Wrapping it up.
The gift bags, boxes, and random wrapped gifts are stationed at the table in the big room. The wrapping paper has been put away. And the gifts I have to deliver, are on the counter.
The Ohio Express is getting ready to join millions of others on journeys near and far.
Yes, it is over to Asheville, turn right and head northwest. Passing through two sets of mountains, and then into Kentucky, we will have a rented minivan full of Christmas cheer.
Since my Subaru bit the bullet, we have been driving Nick’s old Prius. I haven’t wanted to think about replacing my vehicle. And we are seriously thinking about going down to one car. We might scour the Automall, if we get a chance. But shopping for cars is not my idea of a good time.
It is a creepy game. Time consuming. Expensive. It gives me the vapors.
And I love it when they place their attention on Nick … not realizing that I am really in the driver’s seat on this event.
Does anyone else look at the multitudes of expensive cars, trucks and SUVs on the road and wonder where people get that kind of money?
How did I go down that road?
There is something that has happened since I was involved in my wreck. I am at heightened alert for cars … where they are coming from, how fast, and the uncertainty of driving.
I used to love to drive, but not as much anymore. There are too many people driving, in a hurry, ignoring laws and acting like jack rabbets wearing asshats.
I still love driving in the country, meandering and moseying, but to go into the “zones” of craziness … aye-yi-yi-yi.
I sound so poo-poo, which is funny because I am starting to fee much better. I am down 20 pounds since my wreck and I have health plans and an agenda for the new year.
From what I have been reading, inflammation is a big health problems. Truthfully, I knew that, but last night, I watched a YouTube video by a cardiologist about things to do to get your heart better.
Since I have entered what shall I say, “Heartland”, I have been learning a lot. I have learned how sleep apnea effects the heart, how inflammation from what you eat can trigger other things to go haywire and that there are things that I can do to get my body back on track.
I did a good job of turning things around a couple of years ago, but I had this battle in my head of “Do I want to live this way … denying many of the eating pleasures.
Caution to the wind, I ate too many good things and then bad things.
After the wake-up call and self flagellation and week of anesthesia brain, I am ready to charge on for a better today and tomorrow.
I am still cogitating what I would like to accomplish and figure out where my purpose will lead me, next year. I really don’t know if it will include FB writing. There are times when I think that I should leave before you tell me to. And FB, with its recent BS going on, it brings my love/hate relationship as a writing venue to the surface.
I operate better with a purpose, but there are times when I wonder if I should find a new purpose, of simply just lied days unfold.
Nah, I stink at that.
See, I am working things through. Oh, there are days when I think I should go be a monk and wear a brown robe with a hood. I like hoods. I also can make fudge to sell at the monastery gift shop. But I would need to be in an order of monks that laughed … a lot. I might also get kicked out of chapel for playing tic-tax-toe on the visitor cards.
How do you ponder and figured out what you want to do with your life? Note: there are many of you in the throes of working and child-rearing, so, you are on your march to survive all that goes on with that.
But for those who have the time, how do you determine what you want your life to be? I am curious.
This post feels like driftwood.
Are any of you heading anywhere for Christmas?
I am glad I don’t have to go to Sandringham for Christmas with the queen, although it would be fun to watch Prince Charle and Camilla get it on.
If we had a queen, who do you think would be a good one? Miley Cyrus might be fun.
Well, I am rails off the rails, now.
Off to go to the backyard to graze on some grass. I don’t think it is an inflammatory.
PS. My lunch yesterday at Jim and NIck’s/ I drove myself there to pick up some biscuit mixes for gifts, and decided that I needed to sit at the bar and have lunch/dinner. That is the tastiest said … and I didn’t eat both dressings.
This morning, I had a false start. I wrote one of my stupid posts about groins. Groan.
While on my rest period, I have thought about many things … food,being one of them. Thinking of how I eat, where I eat, what I eat and why I eat.
Why did I do that? Because I believe that part of the way to improving my health, is to be conscious of what I eat.
As you know, food is a love of mine, but it acan also be a nemesis. Many people have a similar situation and may others, don’t.
So, as I have said, I am good at gaining and losing, but not maintaining.
But I will not give up on trying to do better.
I have learned that to go no or very low carb, gets the weight off, helps my joints and other things, but it is difficult to do forever.
So, I have begun another eating path. Eating less, eating few processed foods, and leaning towards a Mediterranean version. Also, I will still have treats, but small amounts and not as often. I will find other things that are healthy and satisfying.
I will be selective. Thoughtful. And live my life while making the changes.
My heart needs my help. It has come to that.
I have to remember that.
I approach this with optimism and hope, faith and patience. I also hope I know how to forgive myself if necessary.
So … that is my real message for today. The struggles of life continue to mix with the joys, successes and laughter. The groin will heal. I want to help my heart heal. Sometimes, you just have to face facts. And that is what I am doing.
So … I will be trying new recipes and making things up and I will share them. I might even try to remember how I made something if it is good.
Actually, this all makes me smile. Change is a huge part of life. I need to make some changes.
Little changes … big results.
My motto for the coming time.
Our Mediterranean dinner. Marinated grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, olives, and hard boiled eggs in olive oil, herbs and balsamic.
And aren’t there Brussel sprouts beautiful?
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.
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.
Just as there is a life cycle for a flower, in the public eye, or in the minds of some people, there is a time when people should exit the stage, leave, go fishing, take a hike.
Having written for going on 25 years, I am probably, one of those people who might have past their expiration date, as far as a reading audience goes.
I have thought about that, a lot, recently. Should I hang up my fingers and brain and words and exit the writing world, stage left? Are readers bored with me? Have I said everything ad nauseous? Have I told stories over and over and over?
Even as of yesterday, I mentioned to Nick, I think I am past my expiration date. I got off of Facebook for a purpose. Many people read my words and wrote that they enjoyed them. But that does not mean that they will follow you, stay with you, search you out, if you move from their comfort or energy zone.
That is humbling. But I also know that that is just people. Life is busy and priorities set in and lives take different directions. My life moths along. I move from different necceary duties and work and move on with new interest.
But writin. Writing and photography, have never abandoned me. Readers might disappear, publications I have written for have come and gone and changed and love fresh voices of a new generation.
I noticed the shift after 9-11. There was a seismic shift then and with the market kefuffle in 2008.. For a while, I changed with the market. I found publications for my work.
Then I developed a nice following of readers on my FB blog. But FB bothers me. I love it and hate it. It has good technology that is often used in a less than forthright way. Politically, and otherwise. So, jut as I am independent politically, I decided to write independently.
There are more formatting options. It is mine. and that is nice.
All of that being said, what I am learning from this little venture, is that the bottom line is … independent of whether a large number of people read my words, or only a few, I love to write. It really is a spiritual thing for me. Though I have retreated. Somewhat. From a busy life, to one of gardening, nature and nurturing in a smaller way, writing makes me feel alive. It is how I sort my thoughts and let the world know that I have been here, I have learned, done some things well and screwed up othert things, and that is all part of the life I have built.
It really is a joy to touch people in some way, to strike a note of life that rings true, or is absurd, or cracks people up.
In this world of marketing, social media, LIKES, SUBCRIBES, and GOOGLE ANALYTICS, sometimes the point gets lost in my head. Not everyething can be measured in numbers. If one person reads and it affects them, it is worth it. And if I write for myself, it is worth it, too.
I am still learning to figure out life and how to live in this technology driven, results oriented, society.
But as long as the birds fly, butterflies have magic wings and the preying mantis visit, you will find me working in my garden, finding love in some aspect, everyday, and sipping tea ,,, I will write and take photographs that bring me joy. Sharing it is just a bonus.