I have to admit

21 May

Yes, sadly, I have to admit that I have fallen into a little slump lately. Things have seemed, just–well, just a little blah. I’m not really down, but just feel a little off, somehow. I don’t have quite the energy and enthusiasm of the past several month.

Contemplating this, I wonder about the cause. Is it (horrible thought) that the “new” is wearing off of my new living experience? Or is it, that knowing I will soon be leaving for at least several months, makes me think of all that I will miss while I’m gone? Or. Is it something else?

Could it be that again, as too often in the past, I have begun to think about what I don’t have?  The top on THAT list, would be a significant other. No one to share my days and nights with. No one to listen to all my thoughts and feelings, No one with which to share the enjoyment of life with. I suppose the list could go on and on.

So, which is the cause? Probably a combination of all of the above. I know it is sometimes difficult for me to sustain interest in activities. I seem to be attracted to the new. Yet, I truly enjoy all my activities down here, and I do realize that life just doesn’t always offer new opportunities. But, now as I’m writing this, I realize that I have several new things planned for the months ahead.

Ok, say the new hasn’t worn off yet. Why am I not able to joyfully embrace the new activities in the next several months? The activities I enjoy here will still be here when I return. I may even find deeper enjoyment in them after being gone for awhile.

Which leaves me to the dreaded conclusion. I’ve been having a pity party! Not a full blown one–thankfully I’ve recognized it before it reached that stage. The possibility that this might be the cause of my slump came to me this morning, in a very simple incident.

I had walked down to the Dollar store for a few items. It was still nice and cool and as I smiled when I met people and spoke to a few, I realized how much I was enjoying the moment. I also notified that others seemed to return the smile. And I realized, how often I forget to enjoy the simple things, and how those brief moments can brighten our day so much. When I get so caught up in my own feelings and thoughts, I miss many pleasures of life. I also miss giving a taste of those little pleasures to others. I remember in one of my earlier posts I wrote about how I can brighten another’s day.

Even, now, as I think of the that day at the store, my heart swells. There is so much in this life that brings enjoyment, so many simple pleasures that can enrich my life. Why do I let myself get so bogged down at times? I really don’t know. But I do know, and am very glad that I don’t have to stay down. That is my choice.

I want to learn how to think each day of finding something to savor and then share it with others, if possible. I want to look more for the beauty of life and when I find it, I want to take the time to appreciate it.

PS:  I wrote this post some time ago, then got busy and didn’t post it.  Today, as I read over what I wrote a few months ago, I realize I have learned something else about myself.

As I was reading, I wondered–why do I let myself get–well, I guess I get bogged down in myself? Although I don’t really to admit it, maybe it’s just a part of who I am. I’m usually an upbeat person–but not always. But, really isn’t that that’s ok? Because I’m certainly NOT super woman. I will have my down times, just like everyone else. At least, now, I am becoming more aware of my feelings and ways to pull myself out of the dumps.

Perhaps the most important thing for me, is just to admit where I’m at–what the condition of my thinking and feeling is at the moment. Then, if I find it isn’t where I want to be, I can find ways to change–to become what I want to be. For I am a person, ever changing, learning, and hopefully improving.

All I can do is laugh

1 May

Last week my laptop did a really strange thing.  I was using it when the screen went black and startled me with a loud continuous buzzing.  I tried pushing the Alt/Control/Del with no success.  Then I unplugged it and continued pushing buttons.  Suddenly, the noise quit and the computer turned off.  I was really afraid that is was fried!

I decided to leave it for awhile.  Later, fearing that I might not be able to get in, I turned it on.  Surprise!  It booted up as usual.  I couldn’t see anything wrong, so continued what I had been doing when it crashed.  I then went to YouTube to look up something, only to find that their was no sound!  I checked the Control Panel/sound, and it showed the same volume I have always had.  So, of course, I thought that whatever the crashing problem was, it had taken out my sound.

I wasn’t happy about that, but decided I could live with it.  (I’ve been shopping for a replacement iPad, and certainly didn’t want to get another laptop too.)  After a few days I was on practicing my Spanish on www.duolingo.com and realized the sound was working!  I really didn’t understand how it could have fixed itself, but I wasn’t going to complain.  However, when I tried YouTube again later, it still wasn’t working.  Rats!

Well, those of you who are more computer savvy than I, are probably shaking your heads!  But although I was perplexed I still couldn’t figure it out.  Okay, besides shaking your head you are probably thinking ‘that poor woman’.  But if you think that is bad, just read on.

Yesterday I had been online comparing prices and models of i Pads.  I had also been looking at houses for sale.  There were papers all around me where I had jotted down prices and addresses.  I was using my laptop to search the sites, and my iPad to find the address.  My phone was also nearby in case I wanted to compare two different sites.   In the midst of all this my brother called.

I am always happy to talk to him, but unfortunately right then part of my mind was still half on what I’d been doing.  So I was gathering up the papers, sorting them into piles, turning off the laptop and iPad when suddenly I wondered where my phone was.  I knew it had been right there!  I remembered laying it on the arm of the couch. I searched down in the cushions, but couldn’t find it.  I was beginning to panic—I must have my phone.  Then (I guess I must have been a little of topic??) and my brother ask if I was busy.  I started to tell him, I couldn’t find my ph…..Oh Wait!…..HOW STUPID CAN I GET!!!!!!

I burst out laughing.  I told him what a stupid, stupid sister he had.  I also told him the next time when he can’t find something–we both are convinced it must be an age thing–to just remember, he isn’t as bad as his younger sister!  We agreed that, even though we do things that are really crazy sometimes, it is good we can laugh about it.  Sometimes that’s ALL we can do.  Laugh and shake our heads.  That’s so much better than getting mad, which would only  upset us more.  Maybe this silliness is due old age, maybe it’s too much multi-tasking, maybe just not paying attention to detail.  Whatever the cause, it is just something we seem to have to live with.  So if laughing helps us handle it, great!

Oh, and just a few minutes ago I figured out why the sound on YouTube hasn’t been working.  I usually use my iPad for YouTube.  It has a slider tab for the sound.  But my laptop doesn’t.  However, it does have–I found–a little icon for sound.  I selected it, and wonder of wonders I again have sound!  In turning it off and on (just checking) I realized there is a little ‘x’ beside the icon when the sound is off.  I don’t know when I pushed it off.  Perhaps when I was using the pause, since the icons are side-by-side.  Whenever it was, I only noticed it after my laptop had frozen.  Such a simple thing, don’t know why I never noticed that icon before.

Even as I continue to laugh and shake my head when I think of these experiences, I realize that at least I have learned something today.  I am a tiny bit more computer savvy than before.  I still don’t know why my laptop crashed that day, but since it is working now I’m not going to fret about it.

I was going to text this to the daughter I had told about my sound problem, but decided to post it here instead.   My silliness is still making me smile, so it might bring a smile or laugh to others.  If so maybe it’s worth it.  In fact, maybe it’s even worth it to me.  I probably needed a good laugh too .

 

Love doesn’t hurt

31 Mar

I just read a  Facebook post that says it isn’t true that love hurts.  What hurts is rejection, loss, loneliness and envy.   The post said that everyone gets these things confused with love.  But in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all the pain and makes someone feel wonderful again.

This is so true. And we all need love so much!  I started to write a comment, then decided to put my comment on this blog.

We all feel painful emotions at times.  That’s just a part of life.   It’s wonderful when we have special someones that love us and make us feel better.  But what about those of us living alone, without someone special.  We need love too.

Sometimes I get to wondering why I’m even around, do I really make a difference in anyone’s life?  Then I’m reminded that I don’t always have to be on the receiving end of love.  I can be the one to give it.

Thinking about this, I realized that it really doesn’t have to be someone special that I love or show love to. I can extend that marvelous emotion with everyone. Love, in its simplest form, is just caring about someone.

Take the woman I met in the mall parking lot the other day.  She had long brown hair, extending past her waist.  After smiling and saying Hi, I told her how much I liked her hair.  She said “Well, thanks.  I really need someone to like something about me today.”    We spoke a few minutes.  I told her about the French Twist hairstyle my daughter and I had recently seen.  Then we parted, each going our separate ways.

I don’t know who that woman was and I’ll probably never see her again.  I don’t know what problems she is facing, or why she needed encouragement. The only thing I know, is that I’m glad I reached out to her.  Such a little thing, maybe 3 minutes.  Yet, I think it lightened her load.   Maybe her day became better, at least for a few moments.

It also did something to me.  I’ve been thinking of her often since that day.  I’ve prayed for her, asking for help for her to face the things she is going through.  This has brought me out of myself.  It has made me aware that I shouldn’t be waiting for someone to love me–I should be loving others.

Because it’s true.  Love doesn’t hurt.  Love heals.  Care heals.  Just the smallest concern for someone helps.  And love is a two-way street.  Every time I reach out to someone, something comes back to me.  (This can happen in a bad way, too.)  So I want to be careful that I’m reaching out to others with care, concern, interest and love.

This is easier to extend to some people, than to others.  Some just seem to rub us the wrong way.  Maybe the best way I can love those is to stay away from them, and pray for help–not just for them (cause, after all they are the one that needs help, right?)–but for myself  to understand how to love them.  As I think of that, I believe love needs to start at the basic bottom level.

If I can have a concern–a desire for the well being–of those who I really don’t care for, then that is the start of love.  If I truly feel that I don’t want them to be lonely, rejected, and suffer loss–then I am on my way to loving them.  As the Bible says–Love works no ill to our neighbor.

Does this mean that I’m going to strike up a conversation with everyone I see?  Of course not.  I don’t even have eye contact with some people.  With some I may share a smile, or extend a short greeting.

But sometimes, I will reach out with a brief comment.  And for a few moments I may connect with another.  There may be an exchange of  interest and care.  If the other doesn’t respond–instead of feeling rejected–I want to learn to love them.  If I l can still have a care for their well-being,  I won’t really have lost anything.   In fact, I will have gained.  Because every experience that causes me to want to have more love for others is an experience to value.

I know this is true, because it has happened often in the past.  I have learned so much from my experiences.  And I hope they are making me a batter person.  Won’t it be nice, when I get to the place where instead of feeling rejection or hurt, I feel love?

Because that is the wonderful thing about love.  Love doesn’t hurt.

 

Spam?

5 Mar

Today I was wondering what the definition of spam is.  I checked Wikipedia and it gave me the definition of the canned meat.  I had to smile.  That isn’t the definition that comes to most people’s mind in this day and age.  But fortunately Wikipedia has a link to click for electronic spam.  The main–short–definition seems to be unsolicited advertising.  Spamming is a free avenue of advertising that apparently anyone can use.  I was interested to learn that blogging spam is called ‘blam’.

Blam is the kind of spam I was thinking about as I started this post.  If you have read some of my past blogs, you will see that I encourage comments.  I’ve had some, and value them.  WordPress, whose site I use, has an engine that detects spam.  (Site is probably not the correct term but at the moment I can’t think what the correct term is, so I’m just using the word ‘site’.)   The spam is put into a folder on my dashboard.

Comments on my blog that WordPress doesn’t consider spam are put in another folder.  I receive email notice of these comments, so I can moderate them–approve or not.  Not receiving many comments, I rarely check my spam folder.  The messages are kept in the spam folder until (probably after a certain length of time) they are deleted from the site.  At least they disappear from the folder.

However when I receive email notice of a comment, I sometimes also  look in the spam folder.  That’s when I’m faced with a dilemma.  As I said before, I love comments.  And some of the comments in the spam folder seem like they could be real comments, even though sometimes when I click on the link it takes me to a website which obviously is advertising.  When I mentioned this to my son, he said “it is your site, you can display what you want on it”.  So perhaps I have approved some blam at times.  However, at least it seems to me, the only bad thing about this would be if my readers click on the comment and find only advertising and it irritates them.

Which brings me to question myself.  Am I so starved for feedback that I am approving blam?  If so, is that a bad thing?  I still haven’t come to a conclusion on this.  So, I’m requesting your feedback.  What do you consider spam/blam?    I’m hoping that I will get responses other than spamming and blamming.

Incidentally, my grandchildren love Spam.  They like it plain, on sandwiches or even fried.  And if I ask one of my granddaughters about spam /blam and blamming/spamming, I know her response would be “they rhyme”.

So please readers, do any of you like blam?   Besides you blammers and spammers?  Although I also have a question for the spammers and blammers.  Do you, somehow, get notification that I have approved your blam and because of this, you send me more–maybe sometimes even blamming/spamming under a different name?

Cosas me gustan de la vida urbana

4 Mar

Me gusta Jacksonville mucho.  Hay es mucho cosa para que hacer y ver.  En ‘meet-up’ busco para los groups que me gusta.  Es una manera de conocer gente y  encontar cosas que me gusta hacer.  Mis grupos son de los jardines, música, y español.   Algunos de los groupos reúnen el sábado  pero otras durante la semana.

Tqmbién me gusta que conducir por la ciudad.  Hay son muchas cosas ver.  Hay muchos parques hermosos.  Me gusta ver los edificios, especialmente en la área centro de la ciudad.  Me gusta ver la casa ancianidad, algunas largo pero otras son pequeña. Hay muchos restaurantes y es posible encontrar muchos diferentes comidas ėthnicas.  Hay todo typo de tiendas.  Hay grandes centros comerciales, pero me gustan las tiendas pequeñas mejores.  También la playa no estå lejos de la ciudad.  La playa y los ríos son muy hermoso.

Hay mucha cosa que quiero dibujar.  Asisto un clase dibujo y aprendo mucho.  Puedo publicar algunos de mis dibujos a este blog mås tarde.

Me gusta cominar en la playa, cerca los ríos y por la ciudad.  Es un buen ejercido y  hay tantas cosas que ver.  Donde vivo yo camino a la oficina postal, el mercado, el almacén de la droga, la biblioteca y varios restaurantes.

La vida enla ciudad es bueno para mi y lo disfruto.

A better afternoon

4 Mar

On my last post I told about my Sunday morning experience.  I’m happy to report that the afternoon went much better.  After I had finished writing the post, I felt revived enough to venture outside.  And so glad I did.  It was a lovely day, and I had a full tank of gas.  I headed north, up to the Home and Patio show.

Like I often do, I took the back roads.  Less traffic and usually much more scenic.  I drove past several beautiful parks where families were enjoying the nice weather.  I love getting glimpses of the river between some of the stately older homes. And, as I like to do when I’m not pressed for time, I took Ortega Rd.  It has an old bridge.  It’s a drawbridge actually, but you can’t tell it driving over, except there is a stop light above.  Well, this day the light before the bridge was flashing.  I got to see the bridge when it was up and watch the boat pass underneath!  There were arms that cross in front of the traffic like a railroad crossing. I had never noticed them before.  I noticed a couple who had been walking lean over watching the boat pass.  Then the bridge lowered, it seemed by increments.  It was such a neat experience.  Something to savor.

As I sat on the bridge, waiting, I was again struck by how beautiful the downtown skyline is–seen from that place.  This is the closest bridge to downtown that crosses the Ortega River. There are two parks, one on each side of the river.  You can see the larger St John’s River and then beyond the tall buildings downtown.  Sometimes they seem to be in a mist, but this time they were very clear against the blue sky.  Like always, I’m struck by a yearning to draw the scene.  So far I’ve always been going somewhere or coming back and haven’t taken time to stop very long.  One of these days I hope to go there just to draw.

Surprisingly there was not much traffic, even downtown.  It seemed most people had already arrived at the show.  The main parking lots were full but I was able to find parking several blocks further downtown.  And on such a nice day really I enjoyed the walk.

The show was huge.  I text my son=in-law to find where his booth was, but it still took quite awhile to find it.  Of course I did stop and look at stuff along the way.  One thing I purchased.  It’s a little shredder plate.  It is made of ceramic and has raised bumps.  You just rub whatever you want to grind over the bumps.  Viola!  It is ground and on it’s own little plate.  They had different colors, with different designs.  I chose this simple black one.  It has a little scroll that the picture doesn’t show very well..  Ceramic grinder mini plateIf  you want to put whatever you’ve just ground over your food or to add to a dish just use the little brush to sweep off what you want.  The blue cylinder is for removing the garlic peel.   In the demo I saw, they ground nutmeg, garlic, and cheese.

As I walked along, something else caught my eye.  One of my sons has a Robo vacuum.  Well, this wasn’t a vacuum, it’s a Robo lawn mower!  It goes around the yard on its own.  (I think your yard would have to be really smooth for it to work well.)  I text my son about it then continued walking along, looking at things.  I watched a few demos of juicers.  I would like to have one, but don’t want to spend the money.

After a couple of hours I found my son-in-law’s booth.  He said there had been a lot of people through.  By then I decided I had looked enough, so headed back outside.  I was hungry.  I haven’t been to a show like this for a few years, but I noticed a big difference in this one than the ones I used to go to.  I don’t know if it was due to this being a different part of the country or that money is tighter now or what, but the ones I used to go to had lots of vendors passing out food!  Here I only received a handful of very tiny samples.  Expecting the free food, I hadn’t brought extra cash.  Outside there were several food carts, but I had only a credit card.

I text my daughter and granddaughter to see if they wanted to eat somewhere.  It was then 2:30 and my granddaughter had already eaten.  My daughter was shopping in another area of the city.  I asked her where a good BBQ place was.  That’s what I had been smelling for most of my walk back to my car.  She said most of the downtown places aren’t open on Sunday.  But she told me of a drive-through place down on Hwy 17, just before the airbase, so I headed for it.

I found it and after a few U turns pulled into the parking lot, only to find that it–like the downtown restaurants–was closed.  In the same center area there was a Tiajana Flats and a Hurricane Wings, but I wasn’t really wanting either.  Then I saw the Tuptim Thai.  Thai is one of my favorite types of food.  So I went in.

It was now a quarter to 3 and the sign said they close at 3, so I barely made it.  I noticed a special of Mango rice and decided to have that.  A  minute or so after the waiter had taken my order, he came back and asked if I knew that dish was a dessert.  I hadn’t.  He said it is mango served with sticky rice.  I decided to have it anyway.   When it came, the look of the dish alone would have made my day.  I’ve seen the TV shows where they plate everything so pretty, but I’d never had it in real life.

Mango Sticky Rice       This pic doesn’t begin to do it justice.  It was so lovely, just to look at.  I had never seen a real, live orchid before.  In fact, I had to ask what kind of flower it was, just to be sure.  I also ask what the green leaf underneath was–banana leaf.  I had never had the sticky brown rice like that before either.  Both the rice and the mango was covered with a thin, white, subtly sweet sauce.  The whole thing was delicious!  I ate it all and told them I would come back sometime for lunch.

Then I headed on south, back to my apartment.  Funny thing though–although the dessert was delicious, I was still  hungry for BBQ!  So I decided to splurge.  Went to Sonny’s BBQ and got a pulled pork Carolina sandwich.  There may be other places better, as my daughter said when I told her, but this definitely hit the spot.  BBQ with slaw on top.  Of course I added some sweet and hot sauce to perfect it.

Well, even counting my crazy morning, this day was one I count as special.  It ended with me full and contented with a smile on my face.  It started out rocky, but later gave me unexpected pleasures.  My eyes had much to feast on.  The beauty of the drive.  I saw the drawbridge up.  I have my grinder plate.  I know I will smile every time I think of my dessert.  My younger son and I had often said we should order dessert first sometime–but I had never done it before.  Now I have, and know that it doesn’t  spoil your appetite to have dessert first.  A new learning experience for me.

And I brought my beautiful orchid home.  I’ve been trying to draw it.  First with colored pencils, then with just regular pencil.  I still want to perfect both drawings before I post them, but hope to get them online in the near future.  I also took a picture of the orchid, to have as a remembrance.  picture of Orchid from Mango Sticky Rice

The orchid is still beautiful now, a day later, though not quite as fresh looking.  I wonder how long it will last?  Not nearly as long as my memories of the better afternoon of a crazy morning.

It’s one of those mornings

2 Mar

I started to write this as a text message to my family, but it got too long.  I decided then to put it on Facebook, but it got long for that and I realized I could put it on my blog and link it to Facebook.  (That’s something I’ve learned to do fairly well,}  To save retyping and editing it again–as I just did when I changed from text to Facebook–I will just copy it and edit as little as possible.  Here is what I’ve written so far:

It seems to be one of those days.  It was hard to get up this morning but I wanted to go to my church meeting, so I made myself get up, after a 30 minute sleep-in.  I still had plenty of time and was having a leisurely breakfast when I got a call that church was north of here today, up near Callahan.  That”s quite a bit further away from where I usually go.  I appreciate that someone thought to let me know ahead of time, even though it was short notice.  Otherwise I would have driven there and wondered where everyone was.  Or thought I had my days mixed up.  Ha.  Or maybe that the rapture had come and I was left.  (That isn’t a good feeling.)

Anyway I quickly finished breakfast, found a travel mug for my coffee and was heading out the door when I remembered that I had to get gas.  I didn’t get it yesterday when I was out because the traffic was terrible.  It was a nice day and everybody seemed to be on the road.  Also, I thought I would have plenty of time this morning.

After getting gas, I looked at my watch and realized there was no way I could get there in time, so I headed back home.  Where, on the way into my apartment, I spilled coffee on myself.   My mug was open because I had intended to drink it (as I drove) I just hadn’t had time yet.

Now I’m sitting here in the apartment wondering what to do, arguing with myself.  Lol    I feel like going back to bed–but it is so nice out.   I have a headache–well I have had a bit of a hectic morning, haven’t had my coffee yet and…oh.. I haven’t taken my allergy pill yet.  At least I don’t think I have.  I remember noticing that my vitamin box needed refilling and I didn’t have time to fill it, but I would have to remember to take my allergy pill before I left.  (I usually take the allergy meds and the supplements at the same time, after breakfast, so I don’t forget to take them.)  So did I take the allergy pill or not?  IDK!!!  Better not to take it, I guess, than to double up.

Bed or change into something more comfy and go out.  Hmmm  Bed is winning.  Think I’ll get into something comfy, fix more coffee–hopefully to drink, not pour on self–then see.

I hope my afternoon will be better.  I had planned to go downtown to the Home and Patio show where my son-in-law has a booth.  But traffic will be bad.  Oh, oh, arguing with myself again.  Guess I better quit writing and get comfy.

—And that is what my ‘text’ has turned into.  You can see it is much too long for a text.  So glad I have this blog where I can write whatever I want, whenever–glad my son suggested blogging for me.  I still haven’t decided on the rest of my day, but as I sit here writing this,  in comfortable clothes, sipping my coffee, I realize at least I feel better.  Not wanting to go back to bed quite as much.  Maybe I will take my coffee out back for awhile and soak up the sun.  Or maybe I will get with my daughter later.  It can be a good day in spite of some setbacks.

 

 

Living large in a small (?) place

27 Feb

I see my last post was in December.  If you’ve read that post, you surely realize I have been busy.  Trying new things, meeting new people,   I am indeed living large in a small place.

So why the (?) in the title?  Well. that is a story in itself.  I’m living in basically a one room apartment.  There are no windows except a 6″ gap at the top of the front door and about the same at the top of the bathroom window.  This was formerly a storeroom and all the windows have been closed off.  Although I say I’m living in a one room apartment, the apartment really has two rooms, with a big opening between them.  That other part is for other family members’ use and I rarely do anything there.  It does, however, serve as a very welcome sense of space, in what would otherwise–for me–be a somewhat claustrophobic place!  Also, there is a connecting door to the business area, that I can open (at times) and see windows and more light.

Then, too, there is the whole outside area!  I am close to nearly everything.  Within walking distance of drug store, grocery, post office, several restaurants and the river,  This is mostly what makes it possible for me to live here.  I love light.  I have a son who liked his bedroom in the basement.  Not me.  If I go for very long without light and sun, I start being very grumpy.  And living in this low-light apartment forces me out.  So even on cool cloudy, rainy days, I’m usually outside for at least part of the day.  I may be in the car, instead of walking, but I’m out.

And speaking of being in the car—I’ve found so many things to do in the surrounding areas.  To me, Jacksonville seems to be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in.  It is so easy to get around and the traffic isn’t too terrible even in the busiest times.   I’ve been driving around a lot.  And I find so much to look at and take pics of.  So much I eventually want to draw.  There are parks all over.  There is the river, well I should say rivers.  Because there are several.  And all of the shopping. Beautiful older homes.  Little quaint areas with very narrow streets.  Sailboats dotting the river landscape.  The downtown skyline.    Then there is the beach, although for some strange reason, I find myself drawn more to the rivers than the beach.  But I still enjoy the beach and will probably spend more time there.

I’ve found many new friends on meet-up.com.  I’ve also found some groups that sounded like something I might be interested in–but realized (thankfully before I joined them) that some group titles aren’t what one might think.  Another learning experience for me!

Back to my small apartment.  I’ve been interested in small spaces for a long time, and find I really love this size place.  It has everything I need!  It’s amazing how little it really takes to live.  In fact the only thing I would eventually miss that I don’t have room for is my piano and my garden.  It is so convenient and easy to keep clean.  I think that is because when things get messy I notice it more.  Instead of stuff strung all around the house, it is right there in front of me.

In fact I love it so much down here that I have been dreading going back.  Then it occurred to me—I don’t really have to.  Perhaps this is a time in my life for some me time.  I can try it for awhile and see what the summer is like.  I don’t have to commit to any time frame.  Maybe I can spend time both places.  Or maybe I will find I tire of this.  Who knows?  The thing I’m savoring now, is that I have that choice.

I want to add some pics and describe some of the places I’ve been.  But that will have to be in the future.  Just now I’m enjoying the doing!  Loving my small place, made large by the outdoor world.

My changeable life

27 Dec

Seems like it’s been ages since I posted.  It’s not that I’ve been too busy–although I have been busier than usual.  Maybe I just didn’t have anything to say.  Or maybe nothing I wanted to share.

It’s funny.  Sometimes I just can hardly wait to write, to get my thoughts down, whether anyone reads them or not.  But other times, even though I have thoughts, sometimes many of them, it seems I have to keep them to myself–at least for awhile.  And then there are times–like today–where I really don’t have any specific thought or theme, yet I want to write.  So I meander around and somehow end up with something readable–at least I hope so.

I’ve really enjoyed the traveling I’ve done this fall and early winter.  I can’t remember a time when I had such leisurely trips.  I had enough time to get to where I was going without having to push.  And some trips didn’t even have a specific deadline, which I thoroughly took advantage of.

I took lots of pics.  Some I want to try to paint or draw.  Yet most of the pics don’t do justice to the scenes.  Not that most of the scenes were so great.  But I was awed again by the splendid beauty of nature and the touches we humans add to the mix.  I found myself enjoying both.

In a trip to Minnesota I marveled at the changing scenery.  I would be driving along, seeing mile after mile of cropland.  America’s breadbasket, my father used to say.  Then just when I was getting a little tired of it, the scene would change to rolling hills with trees in the canyons.  Or I would be on the plains, only to drop down into a little village in the river bottom.  Then climb back up to the table land again.  There were be woody areas, followed by vast open, slightly rolling land.  Places I would come up over a hill and I could see for miles.  And open areas where the sky seemed so big and the road went on and on.  So thrilling to see and be driving through!   I didn’t get pics of all that I would have liked, because this was a one person road trip and I really didn’t want to stop EVERY time I saw something I liked.  And often I was past before it registered and I would think: Oh, I wish I had a pic of that!

Then there were a couple of trips to Mississippi.  One had a bit of a deadline going down, but not coming back.  Again, I loved that.  On the second trip, I headed on to northern Florida where I plan to stay for the winter.  On all these trips I enjoyed being able to plan my own route, to be able to get off the beaten path, to see something new, just because it took my fancy.  Such freedom!  And memories that make me smile as I think of them.  Nothing big or grand, but special just the same.

As I write this I realize that I have found some of the joys of being alone.  Not that I don’t still miss my husband.  I do.  Sometimes, still, so much that it makes me ache.  Yet I’m slowly learning that I can still have a life and that I can enjoy that life.

The trips, and subsequent decision to winter in Florida came about because I knew I would just vegetate if I remained home, especially as cooler weather approached.  I used to love winter, enjoyed playing in the snow and even shoveling walks.  But the older I got, the colder the winters seemed, especially after the death of my husband.

Contemplating another cold winter alone, I knew I had to make some changes.  Even though I had added some activities in my life since the last winter, I knew I wouldn’t want to even get out to do them if it was cold, or bad weather.  Henceforth the trips and the idea of wintering in Florida.

So, now I’m in Florida, in the Jacksonville area.  The weather is wonderful!  Last week was in the 70′s and 80′s. I was thinking that I had brought way too warm of clothing.  But it did cool off a bit for Christmas.  Today it is sweater weather for me. But I’ve noticed most of the ‘natives’ wearing jackets.  I’ve been walking a lot.  Not every day, but certainly more than I have for a long while.  I love exploring my neighborhood on foot, taking pics of special things or things I may want write about or try to draw/paint later.

In my head I am, even now, composing new posts to add of my activities while here.  However,there is so much to do down here.  So many things that I will have to pick and choose carefully. Cause I don’t want to be so busy that I don’t have the quiet times that I so need.  Or the time to do some unplanned, spur of the moment things.   And I know as I add more things to my calendar, I may not feel the need to write.  Then again, I may.  The only thing I can accurately be assured of about myself is that I am changeable!

Today I went to the funeral of a man I didn’t know

5 Nov

No, that isn’t a normal thing for me to do.  In fact, since my husband’s I have become somewhat anti-funeral.  I know that some people feel that a funeral brings closure, and while I respect that choice, I personally just don’t see the sense, anymore, of people standing around looking at a dead body.

At my husband’s, the funeral director must have noticed I was somewhat avoiding the body because I remember him asking me something about if I was satisfied by the way he looked.  I replied (I hope graciously) that he was ok.  But inside I was screaming, “No, he doesn’t look all right.  He looks like a dead!

So when a friend from an organization I belong to called me yesterday to inform me of the funeral, even as I was listening to her and writing down the information, I was thinking Oh a funeral’.

Yet today I  attended the funeral–of a man I didn’t know.  It wasn’t idle curiosity.  He was the brother of another woman in the organization.  A woman that  has become my friend.  Although we aren’t bosom buddies, we are friends.  And even though I really don’t care for funerals, I felt a need to ‘be there’ for her.

I went to the funeral.  The visitation was just before the funeral and I attended the last half-hour of it.  I met my friend’s sister.  Both my friend and her sister thanked me for coming.

As I listened to the comments during the visitation, It seemed to me that everyone there, except for me, knew the man. My other friend from the organization had known him through his sister, whom she has known much longer than I have.

As funerals go, to me it was one of the better ones.  Simple.  Not large.  Not too long   Simple heartfelt music sung by family members.  Music that uplifted.  There was no sermon.  My friend’s sister led the service.  The attendees were offered the opportunity to speak of things they remembered about the man.  They were ask to speak of uplifting things, things that would bring comfort.

The mother spoke first.  Then her husband, the step-dad.  Simple remembrances of his life.  Some that brought smiles, others that brought tears to our eyes.  I could feel the love they had for the man.  One woman told of knowing him since childhood and of shared memories.   A picture of him was forming in my mind..

One man–ll call him Dan ( I have no idea of his name) spoke in a different manner.  He said he was the father.  He told of struggles the man had experienced.  He spoke of estrangement between them.  He said that he was glad that in the last years they had gotten closer and he recalled activities they had shared together.

After the funeral as we were waiting outside for the family, I overheard someone that was displeased that ‘Dan’ had brought up old hurts.  They said it wasn’t uplifting.  I wondered about that.  I don’t think that ‘Dan’ meant to be unkind.  I think he was just expressing his own memories and feelings.

After I got home I continued to think of the experience.  The more I thought about it, I felt that ‘Dan’ seemed to define the man by his condition, by his struggles.  The others seem to have seen beyond the struggles, to the man and remembered him.  They spoke of his heart, of love and friendship.

I know the others will miss him tremendously and my heart goes out to them,  Yet, really, they are not the ones I grieve for.  That is reserved for ‘Dan’ who through most of the man’s life, and perhaps even now, defines him differently.  For some reason, it seems to me he never fully knew the man.  I feel he had missed the rich essence of his son’s life.  That is sad.  The others are hurting, but they have warm memories, which will help sustain them in the days ahead.

As I reflect on this day, I realize that I;m glad I went.  Although I still don’t care to see the body, just think of what I would have missed had I not gone!   I went there for my friend, yet I was enriched by being there.   I also learned a valuable lesson .  It is so easy to look at someone and see only the ‘bad’ and the ‘different’.  Yet when we do that we miss a rich wonderful opportunity to really know the person.  In the future I want to be extra careful to see beyond the exterior.  To reach further, to the heart of people, to connect more.

I went to the funeral of a man I didn’t know.  But now I feel I do know him.  What I will remember is not the dead body, but a LIFE!   It leaves such a warm feeling inside of me to think of that life.  I’m so glad that I can count his sister as my friend.

 

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