before.  I pointed this out to her again.

“Well I don’t really go to the diner very much,” she said.  I bite my lip, look out the window.  I know I shouldn’t say it but I do anyway:  “I’m getting mad,” I said, “and hurt.  You can’t go pick up a copy of the monthly magazine your daughter writes a column for?”  Then I sighed.  “I’m sorry,” I said, staring at her fragile, thin legs and watching her fish for a cigarette.  “Just forget it.”

I seek affirmation and seek affirmation and seek affirmation.  From my mom, my father, my friends, my boss –even my child.  Clearly I need to stop thinking of myself as the center of every scenario.  Perhaps not coincidentally, I just finished reading a fantastic book Tim Smith of Smile-Therapy sent me:  Go Givers Sell More.   The book’s co-authors talk about how the sales process isn’t about you. They suggest getting on the phone and listening to people’s stories, to find out what makes them tick, where they come from, what they dream of doing someday.  It’s got the flavor of Carnegie, only rings far less scripted, more sincere.  Be a giver.  Listen.

To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation.  ~ Chinese Proverb

Speaking of listening, my mother then decided to play a Christy Lane CD.  My apologies to her fans, but what an overproduced shmaltzy mess of songs.  She can sing, but it’s what she sings that grates.  Footprints in the Sand.  Really?  They make it into a song and present it as if it were wisdom we’d all not heard ten thousand times before?   Sigh.   Too loud, too loud, I kept thinking, until finally asking if we could turn it down just a little.  She lit another cigarette and nodded her assent.

I listened.

Jonah was about how we’ve come to expect.  Hyped-up, begging for tuna and bath, black soda and car ride, daddy in backseat.  I brought Protector Patty with us and Jonah played with her a little.

dad offers a grape

Good thing Patty has multiple eyes

Good thing Patty has multiple eyes!

She even came with us on a walk in the woods.

Like ScareMeNots before her, she insisted on hanging around in the trees…

Patty, loving life.  I swear these ScareMeNots actually show emotion.

I’m tired and I’m inundated with work, writing and re-writing.  I asked for it but it’s difficult and I’d rather write here or more for the Capital District Parent Pages…but neither of those pay me a dime.  For the test writing I get moneycoin.

It is also a nice distraction from the anxiety that seems to invade, uninvited and inevitable, when I have less to do.

Mama loves you, little Boo.

Everything is okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end. ~ Unknown

I just heard now that Whitney Houston died, of unknown causes, at the age of 48.  How sad.  What a waste.  I guess if everything’s okay in the end, everything’s okay for her.  How weird that I had just typed that quote…

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