Wednesday, January 18, 2017

more progress...

About 4 weeks ago now I was meeting a friend for breakfast at a local eatery and as I walked to my table I recognized an old friend at one I was passing. He saw me, jumped up and gave me a big hug, and said "I've been thinking so much about you and I want to tell you something: It gets better. I promise."

He was, of course, referring to the circumstances that rocked my world and left me alone and shaken to the core. Everything I thought I knew and believed was taken from me and I've been floundering around in a strange new place, no longer being sure of my footing or of the people around me. It was a sincere, warm moment that meant the world to me, because he's been through his own traumas in life, including divorce and then the death of another spouse. He know what he was talking about.

And now, weeks after that encounter and months after my trauma, I've learned that he was right. I've certainly become accustomed to my new life, and things have certainly gotten better.

In thinking about it and remembering the pain I was in a few short months ago, I'm grateful for the progress. I'm not sure whether its because the mind and body can only handle so much and eventually the self-defense mechanisms click on, or whether I've just grown immune to the pain, but I think its more about recognizing the truth and learning to accept it than anything else. I am, by nature., a person who wants to "fix things". I think my initial response to the brokenness of my life was to try and "fix" it. Acceptance of the fact that I cannot change other people, can't change the past, and can only move forward in my new life, trying to make it better than it was before. I'm at peace now. The tears don't come often and the pain has subsided. There will always be some, but the sharpness has dulled and it doesn't hurt as often.

I think its safe to say my friend was right. It might have been slow to come, but this is definitely progress...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The studio

One of the real lifesavers for me this past year has been time spent working as an artist in my friend's studio.

About a year ago I began going to a friend's house to play with glass and learn the art of glass fusing. She's a retired art teacher who's now enjoying her time pursuing her own talents, and she's set up a studio in her basement for fusing glass, with lots of supplies and a kiln and long generous tables to work on. She invited me last year to come join her one evening and I've been going pretty weekly every since, discovering my long lost love of art.

I actually wanted to pursue art as a career when I was in school, but bad advice from a guidance counselor and low self-esteem sent me in another direction, and I've always regretted it. I can see myself as a graphic artist, designing posters and flyers, something I've done for so many groups I belong to over the years. But with no degree it was never a career option, so my artistic side has been relegated to handwork like knitting and sewing and making posters of signs for my own events. Now I've discovered this wonderful art of glass fusing and I'm in my happy place at last.

Recently I joined some local artist groups and hope to begin showing my work soon. It's a dream come true to me. It remains to be seen whether I can ever make money on my art, but it certainly is bring me joy, and that, after all, is what art is truly all about now, isn't it?

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day

Its hard not to reflect back on things you remember on a holiday like this one. I was in my real formative years when the two Kennedys and Martin Luther King were all assassinated. Those were difficult days in this country-great unrest and huge changes in our society were taking place. The newspapers of my youth were full of civil rights protests, Viet Nam reports, and youthful dissidence everywhere. There was so much happening it was like a whirlwind and I totally understand now why my parents and others of the WWII generation were confused and afraid of what they saw happening around them. To me it was just normal - it was all I'd ever known.

Of course Martin Luther King was not beloved by all in the years leading up to his death and many saw him as a "rabble rouser". But in hindsight we all know he was an important figure in a time when his presence and influence was very much needed.

It's interesting to me that this week his holiday coincides with the week of the presidential inauguration that's so divisive too. I'm the one who's fearful now, just as my parents were before me. I hope and pray that the balance of power that our forefathers set up will hold the line and keep us safe, but I'm not sure. I hope we're not entering into another period of great unrest here because they are hard to live through.

One of the most interesting things to me about this recent election is that I've lived through dozens of them now, each one with some voters being happy and some not. That's the way it goes in a democratic process. But never have I seen the level of fear, and anger, and real concern as I see now. I'm a pretty moderate person politically and I've voted for both republicans and democrats in my life, but never have I distrusted and worried so much about an outcome before. Whether or not my choice won was never so important. This time I am afraid. And I see so many posts on Facebook about how "liberals are sore losers" or similar name calling. But I know because of my own conservative leanings that this is not a "liberal" or "conservative" thing. This is an integrity thing. This is fear for our country being led by an immature, narcissistic, egomaniac that will be in a position to take us to bad places.

Where are our Martin Luther Kings when we need them? Because we need real leadership now.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Dusting

Last night we had a dusting of snow - enough to cover everything but leave the roads nice and clear. My favorite kind of snow, really!

This morning I left the house for the dump at 7:10 and the world looked pristine. The almost full moon was still visible on the horizon but it was daylight and everything was white. It was really a beautiful way to start the day. I drove down the street marveling at the beauty a simple layer of snow can bring to everything, and took note of the way it changed a dull winter landscape of browns and grays into a brilliant view. Within an hour the sun was bouncing off the surfaces everywhere and it was as pretty as any summer day.

We are still in January so we surely have weeks of winter left, and there will be more snow for sure. This one will disappear in an hour or so as the temperature is already above freezing. But for a lovely hour its been a real treat - easy to maneuver, not slippery, and just as pretty as a picture.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Home

Its going to be hard to come home to an empty house today.

I think that's been one of the biggest challenges for me, coming home to an empty house. Not so much during my day-to-day activities because that was normal, but coming home from a party or other social event, and now, coming home from a trip where I was with family for almost a week, well those are the hard times.There's something about wanting to come in and tell someone else about your adventures that I miss. Or sorting through the mail and doing the laundry with someone else. Its truly the little things that make our lives and those are the things we miss when they change.

I'm sorry for people who go through these changes without family and friends around. For me, those contacts have been my lifeline. Even still I get phone calls from friends checking up on me and often inviting me to a movie of dinner. And of course the grandkids are what keep me going, giving me reasons to laugh and providing lots of love and hugs. Human touch is hard to do without. Thank goodness I haven't had to.

So today I come home to my empty house. But its been a great week and I look forward to seeing the ones I've been missing. There's always a up side to everything, isn't there?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Activity

Being at my daughter's house is such a nice reminder of the times I lived in a house full of kids.

I loved having four children once the baby/toddler years were over. Oh, I love babies and toddlers too, but taking care of them full time over the period of fifteen years is exhausting. (I sometimes wonder if my husband stopped loving me then, when I was so tired every night I could barely stay awake at 7pm and rarely wore anything other than jeans and sweats.) Toddlers are the funniest and most fun of any age, but they do take a toll on us as parents.

I liked the busy years, when the kids were involved in sports, theater, music, and youth group at church. There always seemed to be someone coming or going at the door and we had to squeeze dinners in during very small windows when everyone was home. But those were wonderful years. And being in a home with that craziness is fun for me again. It reminds me of those good years and makes me for those kids I loved watching grow into amazing adults. I loved being around them then and I miss seeing them every day. So this visit has been a real tonic for me.
nostalgic

I remember saying goodbye to them in the morning, having the day to myself, and then running them all over the place in the afternoon and evening. And while I'm here I take every opportunity to do that with the grandkids as well. Because I always found those car trips to be when the best conversations occurred.

And they still do.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Cold

Its been pretty cold these past few days and I'm reminded that its winter! But then again, its mid-January and winter is well on its way to passing in no time at all. The months go quickly these days and with my life still in flux the months seem to be clicking along pretty well too. It will be over in no time and we'll wonder how time passed us by so quickly.

I'm looking forward to a few things this winter so I'm not dreading it. I enjoy the cold and even like snow so long as it doesn't over-stay its welcome, turning into slush and ice in the process. I can deal with a little inconvenience now and then in exchange for the beauty of a new snow, turning everything into strange objects of white and making the winter landscape bright again.

The thermostat is supposed to climb now so I'm guessing by the time I get back to eastern Long Island the snow may be gone and getting around won't be a problem. Until the next time of course. And I imagine there'll be a few more before spring comes in about 8 short weeks now. Time. It truly does wait for no man.