Monday, November 11, 2013

Good Grief

Allie, the special pen, the ball and the man, himself. 
My Sharpie is running out of ink. It's not just any Sharpie. It's a special one. It is the pen we used when the girls were on Strawberry Seals swim team. The littlest swimmers didn't know where they were supposed to be. Sheila and the other moms marked their hands with the events they would swim in the meet. Sheila was very organized and marked the pens with a sticker that said "Seals".

Allie as a Strawberry Seal pup. 
Lana (and friend Cooper) with events listed on her hand.  
We ended up with one of those special pens. Some years later we took it to a professional tennis tournament in San Jose. Allie, then 14, had figured out how to get an autograph from Andy Roddick who was then hot, hot, hot. At just the right time, she went to just the right place. After Roddick won his match Allie was one of the lucky few to get to him. He signed a tennis ball with our Seals pen.

That experience foretold the future. Now Allie works in public relations in Los Angeles. She meets famous people for a living. In the past month she's met Jay Leno, Kerry Washington (who complimented her jacket), Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Hudson and I forget who else. Now it's all in a day's work for her, but we were extremely excited about Andy Roddick.

I still have the signed ball and I'm so sentimental that I still have the pen. I use it once in a while, but I recently noticed it was drying up. I kind of feel that way myself right now. This year has been a push on several levels and I think I've used up most of my ink.

Looking back, I'm trying to figure out how I became so depleted. Upon reflection, it’s not that perplexing. Our little friend, Tess, got sick. I work with kindergartners. I retooled back into real estate and got up to speed in the Marin and Sonoma markets. Looking at property, showing property, writing offers in a tough, tough market for buyers. Lana got married in March and I threw a reception for her in April. It was the most perfect day, but was a lot of work to plan and execute.

We got a puppy. Summer 2013 was supposed to be a time of getting to know the new puppy. Bonding. Training. Like any new mother I felt a bit overwhelmed. It was a whole new set of concerns layered upon all the other concerns that preceded her arrival. It also brought new concerns we hadn't considered. Pupparazzi, for one.

Taking Ruby out of the house was overwhelming. She was four pounds when we got her and all ears. It was impossible to go anywhere in public without being accosted. Workers ran out of their offices to meet her. People oohed and squealed and generally made fools of themselves. They whipped out their phones to take videos. It was charming, but draining.

Eric has had a difficult year at work. It's made an already stressful profession almost unbearable.  In August we lost Tess. How do you properly grieve for a six year old? Every time I felt sad and sorry for myself I thought about how much sadder and sorrier it was for her parents and siblings. That didn't stop me from being plenty sad and sorry. I still am, but trying to be grateful for what we have- not just what is missing.

And then there was Boyle. Planning the benefit for the courts took time and energy. It's always amazing that the help you expect doesn't materialize, but other people just show up. Like Marcella Savino and Scott Kintz.  We've brought in another 13 thousand with more checks promised. It looks like we may get a grant from the Outdoor Art Club for two thousand. That's good, but not good enough.  We still need to raise another hundred thousand and soon.

 A lot of my energy this year went to playing competitive tennis. At one point I was on four teams. Several of my teams went to playoffs. Two were in playoffs at the same time. I was captain of a mixed team and I was on my third year of being undefeated at that level. When I finally lost after 16 wins, it was a relief. It was such a relief I lost the next match as well.

My senior team was ranked number one out of 80 teams in our Nor Cal division. We went to the Sectionals, which is the last stop before Nationals. After 13 wins, no losses, our team ground to a halt. It was winnable. Two of our positions lost in third set super tiebreakers that we should have won. That hurts. As we've repeatedly learned, the pain of losing lasts far longer than the high of winning.

The day after we lost was last Sunday. Because we had no more matches the day was free. I could not remember a whole day with nothing planned. Such a relief to have the competition over, and no more for the rest of the year. We relaxed and took a hike with Ruby. We puttered around the house. It was wonderful.

I have had a lot on my mind. Too much to do in too little time. Too much doing for others and not enough "me" time.  I haven't been able to read a novel or do any writing. It's Veteran's Day and I don't have to work at the school this morning. The purpose of this day is not to revive and rejuvenate Wendy, but I think I we can work this out. I can stay in bed and read and write AND really appreciate the Veterans for all they’ve done. This is me trying.

When Mary and I were 14 her brother lost his life in Vietnam. Until I read her post today I didn’t know the details and that he had died in such a heroic way. Read Mary’s post below.
On this #VeteransDay, I post this in memory of my brother, Capt. Harold Faldermeyer, Army Ranger, 21ST DCAT, ADVISOR TEAM 51, MACV ADVISORS. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star while serving as Advisor, 2d Battalion, 32d Regiment, 21st Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He was killed in Vietnam, May 11, 1972. He was 24 years old.

“That day, the 2nd Battalion, which had been in heavy contact for two days without re-supply, was on an offensive operation against a firmly entrenched North Vietnamese Army Regiment to open Highway 13 to relieve the tightening ring of enemy forces around the beleaguered friendly forces at An Loc. Captain Faldermeyer, with disregard for his own safety, repeatedly throughout the day, exposed himself to enemy fire to direct a series of deadly effective tactical airstrikes against the enemy positions. At approximately 1030 hours the 2d Battalion was attacked by at least one NVA reinforced battalion. Captain Faldermeyer, as the ground controller for U.S. air assets, with single minded determination to accomplish the mission and at great risk to his life, moved under heavy enemy mortar fire across Highway 13 to a vantage point from which to direct and coordinate friendly airstrikes. His position was extremely perilous as he was exposed on three sides with
the remainder of his unit across Highway 13. Despite intense enemy mortar and rocket fire, Captain Faldermeyer remained at this position with extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty at the cost of his life.”