This Past Week

This past week, I took a “quasi-vacation”. I worked five and a half hours or so and left at noon each day.  The afternoons off were used to take care of some trivial things.  I spent time reorganizing the kitchen cabinets.  I moved some furniture around.  I did some reading and some napping. Why did I take that kind of time off?  I am saving my hours for a trip to Maui.  And, I don’t seem to have the time or energy to manage some things during the evenings and on the weekends.  I accomplished much of what I wanted to achieve.

The weekend found him bow hunting Saturday morning. I don’t bow hunt, yet.  So, I went to visit with my aunt and uncle.  It was good to see them for a short visit.

I had planned to see my nieces. Then, decided it would be too much for them to rearrange plans to meet up with me for an hour.  However, it worked out that I did get to see two of them.  The baby girl gave up some sugars for me.  It was a brief moment.  But, I am glad I got to have it.

I had left my aunt’s and headed for Humble enroute to see my nieces. Shopping on Saturday in Humble is not the kind of thing this old country girl should try to do.  I pulled into the parking lot of the craft store and could not believe the number of cars.  I went into the store and found a couple of on sale items that were still over priced in my opinion.  I looked back over at the lines to the registers and thought about the baby girl I was on the way to see.  Sorry, craft store.  Ladybug moments are far more important!

I skipped the purchase. I am glad I did.  My local dollar store had a few cute items I had seen previously.  Checked back today and got them.  A few more Hallowe’en decorations are out.  I always wanted to do a big scene in the front yard.  Pumpkins, lights, hay bales, mums, scarecrows, black cats, bats and owls.  Like something from the pages of Martha Stewart.  I live at the end of a dead end street with no traffic, no trick or treaters. Only him and myself to see and enjoy.  I seriously doubt he would take much notice.  I will not attempt to do that this year.

This past week I made a lot of choices. What to keep, what to be rid of.  What to spend time doing, what to spend money acquiring.  Who to make time for.  I think I did a pretty fair job of choosing wisely.

So, I will enjoy my simple table decorations and laugh at the cat surrounded by eight giant goldfish. And remember what a certain baby girl feels like snuggled in my arms.  And know in my heart that he appreciates my not going overboard with decorations this year.  And speculate on what my coming week might bring.  More orchids, no doubt.

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Diversion

I have a simple diversion tactic. Keep pushing stuff around in the house.  Makes me feel like I have done something.  All I have done is move junk from one place to another.  Purpose?  Diversion.  For twenty years, I have done this.  If I am pretending like I am getting organized and getting rid of clutter, I don’t have to think about other things.  Things like how much I miss my children.  How much I miss my parents and my grandparents. How much I miss other relatives either gone from this world or living too far distant.  How little I seem to have to do other than go to my 9 to 5 and do a little housework.  Yes.  I need to read last week’s post. But……….

I am at a loss as to what to do with myself right now. My mind rushes along, but my body can’t keep up.  My thought processes are not focused.  I have found myself working through another cycle of grief.  It is different from cycles in the past.  It is more than true about each person having to grieve in their own way and time.  I never expected to deal with this so many years later.  I am just sad about all of it all over again.  Yes. There have been some private issues surfacing that may have triggered this.  First one thing then another.  Then, something else.

But, you know what? I can get through this.  I will feel better soon.  He will help me.  I am letting go of some material things and some irrelevant ideas.  I am letting go of things that are holding me back.  What am I being held back from?  My cousin knows.  She told me what I should do.  I am about ready to get started.

Meanwhile, a certain little girl and her baby sister occupy my happy thoughts and bring me great hope. I found the thing to make her giggle.  My Hallowe’en decoration:

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The fish don’t seem to mind!  The cat looks surprised!

Adventure

I had a lovely opportunity to chat with one of my favorite people in the world.  My cousin is a few years younger than me.  But, he and I are close enough to have had some adventures when we were children.  Distant and hazy memories of times at our grandparents big house here in East Texas.  Blurred flashes of moments in time at his parents big Rock Church in the cedar brakes on the Paluxy River.  Our older cousin sat with us a moment as well sharing a glimpse back.  The event was to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday.  She is sister to my father who passed away several years ago.

Driving home from the short afternoon affair held in a community event center, I wondered what was missing in these days.

Adventure.  So much of my time with my family and friends is spent simply gathering for a short meal or brief gathering.  Once upon a time, our families gathered in smaller or larger number to fish, hunt, camp, hike, swim.  Play.  Work.  Celebrate.

I think that is why my 48th birthday last year was so wonderful.  The children, he and I had adventures on the river and at the deer camp.  The trip to Oahu to visit with my son was special because it was an adventure with him.  The trips I take with my daughter to the beach are special because they are adventures with her.  The time I spend with him at the lease or on the boat are special because I never know what might happen next.  Always there are adventures with him.

All adventures don’t have to encompass a long trip or exotic location.  Those kind are wonderful, of course.  But, my thoughts and dreams tend to flow toward any kind of diversion. Whether croquet and horseshoes in the backyard; coon hunting in the woods after dark; floating in the cold clear river waters; sitting around a campfire reflecting on just which way that deer came out and turned before the shot was taken;  sitting silent and still for 24 minutes waiting for does to move away from the food plot unalarmed two months before the season starts;  watching all types of crazy moves on tractors and ATVs; riding along flooded roads and through wildfire smoke filled trails just to see and know;  checking hog traps after dark; watching him chasing hogs through the woods or across the cow pasture shooting at them; being married to him.

Life with him is an adventure.  It takes much of my energy and attention.  I love all of it.  Even when the fish don’t bite my hook and the deer wind me and the red bugs cover me and the wolf spiders try to murder me and the mosquitos bleed me dry.

I would like more adventures with my cousins.  But, this world has changed.  We have changed.  Things have changed.  I must make a new way.  Figure out a new plan.  Try a new adventure.  I will keep following my husband to the ends of the earth or the end of the dirt road.  But, I want to make time for some old time adventure buddies, too.  I miss them.  The kids we were.  The simple things cousins did.  Time together.  Period.  Time together.

Closer to now.  My adventure partners as they looked a little over twenty years ago:

 

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Magical days of childhood, who are these grown-ups I am talking to?  The names are the same.  The faces are oddly familiar.  But, who are they?  I loved the children they were so dearly.  I wish my memory was not so weak.  I would love to recall like it was yesterday, what we said, where we went, how it finished up in the evening.  I will, though, be content with my flashes of sight.  Like old grainy photos of the forgotten past, my mind flashes the sight of our past times on the screen of memory.  Adventures.

 

Dilemmas

The weekend is past again.  As usual, I had opportunity to see friends and go with him adventuring.  I even had a full day to lie on the porch with occasional thunder rumbling in the distance.  One of my favorite things to do.  I took time to read for pleasure.  Fiction.  I haven’t allowed myself to do that much over the past twenty years or longer.

I had a brief conversation with an acquaintance about allowing one’s self to do things.  She has retired from a long career.  Children long grown and gone.  She said it took her months to get to a point where she felt it was okay to work on projects held dear but long undone.  We were not in a situation to have a real discussion about the topic.  I certainly can identify with the feeling.

I am not retired.  Working full time and keeping up with his lifestyle takes a lot of time and energy.  Though I rested yesterday, I am tired this evening.  I have a general idea of what I should change to feel better.  I know some very specific things I should change to feel better.   But, there is a big difference between knowing what could be done and actually doing it.

I am trying to get my brain to work out a plan.  A plan and a schedule and the corresponding data to eat the right way, drink the right amount of the right things, get the best type of physical activity, follow proper sleep hygiene and so on.  The first thing is to deal with the constant pain and to get the right foods in my lunch kit.  Then, by drinking enough water and less coffee I may be able to get off my duff and get the exercises done to increase my strength and energy.

Adding to the dilemma is the coming autumn.  Why does that cause a dilemma?  The holidays will be upon me too quickly.  The leaves will be falling and I am anxious to keep up with the raking.  The plants will need to come into the house.  And my out of kilter sense of things will tell me, the trees are losing their leaves so I need to lose the clutter.  For me clearing and cleaning needs to be done in the fall.  Before the brightness of holiday lights and the brilliance of elegant glittery ornaments, the ravages of summer heat must be swept out.  Living in the subtropics, the flora and fauna overrun everything in the heat and humidity.

Additionally, I tend to go through waves of collecting and accumulating then purging and tossing.  Inevitably the outgoing wave happens in the time of shedding summer.  (I have a different mood for spring when traditional cleaning happens.  Then, I can’t get enough flowers and sunshine.  Forget cleaning.  The dirt needs turning over in the garden.)   Fall is upon the doorstep now.  On the stage in my mind, I see the props and costumes needing to go.  No longer appealing or needed, things must go to make way for other things.  Pumpkin tea set, then cornucopia baskets, then the traditional antlered floral monstrosity he loves to see on the dining table.

Summer costumes pulled from the closet must be evaluated.  Do I really want to see them next summer?  Do they go into the giveaway bag or into the storage bag?   Winter costumes pulled from the storage bags must be evaluated.  Do I really want to don them for another winter?  Do they go into the closet or into the giveaway bag?

Trivial things in a simple country house.  The life I have created for myself is indeed simple.  The drama in my life stays at work.  Enough intensity and danger there.  When that red gate closes behind my car coming in the drive, I want simple trivial things.  I want to have dilemmas that I can go to sleep on and forget about in the morning light.  I want to have dilemmas such as trying to get the goldfish still long enough for some good photos.  I want to have dilemmas such as wondering what to take to lunch tomorrow.

I have had the dilemma of wondering if I would ever shed tears again.  I had cried them all out losing Mother.  Cancer can be a long drawn out affair.  Knowing the end was coming.  Not knowing when or what it would be like when it happened.  Six years of nearly constant chemo after 2 years of nearly constant radiation.  Daddy needing hospitalization for bipolar manic depression several times through those years.  Raising two children along with it.   All our parents and grandparents have passed as well as other dear family members and friends.  The illnesses and the passing have been mourned.  But, the living our lives without them will never pass.  The dilemma of needing to hold on to hope will never pass.

That is perhaps why the little ones are so terribly important to us.  They are hope.  They are proof of our faith that the tragic dilemmas can be weathered.  They are the dream.  Ultimately, my desire to be filled with enthusiastic energy and to accomplish the tasks here at home are about them.  A place to celebrate. Full of love and magic and hope and laughter and mystery and marvel.

They are the reason I deal with the fish tank.  Maybe they will enjoy the fish.  They are the reason I don’t have certain things in my yard.  Southeast Texas has everything poisonous and venomous and stinging and biting.  I do not want structures that encourage their habitation here.  They are the reason the carpet must be removed from the porch and the floor redone.  The dishes must be sorted and realigned to make room for things children like and can use safely.  The rooms must be arranged for safety and space to play.  The yard must be diligently kept to deter fire ants and stickers.

The list goes on.  The dreams go on.  A new stage must be set.  A stage for hope and laughter.  A stage for silliness and play.  A stage for games and parties.  A stage for magic and love.

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Eight giant goldfish in a huge fish tank illuminate our living room.  Already I am wondering how to decorate them for Halloween……………they are orange…………maybe some black cat silhouettes on the front of the tank to terrorize them????   Bwahaha!   I know one little girl who might laugh at that!  Dilemmas, dilemmas……….how to set that magical stage moment……………

 

 

Enough Love

I was sitting on the porch holding my great niece.  She is six months old and pure joy.  She is one of the happiest babies I have ever met.  She is doing this delightful thing of clapping the bottoms of her feet together when she lays on her back playing and laughing.  While I was holding her, I was suddenly overcome with the notion that I have to love her and her sister enough to make up for the ones missing.  They should have my mother and father still here.  There are other family members whose health and other factors reduce the time and attention available to spend with them.  I want them to feel the love I felt from my grandparents and my parents. A love that flows through time and space to them.  So much love and delight from generation to generation.

I have to talk about him for a moment.  He cooked us the best ribs and chicken for dinner today.  He is so wonderful to take time to cook something special.  Everything he cooks turns out perfect every time.  I fixed some green beans with browned butter and almonds as well as herbed corn on the cob.  I had picked up some Hawaiian rolls to go along.  For a light dessert, we had pineapple angel food cake. .  My niece and her family were here.  My angel daughter was here.  We visited and cooked and ate and played with the girls.   I don’t think my niece and her honey ate any cake.  They had to get loaded and on the road to get home.

The porch is quiet now.  I am savoring the memories freshly made.  I sting in my eyes, though.  Missing my son and his bride.  They would have been here today, too, had they been in Texas.

On Friday, he and I went to Lockhart.  On the way, we stopped to see my cousin and her husband.  She is one of my anchors.  She remembers so much of the old ways and the ancestors from years past.   She is actually my mother’s first cousin and so of that generation.  Being with her always helps me feel better about life.

We went on to our destination and had time to visit with friends from Oregon.  My young friend is a delight to be around.  Her father is a good friend to us.  She keeps telling me she wants to come to Texas to go to college.  I have reassured her father I will keep up with her.  She is a senior in high school and Oregon is a long way from her Daddy, the rest of her family, and her friends.  The reality may be less appealing than the dream for her.  I am here for her if she needs me.  I remember her coming to the kitchen at the sale barn maybe 3 years old in her cowboy boots.  Enough love for her, too.

He raises longhorns.  I am on the paperwork, too.  But, he does the real business.  Sometimes I help by standing in the way to hopefully keep a cow going the right direction.  Maybe open or close a gate or pick up feed at the feed store.  Not much real help.  But, I love the cows.  We brought home a very nice cow to add to our herd.  We got her at the Butler Sale in Lockhart.  She was bred and branded by the previously mentioned cousins.  Longhorns are more than cattle to me.  They are living history.  They are part of my history.  As a Texan and an American, I understand the difference they made in making our nation what it has become.  Enough love for him to help out.  Enough love for history to appreciate what we have.

I have a cousin struggling with illness and her mother doing all she can to help her.  I have a friend dealing with a very ill mother and personal struggles as well.  I have another friend recently dealt a hard blow in her life trying to get her feet under her and regroup.  I don’t know what to do sometimes except go sit with them, call or text them, pray with and for them.  Enough love for them.

The wonderful thing about love is that there is always enough.  Loves brings love.  Genuine love.  The kind of love that needs nothing in return.  Unconditional.  The love needed comes from His Love.  He is Love.  God is Love.  Letting go and letting Him use me to love others.  That is what I want.  That is what He wants for me, too.  He wrote it clearly in His Book.  Enough love.  Always enough.

Labor Day.  Summer’s End.  A final fling.  Fall’s Beginning.  Another season.  Always turning and returning seasons.  As life has its seasons, love has its seasons. The labor of love is no real labor.  Enough love from Him, for Him, from him, for him.  Enough love from the ancestors to the descendants.  This is my season for loving.  The grandparents’ season has passed.  The parents’ season has passed.  This is my season.  My season to do the labor of love.  I pray I do it as well as they did.   Enough love to sustain through the seasons to come.  Enough love.

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