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03-17-2002 @ 8:39 p.m.
Beach Retreat with my Homies

Oh the weekend. It was truly amazing. Not that anything earthshattering happened, but it was just...wonderful.

Rewind to Friday morning. I decided to get a jump on my weekend by sleeping in on Friday morning so after Joey went to school, I went back to bed until 10am. I loved it because I didn't have anything that needed doing that morning and I got to wake up slow and lay in bed and think about things. I love to wake up and just lay in bed, perhaps listening to the radio, perhaps not, and just think. Pondering. I love that.

So I get up and get myself ready for the day, pack, talk on the phone and load up my car. I get Joey out of school 75 minutes early (because I'm all about my own convenience you know) and take her to meet Stacey and Marcus. Marcus takes Joey for the afternoon with Baylee and Stacey and I hop in the car to go to the beach.

The drive out to the coast was uneventful--just the way I like it--and we find the house with no problem at all. We get there about 3:15. The house is wonderful--built in the 1930s, it sits high on a bluff over the ocean. We have a completely unobstructed view to the beach and water. There was a deck out back and from the edge of the deck, it was about 100 feet down to the sand. The whole west side of the house was filled with giant picture windows. The house was paneled in old fashioned real wood panels that weren't too dark. The doors had lower-than-average crystal doorknobs like the house I grew up in. The living room was vaulted up to the loft. Up the narrow, shallow stairs to the loft, there were 2 very small attic-style bedrooms with wonderfully comfortable beds (and nothing else). There was also a narrow (hall-width) loft that ran the length of the living room and contained a piano and an organ. It was fun to play with them. The bathrooms had great pedestal sinks, tile, push-button light switches and beautiful wood paneling and cupboards. I loved the house!

Outside, there was the aforementioned deck and then on the side of the house, there was a nice water fall into a pond with koi and a fabulous hot tub that held about 12 people. Oh man--that hot tub was great. But more on that later.

The first night, the 5 of us went to dinner at this great little restaurant called Wildflowersomethingorother. (I can't remember the whole name.) The host (who I suspect was the owner) had a strong accent and lisp and was dark complected with dark hair and mustache. I suspect he may have been Spanish or perhaps some flavor of Mediterreanean. He flirted with us like crazy and we ate it up. The food was incredible. They bring out freshly baked dinner rolls with softened, whipped butter and we were starving enough to gobble them right on down. Then our salads came with a little flowerpot of marionberry balsamic vinaigrette. That dressing rocked! It looked like deep pink paint but tasted out of this world. Again, we gobbled down our salads. Then the entrees--I had salmon and halibut oscar (with fresh crab, asparagus and bearnaise, in case you don't know what an oscar preparation is) and it was divine. I ate half of it and brought the rest back to have for breakfast Saturday. We shared some cheesecake and chocolate mouse cake for dessert. Luscious. Heavenly. Oh, the superlatives flow. I really really liked that restaurant. It's as good as any downtown restaurant I've eaten in. I can't wait to go back!

We went back to the house and sat up til 1am talking, talking, talking. Stacey played The Sims while the rest of talked, I should say. Krista and Andree are both pregnant so we spent a lot of time talking about previous births and what the plans and hopes were for these upcoming births. I get to go to both of them. Krista had a bad experience with her last 2 births and she really wants an advocate and coach to be there with her as her husband isn't good for much in the birthing room. She really wants to have a nonmedicated birth and feels like she needs way more support and help to do it. So I get to be there. We're going to get together in a week or two to write up her birth plan and talk about things she wants and doesn't want as far as pain relief, massage, music, breathing, etc. I am *very* excited. Andree is much more aggressive as a medical consumer so I won't be so much of an advocate as a spectator but I'm looking forward to that one, too. It's going to be great.

Saturday, Andree left early to get back home. She had something to do and I knew she was leaving early. I woke up at 9:20 and went back to sleep for 2 more hours. When I got up, I remembered my fish and had that for breakfast with an icy Diet Dr Pepper. Mmmmm. Breakfast of champions, I always say. We readied ourselves and spent a few hours at the outlet mall. I got some good stuff for Joey and some goodies at Harry & David. We ate dinner at our favorite clam chowder house (remember that Mary?) and then went back to the house to digest.

While we digested, we played several rounds of combat Uno. Then Jaimie and I decided it was time to hit the hot tub. Stacey didn't want to and Krista couldn't but we two did. The water was screaming hot, though. We had to get the garden house out and cool it off some to make it barely comfortable. We soaked and talked and soaked and talked. When we'd get to hot, we'd sit on the edge in our suits with steam coming off us. It was about 31 degrees out and snowy and sleety and haily and we were sitting comfortably in swimsuits with wet skin. Love that. We stayed out there for 2 hours!

I'm sure I've mentioned that I am suffering from what I believe is more than just seasonal depression. I've had SAD many times and it always starts to lift around the end of Feb, beginning of March and I don't feel like it's going anywhere right now. I've been feeling really vacant--spiritually, emotionally, every way. I have no motivation, no passion, no desire to do much of anything but sleep, hang out here and watch inane TV. I haven't gone to church much, haven't done much of anything. For months. About the only emotion I can whip up these days is anger and frustration.

Jaimie has a history of anxiety and depression so we were talking about it. It was good to talk with her. I haven't felt like I could talk about this in 3-D with anyone so it was good to have it come out of my mouth. She kept talking to me and picking away at my resolve until I was finally able to let go and cry about some big hurts that I haven't been able to resolve and deal with effectively in my life, most namely being my mother's death and my infertility. I cried and cried and sobbed and at one point, it was like I was crying the very first time over my mother's death--all out, no-holds-barred, body-wracking sobs. I was able to see that for the past 7 years, I've done a fabulous job of being busy with work, busy with school or busy with photography enough so that I was distracted and didn't have to deal with this big, bad hurt. Since January, though, I haven't been distracted enough and these painful things have bubbled up to the surface and have contributed to this depression. Only I sublimated those sad feelings and only allowed myself to feel angry. Not really understanding the source of that anger, I just looked for things to be pissy about. Last night I swore and yelled and cried and ached and sobbed and talked and talked and talked and hugged and was finally able to let out those hurtful things I've been holding for so long. And Jaimie was so incredible--stroking my arm and my cheek and letting me sob and not trying to make me feel funny about it and crying with me. I felt so much better at the end of it. She gave me a gameplan for dealing with this more extensively, involving counseling and probably antidepressants and exercise and talking with her and with Ed. It was one of the most intense but wonderful friendships I've ever experienced. She has been worried about me, seeing that I'm not my usual self and worried at my spiritual decline and suspecting that I had issues to work out with my infertility and suspecting that I was depressed and needing help. She carefully worked her way through the minefield and we talked about church and God and my anger at God and my frustration and my inability to feel anything spiritual but my aching desire to feel something again, like I used to. If anything, I think God put Jaimie put in my way. I needed her last night and I am so glad that she loves me enough to push and push and push until I opened up. I'm ready now to find a therapist who can help me through the rest of this.

After we came back inside, I gave everyone foot massages with peppermint lotion and then Jaimie gave me one. It was really nice. We dedided that massage of some sort must be involved in all future beach retreats.

Today we talked in the morning, colored Jaimie's hair, fed all the rest of our food to the seagulls (that was very entertaining!), and then went to Subway for lunch. I had their buffalo chicken sammy and boy-howdy did I like that. I can't wait to have another one! This was definitely a good eating weekend.

It was good to get home, though. I loved meeting back up with my husband and daughter. I gave Joey a big, big hug and said "Mmmmm...I missed you!" She said "Mom, are you going to cry?" I wasn't but it made me laugh to hear her ask that. I must have sounded really desperate.

And now real life starts again. Tomorrow is my final critique in photography (and I'm supposed to bring something to eat--what should I get? I'm thinking a crudite plate. Any other ideas?) and then Delyn is having her baby and I get to bring the family to the hospital to see her and the new baby. I'm very excited about that, too. And then no school for 2 weeks. Wee haw!!!

Seven years ago today, my mother suffered the heart attack that led the brainstem stroke that led to her death 10 days later. I can't believe 7 years have passed. It feels like it just happened. Some days I feel so angry that I have to live the rest of my life without her--angry at her for smoking for 36 years, for living a completely sedentary life, for not taking care of herself, for not being here for Joey. And at the same time, I feel intense longing for her and grief at her absence in my life. And after seven years, people don't want to hear how you're still sad that your mother died. You're over that by now, aren't you? If you're not, just pretend like you are so we won't all feel uncomfortable. It's just like that. It was so freeing to talk to Jaimie about it last night because she let me go beyond my "official" feelins and get to my real feelings. The feelings I haven't allowed myself to feel in a very long time.

I'm ready to call the therapist. Tuesday. I will report here after I've done it.

But right now I feel better than I have in a very long time, despite the sadness I feel in the dark corners of my heart. This is good.


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