…… in your hand when you listen to/watch this.
…… in your hand when you listen to/watch this.
…… in your hand when you listen to/watch this.
…… and not liking it.
I haven’t even been here for a week yet and I’m feeling sad more than I’m not.
I love my home, truly love it. And it’s nice to spend time with the boys, even if it’s only a few seconds a day.
But that’s part of the problem. They just come and go and rarely stay. They rarely want to just hang out with mom, which I know is normal.
But normal is lonely.
When I’m in NY I’m alone much of the time, but I don’t feel lonely. I think the loneliness comes from living in a place where I used to be very busy, and had a lot of friends to go out with, or call, or hang with.
When Jim when was alive.
When I was married.
Sometimes it feels gut-wrenching to live in the exact same place, but have a very different life.
When Jim was alive, things were always busy. Granted, the kids were all younger and so there was more to do with them, and we were very involved with our church and our community.
Having a night at home …… a night where we didn’t have to go anywhere …… was wonderful.
Now that’s the only kind of night I have.
And while I like having time to myself, having time 24/7 to myself isn’t wonderful.
Not here, anyway.
Not as long as I can remember how it was …… “before”.
“Before” I had plans all of the time.
“Before” I didn’t have to invite myself over to a friend’s house, or be made to feel that I was.
“Before” I never would’ve thought of taking a taxi home from the airport, because I had no one to call. I wouldn’t have worried that if I called someone for a ride they’d feel that I was using them.
Today was a lovely day …… weather-wise. I sat outside and got some work done and read and studied.
I’m finding that when you’re always alone, even the loveliest of days can be painful.
I have been blessed beyond belief in my life. Both in my “before” and in my “after”.
But there are still times …… and there will always be times …… when the pain of missing my “before”, brings tears that blind me to the blessings.
For a while.
…… in more ways than one.
I returned to Texas from Oregon on Tuesday. I had a nice time being up there. It’s interesting when I hang out with my father, because it helps me to understand where my non-talking tendency comes from. He and I can drive in a car for 2+ hours, or just hang out at his house for a few days and few words are spoken. Even when Son $1 came to join us, we were people of few words.
And it was ok.
I hate being around people who are uncomfortable with silence. I’m not that good at making small talk.
Interestingly enough, this was apparent the morning I left to fly to Oregon. I was at the Houston airport at 6:30 in the morning. An ungodly hour to be anywhere, in my opinion.
I walked into a retail store there to kill some time. As soon as I walked in, the woman who worked there said hello and asked me if I was looking for anything in particular. To which I replied, “No thanks, I’m just looking.” She said ok and then stayed back while I wandered. After about 5 minutes she popped up next to me and asked, “Do you have any questions about anything?”. I said, “No. Thank you.” and continued to wander.
After a few more minutes I decided to purchase something so I took it up to the register. This conversation ensued:
Her: “So, you’re not much of a morning talker are you?”
Me: “I’m not much of a morning anything.”
Her: “Oh, I could tell right away that you weren’t a talker so I knew to just leave you alone. I know that people who aren’t morning people hate it when I try to make conversation with them, so I try to just leave them be. Like I did with you. I’m a morning person, all the way. I could just talk all day long!”
Me: “I haven’t had any coffee yet.”
Her: “Oh, I don’t drink coffee. I don’t think I really need it in the mornings. I just pop right out of bed, ready to go and ready to talk to whoever will listen!”
Me: “Yes, you don’t need to drink coffee.”
Her: “That’s exactly what my friends say. They say, “Please don’t ever start drinking coffee or we’ll never be able to shut you up. Can you believe that? I guess I’m just one of those people who won’t ever need coffee in the morning to wake up. I guess I’ve really never had a problem with that. I’m good with mornings. But I know when I meet someone who’s not and I do my best to just give them some space and let them take their time without badgering them with a lot of questions.”
Me: “Thank you.”
And then she offered me two different bags, like one was so much better than the other, and I was done. And out of there.
I think she was a little sad, because I was the only customer in there.
But by the time I left I had a headache starting.
So anyway ….. I had a good time in Oregon. My father took me for a ride on his Harley and the weather and scenery were beautiful. It’s so peaceful where he lives, next to the McKenzie River.
Son #1 arrived on Saturday so we picked him him, stopped at a grocery store to get some picnic food and then drove out to my sister’s house for a family reunion.
She hosted the first one last year and we both went to it. There were a lot more people this year, and several brought their instruments so we had a few singing sessions, which was very nice.
I met a lot of relatives that I’d never met, let alone heard of, before. Everyone was very nice.
It’s strange to be in a setting where the majority of people know who you are, and know many things about you, but you know none of them.
But we had a good time.
My father took me up to the lava beds up that way and to some falls. We did this the day before S1 arrived. Oregon is absolutely beautiful. The falls were breathtaking.
It was a quiet and restful visit. We didn’t talk a lot, but then we never have. It was nice to just be with him.
Hopefully he liked it, too.
I came back to Texas Tuesday night (Son #1 left Monday). Yesterday (Wednesday) was a weirdly depressing day. I don’t know why, other than leaving Oregon. But I’m not usually emotional when leaving. I just really missed Jim a lot yesterday. I miss him every day, but some days I just miss him to my very core.
This was one of those days.
So I decided to go see a couple of movies: “Lucy” and “And So It Goes”.
“Lucy” was interesting enough, though not all that terrific. I felt like I’d seen most of it on all of the commercials.
“And So It Goes” was very disappointing. I became more depressed the longer I sat in there. I didn’t enjoy the movie and I kept thinking about leaving. But I knew that if I left I’d just be going home to a quiet house, so I stayed. It never really got any better.
Afterwards I made a big trip to the grocery store before heading home.
And I missed Jim all the more.
Today I got up early so that I could join some neighborhood people in working out with a personal trainer.
And boy was it work!!! One of my new friends kept asking me if I was having fun. I found that working out with this
killer trainer, was about as much fun as being in a barre class. It was work. Very hard, difficult work.
The word “fun” never entered my mind.
But it was a good workout so I’ll go back.
Lord help me.
There were about 7 of us there, so it was very nice to finally meet people from the neighborhood. There all very nice and encouraging. I look forward to meeting more.
After that I was too bone-tired to do anything except flop on my bed. I woke up 3 hours later, and even though I felt I could sleep another five, I made myself get up.
I think the traveling is starting to get to me. The last few times I’ve traveled I’ve felt like I was going into a coma because I was so exhausted.
I’m not a happy camper.
I don’t like being that tired.
I don’t like sleeping a day away.
Or even a morning.
OK, time to stop whining and post some pictures.
I hope you enjoy them.
These pics are on the old highway to the lava beds. The two lanes are very, very, VERY narrow as you go up and up and up. And the edge of the road? Straight down. I’ve never felt car sick. Until this ride.
Speaking of life, these chipmunks were hysterical. They were at a picture stop there and as soon as I got out of the car, they were running straight up to me …… to my feet. I thought they might start climbing up my legs, which was a bit unsettling.
I happened to have some pretzels left from the flight in, so I hand fed them. I’ll try to upload the video.
They were SO cute!
This was a kind of memorial marker that was really cool. We walked up to it and inside there are several small windows that encircle it. Each window has a plaque under it that has the name of a mountain. When you look through that window, you can see that mountain. It was so neat!
And here’s the first of the three falls. They were so beautiful. You start at the top, where this one is, and then walk, and walk, and walk, and walk down a path that runs along side of them. Then you come to a middle falls, and then further down, a third falls. It was absolutely gorgeous.
This is my sister’s dog, Pendleton. He has his own bowling ball for a toy. Yep, a real bowling ball. Heavy, with three finger holes. They’ve named it Alice.
He takes great umbridge if anyone gets close to this ball, let alone touches it.
So there you have it. My trip to Oregon.
And now I have to go outside and film this huge lightening storm that’s going on. It looks like there’s a humongus strobe light up in the sky, rather than just lightening.
P.S. Here’s the incredibly cute chipmunks. :)
…… a dead, dead deer.
Ray, the sun which made it smell.
Me, someone, who’s stuck with it.
Far, I searched both high and low.
So, a neighbor helped me out.
Law, there was no precedent.
Tea, I don’t like anyway.
And that brings us back to doe.
Doe, ray, me, far, so, law, tea, doe, buried doe.
You can’t get entertainment like that every day.
So, yeah. For those of you who aren’t on Face Book with me, I had a dead doe in my yard. Or at least, close to my yard.
I received a boat load of advice from friends on FB, none of which was any help.
Mostly because people found it hilarious.
I called Animal Control.
Well, I tried to call Animal Control.
It seems that the city of Houston doesn’t think that wild life dies on weekends.
When I finally got ahold of someone Monday morning, she told me to drag it to the curb and let the trash collectors pick it up.
This woman has no idea. I’ve received two “formal notices” in the mail because my family has parked in the street sometimes. The third notice comes with a fine.
Welcome to the neighborhood!!!
So yeah, I can just picture the apoplexy that would occur if I managed to drag a dead deer, with two huge, gaping holes in it, to my curb.
Pitchforks and hot tar would be made ready.
Thankfully, a friend who lives in this community (not on my street) happened to stop by on Sunday and I showed her the dead deer.
The next day she brought her gardener over and he agreed to bury it for me. For a small fee.
I would’ve paid a large fee because by that time, the stench was pretty overwhelming.
He buried it …… with a whole bottle of bleach.
Voila! No deer and no more smell.
Of course, we have all kinds of predators (thus, the gaping holes) who might decide to un-bury her, but I hope not.
On the positive side, I’m leaving in the morning for Oregon, so if she is un-buried, I won’t be here to know.
On the negative side, I have to get up at five-freakin’-o’clock in morning. We all know that I am not a morning person.
By any stretch of the imagination.
I’m flying in to San Francisco, where I wish I had time to roam, but I think it’s a quick turn around.
Oregon is usually a breath of cool air. But this weekend?
This weekend it’s supposed to be in the 90’s.
Of course it is.
Son #1 is joining me there for the weekend so I’m glad I’ll be able to spend some time with him.
And of course I’m glad to be able to spend some time with my family up there.
And in the latest news …… I’ve pretty much decided to toss my hair (no, it’s not long enough to toss, but work with me) at the state of NY and just not worry about the tax situation any longer. I’d been mulling that over and then a friend sent me an email tonight, telling me that her accountant told her what percentage the tax is, and it’s not all that much (she’s also wanting to live there part time).
It’s been such a pain to have to worry about how many days I’ve spent there, and keeping track of that. It’s kind of taken the fun out of it. Her email confirmed that for me, and helped me make the decision to just go with it. If I want to be in NY, I’m going to be in NY.
And yes, I’m quite aware of how very blessed I am to have these petty things to think about.
In real estate news …… I received an offer on my house last night (though I didn’t know it until today).
Before you all start to cheer …… it was insulting.
A few weeks ago I decided to lower the price of the house, so that the price would reflect any needed updating and/or repairs. It’s at a terrific price for its size.
The offer today was $80,0000 freakin’ less than that.
And get this …… they justified that amount because they want to renovate the master bath (you know, that same master bath I renovated completely a few years ago), plus some other things they want to do.
Now truly, it doesn’t bother me that they don’t like the bathroom. I’m pretty much over that house now. But there’s not a need to renovate it. Just as there’s not a need to sand ALL of the floors (wood floors which were also put in, all over the entire house) a few years ago, so that they all match. I’m not sure how that’s possible since the kitchen has tile that looks like wood.
Another thing that’s not necessary.
I think I’ve lowered the price to beyond fair, and I’m not using my money for them to change things up.
Not $80,0000 worth.
So my friend/realtor asked if I had a number I’d be comfortable with to counter. “Yes”, I said. And I gave her the asking price.
I figure if they really want the house, they’ll come back with a less-insulting offer. If not, I don’t give a damn.
So there you go. The good (trip to Oregon), the bad (my Sound of Music rendition) and the ugly (the offer on the house).
And now I must finish watching “America’s Got Talent” (can you believe that 12 year old girl’s voice??!) and finish packing.
Five o’clock comes pretty early around here.
Happy Tuesday/Wednesday, Peeps.
…… are on tap for today.
But before I get into that I need to tell you that I’m multi-tasking while writing this.
I’m writing …… and I’m completely NOT dealing with the fact that there’s a good-sized, once-beautiful, now-horrifically-smelling, dead deer in my yard.
I’ll spare you the details.
Back to the title.
Today is Son #2’s twenty second birthday.
Some days it’s impossible to believe that my children are the age they are. Other days I feel like I must be a million years old.
These past six years their birthdays have brought me smiles, as well as tears.
Tears for the same four words, over and over and over.
But the smiles …… the smiles come easier now.
Especially this day.
This day contains hilarious memories.
Oh, they weren’t so hilarious when they were actually being made, at least not to me.
You see, Son #2 was due on July 11th. That would’ve been a cool birthday … 7/11.
But he, as well as 4 of his siblings, decided to take his damn sweet time before being born.
I had a doctor’s appointment on Friday, July 17th. My dr. told me that if I didn’t go into labor over the weekend, he’d start an induction on Monday. I asked if Jim should take off work to be there. He assured me that this induction (the application of a prostaglandin gel) would be slow. I’d go home and “hopefully” go into labor after 24 hours. But I’d most likely have to have this procedure done again a couple of days later. No need for a husband or a packed suitcase.
Now I have to take a moment to remind you that we lived in Houston. And July in Houston is about as close to hell as I ever want to get.
But I got out in the sweltering heat. I rode my bike. I walked. I ate shrimp by the pound (we went to a shrimp boil the month before, and a good friend went into labor right afterwards. She encouraged me to eat shrimp). Poor Jim, he brought home every kind of shrimp he could find for a few nights.
So I went into the office on Monday and he sent me over to the hospital to have the gel applied. The woman in the next room was also having this done. For the third time.
So the dr. came in, applied the gel, told me to stay down for thirty minutes and then go home. And he went back to the office.
Within five minutes I knew that I wasn’t going anywhere.
That damn gel didn’t get the notice that it was supposed to be slow-acting.
One of the nurses came in to check on me and I was Lamaze-style breathing. I asked through gritted teeth, “When can I get an epidural?!”, to which she replied, “Well, we have to make sure you’re in real labor before we can talk about that.”
If I hadn’t been breathing so hard I think I would’ve hauled off and smacked her.
She put a belt on me to measure the contractions and keep track of the heart rate. Then she said that she’d be back in 15-20 minutes to see if anything was happening.
I told her that since this was my fifth child, fourth pregnancy, I think I could pretty much give her an official opinion that this was indeed labor.
She just smiled at me like I was a small child and said, “We’ll see.”
After she left I called Jim’s office. His secretary answered. Bless her heart, every time I called him in that month she’d ask, “Is this it?!”. And it never was.
This time she informed me that he was out of the office. He’d gone to lunch with some clients. She asked, “Should I get a hold of him?” I’m pretty sure it was the panting and heavy breathing that caught her attention. Or the pauses in the conversation when I’d breathe out … “just a sec …”, hold the phone away and either breathe or swear.
I finally told her that, yes, she needed to get ahold of him right away.
So she put me on hold and called his cell. When the call transferred over Jim said, “Hello?” I could tell that he was in a restaurant. I could hear gentle laughter and conversations. I could hear the tinkling sound of silverware on plates and glass ware.
It didn’t make me all that happy.
I said, “Hi, you need to come to the hospital, I’m in labor.” There was a small pause. Then the man actually said …… “But they’re getting ready to serve dessert. And it’s spice cake.”
I’ll let you sit with that for a while.
I didn’t think you were.
Yes, the man loved spice cake. But REALLY?!! I’d been having contractions on top of contractions for about 30 minutes and could hardly talk. But I did manage to tell him what he could do with the spice cake if he didn’t get there soon.
I then hung up and kept requesting an epidural in spite of all the collective birthing knowledge out at the nurses station. The nurse finally came in to check me and said, “Yep, you’re in labor all right. Looks like it’s going fast.”
If looks could kill there would’ve been one less nurse in Labor and Delivery that day.
The contractions came on so fast and were so hard that I just couldn’t get on top of them. No matter what breathing method I used. Or didn’t use. Evidently I wasn’t being all that quiet.
Jim later told me that as he was walking down the hall toward the room, he could hear yelling and crying. He nervously asked a nurse, “Is that Mrs. E?”, to which she replied, “Yep.”
I think he knew at that point that he was in trouble.
I knew that he was in trouble the moment he walked into the room, as they were giving me the epidural. He was carrying my bag (yes, that was sweet) and he was wearing shorts and a baseball cap.
I, or some demon who had take over my body, roared, “You went home and changed clothes??!!!!!”, to which he replied, “I thought I’d have time. These things are usually slow going.”
Forty five minutes later, Son #2 was born.
Yes, I soon forgave Jim for almost missing the birth of our son.
I’m not sure how long it took him to get over missing that spice cake.
We were in Oregon the next year when Son #2 turned one. I spent two days searching surrounding stores for spice cake.
Alas, I was not successful, but he was ok with it.
He got it for his birthday.
God, I miss that man.
Jim, snoozing after a rough day of missing out on dessert.
Son #2 at 5 months:
Son #1 on his first birthday, out in an Oregon forest.
Sleeping buds (as Jim was with every baby):
Swimming, at less than one year.
Happy Birthday, P. I love you to the moon and back.
And so does Dad.
<3 <3 <3
…… in pictures.
Because, you know …… I have them, you
want to see them are a captive audience.
So here you go:
(Ummmm ….. you might want to pull up a chair. Just in case you’re standing up right now while at your computer, or tablet or phone.)
This is my niece (on the right with the goggles) and a friend, licking the beater from the homemade ice cream maker. We used to make ice cream at Jim’s parents’ farm for every birthday, or sometimes just for fun in the summer. It’s been a couple of decades since that’s happened.
We all took turns sitting on the bucket, turning the handle.
And the result was well worth the effort. As you can tell from this pic.
This was me, after I discovered a fun app on my phone that I didn’t realize was there. I think I killed a good half hour playing with it. :)
I took this picture about 30 minutes after we got to the beach. When we sat all of our stuff down the water was about 30 feet away from us.
And then suddenly, it wasn’t.
We had to move our things very quickly at least twice.
I love watching the hot air balloons every time I visit San Diego. A few years ago Son #1 and I, and my brother in law, rode in one. It was such a cool experience. So I enjoy watching them float by. Except this one seemed to have some sort of problem. It went down, getting flatter and flatter on one side.
But it was a slow descent so I don’t think anyone was hurt.
This is my back yard. So cool, huh?
Well, this was my back yard before I took off for California. I brought the cushions and ottomans in before I left because it was supposed to rain that day. I think it rained here a lot, so the cushions still aren’t back on the furniture.
And the outdoor rug doesn’t look as nice as it did in this picture.
But really …… what outdoor does, after it’s been outdoors??
And for those of you who’ve seen my collection in my previous home, here it is in the new one. Finally.
I think I liked it better in the other house, against the blue wall. But I’m not painting this wall any time soon so this will have to do.
This is S, my niece, during her horse riding lesson. English style, as you can see. She loves it.
And here she is in the pool. Which she also loves.
Here’s their dog, Lucy, mid-air before she hits the pool, going after a ball that’s been tossed into the pool. She cracks me up. And she absolutely loves going after that ball.
This is my brother-in-law (Jim’s brother) dancing with S. in the pool. He’s a great dad. He’s been retired since before she was born so she’s had the unique experience of growing up with both of her parents at home. She’s very, very
This was downtown by the Marriott. There were a lot of cool kites every day.
And this is a guy who stacked rocks into tall towers, without using any glue, or cement, or ANYTHING. It was pretty dang cool.
Here’s a pic that my friend K took. And no, she didn’t make a donation. <tee hee>
Isn’t that amazing?! The top big rocks are balancing on such tiny rocks.
And this guy. I have no idea what he was doing, other than riding around the yachts on a board, just using a pole. In the next pic you can see how tiny he looks next to the freakingly huge boat! Look closely …… he’s on the right.
This was Friday night, from the hotel. The fireworks were fun.
And this is one of my very favorites: Daughter #3 karaoking Saturday night during the banquet. I could listen to my daughters sing all day long, every day. She did a wonderful job and she did an even better job interpreting for the very first time for two of our deaf widows. I could watch her do that all day long, too.
Except when Kelley did her comedy workshop and went up to D3 while she was interpreting and starting giving her curse words, and REALLY bad words, to interpret!! I had to stand up in front of God and everyone and insist that she stop doing that because my BABY doesn’t know those words!!!
It was really hilarious.
And I learned some pretty cool signs.
This was my dress for the banquet/dance/karaoke. My mom hemmed it at the last minute and did a terrific job.
This is the back view. Whoop!
This was the view from my room:
This was the view from the elevator landing. Six tennis courts …… one clay. Too bad I didn’t bring a racquet!
And this, my Peeps, is the new addition.
Wait! Not to my home!! I had you going for a moment there, didn’t I? Lol!
This is Winston (as in Churchill) and Mom and D just picked him up this morning. He’s an English Mastiff. <3 They brought him over to meet me and I instantly fell in love.
If I ever decide to stay in one place full time I’ll definitely consider getting another one.
OK, now you’re caught up with me, picture-wise.
Now I have to get some more laundry out of the dryer. Yes, I’m still doing laundry!! It’s a never-ending job!
…… for I have failed to blog in a timely fashion.
And it’s been several decades since my last confession.
As a matter of fact, I’ve never gone to confession.
Well, not in a Catholic sort of way.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post.
I went to San Diego and had a nice time just hanging with Jim’s brother and his family. We didn’t do much, just hung out by the pool, played with my niece, watched some TV and made numerous trips to the grocery store.
It was a nice few days.
And then I went to the hotel 2 days before Camp Widow West to help out where needed. There were several campers already ensconced in their lovely rooms, hanging out by the pool and tending bar.
Well, maybe not so much tending, as drinking.
By Thursday afternoon you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a widowed person at the Marriott.
(Where in the heck did that saying come from?? And does anyone else see the irony? :)
Camp started off bright and early Friday and continued to run smoothly through the weekend.
I saw “old” friends. Which was terrific.
I made new friends. Which was great.
I shed tears. Which was ok.
Which was so very wonderful.
It’s always an emotional week for me.
Being with Jim’s brother, watching our niece, is nice …… and yet sad.
I always think that he should be there, visiting with them, sharing memories with his brother.
It’s always a happy/sad time.
As is Camp.
It’s wonderful to see returning campers …… and to notice how much they’ve changed over the year.
Their smiles come quicker.
Their laughs are fuller.
Their eyes contain light where there was only dark last year.
It’s hard, but also good, to see brand new campers.
Their smiles are slow to show themselves.
Their tears are quick to fall.
Their pain is spilling out of them.
And while it’s difficult to escape the memories that their presence calls to mind, it’s so very good to be able to hug them and let them know they’re not alone.
And not as crazy as they thought.
It was the best camp yet.
The best part of it was that Daughter #3 came to volunteer her time has an interpreter for the two deaf widows who came this year.
She had never interpreted before, and was pretty nervous about the whole thing, but she did a wonderful job. I loved just standing back and watching her.
She shared not only her passion for the deaf community, but her heart. And her experiences as a daughter whose father died.
I was, and am, so very proud of her.
And I missed her immensely the night I said good bye to her before her flight the next morning.
And still do.
I really don’t enjoy the Sundays of camp.
Ninety nine percent of the campers leave that day.
So we say good bye.
I don’t like good byes.
I never really did, but now I hate them.
Depression always settles in around my shoulders on that Sunday.
I miss all of my friends.
And I miss Jim.
It takes a couple of days to shrug off that depression.
It’s certainly not as heavy as it used to be, thankfully.
Mostly everyone experiences it after camp.
We call it “Camp Crash”.
It sucks, but there are worse things.
So now I’m back in Texas. It’s good to be around the boys. Son #3 will be going back to school in just a few weeks.
Son #2 is still in school and it appears that may never end.
I’m trying to catch up on things here.
Like unpacking, laundry, signing my newly-updated will (ugh), trading in my too-large car for a smaller one, grocery shopping, paying bills …… you know, all things fun.
Only not so much.
I need to find some friends.
I need to find some way to get involved here.
Ironic, since I’ve lived here for 20+ years and used to have more friends than I could count.
But life moves on.
As do people.
So I’ve got to come up with a plan.
Other than heading to NY. Which I can’t do until the end of September, unless I just throw caution to the wind and tempt the
fates NY IRS.
Which I totally might.
So that’s it from this state.
Now I’ve got to get a load of clothes out of the dryer and one into the washer.