I thought about making up a story about a Finnish Christmas, complete with reindeers and dancing snowflakes and all, but then I started picturing the Flying Monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz,” a movie that scars me to this day, and decided to talk about other things.
This mornng, about 4, soon after Winston came head first onto the bed for his morning moments ot laying with his head on my pillow, I decided to get up and make ssome hot lemon water. I am not doing tea. I am not juge on herbal tea and am staying away from caffeine. I tuened on the hot pot and went through the old bag of lemons … threw out a couple of moldy ones and kept the good ones, then decided to go into the guest room and lie down on the bed.
It is a very quiet room. There was a new blanket that my daughter bought when she was here. I put that over me and thought of her and the kids and grandkids and decided to go into a bit of a relaxation mode. Have good thoughts. Work on it. And enjoy serenity.
There have been so many things that have looked like a scattering of pick-up sticks. Thoughts here, thoughts there, thoughts that didn’t do me any good, which I still think were anesthesia induced, plus fear and unsettledness. Yes, gratitude, too, but that hadn’t been at the forefront.
I was feeling that I was becoming a victim of myself.
I don’t do victim well … or for long.
So, as I lay there, I weeded through the garden in my head. It has gorgeous flowers, spikey weeds and wild flowers that pop up when I least expect them to.
Yes, the reset button was in gear
I figured out what was not working for me in my life, in my thoughts and behavior and habits. And then opened my heart to what could and should take their place. For slots I emptied of residue that just wasn’t cutting it, I fthought of an action or something easy, doable, to replace it.
As I mentioned to my family, of late, I finally know what my breaking point is. In a certain way. The way I have dealt with stress and hard situations , has been to stand strong, get through it, be a warrior.
That is all well and good, but if can also take a toll, if you don’t know how to release it.
So … that is part of my awakening.
It felt good to acknowledge that. The earth didn’t quake. The sun still didn’t come out from the grey. No leopard jumped into our car.
I can’t explain how I will deal with this, but I going to figure it out.
There are some steps I plan to take that will get me where I want to go in terms of health, joy, laughter and engagement. I feel lighter just thinking about it.
This year, I have laid my life into many people’s hands. People have tried to help “fix” me. Through most of it, I didn’t feel broken. I didn’t feel breast cancer. I didn’t get “hurt” in the car wreck. I didn’t have a heart attack. But things were going wrong.
People were there for me. When I think back on how well each of these, plus Nick’s medical problem, went, with people taking our hands and leading us through the medicals system maze, it is very, very life affirming, as far as humands and technology go.
They did their jobs.
And now, it is time for my growth spurt as a human, to begin, again.
It has taken me a while to see that this is a anew beginning. Yes, I see each day as a new beginning, but this is a NEW BEGINING.
It is up to me to write the next chapter of my life … in a new year. Pretty cool, huh?
Here is one for you. I am so into silence. I love peace. I love, love. I love joy. I don’t have time for so much of what is out there and thrown in our faces. I shall choose, more carefully, what I see, hear and read.
I am eso excited about focusing on love, joy, laughter, kindness and good things, that there is nothing but wonder ahead of me.
Oh yes, the shitzu will no doubt fall and I will find myself having to make choices about how will I react. What happens might not be up to me, but my reaction is. And that is what I will work on.
Time, has to be only of this moment. It can’t be projected or controlled or sat upon. I have to keep that in mind.
And frankly, I am glad I don’t have an IV stuck in the back of my hands.
It will be fine. It will all be fine.
The word for today is peristalsis. That came to mind about 4:30 this morning. I decided that I like the movement of the word, which is similar to its function.
Our internal glory, our place of joy, enlightenment and growth sometimes gets lost in the whiskers of life, changes and problems.
There are times when reassessment is in order … when things shift and what was … now, isn’t.
One of the interesting things about life, that I have found, is that not once in our lives, does time stop. Oh, yes, it seems to stand still, of we wish we could hold a moment in time, but we can’t. Time moves.
Our lives move, too. From birth until death.
Some humans work at planning their lives. One of our earliest forays into conversation is when someone asked us, as a child, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?
Another version of the question is “What do you want to DO when you grow up?
To a young mind, those questions seem the same. As children, I didn’t distinguish the two questions.
But now, I see them as very different. One is occupational and the other is our soul, beliefs, values and, well, who we are.
After having a lifetime of professions and titles for what I “do”, the stage I am in and on, is an extension of the question “What do you want to be?”
It has morphed into who I have become.
Many of the things I have done, occupation-wise, study-wise, experience-wise ,by choice or demand, has evolved into who I have become.
An interesting thought to me is that one of my occupations, took hold so much and gelled so deeply into me, that it actually has braided over to be part of who I have become.
There have been times when I have struggled. Just being, and being who I am, I felt, wasn’t enough. Simply being myself, without “doing” wasn’t enough.
I should do this. I should do that. Perpetual motion of the mind, placing more value on the what I do, versus who I am. Maybe it is or was an earning my keep thing. Perhaps it is societal rumblings and expectations. I have often felt that I needed to earn my right to life.
I look at the walls of my house, the art, the things that are around me and I see many things I have done.
In a way, they are me. But in a way, I can separate myself from them and not really recall making them.
When I think back to my occupations, the days I was in the workplace, I was never any of those occupations. They were skills. I did them to the best of my abilities for you I was at the time, but none of the occupations was me. Marketing director, sculptor, real estate broker, software company CEO, workshop teacher, etc … I did them all, but they weren’t me. With each, there came a point when I said, no more.
But in each one, I learned and what I learned, I put through a sieve, and brought onboard the parts that I would build into who I have become.
Why do these thought matter to me, now?
Because once again, the last four months or so, my life has taken unexpected turns.
Years ago, when I was in real estate, a friend who had gotten into the business because I had, dais, in a very distressed and exasperated way, “Why are there always so many problems?”
I laughed, looked at her and said … “That is wat we are paid to do … solve problems.”
She said that from that moment on, she got it.
And then, she quit.
That knowledge, that nugget, that life is often about solving problems, and releasing those you can’t solve, to a higher power, is something that plays out over and over. And I have to remember that when my blueberry basket gets tipped over.
There are times, such as recently, when I have had to dive under water with my eyes open, and do the breast stroke. I might not see clearly, but I must do it.
As humans, we often have to swim through uncharted emotional, fearful, uncertain waters. But in doing so, our muscles get stronger. We become stronger than we knew we could become.
After initial shock and a bit of flailing, I find that I get in a rhythm. The opposing currents subside andI get in a flow of the new and strange. And for a while, I have a new normal.
The new normal rarely lasts. Even life doesn’t last. But the ride, this wonderful ride, with its twists and turns and earthquakes and whirlwinds, when there are days that we wonder how we will get through, and times we wish would last for ever, is a real trip.
And for that, I say, Rejoice! Hallelujah!
Confession … I watch four of the “Real Housewives of … “ shows. I have for years. It has been a guilty pleasure. I think it is funny how ostentatious the shows are, the jewelry, houses, vacations and sick and sour friendships these women have.
The shows have been good for many of the women’s bank accounts. The shows have become platforms for skinny brands, skin care, prepackaged dinners, toaster ovens, and a plethora of clothing lines.
Yes, I know it is edited, set up and who knows about scripting? Although I don’t think that a writer writes the dialogue, I think situations prod the women into combat.
Cutting to the chase … if any of my friends talked to me like these women talk to each other, there is no way in hot dog heaven, that I would be friends with them.
If my recollection serves me, they have called each other whores, bitches, liars,tramps, fakes, phonies, sluts, etc. Feel free to add to the list.
The biggest part of air-time is spent seeing if someone will apologize for a transgression that can be, 1) you didn’t make a casserole for me when I had a face-lift, 2) you didn’t tell me that you went out with a guy you both met at a bar while dancing without you underwear, 3) you were flirting with my son, 4) you left my sleepover and stayed at a hotel, 5) your dog plooped on my rug, 10 times.
And there are degrees of apologies. There is the unapologetic apology. “I am sorry if you felt like I played fiddle-fart with … (the man half of them have fart-fiddle around with. Or I don’t owe HER an apology, she owes ME one. Or the apology that is not SINCERE or not on camera.
And then the hug and promise to never stoppe to said behavior, again, only to repeat the transgressions repeatedly.
My lord of lingerie, who in their right minds would act like these women? And to think, many of them have daughters,who see this stuff.
Made for TV friendships, that is what they are. Cameras roll, checks written, catfights begin. It appears that in U.S. television lands, nice is boring.
Don’t these women know that friendships are precious, difficult to make and hatred to maintain over theme? They, just like a garden, need tending.
How many friends, real friends do you have? How long have you had these friends? Are you open to new friendships or content with the friendships you have? Have you ever let a friendship go? Why?
I have a few long term friends. I love my friends. We have laughed and cried through our tricky lives, marriages, divorces, deaths, children problems, and our own insanity. And when I say laugh, I mean that we crack ourselves up. We have similar sensibilities to laughter.
Though I moved away from them, I still count on talking to them and seeing them when I can.
I have some friends that have come in and out of my life, I might have met them at a workshop or event, and we “clicked”, but they aren’t a constant in my life.
There are friendships that I have where I doubt we will see each other, again. We write to each other. The words are meaningful and insightful. We care very much about how the other is doing.
I have some new friends, like new plants in my garden. They add color into my life and I enjoy spending time with them. Our roots aren’t as deep because we don’t have much time in our histories, but it is delightful to learn about them and share our new lives.
Many of my friends are my age, or near my age, but not all of them. I have some friends who could be my kids.
I would never talk to them like these “Housewives” talk to their supposed friends. Seriously.
I hear the word, “apologize” more that I ever wanted to while dealing with Samsung. I don’t want to deal with that word with my friends. We are all old enough to know what is proper and kind and what would hurt one another. Oh, yes, inadvertently, we step on feelings, but vary, vary rarely. The good and nice and kindness of our relationships absorb an occasional blip.
I have left some people behind … let them go. What I discovered is that appearances might have been friends, but it is easier to say you are friends, than be one. Friendships should make you feel better, not worse. I have been dumped by people that I thought i was friends with. Distance, timing, different roads traveled, and belief systems, sometimes just happen.
Women’s friendships seem to be different than men’s. I am not sure if they talk about the same thing as women friends talk about. I am not sure if they have penis talk or talk about whether they are getting forgetful or that they made a tasty casserole.
Oh, I have an orbit of friends that float around online. Are they friends? Not really. Not in the sense that they would show up at my door to help. But they are a community of people that make life more interesting and fun.
I think one of the hardest things in life is getting so old that most or all of your friends are gone. I have seen it happen.
But I also knew a woman who died nearing her 101st birthday and she had lots of friends. She was smart. She gathered friends 40-years her junior, and made herself loved by all ages. That was a talent and a gift.
The Real Housewives of Timbuktu might have money, fame and travel to exotic places, but are they real friends?
I don’t think so.
And that is where I come out ahead.
Yesterday, a week ago, Nick thought he was dying.
I did, too.
But thank God and good doctors and support of his kids and caring neighbors, Nick lives to be quiet and then drop a zinger that makes people laugh.
He lived for another trip to Blowing Rock.
It has been a hot and cranky summer. Little rain, big water bills, and a rain dance or too, that involved a pool. I will not say if it were Nick or I, who did the pole dance. But I bet you could guess.
It was mountain type of day. Nick had rested all week and he was ready to see something different. Mountains. They have always been an elixir in our life. Some people love the beach. We love the mountains.
There was a buoyancy in the car that hadn’t been there for a long time. We played music. Nick didn’t even mind my opera. Pavarotti. Three Tenors. Me, screeching.
We didn’t stay long at Blowing Rock. I think we wanted to see if it was still there.
Oh gosh, there is my woodpecker. I love birds with long peckers.
I think I scared him with that remark. He flew back into the woods.
We walked just a bit in Blowing Rock and had to decide if we wanted to eat lunch in a restaurant or pick up a pizza from Mellow Mushroom and take it to the mountain lake that is covered in places, with water lilies, has a wide walking path, and makes you feel free and healthy.
We got the pizza and drove to the park. We ate by the car and thenNikc got his walking stick out that I bought him a few weeks ago at McDowellNature Preserve. I got out my walking sticks that I haven’t used since last summer.
And we hit the trail.
Nick has not been able to do this for a long time. His walking is mostly in shuffling steps. But since his episode last week, and treatment with strong antibiotics, he walks better. He still isn’t strong and he has to watch his balance, but he can move.
We walked toward what had been a fish hatcheries, but now, only has water and some crawdads.
Nick sat on benches or rock walls, to rest. I bopped along with my camera and found things to shoot.
We talked about a neat-o tree and the lilies and I pointed out things that others, without a camera, not see. That is the thing about taking photos … you look for what others might miss.
I played with settings and chatted-up a couple of passers-by.
We didn’t go far in distance, but we went an eternity away from where we were last weekend.
The drive home was delightful. Nick shut his eyes and rested and I drove along in silence. No opera. No lalalalala screeching from my throat.
It was great fun being a wife yesterday. Nick had a delightful time. Bonus time.
And now, I shall go make some scones, tend my diminishing garden, fold clothes and do whatever I have to do to live in gratitude.
Because we just never know.
It is a mountain morning here in Clover. Cool, clear and chipper.
The backyard and outside are inviting. If I try, I can imagine that I am in Cades Cove, one of my special places. It would be nice to be there, but I am content with being here. Today, I don’t want to run away from myself.
The birds are skirmishing and I want to tell them to settle down, things will be all right. They might not be what you expect or desire, but they will be fine.
Yes, both feet are under me. The darkness of recent events with Nick have passed. Other situations are still in flux, but they will have to figure themselves out without me sorting them out. I have tried, trust me, but it is time to step back and return to my own life and things that I can control.
Good Grumpy Old Men, I can sound like I am picking lint out of navels.
Life involves a certain degree of naval lint plucking, doesn’t it? You feel washed by other people’s problems and forget things like boundaries and the fact that each person makes his or her own decisions.
Living other people’s lives is exhausting. Sometimes, I have to figure out the difference between support and enabling.
Winston was looking for his buddy, Tucker, when I took him out. Tucker’s mom stepped in and took care of The Boy, when Nick decided on joy-riding in an ambulance and partaking of hospital cuisine.
I have wonderful neighbors. Thought I felt alone last Friday, yes, a week ago, today, I found out that that we weren’t. Offers to help day or night, have been givenIt made me feel so much better. Several delicious dinners have been provided. And words of comfort have flowed.
The leaves on the trees have stilled and the birds are quiet. That makes my thoughts go in a different direction.
The Boy has come out to the porch with his tennis ball. Now he is staring at me.
We are just being.
I read Brad Pitt was having a heck of a time with Angelina Jolie and I read that Ben Affleck stopped at Jack in the Box on his way to rehab. Dennis Shield, Bethenny Frankel’s on again off again boyfriend died of a drug overdose a couple of weeks ago.
Messy lives. Money. No money. Fame. No fame. Money. No money. Hearts are broken at all levels. Bad decisions are made. People treat people they love or loved, like shit.
There really is no figuring life out, is there? As soon as we think aha, something happens and we, say, “What the hollandaise?”
OH, there is Mr. Woodpecker. He excites me. And there he goes. Skittish. Must have had an emergency on his branch.
It is a random thought, but I hope I don’t outlive my mind.
I am trying to decide whether to give people who brought us dinner and sent treats, my homemade sals or chili sauce. I know they will get a card with one of my paintings.
Back to my neighbors. As you can imagine, Nick and I miss a lot of parties and things because he doesn’t feel real chipper. I think people understand that. But even though we aren’t able to make a lot of things, they make us feel that our presence is missed, and I think that is lovely.
There are 3 goldfinches at the feeder. Nick just came out to sit. And he left.
You know what got me though the last few days?
The little things. My hot tea. Checking my propagation bins. Figuring out where to move which plant to get better light. Dead-heading some flowers. Talking to my neighbors and seeing their eyes full of concern. Knowing that the kids are back in their own lives. Having lunch with my daughter-in-law and laughing about stupid stuff.
Yesterday, I made myself laugh. I decided, after listening to a French song, that French people don’t poop. The ploop. I must go la ploop. And eat a baguette.
My toes have straightened themselves out. For the time being. Oh, ploop, the ugly birds arrived in a group.
But I clapped and they are gone.
A week ago, I thought that life as I knew it had ended.
I love it whenI am wrong.
There’s Got To Be A Morning After
I really wanted Shirley Winters to drown in that movie, “The Poseidon Adventure.”
I am a pretty peaceful person, but there are some characters in movies and TV shows, that I just want to die.
There, I said it.
If I have to explain that I don’t really want that person dead, but the character dead, it is time to get off of the train.
I just like the title of that song. It is in effect at the moment. There’s got to be a morning after.
And there is.
Even as of yesterday, I thought, okay, garden time is over. I just looked at it with rather dead eyes and said, eh, where is the joy? Is it done for the season?
And then, when the bottom appeared to fall out of my life, I felt numb about the garden. Things were dying from heat and exhaustion.
And that is how I felt. I was in recovery mode for my back, and then, voila, the 48 hours portion of the program.
It rained last night. Only a quarter inch, but that brought things back to August life. I think plants like August about as much as I do.
Now, here is the deal.
I can either look at the 48 hours episode as another reason to dislike August. Look at it as poor us, look what we, (Nick) had to go through, or, I can say, aren’t we the lucky ones?
Nick still doesn’t feel “well”, but he is so much better. He jus drove The Boy, to school. He wanted to.
Oh, before I forget, thank you all for your wonderful prayers and stories in your comments. I read them all. I still don’t feel as thought I can answer each one, as it takes me back to a weird place that I am still trying to stabilize.
And oh,listen to this , two neighbors brought over dinner last night. I didn’t know that both were making dinner until it was probably too late to say no. But what fun it was to have two meals, and the thoughts that our friends wanted to help. Yummy.
But back to where I was trying to move forward.
The way I see it is, yes, we have lots of zigzags to deal with through this. Life doesn’t stop with other situations, but the key is, Nick is alive. He was carted home from the hospital, way better shape than he was bounced in. (He said the EMT ride was really bouncy)
As I sat in that hospital room, it didn’t escape me that people don’t always leave a hospital sitting up in a Subaru. Instead of coming to our house for barbecue, and thanksgiving, many families are sitting at tables or on sofas or in cars, making funeral arrangements.
So although August has its issues, this episode is not going to make it a land mark month.
Here is the question. What is the new next to normal? Doesn’t something most likely shift after something like this? Or do things go back to the way they were, and if that is the case, doesn’t that mean we didn’t learn form them.
I believe we must take something from every situation. It could be something positive, or it could be something that you have learned to deal with another situation in the future. The fact that we get through them, with our nerves a bundle and faith tested, must be seen as growth. It can be a growth of the spirit, faith, confidence, and learning how to do some mourning while we are alive.
We do mourn when we are alive, don’t we? Don’t many of us put ourselves in thoughts of how am I going to feel if a loved one dies? Haven’t you played that out?
I have. I think it is because I have this notion, that if I have it happen in my mind, it is practice, so I won’t be so stunned if and when it happens.
Really, doing so, for me, just causes moments of agony and grief. Is it that I am mourning the thought of loss?
You know, practicing?
It really is folly if you think about it. Nothing is going to prepare me, really prepare me for the death of a loved one.
We/I, have talked about being strong, rising to the occasion and acting brave. But I think loss of someone you love, will bring me to my knees, and there is nothing wrong with that.
As long as I learn how to get up.
I am back on my porch this morning. I didn’t come out here right away. I sort of made myself do it. I don’t want the summer season, my summer of gardening, to end on a kaboom. I wanted to face it.
I wanted to walk in the garden and look at the flowers and plants, bot living a dead and all stages in between, and know that we are all part of that plan.
Yesterday afternoon, I marveled at my two lemon plants that I am growing from seed. Each is about an inch and a half high. Fragile. They are learning how to live. I cut some other stems from plants and brought them into the house to see if I could make them grow. Seeing life start again, and again, and again, is important to me right now.
I suppose our time will come when our time comes. It most likely will come in a way that we might not have expected.
As I listen to a bird squawking loudly, I suspect he is saying, just go out and live you old buzzard. Flap you flabby wings and fly, Don’t get too close to the sun, but try to fly like you are on an eagle’s wings.