Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Here it is New Year's Eve and I am sitting here alone, Tess has already gone to bed, but she requested if I am up when the ball drops,that I wake her. I told her I would record it and she could pretend it was happening whenever she watched it. Then she became insistent that I wake her if I am up. I was not planing on watching the ball drop. Enough balls drop daily in my life.
Tess had some x-rays done this week. They were hard on her but her primary doctor wanted them so we did that.
Back in October, I was in a minor fender bender. Well, not exactly my fender, his... yes. He hit me as I was driving by the post office. He was exiting it. My car ran and I was in no hurry to get it repaired, so I waited a couple of months to take it to the body shop. Last week it was raining like hell and the window(on the side that was hit) would not stay up, I was more or less forced to take it in.
The body shop gave me a loaner car #1. Nice of them. Really, it was. I have ins. that would have covered the rental of a nice new car but the loaner car #1 was convenient. I am into convenient. They did put in a new battery.
First time I go to use the car, it has a dead battery. NO problem. I called them, they came out immediately and jumped it. Started right up. Good to go.
A few days later I wanted to go to the store. You guessed it. DEAD. I used Ace's truck to run my errands and life went on without a glitch.
Monday morning, the day Tess had the x-rays scheduled, I called the body shop to let them know the battery died again. They bring me Loaner #2. A low rider type car with shiny rims and those small tires, smells like a Las Vegas circa 1990- when they allowed smoking in the casinos. Every time I get into that car I wonder how I smoked for as long as I did. I am sure my car smelled like Loaner # 2. The guy who brought it out to me said it was his personal car. Personal ashtray. The top speed you should drive in the ashtray is about 20MPH. Ace told me 35MPH was too fast.
After nearly two weeks away from the gym I was finally able to go back. I really missed the workouts and was happy to be able to go again. I love this gym and the people who work there are so much fun.
In the past I have joined gyms and then never wanted to go. I think it was usually around this time of year too. The busy years when gyms just seemed to never fit my schedule or I never had the desire to go workout or both. A lot of my friends are members of various gyms and my BFF, Tia, is a health nut so I am surrounded label readers. That is what I call them, the ones who watch every carb they ingest. They block the store isles reading the backs of potato chip bags.
I went to Costco today. Trust me, I would never go there on a day before a holiday if it wasn't 100% necessary. Tess needed me to pick up a medication she could not wait until Friday for. Sheesh. The lines were insane. The guy in front of me bought a new HP computer and a lot of other office supplies. His bill was about $1100. and he pulls out this brown paper lunch bag and proceeds to pull out a wad of money. All small bills. OMG. I busted up laughing. My chicken tenders just about thawed. That whole deal took about 20 minutes to complete. The checker and he kept passing this one poor $5 dollar bill back and forth. He refused to take his change too. Weird.
Back to my week. I have been reading Spiritual Liberation by Michael Bernard Beckwith which has inspired me to jot down a few things that I would like to affirm for myself in 2009. I made a short list of feelings I would like to experience more and just a general way of life I would like to embrace.
I live my life feeling.....
Happy New Year
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Now, if I owned these dogs things would have been decorated a little more.
Better than those dogs decorating for us was the surprise that Max and his wife snuck in and set up in the back yard while we slept. Max made the tree top decoration. He also made gigantic ones to hang in the huge pepper tree all year long. He is going to hang them next week and then I will post another picture.
We always get together as a family on Christmas Eve. When Max and Ace were little their dad would take them skiing the week after Christmas leaving on Christmas day so Christmas Eve as my time with my sons has kind of stuck. I am sure it will change when grandchildren enter the picture. Everyone has more or less been flexible with the holiday celebrations and dinners.
So last night, we had Lasagna, salad, ravioli and some great sparkling pear cider. There was a wonderful tray of goodies. Since I haven't been eating goodies in two months, I will tell you although I thoroughly enjoyed the few I indulged in, well, they made me a little sick. My tummy totally rejected it. They sent the tray of goodies home with us but it will be slowly picked at and only until the new year begins. Diet time again. I learned my lesson last night.
I got a magic bullet. The one for food. LOL I wanted one and now smoothies are going to be a snap.
Great fun was had by all and we were home and in bed by 9 PM. I cannot ever remember being in bed on Christmas Eve before 2AM.
Today I put on my red night gown and will stay in in all day. I may watch TV or just climb back in bed and take a nice nap.
I wish all of you a beautiful and safe day. Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 22, 2008
My dog stays pretty close to me. He is a beautiful black lab, Johnny. He will be 13 tomorrow.
We taught him some hand signs when he was younger and now that he can't hear anymore he still is able to tell when I want him to go out or when his dinner is ready. Johnny has always just instinctively known that when someone drops something he is to pick it up. I cannot remember specifically training him to do so but I know he was rewarded for all good behaviors so maybe it has to do with all the positive reinforcements. Once in a great while he will see Tess drop her cane and get up and retrieve it for her.
What used to be really great was if the remote control fell off the bed on a cold night and I would hear his little licence jingle as he got up to find it. He is showing his age, he no longer wakes up when something hits the floor.
When he was an adolescent dog he learned to turn off the lights from a wall switch. That trick always impressed everyone.
Mostly he is just our dear sweet Johnny. He is extremely patient, well behaved, and loyal. Not only is he is tolerant of other dogs but he single handily taught granddog how to be a good girl. Granddog came along when Johnny was 4 and he rode herd on her letting he know what was expected dog behavior around our house. As you can see, that could not have been easy for Johnny. She is a really active dog. She is very different from Johnny. She is so food driven, she would turn herself inside out trying to get to a treat. Johnny will have none of it.
Tess tells me that whenever I leave the house to run an errand he howls and kind of whimpers. He is mostly an indoor dog but when I am gone he waits outside for me or lays on the inside of the door. I wonder if other dogs do this? I wonder what he does when we are both gone? I bet he howls. LOL This is starting to feel like an attachment disorder.
Johnny is a great dog, he tolerates us just fine. I imagine he wishes we would have taken him for more walks, but then, I wish I would have taken him for more walks. I bet we both would be getting around a little better now if I had.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Type the answer to the following questions into Google Image, then pick from the first page.
Age at my next birthday:
Place I'd like to travel:
Place I've been: Mexico Pyramids
Place I was born: Pueblo, Colorado
Place I live: OC
Name of past pet:
Best friend’s nickname:
My first name:
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
For the most part, everything I attend to is within three miles of my home, but most things are just a block or two away.I have for the most part lived in big cities but I have never lived in the center of a big city before. Emphasis on center.
I gas up my car an average of every five weeks, it isn’t a hybrid, and by today’s standards it’s not exactly fuel efficient. I own it and it gets me where I need to go. There are plenty of gas stations nearby, some with car washes and convenience stores attached.
I have an office in my home that I can work out of and a friend has an office less than a block away that I can use if need be. I don’t require much to work efficiently and comfortably.
I reside nearly smack dab in the heart of my city, I live in what is called 'The Colony'. My house was built in 1911. There is a lot of activity in my neighborhood everyday. Saturdays are the quietest unless there is a carnival or Civil war enactment happening that weekend. Those cannons go off all day long that special weekend. Johnny and Oh Well eventually get used to the loudness of it but it does disturb their all day napping.
I hear sirens everyday. There are a lot of wrecks up on the main street and quite a few car chases. I am only reminded of the country when I hear gunshots. We don't have any deer or pheasants here so it is never good news. Police helicopters invade my much sought after silence at the most inopportune times. The hospital is less than a mile up the street. Dozens of doctor’s offices in close proximity too.
I can ride my bike to Walmart(not a superstore) if I need to buy something small. The pet store is in the same parking lot. I will not be riding my bike and backpacking 8 pounds of cat food again, at least not until I have worked up to it or get a bigger basket on my bike.
The huge Catholic Church(big heartbeat of the community) across the street has at least 15 different services a week. I am pretty sure half of the services are in Spanish and half in English, oh and one in Vietnamese. I hear the church bells ringing all day long, only I don’t notice them often any more as they have blended into the sounds of my city. I wish they were on the hour so they made sense to my non-Catholic self but they ring at weird times. Parking space on my block on Sundays is a hot ticket. My car stays put on Sundays.
I ride my bike on the church parking lot because if they aren't having a service then it is a safe convenient place that I have deemed my personal track. I can ride for at least 30 minutes without worrying about any cars. Ace helped me put new tires on my bike yesterday so I can start riding my bike again. Remember I want to loose 50 pounds in six months. Ace lives on the other side of the alley and over one house. Sweet having grown son so close.
The church also has a food bank open daily throughout the week. Now that place is interesting. On Thursdays, they give out vegetables and fruits and anyone can go. You don't have to be needy to go on Thursday. I have been over there several times and am impressed with how much they give to everyone. I will blog about this another time. I know most of the people that work there and I keep a watchful eye on it at night.
My gym, Curves shares the same parking lot as my preferred "big" grocery store, just up the street, along with the local Chinese and Japanese fast food franchises. Pizza parlors, cleaners, hair salon and drugstore. UPS too.
There are three Starbucks within a mile of my front door. I choose not to spend my money latte’ing it up and besides what I brew, is a little better. Juice It Up, Juiced Up, etc. are galore. I drink Mona Vie so no Juice places for me.
Just within a mile of my front door, there are all of the following burger places: Mac Donald’s, Jack n the Box, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. and the neighborhood Varsity Burger. The high school is less than a block from my back door. If I am in the mood for Mexican food I have at least 8 different taco joints to choose from.
In the same parking lot as the local steak house (been there about 30-40 years) is a huge Asian Market. They have the best veggies, as well as a huge variety of mushrooms and tropical fruits. There are two full live lobster tanks. Five Asian restaurants are scattered throughout the same parking lot. My favorites are the Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. I go to eat at off times or get it to go mostly because they are so crowded besides it’s more convenient for me.
Don’t get me going on the donut shops. I have only been to one of them and then only one time. Donuts aren’t my thing anymore. However, I would eat them if they were lying around. Tess calls them her depression food. I don’t buy them anymore.
Two major freeways within 2 miles. Thankfully, I cannot hear the traffic from them. One time I lived backed up to a freeway. OMG was that ever filthy, smoggy, and even nosier than now. I am glad I have to drive at least three blocks if I want to get on the freeway.
Nearer to home, if I could not see it from my kitchen window I would not believe it, stands a Military Academy. It backs right up the next to the church and is complete with all the little uniformed boys marching daily on the field. It used to be the orphanage back in the day. Fabulous architecture.
Some of the cadets live there during the school year and still make use of the old dormitories from the orphanage. Sometimes when I go walking in the evening one of the young boys will wave to me through an open window. He has a sad lonely look, I always smile and wave excitedly at him, he smiles sweetly. I used to threaten Ace with this place…what was wrong with me? It's hard for me to think I would have ever threatened such a thing. He was a handful though.
City Hall, fire department, police station complete with helicopter pad, public library, community, senior and youth centers and at least 5 public parks are all within walking distance. We have farmer’s market once a week in the downtown section. I think it may just be a summer to fall thing. Gas Co., Electric Co., and phone co. all next to each other too. All the cell and mobile phone companies are there too. I pay my utilities online so it really doesn’t make any difference to me how close they are. There are two post offices nearby. Did I mention the local museum? Right there too. Train station? Yep. I hear the whistle at night.
There is an abundance of financial institutions within a stone’s throw. Believe it or not, I have to drive to my bank. One of my banks was taken over last month so I can soon go to the bank in the Curves parking lot. This made me happy, it was good news.
Nearly every weekend, one of my neighbors has some sort of a party. Tess sits out on the back porch and has enjoyed the sounds of many a live band. Mariachi type bands mostly playing festive upbeat music. Lot’s of laughter fills the air. It is really kind of neat. I like it when people are enjoying themselves.
One morning I looked out my back window and saw this. I knew we were in for a celebration that would last well into the night. Sure nuff, they partied all day and a little longer. At first I thought CaptnDyke had landed and was coming for a visit.
Just like a cherry on top of the sundae, my day just wouldn't be complete if every night at 9:30 I didn't hear the fireworks from the local amusement park...the good part is if I want to I watch them from my back yard I can.
Oh yeah, there are 7 lesbians that I know of on my block. Not much drama either.
Every time I hear Neil Diamond sing Beautiful Noise I am reminded to appreciate all the city sounds of my city and living here fits me right now. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
What's it like where you live?
Friday, December 5, 2008
A couple of nights ago, there was an unusual amount of fear, sadness and pain hovering around in my house. The air was heavy.
Tess is having a lot more doctor’s appointments and they are very difficult for us to accomplish. Just getting ready for any appointment requires more physical exertion than Tess has. She is for the most part housebound. Getting her to and from the appointments causes a lot of wear and tear on both of us. The day after even a simple blood test is cause for increased pain. We are close to needing medical transport assistance. Believe me; I will use them when the time comes.
Anyway, it was the evening of a ‘doctor day’. As I looked over at Tess, I could see the pain in her eyes and the sadness in her face. Her mouth began to quiver and I just told her to come let me hold her. When you have been emotionally intimate with someone for over 25 years, you know when she cannot endure much more and I knew she could not take much more.
I told her I wanted her be safe in my arms and that I would meet her in bed. She could be vulnerable and let go of some of the fear she has been feeling. I would take care of her and she could feel protected.
I let Johnny out for a final yard call, closed up the house and I still beat Tess into the bedroom. As I waited for her, I was flooded with memories. We have been through so much in the past few years. I smiled. Meeting Tess in bed brought back wonderful memories. There was nowhere else in the world I would rather be that in bed with Tess even though, now all we mostly do is sleep there. There was always such love and safety in our bed.
She looked all hunched over as she sat on the side of the bed. My heart hurt for her, I could feel her sadness. I crawled across the bed and wrapped my arms and legs around her placing my head on her shoulder. She let go of a huge sob, and then another. “Oh, Rose, What is going to happen to me?” It was all I could do to keep my own tears in check. I knew her question was rhetorical, and I held her tightly and whispered softly, “Be here now.” Her body heaved and she cried hard, I could tell they were old tears. Those tears were long overdue and for the longest time, there was no need for either of us to speak. We held silently to the present we were completely absorbed by the NOW.
I found this after I wrote today. I cried my eyes out while I watched it. Just sharin'
Friday, November 28, 2008
Okay, I lied. I did try blowing the last egg (#24) and quickly was reminded of the definition of insanity...you know the one I mean. Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
I am now left wondering if maybe I boiled the eggs in the wrong kind of pan, but, I will never really know the answer since I don't think I will ever attempt the NO Peel way again.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I thought I was boiling them all wrong but, really, how could that be? Too long, too hard, wrong pan, not enough water, cooled wrong, cooled too slow, etc. I have actually worried about this. Then the light bulb went off. Google it. I found this little video and I am optimistic that the whole experience will be better than a high school science experiment. Or maybe not.
I will let you know how it works out.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Stop Getting Phone Books
I guess in rural areas some people still use them but for the most part if you know how to Google I bet you don't use one.
On another green note.....I have not used a paper plate in 2 years and I am working on letting go of paper towels.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I am from the 6th Street home in Colorado. The small house with the grey flowered wool carpet, the wringer washer in the basement and the aroma of Grandma’s fresh baked oatmeal cookies filling the air.
I am from the sweet potato with the toothpicks holding it in water in the Mason jar so that it would vine, the hollyhocks in the back yard and the full vases of fragrant sweet peas sitting on the old bookcase in the parlor.
I am from fruitcake baking and eating people. I am from the kind of people who would sit around the table talking while shelling pounds of walnuts and pecans. I am from Collins, Barnes, and Leach people.
I am from baseball people and military men.
I am from brave hardworking men who were in the Civil War and from men who worked on the railroad. I am from humble women who sewed, baked, gardened and had big families. I am from women who endured floods, and lived through having Small Pox.
I am from God-fearing people, hymn-singing people who in addition to Sunday services also attend Wednesday night prayer meetings at the local Baptist Church. I am from other people who did not go to church, people who worked in Cigar stores and played pool. I am from a mix of good people; some were kinder and gentler than others were.
I am from a family who not only expected but also enjoyed fried chicken every Sunday for supper. I am from a gang of chili lovers where mostly everyone agreed the more chili powder the better.
From the chain-link fence that I scaled the first day it was put up, from the swimming pool at Golden Gate Park where I became a junior lifeguard and the from the lugs of fresh peaches that would soon be made into pies.
I am from locks of hair tied with pink ribbon neatly tucked away in Mom’s old jewelry box that she hid in the bottom of her laundry basket. Even though we never had any robbers, it was the place where they would not think to look for her most sentimental processions like my baby teeth and the locks of my baby hair.
I am not sure anymore where I first heard about this writing exercise but if you would like to use the template....here it is Where I Am From.
If you use the template please link it back to me so I can read it.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
My chiropractor told me that she didn’t think I would be able to go to the gym for a least a week. She massaged my muscles a little before the adjustment and told me I felt like I was firming up. That made me feel great because I had really been putting my all into each workout. I will miss the workouts, which is something that surprises me.
Son Max took me to the appointment yesterday and we stopped for Thai Food on the way home. Spicy coconut chicken soup was perfect. I love Thai Food. There are four Thai restaurants within a two-mile radius of my house. Life is good.
Son Ace took me to my appointment today and we had a mahi mahi sandwich for lunch. We ate in a burger joint but I avoided the beef. The fish was a nice change. It wasn’t like eating in Hawaii but it was nice not to have to cook. There was a seafood restaurant next door which would have been a better choice for the fish.
I canceled all my appointments for today and spread them out over the rest of the week. I am thankful Tess doesn’t have any doctor’s appointments this week because driving would be a tough thing to do, besides helping her up and down the stairs or in and out of the car would have been next to impossible for me to do. I am having another adjustment myself tomorrow and I hope to have progressed enough to skip Thursday.
I am feeling much better. The pain is more centralized and less intense. I am off to bed now and I hope I sleep better than I have the last few nights.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
When I talked to her, she told me that she was taking a walk with her mother and that the neighborhood was on lock down because of the looters. Her uncle is a member of the SWAT team and he is checking on them so they feel relatively safe.
For the last three years, I have played Fantasy Sports with my two sons. Max, my oldest son, invited me to play when they needed someone to fill a league (I am sure I was their last pick) and I have continued to play every year since then. Many of the people that work at or attend his gym are in the league so you can imagine how competitive they all are. Most of them have worked in some way or another with professional athletes so they eat, breathe and sleep ball. Our league is through Yahoo, and we play football, basketball and baseball. I only play so I can be involved with Max and Ace as I have plenty of other things that suck my time away. If there is ever a lull in the conversation we can talk about sports. I understand sports but I do not know any of the professional players anymore so I play according to the statistical information available which is usually enough to keep me semi competitive. If you have never played in a fantasy league, I want to tell you I have had a lot of fun and it just takes a few minutes to set a roster for the week. Would I do it if my sons were not in my league? Honestly, no….just one of those things a mother does to stay close to her sons.
I have been thinking about how I hurt my neck. It could have happened at the gym or maybe when I had a violent sneezing jag. It really doesn’t matter. All I know is that I had the worst night’s sleep I have ever had in my life. I could not find a comfortable position and if I relaxed, too much the pain was too intense for me to remain still. It sucked. I watched the fire coverage almost all night. I iced it, iced it, and iced it. Ace is going to drive me to the doctors tomorrow, as I cannot turn my head to the left. I would not want to attempt to drive myself.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I did some stretching and settled down with a cup of coffee and my computer but distraction came in the form of the strong smell of smoke. We have been having Santa Ana winds nearly 70 mph. I grabbed my camera and went outside to see what the sky looked like. I knew the fire would be miles away up in the canyons.
This is about 10:30 am.
I took some ibuprofen, grabbed a few icepacks and headed back to bed. I could not lie down. I could not push through the pain. Eventually, I figured out a way to crawl into my bed and have the icepacks situated so that they were hitting all the hot spots of pain.
The phone rang just as I was beginning to drift off and I could hear a very panicky Natalie wanting to know if I knew where Ace (youngest son) was. Her family home was in the path of the fire and she wanted him to drive his truck to help with the evacuation. She was at work and heading towards her home. I had not talked to Ace but I told her I would track him down. I got up and walked around the corner to see if his truck was there. I knocked loudly on his back door, waking him up and I told him what was going on with the crazy out of control fire.
Ace is studying to be a firefighter. He moved with lightening speed, phone, TV, clothes all simultaneously attending to each. Once he saw the hellish flames on TV, he was out the door and on his way to help his fiancées family. I felt scared when he left and thought about all those families that send their children off to war. That has to be one of the most difficult feelings one can go through. Within minutes, Ace called me and told me it there was smoke and he could see flames in the direction he was heading. I told him to focus on his driving because there would be people driving crazy to get to their homes. He assured me he would keep me in the loop.
I watched TV, Googled maps of the area and I could see that the fire was getting closer to Natalie’s home. I called Ace because I figured they would not be sitting around watching TV. He did not answer but called me right back. He told me that area he was in had not been ordered to evacuate yet.
I went back outside to take a few more pictures and wait.
I went back to watching the live reports on TV. I heard the evacuation zone’s boundaries and my heart sank. I called Ace again and he told me they were loading up the cars and getting out of there. I went outside and inspected the falling ashes.
After Ace got down the hill he called me and gave me a little more of a blow by blow description of what it was like at Natalie’s home. He said conditions changed quickly and when they left her home, the fire was only about a block away. Ace told me that he heard explosion after explosion as he drove away from the area.
It will be interesting to find out his thoughts being a firefighter after seeing first had how fickle fires are, and that they take whatever they want along their destructive path.
Here is the sun at about 2pm. No more blue skies.
The news reports there is no water pressure up there. System design failure. That is a very difficult concept to understand. The winds are not dying down and the region is dry. People are in a panic, overcome with smoke, abandoning their cars on the freeways.
Ace is safe. I don’t know if Natalie’s family home made it unscathed or not. I will have to report on that later as I need to lie down now.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I never realized how busy I have become lately until I finally sit down to write something to add to my blog. I have time to read others blogs and leave comments but to finish a story seems almost impossible with all the other priorities I have. I have no less than five drafts about different things I wanted to share. I get so many interruptions and it could be hours before I get back to blogging. Sometimes I am just to tired to make much sense.
Tess had a couple of doctor’s appointments last week and with that came a slew of referrals. I am grateful that with this new insurance program she will finally get some of the medical assistance she so desperately needs. She is scared because she knows that means several different surgeries and months of physical therapy. As I know more about what she is facing I will post about it.
I went to the gym five times this past week. I made a commitment to myself to loose 50 lbs in six months. My eating is out of control and I am not practicing any kind of will power. Luckily, I don’t buy sweets but I still eat too much. I am hoping that I quit self-sabotaging really sucks. I have really only dieted once in my life and although I was successful I did it with a special friend and this time I am on my own. I am struggling and so Curves is where I am beginning to feel supported.
My caregivers support group is over this next week. It was a small group of only nine participants. The facilitators were well prepared with tips on how to take care of ourselves while we are care giving. It is not uncommon for caregivers to put themselves last. The facilitators always brought the focus back on us and off the loved one we are taking care of. The group members made a weekly individual action plan and were accountable the next week for what we planned for ourselves. Several weeks my plan was to exercise. I am concerned I will not be as committed since I won’t have the group. All I can think of is to be accountable here.
My personal therapy is a good reminder to do things that bring me joy. Most Friday evening I go to dinner with my long time best friend. That brings me joy. Okay, sometimes it is bittersweet because I wish Tess were able to go out occasionally. I love going out with my BFF and Tess wants me to do anything I can to enjoy myself. One day I will write about my BFF and if she gives me permission, I will tell her story of family abandonment because of her sexuality.
I took Tess to a nice lunch after one of her doctor’s appointments. I am not sure she even enjoyed one minute of it, as it was such a fiasco getting her in and out of the car and using the bathroom. Most movement triggers her pain. On top of that, the whole thing is so reminiscent of my mother’s failing health that it is eerie for me at times. Before my mother died, she was in a lot of pain when she walked too. When I take Tess out she uses a wheel chair, at home she uses a walker.
I feel like I just babbled but I wanted to write something before another week comes and goes.
Be good to yourself.
Yes We Can!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
I read two blogs for about a year. That was really all I made time for and they were enough to give me an escape from my day-to-day life. I did so miss the country. I never considered having my own blog at that time. Eventually I clicked on a link that led me to a female artist’s blog. JudithHeartsong Not only did I think her art was fun and whimsical but in that blog I found a strong woman who had left an abusive husband and now lived with her soul mate. My gaydar spiked, and yes, I was right. Now blogging was getting interesting I was starting to find my people.
She told her story of starting over and leaving her abusive past where it belonged. By then, I was thinking of having my own blog. I started a journal on AOL. I invited my family members and friends to view it. I found myself posting things like flowers in my yard. For a variety of reasons, I did not want to blog about my personal life. Maybe it was because I had connected it to my email address and I did not want to be so visible to people I had worked with. Nonetheless, my AOL blog was boring and thank God, AOL closed all their journals a couple of days ago.
Back to the artsy blog….One month she posted a contest, she was having so that her readers could share their creative minds. I did not enter as I do not consider myself an artist and certainly, I could not write like those who entered the contests. The next month, another contest, I did not enter , and so on until one day, she had a contest about vegetables (and if we considered tomatoes a vegetable, we could enter something artistic about them). OMG I had something to enter so I entered a clip I made that featured my cat, Digit and a tomato. To my surprise, I won.
I wish Judith would begin her contests again. They were fun to think about and read.
Here is my artsy award:
I began clicking on blog lists on each site I was reading and eventually I had found more of my people. Women who loved women and wrote about it, I was hooked on several sites and little by little, more fun blog reads were added. I am not sure if Pioneer Woman’s site lead me to Doc's Sunrise Rants or if I found Hahn at Homefirst but I love to read the everyday thoughts of these two women who are not afraid to speak their minds. I learned words like asshat and f*cktard from Doc. Even then, with my new vocabulary words I still did not start a blog. I was just about as depressed as one could get and reading the blogs was the highlight of my day.
Eventually I began reading BearsMountain. I remembered the struggle I had leaving my 14 year marriage and upsetting my son’s lives. I remembered how exciting my first relationship with a woman was. I was only 16, she was 17 and it was as if we found each other at the perfect times in our lives. Our relationship only lasted the summer between my junior and senior year (she went away to college) but I will never forget how much we needed each other that summer. We were both only children and we seemed to fill an emptiness that made us complete. More about this later…perhaps. It was a good summer.
Old Crone (BearsMountain) wrote something about how in real life she never had as many people that related to her as she did online. I could see from her comments that others were supporting her and the difficult decisions she is trying to make. I wish blogging were something that was available 40 years ago because I think it would have saved me a lot of pain, and just maybe, I would have been able to find more of my people. I felt so unsupported back then.
To be continued...
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here is the original post that asks the question. http://donna-justme.blogspot.com/2008/10/why-did-you-start-blogging.html
Picture this, eBay, early 1998. They had chat boards and discussion boards on various subjects relating to your interests. The chat board where I participated was chucked full of the brightest most opinionated people I ever had the pleasure to read. For the most part, I learned more from that board than I did my entire college education. It was like a crash course in reality. Mostly well-read posters from all over the United States and we were instantly communicating. It was a novel experience for most of us. For some it pre-dated IMing.
There was always someone who was an expert on this or that and more than willing to share everything they knew about their specialty. Many knew a lot about a wide range of topics. It was an interesting place to spend time. I do not care what you wanted to know, these chatter’s were researching maniacs. Whatever happened in our lives that chat board was constant. It was a daily priority to read and for the most part, it was usually a supportive and safe place to post. I am sure many good close friendships began there. I met an old- time poster for lunch last month. I introduced her to Thai Food and of course, she liked it. Well, what’s not to like?
Over the years, I have continued to check in there especially whenever anything interesting happens in the real world and sometimes I check in ‘just because’. Everyone was going through something different and yet we were all connected by a common interest. I knew that board was a microcosm of the real world and I thought it fascinating to read. Whenever there were tornadoes, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, fires, politics, 911, etc, we all were anxious to hear from those we knew could be in harms way. There are a lot of us old time posters that still lurk even if we do not actively post. That particular chat board will probably always be one that I read for the rest of my life.
Anyway, a few years ago someone that eBay chat board posted a link to a blog, My Country Life. I had just returned home from a year in NY where I lived in the country and I was yearning for new of the country life. Besides I had learned to click on all the links anyone posted because there was usually something really kewl. (Or is it cool? How are we spelling it now?)
Donna, at My Country Life (Just Me on blogger-posted on my sidebar) was the first blog that I read. I like what I read. Donna tells it like it is. I like her attitude; she is down to earth, married to a great guy who is her true soul mate. No drama. She and her hubby ride a sweet looking motorcycle and she takes me on many photoblog vacations. Once she posted pictures of a church, she attended that where everyone rode Harley Davidson’s. Her husband, Cliff loves tractors and can build anything. She has a milk cow named Secret and a bull named Meatloaf. On the corner of her country acreage Cliff built a small cabin for her as a private retreat that she sleeps overnight at whenever she want more peace of mind and quite.
She is good people, has a PhD in Common Sense, I respect her. Shit, she had even successfully lost weight and lowered her cholesterol, things I have not mastered. Do I romanticize her life? You bet your I do. I live in an asphalt jungle. I miss the country.
I sometimes would read other blogs off her blog list but then she went and posted Pioneer Woman’s blog link. I was beginning to see blogging in a new light. Ree took blogging to a new level. Coincidentally, when I was a child I wanted to grow up and be a cowgirl. Now, here is this blog about living on a cattle ranch. Wow…that will stretch a city girls mind. I am sure anyone who reads this entry already knows of Ree. I remember when she would only have a handful of comments and now there are often over 10,000. I want to win a $500 gift card to Home Depot so I can get sprinklers for my yard. What a pain in the ass it is to have to drag around a hose. I know Ree gets it. She wants life to be easier. If she knew how much I like a nice yard and how much easier my life would be if I had sprinklers she would pick me to win that $500.
It took me a while but I was beginning to realize that blogging was the future. I needed to blog, I knew it, but I got in my own way. Isn’t that what we all do? I mind f*ked myself. I didn’t think I would blog good enough, have anything interesting to share, and I really didn’t want anyone I knew to know how screwed up I was feeling, but I did NOT know that when I started my first blog. I did not want anyone to disagree with me or confront me or any other ridiculous thing you could imagine; I did not want to feel criticized. All my old negative childhood tapes were playing in my head. I was really down on my game. I only posted three times and I let my first blog die a quick death. I only shared benign safe things anyway. It was a waste of my cyberspace but I learned the lesson. Looking back on that timeframe, I now know that I was trying to heal from several major losses and was not ready to risk my feelings in such a visible arena. I was barely holding it together and Tess was in worse condition than I was.
I felt like I could barely take care of myself and on top of everything I was being thrown into a care-giving role for Tess. Our roles were all blurred. Life was changing and I had NO control of it. I was isolating myself and my world became very small. When I could not do anything else because I was so depressed and scared I began reading other blogs. People died. I cried. More losses! Their deaths affected me and I had not even ever met them but I knew them. They were not afraid and they wrote about their fears. They were real. They were dying and I was gaining strength from their journey. They were teaching me how to live by sharing their death process. There were several brave Warriors that I will always admire and remember. They had become part of my life and I wish they had not lost the fight I miss them. These deaths empowered my life.
I have to do this in parts…but as you can guess, I think real life is more interesting than TV or Books.
To be continued………
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
With all the different stressors I have been coping with lately I decided to go back into personal therapy with a therapist whose specialty is working with caregivers. My first session was last week. My homework was to figure out what gives me joy. I have jotted a few things down but I am searching for more. I need more joy in my life.
I also am attending a caregiver's group. I have attended two group meetings so far and I admit it has been interesting and I feel good being out and about more. My homework for group was to blog before the next meeting.
My son’s gave me a membership to Curves for my birthday. I love it. I go everyday they are open and enjoy the workout. At first I was a bit self-conscious but now I don’t care what anybody thinks. I am pushing myself while I am there and my body feels alive.
Now here is the thing about Curves. It is all women. NO PROBLEM for me. It may not be PC for me to love the fact that no men are allowed but I do. I love the energy. I love the support. I love the challenges. I love the way it is always clean. I love the music. I love the women. I love the workout.
All this loving to workout is a little out of character for me and then, all of a sudden, I eyed the posters on the wall and I knew why I felt so at home.
Is it just me? Do you see what I see? All I know for sure is that I want to thank the art department down at Curve’s headquarters for making me feel so comfortable. I love thata there are posters hanging on the wall that give me permission to play. I wonder what they mean by play? Hummmmm.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
As I see it, being an only child has few benefits. I am sure some might think it a blessing not to be pestered by siblings, I will never know. I told my mother once that it was hell being an only child. She seemed shocked that I would have felt that way. She was a difficult person to please, very needy and it would have been nice to share the focus of her wrath occasionally. Even in the good times, I was on hyper-alert waiting for the other shoe to drop. I learned to hate my own name because of the way she screamed it.
When it comes to immediate family, my childhood frame of reference is quite small and included my grandma, mother and me. My grandmother and mother have both left this world so that just leaves me. I do have a few distant relatives out there but less than a handful of us are in occasional contact and then only via emails. Although I have a history of doing many things by myself, I really do enjoy the companionship of another person more than being alone or doing something by myself. I do have some dear lifelong friends and we see each other as often as our schedules permit, which is never enough. Great source of support for me but I still have way too much alone time on my hands. The care giving I do for Tess also makes my world seem a little smaller.
Where is this going? What am I trying to convey? What is the point? How do the three previous paragraphs connect? First, I wanted to empty my thoughts so when I get up from here and go back to my previous project I will be the tabula rasa, clear minded so I can learn as I go and not be hindered with my racing thoughts. Second, I have still been trying to please my mother even though she is dead. That crap stops now. Last, I got the bulk of my parent’s worldly possessions and I have been dealing with it for nearly 7 years, I am tired and I want my own life back. All the spinning in circles I feel like I am doing has to stop, I am forcing myself to get on a schedule to attend to all these projects.
Here is the good part. My mother collected a lot of fun and beautiful things and so I am enjoying going through and looking them, and although some of my memories are fond, I don’t want to hang onto all of her things. I only want to keep a few of the things I really like. My stepfather had some cool stuff too. Old stuff. Interesting stuff. Things that I just want to have as memories now. I keep asking my sons if they want any of their grandpa’s stuff, so far I am still in possession of it. It may not seem like it but alas, I have a plan. Back to the grind.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
I wrote down a few of my secret desires, nothing to outrageous, somehow I knew better. I even wrote about some of my disappointments regarding my personal, social and academic life. I wrote about some of the adventures my friends were having, the ‘coming of age’ adventures my generation did. However, intrinsically, I knew not to write about my intimate feelings or any of my personal escapades. I remember for safekeeping that I hid it on the top shelf of my closet(symbolism in it's highest form) behind an old purse, completely out of sight.
Then, one day, out of the clear blue, my mother asked me about one of my friends and whether or not it was really true that they did this or that. I knew immediately that she had gone snooping in my room, found my well-hidden diary and read it. She would have had no other way of knowing this information. I could even envision her in my minds eye picking the little gold lock. I never really trusted her after that but I never really trusted her before either. She eventually admitted reading it probably only because she knew she was busted. Somehow, that particular behavior was so representative of her true character. Sneaky.
She went through my homework assignments in the same manner, searching for what ever I wrote. If I checked out a library book she would read it after I went to bed, before I could ever finish a book, she read it. She seemed competitive about it at times. Just once, it would have been nice to read a book first. It was as if she needed to know what I read and what I wrote. Her behaviors messed with my head. She took a lot of the joy out of reading and writing for me. She was not only invasive, she was constantly critical of my endeavors.
Regardless of the violations of childhood by my mother, over the years, I have enthusiastically started numerous journals; but before too many entries, I stop writing and file the journal away on some shelf in one of my remotest bookcases, never to be written in again. I have had some beautiful journals, my favorite one was gray suede and I wrote in it for six days. A few months ago, I sat down and read a few of the entries realizing all the entries sounded so fake and so insincere. They were completely censored and it was as if I shallowly wrote them expecting someone to find them read them. To my knowledge no one ever did.
After I finished reading each one of them, I felt the divine urge to SHRED them page by page. I guess it might have been more symbolic to do some sort of ritualistic burning thing, but shredding them was enough for me. It was a cleaning out, a clearing of the past. Never one moment since I tore out the pages, one by one, and watched them be shred into little quarter inch strips have I regretted destroying them.
Ironically, when I packed up my parent's home, I found a huge box full of all my mother’s hand written journals. Unlike my skimpily written in journals she had filled each and every page, front and back, beginning to end. She lived in the country, fairly isolated and she recorded a good portion of the thirty years she lived there. When I asked her, what she wanted me to do with them and she told me she wanted me to read them after she died. She didn't say it in a very nice tone either. She has been gone for 3 years now and I still have no desire to read one word from them. I feel like she wrote them for me; and if she did, I know the words would be the same passive aggressive guilt trippy crap she used to say to me before I set boundaries and stopped listening to her. I will not shred her diaries and maybe there will come a day that I will want to know what she wrote about her own life but right now I do not want anything to do with them.
I am not sure exactly why I wrote about this particular memory. I am sure it has something to do with my blogging now. I know how important of a lesson it was for me to learn that my own mother did not trust me or respect my privacy. Her constant actions showed her true colors. She once told me she couldn't help how she was(it's just like her never to take responsibility for her actions)and then confessed that she had done so many bad and sneaky things as a teenager that she was just making sure I didn't get in the same trouble that she did. Hey...couldn't she have tried talking to me or lovingly teaching me? She was not very good at staying calm during any conversation so I guess she did what she thought was best.
Maybe it's because of how untrusted I felt while growing up that I consciously made sure that I was always respectful of any and all things that belonged to either of my sons. I always knocked before entering their rooms. I never looked though their drawers, wallets, glove compartments, book bags or the likes. Maybe that is why both of my sons have given me keys to their homes. I never want to loose their trust. Thanks, Mom for teaching me that important lesson. I just wish it had been by your good example. Your methods totally sucked.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I had pretty much decided that whatever stuff remained on Saturday afternoon I would donate and start fresh with more of my mother’s estate next time. Besides, I am always weeding though my stuff and getting rid of one thing or another. I had a full truck of donations on Saturday. I felt good not having to look at some of that stuff any longer. It was also sort of sad since I knew my mother collected a lot of it and it was just another way of letting go of the past.
I just got back from Costco, which is always a major production. If my dog wasn’t out of food I would have figured out a way to put the trip off. I finished putting the things away so now it is my time to relax before making dinner or helping Tess with something.
It is getting more difficult for me to watch Tess suffering. Listening to someone cry with physical pain is something I have not become accustomed and seriously doubt I ever will. It is the most helpless feeling I have ever experienced and with each passing day, I feel more and more discouraged. Tess tries so hard to do things on her own without needing my help and sometimes I get angry that she did something that was too difficult or too much for her. If she falls down I know our life as we know it will change and I am not ready for what all that may entail. I am not in any way ready to let go. One of her hips is necrotic; the hipbone is partially missing. With all the medical problems she has, they are not sure she would benefit from surgery in the end. Both hips and both knees are causing her problems; couple that with a collapsed lumbar spine and a degenerative cervical spine with osteoarthritis plus constant nausea….whew. (NOTE- if you are reading this please do not ask or comment with HAVE YOR TRIED this or that...rest assured we have and I am pretty sure we have tried things most have never heard or thought of) The betrayal of the body is the way I put it.
Tess was once an active person, but her decline over the past three years has been a slow but steady spiral downwards. When she was younger, she even danced professionally in summerstock musicals. To watch this person I love so much decline is almost more than I can do. I know she is tired and so am I. I feel like I am living my life for both of us. She only leaves the house to go to the doctor. She needs help with everything she does. The ironic thing is that I am not the caregiver type and she is not the kind that accepts being cared for easily and, if anything, she is still trying to take care of me. It is so weird to have been in this roll for so long now.
I need change the subject here. I don’t want to get all upset or depressed because I know that won’t help our situation at all. I sometimes escape by listening to songs on youtube. Here is one that Tess and I used to dance to and brings tears to my eyes now but in a good sort of way.
Sometimes when I hear this song I just want to go back in time and remain in that place where I had everything ahead of me. My Tess would hold me while I cried about how scared I was of letting go of my life as I knew it then. I was married to a great guy, I had two small children and I was in love with Tess. I had to stop pretending that I was straight. I had been pretending way too long already. Even though the fear of making life changing decisions scared the hell out of me there was a sense of total excitment about being all that I could be and living an honest life. I had to admit to myself I was a lesbian and I had to stop living a lie. In her arms I felt safe. I had new dreams and with Tess in my life I was well on my way to realizing them. That was in 1980 which seems like a lifetime ago in some ways and then sometimes it seems like just yesterday.
Once the stories told
It can’t help but grow old
So cast your season’s to the wind
We’re All Alone…
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I had not been near my bike since last year and last year I only rode a few times. What I am trying to say is that I did not realize was that I almost needed training wheels last year but eventually after I lowered the seat and could touch the ground I mastered riding straight with little traffic buzzing by me. Mostly I stayed in the bike lanes. Last year I rode blocks out of the way to just to avoid the traffic on the main streets.
Three days ago I decided that I would brave it do whatever I could using my bike. I need the exercise. I live a few blocks from the ‘downtown’ district of my mega huge city and nearly everything is within riding distance. I even rode to the local social security office to drop of some forms for Tess. Anyway. Back to the pet store.
I loved the free feeling of the breeze blowing across my arms and face. I consciously though about how much cooler it was riding the bike than it was sitting at my computer. My mind drifted and at time I enjoyed myself and relaxed into the ride. I huffed and puffed and finally I arrived at the pet store in one piece. I held my breath several times but I made it to my destination totally unscathed.
I looked around for a secure place to lock my bike but there was none to be found so I asked if I could bring it inside and park it by those huge dog cages off to the side in the front. Of course, they let me and if they had not I would have walked it through the store back to the cat food isle. Could not find the right Indoor Cat Mature Senior Sensitive stomach blend that Oh Well devours in a 3.5 lb bag. Lucky day, the Science Diet representative was there and gave me a coupon for $3.00 off the 8.5 bag since they were out of Oh Well’s blend. The bag barely fit inside my big ol’ bright red backpack but I managed to get it safely zipped in. As I picked up that now 12 lb back pack every muscle in my neck and upper back screamed NO. What was I to do? I told myself it was a beginning and I could do it.
I knew that a friend of mine had recently bicycled on the islands off the coast of Washington state, with 25 lb. full backpack, for over 250 miles. She crated her bike and flew it to Seattle, built the bike and started riding to the ferry. When we were in high school we played sports together, we were highly competitive. I increaesd the self talk and told myself 'If she could do that I could do this.' Two kids later for both of us and she is stronger than she was 40 years ago. I am at the bottom of my game with all that. My friend said she could cross biking the Washington Islands off her bucket list. I want a bucket list and I want to cross things off it.
I made it home in one piece with the cat food safely on my back. I smiled as OH Well waited patiently for me to open the bag completely so he could sneak a couple of morsels out of the open bag. Immediatley upon arrival home I iced both my neck muscles and my lower back . I did it. I met my first challenge.
What’s the long and the short of this. I need a new more comfortable backpack if I am ever going to transport anything else ever. I probably won’t run out looking for one anytime too soon but I won’t quit riding the bike, I just won’t go grocery shopping or to Wal-mart. I mentioned I rode my bike to the social security office to drop of a form. I folded the one piece of paper I needed to turn in and put it in my pocket. Less than 1 oz.
I am changing my eating habits too. I have cut sugar and carbohydrates out of my diet almost completely. I know I get some carbs just because they are everywhere. I definitely have increased the calorie burning activity lately too. I don’t jump on the scale everyday but when I did weigh myself and saw I was down a pound I celebrated by drinking a bottle of water. Patting myself on the back.
Be good to yourself.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Everyday I look at the stuff I have hung onto and ask myself do I still want or need to keep it. I am better than others I know, at ridding and thinning but I still hang onto stuff even if I don’t have room for it. My mother wanted to have an antique store and collected a lot of unique things. My mother died a few years ago. She had some interesting items but she also had many things that were just old and just reminder her of when she was young. She bought a lot of small, worthless, cool to look at, STUFF. My father died four years before my mother’s death and he had his collections too. Should I mention now that I am an only child? Should I mention they lived on over 30 acres and kept everything they ever laid their hands on? Sorting through that stuff by myself just about killed me. I have sold some of my parent’s collectibles. I have had at least five small estate sales.
I used to own a small bookstore and accumulated quite a few boxes of books. Books are heavy and require some care or they devalue quickly. As part of my ‘getting it back in order’ I am going through the boxes of books and making sure I still want to keep them to sell. There’s an ongoing garage sale set up in my tiny garage and if I come across something (book or otherwise) I don’t want; I take it to the ever growing garage sale.
As I whittle down my earthy processions I have been inundated with the purpose of my purchase and the realization that it is time to change the purpose. Repurposing can be such a poplar concept. Since neither of my sons want my stuff and I don’t have a big place to display it I want others to enjoy it. I want those collectors of same stuff to take it off my hands. Buy it! Give me money. If I have two of something, the second one is gone. I have little collections that I probably won’t break up but I do not need to have the mindset of keeping something “just in case”, because it was mothers, or because it might be valuable. I have come to a place in my life that I simply don’t enjoy the same stuff I that I used to. That is an important point to become aware of for me. There is too much stuff weighting me down right now.
Friday, August 15, 2008
It seems like yesterday, Tess and I were in school and planning our careers. We talked countless hours sharing our hopes and dreams. One of the best parts of our relationship has always been the communication. I do not think either of us is particularly easy to live with but somehow we have loved each other and ourselves enough to survive some tough events. We know loss only too well. Those hopes and dreams we used to talk about are quickly becoming faded memories and thankfully I think we did some good along the way. We worked hard in our prime and reached many of our goals both collectively and individually. This thing called life, this adventure ‘we’ were on together no longer feels like ‘we’ as I am doing nearly everything for her, Johnny (our old black Labrador retriever), and Oh Well (our adopted cat).
My sons live nearby but they both have busy lives and although they are available to me via phone anytime I only see my eldest son once a week. My youngest son lives in the same neighborhood as I do so I see him more frequently. I do my best not to burden them with my concerns. They tell me they love Tess as a mother. She has been a part of their lives since they were young, just six and three. I know it breaks their hearts to see her suffering so and the helplessness we all feel is often the worst of it. My two wonderful sons have told me it is becoming increasingly more difficult to watch Tess attempt to do the simplest of tasks and grunt with pain. Just attempting to shift her position in a chair causes her to groan and cry out.
Here’s the thing, Tess is not considered terminal. Although, daily her pain increases and no matter how much pain medication she takes it is always present we are moving forward. It is hard to watch her suffer. All of my friends tell me they could not do what I do, I get what they are saying but I have to live with myself and I cannot imagine myself not taking care of her. Life as we had planned it is not our current reality but, to quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens while you are making other plans" although Forrest Gump also makes a good point, "Shit Happens."
Thursday, August 14, 2008
If you are reading this, you get it. I am overweight because I overeat. It is simple so why am I doing it and why am I making it difficult? I know what to do but for some masochistic reason I am complicating the problem, burying myself deeper in the hole becoming more and more overweight. I am quite sure that I labeled obese in many circles via medical or otherwise. I have seen the charts. My son’s are concerned about me. I worry about me. It is time I figure out what is eating me and address it so I can break this vicious cycle. I started this blog several days ago but never posted. I wanted to be genuine; I want to make it real. I have a lot going on in my life and at the top of the list is my weight gain as I know it is a creation of all of the many things on my list. This is where I sort it out, face myself, and begin again.
I am going to do it different this time. A little while ago, when I wanted to eat I was thinking about my weight. I was vacuuming and hoping my back would not begin to hurt and I was fighting the urge to take a break. Usually that is the beginning of the cycle of my overeating. Physical pain is only aspect of the cycle. I know my back hurts more because I am overweight. I planned my break so I would not run to the fridge. I drank about 32 oz of water and sat down to write this. I feel accomplished here in the moment and I know I will probably have to post again soon but at the present, it is time to get back at some much needed housework as it as this is a big day. Nothing too special I just have more to do than usual.