Sunday, July 31, 2016

Weddings part 2

So yesterday was the wedding. And it was everything you could hope it would be.

The wedding ceremony itself was in the back yard garden at Home Sweet Home Museum in the historic district of East Hampton Village. A more perfect setting you could not have asked for. It was beautiful. The reception was right next door on the grounds of the equally beautiful Mulford Farm, built in 1680 and as lovely today as it ever was. Dinner was in the large tent and the band with dancing was in the amazing 18th century barn. My whole family as there, including most of the grandchildren, so all my favorite people were in attendance. Watching the kids dance together, spending time with my brother, sisters, spouses, nieces and nephews, and all those people who have married in to our crazy family...well, it just doesn't get much better than that.

The band was a "Texas swing band" and they did many wonderful songs from the 30s and 40s with polish and panache. There was an abundance of good cheer, the food was great, and despite the heat that nearly sent me into convulsions, I loved every single minute of it. It truly was one of those occasions you wish would never end.

I'm not sure I'll ever see another wedding like it and I'm not sure I'll ever attend one with more trepidation. My own circumstances made me sad, but the whole thing made me realize that life does go on, and there will still be joy in my future. Because when there is this much love to go around, I have nothing to complain about.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Weddings

Today is a family wedding and it seems so ironic to me. Here I am dealing with the dissolution of my own marriage, not by choice but by circumstances beyond my control, and at the same time I'll be celebrating the beginning of a new marriage, hopefully one that will be better than my own.

Marriage has got to be one of the great expressions of optimism in this life. Despite the fact that we see marriages fail so often, with such ferocity, we continue to jump into it ourselves thinking we can defy the odds. At least I know I did. And I truly believed that to be the case up until a short time ago when I discovered that everything I knew, everything I believed, was false. Its a harsh reality and certainly not one anyone wants. How is that possible? I ask myself that question every day. How could I know someone so intimately and yet not at all? How could I be so smart and yet so foolish? How could I be so completely trusting of someone who didn't deserve my trust? So many questions!

And yet here we are, going to watch someone embark on a new adventure in trust, truth, and faith. A new marriage, a new relationship to become set in stone, and we are all optimistic that it will be just that: a perfect union. As jaded and cynical as I am at this moment, questioning whether true fidelity and love actually really exists in the world, I am totally optimistic that this wedding will be perfect, symbolizing everything we want marriage to be. It's my hope, my sincere wish, and totally
my prayer.

Here's to marriage. Mine may have been a sham but hopefully others will succeed where mine failed. Optimism overload....

Friday, July 29, 2016

Much needed

Today we are getting some much needed rain on the east end. As I sit here in front of my open window I can feel the dampness and hear the gentle sounds of the soft rainfall, along with the amplified noise from every passing car as they toss water up with their wheels and slam through the puddles. It's a nice comforting sound though. Peaceful almost.

It's been awhile since we had a good rain and I welcome it. I skipped watering the outdoor pots and window boxes yesterday, knowing relief was coming. If it rains all morning the plants will be well taken care of by nature and I won't need to intervene. Thankfully it came today because tomorrow is my niece's wedding, hopefully outdoors. I'm very much looking forward to the family time and surrounding myself with people I love is helpful at this time in my life. There's something about that which makes the heartaches and pain recede if only for a short time.

So today I'm just going to enjoy this rain. In addition to the way it calms everything down and brings life to the wanting earth, it also makes me think about the fact that God grieves for us when we're broken. And rain seems to symbolize His tears perfectly.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Selfies

Technology has certainly changed the way we think, talk, and act in this the 21st century. I suppose that's been true in every century, but this is the one I'm in now, so I'm only addressing this one.

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to figure out how to take a 'selfie". Now this whole idea of taking a photo of yourself is pretty new, right? I mean I grew up in a time when you put film in a camera, took photos (usually over the course of months because film and processing was expensive so we only took important pictures!), then dropped it off at the photo shop to be turned into actual photographs that we could see. If we wanted more copies, the negatives needed to go in and copies could be made. You had to save those negatives forever if you cared about the photos, and I still have envelopes full of negatives in my photo storage cabinet today. Nothing was worse than picking up your pictures, get into the car to rip open the package, only to to find they were all dark, or somehow ruined because of bad film or camera malfunction.

Anyway, today taking photos is as easy as picking up your cell phone. And what with needing pictures of myself for various online profiles and websites, taking selfies has become a bit of an art form, albeit not one I'd really dabbled in yet. But now that I'm living alone, it seemed something I needed to learn to do.

My first attempt was pretty bad. Not one of the eight shots were good enough to publish. I mean, they may have looked exactly like me, I don't know, but they sure didn't look like the person I perceived myself to be!

Second try was a little better. I learned to move to where the light was better, and where to look so my eyes were facing the right direction.

By the third attempt I was getting pretty good at it and finally I had a photo I could put up on my Facebook page that is adequate. My feeling is that the perfect profile photo is one that people look at and say "oh wow-she looks pretty good!" As opposed to one that makes them say "oh dear-she really has let herself go, hasn't she?"

I think another few tries and I should have this down.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Readers

I love discovering that there are actually people out there who read my blogs. I mean, on the one hand I am sometimes startled by it, because I really write for my own enjoyment and don't think what I have to say is worthy of anyone else's interest, but on the other I'm glad to know that there are folks who think I have something to say. Always surprising and always interesting to me.

I recently had two people express concern about how "dark" my blogs were becoming but I always write about where I am and what's on my mind so it stands to reason that everyone has "dark" moments in this world. My life isn't perfect - far from it - and I certainly never wanted to present that in my writing. My life, like all others, has sad, mournful times and also wonderful high times. It's just real and I don't want to present it as anything else. However, I have tried to lighten things up a bit since then because truly its not my intent to depress anyone!

Someone else just pointed out that I posted the same blog three times. Actually I don't think I did it - I think it was a glitch in the program which was acting a bit odd yesterday. But nevertheless, I was glad someone noticed and took the time to mention it so I could correct things.

Blogging is truly a solitary adventure. Its done in private, alone in my house, with only my own thoughts to express. But as the internet goes, and its both good and bad, suddenly someone is reading my thoughts over in Europe somewhere. In face I have a pretty loyal follower in Russia.

Who'd a thot?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hot hot hot

So the heat wave continues here on the East End but boy is it not beautiful out there! It seems that every garden is bursting with color and the lawns are as green as they'll ever be. Once August hits we'll be seeing more brown spots and wilted foliage so this, right now, is perfect.

I love taking the back roads, as always, not only for the respite from the traffic on 27 but also for the scenery. The farm fields, what's left of them, are lush and full and the farm stands are a sight for sore eyes, with colorful buckets of sunflowers and veggies bursting from their shelves. Watermelons, beans, corn, tomatoes, they're all there now, enticing the passing hordes to stop and enjoy. Its an abundance of glory for all the senses, smell, taste, sight, touch - there's nothing that doesn't get tickled with a stop along the way for something to carry home.

The heat may be oppressive this week but the joys are still around to be taken in and savored as the bounty of summer.  And I do just that. It's salve for a broken spirit and right now the very best medicine in the world.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Monday

So here it is Monday again and my charges left not too long ago. It was certainly a long day with the heat so high and the humidity off the scale and three toddlers running around. But Mondays are, as always, full of promise. They are new beginnings, brand new weeks, blank slates to write on and fill out.

I love Mondays. I know some people don't agree because they don't like the fact that the entire week is ahead of them, but I prefer to think of Monday's as brand new babies, fresh and new and ready for life.

This was a difficult one as Monday's go. I'm tired and worn and thinking about bed despite the fact that it's only 7:45. But this was the start of my brand new week, and I'm not wishing it away. I'm looking forward to the things yet to come.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Heat wave

We are in our second or third heat wave of the summer and I have to say none of them have really bothered me too much. I think the fact that we finally had an air conditioner built into the wall of our bedroom a few years ago has made all the difference for me.

The daylight hours are not so bad as long as I'm not busy around the house. I can read or work at my computer comfortably enough because there is nearly always a nice breeze going through my rooms with the open field across the street and lots of big windows all around. It's only those times where we have manual labor to do that make things uncomfortable. But the nights have always been the challenge. Those hot days with high humidity just really challenge me and I don't sleep well at all. There's something about sheets that feel wet and no way to cool off that just isn't very conducive to a good night of shut-eye, and lack of sleep certainly makes me grumpy.

So the a/c in the bedroom has made all the difference. I am sleeping well despite the heat and I'm getting lots of reading done during the daylight. All in all not a bad thing.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Beauty

I think the easiest way to lift your spirits is the one that's free and simple: look around.

As I gaze out my window here in East Hampton I'm seeing a world full of beauty and its mine for the taking. There's a beautiful breeze, the windows are open and the air is fresh, and the world is my oyster. Well, sort of anyway. There's plenty to be thankful for right here in my own house, my own backyard, my own little town.

Last night I worked a party up at the historic Mulford Farm. The weather was superb, the setting perfection, and I rather enjoyed all the beautiful people who lined up at the gate to get into this summer fundraising party. It seemed to be the place to be! I didn't get farther than the gate since that's where I was working, but still it was a great night and I loved being there.

I know that I am blessed to live here in beautiful East Hampton. I have family all around me, great friends who watch out for me, and a lovely house to live in. Life is good regardless of the bad things that come along. And I will keep reminding myself of that.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Reflection

I've had plenty of time for reflection this week. With my car out of service for the third day, and probably a week ahead without it, I have lots of opportunity to read, think, and contemplate life and all that goes along with it right now. And that's a good thing.

I have so many blessings in my life that I cannot complain about the bad things. There are always people who are worse off, who are hungry, sick, living in terrible conditions. I know this and I don't take my life for granted. I have a wonderful family, amazing children, siblings I love, nieces and nephews who are here for me if I need them, and so many supportive friends I sometimes am embarrassed by the riches. I treasure all those things and when difficult days come, these are the things that make life worth the living for me. In the grand scheme of things, these are the reasons I want to live life to the fullest.

Reflection helps us to keep our perspective during the difficult days that come to all of us. And despite the fact that I've been home most all of the past three days, the television has barely been on. I am spending this bonus period reading, googling, praying, meditating, and just being with myself in thought, thinking and wondering about the future.

Of course none of us knows what the future holds-I certainly know that because if you'd asked me a month ago if I would be where I am at this moment I would never have imagined it. But I do think that my future looks pretty bright. And right now, that's enough to hold onto.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cars

Since the day I got married, cars have been a challenge. Both of us came into the marriage with cars. Neither was new, but they were fine for us, both working at different hours and needing transportation to and from and around this town that has little to no public transportation available.

Within a year both cars had issues. Mine, a VW bug that I adored, simply died. Engine blown, no money to fix. His suddenly needed a brake job which cost us about a tenth of what our total income was for the year. We made a deal with the mechanic and paid $10 a month for quite a few years to get that one paid off. The other we needed to replace so we found an old beaten up red Chevy for $300 and we grabbed it. It wasn't a bad car, although it wasn't great on gas, but again, you get what you pay for.

I think that car lasted us three years. By then we had two children and getting car seats in and out of the back, with only two doors, was tricky. So when the transmission went it was OK with me. Except that raised the question of what to do next. So we started looking around in the local papers and found another old car - this time we paid $500. We were getting up in the world! It was an old fashioned station wagon and it was a good car while it lasted, which was, I think, another three years. Then we managed to find a used car on a car dealer's lot - another wagon, this time in yellow, and we paid $1500 for that one.

That wagon lasted us a nice long time. We had two more children, and were squeezing into it with the bucket front seat where one sat between us. A few years later, something new and amazing came onto the market: the first mini-van! It was a Chevy Astro and it could seat 8! With that car we could even take our parents along for the ride to sporting events or school programs! For some time I lusted after that Astro van. When I saw one on the road I turned my head to see it. I studied the specs in Car & Driver magazine and drove slowly past the local dealer to take a good look.

Then the day came when my husband had changed jobs and was making a little more money and he came home and said "I think now we can afford to buy that car you like so much! We'll have to take out a car -loan and make monthly payments, but I think we can do it! I literally danced for joy. I was beyond excited.

Since that first new car we've only bought, I think, two other new ones: another min-van and then a smaller car. The last one we got was again a used one, off a lease and we though a good buy.

Today that car, only six years old and with only about 60,000 miles on it, needs a new transmission. And I am looking at car payments and a new transmission. And wishing I could go back to that little VW bug and drive like it was 1974 all over again....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shadows

This morning I had to be at the hospital early for a regular yearly test. My appointment was for 8:00 but I was told to get there at 7:45 to fill out paperwork an all that nonsense. So being that this is July, I left the house at 7am in case I had trouble with traffic.

The sun sits quite low at that hour, even though it certainly is daylight. I was smiling as I drove down the back roads at one point because the light coming through the trees was sporadic and bright. The roads took on a mottled appearance and the flashes in my windows from the sun peeking through the trees was like a disco ball. I haven't seen one of those in years but I certainly remember how disorienting they were to me. This was a little disorienting as well as my eyes adjusted from bright light to shadow along the way.

It was beautiful, this morning display. It was a promise and a dismissal. Night was gone but morning was arriving full force now. soon to be bathing the roads in light but now only teasing us with what's yet to come.

Sometimes life's metaphors are unmistakable and God speaks to us through nature when we care to listen. It brings to mind the scripture that "...weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning..."

I look forward to my life's next morning. And the joy that will come with it. I'm tired of the weeping part. But I know what's coming
and that makes me smile.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Letting go

I know that life is a very long series of letting go. I've written about it before when children left, when I said goodbye to friends, so many times I've thought about how difficult it is to let go of the things - the people - you love. But never before has it been this hard.

I feel as though I can't breath sometimes and I suppose that's the "heartbreak" that they talk about, because we all know that hearts don't literally break. But there is that feeling that something is badly broken and nothing will ever be able to put it back together again. Scar tissue. Remember there is always scar tissue.

Someone told me to remember that God only gives us what we can deal with and that goes against my basic theology because I don't believe that God brings bad things into our lives. I believe that "only good and perfect things" come from God but that there is evil to contend with and that's where the bad things come from. The book "The Screwtape Letters" by C.S. Lewis deals with that and in fact it might be a good time for me to re-read that wonderful book right now. It seems timely for sure. I will go order it on Amazon as soon as I finish this blog today.

I don't make excuses for the things that people do that are harmful, but I do like to have reasons to help me process them. Reasons that I can get my head around and at the very least gives me some closure. I'm not sure we'll always have reasons in this world though. As another scripture says, here we "see through a glass darkly" and things may never be quite clear. But I look forward to the day I have answers. That is something to strive for, isn't it?

Monday, July 18, 2016

Scars

A friend, in an effort to encourage me recently, used an old cliche and tossed off "Time heals all wounds" as she walked away. When I thought about that later I realized how much more complicated that was than how it sounds.

I've had major surgery. I have a 23 inch scar in one area and smaller ones in another. I remember the healing process very well. Yes, every day was a little bit better. Yes eventually the scabs formed, and then they fell away, and new skin was beneath them. It truly is a miraculous process and even watching the smallest cut heal up makes me wonder at our amazing bodies. But here's the problem with the old cliche: the open sores heal, yes. But they leave behind scars that are visible forever. And even more important than that, scar tissue forms and will forever effect our bodies. Sometimes I turn a certain way and scar tissue deep inside pulls and causes a painful jab. Other times I turn over in bed and a particular spot hurts because of the internal scar tissue that happens to be right there and I need to move to a more comfortable position.

So here's the thing. The results of any wound stay with us forever. And the deeper the wound the more effect. To the outside person that may only be scars. But to the one inflicted, that scar tissue can bring untold discomfort,  and even danger at some point. (I actually lost a friend once who had scar tissue from an earlier surgery wind it's way around her intestines causing a blockage that ultimately caused her death.) so while to the rest of the world time may have healed the wound, we damaged ones know the truth: time covers the wounds, time makes them less painful, and time makes us stronger. But it never makes us the way we were.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday morning coming down

Sunday is, I think, my favorite day of the week.

Sunday is about new beginnings. It's about reconnecting with your soul. It's about going to church, being with family, and reminding ourselves of what's truly important in the world. It's about letting the stress and problems of the world fall away, dreaming dreams of the future, and allowing God's love and peace to wash over us, cleaning the garbage out and freeing us of the negative things and the ugly things we've been holding on to out of fear and insecurity, and embracing the strength that God gives us to keep on going through this difficult life.

I am facing this Sunday with new hope, with defiant courage, and with the knowledge that only I can make decisions about where my life is going from here. I am stepping out in faith and knowing that my future is in hands other than my own, and that my trust needs to be in the divine and not the human. Because that's where the truth is, and that's where our strength is. And today is Sunday.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Friends

There's a saying something like "friends are the family we choose for ourselves". While I happen to have a pretty great family, I also have some pretty amazing friends. Right now they are my lifeline.

My house has had a revolving door of late and every day brings new friends by to visit. It's only 1:00 today and already I've had five visitors and two phone calls. People care about me and that is an amazing thing. I don't take that lightly and I don't take it for granted because its an amazing gift.

When times are tough its those special people we call friends and family who really come through for you. And I don't mean only the people who feel as though they can pop in at an time.There are friends that might not be the people we see regularly or the people we call on when we need a ride at 2:00 in the morning, but you know you could. They're the people who come out of the woodwork when tragedy strikes to see how they can help, and there's no doubt that they truly care. I know it in my heart and they show it in so many ways.

I am so grateful for those friends - all of them - right now: the ones who are keeping me close in their sites and the ones who are offering support from afar.

There's another saying that goes something like this: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". Cute, right? My feeling is who needs lemonade when you already have all that sugar right there for the using...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Dark days

Someone called to ask what was wrong because my blogs have taken a very "dark turn" as they said.

Well, said I, not every day is a bright and happy one and we all go through difficulties sometimes! In fact, the year I went through my cancer treatments back in 2009, this blog was like a tonic for me. Every day I could share my fears, my triumphs, and my cautions, allowing me to get it all out and helping me to sleep at night. Sometimes just the simple act of writing things down does wonders for me. It truly is medicinal.

So what is there to say that's bright and cheery today? Here it is: tonight the extended family met at the beach to reconnect in the midst of a long hot summer. Beginning on Labor Day and running through Memorial Day, we try to have lunch together every other Sunday all winter long. Not everyone comes every week of course, but for the most part we're able to at least keep track of what's happening in every one's lived because even if they themselves aren't there, someone else from their immediate family can fill us in. But in the summer everyone is so busy we don't see each other as often and tonight we attempted to correct that.

Everyone came with their own dinner and we truly did have fun on the pavilion at Main Beach. The kids could run in the sand, climb the lifeguard tower, or hang with the adults. The adults gathered in small groups and caught up with each other. With two sisters and a brother, spouses, children and spouses, and grandchildren, we are now a formidable bunch. It was great fun.

Once the sun went down, giving us a beautiful sunset to enjoy, we folded up our chairs and headed home. But it felt good to again be part of something very special. There really is nothing like a family.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sounds

The sounds of the morning are beautiful. I find myself sitting here at the computer with the windows wide open in my home office, just listening to what's happening outside.

There are the birds, of course, an ever present wake-up call. But there is also the sound of traffic in the distance, driving down Montauk Highway, a soft hum in the background.Occasionally at this hour there is a loud truck that passes, disturbing the peace and quiet of the hour. Later today - not too long from now really - that will be the sound that is most present, blocking all others and keeping the house full of the sound of motors and overly loud car radios.

Sometimes there is someone walking by the front of the house and either talking to the person with them or too loudly on their phones. One of my biggest gripes about cells is the need to speak louder than on a normal phone. Its annoying no matter where it is, causing the rest of us to listen in to your private business. Bike riders can be loud as well, shouting back and forth to people as they pass.

I often wonder what it would be like to live in the woods where its peaceful and quiet. Of course noisy neighbors can be anywhere, but there certainly wouldn't be as many bikes, cars, or pedestrians if I lived somewhere surrounded by trees.

There are great things about living in the middle of the village here in my little space. I love being close enough to walk to everything, easily running out to grab a loaf of bread or other necessary item. But the quiet of the early day also feeds my soul and I know there is something special about having that around you all day as well. For me, its about the early morning, before the cacophony of sound that is soon to follow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Birdsong

As I sit here in my living room, up and fully dressed before the sun rises, I'm comforted by the sounds of the birds coming into my  windows. It signals to me that life goes on, and that even though it's pitch black outside right now, the sun will come up, the world here in East Hampton will see daylight again, and life goes on. It's a promise the birds are sending. They know the world is not only what happens here within the four walls of this house, but it's a bigger place than that and nothing slows down or stops because of what any one person is going through at any particular time.

I find great comfort in that. I want there to be a better, brighter place out there for my children and grandchildren. I want to think my own failings will not affect them. I want to think that I am insignificant in the grand scheme of things, because I am.

I like knowing that a new day is here, and the birds are busy preparing for it. And even at this moment, when the light is beginning to come to us, I find encouragement and I find hope. If the birds are looking forward than so must I. Looking back isn't good for anyone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Broken

There are times when you just know that you're broken. During times of great loss or disappointment, those times when you just can't get yourself out of bed in the morning. Those are the times you know: you are totally in pieces. I'm in one of those times right now. For me its the knowledge that everything I thought I knew, almost everything I believed in, and everything I held in a special place is gone.  But at this point I'm not sure that the term "broken" even begins to cover it.

For the first time since I've been an adult I've thought about what a release suicide would be. That sounds very dark, but honestly, I'm no danger to myself - I thought about it - but I didn't contemplate it. There is a difference. But it occurs to me that it seems totally reasonable for someone to think it would be the easiest way out of whatever they're dealing with. Easiest, not best, and certainly not most selfless, because nothing is more selfish than suicide, leaving the people that love you behind to suffer because of your choices. But I do understand it now. For the first time in my life I understand it. And I'm amazed that people would be cruel enough to drive another human to that place, whether they know them or not. Who would do that to another human being? It boggles my mind. I don't even like to tell someone they have something between their teeth. I could never do something that would knowingly cause someone pain.

Of course my nature is more upbeat than that even in the darkest of times. I try to always look on the bright side of things and think about the good that can be accomplished in all circumstances. And my faith in God gives me reason to live because I know that God will always teach me, mold me, make me a better person no matter what I'm dealing with. I thought cancer was hard. My circumstances now are harder. But they aren't fatal. They are difficult, but not defeating. Because I'm not going to let anything defeat me. I'm far too stubborn for that.

They say that living well is the best revenge. I don't know how well I'll be able to live in these circumstances I find myself in, but I do know I will live happily again, and perhaps that's really what living well is all about. I have so much to treasure in this life. And right now those are the things I am holding on dearly to.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Children

Children have a wonderful way of helping you keep things in perspective.

Today I had grandchildren here all day. There were at least three here the entire day, with others coming and going. It was a great way for me to adjust my world view, which has become a bit altered of late due to some difficult things that have happened in my life. After a day with these innocent, loving, sweet little people I feel more optimistic about the world and life in general. Suddenly I feel that joy will return to me, and this assurance is helping me move forward.

I'm so grateful for the children in my life. They give me the balance that I need and they make me a better person every time I'm with them. They bring me pure joy.

I thank God for my family every day. If God is the foundation of my life, my family is the framework. And everything else hangs on that.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday

I look forward to Sundays. I always have because it's always been a day for church and family throughout my life, but never more than right now.

I was up early and read the paper. I watched the news. And I ate some cereal. At 8:30 I had a board meeting at the Healthcare Foundation. At 10:00 I went to church. And that's where I settled in for the much-needed soul sustenance that I'd been longing for all week.

Yes it was at church that I felt at home for the first time in what has been a very long and difficult week. I sat with my family and hugged my grand kids. I sang the hymns and each one spoke to my heart. I listened to the scripture and the message penetrated my mind. I read the prayers and they went up with sincerity and passion. My soul was fed and I come home feeling-no knowing-that I was not alone and I would be OK.

The rest of the day didn't really matter. Because I'd had an appointment with God and we both made it there. And I, who was starving, was satisfied.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

New life

So as I sit here thinking about things that have transpired in the past week and months I contemplate what it means to put your life back together at my age. I'm not sure its possible to even take it in and process it because its so overwhelming.

I am at a point in my life where I was thinking about the fun things I was going to do in the next however many years I have left on earth. I dreamed of places I could visit, people I could see, experiences I could have. I looked forward to spending time doing more "fun" things and less "work" things. That's all changed now.  I no longer have a partner to enjoy things with, which means learning to be very independent - and possibly not doing some of the things I dreamed about because they just aren't the same when done alone. I no longer have the money I thought I would have to enjoy some of the pleasures of a more leisurely life, so I need to find things to keep me occupied right here at home. I'm considering what additional volunteer work I might want to delve into, and where my time can best be spent. I no longer have another person to take care of, to shop for, to clean for, to entertain - there are a whole host of things that will enable me to spend more time elsewhere. But where?

I think its all too soon to consider some of these things as life tends to unfold as we go along whether we like it or not. That's something I've definitely learned lately! Our plans are not always going to come to fruition. But nevertheless, these are the things that occupy my mind now. I wonder if its too late to go back to college?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Company

So today I was lucky enough to have my six-year-old granddaughter with me for quite a few hours. It made for a wonderful day - for me at least.

I adore all of my grandchildren. Just as one could never choose a favorite child, each grandchild has a special place in one's heart and there is no such thing as a favorite. We love them all for the unique creatures they are, each one with their special gifts.

This little girl's gift is, I believe, joy. She is like a little package of sunshine, almost always smiling, thrilled to see you, happy-go-lucky, and very sweet. The few times I've seen her sad brought me to tears myself simply because it was so out of character. She is so much fun to have around that my heart smiles when I hear her coming in the back door.

So for a few hours at least, I was able to forget about the heavy things I'm dealing with in my life right now and just enjoy the presence of some sunshine on this,  a sort of dark day.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Upside down

There are certain things that happen in our lives that simply turn them upside down. Many are happy events, like marriage, childbirth, new job, etc. Some, like death, divorce, relocation, career change, are not so pleasant.

I've been experiencing the latter in my own life, so I feel as though I've lost my emotional compass. I have alway been a person of schedules and lists, habits and regularity. I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, at the same time, in the same place for instance. I live by my calendar. I love life that's planned out and thought through. So being in this particular place is unsettling to say the least. Suddenly at 11:00 in the morning I realize I haven't yet had anything to eat. At 4:00 in the afternoon I grab a banana and then don't think about food for another day. I forget to look at the calendar and have to fight to keep track of the things I need to do. My anchor has been dragging a little and the mooring feels unsecured.

I know that this too shall pass. I know my life will eventually return to what will be a new normal. But right now, I feel as though I'm in the twilight zone and I can't see the door to escape yet.

It's a very strange place to be.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Heat wave

They say we have a heat wave coming. For three days we'll have the heat and humidity to deal with. I knew this pleasant weather was too good to be true for much longer!

Well after all, this is July, isn't it?

As I sit here with a pleasant breeze coming through my front window I hate to think that things are changing because it's really been lovely so far. But the double H's are part of the season so what can you do? I dream of central air, but I also love open windows, so it's kind of a mixed feeling. I fear with central air those windows would rarely be opened, even when the house would be perfectly comfortable that way. Then again, the a/c does a nice job of masking the noise outside in the summer too, which is an added bonus. It keeps the birds from waking me at 5am and it helps keep the sound of the train at bay.

They are calling for three days of high heat, and I can live through that. But I look forward to it passing so I can once again be perfectly content right here in my living room, nice cool breezes flowing through it,  with an ice cold drink in my hand. That's what Summer's all about.

Monday, July 4, 2016

4th

Here we are on July 4th celebrating yet another year in our country's history.  Our 240th year if my math is correct, although I'm never sure of that!

One of my favorite things to do on July 4th is watch the movie 1776. It was a Broadway musical written, I believe, for the bicentennial celebration of our country back in 1976. When the theater run was over they made a movie with the theater cast and its wonderful. I love the characters, the acting, the dialog - I love it all. And the music is also great.

One of my favorite parts is the interplay between John and Abigail Adams. John was a farmer in Massachusetts before being pulled into the revolution, and while he was busy in Philadelphia fighting Congress to vote for independence, Abigail was back on the farm with her 5 children, trying to keep things together on her own. Theatrical its tricky business because the show is set in Philly, but through a constant exchange of letters, with Abigail, through the magic of theater, showing up to speak directly to her husband as he reads what she's written, we are able to get a glimpse into what must have been pretty difficult times for the hardy, strong women of this country back in the 1700s. She is taking care of the family, running the farm, organizing local ladies groups to make salt peter for the troops, and trying to remain steadfast for the man, and the land, that she loves. Watching their correspondence makes me think about all the women who stood behind their men back then, literally holding things together so the men could do the work that needed to be done.

Women have always been behind the scenes holding things together. And right now I can really identify. So here's to the ladies of the revolution - may they continue to inspire us today when we face our own hurdles. Their inspiration can take us a very long way.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Betrayal

I think among all the many emotions we humans are capable of experiencing, betrayal has got to be at the top of the list in terms of most difficult. It's completely spirit-crushing and life-changing. Because it's not a temporary thing-it's something that forever changes the way we look at the world. It steals our innocence and joy and leaves us very different people.

I'd like to think that we are all capable of overcoming the obstacles that are thrown in our paths.  I think we are resilient and can master almost anything if we put our minds to it. But our spirits are fragile too.  And fragile things, even resilient ones, can break if struck just the right way, with the right amount of force or at just the right angle. Some things can truly deal a deadly blow.

As a person of faith I believe that God can heal all wounds and, if not erase them, at the very least make the scar less painful and the new tissue stronger. We learn from the trials and tribulations of life and they can make us stronger. If of course, as the old saying goes, they don't kill us first.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Change

It's hard to believe sometimes how quickly life can change. One minute you're enjoying a dinner with a friend, the next they keel over and die. Or you may be driving down the road on a family outing and out of nowhere get broadsided by a truck resulting in multiple, serious injuries. Many times I've taken people to the hospital in the ambulance and they say "Wow. I wasn't expecting to do this today!" Change happens in an instant and it can be future altering in so many ways.

I've experienced change like this before-hearing the result of a medical test, or the unexpected death of a loved one-it happens to all of us because it's part of the human condition. It's life on this earth. And sometimes it's very, very hard

It happened to me again this week.and my entire future has been altered. I thought I was going in one direction, but I've been stopped short and turned around to go in another. This is a mind blowing, frightening change that I wasn't in any way prepared for. But at the same time I know I'm stronger than I think, and more resilient than I imagined, and I will survive it. It might not be the trajectory I would have chosen, but it is my new reality, so I have no choice but to accept it. And at the end of the day, that's the only way to survive and thrive when life throws you a curve ball: acceptance.