Monday, March 30, 2009

Darcy's Gaze

This weekend, I had a friend come up and stay the night. We practiced some dances for a workshop on Saturday, and then we decided to pull out my much-played 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice; initially to assure that we’d gotten the dance right, and then afterwards to fast-forward through most of the movie, stopping only to watch the bits with Colin Firth playing Darcy. We both sat there; both just slightly tipsy, and drank in with painful longing at the overwhelmingly disgusting, unrealistic romance that we both adore so much. It’s so beautiful it’s ridiculous. It’s almost physically painful.

We both wondered if we were completely deluded to want that kind of romance in our lives; and we both questioned if it at all existed to begin with. Was Jane Austen, a lady who refused to settle—even at the cost of becoming a burden on her family; and who died never experiencing the kind of requited love she gave her heroines, just feeding us all something wholly unreal? Are there really and truly any Darcys roaming the earth, profoundly tormented by their feelings; willing to sacrifice what they must and to fight to obtain or keep their woman’s affections? Or are we just idiots to desire that sort of passion and to let these stories lead us on?

I don’t know. In my heart, I believe that if someone writes about it, that it has to exist on some level. I have to hope it does. I have to believe that there is that broody, painful, longing, first-love kind of passion in this world that is requited for a change. I need to know that men are capable of that depth compassion and affection. I have to believe that there is a kind of love that would make even the most reprehensible soul be willing to change his or her ways for the sake of love—for someone to give up something astronomical to be with someone they adore.

As a mean, I cannot stomach chick-flicks. I really can’t. I despise sappy, saccharine romantic comedies, and predictable, formula flicks. But I can’t stop watching Jane Austen adaptations. I also am a sucker for Buffy—for that kind of crazy, irrational love like when Spike chose to torment himself for eternity by getting his soul back, simply to be worthy of Buffy (who in my mind, never deserved that dedication from him to begin with). That sort of sacrifice is mythical--to set aside your pride, and to subject yourself to the ill-perceptions of others, to open yourself to possible pain just to show that person you love that there is nothing in the world that would make you stop loving them. Nothing.

Am I deluded? Maybe.

Maybe after dealing with the pain of infidelity, the image of Colin Firth’s brooding eyes gazing lovingly at Lizzie makes my heart hurt more than usual. The idea of Spike making himself insane with guilt just so that Buffy could see that he had a soul makes me want to cry. Those stories kill me. They are so beautiful, it’s painful. Maybe it makes me want someone to look at me that way, and know that there’s no reason in the world, no possible hurt I could inflict on this man, to cause him to take that loving gaze away.

When I got married, I truly believed that it was there—in his gaze. I saw it when I reached him at the altar. I really believed that the unconditional dedication was reflected in both my heart and his. I called him my dedicated Colonel Brandon. I imagined that I’d waited this long to marry just because I was waiting for him. I truly believed that. I think that’s the worst part of all this… the infidelity itself, that’s not what ripped my heart out… the thing that is the most painful about this whole thing is the overwhelming, devastating disillusionment—the heart-wrenching discovery that the love in his gaze wasn’t unconditional, that it wasn’t whole—that the desire to fight and sacrifice wasn’t quite as mutual as I believed it to be, that is undying dedication was quite as undying as it appeared to be.

Now I live with the knowledge that if I can find it in me to trust him again, and to bring him back into my life; that the special, adoring gaze not only never was what it seemed, but in truth it will never really be like Mr. Darcy’s.

I’m Pushing 40. Am I beyond that kind of love now? I know idealistic ideas like this should be reserved for the young… and that the reality is marriage is a roller-coaster… relationships are a bear, but if it doesn’t work out, is there a chance that I’ll ever have that passion again? What if it does work out? I know it’s impossible to expect anyone to never disappoint you; we are all human after all—but even with that reality; there is always your capacity to rise above it, to see beyond the disappointment, and to see them as you did once before, with pure, truly unabashed love and adoration. I know I have that, I know it’s inside me, but I wonder if it’s in him. And I wonder if he’ll ever look at me that way again or will his eyes always be emanating his shame?

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Friday. Yay.

I've battened down the hatches, and retreated into the hold. I took the day off yesterday and did the things I like to do. I hadn't slept the night before, so I got to sleep in late, and then I got up and tidied a bit. I sewed a new Regency petticoat, I caught up on my DVRed Hell's Kitchen episodes and reveled in the delicious fury of Gordon Ramsay. I came into work feeling kind of refreshed. It's the first day off I've taken since the massive storm hit my life, and I've been trying to focus ever since then. Today, after my quiet retreat and retrenchment, I feel better. I feel fortified. I've been able to complete a task from start to finish and not stray into my own mental ruminations.

And it's Friday. That's always a plus; and probably a good part of why I'm in a good mood. I have a house-guest coming for the weekend plus an ORS activity planned. If there were no guest, or activities, I'd probably be doing a Buffython. Or a Jane-a-thon... both are equally as effective in the boosting of my morale. Angel, not so much... Oh, and Firefly... but most of the time, I end every Firefly marathon feeling angry that there are no more seasons to enjoy and pissed at how shortsighted and loserish network television can be. ::Grump::

I drew something! A real office special too; on real copy paper (although I used a graphic pen and not a sharpie to ink it in). I scanned it in B&W and coloured it on a cheap photo-editing software that I have here at work--I know the colouring sucks. But I do especially love the bird on this one, I confess.

Anyway... that's where I am I guess. ::sigh:: Have a good weekend.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Some Debbie-Downer Randomness.

Kris's Dragon

I drew this dragon for my coworker Kris last year. It's a birthday card. I put that quote about dragons and ketchup on there too. She liked it. She likes dragons, and I do too. I used to do so much fantasy art, more often than not back when. It seems I've moved away from that on the most part now. Gone for more 'innocent' things...

I did a lot art on the computer when I figured out how awesome photo-editing software was. I can't say I'm especially good at it, I'm not. I never had formal training, I've always learned software simply by using it. I started with Aldus Photostyler... which is like the predecessor to Photoshop and was very much like Photoshop is today; with many of the same tools and capabilities. It was amazing software for its time. Aldus also made PageMaker back then too; but Adobe bought it and eventually turned it into InDesign. I love graphic software. I'm addicted to it. I've been putting the upgrades on my birthday/Christmas list for the past three years, but I'm afraid nobody is picking those for me. ::sniff::.

These images are pretty old. The destrier is from 1995; one of my first images that went from an original drawing, to be scanned and turned into digital art. I wonder if I still have to original somewhere. It was coloured pencil and pencil. I remember drawing it at my Aunt's house in Puerto Rico on a quiet afternoon after a session of lizard-chasing. I remember I was sweltering and my paper puckered from the moisture on my arm. I was visiting my closest and adorable cousin Tom in PR. He died of ALS (Lou Gherig's Disease) in December of 2002; only a week after I'd arrived in Oregon where he now lived. What an awful time. I always think of his sweet face and his massive boat-feet when I look at my Destrier. I remember he was really impressed that I'd drawn that freehand. He then passed out on the sofa in his shorts. That same night we went and made a bonfire on the beach, and floated in the warm ocean for hours. He lost his keys in the caribbean and we had to ride in the back of a pickup home at dawn.

He admired me for never treating him differently when he became ill and subsequently deteriorated. I wrote a little mini-story about him and it got published.

(retitled Normality by our British friends who published it)

People exchange poignant glances around him. They bite back their tears with trembling lips, and they speak softly to him. Their tones are as if they are speaking to a child, catering to him, patronizing him. They are creating a carpet of eggshells.

He sits in his sofa; his hands atrophied and curled up against his chest, his large, ungainly feet motionless. His unassuming brown eyes take it all in with incredible tolerance. His muscles may be dying, but his brain is as sharp as it was before the sickness took hold of him.

He makes a crack at my braids, calling me "Heidi", yodelling badly. I threaten to shave curse words into his hair if he doesn't knock it off. I take advantage of his immobility to give him a good poke in the ribs. He grins clumsily, eyes glistening. I've never seen anyone happy to be bullied before.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Barely coping.

No, things have not been going too peachily for me these last few days—as you might have surmised. I’m in a state of fugue… I feel like I do when I lose someone close to me; as if the world has pulled back into a surreal grey mask, and only the ugly things catch the corner of my eye. I’m trying to keep positive, and trying to be hopeful; trying to not let the cloud enshroud me. It’s not easy—especially when my brain chemistry is suited for moments exactly like these; and really, really wants to just run with the depression. It’s a battle just to get out of bed and function; a struggle just to focus on basic things.

My marriage is crumbling. I’m trying my very hardest to look beyond the mistakes, and to be forgiving. I’m trying. My heart is broken—and worse… my trust has been betrayed; and that’s a tough one to get back. What I do have is the tremendous love I feel for my spouse; I hope that it is enough.

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's the Mumbly Monday of all Mumbly Mondays.

I had a bad weekend. A terrible weekend. A weekend that was 50x worse than my hideously horrible birthday. I'm kind of amazed that I was able to cope at all, to be honest. I am hoping things will be better. For now, I just have to bide my time. I found out this weekend the true measure of friendship and support I have around me. My sisters were both there for me, even the one I don't get along with; and my friends circled the wagons, and supported me throughout the horribleness.

I appreciate them all so much. No matter how things pan out from this point on; I know that no matter what, I won't fall without someone there to reach for me. That is a good feeling. A safe feeling.

I love my sisters.
I love my friends.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Maggie's Pastry Caper ~ Part 3 (& stuff)

Oh dear! Oh my!" Mrs. Chipmunk cried.
The cakes are gone! Where are the pies?

Maggie began to eat her loot.
She ate pies and tarts, and cakes to boot!

But then she didn't feel too well.
And took a nap for a spell.

So it's Friday. W00t!

I hope everyone had a lovely week. Hubby is off again for about a month. Things have been rough, I have to confess. These sorts of jobs obviously wear on relationships quite a bit. I am not looking forward to being alone again. I will have to drown myself in projects. Etsy projects, sewing gowns for Oregon Regency Society events, organizing events for the ORS... anything to keep the mind busy!

Here is a picture of my sister and I in Switzerland as kids. We were visiting our late uncle; who lived there--we drove there a lot during the winter to go skiing. He was killed most brutally in late 2000 in Hungary. He was never married, but from what I understand, we have a child-aged cousin out there somewhere that none of us know. :(

This is the same big sis is the one taking up my whole spare room with her stuff! She's also the one holding the massive baguette. We'd gone to the shop for a carton of milk, eggs and a some bread. My sister has her ski-tan already; the goggle area around her eyes is lighter than the rest of her face. ::har!::. My dad and his brother were really great skiers; and we all skied together when we had the chance. I miss that. ::sigh::

March 8 marked my father's 79th birthday. I find it difficult to speak to him sometimes. Just because he sounds so small and fragile and vulnerable. I miss him so much. He told me likewise and when the words came out of his mouth, I felt my heart constrict as if someone had gripped it in a fist. It took years for my father and I to develop a relationship. Now I cannot foster it being so far away. And I'm afraid one day soon, it will be too late. :(

Tell your parents you love them when you have the chance.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Monday Sushi Solace…

I, like a certain orange, lasagna-loving feline much popular in the eighties, despise Mondays. I despise Mondays-Post-Daylight-Savings-Time-Sundays even more. I have sleep issues. Ever since I was a little girl, I can recall having night-owl tendencies; occasionally staying up all night, and sleeping all day. I am nocturnal. I am most creative between midnight and 3:00AM. So functioning in a normal 9-5 world has always been and will always be a challenge for me.

I don’t sleep much during the week. I have a hard time drifting off, so I usually am finally in a nice restful state of sleep by oh, 12:30, 1:00ish on any given night. Very occasionally, I’ll fall asleep before 11:00, but that’s pretty rare; and if I’ve had a really busy weekend where I haven’t had a chance to repay the sleep debt, I will on the most rare occasion, totally conk out at 9PM, but that is exceptionally infrequent. Most of the time, at 11:30 PM, I am lying in bed on my side, staring at the clock, or reading to just set my brain on cruise-control, or just lying in the dark, eyes closed, ruminating about the things that weigh on my daily life. Some nights, I’ll do those things until the wee hours, sometimes as late as 2:30 or 3:00 AM before I finally fall asleep; and then my alarm goes off at 5:25 AM. After a series of snoozes, I’ll finally drag my butt out of bed. When Hubby is home, I can slap snooze a few more times, because he’s a natural morning person (blergh) and does all the things like taking care of the dogs’ breakfast and morning pee. So Hubby's presence provides me that extra 15 minutes that makes a nice difference.

Then I spend the day with lead-weighted eyelids, and being grumpy and clutching a cup of black tea until 2PM. Some nights I have to drive with an open window even when it’s raining because the hum of the engine and the warmth of my Jeep can often make me super-drowsy; which is not good on an hour-long commute.

Come the weekend, it’s like catch-up time. I sleep, if not woken, until 10 or 11, I know that’s terrible, but I’m always so damned tired when Friday is here (hence the great celebration.. it’s the prospect of uninterrupted sleep).

So imagine how cheated I feel when Daylight savings time comes along and steals an hour of my precious weekend! That bastard!!! On top of that, it’s ugly and grey and it’s been ‘snaining’ most of the morning; so ew! So I am in massive-grumpy-mode today. So for lunch today, I decided to drown my sorrows in Sushi, and found the effects most gratifying and helpful.

Ahh beautiful sushi.

What’s funny is that I was at the counter taking pictures when the guys behind the counter came over to see what I was doing. One guy in particular asked if I wanted to take a picture of him, and I said no, and laughed, telling him I didn’t need a picture of a ham, I wanted pictures of sushi. He went away and then came back with this pretty roll, and said: “Want to take a picture of this?” How could I say no? So I took a picture of him too, with his pretty maki rolls. Those guys are so cute. I laughed, and therefore my day was improved. Thanks you big Hambone!

Anyway… Long Live Sushi, and Long Live Marinepolis SushiLand in Clackamas! Of course, I won’t think about the rice that will induce carb coma later on this afternoon. Let’s not worry about those things.

PS; now it is 'snain-hailing'. Oregon... if you don't like the weather; just wait a minute. ::sighs::.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Christmas Flashback

My sister forwarded me some pictures she took during the Snow-tastic week before Christmas, and I am so shocked it's March already! I am going to whine and say that I am glad February is done and overwith. I despise my birthday month, and this year, my birthday was the worst ever on record and I want to forget it ever happened. /whining.

What a winter. ::phew:: We still got a teensy bit a snow last week, but nothing like Christmas. That's a 40-year record for Portland alone... Even my Jeepy Jeep fell victim to the heavy snow because it was so high, the Jeeps high-centered on it. Wow.

I've been busying myself trying to get back into the Oregon Regency Society saddle and organizing some events, and also repairing a defective bonnet for a customer. I have a gown to sew for two people plus I want a new day-gown and I need to finish my new corset, and I don't even know where to begin. My sister is still storing her stuff in the teeny tiny room I use to do my crafts, so there's no room for anything, to cut or sew, because all my other crafts are cluttering up the dining room table--soldering, drawing, bonnet-making... It's horrible. And I'm also considering trying my hand at Belgian bobbin-lacemaking again, but I don't have room for a stand and pillow. :( It's standing in the way of my craftmaking!! ARGH!

I wish she'd come and get her stuff; she has a huge historic home in Florida, with lots of space, we have our very tiny house with limited storage. Sisters are a pain. However... I shouldn't grumble too much; she did after all gift me my much-coveted pasta making attachment for my beloved kitchenaid, and I made lasagne and linguini wheat noodles on Saturday and they are NUMMYLICIOUS! Making pasta is oddly relaxing and fulfilling. I kept folding and rolling, and coming out with these beautiful, neat-edged strips. Happy and tender pasta! Mmm.

We have closed on our refinance (HIP-HIP-HOORAH!) and we now have a decent FIXED rate mortgage at last. I'm so relieved. We also did our taxes on Monday, and are getting a neat little refund, so I'm hoping we'll be able to get the garage done for the husband. I'm happy we got these things done. My company is in layoff mode, and who knows? It's better to be safe than sorry. Having a fixed mortgage is one less worry.

Hubby has been home for about a week and a half. He took training all last week and has taken this week off completely. It was extremely difficult to drag myself out of bed yesterday and today when he was in there all snuggled down in fluffy blankets with the hounds. ::grrr:: He won't be home much longer. :( It's nice to have him here.

Today is a blindingly beautiful day in the Portland area. Sunny, blue sky... It's like Spring. Makes me restless. Nothing much more to say. I'm working on illustrations for the next installment of the Maggie's Pastry Caper... I have two images inked but havent' coloured them yet. I'll get there. ;) I think when I finish it, I might bind it up into a booklet and sell it on etsy. We'll see.


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