Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hello 2014

I saw a cartoon on a friends Facebook page today that said "I can't believe it's been a year since I didn't become a better person".  I giggled, sure, but there is also such a ring of truth in that statement regarding resolutions.  I usually set the same two resolutions every year.  Number one, don't tailgate.  Number two, stop saying fuck so much. I usually do pretty well on the first one, but fail on number two every year.  Actually last year I did resolve to write more.  At least once a week.  I've not blogged since April, so that lets you know how well I tackled that resolution.  Actually I wish I had written more.  I love to write and have always dreamed of being a writer.  I thought about doing it, but there always seemed to be some distraction, or I really just couldn't put what I wanted to say into written word.  I am going to try and write more in 2014 but only time will tell. 

I  have also decided that I am cutting as much negative energy out of my life as I can.  For the most part that means getting rid of Facebook friends who bring me down or get me riled up.  Most of these folks aren't really my friends anyway, just people I knew way back when in one way or another.  Today I cleaned out my friend list and I feel great about it.  No more whining, negative, offensive posts in my newsfeed.  That has to be a great way to start the year, right. 

I'm also going to work harder at learning to live and let live.  I often find myself being far too judgmental of others. It is not a good quality at all, but I'm owning it and now going to do my best to purge it. 

So those are my "resolutions".  I'm setting them loosely since like most folks, I am probably going to fail at keeping them and I don't need another reason to negative self talk.  Oh, wait, there is another one, try to treat myself with more love and kindness.  Gosh, how many is that now?  I'll lose the tailgating one, I really have changed that behavior, so maybe I can manage to sort of keep the remaining ones.  Really, isn't, the only resolution any of should set is to try and be a better person than you were yesterday?  Pretty simple, really. 

So, come on 2014 I am ready for you.  I know like all years you will bring great joys as well as great heartbreaks.  There will be births and deaths and illnesses.  There will be job changes and breakups, marriages and divorces.  There will be some natural disaster somewhere, terrorist attacks, some whacko shooting up a school or business.  Our government will continue to be dysfunctional on both sides of the aisle.  There will be wonderful accomplishments by athletes, the Olympics are on the way.  There will be trips and laughter with friends and tears with friends, too.  My point is, this year will be like all other years that have come before, a mish mash of life events.  My wish is that you truly live each day to the fullest, no matter what that day may bring.  Cherish every day of 2014, in a blink it will be over and I will be saying to myself "I can't believe it has been a year since I didn't become a better person". 

I sincerely wish you and yours a wonderful 2014!  God bless!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

On The Home Front

I go back to work on Monday after spending four weeks recuperating from what my surgeon called a "giant" ventral hernia surgery.  Spending a month at home, with only the occasional outing to meet a friend for lunch, or go to the doctor left me with a lot of time with only myself for company.  Like 99% of most of the women I know, I spend way too much time in my head and during all this alone time I was rambling around in there like a teen scream queen in a haunted mansion. 

I made a discovery or two about myself and that is good, even though some of them may not be the most positive.  That is okay though, that knowledge gives me the power to work on internal changes.  I learned the time spent looking out my back windows into my suburban back yard really brought me great pleasure and made me feel close to my late grandmother.  Her sewing machine sat in front of a window looking over her back yard and she spent hours there.  I called her just about every day while she was living.  I would ask her how her day had been and she would always answer with some delightful thing she had seen through the window.  She'd say "I watched two of God's baby squirrels play in the trees today, they are truly acrobats" or "I saw God's mockingbird building a nest today". I actually remember feeling sorry for her at times because her world was so small.  Over these last few weeks, I've discovered that my back yard world is a huge as the universe.  I will miss my windows when I go back to my cave of an office on Monday. 

I've always been an avid reader, but with working full time and managing a home, I only get to squeeze in a half an hour or so each day of reading during the week.  Weekends are full of errands and yard work and socializing.  I rediscovered the joy of kicking back with a good book and losing yourself in it for hours.  Several friends sent me books to read while I recovered and while I have not gotten through them all, I plan to begin finding more time to devote to quiet reading and savor each book like it deserves. 

I fell in love with my home during this time off. It isn't the newest or grandest house, there are cracks in the walls, the grout in the bathrooms really needs to be cleaned, lots of trim needs a coat of paint, but it is comfortable.  I spent time in every room while I've been off (except Kim's office, I am nearly certain that Jimmy Hoffa is in there under all that mess).  Usually we live in the den like most folks, but since I had to sleep in the recliner in that room most of my time off, I didn't want to spend my days in there, too.  I ate in the dining room.  I read or napped in the living room.  I sat in the comfy chair in our bedroom and read or talked with friends on the phone.  I propped myself up on the bed in the guest room and played games on the iPad.  I enjoyed my house and gave thanks daily for being able to have such a comfortable home. 

I'm not mentally or financially ready to retire, but spending this last month at home has been a gift.  Sure, I didn't feel very good during most of it, but it still was a lesson in slowing down and appreciating each day.  I am ready to get back to my routine, but I am promising myself to take a day once in awhile to just stare out the back window watching God's squirrels and birds, to sit and quietly read for hours and to enjoy the home front. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Jumping in the Pool

I remember posting on facebook at the New Year that I would write more this year.  I've always had this deep seated dream of being a writer, but not really motivated enough to learn how to do it well, or apparently even spend much time doing it since this is the first time I've written since that post.  I believe I said I would write at least once a week.  Once a week!  How hard could that really be.  Oh, I've written plenty of emails and cards and letters, but have not sat down at my computer and really written.  I've been home for nearly a month recuperating from surgery with pretty much nothing but time on my hands and not one time until today have I spent that time writing.  I've thought about it, actually a lot of times.  I find that I am good at talking myself out of it, because really, who cares what I may have to say? 

I am currently reading a book titled "Firefly Lane" by Kristin Hannah.  I am not sure why I chose this book because it is not my normal type of fiction.  Maybe it was the cover art, which I did find lovely.  It is the story of two young women who meet at the age of 14 and become best friends "forever". The book documents all the twist and turns that they go through together as they grow older.  I usually steer clear of books that may elicit a lot of emotion and this one does, mainly because it has brought up memories of difficult times in my own life.  I find life emotional enough, so I read thrillers and horror, goofy teen novels and some light biographies.  I've fallen in love with this book, however and know I will read it again and again.  One of the lessons it has taught me is that it doesn't matter who reads what you write, only that you do it.  Writing is cathartic to me and while I am not so much of a storyteller, I strongly feel the need to express myself in this manner.  I guess it is why some people paint, or sculpt or dance.  Why post to a public forum?  I guess because I've read so many words that others have written that helped me in my life, shined a light on a solution to a problem, made me feel less alone.  I think anyone who creates anything has a bit of ego involved, so I guess that is why I post publicly.  Maybe one sentence I put down may help someone else.  So here I am again, trying to get back to the promise I made myself to write once a week, dipping my toe in before jumping in the pool. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Little Bit of Everything

Gosh, I cannot believe that it has been so long since I have written.  Lord knows I have probably had plenty to say.  I am a frustrated writer and blogging has been a great outlet for me, but I've been terrible at sticking with it.  I read an article recently about tips for writers and the number one thing was to write every day.  Every day!  I would love to do that, but where do you get the time?  I guess it comes down to what you make the priority, huh?  I don't know about every day, but I am going to try in 2013 to write at least once a week.  Don't worry, dear reader (if there are any), I won't subject you to suffer through a weekly blab, sometimes it will just be for me, but I am going to try and make that a priority. 

So here we are nearing the end of the world according to the Mayans.  Last night I was pondering the idea of what if it really is the end?  Have I said all that I need to say?  Am I satisfied with who I am in these final days?  If this is really the last week, how am I going to spend it? 

Well, obviously I will spend the last week at work.  I don't think my company will let me take the week off "just in case" the world ends on Friday.  I will still be expected to be in the office doing what I do.  Am I okay with that?  Hmmm...I guess I kind of am.  Work certainly does not define who I am, but truth be told the folks I work with are my family of sorts and spending the end times with them is okay by me.  I'm proud of the work I do, therefore if the end comes while I am doing it, I'm good. 

I don't really feel like I have left anything unsaid to those who are important to me.  Sandra knows I am sorry about never buying laundry detergent while we lived together.  My friends know I love them.  I am never shy about telling them.  My husband is aware that I think he hung the moon.  I've confessed my shortcomings and failures to the One who matters most.  I think I am good in the all things have been communicated department.   

There are a few things on my bucket list that I may have a regret or two about, but all in all I've had some amazing experiences and been to some incredible places in my life.  I've experienced so much more than I have ever imagined I would and I am so grateful.  Maybe I didn't get to NYC during the holidays to see it decked out in all the finery, but I did get to spend an amazing few days there with friends and created memories that are brighter than any Christmas lights.  I've owned my own motorcycle, snowmobiled through Yellowstone, held the fins of a dolphin and looked into eyes that I believe reflected an intellience equal to my own.  I've been moved to tears by a beautiful landscape, a photo taken by a friend, a piece of music, a painting and words written on a page.  I've seen a baby born, held the hand of a dying loved one and felt love strong enough that it lifted me off the ground.  I've laughed.  A lot. 

Do I really think that it is all going away on the 21st?  No, I don't, but I am going to try and walk through this coming week as if it is.  I am seriously going to make an effort to look at each day as one of the last we may share on this speck of dust and find wonder in each one.  I am going to do my best to be kind, patient and loving because after all, isn't that how we should be every day?  If the world doesn't end on Friday, maybe trying to live like it might will carry over to Saturday and Sunday and on and on and on....wouldn't that be great?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

First Loves - Mush Alert!

I spent some time with a 12 year old girl yesterday while getting my nails done.  She was deep in the throes of her first experience with love. Listening to her talk about her crush was adorable, her smile was ear to ear and her eyes were bright with loves light. Those of us in the salon were enjoying her youthful exuberance. A lady who was there getting her hair done (with some delightful bright red streaks) made the comment we have all heard before"you always remember your first love".  That statement began a lovely conversation between a bunch of middle aged women all anxious to tell each other about their own first love. 

I listened with a smile on my face. For once I chose to just soak in the stories and did not feel like I had to share my own. It was a lunch hour well spent and I came out of the salon with beautiful nails and a smile in my heart along with a head full of memories. It is true, you know, you really don't forget your first love, or your second, or even your fifth if you have been so lucky to have had that much love in your life.  Love is an emotion that fills us with wonder and lifts us so high our toes barely drag the ground. Love is wonderful. 

My first love (names have been changed, y'all might know him!) was a boy in our neighborhood.  Now, I had experienced crushes before, but this was different, this was the serious stuff.  I was lucky to grow up in a new subdivision in a small Kentucky town.  Everyone in the neighborhood pretty much knew everyone else and us kids owned the streets in droves.  Fabio (LOL) would walk the streets for hours and I used to sit on my porch waiting for him to pass.  He was about the coolest guy I had ever seen. Long hair, beautiful smile, tall and cute, cute, cute.  I would run out and walk with him for awhile or sometimes he would just stop and we would sit in the yard for hours and talk.  Our first and maybe our only real date was to a high school football game and his dad drove us.  I was thrilled! I would lie in my room at night and dream of our wedding, my dress would be tie dye, he would be barefoot...hey it was the early 70's after all.  Of course, our wedding day never came, situations changed and I met my first bad boy (who swept me off my feet and whom I also will never forget) in a string of bad boy relationships.  Fabio went his way and I went mine.

We have now known each other for for nearly 40 years.  We have remained in touch off and on for all those years and I am grateful for that friendship more than he probably knows.  I had dinner with him (my husband approved) several months ago and it was delightful.  I'm sure to those in the restaurant, we looked like the normal middle aged couple, a little gray, a bit fat, wrinkles around our eyes, our chins not quite as firm but obviously enjoying each others company.  In my minds eye though, the man across the table was still that boy of my youth, longish hair, beautiful smile, still standing tall and cute, cute, cute!  I think he may have still made my knees a bit weak.  Yes, you don't forget your first loves and I hope you are as lucky as I have been to actually still have them in your lives. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Memories of a Friend

Back in the carefree days of my youth, I bought a little bright blue Pinto station wagon.  I loved that car.  It had shiny spoke wheels and was just cute as a bug.  It was a great party car, too, because of the extra space in the back for coolers and whatever you may need.  Shortly after I bought it, my best friend Tracie, Ron, Tyra and I decided to load some beer in a cooler and take a drive through the country.  Yeah, we shouldn't have been drinking and driving, but this was small town Kentucky on a Saturday afternoon and it was just what we did.  We were tooling around somewhere out towards Morgantown and the need to pee was getting urgent.  We found a little country church with his and hers outhouses and I pulled in the drive.  Now rather than park in the lot and walk to the modest facilities, I thought I would be cool and drive down in the little ravine where they sat.  After we took care of business, we quickly discovered that the ground was soft there and we were stuck. Really stuck.  Pushing did nothing.  We were screwed.  This was long before cell phones and we were in the sticks on a little road with virtually no traffic.

After about an hour of waiting for someone to come by that we could flag down, Ron decided that he was going to walk back to town to get help.  Our hero! We watched him trek down the country road until he was out of sight hoping he would be back sooner than later with help to get us out. I always had a blanket in the back, so Tracie, Tyra and I spread it on the ground, popped some beers and made a meal of some Cheez Whiz.  We chatted away, not overly concerned about being rescued, because Ron was on the job.  After a bit some young guys on a tractor came up the road.  They saw us from the road and quickly assessed our situation.  They had a chain and in no time had the blue Pinto party wagon back on solid ground. After paying them with a couple of beers, we loaded back in the car and went down the road hoping to catch up to Ron.

We made it back to town without coming across him which did concern us a bit, but not so much that we skipped turning into Burger King for some real food before we continued our search for him.  Cheez Whiz wasn't tiding us over.  We ordered at the drive through window then drove around the back of the building towards the pick up window.  Standing in front of the window in the drive through lane was our hero, Ron!  Seems he needed some sustenance before having us rescued, too!  I will never forget the look on his face when he realized we were behind him while he was walking through the drive through.  It is one of my fondest memories of carefree youth when nothing much mattered beyond having a good time. 

Tyra died a few years back.  It made me sad to know that she wasn't in the world anymore, although we had not really been in touch for awhile.  I kept up with her through another friend who did talk with her often.  I was bothered that one of my "group" had passed.  Seemed like we were too young for that.  This morning I found out that Ron died a few days ago from a heart attack.  I am heartbroken.  Ron and I had reconnected a couple of years ago and just last night I was texting him to come out and have a drink with me because I was in BG visiting with Sonja.  I had no idea that he was gone.  The fact that two of the four of us that shared the fun of that Saturday afternoon are dead has really rocked me today.  I realize I am getting to that age where things happen to people, but it is so hard to accept.  I'm also so very heartbroken for Tracie who has lost probably the three most important people in her life in the last couple of years.  How much weight does she have to bear?  I feel so helpless.

We will go on, those of us who knew and loved Ron Fuller.  That is what we do after all.  Go on.  Today I am replaying many memories of Ron and weeping and laughing as I remember.  Thanks Ron, for telling me to put lipstick on my whole mouth because I apparently was missing the edges of my lips.  Thanks Ron for not laughing at me because I attempted to fry a pot pie because the munchies did not allow for the baking time.  Thanks Ron for the chats over the last couple of years and for helping me past some self esteem issues that I was having.  Rest in peace, and know you will always live in my heart. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hey, I Did That!

Here I go again, breaking another promise to myself. I swore I would never blog about weight or my personal struggles with it.  Really, this is more about a triumph than a struggle, so maybe I can cut myself a little slack on this post.

Long story short, like a lot of us I have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight as an adult.  I always carried a few extra pounds, but once I grew up and got a desk job, it really became an issue.  I'm not going to talk about years of failed attempts to lose the pounds, just know that I've been up and down lots of times and I am currently on what I hope will be the last downward trend. 

I am an emotional eater and last year when my dad got sick, I knew that I would put on weight.  I tried to be aware of my choices, but I also allowed myself the self medication that food gave me during one of my life's most difficult times.  The food didn't hurt me as much as the choice to stop moving did.  Even at my heaviest times I have pretty much always tried to exercise.  I walked, went to the Y, Curves, jogged, took up biking, went to aerobic classes, I always did something.  When daddy got sick, I just gave it up.  I barely had the energry to get through my days as it was and the thought of working out just made me sick.  So I didn't and I didn't for nearly a whole year. 

Last October a friend and I took an impromptu trip out to Wyoming to hook up with Rita & Debbie who were already there. Our flight out of Nashville was delayed and when we reached Denver, where we had a connection, they were paging us for our next flight as we deplaned the first.  Naturally our arriving flight and departing flight were at the opposite ends of the concourse and so we had to make a mad dash for it.  After just a few yards I was struggling to breathe and my legs were fatigued.  Stacy was so far ahead of me that I could barely see her.  When I finally made it to the gate, the attendant gave me the stink eye and I just knew she was judging my fat out of shape self.  I got to my middle seat and tried my best to not pant like a dog for the first 20 minutes of the flight.  I was embarassed and my self esteem was in the gutter.

While in Jackson, which is a bit above 6,000 feet in elevation, I struggled to keep up with my freinds on the shortest of a hike just a few yards into the Gros Ventre slide.  They wanted to hike to Inspiration Point the next day and I knew I would not be able to do it, so I stayed behind by myself.  I had a nice afternoon hanging out with a wildlife photographer taking pictures of a majestic bull moose and driving out behind the Elk Reserve to look for big horn sheep, but I missed being with my freinds.  I made a pact with myself right then that I would start exercising again just as soon as I got home. Well, I didn't.  It was late February of this year before I really got motivated. Kim and I took a week off and headed to Grayton Beach with the pups.  We took our bikes, which I had not been on in over a year.  Between walking the dogs several times a day and riding the bikes every day, by the end of the week I was feeling so good about doing something physical that I have worked out four or five times a week since.

I started Weight Watchers at the first of March with a goal of losing 20 pounds before my vacation back out to Wyoming in mid June.  I made the goal and when we got to Jackson, I was excited about doing some easy hiking.  I was still afraid of Inspiration Point, which is a climb up a mountain that I just didn't think I could do.  Rita kept at me about trying it, encouraging me with positive reinforcement that she thought I could do it.  Finally I gave in.  The morning we went over to Jenny Lake to catch the boat to the trail, I was scared.  I knew I was going to hold my friends back or have to sit on a rock and wait for them for a couple of hours.  The hike starts with an uphill climb and really doesn't let up until you reach the point.  I really struggled the first 200 yards or so, but once I relaxed into the pace a bit it was more comfortable.  Everyone struggles to breathe in that elevation and folks much more fit than me had to take breathing breaks.   Several times I left my group so that I could go at my own pace up the trail, knowing they would catch up with me soon.  I took a pretty good fall on a rocky part of the trail, broke 4 nails (those who know me well know that was quite a tragedy!) and hurt my right wrist, but I kept going.  I made it!  I made it about a mile beyond there, too until we decided to turn back. No one has any idea what a huge personal triumph tackling that hike was for me.  It was thrilling and has renewed my motivation to get healthier.  I can't thank Rita enough for pushing me!  I am deriving great personal satisfaction knowing that when folks talk about Inspiration Point I can say "Hey, I did that!"