Gratitude week 150

  1. The election is over! We are done with the crappy ads, middle of the night texts, an overflowing mailbox, all day phone calls, the surveys, and the constant pressure to go out and vote which had the opposite effect on me but I did anyway.
  2. Mom and I went in for a spa day.
  3. We had game night a couple times this week with Arabella. One evening she stopped in to do laundry and we ended up playing games.
  4. Paul and I had our date night at the arcade. It was something different to do. We surprised Will as he was cleaning up a spilled drink by me telling him someone puked all over the place. This was not true but it was funny. I think he was happy to see us.
  5. We got a lot of work done this week filling the dumpster. Yesterday Paul and I yanked out all the overgrown shrubs in our yard, probably somewhere around 20. I’m still on a plant killing rampage apparently. It needed to be done and I wanted to to do it right before the ground froze to avoid nesting birds. At least I’m not killing the birds.
  6. We have great friends who are helping today finish the flooring. I hope by next week’s gratitude it will be done. I will post pictures.
  7. Last night I went to a friend of a friends 46th birthday party. It was over the top. The birthday girl rented the biggest limo I ever saw, rented a hall, got a band, had an open bar all night, catered in wings, had a baker cater in gourmet cupcakes (the same as our daughter’s wedding), and rented a hotel room. I did feel bad because I know they can’t afford it. I’m grateful my husband and I are on the same page as far as finances go.
  8. Talking about finances, we had our annual visit with our financial advisor. It went really well and he gave us a lot of things to think about. It’s time to update our will. The last time we updated it was when several of our kids were minors. My mom is listed as our power of attorney for healthcare and it’s time to switch that. It’s strange to think I am at an age where I start handing the reigns to my children. I even had to update forms at the doctor’s office and gave them my daughter’s name with her married name. The receptionist noting the different name asked if she was my daughter. She didn’t ask if she was my mother.
  9. Tomorrow I go in for my annual physical. I’m really hoping for gratitude next week on that. I had my blood work done on Friday and so far everything looks good.
  10. We had another week with record breaking warm weather. That was strange with the combination of darkness at 4:30 PM. We were able to get out and enjoy the last bit of warmth we’ll be receiving in a while. Yesterday we had snow flurries and we are expecting snow this week so I think it was the last of it.

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.

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!

3 days

Today I found out all my closest friends will be attending the wedding. I am pretty excited about that. You know what they say, friends are the family we choose. I have a lot of family I consider wild cards. You never know what you are going to get.

My mom said my brother Luke won’t like the music. There is no doubt about it. After he stopped drinking, he became addicted to faith and very legalistic. He does not listen to any music that is non-Christian and neither does his teenage homeschooled kids. I know he looks down upon my family and views us as a bunch of savages. I also know that religion is where he feels safe from all the crap we experienced so I try not to take it personally. It’s not even that I disagree with him, I totally understand and think it is better for him than drinking too much. But he has a tendency to judge instead of support, the latter something we were never taught to do either.

Luke isn’t the only one questioning the music and other choices regarding the wedding Angel and Dan have made. I told Angel that I trust her judgment. What she really has a problem with is people not trusting her. She’s got this. Music is her thing. She has a music degree and a job in the industry. I can understand why it is so important to her. She said she doesn’t want to take requests because they bog the DJ down when she has a well thought out playlist already made. They will have jazzy dinner music from 6 to 8, dance music from 8 to 10, and club music from 10 to midnight. At the ceremony, they will have several singers and a pianist that hold the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in music. I told my daughter I think she has this handled and validated her feelings of frustration over people questioning and criticizing. It’s their wedding. Angel said she is starting to feel more excited about the wedding than anxious today.

Other than that, I ironed my son’s shirt for the wedding. If it was up to him it would probably still be sitting in the bag I bought it in laying around somewhere. I can’t remember the last time I ironed. Yes, I have an iron. I got it for a high school graduation gift from my aunt. I remember that because when I opened the gift I was excited to see what was really in the box and it really was an iron. Our house has an ironing board built into a drawer in our kitchen island. It looked well used but it was the first time I used it.

As I was ironing, I started to think about ironing. When did that stop being a thing? I missed the smell of ironing. I started to think again of my grandma who was always ironing it seemed. She had a glass soda bottle with a little sprinkler on top to put little drops of water on the clothes before ironing. If you think laundry is a hassle now, try ironing everything.

My mom also gave my grandma laundry to iron. I remember my mom saying the smell of ironing also triggered my brother Matt’s violent outbursts. In the summer, my mom would iron outside. When she couldn’t do that, she sent it all over to my grandma’s. I had forgotten about that, but it all came back to me today. My mom thought if we could perfectly follow all of the crazy rules then Matt wouldn’t be violent anymore when in actuality all it took was the right anti-psychotic medicine. It’s no wonder why my brother Luke fell into following rules so easily and becomes upset when they are broken. I have to fight against it myself with my thinking if I do everything right I won’t get sick, etc. But hey, nothing about my childhood was normal, except maybe my grandma. To think ironing could trigger violence. How flipping crazy is that?

Anyway, I am excited all my best friends are coming to the wedding. I’m happy for the family members attending, even the wild cards. I’m glad Angel is starting to relax a little and enjoy the last couple of days before the wedding. I know it’s going to go by fast now. I’m glad to report everyone is healthy (except Arabella with mono but she will be there!). Only 3 more days to go…

Gratitude week 143

  1. My daughter is getting married this week!!!
  2. My best friend and I found Arabella a beautiful dress to wear to the wedding.
  3. Today is my husband’s birthday. I’m grateful for him and his mother for trying to give him the best life she could as a single teen mom.
  4. I’m grateful Paul’s gift arrived early (when he wasn’t home to see it) since the delivery date wasn’t until after his birthday.
  5. I’m grateful to have the kids home to help him celebrate his birthday. I bought him a pie and we are going to order Indian take out.
  6. I’m grateful for some time to just think and reflect over the weekend. My husband was gone all weekend for work and my son, his roommate, and girlfriend were out of town to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I realized I haven’t spent a lot of time alone in my life. I’ve never lived alone. It was refreshing to have some quiet time. It was nice to do what I wanted. I could listen to the music I like without someone asking me to turn it down or complain about how depressing it is. LOL I finished the book I was reading.
  7. Earlier this past week, I was able to enjoy what the rest of summer was willing to give. Then like clockwork it got dark and cold on the first day of autumn. Nearby areas had frost warnings. I’m really sad to see summer go, but I am looking forward to my second favorite season autumn. The leaves are starting to change colors and that’s simply gorgeous. I enjoy the cool crisp air, campfires, fall cleaning, not having to do the endless weeding, wrapping up in a blanket, pumpkin pie, and fall holidays.
  8. The landscaping company came and replaced all of our dead plants.
  9. My mom got a last minute call on the waiting list for cancelled appointments to see a specialist she had to wait several more months to see. They were able to do some tests and hopefully she will have some answers soon, a lot sooner than waiting until the middle of December anyway.
  10. I’m grateful for my close friends who offered to do things for the wedding. Lisa, who previously worked as a hairdresser, is going to be helping Angel get ready. My best friend Cindy offered to take their vehicle back to their house after the ceremony and drop off the gifts later that evening. Angel asked two of her bridesmaid’s fiancĂ©s to help, but one of the guys apparently didn’t feel comfortable driving anything bigger than a Prius. Seriously??!? Our friend James offered to drive people home who have been drinking.
  11. I’m also grateful to have a lot of people we know helping with the wedding such as the florist, the photographer, and the DJ. It’s great to support local businesses. They all gave us discounts even though they didn’t need to.

8 days

Another dream, this time where the past meets the present. My best friend, not even invited. Not by my side as the matron of honor. Never to see or talk to again. I had a dream she was not invited to my daughter’s wedding. How could she be when she was not invited to mine?

I felt the pain of those left behind. Before it was Shelly. She was supposed to be my matron of honor. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. But along the way life happened and screwed it all up. You see, Shelly needed a job and my brother Matt needed a teacher’s aide in his special ed classroom. Maybe that’s where things went wrong. Matt was physically violent and at the time he was a full sized adult.

Matt didn’t like school much and had the tendency to hurt someone when he didn’t want to do school work which was quite often. One day after attacking Shelly at school, the police were called. The police came to school, handcuffed my brother, put him in the back of the squad car, and took him to jail. It was something my mom always warned us about. Watch Matt carefully he is an adult now and if he hurts someone he could get locked away forever. I haven’t been able to get over my fear of the police. Every time I hear a siren my heart races.

My mom was sick with fear for Matt. He was facing assault charges which were eventually dropped because he was incompetent to stand trial. I never spoke to my childhood best friend again. My mom flippantly said, “Oh well, you were going separate ways anyways.” I was going to college and she was working with my brother. But I wanted the choice.

My plan was to go to school to become a counselor. Then I was going to fix my family. That was when I was young and dumb enough to think I could. I already felt the weight and responsibility. If I only knew Matt was going to hurt someone before he did. I could have stopped it. It’s my fault he attacked someone because I was not vigilant enough. If I believed it was my fault, I also believed I could fix it.

I felt guilty on my wedding day because I didn’t want Matt there. I didn’t want Matt to hurt someone. When I got married, Matt was going through some serious health issues and my parents thought Matt could die which intensified my guilt. They got a room for him in the hotel we had our reception at. After the ceremony, which he didn’t attend, we had the photographer come to the room to take wedding photos with Matt. We were gone so long some of the guests chided us about what took us so long as we were coming down from the hotel room.

Now it’s my dad who is not invited to the wedding. I can’t say I blame my daughter for not wanting him there, but it’s still painful. What if people ask where he is? He was pretty sick a month ago and in my mind I thought maybe he would die and free me from the shame he brought upon us. It’s a horrible thing to wish for. As if I will ever be free from the pain he caused me. My counselor said if asked I could tell people he is not well enough to go. If further asked, I could tell them I will talk to them about it later. I am good with the plan. It’s the last thing I want to talk about. It’s my mom I worry about. She has a tendency to overshare and play the victim making it all about her when the focus should be on someone else.

Call me a slow learner, but I just figured out this year I can’t fix people. In fact, I don’t have any control at all. I thought I could fix my family of origin but they are way too beyond broken to be put back together. I can’t even fix myself. I tried to fix my husband when he was drinking too much. I felt like it was my fault. I was responsible for him. It was my job to fix him. How easily it was to jump back into my old role. At times I even thought he was drinking just to hurt me. He has been seeing a counselor too which has been helpful, but I think it will be something he will always struggle with. At times I can’t blame him. If drinking took away my pain, there wouldn’t be enough I couldn’t drink.

He thought he could fix me too. He thought he could be my knight in shining armor. He thought he could bring me out of the dark spaces I hide within myself. He tried to make me happy so he could fix my depression. Why didn’t my fear and anxiety go away? Didn’t I love him? Didn’t I trust him? Wasn’t he something to live for? Couldn’t I just stop feeling that way? Couldn’t he just stop drinking??

We couldn’t fix our parents, both of us having parents with addiction/mental health issues. We couldn’t fix each other. We can’t fix our kids who all show signs of addictiveness and/or familial mental health struggles to some degree. That was a hard lesson to learn. There is nothing like having to watch someone you love hurting. I wanted to do anything I could to take the pain away from them. It’s harder as a parent, especially being the mom, because there is a huge sense of responsibility to fix your children. How often is the finger pointed at the parents when the kids struggle? (I can tell you with a daughter who has Borderline, it’s a lot even from professionals that should know better). It’s even easier to blame myself.

I guess if there is any silver lining in this, we have been waging war against these demons for a long enough time to know how to fight them in the best way possible. It wasn’t the first time someone I was close to wasn’t invited or wasn’t well enough to go to a wedding. My best friend wasn’t invited to my wedding and I never saw her again. My own grandpa didn’t go to my wedding because he wasn’t well enough. I can only control what I can control. It’s not easy, but there is some peace in knowing when to let go.

Gratitude week 142

  1. We experienced a notably warm summerlike weather pattern this week after three days of cool and rainy days last weekend. The cold rainy days made me appreciate the warmth more.
  2. Cool nights and a campfire.
  3. Friday afternoon relaxing on the patio by the pool.
  4. Finding dress clothes and shoes for my son to wear to the wedding within 15 minutes at the first store. After one day of dress shopping and a cancelled order, my best friend and I are taking Arabella dress shopping again this afternoon. I’m really hoping and praying we can find something today…
  5. I ordered a wedding gift for my daughter and her fiancé and it arrived the same day.
  6. I finished the book Don Quixote which was a challenge due to it being over 400 years old and over 1,000 pages long. There was a lot of wisdom to be found in it. It was interesting to get a glimpse of life back then. I couldn’t help but notice how different life is today. There definitely was not an emotional component to the book, yet I never dreaded to pick it up to read.
  7. Yesterday we went out to eat and sailing with friends to celebrate the September birthdays. The weather was perfect. It only started to rain right after we got off the water.
  8. We had Angel and Dan over for supper on Friday night. Oh my gosh, the wedding is less than two weeks away! Thankfully my daughter is very organized.
  9. I’m grateful Angel’s future mother-in-law is a seamstress. My mom and I went in to get our dresses fitted this past week.
  10. Mom and I got a massage.
  11. My son got together and practiced with his band this week. It’s been the first time since COVID. I didn’t know if they were ever going to meet again as several of the members are older retired school teachers. This group has had a positive impact on my son’s life and I’m grateful they are back together again because I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen.

Gratitude week 141

  1. Summer, we had several warm weather days at the end of the week.
  2. It was so nice out on Friday that I said screw it and put off my to do list. I decided we should spend one day of the week just relaxing and taking it easy. It shouldn’t be reserved for that one warm day at the end of the season.
  3. I was able to spend time with all my kids this week.
  4. I finally found my shoes for the wedding. I searched harder for those shoes than the prince did to find Cinderella.
  5. Taking time to remember 9/11.
  6. The landscaping company that did our big project last year is going to replace somewhere around 30 plants that either died or didn’t come in. I’m really grateful for that because it looks like crap. I really wanted to understand what the problem was. I think what happened was since they did the project in November right before the ground froze they did not get the proper watering and care they needed to grow and thrive.
  7. We watched a really good series on Netflix called Devil in Ohio.
  8. Our elderly friend Vince stopped by for a visit.
  9. The grocery store had a really good deal on salmon and crab legs which we enjoyed over the weekend.

Gratitude week 140

  1. Summer, although I feel fall starting to slip in.
  2. A nice sailing getaway.
  3. A quiet and relaxing Labor Day weekend.
  4. Sleeping in my own bed with clean sheets.
  5. Angel came over for a visit and took down the balloon arch from her party. I absolutely hate the sound of popping balloons and there were still over 50 in the house some filled with confetti. I swear her future mother-in-law must hate me. Ha ha, never again will I have that many balloons in my house.
  6. My daughter’s wedding is less than a month away.
  7. My best friend and her family had a safe, fun, and relaxing trip to Europe to visit their foreign exchange student. It was their first trip abroad and I’m happy for them that it went well.
  8. A friend gave us enough firewood from the trees he took down to last us all winter. With natural gas prices skyrocketing, I’m grateful for free firewood to help keep our house warm.
  9. The house is clean and most of the laundry is done.
  10. My husband is making his homemade pizza tonight.