Tag Archives: Living

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. Β 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.
πŸ™‚

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!) πŸ™‚

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.
πŸ™‚

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.
πŸ™‚

Thank You ……

…… to those of you who understood.
Or tried to understand.
My last post.

It was nice not to have to read the “judgey” posts that some people have written in the past.
No judgement is needed.
At least, not in my opinion.

I write what I write …… because it’s inside of me and I need to get it out.
Yes, I could write it down ……. and then delete it. But I don’t believe that’s what I’m called to do.
I write it down …… and publish it …… because there are so many others out there who feel what I feel.
And so we connect.
This is my calling.
It certainly won’t change anything.

Jim is dead.
I know he’s dead.
I know he’s never coming back.
No matter what I want.
No matter what I wish for.
He’s dead.

Someone asked me this yesterday: “Are you still grieving?”
I was a bit surprised by that question.
I answered truthfully.
“Yes, I will always grieve for him. Always.”
But I’m no longer in the dark, cold, all-consuming grief that once was.
Thankfully.

His death no longer occupies my every waking moment, my every thought, my every breath.
But I will grieve for him until my last dying breath.
This I know.
And this I can live with.

But my days, my life, are not consumed by my grief.
I continue to live.
I continue to find joy.
With grief in the background.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately.
Truthfully, it hasn’t been a difficult job.
Before I continue with this post, I need to tell you that I am not writing this as a “woe is me” post. I’m not looking for sympathy, or a “poor you” attitude.
It is what it is.
And it’s for me to deal with.

I never took Jim for granted.
Hard to believe?
Probably.
But if you were to read through all of my journals …… you’d see that it’s true.
I always thanked God for giving Jim to me.
Always.
I never took him for granted.

And now, I know why.

I never, ever felt good enough to have married him.
I never, ever felt that I deserved him.
Ever.

I have no idea why …… I wonder if anyone ever knows …… why they feel so undeserving.
But I did.
I’ve never felt that I was “good enough”.
And I certainly never felt “good enough” for Jim.
Never.

I was so thankful for him. For the gift of him. To be his wife.
No, we didn’t always agree on everything, nor did we always get along on certain points.
But we moved past that.
Always.

And I was always so thankful that he was in my life.
I was thankful for our beautiful, wonderful six children.
But more so, for him.

So when he died …… it almost made sense.
I was never good enough.
And that finally caught up with me.

I didn’t deserve him.
And so he died.
I finally got what I deserved.

So here I am.
Living life without him.
Not the life I wanted.
Not the life I’d planned.
But the life I deserve.

And now I have to navigate this road that tells me that God does indeed love me, but on which I feel most unloved.
I have to move past these feelings of being unloved, undeserving.
And I hope that I will.
I’m trying.

It’s easy enough to say, “God loves me”.
It’s all together different to really embrace it.
It’s a work in progress.

I am a work in progress.
I don’t think I’m the only one.
So to those of you who find yourself on this path …… hopefully we can navigate it together.

My mind knows that I’m good enough ……in God’s eyes.
My heart just needs to catch up.

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.

Sometimes I Wonder ……

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…… if Jim would be proud of me.
Of our family.
Of how I’ve done.

I wish that I could answer in the affirmative. 100% yes, of course he would.
But I can’t.

Our children were all at such vulnerable ages when he died. I think they’ve questioned so very much since that day almost 8 years ago.
I myself have had my fair share of questions. And my fair share of shifts in beliefs.

I don’t pray the same way I used to.
I don’t believe some of the things I used to.
Fundamentally, I still believe that I am a follower of Christ.
But I no longer pray for specific outcomes. Instead, I pray for peace, strength and love to surround people who will need those things.
I don’t believe that prayer changes the outcome.
If I believed that, then I’d have to believe that God sees some people as better than others.
That some people are worth saving, while others are not.

I can’t, and I don’t, believe in a God who thinks that way.

If some of the beliefs I used to hold have changed, then how can I not think that my children’s beliefs have changed?
Of course they have.
I just wish they hadn’t changed so much.

I can understand the changes.
Truly, I can.
Our life was one way.
And in a matter of hours, it was not.
I can understand how that can change a person.

I just wish that these changes didn’t scare me.
Didn’t make me feel that I, in some way, have failed my children.
Because I do.
100%.

Maybe if I hadn’t grieved so long and so hard, their beliefs wouldn’t’ have changed.
Maybe if part of me wouldn’t have died the day Jim died, they’d still hold on strong to their faith.

Or maybe none of this would’ve mattered anyway.
My children are individuals, with their own thoughts, their own beliefs, their own faith.
And maybe, if Jim were still alive, they’d still be struggling with their own individual beliefs.
Maybe.

I’ll never know.

All I know is that one day we seemed to be a family of one faith and one belief …… and now we are not.
What could I have done …… what should I have done …… to avoid this?

What would Jim say?

I wish I knew.

Or do I?

Sweating in Texas ……

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…… has been in full force this past week.

On Tuesday I’m heading to Waco to visit Daughter #2 and Little Man* and the temperature is predicted to be 97 degrees.
Every day.
All week.
Holy crap.

I told D2 that LM, the dogs and I would NOT be spending any time in the park.
Nary a minute.

But in spite of temperatures from hell slightly high heat, I’m very excited.
I love being able to stay home with Little Man while she works during the day. I can hardly wait to get there!

To top it off …… he turns one this week so I’m feeling very blessed to be able to be there. And of course D2 is having a birthday party for him.
It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year already.
A year full of blessings for both of them.
She bought a house, moved, and got a promotion.
They’ve made quite a few trips …… from one end of the country to the other. He’s a pretty well-traveled little man. πŸ™‚

Gracie Lou is doing well. She seems to love having the extra room to run in our Texas home.
She still doesn’t enjoy it when I leave the house without her. In fact, I think it’s pretty sad that she goes and hides in her crate …… every time I take a shower.
Sad that I apparently only take showers when I’m going to leave the house.
Whatever.
Don’t judge me.
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Daughter #3 is doing well in Austin and enjoying her new job. She and her BF drove over yesterday for the day. It was nice to spend some time with them. I’ll get to see them (and her dog, Jake, whom I haven’t seen in almost a year) next weekend for the birthday party. And Son #1 and hopefully Son #2. Whoop!

I also got to spend some time with my Mom and D on Friday. I met them for lunch and a movie (“Everest” — I don’t really recommend it unless you’re in the mood to be depressed). It was nice to be with them, too.

Before I came down this time I had pretty much decided to sell the house this year and live in NY 100% of the time.
And who knows, I may still do that.
But as I sat in the airport and on the plane coming here, I started to re-think that idea. I remembered how very much I love this house.
And I really do.
I wish I could move it to Waco. That would definitely be closer to the other Texas kids, as well as the Oklahoma-for-now kid.
Of course, I’d also have to move the Houston airport because it’s beyond convenient for the NY trips.
But it appears that both the house and the airport are firmly planted, so, for now, I’m keeping the house as “vacation home”.
And yes, it is kind of sad that my vacation home is in Houston.
I knew that’s what you were thinking.

Of course, if you know me well then you know that I’ll probably change my mind next week.
And the week after that.
And so on and so forth.

I’d say it’s a woman’s prerogative/widow-brain thing, but I think it’s gone way beyond that now.
It does keep life interesting though.
πŸ™‚

I think that’s it for now. I have to go to bed so that my body will be well-rested for another sweaty day.
Don’t mock me …… sweating profusely takes a lot out of a girl.
And more out of a woman of a certain age.

I know this was a riveting post.
I hope your heart withstood the excitement.

Later, Peeps.
Stay cool.

*Daughter #2 prefers the name, “Little Man”, so I’m using that instead of “Little Bit”.
I have to say …… since he’s not so little anymore, Little Man is a better name. πŸ™‚

Life Is ……

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

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.
Fully.

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.

Life.
Is.
Good.

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

Thank you, Jim.

Thank you, God.