Monthly Archives: February 2016

Mixed Blessings ……

…… equal mixed emotions.

Last week I went through all of our stuff at the lake.  Much of Jim’s clothes were still there …… where he left them.
It was sad to be parting with them, but it was also a relief to be parting with that house.
Mostly.
I walked down to the lake one late afternoon. It was very peaceful and the water was calm. Very calm.
That water usually made me feel calm.
That day was no different.

I can “feel” Jim there, down by the water.
It’s not that I believe he’s there. I don’t know what I believe about that anymore.
But I think it’s because it’s a place he loved so very much.
It’s hard to give that up.
And yet it’s not.

Confusing?
Welcome to my world.

Today I’m driving to Waco to be on Gigi duty while Daughter #2 goes to a conference.
I just saw her, Little Man and Daughter #3 this past weekend for a few hours. They drove down for a bridal shower some very dear friends hosted.
It had been less than a week since I’d seen him.
TANW* for how warm my heart felt when I looked into the car, he saw me and his face lit up.
It was the first time he really recognized me right away and wanted to come to me immediately.
No words.

Yesterday I had my annual meeting with my financial guy.
I know that I am beyond blessed to be able to have these meetings.
I know that Jim is still taking care of me long after he’s gone.
I also know why I cry every single year on the way to that meeting.
I’d rather have him.
And not money because he’s dead.
Mixed blessings.

I have several dresses to choose from for Daughter #3’s wedding. Which is in 10 days.
I’m not thrilled about any of them, though at this point in my life I’m not sure a dress exists that I’d be happy wearing.
Unless I don’t look in the mirror.
Which, now that I think about it, may be the best way to handle this.
Hmmmm …… I think I like that.
I’ll keep you posted.

I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family whom I haven’t seen in a long time.
I can’t wait to have all of the kids together in one place.
All seven of us.
I wish there were eight.

I’m excited for Daughter #3.
I hope that day is nothing but fun for her and Son #4.
I hope there is so much joy around them that it’s palpable.
And I hope the love they have for each other continues to grow, deepen and mature for many, many, many years.
Many.

Gracie is sleeping on my lap as I write this.
A friend is coming to pick her up in an hour or so.
I won’t see her until after the wedding.
This is the longest period of time that she’ll be away from me and though I know this sounds stupid beyond belief …… I feel so sad about being without her for that long.

I know she’s just a dog, but she’s been my near constant companion for almost a year and a half.
She’s loved me through good days, sad days, fun days and frustrating days.
She doesn’t expect anything from me.
She just loves me.
Pure and simple.

Not much in life is pure and simple.

Love can be pure, but it’s rarely simple.
Blessings feel pure. Not always simple.
Emotions are often pure and hardly ever simple.

I hope that I can keep mine in check.
Amidst all of the love, the blessings and the joy.
I’ll definitely be leaning on God in 10 days.
And relying on the prayers of friends and loved ones.

Mixed blessings.
Mixed emotions.
But steadfast, pure love.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
I Corinthians 13:13

*There Are No Words

Another “First” ……

…… to experience. Another “first” to go through without Jim. And really, the biggest one yet. The most emotional. The one that could knock me to my knees …… if I let it.
But I won’t. I can’t.
Instead, I’ll slide a very nice mask into place, and lock it down tightly.

No one will know …… for certain …… that as I watch Daughter #3 walk herself down the aisle at her wedding, my heart will be breaking again.
I won’t let my feelings steal away any of her happiness.

Besides, I won’t be the only one whose heart is hurting.

She’s right …… no one can take the place of her father. So no one will.
I have no doubt that her joy will be mingled with sadness as she makes that walk.
And her siblings will feel the same pain …… as they watch her walk with a huge missing presence on her right side.

But all of us …… all seven of us …… will smile through the pain, and feel joy for her …… and for Son #4.
Because that’s what you do, when you want life to move forward.
And when you want to choose joy.

I’ve been able to keep the pain in check, to ignore it …… until now.
I made it through Son #4 asking me for my blessing before he asked her to marry him.
I did feel the missing of Jim at that moment, but I also felt the love and pride and joy for both of us.

When we found the perfect dress for her …… there was a moment when the tears flowed because he should’ve been there. Damn it, he SHOULD have been there.
But, as with so many other times, the tears were dried. Because …… simply …… he wasn’t. And he won’t. And that’s life.
And death.

The next time she wore the dress, for her first fitting, there were no tears. Truthfully, I didn’t even think about feeling sad. Because we were busy, making sure the dress would be adjusted …… and fitted …… perfectly.

And this weekend, for her last fitting, it did. She looks beautiful. I can’t wait to see Son #4’s face when he sees her.
And maybe because it was just me with her, but this time …… this time I felt his absence. And I’ve felt it ever since.
When no one is around, I can let the mask slip …… and the tears flow.
Interestingly enough, I’m on a plane, heading back to Texas as I write this.
Not caring that the tears are flowing next to a stranger.
He probably thinks the movie I have on is a tear jerker.
Which is probably for the best.
For him. 😊
There are less than three weeks until the joyous day.
Three weeks to let the tears come.
Three weeks to feel the missing of him.
Three weeks to grieve his absence …… to wish he were here.

And then …… then it will be time to choose joy.

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He had tears!!

There’s Always Something New ……

…… to experience in life every day.
Sometimes you have to take the time to recognize it.
Other times it smacks you in the face.

Today I had a couple of new things happen.
They could’ve been really frustrating, if they hadn’t been so hilarious.

The first was how I had to dress to go play tennis.
Yes, I wore a tennis outfit.
Layered under some athletic leggings and jacket.
And all of that was layered under a huge puffy coat and snow boots.
So I sort of resembled this:
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Seriously.

That’s because it was snowing when I left and the weather people had warned us that it would snow all day. We were supposed to get three to six inches.
Whatever.
What other job can you have where you can ALWAYS be wrong and still get paid?!

It wasn’t snowing when we finished playing.
Because again …… WRONG!
Although it was still pretty cold, so I was glad for the puffy coat.

So today’s “first” was the fact that I had to wear snow boots to tennis, and then change out of them and into my tennis shoes.
That never happened in Texas.
Not once in 20 years.

The second “first” happened as we were finishing up playing.
Now, if you don’t play tennis on a regular basis, then you might not understand how surprising it was.
And what a HUGE breach of tennis etiquette.

We had the court until 1:30.
We were in the middle of a game at that point.
And in the middle of a point.
My partner and I noticed some movement behind us and both turned around to see what was going on.
It was a woman, who evidently was scheduled to have a tennis lesson on our court at 1:30.
She was walking across the court …… ON the court, right in the middle of our game.
I was stunned.

In Texas, everyone knows that you never, EVER walk onto someone’s court as they’re playing.
Even if it’s your time to play.
You wait until you catch their attention and then the people on the court usually ask if it’s ok for them to finish the point/game.
And people usually say, “Of course!”
But this woman …… this rude, ill-mannered, uncouth tennis player just marched onto our court and over to the side.
The look on her face was very haughty …… as if to say, “I dare you to say something.”
I think/hope she might have heard me say, “That’s possibly the rudest thing I’ve ever seen!”
Because it was.

I was going to blame it on New York and the people who play here, but my friends were quick to tell me that they, too, had been surprised by this ridiculous woman and her lack of manners.
They assured me that this was not a New York thing.

So I’m giving the city a break.
I don’t know where that woman is from, but evidently that country needs a tennis rule book.
It was such a surprise that we had to laugh.
Or go punch her.
We chose to laugh.

I’m guessing that you know by now that we play tennis indoors here.
What with the snow and all.
This is a picture of the outside of the courts:
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Here’s the inside:
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It kind of looks like a bounce house.
Without the bounce.

After tennis I went home and cleaned up and then met Jeni for a walk to the Natural History Museum to go see their newest addition.


The biggest, most extremely large dinosaur skeleton that I’ve ever seen.
Ever.
We’re talking freakin’ HUGE.
It’s so large that it doesn’t fit inside the room.
They had to set it up with its head hanging out in the hall.
The first three pictures are three different parts of the dinosaur.    
Put them all together and you’ll have one large picture.
It was very interesting and so cool to see.

They haven’t nicknamed it yet, so for now it’s just called Titanosaurus.    
Because it’s freakin’ HUGE!!!                                                
I already said that, didn’t I?                                                
That’s because it is.

OK, I think that’s it.                                                        
At least for now.                                                              
I was hoping to show you some pictures of snow angels.                        
And technically, I guess I could download some from Google and post them for you.          
But, I …… unlike some woman who tromps onto tennis courts during play …… am not so uncouth.                                                            

Hopefully I’ll be able to take some photos in the next two days.                
If the weatherman can get their acts together.

One Week More ……

…… left here in NY before I head back to Texas for almost two months.
(Did you catch the “Les Mis” salute? Five points for Gryffindor, or your favorite house, other than Slytherin, if you did.)

So, after much going back and forth and back and forth and forth and back, I signed a contract on the lake house (post inspections) and will close on it in the middle of March.
Insert a huge sigh of relief here.

It was on the market less than two days when the offer was made. Thank You, God.
It’s true that I’m mostly relieved to have this house off of my shoulders, as well as a little sad, of course.
Jim loved that house and that property.
We spent the last weekend of his life there.
We spread some of his ashes there.
Thank goodness I know that all of that doesn’t mean that he’s there.
Because he’s not.
He’s in our hearts, where he’ll always be.
No matter where I live, who I marry (ROFL!!!) …… or don’t marry, or where his ashes are. (Truthfully, the days we spread his ashes were pretty windy so they didn’t all end up where we intended! 🙂 You can read the hilariousness of it here if you’d like.)

Anyway, it’s almost done. Actually, the worst part is yet to come …… the going through/disposing of all of the things.
Ugh.
Maybe I’ll just strike a match. 🙂

I forgot to add a few things to my last post.
Like the fact that I played tennis on Monday (and will each Monday that I’m here through spring. Then we’ll have to find another club.)
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As you can probably tell, the courts are clay, which is a very interesting dynamic. And very different from the hard court surface on which I’m used to playing. The ball plays slower and bounces in all kinds of weird ways.
But it’s still SO MUCH FUN.
Especially the best part …… we’re ONLY playing for fun.

Then Monday night Jeni and I went here for dinner.
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And while it’s mostly a tourist trap, it’s a very beautiful tourist trap.

Yesterday Gracie and I lazed around the apartment most of the day. I did get some laundry and cleaning done.
And I played around with a selfie remote.
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Then I went to the club upstairs in my building to hang out with friends and watch the debate …… which was interrupted by a very lovely fireworks show outside our windows, in celebration of the Chinese New Year.
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恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái)
‘Happiness and prosperity!’
(In Mandarin: /gong-sshee faa-tseye/
In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/)

Today Gracie and I had our last Therapy Dog class. It was a make up class that we were supposed to do last week, but no one notified me to let me know that the classes were now running a week behind because they cancelled the first week’s due to the snow storm.
At least last Sunday was a beautiful day for a long walk.

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This woman and her dog reminded me very much of a friend and her dog. And hopefully you know who you are, N!

Afterwards we had a nice walk in the Park, looking for snow in which to make a snow angel.  Alas, we only found this, which was a non starter.
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We’ll try again next year.

But we enjoyed the walk and the cool 40+ degrees weather.

And now I am ensconced in the upstairs club, reading, writing a blog post, chatting with friends, while we wait for the Super Bowl to start.  I could really care less about the actual game (although I am wearing navy leggings with a bright orange sweater because if one is going to watch, one really should pick a team/player like maybe Peyton), but I do look forward to the commercials and maybe the half time show.

To those of you who do care ……

快乐超级碗星期天!

(Happy Super Bowl Sunday!)

Here and There ……

…… or maybe there and here.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up.
🙂

I’ve been back in NY for a week now. I missed the big snow storm. Unfortunately.
But a week later, there were still signs of it.
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I wonder if that car owner died or is just under the impression that another blizzard is imminent in 56 degree weather, so there’s no point in moving it?

Actually, we did get snow yesterday. I was excited.

And then the sun came out.
Sigh.

Last Sunday my friend Jeni and I drove to Tod’s Point in Greenwich, CT to go hike with the dogs.
She drove the 60+ minutes while I played the role of dog bed.

If you’ve never heard of Tod’s Point here’s a map:
EastMap413-thumb-428x368-3239

If you’re not interested in doing a treasure hunt, here’s another map:
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See how much work and research I do for you guys? Just to keep you entertained and “in the know”.
You’re welcome.

Here are a bunch of pics from that day.

On a clear day you can see Manhattan from here:
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You should be very proud of me.  For once I didn’t do the opposite of what a sign said.
OK, maybe not just for once.  But for far fewer times than I should’ve.
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This is the reason that I’ll never own a yacht.  Well …… there are really about 20 reasons, but this could be in the top five.
I’ll never own a blow dryer large enough to shrink wrap the boat.  Seriously, where do you keep those things when you live in a NY apartment?!
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This is just an example of the small beach houses we saw around there.  Only this one is on its own island.  It’s a tough life.
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I saw this on the way back to the city.
I have no other words.
Well, that’s not true.  I have a TON of other words but since this isn’t a political blog (yet), I’ll keep them to myself.
You’re welcome.                                                                
Again.
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I saw a couple of shows this past week.  Both were good.

My friend Beth came into town for a couple of days …… smack dab in the middle of the week.
Gracie was pretty excited while she waited for her.

We saw “Finding Neverland” Wednesday afternoon and then on Thursday we went to see Meredith Vieira.

Meredith is very nice and spent time afterwards taking pictures with the audience.
If you’re totally bored on Leap Day (Feb 29th) you might catch Beth and me on the show.
And I may or may not have signed up for three more tapings for next week.

Gracie Lou went to the groomer on Thursday.
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She now goes right into the room where all the dogs are wandering around without even a backwards glance at me.
She walks in, lies on her back and rolls over and over, evidently for the enjoyment of the other, larger dogs.
Tramp.

Yesterday I went to see George in “Hail, Caesar”.
It was a weird, but funny movie.
Of course it was. It’s by the Coen brothers.
The worst thing I can say about it is that George didn’t have enough screen time.
I would’ve enjoyed another hour or so of staring at his legs in that short Roman skirt.
Whoop.

So that’s it.
Gracie and I are lazing around on this gorgeous Saturday. We may head to the Park in a bit.
Or maybe we’ll just stay in our pj’s and watch a couple of movies.
Don’t judge.