Bored, Fretting and Cooking?

I don’t consider myself a deep thinker. There are a lot of people who would go to great depth to analyze all that 2020 has meant to them. After all, it’s been a most unique year, and it’s still going. I’m not sure I want to imagine how the last three months will end this year.

The reason I doubt I’m a deep thinker is simply this; I can say that all I have done for the past nine months is worry, eat and complain about how bored I am! I’m even tired of reading books, which has always been my one huge pleasure. Sometimes I have to put a book down for a few days, just to remember why I love fiction. It’s an escape mechanism.

I’ve fretted about Covid-19, and then I started to fret about this horrendous fire season. I’m still looking over my shoulder regarding the fires as they are still ablaze. I can smell the smoke inside our home, and we can see our skies darken as ash falls on our house and cars. We both watch the fire updates, check on family and friends and keep going. I can’t NOT worry about the fires. I can smell them, which means I often wear a mask while in the house. I rarely go outside–that’s just asking for trouble.

And Covid-19? I’ve thought about that since the day our governor said to shelter in place. For some reason I thought we’d only be doing that for a brief time. Well, here we are still trying to stay safe, stick with social distancing, washing our hands and, once again, wearing masks. Basically we are trying to be responsible adults.

I feel both fortunate and guilty about my small insulated world, because I know some who have a lot more to worry about. They have to work, set their kids up on remote teaching and hope the lessons sink in all the while still running a household. Then there are those who lost their jobs and now have to worry about all of the expenses that are piling up. They worry about child care, finding a new job or hoping their old job returns. And then there are the small businesses that closed. Will they survive? Regarding the fires, there are so many devastated communities; so many survivors without homes. And lives that have been lost. First responders will forever be considered heroes.

So, while I know I have it excellent beyond compare to others, I still lie awake at night fretting about fires, a pandemic and wondering how to digest all of the information flooding my way.

And I’m bored to tears, as the saying goes. I mean, I am BORED! I get excited about going grocery shopping. Seriously. I look forward to having to go to the store, or to the bank. Those errands used to be called chores. Now they are considered a day out, a field trip. Once again I feel bad for all of those running in circles to keep things afloat, to keep their families on schedule etc., but since I don’t have those situations to deal with, I am more than ecstatic to run to the grocery store.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn I could now get my hair cut and my nails done. That makes me sound so very shallow, but I’m truly looking forward to these appointments. I need them more for a mental health day than I do for the actual need for hair and nail maintenance.

And when I’m bored, I like to bake–and then eat. I had to put a halt to this mental therapy for my BMI reason alone. I’ve gotten much better at baking once in awhile instead of several times a week. I also had to store that bread making machine from hell away. Every time I looked at it, additional time on the treadmill became necessary. Pies, cobblers, cupcakes, bread pudding…well the list just goes on and on. They’ve all been put on pause until special occasions. Right now just getting any good news is a reason to eat so maybe I should tighten my list of “special occasions.'”

While I acknowledge how good I have it compared to others, it’s all relative. So, I will continue to fret and worry, try to limit my baking and eating, and I’ll remain BORED. Please tell me I’m not the only one feeling this way. I keep hoping and praying that 2021 will bring us all new hope. I’m putting a lot of faith in the new year and it’s not even here yet. But, 2021 just has to be better than 2020, right? Here’s to having a tiny bit of a Pollyanna shine through. As Pollyanna would say, “Certainly there is at least one good thing to look forward to each day.” Sometimes it’s just hard to imagine the rainbow while the storm is still raging.

Much love

 

 

Hey, What About Me?

Since my last post on depression during Covid times, I thought I would lighten up the mood. Some events in a person’s past are worth sharing. Some still make me chuckle and smile at how life hands each of us circumstances out of our control, yet we persevere and end up laughing—later. Twice I have been in medical situations where I’m the primary patient, and twice my partners were fawned over as though they were the injured party. With that in mind I thought I would share two episodes in my life that still make me shake my head in wonder. I hope you can see why my husband loves to share my stories… he delights in the storytelling of these incidents even more than I do, and he loves to laugh. Hope you can relate and enjoy.

Forty-six years ago I was pregnant and nearing my due date. After seeing me on what was to be my last exam, my doctor called me in the evening and asked me to meet him at the hospital in an hour in order to induce my labor. My husband at the time felt no need to rush since I wasn’t actually in labor, so he took his time. He finished his dinner, changed clothes and we even made a stop at small store to purchase snacks to tide him over. Why not? I wasn’t in excruciating pain yet and who knew precisely how long this would take? This was my first and only experience of giving birth, so his many reasons for delaying our arrival at the hospital nearly gave me an anxiety attack. I began picturing myself going into immediate labor and giving birth on the side of the road. My mind was spinning. I am sure that most first time mothers understand what I’m talking about.

We finally arrived at the hospital, and we were led to an intake nurse. My doctor had called ahead so they had been expecting me. Great, I was in their records and had arrived at the hospital before seeing my baby for the first on the side of the road. I could now breathe. My maternity nurse came out with a wheelchair to take me to my labor room. She stopped, looked at my husband and said, “Oh my, what happened to your foot?”

He then went into great detail about his accident at work. He was a carpenter and had been using an electric nailing gun. He had started to fall and yes, he nailed his foot to the floor. It had happened the day before and he had been seen in the emergency room. He left with a bandaged foot and a set of crutches.

Suddenly I had become invisible as the two of them discussed the mishap, which doctor had been on call, what his down time should be and how long he would have to use his crutches. For me, it was agonizing to listen to these two people; I wanted to be taken to my room, meet up with my doctor and get this show on the road. My nurse literally looked at me and said, “You don’t mind if we let him use the wheelchair, right? We really should, it’s a long way for him to have to hobble to your room. After all, you aren’t even in labor yet, and his injury does seem painful” and off they went down the corridor. Stunned, I slowly waddled behind as she pushed his wheelchair; the two of them gabbing and enjoying their new friendship. I was the one soon to give birth… this was not how I had expected my first hour of my anticipated experience of becoming a mother. At least he hadn’t asked me to carry his crutches for him. I wanted to stand up and wave my arms and scream, “Hey, what about me?

Fourteen years later this man became my exhusband, and I’m sure he has not thought twice about his special wheelchair ride moment. Five years after that I remarried a very special man, and life moved on. But there are some things in life that never change. I say that in wonderment and with humor.

Moving forward twenty-four years, my sweet baby girl who I had given birth to was now engaged. I’m not sure why, but an event this important to me meant that our house had to be painted. Don’t ask me why since we had no occasion that was actually being held at our home, but it became an important and critical project. The urgent part was strictly in my own mind since we had another five months to go before the wedding.

Now, I’ve mentioned this is in other posts, but my husband is extremely kind, giving and patient. With that, he agreed to paint the house. He’s a great handyman so he naturally wanted to do it alone; no need for hiring help. He worked on all of the necessary prep work, which turned out to be rather extensive. After day two of the prepping project I walked around the house with him to see the progress. Around one corner of our home there had been a tree; not a huge tree but it was at least a story high. It suddenly looked odd to me; the shape seemed wrong. My question to him was, “Who in the world trimmed this tree?” He calmly said, “Oh that happened when I fell off the ladder.” What? We had rented a scaffold; why was a ladder a part of this accident? He then proceeded to explain that while standing on the scaffold he still couldn’t reach the high spots to prep. Therefore, in his infinite wisdom, he placed a ladder on the scaffold. He then fell off the ladder and through the tree. He then cooly stated to me that the tree had fortunately broken his fall. I think that statement was supposed to reassure me that said pruned tree was actually a blessing. He then showed me his leg which definitely looked at though he had fallen slowly through our tree, shearing the branches along the way. It looked like road rash.

I instantly became rather nervous about him working alone. What if he had had a serious injury and there was no one to hit the virtual emergency alarm. The following day was painting day. He and his paint sprayer made their way around the house. I hovered around just to make sure he didn’t hurt himself—how I was going to help is another question, but there was a need in my heart to see him finish the job without further injuries. The house painting job suddenly didn’t seem to be an urgent project for the upcoming wedding, and I wished that I had never mentioned it. Hindsight.

We rounded the final corner and he started to finish while standing on a small porch. Trust me, it was tight quarters for us both to fit. However, the final minutes were in sight. Whew! He was now done and not missing any body parts. I said to him, “OK, you are fine, it looks good, so I’m going back inside.” With that I turned and fell off the porch, onto our concrete patio. He said it looked like I completed a perfect pirouette. At least I have a classy fall.

I saw concrete coming and all I could think of was not hitting my head, so I threw my hands behind me—hard! After swearing like a long shore man and being in excruciating pain, we figured out that my wrists were no longer shaped like they had before the fall. Naturally it was a Saturday and a visit to the emergency room was called for. We arrived with both of my arms being held tight by my own t-shirt, and I left the hospital with two broken wrists wrapped in temporary support bandages. Yes, both were broken. I had to wait to see an orthopedic after the weekend. Monday morning came and I had a late morning appointment. Apparently it’s not an everyday occurrence to have a patient arrive with two broken wrists. When we turned-up nearly the entire staff of the large orthopedic group came to greet me at the sign-in desk.

Once I confirmed my name and other pertinent questions, the first of several concerned women looked at my husband and said “ Oh my gosh, I feel so sorry for you. You’ll have to do everything for her—feed her, dress her…” and the list went on. Suddenly they were all thinking of new things he would have to do for me. I’m sure they weren’t laughing at me but the bubble over my head in writing said, “Hey, what about me?” Eventually they remembered I was the injured person and I left my orthopedic office with two casts that were set up high enough that I could barely bend my elbows. I also left in pain!

For the next nine weeks, every time I had a check up, or we went to any function where food was being served, someone inevitably would say to my sweet husband, “Oh you poor thing. I feel so sorry for you”. Always! Then they would turn to me, and ask how I was doing.

Once again I thought, “Hey, what about me.?’

My husband especially loves to tell this last story because he got such a kick of receiving sympathy out of my injury. It all turned out fine in the end. The house looked great, the wedding was beautiful and life moved on. Since then I have made him promise that neither of us will ever be involved in painting a house again, and he is never allowed to combine construction equipment that just aren’t meant to go together. We’ve since sold that house. And trust me, my ballerina days are over.

Much love

Staying Mentally Healthy?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post, so I’m happy to say that I’m back, and as usual, I welcome your comments.

Yes, it’s been a long six months of staying home, or wearing a mask when out grocery shopping or running essential errands, and by now we all can estimate what six feet should look like. All of this to stay physically healthy. But what about our mental health? Rarely is it addressed. I don’t blame the media as they should be addressing the outrageous number of people dying daily from COVID-19.

It’s been hard trying to remain upbeat. Being retired brings an extra challenge during these times. Having so many social limitations makes being active difficult. All of our 2020 plans have been put on hold, including a special vacation we had planned for this coming September. We have projects that we had hope to start this past spring, and we certainly had (and still have) plenty of good intentions to complete them, however this wish list has taken a back seat to what life looks like during a pandemic. Something as simple as going to the hardware store becomes worrisome. My husband’s favorite store does not endorse any of the social distancing recommendations. For those of us called Seniors, it makes a difference. Even finding a contractor who is willing to take on a job is more difficult than usual. So the projects remain in a bucket list. It’s growing daily.

Personally I believe part of our non ability to be productive is pure boredom. We get into a rut of having “another average Covid stay at home day.” The days simply start blending together; one after another. Living in a small mountain community has been a blessing and a curse with this virus. We have less exposure to the virus due to population. However, we are also a resort area. People pour into our community with every intention of having their pre-planned summer vacation and forget about all of the pandemic social rules—they party, shop in town without concern of a virus, have their vacation and then take the Covid virus back to their own community. Contact tracing has to be impossible.

As locals we watch for these large gatherings and try to stay clear. We become enslaved to our homes. Eventually cabin fever override all other issues and one has to get out of the home. For our own mental healthy, we might take a drive around the lake—it’s truly beautiful. Cabin fever is really no joke. It can easily lead to depression and then the daily rut really sinks it’s teeth into your psyche. I’m afraid there are a lot of people experiencing Covid depression.

It doesn’t even seem fair to mention the loss of what used to be a normal day when so many have died. However, mental health has been put on the back burner. Seeing friends, going out to dinner, having a hair cut all seem so unnecessary but these small activities keep spirits up. There is no physical touch—people need hugs, it adds to your life span. Truly. Instead we have Zoom and FaceTime. It’s better than nothing but I’d rather hug my daughter and grandkids in real life instead of our virtual hugs.

For me, watching the news can cause anxiety. I know I shouldn’t watch, so I try to limit my time. Between the news of Covid, and news from Washington, and the upcoming election it is easy to see how depression can seep in. For me, it’s like watching one huge giant train wreck; I know I shouldn’t watch but I become entranced. Ergo depressing moments. I used to be embarrassed at the word “depression” but not any longer. If you can acknowledge that you are down, just not feeling the way you know you should, well then you can move on. And it’s all right to say it out loud. These are depressing times. Period. The year of 2020 isn’t nearly as magical as it sounded in 2019.

On a less serious tone, remember me speaking of the non existence of hair appointments? I desperately needed a trim! Certainly I could at least trim my own hair. Right? How many times have I watched my stylist’s method? I looked like I knew what I was doing, holding my scissors just right, inching along and taking just a tinge off. I then discovered it’s very difficult to get the back of my head done “perfectly.” My end result? Well, I’ll just clip my hair up until it can be repaired. See? These are the little things that help us mentally. Having a hair cut or a manicure or simply passing time with friends during our Golden Years; our Act 3 years.

It helps keeps depression at bay. I’ll preface my next comment by saying I have no professional training in telling anyone how to deal with those down in the dump moments, but for me meditation helps, or just a quiet room to read with soothing music. Some say that exercise is a help. We just need to keep trying to get through these Covid times both physically AND mentally healthy. And to my special friend who insists on calling herself Debbie Downer, you’ll always have me so give me a call. We’ll have that celebratory dinner hopefully sooner than later.

Stay healthy,

Much love

Remembering a Simple Lessen

One of the important lessens I have tried to remember is to live as though tomorrow would be my last day.  My parents led by example by being happy, being giving humans more interested in family and friends than buying material items—especially items that honestly weren’t necessary.  Yes, they worked hard but it wasn’t to spoil their children or to squander it away. Now I will admit that I wish they had treated themselves more during their lives, but that is my wish for them. For them, they lived it exactly as they wanted.

So my question is why do we humans forget this basic lessen of living as we should— not wasting one day.  My husband and I have tried to combine work and play.  While we worked long hours to achieve our goals, we also stopped to take vacations along the way and enjoyed the company of family and friends. Good conversations,  food and just plain fun. The blend was intentional.

We also worked especially hard so we could enjoy our retirement years.  We have now been retired for three years, and guess what? We haven’t been able to do any of the goals in our “Retirement Bucket List.”

First it took us nearly a year to completely move and set up.  Then there have been my health issues, one minor surgery for him, and just as we were ready to sit back along came some necessary family obligations to attend to.  All of these distractions are totally legitimate.  The positive side is that we spend this time together and we support each other.

And then one day you are reminded of life’s forgotten important message: put time in to step back and do what pleases you. When we reach the end of our lives,  we most likely will find that all of the material items that we once found to be so important, truly meant nothing. We will discover that all of the hours, energy, planning and stress put into achieving items were hours/days we could have spent with those we love, or doing anything we enjoyed that gave us peace and made us smile. I know there is no Utopian world out there, but concentrating on trying to simplify life is quite doable.

Whether you are in your twenties or nineties, and knowing that your days are numbered, being at peace, knowing you loved others, helped and gave of yourself to others, may be the most satisfying way to leave this world. There should be no regrets, no anger.  At least this is what I have heard from those having time to think while also knowing their time is short, so I pretty much take their word for it.

When you are facing your last days, will you look at that new lamp you just had to buy and find that it was really worth the energy you put into purchasing it? Or that special bracelet you went into debt to buy.  Would that time have had more quality being spent with your friends and family or doing what you love?  Why do material purchases matter so much when doing what we love gets put to the side?

When my father was reaching his final years, I remember quite clearly him saying to me that once he was gone, nothing in his home was worth a dime compared to the years he spent being happy.  Those were words of wisdom, yet I consistently have to be reminded that life can be very short. Somehow most of us assume we have plenty of time to straighten out our lives, so why try to change things today? Why?Because the frightening aspect of life is that we never know when it will be our last day. There is no blue print that has an X marked on a certain day, certain year that ends our journey.

This post wasn’t meant to sound morbid. It was meant to remind myself and you, my readers to enjoy life and to remember what truly are the important matters.

Recently my husband and I had this very same conversation.  We are trying to rearrange our priorities and find the list of our retirement goals and put them to use.  We simply got off track momentarily.  We need to start tossing in some play time amongst the interruptions. We hope to spend more time with our loved ones—family and friends—and to start traveling once again.  Slowly all of those things took a backseat to life. Well they are front and center once more. He is back to looking at all the maps of mountains he hopes to tackle with his hiking gear, and I’m back to trying to plan a vacation well earned for us both. It may be a short road trip or something bigger, but it WILL happen.

I simply don’t want to regret how we lived Act 3 when we worked so hard in our  Act 2.  It’s a lessen I have to keep reminding myself, but I hope this time it sticks!  I want to remember to live simple, love in abundance, relax, enjoy, not fret so much, and to smile.

Much Love

Thinking Young

My first true mind boggling love I have ever had the joy of experiencing, was when I saw my daughter only seconds after her birth. I have other remarkable loves, but seeing and feeling her, a living, breathing person I had participated in creating— well that still makes me smile at the wonders of the world, and it had me experiencing  my first unconditional love.

Yes, I knew my family loved me unconditionally, but to feel this toward my newborn was beyond anything I could have dreamed. And, to know that this child depended on me for her existence from day to day, morning until night, could seem overwhelming, but I succeeded.

Being that there is only a twenty year difference between us, we also became best of friends.  She was my bud, but in her growing years, I played the tightrope of mother/daughter vs girlfriend relationship.  Tricky, but doable.  Now I can answer her “motherly advice” questions when asked, and can still call her my best friend.

What I’ve discovered at this period of my life, is that she helps keep me young.  How?  She turns me on to current songs, genre and artists that I now love, but would not have searched out. When we shop, we have different tastes, but she is honest when I say, “I love this, but what do you think?”  She never fails me with her opinion, and always ends it with, “Your choice, Mom.”  This makes me rethink; do I love this because it’s what I’m used to, or would I rather venture into something not quite on my radar, yet I find that I’m drawn to it? And of course, she keeps me young by helping me navigate new technology—don’t ask me how many times I have said, “Why can’t I get my iPhone to do…and then she shows me…again. She gives me insight of how she thinks in her Act 2  and I believe I give her insight regarding my favorite artists, books and plays, and other  interests and passions I’ve gained in my Act 3. While she makes me stop and reevaluate occasionally, hopefully I am able to reciprocate.

And the cycle continues. My granddaughter has joined our female band of best friends. She is keeping us all young by her never ending teenager mind of exploring new passions. Her interests in art is amazing and she’s quite the budding artist, but never did I know about the world of computer apps that teach, and help her, to enhance her talent.  Her work is astonishing and I’m so proud. My Act 1 granddaughter is moving into a world full of daily changes and she’ll be keeping her mother and me on our toes if we want to keep up.

This isn’t a “girls only” band of people. My grandson’s favorite line is, “Grandma, do you know how to…” and then he proceeds to have the patience of a Buddhist determined to teach me his newest favorite game.  Next on his list is to teach me chess.  He is really going to need an extra boost of patience for this challenge, but I’m up for it; bring on the chess board.

One relationship of unconditional love also exists with my husband, but we plan to grow old together in our Act 3, and we are enjoying our commonalities and our shared history together.  We aren’t ancient, but we happily sit back some days and say, “Remember when it all seemed simple?”  Yes, there are days when keeping young is an effort and beyond my comfort zone, so the choices are always fun. I can either sit back and chill, or I can choose to kick it up a notch. In this Act 3, it’s quite nice to know my options.

And to all my Act 3 friends who teach me daily to push my boundary, I thank you also.

Much love

Christmas Songs

Christmas songs can, and most of the time do, absolutely touch my soul.  Obviously I’m not talking about the “Jingle Bell” song, or the plethora list of similar Ho Ho Ho format of children’s Christmas songs where sugar plums dance in their heads. I’m referring to some of the old time church Christmas  carols  plus some absolutely beautiful new Christmas songs such as “Mary Did You Know” by the Pentatonix.  These new era heart touching songs are my favorites—how can anyone listen to the music, perfect harmony, and of course the actual words and not think, Wow.

Christmas music and movies are my thrill for the entire month.  My husband and I try to watch one Christmas movie every night during the season…everything  from Miracle on 34th Street (original, please) to Bells of St Mary’s to the classic humorous Christmas Story.   But when I’m baking, the music is on.  There is simply a mood that comes over me saying, “It’s all right…everything is good”  and I murmur a thank you to my God. And of course, I sing along. That last part I apologize to anyone who has had the unfortunate thrill of hearing me sing.

So from my heart to yours, Oh Holy Night.

Much Love

Sexual Predators or Not?

It feels slightly odd, or deja-vu, when I read an article written by another person, who seems to be articulating the exact words floating around in my head.  It’s almost a feeling of jealousy or envy — how did she write the perfect article expressing my exact emotions?

As a declared feminist you would expect me to be applauding all of these women whom have stepped out into the world to share their stories of sexual abuse from men in high places.  And heaven knows my heart goes out to the true victims; the women who have been groped and grabbed, the ones who walked into her boss’s office to find him wearing only underwear, or to the women who found the office door suddenly locked behind them, or the ones who were young and innocent and taken advantage by an older man. Being fourteen definitely makes the child unable to make adult decisions.  And, lets not forget the women who would knock on a door of a powerful man, only to find him with an open bathrobe…well, the descriptions and lists continue.

However, some claims from women are simply ridiculous.  As a past victim of spousal rape and physical violence I want to defend most of these women. But there is a definite difference between someone putting his hand on your back, to someone putting his hand up your skirt.  Throughout my years in business, I have had men flirt with me; some going as far a putting a hand on my knee under the table at an office party.  While I was wearing a short skirt, it shocked me for about one second. Then I simply removed his hand and scooted my chair slightly away from him, and then gave him that look that women can give that says so much without stating a single word.  He got the point.  I never thought of that as sexual abuse. I thought of that as him being “fresh.”  I’ve also seen women do this to men–whether they were married or not.  It’s not polite, it’s unwarranted, but it is not sexual abuse.

I once had a boss who got so angry at my answer to his question as to why he had to sign an office check that he threw his phone across the wall,  and wiped his desk clean. Yes everything went flying, including my paperwork.  Now, that was most definitely office abuse, but I just felt he was a crackpot, or slightly unhinged.  When he yelled at me to clean up the mess, I walked out of his office and went straight to my manager, then left for the rest of the day.  He looked chastised by the morning, (or perhaps worried about a monetary retribution — no I did not pursue) but I told him what he could do with his forced apology and I quit.  Yes, I know that not everyone can quit a job, but everyone can go to their manager or their Human Resource department.  The answer is to stand up for yourself.

In today’s society I am glad some men are being called out for their behavior.  But I think women have gone a bit overboard. When a man admits what he has done on tape, we need to believe the women.  When a man has been banned from a mall for his predatory behavior of young girls, we need to believe the women.  But when a man says that he sincerely does not remember incidents happening as being told, or doesn’t remember some of the women at all, should he leave an outstanding career in order for the Democrats to appear progressive and sincerely horrified by sexual abuse?  Perhaps not.

When a woman ruins another person’s career just to get on television to tell her long winded story, that is unforgivable.  In fact while some women breakdown expressing feelings held back for decades, my heart  breaks for them.  But when Leeann Tweeden gave her soliloquies with laughter, well it’s a little hard for me to have sympathy for her.  She truly should be ashamed for what she has done, not only to Al Franken, but to all women who genuinely have a story of abuse.

It’s been over 30 years since I last experienced my ugly side of marriage, but I still can’t share some stories without choking up.  And yes, I felt so helpless and embarrassed that I didn’t tell another soul my stories for years.  I can understand why some women involved with Roy Moore waited so long.  If he is voted in to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday it will be a travesty.  When Al Franken leaves the U.S. Senate, it will be a travesty.  And who suffers?  All the women who absolutely have a real life story of abuse.

This is for you Al Franken.  It is not a better thing you do by leaving the Senate.  Your fight to right the wrongs of our country cannot stop.  We all need you.

 

 

The Kindness of Strangers

Yesterday we received our first Christmas card, and it was from one truly special couple.  It promptly made me smile before I even opened the envelope.  This one solitary card spelled out “Love” in so many ways.  You see, we bought our retirement home from this couple.  If you believe in destiny, or a miraculous connection to someone new in your life,  then you might have an inkling of what this couple means to us.

When we first went house hunting, we drove the 65 mile one-way trip every weekend for months.  Nothing fit exactly what we had in mind…until we walked through this front door.  I was utterly sold, but my husband was hesitant so we continued to look at various homes. One month later we took another gander at this house for sale.  This time the owners were home. I believe a connection between the four of us was instant.  They are an elderly couple whom had the desire to move to warmer weather, and here we were looking for those dream-like “Chrismassy”  winters.  They could see our love for the house immediately–I know that I couldn’t hide my expression.

While the men were looking at the issues I could care less about (where is the septic tank?  Seriously?) I kept wandering through the house trying to imagine us living here. And then the wife found me; she wanted to explain the kitchen set up–the pros and cons, and the next minute I found the two of us sitting at their dining table chatting.  They  were both 80 years-old at the time, and since I have always loved talking to elderly people and their history, we got lost in her life and in mine.  Such an interesting life they have shared together, including now having two adult sons and daughters-in law.

During our conversations we both recognized a commonality; we both love family heirlooms.  We talked about how hard it had been for me when I lost both parents; how close I had been with my mother; how hard it was for me to let go of her special things.  We talked about how I had recently handled the death of my father and the act of selling his home, property.  We talked about how heart wrenching and difficult losing your hold on to your history can be, and then she talked about her sons.  She felt disappointment because they had no desire to inherit their special family items; some she had had for many generations.  I could see the hurt in eyes. I could hear it in her voice.  Without warning we discovered that we had stopped talking about the house completely.  It was as though I was having a cup of tea with a beloved aunt who understood me far better than blood relatives.  And for Barbara, she felt as though I could have been her daughter.

Alas, it was time to make the 65 mile trip back home and make a decision whether to make an offer or not.  My husband had been reeling with ideas for the house after he and Allan had talked through his imagine of what changes he would have to make in order to have a small shop. Yes, it was possible! He was now convinced that this was what we had been looking for.  Now, you could say they did a masterful job selling us on their house.  But it was far more than that.

We included a letter with our offer. We explained again why we loved this home and how we so badly wanted our grandchildren to enjoy summers and holidays with us at this gorgeous mountain home, and how we wanted our daughter and her children to know they had a peaceful home to visit, and visit often.  Our offer was far below their asking price, but we felt win or lose, we had to try.  I might have even held my breath while waiting for an answer.

They accepted our offer. Our realtor said there had been two other offers…offering far more than us, but they sold their home to us anyway.  Bless these two new friends!  We met one more time before the close of escrow and I was beyond shocked to hear her tell me that she was leaving me some of her very sentimental family items because she felt I would treat them with care.  Her husband also left some items that my husband felt humbled to have received.  Yes, we both felt we had been honored to be the new caregivers  of a few of their special items. Humbled and fortunate.

Why did they not only accept our offer, but leave us heirlooms?  They weren’t monetarily valuable, but they all had an interesting history that left my husband and I in awe.  As Barbara worded it, she not only knew that we would care for a few things that her own children did not want, but they had both loved our letter expressing our dreams for the future.  They wanted to sell their home to people who would love it as much as they had.  It was an act of kindness.  They could have sold for much more money than we had, but they looked beyond the dollar sign and compassionately decided that our dreams were worth more.

After we moved in, they had left us special notes everywhere.  We just recently found another note from them explaining how to re-cane a children’s rocker she left behind.  It had been her childhood rocker.  We found notes in a dresser drawer taped to a package of brand new sheets saying, “for you.”  There were notes for everything.  My husband found a most organized file regarding every detail of materials, warranties etc concerning the building of this home; the file literally answers every question we could have about our home construction.  And every note was full of love.

We exchanged email addresses in order to keep in touch. Six months later I offered to pack and send her some of the items that I knew had special meaning for her. I didn’t want her to feel as the she had made an implulsive decision that she later had regretted.  She replied with, “No, you are the keeper.”  Another six months went by and I made the same offer–I was determined to not take advantage of her generosity. I received the same reply.

We continue to keep in touch–they still get up as dawn breaks, and golf every single morning.  She is involved with three local organizations in their new community in the desert, and Allan remains just as active.  This couple simply lives with passion, and I believe they are devoted to the notion of wanting to share their good fortune with others.  They give back to the universe both kindness and love.  In her emails she is forever asking how our daughter and grandchildren are doing.  And she asks about our home and the community they left behind.  The connection we made is remarkable.

They are the epitome of, “The Kindness of Strangers.”  I hope our corresponding days stick around for many more years.  And I’ll continue to smile when I see an email from Barbara and a card at Christmas time.

Much Love

My Tribe

Up until a few years ago I thought that holidays weren’t complete unless my entire family was involved.  It was as though the number count was the test to whether the gathering had been successful or a failure .  I was so terribly wrong, but family attendance in my Act 1 was large, loud, loving and total chaos.  Having a lot of relatives meant that it was nothing to have several sets of aunts and uncles, along with all 1001 cousins all sitting at the longest table my young years had ever seen. I’m not quite sure to this day how my parents managed to fit and feed such a large group, but I’m grateful that they did.  This had once been my beloved tribe. I look back on my Act 1 with absolute pleasure.

In Act 2, my tribe was full of immediate family, new in-laws and all of our babies– welcomed new members to the family.  My parents still managed to gather everyone together and we feasted and  laughed. At the time I  couldn’t picture our holidays in any other fashion.  That had been my tribe and it was very real and, once again, it had been picture perfect.

These past few years has brought me into my Act 3. It has brought new light into my definition of tribe.  No longer is it about a ton of close family and friends together, but I absolutely love this tiny tribe I now have  We may be few, but we are mighty.   We no longer celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving.  But, we do celebrate the following Friday with dinner out—no turkey for us; instead it is steak all around! A carnivorous group we are.  So the other night, other wise known as Black Friday,  there we were, just the five of us laughing heartily and thoroughly enjoying each others’ company. ‘

I sat and smiled as my family confused our poor waiter with our orders.  He patiently (and was later rewarded) listened to us bargain with each other over the meals.

“Do you want to share a dinner?”

“Sure…oh wait, I want mine cooked differently then yours…”  And on to the next person.

“What about you?”

“I’m thinking..wait, wait. Nah, I don’t think so.”

This went on until the final decision was made…everyone ordered their own meal.   And my funny young grandson, who could not keep up because of the background noise, was sitting there with a ten second delay, trying to follow along.  I would hear him say, “Who said that? When was this? Wait, what happened? ”  Every attempt to seek information made me laugh.  Our comical, yet chaotic dinner was marvelous,  and naturally ended with my daughter and I ordering desserts to be followed up with a “We’ll start our diets tomorrow,”  which we both knew was a fib.

I saw my husband enjoying the evening, but seemed distracted (he couldn’t hear very well either; he and our grandson cannot block out surrounding sound) because he kept waiting for his beer to arrive– you know the type of adult beverage that seems to get lost between the order pad to the table? Suddenly everything struck me as humorous; It was bedlam. Through all of the giggles I kept watching my family and I felt so darned blessed.  I realized having a group of people whom you totally enjoy and connect with, otherwise known as “tribe”,  has nothing to do with quantity but everything to do with pure quality, pure and total love.

There’s been a tremendous difference between Act 1 to Act 3, but I wouldn’t change our Thanksgiving tradition with anyone, nor would I dream of changing one single bit of my tiny but mighty tight-knit family.

I hope you were able to spend quality time with your loved ones…no matter how large or small the group.  I pray you were able to take a moment for yourself to realize how fortunate you are to have found your special tribe.  I did.

Much love

 

 

Please read this Re-Post. “When Is It The Right Time

Since we have just experienced the results of yet another mass shooting with an AR15, I thought this was worth reposting. We need our politicians to stop doing the NRA bidding  and start protecting our citizens

This isn’t a popular subject and it certainly won’t help me gain a bunch of new friends, but it is necessary to write about.  At least it is for me.  And heaven knows I write quite frequently (among other atrocities ) to my Senators.  I’m probably on a first name basis with their staffers. Whenever I hit the send button on my emails to government officials, I feel like I have done something. I’ve tried to do my part.

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “Well, this is not the proper time to talk about this; let’s stay focused on the victims.”  Yes, every assault gun weapon tragedy brings out the same response:  horror, repulsion, scenes of small children and adults killed, stories of the lives they had and the futures that should have been theirs.  It’s devastating, heart wrenching, and everyone agrees.  But no one agrees to seriously talk about the cause of these tragedies. Soon the event is forgotten, until the next horrific mass killing.  All of this is due to our unrelenting need  for citizens to purchase any gun they want, including assault weapons.

So my question is this, when is the right time to talk about it?

I have often stated to my NRA friends that I am not opposed to the second amendment.  When it became an amendment in 1791, after the Constitution had been written, the “To Bear Arms” wording was for guns.  No man at that time could have dreamed of a weapon so destructive as an assault military weapon;  a single gun that can cause such continuous and rapid slaughter of innocent people.  The amendment was meant to defend and protect yourself, family and country.  The key word is “Defend.”

With the true meaning in mind, I am certainly in favor of our citizens having guns in their homes for protection, or for hunting etc.  This seems like a splendid notion, and a legal right for Americans.  But, explain the need to have a military weapon for personal use?  That thought doesn’t even compute in my brain.  Who possibly needs an assault weapon to defend his family, or to hunt?

After this recent horrifying carnage in Texas, President Trump defended the 2nd Amendment by declaring that had it not been for the good Samaritan neighbor having a gun, the death toll would have been much higher, and I totally agree.  However, if the original shooter hadn’t had an AR, the good next door neighbor would not have needed to use his legal gun in the first place.

At every election, State or National, this subject comes up and then withers away. The most dishonest argument by the NRA is when the organization states that the people against assault weapons also want to come and remove all guns from every single home.  This is when I want to scream.  Never have I heard a candidate said, “All gun must be outlawed; all guns will be taken away.”   All have openly said that they are for the 2nd Amendment, so why the scare tactics by the opposing side?  Slippery slope they say?  I doubt that. It is an “Amendment” and open for change, but no one has suggested such drastic measures, nor would this country allow it.  I also don’t think we honor anything more than the Constitution and the first two Amendments.

We have come upon a time when people think twice about going to large venues, including churches for fear of the “what ifs.” This is truly a pathetic atmosphere so let’s have a serious conversation about this matter.  If not now, when?

Stay safe.

Much love