Tag Archives: life
If you have been a reader for a while you know that I like quotes and sometimes use them as inspiration for my writing. I stumbled upon the quote Self-help and in reading realized how well it fits me.
How to stop time: kiss. This one shouldn’t need an explanation. Lets just put it bluntly, kissing is a huge turn-on. It can make time stand still or make it spin. It is relaxing, comforting, exhilarating, exciting, enticing, enjoyable. One of the best feel-good things there is. Enjoy!
How to travel in time: read. Reading is a wonderful way to escape from the world. Pick a subject, dive into a book and loose yourself as you travel to another world. By selection of topic you can go anywhere, into the past, into the future, travel in outer space, get lost solving a crime or be entranced by romance. The world is yours and the choice is yours on where in time you travel. Pick a destination and explore.
How to escape time: music. Music has the ability to make you feel good and get the body moving. It is energizing and relaxing, happy, and sad. It can wake you up; it can put you to sleep. It can create elicit memories of the past or help you dream of possibilities for the future. There are no rules. All you have to do is feel…enjoy the beat, sway to the rhythm, let the mind wander, escape reality, let the music flow as you escape in time.
How to feel time: write. I think this one is mis-labeled. I don’t feel time when I write so much as I lose time, or rather loose track of time. Anyone who is a writer, who truly enjoys writing, knows the feeling of becoming absorbed in their writing and not wanting to stop until all those thoughts that are in their brain course down through their arms, into their fingertips and onto paper. Those thoughts must be put down and preserved. If you want to lose time, write.
How to release time: breathe. How true this is, and how very important it is to understand. You release time when you breathe. When you breathe you release stress, refocus, re-energize, maintain balance. You let time fade away and you regain your life. To have a balanced, enjoyable life you have to allow yourself to breath and release time.
The answer to self-help is time. Time to enjoy all the aspects of life. Time to escape all the stress of life. Time to be whatever you want to be. Read something that exhilarates the mind. Kiss with tenderness; kiss with passion. Grab someone and sway to the music. Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Then put all those memories on paper.
I am a lover of quotes and sayings. When I stumbled across one on open-minded people I snatched it up immediately. It is so true in its most basic form. How do people become open-minded? Are they born that way? Is it the way in which they were raised? What makes one person open-minded and another close-minded?
I actually believe it is a combination of all those factors. Some people are born or develop a belief that everything that happens for a reason and are accepting of that. They view life as a fun experience. They are willing to try new things, to listen to the opinion of others with respect, even if they have a differing viewpoint. They are accepting of others and let most of life’s ups and downs roll off their shoulders. Those are open-minded people. They are accepting and kind.
Then there are those people who try to impose their beliefs on others. They are disagreeable with anyone who shares a different opinion. They are right and others are wrong. They judge, criticize and try to change those around them. Those are close-minded people. It is there way or the highway.
Are you open-minded or close-minded? Evaluate yourself honestly. If you are by nature an open-minded person, congratulations. If you tend to be more close-minded try to open up your viewpoints, accept the opinion of others, relax, enjoy life.
Why? What difference does it make? A lot. A positive attitude reflects upon others and their reactions to you. It also reflects upon you and the kind of person you are. Try to put forth a positive, accepting attitude. When you do, positive things will happen.
Burst or Blossom, that wonderful set of emotions that takes us through difficult times and decisions. An emotional roller coaster. You may handle those hills and valleys okay, but you probably won’t want to get on again.
That is what this past few days has felt like to me. It started Thursday and Friday when my daughter, Caroline, came over to take apart and move a few things in preparation for our yard sale. She disassembled a baby bed, moved a book case, then took apart and moved a computer. Everything was moved into a spare bedroom and by the time she left that room was packed.
On Friday while I was at work my Caroline and her boyfriend, Rob, came over and moved one computer desk out of an upstairs bedroom and put it out for the yard sale and moved a different one I had into the room. Then later Caroline came back and we worked on setting things out for the sale and tarped them to sit overnight.
During the weekend I finally made the plunge and started cleaning my deceased husband’s clothes out of our closet. I only did the jeans so far, but now that I have started I will finish. The man had 40 pair of jeans! His clothes should be put to good use, so if they don’t sell in lots locally I will donate them.
Sorting through a small portion of the items Ron had purchased or found in scrapping, at garage sales and estate sales I made a few discoveries, items that were “keepers” such as a nice pot for an indoor plant and a really neat looking nightlight/mini lamp that is now in my bedroom.
In the process of prepping for the yard sale I made some changes to the decor, and have plans for further changes. Slowly changing the house and removing things Ron liked that I didn’t care for. Making it more mine rather than ours. It is a slow process, and the changes are only minor, but after nine months I am finally ready to make them.
Labor Day weekend arrived and was beautiful weather for a 3-day yard sale. The amount of items my husband had obtained through scrap, garage sale and estate sales was massive. There is still more we haven’t even touched. When the sale was done there were some things we saved for another sale next year, some items we threw out, and some that we sent to a charity.
So, on my roller coaster ride of emotions from once again tearing up my house and eliminating possessions of Ron’s I have a choice – I can burst from all the frustration or blossom under the change and strength I gain from moving forward. Regardless of what I am thinking, I prefer to do the later. And so I forge ahead in the sorting and changing of my home.
Grandchildren have a way of making you giggle. They have an innocent thought process that is blunt, entertaining, and enlightening all at the same time. They are energizing and exhausting with non-stop movement and questions. This past Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the day with two of my grandchildren for thirteen hours, of which the last five hours also included their brother.
Alexandria is 18 months old and constantly on the move. She doesn’t talk; she grunts and points then nods yes or no. She doesn’t play with toys. It is more fun to explore and get into things she shouldn’t. A cup of water is great for drinking. However when grandma isn’t looking it is much more fun to pour it out on the kitchen floor and sit beside it, splashing in the mini inside puddle that has been created.
Why would brother want the track to his train to remain put together? Does he really need all the parts of the train? Apparently not, at least as far as Alexandria is concerned. Gee Grandma, all the stuff you had in that box you expected to stay there? I thought it would look much better dumped out all over the floor.
Hey, you know that neat round end table that holds your lamp? Did you know I fit inside and it can hide me too? Yep, doesn’t bother me a bit to climb inside and close the door. Oh by the way, just because I sit in my high chair and put the tray over myself doesn’t mean I am hungry. It just means I want to watch you prepare my food and give it to me so I can take two bites and be done. You thought it meant more?
Now Corbin, who is five is a bit more independent and forthcoming with what he wants and needs. And for heaven sake, don’t forget to lock the bathroom door or you may have company. When the door burst open I told him I was going potty and he isn’t supposed to enter. “But I needed to tell you something.”
Corbin likes playing a food game on the pad and showing me what he has made.
Me: “You made yourself a hamburger?”
Corbn: “No, I made it for a human”
Me: “You’re a human”
Corbin: “No, I’m just a kid. I’m not big enough to be a human. I’m just a little kid.”
Then he looks at my wall in the TV Room. “Hey, where did the picture of the train go?”
Me: ” It is on the wall by the front door”
Corbin: “Why isn’t it on that wall?”
Me: “I moved things around so I would have something different to look at.”
Corbin then runs to the front to make sure I haven’t lied about the location of the train photograph. Then returns.
Corbin: “No. The train needs to be on that wall so I can see it.” He can see it where I moved it to, he just can’t see it continuously when sitting on the couch, and Corbin loves trains.
And so went my day. Then around 5:30 pm Austin, who is 10, was dropped off at my house. As long as both pads were working and I kept the TV on a kids movie things were relatively quiet. However they are brothers. Peace can only last so long, especially when the younger one is a tease. I did manage to keep the war zone at a fairly peaceful level for the next five hours, thanks to battery chargers.
As the day moved into evening Corbin looked at me and said “I think my mother forgot to come home.” I assured him she had not forgotten. It was just taking her longer than she thought. When my daughter called to give me an update on her progress in getting back to pick the kids up I put Corbin on the phone so she could tell him she would be there soon. Corbin’s response “okay, but I’m playing a game on the pad” and he handed the phone back to me. So much for concern!
Then it gets dark. Austin used to stay overnight with us all the time, but Corbin has never gone somewhere and spent the night without his mother and/or brother with him. Not long before my daughter arrived to pick the kids up Corbin looked at me. “I’m ready to go home now, Its dark and I don’t like to sleep other places.”
My daughter arrived to pick them up at 10:30 pm. It was a fun day. It was an exhausting day. After they left I sat down in the chair for what I intended to be a 10 minute rest and woke up at 11:40 and went to bed.
When I think back over my day there is a song lyric playing in my mind: The Mr. Mom song, remember it? “Pampers melt in a Maytag dryer, crayons go up one drawer higher, rewind Barney for the 16th time, breakfast six, naps at nine. There’s bubble gum in the baby’s hair, sweet potatoes in the lazy chair…been busy all week long, and it’s only Monday Mr. Mom.”
Exhausting as it was, I will always do it again, if for nothing more than the fun of grandchildren giggles.
I am by nature a fairly easy going person, except when you challenge what I think is right, at which point I can become very obstinate. This is the case with an article I just submitted to our local paper, The Times Herald. St. Clair County has an “unofficial” yearly event called Float Down, which will take place this Sunday.
This is an event where people disembark from Lakeside Beach in Port Huron using rafts, floats, etc. and take with them beverages, snacks, and more for the 7 mile float down the St. Clair River to Chrysler Beach in Marysville. This is an all-day event, the river is rapid, and even though the event is “unofficial” shipping traffic is generally slowed and/or stopped for several hours that day for safety reasons and the Coast Guard is on hand to carry out any necessary rescues.
There are over 5,000+ participants in the float down, and it grows larger and larger every year. In my opinion the participation increases because of the publicity it gets…not so much the positive publicity, but the negative. The U.S. Coast Guard encourages people not to participate because it is a safety risk. The officials of Marysville where the float ends keep trying to make it difficult for people to exit at their city by closing down roads and making it difficult for people got get picked up and exit the area quickly after floating. Last year because they closed the road where people exit some floaters were stranded near a local restaurant until 10:00 pm.
This is where my good-natured, always balanced Libra personality takes a turn and I become obstinate. I am an opinion columnist for our local paper so I just submitted a column about the negative attitude of the City of Marysville’s mayor. I said I hope all 5,000+ float all the way to Chrysler Beach just because of the mayor’s attitude. I think the City’s negative attitude is why the float down has grown so large in the past few years. Who doesn’t want to participate in an event that has a bit of controversy and provides a unique chance at one day of fun per year? I know I do. I may be babysitting my granddaughter this year so my daughter can float, but in a future year I will participate in a float down. The Mayor of Marysville’s attitude has guaranteed that!
I live in a home that is not quite city and not quite country. I am on a state highway and have neighbors nearby, yet we also have quite a bit of wildlife in the area. I usually enjoy these glimpses of nature in action, but this year I have had both the pleasurable and the less desirable.
There is a pair of rabbits that I have viewed on more than one occasion in my neighbor’s yard. Normally you just see a rabbit hopping across the lawn, nothing spectacular. This pair, however, is comical and unique. One rabbit will jump up considerably high into the air and the other rabbit will run beneath it. Then they will turn and repeat the steps again. I have watched them do this on more than one occasion. Even though they are annoying in the sense that the consume vegetation from the garden, they are comical and fun to watch.
I did not get the thistle and milkweed pulled from my front bushes and the thistle has gotten quite large and gone to seed. There are birds that seem to love this and frequently I look out to see them sitting on the weeds in the shrubbery. This is pleasurable, enough so that I can forgive them for coming up onto my porch, sitting on my chairs there and sometimes leaving reminders of their existence.
If you have been a reader for long you know that I have spiders on my porch every year due to my close proximity to the river. I learn to watch for webs, and as long as they don’t violate the area I need to walk into my house at night, I tolerate them because the benefit is I have a mosquito free yard. Our co-existence would be much easier if they would learn to build their webs on the end of the porch opposite the door, so a few large, persistent ones have been eliminated.
This year my limits have been tested. When I was weed whacking along my patio two small mice jumped up and ran. My daughter informed me that we have had mice outside for years, that my husband just never told me. I would prefer if critters didn’t jump up and run when I am trying to trim the vegetation.
One night I came home after dark and my lights caught an animal walking across my drive — a skunk! While Pepe Le Pew may be adorable in a cartoon, it is not something I want strolling my drive or yard when I am likely to be walking around in the area. That particular night I pulled up onto the grass near my porch steps to hopefully eliminate any possibility of a skunk encounter. As I came to a stop the skunk walked down the front sidewalk across the area near my steps and into the bushes beside the porch. Needless to say I was a titch nervous when I walked up onto the porch to enter the house…so nervous I forgot to look for spiders!
The perfume factory’s appearance was not a one-time sighting. I could smell him periodically at night and a couple days after the initial sighting I saw him walking around in my backyard at 3:30 in the afternoon. This definitely made me nervous as this is a nocturnal animal that was out and about in the middle of the day. It appeared that he may have gone under my shed, but I certainly didn’t want to run out and look. I have purchased mothballs, which I have been told if I spread in the bushes and around and underneath the shed will deter the skunk.
Before that problem had been tackled I discovered a hornet/wasp nest hanging on the upper corner of my shed. It was fairly good size and very active. I purchased two cans of spray designed to kill wasps and hornets and my daughter, Caroline, came over and doused the nest with a foaming spray the first night. The next morning I looked out and the nest was still active. Caroline’s boyfriend, Rob, is used to dealing with these pests when working, so he came over that night and re-sprayed that nest. In the process of trying to eliminate one nest, he discovered three more nests had been started under a loose board so sprayed them all for me. The next day Rob came back to check the inside of the shed where he discovered another five small hives being started. Thanks to Rob all hives have been treated and destroyed and the loose board is nailed back for me.
So, wildlife is wonderful if it is deer standing in my front yard, rabbits playing a hopping game, or birds sitting on flowering weeds. What I do not like is the perfume factory of Pepe Le Pew, mice, and wasps/hornets invading my space. If they stay in the wooded areas things will be just fine. After all, I have my limits, and my limits are not beneficial to their lifeline.
It has been seven months since my husband passed away and I am handling it very well, except for those times when I get frustrated and swear at him. But that’s okay. Keep in mind if anyone else did it I would probably kill them, at least verbally. I lived with him for 34 years, I have exclusive rights.
Only someone who has ever lost a spouse can understand the roller coaster of emotions you deal with. People will say they understand because they have lost a grandparent, parent, aunt, uncle, child, etc. They may feel sympathy for you, but they can’t understand fully. Losing a spouse is different.
So why am I swearing at him? Because it keeps me emotionally on track. Because it relieves frustration. Because it helps with mourning at unexpected moments. Because it is my exclusive right and I sometimes utilize it as an emotionally stabilizing crutch to help me maintain focus.
What am I swearing at him about? That depends on what I am doing at the time. As I am riding the lawn mower around our backyard that has numerous things to go around, and then a tremendous amount of edging I have said on numerous occasions “dammit Ron, all I can say is I know you designed this thinking you were going to be taking care of it, not me.” It helps me to focus on what needs to be done and set goals for getting the yard in order. It helps me to remember that he never had any intention of me having to handle the yard work. That was his area.
When I’m going through things he purchased at garage sales, estate sales, or scrapping and I look at the price tags on some of the items I say “dammit Ron, I hope you didn’t pay that price for this.” and “dammit Ron, why did you spend so much money on this stuff.” I could have used the money more than the stuff, but I know he had a goal in mind of reselling those things in a booth at the Eastern Market (huge farmer’s market in Detroit) or at flea markets and that was his goal. Everyone needs goals, and he had good intentions before the cancer took them and him.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. The biggest one though, is the one that is most important. You see in addition to a huge accumulation of stuff I need to get rid of, my house is full of Ron…photos he took, photos of him, things that we did, things that we purchased…memories. So, when something hits me and I’m having an emotional moment, I put my fingers on his chest/body on one of those photos and say “dammit Ron, why did you have to die?”
So now you now why it is okay to swear at your deceased husband. As his surviving widow you have the exclusive right to verbalize your frustrations at your new life, at the things you must now tackle, at the emotions that go along with the grieving process, at the frustrations over their death. It is your exclusive right. Enjoy it and use it to the fullest. Your sanity depends on it.
When I stumbled upon this quote about how one pictured their life I throught instantly that it fits me perfectly. A year ago my husband was fighting cancer, he was receiving chemo. We assumed it was working but it wasn’t. A year ago I would’ve never pictured my life the way it is now.
Change Equals Growth was a motto that Ron adapted as he was fighting cancer. The disease changed him; it also changed me…as did his passing. A year ago the possibility of Ron dying had me terrified. I didn’t know how I would manage things. Then December 7th arrived, Ron passed, and I had to manage things. Much of what I have handled in the past six (almost seven) months are things I had never dealt with in my life. I know I am not doing them the same way Ron would have, but I am doing them my way, and that is the way it should be.
Ron handled everything financial — bills, loans, investments, taxes, insurance, and real estate. He handled all the yard work, house maintenance, and vehicle maintenance. Those are important things that I suddenly had to juggle and am still in the learning process with some of them. I was forced to change, to learn to tackle numerous things while under the emotional stress of my husband’s death. Change equals growth, and through this process I have grown.
I have applied and received a mortgage modification, learned to pay bills, met with our financial advisor, gathered tax information for our CPA, handled an IRS audit, closed our joint account and opened my own account for handling of stocks. I have contacted numerous accounts and had things such as cell phone, internet, cable, vehicle insurance, utilities, and vehicle loans changed into my name. I have handled contacting service people such as a plumber for a leaky toilet, car maintenance, and the hot tub store for an uncompleted repair that began when Ron was alive. I will be calling to have someone out to repair my air conditioning that stopped working. I have learned to run the riding lawnmower, how to put gas into it and how to use a jumper box to jump it if necessary. I discovered our weed wacker was too heavy and difficult for me to start and operate, so I selected and ordered one that was more suited to my abilities. I have listed property and vehicles for sale. I have made decisions on how to juggle money and make payments on time. I have grown throughout this process.
I have gained confidence in my abilities to handle things I never considered myself capable of in the past. I have learned that what doesn’t get done today can be tackled tomorrow, that I can’t accomplish everything in the time frame I would like to and that is okay.
A year ago I would have never pictured my life the way it is now. Change equals growth. I have changed, I will continue to change. I will continue to grow. Everything happens for a reason. I look forward to whatever good things life throws at me, because I can and will tackle them.
This morning I was listening to some music and the song The Gift You Are by John Denver came on. It is a wonderfully simple, basic song and yet it says so much. Each person has value, each person is like a ray of sunshine in the world. How often this is forgotten.
There are two things we tend to do. The first is we tend to lose value in ourselves. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the stresses of life, especially when things are not going according to the plan we laid out. It is easy to lose faith in your own ability to accomplish those things that are before you.
Sometimes it is not so much losing faith in yourself as disconnecting from the world, withdrawing as you try to deal with whatever is before you. That is when it is important to dream of a bright tomorrow and know that your dream will come true. Stay focused, remember that you have the ability to accomplish whatever you set your mind to…remember The Gift You Are.
The second thing we as humans tend to do is judge others, or maybe I should say misjudge others. We tend to make assumptions about the abilities of people who do not seem to have the same beliefs, mental abilities, physical abilities, or financial standing as ourselves. When you do that what you are doing is devaluing the person.
Every person that you encounter has value, you just have to take the time to learn what that value is…maybe that value is they are just different from you and both of you can learn from the relationship. A person with less mental capabilities may have strong determination to succeed, strong artistic talent, an unusual gentleness with animals. Those are valuable qualities. A person with physical disabilities may have undergone a struggle you are unaware of that shows their ability to persevere in times of struggle. These are valuable qualities, remember the gift that each person is.
People are people. Every person has value. Remember as you go through life The Gift You Are and remember that every person you encounter is also a gift and if they are struggling remind them of the gift they are.
Link to the song The Gift You Are by John Denver. Lyrics are below.
The Gift You Are
by John Denver
Imagine a month of Sundays
Each one a cloudy day
Imagine the moment the sun came shining through
Imagine that ray of sunshine as you
Remember your darkest hour
With dawn still far away
Remember the way that you longed for mornings light
And think of yourself as a candle in the night
Make believe this is the first day
Everything all brand new
Make believe that the sun is your own lucky star
And then understand the kind of gift you are
The gift you are
Like the very first breath of spring
The gift you are
All the joy that love can bring
The gift you are
All of our dreams come true
The gift you are
The gift of you
You are the promise of all the ages
You are the Prodigal Son
You are the vision of prophets and sages
You are the only one
Dream of a bright tomorrow
Know that your dream will come true
Carry your dream in a sparkling crystal jar
Then you will know the kind of gift you are
The gift you are
Like the very first breath of spring
The gift you are
All the joy that love can bring
The gift you are
All of our dreams come true
The gift you are
The gift of you
The gift you are
Like the very first breath of springtime
The gift you are
All the joy that love can bring
The gift you are
All of our dreams come true, yes, they do
The gift you are
The gift of you
The gift you are
The gift of you
In my local newspaper this week there was a comic posted that said “and for those who did not graduate today…Please step to the stage to receive your Certificate of Participation.”
Sadly, that is what this country is coming to. Those who achieve are not given proper recognition because it might hurt the feelings of those who did not achieve.
Earlier this month I learned about a Texas high school that would not allow students to wear their National Honor Society stoles during graduation. This is an honor, those students worked hard to achieve those honors and deserve the recognition. What was the schools reason for banning the stole? Administration was fearful that other students might feel excluded.
Hello world! If you do not do the work to achieve then you should be excluded. That is life! That is reality! How can we expect people to lead balanced, productive lives if they never learn that life isn’t fair. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose. Regardless of what happens you continue to move forward and improve yourself. You struggle, you push forward, you cope.
This is not a new thought process. It began years ago. When I was in school not everyone made the sports teams, not everyone won the spelling bee, not everyone was in the speedy readers group. Some people just weren’t good enough. If you participated in an activity some people got ribbons for winning, some people got nothing. That was the way it was and we all knew it. Whatever you were doing some received recognition for being the best, some people sat on the sidelines with a dream of someday achieving great things as well. Dreams. Goals. Striving for a better future.
Then somewhere along the line people decided that wasn’t fair. Every child should have the opportunity to be on the team. Every child should be recognized for their participation. Everyone should receive a special certificate, not just a chosen few. It has to be fair, no one should feel left out. No one should feel they have underachieved.
Have we really done those children a favor? I don’t believe so. If a child never learns that sometimes life isn’t fair, that sometimes you win and sometimes you loose and that is okay, how can they learn to cope with the realities of life when they become an adult. They don’t. I think that is why we have so much violence, so many underachievers. They never learned to push for the top. It has been handed to them every step of the way.
I realize that there are some people who simply do not have the ability to achieve greatness. They may have developmental disabilities, they may be physically impaired, That is okay. People are different. Don’t hand them a sympathy ribbon. Let them compete at their own level with others on the same plateau they are and let them achieve greatness within a group of their own peers. This will help them learn to work toward a goal and obtain recognition for hard work.
If we go back to letting children experience wins and losses they will learn to cope with life. They will learn to set goals and improve themselves. They will have more self-worth than they have by constantly receiving a token certificate of recognition. Don’t they deserve that? I think they do.
Memorial Weekend was not the first time I have ever traveled solo, but it is the first time I have done so since the passing of my husband in December 2015. It was a good trip. It was a fun trip. It was a relaxing trip. It was a lonely trip. Rather than elaborate in paragraph form, I decided to do a list of bullets, highlights various activities, thoughts, and observations.
- Destination Sault Ste. Marie via Newberry, Michigan. For those who do not know, these cities are in Michigan’s upper peninsula and are a 5-1/2 to 6 hour drive from my home.
- Even though I set the cruise control at 74 instead of my normal 85 I still made the trip in the projected six hour time frame going to Newberry on Saturday morning, and that included two stops along the way. I made it home from Sault Ste. Marie in 5-1/2 hours on Monday with three stops along the way.
- For those of you who do not know, I have a son in Newberry Correctional Facility and was going to visit him. I was very surprised to find that it was not busy at all with visitors. I had anticipated a wait due to the holiday weekend, but was pleasantly surprised to find I could get in right away.
- Stopping along a two-lane road near a wooded area in the upper peninsula to shoot, from a distance, a large group of trilliums results in an attack of nats, no-seeums, or baby flies (I was told they were all three of those things). The invasion was so intense that just getting in and out of my car resulted in a large quantity inside, which I was then rolling down the window and trying to shoo out as I drove away. Maybe it would have been better had I not been wearing perfumed lotion?
- Drinking a margarita with my meal resulted in me going from being a good tipper to an exceptionally generous tipper, but I’m sure the waiter was happy.
- Having a GPS in the car is great, especially when it tells you your hotel is in one spot, which is a hotel under construction. After placing a phone call you find out your hotel is about 1/2 a mile farther down the road and on the opposite side of the road. However it did have a handy landmark – across the street from Walmart, and next to the State Police post. Hmmmm, I never once saw a State Police vehicle the entire time I was there.
- No-leak ice pacs will create a puddle in your fabric insulated lunch box if they thaw completely and will leave a stream behind you when you attempt to carry it.
- On Sunday morning all the country music stations, actually almost all the radio stations in general, are either talk shows or church sermons/music. I found a rock station out of Traverse City/Kalkaska playing music, so of course I had to crank it up and dance my way from Sault Ste. Marie to Newberry for my second day of visiting with Patrick.
- My favorite place for breakfast in Newberry had several new books by local authors, but I only selected and purchased one. That is what I most often buy when I travel, books written about the area in which I am visiting and/or by local authors. I also purchased a book in a gift shop in Sault Ste. Marie by another local author.
- It is great to discover that your cousins from the Traverse City area happen to be visiting Newberry as well and you are able to get together for an impromptu dinner and chat for a couple hours.
- I am a chicken when it comes to setting up my tripod and taking photos in the dark on an unlit street when by myself in an area with which I am not familiar when by myself. I never gave it a thought when Ron was with me.
- The International Bridge looks awesome at night lit up in red, white, and blue, but I have no pictures (please refer to my previous post above).
- At America’s Best Value Inn an accessible room is truly accessible. When I am staying at a location where I am unsure on whether or not they have elevators I will book an accessible room to make sure I am not climbing stairs alone with my suitcase, etc. (I have a very bad ankle). Usually “accessible” is a room that is on the main floor or not far from the lobby or elevator, but beyond that nothing unusual. The one in Sault Ste. Marie was wheelchair accessible, had a wooden floor, a fully wheelchair accessible shower, and a raised toilet seat. Of course the best part was a king size bed, which I had all to myself.
- I greatly overestimated how much time I would have in the room to read and/or write and packed way more items than needed.
- The Tower of History in Sault Ste. Marie provides a nice view of the entire city and locks. There is a small museum on the main level.
- There is an island, Sugar Island, that is accessed by ferry that would be interesting to explore on a future trip. It is inhabited by a small amount of people and also houses some businesses, but is also supposed to have nature areas.
- It is hard to access and walk the areas near the water and locks when downtown. The park where the locks are located is gated, has a security entrance, and closes at 9:00 pm. The park itself is quite large and features two stories of viewing platforms for watching ships/boats go through the locks. Unfortunately I missed seeing any go through.
- Lockview Restaurant has very good fresh whitefish that can be ordered done in five different methods. I chose broiled and it was very good.
- Patrick informed me that Street Outlaws is an awesome program. Monday night was a season premier that was two hours long. I did enjoy the parts I saw, but unfortunately fell asleep and missed a good portion of the races. It was rather cool that they were racing Detroit in that episode.
- My ankle is impacting my decisions on what I do or do not do, which means it is affecting my day-to-day quality of life. If it does not improve by fall I think I will need to go in for a consultation with my surgeon and likely have an ankle fusion done over the winter. As someone who is terrified of surgery, that statement and acceptance of the likely need is huge.
- I am a much more conscientious spender when traveling alone than I was with Ron. This does not mean I was previously a spender by nature, quite the contrary. I was and am more likely to put off doing things, whereas Ron was always more likely and willing to buy or do whatever he or I wanted and figure out how to pay for it later. I guess he was either a good influence or a bad influence, depending on how you look at it.
- I need to plan a longer stay to do and see some things I want in Sault Ste. Marie.
- Buying a bag of fresh on sale at the fudge shop is good. Munching on it to stay awake all the way home and in the process eating the entire bag is not. I had a miserable stomach ache later to remind me not to make that mistake again!
Overall I had a fun time this weekend. I managed to traverse the city at night without getting myself horribly lost. I forgot to take my book with me for the times I was dining, so utilized social media to keep myself entertained instead. My first weekend trip as a widow was fun. It was relaxing. It was lonely. The next one will be better.
Anyone who has spent time with young children will agree. They are energetic, exhausting, non-stop movement, and most of all entertaining. They will fill your world with knowledge you didn’t know was out there and if nothing else will bring a smile to your face. In my case this week it was two of my grandchildren that filled the bill.
Tuesday morning I watched my 17 month old granddaughter and five year old grandson for a few hours while their parents went to an appointment. Corbin, at five, is full of information and never fails to provide some tidbit that has its own unique quality. Alexandria is a typical toddler who is full of energy, constantly moving, and plays with everything except her toys.
After they were dropped off Corbin immediately informed me that he brought Sissy with him so he would have someone to play with. I guess “play with” is objectionable as he seemed to spend an equal amount of time complaining about her, and i don’t think he ever played with her. Alexandria did tear apart the train track, steal the train signs, steel hot wheels cars, drink all of Corbin’s water, and more.
For the most part Corbin takes it all in stride. After all, he knows how she came to be in his life. You see Alexandria was growing in mommy’s tummy and a doctor had to cut her out because it wasn’t good. When mommy ate Sissy took all the food. Now I must say that is pretty good logic coming from the mind of a five year old. Besides, I’m sure there are a lot of pregnant women out there who feel like the baby is taking all their food when they eat.
As I mentioned, Alexandria tore apart the railroad track and Corbin wasn’t able to get it back together. That was never my area of expertise, my husband Ron always handled it, but since he passed in December it is one of those duties that now falls to me. I worked my way behind the table to the spot where three pieces of track were separated. As I was working I kept hearing a dinging noise, until Corbin said “you’re pushing on the RR Crossing sign.” I wondered where the sound was coming from!
I worked and got the three pieces of track put back together. I did feel a certain amount of accomplishment since getting them lined up and connected without accidentally tearing it apart elsewhere was a bit tricky. When I finally got it done Corbin said “Good job! I knew you could do it.” Five year old grandsons are great for the ego!
And so our morning went, flying by quickly as it goes. I did take a look at Corbin’s hands and told him he needed to go wash them. Corbin’s response “No, maybe on Thursday.” When I told him they needed to be clean for school Corbin responded that he isn’t going to school, he has to stay with me for forty-five days. Yep, that was his plan and he never even told me. Isn’t it nice to know there is a plan in place should the need arrive?
Every morning around 7 AM I receive a notification from Facebook that there are memories from previous years on that date. I look forward to reviewing those memories, looking back on what I was doing or sharing in previous years. Some of those memories I skim over, some I share again.
We go about our day-to-day lives and don’t realize how we change over time. I notice that the type of information I consider relevant has changed. Postings about day-to-day life have changed. It is fun to see what I was doing in college a few years ago, how many days I would go without being on Facebook because I was busy, or even the activities I was partaking in on any particular date or year.
I have shared a lot of pictures over the years. When those pop up on my memories feed it is fun to see how my grandchildren have grown, or the changes in the appearance of my kids, myself and my husband. Places I have visited, events I have attended, and more are shared through photographs on my personal page, as well as the Times Gone By Photography page I have.
Another fun thing I discovered in looking back is the notes I have posted on my Facebook page. For several years now I have shared a challenge where you try to read 52 books in a year, and although I have never made it to 52 I have those “notes” from every year where I listed each book I read, the author, whether fiction or non-fiction and the number of pages. I recently came across a couple other postings I did, one answering questions about how well you know your spouse, and another where you list 25 things about yourself. I may do that one again, because things have changed. I am now in the processing of printing off some of the things I discovered and saving them in a scrapbook or notebook for future look backs by myself and/or my children and grandchildren.
We live in a digital world. Everything is handled electronically and people, young people especially, do not keep things in a printed, paper format. Give consideration to printing off and saving in a notebook some of the things you share electronically. Make it a scrapbook of you. Future generations will be glad you did when everything you have done is lost in the cyber world.
I have always been a fairly organized person. Someone who gets involved in clubs and takes on a board position and/or committee chair person. I commit to things and meet my commitments. Busy is Better!
Lately I was struggling to get things done, and found some items on my to-do list week after week. What happened? Why was I suddenly falling behind, not juggling my life the way I always have? Then there was that moment, the flip of a switch, the lightbulb came on and I figured it out.
I am no longer juggling just my responsibilities. I am also juggling those of my deceased husband, plus the additional phone calls and paperwork that have to be done to get everything transferred into my name, his name removed from things, etc. Then of course there is the learning curve in which everything he did takes me a considerably longer amount of time because I don’t have a full grasp of it yet. That is improving, but it is a process.
Every process, every learning curve has its bumps in the road. There are frustrations that come with everything. The frustration of living in a computer generated world in which computers rule what happens and people follow the computer rather than thinking and using logical, common sense. The aggravation that is felt when all the appropriate steps have been taken, only to find out the company didn’t do what they should have and so you have to take further steps to correct things.
I applied for a mortgage modification and got approved, but they never told me not to make a payment, so I have made them all, but in the meantime they are holding my payments in “suspense” while they complete the change over and are repeatedly sending me delinquent notices, including by certified mail that I had to go sign for. When I called I was told those are computer generated notices and I will continue to receive them until they get everything rolled over. And how long will that take? Oh, about two more weeks.
I drove over 35 miles to a main cell phone store to switch the account from my husbands to my own name. I gave them all my information, told them to remove my husband’s phone and two pads he had. Put the account in my name, leave my daughter on as a manager. The phone and pad did get removed, but when my daughter called to get assistance with her phone the pass codes I gave them weren’t working. As it turns out that is because they never made the switch. They still had the account in my husband’s name, had me as a manger, which I had been before my husband’s death, and removed my daughter as a manager. Then I had to wait and call back on a weekday, because this I found out on the weekend. When I called I informed them it was rather incompetent being I had stood in their store with a death certificate and yet they left my husband on as the owner of the account…a dead man has no responsibility to you to pay the bill! Got that one fixed.
That is only two in a long list of situations that have created chaos in an already chaotic situation. Then of course there are the regular duties of paying bills, service on motor vehicles, and lawn mowing that my husband always handled. My daughter commented that she knows she needs to come over and mow my lawn. I told her instruction on use of the riding lawnmower would allow me to handle the task myself. Seriously, I have driven boats, jet skis, motorcycle and moped, I should be able to handle a wild and crazy lawnmower!
So, when I got to really thinking it about it I finally realized, the reason I am trying to juggle but falling behind is because I am handling everything that was previously handled by two, and I haven’t gotten the process down yet. On a positive note, I am improving. It is a process.
Why is it life rolls along smoothly, then suddenly anything and everything that can go wrong does? The stresses of life never seem to spread themselves out over time so you can deal with them individually. Instead challenges pile up on you at one time like a massive pyramid.
That is what has happened to me in the past couple weeks. Individually everything would have been frustrating, but piled together has created stress. I went into the secretary of state to transfer vehicles into my name, only to find out that on there is a form to fill out and an assortment of information needed such as proof of registration or current plate number, pay-off letters, and mileage. Not a problem, right? Wrong. I have to look for a pay-off letter on my car. The key to the motor home broke in half when trying to gain entry and I have been trying to find someone who can remake a key from broken pieces. The company through which there is one car loan is making me jump through more hoops to assume the car loan than my mortgage company did renegotiating my mortgage. In the midst of all this the IRS is auditing the deductions we took on 2014 taxes, and the battery was dead in the pickup when my daughter tried to use it.
So what does one do when life stresses them out and they need to relax? Some people exercise, some people drink, some people take medication. Me….I play Candy Crush. I know, it was a craze for a while and that seems to have died down. Actually I hadn’t played in several months. Then one day with everything going on I needed to relax, to de-stress, and I clicked on the game. It is a good one to play when life is hectic because you only have five lives and then you have to quit for a while. It offers some challenge, but doesn’t require intense mental concentration. It allows me to decompress when life is chaotic. My advise to you, when life gets stressed crush candy.
It is funny how traditions with couples and/or families develop over years. What is crucial to one couple is unimportant to another. Being the first year without my husband, people anticipate that certain dates may be hard, such as Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. However those were “Hallmark” holidays that Ron and I rarely paid attention to, so my first year solo on those dates causes me no emotional stress.
This is my first Easter alone. The weekend looms ahead of me like some dreaded dark cavern. Why? Because that is a weekend Ron and I generally did things. For years when our kids were growing up we would drive to Belle Isle and visit the Aquarium and Whitcomb Conservatory. There were years we traveled, years we stayed home. Generally we were out and about at least one of the two days taking pictures. Once we had grandchildren we put together Easter baskets for the children and had an egg hunt inside our house. Easter has always been a fun weekend for us.
This year I have no one to share those things with. My daughter, her boyfriend and her three children will be over on Sunday for the kids to get their Easter baskets from me, but not until around 7:00 pm because her oldest son is spending the holiday weekend with his father. I have contemplated driving down to Belle Isle, driving around my area to take photos, or just staying home to clean and organize. To a certain degree weather and the condition of a sore ankle will play into those decisions. I don’t feel enthusiastic about any of it.
Building a new life takes adjustment. It means accepting change. Maintaining tradition. Letting tradition go. Freedom to make changes. Keeping things the same. Doing things you’ve always done. Doing things you never did. Building a new normal.
As I spend my first Easter alone creating whatever will become a new tradition, a new normal, I hope all of you have a fun-filled weekend doing whatever it is that makes Easter weekend special for you and your loved ones.
HIPPITY HOPPITY HAPPY EASTER DAY!