Gratitude week 157

  1. A new year feels like a fresh start.
  2. We had a successful New Year’s bash.
  3. The police didn’t show up at my son’s party this year so that is a win. LOL! His party seemed pretty lame this year so that is good. No one freaked out and got disorderly. (Last year a girlfriend of a friend’s cousin got drunk and had a domestic dispute).
  4. I was able to get out and go snowshoeing.
  5. We figured out the problem we were having with the garage/apartment pipes. Apparently the garage/apartment has a totally separate septic tank from our house we didn’t know about which was full. Thankfully the pipes did not freeze over the cold snap we had. We’ve been living in our house for over 4 years and we are still learning new things. LOL
  6. Arabella was sick at Christmas then Angel got sick. Thankfully they were both feeling mostly better for New Year’s.
  7. I had my mammogram today which came back normal.
  8. We took down our trees and Christmas decorations yesterday. I hate to take everything down but it is nice not to sneeze and feel stuffed up from my tree allergies.
  9. I’m grateful to have a husband who is a hard worker and likes to complete projects.
  10. It’s now puzzle season. I probably got 6 puzzles from my mom alone for Christmas.

2022 recap

It’s hard to believe in a couple days we will be kissing 2022 good-bye. It’s been an interesting year with a lot of changes. I’ll highlight the highs and lows of the year.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. In January of this year, we had to put down our 14 year old Beagle. We had him since he was a puppy. It was hard to let him go, but I feel good we were able to provide him with a loving home the time he was with us.

This year I was diagnosed with arthritis. This was the first year in over a decade that I didn’t log any running miles or do any races. This has been a huge change for me and at times hard for me to accept.

This year I travelled within the United States. Here is the list of areas I visited:

  1. Nevada
  2. Michigan
  3. Illinois
  4. Idaho
  5. Montana
  6. Wyoming
  7. Washington D.C.
  8. Maryland
  9. Delaware

I crossed 4 out of 9 off my bucket list.

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Yellowstone by Old Faithful. It’s hard to believe we have been married 25 years already and I’ve known my husband half of his life. It’s something worth celebrating.

Our daughter got married this year to a wonderful guy. They bought their first house, have great jobs, and are 100% independent. What a blessing they have been to each other and us.

We tackled some big remodeling projects.

We joined a new church.

This is the first full year ALL of our children are adults and are living their own lives which has many ups and downs. I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of things and no one is ever totally ready for that.

That’s about all I can think of right now.

What are my plans for 2023? I don’t do resolutions. I want to think I try to be the best person I can be every day. I don’t have any big goals. I want to continue to help others. I want to continue to work on my issues for a stronger marriage and a healthier me. I want to continue travelling and plan on crossing South America off my bucket list in February. Other than that, the rest is just life which I will be writing about as it unfolds.

Happy New Year!!

Unwrapped

It’s that time of year again where Spotify gives your listening stats of the year. I listened to 30,478 minutes of music this year which puts me in the top 82% of listeners in the U.S. That’s a lot of listening. I listen to more music than everyone I know my age. I probably listen to music more than I actually listen to people talking.

Over the past year, I listened to 72 different genres. I honestly didn’t know that many genres existed. Here are my top 4:

  1. Rock
  2. Rap
  3. New Romantic
  4. Alternative Metal

I would have to agree with this with the exception of new romantic. What is that??!? I am a huge hater of romance. I hate romance books, movies but apparently not music. If you are talking about moody mournful songs of unrequited love reminiscent of ’80s hair bands I am all for that. It probably has something to do with my new found obsession with the band Lake of Tears. But romance in general makes me want to gag. Sappy Hallmark movies, yuck! Honestly, I think that is why I never got into Christian music. They all sound like sappy love songs to me. I was mortified when my mom would drive around crying to that kind of music. I always felt a little guilty because I hated that kind of music. But lock me in a room with hymns playing on a pipe organ and I could listen all day.

The pipe organ is my favorite instrument. I always joke that someday when I am independently wealthy, I am going to add a pipe organ room to my house. Apparently no one else is a big fan of that idea. What is absolutely amazing to me is if there is organ music in heavy metal. It’s an acquired taste. My music is very personal to me and it’s a huge compliment if I am willing to share it with others.

I’m grateful to live in a time where I can listen to the music I want to. My gosh how many hours I waited for a song to play on the radio so I could tape it. We had such limited choices then. I wish I had the opportunities my kids had when I was younger. Maybe I would’ve done something more with it. I don’t talk about this a lot but two of my kids are musicians. My daughter Angel graduated with a music degree in 2020 and is employed as a recording artist. She spends somewhere around 30 hours a week singing and another 10 editing music. She has a studio set up in her house.

My son Alex spends most of his free time making music. He is also very talented and waiting for his big break. My kids have utterly ruined music for me because I am incredibly picky when it comes to other performers.

According to Spotify, I start my morning with melancholy, sorrow, and moody music. Then I spice it up a little in the afternoon with sorrow, mayhem, and moody music. Then I end the night with fun, hype, and relaxing music. Gotta save the mayhem for the middle of the day.

My top song of the year is Wanna Be a Baller. I’m not really sure what a baller is but I guess I want to be one somehow. I will have to ask my kids about this again. Yes, I am one of those crazy adults that likes rap music. Not to worry, I prefer the clean versions of songs. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit to the young folks I like some of the same music they do. As a parent I would really worry if my kids listened to the kind of music I do. I’m not worried. Music is a great way to express feelings. I understand that.

This year my favorite band is Pink Floyd. I am in the top 0.5% of listeners. I’m not sure if you noticed this or not. Recently I watched the documentary Died Suddenly. I was very, very pleasantly surprised that the documentary opened with Pink Floyd’s song Sheep off the Animals album. Brilliant, just brilliant.

I’m so grateful for music and how it has enriched my life. Here’s to another great year of listening.

This uncertainty, part 2

I stressed out for a long time whether or not to get a dumpster. What did I know about remodeling or flooring besides it looking like fun on home renovation shows. They show the before pictures, show someone holding a hammer, then voila it’s done looking amazing. That and one summer when my son was in high school he worked for a company removing flooring. How hard could it be?

I researched dumpsters. I never was really good with spatial things. How would I know what size to get when I can’t even figure out if I have enough room in a parking space? I agonized over the decision. I shut off my computer and walked away for a couple days. Once I got the dumpster there was no turning back. I was committed to finishing the project.

I ordered the dumpster and still worried about it. I was anxious the day the dumpster arrived. The first project I was going to do was tear out the carpet. There was no turning back now. I had already painted my future office a bright light yellow. I took a couple before pictures. I budgeted 15 minutes to a couple hours to tear out the old carpeting. Fifteen minutes, now that is laughable as I think it took over 5 hours. Taking out the carpeting was the easy part. Then I had to pull out the carpet liner. Then all the nails and staples.

I’ve never even used half the tools before. I had zero knowledge or experience going into it which was very scary for me. On the day I started the project we had a plumber over. He must’ve took pity on me because he showed me how to use a razor blade to tear up carpeting and gave me a couple new blades. I don’t think my husband really appreciated his help as much as I did. Never having a dad to show him how to be a handyman, my husband doesn’t really know a whole lot more than I do about these projects. And to think his bio dad was a handyman for a living. What an asshat!

After I did all the painting, removing the trim boards, and tearing up the flooring my husband said he would like that room for his office. He likes the room because it is bright and sunny with a skylight and paint the color of the sun. I am a creature of the dark. I would be happy in a cave with the exception of the bats. We both decided he would be better suited for the bright room and I would be better suited in the room we are sharing as an office right now. We both agreed we weren’t suited to sharing an office. He likes all the lights blazing in broad daylight which makes me feel like my eyes are bleeding. He even has one of those intensely bright ring lights. I might turn the light on if it is dark. He likes to listen to his book or music while working and I like absolute silence. Plus he is on the phone quite a bit.

So I handed the project baton over to him. We found out on of his best friends has a lot of experience with flooring and he will be coming over tomorrow to start working on it with my husband. I had no idea what I wanted for the flooring anyway. Now he can pick what he wants. I would still be willing to help. I am very motivated to have my own office and doing some undisturbed writing again.

Other than that, we are using the dumpster for the carpet and all garbage real or imagined. I even went so far as throwing out some of the fake plastic plants from the previous owner. I went on an anti-plant rampage. When we got back from our trip my two remaining plants got decimated. The large one fell over onto the smaller one breaking the pots. I decided to throw them both out and in the process I sliced up my finger pretty good on the broken glass. If anyone ever buys me another plant I will probably punch them.

We are also getting rid of a whole bunch of junk from the garage. Some of it old crap left behind by my son’s friends when they were roommates. They are a bunch of slobs and have a lot of potential to be hoarders like my parents. The best part of everything is that the dumpster is located underneath the window of the second story of the garage. Because of this I was able to rage clean opening the window and chucking stuff into the dumpster. Or sometimes it would miss shattering everything to pieces on the ground next to it. All in the name of cleaning my friends.

Now I have been thinking about the environment as well in case you were concerned. I have several boxes filled for the thrift stores. I broke down and got rid of the last of the pairs of pants I can no longer fit over my big butt. Then there are the dresses I can’t zip up. But I didn’t have the heart to get rid of one of my favorite miniskirts. I haven’t worn it in years but maybe next summer. Until then it will be hanging up next to my orthotic shoes.

My house has so many projects I don’t even know where to start. But at least I am starting even though I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

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.

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.