Cafe Hitch-hike


Figuring out what is what

Marley and her fellow mini-dachshund friend Cassie are wrestling around the living room. I would had preferred one dog snuggled against each of my sides while I write and sip black coffee, but the little dogs were in a feisty mood. I decided to hold sanctuary in my buddy's place while he works rather than tear all over Austin to see and visit things. I really needed a rest and told everyone I'd catch up in the afternoon after a nap and warm shower.

Since money was tight at this time, I got people small gifts. I got my friends choice meats at a country meat market many of which many dot the winding State Road 290 west of Houston to here. I got my mother a huge steak, and she and my sis Lana whipped up a nice dinner! The steak was big enough to feed 4 of us (including my nephew who also lives with them).

Uncle Joe crashed in unannounced and was intoxicated as usual. It was just the thing I wanted. I talked with everyone and talked around him. Drunk relatives was part of the usual holiday memories from growing up.

Nephew Kevie is 21 and he was telling me about his trip by rail when he relocated to Austin 8 months ago. We smiled because we all made the trek between Chicago to Austin and talked about our times on that route.

Then, we talked a bit about Grandma Lina. Grief shadowed the faces of Mom and Uncle Joe, and he dabbed his eye, but they were willing to talk about her. They got some of her belongings and pictures. I quietly shuddered to see and hold them, including her hand mirror. From her half-brother, I have a picture of her holding me when I was 1 year old. It is the screensaver on my phone.

I was thinking about cutting the visit short by 1 day. It would give me more time to rest before heading back to work. I hate to say this, but I also haven't been the cheeriest of people and everyone can see it. I haven't said or did anything awful, but it was my vibe. I cried in the car for a good half hour right before I arrived in Austin. I am glad I'm here and with loved ones but I wish my own sense of grief would fade. It really blocks me from seeing the light that surrounds me and the sense of joy to see my family.

Well, spending tme with my nieces and nephews really lifted me. They say my niece Bailee ia a Mini-Me and we had fun decorating cookies and playing (wow, I didn't lose my sense of play and make-believe). I blew stuff up with Niece Mia and cussed by accident (wasn't sure what was more cool foe her, hahaha!). Aunt Juana amused me that same way 36 years ago, hahah! Glad to continue that tradition! I loved driving down the winding state roads of the Hill Country. It makes me want to explore further west to see more prarie and then desert.

I was so glad to see my mom, too, although I will visit her again before I leave. I guess Grandma's passing reminds me that Mom's time is also limited and to enjoy every moment.

I then got an email that a professional article I wrote with 2 co-authors was accepted for publication. This, along with the study I finished this fall, will immensely strengthen my bid for a promotion. Well, if I get rejected like I had in 2010 (which was a premature bid as I suspected at that time), I will truly know the level of regard I have from my colleagues because these things do put me over the edge, or so I hope. I can otherwise say this was a good year on a professional level regardless of what anyone says or thinks.

I wished things could had been different between Rafa and I. How it ended kind of went along with the differences we had on so many levels. I can say that nearly all of the significant relationships I had these past 10 years ended with a sense of mutual understanding but this one did not at all, and I decided to try letting that go and just accepting it.

I hope that my ability to give and receive love isn't or hasn't always been stunted. I hope I'm not simply aloof and cool-hearted by nature, or that I associate love with me having to chase, convince or be with distant people. I am starting to wonder if the way I am isn't due to damage but because it is simply the way I am anyway. I don't know, I don't know! I am just trying not to make any limiting and inaccurate assumptuons, but just figure out what is what.

downwind | upstream