Looking for Signs

Today, 39 years ago, I remember packing  your hair dryer in the blue Samsonite case. It was the same one you’d had since you were nineteen. You were now 35. You hadn’t been feeling well during Christmas, so Dad was preparing to take you to the hospital.

I was used to these regular visits to doctors – checkups for things of which I had no knowledge, save the fact that I knew your skin was getting harder and harder by the day. Your fingers cracked and bled, you had difficulty holding a fork to eat, and now, you were so physically exhausted, a wheelchair had been rented.

I didn’t know that the scleroderma you had also weakened your lungs and caused pneumonia.

I also didn’t know that, sitting there on the bed beside you as Dad packed a few things, this would be the last time I would ever be this close to you.

You died in the hospital five days later.

There are so many times I have rehearsed in my head the things I should have said to you. The things I should have asked of you. How I wanted us to have a”secret sign” that would let me know it was you, paying me a visit on each day I graduated. When I was recovering from the hysterectomy. When I turned 50 a few weeks ago.

But I was eleven. I had no idea those things would be so important down the road. I had no idea I would outlive you.

It never gets easier each year. I just learn to deal with it the best I can.

And I still sit, wait, and look for signs. Just like I think you did

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Momma on her favorite pier – Bogue Pier, NC. 1975.
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New Writing Project!

UK 50mph photoHere’s a new project I’m starting up soon. It’s all about the stories of those of us who have already turned the corner at the half-century mark… and those of us who are almost there.

Wanna know more?

Want to share your story?

Check out my other blog: “Finding Fifty Project”.

Peace… and Happy Thanksgiving!

I Could Learn a Lot from My Dog…

I could learn a lot from my dog… if I would only “sit” and “stay” in the moment.

After a year of trying to make it without anxiety issues, I found myself headed back to counseling this summer to try and get a handle on things. For those of you who struggle with it, you know that it can sometimes be debilitating — and for those of you who don’t, it can damn near ruin your whole day before it even gets started.

One of the many anxiety-related issues I discuss with the counselor is the one I have over our “new” dog, Sonny. He’s been with us for a little over six months now, and while there are some days where I’m very happy he’s here with us, there are others that are extremely difficult. In July 2013 – almost to the date — we lost our beloved Mick, a rescued corgi-husky mix, to lymphoma at the age of twelve. Watching him grow frail and worrying about his safety at every moment “amped” up my level of anxiety… until the night he looked me directly in the eyes and told me it was “time to go.”

For over a year after that night, we came home to a quiet house that had no furry carpets or dog kibble trailed through the kitchen but also found ourselves being able to pick up and go wherever we wanted to when we wanted to. My anxiety over worrying if I had done right by Mick lessened daily… until the day when my husband and the stepkids started talking about how much they wanted another dog.

Sonny Boy (named after Sonny Boy Williamson — we’re huge old school blues fans) came into our lives the week before Christmas 2014. Some friends of ours found him wandering through a local park. When no one claimed him, it was decided (by democratic vote… and I lost) that he would come live with us.

And so began my anxiety over whether I’d be able to take care of another four-legger… and over the inevitable moment when it would again be “time to go.”

Walking Down Haw River One of the things the counselor suggested was that I get out and walk or at least do some kind of exercise to relieve my general anxiety. This summer, the kids are at their grandparents’, so responsibility for the morning walks falls on me. At first, I was terrified — wondering if we’d encounter a coyote or a snake or perhaps another dog who wasn’t very friendly. Or maybe he’d eat something that was poison. The walks weren’t relaxing at all. My chest was tight, I felt like my throat was closing up, and often, I wanted to cry.

But eventually, something began to change. I felt myself actually enjoying our morning time together — before the sun was fully over the treeline, watching him with nose to the ground, sniffing for the best spot to, ahem, well, you know. He was in the moment, and nothing could distract him.

The more I realized it, this damn dog GETS IT. He knows how to practice mindfulness.
I could learn a lot from him.

So, as I work through my inability to stop worrying about the future and stay in the moment, I leave you with these wise words of wisdom from my “other counselor.”

Ball at Window
Always greet the morning, ready to “play ball.”

Different Perspective

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you have to look at things from a different perspective.

Sonny on My Arm
It’s okay to sit and take it easy.

Stare Down

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stare down your fears. Eventually, they’ll scamper into the woods.

Hangout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every now and then… let it ALL hang out.

Porch Gazing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soak in a good sunset on your front porch… sit, stay… and appreciate the moment.

“Coughing up” My Latest Post…

Hi, all.  I’m back from the depths (again).

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This little fella has been giving me a hard time for the past month or so. Living in North Carolina during the spring sure is pretty, but it SUCKS for those of us with highly-reactive sinuses and lungs.

When I can’t type because I drip all over the keyboard, or the ink from my pen starts to mix with post nasal drip to create “art on paper,” I know I need to surrender for a while…

But this week, I loaded the “big guns” and am fighting back with more meds than I’d really like to have in my system, but hey – it’s starting to do the trick.

So, the oxygen level’s starting to climb, the snot’s less-snotty, and the drips are less-drippy. And I’m feeling like writing again. Yay!

So, please stay tuned for some interesting stories.

There’s the one about a desk named Flossie…

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and fishing in the cemetery pond.
180s

 

See ya soon!

A Brief New Year’s Vent, Please…

I have been a horrible blogger… dropped off the face of the Internet for a while now, but  I had what I felt were valid reasons — two stepkids (12 and 15, Goddess help me) who have been increasingly, erm, “challenging,” shall we say?

I vowed to start the new year off on a positive direction, seeing only the good in things, and it was working for a while… until someone rear-ended our CR-V last night. Keep in mind this is also the same CR-V that had an unfortunate encounter with a jaywalking 5-pointer on Interstate 40 at about 1:30am a month or so ago.  The body shop’s gonna luuuurve us. Okay, the positive?  No human was harmed in these collisions.

I understand that tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day so far for the winter — dropping down to about ten degrees.  The boy (15) has been asked SEVERAL times if the heavy-duty winter coat (that he refuses to wear because “it won’t fit in his locker at school”) still fits him.  Mumbles that it does each time, or at least I think that’s how the incoherent sounds translate.  So, tonight, when we do a trial run to see if he even knows how to put the damn thing on… behold… his arms are sticking out of the sleeves an extra two to three inches.

If I had a pair of Hello Kitty mittens, I’d make him wear them, just for spite. Oh, he’s gonna wear that thing, and it’s gonna fit in that locker like a charm…

I have lots of things I want to write about  — my trip today to a new (and willing to actually talk to me about menopause!) doctor, the shamanic journey I had done the other day, and a few things I’m hoping to accomplish this year.

But right now, I either need a really strong drink or a full scholarship to a bootcamp for fifteen-year-olds…far, far away.

Oh, the horror

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On Approaching Forty-Eight

Forty eight.

Age sixteen… for the third time.

The seventeenth anniversary of being 21.

 

Four dozen years, all packaged up in stretch denim,

Over-sized sweater, and warm fuzzy socks.

The day’s sensible shoes, taking rest in the corner.

At this point, comfort over fashion is key.

At least it is in her world.

 

Sitting at the keyboard,

Remembering her past,

Dreaming of her future.

Interrupted by the present…

Reality, asking if she’s going to do the laundry.

 

The spin cycle begins.

What have I accomplished?

Have I made the right decisions?

Will I ever be able to retire?

Should I throw in the towel?

Who the hell am I, and what do I want?

 

Stop.

Take a deep breath.

Remember what the chiropractor said.

And the counselors – all three of them.

Time to strengthen. Time to heal.

 

Forty-eight years.

Age is nothing but a number.

Time to start living your life.

Lots of questions to be answered,

So put on those stretchy pants and get to it.

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Ode to My 14-year-old Stepson

Hello, grade book, my old friend;
I’ve come to look at you again.

Because a vision softly creeping,
Made me think he might be reading.

But the vision that was planted in my brain…is now drained…

By the sound of skateboard.