Sunday, May 27, 2018

down back roads...

The sunshine was breaking through the slight haze left over from a night of occasional rain.  Our birds had discovered the the feeder and we now have a steady stream of them waiting their turn to come and munch on the seeds a bit of fiber to balance out their breakfast of worms and bugs. That was the start of a beautiful day.

We finally spent a day focused on riding, talking and simply enjoying one another. We rode with newer friends.  The first time we've ridden together, new friends, old favorite roads and sights.  Time for just us.

The temperature in the morning was so delightful, the perfect temperature for a ride.  By the time we headed home, not so much.  St. Louis is such a "joy" in the weather department. I am not a fan of hot weather.  I don't know that I will ever be.  I could definitely flourish somewhere with a moderate 70 degree range.


It was still perfect.  It wasn't a crowded morning when we crossed the bridge from Missouri into Illinois.  Hello Alton and the beautiful river road. I love the ride as much as Hubs, I just hate getting there. The miles of highway, the careless drivers, it's a bit stressful.  But once you arrive in Alton, it all changes.  The bridge across the Mississippi is beautiful and golden hued in the sun.  Hubs loves that road.  The eagles soaring high above the bluffs dark and silhouetted against the brilliant blue left after the clouds had cleared away.






As we rode along enjoying the beautiful morning, we had the chance to talk about dreams and things we'd love to do in our lives. I've recently read an article that is echoing in my head and heart.  It's about a life list.  Not a bucket list, that sounds morbid and depressing.  Here let me make a list of things to do before I die... ugghhh no thanks.  Instead I am working on making my list of 200 things I want to do to enrich my life. As I am moving along this journey to slowing down, to balance, I think it will help me to stay focused.  Hubs and I were chatting, I decided to ask him what his list would have.




Why can't he and I make a list together?

So for a few miles we chatted about dreams and hopes.  Wondering what things have been on our maybe someday list. Most of Hubs' was about riding in different places around the country.  Rides that he wanted to take, places to see and experience. While I love riding, I'm hoping his list was simply inspired by the journey we were currently on.  Because there is so much more to what I want to experience and do.  Some of it will definitely involve riding.  Some of it not so much.  As we were exploring what we want the future to hold for us it was more about experiences and adventures.  Things we want to learn and do.






Hubs mentioned that he still would love to get his pilots license.  I don't know why he doesn't do it. He mumbled something about the cost and needing so many hours.  I can't help but wonder what the real reason is.  He's been talking about it since I've known him.  He would also love to sky dive at least one more time.  Well, go ahead sweetie, that is one item on your list I will not be doing with you. But I will support your desire to do it!

My list is a bit different.  The list that I am using as my basis has many things on it that I have already done, so I feel that I have led a very successful life thus far.  But there are so many things that I still want to do.  Places I want to explore, adventures that I want to have.  I hope that by finally writing them all down, I can create an actual game plan to get there. Some will wait until the boys cross the rainbow bridge.  They are too senior for some of the adventures that we want to have.



Yesterday was all about exploring and enjoying the sunshine.  Today, it's supposed to top 100 degrees.  For me at least that means it's about pulling the shades and staying inside.  I am going to use this day to start my journey into decluttering my life. Hubs and I have rooms that we have not even remotely considered unpacking.  I avoid my sewing room like the plague, because the mess is overwhelming.  There are memories of things I truly planned to do some day, an assortment of fabrics I couldn't bring myself to part with because I was worried I would never have the money to buy more and "what if" I needed it for something.


I have a closet in the hall, it contains so many things that I don't want to deal with.  Blankets for beds I no longer have and will never have again.  Sheets that fit twin beds - and all of our children are grown and we do not have any of those.  I have cookbooks that I have literally not opened in decades.  It's time to clean it out. 

I need to stop being part of the consumerism society.  Shopping therapy does not bring me joy, it brings me stress. I often find myself now longing for the days that I didn't have anything. When even going out for dinner meant somewhere with $4 complete dinners and free refills on the drinks. I miss that.

About two weeks ago, I had a few organic potatoes sprout in the bin.  The frugal side of me was distraught, the knowledge seeking side of me questioned if I could actually plant them in one of my large empty planters and grow potatoes.  I don't know that they will actually end up being potatoes, but I will say that I am beyond excited with the growth and enjoying watching and documenting the progress.





These are the things that bring me joy.

According to Briggs Meyer I am an INFP, in a meme meant to make you laugh it says my personality type makes me an unemployable.  Because I am far too introverted.  That I love creativity and a quieter life.  Unemployable?  That simply made me laugh.  Most of the rest of it, is fairly spot on.

Today will find me starting a fantastic journey. I hope that Hubs will join me on it and find the same energy and passion that I do from it.  I doubt it though.  He's perfectly happy either lost in movies and fantasy or on his motorcycle.  He doesn't delight in planting gardens to watch what happens, in creating for the sake of the experience.  And he definitely is not a fan of making soaps and bath bombs.  Yet today will find me making soap, experimenting with my first true batch of shaving soap, the kind that will harden and leave sweet Hubs with massive bubbles as he uses his brush in his old shaving cup.  That is what brings him joy.

I might even through a few seeds in a variety of planters that are sitting out on the deck.  Giving them a drink and seeing what I end up with.



Well, the dandelion infused oil is almost done (again - made sure it wasn't rancid this time) and shortly I will make my dandelion soap.  I'm excited for the journey. Maybe it will be beautiful enough to share, maybe it will simply be a gentle soap that Hubs and I will use to nourish our own skin.

It's time for the day to begin... anyone else on a journey to themselves?



Friday, May 25, 2018

ever changing...

Life.

Nature.

Beauty and violence all in one. I might get a tad overly emotional where things involving life are concerned.  I understand that I am not a vegetarian and eat meat.  I assure you if I had to kill it myself, I would completely be a vegetarian again.  I guess that makes me a bit of a hypocrite. I get it, I own it.

Last night we came home from the annual Lamplighter Gala.  All dressed up from the event, I let Neeko out front for his evening potty break so Hubs could go upstairs.  That disc in his back is wreaking havoc on him and he needed to lay down. 

Our resident momma robin dived bombed our heads as usual when we come out the door.  Turning around to go in my heart stopped and I screamed. 

I hate snakes, its a fear that goes beyond rational.  I've tried to over come it, but just can't seem to do so. There to my side, climbing up the wall in the near darkness was a large black snake - at least two feet long, although woven in and out of my siding he sure looked bigger. 

Momma bird's frantic attempt to save her baby overwhelmed me and for a moment I forgot my fear, grabbed a broom and tried to help her, pulling it away. Unfortunately I'm short  and even wearing heels had to get Hubs. 

Hubs was finally able to get the snake down, but not before it had gulped up the sweet little hatchling. It couldn't have been more than a day old, if that. 

I felt such sorrow for momma robin.  I don't know if she felt it also, I guess it isn't right to ascribe human emotions to animals, but who are we to say they don't have them.

I know that my Gator can display a myriad of emotions when looking at me.  There is rarely doubt as to his wants and needs.

Part of my slowing down journey is savoring walks with the boys. 

They are both seniors, extreme seniors.  For their breeds they should both be gone, given Gator's cancer, he's a flipping miracle.  We've really been watching them slow down over the past six months or so, that twenty minute walk can be over forty now.  There have been many times in the past few months that I have caught myself in my hurry to be busy getting frustrated with the length of the walk.  Instead of having empathy for the old guys, I was fretting about all the stuff that was bogging me down.

I read something, somewhere a while ago that challenged me to remember that their walks were not for me, but for them.  It was their chance to experience life, to move at the speed they wanted and to allow them to savor all that was around.  Because their moments on earth are brief and will be gone in a flash.

I also read a fascinating article yesterday about re-learning the art of lingering. I realized as I was soaking, doctor ordered (how ironic), that I have lost that art.  If I ever had it fully. I remember once being rather catty about my ex and stating "he could relax himself into a coma". The truth was, he knew how to relax and linger and I was too uptight, even then, always has a busy list going.

So this morning Gator and I lingered.  Neeko isn't as much of a lingerer yet.  He's slowed down significantly, but his long legs mean he naturally covers more ground. Gator's strolls wear Neeko out! Hubs had an appointment for his back this morning, so he and Neeks left earlier.  At 18 Gator felt the need to sleep in a bit and then the legs didn't want to coordinate on the stairs, so I helped him down. He usually does great, but one misstep and its a belly slide down.  Today I saw the fear in his big brown eyes as he tried to right himself.  That top heavy pit chest pushing him forward as he tried to sort it out. Nothing stopped him from melting into my arms to be helped down the stairs.

As it was just he and I, we enjoyed his stroll. We didn't got nearly as far as we used to, he gets tired before he reaches the "mountain" (a small hill) that he and Hubs used to love to climb so that he could survey his kingdom.  We had several stops to rest on the way back.  We enjoyed the cool morning.

Needless to say I had plenty of time to observe nature.  The beauty and the brutality. Everywhere I looked there were birds, I see so many beautiful cardinals, mourning doves and sparrows.  There are finches and crows, egrets and so many other's that I cannot identify.  In the distance I heard our owls conversing in the tree tops, probably saying good night as the sun was rising. As I stopped with the old guy I really paused to pay attention.  I was watching tiny birds chasing away the bigger birds with a ferocity that seemed unreal. I watched the calls and courting back and forth. I saw a few birds gathering bugs and worms in the freshly watered lawns, probably taking some of it back to nests.

Walking past one driveway on our spectacular stroll we discovered a LONG half inch wide row of the tiniest black ants.  Busy as can be.  Following the trail we discovered them dismantling a fairly large beetle, lying on it's back flailing it's legs.  They were literally eating it alive. There were thousands of them at the very least, that poor beetle did not stand a chance.  Whatever had caused him to be on his back had lead him to be as vulnerable as the tiny baby bird last night.

Hubs is right, it's a circle of life.  I'm still a bit sensitive to it all. I doubt that I will ever not be.  Truth is, I don't know that I want to.

In fact this slowing down and savoring life... It's good stuff.

I know my boys are on the final leg of their journey's with us.  Three and a half years ago I sobbed when the vet told me that the most I would have with Gator would be three months, that they couldn't operate on his cancer due to his age the risk was too great.  To go home and love him.  So I have. We almost lost Neeks almost two years ago. God knew we weren't done loving them.  I don't know that we will be when they finally leave us to wait at the rainbow bridge. But I do know that I will have savored, lingered, snuggled and enjoyed my sweet babies.

For a nano second I regretted not having my phone handy to take some photos.  Instead I took them with my mind and heart.  I'm re-learning to be present. Not everything needs a picture.  So much of it needs to be felt.

I'm still not happy about the snake.  I understand he just wanted dinner.  But I truly hate snakes.  They make my ever loving skin crawl.  In fact I was shaking for almost an hour last night.  Icky, slimy, slithery things. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

a new path

The base of my head is throbbing, it's been that way for a few weeks now.

My arms are heavy, my leg is swelling and my exhaustion factor is completely through the roof.

Yep, my fibro is racing towards a full blown flare.  Doc confirmed it yesterday.  Slow down.  Rest more. Can you pass off some of your stressers? Yoga? Hot baths with Epsom salt?

Can I?

Honestly, I'm surprised I made it this far.  The way this year has gone, I'm surprised it didn't tackle me and lay me out months ago. In the almost three months since Dad has been gone so much has happened.  There haven't been quiet moments.  There hasn't been any down time.

I'm sitting in the quiet of my living room.  It's dark and comforting in the silence.

I'm worn.

I've found myself on the verge of tears too many times in the past few days.  Not truly sure why, but deep down knowing it's a mix of mental and physical exhaustion.  Too much without the tools to absorb it or the strength to battle it.

Yesterday morning sitting outside for the tiny window of time allotted, sipping hot coffee and relaxing with Hubs while watching the birds darting back and forth snatching morsels from the feeder that the squirrels have finally been banished from, I felt calm and centered.

Sadly it didn't last nearly long enough to impact the changes that I desperately need at this time. There have been so many negative things lately. Too many. I'm longing for a chance to simply make it all stop. Not enough time with Hubs, behind in everything I am trying to accomplish - personal and professional, rarely is there time with the boys or the family.  Who on earth even has the energy to include friends in that bubble.

This morning held another snippet of time.  Our girl joined us for a few moments, she's busy capitalizing on both of her girls sleeping in.

Today was different though.  I started my morning slowly, like my Doc recommended.  A couple of yoga poses, legs up the wall is the most amazing one where my poor leg and lower back are concerned.  And I can't thank my favorite Yogi enough for introducing me to it.

We deliberately let the old guy lead the walk.  He's so very slow now, I don't know that it is out of necessity - he can pour on the speed when he wants to, or if he's taking more time to sniff every blade of grass and savor each moment.  Today, I didn't rush him. I let him enjoy.  Nothing is more important than that. Especially as the afternoon walks are so short right now.  It's just too hot for a long one.

I've never had a doc prescribe a soak twice a day.  But if it will help, I am game.  She's a relatively new doc for me, I got her by accident, but I immediately fell in love with her style and compassion.  She understands that I will not take medications except in dire circumstances - that horrible sinus infection for example. And instead of chastising me, she is working with me on a more holistic approach.  She may be my hero.  So shortly I will go and soak and meditate for a bit before facing the day.

I just finished reading a book. Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver.  I enjoyed it immensely.  In fact it is the first book I have read in a very long time that wasn't required reading.  As an avid reader, that has been something lacking in my life. I am not sure if I enjoyed the book or the actual act of turning pages more.

I am not sure where I saw it recommended, but I will say that I immediately felt drawn to read it.  So much so that I ordered it almost immediately and carved out time to do it.  It became a priority for me.

I'm loaning it to one of the B's today, but I will be reading it again when I get it back. It speaks to this journey that I am finding myself on.  I need to find the way back to me, I've wandered a bit.  I've become some of the very things that I do not want to be.

I spend far too much of my time working. Too much time being busy.  I've lost the art of lingering.  And being busy is not working for me.  Because I am no longer able to be busy at the things that matter. My sewing machines sit still, I rarely have yarn gliding through my fingers, I am working on finding enough moments to enjoy my children and grand children, and loving on my boys.

I miss taking the time to cook a fabulous dinner and then sitting around with loved ones enjoying it.  The pure bliss of fresh baked bread. Or coffee and a fresh from the oven baked treat.  Everything is rushed now. All the moments are blurring together.

I miss walks.  Not walks for fitness or as a way of exercise, but simple walks.  Along a riverbed, in a park, at the zoo, down a city street or a quiet forest.  Simply the act of walking and being.  As I read her book I found myself remembering so many things that used to bring me unbridled joy that I don't even make time for anymore.

And I am now on a journey back. The pure act of being busy is not doing me any good.  I am not soaring like an eagle and I am allowing things that aren't me to define me. For too long I have been allowing my own voice, thoughts, and feelings to be silenced for the greater good as defined by others.

That time ended.

My health is suffering, my soul is suffering, my relationships are suffering.

It's going to be a rough and tumble journey.  I don't expect it to be easy or pleasant all the time.  Change is tough.  But it's a change I desperately want and need. In the process of leaving things behind, I fully expect to gain so much more.

More time and adventures with Hubs.  More light, love and happiness.  More memories with my babies and their babies.  Hubs and I can describe in detail every adventure we had in Germany, Austria and Belgium.  Everything fit in a backpack.  Those memories are etched in our minds and hearts.  We need more memories and less stuff.

The journey is beginning...

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

my tribe...

Walking the boys this morning, we got to enjoy a beautiful sunrise.  Each of us only have so many in our lifetime if we are blessed and I enjoy each one as much as each sunset.  I did not bring my camera so I wasn't able capture the rare beauty we saw.

One Tin Soldier - The Original Caste

I'm going to show my age a bit here... this song from the 60's talks about a kingdom on a mountain.

Where we live, rivers have been carving out bluffs and valleys for millennium. We live and walk our dogs at the top of one of those "mountains" and in the distance to the east is another one.  As the sun rose this morning, it was a glorious mixture of pink, red, gold and white.  The foggy mist from the valley in between made the distant bluff look even more majestic than usual.  The spirals rising appeared to be a long forgotten kingdom on a mountain and the darn song has been in my head ever since.

It was cool and pleasant so we strolled at a pretty leisurely pace.  Gator was his usual pokey self and Neeko is slowing down dramatically these past few months.  With the song in my head and a bit of residual disappointment lingering in my heart I might have been a bit wrapped up in thoughts this morning and not really very talkative.

Was I meant to see that sunrise in my present state of mind?

The song for those of you too young to remember is about peace.  Ironically.  In a round about way.  It was an anti-war anthem from the 60's. But if you listen to the lyrics carefully they still apply today.  Maybe not about a war, although there are plenty of them to pick from.  But more so in how we treat each other.

Monday was a day long training for us and the focus seemed to be on compassion, empathy, and again, how we treat each other.  In the long run that is simply all that matters.  These are all things that have been weighing very heavily on me. My head and heart are hurting.  Everywhere I turn I am seeing more and more things that are making me deeply depressed about the state of our world. I keep struggling to see those little rays of hope and humanity. They are taking far more work to locate than I can even deal with lately.

What is the treasure that we all have buried beneath our stone?  Are we all living in peace?  Is it a gift we are willing share?  Or are we all becoming valley people?  Looking for riches, fame and self betterment at the risk of destroying any and everyone that comes across our path?

It doesn't seem to matter what socio-economic class you belong to, what religion you claim as your own, color and gender don't make that much difference, and if you take a moment to have a conversation without asking in advance you will find that most of us have basically the same political beliefs that are not defined by others but by the heart.  Too many have forgotten that we are all part of the same race.

Human.

It seems that we've forgotten that none of us are getting out of this life alive.  And sadly it feels that far too many have decided that their path to happiness involves the destruction of another. I'm so worn by all of the deaths, that don't need to happen.  There are streets in almost every major city where innocent people are dying daily from another's self serving act.  We've become a nation that is soaked in excuses for behaviors that are abhorrent. I'm tired of trying to make sense of the parents and friends that want all of us to believe little Johnny is truly a good boy and he really didn't mean to kill an innocent person.

Or that we as people have absolved ourselves of personal responsibility. We seem to have far more takers than givers.  Everywhere you turn is someone else wanting something that the will not put any effort into working for.

Not every person that is homeless has been through a traumatic situation nor are they mentally unstable.  Some are comfortable with their current state, preferring it to holding a job and having responsibilities.  An unpopular belief, but I actually do speak from very fact based personal experience.  And honestly, there are times that I can completely understand and appreciate the mind set. Not that I am willing to walk away from all the comforts that I enjoy, but there are times when I see a meme about running away and living on a beach or mountain alone somewhere that I can completely appreciate the freedom that would come with it.

This isn't meant to say any of those things are bad.  It's to ask, what is peace on earth. Is it all about the rat race?  Or is it about taking a few moments out of your life each day to make a true difference in this crazy, mixed up world?  Shutting off the news that seems to be written and shared with the intent of highlighting dissent and dividing us as humans? Hubs always reminds me when I stress about the news that the mantra has long been "if it bleeds, it leads".

Are we taking that moment to have a conversation or offer a beverage to someone that is not like us?  Offering comfort or conversation could be a tipping point in someone's life.

I know far too many "do gooders" that fall into the same categories.  Are they truly doing good from their hearts, with a goal of love and peace? Or is it from a place of judgement and superiority?

"go ahead and hate your neighbor"...

or maybe...

Where are the stories about the kids in the city planting a community garden in conjunction with their elders?  So that there are fresh vegetables for all? What if the older community that no longer works got together to provide a safe place for parents to leave their children so that they could go to work and or school.  What if we were all just a bit kinder and did more to help each other.

It isn't about stuff.  It's about quality of life. On judgement day I have a firm belief that no one is going to ask the size of your home, the quality of the stereo in your car, how much money you earned and the luxury vacations you took.  There is no inventory sheet that tallys your life's possessions.

I believe the tally sheet is how did you treat others.  How did you treat children and animals? Did you follow the golden rule (every religion has a variation of it)? Or were you selfish and greedy? Did you spend your time wisely on your loved ones?  Or did you allow other things to steal that time?  I have to admit that is something I am seriously struggling with myself.  I made the choice to allow work to be a top priority for over a year.  I didn't make the effort to go see my Mom and Dad, because I was "too busy" and there would always be another time... lesson learned.  There isn't always going to be another time. There has to be a balance.

I know this is an odd blog, but I guess I am living in an odd place mentally right now. I want to live on the mountain top, I want to be willing and able to share peace, love and comfort with everyone.  Can't we start a movement like that?  Where is my tribe?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

making a life...

When the wind picks up it's almost refreshing out.  Without it, it's just hot and muggy.  I am so not a fan of this Midwest climate. It's going to be another hot one today.  Not really my thing, but at least it will keep me inside and allow me to complete some of the things I have been longing to do... or not...

I've had the olive oil and dandelions infusing at a soft boil for the past two hours.  The dandelion tea is done.  I was incredibly excited to make a batch of soap. I cleaned up the kitchen and got it ready for some serious soaping.  And as it's nice and not raining, I am planning on a batch or two of bath bombs. 

But now I am simply feeling a bit bummed out.  I didn't catch it until it heated that the olive oil had gone rancid.  It smells awful! I don't want my beautiful soap to smell like that.  I did the research, everything says I can still use it, just need to super saponify or I can wash it in brine to remove the scent. Super saponification is going to lead to a very drying soap, kind of defeats the purpose of using the dandelions don't you think?  And I'm afraid the brine will also remove all the benefit of the dandelions.  So now I'm at square one again. Guess I am going to pick another cup of dandelions.  The bee's are going to revolt... Thank goodness they grow so fast.

Maybe I will resort to something less detailed, as I truly just want to make some soaps and try out all of my new molds.  I was hoping to make a batch or so of hot process also, so I don't have to deal with the patience part of things.

And I also need to go and buy a lawnmower.  Ours is a total piece of... well you get it.  And we hired a lawn care crew.  Which I am firing today.  I don't mind spending the money to have my yard mowed, but when they are as inconsistent of these guys and my front lawn is deeper than my short guys chest?  They are doing a lousy job and they are not inexpensive.  I've had kids to a better job than this company is.



I have to admit though that even with the rampant frustrations today is bringing.  Bitter oil, deep lawn, Hubs busy working for hours... It sure did start off excellent!  I had a message from my boy, something that is rare, he's busy living his life far away, so to wake up to that gift was priceless.  And my sweet (?) girl gifted me with an awesome yarn bowl to make me smile!  I got to talk to my own mom and I feel blessed to be able to do so.


Despite the challenges, I am feeling very grateful for my new found devotion to getting deeper involved in living my own life and remembering that other things are not the core, they are the outer rings.  They are not my own personal why.  They are not the items that define who I am as a human.

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a gramma, a friend to many, and possibly a nemesis to some.  But over all... I am a human being on a journey that only I can define.  I'm enjoying discovering that! For too long, I've allowed the non-important to define the important.  Who I am and my contribution to my own life and happiness cannot be graded or judged by anyone except for me.  And when you start living to achieve other's goals and desires of you, you stop being able to reach for your own happiness and inner peace.


None of us get out of this life alive.  And I am starting to fully understand that the little check marks that others are making do not define who we are or where we ultimately end up.  This is just a season in time.  And the best thing any of us can do, is love the people that are important to us.  Spend quality time doing things together. None of us need a ton of gifts and clutter in our homes, we need time, experiences, and most importantly love.



Celebrate this mother's day.  If your mom is still here, let her know you love her, if not celebrate the gifts she gave you while she was. Let your loved ones know their value.  Because all too soon, you can only send those and thoughts to silence.  Love and cherish while you can!

Time to go and celebrate my day... Best wishes to all of you!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

dandelions...

Ugghhh... two weeks ago it was still cold and we were shivering.

It seemed that spring was never going to come.  In fact I was actually considering moving south.

Me.

South.

I know.  The absolute insanity of that is a bit mind boggling.

Then blink, turn a corner, open the door and suddenly summer.

We absolutely skipped spring this year.  All the trees are in full bloom, flowers everywhere, and oh yeah, the heat.  It went from cold and shivery to hot and humid almost overnight.

And oddly, I'm not hating it.  I mean, I am not at all loving it.  But, it isn't hot enough yet to say I'm hating it.

Hubs and I have been trying to enjoy family a bit more. We spent yesterday evening enjoying our daughter, grand daughters and her friends.  It was silly and fun, a nice evening in the cool breeze laughing and enjoying nothingness.  It was well needed.

I decided this morning that I want to make dandelion soap.  Walking the boys seeing so many dandelion's I felt confident the bees wouldn't mind much.  After all everyone was mowing them down and the fields are a bright yellow.  One and a half cup's of flowers is simply not that much.

I will have a tray of them wilting tonight, and dandelion tea brewing shortly.  It will be a hot process soap, so there will be none of that tedious waiting.  I hate to wait 6 weeks.  It seems like such a long time.

Oddly, it also seems that 6 weeks flies past when you have come to the back side of it.  Still, I expect I will enjoy having a new soap to try in the next few days.

I don't have time to work on too many soaps or bath bombs today.  We are going to be heading to a friends wedding down south today.  I cannot wait to share in their happiness. They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever been blessed to know. Actually, there are two couples that I adore getting married today.  Today is for them.

Tomorrow will be for me.

Tonight, we will celebrate love.

I would say that love is exactly what my sweet Hubs demonstrated standing outside in the humidity helping me gather my dandelions. I so enjoy the time we spend together. We used to spend a lot more time together.  At one time we spent every free moment doing wood working, fishing, riding.  There hasn't been much time together lately, and I think we are both missing it.

Because I have no idea why he would be willing to go out in the humidity and pick dandelions.  I'm laughing a bit thinking of it.  I mean after all, I doubt it was to smoke his cigar. 

We are doing everything we can to have more us time.  This morning we drove all the way into the city simply so he could have a Pharaohs donut. I mean they are amazing donuts, but still... I'd been telling him that he would love them! When you are willing to drive that far simply to spend time together, you definitely aren't spending enough time doing what is important.  We were going to ride the scooter in, but that humidity is taxing on me and he understood how miserable it would make me feel.  That my dear friends is love, because my sweet Hubs doesn't easily decide to not ride if the sun is out.

Take some time for your loved ones, and please remember that you are a loved one too!  It's time to get my oil fusing and the dandelion tea made before I go see my dear friend marry her best friend!  Life is good, you sometimes just have to look past the bumps to find the beauty.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

my journey...

As I am exploring my own journey, I am finding myself seriously questioning many things about our modern world.

My Dad's death has really put a laser focus on things for me.  We didn't see it coming, not at first.  There were many things we still wanted to do, places to go, dinners to have, holiday's to celebrate.

Listening to the news here in St. Louis this past week has been incredibly sobering.  So many deaths.  A man celebrating his birthday - a newlywed with two young children. Gone.  A fourteen and a sixteen year old.  Gone.  What kind of society are we creating? 

I am starting to look at things in a very different light.  I've truly enjoyed my week off.  I've had relaxing time with my family.  This weekend, even though the reason was sad, I spent time with all of my sisters and my mom.  I have spent hours creating.  And even more hours engrossed in the fine art of doing nothing.

I've really been struggling with keeping my social media and possibly stopping writing my blog.  I haven't decided on those two yet.  I guess it will depend on how much energy they zap from me.

I've listened to Hubs deal with the same struggles I am.  Although I don't think he has reached the same spot that I have. He's still struggling to be everything to everyone.  It makes me sad. He has desperately needed this time to regroup.  He hasn't really gotten it.

When did we become a society that is always on call?  That is expected to respond to everything immediately?  I remember in my children's lifetimes leaving my home for hours on end and not speaking to anyone that wasn't immediately with me. I remember long walks in the woods with our dog Raja.  The only sounds breaking the soft silence would be the sounds of nature. A bird chirping, the rustle of a deer or occasionally the not distant enough rumble of a boar.  Every now and then I would hear a hunter's gun, but I never worried about it.

I'm as guilty as the rest of the world.  The very things that connect us... they are dividing us also.  How many times do we pull out our phones while having dinner or waiting somewhere.  The silence that used to be filled with conversation is now filled with surfing the internet, playing games, checking email.

For days I've heard a song playing in my head.  Talking about going back to a simpler time.  Gotta Go Back - Joey and Rory.  Getting our lives on track. 

For a long time my life hasn't been on track.  It's been on a wheel like you see in a rodent cage.  I keep running faster and faster, but there hasn't been any progress.  I've been checking off boxes on a never ending to do list.

I need to pull the pins that are holding my track in a circle.  Take a torch to the seams.  It's what needs to happen.

I was talking to one of my "b's" yesterday.  We were talking about this crazy world we are now living in.  How people don't treat each other very nicely and some of the outrageous things we have both witnessed and heard lately.  Marveling repeatedly over the death and violence that seems to be running rampant.

It's overwhelming.  I can't fathom it.  I told her that I really wanted to write a blog about it, but I seriously could not sort out my thoughts about it enough to do so. 

I don't know where all of this disconnect stems from, but it really is overwhelming to witness, to be part of, to simply exist in.

We all seem so busy.  There isn't time to simply stop.

A day of rest seems like you are doing something wrong. Keeping your work day in an 8 hour or so window seems to be a thing of the past. One of my new directors didn't have an opener and her new closer hasn't started yet.  She seriously told me that she planned to work both shifts.  Mentally, my jaw dropped. I told her no.  I would work the evening as she was opening.  I've done that open to close thing.  It was brutal and frankly, I checked out half way through the day out of sheer exhaustion. Was I excited to close?  Not really - I am not a night owl and seriously struggle with being up past 8 or 9 at the latest on week nights. But I definitely preferred that to her sacrifice.  Ended up she was able to find a closer.  I am still feeling sad that she felt that was her only option.

It's all about balance.

It's about simplicity.

Maybe as a country we are sliding into a black hole that values things more than people.  I mean look at the lines every time the newest iPhone comes out.  Do they stand in line like that to take their children to the park?  Do we put our phones on silent in the bottom of our bags when we are out enjoying our families and friends? 

I'd like to say I didn't check my work email even once while I was out.  It would be a lie.  I was more selective than usual, but I didn't ignore it. 

Unbusy. 

I need to practice this a lot more.  I need to use my time and energy far more wisely.  Yesterday I was so busy "catching up" that I never even stopped for lunch.  I made a quick stop at the cemetery on my way in, to turn in the paperwork to get Dad's headstone ordered, and then I didn't stop again until almost 6 pm.  Munching on a few crisps and drinking too much coffee.

By the time I got home, all I could think about was the fact that I was shaking and exhausted.  Was I my best all day?  Probably not.  Especially when I felt torn in 20 different directions.  So much to catch up on that I was regretting my vacation. As I worked through any breaks that might have made me more productive I felt more and more like I was spiraling out of control.

I am working on prioritization. I have a great team and I am able to delegate more.  I simply have a fear of overwhelming them too soon. I am working on that.

After all of that I barely had the energy to cook dinner and I didn't even bother to do any of the other things on my list.  My fibro is threatening to flare, so I simply went to bed.  Too tired to even consider all the items that my personal self wanted to accomplish.

I'm still processing where I am with continuing my blog.  I'm still sorting out where I need to be and the journey that I need to take.  So for the first time in a very long time... I'm going day by day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Happy Birthday in Heaven...

It's his birthday.

A day that I've been dreading.  Today my Daddy would have been 75.  He's been gone for almost 2 full months.  I expected something very different from this day.  I expected a sharp pain.  I expected to look at his pictures and find myself overwhelmed.

It's not. The sense of loss is very real.  I want to call him and wish him a happy birthday.  But the phones simply won't reach.  My heart hurts. I would love to ask him what he planned to do today.  And laugh as he listed where he wanted to go for breakfast and what he would have.  He loved to start the day with breakfast out.

I hope that in heaven they serve his favorites.

Hubs and I are going to honor his day by making it another Do Nothing Day. 

A do nothing day is a good way to make your heart feel stronger. 

I am slowly learning that. 

Happy Birthday Daddy! 

I wish you were still here...

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

do nothing days

I have adjusted the settings on my Facebook account. 

I've deleted any and everything that is negative, divisive or energy depleting.

I am working on finding the joy in life.  I am looking for a different path. 

I've been in a spiral for a bit, even before I lost my Dad.  I've had an immense amount of negativity coming at me from numerous directions.  I thought I was handling it well.  Reality, I wasn't.

I was absorbing it all.  I was allowing it to steal my joy in life. I had been swimming in a downward swirl.  Trying to smile through it all, while allowing others to define who I am and what I am in search of in life. I was allowing other people to take their anger and frustrations out on me personally.  Understanding that they had issues they were trying to work through. Without thinking about the damage I was doing to myself.  Me, personally.  I kept focusing on the greater good.

Guess what. 

I've come to the conclusion that none of us can focus on the greater good, unless we are solid, stable and balanced in the individual good. I've watched friends and peers seem to always have time for everything, while others seem like me and always scrambling. I wanted more of what the others had.

Hubs and I used to spend our mornings sitting by a fire, sipping coffee and enjoying not only each other's company but also our boys.  There were months where our mornings consisted of a nice long walk, caring for our own health. Mental and physical.  At some point over the past two years our mornings have switched.  No longer do we simply enjoy life.

We rush our boys through their morning walks, neglecting the fact that they are both extreme seniors and we will all too soon miss those long dragged out walks.  Instead we focus on rushing through, missing the beauty of the moment.  We're in a hurry to get to work.  We are both feeling an overwhelming need to push harder to keep up with an ever expanding to do list.

We used to stop and enjoy lunches together.  They were never long enough, but they were quality time to stop, laugh with friends and connect. Now it's a great day if there is fifteen minutes to eat in between things needing our attention.

And we are not even going to talk about dinners.  The days of working together to create a nice dinner together and simply enjoying the time together seems to have left as well.  Most nights it's a quasi argument over where to grab something quick that will be semi-tasty, as well not completely deadly to the waistline.

That is just meal times. 

As I walked through our beautiful home this morning, I longed for the old one.  Not because I loved it, I didn't.  In fact it gave me serious claustrophobia.  But I long for bike rides, walks, bitter cold mornings with a warm fire in the fire pit.  I am longing for the things that we no longer have time or energy to enjoy.

I used to create, cook, garden.  For too long know those things have been tucked away waiting for some day.  I have a long list of recorded shows that I've been trying to find the time to relax and enjoy. So many things waiting for some day.

I need to make some day, become today.  Because none of us get some day.  We have to seize the moment or all that is left is a stack of some days for our survivors to sort through.

Friday started a long needed vacation.  No one coming to visit, not too many set plans, just time to chill out. To re-balance ourselves.  To follow through with all of the things we've been neglecting.

I took a short trip this weekend to see my Mom and two of my sisters.  For the first time in far too LONG it was a time of nothing.  Hubs stayed home to finish up some projects to finally get himself to a place of peace where work was concerned.

We did a lot of things, but none of it was "important" to anyone except us.  I took my youngest grand daughter with me.  For the first time in her short little life, she had 100% of grandma's attention.  We played and learned each other.  She was so wonderful.  So few tears, so many laughs and giggles. 


My Mom needed time with that little one.  She's been longing for those moments.  My Dad was so in love with her for some reason.  And even though she barely met him, she walked the house looking at pictures of him and saying Pa (Dad was always Papa to his grand kids).




I spent time teaching my niece how to make bath bombs.  Helped my sister make her first two batches of soap.  Helped my other sister figure out the challenge she was having with a beautiful afghan that she is making - brave woman!  I hate making afghans, ironically, I don't have the patience.


We didn't really go anywhere, we didn't function on a schedule.  I stayed up late talking to my Mom, remembering the past, talking about dreams for the future, pondering how we were going to survive this week.  Knowing that we will put some of Dad's ashes in the ground on Saturday.  Knowing none of us felt strong enough to deal with it all, yet feeling we have to.  It was what Dad wanted.


It felt like a gift from heaven.  As I headed home yesterday, for the first time in far too long, I felt human. I felt refreshed.

I'd received an email telling me my ring was heading to my home the same as I was.  My ring has my Daddy's ashes incorporated into it.  I would have him home with me.

Returning baby bear to her Mommy was bitter sweet.  I'd enjoyed my time with her, I didn't really want to end that time. Yet, I was ready for grown up time. 

My ring was waiting and so was a glass of wine.


Opening the packet with my ring in it my hands were shaking.  I was excited and sad at the same time.  I could feel the anxiety in my heart.  It's beautiful.  And slipping it on my finger I felt peace.  It was just me, alone in the garage, because I was too excited to wait.


It's bigger than I expected, the weight is evident.  For someone that usually goes with smaller jewelry it almost seemed extreme.  Yet it feels comforting.  I can't wait to slide it back on my finger this morning.

Today, the weather is going to be amazing.

Hubs and I are going to enjoy a "do nothing" day.  I don't mean that we won't be doing anything.  I've already done the only thing that I had to do, a phone meeting.  The rest of the day is simply white space on our calendars. I read an article about do nothing days, and the need for them in our lives.  I agree.  We need more of those and less of schedules. 

Shortly I'll shower, put on my riding clothes and Hubs and I will head for the river road.  Lunch will happen at the winery and we will cruise through the beauty of spring.  Hubs calls it "wind therapy".  I don't disagree. There will be time for chores later.  We need some unstructured time. Just the two of us.

I need to re-balance.  I'm working on it. Hubs is working on it, as he takes a short nap near me, his gentle snores reminding me of long ago vacations when we'd hide in our camper down in Sullivan.

my tribe...

The fireplace is dark, the house is silent.  Hubs hasn't stirred yet, but his phone alerts woke me up over an hour ago.  It was all th...