Evil Eye

Friday night, Chris and I stopped by my mom’s for a quick visit and to get a bite to eat. (There is ALWAYS food there and I was starving.) She was having a dinner party, her guests included my aunt, Helen, and 2 other Greek ladies from the old neighborhood that grew up with my mom. One of the ladies is a Reiki Healer (she does it on the side) and the other was into those ionic foot-baths that pull all the toxins out of your body from your feet. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried. I did. I felt like a million bucks afterwards. Seriously.) Then, of course, my step-dad, George.

As soon as we said our hellos and exchanged hugs and kisses, Chris and I made a plate. They had already finished and were working on dessert. Chris was sitting at the table and, all of a sudden, George started sweating and swaying. He asked for an icepack. He has been having these “attacks” since the summer. No one knows what’s wrong, some doctors have suggested its vertigo. It has to be frustrating for all of them because he can’t work and is more moody than normal. Chris got up as my mom tended to George. We were holding our plates and eating by the counter. Suddenly, George lunged for the sliding glass door leading out to the deck. He threw it open and landed on the deck where he proceeded to heave his guts out.

It was shocking. Apparently, it has become a normal part of life though because everyone continued to eat. It was so bad that Chris noted it was, “gnarly.” I couldn’t eat, at least, not in the kitchen. So, Chris and I made our way to the opposite side of the house (where we could still hear the puking, albeit in the distance.) Quite frankly, I’m sure the neighbors on both sides heard it, too. I was pretty gnarly.

Please, don’t think I’m callus. George is dramatic. Moody. And, a pain in the neck. He is my mother’s fifth child. I honestly don’t know how she has managed to stay sane all these years (35 long ones!) without becoming an alcoholic. I would have started self-medicating years ago. I digress.

Truthfully, I can’t imagine being sick and knowing you’re sick but no one else knowing the cause or the cure.

Chris and I migrated back to the kitchen after we licked our plates clean. Much to Chris’ delight, the conversation at the table revolved around medicinal marijuana. Chris pulled up a seat at the table, while George was still heaving on the deck, lying half on the kitchen floor and half on the deck. (With a pillow.) Chris thinks of himself as an expert with all things pot related. He gave them the name of his “guy” along with a summary of the difference between medicinal pot and recreational. My mother and my aunt listened intently as they fussed with the dishes. I could see the wheels turning in both of their heads. My aunt looking for something to ease her pain for the loss of her son and my mom thinking to herself that I’m dating a drug addict. (FYI, he is not.)

There were so many things happening in that room that I decided to sit quietly on the arm of an oversize chair in the adjoining living room and text my sister, Marya, the play-by-play of the conversation and actions of everyone in the house. Her text responses included a lot of “WHAT?????” and “that’s embarrassing!!!” There were quite a few of “I know. Right?” from my end of the text chain. When I thought it couldn’t get crazier, Chris came over to me and asked if there was another bathroom away from the kitchen. Uh oh, I thought. Poor guy. He had eaten something that didn’t sit well and needed a private bathroom STAT. I ushered him upstairs.

Did I tell you about the time that I flooded that bathroom and toilet water came rushing downstairs through the globe light in the hallway? Hmm. More on that later… I was starting to have flashbacks but, I didn’t panic.

When I came back downstairs, one of the ladies made a bee line to the bathroom near the kitchen. From the sound of things, she ate something disagreeable, too. Ugh.

Once again, I thought the explosion of vomit on the deck and bathroom explosions were the end of the excitement for the evening but, no, I had miscalculated the craziness that is my family. Can I just tell you? One of the ladies exclaimed, “He has the evil eye!” You may not know what that is unless you’re Greek. I have a very vivid memory of it from my childhood.

Someone gave my mom the evil eye when I was much younger. She was very sick so, my grandmother performed an exorcism of sorts on her via cupping. Do you know what cupping is? I think Gwyneth Paltrow recommends it. You heat the rim of a shot glass and place it on the skin, typically, the back. It pulls out the evil eye/negativity in the body. I watched my grandmother do this to my mother. I can never un-see it and the memory of it, clearly, has etched itself on my brain.

So, anyway, it seemed obvious to the ladies that someone had given George the evil eye so, they got out a shot glass and said the evil eye prayer and anointed it with, the ever-holy, olive oil. They ganged up on him to “cure” him but he brushed them off. At that point, I grabbed Chris’ arm and said, “Let’s go. We’re outa here.”

We got in the car, I felt him look at me incredulously. He got the hand and we peeled out of the driveway.

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Valium

My parents, Stella and George, are into real estate. They buy and sell homes, “flip them.” Stella was born in a small village in Greece and traveled to the United States when she was a young girl. She’s tough as nails and always up for a challenge. They came across a small house in Hollis for short money and bought it. George went over after papers were passed to take a better look at the new property. During his inspection of the property, he discovered the wall supporting the house was being held up by rotting trees. He immediately vomited, then continued to have dry heaves the whole way home. He has a nervous stomach. Between puking fits, he lamented to Stella that maybe they made a mistake with the purchase. She took one look at him then shook his shoulders, coming very close to slapping that silly thought out of his head. She firmly told him to pull himself together, “it’s done and we’re going to make the best of it.” She knew what he needed, valium.

Immediately, she called my aunt, Helen, to ask her if she could spare some pills. Can I just tell you? Helen told her she’d be right over.

Star Trek

I had lunch with a very dear friend the other day. Her stepson, Christopher, was killed in a helicopter crash recently, he was my age. He had discovered he had a 16 year old daughter 4 years before his death. The discovery had given his life meaning and was starting to build a relationship with her. Apparently, it had been going really well.

I have had the sad reality of knowing more than one mom who had to bury a child. Its heart wrenching. They say the mother will never be the same after the death of a child. I believe that to be true. With any great love loss, there’s always a little bit of your heart that goes missing. My friend is no different. She loved her stepson like he was her own child, she married his father when Christopher was still a young child and watched him grow to be a fun-loving and caring brother to their next two daughters to come along.

Her daughters are grown now and took their mom, my friend, for a girl’s weekend in Boston. I was so happy to get the invite to join them for lunch on their last day in the city. The start of the conversation was mostly catch-up talk. At the lull in the conversation, I saw in her eyes that her mind drifted to Christopher.

I took her hand and asked her to tell me about him. She glowed telling me about her wonderful son. I gathered from our conversation he was a kind and generous soul with a perfect sparkle of mischief. His sisters adored him and he showered them with love. He was athletic and loved adventure, his work had him in a helicopter on a regular basis. (Sounded pretty exciting to me, too.)

On the way to the funeral, his two sisters stopped into a coffee shop to pay for the next 50 cups of coffee in honor of their brother. I immediately teared up. She then dryly stated that they walked into the funeral home to an 8×10 picture of William Shatner as Captain Kirk and Christopher’s birth mother in a Star Trek outfit. I gasped and asked, “Why?!” She said the mother was telling everyone, “Christopher was named after a Star Trek character.” “Was he?” I asked. (Shocked.)

My poor friend. Grief held her tightly as she whispered, “No, he was named after A. A. Milne’s Christopher Robin.” (Her husband’s nickname for her is Winnie the Pooh.) At that point we both had tears rolling down our cheeks. We sat quietly for a few minutes before she continued.

Christopher’s mom left him when he was two and never seemed to care about building a relationship with him. I know there are always two sides to a story and I’m definitely biased. Honestly, I don’t know a kinder person than my friend quietly trying to compose herself next to me. However, the more the story unfolded the more unfortunate it seemed.

Can I just tell you? His death included a $5 million insurance policy that would go to next of kin. It’s unknown if the daughter is really his, there needs to be a DNA test. The Star Trek mother is broke and discouraging the girl from the testing because the insurance would go to her.

Shame on her. What would Mr. Spock say?

Kiddie Pool

Well, I was 15 minutes late this morning and ate strawberry rhubarb crisp for breakfast. I did, however, go for a walk and, here I am again, with you. Baby steps. I’m trying to focus on the small wins.

I was at my mom’s house this weekend for a BBQ with all her children, grandchildren, my aunt (Peter’s mom) and her remaining children. It was a beautiful, bathing suit and kiddie pool kind of day. The kids, seven of them under 8, had a ball taking turns sliding into the over-flowing kiddie pool loaded with grass from their feet and a little bit of pee, probably from everyone. There wasn’t much room for sadness but, Peter was missed.

The kids kept me busy all afternoon. I was exhausted by the time I got home that night. It was nice to discover I can still do a cartwheel. All the kids seemed to appreciate my attempt at teaching them to do those and handstands. Good stuff.

It was a late night for all the kids. They definitely had pee on them so the parent’s decided it best to have the kids take showers before they got in the car. My mom gave 3 of the youngest a shower. My brother’s kids are old enough (2 and 3) to know the proper terms for all their body parts. My little Sofia (2), who only has a baby sister does not know the proper names for any of her female business. According to my sister-in-law, all the kids were naked and Sofia did a double take walking past JJ. He firmly declared he had a penis and she did not. To which she responded by immediately checking her business to see if she had missed something on herself. Kids are so funny.

Can I just tell you? I miss the simple days of the kiddie pool in the summer. Minus the pee, of course.

High Five

I went back to Betty for a follow-up reading. I can’t believe I paid 50 bucks. Ugh. I was curious to hear what she had to say this time. The reading wasn’t as good as the first. I didn’t really want to hear about love. Truth be told, I was afraid she might say I wasn’t with the right guy.

I’ve been having mixed feelings about Chris. One minute I’m in love the next, I’m not sure. I suppose that’s normal. You’re probably wondering why I could be so quick to guess it may be over (a few posts ago) after I’ve declared my volcanic explosion love (a few more posts ago). The truth is, I’m scared to death of falling in love. I’m afraid of it being one sided. I can’t even count the number of times I thought, “this could be the guy.” I’ve foolishly told friends and family, only to feel embarrassed when it didn’t pan out.

I’ve forced myself to live in the present with Chris. It’s so much easier. I thought I was over the baby making part of life so; I stopped thinking about husbands and wondering whether or not I was going to be a mom. I hope that doesn’t sound lame. If it does then, I hope I’m not alone in thinking that way, at least…

I don’t mind being physically alone (other than missing sex). I have close friends and family. What I don’t like is not fitting in. I don’t like people asking me if I have children or if I’m married. It makes me feel like they assume there is something wrong with me. Through my 30s, every time I started dating someone new they would inevitably ask why I was still single and then ask if there was something wrong with me. Rude.

So, I don’t mind being alone (for the most part) but I do want to be with a partner. I want to be with someone whom I can understand and who gets me. I want someone who really likes being with me and feels happier when he’s with me. I want to feel the same way about him. It would be really nice to find someone who can appreciate all my quirkiness and I appreciate his peccadilloes. I want to share my life with someone I love. I want to share his experiences, too.

When I was traveling alone through Ireland a few years ago. I saw some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sites. Alone. Every time I turned a corner and saw something more beautiful than the last something, I always turned to my empty passenger seat to exclaim, “Wow! I love Ireland! So pretty.” Unfortunately, my giddiness was silenced pretty quickly as my non-passenger stared back at me blankly. I am very grateful for all the blessings in my life, I want someone with whom to share them.

I need the physical piece, too. Heck, I have plenty of friends that accept my slice of crazy and I love theirs. I’m not looking for another best friend. I’m looking for a full-time partner and lover. Chris fits the bill on all counts. (I just hope he feels the same!)

Anyway, she said everything was good in my relationship world. She told me upfront I was with “the guy.” In fact, she said the cards promised I’d have a healthy baby, too. First, she said a little girl. As we pulled more cards, she said boy. Then, she asked if twins run in my family. They don’t. She also told me that I might need to take time off from work near the end of the pregnancy because I’d be huge. That’s not going to happen. Unless I have a whole basketball team in there, I am only gaining baby weight. (I’m down 4lbs, only 6 more to go!)

So, my personal life, according to Betty, is going to be fantastic. Phew. No more empty passenger seats.

The real reason I wanted to see her was about another subject entirely and if figures, we didn’t address it until my last 5 minutes. Now, that I’ve made my 300 words commitment, I wanted to know if there were published books in my future. She said, “Yes. At least, three.”
Can I just tell you? I nearly jumped up and gave her a high five. That’s what I wanted to hear!

Act of God

Can I just tell you? I love that man. I got everything off my chest and we, calmly, discussed everything with a very open dialogue. He explained what he meant and stressed (again and again) that he doesn’t have any interest in the old girlfriend, he is still interested in getting to know me better and see where our relationship goes. Me too.

We had an easy dinner at the local pizza shop after an evening walk. I’m telling you, if you can find a partner who can talk openly about their feelings and needs, hang on to them. It makes it so much easier! So, nothing really exciting to talk about there. (Other than the fact that I feel like I won the lottery finding a man who can express his feelings and not be offended or put off when I tell him mine.)

In other news, I was late this morning. I’m not feeling bad about it though. It was more of an act of God. My cell phone/alarm clock died overnight. Fortunately, Chris woke up before 8am, thinking to himself that it was weird that there was so much light in my room yet he never heard my alarm go off. I jumped out of bed and almost had a heart attack when I heard him, in my dream, say, “Um, Stace, it’s 7:52.” Ugh.

I flew out of bed, splashed water on my face, dabbed on some deodorant, spritzed some perfume and got myself out the door by 8:13am. That could be a Stacey World Record on getting out the door presentable enough for work and pulling together a breakfast (for the road) and lunch.

Through my calculations, I would only be 15-20 minutes late. Not an unusual late time for me but 495 was a parking lot. In fact, it was so bad that I actually turned around to go back towards my house to take back roads to work. Bummer. I was 45 minutes late. Again, act of God and baby steps…

Just Friends

I talked to Chris last night. He sees a therapist monthly, I think it helps him express himself to me more easily, which I like. To a point. Anyway, I nonchalantly asked how it went. He told me he wasn’t sure if he needed to continue because he didn’t have any major issues to navigate. I assumed he needed to talk more about the stress of his home renovations. So, I suggested he find someone with a little more business experience. He explained it wasn’t that and he talks to her to get a gauge on what’s normal.

For example, one of the topics they covered was whether or not is was normal to stay friends with an ex. (This is something I practice and have told him about. Most of the men I have dated were really nice guys…) He specifically called out one of his exes who really liked to hike. He thought she was cool and fun and would like to go hiking with her. Immediately, my heart sunk. I asked, “Did Brooke ask you if Stacey likes to hike?” He said, “No.” Apparently, she assured him that people break up for a reason and it is not normal to be friends with an ex unless you were friends with them before and had established that foundation.

I couldn’t get past it. I told him later in the conversation that I just couldn’t get that part of our conversation out of my head and my feelings were really hurt. Why wouldn’t he think I was really fun and want to go hiking with me? I explained that while I am still friends with my exes, I would prefer to go hiking with him than someone I used to date. In fact, the thought of going out with someone else hasn’t crossed my mind.

He apologized and told me I had nothing to worry about. Can I just tell you? I hope our date tonight isn’t our last.