So, I Wonder ……

…… what the statute of limitations is for “widda brain”.

For those of you uninitiated in this “club”, consider yourself lucky for an altogether different reason: being widowed affects your memory. Big time.
Like we needed something else to kill off our brain cells.

All kidding aside (for the moment), when you first experience “widda brain”, it’s hella scary. Sometimes terrifying. You forget whole conversations. Overnight.
You forget meeting people.
You forget the paragraph/sentence you just read. Three times.
You forget appointments.
Or you go to an appointment …… a week early (not that I’ve personally experienced that … <cough, cough>).
You lose large chunks of time.
And wonder if you have Alzheimers.
Or a split personality.
It really is very frightening.
Until you find out that it’s a “normal” effect of grief.
For quite a while.
Or maybe that’s just me.

So I’m not sure how long I can claim W.B.
And when I just have to admit that I’m an idiot.
Who should maybe stay in one place for more than a month at a time.

Tonight I had plans to go with a friend to an event for the women in our church here in Texas (just in case you can’t keep up with me, either). She was going to pick me up at 6:00.
I had just finished getting ready at 5:30.
At 5:32 my cell phone rang … it was a number I didn’t recognize so I did what I always do with those calls.
I ignored it.
My phone sounded out the voice mail alert, so I picked it up to listen.
The caller was a woman I’d never met, telling me that she was at the restaurant where we were supposed to meet … at 5:30.
Oh.
My.
Word.

I had completely forgotten that a mutual friend introduced the two of us over email …… because this woman is a widow who doesn’t know any younger widows.
And we did indeed make plans to meet for dinner.
Tonight.
At 5:30.
I need a brain transplant.

Thankfully, my friend is/was very gracious and thought the situation was pretty funny.
I admit that I had to laugh.
This is my life.
A lot of the time.
Thankfully I have yet to find my keys in my freezer.
Yet.

I called my new friend back and told her I’d be there in 15 minutes …… and I was.
In spite of a very long train.
Of course.

And we had a great visit.
She now knows a younger widow.
I hope to help her meet the women in our “Circle”.
As well as get her to Camp Widow in Tampa.

I also got to say hi/bye to a couple of friends who ended up sitting at a table next to ours. They’re moving to Guyana.
And you thought New York was far from Texas!

I’m now going to change gears and post random pictures from the past few weeks.
Just to catch you up on a few things.
I bet you can’t wait.
:)

I took this from my rooftop in NY.  By the pool.  Whoop!

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This is the back view of the dress that I wore to the Tonys.
You know …… THE Tonys.
Quintuple Whoop!!!!!

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And yes, this is the front.

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This picture was taken at a restaurant called Bare Burgers.  Their lighting is upside down lamps.
Which is pretty dang cool, is it not?

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This is the King, in “The King and I”, Ken Watanabe, posing with fans after the show.  I didn’t see the show on this evening, but just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  He took time to take pics with several people.  Which was very nice of him.

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This is at the IMAX where I watched the 3D version of “Jurassic World”.  I thought it was kind of cool/fun.  If you ignore the fact that almost everyone is eaten by a dinosaur.  Which was a whole lot more believable than Bryce Dallas Howard running through jungles and the entire picture in a tank top, a skirt and 4 inch heels.
Sheesh.

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This is Gracie, trying to show me that she’s ready to go to Texas.
I guess.

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This is the picture I took at the closing of our family home last week.
And yes, that’s a mimosa.
And no, I didn’t cry.
I just took deep breaths.
And drank a couple of those.

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks down here.
I did the closing, went to a couple of doctor appointments, had blood work done (whoop?), had an MRI done on my aching shoulder, purged a lot of “stuff” from my closets, bathroom cabinets and garage, and replaced an AC/furnace.  The entire thing. (Well, *I* didn’t do the replacing, I just watched for 8 hours and paid for it …… which is easier written than done.)
I spent my birthday/Father’s Day with my parents, going to a movie (the new Avengers …. don’t bother), dinner, and then another movie (“Inside Out” … go see it!).  And I talked to my kids.  It was a good day.

Now I’m in the middle of getting ready for a trip to Florida with all six (6) of my kids.  Plus Little Bit. Plus one Significant Other (not mine).
If you’re keeping count, that’s that nine (9) people.
Or 8.5.
Don’t be jealous.

We’re going to brave the heat and the crowds at Universal.  And hopefully hit as many roller coasters as many times as we can in a 72 hour period.
More or less.
As well as pool time.
I’m excited about it and am really looking forward to spending time with these fabulous people.           Hopefully I’ll get lots of great pictures.                                                                                                     Unless “widda brain” prevails.

So it’s anybody’s guess.
Whoop!

Sunday Was Just Short ……

…… of a miracle.

Not because it was my birthday, though birth, in and of itself, is always miraculous.
(Please accept my apologies if you just gagged. I did, too.)

Not because it was Father’s day, though it’s difficult a day for many people I know.

It wasn’t a miracle for those two things alone, but their occurrence together induced the miracle.

The miracle was this: I made it through that day …… through those two occasions …… without a tear.
Not one.
My eyes didn’t tear up at all.

I realize that most people wouldn’t see that as a miracle …… but I also know that most of you reading this …… know that it is.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel my heart tug a couple of times when I thought of Jim …… and of his absence. But I immediately turned my thoughts to the memories of him, instead of dwelling on the empty space he should be filling.
And I smiled.

I still miss him every day.
I will always miss him.
I will always wish that it had been me who left, while he stayed and did a better job of parenting.
Of being a better person.

But here I am.
And life is good, most of the time.
I am happy, most of the time.
And I’m thankful that I’ve reached the point where I can choose to sit and cry over Jim’s absence, or I can choose to sit and remember him, remember us …… remember all of the good stuff.

I’d much rather smile than cry.
Mostly because I’m an ugly crier and you can tell I’ve been crying even an hour after I stopped.
It’s a curse.

So anyway, I’m thankful for the miracle I experienced on Sunday.
I’m thankful for the father that Jim was to our children.
And I’m thankful for all of the birthdays I had while he was here.
(I’m not thankful that he’ll always be much younger than me now ….. that’s just aggravating!)

All this to say …… when you can …… choose to smile at the memories, rather than cry at the loss.
When.
You.
Can.

It Is SO Freakin’ Hot ……

…… here in Houston that I am loathe to even open my front door.

If you could see the actual temperature you’d think I’m a huge crybaby …… as would I.
That’s because it’s really only 84 degrees. Usually, temperatures in the low to mid-80’s are almost delightful.
At least that’s how I feel when I’m in 84 degrees in …… oh, let’s say …… San Diego, northern California, New York …… even the middle of a desert.

But here in Houston, 84 degrees feels close to what I would consider hell to feel like. That’s because it’s 84 degrees with about a 12,254% humidity.
And no, I’m not exaggerating.
Much.

It’s so gross to wake up in the mornings and not be able to see sunlight because every window in your house is covered with water from the humidity.
Not to mention the steam that rolls off of the streets and sidewalks.
Don’t you wish you were here now?

There’s a huge, almost-private, pool behind my house. I can’t even begin to summon up the energy it would require to walk back there because HUMIDITY!

Enough about the air you could drown in.

Yesterday was a good day.
It was my birthday.
Since it’s a birthday that’s past my 29th year, we’ll just leave it at that.

I got Skyped, Face Timed, texted and Messaged by my kids …… so that was a win. :)
My parents came into town and we went to a movie (the new Avengers movie — avoid it), then to dinner, and then we decided to go see another movie that could redeem our two hours lost to the Avengers. We saw “Inside Out” and did indeed redeem our day. It’s very good. For all ages, but most especially for adults. I love Pixar because of that.

So all in all, it was a good day.
In spite of being one more year further away from 29.

In fact, when I opened my Face Book page last night and saw the hundreds of Happy Birthday messages from family and friends, it became a great day.
It’s nice to feel special at least one day of the year.
No matter how far I am from 29.

I’d love to post a picture of a doe standing in my yard, eating leaves off of a tree right outside my window yesterday …… but ever since Apple updated the last IOS system …… and changed iPhoto into Photos …… my pictures from my phone aren’t uploading onto my computer.
Not to be a whiner, but …… I hate Photos.
With a passion.
And when I went on line to find some help, I found out that I am not alone in this hatred.
Not by a long shot.

I’d love to know why the technology giants canNOT live by the credo, “If it ain’t broke, DON’T FIX IT!!”

So you’ll just have to imagine a lovely doe standing under a tree in my back yard.
And then imagine Gracie growling and barking her head off at it.

And then you can imagine Gracie noticing that two dogs are on a TV show, and then going nuts barking, growling and running over to the TV to try to get at them.
I have that on video.
Which may never see the light of day.
Thank you, Apple.

That’s it for now. I need to start a packing list for my vacation with my six, plus Little Bit, plus one significant other, to Florida next week.
Where, hopefully, our lungs won’t fill with water every time we take a deep breath.

Maybe I should go buy some scuba gear for us to walk around in.

Later, Peeps.
:)

Pieces of My Heart ……

…… are all over the place.

There’s a piece in Philadelphia.
There’s a piece in Waco.
There’s a piece in Dallas.
There’s a piece in Austin.
And there’s a piece in Oklahoma, most of the year.

You can probably guess why that is.
It’s where my children are.
Daughter #3 is with me in NY so that piece gets to stay here.
Until she moves back to Texas in August.

All of that is to say that, while there will always be pieces of my heart wherever my children live, the rest of my heart is here …… in NY.
For the past few months I’ve been struggling with when to be here, and when to be in Texas. I thought I had figured it out. I planned to be here in the spring and summer, and then return to Texas for September till May.
And I was trying to be satisfied with that plan.
But I wasn’t.

So I’ve been praying about it and wondering what I should do. I felt that I should be in Texas because …… well, because that’s where we/I have been for 24 years. It’s where Jim last lived.
And most of my kids live there.

I know that there are thousands of people who live in two places and are happy doing that.
But I’ve found that I can’t really live fully in either place when I’m not there full time. It’s hard to commit to people or things (like volunteering, a year long Bible study, monthly meetings, etc) when I’m only here/there part time.

But I thought I’d power through it.
Then this week, and more specifically this weekend, I felt God saying, “You need to get on with your life, fully, and your life is here.”
I’ve found a church I really, really like (Thank you, RL!). A very diverse church where I am in the minority due to my age, and my race. And I love it.
It’s alive.
And growing.
And feels like home.

I’ve found a place to volunteer on a regular basis.
And I love it, too.

NY is where the rest of my heart is.
And where my life is.
Now.

At church yesterday morning the main point of the message was, coincidentally (I think NOT!) … “Does what you hold on to lead you to greater fear, or lead you to greater faith?”
Wow.

Holding on to NY leads me to greater faith.
It means leaving what I’ve known for two decades.
It means leaving people that I’ve loved for two decades.
It means trusting God enough to let go.

Holding on to TX leads to fear.
Fear that I’ll never leave because it’s “safe”.
Fear that my life will never be as good as it was there …… “before”.
Fear that if I let go, I’ll lose control.
Which is hysterical, because Jim’s death taught me that there’s really very little that I can control.

I sat in church yesterday, and listened to God.
And felt a huge weight lift off of me.
I almost felt giddy.
It felt great to let go.

So, I’m going to live in NY.
Full time.
I know a couple of people who will be sad at this decision.
(I’m talking to you LB and NB.)
But I also know a couple of people who will be happy at it.
(I’m talking to you BL and KL.)

I’m not going to sell my house in Texas.
Yet.
That will require a lot of work.
I’ll have to get rid of almost everything in it.
And figure out what to do with the stuff I have to keep.
That will take time.

I’ll still go back to visit every few months or so, but NY will now be home.
I totally love this city.
And I’m excited for the future.
And, after living the first four or so years of my “after” without that excitement, it’s feels great.

Now all of the pieces of my heart will be right where they belong.
:)

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I Signed a Contract Last Night ……

…… to sell our house.
Not my home, the one I live in when I’m in Texas, but our house.
The one where Jim and I raised our children.
The one the boys and I lived in at the time of his death.
The one we stayed in during the first several years of the horrible “after”.
The one that used to be a home.
The one Jim and I thought we’d own for a very long time.

But “we” didn’t.

I haven’t lived in that house for a year now. A year on May 1st, to be exact. I signed a contract on my new house that day and never spent another night in the other one.
In September of last year I started renting it to a family. The day I signed the rental agreement was the last day I was in that house.
The last day I drove down that street.
I’ve never been back, even though I still live in the same small community.
I was done.
I didn’t want to have anything more to do with that house and looked forward to the day I could sell it.

Or so I thought.

I signed a contract last night.
And this morning, the power of that signature …… the officialness of it …… is bringing tears to my eyes.
I still don’t want that house, and I really, really don’t want to live in it again.
But I guess my heart kind of does.
Not as it is now, but as it was.
In my “before”.

I’m crying for something I don’t really want.
And for something I simply can’t have.
Ever.

But then again, it’s not that simple.
Here in the “after”, my emotions rarely feel simple. They’re often mixed with feelings I can’t describe, emotions I don’t understand, tears that sometimes come out of nowhere.
And that’s difficult to grasp, let alone explain to someone else.
Or write about on a blog.

None of us can have the past.
But it’s not really the past that I want.
It’s the now …… that was supposed to be.
I wish with all my heart that “we” were still in that house.
In our home.
But wishes don’t always come true.
That one never will.

I know that I’ll be relieved when we close on it in a couple of weeks.
I also know that I’ll most likely cry at that closing.
But hopefully not for long.

My “after” is good.
It’s not what I wanted, but it’s good.
The future is unknown, but it’s also something I look forward to experiencing.
Finally.

Life goes on.
And I’m moving forward.
Sometimes with tears, but I’m ok with that.

And, in what can only be described as the irony of moving forward …… the day that I signed a contract to sell our house, Daughter #2 signed a contract to buy her first house.

Sometimes life goes full circle.
:)

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Alan Alda and Softball ……

…… have absolutely nothing in common (as far as I know …… which isn’t all that far) except that I saw both of them last week. Like, close up.
I love NY. :)

Gracie and I have been spending as much time as possible walking and hanging out in Central Park. The baseball/softball fields are close to my apartment so we’ve spent a few afternoons just watching the little/big boys/girls play ball.
On Thursdays the Broadway shows play against each other, so that’s kind of neat to watch.

Gracie enjoys hanging out in the Park …… and most of the people who walk past us seem to like her, too.
Whenever someone walks by us, she tries to run up to them (she’s on a short leash), barks and hops on her two back feet, while pawing at the air as if to say, “Play with me!! Please, please play with me!” And most people can’t seem to resist.
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It’s really nice to walk with her because she has the ability to make people happy. Even when she’s in the sling and we’re walking through the city, people stop me and ask if they can pet her. Then they ask whether she’s a boy or a girl, what her name is, her age (9 big months!), and her weight (3 whopping pounds!).

Last Thursday I went to an event called The Moth. You can Google it to find out more than I can tell you, but it’s listening to people tell stories, centered around a certain theme. It’s really neat. And Alan Alda was there with his wife.
I really, really wanted to go up to him and give him a hug, but fortunately, I managed to overcome that desire and stayed where I was. Which was probably a good thing …… for both of us.
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In other news, my house in Texas (the one I live in …… don’t get me started) didn’t flood.
Whoop!
We received weather reports that there could be flooding in our community because they were letting water out of a nearby lake …… uncontrolled. That didn’t bode well, but it seems that we dodged that bullet. Thank the Lord. I talked to my neighbor today and she said that the sun was shining and is supposed to do that for the next 10 days.
Triple whoop!

May was a rather busy month here. My mom came for a week a couple of days before Mother’s Day. We had a good time, though I think she needed to recuperate from all of the walking we did.
She hung in there, though and was game to go anywhere.

My sister and her best friend came for a week, too. We had a great time seeing the sights. They saw more than I did, since I didn’t feel the need to accompany them everywhere. It’s very nice to have visitors who are willing to go sight seeing on their own.
There’s only so many times you can take someone to Ground Zero.
We did manage to have some fun in the Diamond District. ;)

I’ve seen a few shows since I’ve been here this time.
I know, huge surprise.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. On the Town — it was cute, but not one I’d see again
2. On the Twentieth Century — I LOVED this show. So much that I saw it twice in less than four days (I took my mom to see it after I’d already seen it). Kristen Chenowith (“Wicked”) and Peter Gallagher (“While You Were Sleeping”) are in it and it’s a lot of fun. It’s my new favorite right now.
3. An American in Paris — a friend and I went to see this and we thought that it should’ve been presented as a ballet, rather than a Broadway musical. It’s more dance than show. Mostly ballet. The dancing is beautiful, but I would’ve preferred more of a story line than dance. The two leads have never been on Broadway before and have both been principal dancers in wonderful ballet companies (like the NY company).
So if you’re a huge dance lover, you’ll like this show. If not, you might want to skip the line and go see something else (like On the Twentieth Century!).
4. Two Gentlemen of Verona — Loved this show. It’s in Brooklyn, in a theatre I’d never been in before. The staging of it is fun, as is the entire show. I’d see it again (probably the best thing I can say about a show).
5. Kinky Boots — This was the second time I’d seen this one. My sister and her friend wanted to see it, so we all went. It’s still a good show and a lot of fun.
6. It Shoulda Been You — This stars Tyne Daly and is another fun show, though I’m not sure that I’d see it again. It was cute and has a surprise ending, which was fun.

I think that’s it. For now, anyway.

I started volunteering last week at a small theatre and have enjoyed it. Because it’s small, and relies heavily on volunteers, I’ll get to do a little bit of everything. Last week I worked as house staff during a show. Tomorrow I’ll work in the box office, which will be my main job for now.
This theatre has a huge program that reaches out to kids in the Burroughs, and introduces them to theatre by auditioning them for an annual talent show. The kids don’t know it, but everyone makes it into the show. From that point they can be in a program that helps kids know what it’s like to be prepared for job interviews and everything it takes to get to that point, and beyond. These are mostly kids who’ve never seen themselves able to do that. It’s a wonderful place, as well as a terrific nonprofit.

In yet other news …… last Thursday (the day I saw The Moth), was supposed to be my 32nd anniversary.
But it wasn’t.
Technically.
And, for what I think may have been the very first time, I didn’t cry. My eyes watered as I read a text from one of my daughters, telling me that she was thinking of me, and that she’s thankful for the example Jim and I were of a couple who loved God, each other and our children.
I know! Are your eyes watering?

I didn’t feel depressed or blue that day. I mostly felt blessed.
Blessed to have had Jim for as long as I/we did.
Blessed to have been married to my best friend.
Blessed to have 6 people who are part of him.
Blessed in way too many ways to blog about. It would be too long and probably too boring.
But I felt blessed. And happy to have wonderful memories, rather than tears of grief.
Don’t misunderstand …… there will always be grief, but not in the way there used to be grief.
Thank God.

So here’s to what would’ve been 32 years.
And the memories that 27 years brought.

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Have a great Monday, Peeps.
:)

I Can NOT Believe ……

…… that I was just working on a post to catch you all up on everything I’ve been doing the last few weeks …… and when I tried to upload a video to the post, it wouldn’t load.
That itself isn’t a big deal. Disappointing, yes. But nothing upsetting.
What IS upsetting is that I had at least half of the post written, but when the video upload failed, my post disappeared.
Completely.
Gone.
And that borders on infuriating.
Not when you compare it to life in general, but in the world of blogging …… it sucks.

So …… I’ll attempt to do that post again …… later.
My sister and her best friend are arriving in NY tomorrow so I’m not sure that I’ll have time to blog.
But I’m hoping to catch you up soon.
Because the longer I wait, the more I have to write.
And the more I write, the possibly-more-bored you become.

So there you go …… much ado about nothing.
Sounds like a great name for a play.
Does it not?

Sorry, Peeps.
I’ll do my best to write a better post soon.
As long as we all know that “soon” is relative.
:)