Timshel

I first heard of the concept Timshel in the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It means thou mayest in Hebrew. Timshel is saying we have a choice between good and evil. You can choose the path you take. Will others rejoice upon our passing or will there be great sadness based upon the choices we made in how we love one another. I know I am not giving the 600 page book justice with my mere 600 words.

I wouldn’t consider the book to be a happy story. But it was a feel good book because of its realistic perspective. Some of the big themes dealt with relationships between siblings, sibling rivalry, and the parent/child relationship. One of the things that really hit home for me was the struggle the characters experienced within. If my parent chooses evil, what does that make me? The book brings up the thought that although your parent may choose evil doesn’t mean that you are destined for the same choices. They have a choice just like you do.

I won’t lie to you, I sometimes struggle with this. I try hard to be a good person, but plenty of times I fall short. My dad did a lot of evil things. Does that make me evil even though I did not make the same choices he did? Sometimes I see him in myself. I hate to be reminded of him when I look in the mirror, how I talk, or how I walk. But it’s there. I have to wonder if that is the only thing there. Maybe he passed his evil down to me.

Logically, I know it’s crazy to think that, yet sometimes I do. The weight of his decisions has brought many people down. My mom is really struggling with her mental health over it. My brother Luke will not have his kids around my dad. I rarely see my brother and haven’t seen him, his wife, or my nieces yet this year. My dad is not invited to holidays. He is not invited to my daughter’s wedding. We always wonder if and when the police will be back to my parent’s house. But those are all just the external things which make life difficult and complicated.

I think the internal pain is worse. The anxiety that somewhere deep inside I might be guilty just for being his daughter like choosing evil is an inheritable trait. Sometimes I have to keep telling myself I am not responsible for my parents. I am not responsible for my adult children. I am responsible for me and my choices alone.

I don’t have a dad I can be proud of. He has brought nothing but shame to the family name. I wish I could say his choices affected only himself. If the evil choices other people make cannot be attributed to us then neither can the good. Having a child who chooses good does not equate to having good parents any more than having a child who chooses evil equate to having bad parents. Why is this so hard to understand? Why do we need something or someone to blame for the bad choices others make? It’s true some people have more obstacles than others. But is that really a good excuse? Maybe they just made a bad decision because that is what they wanted to do.

My grandparents were wonderful people. My dad, not so much.

Timshel. Everyone has a choice.

Again, I would highly recommend reading East of Eden. It’s very well written and thought provoking. It had a lot of interesting twists and turns in the classic drama by John Steinbeck. I’ve read several other books by the same author decades ago, Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath were among my favorites. I hope to read more of his books in the near future. They always have a way of making me think about things differently.

Life lately

I started having bad dreams again, nothing too terrifying. Last night it was the wild animals. I spotted a bear in the distance that wanted to get inside of my house. Then there were the dogs. They snarled and clawed outside my door if I tried to lock them out. It was horrifying to let them in, but if I did they ran through my house then were gone.

Sometimes I feel memories clawing through my mind. Memories I want to repress, but the more I do the more they nag me swirling endlessly awaiting connection. Incomplete memories, a camera, the fish tank upstairs that I don’t remember being upstairs, other things…

My therapist asked if remembering would change the way I feel about myself. I said it could go one of two ways. I could be more bitter than I already am. Or I can think I survived more than I thought I could with a certain courageousness.

My therapist asked if it would change how I felt about my parents. I said I didn’t think so. I will always view my mother as weak. She always seemed to protect the wrong people. My dad, I don’t even think all my children would even attend his funeral. He never made an impact on anyone’s life. Oh, I stand corrected. He never made a POSITIVE impact on anyone’s life. At this point, what would it matter?

I did learn something new about my dad. When my brother Luke called he told me about some things my dad did to him that I didn’t know. But the new details weren’t upsetting as much as my brother calling me to vent. You see, Luke is the strong one. Most times I think he is stronger than me. He rarely calls to vent. He said that time wasn’t healing his wounds, instead they are oozing and festering. I feel sad he can’t escape the pain anymore than I can.

Then Arabella came to visit for a few days. She lost her job. She is never to work on time and has a tendency to not get along with her managers. It is hard not to get wrapped up in my worry for her.

Then my mom came over. She didn’t sleep well the night before and emotionally was a big mess. I can’t help but feel some of it is her own fault. She has had several therapists tell her if she doesn’t like her life, she should change it. They tell her she should leave my dad, but in the end she always leaves the therapists who tell her that. My brother Luke said if my dad dies my mom will either wake up and realize she was in a bad relationship all along or she will immediately find someone else just like him.

I think about that a lot lately, my parents dying. My mom is in a really bad head space right now. It wears on me. Then I am worried about my daughter and my own aging. My doctor appointment is less than two weeks away. My therapist said I should focus more on my wisdom and insight versus the aging process. She is right. I might not have all the cards I want in my hand, but it would be smart to play my strong suit.

My therapist also said I have an extraordinary amount of stability for everything I have been through. I sometimes wonder…shouldn’t I be crazier? I found her words to be very encouraging. Yet I have to be careful. Last week I read the whole childhood portion of my book. I thought to myself, what a bit pile of shit. I got into a ferocious mood. I have to take writing and reading in small doses. I can’t do it when I am under a lot of stress. Writing has been healing for me. But it also can be the sword that cuts open my wounds if I am not careful. Having nightmares and a hard week with family is a good time to back off a bit.

I have not be happy lately. I feel as if I have been neglecting this blog. I am going to try to write more even if I don’t have anything to say.

Gratitude week 122

  1. It’s May!! March and April were difficult months weather wise with cold, windy, and rainy/icy/snowy weather most days. We even had snow a couple days ago. It been a very wet wintry spring, but it might warm up a bit by next weekend…
  2. I’m pretty much done with my spring cleaning. This past week I washed the windows and put on the screens. Now I’m just waiting for spring.
  3. I got my 1st birthday video back. It was neat to watch, however a 50 mm film translates into about 3 or 4 minutes of video without audio. I was hoping for something longer with more family in it besides me and a short clip with my mom. Oh well! My grandma had a tradition where bread, a book, and money were placed in front of a baby at their first birthday. I have video proof that I picked the bread which supposedly means I will never go hungry…but my husband said maybe I am smart because I actually picked the only edible object. LOL
  4. I met my husband’s therapist this week.
  5. I was able to spend time with all my kids this week.
  6. My brother Luke called me to vent. He rarely does that, so I am grateful for the call to talk.
  7. I’m grateful to have our best friends over for Paul’s homemade pizza and swimming.
  8. The neighborhood had rummage sales going on, so yesterday Paul and I went to check it out. I bought some of my favorite things to buy…clothes, puzzles, books, and candles. Next weekend we are planning on going out rummaging again..
  9. Clean sheets.
  10. I was able to work on my book.
  11. The finale of Ozark is out.

Gratitude week 114

  1. We had a nice long weekend with the family at the waterpark in WI Dells. Everyone got along and had a lot of fun together.
  2. It’s good to be back home again.
  3. I finished the childhood portion of my book I am writing.
  4. I met up with my friend Jen to check out a new restaurant. She invited us to their cabin in upper Michigan this summer.
  5. I went to an antique store with my mom and scored some ‘new’ albums for my record player. I bought a Nirvana, Guns ‘N Roses, and The Doors records to name a few. It was a totally unexpected find.
  6. I found a new bumper sticker that I like…Locally Hated…my family is not impressed but I am. It just came in the mail.
  7. I was able to find my dad a birthday card. The outside of the card read: You are at the age when people don’t really give a… The inside read: gift. When all else fails, funny works.
  8. I got a TikTok account. I’m trying to stay up on things.

Gratitude week 109

  1. My husband is feeling a lot better after being sick. Since he very rarely gets sick, this was really eye opening. Thinking about losing him made me realize how much I love and appreciate him.
  2. Paul was feeling good enough to go on the annual guys ice fishing trip.
  3. I’m grateful for the safety of the men who went on the trip. They went fishing on Lake Superior which is always a little scary for me. One year they were up there an ice fishing guide died on Lake Superior, an expert died. A couple days it was bitterly cold. Paul’s 4 wheeler didn’t start and the next day Paul’s step-dad’s truck wouldn’t start because it was 18 below.
  4. My son and his buddy were able to make the long trip to ice fishing camp in his junker car without breaking down in a remote area with no cell coverage and freezing to death.
  5. Angel and Dan were supposed to close on their house last week, but Dan ended up having to go to Texas for work. Now they are closing on the house tomorrow. I’m grateful Dan made it back safely this morning after the 18 hour drive from Texas.
  6. Tomorrow my daughter will be a home owner. It’s hard to believe she will be moving out this week. The house will be a lot quieter without her and I will miss her a lot. But I’m grateful she is getting married and moving on with her life.
  7. Yesterday I went along with Angel and her bridesmaids to pick out the bridesmaid dresses. It was a lot of fun.
  8. It’s puzzle time of year again. I just finished a puzzle and am working on another one.
  9. I spent three days this past week working on my book and I started reading The Bell Jar which was a Christmas gift from Angel.
  10. Arabella’s boyfriend got a new job and Arabella has a job interview on Wednesday.
  11. When the guys were gone, Angel and I watched a couple good movies-Requiem of a Dream and The King of Staten Island.
  12. I went cross-country skiing today for the first time this season. It went better than I thought it would.

Goals for the new year

To be honest, I haven’t done New Year’s resolutions in years. But every couple of months I try to come up with some bucket list goals and check my progress on making them happen.

Today I decided to go back to my first blog post in May of 2015. I wrote a list of goals. Here they are:

  1. Write something that gets published. I’ve wanted to write a memoir for the longest time. I am currently working on the second edition of my book. I hope to complete it in 2022.
  2. Run a marathon. I wrote I ran 18 miles that day without stopping. I am totally jealous of myself! Since then I’ve run multiple marathons and a 50K. I just stopped running after doing it for 15 years. Now I want to focus on stretching and yoga. I mean, I haven’t started yet but I want to try to at least maintain if not gain some flexibility. I have been having joint pain and stiffness but I still want to remain active as much as I am able to.
  3. Travel to all the continents. I haven’t gotten too far on this. I did check off Asia since then. If it wasn’t for COVID, I would’ve checked off Europe and Africa too. Instead I have been trying to visit all 50 states. So far I’ve checked off 39 states. I visited 8 states in 2021 and plan on adding another 5 in 2022.
  4. Read the Bible in a year.
  5. Be a lead singer in a band. I still think this would be fun, but I don’t want to do this as much as I did before. It sounds like a lot of work.
  6. Drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day. That one was pretty easy.
  7. Get a tattoo. I got my first tattoo this year of an anchor. I am planning on getting my second tattoo in 2022.

I have some other new goals for 2022. I would like to be more bad ass. Ha ha ha. Actually I want to get my motorcycle license. I picture myself on something loud blaring my rock music as I drive down country roads on sunny summer days.

I would like to get half way done with the remodeling project on our garage apartment. I also have a list of home renovation projects. I would like to cross off half of my list this next year on house projects as well.

I also want to continue growing and working on my self-improvement projects. I want to be more accepting of myself as I age. I have always been a go, go, go person. It’s hard to adjust to being a go, go, go slow person. This coming year will be the first full year that all of my children are adults and out of school. I no longer have parenting commitments. I want some time to just be responsible for me. I want 5 years of not being responsible for others. I will not take on any long term foreign exchange students, foster children, or new pets. I will also keep working on the relationships that are important to me.

That’s about it. See ya next year!

Have a happy, happy new year!!!

Fortune cookie wisdom #39

Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.

I think the key word here is dwelling. I recently heard on the radio that negative experiences are more memorable than positive ones. I think that is true.

Yesterday I spent 3 1/2 hours writing. A small portion was writing on my blog and the rest I spent writing my book. I added a journal entry written by my mom to the book describing Matt hitting my brother Mark and also hitting and kicking me. I wrote about my brother attacking me from my mom’s point of view. I can’t even describe what that feels like. In some ways I felt totally detached since the journal entry was almost 30 years old. Mainly I felt sad for the little girl that was me.

Then I wrote another entry remembering a time my mom asked my dad to help her by watching my brothers and I swim in the lake up north while she made supper. Any time my mom asked my dad for help he did things aggressively or half assed. Let’s just say I didn’t have the dad who would sweep me onto his lap and read books to me on the couch.

This is what happened that day when my mom asked for help. My dad came in the water with us. When Mark and Luke were swimming my dad would grab them by their feet and yank them backwards. My brothers would choke and sputter swallowing water and getting it up their noses. Then they would cry and dad would laugh saying they were just playing a game.

I was terrified of the weeds so my dad grabbed me and forced me to stand in the weeds and muck. He laughed at me while I cried and called me names. When he let me go, he threw weeds and a dead fish at me. It didn’t take long for my brothers and I to be done swimming. My dad got out of doing something he didn’t want to do. He got his jollies by making us cry, calling us names, mocking and humiliating us.

That pretty much sums up my childhood. My brother Matt frequently attacked us with no consequence because there was something wrong with him. I wouldn’t consider my dad to be physically abusive per se. There were times he hit and manhandled us, but he seemed to enjoy terrorizing us more. He liked taking what we were afraid of the most and taunting us with it like my fear of weeds. When we would cry he would laugh in our face and call us babies. He often called us stupid.

If my dad was taunting a sibling it was best to ignore him or better yet to join him because that would ensure your safety. Comforting a sibling often meant your next. Pretend not to care. Pretend nothing scares you. Show no vulnerability or weakness where he could worm in.

I spent several hours writing about the physical abuse from my brother and the psychological abuse from my dad. By the end of the afternoon I was spent. I was feeling depressed and wanted to just emotional detach from everyone. Thinking about the negative things that happened to me really wasn’t doing me any good.

My husband said maybe I shouldn’t continue writing the book or just do it in small segments of time. I told him writing this book gives my life purpose and meaning. The question is how can I write about painful experiences without dwelling on the negative? I end up spending a lot of time in a place I no longer want to be.

I do think writing my story is very therapeutic and healing, but I can’t deny there is a dark side to it as well.

Gratitude week 101

  1. I’m grateful to have a furnace that works. It was miserable to go three whole days without heat. I can’t imagine how people lived through Wisconsin winters without a furnace.
  2. I’m also grateful our boiler got fixed this week too after a month without heat in our hot tub and pool. Sadly, a critter got in and made a nest in it.
  3. I’m thankful that the pastor of the new church we are visiting came out to our house. He wants to meet with us every week for awhile. The only way I am able to find faith right now is through the faith of my grandma and I can see her attending this church.
  4. Yesterday we had a surprise visit for our old friend Vince (he is 87 years old). It was nice to see him and to know he is still his crazy wild lovable self.
  5. Last night we had our employee over for beer sampling, pizza, and the Bucks game. He is the last remaining employee to stay on with the new company that bought us out. We also hired him to work part-time for our seasonal company as well. It’s always great to spend time with him.
  6. With fresh snow on the ground and our house fully decorated, it is really starting to feel like Christmas. I love Christmas music. I created an eclectic playlist including pretty much every genre I could think of. I love this time of year. Next weekend we are having our family Christmas here with my mom and brothers. I am totally done Christmas shopping!
  7. Yesterday I helped my husband by hauling wood after he cut and chopped it. It felt good to do something productive.
  8. I really made a lot of progress on my book this week. Right now I am really focusing on the early childhood years, earliest memories up to the end of grade school.
  9. This afternoon we are heading out to support our local community theater by watching their newest production.
  10. I am grateful all my children are adults. None of them are attending school right now. Thankfully Arabella graduated in May! I couldn’t imagine all the hard decisions parents have to make right now. I got a little taste of it but I don’t have to handle that stress any longer.
  11. I just got the ankle weights I ordered in the mail. Since my joint pain is preventing me from running, I am hoping to walk with hand and leg weights to keep some of my strength. We’ll see how that works. I can also swim again since the pool is working. Maybe we can check out some yoga classes after the holidays. I have always had issues with relaxing, balance, and flexibility.
  12. After milk stout, cheese bread, and pizza last night, I didn’t get a stomachache. I’m grateful I am tolerating dairy better since my last blood work showed that I have low calcium now.

I think my thinker broke

I think my thinker broke. It’s actually amazing how much overthinking I do when I am not focused on a bazillion problems. I analyze absolutely everything.

I’ve been very motivated this week to write some rather interesting blog posts and I’ve pretty much spent every minute available working on my book. It’s strange, I’ve been waking up at the crack of dawn (okay, okay in the dark of 4 or 5 AM) with ideas that won’t leave my head. Better than worries I guess.

It’s late Friday afternoon. It’s time to turn the brain off and pour a drink. I’ve had a productive week.

Cheers to the weekend!

Gratitude week 97

  1. Woohoo! It’s no shave November. LOL
  2. My husband is on week 2 of the detox diet and doing good.
  3. I’m grateful that Angel and Alex got gym memberships and work out several times a week. I’m happy that two of our kids have picked up on some of the healthy habits my husband and I have.
  4. The last couple of days the weather has been seasonally warm and sunny.
  5. I have appointments tomorrow with both the dentist and the doctor for a physical. YUCK! So the following day I made an appointment to get a massage. Yippee! It’s been ages.
  6. I started rereading the first edition of my book. It’s been almost two years since I wrote it and this will be my first read through since then. I’m grateful to have started the process again.
  7. I got a major project crossed off the list in the garage apartment. We finally got an oven hooked up after 6 months. My mom donated her oven which was great except that it was hooked up specially for propane and not natural gas. We needed someone to hook up the oven to the gas line. But the hard part was finding someone that could convert the oven back from propane to natural gas. I had 3 service guys out that couldn’t do it. We had to wait for parts. Some of the parts were incorrect. The guy from the appliance store that finally was able to fix it was out for the summer due to open heart surgery. He even had to come out a couple of times but he was finally able to get the oven converted this week.
  8. Angel and I met with the florist this past week for wedding planning. He was an old friend of ours from the community theater and gave us a discount. It was great to visit again. Crossed that off the list.
  9. I was able to cross off DJ from the list as well. Believe it or not but back in the day I used to drive my minivan out to the school once a month for the PTO meetings. I helped plan the school family dance and went through this DJ. We also used him when we planned my husband’s and friend Jen’s 40th birthday party. He said he would give us the same rate that he gave us over 10 years ago which is way under market price. Win, win, win.
  10. We have all the major stuff planned now for the wedding. They have the wedding chapel, the reception hall, cake, DJ, flowers, my daughter’s wedding dress, and photographer. My daughter asked me to be their wedding planner because I am a super anal organized detailed person. Since Angel lives at home we are able to talk about it and bounce ideas off of each other. Unfortunately this may have caused her future MIL to feel left out who is more of a fly by the seat of her pants kind of person. Thankfully we are all aware of the situation and maybe it can be fixed now before it is a problem.
  11. Yesterday Angel and Dan had their engagement pictures done. It was a horrible day for Angel however. Once in a while she provides care for an elderly lady with dementia. Angel was out walking with this woman yesterday when the woman fell and broke her leg. It was a very traumatic experience for them both. Thankfully since it was a beautiful day outside, there were several people nearby who offered help instead of walking away or recording the event. The whole experience was very upsetting for my daughter who was crying the morning of the day she had her engagement pictures done. The family of the elderly lady was very kind as well. I can’t imagine how horrible she must feel. I felt a little of that guilt when I tripped over my dog and thought we might have to put him down. It’s an awful feeling. Thankfully everyone was supportive.
  12. While I have enjoyed the time this week by doing some creative writing, I haven’t been really talking much about what is going on. This week was a lot more chill than the last couple of weeks. However I did find out that Arabella did not get the job she interviewed for earlier in the week. She also reached out to me today for the first time since I last did the gratitude list. Unfortunately it did not go well and I got another fuck you from her. Her insurance is not going to cover the cost of psychological testing and she blames me for it. She said she took me off of her HIPA form so I can’t talk to her doctors anymore. A couple of days ago I called the county to ask what kind of mental health programs they offer, but since I am not her guardian and she is over 18 there is nothing I can do. At this point I feel like I’ve done everything I could possibly think of doing for her. I do feel a sense of peace and gratitude that I’ve done everything I could humanly do for her. She may need a guardian some day but I don’t think she will ever let that person be me. I feel very conflicted with the holidays approaching. I’m not sure what is going to happen, but I feel like I am able to handle things better.
  13. I’m grateful my mom is going to spend a couple of days with her sisters next week. My mom hasn’t been doing too well lately. She has been having insomnia again and is very anxious she is going to have a nervous breakdown. I just can’t handle this right now.
  14. I’m grateful for everyone who has been supportive during this difficult time. Thank you to my followers for the prayers, well wishes, kind comments, and offers of support and hugs. I really wish I could thank you in person but that would blow the whole anonymous thing. I want to especially thank my husband who has been a rock for me even though he is going through his own hell with this. I know he reads my posts and is even okay when I vent about him. Thanks! Thanks to my daughter Angel who has been more like a best friend since we are so much alike. Thanks to my best friend Cindy who is always texting and calling to make sure I’m okay. She won’t let me slip away. Thanks to my son Alex who doesn’t fully know everything I’m going through but cares anyway. Thanks to my dog and my cat who still cuddle up to me when I manage to push everyone else away. Thanks for the good people out there who don’t get recognized but step up to help someone in need. You are the people that keep this world going and make it beautiful place to live in.
  15. I finished the What’s Normal book. Yeah, I’m pretty much screwed.
  16. Angel and I have been reading books together. We just finished One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and watched the movie. Seems like I could relate to that book better than the what’s normal book. LOL.
  17. Although I didn’t look at the stats, this must be my longest gratitude list yet. Wow, I must be a super positive person after all. I am making good on yesterday’s fortune of pushing away the negative today.