Tuesday, April 29, 2014

the ebb and flow...

Sunrise through the trees
The hum of electricity is omnipresent.  Waking up this morning was such a stark contrast to yesterday.  Yesterday the silence was deafening.  I am fairly sure that is what woke me up.  So rarely in today's world do we truly enjoy and savor absolute silence.

The rhythmic click of the ceiling fan, slightly off balance from years of being knocked by an extended arm while getting dressed or changing sheets.  The hum, it's everywhere, the walls radiate with it.  It almost pulses, like a heart beat.

You don't notice it until it isn't there.  Then when it returns it seems obscene in the loudness of it. The coffee pot coming to life, the alarm as it starts for the day.  The pump on the aquarium.  All of it contributes to the daily rhythm and grind.

Because it was quiet yesterday, it is all more noticeable now. Life is like that too.

Hubby and I have a rhythm, a set way that things happen in our lives.  It's been just us basically for a lot of years now.  Kids flit in and out, as they go along with their lives.  A short or long visit, but just a visit all the same.

My princess... what is with the guy photo bombing?
Grand baby... what a thrill seeker...
We were blessed with company last week.  Two cousins came to town.  It changed the rhythm. Not in a bad way at all, but enough to make the silence of the two of us more noticeable when they left. Just like when the kids leave again.

Old and young... cousins just the same
Cousins
Proud Daddy getting ready to go cheer for his girl!
It was wonderful to get to know family that I hadn't previously met.  At first it was a bit awkward, like I said we'd never met.  But as family is wont to do we started visiting, putting the small pieces of commonality together until a big picture game together.  Just like a puzzle.

Prepping for Sushi
Crusin' Cousins... her first ride
Even though we had never met, even though there was apprehension on both sides, it was delightful.  My young cousin was so much fun.  We laughed over the fact that I kept struggling with what to call hubby around her.  It is rare that we are ever around any family that does not refer to him as Uncle or Grampa, simply based on his age if nothing else.  There was a fifty year age difference between those cousins, yet they bonded over the Harley.

Her Dad and I discovered a mutual enjoyment of music.  Having spent so much time in Europe, I love music with a medieval basis.  The beauty of the music with the haunting tones simply calms me.  Usually it is limited to Blackmore's Night, which is timeless and haunting, it calms my spirit and centers me.  I only have three cd's, but I cherish them.  Especially as I had the opportunity several times to see them perform live in various castles in Germany.  My cousin also likes that type of music and put together some wonderful new collections for me to enjoy.

Can't let a great photo op go to waste
After several days, with so much crammed into them that we could barely catch our breath. Hubby and I working, the cousins at the Robotics competition, the girls prom, grandson going to prom also. Conversations until late in the night, early mornings to work.  It was a crazy busy week.  And Sunday it simply stopped.

The twins... 

Grandson #1 growing up...
The silence is still noticeable.   Hubby and I are back into our rhythmic routine, the morning dawns quietly, the steady hum of the house is slowly over run by the sound of puppy nails on the tile floor, the coffee pot brewing, NPR on the radio (we've discovered the soft tones are easiest to wake up to - monotone and non-jarring).  The soft clink of coffee cups on the counter, the sounds of stretching and waking up.

A '51 model and a '52 model... I think my '52 is in better shape
That will gradually be replaced by the sound of television (hubby is addicted) and conversation and we get ready to start the day.  The rhythm will hiccup again tonight when the twins come over, but the hiccups are never for long and we slide right back into accepting what we know.

I am glad that we are comfortable together, that our life has a rhythm and flow.  In my far past I had wondered what the future without the kids always there would be like, how I would handle the constant quiet.  At that point in life, it seemed bleak and empty, like the silence of yesterday.  It seemed uncomfortable.  I was in the wrong relationship, the wrong place and time.


I know now, that this is the life I am meant to be in.  This is the steady hum and pulse.  This is the way it should be....

Monday, April 28, 2014

In the silence...

My little house on the prairie heart has definitely been tested this morning.  After an incredibly busy weekend, heck past week, we woke up to no power today.  I hate that sensation of being jarred awake by the incredible silence. It’s eerie.  I am sure if I went to sleep with it, it would feel much different.  It’s strange how much we get used to the constant hum of electricity.  So much so that when it goes away we notice its absence acutely.

In the darkness we walked around the house lit by the glow of our cell phones, the usual routine kicking in instantly.  Check the circuit breaker; nope… it’s not tripped.  

Venture outside into the darkness. 

Can’t see much, but it looks like the neighbors old dead tree has finally fallen. We've been watching it cautiously for years.  It straddles the fence between the last two houses on our road.  Not sure who owns it.  About 8 years ago, all of the other ones around it came down in the great ice storm.  We were without power for about 8 days that time.


All the rain has us watching the sump pump.  It’s not raining now, so we are being cautious, we don’t want the basement to flood.  Too much down there now.  Times like these always leave me questioning the intelligence of putting my long arm down there. 


As the sun slowly came up, our suspicions were confirmed.  That old tree broke in the middle.  It’s been long dead, ever since that winter.  As it snapped in two the large upper branches snagged the power line, it’s almost reaching the ground. 

A knock at the door reveals my neighbor John.  He’s been out in his yard, not much else to do in the soft glow of the early sun.  He’s come bearing one of my favorite gifts in the world! A branch from his old fashioned lilac bush, the reason that the air all around smells so heavenly!  You would think as much as I love that beautiful scent, the softness of the flowers and the sheer beauty of them I would have a yard full.   I don’t.  Not a single lilac graces my collection of plants, bushes, trees… sadly it is lacking. 


John has brought me some to replace those that just faded yesterday, how he knew I have no idea, but I am so thankful!  He is such a dear, kind person and brings the most thoughtful gestures into my world.

Mystery solved.  Now we wait.  Ameren is out there, the drone of the chainsaws is filling the softly scented air.  I am not sure how long we will be without power; it is a watching and waiting game.  I hate the drone of a generator; I hate water in my basement even more.


I feel like a wimp today even worrying about it.  The towns between my mother and one of my sisters down in Arkansas are devastated.  Complete destruction from the tornado’s that ripped through.  Lives lost, homes gone, some much chaos and loss.  I am keeping them in my prayers, feeling useless from so far away.  And guilty because I am thankful that my family was spared any loss when so many others are not so lucky.

The spring in the mid-west is fraught with tornadoes, storms and high winds.   It’s like winter wants to hold on tight and fights the warmth that is trying to arrive. 

What a way to start a week…



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Crack!

Hubby's shot of the morning moon
I guess when you lay out your thoughts and really get into the nuts and bolts of things it truly does help you see things far more clearly.  After I wrote yesterday morning, Hubby and I went to run some errands, it was just a typical Saturday for us.

In fact I was a bit aggravated because I had so much to do.  I simply didn't have time for more errands.  It felt like a few more bits of me were being gobbled up.  I was still stuck, maybe the ice hadn't melted.

Maybe the spring thaw that I was praying for was just an imaginary thing... Go to car... pout... yep that was how I was feeling.  Hubby, being Hubby, seemed to just ignore my mood.  I am not sure how or why he does that, but he does. And yes it usually makes me grouchier. Yesterday, it didn't. As we sat having breakfast we had the chance to talk. I guess his acceptance of my lousy mood without it dampening his great one, on top of examining where I am mentally yesterday allowed me to really open up and and talk to Hubby.  It felt good that he listened to where I was and what I was feeling.  Instead of being judgmental, he was supportive.

Bring on Spring
There are a few things lately that are really bothering me.  One of them is my own fault because I am the one that gives everyone the ability to do it.  I allow people to use me.  I hate to tell anyone "no". Do I know better for me?  Sure... Will it make Hubby smile?  Okay... Will it be good for someone else?  Absolutely... Will it wear down my finite amount of energy? most likely... Will it stop me from doing things I really want to do?  Most definitely... Will I do it anyway? Yep...

Talking about it with him, helped me feel more in control. It gave me deeper insight into the why's of some of the things I do.  I don't say no, because at my very core, I am a helper.  I love to help, I love to support, I love to simply be there.  It doesn't matter if you are family, friend or foe (although I really struggle when you are the latter), if you need me you can count on me.  That is simply how I am made.

His understanding, albeit at times grudgingly, made it easier to look at myself in the mirror.  I won't say that we solved all my dysfunctions over chicken biscuits and yogurt, but we got my world a little less wonky.
I thrive in Spring...

By the time we had reached the store to exchange his birthday presents from the youngest two, I wasn't begrudging the time. Oh I knew I would need to make it up somewhere, I just didn't know where. Sharing a soda and popcorn on our way home, it was easy to enjoy the morning and the early spring.

Then Hubby did the most amazing and annoying thing!

I am sure he could see the fire in my eyes... we were almost home, I had so much to do, I was still working on unsewing that quilt, I needed to get it finished.  We'd been out and about for hours.. what was he thinking?

What was he thinking?  He was thinking that his wife loves to take pictures off the back of the motorcycle and for her blog.  He was thinking she hadn't had a decent camera in years (he'd accidentally broken her last one years ago, going for a great shot).  He was also thinking that the cheapscape that he was married to was never, and I do mean never, going to spend the money on a new one.  Even though she loves taking pictures and saving moments, it was simply not going to happen.

Yeah, he knows me far too well.  Seems Creve Coeur Camera was having an amazing sale and he was determined that I was going to have a new camera.  He made sure they let me try so many of them, feel them, take pictures with them, play... I have never had an amazing camera... again, I am simply too cheap.  I hate to spend money.  Besides, I can take reasonable ones with my phone. There are just colors that I've learned to live without.

They were completely dead when we got there, three folks standing around, looking bored, looking for all the world like they were longing to be out in the sunshine with everyone else.  I could feel their pain.  I wanted to be home forcing myself to do some work, needed to.

Crack!  That was the sound, the feeling, the sensation!  Hubby has that affect on me.  He was the one that was able to save me all those years ago.  That infectious smile, that look of determination in his eyes... Oh yeah, I was sunk.

Two hours later, he'd bought me the most amazing camera... I played a bit yesterday, it took so much self control, but I also found it in me to start working on the stuff I needed to do, with joy in my heart also.

Small, but powerful... It's Neeko tipping time!
Gator telling Neeko to bring his best game...
You want some of this?
Bored with brother... taking on Dad
I'm pooped... leave me alone!
Swing time with Dad, don't let brother see me!
While I played, Hubby worked on the yard, one less worry on my plate...
Beautiful fire...
My red buds are starting to bloom...
I am still working on that quilt, it's the reason that I got up so early this morning.  In a few hours though... I am climbing on the back of that beautiful blue Harley and I am going to go for a beautiful Easter morning ride.  I am going to savor the joy this day brings and remember that I need to stop being so busy doing stuff that doesn't bring me joy, and focus on the joys... We will head out to the campsite, take the girl her Easter Morning coffee, maybe donuts for the kids... I will get the quilt done... around the other things in life...

Um... Dad were you coming in?  Treats are ready... I smell them!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Thawing...

The soft green haze of early spring, buds just breaking out of the brown.  The fresh, warm inviting smell of newly turned soil. A purple haze of dead nettle across all the fallow fields.  Random bunches of tulips and daffodils sprout everywhere.

It would appear that Spring has finally made a decision to arrive in the Mid-West.  Magnolia blossoms have arrived and are rapidly falling to the ground in huge fluffy piles of white with pink edged flakes.  The red buds are starting to shimmer in the pink red glow that happens right before they burst into bloom, I even saw some tiny buds on the apple tree that is next door.  And everywhere you look the Bradford pear trees are in full bloom (beautiful to look at in the spring - these are just a horrible tree to ever plant!).  Early spring is breathtaking, the beauty is so quick, it's always like a flash in the pan.

It isn't that the beauty goes away, but the shocking change from the late winter blah's to the early spring beauty is so quick, that it appears like magic and then seems to fade as we get used to it.


Hubby and I have been working long, long hours lately.  The kind that make you crazy, the ones that insure you will not have the time or energy for anything else.  It's just the way life is sometimes.  Made worse by the fact that those kind of days cause major issues for me.  And being the kind of person I am, my personal life and private projects and dreams are what fall by the wayside.  It's all good, it's how life works... but it does explain the fact that I have written at least a hundred blogs in my head while traveling to and from work and none of them have made it to this page.



I've been in a kind of retrospect mood lately.  Not sure if I am coming or going.  So many bits and pieces need to be looked at, examined and then put back together.  I sure don't know why kids are always in a  hurry to get grown up and moving forward with their lives, honestly.. it is not all that great being an adult.  I guess if you aren't like me it could be awesome.  If you didn't take everything so darn responsibly.  But that is how I am.  And frankly... it is driving me crazy!


Responsible, committed, and reliable.  Now those are definitely qualities to look for in a favorite old pair of shoes.  But it sure does make it stressful as an adult.  There are so many big changes going on around me, things that strongly impact me, but that I have absolutely no say in.  Things that will impact every part of my life, and I have no say whatsoever.  I don't like feeling that things are being done to me, I don't like change that is done to me.  I am all on-board to be part of change. Heck I'm a military brat, I can do change well.    

All of this doin' to me has been making me feel frozen in place and time.  Can't move forward, can't go backwards, just kind of stuck.  I haven't been able to free myself to do anything.  It's kind of like a deja' vu that I do not want to be part of.  It is reminding me of the summer of 2002.  Not my best year ever... not is such a dramatic fashion, but in the paralyzing  feeling that I am stuck in the middle of.

I feel trapped.  I thrive on honesty, respect, truthful answers, and knowing the path ahead of me. Right now that has all been stripped away.  Not in a mean hurtful manner over all.  More so in the way of "protection".  Not just of me, but also of situations and other people.  I am not a fan of anyone else feeling they know best for me.  It isn't how I function, hmmm... and I wonder why this path our government is taking is driving me crazy???

I feel ready to burst into life like spring is doing.  It feels like the fall of 2002, when I was finally able to make a quilt.  I felt compelled, it felt healing.  I will never see that little quilt again, I didn't even take a picture of it.  In my mind I can still see the hazy edges, the feeling behind it, the significance that it had to me. I don't even know if the recipient ever got it.

It wasn't about the quilt, it wasn't about the recipient, it was like that children's game I loved as a kid, only in reverse, "Don't Break the Ice".  Only it was the final crack that broke the ice, it was what gave me the strength to quit pounding on that door that God had closed, and to start looking ahead for that better door that God had promised.

I feel like I am pounding on that door again.  I feel like God has been gentler in closing some, but I also feel that freeze.  So many things are waiting for me to do them, so many things I want to do, all only getting minimum attention.  My heart wants it to happen, my mind and body can't seem to get their act together.

The garden is laying their completely un-cared for, the only thing growing is an occasional Gator searching for a soft spot to sunbath.  My greenhouse, is still just a pile of wood, windows, plans and dreams.  The last pair of socks on my needles is still a lonely only waiting to be bound off and it's mate started, that happened almost a month ago. I have quilts in various stages of started and needing to be finished.  Our shed is waiting for a coat of paint, the yard needs shade blend planted, and we need to get the Mercury ready to sell....


Hubby and I took a few days off, to try to restore some balance to life as we move into the holiday weekend.  I am sure he's downstairs working on stuff for work, he is just dedicated like that. Thursday started off with a "quick" quilt project that has been anything but quick.  I finally finished un-quilting it so that I can repair the shaping and re-quilt it. Talk about stressful...

Then we were blessed to spend the rest of the day with the eldest and the grand baby.  She needed to buy a truck.  She got divorced about a year ago, but being nice left her truck with the ex, as they have remained friends it was agreed she could borrow it whenever she needed to.  We all know how well that never works out.  So hubby and I enjoyed a beautiful day helping her search.  And we found an absolute gem!  As a mom, seeing her smile was all I needed to enjoy the day.  As a woman that has been through a divorce, my heart was soaring with her's... I know what that independence day feels like... priceless.




Yesterday, after an hour finishing the un-quilting (by the way that is not nearly as fun as quilting for those of you that do not know), and a few hours cutting hair for friends, we took off on the motorcycle.  Well, sort of... It was a few more hours until we could actually ride.


Hubby's new sunglasses for the motorcycle were in - not sure how I feel about it, it is a totally different look for him.  But function is more important than beauty in this instance. And since we were there anyhow, I finally picked another pair of glasses, the ones I had fallen in love with initially... well let's just say it was definitely a one-night-stand.


Finally starving, we stopped at Chick-fil-A... I love that place.  I love their values, their food and their people.  They have the greatest business model, them and Hobby Lobby have my heart.

One last stop... while bathing the Harley Hubby noticed the high beam was out.  We needed to get that replaced before we could ride.  Changing out a light should be a quick and simple job.  Hubby and I have come to realize those are never what they seem.  Not only was the drive over harrowing, everyone and their brother was off work and shopping in our town yesterday, but the act itself was challenging (what a stupid design for a screw!)...

A full two hours later... we had left the chaos and busyness that life seems to have become behind us.  Lightweight jackets, sunny fields, the smell of fresh turned earth, the green and purple haze, the balance that comes with leaving life behind.


Hubby kept offering to stop for a drink or just to check out something we'd found.  Each time I refused, I didn't want to stop, I was loving the solitude, the wind, the sights and smells, the peaceful bonding.  I was balancing my world.  I didn't want anyone else stepping into it, I wanted it to just be us.


My bum was a little ticked off when I got home, but my brain was feeling clearer, it felt like my frozen stated had started to thaw, maybe even crack. The fact that I am writing this morning... well... that's an even better sign... maybe...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dancing in the moments...

She's dancing in the moment...
It's been a crazy week that flew by in the blink of an eye, and I for one and glad it came to a screeching halt.  I am enjoying this calm with the the sun slowly rising behind me. Cup of hot coffee, sleeping animals all around and silence broken only by the occasional car going past. I need it this morning.

It's spring time in the mid-west, it somehow crept in while everyone was fretting over winter over staying it's welcome.  Spring time means one thing around here, constant uncertainty, mad temperature swings, rain and tornado sirens.  This week, we've had it all, and then some.  Several tornado cells actually made the bold move of going straight up 64/40, just a block from our house.  We were blessed, unlike families in University City, a minor tornado (if there is such a thing) touched down there.  As my heart was aching for their losses one man being interviewed put it into perfect perspective. He was devastated looking around, as he was searching for the most important thing in the world to him. Then he heard his wife's voice and knew that not only had he found it, but as long as he had her, none of the rest mattered. 

Sometimes I think we allow ourselves to get too wrapped up in the woulda, shoulda's and the coulda's... 

I am the staff chair for a fairly major fundraiser we do each year. The weeks leading up to it are tiring, stressful and frankly nerve wrecking. As much as I pride myself on not being a perfectionist, I still hate to not do the best that I can do with everything that I am tasked to do.  It doesn't matter if the taskmaster is internal or external, it just matters that I have said I will do it.  Hubby without the blink of an eye, and maybe only a bit of complaining, always is there to support me and help me.  Every year he puts in countless hours (some it is is self imposed) to create an exceptional power point, finding sponsors and volunteers to be the emcee (a role that suits him perfectly!).   He is witty, charming, and can coax a room full of people to dig deep in their hearts and pockets to support a great cause.

All of this takes its toll, so today will be low key, for another year it has been put to bed.  The quiet is welcome.

That man in U-city's words keep echoing through my head.  Do we put too much emphasis on things that don't matter?  Are we too busy chasing the trappings of the perfect life, that we aren't building the perfect life? Are we chasing tangible dreams and forgetting about those intangible ones that can never be truly owned or possessed, only treasured in the fuzzy edges?

Over the past few weeks I have been blessed to be on the side lines observing, praying or encouraging as I have watched changes and miracles happen.  One friend rescued a very pregnant female cat, she now has a houseful of precious babies and mommy.  She could have not done that, figuring it was just another cat, but she didn't.  Two other friends have been struggling with health issues and they are starting to heal.  Another friend just became a kitty daddy too.  Then there is the one who's son is on a difficult path and the struggles are showing in her sweet eyes, last night watching her laugh and have an amazing time - did my heart good!

To me those are the moments that matter.  The highlight of my night last night was spending time with my family (Hubby, two of our girls and our Grand baby were all there), friends (you silly guys know who you are), and reconnecting with people I only get to see at events like that.

I don't need "stuff", I need those people in my life.  I need to laugh and have fun, I need the joy my family and dear friends bring.  The rest is pretty much just something else to dust (and I hate dusting!).

After the silence and quiet I will get busy.  The girls are all coming over tomorrow to celebrate Daddy's birthday a day early.  I need to plan a menu and get ready.  I also have another quilt to quilt... it will warm the lap of someone's mom as she celebrates a major birthday milestone.

Are you living your life dancing in those moments or collecting stuff?  I like to dance myself!