It’s me. I’m still here.

It’s amazing how quickly time passes.  Although I’d like to say that’s a good thing in some cases, for the most part, I’d rather it didn’t.  There has to be a balance between wanting a phase in one’s life to come to a conclusion and simply embracing it.

In the last many months, I think perhaps that I’ve managed to do that.  I’ve found things to do that matter to me, have forgiven myself for others I don’t spend quite as much time on, and have given myself time each day to look around and appreciate a few things.  If you twisted my arm, I’d say that I’ve appreciated more than just a few things.

It does get more and more challenging, however, to recognize whether my life has taken yet another direction, or that I’m caught up in all the things one does when one’s trying to avoid doing what is supposed to be done.  It’s convoluted, but it makes sense to me, and that’s enough for now.

Someone today said to embrace the here and now.  It’s not new information, and I’ve cringed when I’ve heard others say it before.  But today, the message was being delivered to those much younger than myself by someone not much older than they.  Ironically, I guess that’s what I’ve been trying to do for nearly a year now.  It’s hard if you’re like me and life is about planning.

I know I’m supposed to have learned something in this experience, and I’m sure I have, but it’s late and my alarm wakes me earlier than I’d like so I won’t wander down the path of that explanation right now.

What I miss most about this detour is my barely new found self:  the one that laughed and had seemingly endless energy and curiousity.  I’d like to find her again because I was just getting to know her.  She was a bit odd, but I think I liked her.

If you see her, will you let me know?

I may have seen her this evening when it was pouring outside and she grabbed a huge umbrella and camera to run out in the rain and take a photo.

She’s still in there somewhere.

Moving right along.

As is often read, time heals all, and I’m slowly becoming accustomed to being out in the working world again.  The adjustments I’ve had to make are minor compared to what others may have to experience under similar circumstances because I haven’t had to worry about finding childcare, or trouble anyone about taking over the few responsibilities I’ve accumulated in the past two years such as car pool.  My pets are relatively trouble free now, and there’s no long commute to plan for.  Surprisingly, most of my work clothes still fit, which is a sort of accomplishment, I guess.

No, that hasn’t been all that difficult.  What has been troubling is the loneliness I’ve been feeling.  It’s severe at times — so much so that I’ve been reduced to tears, surprised, and a bit unsettled about my unexpected emotions.  Although I’m thankfully past the worst of it, I sense a void that reminds me of a similar feeling I’ve experienced before — that of leaving something behind unwillingly, of loss.

It’s fairly painful.

For days, I struggled to think of pleasant things, and to busy myself with activities I enjoy, but wasn’t as successful as I’d liked.  I fell easily into my old habit of thinking of others less fortunate than myself.  Of so many who now find themselves without work and struggling to keep their homes.  And I tried to understand the uncomfortable pressure on my chest that all but screamed I was making an enormous mistake.

To help focus on the positive, I sat down with the MoH and we made a list of all that I’d like to do with my income over the next year:  repair the lighting and drip system on the patio; replace the fencing; install an energy-efficient hot water system, put organizers in the closets, repair a few old dining room chairs, have two other chairs reupholstered….Not quite as glamorous as others may think, but concrete enough to allow me to see that a year of my time at this point in my life counted for something.

I’m a strong believer in the idea that things happen for a reason.  That opportunities are placed before us all the time, and the extent to which we allow ourselves to see them determines whether our lives are rich and fulfilling, or mundane and guarded.  The ironic aspect of it all is that when I take the steps I do in new directions, I rarely realize whether it’s the best decision for me and those I care about.  Instead, it’s more an unknown, a tentative decision at best, and I attempt to keep my mind open to whatever may lie ahead truly believing that a unique experience is just over the hill.

All the while, I’m chastising myself, shaking my head over maudlin thoughts and pathetic self-absorbtion.  It’s grossly embarrassing, yet I can’t prevent it.  So I heave with countless cleansing breaths, and try to relax.  I give in to the sadness and then try to snap out of it.  I count what I should feel fortunate about, and move ahead.  I look for beauty in small things, and count stars at night.  I wonder how on Earth something so good could feel so wrong.

Only those with common experiences seem to understand how closely lives can be linked, how much one can grow to depend on community, on friendship and camraderie gained while sitting in front of a computer.  Over the past two years, lovely people who live a state, a country, or even an ocean away have truly and unexpectedly become part of my small world and enriched it more than I can describe.

Sadly, I’m missing all of them right now, and no amount of organizing my garage, digging in my small garden, or cooking the next recipe on my endless list will make that feeling go away.

The Effect of Stones and Moss on Life

There may be an interesting change on my horizon, and as I mulled over the possibility of it while sipping my coffee this morning, I felt the urge to sift back through my writing here — all two years of it.  I’ve laughed aloud, winced, and cried all in the span of an hour, wallowing in the memories.

At another point in my life, I’d have needed to sift through old photos kept in boxes, or read entries in dusty notebooks to gain what I’ve enjoyed today just sitting here.  Although I’ve been tempted to print the text of my accumulated posts more than once, I know it wouldn’t be the same as being able to read through them here, and to remember what mattered on a given day in February last year, or feel again the angst a particular teacher caused our family the year before.  No, the pages would end up in a box somewhere like so many other aspects of our lives we believe matter.

Instead, I’ve decided to make private most of what I’ve written here.  I can’t give it up completely, so it seemed the best compromise.

Change is good, isn’t it?

We learn and grow from the decisions we make about our lives and experiences.  And you know what is said of rolling stones and moss, right?

Finding time to relax again

Busy season is finally over yet another year.  There have been so many I’ve lost count.  It means the MoH is home before dark, and that it’s time for me to have an idea or two to plant in his mind before he heads for work in the morning about what we might do in the evening.  It’s so he can begin to feel like there’s actually a day — or at least part of one — to be enjoyed even though it’s not quite the weekend.

Or maybe it was that we were celebrating the beginning of the weekend — the first of many to come before the next string of late nights and work-filled weekends.

Continue reading “Finding time to relax again”

Comfort and Limitations

It’s dark when the alarm goes off and my husband hits the snooze button to squeeze a few more precious minutes of sleep from his restless night.  I lay there not quite wanting to open my eyes and tentatively move my sore limbs, regretting my decision to tear down a fence in the back only a little, thinking, not bad for an old chick, as I become familiar with each ache.

The sound of the shower motivates me to swing my feet to the chilly floor and shuffle downstairs to turn on the kettle for tea.  One English Breakfast tea bag goes into the stainless travel mug for my husband and I fill the coffee pot to the six line for myself, dumping two mounded scoops of coffee into the basket before remembering to actually turn it on.

The cat is looking at me from her perch on the arm chair and I’m wondering why she isn’t yeowling at me like she normally does at this point in my morning routine, hurrying me along so that she can have a fresh bowl of food.  I glance at the dog’s dish to make sure my son has fed her before heading down to tend to the cat, proceding with caution on the stairs because I know she’ll come barreling down them right as I’m ready to take another step and I don’t want to be a feature story on the 5PM news.  But she doesn’t today, and I look back to see her staring at me, seemingly as uninspired in this routine as I am.  I tap the spoon on the rim of the cat food can and peer around the corner to see her headed down the stairs.  She stretches each hind leg, then looks up at me and yeowls, as if to say, it’s about time.

Continue reading “Comfort and Limitations”

Reluctant Empathy and Old Ideas

I’ll go to my corner now that I’ve had my little tantrum after writing something that was more catalyst than conviction.

Later in the day when I was on my way to collect the resident teen from his spot at the curb after school, I heard the man I’d been watching earlier on television ask for privacy for the executives who’d received bonuses.  If the company was subpoenaed for the list of names, then it could be public information and the man expressed concern, reading from notes they’d already received from hate mongers about what should be done to the executives and their families if given the opportunity.

Continue reading “Reluctant Empathy and Old Ideas”

Loving my Valentine

I don’t expect that on Valentine’s Day anyone will be spanking me with dog or goat-skin whips in order to increase my fertility this year, because although some may find that entertaining, I wouldn’t.  I’m thinking that the MoH wouldn’t like it much either, since he’s my Valentine, and I his.

We’re more about simple things and goofiness like emails that come as soon as I sit down in front of my Mac because he’s figured out nearly exactly when that happens each day.  Some people think that after two people have been Valentines for 25 years that there might not be too many more surprises, but I’d say they’re wrong because I’ve been surprised four times this week and it’s not even Valentine’s Day yet.

The first email said…

On the first day of Valentine’s your true love gave to yooooouuuuuuuu….

Something sweet under a pillow very near by.

Chuao Chocolates

He knows I love Chuao chocolate.  Love.  It.

On the next morning, just as I was wondering if there would be a second day of Valentines’ and whether I qualified for it the second email came…

On the second day of Valentine’s your trule love gave to yooouuuuuuu….

Your true love gave to yooooouuuuuu

Something stinky that thought it was going to watch TV but ended up in a dark cave.

Let me know if you can’t figure that out.

Now, I don’t know about you, but since I’m sort of stuck in all things food on most days, I thought of a very nice piece of cheese.  I know.  But the MoH knows me and clearly he was enjoying himself with all of this Valentine’s Day revelry, so I went with my first instinct and checked the cheese drawer in our fridge.  It’s pretty dark in there these days since I haven’t changed the light bulbs that have long been burned out, and I supposed you could consider it a cave since…well, okay, maybe not so much, but still.

Regardless, there was no package in the cheese drawer, so I went down to the laundry room where it is actually quite chilly and is stinky, too, since that’s where the cat box is.  But no present.  And then the garage where the second fridge is, but nothing was there that I didn’t recognize, so upstairs to his closet to see if I’d neglected to do his laundry.  But no.

So he sent me a second clue…

Stinky generally means it means bad, but maybe it just has a strong fragrance.

See clue 1 and then you were close with d) the garage fridge.  And you will have to open up something to find it.  And no it’s not in the trash cans.

I ventured back to the garage fridge and opened the butter box and found a bag of peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets with a $1.00 tag on them thinking, “He must have forgotten that he was going to do this riddle scavenger hut thing and ran into 7/11 on the way home…Or wants to get rid of me feeding me tainted peanut butter snack products.” Hell.  When it comes right down to it, peanut butter isn’t high on my list of special things unless it’s in the form of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that’s been in the freezer for a while.

So I sent him this… Nuggies

And then he sent me this…

So hmmm, I said you were close but that is too close.

What used to have a TV in it, is now in the garage and has a cavernous opening that you can close that sits next to the trash cans.

It starts with an A and ends with an R

Poor things, sitting waiting for someone to find them.

: )

And so I venture back to the garage and open our old armoire to find these thinking that this is all so much fun.  Yes, the presents are nice, but I love this goofy, romantic man I’m married to who has taken the time to do all of this for me and in between meetings is keeping up with it all when I still haven’t decided whether I’ll change my clothes or not.  Or combed my hair.
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This morning, I hadn’t yet opened my email because I was focused on other things.  But no sooner had I opened my email and the MoH’s latest arrived…

Are you sitting at your computer waiting?

Sweets,

Have you already rifled thru the house wondering what treasure your sweet husband has left for you??

So here we go.

On the third day of Valentines your true love gave to yooooouuuuu.

A piece of plastic and a folded piece of paper.

But before I tell you where it is, it looks like you have a headache and need an aspirin.

Now I had already emailed him about what I was preoccupied with — our son, the RTR, who is somewhat absent-minded on most days.  The night before, he’d been talking about spending the weekend with his cousin, and we have a routine where my sister-in-law and I meet half way to their house and drop off whichever boy is doing the visiting.  I was worried that the plans weren’t in stone and that he needed to talk to the carpool driver about not picking him up after school today, or whether he’d packed a bag for the weekend.  I  needed to figure out Plan B and realized that the MoH and I could go out tonight and maybe see a movie or something.

With a barely recognizable rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas oddly coming from my pursed lips, I opened the MoH’s most recent email …

There’s no need to fear — Underdad is here.

I reminded him to tell M that he wouldn’t need a ride
I asked him about the bag and he said there would be time to come home
and pack it after school (then why do you need to cancel the ride?)
3pm at the halfway point is correct
See my last e-mail regarding your last question.

This makes me smile since my fat butt was still in bed sleeping this morning when all of this was going on.  The MoH was the Mom of this family for many years while I was working, so he’s good at organizing details about who should be where and when.

Today’s riddle was very easy since I knew where the aspirin was even though I rarely have headaches.  This is what I found… More Presents A gift certificate to shop in a favorite store and dinner at my favorite Greek restaurant.  Guess I’ll have no excuse to wear sweats.

With Valentine’s Day still not quite here, I’ve collected quite a few Valentines from my Valentine.

And because I’m a sap, the best part has been all the fun.

He makes my heart go flippety-flop.