Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shoulder to knees

Another funny - almost Jim pic.
Story backround. We were at a Star Trek convention and hanging out with friends. That is about it.
Jim is there, in the back right wearing a blue 'Thing' tee shirt and some khaki pants. You see him, next to the flowers. Hands in pocket and such. Probably talking to our friend Tim about characters found in Battlestar Galactica or about the upcoming Fantastic Four movie or the previous Batman flick. Or maybe just where to go to have a bite to eat.
The woman in the front, on the couch, who this picture is really about, is a friend of ours. I saw the picture and then zoomed in on that small section of Jim's body that you see. I smiled that I could recognize him from a small part.
Any part is better than none.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Thursday January 29th. This brings me to 20 months it's been since Jim died.

I was thinking of him today and was not thinking of the love and romance and sexual energy we had, but rather the friendship. .

I miss my friend.

I find I am missing the friend who watched out for me and shared things with me and compromised likes and wants and needs so that the friendship had a give and take to it. Sharing a look or a a thought. Or making that compromise happily of going to 'Spiderman 3' because he wants to and I was willing to go for him. Or for him to go watch 'that chick flick' with me.

I am not sure of the line between love and friendship. I know Jim and I had both. I can say "he was my best friend" forever but not really explain how we (or anyone else) just knew it was more than friendship.

Laughing with Jim while he interviewed me for the job. I remember thinking it would be so cool to have him as a boss because we were on the same wave length. It was cool. He was a good boss.

I started thinking this out because I cooked tonight. For the first time in a long time I actually planned and cooked a meal out. I took the time to get fresh food and cook it fresh - no microwaving. It wasn't much, but I made taco's and it was in the middle of a bite of the taco I realized that it was a food I hadn't cooked or eaten since Jim had died. I had the sour cream, the chips, the cheese, lettuce and tomato. The salsa, the meat, the hard and soft shells. It was a good fresh taco. And it was a Jim favorite. It was a comfort food for him.

I was watching tv and saw a part of Raymond episode. He and his wife are laying in bed and she says "I missed you friend". Very simple. It started a domino effect on me. All I could think of was "yes. yes. yes. I miss my friend. My Friend." I cried for a bit, got myself together and came to think about how much Jim was a friend to me. That and more, but always that.

Yes, I miss my friend.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I was tossed back into a memory. A happy one. Last night the cinema club that Jim and I belong to had their annual dinner. Around the tables were photos of various events.
Many were ones that I had taken myself, but this one I am posting was a group club photo and when I picked it up, I realized I had not seen it before. That it in it was Jim and it was a new Jim pic to me. I have found that any time I find photos of Jim that I haven't seen before it is a treasure. This was not really anything special, except to me. But I wanted to share it.
Halloween 2004.
And of course, that is him in the front on the right side with the flannel shirt and the grin. I am standing behind him with my grin and a hold on my man. Jim and his flannel shirts. When he wasn't in work/dress clothes, he was then in flannel or hawaiian or a tee shirt with a superhero on it. I still have some of each of them and can't seem to let them go yet. But, what we are seeing there is also a Jim at a peak point, he was feeling good, work was going well and he had turned 50 just a few days earlier. He was a happy guy and I think it shows a little in this pic.
Until I wrote that, I hadn't realized that was what I was thinking when I looked at the picture, but it is very true. I am glad the picture was there last night to remind me of that slice of time.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tune out

Nothing specific happened today to make me write these next thoughts out, but they have been burping just under my conciousness, so it is time for them to come forth.

I doubt I am the only one, but it seems that almost everything I hear on the radio or in conversation with someone, or on tv is related to death. Death of a loved one, how to prepare for death, how someones relative was layed out, sometimes just words in a song. Every which way I turn there is something else that is hitting that nerve of pain that is still a little too close to the surface.

I was in the car with a friend who told me about how her grandfather and grandmothers funerals went and how she was a pallbearer and we were going to the grocery and I didn't know how to tell her I really didn't want to hear this. I know it isn't right to not want to hear it all, but it seems I am super sensitive and I don't know if that makes sense. To still be, I guess.

I have dealt with this by just keeping it to myself. When I am at a party and people start talking about loved ones that have died and such, I will just leave the room. I hear a song on the radio and it hits that nerve and I turn it off. The worst is when I watch tv and there is the commercial for some life insurance and they guy dies on the screen and then they go to the funeral where they are saying 'if only he had better life insurance'. Then there is the real tough one, the one where the woman is in the car thinking what to do that day and suddenly the screen goes black. She was killed in a car crash. It has gotten so I know in the first 2 seconds what the commercial is and can grab the remote and change the channel.

I feel I want to scream at the tv or radio to just shut up already. Taking that deep breath and releasing it slowly helps. I have talked to some other widows and knowing that others are feeling this too, helps. The part that gets me is it is not always when death or grieving or sadness is mentioned, but also on the tv when there is a couple in love. Holding hands. Kissing and looking into each others eyes....the way I did with Jim. That makes it all hurt too. To know what we had.

I don't really want to be reminded of Jim's death. I don't really need to be reminded. I remember it everyday. Just as I remember our love. It's the extra prick of a memory that makes things ache again. I wish I could wrap myself in bubblewrap as a buffer from the outside. I know I can't, and I guess I don't really want to, but every once in awhile I would like to have a few hours of stimulation from the media that doesn't have death in it.

Oh, I know my therapist would have a field day with this post, and I know there really is no way to avoid any of this in our society. I just have to keep on moving forward and trying to block it out till it doesn't hurt as much. I don't want to make myself watch Spongebob Squarepants instead of Bones, but I would like to watch a spat of commercials without them talking about wrongeful death or life insurance.

Just a sort of whiney post that really has no purpose other than to let me whine. As I write I wonder if I am repeating myself from an earlier post. If so, sorry.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Obama

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and travelled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the spectre of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defence, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honour them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have travelled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.

Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catch up

Holy smokes. I blew the resolution to blog more out of the water. In my defense, work has been very busy the last week. More than usual. We have a new employee and because of her needs as a manager they moved me from my office into an office up the hallway. It is a bigger room which is nice, but it is lonlier because everyone is down at the other end.

So, I have been coming home and crashing.

I also started a memory post a couple days ago that may take awhile to finish. I wrote down the years Jim and I were married and then what I could remember happening in those years. So far I am only a few years into our marriage and it is interesting to see what things pop out of my head. Trivial and important moments. I guess it's like a timeline for the 17 years and I'm putting it together year by year. I am not sure if I will ever post this, but writing it is fun.

The weekend will be a four day holiday and I am not sure what I will do with those four days. I am close to DC but I am definately not going there. It will be crazy and crowded and cold. I am excited about the event, but not interested in participating.

More to come later!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mismatched Socks

I meant to be better this year about posting, but time has been eaten up with things to do. Of course one of those things preventing the posting is cuddling on the couch with the dogs after dinner. And then falling asleep on the couch. And then waking to my own snoring and the dogs shuffling around. I am becoming my Mom. She would do that, instead of with dogs, it would be us kids.
I have tried to do more straightening and be more motivated in keeping the house clean, but it is an uphill battle. It sounds odd but I am down to the last two loads of dirty laundry to do. It is the laundry I don't wear and need to pack away for the winter. They will be done and packed away on Saturday.
I did laundry Monday night and sat sorting socks. I am always amazed at how many socks don't come back. I match and roll the ends up and I have these poor left over guys. I save them for the weekend and am not adverse to wearing mismatched socks. Not just throw them in a drawer and forgotten.
Oh. Analogy. Are we widows like the socks whose mate has disappeared? Our soulmates, the other half of us, gone. Lost forever. Now we are forgotten and wondering what to do, how to survive and when we will be useful again. Sometimes the socks can be matched up with others and that is good, sometimes just tossed away, or bundled up and sent to thrift store. Sounds silly, but it just popped into my head.
My solution to the missing sock of the pair is to buy several of the same color and style. I guess I should have cloned a few of Jim so I would have one in reserve. Ah, but then they don't always seem to fit the same as the original pair/couple, so maybe the cloning wouldn't work. Michael Keaton in Multiplicity comes to mind.
Like in the movie, imagine four Jim's. Of course, the original, yes, we needed that one around to keep us on track. The first clone is the Hardworking in his field one, yep, I can see that coming from Jim. He had that ability to be able to focus on accomplished the tasks given and the challenge that came with that. Second in the movie was the Good Housekeeping one, yep, I can see that too from Jim. Jim was great at putting on a movie or some music and cleaning or doing dishes or ironing. He grumbleed but once he got into it he was a sight to see. Last in the movie was the Silly one, yep, definately a Jim personality. Jim loved to make people laugh and he had his own special way of doing it. And if you haven't seen the movie, rent or netflix it today. It will make you laugh! Good old fashioned family comedy.
So, the clones were all somewhat mismatched but all came from the same source. Sort of like all my mismatched but still the same color/style socks. My stream of consciousness writing is just zooming around today. Oh boy. I think I am done now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hotel Rooms

Travels thru the years.

The last hotel room we stayed in together was in Gettysburg. We went up there while Jim was studying to get his USPS appointment. It was a get away from the house sort of weekend. A couple hours from the house and a nice country drive. The memory came back today as a friend and I drove into PA.

That trip to Gettysburg was a spur of the moment one. Jim needed some quiet time to study. I went out in the morning and gave him time to concentrate - I went shopping at the outlets that were near by. Whee. Later on we went to dinner and ended up in the hotel pool, swimming at 10pm. It was a little wild and crazy, but that was the point. To be able to cut loose a bit. It was just for two nights and it was a nice break.

Trips with Jim were always fun. There was a relaxed feeling as we travelled. We didn't really care where we were going, as long as we were together. It had been like that throughout our marriage.

Our first hotel room that we stayed in together was in Ocean City on our honeymoon. The honeymoon destination was a surprise - I had no idea where we were going for the honeymoon, but I trusted Jim to make it someplace special. And he did.

We stayed a week at the Carousel hotel and I can still remember waking up and thinking how wonderful the day was. To be there with my husband. Someone that loved me so much that he wanted me to be his wife. What a wonderous thought.

That morning I fed seagulls from our balcony in my silk robe and nothing underneath. To feel the sun on my face and see the deep pink and rose colors from the morning sun breaking over the water. It was a serene moment.

Jim and I relaxed and watched tv. Batman and robin and land of the giants and some other shows from the 60's were on in the mornings. We both enjoyed them and it was cool to be with someone that was on that same brain line as you. It was a connection that was strong through all of our years.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year! It's been 2009 for almost three hours and things are going well so far!