Wednesday, November 4, 2015

random...

It's been a series of foggy mornings.  It eventually burns off, eventually the sun breaks through and it's been crisp and clear.  At least until the sun sets way too early.  I absolutely hate time changes.  I do not like to spring forward, and I hate falling back.  You just get used to one or the other and boom... it's too dark in the morning and even darker at night.

It simply isn't natural!

And I honestly thought last night was going to send me off the deep end.  My body does not accept changes in routine too readily and I worked until 9, on top of a time change.  Whew that drive home was brutal, living 35 minutes from work makes for quite a drive. It normally wouldn't have affected me so much, but that darn time switch.

This morning started fresh and new.  I felt so much better after a nice long nights sleep.  I had a great time working last night, I met so many great folks and had some incredible conversations.  I am looking forward to tonight, who know's who I will meet or what I will learn.

I started today with a foggy walk with my boys, then some serious loving time with my grand dog - I am dog and kitty sitting while my girl is celebrating the KC Royals... I won't consider her a traitor, because it's not really her thing, it's more for her honey.


Then one of my favorite stores opened in town.  Fresh Thyme is new in town.  It's a nice mix of Whole Foods quality with Trader Joe prices.  I am struggling with all the chemicals being added to so much of the food we buy.  I am a bit freaked out by the fact that when I went to buy milk the other day the expiration date was January 5, 2016.  I doubt it was a typo, as all of the bottles were marked that way.

I was listening to a radio program the other day, I only heard a bit of it.  It was what I heard that keeps sticking in my brain.  It was asking why American's as a whole are heavier today than 30 years ago, when they are eating "healthier" and working out more.  It was the healthier that concerned me.  I keep seeing flashes in my mind of a meme that I saw not too long ago, "the problem with the American diet is that we are eating too many food like products".

maybe I need to be more like him
I am trying really hard to remove the chemicals from our diets and our lives.  I am looking for places to get farm raised eggs and fresh milk.  I have already found that I do best when I only eat breads that I have baked or that have been baked at a local bakery.

Maybe small changes will equal big differences in the future.  I am afraid of how many chemicals we mindlessly consume.  I wonder about so many things anymore.  And I often wonder how much of it is really good for us.

I guess I am evolving.  I hope I am.

Maybe it's all the walks in the fog that are changing my perspective on many things. Or maybe it's just growing up...

We missed the northern lights, it was too foggy.

But a bit of fog might clear the mind.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Time is never wasted

Sitting here looking at the skyline out of the sixth floor window, definitely is not how I planned the day, but I am grateful for the view.

Here I am 50 years old and I have just been called to my first jury duty.  This room is crazy full, hard to believe that so few will actually be asked to serve on a trial.  I'm kind of ambivalent about it all. I have a crazy amount of work to get accomplished, but by the same token, I would hope that if I ever needed a jury of my peers they would be there for me.

The only true challenge for me is that I do not have the ability to be knitting or even crocheting.  And I feel it is pretty well established that I do not sit still well.  Luckily, I have internet and my chrome book.  So after writing this morning, I am going to spend a bit of time doing the little bit of work I can accomplish from here, and then I guess I will continue to plan my Christmas list if I still have not been called.

This morning as Hubby and I were walking the dog, we were treated to several rare and beautiful celestial happenings.  The moon was breathtaking and huge.  The prequel to tonight's hunters moon, was setting in the west.  It was huge and bright that the entire western sky was luminous, a glow around every home, building and trees.  It was breathtakingly beautiful and me without my camera.  I really need to try to be more organized at 5 am.

Then to the east, was the rarest treat.  We've been watching Jupiter, Venus and Mars do this incredible dance in the early morning sky, some days an almost perfect line, others more curved, with them switching places almost daily.  Today, depending on where we were standing and how little light we were reflecting back Mercury was popping into view at the very tail end closest to the horizon.

Morning walks with the boys are so centering, sure does make you feel small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things.   We were even a bit chilled today.  Okay, maybe a bit more than a bit... It was only in the high 30's.  This year we are slowly drifting into the cold, it isn't rushing up to meet us.  I can honestly say we've only had a few mildly cold days, where the heat was required to take off the morning chill or a small fire in the fireplace - more for ambiance than as a full need.  Although the warmth definitely soothed the soul.

My horoscope this morning warned me that I am on a precipice, that I have a surge of confidence that is going to take me to new and exciting places.  Hmmm... did those stars realize I would spend the majority of my day staring out a window at buildings and the occasional passing plane? I'm sipping, slowly, the last of my coffee and realizing it is not even 10 am.

Wait... it's already 10 am?  This day is flying past, ironically.

After a busy, manually hard weekend, maybe today is my day to be still, to allow my worn muscles to heal. Last night's fitful sleep did nothing to heal them.  Maybe it's a day for me to steal solitude as I wait to be called.  To focus, center and do some of the tasks that the loud busyness that is life rarely allows me to do.

I guess it is all in how you look at it...

Today is not wasted, today is a gift.

While I wait...
I can write
I can plan
I can budget
I can dream
I can focus
I can imagine

What do you do when you wait?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

living a life...

Ugghhhh...

I have had it all visualized for the longest time.  I knew exactly how I wanted it to look, the layout was going to be perfect, I was so excited.  Then this happened...

I know, it looks awesome, right!  And it is not at all what I had planned.  Now I am struggling, because what I had planned looks crowded and just wrong. I know I am replacing the sofa this winter, maybe... hubs wants me to, but it also looks so "right".  It's just not very comfortable anymore.

I spent all day yesterday working on painting furniture.  I have two more pieces to start, I just don't know what I am going to do with the one that was supposed to go where the chair is.




In my haste this morning, I managed to mess up one of the drawers for the dresser, so I am waiting on it to finish curing yet again.






Feeling a bit frustrated.

There is so much that keeps getting pushed back, with Hubs being sick, moving, and simply holding our own, I feel like I am light years behind where I want to be.

I am thankful for my home!  I love it!

I am blessed for my career!  Being able to be such a strong part of so many lives and all the blessings I get to be part of daily - totally fills my "bucket".

There simply aren't words for how thankful and blessed I am to finally have the Hubs healing and healthy again.

Maybe that is some of the anxiety.  Some of the push to get so much accomplished.


I haven't quite accepted that he is doing great!  I started to say fine, but when you add up the days and realize it hasn't even been four months, he is doing phenomenal!  Doc said it will be a year or so before he is back to perfect, it's still scary.  They still haven't said the staph won't come back, we won't know that for several years.  Maybe that is why I am so desperate to have everything... I don't know, normal?

For over a year we have lived in our beautiful home, it's been full of half finished tasks and projects needing tackled.

For over a year, it feels that I have forgotten how to cook, how to do anything but rush from one challenge to the next.

I have been in a constant state of "rush".

I am finding that even my knitting projects are part of rushing, I only tackle things I can complete while on the go.  I haven't quilted, used my spinning wheel, or anything in so very long.  My blog has been neglected and I gave up on my garden.  My soap supplies sit gathering dust and so many projects are neglected.

This weekend I feel like I hit a reset button.  I've not gotten dressed to go anywhere, other than the short trip to the store for items we couldn't do without.  I haven't talked to anyone but family.  And I have focused on stuff that is important to me.

I have blogged twice - I know you are probably as shocked as I am.  I have finished two pieces of furniture and even cooked.  It's frightening.  As I am working on laundry I am doubtful that the soap will get made this weekend, I want to, but... the carpets need cleaned and they are a higher priority.

Even Hubs is moving into a routine.  He worked on the Divine Ms. Em (although I sure was the one wrapped around the steering column threading that manual choke cable through) and got even more stuff clean out in the garage.




It feels good.

Slowing down.  We need to do this. As I was out on the deck enjoying the last few stubborn flowers, hanging in the midst of all the falling leaves and dying greenery, I realized that life is far to short to keep rushing.  A year ago we were heading into a terrifying stint of time, I think it's finally time to put it behind us... a full year later, it's like a bad nightmare.


Hubs and I need to get back to us.  We need to remember to live. We are great at earning a living, maybe not so great at living a life.

Now if I could just decide what to do with those pieces of furniture....

Saturday, October 24, 2015

drifting...

I think I simply need a minute to rest.  Been working on projects since around 4:30 am.  I have enough to keep me busy for hours, okay maybe months yet.  But for a minute, I want to sip coffee, listen to all the leaf blowers and mowers that are racing to beat the rain that is heading our way.

We've been enjoying a beautiful Indian summer, temperatures have been so mild, a few dips close to freezing, but only a few. Hurricane Patricia slammed into Mexico last night, I am so happy to know it missed major cities, but prayerful for those people in the outlying area's.  It's heading into Texas as a tropical storm, we could see some rain from it. We need it.

Hubs has run up to the store, he needs a simply little part to be able to continue working on cleaning out the garage.  Unbelievably, we managed last weekend to clean out the majority of the garage.  There are two boxes left, they go to my sewing room, I believe we have finally moved into our house!  Hubs is now working on organizing the garage, it's frightening to see so much space!  We have just a few bits and pieces to deal with.  I am actually donating a bunch to Disabled Veterans of America or simply giving it away.  I am tired of being a pack rat.

My fireplace room has three pieces of furniture sitting in it right now.  I am getting ready to start on painting them.  I've only been planning it for a year.  My goal... by Sunday to finish all the furniture, make some soap (yep finally found those supplies too), make some cookies (lunches next week will need help), as well as the usual stuff.

Then it will be time to start planning and working on Christmas presents.  I cannot believe we are a week from November, how did this happen? Our boy won't be home this year, so it will be a quiet morning.  We will have to crowd in on the girl and her family for a bit of fun and excitement.  This is going to be a new experience for us.

Work is a bit crazy right now, so I won't be hand making as much.  I'm torn though.  I am not a "commercial person", so needless to say this will be a challenge for me.

Well, I need to get back to work, my coffee cup is almost empty and as the wind picks up outside I realize the day is drifting away.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

If we still had front porches...


I am dancing down the nostalgia road big time today. Hubby started off my morning with a long hot soak in the tub, listening to "older" country music, the kind that speaks to my very soul. The kind that makes me long for the "good ole days".  Makes me long to slow things down, to have time to linger on the front porch with the neighbors and family. Ironically, none of us have a "front porch" in my neighborhood.  We all have huge decks to hide out behind our homes, but nothing bringing us together.

My Susie Homemaker heart has me making a big pot of turkey, barley and vegetable soup that is simmering on the stove, the aroma is incredible! I have to work late tonight, and frankly, I am incredibly sick of grab and go food!  I long for soup simmering, fresh baked bread that I know the ingredient list of, a sweet treat that I have made myself.  Usually, I go into work super early on my closing days, so that we only make one trip.


Today, I couldn't do it. I love my job, I am blessed to work with amazing people, and I get to touch the lives of so many that probably need that front porch just as much as I do.

But today, I needed to slow down.  They will get at least 8 hours, but not 12 straight.  My fibro is choosing to act up and if I don't play it smart it will kick my tail feathers.

Instead I have spent the morning lost in the early 90's, humming to music that talks about family, friends, and home.  All the things that are precious to me.  I was going to spend it knitting, but that tub... well...

I have been dealing with too many things lately, that needed to be put into perspective.  I am wondering how many others feel that life is moving far to fast.  How many don't take the time to slow down, to breathe.

There is a sweet man from Africa that comes to my Y every day.  He is a quiet man, tall and his eyes hold a world we can't begin to understand.  His English is beautifully accented, he's incredibly intelligent and compassionate.  He lives quietly on the streets of our city.   For a long time before I convinced him to trust us he would come in every other day and pay the guest fee simply for a shower.  His pride is so strong.

He brings out the nurturer in me.  He's shared that he left Africa for a better life, to keep the trouble far from him.  He's got a gentle smile that betrays a bitter past.  The team I work with have managed to get clothing gathered for him, I am in search of a jacket to shield him from the coming cold.  He's so tall and slight.  And I am going to knit him a warm hat.  He will take it, and his eyes will betray the hurt to his pride and the thankfulness all in one glance.

When did we stop being that world, that cared for those in need, those that didn't demand it.  When did we become a country of people that demand things at the point of a gun or knife.  When did we stop being those people that showed love and compassion?  When did that fall out of style?

I need to step back onto my front porch.  I need to be more of the person that I am and less the one that feels... I don't know... disconnected?  I need to reconnect.  With myself, my family, my friends, and more people that are quietly searching for that loving hand of help.

Hubby will be here shortly, and I will be able to have a warm nutritious lunch with him. Then I will head in.

Take a minute, think about it.... are you a front porch or back deck person.  Do you have the love in your heart to heal a nation, our own...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

welcome autumn...

A cup of hot spiced tea, from the recipe we've been making since I was in my early teens (has it really been almost 40 years ago?) is sitting beside me.  The smell of fresh baked cookies is filling the air, the our sweet grand baby needed some, so did Grampa! The smell of fire places burning outside fills the night air.

And after a few really long and stressful weeks, I feel peaceful. I didn't get nearly as much done as I'd planned this weekend.  The exhaustion of the past few weeks has been very pervasive. What I did get done though has been a balm to my battered soul.

I've been slightly anti-social when I haven't been at work, and even then it's been a struggle.  I have felt a strong urge to wrap myself tight in a cocoon.  Not letting anyone but the closest family and friends in.  I have felt overwhelmed and trapped.  It has been very unpleasant.  It's hard to smile when you don't want to.  It's hard to battle an invisible illness, that others are making worse, when no one can see it.


Today I sat in my comfy chair in front of the fireplace, my toes warmed and my heart feeling loved.  I did hours worth of work, I would have rather been knitting, but sometimes what we want and what we have to do are at odds with one another.


The fact that my loving hubby made me a fire, a pot of coffee and put my favorite chair close enough to warm my toes, knowing the task at hand was making me grouchy and unhappy, made me feel loved and cherished.  I do not have words to describe the power of pure love to heal a battered and weary mind and body.

That simple action changed my center.  It didn't make the task at hand any more pleasant, but it made it far more palatable.

Tonight the beautiful grand baby called, she needed time with us.  That is equally as powerful.  So while rocking to some old school music we worked together to bake cookies for our loved ones while munching on the chicken that Grampa cooked and chatting away.

These are the things that compose a life.  It's not the mundane, it's not the things that steal our joy, it isn't the stress inducers.  It's the smell that fall brings, it's the love we find ourselves wrapped in, it is cherishing our family and close friends.  Those are the bits that bring it all together.

I am so blessed!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

because...

It's been a minute.... a LONG minute.  Life has been on fire for me for months now.  In fact sitting out here on the deck listening to the random bird chirps, the buzz of who knows what bugs as the sun makes an incredibly slow ascent, is a rarity anymore.  But this is twice this week that I have stolen time out here in the mornings.

The leaves are starting to fall, the unsuccessful "garden" I planted is withering and just about to be ready to put away for the year.  I have a whopping single cherry tomato, that will be ripe in the next day or so.  The rest, well... I've been an amazing steward of the animal population out here in the county.

So much has been happening, so much has been going on.  And I am struggling to put those bits all together to form a life.


The hubs is finally on the mend, I am sure that he would love to be further down the path to recovery.  But when we remember it's not even been a year since the first attempt to "heal" him (or that could be kill, depending on your perspective). Every day his gait is straighter and I see him doing things that he has not done in a long time.



I have been blessed with time on the coast with my boy and his sweetie.  I have had stolen moments to enjoy my daughter and grand daughter.  Those have been priceless.  My boy and his sweetie even visited me at home this summer.  It's been so filled with blessings!






My two oldest and dearest friends were here just over a month ago.  I cherished that time.  I realized that time and distance really do not matter at all when you are sisters at heart!  It was a blessing to pick up were we stopped years ago, like the conversation simply never paused. The sadness comes later, when you realize how much distance there is and ache to sit and have a cup of coffee (or soda) and visit yet again. Ironically, out of my far away friends - I'm the only coffee drinker! I know!  Insanity, right?



My summer has been filled with beauty, love, walks on beaches, sitting in hot tubs under the stars, moon light chats, motorcycle rides in the sunshine, lots of beautiful sun rises, and sun sets, family, friends, loved ones, and memories to last a lifetime.  I am truly blessed!

As that fourth blood moon arrives tomorrow, I am a bit apprehensive.  Is it an omen?  Are there things simply waiting to happen that can steal that kind of happiness and joy?  Or... will it just be another of natures beautiful gifts to us?

The hubs is still snoozing.  His heart is heavy with an assortment of things.  I wish more than anything I could make it better.  That I could lighten that load and let him feel all the joy that I do.  He willingly takes all the grief (Lord knows he's listened to me vent a million times), his "safety" net of family and friends is holey at best.  He's that special kind of person that is always there for everyone - he strives to never let you down - yet when he is the one needing the boost... well... people are fickle.

It's odd... He's a far better person than I am.  He is that rare person that always puts others first, he remembers every birthday, he is loving and generous, and yet... he seems to be surrounded with people like me.  People with "good" intentions.  I forget birthday's, I forget to return calls, I am horrible at mailing things (if you are waiting for a card or gift from me... chances are the card is sitting in the basket in my kitchen - my thoughts made it - the card never will)

As the sun continues to rise and he continues to rest, I am hoping I can plan a weekend to lift his spirits, to renew his energy and to lift him up!  There are so many things that we love to do going on this weekend... Strange Folk, Octoberfest, beautiful weather for relaxing in the sunshine.

I hope this next blood moon does bring a change. I hope it ushers in a world full of love.  Where people are less biting (have you noticed that lately?), more kind, more compassionate.  I hope that the "era" that it brings forward is one full of understanding, support, with more givers and fewer takers.  I hope the users in this world finally learn that it's an easier struggle through this life when you lift each other up, not tear each other down.

I feel a strong pull to re-evaluate.  Do you?  Maybe, just maybe that is what will make the difference.


Well, it's time to sit back watch the squirrels fly through the changing leaves, drink another cup of coffee, work on a pair of socks while I watch the day unfurl...

Monday, August 3, 2015

An ending... a beginning!

It's the last eve of my 49th year.  I'm sitting here at the island in my kitchen munching on some sushi from my favorite spot in town. It's fairly quiet in the house, the turtle pump is running, the air conditioner is keeping me from remembering that it's still in the 90's outside, and faintly I hear the television.

I was sitting here surfing the internet... Lord knows I didn't really have time for that either, but I needed a moment to slow down.  Just a final minute or two to savor the moment.

Hubs is at the girl's house. Doing who knows what.  I feel like the greatest conspiracy since who shot Kennedy is unfolding around me.  Strange considering I said I was really great with a simple, quiet, uneventful day.  Something tells me selective hearing has occurred.

It's odd... I don't mind 50.  In fact I think it's kind of cool.  I sure don't feel like I imagined it to be way back when 25 seemed like a death knell and I felt certain that the sands in my hour glass were on warp speed.

50 is far different.  Tomorrow when I wake up I will officially be a half century old.

Guess what, except for the bum knee I have acquired caring for hubs and the beautiful salt and pepper gray of my hair, I feel the same as I did at 25.

Sure I have more battle scars from living life, but what kind of life well lived doesn't give you those?  I have learned many lessons, trust, love, friendship.  Those all have deeper meanings than they did so long ago.

Sitting here eating my sushi (I only like the vegetarian ones - yes you can laugh now) I am realizing that even though I have matured and mellowed.  I am still the closet hippie that I have always been.  Lost somewhere between Little House and a Flower Child.  But the edges are becoming far more refined.  I actually sent back a glass of wine for being "too" sweet.  I have a mild addiction to Brazilian coffee.  And I am now and probably always will be a foodie... treasuring new flavors and experiences. But, I also delight in a fresh grown tomato from my back deck, or that beautiful red pepper that I am hoping to have with some freshly made hummus before the week is out - if I can beat the squirrels to it.

I still love hot pink - well everything! - says the woman with a pink purse, pink wallet, pink nails, and a pink tote.

I have acquired tons of tools of my trades.  Yes Hubby spoils me.  With love.

I will never be sophisticated, that wasn't a gene that was offered up when I was created.  I will always be me.  Most comfortable in a baggy long skirt or dress with my feet covered in Birkenstock's.  In the fall and winter, bring on the jeans, a baggy sweater or sweat-shirt, hand knit socks and of course... my birks. I guess the only thing I could do to more strongly be identified with a crazy little hippie child would be to wear flowers in my hair.

Yeah... NO!  While I love to be surrounded by flowers, I am not wishing to wear them on my body.

Those that truly know and love me, know that I am loyal, honest and loving.  I will always take care of all around me, and I love doing so.

I have finally reached a point in my life that is filled with love, laughter and happiness.  Even life's challenges are just a stone to step over... I am finding myself truly blessed.

I have discovered over the years that the shyness that is part of me, is something I cherish.  It protects me. Gives me the time I need to observe, decide if I want to jump into a situation. My introverted nature allows me to be the light that allows my sweet hubby to shine even brighter with his bold extroverted self.  My odd artistic side is oddly enough treasured by many (don't know how that went from making me a freak to making me a great person to know). I know that I am quirky, I like those things about me!

Nope... 50 isn't seeing too many changes. A few more crinkles at my eyes when I smile, a few more of life's battle scars, but all in all, I... I think I will simply stay me as I get ready to tackle my next quarter of a century!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A living or a life?

Dinner is simmering... hopefully Hubs will enjoy it.

I am seriously debating on a glass of wine.

And it's not raining.  Note I said "not" because it's been a very damp summer. And it hasn't even officially started yet.  The weather channel is promising more rain as Tropical storm Bill is heading our way.  My boys are not enjoying the moisture.  And frankly, I am tired of trying to balance an umbrella and hold a leash and bags.  I have resorted to simply going with the soggy look.

Hubs is having a rough one, he pushed a bit too hard yesterday.  I know he's dedicated, and that he want's to accomplish as much as he can in the next 12 days.  But at what price?

I worry that he is causing more damage.  I worry that he can only handle so much pain.  I am terrified that he is going to push himself too hard.

And then I wonder... Do we spend too much time and energy focused on the wrong things? The new doctor won't say how long he will be out, his paperwork will say TBD (to be determined).

TBD - I wish the last doctor had thought in those terms.  I wish he hadn't promised he'd be dancing a jig in 6 weeks.  I wish that he'd been more careful in his care and treatment.  But wishing doesn't change anything.

I keep hearing the strains of an old commercial "in this work a day world..." I don't remember the commercial who it was for or what it was about.  But that phrase... What is our focus?  Are we making a living or making a life?

If I left for work one day, to never return, what would my legacy be? What would any of our legacies be? When my children came to clean up the remains of my life, what would they see?  How would they feel? What would they think?

Would they see the alpaca fibers on my spinning wheel languishing there for almost two years now, waiting for me to find the time to return to them.  Their beauty and softness sitting there patiently.  Or the various projects that I have started, some of them gifts for them.  Would they wonder why I never found the time to finish them.

Would they see they avocados sitting in the bowl, too ripe to use now, because I was too busy making a living.  Would they wonder what I had planned and why?

Would they notice the dishes still sitting in the sink since breakfast?  Or the ironing, that I slowly work on, never quite finding the time to finish it.  Would they notice the Easter Bunny decoration, that I keep forgetting to gather up and pack away, too exhausted to worry each time I notice it?  Fooling myself that it blends with my decor?

What will their thoughts be about it all?  There is a poem about the dash... how are we using our dash?  Are we spending all of our time on things that matter strongly to someone else.  Searching for approval and striving to be more to more people?  Focusing on that dollar?

In the end, do any of us really want our tombstone to say "she wished she'd spent more time at work"?

All of the stress and strain.  All of the health crisis's of not just hubby, but also close friends and too many people that I spend time with day in and day out.  It's wearing heavy on me and it's making me question too much.  Way too much.

This has been an incredibly long month, waiting for them to finally heal hubby feels like it is taking forever... Is it about making a living or making a life? For both of us... maybe the humbling will open our eyes and our hearts?

Life is short. We need to be enjoying the ride. We need to leave a legacy of love, where our children walk through the door at the end and they smile, savoring the memories.  Not regretting what we didn't make time for.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Washing away our troubles...

Rain, rain, rain... I would seriously be lying if I said that I didn't absolutely love a rainy summer day.  I guess it has a lot to do with being raised primarily in Germany.  Where the running joke was "quick take a picture before it disappears" whenever you had a fully sunny day.

It calms me, brings balance and serenity to my heart.
My rain drenched paradise....

Looking out my kitchen window while prepping for Sunday dinner I am in absolute awe of the beauty. When you are in front of my house it is your normal suburban neighborhood cul de sac.  Tidy little homes with beautifully landscaped front lawns.  A group of people that care about how their homes are perceived, people that simply care.

Then you peak out the back window... its a deep, misty rain forest.  Towering trees, flowering ones mixed in. A steamy underside rising as the heat and rain mix.  The green is lush, multi-tone, dark pine greens tempered by the soft spring green of the aspens.  It's rich.  Enveloping, welcoming and forbidding all at once.

Hubs has finished pressuring washing the front and back yard.  I offered to help, knowing darn well I would pay for it.  He refused, even though he knew he would pay for it.  I guess he figured his aching leg could rest easier in a tub filled with hot Epsom salted water a whole lot easier than I could recover from the damage mold does to me. Sure didn't realize there was so much mold until he started cleaning it either.

Ah, the joys of this deeply wooded oasis we call home.

My headache is dulling, it's been a long couple of days.  I wish it would give up and leave all together, but at least it's hit a tolerable level.  I even went out briefly to visit with the neighbors at the block party last night.  I am not overly social (despite the fact Hubs is Mr. Social Butterfly) so while he was in his glory, I was longing to be inside my dim, cool home sitting in silence and knitting.

They all seem to be very nice people.  Fun and friendly, too bad all the folks that I would want to hang out with had stayed at home inside, much like I would have done.

Today I couldn't even summon the energy for church, thankfully Hubs recorded the sermon for me so that I can listen to it a bit later.  I am still enjoying the peace and quiet.  The sound of the giant rain drops hitting the tin on the fireplace exhaust stacks is about the extent of noise I want to deal with today.

Soon the smell of Sunday dinner will start radiating through the house, as Hubs and I wait for a break in the weather to take our boys and our grand dog out for their afternoon walks. The only one of the three that is truly going to have a fit about the weather is the little old man.  The other two, well they will simply take it in stride.

I cannot believe the amount of projects on our to do list that we have accomplished.  Nor can I believe the sense of accomplishment and success that the very act of completing them has brought to my sense of well being.  Right now I am simply taking a break.  Pausing to rest my knee and my head.  Soon I will get back to the projects at hand.  Finishing the laundry, ironing, cleaning the turtle aquarium, maybe even finding the box with the quilt that I need to finish for Hubs.

I believe that he and I can tackle the world right now.  Maybe it's the power of that beautiful rain, cleansing the earth. I feel for my youngest, he lives in drought stricken California, he is also a child of Germany - I wonder how he is doing without the rain.  It feels so life giving.

Between the rain and my head I have had to slow down this weekend.  I've needed it.  I've had time to do a little of this, a little of that and a lot of reflection and planning.  Today has been about slow.  Slow roasted dinner, simmering gently in the oven.  Slowly working my way through my chores - stopping and resting when needed.  It's been renewing.

Hubs and I were just talking about how when you are deeply engaged in doing something that you feel brings value to you and your life that it is very easy to forget the pain or exhaustion it is going to cause.  I understood completely what he was talking about.  As I'd watch from a safe distance as he methodically cleaned both the deck and patio, each swipe leaving the clean and mold free beauty that was there I understood.  He was finding peace and accomplishment in a job well done.  I also knew he'd be hurting when he walked out of that bubble of concentration.  I do that a lot myself.  I get so wrapped up in a project, task or goal that I forget that life has given me perimeters that I really do need to function inside of. And when that happens... I pay for it.

Hubs and I are both surrounded by an amazing support system.  Proving to us time and again that sometimes water is thicker than blood and that if we need so little as a hug or prayer there are many to help us.  We don't waste that love and support on silly things.  We would never dream of abusing it.  The time will come where we will need help.  Today simply isn't that day.

It's time to open the blinds a bit more and savor that elemental beauty that only a deep, steady, rhythmic rain can bring to the soul.  While we wrap our hearts in the love of our families (blood, Y, church, neighbors)...

Even in the darkest hours... There is love and beauty!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

to do's...

The reason for my smiles....
Listening to the sound to the pressure washer on the siding makes me thankful today.  Hubs is out there trying to beat the heat and also taking advantage of the pain medicine that he's become so dependent on just for a semi-painless day.  Okay who am I kidding just to barely function.

We are both critically aware that we have three weekends to try to accomplish some of the items on our overwhelming to do list.  Too much of it requires both of us, and we are rapidly running out of time for that to happen.

We've been pushing things aside, trying so hard to wait it out.  We are almost at a full year in this beautiful home, and we still have boxes outside waiting to be emptied.  Furniture needing finished and we aren't even going to think about all the other odds and ends that need our attention.

Hubs is trying so hard to help me, and it's tearing at my heart.  I am thankful for the help.  I have desperately needed it.  My own stress level has been getting so out of whack, envy and jealousy have been rearing their ugly heads.  I know he physically can't help, I know it is ripping his heart out to not be able to.  And yet, my desperation is making me feel like an ugly person inside.

I am tired.

Weary to the core is more like it.

And it isn't anyone's fault.  Making me feel even uglier.

This weekend is going to be full of chores.  I am working on laundry (if I can get my new washer to cooperate - how can an empty cycle be unbalanced?) I've got most of my kitchen chores done and I am getting ready to vacuum and mop.  

Ever feel like you are simply running behind.  Perpetually?

As we both know what is facing us, as we are both fully aware of how we will spend this summer, we are also trying to squeeze some fun in also.

Hubs isn't looking forward to going backwards.  He doesn't want to start at the beginning again.  I get it entirely.  I also understand how his heart is feeling.  He's a loving, caring provider.  He hates not being able to be a full participant. I know it's eating at him.  I've felt that way many times in my life.

He and I make an incredible team.  We are the opposite pieces of each others puzzles.  I am so blessed...

What is everyone else up to this hot, humid June weekend?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Where there is love...

There is a bright blue sky outside, the moon was still bright white and high in the morning sky when we took the boys for a walk this morning.  It's incredible to be able to enjoy such a pleasant morning in June in the mid-west.  We aren't known for mild this time of year.  It's almost time for the heat and mugginess that we are particularly famous for to start moving in. 

Hubs and I have a busy weekend planned.  Lots to accomplish before the end of the month.  This time around, we know what is waiting for us.  This time around... well... we've got this.

We are getting ready to go down and move my long arm.  I didn't end up liking the original location.  Seems I have a bit of a problem with closed rooms without windows.  Hard to be creative when you are trying not to have a panic attack.  

One of my FAVORITE pictures... Down at Trout Lodge
After that, I have quite a few projects to work on.  Several are due to their future owners this coming week. 

I need this.  Hubs and I both need a bit of normalcy.  Its been out of control lately.  

Yesterday... was calming.  Yesterday... both of us had time and information.

I made a decision that I had to pray on.  I don't at all know that it was the right decision, I am just a human. But my heart feels calm, I slept well without bad dreams and my stress seems much lower.  I don't have to worry about it.  My heart heard God loud and clear when he said "I've got this." 

Hubs and I met with our new primary care doc.  I completely love this youngster!  He listened, he explained, he cared.  This made both of us feel so much better. He explained in detail the things the surgeon said not to worry about.  The old man, didn't understand the stress and anxiety that caused.  The youngster... he understood the stress of the unknown.  Did we like the alternatives, heck NO! Did it make us calmer to realize they are dramatically different than the horrid worst case scenario's we were coming up with... oh yeah. 

With that new found calmness, we both were able to relax and think.  The deep plummet we were in, became a more graceful slide.  

We went out for our favorite pizza, bittersweet.  Hub's new surgeon wants him on a strictly non-wheat, minimal grains, lots of protein diet.  Eliminating all processed foods and as many chemicals as possible. Today, I will start feeding us like this.  Yes, us.  I can't hardly make him healthier and not participate.  On a couple of levels. I will clean out the cupboards, help my girl feed those growing grand babies, and start fresh on healing hubby. 

I am sure that it will improve our health and it will help make my FMS easier to handle. I am hoping it will also help me feel stronger and better for this second go round.  Like I said, I already know what is ahead.  A bit more energy is going to be an added bonus.  Not dealing with my health issues will definitely make it easier. 

Between the two doctors now in our corner, I feel calmer.  I feel like I have a team in my corner, not a man looking to make enough money for his next golf vacation.  I was a bit shocked to realize the youngster picked up on the infection without ever having met him before, yet the man responsible for his care, still hasn't figured it out. 

I know that I have people I love surrounding me, I pray hub's has the same support. 

There are still challenges ahead.

But today... I am finding the treasures and the beauty.  I am enjoying a day well spent with Hubby.  Doing what heals my heart and fills my soul.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

down this road we walk...


Sometimes... life is simply hard.

I feel like Hubs and I have been riding a roller coaster that is out of control.  It doesn't stop, it keeps accelerating up those steep hills, and just when it feels like we can catch our breath, celebrate a victory or two for just a minute...

The bottom falls out and swoosh we are plummeting free fall down into the next valley.   And it feels like a sharper drop each time.

Barely a month ago, it felt like we were literally on top of the world.  Dancing on the mountain tops surrounded by a blanket of stars.  Hubs was feeling better, it seemed like the shot in his back might really be working. Great things were happening for me at work. Years of hard work, dedication and persistence had finally started to pay off.  Hubs was back at work.  And even though the air conditioner was having a personality meltdown and we were so busy we didn't have time to fix it, mother nature was being gentle and kind to us. My knee was feeling stronger.

So many victories, so much to rejoice in.

Then last couple of weeks in May started feeling like a slippery slope.

The updraft had started. Little by little I could feel it, you know that feeling on a roller coaster, the little wheels pulling you slowly to the drop. That jerky, heart stopping feeling?

click, click, click....

Three days after Hub's second shot, hoping to get the pain back under control, we get the first call...

click...

All of the doctors at the pain management center no longer work there.  He won't be seen again for maybe a month or so...

click...

I can't help but notice he's limping more than ever and he seems to be in more pain that before the surgery, several times he's been stuck in bed. His pretty blue eyes rimmed with red and glassy from pain...

click...

We schedule an appointment with another orthopedic specialist, my comfort level with the previous one gone at this point. It doesn't go as either of us had hoped or suspected.  In fact I can now describe that moment when all of the air is vacuumed out of a room and out of your lungs.

That numbing moment... do this or you will die.

ccccllliiiiccckkk....

And down we rush again.  Holding on to one another, praying, crying and each of us dealing with all of it the best we know how.  With as much strength as possible.  Trying to find the strength for the other. Just like in the Gift of the Maji, both of us struggling to find the piece that will make the other whole.  While facing the fear of the upcoming journey, knowing what it means for both of us.

I wimped out first.  I'd been trying to take vacation all week.  Trying to find that spot where I could catch my breath, there has been so much, I needed time to stop, to breath.  Long before the shock of Wednesday...

I feel guilty.  He's having to hold on to each and every day of vacation and sick leave for what is ahead, he can't have a day to decompress, his journey is greater than mine.

I selfishly took today.  There are appointments waiting, there are decisions needing made, there is so much that I need to process. Personally, emotionally and professionally, there are so many struggles right now.

I almost lost my mind yesterday.  Someone spent too much of my time telling me that I didn't/couldn't understand their struggles.

That I didn't know what it felt like to have too much month at the end of the paycheck - seriously?  Who doesn't know that feeling.  Even the wealthy sometimes feel that one.

That I couldn't understand that even though they didn't have enough food on the table, I couldn't possibly be serious when I suggested giving up bar hopping and darts.  Didn't I understand that all work and no play made people unhappy? Said by someone working only part time hours and the spouse not working at all.

That I couldn't comprehend the devastation of having my car totaled and being stuck riding a bus... "what about insurance?" I stupidly asked... "what?  Why would I waste money on that?" was the answer... 'nuf said.

That I didn't understand what it felt like to live with pain? Me?  Really?  I asked if the pain was curable.  The answer yes... "but I am not going to do it."  Think about that for a minute.  Mine isn't. I don't ask anyone else to carry that burden for me.  Hubs is desperately trying to recover and I am trying so hard to help him and that is what you are going to say to me?

And finally... that because I wasn't sitting around being Eeyore, crying woe is me to the world that I must live in a utopia.

I walked away from that conversation... my head spinning, my heart hurting and my tongue aching from biting it to avoid saying the wrong thing.

I had to get away. I am a truly empathetic person.  I will hold you, pray with you, help you carry what I cannot even begin to understand.  But... right now, my bucket is dry, I don't have many tears left to share with others.  My shoulders are not strong enough to carry more than what they already have.

And honestly, I truly cannot be there mentally, emotionally or physically for anyone that doesn't want to share in the journey of helping themselves.

Hubs and I are going through too much right now.  We haven't hit the bottom of this current slide, but we can see it.  I don't like being on roller coasters, I especially hate when you get stuck in the front seat.

The wind is blowing my hair back, my eyes are watering (I'm fighting not to close them), my heart is racing...

Then I blink...

I lift my head...

I look forward and realize, there is another peak coming, another breathtaking high.  There are still stars to dance in, beauty all around us.

I'm not looking forward to the climb, I am tired, Hubs is tired.  But we are a team, we are each other's strength and together we will be just fine....

Monday, May 25, 2015

flashbacks....

The smells of fresh baked cookies are seeping throughout my slightly warm house.  There are two kinds.  The hubs has requested chocolate chipless and the kids are getting chocolate chip.  Is it too warm to have the oven on?

Of course it is.

Do I care?

Not really.

It's been a crazy busy weekend.  One that I simply stopped participating in yesterday. I was bone weary exhausted and simply couldn't take anymore.  I've been cutting out things, conserving energy.  As the temp rises I always get a bit more tired out than I feel I should be.  Then I remember (like I could ever forget)... May is the anniversary month.  18 years ago a teeny tiny little bug felt it needed a bit of my blood, it wanted to be fair I guess so it left me with a nice dose of Lyme in exchange.

It's something I choose not to allow to control my life and I get a bit cranky when it tries.  Today standing in the kitchen, putting a loaf of rustic bread out to proof for dinner tonight with my girl and her family, I suddenly had a flashback.  I don't have those often, my memory is a bit like a large chunk of Swiss cheese, full of wholes and flimsy connections.   So to have a flashback is slightly odd.

Suddenly, as clear as day, I remembered the Memorial Day holiday in 2002.  Another odd occurrence, as that was the start of one of the most stressful periods of my life.  When God brought me all the way to my knees (literally and figuratively), to raise me up high.  I can rarely remember anything from that year.

But there is was.  I could smell the apple pie baking, as I was cleaning up my empty kitchen.  We were in the process of moving, all of my belongings had already shipped.  The base was having an apple pie contest in the midst of the holiday fest. Not sure why?  Apples aren't in season in May, and it's hot.  Maybe because it's equated with home, and we were all far from home.

My ex had "made me" make the pie, okay in all fairness no one can make anyone do something they don't want to.  So on some level despite having to borrow equipment and buy all the supplies I must have wanted to please him.  I am a people pleaser and even when it doesn't make me happy, I will still do things like that.

One thing I am not, is comfortable with praise or accolades, so distraught is probably an accurate phrase as I won a prize for my simple little begrudgingly made pie.  It was a hand made little plaque, and I probably still have it tucked away in a memory box.

What brought the memory back, I have no idea, it's already fading back into haze.   Now I can smell cookies, mixed with the soft early summer smells left lingering from all the recent rains. It's warm in the house, the air needs worked on and I haven't had time to deal with it.  Maybe that caused the flashback to Germany.  No air there either.


Today's baking was of joy, I was rested, I've had a minute to clean the house and to put my feet up.  I've had time to read a book, nap in the breeze, paint my nails, cook real food for hubs and I, laughed with family, celebrated successes and missed my youngest.  He's too far away.


In less than an hour I will head to my eldest's house.  We will laugh, chat, enjoy an amazing dinner together. My contribution will be cookies and a humble loaf of rustic bread. Both made in my kitchen, with love. Maybe we will toast life with a nice wine, or an ice water.  It will be full of grand baby hugs, laughter and all the bits and pieces of a life lived well.  Hubby will hobble a bit, but not as much as he's been, and he will join in the love and laughter too.  It's been a long rough road, but it's got so many wonderful pit stops on the way, how can you notice the pot holes?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Once in a lifetime...

I should be up in the dining room having breakfast with everyone else.  Instead, I am sitting here looking at the most beautiful view, reflecting and gathering my thoughts and strength for the day.

The fog is gently rising from the water's surface.  It's still and peaceful.  Every now and again a graceful, lone bird will dash swiftly past the balcony.  I am a lot like that.  I love people, but I am the lone bird.  I would love to be part of the pack, but I am usually the one just sitting off in the distance.  Enjoying those around me, listening and absorbing all I see and hear.  But my innate shyness has never really left me.  I do best in small intimate circles.

Last night, that wasn't an option.  I am still stunned and disbelieving.  I like being the wind beneath others wings... I believe I have told you before I am one odd "Leo"... as I never seek center stage.

If you've been reading my blog for a bit, you probably realize it's that time of year when all of our Y family of professionals descend on Trout Lodge for our annual retreat.  It's so breathtakingly beautiful, and there is always so much to bring you back to center, to inspire and motivate.  Yesterday was no exception.

After dinner last night came one of my favorite parts of the day... awards.  I love listening to all of the wonderful things that are being celebrated about each one of the recognized.  It fills my heart to cheer for them and know that I am surrounded by amazing, dedicated people.  Over the years I have received a few myself, I know how amazing that feeling of being recognized feels.

It was so uplifting to cheer for so many of the people that I work closely with, every one of them deserving and more!  Hubs was struggling a bit with the chairs, his leg is still weak and tender and he'd forgotten his pillow.  And I was a bit distracted when they'd started reading the final award.

The C.D. Banks award is the most coveted and cherished of all that are given.  To be part of the C.D. Banks recipients is an honor in the highest.  The family is small with only one recipient a year. It's also one where they leave you guessing as to who it is until the very last moment.

I listened last night with baited breath, I always do, prayerful for whomever they have selected.  Anxious to know who was incredible enough, that out of over 200 professional staff that single person had earned that honor.

I was looking around the room, trying to figure out who it describe.  My table mates kept turning around an looking at me, Hubs was saying it's you... And I was disagreeing with everyone. Focusing on Hubs who was in great pain, I was only slightly aware of the words.

It could have been anyone... then I heard "flood", "homeless"... wait... those words could pertain to me... but no... that was simply preposterous.  I barely remember the moments before they called my name.  I felt the air leave my lungs, my stomach had given birth to an entire field of monarch butterflies and I think I was slightly dizzy.

Me?  I had just been awarded the prestigious C.D. Banks award.  Me.

As I made my way up to the front, trying very hard not to trip over chairs or hubs can, willing my leg to not chose that moment to give out on me.  Ironically, the only table left open when we went to dinner was basically in front of the podium, I'd selected it completely oblivious. I was completely overwhelmed.  Completely lost in the moment.

And sobbing like a baby.  A BIG baby.  Wrapped in so many hugs, surrounded by people that I love and respect.  Completely unable to even think.


At some point it occurred to me that they were going to hand me a microphone and that there were around 200 people in that room around me.

Okay... so everyone that knows me, knows me and a microphone are the complete recipe for a disaster! Add tears of joy, disbelief and amazement and wow... it's an epic disaster!  I can't even remember what I said out loud, I am pretty sure I mumbled something about "She's correct, this is the hardest thing I've ever tried to do...", as softly, so softly "thank you..."  I was simply too overwhelmed.  I was so grateful that my hubs works for the Y and was there last night. I was so deeply blessed for all the hugs, I drew strength from each and every one.

My boss's words were uplifting, enlightening and amazing!  Her hugs even more so...

I guess I have arrived... I will bask in the moment for a bit longer... And then...

I have a building full of people to take care of, to love on and to encourage to be stronger and better.

I am blessed...