Tag Archives: happiness

Eight ……

…… excruciatingly long years that seemed to have flown by in a heartbeat.
I know that most of you get that.

Eight.
How is it possible?
How is it that Daughter #1 went to, and graduated from, school for her Masters degree?

How is that Daughter #2 worked for a year and then did the same thing?
How is that she’s been a foster mom to the most precious baby boy for over a year now? And she has her own home?

How is it that Daughter #3 has worked in Texas and New York while getting her Masters? How can it be that she’s engaged to be married in less than 3 months?

How is it that Son #1 graduated from high school and college and has a wonderful job and life in Dallas?

How is it that Son #2 survived his teen years, graduated from high school, went to barber school and now lives in Austin where he loves his job and his life?

And how is it that Son #3 made it through middle school, high school and is now in his third year of college at our favorite school, Oklahoma State? How is it that I’ve attended at least three Homecomings there?
At that place where we met.
And fell in love.

How in the hell is it that this all happened without him?

Eight years ago …… this day …… I thought that my life came crashing to an end.
And in a sense, it did.
That life died with Jim, just as part of me died with him.

I have missed that man every second of these past 8 years.
I have cherished our memories, our children and our blessing of being best friends, as well as husband and wife, these past 8 years.
I have loved him with all of my heart these past 8 years.
That won’t stop.
No matter how many years go by.

That doesn’t mean there’s not room in my heart for more love.
Fortunately, hearts grow bigger.
If you don’t believe that you’ve never had more than one child. 🙂

Now eight years later …… here I am …… still alive.
Not only alive, but thriving.
Happy.
Joyful.
Blessed.

The “before me” would never have believed that I would make it this far.
The me that was left behind 8 years ago would never have dreamed this would be my life now. That me didn’t …… no,couldn’t …… see a future for herself at all. She saw nothing but cold, inky darkness.
For what felt like a very long time.

Eight years later, the blackness is gone.
Most of the time.
Every once in a while a rogue wave roars over me, knocking me to my knees.
But not down.
And definitely not out.

In that way, I don’t think I’m so very different from any other human.
In spite of being blessed, there are still times of grief.
There are times when that night eight years ago comes charging into me. And it feels like I’m right back in that hospital room.
Saying goodbye without knowing it was really goodbye.
I hate being back in that room.

Thankfully that doesn’t happen very often.
Mostly just once a year or so.
Usually around this date.
Around this day.

Eight years.
It’s amazing.
And horrible.
All at the same time.

Eight years.
Eight years of bad.
Eight years of good.
Eight years of growing, loving, learning and finding joy again.
Eight years of knowing that God never left my side.
Even during the times I couldn’t feel him.
Probably especially during those times.
Eight years of grief.
Eight years of blessings.

A lot can happen in eight years.
And though I couldn’t even think this 8 years ago ……

I’m looking forward to what the next eight hold.

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.
🙂

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!) 🙂

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.
🙂

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.
🙂

Halloween ……

…… in New York City is a wee bit different than most places.

First of all, there are apartment buildings instead of houses.  And there are retail shops instead of homes.  Most of the the shops and restaurants give out candy.  I’m guessing the better the restaurant, the better the candy.
Of course that’s only a guess.

There’s a street near me that’s blocked off to all traffic so that children can go trick or treating safely.  And with tons of fun.  The stoops of the apartment buildings are decorated.  Adults stand outside of them, in full costume, and hand out candy.  The streets are crowded …… and full of amazingly costumed children/adults/pets.  Gracie seemed to be one of the best dressed dogs.  Not because I thought so (because I didn’t) …… but based on the comments of passer-bys and the tons of people who asked if they could take her picture.                                                       Go figure.
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This is the start/welcoming point of the NY Marathon, which starts tomorrow morning and locks all of us who live in this area into our apartments.  Seriously.  Our buildings will be surrounded by police/security/cement blocks and all leaving/arriving is frowned upon.  Until after the marathon.  Sounds like a good day to sleep in, right?  🙂

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People lined up outside of apartment buildings to get their candy:
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This little one was a subway car.  His parents did a great job on it!!
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My precious Gamma Phi Lady Bug:
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The street continued to be blocked off on the other side of the intersection.
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We wandered around for a couple of hours.  It was fun to watch all of the wee ones and their families.  Sometimes, it was also bitter sweet.  I’m sure it feels that way for all parents of grown children.  Not just those of us with dead spouses.                                                                               But it was nice to re-live the fun memories.

Evidently those two hours just plain wore out my lady bug:
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This is her, passed out cold next to me as I type this.

I went to a show today called, “China Doll”.  The following pictures will tell you who starred in it:
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Yep, Al Pacino.  Yes, THAT Al Pacino.

I’d love to tell you that it was an amazing show and that he did a wonderful job.  However.

It seems to me that Mr. Pacino (how’s that for respect?!) plays the same part now, no matter the vehicle.  A stuttering, bumbling, old man who doesn’t appear to be able to remember his lines.  It was disappointing, to say the least.  But …… it was Al Pacino.
So there’s that.

Anyway, it was something to do.
Tomorrow I’m going to see Bruce Willis in “Misery”. You know, that horrific Stephen King story that starred Kathy Bates and James Caan in the movie (which I’ve never seen).
I’m not really looking forward to the story, but hopefully Bruce and Laurie Metcalf (Roseanne’s sister on “Roseanne”) will do a good job.

In between all of that I’m trying to catch up with “Scandal”. Which involves re-watching some of the episodes I’ve already seen because I can’t always remember which ones I’ve watched.
Growing old sucks.

I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween.
🙂

Damn ……

…… that’s all.
Just damn.
No, that’s not true.
Here’s what I want to say:
Damn it to hell!
That’s the worst I can think of without using the F word.
Just damn it all to hell.

What, you may ask, caused this kind of reaction?
Well, I’ll tell you.

Something wonderful.
So wonderful.
And so painful and loving and amazing and lonely.
And …… something so ordinary.

I miss him.
Oh my God, I miss him.
I want him to be here.
I’m tired of being here without him.
I’m lonely.

No matter where I am ……
No matter what city I live in ……
No matter how busy I keep myself ……
He should be here.

Daughter #3 is planning her wedding.
Which will be here in less than 5 months.
I am so thrilled and excited and happy for her.
And for him.
Truly.

But ……
Jim should be here.
He should be here to laugh with me about the angst and stress and wonderfulness of the plans they are making.
He should be here to agree with me that we couldn’t be more happy with the new addition of Son #4.
He should be here to help me help her.
He.
Should.
Be.
Here.

Damnit.
Damn it all to hell.

Settling In ……

…… to my Fall schedule here in NY.
I think.

I just had a great week and a half with my friend J visiting me for a week, and then with Son #1 who came for the long weekend. The best part of their visits? We didn’t have to go and see everything. We enjoyed just hanging out with each other and seeing a few things.
I think I’m done with being the official NY tour guide.
Seriously.

Son #1 and I walked down to Times Square on Sunday and hung out there for a while. It’s a great place to people watch.
I took him by the Ed Sullivan Theatre so that he could see the new Stephen Colbert signs. That’s when we noticed signs in the window that stated (more or less), “If you want to get stand by tickets, come back here at 1:00 tomorrow”. And so we did. We were number 17 in the stand by line.
They told us to come back at 4:15, when they would randomly pick numbers to fill in the stand by seats.
So we explored the south end of the city for quite a while before heading back to the theatre to see if our number was picked.
And it was.
Whoop!

We had a great time being in that audience. We were up in the balcony, but had a great view of Elvis Costello and all things Colbert. It was definitely worth the two waits.
After that exciting day we came back to the apartment, heated up leftover Thai food, and watched “King Kong”, with Jack Black. Not a great movie, but it was more about the company than the movie.
I love spending time with my kids.
As does Gracie Lou. ❤

Today I went to BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), which is a great Bible study in any city. This year we’re studying Revelation, which should be a very interesting and exciting study. I’m hoping to make friends with other Christian women in NY and getting to know more people here.
It would’ve helped if my Uber ride hadn’t taken 4o minutes to do a 15 minute drive.
So yeah, I was pretty late by the time I got there.
But there’s always next week. 🙂

I came home afterwards to relax for a bit before I went to my very first Improv class at the theatre where I volunteer.
I wasn’t too sure about doing this, but I’m so glad that I went. It was great fun and I can’t wait until next week.

I left that theatre and headed to a movie theater to see a screening of a new movie called, “Truth”. It’s about CBS and Dan Rather and all of the crap that went down with him and them.
It was very good.

Tomorrow I’m heading to the Meredith Vieira show with my friend, Kelley. That should be fun. Even if it’s not, Kelley and I always have fun together. In fact, there’s a huge chance that we might get thrown out of the audience.
Maybe.

Then tomorrow night I’m going to another movie screening of something called “Room”. I’m not too sure about this one, but hey, it’s free.
We’ll see if “free” makes it worth while.

Thank you to all of you who commented here, on Facebook, by email, or text on my previous post. It helps more than you can know. I’m always humbled when I write something that connects with someone else. Your comments let me know that I’m not alone. And that’s huge.

That’s it for tonight. I can’t keep my eyes open so it’s time to hit the hay before I type something very, very embarrassing.
Yes, it’s happened.

Good night one and all.
I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.
Oh, and be sure to watch/record the Meredith Vieira show. Who know what/who you might see?!
🙂

There Should Be Two ……

…… hearts sharing this wonderful and exciting time in Daughter #3’s life.

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There should be two of us hugging each other in our excitement, love and tears at how thrilled we are for her and yet how fast time has flown.
There should be two of us thinking that it was only yesterday when she started kindergarten.
There should be two of us talking about what a wonderful man she’s chosen to spend the rest of her life with.

There should be two.
But there’s not.
There’s just me.
Just me thinking all of this and wishing he were here.

I truly am happy, excited and thrilled for my beloved daughter.
And for the man who will become my son.
This young man who reminds me so very much of Jim.
There’s no better compliment that I could give him.

But there should have been two of us there when he asked me for my blessing in marrying our daughter.
We both should have been there to give him that blessing.
Yet there was only me feeling like my heart would burst from the love of her becoming one with him.
And only me feeling like my heart would break because Jim wasn’t there.

I’m so excited at this new chapter in her life. In their lives.
And I’m so lonely without him here to share this excitement with me.
He would love this young man.
He would agree that we now have a Son #4.
He would agree that Christ will be the 3rd person in this marriage, and we couldn’t ask for more.
He would agree that this man will love our daughter the way that she deserves to be loved.
Just as Jim loved me.

There should be two of us.
But there’s not.

There’s just me.
Standing in for the two of us.
Knowing that he’d be proud of this man and happy for our daughter.

That knowledge helps.
A lot.
But it’s still just me.

Where there should be two.