Tag Archives: Camp Widow

Life Is ……


…… something I never, ever thought I’d say again.

Life is …… pretty darn good.
All in all.
All things considered.

I’m 7 1/2 years “out” from Jim’s death.
I will never be happy that he died.
Of course.

But I am happy.
Ironic, no?

Of course I’d give everything up if that would bring him back, but …… it won’t.
So I’ve chosen to move forward.
And to live life the way I would have wanted him to live it.

I know that I am beyond blessed to be able to live my “after” …… my “second plan A” …… fully.
He’s responsible for that.
He planned ahead for the unimaginable.
He always took care of me …… of our family.
And he still does.
I will love him fully …… to the moment that I draw my last breath.
And beyond.

And who knows? I may love another man that same way.
I’m ok with that.
And I know that Jim is, too.

I’m in love with the city where I’ve chosen to live.
Beyond in love.
I am absolutely crazy about New York City.
Head over heels.

Who knows how long I’ll live here? I have no idea. I’ve learned to not plan too far in advance.
But right now, in this moment …… I want to live here.
And so I do.

I’m in love with all of my children and where they are in their lives.
It’s been a very, very long 7 1/2 years.
It’s been a long and arduous journey with some of them.
But right now, at this moment in time …… they’re doing well.
They are thriving.
None of them are perfect.
But neither am I.
And neither was Jim.
None of them live perfect lives.
But neither do I.
And neither did Jim.

I don’t wish for them to live perfectly perfect lives.
I wish for them to live fully, to live to their utmost.
I wish for God to lead them and for them to follow.
Whether they do or not is up to them.
I will love them unconditionally.
As a parent should.

I love being able to connect with widowed people.
I love helping them know that they are not crazy, wrong, or alone.
I love giving them hope.

I love that I’ll be doing that at Camp Widow West in a little over a week.
I can’t wait.

Life is something I never thought it would be again.


And I am blessed beyond measure to be able to say that.

Thank you, Jim.

Thank you, God.

What Better Way ……

…… to celebrate VD than hanging out with your daughter and her BF, eating delivered Indian food, and watching “Big Hero 6” (another Disney movie in which the parents are, of course, dead) and “The Theory of Everything”.

Oh, and Gracie, too.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I last posted. I went to Tampa for Camp Widow East last week, and it was terrific. Of course, I think they each get more terrific each time we do them, but then, I might be a wee bit biased.
It was great to see old friends and make new ones. It’s always hard to say good bye, so this time I didn’t have to say it too many times.
That’s because I left in a hurry on Sunday.

My flight was scheduled for Monday, but, as in all weather-related news with United, there was much ado about nothing.
But they sent out notices that there was a good chance that flights would be cancelled on Monday, due to an incoming storm Sunday night.
So I changed my flight from Monday morning, to Sunday afternoon. And I did this from the hotel pool.
Which then threw me into full on packing/showering/checking out mode. I had about 30 minutes to do all of the above.
And I did.
Because I’m that awesome.

Of course the storm didn’t hit NY, but dumped everything on Boston.
Sorry, Boston.

I knew that if I changed my flight (and paid the difference, because, yes, they charged me for that) the predicted ice storm would not appear.
City of New York ….. you’re welcome.

While in Tampa last week I accomplished a first …… I rode a Segway.
And it was SO fun.

However, I may now be paying for that ride, and for the fun dancing that I did on Saturday night.
The DJ was great and the dancing was fun, as always.
But my back is screaming its opinion of all that moving around.
At least, I think that’s why the stupid sciatica has reared its ugly head.
I’m hoping that it shuts up soon, especially during my flight to TX tomorrow.

Speaking of Texas …… Son #2 is moving to Austin next week. I’m very excited for him, even though I’ll miss having him at home with me. But it’s going to be a good move for both of us.

That’s all for now.
It’s time to load up on NASIDs and hopefully get some sleep.
See you from the Lone Star State next time.

P.S. Here’s a shot of all of us weeping widowed people from Camp.

San Diego ……

…… in pictures.
Because, you know …… I have them, you want to see them are a captive audience.
Kind of.

So here you go:
(Ummmm ….. you might want to pull up a chair.  Just in case you’re standing up right now while at your computer, or tablet or phone.)

This is my niece (on the right with the goggles) and a friend, licking the beater from the homemade ice cream maker.  We used to make ice cream at Jim’s parents’ farm for every birthday, or sometimes just for fun in the summer.  It’s been a couple of decades since that’s happened.
We all took turns sitting on the bucket, turning the handle.
And the result was well worth the effort.  As you can tell from this pic.




This was me, after I discovered a fun app on my phone that I didn’t realize was there.  I think I killed a good half hour playing with it.  🙂




I took this picture about 30 minutes after we got to the beach.  When we sat all of our stuff down the water was about 30 feet away from us.
And then suddenly, it wasn’t.
We had to move our things very quickly at least twice.



I love watching the hot air balloons every time I visit San Diego.  A few years ago Son #1 and I, and my brother in law, rode in one.  It was such a cool experience.  So I enjoy watching them float by.  Except this one seemed to have some sort of problem.  It went down, getting flatter and flatter on one side.
But it was a slow descent so I don’t think anyone was hurt.



This is my back yard.  So cool, huh?
Well, this was my back yard before I took off for California.  I brought the cushions and ottomans in before I left because it was supposed to rain that day.  I think it rained here a lot, so the cushions still aren’t back on the furniture.
And the outdoor rug doesn’t look as nice as it did in this picture.
But really …… what outdoor does, after it’s been outdoors??



And for those of you who’ve seen my collection in my previous home, here it is in the new one.  Finally.





I think I liked it better in the other house, against the blue wall.  But I’m not painting this wall any time soon so this will have to do.


This is S, my niece, during her horse riding lesson.  English style, as you can see.  She loves it.



And here she is in the pool.  Which she also loves.



Here’s their dog, Lucy, mid-air before she hits the pool, going after a ball that’s been tossed into the pool.  She cracks me up.  And she absolutely loves going after that ball.





This is my brother-in-law (Jim’s brother) dancing with S. in the pool.  He’s a great dad.  He’s been retired since before she was born so she’s had the unique experience of growing up with both of her parents at home.  She’s very, very lucky blessed.




This was downtown by the Marriott.  There were a lot of cool kites every day.



And this is a guy who stacked rocks into tall towers, without using any glue, or cement, or ANYTHING.  It was pretty dang cool.



Here’s a pic that my friend K took.  And no, she didn’t make a donation. <tee hee>
Isn’t that amazing?!  The top big rocks are balancing on such tiny rocks.



And this guy.  I have no idea what he was doing, other than riding around the yachts on a board, just using a pole.  In the next pic you can see how tiny he looks next to the freakingly huge boat!  Look closely …… he’s on the right.




This was Friday night, from the hotel.  The fireworks were fun.



And this is one of my very favorites:  Daughter #3 karaoking Saturday night during the banquet.  I could listen to my daughters sing all day long, every day.  She did a wonderful job and she did an even better job interpreting for the very first time for two of our deaf widows.  I could watch her do that all day long, too.
Except when Kelley did her comedy workshop and went up to D3 while she was interpreting and starting giving her curse words, and REALLY bad words, to interpret!!  I had to stand up in front of God and everyone and insist that she stop doing that because my BABY doesn’t know those words!!!
It was really hilarious.
And I learned some pretty cool signs.



This was my dress for the banquet/dance/karaoke.  My mom hemmed it at the last minute and did a terrific job.



This is the back view.  Whoop!



This was the view from my room:




This was the view from the elevator landing.  Six tennis courts …… one clay.  Too bad I didn’t bring a racquet!



And this, my Peeps, is the new addition.
Wait!  Not to my home!!  I had you going for a moment there, didn’t I?  Lol!
This is Winston (as in Churchill) and Mom and D just picked him up this morning.  He’s an English Mastiff. ❤   They brought him over to meet me and I instantly fell in love.
If I ever decide to stay in one place full time I’ll definitely consider getting another one.



OK, now you’re caught up with me, picture-wise.

Now I have to get some more laundry out of the dryer.  Yes, I’m still doing laundry!! It’s a never-ending job!
Happy Weekend!!


Forgive Me, Father ……

…… for I have failed to blog in a timely fashion.
And it’s been several decades since my last confession.
As a matter of fact, I’ve never gone to confession.
Well, not in a Catholic sort of way.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post.
I went to San Diego and had a nice time just hanging with Jim’s brother and his family. We didn’t do much, just hung out by the pool, played with my niece, watched some TV and made numerous trips to the grocery store.
It was a nice few days.

And then I went to the hotel 2 days before Camp Widow West to help out where needed. There were several campers already ensconced in their lovely rooms, hanging out by the pool and tending bar.
Well, maybe not so much tending, as drinking.

By Thursday afternoon you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting a widowed person at the Marriott.
(Where in the heck did that saying come from?? And does anyone else see the irony? 🙂

Camp started off bright and early Friday and continued to run smoothly through the weekend.
I saw “old” friends. Which was terrific.
I made new friends. Which was great.
I shed tears. Which was ok.
I laughed.
A lot.
Which was so very wonderful.

It’s always an emotional week for me.
Being with Jim’s brother, watching our niece, is nice …… and yet sad.
I always think that he should be there, visiting with them, sharing memories with his brother.
It’s always a happy/sad time.

As is Camp.
It’s wonderful to see returning campers …… and to notice how much they’ve changed over the year.
Their smiles come quicker.
Their laughs are fuller.
Their eyes contain light where there was only dark last year.

It’s hard, but also good, to see brand new campers.
Their smiles are slow to show themselves.
Their tears are quick to fall.
Their pain is spilling out of them.
And while it’s difficult to escape the memories that their presence calls to mind, it’s so very good to be able to hug them and let them know they’re not alone.
And not as crazy as they thought.

It was the best camp yet.

The best part of it was that Daughter #3 came to volunteer her time has an interpreter for the two deaf widows who came this year.
She had never interpreted before, and was pretty nervous about the whole thing, but she did a wonderful job. I loved just standing back and watching her.
She shared not only her passion for the deaf community, but her heart. And her experiences as a daughter whose father died.
I was, and am, so very proud of her.
And I missed her immensely the night I said good bye to her before her flight the next morning.
And still do.

I really don’t enjoy the Sundays of camp.
Ninety nine percent of the campers leave that day.
So we say good bye.
I don’t like good byes.
I never really did, but now I hate them.
Depression always settles in around my shoulders on that Sunday.
I miss all of my friends.
And I miss Jim.

It takes a couple of days to shrug off that depression.
It’s certainly not as heavy as it used to be, thankfully.
Mostly everyone experiences it after camp.
We call it “Camp Crash”.
It sucks, but there are worse things.

So now I’m back in Texas. It’s good to be around the boys. Son #3 will be going back to school in just a few weeks.
Son #2 is still in school and it appears that may never end.
I jest.

I’m trying to catch up on things here.
Like unpacking, laundry, signing my newly-updated will (ugh), trading in my too-large car for a smaller one, grocery shopping, paying bills …… you know, all things fun.
Only not so much.

I need to find some friends.
I need to find some way to get involved here.
Ironic, since I’ve lived here for 20+ years and used to have more friends than I could count.
But life moves on.
As do people.

So I’ve got to come up with a plan.
Other than heading to NY. Which I can’t do until the end of September, unless I just throw caution to the wind and tempt the fates NY IRS.
Which I totally might.

So that’s it from this state.
Now I’ve got to get a load of clothes out of the dryer and one into the washer.
Duty calls.

Happy Thursday/Friday.