Saturday, December 19, 2015

Time is counting down to Christmas. We've added a parakeet to our family, and his cheerful chirps blend well with the music I play. I love being surrounded by critters, no matter how small. They're so free of all the ulterior motives humans seem to have for everything they do. I am incredibly homesick for places and times long past, that can never "be" again. I guess many of us are guilty of that from time to time. I especially miss my children (who are not children any more by any stretch), and the fun of singing Christmas carols together, funny packages, cookie batter, and the laughter. They are so precious to me. I'm not sure they know how precious they are. I think as they've grown up they've moved into a different role in my life, and don't realize that to me, at least, they're still children. It won't be that many years away that I'll be the child, and they'll be the parents. I wonder why my voice has gone silent these past years .... seems since 2005 when we moved from AZ to MI I stopped singing for some reason. And now, my poor throat has no idea what's expected of it. Need to get in the car and drive somewhere, singing all the vocal exercises to bring it back into use.
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Boy, am I out of the loop. It's been so long since I've added anything here, and I'm determined to do better this year. To catch up, I was married June 26, 2014, a change for the better. He is a good man, a private man, so I won't say too much about him here. I will say it's wonderful to be appreciated, and told so, There are always things to whine about in anyone's life, but the overall picture is good. I am becoming more introspective I think. Often during the day I think of things I'd like to write down, and don't, so that when I'm here to write about them I can't remember them. My patient MD tells me as long as I don't put the car keys in the freezer it's just the normal "aging process", something I'm fighting tooth and nail. It's Advent. As a Christian I am filled with the anticipation of Christmas. That's not to say I approve of the commercialism, which seems to get worse each year. This year one of my daughters put forth a series of links (one for each of her family members) to a list of approved Christmas gifts. On one hand, I suppose that's very practical, but personally I found it offensive. The world as we know it, especially my own country, is in shambles, as different factions vie for control. I wish I could sit them all down and tell them the Christmas story. Even if they're not Christians, the underlying concepts of peace, love, and promises coming from a dirty, smelly stable in the middle of an economically poor town is what it's all about. Doing something for others, giving a gift (hopefully unexpected) so someone, kindness, these are the things that motivate me this time of year. I hope that I have these motivations all through the year and I believe I do, just heightened this month. So this starts my new blog. I will put a pad of paper and a pen in my pocket, and jot down things I want to share.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Motivators ...

Laura, you've motivated me. Laura Pankoe is my daughter, who recently started a blog of her own. As I read the antics of my child and her children, I am once again reminded how much the computer keeps us close. I hesitate to phone her, I usually hit during bath time, or in the middle of some tempest in a teapot ... but the blog keeps me up on what's going on with all of them. I think we all need motivators, for different reasons obviously, but needed nonetheless. As a society, complacence seems to be ever lurking in the shadows. It's so much easier to plop down in front of the TV, or pick up a book and get lost in it ... when in reality we should be plugging in with our families. I had my annual mammogram last week. Now for most of you, what's the big deal. For ME it was a very big deal, as it's been one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Ever since then, I've dealt with the scary monster lurking in the shadows, who questions "Did we get it all, is it going to show up on the other side" and similar thoughts. I doubt my friends and family had the date earmarked on their calendars to follow up with me. Why should they?! It's not part of their daily lives. And that's okay!! But by taking time to update my blog, those who do follow up with me know the date came and went, and I'm clean. A very dear friend of mine had thought I'd use the blog to share my journey throughout the ordeal last year, and I'm ashamed to say it didn't occur to me to do so. I wish now that I had. I certainly didn't feel it was a "private" thing, I blurted out to anyone who would listen to get tested. It's a real thing. It DOES happen to people you know. The very real slap in the face came when I was diagnosed, it doesn't just happen to other people, it happened to ME! It's our personal cheering section that keeps us going. The few close friends who hung in there with me and stuck it out through surgeries and radiation gave me something I can never repay. They were my motivators, who said "you can do this", who crossed off each day on the calendar marking my progress. Motivators come in every size and shape, both human and animal, some are no more than written words from someone else. There are those special souls who give you their phone numbers, and tell you they answer those phones 24/7. I know I'm that way, I'll answer my phone at two in the morning for someone who needs an ear. Motivators can be the household pets, who need us to get off the couch and feed them, play with them, or put on a sweater and take them outside for walks. Even my fish motivates me. He's a very handsome fellow, his tank sits on the partition that divides my kitchen from my dining room. When I am at the sink, he comes to my side of the glass and interacts with me. I talk to him as I sprinkle his food on the water. We have a little ritual. He motivates me to smile, and start my day with good thoughts. Such a tiny creature, I can't hold him or pet him, but he's part of my life, and I enjoy him. So, I ask, are you someone's motivator? Can you identify your motivators? those people or things that keep you going? Let me be your motivation to think about it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Life is full of surprises. I think we get ourselves into a routine, or rut, where cause and effect are predictable.  Dennis' death punctuated a string of failed relationships, which in one respect never had a chance because each new one was built on the rubble of its predecessor.  I lived alone for nine months, collected a pride of cats, and settled myself in for a life of solitude.  I just didn't think I had it in me to try again. People I loved had their own lives, which didn't align with mine. I was learning to accept that, and discover a new M.O. for myself.  At least I though that was what I was doing.  

What I really did was "let go, let God".  I always thought I knew better than He did what I needed and wanted.  At least it seemed that I did.  And when I "let go", a funny thing happened in McDonald's.  Even more fun was the folks who worked the morning shift and knew both of us separately began to watch us arrive to have breakfast together.  They smiled, and became part of the relationship that was unfolding.  

I think it's a tall order to "let go, let God".  Most of us say we do, but in reality we're all Indian givers.  We're so sure we know what we want, and how we want it to be, we never give His ideas any credibility.  I knew I could live alone. But I didn't want to. I knew I could take care of myself just fine. But the bottom line was I'm not HAPPY alone. Having been such an abysmal failure in the past, I figured remaining alone would be better for everyone.  But not for me.  I wore my "aloneness" as a sort of penance, my "just desserts" for having done so poorly in the marriage department. Kinda like Hestor Prynn's red A.

But THAT wasn't what God really wanted for me either.  Again, I wasn't letting go, and letting Him, I was orchestrating what I felt I deserved.  

Do you do that? Are you your own judge, jury and executioner? That's not the message we're given.  Can you "let go, let God" in your own lives? Start with the little things for some practice, and then move up to the bigger stuff.  There's so much God wants for us if we'd just shut up and listen.  

That's the part I didn't do well: Listen.  I always dumped the dramatic sorry saga of my life on someone early in the game, for what reason? Sympathy? Empathy? a Warning? Who knows. But this time I kept my mouth shut.  I listened to what this man was saying to me. I gave the Master room to work.  

I guess what I'm trying to suggest to you is that you quit trying or orchestrate every bend and turn in the road, quit cutting off someone who's speaking to you because you know what he's going to say (or think you do) ... back up, back off, and give Him room to work in your life. You might be surprised at what happens next!
Things happen when you least expect them. I posted last almost 5 months ago! Whew! many changes. Some bitter-sweet, some wonderful, some not so hot, but then change is what keeps us going. For openers, There’s a man in my life.

We met on the 26th of April, in McDonald’s of all places. I was in line in front of him, and ordered “My Usual” ... (oatmeal); He was behind me assessing me from the ground up ... jeans, pony tail, the voice, and then his turn where he ordered “my usual” as well (sausage McMuffin), and turned to look at me sideways, and said “wow” to himself.  We had to stand aside and wait for our food; I noticed his AZ hat and said “where about in AZ?”  Then our food orders were called, and we got them, and he asked “Would  you like to have breakfast with me”, and I said okay, and we did. 

About the first or second thing out of his mouth was “I’ve been married before and I’m never getting married again”.  (God Laughed).  I said I’d like to do things and go places but I won’t do it alone (his feelings to a T).  He asked if he might have my phone number to call me, and I gave him a business card, then thinking “good grief, you gave him the one that says you’re a pastor, that’s the last you’ll hear from  HIM”,.. but he simply asked for my first name. 

I left to go do bookkeeping at a local restaurant; He stopped by my house on the excuse of helping me with the 50 pound bag of corn cobs in my trunk, but I wasn’t there. He tried a second time, but then left for Detroit, as it was the third anniversary of his daughter’s death, and he was going to pay his respects.  

Sunday I went to Wal-mart to get a simple silver bracelet. I had a bracelet with silver bells, but lost it, and was in the process of making a new one. The only one available had a disk on it that said “Hope”. 

Sunday evening he called and asked if he could “stop by” on his way home, and I said yes, so he did. He said he’d been thinking about me a lot, and wanted to get to know me better. He showed me two fortunes (from fortune cookies) he’d gotten that night: One of them said “You’re about to receive one of life’s most precious gifts, Hope”.  The other was “you’ll be pleasantly surprised soon”. 

He asked if I would be interested in dinner/movie ... and we made a date for the next evening.  After dinner/movie, he took me home, and as an afterthought, ducked his head and kissed me chastely before he left.

Tuesday he took me to see his house in Greenbush (19 acres, wooded, ponds, hills, flat lands). I fell in love with it.  He said he was developing “strong feelings” for me.  In the mean time he started fixing things around my house, because the greatest satisfaction he has is making a positive difference in someone else’s life. (direct quote).

By Thursday he was head over heels ... a week later, he asked very firmly, “will you marry me”, and I said yes.  We’ve been together ever since. May 24, our one month’s anniversary, we stood in the kitchen and said our vows to each other, and exchanged rings that read “I am my beloved’s and she/he is mine”. 

Both of us feel God was behind all this, as the things that happened in the sequence they happened was just too much to be chance.  

I feel  cherished, loved, respected, treasured ... and I feel a whole lot of things I’ve never felt before. We’ve taken each other to places neither of us have ever been.  After a quick trip west, we turned around and went to PA for him to meet my family.  I was anxious about that, not sure what the kids would think. But the one I expected to be the hardest to sell wasn't, and really bonded with him. When we left, of her own accord she reached for him and hugged him, and told him to take care of mom. 

For once it’s on my terms, and his, and they are the same. It’s not on the heels of some other failed relationship.  

I’m happy. Simply, completely, refreshingly happy.

SO, in a year and a day, we’ll make it official. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Requiem for a Squirrel ... i buried you beneath a tree, one you used to climb for me, you knew i'd put some peanuts there for you and other squirrels to share. your life cut short by man's machine, and now those eyes that used to sheen in sunlight bright are closed in death and never more you'll draw a breath. i loved you so, you made me smile, i'd sit and watch for quite a while. you'd fluff your tail and scold at me if there were no peanuts neath the tree. now that tail around you curled, never more to be unfurled. Sleep, dear one, until you hear, the Master's voice, then leave your bier. to run and play another day safe and free, out of harm's way. Some grand day we'll meet again, i know not where, i know not when.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Endings and Beginnings

Well, it's all over. My last radiation treatment was Friday, I have 2-3 more weeks of side effects to deal with, and then find out what's next. I believe it's a pill, called Tomoxafin, but don't quote me on that.

A few folks have said to me "now you can get back to normal". Only thing wrong with that idea is that I have no idea of what normal IS.  How far back do I go? Dennis' death? Dad's? the Elder Ts'?   My son tells me it's the first time in my life I'm not responsible for the care of other people. SO, I guess I start with that.

I cried on Friday (third meltdown. First was last Saturday, second was Monday).  Though it was a pain in the neck to go to West Branch every day for 7 weeks, there was a "routine" to it ... that made my day predictable. I saw the same technicians every day, they ended up with quilt related nick names because I took a quilt with me to cover me during treatment.  They became extended family.  Everything about the last seven weeks came to an abrupt halt on Friday, and I felt lost.  I felt loss.  Breast cancer turned my life upside down for 4 1/2 months, and now deposits me here in the middle of the road and doesn't look back.  Some of the gals from the quilt shop were my drivers, but the two who did the most became part of the fabric of my life. And now they're back to their own lives, and out of mine for the most part.

I don't know what I want to do with myself, other than feed the cats and quilt.  And read. I like to read.  At least I used to, I can't seem to concentrate now. Oh, and cry at the drop of the hat for no apparent reason.  I'm told that's "normal".  There's a deal of self pity going on, I realize that, and fight it, but there really has been a string of events beating me down for a really long time, and even though they took their toll, they were the "normal".  

I made myself a Cancer Quilt.  There is a pre printed panel of quotations that begins with "Things that cancer cannot do".  Didn't figure anyone else would make me one, so I made it myself.  As I chose the fabrics, some with a print that was appropriate (cats), some purples (purple is the "awareness ribbon" color for fibromyalgia which I also have), I gave the quilt a statement of purpose.  They were "Patty" colors. Some left overs from long ago projects, some more recent. I mixed in some batiks, and some metallic. I wasn't predictable about any of it. The quilt police will tell you calico doesn't go with batik, and cat printed fabric doesn't go in a cancer quilt. Since there are no quilt police ever going to SEE my quilt, quite frankly, I didn't give a damn!

As folks saw it, and shared it, two more cancer quilts are on the drawing table. One for my daughter-in-law-elect's friend who is faced with ovarian cancer, and oddly enough, a quilt shop owner I admire and love, who admitted to me on Saturday that SHE now has breast cancer.  So, those two quilts will be "beginnings".  I have over 20 quilt tops to quilt that are hanging in my hallway, enough to keep me busy for a bit.  And naps. I can take naps. I find I need them, as long as they're not fraught with weird dreams. The sun is shining, and the white snow makes everything look pretty. Thanks to my daughter, I can put a pile of CDs in the stereo and listen to those for hours.

Flowers. I received flowers. One bunch from one of my drivers, the other bunch from my grand-sons. I love flowers, any time, for any reason. I didn't put up a lot of Christmas decorations, but of what I did, I've taken down half.  It's too cold to go out to the shed for the boxes.  SO, I'm mixing my holidays with a little Christmas through Lent.

Perhaps, since it's still Winter, I have these months to heal. Then with Spring I can feel refreshed, ready to lift my face to the sky and feel the warmth of life washing over me. Maybe it's too soon to worry about the "beginnings". I'll think about those later.