Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving ……

…… was easier, and more difficult, than I expected. I had a wonderful time with 5 of my 6 children, though if you count my future son-in-law (and I do), then I had 6 out of 7.

It was nice to be back on the farm, where Jim grew up. Nice …… and difficult. But after almost 8 years …… more nice than difficult.
It was great to spend time with his two brothers, their wives and our niece. I never, ever, feel like I’m an outsider when I’m with his family. We were together almost 27 years, so that makes his family my family. And they’ve never, EVER made me feel differently.
I love them for that.

And yet …… that man has left a huge hole. And so did his mother, when she died four months after he did.
It’s not the same, of course.
But it’s still good.

So why do I always end up crying at the end of the holiday? And why do I always feel that I need to hide my tears from everyone?

Son #1 and I arrived at the farm on Wednesday evening. Son #2 and #3 were staying there with us, and with Jim’s dad. Daughters #2 & #3, Little Bit and Future Son-in-Law were staying at Jim’s youngest brother’s house. So we didn’t see them until Thanksgiving Day, when we all met up at his house.
It was so wonderful to just hang with all of them. All of us related because of Jim and because of love.

Son #3 left on Friday to head back to school for the big game that we won’t talk about.
I was sad to see him go, but I’ll see him soon in Texas.
Jim’s brother, his wife and our niece also headed back to California that day. And I was sad to see them go, but am looking forward to seeing them at the wedding in March.

The Daughters, Little Bit and Future Son-in-Law left Saturday morning. I was sad to see them go, especially since Daughter #3 and Future Son-in-Law will be spending Christmas with his family. But I’ll get to see them in NY in January, when she has her first fitting for her wedding dress.
I know!!!

Son #1 and I left Sunday morning and headed to Dallas. I was in a great mood when we left, after having a wonderful time with everyone.
But something strange happened as we entered Dallas. My heart started to crumble. And I don’t know why. The closer we got to his apartment, the sadder I felt. It wasn’t his apartment, I’m sure of that. I think it was that I was getting closer and closer to the end of the holiday/weekend. And closer to being without all of them.
And continuing to be without him.

God, I miss him so very much.
And while I can live most of my life continuing to move forward in spite of that …… there are times when that feeling of loss comes creeping up on me unexpectedly …… overwhelming me. Like it did yesterday on I-35.

It’s always hard to say goodbye to the last child I’m with. Son #1 was that lucky person. But I think I did a good job of hiding how I was feeling.
And stealthily wiping away the tears.
You tend to get good at that after almost 8 years.

I am now back in NY.
I’m glad to be here.
But I miss my family.

I miss Jim.

And I always will.

Even during the good times.
Especially during the good times.

New York in Pictures ……

…… is usually the best way to show people New York. So I’m just going to randomly post pictures and then give you a brief description of them.

OK? It really doesn’t matter if it’s ok or not, since I’m forging ahead with them.
You can close this page now, or hang on for the ride.
Whatever floats your boat.
ūüôā

OK, WordPress has suddenly changed its platform and rather than drive myself crazy trying to fix this problem and separate all of these pictures, I’m just going to go with the flow.
Know that I’m not happy about it, but I’m trying to remain calm since it’s very close to bed time. ¬†ūüôā

So the first two pictures are, of course, Playbills from two plays that I saw last week.  The first play starts James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson.  They both do a fine job, mostly of yelling at each other, which gets a tad bit old after a while.
But let me say this: ¬†Ms. Tyson looks pretty dang fabulous for a woman who’s in her late 80’s. ¬†And I do mean FABULOUS!

The next play, “Ugly Lies the Bone” was very good, and intense, and stars Mamie Gummer (a.k.a. Meryl Streep’s daughter). ¬†She did a fantastic job. ¬†The theatre is VERY small (I’m talking small!) and so it’s a very intimate space. ¬†I recommend it. ¬†Highly.

The four very lovely pictures were taken on our field trip to the Hudson Valley. ¬†The trees were gorgeous, but my favorite spot was the rock wall that went into, and out of, the water. ¬†I thought they were beautiful pictures …… even if I do say so myself.

I took Gracie to the park last week and she didn’t know what to make out of all of the leaves that totally covered the ground. ¬†She kind of freaked out for a bit and then seemed to settle in. ¬†Of course I couldn’t resist kicking leaves up on her to cover her up …… she wasn’t sure what to think about that, but ran away from them anyway. ¬†ūüôā

The next pics are of the ice skating rink in Central Park. ¬†I can’t believe how huge it is. ¬†Looks like a lot of fun!

And then there’s Billy Crystal. ¬†He and David Steinberg sat and talked for almost 2 hours. ¬†I had a front row seat, though my first seat was over on the side. ¬†The entire middle front row was empty, which Billy commented on when he came out, asking where the hell all of those people were.

I waited about 30 minutes or so, for a really good laugh, and then tried to stealthily move over to the middle section so that I could see them better. ¬† ¬†Of course, Billy had to notice and say something, which is what I feared would happen and what made me wait those 30 minutes. ¬† ¬†As soon as I sat down he looked up and said, “Where the hell have you been?! ¬†Should we start over from the beginning?!” ¬†I was a wee bit embarrassed, but happy that I’d managed to score a great seat. ¬†It was a very fun evening.

The next picture is of my dumbo puppy, looking like she’s smoking a big, fat cigar. ¬†That was the night before she started class to become a Therapy Dog. ¬†We started that class last night, and in spite of my trepidation, she did ok. ¬†I mean, we have a couple of things to work on, but she did much better than I thought she would. Oh, and she didn’t take the cigar with her.

The next two pics are for my Gamma Phi sisters. ¬†Tonight was a crescent moon, so I took two pictures. ¬†One farther away, one closer up. ¬†And I thought of each of you as I took them. ¬†ūüôā

I’m not too certain what that next picture of Gracie is, but the last one was taken after we got home from her class. ¬†She was pooped. ¬†To say the least. She still seems a bit tired, but she perked up today when we went to the Park for a walk.

I’ve spent a lot of time the last few weeks volunteering at the theatre. ¬†It’s been crazy busy but nice to also work with new people and make new friends. ¬†I’m really enjoying being a part of the people there.

So that’s a description of all of those pics. ¬†You can always ask questions if you need to.

Let’s see …… what else? ¬†I’m leaving for Texas this week, to spend a few days at home there, and then driving to Oklahoma with Son #1 for Thanksgiving. ¬†All of the kids, except for Daughter #1, will be there, too. ¬†I have mixed feelings about this. ¬†I haven’t really understood why, except that this is Jim’s home, where he was born, played, worked, grew up. ¬†This is the place we went to take a breather and enjoy the peace and quiet, even before the kids were born. ¬†This was the land where we’d lie down on the grass at night and look at the stars that shone in a way they never did back in Tulsa. ¬†We both loved the farm. ¬†We loved his family. ¬†We loved being there and taking our kids there.

I think my kids still enjoy going there, but it’s more pain than joy for me. ¬†Part of me wants to just hide away during Thanksgiving, while part of me wants to be with my children. ¬†So I’ll go. ¬†I’ll swallow down the pain and focus on being happy and thankful.

When I was wondering why I was feeling this way, it occurred to me that, #1.  This place was a place that I only went to with Jim.  So no wonder it hurts to be there without him.

And ……

#2. ¬†The death march always starts around Thanksgiving. ¬†Even when I don’t remember, my mind and body do. ¬†And for crying out loud, I’d love for that to stop!!!

Because all it does is cause me to miss him.  And miss him.  And miss him. And cry.  I hate crying.

In¬†truth, it’s been a difficult couple of months, if not longer. ¬†I miss him. That’s a given. ¬†But sometimes the missing seems harder, longer and¬†more painful. ¬†And sometimes it makes me question things I’ve always believed, always known. ¬†I’m struggling right now and would appreciate any prayers of believing friends who can spare them.

Here’s what’s going on: ¬† ¬† I don’t believe that it was God’s will that Jim would die. ¬†But yet he did. ¬†Bad things happen. ¬†Sometimes to good people. ¬†Jim was good. ¬†I wouldn’t say that I was, but he definitely was. ¬†So that wasn’t God’s will. ¬†Of course, He’s in control and He could’ve stepped in and healed Jim, but He did not. ¬†For whatever reason.

So how do I reconcile a God who lets death happen, to a God I’m supposed to praise and be thankful to when He causes good things to happen? ¬†Does He just step back and let death, carnage in Paris, thousands of refugees die? ¬†He steps back and just lets that happen? ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† But when something good happens, that’s because He intervened and made it happen? ¬†Why would He step back for one thing and not for all things? ¬†Why would he intervene in some events but not in all?

I’m so tired of hearing things like that; of hearing how marvelous God is because he saved someone. ¬†How very hard people prayed and so God intervened. ¬†People have no idea how very much those words hurt …… no, not just hurt …… but scar people like me. ¬†Like my children.

I realize that there will be people who will believe that I shouldn’t be questioning such things. That thinking that way makes me seem “less than” a believer. ¬†I’m ok with that. ¬†Because I think it’s total B.S. to say that Christians never go through that. ¬†I believe that honest Christians do. So yes, everyone else is lying.

It’s not pretty or popular to tell everyone that you’re struggling. Especially about God. And your faith. ¬†But there you go. ¬†I am. ¬†If there’s one thing I’ve always done here, it’s tell the ugly truth. ¬†I’m struggling.

So think what you will. ¬†Condemn if you want. ¬†Pray if you can. ¬†It’s going to be a tough few weeks. ¬†Right through Christmas and New Years, most likely. ¬†Maybe not. ¬†It would be nice if it didn’t last that long. ¬†Last year was a bit better, so that’s what I’m going for.

Now I shall return to binge watching a show called, “Reign”. ¬†Since I love historical fiction, it’s indeed been a total binge watch. ¬†You can Google it or check it out on Netflix if you want to learn more about it.

Have a great week, Peeps.
‚̧

The Longer I Live Here ……

…… the more I love this city.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t have its faults.
Because it does.
As does any city.

The streets are FULL of obnoxious drivers who lay on their horns …… even and especially when the cars in front of them are unable to move …… unless they want to plow through pedestrians who have the right of way.
I’m a little touchy on this. I’ve been known to give the evil eye to the horn blowers, and …… if their windows are down, ask them what the heck they expect the other drivers to do.
It’s a waste of breath and energy.
They don’t care.
I think they just like to lay on their horns.
I’m working on letting go of this one.
It’s a work in progress.

The sidewalks are full of sidewalk rage (as opposed to road rage). Not always and not everywhere. But every once in a while you look up and see a pedestrian barreling towards you and you instantly know that he/she isn’t going to tuck their shoulder in at the last minute. If you don’t tuck yours …… someone, or perhaps both of you, is going to end up with a dislocated shoulder.
I have avoided this thus far. Though I think there have been several close calls.
I think it’s the New Yorker’s way of playing “chicken”.

But these things are a small price to pay for the fun, excitement, entertainment and just plain weirdness of living in this amazing city.

I can understand most of the weird stuff. I get the sidewalk rage. I don’t get the over usage of car horns, but as I said, I’m working on letting that go.
I get the total awe of first time visitors, which makes them stop smack dab in the middle of a busy sidewalk and stare at their surroundings. Especially near Times Square where one might be bowled right over if one stops too long.
I understand how people can get lost in the Park and I try to help them as best I can.
I also get that the subways can seem seem very overwhelming to first time users, though it really doesn’t take long to understand them.

However, there is still one thing about the subways that I do NOT understand. In fact, I have yet to meet anyone here in NY who does get this particular thing.
I’ve thought about sending it in to Jimmy Fallon, or Stephen Colbert, or maybe Matt Lauer. But I’m doubtful that anyone can explain this extraordinarily bizarre item.

This is it:
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This is a sign that you can find inside most subway cars, stating the emergency instructions.  It tells you what to do in case of, 1. Fire, 2. Medical Emergency, 3. If you need the Police, and 4. If you need to evacuate the car.

If you’re like any good New Yorker, or a so-so visitor, you read these signs so that you’ll know what to do, or not do, in the event that an emergency happens while you’re lucky enough to be riding the subway.

Go ahead and read through the instructions.
I’ll wait.
Don’t worry …… I’ll catch up on Fallon while I’m waiting.

Done? It doesn’t really take that long to read through them.
Did you notice a prevailing theme throughout these instructions?
There were two.

First of all, above all else, no matter what happens, or who’s attacking you, or what weapons are present, or even who’s on board (like say, the President of the United States …… and yes, I know that’s highly unlikely), or for any reason WHATSOEVER …… do NOT PULL THE EMERGENCY CORD.
No way.
No how.
No matter how much carnage is in the car.
Or how high the water level gets.
Or how hot the fire roars.
Or how many people are having heart attacks.
Or how many people claim to be suicide bombers.

Do NOT, EVER, EVER,EVER, pull that cord.
And, although you can’t see it in this picture …… the emergency cord is just above this sign.
In every car.

Which begs the question …… what in the hell is the cord for?!

The instructions also tell you to notify a crew member if any of these scenarios occur.
Which might lead you to believe that there are crew members floating all over the place in the subway cars.
You would be wrong to believe that.
Dead wrong.
Excuse the dark humor there.
ūüôā

I’ve only noted one crew member on any train. And he/she is the person in charge of driving it. All alone in their little cubicle, somewhere in the middle of the train.
So good luck with letting one of them know that the car you’re riding in has suddenly become combustible.
Or loaded with a suspicious white powder.
Or gang bangers.
(I’m kidding! There are no gang bangers in NY!) ūüôā

If you’ve never been to NY, please come visit this amazing city.
There’s more to do and see than you’ll most likely have time for.
Transportation is easier than you think.
Make yourself at home.
Don’t be afraid to ask for directions/help.
Don’t be afraid to eat off of the many food carts around the city.
You can feel totally safe in Central Park.
And Times Square.
Even at night.

Enjoy every part of the city.

Just make sure that you DO NOT, EVER, NEVER, NO WAY, NO HOW, NO MATTER WHAT ……
pull the subway emergency cord.

I think, that if you can figure out what the role of the emergency cord actually is …… you might win a key to the city.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

I’m not sure about that.

There’s a lot I’m not sure of.

Pulling the emergency cord is not one of those things.
Don’t even think about it.

If I ever get up the nerve to pull it, I’ll let you know what happens.
ūüôā

On The Way Home From Church ……

……these are the sights I saw.

Today is NY Marathon Day.
All day long.
This city knows how to party.

This building was lit up for the marathon:
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I followed this girl with shiny red patent leather shoes and a very stiff petticoat. I have no idea where she was heading or if this was a costume. New York, being New York, means that it was probably her every day wardrobe.
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As I turned the corner to my neighborhood, I saw that the barriers were still up, although they were just about to be taken down.
Barricades up on Columbus Circle and down Broadway towards my apartment building are a very wonderful thing.
As long as I have proof that I live there.
If not, those barricades can ruin an evening.
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But it’s wonderful to be able to just walk leisurely down the street …… IN the street.
It was quite lovely.
And it appeared that there were still people finishing the marathon (it was around 6:00 p.m.)
Trust me …… no judgement here …… I’d have been in a coma after mile 3.

I’m looking forward to just hanging out with Gracie tomorrow, while doing laundry, ASL homework, and apartment cleaning.
I’m supposed to go see a screening of a movie called “Brooklyn” tomorrow night. I don’t know much about it, which is kind of how I like it.

Speaking of not knowing much about something, well, kind of …… today I went to see “Misery”, starring Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalf.
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I didn’t expect a lot from this show. I only went because I was offered a cheap ticket.
But I was pleasantly surprised. Bruce did better than I thought he would. I had no doubt about how Laurie would do …… I think she’s a terrific actress.
So it was better than I had anticipated.

But the audience …… the audience totally sucked.
It would seem as though none of them had ever seen anything by Stephen King. Or anything on the disturbing spectrum.
Because most of them seemed to think this was a comedy.
But it was not.
I’ve never seen the movie, but I’ve heard enough.
And I’ve read enough Stephen King (before I swore off of him after reading either “It” or “Pet Sematary”…… I can’t remember which.
But either one was enough to do me in.)

Anywho …… the woman who sat next to me and I both agreed that it was an altogether stupid audience.
Americans just don’t seem to do well with mental illness. Or death. Or the macabre.
And so they laugh.
I’d hate that if I were one of the actors in that play.
Considering that they had to deal with that …… I think they both did an extraordinary job.

So there you go. A sort of theatrical review. Or maybe just an audience review.
Either way, you get what you pay for, Peeps.
Ha!

Have a great Monday.
ūüôā