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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  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.


Feeling the itch to write

12 Aug

I knew It had been quite a while since I had posted, but was surprised that it has been two months.  Needless to say, I’ve had a busy summer.

Needless to say—what a strange expression.  If one doesn’t need to say something, why say it?  Yet sometimes we feel we need to point out or accent the obvious.  Just one example of how strange we humans can be.

Although I have been busy, I have still found moments to contemplate.  I’ve thought about writing several times, but never had the need to.  Which tells me, again, how this blog is as much for me as it is for my readers.

I love it when I see there are people following my blog.  I especially love the comments.  And the stats continue to inspire me.  Yet I’m not really writing for others, although I hope what I write will interest others.  I write because I NEED to.  I’m not sure why that is, it is just how it is.

This blog is my outlet.  The one place where I can say what I’m thinking about without fearing I’m boring others.  It’s a place where can get my thoughts out, where I can think as I write.

I have been thinking of what a strange person I am.  How changeable.  After I looking at some of my earlier posts.  I noticed in one post I mention of how I want to be “in the moment” really experiencing life.  In another I tell how of how I fill hours with my stories, times when I’m certainly NOT “in the moment”.  I guess it is just that I need different things at different times.

For instance, I get energy by being with people.  Yet I must have my quiet times.  It is the quiet times where I recharge.  If I don’t have the quiet times, I soon run out of energy and don’t want to be with people.  But if the quiet, being alone times, drag out too long, then I lose energy.  I retreat too far within myself.  When I realize that  is happening I know I must make the effort to get with people again, to get involved with something.  As I reflect on this, I wonder if maybe that is part of why I have so many different interests or outlets.  Maybe some of them are just tools, so to speak, to get me out of a rut, to pull me back into the swing of things.

I have been aware lately of how the experiences in life changes my perspective or response to things.  After my divorce, I was filled with energy and desire to experience different activities and social situations.  Yet, now, five years after the death of my husband, I am just beginning to feel that pull to the social scene.  I have forced myself to join in because I knew I needed it.  And I have enjoyed the activities.  But, now, I realize I want to get more involved with life.  I wonder if forcing myself out into society is what has given me the desire or if time has just done its work.

Along with wanting more social activities, I find myself wanting other changes.  I am a very changeable person.  If fact, I believe I thrive on change.  Changeable interests, activities,and even the desire to be in different places.   Many times just reading or thinking about these desires is enough.  But, other times, I need to actually experience them.  Although I usually think about something for some time before I actually do it, occasionally I just jump in and do something.  I wonder if that occurs when I have been feeling an urge for change, yet haven’t settled on anything.  Then something unexpected comes along and I go for it.

I wonder, too, why my response to joining the social scene was different after my divorce compared to after the death of my second husband.  I lost a marriage both times.  I grieved both times.  Yet the divorce seemed to give me a freedom, whereas the loss of my husband just filled me with loss.  Maybe the difference was in what I grieved.  In the divorce I grieved the loss of my marriage.  But when I lost my husband, I grieved for the loss of HIM.  Quite a difference, really.  Like in one of my earlier posts where I compared being alone with being lonely.  So it seems that is is, perhaps, not life’s experiences themselves that change my actions or reactions  but my feelings prior and after the experience.

Well.  This doesn’t seem like a very satisfactory conclusion to my post, but I seems to have said all I wanted to say.  This writing business is kind of weird sometimes.  I feel such a need to write, then suddenly I’m finished.  There is no more to come out. So until next time….



Which first?

6 May

I have a desire to write today, but there is a conflict within me as to which topic to address.  I have been reflecting on many things lately.  Perhaps I will write two different blogs.  Or I may find that writing just one fulfills my need to write and postpone the other for another time.

I want to write about my continued small efforts in learning Spanish.  And when I started writing this post I really thought that was going to be its direction.  The following is my original–before edited–second paragraph:

In looking at my posts from the Admin page, I noticed one I began last November.   It is a Spanish  post.  I was trying to tell about an event that I read about in a book.  I still would like to finish that blog–someday. But today, my Spanish is taking me in another direction.  And it seems that  it is this direction that has the greatest urgency to get out of me.

So, as I said, I thought this post was going to be about Spanish.  But it isn’t.  I guess, like many of my posts, it is about me.  About more of the things that make me who I am.

I always edit my posts several times before I get it the way it seems to flow best to tell my thoughts.  I will usually cut and paste paragraphs to put them in a different position.   As my thought flow into my hands I seem to change course as I go.  Once in a while I will completely remove a paragraph that just doesn’t go with the way my thoughts have traveled.  But for some reason, today I felt the need to leave the paragraph about intending to write the Spanish post.  (Maybe is my note to myself not to forget about it,)

Sometimes  after I have posted I see things that I wish I would have said differently.  Occasionally I change a post, but usually just leave it.  In a way it seems to help me to go back and read what I had previously written.  I can then reflect on whether I still feel the same way or if I have changed.

While I have always had ideas and thoughts swirling around in my mind, writing is still somewhat new to me.  The actual putting my thoughts down, where they are open to all is a little scary, but mostly it’s exhilarating.  Although I don’t understand why, it really gives me a thrill to actually write.

I recently told a friend that I have always made up stories in my head.  I had felt that I was an oddity because of this.  But she told me that she did that too.  She said probably many people do.  She said that her husband had said she ought to be a writer, with all her stories.  I wonder if my stories are why I feel the need to write?

I doubt if I will ever actually write my stories.  They evolve and become more like sagas.  Sometimes months or even years will go by and then some event triggers a memory and I’m back to a certain family or individual from one of my stories.   (Before I mentioned my stories to my friend I used to refer to them in my mind as “the books in my head”.)

I’ve realized, lately, that these stories have a purpose.  Sometimes they have just filled a feeling of aloneness  inside me.  By the way, I do know that aloneness is not really a word, but that is the feeling I have had sometimes.  Not really lonely.  Just alone.

Although, I have also used the stories when I was feeling lonely, wanting to be with others or missing someone, I have used them most often when I was feeling alone.  Feeling alone–aloneness–can occur even when others are around.  It’s hard to explain, but it is a feeling of being separate, not completely a part of what is going on around me.  That feeling would sometimes carry over for days or perhaps even weeks where  in little moments of quiet I enjoy my “stories”.

One of the reason, aside from my feeling of being an oddity, that I had never mentioned my stories to anyone before was because of the movie “Psycho”.    I didn’t want anyone to think I was turning into someone else.  This seems a little silly now, because I knew I had a grip on reality.  It was just stories.

Yet, in a way, I became a part of those stories.  I felt the emotions.  Now I realize that the stories have helped vent emotions that were bottled up inside of me.  Even now, sometimes I use the stories to release a strong emotion that for some reason or other I just can’t face in my day to day life.  I can cry, laugh, be enraged, etc about the stories, instead of venting on those around me.  As I write this I realize that is how people use movies, music and maybe even sports and other entertainment.

Now that I no longer feel guilty for my stories, they have taken hold of me in a new way.  I have starting writing/composing songs in my mind.  Again, they will probably never be written, but they fill a need inside of me.  

And through those “songs in my head” I have become enthralled with some types of music that I never before liked.  I do want to write about that, but not quite yet.  I want to see if it is just a temporary quirk or if is is something that will remain.

Even though, once again, this post has turned into something completely different than what I had intended, it has expressed some thoughts and feelings inside me.  And this time, interestingly enough, I believe I still have the time, energy, desire to write the Spanish post.  So, hopefully, you will soon see that one.


Am I a Doer or just a Thinker?

4 Apr

I’ve always thought of myself as a doer.  But lately I’ve been wondering if maybe I am really more of just a thinker.  Somehow the idea of being just a thinker has never appealed to me.  I’ve always thought of myself as being out there, actually doing something.

Yet so very, very often it is just ideas that grab me.  Of course I have desires and sometimes even intentions of acting on the ideas.  But most of the time I don’t.  Sometimes I berate myself because of this inaction to DO something.

Now though, I seem to slowly be coming to the conclusion that it’s acceptable, maybe even beneficial to my self to be just a thinker.  And maybe, just maybe, I will get to the place where I won’t even have to attach the “just” to the thinker part.

So many things grab my interest.  Natural buildings.  Gardening,  Self-sufficiency.  Those have been my mainstays over the years.  Then there are the ones that seem to come and go–sewing, knitting, art, technology, outdoor recreation, healthy eating, and food in general.

I’ve always been interested in tying new things.  But–perhaps it is just that I’m getting older–but now it seems that I’m not really doing so much.  Yet, surprisingly I don’t feel regret.

No regret that I haven’t canoed the backwaters of northern MN, for instance.  (I had taken an Outdoor Women class with my granddaughter and enjoyed the canoeing part so much I wanted to do more.)  I found the MN and other sites on the web.  I ordered flyers of canoeing events from MN, NY, FL and GA.  I checked out Road Scholar canoe events in different places.  Many were women only, but not all.  I intended to take in a canoeing event somewhere, sometime.  But, it just seemed the sometime never came.  (Although when I think back on it now, I do remember the 2 day trip I took down one of our area rivers.  Perhaps that trip was sufficient enough to prove that I could do it.  Now I’m wondering–do I do things more because I want/like to or to prove I can??  I’ll have to think on this and maybe get back to it later.)

I’ve been giving the excuse of wanting to be with family.   This excuse is in my mind, to myself mostly, because really it is only to me–not others–that it matters weather or not I do something.  When I think of it now, I realize that although it is true I like to be with family, they certainly haven’t been keeping me from doing things.  Indeed, in the past, when I’ve participated in different activities, it has enriched my interaction with my family.

I wonder now, if maybe I am just slowing down.  Or maybe I’ve just been going through a slump and will regenerate again.  Who knows?

I smile as I read this.  It seems I’ve gotten off of my original thought.  But maybe I haven’t.  Maybe it’s the thoughts (notice I’m not saying ‘just the thoughts’) of doing things that have sustained me.

I’m slowly realizing that it’s OK to be just interested in things.  I don’t have to actually do everything (or even anything, for that matter) that interests me.  I can enjoy talking about things that interest me.  I can enjoy writing about them.  And I can enjoy thinking. just thinking, about them.  Thinking about things that I am interested in is a wonderful part of who I am.  It keeps me energized–on the inside even when it doesn’t carry through to acting on the ideas.

It gives me a kind of thrill, now, realizing that I have discovered something new about myself.  Just in writing this post!  I’m becoming so much more accepting of myself.  I’m learning to actually like who I am.  Not everything, of course.  I still have a long way to go in some aspects of my life.  But, it’s good that I can now say (again, mostly in my mind, to myself) that I’m ok with who I am.  It’s ok to be a thinker.  It’s even more than just ok.  It’s a good thing.

Thinking is something that I can take with me everywhere, anytime.  It isn’t reserved for special occasions or special times.  It has been and will continue to be my constant companion.  It always has been.  It’s just taken me a long time to value it.

So back to my original question…. I believe I am both a Doer and a Thinker.  Each has its place and its time.  One is not necessarily better than the other.  They are both a part of who I am.

Now I’m thinking ahead of posts that I will write.  About all my interests.  Sometimes I’ve thought about writing about something, but didn’t because I hadn’t had any practical experience with it.  But now, maybe I will write about something just because it interests me.  I can post the workshop events that excite me.  About the technology that amazes while sometimes frustrates me.  The questions of what would it be like if….

And I’ll keep learning.  About myself, about things around me, things that interest me.  I’ll leave the things of the old self behind.  It was good for then, but this is now.  I’m not the same person I was yesterday.  Nor will I be the same person in my tomorrows.  Maybe I won’t be actively canoeing in my tomorrow, but I can be in my dreams.  And, who knows?  Maybe tomorrow will bring a new surge of energy or a new interest.  Or maybe an old interest will reawaken within me.  Maybe I will just have period of reflecting, discarding, and renewing just by thinking.  I want/need to continue to enjoy the learning and not regret the leftovers.  Because they, too, are part of what makes me who I am.

8 (or is it 5?) years

1 Apr

In May I will experience the 8th anniversary of my wedding.  Experience it, not celebrate it.  Bittersweet. It is strange how number milestones can effect us.  But saying (or even just thinking) the numbers can sometimes hurt.  So it is 8 years, right?

Yet, 2013 marks my 5 years without him.  And, even though it is the 8 year anniversary coming up, its the 5 year loss that I am feeling.   Has it really been 5 years??  Really?  In a way it doesn’t seem possible.  Yet, in an other way it seems like its been so long.

He was my husband.  My Love.  My life.  We had only 3 short years together, yet those years meant and still mean everything to me.

It was a second-hand romance for both of us.  One I never expected, but am so very, very thankful for.  Even though it hurts (so much sometimes still) to be without him, because of him I experienced true love.

As an endearment, I called him Love.  He was. And I miss my love.  I miss his smile.  I miss hearing his smile in his voice.  I miss the wonderful feeling of being loved.  I miss my best friend.  My lover, my mate–my husband.  And I miss loving him.

This been a  hard winter for me.  Since last fall I have been a widow longer than I was married to him.  Widow–from the Latin–separate.   Not a word I like.  Separated.  Part of me is missing.  Gone.  Not just a temporary parting, but gone.  Widowhood.  The time of being a widow.  A state of being.  Nothing about it is easy.

The experts’ say it can be a time in life when we can find new meaning.  So far, I have learned the meaning of loss.  The meaning of loneliness.  I had never been lonely before.  Alone, yes.  But not lonely.  Lonely now, because of having had him and his love, because now he isn’t here.

Yet, too, I have found new meaning in the word ‘thankful’.  Thankful for those precious years we had together.  For the wonderful opportunity to love and be loved.  For having a mate with which I could share everything.  For having a best friend.  Thankful, too, for family and friends that try to fill the gap for me.  It means so much to know that others care.

Whether I call it 5 or 8 years, it is still a milestone. With milestones I think of progress.  Progress?  Sometimes.  In some ways.  I am trying to build a life again–without him.  Hard, but for the most part I suppose I am doing ok.  Although, other times I wonder.  I wonder if it will ever get easier.  It seems from what I’ve faced so far the answer isn’t concrete.  For me its been a sometimes thing.  Sometimes, I’m doing good.  Sometimes, not.  Sometimes I’m filling my days with things that get me away from my self.  But other days I seem to need to just cry a bit.

When I think of either the 5 or the 8 year time frame, I think of all the memories.  Some good, some not so good.  But how very, very wonderful that I have them.  How, even though he is gone, he is still with me through my memories.  Sometimes he seems very close to me, and other times just a memory.  I love the memories that come that make me smile.  Smile remembering him.

I continue to work on making this new existence be enough.  Enough for my new life.  Although it helps to keep busy, I don’t want to fill my time just doing stuff to be busy.  I want my life to have meaning.  I’m trying to reach out to others more.

Today I read some blogs about losing a spouse.  Although it made me cry, it helped.  And after reading a few, I realized I needed to write in my blog.  It wasn’t just that reading my blog might help someone else. It was more that I needed to write.  Writing seems to be a form of therapy for me.  

I am learning to enjoy the little things.  The sun coming through the clouds.  The new spring blooms and buds popping out.  Spring is coming.  A couple of barn swallows built a nest over my back door.  Although it looks like a mess, I can’t bear to tear it down.  I love to see them flying to and from the nest.  There will be new life.  Hope.

I value the precious times spent with friends and family.  And I even value my solitude.  Just as long as I don’t have too much of it.  I am learning when I need to reach out and when it is ok to just be alone.

I’m learning its ok to have strange habits.  If I wake up in the night, who cares?  Who cares if I go to bed early the next night?  Or even if I take a nap in the daytime.   Who cares what I eat or when I eat it?  Although I could feel sorry for myself that no one cares, I choose, instead, to relish my freedom that I’m the one who decides.

Well, it seems I’ve run out of words.  As I reflect on what I’ve written, I’m thinking that maybe I will celebrate the 8 years.  Celebrate what it has given me.  Concentrate on what that date brought into my life.  What I’ve learned.  Keep working at accepting the loss.  And value the things, the precious things that remain.

No time for……

15 Dec

So much has been going on lately, that here I am in the middle of the night, writing.  This post has a strange title, but it sums up my feelings.  I have been itching to write this post for some time, but something else always took priority.  Whenever I would think of writing in my blog or doing one of my enjoyable hobbies, that familiar phrase “I haven’t time” kept coming to my mind.

I haven’t time.  Such a silly expression, really.  Every moment we are alive, time is the one thing we DO have!  It is just that I often want to do more than one thing in the moments.  I’ve been thinking about the concept of “being present in the moment”; meaning to really think about and experience whatever I’m doing at that time.  I feel I don’t do this nearly enough.  Seems like there is so many things going through my mind that often I miss enjoying and actually being in the moment.

Since October I have been busy with family.  Visiting and having them here.  Wonderful times together.  Something I value very much.  But, as always, when I’m busy with one thing, other things have to fall behind.  We can’t have or do everything.  And, if we could we wouldn’t value things as much.  I believe I value the special times so much, partly because they are special.

Back to this post’s title.  I do have time.  It is comforting to remind myself of that and realize the time I spend with my family is a choice.  I have decided that being with them is the most important thing for that time.  And, even tonight when I can’t sleep, I am choosing to write this post instead of lying here awake or playing a game on my iPad.  How I spend so many of my moments is the result of a choice.  I have time for what I choose to have time for.

So instead of regretting the things I haven’t been doing, I want to value those things that I have been experiencing.  I want  to consciously think about the choices I make, to know that I am doing what I am at present because it is what I choose to do with my time at this moment.  I want to value each moment for what it is.

Along with blogging my drawing has been on hold.  And I’m longing to get back to that also.  I have been taking pictures and clipping pics from the web–all the while thinking of how I can draw them.  I even talked to my little granddaughter about some of them the other day.  How I treasure these moments of sharing with those I love!

Well, two days have passed since I started this post.  I’ve had lots of different moments during that time, some good and some not so good.  But today I again visited with those close to me and value it–indeed more than anything else I might have done.  So it seems I am learning to value my moments.

My knitting is on the back burner at present.  I did talk to one granddaughter about making her another scarf for this winter.  She mentioned that her other one is too little.  So I hopefully I will remember to take my knitting with me on my next trip.  I really missed it on my last one.  Guess I packed to quickly.  I took my sketch books, but the situation wasn’t right for that.  It would have been right for knitting, but I had forgot it.  That’s just how life goes sometimes.  At least for me.

The other night (before I started writing this post) I stumbled onto a blog about drawing  The first article I found was about drawing snow in the winter landscape.  I have really been drawn to winter scenes lately.  I liked the post so much that I skimmed though others.  In the archives I read the first post.  It is a poem about finally calling herself an artist.  Just a name for something she has been all along.  I really appreciated the poem.  So I now I wonder, since I have such a need to write and so enjoy writing this blog, does that make me a writer?  Like the artist felt, the title seems too big or important for what I’m doing.  But, maybe???   Kind of thrilling to even think of having such a title, that maybe I could be a writer!

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