…… a Good Friday like this one, one we’ve never experienced ……
I wish you peace.
…… a Good Friday like this one, one we’ve never experienced ……
I wish you peace.
…… feel like they could start crying at the drop of a hat?
Or is that just me?
I feel weird.
In 2 places at once.
I’m physically here in Texas.
But part of my heart is in NY.
I know that I should feel good that I’m not there.
But I don’t quite.
Part of me feels like I should be there, doing what I can to support the city that I love so much.
But my heart is also here in Texas.
With most of my children and all of my grandchildren.
Especially the one I haven’t been able to meet yet.
I know that I’m blessed.
I know that things could be bad.
We are all healthy.
We have food.
We have toilet paper. For now.
So why do I feel like crying?
Is it because Jim’s not here …… in this horrific, history-making time on this planet?
Is it because yet another dear friend lost her husband a few days ago?
Is it because everything and everyone is so uncertain?
I’m not afraid.
I’m not worried.
I just don’t know what I am.
This is just …… the strangest.
One phrase keeps going through my mind.
“Jesus, take the wheel.”
Except it feels like there’s not even a wheel now.
Another phrase also keeps going through my mind.
And maybe …… it’s not just me.
Jesus, now would be a really great time for you to come back.
I’m just sayin’.
…… for a friend who is now a member of this horrible club called “widowed”.
The news of her husband’s sudden death shocked me and broke my heart. She is such a wonderful, kind and loving person. She’s kept up with me over the years and has always shown me love and support.
Her husband was a wonderful man who loved people and loved Jesus.
Death doesn’t discriminate.
There are just no words.
There’s only pain.
My heart hurts for the pain that she’s experiencing.
It hurts to know that she has to feel the things I’ve felt.
And still feel.
I hate this.
I wish I could do something to take her pain away.
But I can’t.
No one can.
And that also sucks.
Love your people.
As hard as you can.
Because you never know.
…… should not be a thing.
It really shouldn’t.
And before you think I’m horrible for saying that, especially since I’m quarantined (read: stuck) with two of my delightful littles …… know that I love them with the fierceness of a thousand suns.
And can be driven up the wall just as fiercely.
I think that if our government would’ve been better prepared for a pandemic (hahahahahaha!) they would’ve thought through this scenario.
Or they should have.
If you’re going to have a pandemic then I think you should have professionals standing by to be stuck (read: quarantined) with young children.
And by professional I mean anyone who signs up.
After a background check, of course. I’m not an idiot.
Now, I’m not talking about babies. I would love to be quarantined with a baby. Especially one of my two new ones (one I’ve yet to see in person …… sigh).
No, I’m talking about any child between the age of 18 months (when the Terrible Twos/Terrific Twos (whatever) usually start and oh, …… 13. This could be stretched to the age of 18 if enough parents sign a petition.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for these two precious (read: precocious) little boys. They make me laugh and they touch my heart on a daily basis.
They also make me very grateful.
Mostly grateful that I don’t have to raise them.
I did my time.
They are wonderful little creatures who can be loving on one another one minute and then trying to see who can throw a toy at the other one the hardest a split second later.
They can be happily engaged in a project, making you stare in wonder at their creativity and intelligence.
Then they can then turn on a dime, screaming that the crayon broke, the Lego wheel fell off or the paper tore, making you stare at them in wonder at their ability to reach decibels you thought only possible on an Air Force jet.
Their ability to switch between calm and rage (and back) amazes me.
One would think you might need to warm up before going from zero to sixty.
Not these guys.
They are professionals.
I realize that they won’t be little for long.
I know that each phase they go through won’t last.
(Even though they feel like forever when you’re in them.)
I know that this time is precious and that I’m blessed to be able to be with them.
And yes, it’s better to be stuck down here than in Covid-19 riddled NYC.
I may think differently tomorrow.
…… memories tend to come back.
Sometimes it’s the memories that you forgot you had.
That happened tonight.
While I was holding my granddaughter (I’d nickname her Granddaughter #1, but since she’s an only that would be silly. I know that you, my wise reader, know full well who she is.)
For the last week and a half (a bit less than that) one of my jobs has been to take her at night so that my daughter and her hubs can get a few hours of sleep. I get her early-ish. Anywhere from 8:00 to 10:00 or so. And then I hold her, rock her, walk her, sway with her, etc. to try to let them sleep as long as possible before her next feeding.
Tonight is my last night.
Her other grandparents come tomorrow evening.
I’ve never had to share grand parenting.
It will be …… different.
I don’t feel negatively about it. I’m thankful that she will have so much love in her life.
But it’s …… just different.
Anyway, they will arrive tomorrow and take over helping out around here.
I will take care of the grandsons tomorrow night and we’ll all be here Sunday for her baptism (which her grandfather has the honor of performing) and then I’ll head back to Waco with Daughter #2 and the boys.
The other grandparents are lovely. I’ve enjoyed being around them the few times we’ve been together.
They raised 3 terrific children and one is the best husband I could ask for my daughter.
And yet …… this short visit will be a bit difficult.
Another feeling that I didn’t foresee.
It came out of nowhere.
Or everywhere, I guess.
There are two of them.
They are beyond excited to see her …… their first grandchild.
They get to share this excitement.
With each other.
They get to watch each other hold her and compare her to each other and to their children.
That is a blessing.
I’ll be fine, with a tinge of sadness.
But I digress.
In the stillness of the evening.
This one came back to me:
One morning, back when we had only 3 or 4 children (only!), I woke up to find a letter from Jim.
He had stayed up late and wrote it while he watched me sleep (not creepy at all if you don’t over think it.)
It seems that he had listened to a Garth Brooks song that night and it made him do a lot of thinking.
And he wanted to tell me about it.
He wanted to tell me how much he loved me.
He wanted to tell me how much he appreciated me, as a Christian, a wife, a friend and a mother.
He wanted to be certain that I knew all the things.
Without a shadow of a doubt.
In case tomorrow never comes.
About 17 years before it never came.
That’s the memory that came back tonight.
A blessing …… in the quiet of the evening.
…… and my heart has grown yet again.
She’s tiny (just shy of 6 pounds), beautiful and perfect.
Her birth was easy and relatively quick.
When I first looked into her eyes I felt such joy …… and such sadness …… that it was hard to breathe.
My heart is full and yet it hurts.
God, I miss him.
I didn’t expect it to hurt this much.
Which is what grief does best, I suppose.
It sneaks up on you at the worst times.
And the best ones.
He should be here, falling in love with a little girl all over again.
He should be here. For Daughter #3.
And for Granddaughter #1.
But since he’s not …… I’ll have to give her all of the love we both would’ve.
I think I’m up to the task.
They named her James.
Her middle name is Eliana.
This is what my daughter posted:
“She is named after her late grandfather (my dad), whose integrity, generosity, and wisdom we hope she inherits. And her middle name means “God has answered”- she is indeed the long-awaited answer to our prayers.”
She is indeed.
…… that sure didn’t seem like one.
At the time.
Until it did.
Loneliness is something that a lot of people worry about. And something a lot of widowed people experience.
With the approaching arrival of our first granddaughter, Jim has been on my mind. A lot.
I mean, he’s almost always on my mind, but these days it’s more often. I find myself missing being able to talk to him about this birth and the one in March of our grandson. The missing of him and the missing of being able to share this with him is palpable.
As most of you know, I dated twice after Jim died. Seriously.
Neither worked out (duh). In fact, the second relationship was a disaster and he was the worst person I’ve ever met (though he sure hid that well in the beginning).
But he did leave me with something. Something that I knew, without a doubt, I’d have with me for the rest of my life.
At first I was beyond pissed over this. Then sad. Very sad.
But today? Not so much.
Today I consider it kind of like a gift.
What was it?
The knowledge that I would most likely never date again and that I would never re-marry.
I know, I know. That doesn’t seem like a gift.
But it feels like it now.
Most of the time.
It feels freeing …… to not be dating and to not feel like I’m missing anything.
It feels freeing to not want to date.
It’s difficult to explain this. Because most people want to be in a relationship.
Most people spend a lot of time and energy looking for “their person”.
And I don’t think that’s wrong. Everyone needs to do what’s best for them.
Being single …… being alone …… isn’t for everyone.
Just as being in a relationship …… being married …… isn’t for everyone.
I think this probably seems strange to people because the people who know me, who knew us, know that we had a good marriage.
A very good marriage.
And it would seem that I’d want that again.
I did at first.
And then I didn’t.
Because the one thing that those relationships taught me is this:
It’s much better to be single than to be with the wrong person.
Whether that person is good, or not, doesn’t matter …… if he’s wrong for you.
I guess that’s another part of the “gift”.
I can be happy being single because there are way worse things.
And it taught me that being alone doesn’t always mean being lonely.
It also cemented the knowledge that what I had with Jim is something that many people will never experience.
And that knowledge makes me happy.
(That I had it, not that most people won’t. That makes me sad.)
I think it’s also what makes me not feel lonely while being alone.
The memories, the love, the knowledge …… make me feel content.
And that is a gift, indeed.
So while I do miss him, sometimes more than I can stand …… I know that his love is still with me.
I know that I had something really great.
And I know that’s rare.
I guess a gift is in the eye of the beholder.
…… there’s sometimes a bit of light.
Or maybe that’s just here in NYC when there’s a blackout. 😉
So yeah, I lived through the blackout of 2019. Of course, it’s easy to live through it if you’re not stuck on a subway train, or an elevator (like some in my building).
It might also help that it only lasted 5 hours. But hey, those were 5 very long, hot and exhausting hours. Especially when you have to climb down and back up 20 flight of stairs.
So yeah, I’m a survivor.
Now I just need to find a t-shirt that says that.
Here are some pics from the aforementioned blackout.
This is me after getting a text from some neighbors about the power outage to the building. And then another text saying that it was from Midtown to 72nd on the Upper West Side. I live at 63rd. At this moment I had just finished a 2 1/2 hour walking tour (wearing the wrong shoes) and was tired, hot, sweaty and 3 1/2 miles from home. With sore feet.
I walked a while and then finally found a cab driver who didn’t seem to know about the outage. Score! Because if he’d known, he never would have agreed to take me “as close to Columbus Circle as you can get”. He looked at me rather oddly when I said that. And then I confessed why. He and I became good friends. Trauma does that to people, you know. As do dangerous situations. We’ll never see each other again but for a while we were best friends, surviving the carnage together.
Aaanyway, he got me a little more than halfway there so I gave him a good tip and bade him goodbye. And headed home.
This is the dark Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Odd to see it dark in the daylight.
These are the people who had been in said TWC and were now just hanging out, waiting to see what would happen next. You can also see the people congregating in the Cirlce across the street. It was getting crowded.
This is the other side of the Circle, where the steps leading down (or up) from the subway are. A happenin’ place right about then.
These are the people who had been stuck down there on those trains and in that dark subway station.
I’m glad I was with my good friend, the cab driver.
These are some of NYC’s finest, keeping dumb people from going down into the dark subway station and trying to tell other dumb people that they have no idea when the power will be back on. Do their uniforms say “Con Ed”? I don’t think so.
This was the sign on the door of West Elm. I found it amusing. All of the stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. were closed. ALL of them. But it was nice of West Elm to sign it.
This is the view of my building as I was walking up to it. Notice that some poor souls were already opening windows. I tried that. For about 50 seconds. It was so hot and humid out that I couldn’t take it. Not to mention the constant, and I DO mean constant like I’ve never heard, sound of the sirens screaming past the building as firemen, police and ambulances rushed to free people from elevators and rescue others who needed electricity for things like oxygen. You know, survival necessities.
This is my lobby. With no light.
This is the view of Columbus Circle from my apartment, at dusk and with no lights. Well some lights, but very few in buildings.
Did I mention that my apartment is on the 20th floor? I did? Well, good. Because it is.
And that stairwell was very warm.
Here’s the view of Columbus Circle after dark. So weird. Some buildings had generators. Lucky them.
This is a dead flashlight, thus proving that its name is a lie. I spent quite a bit of time looking for it, then put fresh batteries in it only to find out that it was going to be of no use to me at all.
(I now have 2 new flashlights and a lantern sitting on my dining room table, courtesy of an irate shopping spree on Amazon, in the dark. I’m sure I’ll never have a use for them.)
This is the candle that I chose to light before I found the perfectly useless flashlight. I’m not sure if it helped with my stress level, but it smelled good.
It was also hot.
This is a view of a mostly dark and closed Lincoln Center. They had all manner of shows going on that night.
For a few minutes anyway.
These aren’t anything special, just some dark buildings across the street.
Though I bet the people who live in them would be highly offended by that comment.
And this …… THIS is the email that I received a few minutes before the power came back on and I did a very, very happy dance.
I’d do it again and film it for you but it wouldn’t be the same. Tragedy turning to joy cannot be successfully re-created.
This has nothing at all to do with the blackout. I went on another walking tour the next afternoon (the irony does not escape me that I was tempting fate to do another tour so soon after barely surviving Armageddon the last time I did a tour) and the tour guide pointed this building out. This happens to be in my hood. When it’s finished this will be the tallest residential building IN THE WORLD at 151-ish floors. It will be taller than the Freedom Tower with its radio tower thingee on top.
Let me know if you want to buy an apartment in there. I’m sure I can hook you up.
And I bet we’ll NEVER have another blackout again so you can feel safe living on floor 151. Ish.
So there you go, the tale of surviving what must have surely been one of THE most dangerous and exciting nights in the history of this city. If not the world.
I’m just glad that I survived so that I could tell you all about it.
Tough. It’s my blog.
…… after the storm.
Ahhhhhhh. (Insert long, peaceful sigh.)
The kids are back in Texas.
It was a great week.
It was a loud week.
The boys are wonderful and wild.
Invigorating and exhausting.
Hilarious and frustrating.
Exactly how they should be.
It’s always great to spend time with my kids. I loved having two of the daughters here to hang with for a short time. Daughter #3 FaceTimed in so that she didn’t totally miss out.
Soon-to-be-Grandson #2 turned two while he was here. We went to the zoo that day. We watched them feed the penguins, which he seemed to find a bit dull. We watched them feed and show off the sea lions, which he loved. And he got to feed several goats, sheep and an alpaca (I think. I thought it was a llama. All I know is that it didn’t spit at us so that’s a win.)
Grandson #1 is hilarious. Most of the time.
Walking through the city with him is …… interesting.
He’s always loved cars, trucks, buses …… pretty much all the wheels.
But now he’s going through this phase in which he points at every truck/bus/van/etc. that’s going by and shouts (he almost always shouts) “I LOVE that truck/bus/van/etc!”
And not only does he shout that out, but he then expects you to answer his shout of glee with an appropriate confirmation. Or he shouts it again. And again. And again. Getting louder with each shout.
Do you know how many trucks/buses/vans/etc. pass by in NYC every minute?
A whole lot.
So what starts out as cute and endearing suddenly turns into something that makes you want to shout, “Yes! I see ALL the trucks/buses/vans/etc.! I see ALL THE WHEELS!”
But here’s the thing: even if you do shout that out (not that I would EVER do that … ?) it doesn’t stop him from shouting at the sight of the very next one.
He’s a man on a mission.
Grandson #2 just kind of goes with the flow.
Until he doesn’t.
Which is basically the way most 2 year olds operate.
He still loves to cuddle, give kisses and be held (most of the time).
He’s absolutely fearless.
Which doesn’t bode well for Daughter #2’s future.
I’ll be flying to Waco in 10 days to stay with the boys while she goes to a conference out of town.
Before they got here I told a friend that I plan to keep them out of daycare that week so that we can just hang out, do things and have an all around fun time.
Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
I think I changed that plan before the end of the day they arrived.
What can I say? I’m weak.
And can only take so much conversation that contains the words poop, poopy head, poopy butt, butt cheek, pee and pee butt.
Speaking of boys, Son #2 and his lovely girlfriend arrive tomorrow. I’m excited to see them.
He won’t care about the passing trucks.
Have a great weekend.
You poopy heads.
…… that I wrote another blog post.
I’m hoping to get back into this and to do better with keeping it up.
(If I had a dollar for every time I’ve written/said that …… I’d have a whole lotta dollars.)
So I’m going to post some pics to help catch you up with what I’ve been doing for the last month since I moved back up here.
And I’ll also catch you up with the fam.
The kids are all doing well. In three days (WHOOP!) Daughter #2 will be here with a friend, and with Grandson #1 and soon-to-be Grandson #2. Yep, we’re in the last stretch of him becoming a permanent part of our family.
Daughter #1 and K will be here this weekend, too. I can’t wait. I haven’t seen them since Christmas. It’s about time.
Then, after a week when D#2 and her entourage leave, Son #2 and his girlfriend H will arrive for a week. It’ll be good to see them, too.
It’s going to be a fun two weeks.
Son #3 just finished his first year of law school. For those of you who’ve been around since the very beginning of my blogging …… you know how huge that is.
And how proud I am of him.
At the end of their visit I’ll be returning to Texas for a week. D#2 has a conference to go to for a week so I’ll be pulling Gigi duty. And I’m looking forward to it.
Ask me how I’m doing on Day 2.
So, as far as what I’ve been up to …… I’m still playing tennis every week (mostly), I’m now playing Mah Jongg at least once a week, sometimes twice.
I’ve joined a few Meetup groups, re-joined a book club, made new friends, applied to be a CASA here in NYC (a very daunting prospect), taken a few walking tours, seen some shows and a few movies.
I think I need a nap now.
But first I’ll post some pics.
These are my celebrity sightings in the last few weeks.
As I was walking to the subway a couple of weeks ago, Geoffrey Rush walked past me. Pretty cool.
Then, a few nights ago I was at a show. I don’t usually pay attention to the people around me, like …… anywhere, so I’m always surprised when I see a celebrity. I had been looking through my Playbill and then decided to look around, just in case I might see someone. And low and behold …… Hilary Farr, from the HGTV show “Love It or List It” was in front of me.
I refrained from leaning over and saying, “I’ve decided to love it.”
Here are a few shows that I’ve seen:
Gracie and I continue to visit Central Park on a regular basis so that she can fulfill her duties as Ambassador of NYC.
Here are some places I visited:
A cool exhibit at the MET:
(And yes, that’s Prince’s guitar. One of a few that were there. This is a great exhibit, in case you’ll be in NYC over the summer.)
The Frick (a truly wonderful museum that you can see in a couple of hours, unlike the MET, which you could live in for a month and probably not see it all):
A walking tour around Gramercy Park:
Another walking tour on the Upper West Side:
Lunch and a tour of the UN …… it was amazing!:
Our street was named Sesame Street, since it never really had a home before. Now I live on Sesame Street. Not bad.
This young man dropped his phone on the track as he was getting on the subway. After the train left he jumped down on the tracks to retrieve it. The next train was less than three minutes behind that one. And he struggled a bit trying to climb back up.
I think I aged a few years.
I went to a friend’s lakehouse for Memorial Day weekend. We had a great time. It was beautiful and it brought back a lot of memories of time spent at our lakehouse:
Yesterday we hung out on a lobster boat/shack. We had lunch on it and sailed out for a bit. It was fun.
A few weeks ago I went to a lecture at the Hayden Planetarium (at the American Museum of Natural History, aka, the place where Night at the Museum was filmed) and tonight I went to another one. It’s such a cool experience.
This was on my walk home. I love walking in the evening, when the sun is setting.
So that’s what I’ve been doing.
My house in Waco is still on the market (sigh).
But I’m definitely enjoying city life.
I’m in my happy place.
I’ll leave you with this picture.
I found this piece of paper when I was unpacking. It’s a pro/con list of moving to NY that I made several years ago.
I’m glad that I decided to follow the pros.