Category Archives: Excavating

Homes Sweet Homes

Eden is hosting the Gimme Shelter carnival. Go on over to see the other people’s shelters and maybe add your own.

Here are highlights from the places I’ve lived.

Family of origin. Sheri, Tami and I shared a basement bedroom during my school years. We didn’t feel squished or deprived of daylight — it just was where we lived. It was a happy place. My sisters and I laughed and created and fought and teased and bonded tightly in a suburb outside of Denver.

College. My roommate and I held a surfing party one night and broke all sorts of rules. As well as a couple of ironing boards used for surfing. In Kansas.

Japan. I had to take off my shoes at the door. It was a teensy apaaato (apartment) with only one room (of three) that was heated in the winter or cooled in the summer, which were equally brutal in central Japan. It was the room where I slept and read, bundled up under the heated kotatsu table during the winter or splaying myself in front of the a/c during the summer.

Condo. I got a mortgage on my own for a 2 BR condo in a west Denver suburb. I lived here when I met Roger, and after we married it was the first place where we cohabited.

Syria. We sold the condo, our cars and most of our stuff, and stored or gave away the rest. We moved to Syria for two years and lived in a spacious flat with polished stone floors, a wraparound balcony, and an oil-burning boiler/hot water heater. We turned it on only just prior to using hot water, and left it off the rest of the time.  We had to have the tank refilled on occasion, and that was very expensive. I loved our coffee-in-the-morning rituals there. And watching Tim Russert on Meet the Press on Sunday evenings on NBC Europe. Oh, and toilet paper was not flushable.

Victorian. When we returned from Syria, Roger and I bought our first home together, an 1891 Victorian in Denver proper that had one bathroom and no closets. It housed well all the old-world souvenirs we brought home from our travels. This was the place we brought Tessa and Reed home to as newborns. It was where we erected all sorts of kid-proof gates and pushed plastic prongs into electrical outlets. It’s the setting for hours and hours of home movies of the first bath, first crawl, first food, first step, first birthday, first time on a bicycle. However, by the time both children were potty trained, it was clear we either needed to add a bathroom or move to suburbia.

Full circle. We now live 2 miles from the home I grew up in, where my parents still live. We’re on a cul-de-sac, a space where the kids can free-range safely, much the way I did as a kid. Tessa and Reed have their own rooms, which they switch occasionally. Here they laugh and create and fight and tease and bond tightly.

And we have 3 bathrooms. My slice of heaven.

To enter your own Gimme Shelter post, visit the awesome Eden.

My watershed moment: the breakthrough I needed to become a mom

I’m re-running a post from my archives that I found during my move. If you are in the throes of infertility, this one’s for you.

~~~~~

October, 2000. I am on the therapist’s table. She leads me to a relaxed state of deeper consciousness. She asks me to look at my shoes. I do.

They have buckles, and my story flows forth. I am 14 years old, living with my parents in a place that’s cold with a dirt floor. I have just gotten what Mother calls “the Curse.” It frightens me at first, the blood.

The therapist guides me to the next significant event. Now I am 19, and my parents and the community are gathered at my wedding. The groom is a kind, balding man with spectacles. My parents have chosen him for me. The therapist asks what I think of this arranged marriage: “It’s what we do.”

Another scene. My son is 7. Josiah has piercing blue eyes and brings me joy. He is out with my husband (his father) one day working the fields. A horse is spooked and kicks Josiah in the head.

For 14 years I take care of my once-vibrant, bedridden, now simple son. I blame my husband for this life lost, even though I know it was an accident. We don’t have another child because to me, children = pain. I am called “barren.”

Despite my ministrations, Josiah dies as a young adult.

I live a numb life.

The therapist brings me to my own funeral. It is in a bleak church with no color — only shades of earth. There is nothing remarkable about my passing. It is a relief. The mourners are there because “it’s what we do.”

The therapist alerts me to some beliefs I carry:

  • Life is bleak
  • Children bring pain.
  • There is little room for self-direction. We are carried by the thought, “it’s what we do.”

Once I am aware of these beliefs, we release them. Ethel, the therapist, is an energy worker, and she brings me to a decision point where I can choose to carry or not carry these beliefs with me in my current life.

I get off the table and ask for time to journal. She concludes our session with a huge glass of water to help move the energetic debris we dislodged.

So, was this an actual past life or not? Or was it just another way — like Freudian free-association or Jungian dream interpretations or a Rorschach test — to glimpse the unconscious beliefs I carried and that thwarted my desired to be a mom?

And does it matter?

I felt immediate relief after that session. I was lighter, unshackled, empowered. I can tell you that from that point on, we had smooth sailing.

That week we chose an adoption agency and resolved to complete the HUGE application packet by the first of the year. Right after New Year’s, we turned it in.

Three months later our daughter was born. Because, among other things, I cleared the way.

If I go any deeper I may turn into Hope

If you’ve been keeping up with my tweets this last few weeks, you know that Season 1 of thirtysomething came in for me at the library.

And that I watched all 21 episodes in a week. And still it was not enough. I also checked out the thirtysomething songbook.

So indulge me with my first ever vlogging effort. I don’t have a fancy mic, so you might have to listen hard.

Or maybe not.

For the record, this is what I was aiming for.

Show & Tell: Wedding invitation

This past week, Roger and I marked the 15th anniversary of our engagement (click all images to magnify).

As longtime readers may guess, we are not the traditional type that would have a traditional wedding. Or traditional wedding invitations.

And before we had children, we were big film aficionados.

These were the RSVP cards.


And, as if out of a time capsule, our closing arguments in why invitees should attend our wedding.

See what my classmates are showing and telling over at Mel’s Show & Tell.