My Eyelids Have Fallen and They Can’t Get Up

August 27, 2009

Hurray!  I finally made it to the seashore!  Leigh, her boyfriend, Eric, and I spent Tuesday night and most of Wednesday afternoon in Seaside Heights, NJ.  Wednesday morning, I went for a walk around 7:00 a.m. in search of coffee.  I found a deli about a block from our motel.  Speaking of the motel, which was only a few steps from the boardwalk, this was the view from my window.  Sweet.

Anyway, while I was waiting at the counter, a woman walked over to pay for her breakfast sandwich.  I looked up and was stunned and overjoyed to see that it was LA!   After much squealing and hugging, LA channeled Humphrey Bogart and said, “Of all the delis in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Heh!  We ended up spending the day together on the beach with our combined clans, and had an absolutely wonderful time.  I knew that LA was in Seaside Heights this week with Mick and Wolf, and did hope that we would be able to get together.  Before LA left for the Jersey shore, she made the comment that it would be funny if the first time we managed to see each other in so long would be when we were both 100 miles from home.  Well, that’s exactly what happened, but I never expected to bump into her at a deli first thing in the morning.  Talk about a serendipitous experience! When LA told Mick about our chance encounter, he remarked that he would have been more surprised if it had happened to any other people.  But, with the two of us, he’s come to expect wild and wonderful things.

One of those wonderful things happened when LA and I were standing at the edge of the water.  Mick came down and wrapped his arms around LA.  Seconds later, Wolf walked over and put his arms around me.  My heart melted into a puddle that mingled with the surf foam and was drawn out to sea by the receding waves.

I am reminded of the John Lennon song, “Beautiful Boy” every time I see Wolf.  He really is remarkable in a lot of ways, just like his mother.  Thanks for a perfectly delightful day, LA & Co!


Today marks yet another birthday…  I am now FIFTY-FREAKING-FIVE YEARS OLD.  I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is for me to believe that.  Lucky for me, it seems to be difficult for others to believe, as well.

During the last week of summer school, a student was talking to two of her friends about “cougars.”  She turned to me and asked if I was familiar with the term.  I replied, “Well, yes, I guess I am, considering that I’m married to a much younger man.”  They asked how old I am, and the look on their faces when I told them was priceless.  One exclaimed, “No you’re not!”  Another demanded that I produce my birth certificate.  The third further endeared herself to me by remarking that I look like I’m in my thirties.  Now I know that’s not true (see entry title), but it felt good to hear it, nonetheless.

Here’s this year’s birthday photo.   (My hair is a lot shorter than I’m accustomed to wearing it, but, believe it or not, this is three month’s growth after a particularly devastating haircut.)


My blog (I still have a hard time using that word) had a birthday recently, too.  I started an online journal (that’s what we called it back then) on August 21, 2001.   On September 23, 2001, I posted this entry about my reasons for creating an online journal:

Anatomy of a Diarist

Since my initiation into the Online Journal Club, I’ve been giving the genre a fair amount of thought.  Non-journalers tend to perceive the phenomenon as a “Dear Diary” sort of thing.  For all I know, some journalers approach it that way themselves.  But, that’s not how I see it. I feel more like a reporter whose subject just happens to be (for the most part) my life.  Of course, I don’t “report” in a New York Times fashion.  I don’t have that kind of training, and I don’t take myself that seriously.  I try to inject a little humor into my entries, and maybe even the occasional stab at pathos.  To me, this process is more akin to journalism or writing essays than it is to keeping a diary.  While I will discuss personal matters, it is not necessarily my intention to bare my soul.  Some things are just too private.

My reasons for writing are varied.  For one thing, I find that I don’t express myself as well vocally, having a tendency to get tongue-tied.  I like to consider what I’m going to say before blurting it out, and verbal conversations don’t afford me enough time to do that.  Writing gives me the opportunity to make more in-depth observations.  Often, writing will lead me to a better understanding of myself, and even an occasional revelation.  (R-E-F-L-E-C-T, find out what it means to me!)

Before taking the online journal plunge, I indulged the frustrated writer lurking within on a fairly regular basis in the form of letter writing.  Email is a vehicle I use on a daily basis.  I also used to exchange lengthy “snail mail” missives (25 pages and upward) with a friend in Pennsylvania. (Hi, Karen!)  Our correspondences were written in installments, and mailed at intervals of approximately every six months.  We included lots of photos, and found this a very satisfying way to stay in touch.

My writing method varies.  Sometimes my mood is light and casual; at others, it is bruised and introspective.   My entries are typically full of whining, joking, and boasting (usually about my kids).  During my darker moments, I find that writing about my feelings (and what causes them) really can be therapeutic.  This catharsis doesn’t exactly purge me of all negativity, but it does help to lessen my load considerably.  Sharing my triumphs and/or failures with an audience through an online journal lightens my burden even more.  Also, I recently read that writing lowers stress-related chemicals in the body, which is another good reason to allow myself this indulgence!

In closing, I’d like to share something Daniel told me quite some time ago, in reference to Alexander Solzhenitsyn, author of A Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch, and the staggering Gulag Archipelago.

“When Solzhenitsyn was writing in secret in Russia, paper was such a luxury to him.  Where we in the West have the freedom to scrawl haphazardly across a seemingly endless supply of paper, Solzhenitsyn literally could not waste a square inch of paper.  Every blank space had to be filled with his brilliance before he dared move on to another piece lest he run out of pages, and not transmit his profound thoughts to a world in desperate need of them.”

How humbling. Certainly, the world is not in desperate need of MY thoughts, so I am especially appreciative of those taking the time to read this.


Re-reading that entry makes me realize how much I used to depend on this form of release to manage stress.  It also makes me realize how much lighter my stress load is these days.  Oh sure, I still have chronic pain and financial burdens to deal with.  But there’s not nearly as much angst in my life as there was before.  After years of turbulence and heartache, I now have wonderful relationships with my daughters.   I am married to a kind, loving, supportive man who compliments me daily.  In short, I don’t have as much to get off my chest as I did in the past, which I suppose is why I don’t post here very often any more.

Still, it’s good to know that this place is here if I need it as a dumping ground, or even if I just want to drop in to say hello or show you some pictures.  Thanks for sticking around.  My world wouldn’t be the same without you.

Reading:  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Song of the Day:  Celebration by Kool and the Gang

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17 Responses to “My Eyelids Have Fallen and They Can’t Get Up”

  1. Jeanette said

    Happy Birthday to you. You look great! I love the ocean pictures. We spent a few days in Atlantic City a few weeks ago and I spent the majority of the day with my feet in the water! Love it and I am jealous that you live only 100 miles away from it!

  2. Alvin said

    Double Happy’s to you Steph, yeah, it’s been a long run. I started back in ’99 and surprised myself that I stuck it out this long. Blogs, journals, diaries, and we’re still here. Congrats and it has been great reading you all these years and I hope to keep on reading as you write. Hugs and again, Double Happy. Hey, 55, you’re just hitting the new thirties. Or so they tell me.
    =a=

  3. Stefani said

    Happy birthday! You definitely don’t look 55 and I know you don’t feel 55.

    I remember back when you had tumultuous relationships with your daughters. Those end-of-high-school years are tough on everybody. Thank goodness they don’t last forever! (Just feels like they’ll never end when in the thick of it, I know.)

    Glad you made it to the seashore!

  4. sasha said

    We’re both celebrating our journalversary this month! I know I’ve said this before many times but you really do look many many years younger. 🙂

  5. Jim said

    Happy Birthday!!!

    Gee, I feel like an old man, hanging out here with the young chicks. (My brother — my three year younger than me brother — is 63 today.)

  6. CBG Dee said

    Hey! Happy birthday, Stephanie! Hope the coming year gives you everything you need and a lot of what you want.

  7. Happy happy happy birthday, you sweet young thing! What a stroke of luck to run into LA — but I’m really not at all surprised. MWAH!

  8. Denise said

    Happy Birthday!!!!!!!

  9. mz. em said

    Ha, happy birthday. I just love it because no matter how old you get I’ll always be older.

    mz em

  10. Bex said

    Happy Birthday, Steph. You are like a beauty queen, with that big ear-to-ear smile across your beaming face.

    I’m crossing off the days (less than 8 months to go) til I turn 62 and can officially retire. I can’t wait!

    Many happy returns of the day.

  11. yaketyyak said

    Thanks, everybody! Your comments made my day extra special!

  12. terri t. said

    Happy Birthday again. You really don’t look 55. You have a great face….and a beautiful smile.

    How lucky for you to run into LA….you must have thought you were dreaming…or having a senior moment…LOL

  13. Happy Birthday Steph! As always, you look mah-ve-lous!

  14. Sunshyn said

    Yes, happy birthday! I’d rather go to the shore than the fair, any day. My husband and I will go back to the fair without the kid, though; maybe it will be better just us.

  15. LA said

    MWAH! Just made a link, so not fret about weird traffic spike, ‘kay? ~LA

  16. Stephanie said

    Thanks for the warning. Weird traffic spikes are fun. MWAH to you, too, my lovely!

  17. karenfromphilly said

    Happy Birthday to you Steph! I think we look the same as we did standing outside the City Center. 55 my eye!

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