Gratitude week 149

  1. The first half of the week was unseasonably warm and sunny so we were able to get out and about walking on the area trails.
  2. We had a plumber come out again since one of our pumps was clicking almost non-stop. Turns out we had multiple leaking toilets and once those were serviced it fixed the problem. So, yeah, another home maintenance problem fixed.
  3. I’m also grateful we have a well and are not on a water line. Oh my gosh would that be expensive.
  4. Lunch with my friend Jen at a restaurant I’ve never tried before.
  5. My husband is going strong on his detox diet and is almost halfway done.
  6. We got a dumpster a couple days ago and not only is the future office painted but now the carpet is torn out. I did most of the work myself. Physical labor feels great and doing a home renovation project has always been on my bucket list.
  7. With the dumpster I’ve felt more motivated than ever to get rid of stuff and declutter.
  8. I’ve also been motivated to do a little redecorating. We bought our house furnished and I am satisfied with most of the decor. However, there are some things I really don’t like. The area rug under the dining room table is ugly, stained, and worn so I just ordered a new one I like.
  9. As strange as it sounds for someone my age, I feel like I am really starting to figure out who I am and what I want. I guess that’s the benefit of having adult children and a mostly empty nest. Most of my life I felt the need to be responsible for other people even people I shouldn’t have had that expectation for such as my mom and disabled brother. I’m done with that now.
  10. I’m grateful to have more time to volunteer. It has been a really enjoyable experience to help those in need. I volunteer through a program supported by area churches to give out diapers and kids clothing to families in need.

This uncertainty, part 1

Lately I’ve been struggling a lot with indecision and uncertainty. Where do I even begin?

I’m not certain how I feel about my mom right now ever since she sent a picture to my daughter of her ex-boyfriend on her wedding day. Last week I talked to my therapist about it. She asked me how I don’t hate my mom. I don’t really…hate my mom. I just need space.

I just don’t understand how she could do something like that. Was it intentional? She had to dig back pretty far into her photos to find that one. Was she jealous my daughter asked me to be a bridesmaid? She is always making comments…must be nice…but it doesn’t sound nice. She was the one blemish on an otherwise perfect wedding day. My therapist said it doesn’t matter whether it was intentional or not. The issue is that my mom is always being the drama queen.

If it’s not one thing it’s another to try to get my attention. My mom has been to urgent care twice in the last week or so. Neither time for anything serious. The last time it was for a fever of 100. She has been calling and texting about how sick she is.

I’ve only seen her twice since the wedding a month ago. It’s been nice. I think twice a month is enough for me. But I know if I push back she is going to smother me. I just don’t know if it’s worth the fight.

I have to start planning Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s another thing, my mom never once hosted those holidays. I started taking it on after my grandma no longer could when I was in my 20’s. Seems kind of young looking back now. I think I feel a lot of resentment towards my mom for that. Sometimes my brother Luke would take it on and he’s younger than me.

This year everyone is invited to the big extended family Christmas party regardless of vaccination status. Last year we were not invited because my household is of a mixed status. Now we are invited but I don’t really want to go. I probably will anyway because the aunts and uncles that are currently not in the family feud went out of their way to be great towards my daughter on her wedding day. Better than my mom was. Actions speak louder than my mom’s words. She sometimes exaggerates things to stir up drama and I can’t overlook that.

I’m not really sure what to do about my mom and my relationship with her. So far I’ve opted to do nothing and be noncommittal which is the opposite of how I try to live my life. I don’t know seems to be my answer for a lot of things these days and I don’t really like it. I’m the type of person who always has to have a plan.

Gratitude week 148

  1. I’m grateful for Ashley’s family letting the blogging community know of her passing. I feel a lot of sadness over her loss. I feel thankful her family provided us with closure and let us know how much comfort blogging provided her in her life. There have been many times over the years bloggers have just disappeared and just left us guessing in worry.
  2. Our friends had their annual Halloween party over the weekend. We also had our annual sailing banquet which we also dressed up for. It was pleasant to visit with friends we don’t see often. I also love to dress in costume. That was probably my favorite part of being involved with community theater, dressing up and being someone else for awhile. Although someone did ask me if I was dressed up as a pregnant porn star. Definitely not the look I was going for. Paul and I dressed up in vintage 70’s disco outfits.
  3. My husband started his month long detox diet. I’m grateful he takes his health seriously.
  4. My son-in-law came back home yesterday after spending two weeks out of state for work.
  5. I finished painting my future office.
  6. We will be renting a dumpster this week to pull out the carpeting and get rid of junk.
  7. I had a good session with my therapist.
  8. Paul and I did some volunteer work. I enjoy helping other people and getting out of my own problems for awhile.
  9. I have been sleeping pretty good lately.
  10. We had a game night with Will and Arabella. We had a really good visit.

Gratitude tomorrow…

Yesterday I found out one of my blogging friends passed away after a long battle with depression. I wish I could’ve done something to help her. A couple weeks back I noticed her blogging patterns were off. She posted one day like normal and then she just disappeared. She no longer liked or commented on my posts either. A week went by, then another week. I was really getting worried. What if something happened to her? I decided to do a little poking around. I had her name and a general location so I started scouring the obituaries. Nothing…

For awhile I had a sense of false hope. Maybe she was in the hospital and couldn’t update her blog. Maybe she got in a car accident. Maybe she was taking a break on the beach of some nice resort. Maybe she was sick with a fever. The nagging voice in my head said maybe she was dead. Nope, couldn’t be that because I didn’t find an obituary. Maybe, maybe, maybe…until one day I saw a post from her family with her obituary.

Did she know the last time she posted it would be her last? She never said good-bye.

It hurts. Even though we never met in person, I felt like she was a good friend. On a hard day, she often would write an encouraging comment. I just can’t believe it. She was an inspiration to many, especially those struggling with mental health issues. Maybe some day I will go back and re-read some of the things she wrote but as of now I just can’t. Good bye Ashley, you will be greatly missed.

Gratitude week 147

  1. The weather the last couple of days has been absolutely gorgeous.
  2. I took advantage of the nice weather to finish my fall cleaning and wash windows.
  3. The autumn colors have reached their peak.
  4. I love the home renovation shows and I am starting a project on a much smaller scale turning my daughter’s old bedroom into my office. I removed all the trim board and applied the first coat of paint. I’m grateful my husband and I are willing to take on projects and finish them even though we don’t know what we are doing. There has never been an easier time to learn.
  5. Breakfast with my best friend at a new restaurant.
  6. I was able to visit with all my kids this past week.
  7. Angel came for a visit and brought over cinnamon bread she made with the bread machine which was a wedding gift.
  8. Paul’s homemade pizza.
  9. Fall campfires.
  10. Variety, change of seasons, and getting out my winter clothes. Warm fuzzy sweaters are the best!

The bug

Most nights after we were done with the conference for the evening, we would go back to our room and doze off to Halloween specials or old movie series. This particular night, the Jaws series was on. I never watched the series as a kid because I was pretty young when it came out. Paul remembers going to the movie theater to watch Jaws with his mom as a kid. He said it was pretty scary. It’s amazing how time changes perspective and what was once scary is not scary anymore at all.

It was after midnight and I had just fallen asleep when Paul woke up freaking out because he felt a bug on his leg. He tore apart the bed looking for the bug thinking our hotel room had a bedbug infestation. I admit, we both are fearful of bedbugs when traveling. I saw a beetle flying around the room earlier so I still half asleep was not convinced of a problem.

Paul found the bug and tried to identify what it was. He decided to download a bug identifier app. They advertised that the first bug was free. He took a picture of the bug and the app said it was a bedbug. This amped up Paul’s anxiety and he was ready to pack up all our belongings and see if we could get another room. I told him it didn’t look like a bedbug and that I thought I saw the same kind of bug at home. He decided maybe he didn’t get a good enough picture, so he took another photo on the bug identifier app.

This time the bug identifier app said it would cost $3.99 per month for a minimum of 12 months. No way! What a scam. Because I saw a similar bug at home, I was able to find out what kind of bug it was on my phone. It was not a bedbug. Crisis diverted.

I told the story to a new friend I met at the conference after she told me a similar story. She said next time all I needed to do was download the google app and take a picture of whatever I wanted to identify. I had no idea I could do that. After she showed me how it worked, I downloaded the app. When we were at the state park in Delaware I saw an interesting small cactus type plant. Cactus in Delaware? I took a picture of it with my google app and it said the plant was an Eastern Prickly Pear.

Something good came out of the bug experience and for now we managed to once again evade a bedbug invasion.

Delaware

Delaware is my 42nd state I’ve crossed off my bucket list and we had two full days to spend there. I’m a small town girl and wanted to visit somewhere off the beaten path. So I choose a small bed and breakfast in the town of Milton. Not a lot different from rural Wisconsin. The first evening we walked from the B&B to an Irish pub for supper. I have to say I was very happy with the food and service everywhere we went in Delaware.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Traffic. I will never complain about traffic at home again after visiting out East. Oh my gosh! We must have sat forever at a yield sign before merging onto a busy highway. The lady in the car behind us was gesturing at us emphatically. I guess we were supposed to just go and hopefully someone would let us merge. Thankfully our rental car had Florida plates. Traffic was terrible. The other thing I was not impressed with was the live music I heard.

The bed and breakfast was a charming place built in I believe it was 1810 and a governor once lived there. The house is on a historical registry. I’ve never stayed in a B&B that was so old and as always kept a lookout for ghosts. But the innkeepers said the flickering lights had more to do with a hot water heater than anything else.

Our first day, Paul and I decided to hit up Bally’s Casino in Dover. I hate to admit it, but we had a great time losing our money. The casino was large and opulent with many choices. I liked that it was non-smoking although they did offer a separate room for the smoking section. We ate lunch at the casino and again the food was great. They had specialty drinks. I ordered a root beer float mixed drink which could be really dangerous.

That evening we walked to the Dogfish Head Brewery. We were hoping to get a tour but we arrived just after the last tour of the day left. I got a beer flight. We sat outside and enjoyed the nice weather. There were a lot of families playing outdoor games and people with dogs. I bought a t-shirt and a pint glass to remind me of our trip.

Our last full day we heard it was snowing at home and decided to soak up some sun at the beach. We decided to go to Cape Henlopen State Park. The water temperature was supposed to be the warmest at the cape at a balmy 69 degrees which was pretty close to the air temperature. At the point was where Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. At first we walked along the bay. We had the beach to ourselves but the water was very cold. We decided to walk to lunch at Big Oyster Brewery from there which ended up being a long walk. Afterwards we took an Uber back to the cape.

At the cape, we got on our swimming suits and headed to the beach. We ended up walking around the whole cape which was rather massive. People were not swimming and sunbathing there as I imagined. Instead, people were driving on the beach with Jeeps that had a cart on the front full of fishing poles standing straight up. We saw them let air out of their tires to drive on the beach, then fill them up again once they left. No one was walking or frolicking in the water. It was way too cold for that. They were fishing. This plan of mine was an epic fail.

It was really windy and cool on the beach. People had little tents set up to block the wind. They were wearing pants, sweaters, and/or jackets. Meanwhile we were the crazy Midwesterners in swimming suits laying on beach towels getting pelted with sand. It was really quite miserable. We didn’t end up staying that long. It was a long walk back with no bathrooms in sight. It was not what I had in mind. I think we would have been fine if we stayed at the Delaware Bay beach, but we didn’t know. It was the middle of October and I guess I was expecting it not to be. I think we seriously need a beach vacation.

That evening when we got back we went out for seafood. If we couldn’t be in the ocean, we could at least enjoy eating things that did live in the ocean. We enjoyed our little weekend getaway in Delaware. Here are some of the photos I took at the beach.

A spontaneous trip to Washington D.C.

I didn’t plan on crossing Washington D.C. off my bucket list but when the opportunity struck I jumped into the car. The conversation came up at the sushi bar. We met a guy from Alabama. Now before this gets a little weird, we didn’t just meet a stranger in a bar and get into his car. My husband talked to this man several times on the phone before because he was starting up a business like ours and wanted some advice. I remember one conversation quite well even though it occurred back in 2020.

We were in New Orleans when Paul was on the phone with the man from Alabama. We were thinking of visiting while we were in the area but he was out of town. I remember the conversation because some guy came up to us when Paul was on the phone with him wanting us to buy drugs. Another street over there was a pedestrian on a bike almost struck by a car fighting it out in the street exchanging a lot of f words. What must this guy think of us if he heard any of the background conversation?

This was the first time we met our friend from Alabama in person. I laughed when I told him the story of the background conversations. He offered us a tour of D.C. a few days later after dropping off his wife at the airport. He said he lived there for several years and knew his way around. I told him about my bucket list and instantly took him up on the offer. He was pretty quirky himself and said he also had all 50 states on his bucket list. He said his goal was to see all 50 states by age 50 which he did. He also said he had a goal of running a marathon, 26 miles by 26 years which he also did. I really like lists and think he had some amazing ideas by coordinating his lists to his age.

The next day at the conference we didn’t talk to our new friend much. I was a little worried the trip into DC was just bar talk. But it wasn’t. There were certain things I was expecting upon visiting the capitol of our great country and some things I was not.

We saw the Lincoln, Jefferson, and WWII Memorials. The memorials were absolutely stunning and I felt which I can only describe as wonder and patriotism upon seeing them and the words written upon the walls. The architecture was beautifully breathtaking. It was a perfect autumn day, sunny and warm to walk around. I’m not a huge history buff, but it was interesting to think about what our country and its people were like in the early years.

I was hoping to get a little closer to The White House but only saw it from the distance. There were a lot of people at the memorials. I didn’t stay long inside the Lincoln Memorial. I was feeling a little claustrophobic in the crowd. There was a steady stream of noise with planes flying over and tourists. I enjoyed my time in DC and think everyone should experience going there at least once. If we had more time it would’ve been nice to visit the museum.

Other than that, frankly I was not impressed with our capitol city. Maybe I’m just not a city girl. DC was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. We spent a lot of time sitting in traffic. Parking was limited and we had to pay for it everywhere we went. The airport was busy hustle bustle. There was A LOT of garbage on the side of the highway. I’ve never seen more litter anywhere else. My first impression of DC was that it’s an old, dirty, rundown large city. I saw the homeless. I heard a lot of sirens. There seemed to be some nice parts where the memorials and monuments are, but other than that I would never want to live there. How can you take pride in a capitol city that seems so filthy? But that’s just my opinion as an outsider looking in. And I didn’t even mention politics.

Anyway, I’m happy to have had the opportunity to check Washington D.C. off my bucket list. Here are some of the pictures I took.

The Washington Monument with a view of The White House.
The World War II Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial viewed from the WWII Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial

Here and there

We left home for a week to go to a conference. We had three free days, one which we spent in Washington D.C. and the other two in Delaware checking them both off my bucket list.

We left Sunday morning in hopes of making it to our destination in time for the opening ceremony. Everything went smoothly for our first flight, not so much for our second. Paul was the one who alerted me of the first problem. It looked like someone puked right outside of the plane as we were boarding. Everyone else seemed oblivious to it. Most rolled their carry on luggage right through it. I’m hoping maybe someone just spilled food, but that’s not what it looked like.

We got on the plane and sat for the longest time. The latching mechanism for the door was not working so mechanics were called aboard with no success. Eventually we had to deplane and wait for another plane. It took so long I think perhaps they had to build another plane. The second plane didn’t take off right away either. By the time we reached our destination, we were two and a half hours late.

Next we had to wait to take a shuttle bus to the car rental area. The driver was a kind older man. The bus was rather full but he found a spot for my luggage and a seat for me to sit in. I wanted to give the man a tip but I only had larger currency. Once the doors opened, Paul raced to the rental car area. By the time I caught up to him it was too late to give the guy a tip. I was hoping to catch him on the way back.

Once we got the rental car, we still had another 30 minutes to our hotel. It was dark outside by then and we drove quite a ways before we noticed we were driving without our headlights on. We weren’t going to make it to the opening ceremony. We were going to miss the whole thing. When we got to the hotel, there was a skeleton crew of conference goers left at the bar area. A handful were planning on getting drinks and sushi nearby. We decided to go with because we didn’t eat supper yet. We got there right before the kitchen closed.

The bus driver I was hoping to catch on the way back wasn’t there. This time there was a bus driver who stood outside the front door of the bus. The bus was full, filled to overflowing. The driver just stood there. He did not help people put luggage on the racks or even say anything. At this point, we got to the airport really early so we should have just waited for the next bus. The luggage rack was full so I just stood there holding my luggage with one hand and tried to grab onto something with my other hand. Even though there wasn’t any room, people still entered the bus.

I stood next to a seat with two elderly people in it. In the seat behind them there was a family, a man younger than me with a son of about 11. Across from them was the mom who sat on the outside seat and wouldn’t move over to let someone else sit with her. At this time I was getting irritated. Not just because I was carrying a purse, backpack, and suitcase while trying to maintain my balance on a crowded bus. I was irritated the woman did not offer to move over. I was upset that I saw several senior citizens standing while the pre-teen sat without offering a seat to an elder.

Once the bus stopped, the family wanted to get off at the first stop. The woman complained I was in her way. It’s not as if I wanted to stand in the aisle. There was nowhere else for me to go. They were complaining about me out loud to each other. I was starting to get really angry about it. They couldn’t leave fast enough but I was a little shaken by the experience. The elderly lady in the seat in front of them must have noticed because she turned to me and smiled complimenting me on my shirt diffusing some of my irritation.

The family was rude in my book, but I placed a lot of blame on the bus driver. He was not going to be getting a tip from me. He probably didn’t get a lot of tips. The rest of the trip home was relatively uneventful. The first flight we ended up getting seats in the last row and the second flight we sat very close to the front. When we left it was warm. We were coming home to the cold rain. It takes courage sometimes to come home to a place of cold when we know the days ahead will be dark ones. My flipflops no longer keeping my feet warm. Yet it is comforting because it is home to me.

Gratitude week 146

  1. As much as I love to travel, it’s always nice to be back home.
  2. I’m grateful we got everything ready for winter before we left because it showed up while we were gone.
  3. I’m grateful to sleep in my own bed with clean sheets, an electric blanket, and a quilt on.
  4. I checked the state of Delaware off my bucket list.
  5. We made an unexpected trip into Washington D.C. so I checked that off my bucket list as well.
  6. Today I bought some light yellow paint to start turning Arabella’s old bedroom into my office. I’m excited to get started on some of my winter projects.
  7. I’m grateful for a quiet week and weekend ahead.
  8. I’m grateful for the warmish weather while we were travelling out East.