It’s Been a While ……

…… and I’m not totally sure why.

I had a great time my last few weeks in NY.  Saw a couple of shows, hung out with friends, enjoyed cooler weather.

Then two weeks ago I came to Texas.  Big change.  Huge.  But good.  Except for the warm weather, but that’s slowly changing. Very sloooooooowly.                                                         Patience is a virtue.  Or so I hear.

I’ve been staying busy getting the house finished.  Unpacked the last few boxes, put stuff away, hung up my cross collection (and it’s a doozy!).  I still have a few pics to hang upstairs.               I’ve been putting furniture together and rearranging things, you know …… just trying to make everything feel like home.                                                                                                                         And it’s working.

Of course it’s been hugely wonderful to be around J Bear so much.  We’ve gone to the zoo two weekends in a row.  He’s spent the night a couple of times and seems to love coming to Gigi’s house.  At the moment he’s very terribly two and you never know what will set him off (oh, the memories!), but so far I can usually talk him down and make him laugh himself out of them.     So far.  :)

I haven’t met many people yet, but am working on it.  I’m working my way through a short list of churches …… haven’t settled on one yet.                                                                                                  I’m playing Bunco Thursday night and am really looking forward to that and the chance to meet some fun ladies.

I also got a gig writing movie reviews for our community magazine so that should be interesting. Hopefully.

So things are going well and I’m happy and content.  Most of the time.  I’ve been going through a wave of missing Jim more lately.  I can’t put my finger on it, but it may be because I’m seeing more of the kids, especially Daughter #2 of course, since she lives here.  Maybe in seeing them, I’m reminded of how much he’s missing, and of how much they’re missing him.

Oh, and Gracie is doing well.  She’s as fun and playful and sometimes aggravating as usual so all is well in her department.  She’s definitely going to have to improve in one area:  the house backs up to a golf course (I don’t know what hole) but when she sees golf carts go by or golfers walking by she goes nuts and starts barking.  One would think that she’d get to used to them and stop paying attention to them …… wouldn’t one?                                                                        For the love of all that is holy she’d better because there are days when that barking can just set my teeth on edge.  Fortunately for her …… those days are few and far inbetween, but they’re there.                                                                                                                                                              It’s a good thing she’s so cute.

OK, that’s it for now.  I had planned to give you a post with a lot of pictures, but it’s 10:45, about 20 minutes past my bedtime (which, for some odd reason, is so much earlier here …… must be the Texas air) and I’m tired.  Doing a post with a lot of pics is sooooo much work.  (Yes, that was me, whining.)  It’s not that you’re not worth it.                                                                                      It’s just that you’re not worth it tonight.    ;)

I’ll try to do better and not let so much time go by between postings.  Try.


Turning Things Around ……

…… isn’t something I’ve always been able to do these past almost-9 years.  In fact, it was impossible to do the first few years.

I think that’s something that most people don’t get.  And by “most people”, I mean the people who haven’t had to live through the loss of their spouse or child.  Most of them expect you to grab your bootstraps and pull yourself up and out of the murk.  At least after a year.

But now, thankfully, I’m able to stop the deep, dark thoughts and focus on something better.  For those of you who haven’t reached that point yet, I hurt for you.

Today I thought about this being another “holiday weekend” where I have no plans and no spouse to hang with.  More specifically, I don’t have Jim.
And I hate that.  I really, really hate it.

But then I decided to open up a window and check the weather.  Metaphorically and physically.
Actually, just physically. The metaphorical part occured to me a bit later.
What? I can’t always be deep.

Anyway, the weather turned out to be amazing. The temps were in the low 70’s all day. Some people wore sweaters or jackets.
Some people are nuts.

I decided to get out of the apartment and take Gracie for a walk. She was a bit tired today because we partied last night in celebration of her second birthday.
Well, I did most of the celebrating …… she mostly looked at me like I was crazy.
She also didn’t appreciate the fact that I dressed her up to celebrate.

So I decided to take her to the Park.
Of course, it helped that she decided to do this:

She does know how to work it.

So we spent some time in the Park. It was beautiful. And it felt like fall.
Or at least fall in Texas.

After that I came back and listened to the OSU game. Which we won.

Then I decided that I would order in for dinner and start a Gene Wilder movie-thon.

I turned the day around. On purpose.
Not something I could always do in my “after”.
But something I’m glad I can do now.
Of course, it also helps that I decided to go back on my meds a couple of months ago. I took the advice from a friend. Thank you, WT.
I got tired of being sad all of the time.
Hopefully I’ll just keep taking them and won’t try to go off of them again.

For those of you who don’t have to take meds for depression, I can’t explain this to you. I know it doesn’t make sense. I feel better, “normal”, when I’m on them. Even though I never needed them in my “before”.
Which is mostly why I try to go off of them.

Anyway, it’s been a good day.
Different from the day it started out to be.

I’ll never miss him any less.
But at least I can turn around and find some light now.
And that’s pretty dang huge.

Widcations ……

…… is what I call vacations with other widowed people.  And I’ve had a great couple of weeks with two great friends, who happen to be widowed.

So here, mostly in pictures, are the evidence of my widcations.


This is Gracie, enjoying Connecticut.



These are from New Jersey.  We went to the top of a lighthouse on a full moon evening.  It was pretty cool.


These are a beach in NJ.


And a casino.  Believe it or not, this win was from a quarter machine.  Whoop!


Gracie, trying to convince me to buy a bone that was as twice as big as she is.  I didn’t go for it.


My friend Beth, playing with my spoiled dog.


Children love her.  She sometimes returns the affection.


And sometimes she doesn’t.


Look closely and you’ll see a pigeon, evidently waiting for a bus.


Gracie, in Grand Central Terminal.  One of my favorite buildings in NY.


A drugged Gracie, on our way to Maine.


Notice the glassy eyes.  She had a great trip.
So to speak.


This is a WONDERFUL restaurant in Portland, Maine.


Kim D.  …… you must’ve hated this moose.  :)


Gracie, growling at the “animals”.


I love shopping for Little Man/J Bear.  Totally love it.  :)


This place was in the middle of nowhere, no cell reception, no internet, but THE most amazing lobster!!


Glastonbury, CT      A cool town with a lot of history.


This is for you, Kelley.  Because …. well, it’s obvious.  :)    <3


My cat-dog.  She was a terrific traveler and I loved having her along.  Most of the time.  She really was good.  If you don’t count that time she clawed her way out of the new soft-sided crate that I’d purchased to replace the first soft-sided crate that she’d destroyed.   Sigh ……


A Ball of Sadness ……

…… is a post that I’ve been considering for almost 3 weeks now.
I have hesitated to write it because of the subject matter …… and the mixed feelings I have about it.

It started with a Saturday night dinner with my wonderful friend J and her family here in NY.  There were 10 of us and we had a great time.  The food was terrific (Indian … yum!) and the wine was delicious.  We had a great time                                                                                                            .

As we walked out of the restaurant, J noticed that its next door neighbor was a psychic.  He had a sign up to do readings for $10, I think.  His store was downstairs, below street level, but it was a nice looking store in a good neighborhood.  J decided to go down and talk to him.  Then she stayed for a “reading”.  Her brother in law then decided to go down and wait to have one done after she was finished.

I had never seen, or talked to, a psychic.  I’d never even been tempted to do so.  I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, where such a thing is preached against.  Even after Jim died, I never thought about talking to a psychic.  Now that I know a few hundred (at least) other widowed people, I have several friends who have done so.  All of them have reported positive outcomes.  But still …… I’ve never given it a lot of thought.

That night, after J was done, she came up the stairs and back to the sidewalk where the rest of us were waiting and said, “This guy is real.”  I said, “Really?” and she nodded.  She said that she really liked him.  And suddenly, I thought, “Why not?”  It was only about 10-15 minutes and I wanted to see what this was all about.  I was skeptical.  I was beyond skeptical.  Even as I sat down on the sofa across from him.  Maybe he knew that.  Maybe he didn’t.

He didn’t tell my fortune.  He didn’t tell me that he saw dead people.  He did nothing amazing. Except this:   As I sat down and made myself semi-comfortable on the sofa, he did the same.  Then he looked at me.  I looked at him, totally waiting for him to say something that I could laugh about later.  He paused for a moment …… and then he said, “I sense in you a ball of sadness.  It’s deep within you and you hide it from most people.  You smile and laugh on the outside, and most of the time you even feel the laughter, but it’s still there. You don’t let everyone see it.  Something happened …… I’d say it happened about 9 years ago.  It changed your life forever.  You’re moving forward with your life, but the ball of sadness is still within you.”

Jim died 9 years ago this December.  To say I was stunned is putting it mildly.  Though I never gave him any indication that he was right.  I just kept looking at him, waiting to see what else he would say.  I never nodded or said anything.  I just waited.  And listened.

He also said that I had experienced another hurt after that.  A friend, a good friend, had betrayed me and hurt me tremendously.  That hurt had done a lot of damage and many things changed after that.  He said that I didn’t let it stop me, or control me, but that I used it to move forward and to let go of the negative in my life. He was right.

He only spoke a few minutes more and then we were done and it was the next person’s turn.  I’m not sure I connected with the rest of what he said, but to be fair, I also wasn’t listening at 100% because I couldn’t believe how spot on he had been.

Again, he didn’t do anything spectacular.  There were no thumping tables.  No lights going off and on.  Jim didn’t  “come forward”.  Or speak through him.  Or whatever.

He just read me.  He saw me.  He saw into me.  He saw my ball of sadness.  The one I don’t talk about too much anymore, because honestly?  I don’t think anyone wants to hear about it all that much.  (Excluding other widowed people, of course.)

Yeah, I write about it sometimes, but I do that for the people who are on this path with me. So that they’ll know they aren’t alone.  So they’ll know that someone else gets it.  Even after almost 9 years.  As obscene as that number feels to me.

My take away?  I’m good.  My life is good.  I am blessed.  Beyond belief.  I have 7 wonderful children (don’t forget Son #4).  They’re adults but they’re still, and always will be, my children.  I have a beautiful, adorable, amazing gift of a grandson.  I live where I want to live and do what I want to do.  I’m blessed to be able to help people …… in all kinds of ways.

I can say, “God is good” …… and believe it.

But.    There is, and always will be, a ball of sadness within me.  I miss him.  Every. Single. Day.    Even when I’m not aware of it.  Even when I’m happy.  Even when I’m feeling blessed.

I miss him.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.  Nor would I want to.

I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know.  I was just surprised that a complete stranger could say it so well.

A Typical Week ……

…… in NY.
More or less.

Here is my last week …… in pictures.

Last Sunday I met with a group of widowed peeps in Bryant Park.  Where it was beyond hot.  And humid.  So a couple of us enjoyed a pitcher of white wine sangria.  And it was as good as it looks.
After about an hour or so the heavens opened up and drenched us in rain, even as we sat under an umbrella.  That’s because the wind blew it in sideways.  It felt good.  Especially afterwards because the temperature had dropped more than 10 degrees.


Later that evening I went to see this show, and was pleasantly surprised.  Not by Sean Hayes’ performance … I knew that he’d be terrific, but the play itself was better than I expected (for the most part).  It was very touching in places.


On Tuesday we had the best day of weather …… and the last for a while.



Wednesday night I had free passes to see a preview of this movie.  I’d never really heard about it before, but it was fun.
It a British-fun kind of way.



Thursday morning I woke up to this at Columbus Circle (look closely).  The entire circle was blocked off by police.


That’s because the night before some wacko threw what looked like a package that contained a bomb into a police car, which was occupied by a police officer at the time.  In Times Square.  He immediately drove the car away from the crowded area, in case it blew up.  He deserves a medal for that.

The package turned out to be a fake bomb.  While he drove away other police started chasing/looking for the guy and his car.  They ultimately found him sitting in it, in Columbus Circle.  And they spent the better part of the night/morning trying to talk him out of his car.  They finally got him, arrested him and then scanned his car for any weapons or incendiary devices.  I don’t think they found anything.

Here are Gracie’s before and after pictures taken before and after her grooming appointment.  She absolutely loves going there and playing with the other dogs.  She almost jumps out of my arms when we start walking down the stairs to enter the place.  I’ll have to take a video next time.


What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you see this?

If you didn’t answer the  movie, “Airplane”, then I have to question why you’re reading my blog.  In case you still have no clue, they were singing, “Hari krishna, krishna krishna” with their tambourines.  I came across them on Friday as I was running errands.  It made my day.  :)

I also came upon these news trucks and police vehicles, still at Columbus Circle late Friday afternoon.  It must’ve been a slow news day since that whole event was over on Thursday morning before 10:00.  They were probably stopping and interviewing clueless tourists about their thoughts.


Friday evening I went with some friends from my building to go see this (it was bloody hot and humid):


Here’s one of many, many videos that I took.  This was at the starting line.  The rest of them were taken up close, at the finish line.  I’m not going to post them because, unfortunately for me …… there are just some things that you can never un-see.  Ever.  Even if you wash your eyeballs.
You owe me a HUGE thank you.


After the race we went up to the rooftop bar on our building to try to drink away the trauma we’d just witnessed.
Let me say this about that, and then I’m done:  Some men should never, EVER run while wearing only briefs.

We did get to see a beautiful sunset.  And there was an outdoor orchestra concert going on across the street at Lincoln Center.  The bottom picture is zoomed in.


This picture was taken last night, while Gracie was cuddled up against me and over my arm while I lay on the sofa.  She’s never far from my body.  Which is less than comfortable in the heat.  But what the heck.



So there you go.  A week in NY.  And mostly …… crazily enough …… pretty typical.

Man, I love this city.


I Never Imagined Saying This, But ……

…… I’m going to miss being in Waco when I leave tomorrow.
Because, you know …… it’s Waco.

But now Waco contains this face, which is really, really difficult to leave:


We had a great weekend.  Sons #1 and #2 came in town to visit and Little Man had a great time with his uncles.


And of course, we all had a great time with him.


I’m heading back to NY tomorrow.                                                                                                           Back to humid heat.                                                                                                                                       But lower temps.                                                                                                                                             Whoop!

But, dang …… I’m gonna miss this face.




I Am Issuing a Class Action ……


…… apology.

Sorry to any of you who thought you might be due some money.
No such luck.

But you do get an apology.
A profuse apology.

But only to those of you who’ve uttered the words, “But it’s a dry heat.”
Because if you’ve said that …… I’ve made fun of you.
Maybe not you directly, but in general to anyone who’s ever said that.
Thus the class action.

When I’ve heard those words my response has always been, “Oh, whatever! One hundred and ten degrees is one hundred and ten degrees, dry or humid!”

I humbly ask for your forgiveness.

In my defense, I will tell you that I have never, ever lived in a “dry” place …… until now.

I’m from Oregon. Left when I was a toddler so I don’t remember much. Moved back for a year when I was 8, but still don’t remember much. However …… it’s Oregon. So the word “dry” has no application.

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Not dry?”, you may ask? No. It’s not. Because it sits against the Arkansas River. Not as humid as some cities, to be sure, but not dry at all.

Then we moved to Chicago.
Another river.
Need I say more?

And then …… we moved to the mother load of humidity …… Houston, Texas.
You definitely don’t have to worry about dry skin, but you also can’t imagine the fires of hell being worse than August in Houston.

And then there’s New York.
Manhattan, if you will.
An island.
Which means there’s water all around.
Water all around=HUMIDITY!!
It never feels as bad as Houston, but there’s still humidity in the summer.

But now …… now I have a home in Waco, Texas.
If you’d have asked me two years ago if I’d ever be living in Waco I would’ve told you that you were insane.
Because really?
But I have to tell you …… the high today was 99.
NINETY NINE!!! One degree short of 100!!
Yet I could’ve easily played two set of tennis this afternoon.
Because it’s a “dry heat”.

I’m here to tell all of you who live in the humid hells that a dry heat is the best heat in which to live.
Move, if you can.
Get the hell out of the humidity.
Run away.
Escape to the dryness.

You’ll thank me in the end.