Arriving For My Second Winter on Paros

Arriving For My Second Winter on Paros

Sept 29

I’m back on Paros and as I feared, no longer enchanted by the place as I had been last year, the first time around. That bliss accompanying the delicious discoveries of falling in love. But it’s all so familiar now and the season has changed. Autumn is in the wind, the sky, the sea and the land. Any miracles of discovery will have to take place within my being, not on the level of the body and my senses. Solitude is what I crave. I yearn to take a long walk on the road and meet D. at Taos Center and order prawn chips as reward for my trek. I hesitate because of that damn plantar fasciitis that causes my left foot to feel as if a metal spike jabs my sole with every step I take. But already I have decided, I’ll take that walk, and skip the shower I should have taken after my swim. I want to start my walk in daylight.

Sept 30

The essential question I have explored in my personal narrative pieces, probably also in my fiction, is  Happiness. That’s what I wonder about. How to be, despite the obstacles.

I’m sitting on my veranda, sheltered from the wind coming out of the North, but hearing and feeling its edges slipping around the side of the house. My view from here is mostly East, veering a bit to the South, and my long view is disrupted by ugly utility poles that are nighttime lit, as well as a house. The house isn’t bad, it’s the utility poles that sadden me. On D’s porch, where first I lived when I arrived last year August 22, the view is unobstructed. I was surprised that D had placed her table on the side of the veranda where there is a vertical beam that holds up the retractable roof right smack dab in the middle of the view. I mentioned it last night (or perhaps I complained?) and she explained her reasons, but I think the main reason was that she wasn’t the least bit aware of how her view was disturbed, or perhaps she simply wasn’t disturbed. But, amazingly, she got up and started moving the table to where I suggested it be placed. Was that from consideration for me? Or a new awareness on her part? Just wondering.

The view from my own veranda would be perfectly lovely if it weren’t for the utility poles and attached wires strung between them. The wires are especially distressing, uglier than the poles from which they hang. I don’t mind the solar water heater mechanicals, the antennae and the small satellite dishes on the roofs. It’s the utility wires that depress me. I can squint like an artist and cause them almost to disappear, but that will deepen the wrinkles around my eyes, and besides, the poles then become even more of an eyesore. If I turn my head to the right and direct my gaze towards the row of white houses trimmed in various shades of blue, with the still blossoming bougainvillea hanging from my veranda’s roof and the flowering bushes growing up to meet them, it’s quite a beguiling view; I may turn the furniture around so as to be facing that unpolluted scene.

I am simply a happier and more fulfilled person when I have a better view. I cannot help it. I wonder if living with someone whose facial expression was usually dour had a distressing effect on my instinctual happiness-making battery. Seeing beauty simply makes me happy. What if I were blind? That avenue of input to my happiness battery would be eliminated. Unless, of course, my visual imagination took over and I compensated with internal stimulation. I wonder if Caryn, my friend who became blind as a child, has the capacity to visually self-stimulate?

My wise mother-in-law, NR, once commented, “just look between the dirt spots, dear” when I complained that the view from the picture window in our newly renovated farmhouse was obscured because I hadn’t gotten around to cleaning. Is that how to enjoy and accept life on its own terms? Just look between the dirt spots? I think I try doing that an awful lot, and forget that one can turn and look in a different direction, find a different view altogether to appreciate. But no matter how intriguing the other views from the veranda are, the view I want to be absorbing, engaging with, is the long vista to the sea, the open sky, and the island of Naxos. That’s the compelling view and the one I can’t have the way I want. In this house from this veranda, it comes with ugliness. And that means that I will go inside more often and have no place to look but inward. And that’s what I want, anyway. Though I wish I had both.

I skyped with JFB in Israel yesterday and cried “I don’t know how to be a mother-in-law” when we got talking about the status change that will occur in 8 months. My daughter-in-law is pregnant and will make me a grandmother at the end of May 2016. Already, I’m starting to prepare and have, albeit ignorant of the reason, empathically gained weight, thus rendering my figure more matronly. And with that pesky foot injury, that Plantar Fasciitis (from now on, I shall refer to it as Plantar The Fascist), I am slowed to grandmotherly speed and distance. I will continue to walk, though. I don’t care if it means I am injuring myself further. I’ve rested it enough, and resting appears not to be especially restorative. If you, the reader, have any viable suggestions, do let me know. Forget about sending referrals for healing professionals, please, unless the healer can work from a distance or are here, in Paros. 

(Now, isn’t that a clever way to lure you, the reader, into communicating with me? But the need is sincere, I assure you).

In any case, JFB answered that I will be a wonderful grandmother, and mother-in-law, too. Especially if I can be honest and speak my confusion. I don’t know when will be a good time for a grandmotherly visit with the new one, and I live so far away and travel-planning is complicated. It would be nice to have prior information about when I would be welcome. But she doesn’t know yet, of course. She’s never had a baby and doesn’t know how she’ll feel, doesn’t know what to expect. And she won’t know until the time comes. One idea I have is to arrive at the end of her three month maternity leave and provide child care for a month or so when she returns to work. Make it an easier transition for her, knowing that her baby is with a loving grandma and not just a nice stranger. I’ll have to run it by her sometime.  And expect no answer until the time arrives. Is everything in life about letting go?


Hello to Paros Greece. Goodbye for now to Madison WI

Hello to Paros Greece. Goodbye for now to Madison WI

Olbrich Park beach. end of September
Olbrich Park beach. end of September
Madison Wi Capitol at night
Lake Monona, a few blocks from my condo
I’ve packed my large suitcase and most all of my carry-on case, and don’t have enough room unless I want to pack a second bag. Which I might do. It would give me the excuse to purchase much lighter-weight luggage, and, with the diminishing luggage allowances provided by the airlines, is an item of which I am sorely in need. Especially with this budget-priced Norwegian Airlines flight that allows only 20 kg which equals a mere 44 lbs, six pounds less than I’ve become accustomed to packing. I had to take out bags of dog treats, chia seeds, and bulk steel cut oats to reduce to the permissible weight. I still don’t have Molly’s dog food packed.

Reading May Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude inspires me to write a blog. I have the feeling that she was writing her Journal with every intention of publishing it, writing with a reader in mind. It reminds me of the way some bloggers write. And the way I like to write. I’d love to know whether or not she edited the Journal, either by simply cutting the entries she didn’t particularly want to share for any reason, including the quality of the writing, or whether she edited each day as she wrote and then that was that, at the end of the day, she’d move on to the next one, the next day, or skip days because she’s polishing the prior day or because she’s distracted with other stuff or traveling or tired or visitors have disrupted her routine. But I can’t imagine that she would reshape the whole thing, moving parts around or assigning different chronologies to events and entries. That would somehow turn it into “story” or fiction, even creative non-fiction, rather than journal or blog. No overarching scheme or theme. Except Solitude, and that’s the theme I want for my blog. Because that’s what I experienced last year, despite my classes and volunteer and social activities. Solitude. And I loved it.

I want to keep in touch with my many friends, especially, I will admit, with my encouraging and best readers, the friends and family who like the way I create–my artwork and rocks and word-smithery. This blog will be a prequel to an effort to get my creations out to a larger audience, but for now, the only audience I want is a friendly and encouraging one. “How can I demonstrate my support and friendliness?” you may be wondering. One way is to leave a comment. Comments about what resonates with you, moves you, delights, intrigues, surprises, mystifies or in any other way engages you with what you come across here on this blog are what I crave and would find friendly. Comments about what you’d like to read or see more of are encouraging. Telling me what you don’t like or what doesn’t work is not what I need or want at this stage. Thanks. Maybe later.

I have this idea that I might even post YouTube segments here and again, when I want to try out some comedy. That might be another way to stay connected.

There are so many people with whom I want to stay connected. I’ve been told by one of them that I have “a great capacity for friendship.” She’s a woman I trust and love and can always count on for insight. She’s a wise person, and has been ever since I’ve known her, well before she aged into her wisdom years. We follow each other on Facebook, so we’ve been able to stay connected that way, along with once or twice getting together in the summer when I return to Madison briefly, except for last year when she broke both of her ankles (you know who you are). That’s another thing. If you’re reading this, you’re someone I’ve invited to follow my blog, and you’re checking it out. And you’re my friend. You may feature in an anecdote or conversation I write about. If that’s the case, how do you want me to refer to you? By name? Initials? Or as a random letter of the alphabet?  I don’t want to out you and will be discreet but I noticed that May Sarton refers to her friends, acquaintances, lovers, neighbors in a variety of ways. Sometimes  by full name, sometimes only the first name, or initials or a random letter of the alphabet. I would like to have your permission and direction. Feel free to send me a private message, or, if you don’t mind being named in this blog, comment publicly (with friendliness and encouragement, of course).

Much love to everyone. This blog is being composed today on September 20, a few days before leaving for NYC and then Greece. The challenging part will be to set up the blog. The tech stuff. Maybe one of you will be able to ease me through it with a few tips. But more challenging is to overcome my fear of exposing myself. That’s the hardest part of publishing the blog. Am I too self-absorbed? Narcissistic? Uninteresting? That’s my fear. And that’s why it may take a while for me to post these pieces I’m writing. But somehow, I know that doing so is a critical step for me as an author, not just a writer. BTW, if you’d like to read my first and, as yet, only, piece of fiction published, here’s the link to “The Corruption of Mrs. Eisner.”

Thanks for staying with me! Hava

why should you read this blog?

About a year ago, when I began this particular journey, I thought I’d start a blog. It   would be insightful, educational, inspiring, and humorous– laugh-out-loud funny.  Friendly, helpful essays about life as perceived through the lens of my personal experiences and reflections. In addition, I thought I might throw in fascinating tidbits gleaned from the context of a somewhat anti-Semitic American Jew newly arrived in Israel for a two year sabbatical. I knew there was an inner author crouching  within me, and this was her golden opportunity to spring forth, full-blown and unexpurgated.

A reasonable expectation, don’t you think?

More than a year has dripped through the hourglass and only now, (today, because I am going to post this today, I swear to G!d and today’s date is Oct. 11, 2009) am I composing the first entry.  If you’re reading these words,  and you are, I have successfully overcome one of my deeply rooted fears of exposing my shameful imperfections. That can only happen because I know that no one, not even you, will end up reading my blog because the web is crowded with better, easily accessible blogs and other much more interesting material and people like you and me will never even stumble upon my pompous, self-serving essays, so it’s highly unlikely that anyone will ever be exposed to my exposed parts. At least, not here, on my blog. Not unless I at least let others know that it exists. 

Of course, an author is only an author when people read what he writes . Otherwise, she’s just a writer. And the button at the bottom of this box in which I’m composing my first post doesn’t say publish for no reason. So really, I’m truly glad that you’re still with me, and I hope you tell everyone you know that I kick ass and send them my link and eventually, like, maybe January, or at the latest, March of 2010 I’ll have quite a cult following and it won’t be long until I’m rich famous and have a boyfriend who enjoys my company.

I know, I know; that’s a lot for me to expect from you, but I have every confidence in your ability to reach my goals. So, to answer the question posed by the heading on this post, that’s why you should read this blog.