24 days

In 24 days my daughter is getting married. Until now, the date seemed so far away. July was the bachelorette party with friends at the cabin up north. August was the bridal shower. Our 25th anniversary trip in between those events, still the wedding seemed far away. The calendar on my wall flipped once again and now it is less than a month away.

Time keeps marching on although I wanted it to slow down a little. Maybe we could go back to when Angel was still young and holding my hand. I find myself wishing for things that have already passed. I haven’t experienced a lot of longing for the past in my life up until now. The other day I had a dream she was leaving me. The feelings seem silly because she will always be our daughter even though she will no longer carry our name.

I have been busying myself getting everyone else ready for the wedding. I made the appointment for Paul to get his tux fitted. Yesterday I took Arabella shopping. I want my other children to have something nice to wear to their sister’s wedding. I don’t know why I thought I could just waltz into a store and find something. I haven’t seriously shopped for a nice dress for my daughter since before COVID. Remember when department stores had racks and racks of homecoming and party dresses? It’s not like that anymore. The only dresses I found a lot of looked like nightgowns, pajama dresses.

It’s even more difficult to find something nice in the plus sizes. The only acceptable dresses that didn’t look like nightgowns were dresses my grandmother would be too young to wear, never mind a teenage girl. I ended up ordering a dress on Facebook marketplace and I’m praying it is going to work because my daughter is extremely busty. Thankfully she does have one nice dress she could wear if it doesn’t work.

I had a heck of a time finding shoes. My daughter wants me to wear nude dress shoes since I am standing up in the wedding. I do not own a nice pair of nude colored dress shoes. I started that search several weeks ago and came up empty handed until last night. I don’t wear dress shoes anymore. (Plus I hate the color). The only thing I could find looked either like ballet shoes or were two inch stilettos. No way! I did find a cute pair that looked promising only to try them on to experience excruciating pain with my arthritis and bunion. There was no way I could stand to have them on my feet much less stand up with them for the wedding. Last night I found an ugly pair of dress sandals on clearance that don’t make me feel like someone is sawing off my foot. Done.

Yesterday I started a new diet. Okay, I will tell you right now I am an incredibly vain woman. A couple months back when I was diagnosed with arthritis, I also got diagnosed with being overweight. The doctor said I should exercise more. Funny thing was before I started being in pain all the time I was at the gym 3 times a week and was running marathons. I was in a strength training class. I prided myself on maintaining a youthful figure. I thought it would always be that way until my own body humbled me. Now I’m all squishy. Not that anyone expects me to look like I’m 25 besides me when I’m almost twice that.

Yesterday I started the diet of no alcohol, gluten, dairy, and sugar. I’ve done it before after the bad bout of colitis I had. I did feel a lot better, but it is hard to maintain. I am hoping to lose some weight, but mainly to just feel better. I am not going to be super anal about it. But I would like to get back to being healthier again.

I thought I would write about getting ready for the wedding as that is what is happening in my life right now. I feel like I dropped the ball a little with everything being a super organized planner and all. In some ways I don’t think I’ve had to do a lot of worrying because my daughter is also a super organized worrier at planning her own wedding and I don’t want to step on her feet. I really didn’t think about it all that much and here we are at 24 days already.

Gratitude week 126

  1. It’s the unofficial start of summer. Yeah! My favorite time of year in Wisconsin. Today the weather is perfect.
  2. We got Arabella TOTALLY moved out this past week. Her room is completely empty which was no small task. I really thought it would take weeks if not months to move all her stuff out, so I am grateful for that.
  3. I am going to make her bedroom into my office after summer is over. Her carpet is shot, so I am planning on ripping out the carpeting and painting the walls. I’ll put my desk in there and buy a futon couch if we have extra overnight guests.
  4. There are little kids in Arabella’s apartment building. One little boy, probably 3 or 4 asked if I was the landlord. When I said I wasn’t, he asked what I was doing there. I told him I was moving my daughter in. He had a really concerned look on his face when he asked me who was going to take care of her. What a sweetheart! Made my day.
  5. Paul and I signed up to do some volunteer work to help families in our community. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others in need.
  6. Arabella found a new waitressing job!
  7. I spent the day Friday going out to eat and shopping with my best friend.
  8. Angel and Dan got their own cell phone plan. It’s hard to believe the wedding is 4 months away! It’s wonderful that my daughter is 100% independent from us now, has a great job, and is doing well. Plus I’ll save money on our phone plan.
  9. That being said, I upgraded to a new cell phone from an iPhone 8. I’m still saving money on our plan.
  10. I started getting WP notifications on my new phone. It’s probably been about a year since I received the last notification.
  11. We wanted to continue with our landscaping project. However, the quote for the little section we wanted done was $4,000. We decided to do it ourselves. Yesterday my son and some of his buddies removed the old landscaping rocks and took out some shrubs. It’s amazing to see the strength and energy of young men. I’m grateful we are still able to do the project at a fraction of the price.
  12. As tomorrow is Memorial Day, I’m grateful for the sacrifice of veterans who served and protected our country at all costs.
  13. I’m grateful for mid-week church services.

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 120

  1. Easter! We attended services at our new church then had a wonderful time with family celebrating at my daughter Angel’s house. This was the first time one of my children hosted a holiday. I have to admit it was kind of nice just to show up with a dish to pass and relax. We spent the afternoon playing games and went outside for awhile, although it was cold it wasn’t raining or snowing.
  2. We had another week of rain, snow, sleet, and ice. It’s been snowing all day, but…it looks like some warm weather might be headed our way finally. I’m hoping that by next week I can tell you we had a nice sunny day near 60 degrees.
  3. With all the stormy weather, my parents and Arabella went up to the family cabin to check on how it was holding up. My dad ended up getting stuck in the mud in the driveway. They ended up sitting in the car for 7 hours because the cabin does not have heat or water waiting for a tow truck that never came. I’m grateful that Paul was willing to pick them up at midnight so they wouldn’t have to spend the night in their car. It involved two and a half hours of driving through stormy wintry weather.
  4. I’m grateful that Arabella found an apartment 10 minutes from our house and will be moving in some time in May. She came over for a visit overnight and we are all still getting along.
  5. I’m grateful that my daughter Angel had a good meeting with her boss today and got a raise.
  6. I’m grateful for the date day I spent with Paul. We did some shopping, went out to eat with a gift card we got eons ago, and went to the thrift store to get a costume for a murder mystery party we are hosting this weekend.
  7. I really scored at the thrift store. I found another murder mystery game. Those are rare finds. I am excited about the last game I found at the thrift store which we will be playing this weekend. The best part is that I have a tape player to play some of the clues on. I also found two boxes of hot pink taper candles.
  8. Paul and I went through our clothes and donated four big boxes to the thrift store.
  9. I also cleaned out our garage and found a video from my 1st birthday which I want to put in digital format. The strange part is that my grandparents are a little older than I am right now on that video so it will be really cool to see them close to my age since I look a lot like my grandma. That is the oldest family recording I have in my possession. I’ve never seen it before.
  10. I also spearheaded the cleaning of the garage apartment. It was priceless seeing my son on his hands and knees cleaning out the refrigerator. With all the cleaning efforts in my house and the apartment, I had two large dumpster loads of recycling and garbage.
  11. Paul and I also went to the recycling center and got rid of an old TV, several monitors, the microwave that started on fire, and an old air conditioner unit that was in the garage when we moved in. I would have to say this has been one of the biggest spring cleaning efforts ever and it felt great.
  12. One of the other things we have been doing is making a big effort to start eating all the food we have in our freezer. With grocery prices skyrocketing, it’s nice to be able to clean out the freezer.
  13. Dan celebrated his birthday this past weekend. Soon he will be my SIL. It was nice they invited Alex and Lexi out to celebrate with them. It’s always great when my kids get along and have fun together without my prompting. I’m grateful for Dan and am excited to have him be part of our family soon.

A breath of fresh air

For a few days, we had weather that was nice. By nice I mean temps in the 50’s with no snow, rain, or ice. I’ll take it, I guess. I was able to get some yard work done, raking out beds and picking up sticks. Paul was out chopping wood. It felt nice to get stuff done. But not really as I felt sore and sneezed and sniffled like crazy with allergies. I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.

I went through all my clothes, summer and winter and everything in between. I got rid of a huge pile, not necessarily to be a minimalist though I do prefer that to clutter. A lot of clothes no longer fit me. I felt sad to part with my favorite shorts and jeans. Clothes that have been favorites for decades from thinner days. I don’t know about you, but I have clothes that are just too good to wear. It’s almost to the level of sacred. I rarely, rarely wear them because they are just so special. Then I lament I don’t wear them enough. I know I will think about it next fall when I pull out the winter clothes that are no longer there.

My mom came over to visit today. We worked on a puzzle. For a while, all has been well. The kids are all okay as far as I know. It’s quiet, lonely, and boring without all the problems I’ve had over the past couple of years. It’s funny because this is all I wanted during the stressful days. But now that I have it, I don’t really want it because I feel stagnant and unmotivated.

What is there to write about? Should I make a post telling you that mom and I worked on a puzzle. To make it more exciting, I will tell you it is a bicentennial puzzle my mom gave me from her house actually from 1976 back when I was two years old. It’s so old it actually might be worth something. LOL! It contains political pins to vote for people I’ve never even heard of before. It really makes me feel rather sad about the passage of time.

Yesterday was my grandma’s birthday. If she was still living she would’ve been 97 years old. She was a beautiful person inside and out, one of the best people I’ve ever known. I wish I could preserve all the cherished memories with her and pass them down to my kids. They barely remember her. I can’t give them the memories of her that I have though. Some day I’m afraid all she will be is a name and a date on a genealogy chart. You see, she wasn’t famous. She was a farmer’s daughter with only an 8th grade education. She never drove a car. She was quiet. We could sit in silence for hours and be at total peace. I’m afraid she will be forgotten.

The rains are starting. It’s going to rain through tomorrow with over an inch of rain expected. Then it is going to be cold and windy as winter again. Maybe we’ll get more snow. What we had on the ground just melted. It was nice to get a breath of fresh air, but I seem to want something more than that.

Fortune cookie wisdom #49

Good beginning is half done.

I suppose the wisdom of this fortune cookie could be taken in several different ways. For me, when I think of this, I think that my life is half over. As a middle aged person, this makes perfect sense. Of course, if my life is half over as of today my life would end at 95. I think I would be lucky to live that long as right now off the top of my head I can’t think of any family member that did.

I know it sounds morbid, but as I age sometimes I wonder how long I will live. I keep telling myself I have plenty of time left so I don’t waste time worrying about it. With a family history of dementia, I also tell myself that I probably won’t even know I’m dying which in a strange way is comforting. On some days I feel tired of living, but on the flip side the thought of dying is utterly horrifying to me. I like to be told what to expect but no one living knows, or even understands the dimension of time on a continuum. When did time start? Not even the smartest person can tell us that for sure.

What happens after we die? Again, I have my own beliefs, but no one living really knows. Wow, I wasn’t planning on getting all philosophical on this fortune cookie. But that’s what I like about the fortune cookie posts, I really never know where it will lead me.

On a side note, I am all out of fortune cookies…so I guess it might be awhile before I do a post on fortune cookies again. To tell you the truth, I’m not really sure where I am going to go from here. Is there anything you would like to hear more about?

The old normal, part 7

One of the biggest changes since the start of COVID is having an empty nest. When COVID began, I had four teenagers living in my house. Granted, two of them were foreign exchange students. Back then all my children were in school of some sort…high school, tech school, college. Now I don’t have any children at home or in school. That has been a huge change for me.

For almost 20 years of my life I had children in school. I was involved in their education. When they were little, I volunteered in their classrooms. I attended countless sporting events, field trips, concerts, conferences, and ceremonies. My weekends and a lot of week days were booked with kid stuff. My calendar was full. I was driving the kids all over the place. I was interacting with other parents. Then less than a year ago that abruptly ended. A month ago, my last child who was living with us moved out.

It’s been a big adjustment going from being needed to questioning what my purpose is now as a mother whose children are grown up and gone. It’s a strange experience having to only be responsible for me. Seeing moms wrestle in the grocery store with car seats and unruly kids makes me feel free, yet I miss it. It’s bittersweet. It’s so ingrained in me to want to take care of other people that I don’t know what to do with it now that it’s gone.

My life has changed so much in the last two years. The old normal is gone. I’m not sure where to even start. But it is a new beginning, a new season, a new chapter just waiting for me to explore. That can be exciting and fun.

Fortune cookie wisdom #47

The will to do, the soul to dare is yours for the taking if you prepare.

I always thought I was really good at planning and preparing for the will to do and the soul to dare. But now I think it takes much more than that.

I was planning on touring Europe. I had prepared for the trip. I had a passport. I had my airline tickets. I was ready to check that continent off my bucket list. Then COVID hit and all the preparations were for naught.

I was planning on signing up for another 50k. I picked the race I wanted to do. I was really excited because part of the course included a water crossing. I was training. I was prepared. But then COVID hit. The race was cancelled. My gym that I visited three times a week over the winter for years closed. I got hit hard ten days with colitis and haven’t been the same since. I can’t run anymore without being in a lot of pain. I couldn’t even help my daughter paint her house without having joint pain. I wasn’t prepared for that.

There is a part of me that thought my kids would stay young forever. Through many sleepless nights, I thought that. I thought that through the temper tantrums, the busy school age running, and through the tumultuous teenage years. I didn’t think about them growing up and leaving home. Somehow I found myself not prepared for that part of parenting. A part of me doesn’t even know who I am anymore since that part of me is gone.

I wasn’t prepared for aging. It’s shocking to see my hair turn gray without any hair color. My neck is starting to look like the neck of a rubber chicken. Now when I look in the mirror, I see my mother. I look like a granny; too young to crack out the cardinal sweaters but too old to dress like I am in my 30’s. I had to break down and buy bigger pants since I haven’t been able to workout like I used to. I always thought those things happened to other people, not me. I am close to 50. Why wasn’t I prepared for this?

Sometimes it’s very hard to take a good look in the mirror. I don’t want to admit my best years in health and in looks are behind me. There is not a damn thing any of us can do about it. I do feel childish in feeling insecure about it. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am anymore. I have all these crazy middle age female hormones coursing through my body making me feel like an adolescent again, but I’m not. Doesn’t seem fair. But, that’s life. Sometimes I just have to laugh it off and say oh well. I’m right where I need to be.

Ready or not, here life comes…some things you just can’t prepare for even if you have the will and soul.

Gratitude week 110

  1. January is over! I’m grateful for this because it means no more bad things can happen in January.
  2. My daughter Angel and her fiancĂ© bought a house. Oh my gosh, my daughter is a home owner. I’m grateful they were able to find something they like and I’m anxious to see what they will do with it.
  3. So, I’m trying to complain and criticize less. A couple nights ago I decided to start the following day. In the wee morning hours, I had to go to the bathroom and sat down only to find the toilet seat was left up. Sometimes I swear God has a sense of humor. I’m grateful for goals, obtainable or not.
  4. Arabella got a job! She had an interview at a sports bar. They asked her if she had experience as a server. She does. They asked her when she could work or what her preferred hours were. When she said evenings and weekends, they hired her on the spot and asked her to come in to train that evening. I’m grateful my daughter found a job and I really hope it goes well for her.
  5. I’m grateful the trade show we had a booth at is over. Kid you not, within the first hour I spilled half my water bottle over our marketing materials. All in all, it was a successful show even though for the most part it was incredibly boring.
  6. I’m grateful for great TV series on cold winter days. I’m grateful for the ability to watch them whenever we want. Gone are the days of having to wait once a week hoping the VCR was set right to record the show over an old VHS tape if we were gone. I’m really aging myself here. But what I’m really trying to say is I absolutely loved watching the first half of the new season of Ozark. I LOVE that show!
  7. I’m starting to think about summer. This past week we planned our summer sailing cruise schedule with our sailing club and also picked a date for Angel’s bridal shower. This will help me get through the rest of the winter, hopefully. Paul and I will also have our 25th wedding anniversary this summer so I’m starting to think about that as well.
  8. Watching the winter Olympics.
  9. I’m looking forward to unwinding tonight with a stiff drink by a roaring fire in our fireplace while watching a funny movie.

Fortune cookie wisdom #46

You will always have good luck in your personal affairs.

When is this supposed to start again??

Sometimes I wonder if this is all there is. Just me waiting for the other shoe to drop stuck in an endless loop of meaningless tasks. Cleaning the house, just to watch it get dirty again. Why don’t things stay clean and orderly? Why is life so messy?

I have been on edge and out of sorts lately. There has been so much change in my life lately. I wish I could tell you that I embrace change, or like it, but I don’t. I haven’t been sleeping all that well and last night had a nightmare I was watching my cat drown.

In the mornings and at night sometimes, my cat stares out the window. I wonder if he is waiting for our dog to come back. We used to sit their together staring out that window at night waiting for the dog to come in for the night. Today I washed the remaining dog nose smudges off that same sliding glass door. He won’t be coming back. I vacuumed the rest of the pet hair from the rug he entered eternal sleep on.

Yesterday my daughter and her fiancĂ© bought a house. This weekend she will be moving out. It is bittersweet. I got used to her living here for the last year and a half. I know it is time for her to move on with her own life and she is happy. But that somehow doesn’t make it easier right now. I’m not sure what will happen next. This will be the first time my husband and I have been alone since we had kids.

I know I should view this as an opportunity for growth. But it really doesn’t feel like that right now.

So here I’ll be waiting for the good luck….