Friday, June 27, 2008

Some Clarification.

   Yesterday's entry was my frustration screaming out.  And at this time, I'd like to add some clarification, some insights about why I feel this way.  For me, now, my life is supposed to be about finally being able to live a life.  By that statement, I mean actually being able to do things.  Taking a day or a few, alittle money and having a fun experience.  I can't believe how tongue tied I am, right now.  Let's try again.

   I am so very grateful for my life, I have a career that is useful, making a difference in the lives of the elderly and disabled, that supports me.  I enjoy my work.  I have a roof over my head, clothes, food, a car, all my basic needs are met.  No, it's not ideal, but liveable.  I have a grown son that lives in another state, and for the most part takes care of himself.  For all these things, I am grateful.

   The majority of my adult life was spent meeting the needs of others, even at the expense of my own needs.  I worked hard.  I became my husbands sole caregiver when he became disabled, worked 13 years, 3 months and 7 days at a part-time job, without a whole day off.  Yes, I counted them, even the leap days!  It was what I had to do to add to the coffers.  There were no vacations, no day trips, no holiday spent just celebrating the day.  There was no moral, emotional, or physical help from his family.  I was on my own.  For years, I lived with the dread that things would never get any better.  There would never be anything else.  A hopelessness set in that nearly destroyed me.  When my husband passed away due to complications from surgery, my life was changed.   The ensuing 5 years have been about learning how to life my life for me.  How to find peace, hope, satisfaction, emotional health, healing some of the scars from the inside.  As you can see, some of them are still raw, but I'm getting better at it.

   Since that last entry, I've done some thinking about my situation, trying to figure out what I need to do to fix things, solutions that I can and have to live with.  Yes, I will go to the lake often, and yes I will enjoy that.  And I will find things to do on my hours off, but it's not the same thing.  It's not what I wanted(needed for *me*) to do for my summer.  The last few years have been about working, earning a living, knowing that I cuold support myself.  I  need more than that, now.  That's what the few plans this summer were about.  I have to reformulate my plans, somehow, for later.  In the meantime, I will go back to dreaming about going someplace, doing something for *me*.  I won't give up on those dreams.  Been there, done that, and I didn't like it.  Maybe this is a hint that I should be concentrating on my emotional health and spirituality, learning something else for now.  Maybe it's a hint that I should settle down and make that quilt for my son.  I think he's going to need it this next winter.

   Oh, and that neighbor came over last night while we were sitting outside, but Bro sat between us.  She's lucky!  This time....

                              ~Thanks For Stopping By~

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reality Bites!

Disclaimer: I don't claim that my life is all sunshine and lavendar, but i do try to keep the stinkweed out of this particular "bed of roses".  You gardeners know what I mean.

     I haven't written much about the day to day "stuff" going on in my life lately and that stuff has got me in a blue funk.  So please bear with me while I whine a little bit.  I was so looking forward to summer.  I had made plans to do some summertime activities. Some fun stuff.  Over the last couple of weeks, I've watched them all-one by one-vanish into the realm of wishful thinking.

   I've been working very hard trying to tame the pessimistic side of my nature, trying very hard to build some selfl-esteem, believeing that I am worth good things happening to me.  I have what I jokingly refer to as "doormatitis".  That I don't deserve the best chair position at the kitchen table, the closest parking spot, of course it's my fault you didn't pay the bills on time-wipe your feet here.(sorry that was just too sarcastic), that my value as a person isn't as important as others. That I'm not good enough to be treated better, to expect better.  A psychologist would have a field day with me.

   Anyway, I had plans for a couple different things to do.  the trip to see Kansas at this music festival, at least for me,has been cancelled.  My landlord called to see if I'd be interested in doing some part-time caregiving work.  During the phone conversation, I discovered that the rent has gotten way behind.  That things are at the point that it will take all summer to catch up.  I feel ashamed that I didn't keep on top of the situation, knowing the irresponsible way my "roommates" handle billpaying.  For those of you that are new to my journal, I share a house with my brother and nephew.  But complaining about them not paying their fair share isn't my point here.  I now have to concentrate on getting the rent caught up.  The $125 I had set aside for the trip was sent for rent-no Kansas.

   I was planning on taking the last weekend in July off to follow the canoe marathon.  It's a 125 mile race down the river-an all night event.  I don't normally ask for weekends or holidays off, I don't mind working them.  At my company, you have to fill out a calendar for the days you are not "available" to work.  You have to do this a month in advance.  July's calendar was due by June 1st and sent in with my days off marked.  When I received my schedule for the month of July, I saw that I am scheduled for shifts on both days.  I called the office manager and she told me that she had "forgotten" about my request and that there were so many others that had asked for the same weekend, she was having trouble covering the open shifts. (Wipe your feet here)  So the one thing I could have afforded to do-$30 for gas-I can't get the days off to do.  Now, the last thing I was planning to do in August, I've scrapped.  There are only so many times I can beat my head against the wall and not hurt myself more.  And yes, I do realize what I just said.

   So for now, I'm in a blue funk.  I didn't really ask for all that much.  But, I didn't plan far enough in advance, prepare for life's little bites in the ass, or keep things in the perspective that more than likely they wouldn't happen anyway.  I'm just having a more difficult time than usual handling it.  I'm one of those people that just go on, gettin through my days the best I can, but sometimes that means carrying along alot of resentment at the unfairness of my life.  The good news is that I'll get over it-I always do. 

   Oh, and if my backyard neighbor comes over here one more time, to tell me how to live my life, I swear I'm going to knock her into next week!  I don't care if she has been a friend of my brother's since childhood.  But...that's a whole nother journal entry.  So, thanks for letting me blow off some steam, I'll be okay.  And as always....

                        ~Thanks for Stopping By~




Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just for a moment...........

   The world seemed to stop.  A pause so subtle, that if you weren't aware of it, it wouldn't have been noticed.  I paused, myself.  Looking at the clouds floating by, bottom-heavy with  moisture, kissed on the head with the sunlight of evening, I felt it.  Just for a fraction of a breath.  No breeze, no sound, the waves even coming to a hushed standstill.  Then everything slipped back into rhythm and the world moved on.  But just for that moment, the beauty was unspeakable, the emotion felt in every fiber of my being.  A tear formed in gratitude for being blessed with the experiencing of this miracle of nature, when one season slipped quietly into the next.  As the soft breeze of a spring evening became the shortest night of the year.  As I sat on the sandy beach, I watched three children build a sandcastle, or at least their best rendition of one.  Two kayakers drifted slowly on the lakes' blue surface, having a quiet conversation.  A laughing little girl with a plastic net waded in the shallows searching "little fish", who moved just quickly enough to avoid being scooped up.  Celebrants of this progression of life, unaware of the momentous transition.  Unaware of that pause as they go about the business of enjoying the simple pleasure of an evening at the lake. 

   My contemplation of being the recipient of this miracle of time, carried me for another hour.  To thoughts of summer's pleasures, of the ability to take the time to stop for a moment and just listen to life, to just enjoy your surroundings.  To pause long enough to catch the scent of a fresh summer day, to appreciate the sight of a delicate wildflower that adds to summer's palette of color, as it gently sways in a breeze. 

   It's moments like these that carry me through when life's vagaries make me wish for that peace, that quiet communion.  When things don't turn out as I'd hoped, when plans are changed and abandoned, when I want to escape the realities of daily existence, I draw a deep breath and visualize, feel my connection to the miracle of nature.  I come here to refresh my soul.  

                                ~Thanks For Stopping By~

Thursday, June 19, 2008

At Last.....


        Well.  It's time.  Time to go and greet the brother she hadn't seen in 20 years.  Time to meet the woman who has so graciously offered her a bedroom in her home, to get started on her new life.  They had actually gone to the same high school, but were a few years apart in age, so the memories of her were faded with time.  The directions were easy, the house just as had been described.  She pulls into the driveway, noting that her brother wasn't home from work yet.  There are kids in the yard that immediately come running to the car.  She's never met any of them, but learned all about them from the many phone conversations during her last months in Ohio.  Climbing out of the car, she's engulfed in hugs of welcome and excitement.  Tears threaten, she hasn't felt this welcome by anyone in a very, very long time.  Before she can catch her breath, the car is being unloaded and she's being led upstairs to the bedroom that's been painted and prepared just for her arrival.  There's lots more in the car, but that'll have to wait.  There are more greetings to come first.

    The lady who had offered her a home, walked in and opened her arms in welcome.  As dinner was being prepared, her brother came in and wanted to know who'd parked in "his place"?  And with Ohio Plates!   More hugs of welcome and tears of long-awaited reunion.   Home. At last.  She had been gone so long that it felt like moving to a whole new town, and finally a whole new life-lived for herself, lived the way she wanted,  lived with the knowledge that she has control of her own life now.  A brand new start.  It will be good, it will be all hers.

    And it is.  I have some complaints about life's minor problems.  Who doesn't?  But all I have to do is look around me and see the town, the trees and wildlife, the lakes and rivers, the family that is imperfect, as only family can be and get away with it.  See all that means so much, and my heart swells with gratitude forthe opportunities for happiness, peace and a life well lived.


    Thanks for joining me for some of  my most precious memories.  For being here and welcoming me into a community that adds so much to my daily life.  For a connection beyond this place I love.  For that I am grateful, too.

                           ~Thanks For Stopping By~


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A memory or two

    Hmm, town or the lake?  Not much of a decision, really.  Of course, she has to go see the lake first.  She turns left to reach the road that was built when the expressway cut off the old way to the lake.  She pulls up to the corner, and looks over at the Pine Pantry, where her family went for huge ice cream cones on the way home from the lake on hot summer days, all those years ago.  Nope, she's had ice cream once already today.  Drive on.  She drives by the beach where she'd spent so many summer afternoons.  There are "No Parking" signs posted there now, so she drives on a few blocks, parks on the side of the road and walks back to the beach.  The lake is just as she remembers.  So blue, so clear, you can see the rocks, shells, and some minnows searching for their lunch.  Of course the shoes and socks come off and she wades out past her knees, almost to the hem of her shorts.  She hopes to someday show this lake to her son.  Then she can show him why she'd never go swimming anywhere except a pool, when she lived in Ohio.  One look and he'd understand.  Time to move on, she gathers her shoes and socks and walks barefoot through the sunwarmed sand to the edge of the road and back to her car.  With one long look back, she promises herself there will be many trips to this same lake for summer afternoons in the sun.

    She drives to the north end of the lake, to the North Higgins Lake State Park.  It's worth the $8 day tag to enter.  She parks in the day use lot and walks to the shady paths, through trees so tall, you lose your balance looking up to see the tops.  To her left she can hear the trickle of water from one of the many springs that feed the lake and keep it so clean and cool.  The ferns and pine needles carpet the forest floor, moss grows on downed tree trunks, home to some of the smaller creatures that live in this hushed, lush green haven.  The winds are calm today, so she can't hear the water that she knows lies just past the path that runs parallel to the shoreline.  Along here are the little grills that stand in the ground like sentinels of summer fun.  Just waiting for that bag of charcoal, hot dogs and burgers.  Picnic tables line the treed lots that were once lakefront campsites.  Memories of summers spent camping there, bonfires on the beach, swimming after dark, sneaking beers from the grownups' coolers, and all the adventures of teenagers, walk beside her  as she strolls along.  Short summer romances that lasted no longer than a week or two, the vows to write and see each other again, are as ephemeral as the ghosts that walk the beaches of the memories of those times. 

    One particular memory comes through the mists of time-her mother.  Tall, slender, her bathing suit in the style of the early 60's.  Taking towels from the line strung between trees, she beckons her and her brother out of the water for lunch.  Sitting in the sand with them and building castles until it was time to light the fire to cook dinner.  Roasting marshmellows over the fire built up for the evening, watching the sun set and the moon rise over the water, reflecting a beam of sparkling light right toward you, no matter where you stood.  Soothing lotion on the sunburn from the day, changing into pajamas and walking, flashlight in hand, with her, one more time to the outhouse before settling down for the night....    As the memories fly, she realizes that her time for reflection is up.  She heads back to the car, making that same promise to return for many summer days to come, and turns toward town.

                                       ~Thanks For Stopping By~

Saturday, June 14, 2008

It's just one of those days.......

    I could have picked frustrated for my mood, but since we have all these new ones, I looked a little closer and decided that I am definitely cranky.  Right now anyway.  It's just one of those days where things aren't working for me. 

   My internet connection is down, don't know what's wrong, cable TV is working, just not the internet.  Tech is coming on Tuesday or before if I'm lucky enough to be home if someone cancels their appointment.  So now I have to rely on the library(where I am now) and Wifi hotspots-if I can find any.  I  know that most McDonalds have it, but "Not the one in my town".  There is a local restaurant that used to have it, and I'll go there later to see if they still do. 

   From this public connection I can't get to my private journal.  I tried typing in all the combinations I could think of, but it won't let me find it.  That's where the rough draft for my 2nd entry in the story is.   ;(   So I can't do that. 

   Yahoo Mail is only letting me look at one or two emails before showing a page that says there's a problem, they're working on it, yada, yada, yada.........

   I did get my plants planted.  I was going to do it on Thursday afternoon, but they were calling for storms and I didn't want the poor little things to get all beat up their first night in their new home.  So I slid them under the outdoor table and a wheelbarrow.  Am I ever glad I did that!  We had some doosey storms blow through, hail, high winds, 2" of rain, the whole 9 yards.  .  A Severe Thunderstorm Warning, A Tornado Warning, and then another Severe Thunderstorm Warning.  All between 12am and 3:30am, what a long night that was.  I fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV, watching the radars and warnings come and go.  I woke up about 6:30 am with a sore back and neck.  Anyway, the plants are in and look good today.  I still have the 2 containers to plant with the herbs, I can work on them today.

   Well, since I can't do the entry I had hoped, I'll just sign off for now.  And hope to be around at least a little bit more this weekend.  As Always......

                             ~Thanks For Stopping By~


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Journey

    She opened the car door and got in, placing the large coffee cup in the holder to her right.  She glances out the passenger side window and watches the sun sparkling through the leaves of the huge maple tree on the firehouse lawn next door.  A good omen, a good day for a road trip.  She starts the engine, thinking of this as the last time she'll ever be here, this gas station, this town, hopefully as this person.  Taking a deep  breath, with trepidation and hope in her heart, she slides the gearshift into drive, the clock glowing 7:32am, and pulls away from the life she's leaving behind for new adventures.  It'll be a long day of driving, the way vaguely familiar, as she's taken this same route 17 years before on a family vacation.   She knows where to stop, rest, eat refuel, and rejuvinate.  Her car loaded down with her most precious possessions, she pulls out of the parking lot and drives away without a backward glance.

    As road trips go, it was as uneventful as she could hope.  Traffic was light, the turnpike heading west almost empty, as she watches the mile markers increase, lost the radio station she's listened to for years, found a temporary one to listen to, to her exit.  She remembers the last time she'd driven this way.  How they'd argued over which exit was the right one, giving in and continuing on to the next one, only to turn around and backtrack when she was proven right.  She exited to fill up her tank and coffee cup, leaving the last one in the ladies room, and focusing on crossing that state line to a new life.  She has a few regrets of the life she's leaving behind, but she'd done the best she could.  There was great sadness at what she thought of as her failures, and worry for her son, who was staying behind and moving forward with his own life.  He had encouraged her to pursue a new life, and "don't worry, Mom, I'll be fine".  At this moment she felt frighteningly alone yet amazingly calm, as she knew she'd made the right choices.  Climbing back in the car, pulling onto the entrance ramp, she continues her journey.

    There it is.  the sign that indicates she's crossed the state line.  The sign that indicates she's no longer moving away from, but moving forward.  Welcome To Michigan!  If she wasn't on the expressway, she'd pull over and step out of the car, just to see if the ground felt any different, if there was welcome in the soil for her long awaited return. ::sigh::  That would have to wait for her next break.  Traffic has picked up now as she skirts the larger cities of lower Michigan, and commuters enter and exit with the smooth skill of daily trips along these roads.  She watches as the mile markers increase again, and wonders how they decide which end of the state to start at.  Are they all measured east to west? South to North?  And what if the highway cuts diagonally across the state? Does that make it look bigger than it is?  Okay she's getting punchy, it's time to take that break where she gets to set foot on the ground of home, in a broad sense, as she still has 150 or so miles to go.  As she sits in the restaurant and watches people come and go, she notices that they don't look any different, or sound that much different, yet feel a world away from the small town she'd left that morning.  She splurges on a hot fudge sundae and trades the coffee for iced tea as the afternoon heats up, and heads out on the final leg of her journey.

    At last, the sign for Exit 239!  It's been a long day.  She's watched the level fields of miles and miles of farmland, grow into the hills and forests of Northern Michigan.  A breeze blows the scent of pine into the car.  How she's missed that smell.  You know, the fresh fragrance when you first bring a fresh cut tree into the house at Christmas time.  As she looks to the right she sees the steep bank of the hill that they had to cut through when they built the expressway, taking most of the acreage of the farm where she grew up.  At the top are the white pines, that now, tower toward the sky.  She has a picture of herself standing next to those trees when she was 4 and they weren't much taller than she was.  Now, she truly feels like she's come home.  She flips on the turn signal, exits the expressway, and just stops at the intersection at the end of the off ramp for a few minutes as the thoughts and memories overwhelm her.  Home!

    It's 2:45pm and she's not expected till 4:30, so she's got some time to drive around and explore some of the sights and  memories of her youth.  Which way to go first?

    I'll save that for another entry.....

                                        ~Thanks For Stopping By~     


 Update:  3:40pm.  We're under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning till 4:00pm, but I can see blue sky out my western facing window.  So there's still hope of getting my hands dirty!

Rain, Rain, go away, come again another day....

or later tonight, after I get the gardening stuff done. 

   Plant shopping,  I love it.  I've done some over the last couple days and am ready to get things in the ground and pots.  But the sky has other plans for me this morning.  Hopefully, it will clear up-or at least quit raining later this afternoon.  We built a cute little 8x2 ft. garden by the front door porch, just need to add some soil and enrichments and I'll be ready to plant.  We're putting in some purple osteospermum(look like daisies), ruffled petunias, tall snapdragons, and I'm going to stick a couple fernleaf dill plants in there.  I don't think they'd do very well in pots as they'll get to about 3 ft. tall.  Then, Bro's got some flowers for the front, and I've got some herbs for pots.  One will be full sun, with sage, rosemary, chives, thyme, and basil.  Then one for part shade with parsley, lemon balm, and lemon thyme.  I've got some coleus and sweet potato vines for another pot that I want to put on the back porch rail.  I just love the combination of dark reds and greens of these two foliage plants.  I just have to keep it well watered.

    Why wait so long?  Well, in my area, the last frost date is May 31st, the nights are finally warm enough for plants to not be too stressed by cold.  We have a fairly short growing season, with the first frosts in the fall a possibility as early as late Sept. 

    I miss gardening the way I used to in Ohio.  I could dig and plant anything-anywhere I wanted.  I had vegetable gardens stuck all over the back yard.  I always had pots of flowers and foliage plants on the deck, the morning glorys owned the lattice work that sided the deck, and sometimes invaded the central space if we didn'twatch them closely.   But then, I didn't work such long hours, and had the time to nurture and weed.   I'll be happy with what I can do here, and make it as wonderful as I can.  I'd love to be surrounded by plants!!!

    I have a short morning shift-taking my client thrift shopping!  :)  Then maybe I can come home and get my hands in the dirt!  Hope to be able to write more tonight.  I have an entry all ready to go, started it last night, got down to the last sentence, looked away from the keyboard to talk to Potsey, hit the wrong key and POOF!  cleared screen.  So I wisely closed down and went to bed.  ::sigh::

                             ~Thanks For Stopping By~

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Wanna See?

    Since I'm not so computer savvy, I'll give you an address for Google or Mapquest, check out the aerial view.  This is where I go to the beach.

11747 N. Higgins Lake Dr., Roscommon, MI  48653

It's as blue and clear as it looks from the sky. 

One of these days I'll learn how to do all that stuff, put pictures in here, etc.  I promise. 

                                        ~Thanks For Stopping By, Again~

Beginners Luck!!!

    When the Red Wings won their way to the Stanley Cup Finals, I predicted that they would win it in 6 games.  It came down to the last 1/2 second.  The replay showed that the puck crossed in front of the crease with 0.00 seconds left on the clock and.................

The Detroit Red Wings Win the 2008 Stanley Cup!!!!!

Yay!!!!!  My first full season watching hockey and the Red Wings won the Stanley cup.  I got to watch almost all of the Finals games, only missing part of the games while working.  I'm so excited!  And there's nobody here to celebrate with.  Potsey's with friends, and Bro went to his bedroom to watch and go to bed early.  HUMPH!  I still loved every minute of it.  I think I scared them off cuz I'm always asking questions.  What ever!

    I just had to tell someone, Thanks for always being here!!!

                         ~Thanks For Stopping By~


                               Go Red Wings!!!!!

Whew...Busy, busy!

     The title just about says it all.  I'm on a short day off during one of those insanely busy weeks with LOTS of hours.  56, if no more are added.  The midnight shifts are done, for now.  My schedule will be lightened up to 35 or so hours for a couple weeks and then I'm sure it'll pick back up.  I have to play catch up in reading journals, and really miss spending the time I'm used to here. 

    I do find the time to enjoy myself.  I was driving home from a Sunday midnight shift, when I just knew it was the perfect morning to stop at the State Park Office and get my year entrance sticker.  And of course, as I was right there, I might as well stop by the beach and see what was what.  It was a beautiful blue sky morning, calm winds, so the lake was like glass.  As I walked down the path to the beach, I looked up just in time to see one of my friends-a bald eagle-soaring just over the tree tops.  What an auspicious welcome to a place that hold so much meaning for me.  There's just something that draws me there when I have a couple hours to swim, walk the beach, just sit and watch the waves, write, and just be.  Do you know what I mean? 

   A visit to the lake isn't complete without rolling up the pantlegs and dipping my toes-okay up to my knees-in the water.  It's still Very Cold!!!  A deep, springfed lake that still had ice 7 weeks ago, Higgins Lake takes some powerful warm days and nights to get to that swim, without turning blue, temperature.  And I'll bet there's some fool out there who's already turned blue from a swim this spring.  There's one of the above ground springs that feed the lake, there at the beach, and it was actually warmer than the lake water.  I also had the privelege of seeing a Mama duck with 11(I had to count twice) still fuzzy, baby ducks going for a morning swim.  Thankfully, the eagle was off looking for breakfast somewhere else, but I bet the Mama duck knew that.  That kind of sight always touches me deep down, and nudges my gratitude for being able to live here(Home) again.  To really take the time to observe and appreciate the natural world that surrounds me, to remember that there's more to life than a fat paycheck and a Red Wings Stanley Cup win.  Which I will seriously be upset about, if they blow it!  Game 6 tonight at 8pm!

    There are so many things I want to do, so many projects running through my mind, so much to do, so little time.  I've got to pick one or two of my most desired and start working on them.  Right now, I'm in the middle of making 7 beaded necklaces that a friend wants to give as year-end gifts for her employees.  I lent her a necklace to wear to an event and she was looking for something unique and handmade, so.....  It did give me an excuse to go bead shopping, always a tough job, and of course I got "way" more beads than I needed, with some ideas for necklaces for myself.  That project may be at the top of my list of things to do for ME!

    Well, I've got some errands to run, haven't even gotten dressed after my "nap", and some journals to catch up on before the hockey game.  So, I'm off to fill the rest of my day off.  As always....

                                   ~Thanks For Stopping By~