There Should Be Two ……

…… hearts sharing this wonderful and exciting time in Daughter #3’s life.


There should be two of us hugging each other in our excitement, love and tears at how thrilled we are for her and yet how fast time has flown.
There should be two of us thinking that it was only yesterday when she started kindergarten.
There should be two of us talking about what a wonderful man she’s chosen to spend the rest of her life with.

There should be two.
But there’s not.
There’s just me.
Just me thinking all of this and wishing he were here.

I truly am happy, excited and thrilled for my beloved daughter.
And for the man who will become my son.
This young man who reminds me so very much of Jim.
There’s no better compliment that I could give him.

But there should have been two of us there when he asked me for my blessing in marrying our daughter.
We both should have been there to give him that blessing.
Yet there was only me feeling like my heart would burst from the love of her becoming one with him.
And only me feeling like my heart would break because Jim wasn’t there.

I’m so excited at this new chapter in her life. In their lives.
And I’m so lonely without him here to share this excitement with me.
He would love this young man.
He would agree that we now have a Son #4.
He would agree that Christ will be the 3rd person in this marriage, and we couldn’t ask for more.
He would agree that this man will love our daughter the way that she deserves to be loved.
Just as Jim loved me.

There should be two of us.
But there’s not.

There’s just me.
Standing in for the two of us.
Knowing that he’d be proud of this man and happy for our daughter.

That knowledge helps.
A lot.
But it’s still just me.

Where there should be two.

Sweating in Texas ……


…… has been in full force this past week.

On Tuesday I’m heading to Waco to visit Daughter #2 and Little Man* and the temperature is predicted to be 97 degrees.
Every day.
All week.
Holy crap.

I told D2 that LM, the dogs and I would NOT be spending any time in the park.
Nary a minute.

But in spite of temperatures from hell slightly high heat, I’m very excited.
I love being able to stay home with Little Man while she works during the day. I can hardly wait to get there!

To top it off …… he turns one this week so I’m feeling very blessed to be able to be there. And of course D2 is having a birthday party for him.
It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year already.
A year full of blessings for both of them.
She bought a house, moved, and got a promotion.
They’ve made quite a few trips …… from one end of the country to the other. He’s a pretty well-traveled little man. :)

Gracie Lou is doing well. She seems to love having the extra room to run in our Texas home.
She still doesn’t enjoy it when I leave the house without her. In fact, I think it’s pretty sad that she goes and hides in her crate …… every time I take a shower.
Sad that I apparently only take showers when I’m going to leave the house.
Don’t judge me.


Daughter #3 is doing well in Austin and enjoying her new job. She and her BF drove over yesterday for the day. It was nice to spend some time with them. I’ll get to see them (and her dog, Jake, whom I haven’t seen in almost a year) next weekend for the birthday party. And Son #1 and hopefully Son #2. Whoop!

I also got to spend some time with my Mom and D on Friday. I met them for lunch and a movie (“Everest” — I don’t really recommend it unless you’re in the mood to be depressed). It was nice to be with them, too.

Before I came down this time I had pretty much decided to sell the house this year and live in NY 100% of the time.
And who knows, I may still do that.
But as I sat in the airport and on the plane coming here, I started to re-think that idea. I remembered how very much I love this house.
And I really do.
I wish I could move it to Waco. That would definitely be closer to the other Texas kids, as well as the Oklahoma-for-now kid.
Of course, I’d also have to move the Houston airport because it’s beyond convenient for the NY trips.
But it appears that both the house and the airport are firmly planted, so, for now, I’m keeping the house as “vacation home”.
And yes, it is kind of sad that my vacation home is in Houston.
I knew that’s what you were thinking.

Of course, if you know me well then you know that I’ll probably change my mind next week.
And the week after that.
And so on and so forth.

I’d say it’s a woman’s prerogative/widow-brain thing, but I think it’s gone way beyond that now.
It does keep life interesting though.

I think that’s it for now. I have to go to bed so that my body will be well-rested for another sweaty day.
Don’t mock me …… sweating profusely takes a lot out of a girl.
And more out of a woman of a certain age.

I know this was a riveting post.
I hope your heart withstood the excitement.

Later, Peeps.
Stay cool.

*Daughter #2 prefers the name, “Little Man”, so I’m using that instead of “Little Bit”.
I have to say …… since he’s not so little anymore, Little Man is a better name. :)

I Know It’s Not Just Me ……

…… nor is it just widowed people …… but I hate feeling so very alone in a room full of people.

(Warning: This will be a pity party of one. Proceed at your own risk.)

I hate feeling on the outskirts. I should be used to that feeling because it’s mostly how I’ve felt over the past four or so decades.
While I loved school, most of the time, I never quite felt a full part of any group. There were times I’d feel included, but not consistently. College was much better. I had a group of friends who loved and accepted me. They still do. I feel so blessed when I’m with them.

It would be nice to say that, as I got older I felt more included, but that would be a lie.
I remember watching all of the other PTA moms grouping together before and after school, making plans and knowing that, although I, too, was a PTA mom, I would not be included.

It was the same at churches, Bible studies, book clubs, boards, etc.
Not always, but mostly.

I think that part of the problem is that I am an introvert who can appear to be an extrovert. I blame the theatre. 😊
I’ve always tried to be very involved in the communities where I live, so that I could meet and hopefully connect with people.  Sometimes that would happen, but most of the time I couldn’t/can’t seem to break through the friendship boundaries that already exist.

And then there’s this:  When you’re involved in a lot of areas, people tend to assume that you have a lot of friends from ALL of those areas and so you’re probably too busy for more.

That became hugely apparent in the months after Jim died.

Loneliness can feel like it will crush you to death.

The one place in all the world where I knew beyond a doubt that I belonged, was next to Jim.
T. A. N. W. to describe the missing of that.
The missing of him.

I know that I am liked. I know that I am loved. I know that I am blessed.

I hope to one day feel securely right smack in the middle of a group, rather than on the outskirts, watching.

And maybe someday, if I am blessed beyond belief again, I’ll find myself next to someone who loves and accepts me and makes me feel that I belong 100% with him.


Misplaced Anger ……


…… is something I’ve been dealing with lately.

Now before I continue, I need to say that there is no finger pointing contained in this post. I’m not writing about anyone personally. I’m writing about my feelings, which are mine, and mine alone (although some readers will perhaps relate to them).
When I read about good things happening in the lives of my friends, I truly am happy for them, no matter how else I also feel.

Now, where was I?
Oh yes …… misplaced anger.

Has anyone else noticed that there are a boat load of wedding anniversaries in the summer?
Well of course there are. There always have been. Always.
I’m sure that in the past 7 1/2 years there have been just as many as there are this summer. But for some reason, I’ve never noticed them as much as I have this year.

If you’re on Facebook then perhaps you, too have noticed.
It’s been constant.
I dare say that it’s been daily.
Friends wishing their spouses a happy anniversary.

Again, I’m very happy for all of my friends who are married and who’ve had anniversaries this summer. Truly.
But …… all of these posts have started to trigger something inside of me.
And that something is anger, pure and simple.
I’m not proud of that, but it’s there.

With every additional post I can feel another log thrown into the furnace burning within.
A slowly building fire that starting to gain strength and heat.
It’s probably also kind of a greenish color.
Because I’m jealous.
Every time I see a post that says a couple has been married over 25 years, the fire becomes a deeper green.

I don’t feel angry towards any one person.
Not a human person, anyway.
But I surprised myself when I finally realized that I’m angry at God.
Or should I say …… I’m still angry at God.
And getting angrier.

There’s a second thing going on that’s been stoking that angry fire inside of me.

Have you seen a new TV show this summer called, “Answered Prayers”?
If you have, and you’re widowed, then you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

It’s on TLC and is hosted by Roma Downey. She and her husband produce it.
I know that they are Christians and that they’ve done a lot in faith-based movies and TV. And I’m glad about that.

But this show …… this show makes me angry. Or maybe, I make myself angry when I watch it.
But it seems to me that it tells only half of the story.

The show features 2 or 3 people a week and their true stories about life and death situations that happened to them.
All of these stories have had happy endings. People are brought back from the brink of death, or rescued from sure death accidents …… because of prayer.
And not just prayer.
But “answered prayer”.

God heard their prayers and said, “Yes”.
And these people were healed, rescued, saved, etc.
Happy, happy endings.

But here’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.
God doesn’t always say yes.
Sometimes he gives you a big, fat, “NO”.
But that’s still an answer.
Isn’t it?

This show makes me feel …… strike that.
When I watch this show I feel the same way I feel when I hear someone say, “If you’d only had enough faith …”; “If you’d only prayed hard enough …”; “If you’d only truly believed …”
Yes, I’ve personally heard all three of those partial sentences. They start out the same: “If you’d only …”.
And they end the same: “God would’ve saved him”.

Is it any wonder that some people turn from their faith, and others never approach faith at all, when their loved one dies and they hear something like that?
From “Christians”?

Nothing stokes the anger inside of me as fast as those kind of words.
Nothing brings my anger level from zero to a million faster than those people.

And this show, without giving the other answer, without giving the rest of the story, really does make me feel white hot anger.

From my experience (and I can only cite mine) God gives three answers to most of our questions:
“Wait.” Which will ultimately end in either “Yes” or “No”.

God, much like most human parents, sometimes says, “No.”
Yet loves us as much as those who received a “Yes”.
The answer has nothing to do with the love.
I have no doubt that He loves me.
In spite of my anger.
And maybe because of my anger.

To claim that, because people prayed and someone escaped death, God heard and answered prayer …… is to tell already hurting people that God only hears some people.
And he evidently doesn’t hear them.

Who wants to follow that kind of God?
Who can feel love from that kind of God?

And who can give sound Biblical evidence of that kind of God?

That’s not the God I know.
That’s not the God I love.
That’s not the God who loved the world so much that sent His only son to die for EVERYONE.

So, while I’m happy that these people were saved from death …… I’m going to stop watching “Answered Prayers”.

Because it’s time for me to finally let go of my anger.
And because God did answer my prayers that day/night (and thousands of others’).

He said, “No”.

A Surprise Around Every Corner ……

…… can be found in this city.


I was checking out the neighborhood around my church yesterday since I had some time to kill before the service started.
Imagine my surprise when, as I was walking around a NYC block, I came upon this:





I know, right?!!
Who would’ve thought there’d be a waterfall smack dab in the middle of the city?!

That’s not the only thing I discovered.
It seems that the church is not only behind a park with a waterfall, but in a neighborhood of embassies.
These two are across the street:


They might not be as cool as a waterfall, but I think they’re pretty interesting.

After church I went up to the roof of my building.
As usual, the view was beautiful.


That’s pretty much all I have for you today.
Other than the fact that it’s blazing hot here …… which I know makes my Texas friends roll their eyes.
But I’ve been surprised (though I’m not sure why …… it’s not as if this is my first summer here) by the intensity of the heat.
The temperature reads in the low 90’s, which made me think, “Yay!”. But in reality, temperatures in the low 90’s in a cement jungle, with as much humidity as Houston, makes for a pretty miserable outdoor experience.

Thankfully, if you live in NY you really never have to leave your building.
Truly. If you’re an agoraphobic, this is THE best place to live. Everything you could ever need can be delivered to your apartment.
Many times in less than an hour.
Even Amazon.
Though I may have to re-evaluate using that site, based on today’s news.
Innocent until proven guilty.
Except in the eyes of the press.

Anyway, I still went out today.
Though not very far.
I went to a movie with a few friends from my building.
The movie was in an Indie movie theatre that’s below our building.
So yeah, it’s pretty convenient.

We saw a foreign film entitled, “Phoenix”.
It was a very good movie.

Oh, and I also saw the new Meryl Streep movie, “Ricki and the Flash” last week.
While I didn’t think it’s one of her best, I still enjoyed it.
I mean …… it’s Meryl Streep.
What’s not to love?
And I happen to enjoy Kevin Klein quite a bit, too.
And then there’s Rick Springfield.
That’s all I need to say about that.

So there you go.
An update from THE city.
And a less emotional day.
Yay for that.

And yay that Tracy Morgan is going to host SNL sometime in October.
He’s come a long way on a very hard road.
And I’m looking forward to seeing him and hearing his humor again.

The End.
For now.

“She’s Going to Be Famous” ……

…… is what a woman told me yesterday while she was petting Gracie.

Daughter #1 was in town and we were down in Hell’s Kitchen at a flea market and I was schlepping Gracie around in my bag. It was blazing hot and I think she was still tired from our two mile walk through the Park the day before.
She also doesn’t really care for walking where there’s traffic and a lot of people.
Oh, and hot cement.

So yeah, she was in my bag. I thought she’d draw less attention that way, but she has some inborn talent for drawing attention no matter where she is. She also has an inborn talent for making people smile. And even, dare I say, making some people happy.
It’s a gift.

It’s a gift more humans should have.
Or maybe work on.

But I digress.
Evidently, if this woman has a talent of foretelling the future, Gracie is going to be famous.
From her mouth to God’s ears.

I told Daughter #1 that maybe I should just sit in Central Park with her, day in and day out, to see if maybe a talent scout will discover her.
I’m pretty sure we both thought that would be a huge waste of time.

So instead, I’ve applied to have her trained to be a therapy dog. I believe she could be making people smile, who, for whatever reason health-wise, don’t have much to smile about.
We shall see.
While I’m writing this she’s evidently trying to dig to China through her dog bed.
I’m not all that confident of her intellectual ability to pass a course.
Any course.
Unless it’s for cuteness.

Oh, and she now has her own Facebook page.
It’s “Gracie Takes Manhattan”.
In case you’re interested.
I can’t blame you if you’re not.

In other news …… there really is no other news.
Not any “new” news anyway.
There is a bit of old news.

For the past couple of days my emotions have been brimming at the surface. You know, when you feel if anyone says, “How are you doing?”, the tears will flow over the dam?
There’s really no reason for it.
Other than the same one I’ve had for over 7 1/2 years.
I miss Jim.

Some days it just comes out of the blue.
I miss him.
I mean, I miss him every day. I think about him every day. But I don’t always feel emotional about it every day.
Thank goodness.

The missing of him rarely crashes over me now. But it does sneak up on me every once in a while, with no particular pattern.
As it has does done this weekend.
Maybe it had to do with D#1 going back home.
I don’t know.

All I know is, I was working at the theatre last night when my “boss” asked me what brought me to NY.
I get asked that a lot, and I rarely get emotional about it. I just tell the story matter-of-factly …… and say “thank you” when the person says, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” when I mention that my husband died …… and then I move on with the story.
I can’t leave him out of the story because he was in it from the beginning.

So I started telling her. And the tears started brimming, while I dug my fingernails into my palms, trying to keep them from falling.
I persevered and they didn’t fall.
But she saw them anyway.
Especially when I said that, yes, sometimes I feel lonely. But I feel less lonely in NY.
Still, loneliness can creep in anywhere.

So that’s where I am.
The tears fall as I type this.
I don’t feel particularly sad.
But, oh do I miss that man.
And always will.

I know that I am beyond blessed to live the life I live.
To have the children I have.
To have the parents and siblings I have.
And …… just as with Jim …… I never take any of this for granted.
I knew every day that I was blessed to have him.
I know every day that I am still blessed.

But that doesn’t keep the missing of him from creeping up on me every once in a while and bringing forth tears.
Nor will it ever.

It’s the cost of love.
For there is a cost.
The deeper the love, the higher the cost.

But he was definitely worth the price.

One Last Day ……

…… of hanging with one of my children.

Son #3 leaves early tomorrow morning. He’s heading back to Oklahoma to start his Junior year at Oklahoma State. GO COWBOYS!!!!
It’s been so fun to have a child attend the school where Jim and I attended, and most importantly …… met.

It’s been great to go back for football games, especially Homecoming (OSU has THE biggest Homecoming in the world!), Mom’s Weekend, etc. It’s been wonderful to re-connect with my college friends and “sisters”. I loved my time at OSU. Completely and totally loved it.
And am thankful and happy that Son #3 seems to love it, too.

We had a relaxing day today. Gracie and I headed out to Central Park to watch the Broadway show teams play. They usually play on Thursdays. We watched the “Beautiful” team play the “Matilda” team. “Beautiful” won. But the best thing was that the “Matilda” team played under the name of “Maggots”. Loved it! You have to have seen the show/read the book/seen the movie to understand that.

After that, some Central Park worker kicked Gracie Lou out of the area where we were watching the games. He was very rude. Gracie and I have spent many a day in that area, peacefully watching softball games and welcoming tourists to the Park. Gracie is quite the ambassador for NY.
I didn’t go off on the guy, although I really wanted to. I didn’t tell him that we’ve spent the better part of the summer and spring sitting in that exact spot with no problems. But I didn’t.
Instead, I slowly packed up our stuff (slowly enough that it seemed to bother the rude guy) and then we went to sit in the bleachers of the next game, “Jersey Boys” vs “On the 20th Century”.
Now, I totally loved “On the 20th Century”. It was a lot of fun.
But I have to tell you that the “Jersey Boys” team was one heck of a fine looking team.
Very, very fine.
In fact, I found myself sometimes distracted from cheering for “On the 20th Century”.
What can I say? I’m weak when it comes to fine looking men.
So fine.

After watching that game we came back to relax for a bit. Then Son #3 and I went down to the lower east side to watch a free concert at the East River Park. We had great timing because we were able to easily find seats when we got there.
Within 15 minutes after our arrival, there was nary a seat to be found. The place was packed. I have no idea how many people were there, but it was in the several hundreds.
We listened to two bands play and then we headed out to go hang out at the Top of the Rock.


One very interesting thing that happened at the concert is that soon after it started, some guy came up the steps carrying a soft sided cooler filled with small plastic bottles that contained liquids of varying colors.
I have no idea what was in those bottles …… nor did most people …… but I do know that he made a KILLING selling them to thirsty concert attendees! No kidding, he was making money hand over fist. People were coming down the stairs, up the stairs and across their row to get to him. Everyone was under the impression that he mixed up something at home, filled these bottles and then came to the concert to become a wealthy man. At least for this evening.
Here’s a picture where you can sort of see the type of bottle I’m talking about (you can see part of it in the guy’s hands):
They were those small bottles with an orange top. The guy next to me purchased one. When I asked him what the liquid was he replied that he was still trying to figure that out. He thought it might be something alcoholic, yet organic. But “it wasn’t very tasty”.
Shocking, isn’t it?

After that …… on to the Top of the Rock.
It was Son #3’s first time to go up there. And we had a great time. The views were fabulous and the evening was cool. It’s really fun to look out on the beautiful NY skyline and point out areas that we’re familiar with. Like the apartment. No, you can’t see it from there (well, I guess you could if you had some really great binoculars), but you can see Central Park and so know where our building is located.
Here are some pics:






As you can hopefully see, we were there in time for a fireworks show.
No, I have no idea why there were fireworks going off, but go off they did. And for quite a long time. It was beautiful to see.
Whatever the reason.

On our walk back home we walked past the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where David Letterman hosted The Late Show.
I had just asked Son #3 when Stephen Colbert was going to start the new Late Show and wondered if they’d done anything to the theatre.
Talk about perfect timing!




The workmen were putting the new signs up as we watched.
As one chapter ends, another begins.

Such is life, is it not?