Tuesday, May 6, 2014

What's Terrific? Raren to Go!

My friend, Julie, took me to a reading by her friend, Peggy Shinner, from a recently published book of essays, You Feel So Mortal. Julie figured that I would enjoy the vibe and the content as it related to older and dying parents, loss, and our relationships with our own bodies. At the event itself, there was a lot to like.  Friendly people, beautiful food, not too noisy, and a sunny, terrifically rehabbed Chicago two-flat.  Peggy's reading was alive and vibrant. I was riveted by her stories, of her mother, her father, her self.  When, at the close of our event, my friend raised her hand and asked a question of the author, it was the closest I had been to crying in quite some time.  Sitting through these essays about dying parents, everyday life, the tears didn't come.   Somewhere between the   heavy loss that I'm experiencing and the joy of experiencing an afternoon with one of the most brilliant, vital, funny friends in my little hood, there was a sliver of teary hurt.  But I didn't, (cry), partly because I wasn't about to spend the afternoon talking about what 2014 means to me (except I do like to say 2014 is about paying cash).

So that was terrific.  There is a lot of terrific.  So much terrific, that I feel overwhelmed by it, particularly now that season has shifted to the lightness of Spring.  I went home with Peggy's newly signed book of essays, and I settled in to a dinner of leftovers (alone) and proceeded to read the whole thing by the following morning.  She's that good.  So many pieces resonate, and to my Chicago friends, especially Albany Park and environs, perhaps more so.  But now, as in many quickly read pieces, the detail flutters away,  but one word... Liberating.  Peggy said that losing her mom was liberating.  I'm sure this is true for so many of us, although the why has  to be different for each of us.  How losing my parents has liberated me I'm not really sure. I don't hold with myself the feeling that I'm doing anything for them, nonetheless, as I sat awake in the wee hours, about a week ago, I pondered not doing triathlon this summer, not even doing Ironman Wisconsin this summer, I felt that profound sense of. Liberation.
And the amazing thing about letting go of so much, I get more and more excited about doing things in place of those encumbrances.  Why do Ironman, when I can do ANYTHING!

Aided by today's sun, I took a moment to get a few shots of the Harlequin Afghan (wip).  This afghan represents a convergence of creative endeavors that have been fueling my fire.  It's a vintage pattern, it'll adorn my creative office space, it's portable, the colors are deadly, and it bridges the gap between then and now.  Even in the work that I'm doing, there's a sense of reaching back in time, I go through objects from years ago as I clean and organize my house, and welcome objects from Mom and Dad's estate.  I was rummaging through my old sewing patterns a few weeks ago, wondering what, if anything, of that collection I would be willing to sacrifice  to ebay, in the name of declutter.  Lo and behold, I was reminded that years ago, possibly even my first Ironman (certainly a half), I wore a tri-outfit that I made myself.

And so, the adventure of a new life, but in my case there's a heavy dose of things that have been there all along.  Some of those things hearken back to before my parents were very old, or even ill.  Those things remind me of myself before marriage, before kids, before mortgage, before co-habitation, even.  This little suit I made in my beautiful attic apartment near Holy Names college.  I had a little nook for sewing and I could watch the sun set over the south Bay.  How's that for terrific?  There aren't enough hours in the day to contain my creative urges.  Swimsuits, crochet, knit, food art, car art, redesign my home, jewelry!!!! I'm ready, and Rarin to go…in fact, years and years and years ago I had a terrific friend, full of energy and verve and my nickname was: Raren…Raren to go.


  1. I am having the same thoughts - so many things going against me this year - maybe a sabbatical fro triathlon for a season (a season? will I come back???) My road bike is out of commission (not sure how long), my (new) mnt uncomfortable, workload overwhelming, aging parents overwhelming.....maybe I need that one less piece of pressure....so confusing...thanks for your thoughts - they comfort me! (by the way - NICE tri outfit :-) !)

  2. Our other training adventures can be so much more fun!

  3. Hmmm...What kind of training? I might be in. Love your posts!

    1. Maury one of the rides I've wanted to do is La-Ten. Can't remember name, but it's one of ten best rides in us, I read, once.