Sunday, December 31, 2017

and that's a wrap...

It's super silent in the house this morning.  Literally all I can here is the clicking of the keys as I'm typing.  And this darn ear. It's odd.  It's actually a bit creepy.

There are no animals outside making any sounds, the bitter cold has them all tucked away somewhere warm.  Six degrees is just plain cold and they are saying it will get colder.  The inside babies are all snug on their sofa's.  Warming up from their very cold walk a bit ago.

Here it is New Years Eve, another year has come and gone.  It feels like I was literally just typing that about 2016.  Time flies so much the older and busier you get. 

2017 has been an incredible year, full of firsts and beginnings.  A few endings.  Some overwhelming, some barely noticeable.  I can honestly say that it's the first year in a long while that hasn't been filled with non-stop negative stress. 

There have been some supremely sad times.  Things that I am still struggling to come to terms with. People have done and said some incredibly selfish and cruel things.  I am finding that in my state of rushing around this year, I didn't have time to deal with those things at the time.  And now, I am watching Karma handle it all for me.

Closed our historical Y and said good bye to one of our critters, he crossed the rainbow bridge - I am fairly certain turtles do that.  Co-workers moved to other locations or places and we no longer see them daily. One of my B's had to go to a different branch, and I miss her bright smiling face and can do attitude and spirit every day!

We welcomed so many beginnings this year, a new Grand Baby, and she is a beautiful little Panda! She brings great joy to our lives.  A new Y, WOW talk about not only an opportunity but a beautiful future. A new position, I was promoted to run that beautiful new Y at the very end of 2016.  Hubs has taken on many new roles over the course of the year, and as he sits quietly beside me reading, I feel the steps have helped him find a new sense of peace and purpose at the Y. I haven't seen him this relaxed in a long time.

We have made trips to see family that we haven't seen in years, met the new great nephew and nephew-in-law. Experienced Birmingham and walked in Martin Luther King Jr.'s steps. I started the year in Arkansas, my Dad was in the hospital and we were all worried so much about him. Yet ended the year seeing not only him, but my mom, and enjoying some quality one on one time with them.  We have added a "daughter" to the mix as well.  And the oldest Grand Daughter moved into middle school.

We've done 5k's, taken the motorcycle over 10K, and experienced the total eclipse. We've had the opportunity to have time with all of our immediate family that wishes to be part of our lives!

Yep, I would say that 2017 has been a wild ride.  I have been very busy, in a very true sense of the word.  All of these things have required much time and energy. Yet as this year closes I feel that so many great accomplishments have happened.

Since October I've notice a shift.  A balance happening.

And honestly that is my only goal for 2018. 


I love my career.  It brings me joy. But I love my family even more.  They have been awesome at understanding that I needed this time to build the foundation.

It's built.  I have a great team. I know we will accomplish all of our goals, hopes and dreams. We are a powerful group together.

Now, I need to re-establish balance.

All those things for me and the family that I have been either neglecting or squeezing in, those need to move forward. 

When I made soap in late October it was such a powerful moment for me.  Not because I made soap, it wasn't the first time that I have done something like that.  More because it was tapping into the very things that make me who I am. 

I am a nurturer.  I love to create and provide for my family.  I also cherish the ability to learn old things.  I am not progressive, I am not always looking to invent and create new.  I am traditional.  I want to hold on to the foundation, keep it solid, so that we can continue to grow and build on it's strength.

It makes me sad that young people today have lost so many basic skills.  I read recently about "adulting" classes.  WHAT?? Do they still teach Home Ec at school?  Is it required? Do Dad's still insist that you know how to change tires and learn to change the oil and top off your own fluids in your car before you can have a license?

I still want to make my own quilts, paint my own walls, create beauty around me. I want to hold on to those skills. 

I want balance. 

I fear too many of the things that are wrong in our world today are simply because we are out of balance. 

The other night Hubs and I watched Gran Torino  again.  We've not watched it since it came out.  I fear that is too real of where we as a country have gone. People disliking people for their color, ethnicity, language, gender, religion etc. Youth that are bored with no one teaching them the basics, including the basics of the golden rule.  I loved it.  And I hated it at the same time.  I despised the main character at the beginning, yet cheered at his growth as a fellow human.

Kids need to be taught.  Not just at school.  We can move forward while holding on to a solid foundation.  The values of the Y are so key.  I am blessed to be part of it.  Caring, honesty, respect, responsibility.  All of those things are key.

As you can tell I am at a point of influx.  I want balance, but I want it in many areas.

Yesterday Hubs and I went shopping at a mall that I have only been to once since moving here.  It isn't one that is on my to do list.  But I was looking for a pair of shoes and they were the only place that had them.  I've been avoiding it.  It's been the sight of much divide lately.  Protests etc.   I'd been judging it based on comments, news, etc. I had determined it was a very hostile place to people in general and it was not some where I wanted to go.

What I found instead, a very diverse mix of people.  Everyone was kind to each other, there was laughter, people enjoying people.  It wasn't segregated, I saw no bias.  I heard many accents, dialects, I saw many faith's represented.  It was a very enjoyable experience, and I hate malls.

The group that had been protesting has moved on to supporting the communities.  Making care packages, supporting needs, being a force for good.  Maybe we all need some balance.  The ability to see others for their intrinsic good and viable part of our collective future as opposed to seeing all as an adversary trying to prevent us from being valued. 

As I look for balance in 2018 I am looking for a bit more me time, a bit more Hubs time, a bit more family, a bit more of an opportunity to care for those around me as if they are my family and loved ones - because truthfully that is what each one is.

What are you looking to find in 2018?

 I pray that each of you has a successful journey to your own hopes and dreams!

Now it's time to get ready for the "b's"...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

in the silence...

I can't sleep this morning. 

I've been trying to fall back asleep for almost two hours, I finally gave up. Now I'm sitting here waiting for the coffee to brew.  I thought Hubs was awake, but it appears he's fallen back to sleep.  I am not about to wake him.  Our vacation days are drawing to a close and sleeping in is rare for him.  He's always been an early riser, the older he gets I question if he gets near enough sleep, as he know wakes up in the middle of the night (yep, I consider 3 am the middle of the night).

I was stunned to open the door to let Neeko out, it's been bitterly cold and I was excited to see that it was a whopping 21 degree's when I checked.  Imagine my surprise to open the door to gale force winds that were bitterly cold.  I know it's "officially" winter now, but it sure seems like Mother Nature waited until Dec. 21 and then started throwing a tantrum.

If it's going to be this cold, I would prefer the snow my family in Erie have.  I mean seriously, at least that gives you a solid excuse to stay inside and enjoy the beauty.  Cold for the sake of cold, simply seems like a waste to me.

My kiddo's have both wandered to warmer temperatures to bring in the New Year, and Hubs and I were expecting family and friends.  Each time I get a text I cringe a bit, looks like the family bit is off the table. And the friends part is looking iffy. 

Folks are getting sick left and right. I completely understand as I am still struggling to shake whatever got me.  I definitely do not do well with sick and the fact that Sunday makes two full weeks, well frankly that is completely unacceptable.

I felt a minor panic attack coming on at the eye doctor Thursday.  I was apologizing while asking the sweet assistant to repeat herself, explaining that I damaged my ear drum and was struggling to hear her.  She was completely understanding, explaining she had the same thing happen in September.  And that she'd just started hearing normally about two weeks ago. WHAT???

I can handle the coughing, the body aching, but this non-stop ringing/underwater sounding ear is about to make me insane! I can barely hear and my own voice sounds hideous.  I keep answering the phone to the right as I normally do, only to have to switch ears when I cannot hear what is being said to me. I have to admit the frustration is starting to be overwhelming. 

I guess I should be thankful, it does help me to understand Hub's frustrations.  He's mostly deaf in one ear. I truly cannot judge how loud I am speaking, it sounds thunderous in my head, although since I keep getting asked to repeat myself I am guessing I am speaking super soft.

I firmly believe that we learn through experiences.  It develops not only sympathy, but more importantly empathy.  When you've experienced something it gives you a broader base of understanding.  It was easy to say I understood when my frustration with repeating myself was getting strong.  Now, I truly do understand, from a different place.  They aren't simply words.  My frustration at repeating myself was nothing compared to my frustration at not being able to hear what is being said.  At being left out.  Because that is how it feels.  Part of something, but not.

Many times Hubs has said that the kids and I talk to softly and when we go out to dinner in a noisy restaurant he can't hear a thing we say and feels excluded. So many times I have felt maybe he was over reacting.  One of my staff that wears hearing aids struggled greatly during our grand opening.  He was short tempered and snappy, I was stunned because that is not his personality at all. After this week, I understand. 

The kids had wanted to go to the mall the day after Christmas - first off this is something I rarely do, I HATE CROWDS, but the boy was heading west and his favorite Asian fast food is not available where he lives, so lunch at the mall it was.  The noise was overwhelming, I could not hear anything except the roar in my head.  I was almost in tears the entire time.  I have no idea what was being said, I always sit to Hub's left so he can hear me, and my right ear is messed up. I saw everyone talking, but sat there in my own private hell.  I had no idea what was going on.  The volume was excruciating. 

Empathy is a good thing. 

I feel it helps us to become better people.  I have another member of my team that is completely deaf.  I've been meaning to learn some basic sign language to help us communicate, unfortunately, I hired her right before we started to close the old branch.  Needless to say I haven't made time to do so.  She must feel a bit isolated, sure we've found ways to communicate, but I could do better.  Maybe I can add that to my non-resolutions that I am going to make.

I love the fact that when you are silent and take a moment to "listen" life teaches you lessons for where you are.  I think I have needed these two weeks more than I thought.   I have been moving so fast for such a long time.  This forced slow down has definitely made me listen.

I never did make soap the other day, my energy level was too low.  Instead, I balled a skein of beautiful yarn that I bought from Yarn Geek Fibers at the Strange Folk Festival this summer.  It's the Rocketeer Superwash in the "Naziyah Mohmood (Rocket Science)" color way.  If you are a knitter/crocheter/spinner I highly recommend their yarns and rovings.  They are my one seriously guilty pleasure!

I logged into Ravelry and found simple, no brainer pattern for a shawl/scarf pattern - the first I've made. Found my favorite rose wood needles, curled up in the living room chair and cast on.  It's the kind of pattern that doesn't need counting, doesn't need forced attention, doesn't need anything except my fingers to be moving.  And I have been watching movies with Hubs. 

I've been resting, thinking, healing, and simply enjoying the break.

Life... thank you for the lessons.  Anyone else been learning anything new lately?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

day dreaming...

It's still, quiet and cold. 

The perfect formula for a quiet and lazy day at home.  Hubs is watching TV in his recliner - although he's napping a bit more, one of the joys of vacation time. The boys have both curled up on their respective sofa's, softly snoring and being lazy. 

Me?  I'm just enjoying nothingness. Is that a word?  Today is the first day in almost two full weeks that work has intruded, but I'm okay with it.  My boy has returned west and I am finally feeling a bit better.  I still can't hear, the echo and ringing is getting tiresome, but I am not exhausted and just plain sick. 

I have thought of a few different things that I want to do, but frankly, I am enjoying just sitting quietly.  

Flipping through my new cookbooks, daydreaming about what I will make first.  The decision is very difficult. Breads, soups, a meat dish?  I love German food and it feels like I have a recipe now for almost every dish I love, except for the elusive Brotchen recipe.

Daydreaming my way through my Craftsy classes and patterns. Do I have the energy yet to start a new project and what should it be? I'm dying to load up my craft bag that my boy bought me for Christmas.  To pick a multi-color project so I can enjoy the ease of knitting/crocheting without the threads tangling or twisting together. But is that what I really want to do?

I'm still sorting out the void.  The ending of projects, visits, events, the year.

Do I want to work on organizing my sewing room? Maybe plan menu's for the coming month?  

Does anyone else find themselves at such loose ends as the year ends?  The week between Christmas and New Years leaves me feeling lost. Or maybe it leaves me feeling unencumbered which is strange for me. 

I also feel reflective. 

I'm not a big fan of making resolutions.  Seems like a good way to make yourself feel more stress, thank you, but no. I am guessing that resolutions should be a good thing. Something to reach for.  Bench marks for future successes.  They are good. Right? 

Despite my loathing, I feel that I need to spend a bit of time simply looking back at the year gone by and setting goals for the coming year.  

For decades I have had "finish UFO's" on my to do list for coming year.  Each year I manage to acquire new projects and still not finish the ones that are sitting there unfinished.  There are sweaters, quilts, socks, piles of magazine's and books full of ideas I want to tackle.  There is needlework wanting attention, bits and pieces of projects long neglected.  Piles of quilt tops that are waiting to be quilted, some needing hand quilting, some can be done on the long arm. Either I ran out of time or interest.  No telling. 

Each year I think about meal planning.  Reality, I am not much of a planner where meals are concerned. Did I miss that part of Home Ec? I'm sure they tried to teach me, I must have zoned out for the semester? I feel if it were a skill I could master it would definitely make my daily life a bit easier. And my wallet a bit fatter.  We waste so much money eating out, simply because I can't decide what I am cooking for meals. Truth of the matter, I truly do not like eating out.  I am a good cook and I like the peace and quiet of my own dining room. 

Of course there is always the tried and true... Lose weight, exercise more, pay off a few bills, get more balance in my life.  Each year they are said and each time they sit there and languish, left behind as "life" intrudes.  

Hmmmm... maybe I am just enjoying sitting here. 

Daydreaming does have value after all.  I am afraid that I have forgotten that...

Now it's time to go cook some lunch for my biggest boy... and maybe make some soap? 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

the void...

The silence is deafening.

The feeling of not knowing what to do next... almost maddening.

It's the dreaded void.

That first bit of time after.   It doesn't matter what's it's after.  Simply "after".

Right now, it is the after of my sweet boy and his girl boarding their plan back west.  I will feel lost for a few hours at least.  I am anxiously awaiting the text message that tells me he's safely back at his home.  The flight went well and that they have started to unpack and put their Christmas treasures away in their home.

Sitting at the island in the kitchen shivering because it's only hit a balmy 13 degrees here in the Midwest.  I keep looking at the temperatures they will arrive back at... 75... and it will be warmer by the time they land.

There are remnants of our time together everywhere I look.  I'm hesitant to change any of it, it will make it real. I'm not ready for it to be real.  I like seeing the last bite of banana bread that he couldn't fit into his tummy and her Ramen bowl, the mess from cooking schnitzel for him once more before he headed home. 

The snowy deck looks like it's mocking me right now.  Teasing me, reminding me that my little boy (all grown up) had wanted a white Christmas and even though it hasn't happened in 7 years, we got it. 

I am not fond of this period of silence and unrest to my spirit that always happens in an after.

Even something as minor as a completed project leaves me restless.  So you can imagine how it feels when my youngest returns to his home so far away.  I always swear I will not cry and I always make sure to get a picture of he and I long before those ugly tears start to fall.  And fall they will.

I at least made it to the final hug before security check in today!

It's been a wonderful 10 days, and the quickest I can ever remember. We spent time getting to know his lady, she's delightful!  And we can definitely understand why he chose her!  We've played games, eaten amazing dinners together, gone on mini-adventures - hello Arkansas, visited the Botanical Garden Glow and went to see the latest Star Wars. We've laughed, talked, watched movies, you-tube and yawned.  Mostly, we just enjoyed each other's company.

Having grown up kids is so rewarding.  I got to savor time with each of my babies alone and with them together!  I added a new one to my family and enjoyed my morning chats over coffee and breakfast most days with her! One of the greatest Christmases of all time.  When you reach that place in life when the presence of the person is worth more than any gift under the tree, you have truly reached nirvana.

I cherished the hours spent gathered around this kitchen island, in our house we've long since known that the kitchen is the heartbeat of the home. 

I kind of checked out the past 10 days.  I've been quite sick, which for me is a rarity, maybe it was the Lord's way of slowing me down so that I could enjoy each moment. Whatever it was it worked. I've been absent from email, text and Facebook.  I will need to catch up soon, but not now.

The kids and I took a trip to Arkansas to see the family. The boy is rarely home and we hardly ever go visiting.  Hubs wasn't feeling well and chose to stay home with the boys. At first I was really sad, but it ended up being awesome.  For the first time in probably 30 years I had my mom and dad all to myself.  And we had time to visit, reconnect and simply enjoy each other's company.  I had the opportunity to visit with sisters and nieces and nephews and their children.  All slowly, no rushing.

Decorating the tree and putting up snowy village this year had such a sweetness to it.  Making banana bread and wrapping presents.  Cooking breakfast for my dad and chatting with mom while she wrapped.  Snuggling my pups and watching the boy love his cat.  Priceless!

My sweet Hubs and kiddo's bought me the most perfect gifts! 

Things that showed they truly know me and care.  Craft tote (I am over the moon!!!!), Harley sweater and not just one, but THREE German cookbooks!!  Be still my heart!  I don't know what to make first, until I feel better I will probably just day dream. 

Hubs didn't even go crazy this year, he did perfect! Although I know it killed him to not get me every gift on his list.  New trinkets to wear, stuff to cook with (yep it's that kitchen thing...Love!) and a coffee mug that makes sure I know he loves me! Each item thoughtful and appreciated.

I know I often refer to my son as my boy, that he will always be, just like his sister will always be my girl. It was wonderful to enjoy them both as the grown man and woman that they have become!  I am so proud of them both! 

My boy, he's a kind, considerate, smart, handsome, caring, warm and loving gentleman!  The kind his lady deserves.  He's still got that impish smile and his eyes still sparkle, but he is definitely a man to be proud of! 

My girl...beautiful, generous, nurturing, witty and full of love.  She's an amazing mother, raising incredible loving and compassionate children! 

I feel like I won the lottery with those two!

Well the boy has an hour more to fly and I think I'd better check on Hubs.  I am fairly certain he is napping. 

And then I need to move past the void,,,

Sunday, December 24, 2017


I know I've been a bit silent.

And sitting here alone on this beautiful night, with the lights glittering off the snow that my boy wanted for Christmas outside, and softly illuminating the room so I can see to type, I just wanted to take a minute.

I've been busy enjoying this blessed holiday season.  My boy flew home and we've been busy doing normal family things.  Mom's been cooking him too much of his favorite food, he won't be home for another two years so it is possible he's been gorging himself a bit. We've been playing board games, going to see Christmas lights and family. My girl has been around almost as much.

As a mom, this is the best Christmas ever!  Just to have my babies home, it's enough. Hubs and I are so thankful for the laughter and fun.  Family meals and late night chats.

We decorated the tree together, like when he was little telling the tales of the ornaments as we went.

We are a bit behind, but snowy village made the scene today.  Each house lit and placed just right.

Some holiday traditions have faded, some are sparkling bright.  And still others have formed to fill the place of those that have left us.

As I am surrounded by all of this plenty.  I just wanted to take a moment.  Nothing more.

To wish each of you the love and blessings of this special season.  I hope that each of us finds a new year full of love, happiness and joy in the coming year!!  May you always have enough...

Sunday, December 17, 2017


'Tis the week before Christmas and all through my house not a creature is stirring not even a .... well I'm stirring.  


The boy and his sweetie arrived yesterday, they are still resting upstairs, I'm sure they are still on West Coast time.  The girl is currently visiting friends.  Hubs is snoring and so are the dogs.

Which leaves me.

And I am wide awake.

I was working on some needlework, but for some strange reason my eyes are blurry today.  Makes following tiny stitches downright impossible.  I woke up a bit sniffly today so I am sure that has something to do with it.

I thought about putting up snowy village, and decided against it, Hubs is snoozing on the sofa a few short feet from where I would be making noise. All my houses are wrapped in heavy layers of crinkly paper to protect them year after year.

I also considered wrapping more gifts.  Just couldn't find my holly jolly needed to start. I spent what felt like hours in the past two days wrapping things. The very thought feels tiring.

Next I considered making my newest batch of soap. It's coffee/peppermint.  I cannot wait to give it a try.  I have the strong coffee frozen in ice cube trays downstairs and plan to use my favorite coffee in it. Again, it's about the noise, my stick blender can be a bit loud as I mix the oils and lye.

I also considered making the candles that are on my list.  I want to wait, the boy expressed interest in doing that together.  I definitely do not want to miss that opportunity!

Instead I'm sitting in my darkened kitchen, listening to Christmas carols softly playing, and writing. I can do that with blurry eyes (wondering if the cat slept close to my head last night), waiting for my family to wake up.

Vacations are for resting and relaxing after all.

I am coming to realize that I spend so much time wired up and ready to go lately, that slowing down and simply resting is tough for me.  My friend wrote recently in her blog about the value of not being busy.  Of simply slowing down.

As I read the lines she'd written, I felt like she was talking straight to me.  Immediately, I felt guilty. I have been rushing through life for about a year and a half now.  It's gone past me.

Sitting here in the softness of the moment, I am realizing she wasn't talking to me, at least not exclusively, so much as to all of us that have gotten caught up in the rush of modern life.  She is an incredible yoga instructor - I still plan to take one of her classes, but as she isn't currently teaching a beginning level class I feel that it won't be any time soon. Heck my life isn't the only thing out of balance.

Yesterday morning Hubs and I were up at 3 am, putting the final touches on the house.  Making sure everything was perfect for the boy!  We'd not met his sweetie and it'd been two years since he'd been home. Last time Hubs had seen him he was still so sick from the staph infection in his leg, unsure he'd ever see him again.

We scurried around getting things done, me getting more stressed by the moment, us starting to growl at each other.  Tired, anxious, striving for perfection as the clock ticked away the moments.  Wanting our home to somehow be the perfect spot for him, welcoming, complete, festive and joy filled.

As you can imagine, the more stressed I got, the worse everything got.  It wasn't until I almost knocked myself unconscious on a small shelf I had built in seventh grade, smashing it and all the treasures that live on it to the ground right alongside me that I stopped.

Okay, sitting on the ground seeing stars is a good reason to stop.  Looking at the damage my hard head had literally caused laying at my feet, I took a moment.

There was no reason to rush.  If everything wasn't perfect, it was just fine.  We would decorate the tree together, like we have done for so many Christmases in his life.  Snowy Village could be put up together.  There were plenty of memories to be made in the small things that I was worried about having completed and perfect.

My boy wasn't coming home to judge my house.  He was coming home to spend the holidays wrapped in the love of family!  Talk about an ah-ha moment, and it only needed me to give myself a huge knot on top of my head.

That moment reminded me to slow down, take a deep breath and relax.  It reminded me that my sweet boy did not grow up in the perfect house and was not coming home looking for perfection.  He was coming home to the perfectly imperfect home he grew up in.

Standing at the airport waiting for the two of them was extreme torture.  I had only seen two pictures ever of his sweetie, the little demon of self doubt was sneaking into my brain.  I mean what if she didn't like me?  What if Hubs and I were not up to her standards. What if we were lacking?

Self-confidence has never come easy for me.  Clutching my hot tea, anxiety, excitement and sheer joy causing tears to threaten in my eyes, I waited.  My baby was getting off that plane! I was so excited to see him.  I vaguely recall seeing her standing beside him, her arm linked tightly in his, her body language echoing my own.  We were both nervous.  But as I held my boy tightly in my arms, enjoying every moment of that hug, wishing it would never end, the world suddenly became okay.

Even if it isn't perfect, it's family.  Even if she doesn't "adore" hubs and I, it doesn't matter.  She adores the boy.  The boy that I nurtured, cherished and raised from conception.  Happiness and love is all I have ever wanted for both of my babies.

Wrapped in the arms of that sweet boy that somehow became a man while I wasn't looking, I knew it was all okay.  He will always been my baby, even as he's become a grown man.

Now it's time to go wake that grown man.  I'm getting hungry for lunch and the day is wasting...

Sunday, December 10, 2017


The rhythmic click of the sewing machine has finally stopped.  The last stitches have been placed in the quilt that I have been trying to finish for what feels like forever.  I am trying to clear my to do list.  My boy is coming home next weekend and I want to be able to enjoy the visit without worrying about all the things I haven't gotten finished.

I am fairly certain I picked the perfect weekend to take care of that particular "to do".  Yesterday looking out my window as I measured and cut, the clouds looked heavy.  It was biting cold yesterday and I was fairly sure that mean lots of snow heading our way.

Seems Mother Nature has a twisted sense of humor. All of my family and friends in the south, the ones that always point out to me they live in the south because it doesn't snow.  Well, those very friends and family have been posting some beautiful pictures of all the snow they received. Up here in Missouri, none. A few random flurries earlier in the week.  But nothing but cold up here.

My Pennsylvania heart on the other hand is seriously longing for snow.  Browsing through Facebook I noticed the kids that just went to Germany are posting pictures full of big fluffy snow flakes.  Oh my heart.

The grown up side of me on the other hand, is feeling pretty thankful that it hasn't hit here yet.  I have so much to do this week and dealing with snow would definitely set me back.

I cannot believe that we are already into the second weekend in December, this year is passing by so quickly.  With concerts, parties, ice skating, and holiday lights mixed in with work, chores and responsibilities it feels like the whirlwind that is life is swirling all around me.  Hubs and I are working on balance.

I actually feel like we are almost achieving it.  Over the past few days, I've been reminded more than once that the magic is in the moments.  It's something I have always agreed with.  When my babies were small we would cut out cookies and decorate together.  It's hard to bring myself to decorate now. I cherish the beauty when it is finished.  Yet struggle with the feeling of loneliness when putting up the decorations.  Each one has a story, a part of the history of my family. Memories are tied so strongly to each trinket and treasure.  Some of them made by little fingers covered in glitter and glue.  Some of them are treasures from our journey's.  All of them are priceless.

Most of the time, I don't struggle with empty nest syndrome.  I am proud of the people my children have become.  I marvel at their victories in life and I celebrate the fact that they don't "need" me.  Yet there are times that I still need them.

In a few short days I will have both of my children and my grand children with me as we move on to the most festive time of the year.  I intend to make memories.  I fully intend to love and spoil them and their "families".  I always spoil Hubs and the fur babies, but I will do that also.  Soon the decorations will glow, the snow villages will be in place.  The house will smell of banana bread and favorite meals. We will go see Christmas lights and spend time together.  Maybe there will be games played, maybe it will be quiet conversations.

The part I know for sure, is there will be memories made.

The quilt I just finished is full of memories for someone else.  I can't wait to deliver it.  It will be a treasure for his mom to give him for Christmas.

Some of my treasures will be flying in.

Monday, November 20, 2017

a time to rest...

A fire roaring in the fireplace, the Bloody Mary bar is set up and so are the brunch snacks.  We are waiting on a friend that is also starting her vacation today to come over and visit.

Hubs and I have a lot of chores on our to do list, but we are trying really hard to balance it out this holiday vacation time.

I have really been enjoying this down time.

I officially started vacation on Friday.  I had a few things that needed my attention in the city of Friday, so I drove in and parked at my old building.  I wanted to take advantage of the walk and the opportunity to savor my adopted city.

She's an interesting old girl.  If you listen to the news, you would see us as a gun riddled, high crime area.  Where there are bars on windows and everyone is afraid to go out by themselves.  The real city is much more complicated and layered than that.

I won't deny that there are challenges.  Can someone please share with me any city occupied by humans that does not have challenges. It was a dreary, blustery, cold day.  Most of the streets seemed to be vacant as a result.  During my walk over to city hall I was feeling a bit torn.  Not at all in a bad way, just in awe at what I saw around me.

Our city is a mixture of the old past, many buildings well over 100 years old, interspersed with signs of rebuilding, renewal and decay all happening in the same space.

Given the dreariness of the morning, it only made the sight of the homeless cowering in doorways and against makeshift shelters harder to witness.  I have been around it for a decade.  The homeless population is just as crazy a mix as everything else in this town is.  Some of them genuinely do not want to change their lot in life.  The lack of things holding them down is exactly what keeps them foot loose and fancy free.  No bills, no commitments, I have known these people.  The "adventure" is how one described it to me. I'd be lying if I said I understood, I don't.

The far greater number lies with those that are either struggling with mental health issues or dependency issues.   The ones that don't truly understand how they got where they are, nor truly how to survive it.  I felt guilty wrapped in my warm wool coat, dressed all fancy for the meeting at City Hall.  Again my brain turns to things that might make a difference, and realizing I truly don't know where or how to even being to address it.

I silently watched a young man struggling to walk, his hands full of take out from somewhere. I wondered briefly where he was heading.  I am a watcher, I rarely engage in conversation with strangers, beyond polite please, thank you, have a nice day.  By the time I had crossed the street I saw that he'd found a bench in the park to eat.  I could feel pieces of my very soul freezing, it was far too cold to have a picnic.  Far too windy and biting cold to eat any meal out in the wide open.  My heart broke.

With leaves whipping around my feet, the sights and sounds of our small big city enveloped my senses. I was going into a meet and greet with the very people that could make those changes.  To see how we could support their vision and efforts. Very few met with us, although I did get a chance to visit with the Sheriff and treasurer.  Making those in roads is brutally difficult.

I don't have the answers, I don't know who does.

The blustery weather only got worse on Saturday.  Hubs thought of going out on the bike, but the wet roads and heavy clouds insured that was not a solid plan.

So Saturday ended up being a day of errands.  Hubs and I ran all over, not sure we really accomplished much.  Mostly just us time.  A few minor tasks were checked off the list.  We didn't want to get too engrossed in things, we were honored to attend the wedding of one of a member of my team that night. It was so beautiful! Watching a young couple start their life together made both of us feel thankful and blessed.  We know the joy that comes from being with your soul mate.

Sunday blew in clear, bright and crisp.  Was it really 70 degree's Saturday morning?  Had the day truly ended almost 40 degrees colder? Brrrrr

Hubs and I had a surprise date at the Fabulous Fox.  He's a huge Gloria Estefan fan, having met her she holds a place in his heart.  So off we went to see "On Your Feet".  We ended up with Orchestra pit seats, row one.  Not only was it an amazing show, but we didn't miss so much as a bead of sweat.  It was incredible. No one in front of us, clear view.

Followed by an amazing dinner at a local Turkish restaurant, Troy, it's family owned.  Mom and Grandma are the cooks the daughter waits tables and works with guests.  They actually serve on beautiful glass dishes, brew the tea from leaves, it's such a wonderful experience.  Sitting there listening to the voices surrounding me, I felt so blessed to live where I do.

The couple behind us sounded like they were Arabic.  The group across the room was carrying on a spirited discussion over a couple of bottles of wine in rapid Turkish.  They were all seniors, probably in their late 70's or better, they reminded me of living in Europe.  Where meals and friendships were treasured times. The group at the front was large and joyous.  Having a celebration of some kind, that actually involved the gift of fresh flowers and song.  The ages ranged from young to senior, laughter and chatter was filling the room.  It was toward the end when the soft songs started filling the air.  I have no idea what any of them were talking about, it didn't matter.  The joy of being with friends and loved ones can be heard regardless of the languages spoken. The tone, the looks, the laughter...

It was a great break to working on chores.  And trust me that chore list is LONG!

We started on painting the ceiling before the show, it's needed it since we moved in. I've been insisting that it's like someone dusting it with powder since the first few months. Once we started on it, and trust me it needed it.  There was the leak and whatever those huge spots in various places were.  It looked bad.  Once we started painting, we discovered exactly how bad it looked.  Either the previous owners were smokers or the ceilings had not been painted in 20 plus years.  Ewww...

Which winds back to waiting for our friend to join us for Bloody Mary's and brunch.

It was so nice to spend time laughing and sipping Bloody Mary's.  Noshing on boiled eggs sprinkled with sea salt infused with truffle oil and pastries from a little french bakery near her home, and random other treats. When she suggested that we should make it a vacation tradition I definitely could not disagree.

I am terrible at building friendships.  My natural "alone" nature often gets in the way.  In fact most of my best friends, the people that mean the most to me were the ones that kept me from sliding back into myself.  It's always a joy to spend time with people that have a natural gift of being wonderful!

After a day of laziness, it's time to get back to work.  That silly ceiling isn't going to paint itself and my boy will be home before I know it...  

Or... maybe it's time to go for a motorcycle ride...


The sun is just breaking over the beautiful Smoky Mountains.  Watching it set last night was breathtaking! Tomorrow I will get up and ...