On a bus

I am in a bus. The driver is a man and quiet. It is night and I can’t see much besides road. I am standing by him.

“You have strong emotions.” he says.

“I am so glad that I can be myself with you and not hide them.” I lean my cheek against the back of his right shoulder. He doesn’t answer but what I feel is acceptance.

I wake up. It was a bus but I don’t know what or who else was on it. I don’t know where it is going. I am worried that I did not have a seatbelt on and I am just standing in the front of the bus. Unrestrained. Unrestrained emotion?

Once a woman says to me, “Your emotions are too strong.”

I think, “My emotions are too strong for YOU. They are normal for ME.” I avoided any discussion of emotion with that person for two years.

The people in dreams are aspects of ourselves. The quiet man is an aspect of myself and he is driving the bus. Emotion riots around but is not driving. Life is rather like that bus. We don’t always know where we are going or what is next.

I have had a very medical January, working to help three other people. I talk to another friend yesterday. She says, “You are being called back to medicine.”

I frown at the ceiling since I am on the cell phone. “I guess so. I am thinking about how I want to do it. I don’t know yet.”

She is off on a trip for three weeks. “You’ll figure it out.”

And where will the bus take me next?

I wish I had an ambulance that unfolds into a clinic.

___________________

I had rather a grand time pulling out action figures and dolls from the basement to set up scenarios with the Barbie Ambulance. Here the baby has a facial rash. Probably 5th disease, parvovirus. This baby’s rash resolves when you wash her face with cold water. I am pleased that Barbie Doctor has a mask.

quiet woman 2

mirror mirror

I am culpable as the mirror
hiding hiding hiding
curious about you
what is it you want to see?

I am always surprised
when a man lays his fantasy over me

I have hidden and studied people
for many years
now realize that that is why
the fantasy gets overlaid

I did not know
I was hiding behind a mirror

I think about four men
serial monogamy
over fifteen years
a year break after each

a mirror reflects
a man’s own anima: his ideal woman

all four so different
yet there is a thread that binds
trauma like my trauma
and closer and closer to an opposite

I do not want to be a mirror
any more

the connection of the damaged child
I tried so very hard not to trigger
until the mirror broke
I hold pieces up in my bleeding hands

they leave when the mirror breaks
now I understand

this time was hardest and least hard
at the same time
I could almost see what was happening
almost

and now I can see
and break the pattern with the mirror

my friend says
why don’t you let them see
who you really are?
they would never have let me work

I had to wear the doctor mask
even with other doctors

the nurses and the staff saw through it
right away
they’d call me for patient needs
and knew I’d answer

did I have to wear the doctor mask
or did I wear it to feel safe?

water over the dam
but it’s time to take down the dam
and be myself
and not a mirror

I didn’t know this quiet woman is me

_________________________

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: ART!

tv questions

https://fivedotoh.com/2022/07/27/fandangos-provocative-question-175/

  • What country do you live in? United States
  • How many televisions do you have in your home? One
  • On average, how many hours a day do you watch TV? None. I think it has not been turned on since my son was in college. About 9 years.
  • What kinds of programs do you typically watch (e.g., news, sports, movies, dramas, sitcoms, reality shows)? None.
  • Do you watch programs as they are aired or do you record them and watch them at other times? NA
  • Do you mostly watch “network” TV? Premium cable channels (e.g., HBO, Showtime)? Streaming channels (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple+)? I do have Netflix and have watched one movie in the last 3 months. My daughter was here for a month and we did watch an anime together that my son recommended.
  • How often, if at all, do you use other devices than television (e.g., computers, smartphones) to watch programs? I watched a continuing medical education program about diversity studies put on by Mayo Clinic yesterday. I have to knit or do dishes or draw or else my mind wanders off. I say “watched” but I rarely looked at the screen. I watched this on my laptop. I rarely watch any sort of video or news, I would rather read the news and prefer still photographs to videos. I check minimal news most days, but prefer to spend much of my time outdoors.

I took the photograph before chorus dress rehearsal with my phone two days ago. The buck was very unconcerned about our presence and was only about 12 feet away.

Q for quiet

I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.

Landscapes can be so quiet. This watercolor is of Lake Matinenda, in Ontario, Canada, where my family has summer cabins. They are one room cabins and old and very beloved. I love the rocks at the lake and the reflections in the water. I spend every minute that I can outdoors there. If it is pouring rain or I am cooking, I am in the cabin. I sleep in a tent, because we slept in tents when I was growing up there. I like to feel the earth under the tent and the sound of the water on the rocks and the wind in the trees.

ATOZBLOGGINGCHALLENGE2022 #art #Women artists #Helen Burling Ottaway #ATOZCHALLENGE #Christine Robbins Ottaway #APRILATOZ

For more information about the #AtoZChallenge, check out this link.

A house for our lives

I wonder why we don’t design houses for our lives.

A family house could have everything on the first floor, with a bedroom, wheelchair accessible, and a full bath. The stairs could have an entryway that can be closed off. Upstairs, a sitting room, a full bath, two bedrooms or three and a pocket kitchen. Laundry facilities need to be on the main floor, but they could be in a mud room/entry that is part of the entry to the stairs.

The basement, if there is one, could be for storage or for another apartment.

A couple could buy the house, raise kids in the whole thing, then downsize to the main floor, rent the upstairs, perhaps rent the basement.

My daughter and son want less stuff. Neither has the packrat gene from me and they want to be mobile and have cleaning be very easy and moving be easy. I feel guilty that I have a big house alone, but it is full of stuff that I am slowly decreasing. It has a daylight basement, but there is no bathroom down there nor kitchen and the laundry facilities are there. Also the plumbing is 4 inch across 2 foot concrete sections from the 1930s and runs under the slab poured inside the 1930s garage foundation. The garage is built to the neighbor’s line in back and five feet onto the lot in the middle of the block at the side, so I have two lots. If I take it down, I could not rebuild there because of codes. I think that to do the basement as an apartment I’d have to redo the plumbing first, which is daunting. Also renting is tricky. That is, getting someone out if it is not working can be a challenge.

Friends are looking for a four bedroom house. They have three children so that is what they need now. But the eldest is 14, so it will not be long at all until they need less house. I picture bedroom modules that can be detached.

Our town is very short on long term rentals because now people can make more with short term rentals to the tourists for the many festivals. This in turn is messing up the traffic and increasing accidents, because there are two two-lane roads into town. And a ferry. The people who work in the shops and restaurants are having to commute. People own a fifth house that they may visit only twice a year. It looks like it will get messier, though we may have another housing crash. Right now houses are going up.

My daughter has been designing her future tiny house for a while. The second entry is to a mud room with laundry facilities and a tile floor and a shower so that she can climb out of swimming or running or mountain biking or sailing gear and have a place to hang everything before she goes into the rest of the house. She will want to be able to clean herself and her gear.

My grandparents had a house on Topsail Island in North Carolina. There was an outdoor shower under part of the house, to wash the sand off before we were allowed upstairs. Then another hose to wash our feet once we were up on the deck. Sand and the smell of the ocean, all the time.

Friends have a four apartment building. They altered the two on the top floor to make one apartment. The lower two they rent, sometimes to family. There are four bedrooms on top and two in each apartment. They have a big kitchen and a pocket kitchen in the top section.

Some of my patients need tiny houses, a place alone, even though they also need social contact. I hate the big ostentatious show houses, especially the ones with the play room on a different floor, let’s relegate the children to a different part of the house. Then the elders can also be relegated.

I wish housing were more about need and practicality and less about money and status. And still, we are spoiled….

____________________________

written 8/2/2017

new friends

I have new friends.

Nothing is lost without something else being gained. When you put a bucket in the water and pull it up, no hole is left. The water equilibrates. The water rushes in to the new hole and there is swirling and chaos for a bit and then you can’t tell.

I took coffee in to my yard yesterday morning. I didn’t feel like eating much for the two days before that. I felt more like drinking alcohol but I pay a lot of attention to that urge. I drank some but stopped. There is way too much of that history in my family.

Caffeine, now. Also addictive. I’ve quit caffeine a couple of times. I quit back in medical school because my stomach hurt. Second year I kept falling asleep in the lectures. I tried standing up through them and woke up sliding sideways down the wall. I wonder if people laughed. Everyone was sick of sitting in that room, one floor up from the first year, and trying to learn an impossible amount of information. I don’t think people did laugh. We were all in the same boat after all. If they laughed, it was the laugh of recognition.

So I gave up and sat back down and took notes and fell asleep. My notes would trail off down the page at 40 minutes in to the lecture. Over and over and over. But there might be some advantages to hearing medicine in a dream state. Who knows?

My friends came while I was drinking coffee. Four pine siskins. I have named the first three Winken, Blinken and Nod. The fourth one showed up a little late. That one is Bill. Blinken is very fat and I suspect will appear abruptly thin after the eggs are laid.

A pair of juncos joined them. The feeder got a little bit chaotic when a house sparrow showed up. I thought there was a fifth pine siskin but I realized that this one had a pale pink hood: the lady of the house sparrow pair was present. Then my song sparrow, who sings every morning from across the street, came in. He and I have sung back and forth for years.

I have not seen a lady song sparrow yet. Or maybe she slipped in and out, she will be a little difficult to distinguish from the lady house sparrow and the pine siskins.

What joy to have new friends. I think I will have to fill the feeder every two or three days. It is spring and there will soon be new mouths to feed and everyone is hungry.

The photograph is not from my yard. It is from a wilder place, that is very beautiful.

Blessings.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a song, the laugh of recognition, on this album: https://stores.portmerch.com/overtherhine/music/the-long-surrender-cd.html

The whole album helps me to grieve.