Tag Archives: memory

Remembering and missing my friend Deimos

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One year ago today I lost my friend Deimos. I’m reminded almost daily of his goofy, confident, noisy Presence.

I miss a herd of hounds rushing down the stairs to meet me at the door, Old Greybeard in the lead. I miss that he was so excited for walks or going anywhere in the car, that he wouldn’t stand still to hook up the lead. I miss having a buddy to say with strategic snout placement and that weird low greyhound woof, “Hey, you’ve worked enough, get off the computer!” I miss a not-so-secret 75 lbs of sneaking up onto the bed on chilly nights. Most of all I miss the individual soul that left such a gaping hole behind.

The story of Deimos:

Guilty TV, various shades of blue, and what to do with celeriac

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Ahh. Guilty pleasures: Biggest Loser and Parenthood on Hulu. I’ve hardly watched any TV at all this summer, but now at least I have a few things to watch other than The Daily Show, to shut my brain off once in a while. And soon: Glee.

We’ve had such a beautiful warm Fall. And we deserve it after the long, cold, crappy spring and subsequent very short summer. Today I hiked Pilot Butte at lunch and every time I got to the west side I was amazed at the clarity of the mountains against the endless blue sky. I should get out in it every day, because so soon it will be biting cold. And/or snowing.

I’ve been a little down these last few days. Not sure what it is: Change of season? Finally slowing down a little with no travel planned? Processing and reacting to the culture clash of the Portland vegan world versus my everyday world? Extra time on my hands and time to myself because the kids are back home? Something seems a little empty, a little off. It will probably right itself one of these days.

In the meantime, I’ll keep baking bread {like the aromatic kalamata olive bread that just came out of the oven}, and loving on my hubby and animals. Also, I bought celeriac at the farmer’s market today, just to try something new—it smells so good! Can’t wait to use it in a soup or maybe a slaw, which was a suggestion from the stand worker.

Thinking about Tomoko

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My mind is on Japan today. How could it not be? And I’ve been thinking about Tomoko. Tomoko was my roommate in my sophomore year of college. At the time, roommates were assigned by the college in what I assume was a somewhat random fashion.

Sophomore year, I was hoping for somebody that I had more in common with than my morose freshman year roommate, somebody I could hang out with, somebody who was more like me. Instead, I was given a Japanese exchange student. Which pissed me off.

Tomoko was very shy, and a few years older than the typical sophomore. I was shy and under-confident as well, which made sharing the extraordinarily small room awkward. And because I was annoyed that she wasn’t what I thought I wanted in my romantic idea of a college roommate, I made absolutely no effort to befriend her. Here she was in a foreign country, in a tiny Oregon town, with only a small group of other foreign exchange students from Japan that had traveled with her, none of whom seemed to be overtly friendly with her. To make matters worse, there was another Tomoko in the group: a beautiful, young, outgoing girl—and of course to compare and contrast them was natural. My roommate was always, the other Tomoko.

I made virtually no attempt to get to know my roommate that year. As a result, I don’t remember her last name and I don’t remember what part of Japan she was from. I didn’t include her in my plans, or take her to the coast, or out to eat, or to hang out with friends. I pretty much ignored her. And I made no attempt to stay in touch with her after the school year ended. And for all of that, I am deeply ashamed. Most of that year I spent hanging out with a new boyfriend, who later betrayed me in many ways, including cheating on me with the outgoing Tomoko (not my roommate). If I have any defense at all for my actions, I also found out that fall that my mom had Ovarian Cancer and my world was suddenly upended. Immaturity + life upheaval = bitch, I guess.

Karma bit me back a few years later when I went to Spain as an au pair (nanny). The family in Madrid that I lived with had used an agency to cheaply hire many “girls” over the years. They didn’t include me in their plans, take me many places (I can’t say none), or treat me as part of the family. It became clear that I was there to do one thing: speak English with the kids. And yet, there were other au pairs, young Spaniards affiliated with the au pair program, and students in my community Spanish classes, who did befriend me that year, and for whom I’ll always be grateful. I made little attempt to keep in touch with them after we all left Spain though. See any kind of pattern here?

Regret is a funny thing, and although I’ve thought of Tomoko over the years, and I’ve thought of Japan over the years, I’ve never really felt as badly about the way I treated Tomoko as I do right now, when her country is in shambles. I hope she has had a great life full of true friends. And that wherever she is in the world right now, that she is safe.