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Sunday, March 25

surfacing, crashing, reflecting.

I sort of hit wall a couple of months ago. Kinda understandable considering that life got eerily quiet after 14 months of drama, illness and loss. I spent about 2 months staring at the wall. Russell thought I was being hypnotized by the new big TV, but basically my butt felt like it was being held to the chair by a big magnet under the cushion. I played a lot of Bubble witch on my laptop, got addicted to FaceBook, took out dozens of library books that collected dust. Then I suddenly popped up, coughed up dust, did a couple of stretches to loosen the knots and life came back to normal.

Then I heard the crash.

Let me preface this by saying our van died a couple of months ago and so we had to get a new work truck. We got a pretty Pilot, low miles considering it is 4 years old. But it is new to us and we were in the throes of "new" car infatuation. Washing it, dusting it, not letting the dogs in, You know. We still used my little Beetle for most trips because of gas mileage. Other than some ripped upholstery and brakes that bounced when you stopped fast, that little car as still doing its best 12 years after I got it. We thought our car situation was stable.

Then I heard the crash.

It was one of those oddly warm March days the Northeast has been having so the windows were open. Russ was in the kitchen doing dishes, I was in the living room working on applications. Suddenly, there was this loud, extended crash that I hoped was the dumpster truck for the apartment building across the street but it was too loud and too scary sounding for that. I called to Russ asking what it was and he answered "He hit all our cars!" and I heard the screen door slam behind him. I ran after him and had trouble processing what I saw. A neighbors car was smashed from behind and had rammed my Beetle, driving it into the Pilot which was tucked against a light pole. Russ jumped into my smooshed Beetle to go after the crasher who had, of course, taken off. The Beetle left a tail of fluid. I stood there like a stone. He didn't catch him.

The Pilot just had a creased bumper that we were able to fix pretty cheaply. My car was totaled, as was the neighbor's car. She did not have collision insurance. Thankfully, I did and they were surprisingly generous with the settlement, so I was able to get newer car for little cost to me and it gets 38 MPG. It's a Honda Fit which is tiny but looks like an SUV that was washed and shrunk. I love it. I wish I was rich so I could buy a car for my neighbor. I feel really bad for her. She just bought the car a couple of months ago, She stood there on the street staring at the devastation, her face a mask. I don;t know what she is going to do. She doesn't have much money. I really want to find that guy.

So, after all the hassle with the insurance companies and car salesmen (that's a topic for another post), life settled back to normal and it was time for my first show. The Small Press Book Fair. It is held at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum just a couple of blocks from our house. And it is all books, book arts, printing, etc. It is Nirvana for me. I love it. The show is big and draws a surprisingly large crowd for such a narrow focused theme. We get just 4 feet of a table and we are lined up back to back with little breathing room. I am inspired by the young artists who make books from clip boards and cereal boxes and old quilts. The technique is pretty rough but the creativity and spirit of them is electric. I love it.

I sat at my table and reflected how it as just one year before. I was in chemo, had cotton candy hair, was blind in one eye from retina surgery. At that show I lost the contact that I was wearing in my only good eye and it was hysterically funny and scary at the same time. How we found that lens an hour later and soaked it back to a pliable state still astounds me. I was doing the show alone and had to schlepp the boxes and displays myself and I just wasn't as strong as I thought. Some friends saw me struggling and took over, loading my car for me, making sure I was OK. This year I dashed around the big hall, folding chairs and carrying them to the front, back and forth without a thought. Last year I told myself that I would come out of all this OK, I'd be back to normal. And you know, even my hair is back to normal, as thick and wavy and unruly as ever. :)

I'm going to focus on that. On returning to life after loss. On gratitude.

And then I am gonna find that guy....