Amazing Grace

Early Friday afternoon, we received a letter from the property manager of “our house” in Petaluma. The decision had been made to give the house to the couple that looked at it just before we did. The lease would be signed on Saturday.

As far as rejection letters go, it was pretty nice. Which also wasn’t enough to mitigate my desire to take a blowtorch to my entire life. Fortunately, I don’t own a blowtorch.

Sunday morning I woke up with a bad line of inquiry going around in my head. Part negative thinking and part total confusion, they were questions around “Why do I have bad luck” or “How come everything always works out for other people?”. As I sit here this morning, after these questions have had time to play out, I can hear the young, whining voice that accompanies them. This also tells me that there is an old wound here somewhere, taken in from childhood and still unresolved.

I spent perhaps five minutes in bed recalling every bit of “proof” that I have regarding the mystic forcefield that repels all abundance and fortune from being received, as well as each rejection of friendship and bit of unrequited love. Then my partner brought me a cup of coffee and my daughter ran into the room and bounced onto my head. I decided to get up and make banana muffins.

And beet kvaas with Chioga beets.

This is for you, Nichole!

Beet Kvaas

2 large (or three small) organic beets
1/4 cup fresh whey
1 T sea salt
2 quart jar

Chop up the beets into chunks. Some recipes say to peel them…do I need to? I don’t know, but I like the earthy flavor the peel imparts, and I think the peel contains a lot of nutrients too.

Put the beets into your jar and add the whey and sea salt. Fill to the top with luke warm water (preferably filtered, but we use good ol’ unfiltered Hetch Hetchy).

Let sit at room temp for three days or so, until your liquid begins to have an effervescent bubble party. Refrigerate, and drink 4 ounces morning and night. You can do drink more than that, but it might make your intestines rumbly. 

Leo was coming over at 11:00, and I really wanted to keep it close to home. So I packed a picnic lunch in my fab picnic basket, and we headed to Duboce park, taking along the wagon, the big red ball, a frisbee, and Wilbur, the dog.

We wove through the schlumpy late morning coffee drinkers, the roving packs of slobbery dogs, the raving lunatic on the park bench and the gay couples slumming it from the Castro. I overheard one of the couple ordering food from a neighborhood cafe on his phone, “Yes, I’d like the florentine crepe please…“. I looked around the park with pursed lips and a sigh of resignation and simultaneously  thought, I love my neighborhood on Sunday mornings.

Yes, I know I’ve just eaten half a PB and J and also five strawberries and a muffin. But I’m starving. STARVING.

We played frisbee, the new objective of the game being See if you can throw it straight in the wind and What creative tactic can you employ to get it back from The Toddler. We flopped around in the playground and then wound back up on the grass.

Her ghastly pallor is from sunblock.

Before heading home, we wandered down to the thrift store. It was there that I saw IT.

A Magnavox Stereophonic Suitcase Record Player.

As in, the record player of my dreams. The record player I have been waiting to find in a thrift store for 10 years and that’s why I have saved all my old albums. She was in mint condition and even better, she was a bargain.

But not all members of our family were on board cough*JEFF*cough. So we hemmed and hawed. And waited until we got home before I dashed back out to get it.

Only to find that in the space of indecision, it had been sold to someone else. Oh the humanity! Oh my glorified first world problems! I’m cursed! I’m so unlucky! Nothing will ever come through for us!

Let me tell you, it was the final straw that toppled over the precariously balanced pile of limiting internal beliefs and rage at an unjust world. Or you could just simply say that I was pissed as all hell.

I came back home and snarled at Jeff, then went out back to water the plants.

She’s beginning to look quite nice, my little garden of Come What May.

I turned on the hose to water the potatoes. And that’s when I was Saved.

For the past couple of years, there has been a little female hummer that has whizzed about whenever I am out planting or watering. Lately however, we have…for lack of a better explanation…begun to develop a friendship. She shows up as soon as I turn on the water, and she’s become more daring in her approach and vicinity. She’ll come buzz me in my face so I’ll spray the fence, and then go to drink the droplets. Or I’ll be out plucking lettuce and look to my right, only to discover that she is 2 feet away, blinking at me sleepily. But yesterday…oh yesterday…

With the hose 3 inches from my hand, above waist height and about 6 inches from my body, I gave the clover a gentle stream of water. And my little hummer friend showed up. Looking at the water, first this way, then that, I silently encouraged her, “Go on! You know you want to!”. She flew up to my face Oh Hello, Just making sure it was You and then back to the water. Closer and then, oh! The tiniest of beaks with an even tinier tongue dipped into the stream. Then again and again and then….using that unique talent of all hummingbirds, she tilted back and…stuck her feet into the water. Next was her belly, then feet, then tongue and so on. She hovered up and perched on the hose. Right by my hand. After taking some time to rub her face on the hose to get off extra water, she buzzed down again for more play, coming back to rest on the hose itself. This went on for…eternity? Four minutes? My lifetime? Another female hummer showed up, fluttering next to my friend and I wondered for a minute if I was hosting a waterpark, but then my girl chirped a warning and chased (or flew off with?) the newcomer.

My body was suddenly too small for my smiling. Or to contain what was undeniably the surest sign that actually, I am Totally Very Lucky. The luckiest ever. Blessed. Fortunate. Deserving.

At least perhaps, when it comes to what matters. Glorious new home opportunities, well, I’m not so sure about those, but in Love and Communion and In-Tuned-Ness…just maybe I’ve got a little bit. And as Milla keeps reminding me, my current house ain’t so shabby.

In other news of good fortune, somebody has basically potty trained herself.

I brought the kids down an hour or so later, after regaling them with my tale. Leo kept wanting to replay it, “Ok, now I’ll be the first humming bird and you be the second and I’ll chase you off”. I replicated the hose trick, but my friend was nowhere to be found. I felt  like that guy with the frog. Fortunately, my family is an easy crowd.

Lettuce porn.

I found this article, coincidentally, about Bad Luck. It helped to tie up some thoughts I’ve been having since the Giant Letdown on Friday. Intellectually, I know I am just as blessed as anyone, and considering my birthplace and country, you could even say more so than others. I have a gratitude practice, I allow for my feelings but also give thanks for the goodness that is. However, there is also something extremely sticky going on around really Getting What I Want. I don’t really mean vintage (totally awesome oh my god) record players. I mean those things that do feel essential to creating a good stable life. Again, let me be clear that in terms of life necessities, as a member of the First World, I’ve got them. Shelter? Check? Clean Water? Check. Food? Check. etc. etc.. Part of me thinks I should ditch my dreams and just be happy with a rundown, overpriced flat in the lower haight. So what if Fern doesn’t have her own room? Lots of people live in one room houses. Yet, most people I know are pursuing happiness in the form of establishing their own home, and manifesting their inspiration. For me, that comes in the shape of somewhere to feel safe(r), to have a real garden to feed my family on, to have a little more peace of mind without the constant stress and noise of the city. For years I have played with this by upping my spiritual buff-ness…maybe if I just meditate MORE, fleshing out my buddha nature…it won’t matter where I am?

Great in theory. Until I look at where I am putting all that stress and tension, and realize it’s one of the reasons I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck in the morning. I’m stuffing it all into my bones and muscles.

I haven’t been able to situate myself where I want for a long time. There is a lot of sorrow there around that. All this “making do” means that other real feelings get a constant back burner. With having to give up my dream of going home to Shasta County, I am desperate to not give up all dreams. When I feel like this is being asked of me, I slip into a very young place. A place where I feel helpless and not in control, a place where the universe is not friendly, where God doesn’t love me and where I must have Bad Luck.

This whole thing is going to take some work, parcelling out my internal locus of control from old hurt feelings. I’m thankful to have a chance to unpack and look at all this.

Although really, I do just wish that we’d gotten that house.

Thank you to everyone who sent such amazing blessings and wishes. Perhaps they are on hold, maybe I can take a rain check, spending them all when the next chance comes along. For now, I am focusing on enjoying the summer and maybe we’ll start looking again next fall. Thank you as well for all the recent comments on my last posts (and the emails, hooray!). I will get back to you with those over the week.

Happy Monday.


10 thoughts on “Amazing Grace

  1. sweet sweet mary, i can just feel that hummingbird’s gentle nearness with your words. you are such a true inspiration and i know the right place will show up for you, perfect in every way. thank you for this post on a monday morning as i head to work in drizzly rain (which i actually love, no watering the garden today, hooray!) it is the purest reminder to have gratitude even in the midst of annoyances and unfairness. you are doing a beautiful job, and i’m glad the best members of the universe, babes and hummers, recognize it!

    and next time, buy the record player right when you see it! you deserve it!!!

  2. Mary, so much of what you’ve written here resonates for me too. Giving up living where roots grew deeply in my young life because I also want to be with someone who can’t be there now. Feeling so angry, resentful and bratty in my fear that maybe I will NEVER feel fulfilled. Trying so hard to accept what is, gratefully, and maybe eventually, gracefully. But also trying to honor that young self. Sigh. yeah, first world problems, but they are hard too.

  3. Oh Mary, I’m so sorry you didn’t get the house. I’ve been waiting and wondering. Allow yourself to be pissed about it and to wallow a bit. And for the record, I think the line of thinking that says more spiritual practice will immune you to material desire is bullshit, especially when you have a child to take care of. We are made of stuff, and we need stuff to survive.

    I have had moments of thinking that my life was the first truly cosmic mistake the universe ever made, that things were so seemingly against my thriving in this world that my existence (and the family I once had that has now split up) was obviously an oversight on the part of the great Life Force. Over the course of Mycelia’s almost 6 year life I have locked myself in multiple bathrooms at friend’s homes and cried and cried because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to provide for my child what they had provided for theirs.

    I had nothing after splitting with her dad. No money, no car, and a home that I couldn’t afford any longer. At one point last year I had 2 days to move out and still had nowhere to go.

    Last week we moved into my boyfriend’s beautiful home. Mycie has her own room. There is ample garden space. My days of endlessly circling for a spot on the street are gone- we have a driveway. But no bathtub. The one thing I reallllly need in a home I won’t have for years to come. My one true, sure relaxation technique is not available to me.

    Which is just to say, I guess, that it’s all an ever-shifting dance. Some needs met, others still longed for. I know you know that. And I’m not trying to say “My situation improved and yours will too! Chin up!” Although, of course, it will.

    Your writing is so beautiful and heartfelt. Thanks for sharing. And man, SUCH A BUMMER about the record player!!

    Hummingbird Blessings are potent magic girl, work it.

  4. great post, mary. and could you been any cuter? no. the answer is no.
    anyway, humming birds are the best. one time i worked at this watershed out in livermore, and one flew into the kiosk i was working in. it was all confused and scared and i held my hand out and it was like, “fuck it” and climbed in. i held it for just a minute and it was epic. one of the cooler moments of my life. so glad your hummingbird was able to come and show some love. i’m sorry things didn’t work out with the house and omg i would have been pissed about the record player. 😦

  5. Hi Mary. I don’t comment often, but I come here to read your amazingly self-aware blog posts almost every day, and your voice is a small part of what is keeping me sane right now. I have a home in a place I’m happy living, but I also have a husband with seriously declining health and have been dealing with EXACTLY that hurt, baffled sense of whyyyyy?? I’ve been so desperate to ignore my negative thoughts (until they go away, haha) that I never thought to just sit and listen to my feelings to find out where they’re coming from. Thank you so much for the reminder. And your gratefulness in the face of disappointment. The hummingbird story brought both tears to my eyes and a grin to my face. Also, maybe the house went to someone else because it wasn’t YOUR house. It’s still waiting out there for you and your family.

    1. hi jen. i was really touched by your comment. i’m sorry to hear about your husband, and even without knowing the details, my heart goes out to you. listening and allowing for feelings is key. and so is telling your story and being listened to by a friend. thank you for listening to me, and i hope you have this kind of support in your own life. xo

  6. oh mary, i’m so sorry to hear you didn’t get the house! i do know how you feel. 2 years ago when we were moving i found my dream house. spanish style, huge yard for a garden, chickens, our dogs, wood floors, beautiful neighborhood and we could afford it! when we were told it was ours i was in heaven and seriously couldn’t believe it. 2 days after checks were written and papers signed, the owner of the home backed out. we ended up in 2 bedroom apartment for a year. it sucked! i relate soooo much to your thoughts and words in this post. they could have come right out of my own mind!

    ok. your humming bird story was amazing! i sure do love those little fellas. and your garden is pretty impressive and inspiring! and lastly, the beet kvaas, i have to make that! it looks so good!

    sending positive vibes your way!

  7. just wanted to let you know that i got the pants at…hold your breath…forever 21! they were the first piece of non-thrifted clothing i have bought in years! and they were only $25 on sale. they are my dream jeans for sure! and do go back and get those macrame books! it so fun!

  8. oooooh how amazingly glad i am that i have found this blog. first, you are hot – so no matter how many lemons come your way, you are a tall glass of lemonade. (i just made that metaphor up, do you like it??). second, what is growing between the lettuce and the california poppies? i think i have it growing wild all over here…

    i am going to reply to your email; in fact, i am eager to. the last two days were my “town” days and were endlessly busy.

    all things happen for a reason. this, we know. although while they are happening it can sometimes be beyond challenging. your ability to call in the hummingbird medicine is profound and i am glad you made note of it and drank in its light.

    with love xoxo

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