Thursday, December 27, 2012

Requiem


Death can be cruel. It robs us of our loved ones and steals from us a future of potential memories.  Waiting for death may perhaps be crueler.  The days or weeks of watching a loved one hover between life and death are torturous.  Paralyzed by an inability to improve the suffering, the mind wanders to scenarios that seem harsh to those not involved in the situation.  You find yourself wishing for death, seeing it not as a fearful fate, but a desirable one.  At some point, after watching so much suffering, you will find your prayers evolving from “please heal” to “please end this pain”.  It’s an uncomfortable feeling this sudden alliance with the grim reaper.  

I lost my grandmother today.  A week ago, a massive stroke left my grandmother in death’s gray zone.  She was no longer healthy or conscious, but she was not yet prepared to part from the world. As a child, I remember a spry, adventurism woman, traveling the globe on a series of adventures.  I could barely leave her alone on her visits from California, wanting to hear tales of exotic locales. For a small child with little travel experience, she was the coolest person I knew. As we grew older, she moved to Virginia to live closer to my mother.  In a few short years, age caught up with her and her memory began to slip away.  Dementia robbed her of her short term memories, but preserved her childhood with a crisp focus.  

For now, the memory of death is still fresh.  I find the images of the hospice bed hard to shake.  I will work to put these harsh end days’ memories from my mind; she would not wish to be remembered this way.  I too will focus on my childhood memories and honor her as the bold, intelligent adventure she was.  

All my love to you Grandma.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Dr. Quinn Broke My Feminist Heart


The other day my mother called me a flaming feminist liberal!  She also followed it up with a “you used to be such a sweet girl”.  (Apparently, I lost my sweetness when I “burned my bra”?)  I am not sure how she could find this surprising. My favorite cartoon was She-Ra Princess of Power.  When I got a little older, I became of a fan of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.  She was a doctor when women weren’t in the profession.  She was bold, courageous, and scored a luscious-haired blonde man.   I appreciated Dr. Quinn because she taught me I could have it all- the trail-blazing career and the family.  She taught me to break through the glass ceiling, before I even knew what this was.  

Now I appreciate that Dr. Quinn is a fictional character and that Jane Seymour is not actually Dr. Quinn.  None the less, I feel hugely disappointed by Seymour/Quinn as of late.  It’s the holiday season, which means the airways are flooded with jewelry, luxury car, and lingerie commercials. Corporate America enjoys reminding me that nothing says the holidays like a woman in a push-up bra, rocking some diamonds, and driving a Lexus with the giant bow on the top.  Kay Jewelers (my arch holiday nemesis) has unveiled their latest commercials for Jane Seymour’s Open Hearts Collection.  Now I am forced to watch my childhood hero show off diamond necklaces and remind me “Keep your heart open and love will find a way in”.  Really Jane, is it that simple?  Is that what I have been doing wrong for the past decade or more?  If I just opened my heart, someone would love me.  Wow it seems so simple.  How did I not know this? 

So yes, I feel betrayed by Dr. Quinn.  It’s like she forgot all the hardships she faced as a pioneer female doctor.  Now I am just being told to stand around with my heart open and soon I too will be getting jewelry from men.  Go ahead and sell out Dr. Quinn, but I am going back to work to cure Ebola and end world hunger.  Because maybe if I work to save the world, love will find a way in.

Strangers on a Plane

Greetings from 38,000 feet. I am currently flying over my old stomping ground of Ohio. That’s right folks, the wandering nomad has moved again. I find myself further west and farther north- in the arctic tundra of Minnesota. If you are keeping track, that is four states in two years. No commitment issues here, just some idealistic dreams and the opportunities to pursue them. See there are perks to the single life.

As I sit here wedged between two strangers, I can’t help but muse on the joys of flight. I attract some interesting friends on flights. Though admittedly this flight has been rather quiet, other than an incident with an 8 year old that had a panic attack and required us to return to the gate and return him and his mother. See another perk of the single life.

 I am probably talking up the single life a lot, because I just left my parent’s house during the holidays. Translation, a lot discussion about my inability to attract men and my general relationship failures. I assume they are simply concerned about me. Hell, maybe they should be. Now, it’s not that I can’t attract men; I just tend to attract some odd balls. In fact, just this last flight, I scored a man’s phone number on a research paper I was reading on gonorrhea. That’s right, I got a man’s number off a paper on a sexually transmitted disease. I wonder if that means he had one. Needless to say, I will not be contacting Kenny, but I thank him for the compliment (even if he only turned to me when the attractive girl sitting beside him pretended to fall asleep to avoid talking to him). I have another 13 months before I turn 30 and have to start considering choosing men who are attracted to women who read and write notes in the margin of a gonorrhea paper. I think I may still choose to be picky. I mean there are perks to singledom (the nomadic lifestyle for instance). I need someone better than a man turned on by gonorrhea and free alcohol to make me give it all the perks of being single. Remind me this in the next few weeks, when the cursed holiday loneliness kicks in and I am playing around with the idea of texting Gonorrhea Guy.

P.S. As of writing this, my very cool, British hippie turned American naval officer seat mate asked me if I was an author. I was so disappointed to say no. A girl can dream- and at least I look the part. I also learned how to start and maintain dreadlocks and how to make hair dye out of dried flowers. Flying rocks!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cheating on Mr. Darcy

For over a decade, I have been in love with one man- Fitzwilliam Darcy. Real men have made appearances in my life, but no one has had the staying power of Mr. Darcy. I love him for so many reasons: his complexity, his nobleness, his dedication to love in the face of obstacles. Mr. Darcy is a complicated character. Upon initial introduction, I hated him. His condescension and pride were a definite turn off for me. But as with all good relationships in life, I learned to see past the façade to his true character and fell for the man who so nobly helped someone he loved, though he had no hope of an emotional return.

Recently, however, I have begun to stray from my love. In fact you could go so far as to say that I am cheating on Mr. Darcy. What makes my unfaithfulness worse is that fact that I am falling for 17 year old fictional character. These days it seems my heart belongs to Peeta Mellark. I know that a 17 year old character from the juvenile fiction series “The Hunger Games” seems like an odd departure from my 18th century cravat wearing aristocrat. I wasn’t looking for a new fictional idealized man, it just seemed to happen. What women wouldn’t fall for a man who has such a selfless, undying love? Is there really such a form of love that a man would give his life just to see a woman was safe. Sigh, gush, swoon.

Back in the real world, I have somehow developed a reputation as a bitter spinster hag who hates all forms of couple happiness. I don’t one hundred percent know how this happened, but it probably has something to do with the personal façade I have created to pretend I am not bothered by the fact that I have never had a love story. It’s hard to keep the bitterness at bay when you are a 28 year old woman who has never had her hand held in public, never been referred to as someone’s girlfriend, never received flowers and certainly never heard the ‘l-word’. But the truth is, I don’t hate love and romance. I am probably the biggest closet romantic you may ever meet. If you could only see how I cry in movies, or hear me pathetically sigh in novels, you would know. I think I have just given up on the idea that love will ever happen to me. Luckily, I now have two fictional lovers to fill the void.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Special Family Conversations

A Cherry Family Conversation:
C= me; M= mom; D= dad

Phone rings
C: Hello
M: Oh good you are alive. We were worried; you usually call on Saturday. I thought you had been attacked by that elk.
(side note- I have an elk to visit for work)
C: Oh no, no elk attack this week. I tried to call but it kept telling me all circuits are busy on your phone.
M: How odd. Well talk to your father he was worried too.
C: Hey dad.
D: So what did you do last night? I was thinking maybe you hooked up with someone last night. I told your mom that, but she said you better not, because you don't have a significant other. I told her that is how you would get a significant other. So what did you do last night.
C: I sat on my couch and read Cat Fancy magazine.


Is it sad that my 70-something year old father imagines I have a better social life than I do? Should I be worried that my father thinks whoring myself out may be the only option I have left. And why the hell did I read cat fancy last night?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Mulligans

In golf, there exists this wonderful option known as a mulligan. For the non-sports inclined (which I imagine applies to all three of my readers), the mulligan is essentially a "do-over". So as you watch your ball bank horribly to the right, disappearing into the dense woods, you can ask your golf buddies for a mulligan. If they are nice enough (for technically the mulligan is not allowed in the official rules of golf), your friends will grant you a mulligan. You may now tee up, swing straight, and forget your horribly off course shot from two minutes ago.

For me, New Year's is the annual mulligan. As the ball drops and the cheers subsides, I am filled with a sense of hope for the upcoming year. Here is a new chance to get things right, to get my life back on track towards the idealized Cherry life. I roll out the 15 plus long list of resolutions and forge ahead into each new year. Every time boldly stating "2xxx this will be my year!".

Now I realize that there is no real change in the day to day operations of December 31 to January 1. No reason that suddenly things should change or improve. Or really for that matter, no reason that I should have to wait until January to attempt self-improvement. Call me unimaginative, but it just seems easier to try the new life every new year. It is also helpful that the next day is my birthday, so this allows me to have a new calender year and a new age to re-invent myself. It is all very neat and tidy.

As the closet optimist (what you think- Cherry an optimist, have you read her blog?),well it's true, I am. Anyway, as a secretly optimistic kid, I am always sure that this will be my year. I have to hold on to this hope, because what else do I have. Who wants to go into 2012 thinking- well this will be another year of daily drudgery, peppered with misery, and an increased change of choking alone on Lean Cuisine in my apartment, and then having my corpse devoured by my cats. There is no way in hell I would get excited about this holiday if I thought like that. While in reality, 2012 has no greater chance of bringing me fulfillment through career changes or love, it doesn't mean it can't happen.

My review of 2011 is as follows: it was a year of bold moves and epic fails. The start of 2011 found me in the Panhandle of Texas. Completely dissatisfied with the direction of my life, I made a bold move and transferred to Ohio. Thus for the second time in six months, I agreed to move across country to a state I had never been to or ever thought of living in. Things improved in many ways, but it also helped me definitively learn that I cannot stand my job. I hoped by moving to a new territory things would improve. 26,000 miles of driving and a few mental break-downs later, I learned that was not the case.

2011 also saw a first for me. An intense focus on my dating life. I had always made my education a priority, but never put any effort into dating. So in 2011, I tried three online dating sites, went on dates with seven men, and truly fell in love, only to have my heart broken in a most devastating way. Clearly, since I am still writing my single lady blog, nothing worked out from that scenario. What a horrible batting average I have! At the same time, I don't regret it, especially the one real relationship that developed from it. For the first time ever, I let down my guard and loved the only man I have ever met who had basically all the qualities listed on Cherry dream man list. For gosh sakes the kid taught deaf children in Kenya! Sigh. Really long sigh. And though he disappeared without a word from my life- I guess I have to thank him for giving me a glimpse of what true relationship happiness could be.

So 2011 broke my heart and made me consider moving again for the 4 time in under two years (I am being to think I have commitment issues). 2012 may be in fact just as cruel. But, what if it isn't? In fact, hell how could it be? I have been digging around rock bottom for so long, I figure it has to improve. After all, even naked mole rats have to surface eventually. Maybe 2012, maybe, just maybe, you will be my year!