**Each year I write a twelve month recap. It is much more for my benefit than my readers. Feel free to help me put last year in perspective though. I hope you'll do this on your own blogs. It's a great exercise in self-evaluation.**
The year of Mimi 2009 began with a fog and ended with a fog. Had I known the prophetic significance of fog, I might have stayed in bed all year.
I found myself walking through cornfields and apple orchards, mule barns and mimosa trees.....2-story ghost houses, burned down pecan farms. A year I felt strangely compelled to document my childhood. A year I felt strangely compelled in general.
People died. Friendships murdered. Faith restored. Clarity gained. I stared at unkindness and shook my head in disbelief. I stared at kindnesses too - from people I never met. From March all the way through December it seemed the universe decided to bag punch Mimi Lenox. One.more.time. Over and over and over. Every time I got up, something else happened. The year was "eventful"...as one friend recently put it. Love came in the form of people who held me up, many of you came straightaway to my rescue. And I didn't even have to hold up the "I'm drowning" sign.
I love you for it.
Hodgepodge serendipity became my way of life. My writing reflected the see-saw stream of consciousness in a year that was anything but stable. There were eternal transitions in my immediate family. Freedom came. Faith prevailed. Amazing bonds of new friendships, on and offline, formed and deepened. Do-it-myself-dammit-Mimi learned to let go and lean on others. They squeezed my hand. They touched my heart. Visits from beyond the grave occurred to heal me and sometimes words beyond understanding to hurt: One shocking and asinine betrayal. Freedom also came. Hallelujah and good riddance to jackasses and fools. Do-it-myself-dammit-Mimi learned to purge. Hand holding not required. Much.Strangeness.Ensued when a secret admirer known as Mr. Anonymous appeared on my blog in Sept. 2009. But such risks are the public life of a blog I suppose. I think I now believe that blogs have souls. This one captured the essence of me in the year gone by. Readers became its savior. I wrote stories I'd intended to write for years. Purposeful prose - private and public. Deep. Raw. From my gut. You listened. No one threw fruit (that I know of).
Here's what I did. I'm warning ya.
Some of it ain't pretty.
But like all things transient and beautiful, let the fog begin.
January brought strange blue foggy Bloggingham weather, snow on the mountain, inaugurations of historic presidents and love life disasters.
I started a new feature called Mimi In A Minute and learned to rant like any Queen worthy of her crown. I went on pizza dates with a very small person who used his crackers to make a movie. Oh. But don't worry. Then I dated a cute guitarist for awhile - until he stood up my lasagna. Don't ask. My love life got a LOT worse after that. Memeing went well. I created a few. I dropped a few on their blog heads and moved on. And I founded The Church of Blog. Halleblujah.
I Went For A Can of Coffee and found a sunset.
."I had to capture it. It made me feel - at a glance - all the love and trip-over-myself-to-find-it-joy I sometimes know in this haphazard pencil skirt life of mine.....days full of missed opportunities, surprisingly sweet hugs from frail parents and insane serendipity; the kind of days I like to think of as ordained by something or Someone bigger than myself, when I don't have a clue what the outcome will be and I'm standing in a puddle of melted fudge and hand-picked mangoes. So I chased the big ball of red sun through winding country roads and finally find a place to pull over. I step outside. Frame the shot.
Somehow I always find a sunset.
Welcome to my pencil skirt life.
My love life hit a wall when I publicly confessed to kissing Davy Jones in an interview by The Gal Herself. He Looked So Tall On My Wall
I ranted to my date:
The lasagna was so much better than you were and I cooked it. Does that tell you something, readers?
After a disappointing start with lasagna-dodging guitar player, I got sage advice from a male friend in
A Little Birdie Told Me.....He said, "Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says, "...that's her."
Thank you, my friend.
I am still waiting.
Cheetos and cellos
and poetic words I love.
Not bad for a January.
My father starts to seriously fail. There were migraines and American Idol, life re-assessments and trouble with Homer. Not necessarily in that order. Call it an exercise in cussing. Losing someone you love is hellaciously vile. Embracing dross
So, I'm Worried.
I hate diabetes.
I hate what it has done to my father.
I hate that I can do nothing about it.
I hate that he is brave and I am not. He can't remember what he just started to say and he is trying sooo hard not to lose it in front of me and I have to leave the room because I am losing it watching him lose it and we had such a great day just last week when his eyes were bright and his laugh was long and he didn't need the morphine and I watched his stare rest lovingly on the curls of my hair down the front of my shirt and I see....oh I see....that to him I am still twelve years old on my way outside to catch fireflies with my brother and will never be a day older. And I know...I know...I know....
To Bikini Girl from American Idol:
For The Love Of All That Is Bony, please put some clothes on and stay out of the wind.
"It is time to tell our story," I said.
"I believe we have an opportunity and an obligation to do so."
We sent our peace globes to the White House.
One year later the president requests 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan. We should have asked for confirmation delivery.
Long Hair and Poppy seed Puckers: I'm going to find a poppy seed muffin or two. I feel a great pucker coming on. I'm going to need it. Come December someone is going to kiss me. And my toes will curl. Prophetic, no?Moonwalking and Concrete Trees.
Could I live in a place with a treeless sky? I took a deep breath of branchless horizon and descended into the nice neat boring box of a house.
Crunch. Think. Crunch. I wondered what spring would bring to my life. And how this most barren of winters could ever hope to transform the heart of a woman who needs a place to call home - but is not willing to put a price tag on peace and quiet.
And besides, Where else can you find a moon that follows you home?
As if on cue, he would enter with a smiling faithful gift for both
of us on February 14th. He would kiss my grandmother on the cheek as she hugged his laughing belly, cup my uplifted adoring face with the other hand and ask, "How's my girl?"
He knew I was his girl.
A Message From Homer From The Queen
My Queen is AWOL.
She said to give you five reasons why she can't make a post tonight. She said to make 'em good if I know what's good for me. She said I'd better not hold up any of those funny signs behind her back either.
Katy Never Was A Jackass To Me
A splash of buttercup color on an otherwise dusty potato field life she was.
Katy and I had a love/hate relationship. Don't tell. But I fed her flowers.
Snow and more snow. Injuries and more injuries. X-rays and MRIs. Pain meds and elephants on the wall. Oh, my aching body. I fell down and stuff....a LOT. Blogging was scarce.
But neither sleet nor hail nor locusts nor snow banks nor slippery Melanis would keep me from reporting the storm of the century.
The universe is asleep and I have electric insomnia.
Do you feel it?
18. Do you have an accent?
A visit from Papa:
If there were just three words to give me today, what would they be?
"Many people at this stage of their lives have been disillusioned - both sexes - but the fine line between allowing yourself to be jaded and bravely looking at the truth life has thrown in your romantic direction is indeed a fine - and sometimes sobering - line."
Daisy the Curly Cat sent me a bandaid.
I put it on my boo-boo (s).April 2009
Things I Heard Through The Bedroom Door
"It was a sin in my house to speak during a Carolina basketball game. You could breathe if you were lucky and if daddy was in a good mood - which only happened if they were winning. And EVEN when they were winning it only meant the yelling and cursing was of a kinder gentler variety."
Daddy had a loud and raucous faithfulness to a team he never once saw in person. Not once.
And that made me sad.
The dance of tangled legs I grew up watching came flooding back in a pile of life I'd forgotten. I know the rules like the back of my hand. Three-pointers, fouls shots and free throw lines. The flow of the game. The smell of the gym floor.
And the sounds.
I know them too.
My dad's beloved Tarheels win the National Championship
Blue Eyes and Pennies
"Do wishes come true?" asked Baby Boy.
I put on my magic hat and told a dreamer's lie.
He doesn't want a new expensive toy. He doesn't want a world of material things. He just wants to belong.
He just wants someone to pick him.
"Will it come true tomorrow, Mimi?"
He is smiling. I am a mess.
I'm A Bookstore Criminal: Wanna Make Something Out of It?
"What are the pictures for?
And then I thought. How. Dare. You. Ask.
Really. Are you the Camera Police? The Nazi Camera Absconder? My mother?
You don't want me taking pictures in your store, fine. Just ask me to stop - once - politely - and I'll stop and I'll do it politely - but don't ask me about my personal camera around my personal neck on my personal body about my personal intentions and really you need to get out of my personal space.
"We've had to ask people to leave with their cameras before."
Oh, I intended to leave. I intended to stop taking pictures, but he was gonna give me one dandy of a good reason.
I Love It When A Day Sidequacks
Trees with beautiful curves and a walk on the rocks. I needed the quiet. And a little sidewinding adventure.
She had a love affair with cigarettes.
My whole life I remember her quitting, starting up again, quitting, smoking, quitting, sneaking them behind the house and then the whole cycle would start again.
At seventy-four, she still smoked.
But let me tell you something about her. For some reason, when my grandmother put that light to her mouth, it looked sexy. She looked glamorous. Pouty. In control. Intelligent. Purposely coy. Oh, I hated it, the smell, the sickness it caused her, the ashes.....but I knew, also, how much she loved them.
Did I mention the wigs?
May 2009 I fell in love with my camera just a little bit, I memed Sunday Stealing and Saturday Nine, told stories never before seen on this blog that shook me to the core. Meet my unborn.
Three Cords of Love: A Mother's Story
Pink and blue ribbons down the hallways.
Did you have a boy or a girl?"
Get me out of here.
A welcome basket full of booties.
Somebody. PLEASE. Get me out of here.
Crying babies in the night.
I swear I will jump out of this 2nd story window if you don't get me out of here.
Any woman worth her hormones could birth babies. Why couldn't I?
In the span of a lifetime - entire lifetimes reside in sequential reality; silently slipping one into the other without the slightest hint of the death and resurrection to come. They take up eons of space in our hearts.
We do not stop to mourn their passings. We are only aware of the tranforming power that is.
What would you look like my darling my girl?
Sometimes I think I see you in the wisp of a long dark lock round the corner...
And I remember.
Who Knew Shopping Could Be So Seductive?
When's the last time you found a room full of moons?
I was up the creek in the key of F.
And it was all her fault.
Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Go In There
STOP!" Someone shouted. "Don't go in there."
You won't believe what I found.
I was on a winding path of memory and a frightening path of present.
But I knew there really was a light at the end. I had to forge some changes.
This proved to be true in many respects in the coming months.
JUNE 2009 - More injuries. I can't even stand up without falling down! Patience is not a virtue by now. A cute ortho surgeon and pain. It's bed rest for Mimi. Oh, such fun for summer vacation. A family of deer became my lawn friends and I advertised for a harem to wait on me hand and foot. I am nothing if not resourceful. While the world mourns and defames Michael Jackson, I'm
Can I Keep The Shorts?
"The good news is you didn't break anything. The bad news is you have torn your iliopsoas." "It's a very large upper leg muscle that goes all the way from here (pointing) to all the way down here (pointing)."
And we barely KNOW each other. The nerve.
By this time I am hyperventilating.
And then he began to point to the pretty black and white pictures of moi and chant some incoherent medical mumbo jumbo about hip joints and the consensual conjoining of the femoral triangle.
I knew I hurt something feminine. I just knew it. My feelings have been hurt ever since I threw that kick.
Watching For Falling Trees (Why I Need A Harem)
In the past three months I've had an upper back injury (ouch), a lower back flare-up (ouch), an abdominal contusion inflicted by a flying chair, a torn illiopsoas leg muscle from a flying left leg, the engine light came back on in my car and just yesterday an ant bit me on the thigh and I dropped a hot curling iron on my head. And my hair keeps falling out of the car.
Things are looking up.
So I did what any self-respecting pencil skirt worth her Maybelline would do: I got in the car and rolled the window down with rubber gloves in case of germs and inspected my surroundings for signs of bio-terrorism. I've secured a Biodegradable Hazmat suit from the army surplus store just in case I wanna stroll around the yard or actually get in the car 'cause you never know when I could suddenly succumb to some fatal injury or illness just waiting to pounce on my pencil head. I could break something just stepping outside my house.
Just Me And 88 Keys
I am never more alive than when my soul bleeds on the 88 keys my grandfather purchased for me so long ago. And man, did I need a break!
Mr. Dreamy And The Birdman
"Miss Pencil Skirt, you will sing the Mozart."
"I will sing the Mozart what? "
"You will sing First Lady in the Mozart....
"The Magic Flute First Lady?"
"But I didn't audition for the First Lady, Second Lady or even Third!! "
"Miss Pencil Skirt, you will sing the First Lady in the Magic Flute."
I just had to pass the flute to Prince Tamino. That was my job. It was bad enough that Mozart named his characters nearly identically and some were females portraying males and some were males portraying birds (!) There was Pamina. Pamino. Tamina. Tamino. Filipino. Filipina. And Palamino (I just made those last 3 up.)
And then there was the soprano portraying a soprano.
The mission went awry.
Bloglife: The Queen's Meme was born with a dungeon of subjects just itching to get in trouble. Real life: the ghosts in my past kept showing up. Funerals. Real live ghosts I photographed at Bloggingham. An extraordinarily strange month it was. I hid under hats and under trees. And Rick said I was hurting his brain.
A Half-Lived Girl In A Polka Dot Dress
For one afternoon I was eighteen.......sitting under the protection of my wise and omnipresent friend whose careful watchful wisdom transcended the quiet diversion my life's journey took. .
She still looked familiar standing in the Monet. Eons of time ....
opening and closing, fleeing and finding.
Baby Boy goes swimming. It is not a happy day.
OK, Baby Boy. I saw you. You definitely sinked.
'Cause I sinked.
The Mysterious Lady In The Closet Of Hats
"Mimi! Stand still!" My sister ran screaming from her. I learned to pucker.
But the lessons I learned at my mother's fingertips were in no way the lessons she intended for me. While she experimented with the surface, I began even more to listen to the inside. It was rebellion of the most intrinsic kind. I wanted to be deeper than the powder she applied, stronger than facades, authentic all on my own thank you very much. I didn't want her to cover up the real me. My transparent nature drove her crazy. And while I treasure the part of her that taught me pride and priss and womanly virtues, I learned that love painted on with a thin thin brush is never permanent. Mannequins are such shallow creatures you know. I don't think she ever understood that the part I couldn't wash away was the part I really wanted to own.
I'm not sure she ever has.
Sometimes they cover a girl.
Sometimes they hold a woman.
Polka Dots and Pigtails
I nearly fell off the Blue Ridge Mountain. And besides, it was 1976. I was long on hair but short on brains.
Because I Am Not Jewish Rick was my virgin proposal and I was fascinated.
"But I don't understand. What if we get emotionally attached?" I asked.
"I could see myself falling for you," he said.
"We would have an u.n.d.e.r.s.t.a.n.d.i.n.g."
You would know from the beginning that my ultimate goal would be to find a wife. A woman of my faith. A mother for my children. A Jewish wife. You're not Jewish!"
"But what if...."
I could feel his big brown eyes rolling back in his head. ".....what if we get attached. Bam! One day we fall in love. All is right with the world. You want to get married. I want to get married. But lo and behold we cannot because I am not Jewish."
"You have to be Jewish."
"Because I am Jewish."
"And I am looking for a Jewish wife." I batted my Southern eyelashes all the way to his lonely little condo and said,
"You are hurting my brain!"
I dreamed unbloggable dreams and found bloggable things under my bed. It was amusing. The world loses Senator Edward Kennedy. I am traipsing through family land on missions of photographing memories. It was a pilgrimage to my roots that began in the month of February when daddy started to fail. I had to document it.
Seasons of Apples and Soybean FieldsSo this weekend I traveled through very familiar countryside in places alone where I really shouldn't have been alone and found what was left of the essence of everything leaving me so much faster than the long long stretches of endless generations of love these fields have seen or ever had a mind to leave.
Three Skirts and A Cup Of Coffee - a first date from hell!
Skirt #3 with a VERY short hemline, blond bob and matching book bag stops at the Clearance table. I thought she was adorable but what do I know? I'm just there for the coffee. He follows. I follow. He watches. I watch. I watch him watch. He never notices I'm not talking anymore. Even as this is about the sixth time this has happened in an hour. She disappears behind a bookshelf and he literally leans over to watch her disappear. So did I!
My Kingdom For A Safe Place To Fall
I was in the process of validating who I really am after a long long stretch of life in a clouded cocoon. The sun and the weeds and the precarious whims of dandelions in the wind suited my mood.
What happened to the woman in the grass? Such a short time ago it was. How did she get here....where it's lonely. God. I said it again.
There is nothing more sacred or intimate than taking off one's mask in front of someone who sees you - and loves you - for who you are. It is a holy thing.
My Kingdom for a man who even gets what I just said.
Things Are Looking Up - I took my camera to the big city.
Baby Boy's Got Girl Trouble -
Please don't tell me you want to marry your daddy again." (that was a close one)
"But tell me, what happened?"
"I can't talk about it. It's too hard to tell."
"It had some fightin' in it - you don't like fightin' stories. It's boring though and real real long."
"Tell me. Start right now."
He was born in between Act 1 and Act 2 of a play I was directing out of town. I didn't get back to the hospital in time. I got the call behind the curtain on my cell phone amidst audience applause and a set change. I like to tell him that the minute he was born, people applauded.
You Said Some Powerful Things...Peace bloggers shine with incredible prose
Great Cornard, Suffolk, United Kingdom ~ November 2008 ~ #1318
""My one small voice may not be able to stop the wars around the world...but if it will make you stop and think and prevent one petty squabble...who knows...maybe like a pebble dropped into a lake...the ripples of peace will spread."
You and Me and Lifehouse and Globes - a post that explains the beginning of the movement.
Why I Left My Shoes On Top Of The Car- It had something to do with a rabbit
Do you see a rabbit?
September 2009 - Real life stinks: Exhaustion is my middle name. Daddy is losing the fight but fighting he is. I am coming apart at the seams with each visit. He enters the hospital and I camp out by his bed much of the time. For the next 32 days I watch him try to get out of that bed of his. We move him from floor to floor, hospital to Hospice care. He has more willpower and more strength than I ever imagined his frail little body could muster. His spirit is strong. He does not want to die. The day came when we knew he would not be coming home. I surrender to what is. My health suffers, my family askew, my daddy is leaving in a most undignified manner. It is a terrible time. I can't make it better. It was like being in an invisible play within a play within a play. I kept thinking I'd wake up to take a bow and go home. Nobody was going home.
Bloglife: Unbelievably, Mr. Anonymous shows up on my blog proclaiming that he is smitten but can't tell me who he is. The timing was curious to say the least. He never revealed himself. Oh, the things people do.
Dignity - It is my favorite tree in Bloggingham's forest.
It reminds me of the strength of my father.
But today my footing is askew and I can't find those sandbags either. I'm lost, Daddy, and you are nowhere to be found. You know if I miss touching one I have to start all over. ...And Daddy, we don't have time to start over today.
Connie and The Copy Machine
Mimi In A Minute - Name-Calling, Names and No-Names
Can I just say I'm sick and tired of the black on black white on white and black on white on white or rye issue?
Katie Couric held up a picture of Holocaust victims in her interview today with Ahmadine-evil who refuses to acknowledge the orchestrated murders occurred....I swear he had a smirk on his face.
The month of heaven and hell.
My dad and I meet at the gates of eternity. He walked through. I let go.
And a host of magical bees and pockets of true-to-the-core friends around the world (you know who you are) showed up mightily to hold me afloat. In my absence, they blogged for peace with one hand and held me up in the other.
I will forever, in the core of my being, be grateful to them. To you.
Sitting Vigil With Daddy (And This Is Why I Love My Dad)
"I really wish you would eat that fish, Daddy. It's good for your brain ya know."
(Am I good or what??)
"My brain don't need no help," he said.
Then the nurse returned to wake up him up to see if he was asleep, she noticed the second tray with the uneaten chicken breast.
"Why, Mr. S, won't you eat chicken?"
His eyes got huge and he looked at her like she'd lost her mind.
He raised up in the bed and yelled, "Cause it's foul!!"
Nope. He doesn't need any brain food.
More bananas maybe.
But no brain food.
You see, there were these bees...
I had a Blackberry. I had a laptop.
They had a plan.
Just when I was about to break out in hives - literally - they started a hive. Vinny had a brainstorm and it was all a buzz. I could not launch peace globes alone.
I needed to tend to my father. They formed a daily support group for me calling and checking, praying and texting me....while simultaneously waging an extraordinary posse of peace workers. Will I ever be able to repay them? No.
The Peace Globe Bees: Not borne of minutiae, cuteness, boredom, or trivial fodder ran amok; but of concern for someone who needed help, of friendship, and a commitment to a common passion known as Peace Globes.
They said it was OK for me to let go.....in more ways than one.
My Daddy Is Gone ~ 7:25 am
Somewhere today if you let go of my hand and fly far far far away into a sea of fireflies spiraling in a well-lit park, know that it's OK and that I am fine.
I know in a moment like this I should say 'Rest well'.
But that is not what I want you to do.
I want you to fly headlong into some peaceful beautiful sky with your arms wide open full of base runs and golden apples
I'll be here.
Just outside the door
The moon is full
Run the bases, Daddy.
Run the bases
November 2009 - The month of exhaustion, sickness, and joy.
The 6th Launch of BlogBlast For Peace, surgery came callin' for the Queen (I lost my ning), pain meds found my imagination too much for the task and I found new friends.. Bloggers Ferd, Gail and Lee came to Bloggingham for peace globe day and Facebook and Twitter users joined in the online march. iPeace latched onto us and we latched onto them. We stand at 50 countries participating and thousands of peace globes today. Click here to see the collection I'm documenting. It's a beautiful sight. My goal in 2010: Peace Globes The Book. It's gotta happen.
BlogBlast For Peace Is Here...Dona Nobis Pacem ~ November 5, 2009
I had just buried my father. I had no words for a movement I created and a passion I breathe. And then came the only way I knew how to offer them.... Through the eyes of my daddy's journey to the other side of peace. I was there. I stood in a Holy Place of peaceful flight. What else, what else, could I write?
It wasn't I who covered you, Daddy.
It was you who covered me.
and standing in peace.
"I am not a dog."
Except for the sweet surprise of toe-curling kisses and a man who makes me laugh.....December was a month of horrors in the night and a month of redemption as well. I am physically healed and feel better than I have in years. What a relief and a blessing. But emotionally this whirlwind year of loss upon loss came crashing down in a pile of grief. Thud. It brought nightmares, visions of hospital hell I'd suppressed, crying, depression, sad.
Until ....the dream.
I turned around to stand face to face with my dad.
He came to tell me - to show me - that he was OK.
Ala Recuperation Bloggingham
Look. I know there are nurses that God sends down from Heaven on a regular basis, but the day I landed in the OR was not one of those days. How would you like to hear this when you wake up from surgery?
Nurse #1 "I don't think she's breathing right."
Nurse #2 I don't think she's breathing at all."
Somebody better be praying to Baby Jeebus!
Not to fear. The Bees and friends from all over sent goat voodoo, the evil eye, Reiki healing and Guido and Bruno showed up. Whew!
I lived to blog another day.
Trust me when I tell you this: Without my precious friends, I never would have made it through this year.
The Calm In Abraham
There are defining moments in the course of a life, when the cost is so great that the idea of taking our hands off the helm seems implausible. One such moment came to me. I could either orchestrate what I wanted for his life in a thousand mother prayers all laid out neatly while I twisted God's arm or I could abandon that doomed idea and surrender.
I waved the white flag.
A Promise And a Dirt Road Christmas
When my Baby Boy looks down that road and through the prism of my memories, I, too, will have marked a new path. I promise, Daddy, to be loud and wake up the neighborhood - in your honor. I promise to teach him to be quiet in his heart and loud when it pours out.
You taught me that.
I will make sure he knows you.
I will make sure he sees you through my eyes.
I will make sure he remembers.
I will make sure he honors you.
And that is a small portion of the year that was. I left out the good parts!
All in all, 2009 was a year of extraordinary personal transition for me. A year of looking in the rearview. A year of taking stock. A year of stinging pain. A year of letting go. A year of unexpected spiritual joy. A year of enormous change and challenge. I've come to realize that life is sometimes looking backwards with 20/20 vision and going forward without the blur, a series of falls with a whole bunch of bandaids.
I am head over heels in love with all of it.
Watch me fly.