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….

Fortune cookie wisdom #41

As a cure for worry, work is better than whiskey.

As someone who is a worrier warrior, I can say that work is a better cure than whiskey. It also leaves you with money in your pocket. Plus you have to admit being a workaholic is a lot more admirable than being an alcoholic.

Back before we sold our business, I really threw myself into work. Honestly, looking back I don’t know how I did it. How did I work full-time, raise a family, train for marathons, and keep a clean house?

I was happy at work when it was busy. Slow days left me with too much time to think. Super busy days added to my list of worries.

I love to keep busy. I love having tasks to complete. Is that so bad? Every day I have a plan. Every week I have a rough plan for the following week. I live my life through routine, structure, and planning. Spontaneity drives me absolutely bonkers. You might think my rigidity sounds a tad bit boring, but I can assure you it is not. Although I am a structure freak, I am also totally neurotic which makes me fun. As proof, no one has ever called me boring. I’m not really sure why.

Now I no longer work full-time, train for marathons, or raise kids. You might wonder if I miss it. No, not really. Now I’ve got whiskey. Okay, okay I am just kidding. It’s been an adjustment, but change is not always a bad thing. I’ve had to learn to cope with my anxiety without being a workaholic. I’ve had to learn to slow down and take better care of me. I can’t always outrun my demons.

There still never seems to be a shortage of things to do. Maybe now I’ve become the project, a work in progress.

Gratitude week 105

  1. The year 2021 is finally over!!! Although at this point I’m not feeling too certain 2022 is going to be better. The year started out kind of rough. Right now I’m thinking we might have to cancel our trip to Puerto Rico we were planning for this month because of COVID. Yippee!
  2. Seriously, nobody died so far this year. My best friend got over COVID. Although Dan has it right now, he doesn’t seem to be too sick. The rest of his family didn’t get it. The drunk stranger in my driveway found her way home before freezing to death in my yard. So…
  3. Angel took me out to try bubble tea. Basically it’s this tea with small bubbles of tapioca in it. She also took me to see her new house from the outside.
  4. The holidays are over. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays but I don’t enjoy all the extra stress that comes with it.
  5. Arabella and I are finally getting along better. That being said, I received 5 missed calls from her in the middle of the night last night. My husband, daughter, and mother missed calls from her too. She didn’t leave a message with any of us. When I tried calling her back, she didn’t answer. Last night she left with Will to drive to Colorado for a road trip. It turns out the heat quit working in his car. It’s a long trip without heat, so they turned around and came back home. Thankfully everything is alright. Nothing I hate more than missed calls in the middle of the night and worrying what is going on.
  6. I was able to fix my WP site after finding out I had nothing but a blank page on my site with no working widgets. I was also able to fix some problems I was having with my personal email without asking for help. I feel proud like a little kid being able to tie their shoes without having to ask a big person.
  7. Finally the boiler is fixed for our hot tub and pool. We have been having problems with it for months. That and having problems with our furnace, I got to know our heating and cooling guy really well. He probably regrets giving me his personal cell number for as much as I called him.
  8. Before it got bitterly cold out, my mom and I were able to go snowshoeing together.
  9. I took down the Christmas decorations and spent some time redecorating my house. I enjoyed planning what I wanted to do.
  10. Today I cleaned the kitchen. I cleaned out the refrigerator which was disgusting. I cleaned the microwave, sink, descaled the Keurig, and wiped down the cupboards. I absolutely hate deep cleaning the kitchen so I’m grateful to be done with that job for awhile.
  11. Since my daughter will be moving out in a couple weeks, I decided I want to really declutter my house. I am planning to go through a lot of my clothes and get rid of things that no longer fit me. I have no problem getting rid of things I don’t wear, but there are clothes I absolutely love that no longer fit I have a hard time getting rid of. Then I can buy some new clothes that fit better.