Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December descends

I took a break in November. It was actually interesting because I had things happen that I wanted to blog about but then ran into timing problems. Like NO TIME.

November started and ended as a pretty emotional month. Jim and I would have celebrated our 21st year wedding anniversary on November 4th. Instead I stayed home from work and had a day of total nothingness. No chores, errands, interaction with anyone.

On the 5th my brother came and spent the weekend. He worked on my bathroom which was in bad need of repair and updating. We had a good time interacting with each other and that was needed. He got the bathroom finished to the basics - new floor, new pedestal sink, medicine cabinet gone, walls painted and then left it for me to decorate. Now that is where the fun came in. Out with the old shower curtains, out with the old towels, out with the old toothbrush and toilet holder, out with the old wall cabinet. I got new everything and bed bath and beyond loves me! It looks very fresh and just what I needed.

One thing I learned while my brother was here was how to use the cordless drill/screwdriver. I didn't know that to put a screw in, you have to drill a hole first....I always wondered why it didn't work right for me. I felt very empowered after putting together the new cabinet and attaching it to the wall correctly. The cabinet took two nights (3 hours each) to actually build - and lots of cussing and dropping things and having things not fit right and putting them on backwards and such. But I got it done. All by myself!!!

Moving on to Thanksgiving. That was an interesting weekend. I had dinner at a friends and it was great. But all the neighbors were away and 3 of them asked me to watch their dogs and cats. It was fun bopping around to the houses and it broke up my day. I hadn't planned any trips or such. I just wanted to work in the house.

So novemeber is done. December descends upon us. I have holiday cards and cookies to bake and am going to see my brother at the end of the month.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


This may seem odd, but I am happy this morning because I may have found a home for two mandolins and a guitar that were my father in laws.

They have been in our basement forever wrapped in a couple of plastic bags. Jim kept them after finding them when going thru stuff after his mom died. They were his dad's and we didn't want to just toss them and no one else wanted them, so we kept them, intending someday to getting them cleaned up. So, after Jim died, my brothers told me to trash them. I couldn't do that and they have been in the basement rafters for years.

Well a neighbor moved in down the street and he plays in a band called The Bridge, which plays bluegrass and folk music. He was talking about his restoring one of his guitars and I thought of the instruments in the basement. I brought them up and he is going to look into restoring them and what needs to be done. If they can be fixed at all. it was nice to be able to give them to someone that can appreciate them. I mean, his face got all lit up when he saw them and he immediately started trying to tune them and strum them and such.

It was just a nice moment to see something that I have little emotional attachment to (I never met Jim's dad, he died long before I came along) could give someone a smile. I had kept them because I knew they shouldn't just be tossed in the trash and that they would find a home eventually. I will be interested to see what he can do with them.

Friday, October 8, 2010

TV and Books

Watching TV was also a relaxing way to end the day. Jim and I both were TV addicts and could watch that little box for hours. We would curl up on the couch and end up with a dog on either side of us and watch a movie or a few tv shows we recorded when we couldn't watch them live. Gosh I love my TiVo's.

Being that we met in a movie rental store this is not surprising. Blockbuster Video. Remember vhs tapes guys? You know, you would go to buy one and they were 89.99 or maybe on sale for 69.99 for just one movie. Oh those were the days. Now they are 14.99 at Wal-Mart or you can just stream them direct from Netflix.

We were able to respect each others tastes and there were some things we loved to watch together and some shows that we went into seperate rooms to watch. I think I have told the Columbo story in an earlier blog, but a recap - we were married about 3 years and had moved into our first townhouse. I loved to watch Columbo (dating back to when I watched it with my mom when it was on the mystery movie night in the 70,s) and it was on one afternoon. Jim was watching something downstairs so I turned it on and lay out on the bed. About a half hour later I went downstairs to get a snack and there it is on the downstairs tv. Jim and Gryphon (our first Dal) were on the couch. We loved the fact that neither one of us knew the other was a Columbo fan and we went on to learn more about each others tastes.

I do love older classics - film noir and comedies from the 40's and horror movies from the 50's, so we were well suited in that manner.

One thing I have learned is that since Jim died I am binging a lot more on tv shows. Some of this is also thanks to Netflix and some because of the excess time and need to escape the bleh of the home. I am watching tv shows/series that people have been telling me for a few years to watch. Friday Night Lights is my new favorite, Robin Hood -the UK version, The Office and some others. I love watching these without commercials and with awesome picture quality.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't given up my first true love - books. I have taken it up a notch and moved into the 21st century. I bought a Kindle from Amazon. I am enjoying the ease of this and am searching out sites for free ebooks. I went shopping for ebooks on Amazon and felt like I was back in the video store where the movies were 89.99. One ebook for 9.99? no thanks. I wish there was a way to get used ebooks. I mean, I love books, but I rarely pay full price with all the used books stores and things like paperbackswap where they are free. I hope the ebook market goes down sometime soon.

One change that I have made, or maybe a habit I went back to, was to have no tv in the bedroom. I read to put myself to sleep. I have done that since I was a kid and sneaking under the covers with the flashlight to read "My side of the Mountain" or "The Black Stallion". Those are treasures I still have on my shelf.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I am sleeping on Jim's side of the bed now. Or sometimes almost horizontally across the bed.

My side has reached a point where my back aches when I wake up. After a couple weeks of this I realized it must mean it is time to turn the mattress. We used to do this about once a year. Now it has been at least 3 years or maybe 4.

I tried doing this last week but was not able to barely move the mattress let alone lift and turn it. Ugh. And then I sat down and started getting emotional. Not a full crying jag, but one of those where I wonder when does it end. When do I learn how to do the stuff that other singles have done for years. Is it because I did have someone else to help me and learned to depend on them to help me that I feel lost.

It was a pity party, I know, but it brought out some thoughts I hadn't touched in awhile. Like how to get my life more in order. I keep trying and sometimes feel like I have succeeded but then get that set back that throws it all off.

Probably something that everyone goes thru though. Maybe it was just more intense because my back hurt.

In a conversation I had with another widow yesterday, we lamented about missing our husband's and slogging thru all the things life throws at us. She said "It's hard to handle the bills, the job, the decisions after 23 years of talking to and arguing with someone else about what we should do. I end up arguing with myself and I never win that fight."

I am pleased because I have made progress, I have made changes and I have dealt with a shitload of stuff. It's just little stuff that comes along like the mattress or changing a light bulb in a ceiling fan that hits me. But this is life and I am just venting here. Sometimes to stay positive you have to do that once in awhile.

On the plus side, so this post is not all whining. My friends came and helped me clean up the laundry/tool room. It looks nice now. I was able to put a shelf up in the kitchen that freed up a lot of counter space. I have this new rule - if you eat off of it, it gets washed as it is placed in the sink. This is an important rule because I am notorious for letting dishes pile up. It has been in effect for 6 days now and is still working. Hoorah!

Now I need to go clean up and put away the laundry in the bedroom so I can get some help to move the mattress.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Singing in the Rain

It has been raining here for a couple days. I took the dogs out for a walk last night around 10 pm and I put on my new rain boots, my black trench coat, my fedora and grabbed an umbrella.

About halfway to the park I realized the dogs were fine on their own (they were tied to each other on a looong leash) and I let them go. They trotted on over to the park which is a half a block away from my house. And I twirled my umbrella sang a little Gene Kelly and splashed in the puddles!

Later, after we were all settled and asleep a bit, I woke from a dream where I was doing the same thing but looked up at the sky to see lightening flashing. I noticed (in the dream) that the lightening was exactly the same pattern over and over. It was odd that I was dreaming about the same thing I had just done that night.

I love my dreams. I love that I remember them for the most part. I had one dream a few years ago that was me but I looked different, had a different life but I know it was really me, experiencing the events, and in the end I found my true love as I did in this life. It was great and I wrote it down.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hot tub dreams

I wish I had a hot tub in the basement. Not just a hot tub but a spa like room to go to and relax. No tv. No phone. Just some nice piped in music and my kindle to read some silly romantic novel. It would be all white and there would be a super thick bathrobe and some towel boys to rub me down at the end....okay, well even just a nice hot tub would be fun.

It was a good weekend for getting stuff done. Saturday friends came to help me straignten the back laundry room/tool storage area. My one friend is an organizing fiend and loves to do this kind of thing so I let her go nuts. We had a scrumptious steak house dinner afterwards and today I was just a total bag of do nothingness.

Every once in awhile I need one of those days. To have the spa room in the basement would make it easier as a get away. I wonder if I could make it a secret room. Maybe put a wall up and then paint that with some old boxes, tools, cobwebs, dust and assorted stuff you find in a basement and that would keep others from bothering me.

I am going to start working on this.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The last two weeks

The last two weeks have been crazy. No "down" time since the 6th. Every night has been a meeting of some kind. Every day has had some drama in it.

Locked myself out of my house.

Two days in a row.

I was able to get in with help from a neighbor who crawled thru my window and the second time by calling the woman that walks my dogs and getting my key.

I left to go to work without taking my morning medicine.

Two days (well, not in a row but in this week).

I volunteered at our Community Health Fair, took Tigger to the vet, got Zoey transported to the house, helped at the pot luck dinner for the neighborhood group, had a staff meeting at work, took Zoey to the vet, had a birthday dinner and then finally, finally was able to just crash at home for an evening.

That was a lot crammed into 2 weeks and I guess it makes up for all those days of Summer when it was too hot to do anything!

I had intended to blog every other day, but man, by the time I had a chance to stop and breathe, I was too darn tired to blog.

Hopefully things will slow down a bit.

Zoey pics

From this morning, 9.24.2010

Zoey update

The roll I was on for Blogging in August didn't last into September. Why? well one word can explain it.


She is here and doing well but it has been a non-stop ride of things to do, people to meet and places to go with her.

Zoey and Tigger have settled into a nice style of living. Sort of like dorm mates or house mates. They each have their own sleeping space and they have their shared space and they have their spot on the couch with me, so we are all happy. I was not worried too much because Tigger had done this before - foster dogs in the house - but she hadn't done it in awhile and she hadn't done it without Mercury to back her up. But it is all working out.

Happily, Zoey is NOT pregnant. Or, at least, not pregnant enough to stop her from getting spayed. That will be happening next week. YAY!!! One bullet dodged.

Monday, September 6, 2010


Trying not to get too excited.

Trying not to go out and go crazy buying stuff.

Trying not to think to hard whether this was the right or wrong thing to do.

On Saturday night somewhere around midnight or maybe one a.m. I was cruising Facebook and saw this picture.

A Dalmatian in a kill shelter in NC. She is young, but not sure how young or old. She was to be put to sleep on wednesday. She needed help. A friend posted this and I took one look, debated with myself for a moment and then send him a note saying "I'll take her as a foster". She didn't even have a name. Just F5804. I told my friend her new name is Zoey.

Since then we have contacted a Dalmatian Dog Rescue group down there and they are getting her out on tuesday to go to the vets. She will stay there for check-up and shots and testing for various things like heartworm and such.

She will then be transported via friends from NC up here to me.

Jim and I did this sort of thing for over five years when we lived in the Boston area. I loved it and he always seemed ready for anything I threw at him. Once, driving home from here to Boston I called to tell him of a pick up. A Dal in a shelter in NJ (just off 95). He picked her up, brought her home and then told me that she sat almost on his lap the whole time she was so excited to be out of the shelter and around a human (or so he said).

My nervousness is that I am not sure how Tigger will take it and there is nthing really known about the dog and how she will react to another dog or if she is even housebroken or trained in anyway. I am thinking Tigger will be okay, she will want to be Queen Bee, but I also think she is lonely after losing Mercury and Figaro.

Updates will follow as I learn more!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September, oh Yes

September is here!

Yes. September is a fun month. The start of school, a few birthdays (mine included), the beginning of touches of fall and a nip in the air.

The pic is one taken from the front porch of our house in Randolph about 10 years ago. I loved sitting on that porch and watch the sun go down. Twilight hour was always a wonderful time.

A long day of work or fun was over, the night was settling in and there was almost like a changing of the guard. Certain sounds faded away and others came out.

This is sort of what the first few weeks of fall is. A changing of the guard from summer to winter. An easing into the cool nights, warmer clothes and falling leaves. One day would be a remembrance of the heat and the next could be a look forward to the cold to come. There is no way to know what Fall will do with the temperatures. A night worthy of a trip to the Drive In and the next day a blazing hot afternoon designed for a barbecue and pool party.

Somewhere the end of September will show us the settling in of Fall and the colors explode and the nights drop in temperature so there is no question about no more AC but just a wonder when to the heat on for the first time.

Yep, September.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Almost heaven

Monday morning of a mini vacation. I took Friday, Monday and Tuesday off of work and spent the weekend enjoying that time with some friends. Today is run around and do errands and such kind of day. However, it hasn't started yet. I have been very relaxed and not moving this morning. But that's okay, that's what a vacation is about...to relax a bit.

On Saturday the three of us drove down and along Skyline drive. It was beautiful. I loved seeing for miles and miles and miles across the Shenandoah Valley and across acres of beautiful trees and more mountains. The drive thru the National Park was spaced with "overlooks" where you could pull off and pull out the binoculars to take a look.

We stopped atone of the overlooks and it was filled with Butterflies. There was one guy sitting on the edge of the curb and I lowered my finger down and he stepped on it. Sort of like when you offer your finger to a bird. Anyway, I raised up very slowly and my friend took this pic. I hope you see the feeling of wonder at holding something so beautiful in my face. I tossed my hand up and he flew away. That feeling was with me for most of the trip. To feel the cool air on my face as we drove about 30 mph, to be so high up that there were clouds below us and to share this with friends was really nice. A good day was had by all.

Throughout the day John Denvers song "Almost Heaven West Virgina" kept playing through my head. Skyline drive is technically not in WVA, but we travelled through to get there and it just seemed a very appropriate song for the feeling of the day. I had wanted a day out of and away from the city.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Early Morning

The 29th rolls around again.

I was visiting a friend this weekend. She knew Jim and the three of us often hung out together, had dinner, went to movies, helped each other move, and such. She has been a supportative friend in these past years.

This morning I woke up and somehow in a early morning, not really awake haze started talking to her about Jim. We had watched 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. It is a great romantic comedy but there was a couple scenes that really hit me hard and had me missing my Jimbo. The tender kissing and the love that you can see that Adam's character is giving Drew's character. It was what I felt when Jim gazed at me in a special moment.

I think the movie is what had me talking about Jim, and now, to be honest I can't remember what I said. But it was just an early morning moment.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I never thought about it much, but sort of always assumed back in the pre widow days, that those that have gone through the loss would know what they were doing and how to handle it.


I guess, you would think after experiencing the death of my husband…I would be one of those people who knew what to say when someone else was going through something similar. That I would have some magical words of comfort. That I wouldn’t be as stupid as some of the people I have encountered asking those questions we widows or those that have lost someone dear always hate to hear.

Yup. You would think.

But because of the experience I’ve been through, it makes me more self-conscious than ever that I’m going to say the wrong thing. If there’s one thing I know by now it’s that what one person finds comforting will make another person want to smack you. So, most of the time, I just try and keep quiet and let them talk. I am not very good at that. But I try.

About a month ago a neighbor down the block lost her son. It was a very sudden death and very violent. Most of us on the block knew him but hadn't known that he was "in with that crowd". He was around my age. It was shocking, to say the least. And not knowning what to say to his Mom. She had been friends with my Mother in Law but I didn't know her well. A woman I knew from nods on the street and the annual block party. I watched people go up to her and say "it's good he went fast" or "the pain will pass" and other stuff. It brought back memories of my own.

I went up to give her a hug and told her that I was sorry and that my husband Jim had always enjoyed talking to her son when he was much younger. She smiled at that and said she remembered him talking about Mr. Jim. Then something happened. I started asking my neighbor questions about how her son and her history on the block here and how long they knew Jim's family, and such.

And then something interesting happened.

My neighbor’s face suddenly lit up (as much as it can when you’re fighting against the rip-tide of grief) as she told me about her husand and her moving here. About Jim's mom and her dragging their husbands back from the bar at the end of the street one night. She talked about Jim's siblings and her kids and the fun they had growing up. She shared stories about raising their kids and talked about the relationships they had with everyone in the room. I realized something.

We all just want to tell our story. She just wanted to talk.

Not about his death. Not about what had happened. But about the life. And about a person who would never be forgotten.

In everyone’s attempt to “say the right thing” in times of grief they’re ignoring a very simple fact that would save everyone a lot of aggravation. They don’t have to talk at all.

They don’t have to worry about whether saying, “I’m sorry” is going to annoy someone. They shouldn’t even attempt to look at the bright side and say, “Well, at least he went quickly.” They shouldn’t make a pathetic stab at philosophy by saying, “Everything happens for a reason.” Or the ban of a widows (or anyone that has lost someones) existance....“He’s in a better place now.”

They just have to ask one simple question about the person who is gone. And listen.

I realized that the most healing time I had when Jim was gone, was just sitting around with friends while we talked about special memories and moments about us and our life together. Even in my darkest hour, I enjoyed strolling down Memory Lane with anyone who would take the time to listen. Don’t we all? I LOVE it when people ask me how I met Jim. It's a great story. There is fun in remembering what we all did as a group and cons we went to or costumes or parties. I love it when someone looks at pictures of us; Jim, me, them, other friends and we can talk about what was happening in the pics. I love it when we talk about things we had done with them, our friends, together.

I started this blog to share those memories. So that they wouldn't be forgotten and it has helped in my healing process. I thank those that have read this for years for allowing me to share Jim in this way. I thank my friends for listening to the stories when we are just sitting around remembering the past. For not be afraid to mention his name or bring up those memories.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Not a typical Friday night.

The city put a dumpster up the block from me. It allows the residents to toss old furniture and trash and such into it. Things that have been building up in the yard or basement and they couldn't take to the dump because many don't have vehicles.

I have seen them before in the neighborhood (and used them) and one thing, they fill up very quickly. So I came home from work and started gathering some of the stuff that has been layng around the house waiting to be taken out. I do have a car so I could take to the dump but if there is a dumpster a block away, I will use it.

The shelves that have been in the backyard gettting moldy, some wood boxes that were broken and splintered, a couple containers of old flower pots that were cracked, some old plastic containers - I think one still had noodle in it. A major thing was the big old foot rest in the living room. I tossed that and now there is space in there. I took it a step further and wiped the floor and now it all shines.

I think tomorrow will be a relaxation day after all that. Maybe Sunday I will get to cleaning the laundry room up.

Not sure where these bursts of energy and cleaning are coming from, but the house is looking better and better.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sex therapists

I went thru a bag of costumes the other day. My friend Thomas was there and he helped me sort thru them. Some I kept, some I tossed. Many were Jim's, but a few were mine. The costumes are ones that we wore on various occasions to Halloween parties or Star Trek conventions.

They brought back good memories and it was fun to tell Thomas about them. The Star Trek Sex Therapists was a story. Two gold shirts in the original series Star Trek style. I found them at a thrift store. Jim came up with the idea of being part of the medical group and being sex therapists for crewmen that couldn't handle being in space for so long without getting any. We would help them "handle it", so to speak. I used a friends bra and stuffed it so I had about a DDD cup size for the night. That was cool. What was nice was that they were such simple costumes that we didn't have to worry about anything and we could move around and dance.

There were some other costumes in the bag and I did a pick and choose sorting. What held the fondest memories and what will I not be sad to let go of. It is not easy, but it can and needs to be done.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Figaro has been a member of the family since 1992. Jim got him when the kitty was just about 7 weeks old. The smallest ball of purr you can imagine. And fiesty too.

Figaro is going to the vet tomorrow and it looks like it will be his last trip.

He was really Jim's cat. Especially since we moved back here and he became an inside cat. Jim was the one he would go to and cuddle up with and he was happy to, very cat like, totally ignore me.

We got him from a local shelter. I was working and Jim went there one day and went into the 'kitten room'. This is a room where there may be a dozen kittens running free and playing with each other and people can go in and choose one. Well, all the kittens fled this large man. Except one. Jim sat on the bench in there and Figaro came right up to him, climbed up on the bench and then along Jim's shoulder to sniff an ear. Jim brought him home.

Figaro is a tuxedo cat - black with white chest, paws and a white chin. He also has a loud voice. A big mouth. Even as a kitten. We named him Figaro because he looks like the cat from Pinnochio. And because he talked a lot.

He has a habit in the morning of "singing for his supper". He says "ahlloooww" in cat meowishness that makes it sound like he is saying hello. He will do that outside the bedroom door until I get up and get him some breakfast.

Figaro came into our family and we had the Shadow cat already. Shadow was about a year or so old and Shadow was a very pretty but not quite all there cat. He was a big grey ball of fluff that Jim got me as a present one year. I think Jim liked having pets because he never had them as a child. They had dogs, but those were his dads hunting dogs and they weren't to be played with.

I realized tonight that I have had Figaro longer then I had Jim. I sat tonight with him and I couldn't get him to sit on my lap like he did with Jim, but he lay beside me and let me pet him. The first six months after losing Jim he wouldn't let me do that. I was just a non-entity that fed him. Not worthy of attention and he patiently waited to hear the door open and Jim come thru the door. We all did. Fig finally came around and for the last couple years would cuddle at the back of my neck on the couch while I had a dog on either side of me.

I think Fig never liked that he and Shadow had control of the house and our attentions and then we got dogs. First it was Gryphon then Merc and Tigger. He never fought with them but he was never really happy with them too much. He was his catlike self.

When we moved to a small town outside of Boston, Figaro loved it. We lived in a low key rural street on the edge of town and he could be an inside/outside cat. It was fun to go outside with the dogs and see Fig sitting on a low hanging tree limb watching us. He stalked and brought home his prey. He was a magnificant cat and in his prime. He was a king among cats. Shadow was still given the same choice to come and go but he was an inside cat. He was happy to let Figaro wander and come back and tell him about the great outside. Shadow passed away while we were there and Figaro became an only cat.

At that time the cats were allowed upstairs in the bedroom. They never slept with us at night but could be found there during the daytime. This changed when we moved and we shut the door on Fig. He didn't seem bothered he just slept on the couch and annoyed the dogs by taking what would have been one of their spots there. You know the term "alpha dog" in the family. Well, he was "alpha cat". Well alpha cat after mommy.

Up until this past year Fig has always been very a healthy, happy and no problem cat. It saddens me to see him this way and my friends that visit have commented on it also.

Fig is going to the vet's because he is suffering severe weight loss and fecal incontinence. He will lay down and when he gets up there is stuff left there and he doesn't seem to realize it. He stopped using the litter box and just goes where ever. It has been hard. I have been trying for many months to battle it. Trying different food, different litter, visit to the vets a few months ago said all the blood work was fine (no cancer, diabetes, kidney problems).

This is tough because it is close to a year to when I lost Mercury. And two years from when I lost my Dad. And three years from when I lost Jim. I thought I could get thru this year with no deaths, but Figaro is in a bad way and there is no choice. My friend said this is another milestone for me. One I could have done without.

Figaro will find his way to Jim's lap and keep on purring and loving that he found him.

It is going to be very very quiet around here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A different kind of bucket list

I am about to start a bucket list. For my house. Things I want/need to get done.

I started thinking about big things to do because my brother said he would come out to help me. Then when I started that list, I also started walking around and looking. Then I realized there were lots of little things that I have been ignoring.

That may be my life right now. Focusing on the big and ignoring the small. Big? figuring out how to pay mortgage/car loan/bills. Small? changing that light bulb in the hallway that keeps burning out on me. Big? getting someone to look at my knee which is aching. Small? getting my hair cut as it is slowly driving me crazy.

It seems like there is a lot of stuff that has piled up. Issues that need to be worked out and problems to solve. Heck it took a week just to get the cable straightened out. A week and a 2 hr visit to the cable offices and a 47 minute wait on the phone to have a 4 minute solution fix it all.

One thing I am doing though is trying. I am trying to keep it all together and get the things marked off the list and have my home be a better home for it.

The bucket list for the house has become almost fun because I am just writing down whatever I can think of or have thought about in the last 8 years. Shelves here, this taken out, that painted, roof fixed, bathroom redone....I will prioritize and maybe figure out which I can do and which will take the most man power and time. I am not going to have many free weekends over the next couple months. I think I will like the end result though.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Boston legal tears

Who would think watching an episode of Boston Legal would end in a crying jag which is the ending to an otherwise really good weekend. Maybe it was due.

I was watching Boston Legal and it was a very emotional episode. The end of the series and Carl proposes to Shirley. It just was in one second, a flood of the memory of when Jim proposed to me and then the tearing in my chest and then the tears and me wondering why.

The dog helped clear it up by licking my chin, nose and cheeks. The cat helped by arching his back and farting in my general direction. He does that a lot lately (he is almost 19 yrs old now). Ultimately I had to hug them both, which neither liked but they put up with it.

It hit me because I did a lot of things this weekend around the house and feel really good about it. But I was alone. I don't have anyone to say "hey man, look at this room now. I got a new rug and put all the darn clothes away. I am on a roll". And get the pat on the back and hug and smile for achievement. It sounds whiney - and I am proud of myself with or without that pat on the back, but the smile would be nice. And so I sigh and look around and think okay I can get past it. Others have. I can.

A lot of clean up and reorganizing was done yesterday and today was a nice day spent with good friends. I drove out to a friends with another friend and we went shopping and then she made crepes for the three of us. Nice savory crepes with cheese, ham, sautueed mushrooms and other stuff. Yummy. A couple hours later it was fruit crepe time. With a drizzle of chocolate syrup and a splurt of whipped cream. Yep. Double yummy. It wasn't till I came home and watched the emotional thanksgiving episode of Boston Legal that things went awry.

Writing has helped. And I am starting a new list of things to do next weekend.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Funday Saturday

Ever have one of those days where you get to the end and you think "that was a good day".

I had one today. I had a lot to do and yet not much to do. I had a cable guy coming out to work on a problem so I had to wait for him. You know the old "they will be there between 10-1" deal. I started cleaning in the morning and kept going since I had to be there anyway. I couldn't use the excuse that I always used to use "I need to run out and do errands" and get away from the house and not clean. So, I cleaned up and then waited. And waited. And waited for him. Finally he comes, just as my friends call me to tell me they want to take me to lunch. Oy. It works out timewise anyway and the tv works and the lunch was fun.

I come back from lunch, play around with setting up season passes and such (I love tivo!!!) and go upstairs for a quick nap.

I got up and went outside to social with some of the families on the block. We will hang out on our stoops in the twilight and chat, compare qossip and share food. My neighbor decided that she would help me move my new (beautiful) Freecycle rug upstairs, but only if we did it right away. That meant moving stuff out of one room, into another, lugging the old rug downstairs and the new one upstairs. Phew.

It looks great in the room. I don't want to move anything else in there. However, all the stuff from there is in on my bed so to sleep tonight I have to keep on going.

Tomorrow will be a day of sloth.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Greeting cards

At the drugstore today getting some shampoo.

I wandered down the aisle of greeting cards and looked at a few. I realized what I was missing. It hit me like a lump of clay in my stomach. I was missing something I really enjoyed that gave me great pleasure and that I could give as well as receive. An I Love you Card.

Jim and I gave them to each other throughout the year and not just on special occasions. Just to say I love you and let the other know they were being thought of at that time. I have a box of them that I came home and looked at. I cried a little at this part of my life that is now gone. Gone with Jim.

The cards were sort of like the flowers he would often surprise me with on fridays. One more way to say I Love You.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I am pet sitting this week. Two of my neighbors, seperately, asked me to watch their pets while they were away on vacation.

One is a dog that I just need to look in on in the morning, give her some food and let her out. She is easy because someone else is walking her in the afternoons. Also, she is scared of me so she just hides upstairs, peering down the stairs till I leave.

The other is this gorgeous orange and white long haired cat that needs feeding and some human interaction. His name is Vic and he is a very aloof cat. I have tried to talk to him and pet him but he is not having any of it. He will get up on the couch with me and look at me....but that is it. It makes me smile. Now there is the chance that as the days go on and he realizes that Keith is not coming home, that he will start to want some attention. I figure he is a cat, he will do what he wants.

Both of these pet sittings are done pro bono. And that will mean that when I go away to see family - yep - I have someone that I can call if needed to care for Tigger and Figaro.

It is interesting because that just shows one more bit of my neighborhood as a small town. There are definately some of us neighbors that are very interactive with each other. Much more so than you would find in a normal city block. Oh yes, there are other that just go to work, come home go inside and we know nothing about them. Luckily about half the block watches out for each other and talks, shares recipes, helps on saturday and of course, gossips.

I have keys to three of my neighbors homes and I know Keith has keys to me and another neighbors, while Becca has keys to mine and the lady's whose dog I am also sitting (Becca walks Gracie in the evenings). I am perfectly fine with this.

The petsitting is just a nice way to be a good neighbor, but it is also a good way to show that the big city does not have to be an isolated place to live.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Giving Space

I can't remember if I have ever blogged about this, but I want to tell you how proud I am of my husband. My husband, the man who couldn't say no to anyone in need.

My best friend and I fell out of touch for a bit because her husband was friends with my ex boyfriend and I didn't want to see him and he was always around their house. So, I only saw her a couple times a year for a year or two. It was much more complicated then that, but I will stop there.

Anyway, one night she knocks on our door (I was married for about a year then) and asks if she can spend the night. She had been crying and said she was leaving her husband and didn't want to go to any of her friends that she knew he knew she might go to. I was actually touched she thought of me and she stayed for six months while the divorce went thru. She gave us rent money and food money and had no problem with cleaning chores. Yes, it was cramped but it was okay. She has since remarried very happy and has a son. We have built on our friendship and she has been a wonderful support since I lost Jim.

This happened again years later in our marriage. We had a woman we pretty much barely knew come to live in our finished basement for almost a year. She was in her 60's, had no children, belonged to our church and her husband had died, she lost her house and literally had no where to go. She moved into the basement with all of her belongings. I mean it was jam packed and looked like a hoarders room. It wasn't, it was just all her stuff. She did give us some rent money but not for a couple months. She did however cook dinner for us. That was nice and to help someone in need, well, we didn't have kids, we had the space that wasn't being used, so Jim said "why not?".

I have tried to continue that giving spirit but I think he did it so unconsciously it is hard to duplicate.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1

I took two months off of the blogging. I am going to be back stronger this latter half of the year.

The last two months have been a whirlwind of events wrapped around me doing nothing with my leg propped up on the couch. Lots of doctor visits and ice packs. I learned that both my knees have arthritis. My right knee is much worse off and is constantly swollen and has a torn meniscus and such. I am taking steps to strengthen it and be prepared for possible surgery.

It has taught me a lot about taking small steps, planning out moves to make during the day and making the most of the netflix streaming account.

Tomorrow I will talk about my nieces wedding.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

3 years

"It's not easy to be a superhero's heroine."

Remembering Jim on this third year of his passing.

One of my internet friends, a fellow widow, sent me this video and told me that she was thinking of Jim and I on this day. "What I want you to do today and often in the future when you're thinking about your personal superhero, Betts, is to realize the hero qualities you possess and have proven are inside you. If you never gave thought to you being Jim's super heroine, give it thought now, for no doubt Jim knows it's not been easy to be you, and is so proud of you in your silly red sheet as you've so courageously tried to find the better part of yourself these last three years. There are so many special things inside of you."

I have tried to be strong and to move forward with my life, as Jim would want me to do. Every day seems like a new adventure to test the limits of my bounds. Jim and I did this together and it made us a special team.

Jim, I love you still and miss you always.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Star Spangled America Remembers

This Memorial Day weekend has me remembering lots of things.

Jim's passing on Tuesday morning 5/29/2007 is one of those things, but others include the soldiers that have served for their country. My country. Our country. My father was one of them. He served in the Army under Patton, in WW2 and was a POW. My husband served during Vietnam and was in the Navy for 12 years. My friend Fred, served as a Marine during the Gulf War and just retired after 20 odd years serving and protecting our nation.

Thank You.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Iron Man

So there I was, at the movies, about to watch Iron Man 2. Iron Man was a favorite of Jim's. That was one of the things that I was sad about when it came out, was that he would be watching it with me. He had been looking forward to it since they announced it.

Anyway, there I am and there he is. No, not Jim but a cute older guy that was sitting alone. He was on the end of the row that myself and two of my gal friends were in. I got up to go do my last pee before the movie. He let me by and coming back I said "one more time past". He put his leg up and said "oh wait, toll to pay". I laughed, he moved his leg, chuckled and said Just Kidding. I then got promptly teased by my friends. What? are we back in high school? Geesh. Well, then I couldn't stop sneaking looks over at him. Did he have a wedding band on? I never could tell.

I am looking at other guys.

That was a rush in my head when I thought about it but then realized that I probably had too much baggage to be able to do more than flirt a bit. But, hey, I flirted a bit when Jim was around so that is nothing new.

Baggage? Well, not just mental. I thought about how I would really have to clean up my act a bit. Lose some more weight, take care of some other vanity issues and do something with the house, or maybe leave the house the way it is and rent an apartment and pretend I lived there. LOL.

As for the mental baggage, hey, I still miss my soulmate. I miss him always and sometimes with a deep deep ache and sometimes with just a sigh of sadness.

Things I try to imagine is putting my arms around another guy. Kissing. I mean really deep throat kissing. I don't know. It may be really tough and I don't know if there is a guy nice enough to stick with and work with me and get me thru it. It must be hard running up against a memory. And then of course, if I am smart I will get drunk enough so it won't matter or in a more predictable way, I will get drunk enough to try and then can see myself crying. Bleh.

All kinds of scenarios run thru my head and they basically end with me not being able to find a man that is patient, loving and willing to overlook all my flaws the way Jim did. And the way I did of his flaws, to see the beauty in ourselves. He boosted my confidence in my self image. That is self image I have of myself is part of the baggage that has to be dealt with.

I am not Iron Woman, I don't want to live alone. So, I will go to movies, share a laugh and think about what is coming next.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May Flowers

My Mom was always into gardening. I love to garden, but I am into the pots and flower boxes rather than in the ground planting. Probably because of my blackish green thumb that doesn't do well with setting up flower or vegatable gardens. Usually it all goes to waste because I don't maintain it. A flower pot or flower box in the backyard is a lot easier. If I have a few pots and one doesn't grow, I can take that one out of the mix and replant in the pot.

I am having fun with Morning Glories this year. I got a pot with five starter shoots and set it next to the fence where there is a lattice. I have been letting them grow and then wrapping the ends around the lattice to twist them and make it thicker.

I saw this in a magazine (see the pic on the right) and mine is not nearly as thick as this now, the way it is growing, it will be soon! I think that will be a wonderful dash of color to the side of the privacy fence that right now is worn down faded brown wood. I also contemplate painting the fence but haven't gotten the energy together for that.

We are having both May showers and May flowers around here. I like both.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mom!

It's Sunday, and Mother's day. I miss Mom.

Yesterday was the 9th anniversary of her passing and it was a tough day. I look around the house and see things the remind me of her - things I do now that I remember her doing.

There are little things like color and furniture styles and bigger things like the impulse to decide at breakfast that it would be a good day to go for a ride instead of doing the chores around the house. I will admit there is my Dad as an influence in my house also. That would be the packratedness of the rooms, though I am trying to squelch that and clean things up. My sister and I talked about this and she was saying that she feels her gardening is a trait she got from mom. We would have large vegatable gardens in the back every year. Mom would use the veggies for meals but also would do canning of the tomatoes and such for the rest of the year.

My sister went to visit my Mom's grave yesterday and put some flowers there. Mom is buried in the same cemetary as my grandfather and grandmother and several other generations from that side of the family. Today, while cleaning and going through some boxes that had never been sorted out from our move, I found a small tin that has some of my Mom's ashes in it. I looked at it and thought about taking them up to the Susquenhanna River near Harrisburg where she was born. She told me that it was on that river in a canoe on a sunday afternoon that my dad proposed to her. Then I thought about my tattoo with some of Jim's ashes in it and now am considering maybe a small tattoo in her honor with some of her ashes. I have to think about it for a bit to figure out just what would be right.

The photos I have looked at today of my Mom were fun. I pulled out an album that had some from her childhood - it is interesting to compare pictures of her with those of me, my sister and my nieces. There are family resemblances and that is comforting.

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

When I close my eyes

So many songs touch my inner core when I hear them. This one gave me chills. There are so many things I didn't say. Each line was written as if I had written it and describes my missing Jim. To see him when I close my eyes, to hear his laugh and feel his touch again.

Thursday, May 6, 2010



I finally learned how to post a video from Youtube.

My world has just expanded! This is going to be fun.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

New York and Breathing

Well I made it through the first week of May.


I have been experiencing crazy allergy symptoms this year. It is new for me and dealing with the sinus headaches, congestion, runny nose and now sore eyes has been pretty stressful. I didn't know which way to turn. I have had a couple friends tell me that their spring allergies didn't hit them till they were older also. I am going to be really mad at my body if it makes me endur this every year. Bleh!!

I spent last weekend in Manhattan. That was fun. I went up to visit a friend and his wife who live on Long Island. We all walked around, saw some touristy stuff and some not so touristy, but still fun stuff. It was a nice weekend getaway. I even got an "I love New York" t-shirt.

It was in New York City that the allergy problems really hit me. It was a surprise.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

2 plus 11

Yep. 2 years and 11 months since Jim has been gone.

I have said it before, and will say it again, but some days it feels like just yesterday and some days it feels like forever and sometimes I look up from the computer thinking I hear his step coming thru the front door and I wait, breathless for a second, to hear the 'hello' he always yelled out and then his 'oh hi boy' in a lower voice as he would pet Merc and Tigg and Fig while they greeted him, and it gave me a minute to run down the stairs. Then, wrapping my arms around his neck and ignoring bags and coats and anything else, just to let him know I missed him.

Yep, sometimes.

The house gets quiet and I don't mean to, but I do, I wait to hear him stirring downstairs. If I can think that then maybe I can think he isn't really gone. I catch myself doing this, then shaking my head, a little smile and feeling sad, silly and wondering why it still happens. Though, honestly, I don't know that I mind it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Memory land

Hanging some photos in the office tonight was a nice trip thru memory lane. I put some up of Jim and I, but also of my family. I found a few of my siblings and me as kids from when I was putting together a memory board for my Dad's memorial service. I have them up and it is neat to see the years fade and remember my life back when I was a kid. Me with the funky hair style and the big 80's style glasses. My brother with his hockey gear on. Best of all was the christmas card photo from 1972 with my family all standing on the stairwell in our house holding garland. These blasts from the past are a fun time travel.

Sorting through some of my Dad's old things I found a card that I sent him with my high school graduation picture in it. Also there was maybe 8 more wallet size pictures of me, from first grade till high school. Not every year, but most of them. All I can say as I look at them is Oh my God. In two of them I have red bandannas around my neck, in 4 I have wire rim granny glasses and in 3 I have hair styles I shouldn't have walked out the door with.

I don't mind remembering. I love going back in my head to various times in my life. I have another wall in the office that will be for friends. My Blues Brothers, my Jedi Knight, the TCF peeps and Dalpals. It is a nice reminder of life.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One of those Saturdays, or maybe not

It could only get better you know. Saturday started with a list of things to do and I figure a run up to sam's club and go from there. Sam's club was a total clusterfuck. I am going to vent so you can skip ahead if you want.

I forgot my card so I had to get a temp. one. No big deal, it has happened before. I get in line for customer service and am waiting patiently, suddenly a lady walks in from the side and goes up the counter and she gets helped next. I sigh and think about saying something but then figure that will be a okay. Then the other CSR gets done and a man sidles in with a receipt from the tire place and she takes care of him......I am getting upset now. Internally. The wisps of steam from my ears may have scared the guy behind me off or maybe he just got tired of waiting. Finally get helped and I mention the two people ahead of me and the woman just looks at me like I have three heads. Okay, shopping goes well, I go to pay and am told the card number written down doesn't work. Argh. I lose it and push the cart into some water (nothing spilling) and go off to Customer Service. The same woman is there and doesn't understand what is wrong. All the numbers are right to her. A look at my driver's license and she says, oh, it should be okay now. I tell her great, she can check me out here. She starts to say no and I say yes. Yes, you can. She did.

On my way out I am asked if I would like to fill out a survey. I smile savagely and say sure...oh boy will that be fun!

Then the day starts to turn. I look down and see 2 gift cards in the parking lot. One for a local restaurant and one for Target. Must have dropped out of someones wallet when they put the sam's club card away. I scooped them up and then asked the different people in our parking row. No one was missing them. Well, finders keepers. Sorry there was NO WAY I was going back in sam's club.

I went on to get lunch and found my favorite bar-b-que was packed and I was too hungry to wait. It was off to find a fastfood place. Argh. I was looking forward to some pulled pork. Oh well. "Be flexible" I kept chanting to myself.

Then I saw a couple of tweens holding up signs for a free car wash at the gas station. I scooted in and got to watch the kids working on the car. I donated $10 bucks to their goal of getting to a summer church retreat.

Okay things were changing for the better. I went home, settled down outside with a book and a dog and relaxed. In the afternoon on saturdays the local Baptist church at the end of the block has a band or choir practice or something where you can hear the drums and sometimes the songs. I enjoy doing stuff in the yard so I can listen.

I found out this morning that the Target card has $5.24 on it and the card for the restaurant has $50.00. I guess a nice dinner will make up for the farce at Sam's club. Though, I wonder if I can call the restuarant and find out who bought it.

Weekends are so much fun and so short. I think a three day weekend should be the norm. A day to do errands and chores, a day for home repairs and one for just plain fun. Sounds good to me.

Friday, April 16, 2010


These stuff in the house, I need to go thru it and that is just so tough. The last week has been a slow pick thru of things to determined what to send to the trash or yard sale or what to keep. It is better this year than it was last year but there is still things of Jim's that I just don't want to lose yet.

I am learning to make decisions and choose 3 things and let the other 10 things go to the dump. This helps.

Talking to my neighbor, who is also a widow, told me that she can't bear to part with any of her husband items yet. It's only been one year and she says it is just too soon. I am approaching three years and it is getting easier to filter what to keep and what to let go.

My basement has quite a few boxes of knick knacks and such that I need to go thru....again. I went thru them all once and got rid of some stuff, but I think I need to make it smaller once again. I just have to tell myself that I really DON'T need those items. That is the tough part.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I want to run to you.....

The Bodyguard (1992)

I know that when you look at me
Theres so much that you just don´t see
But if you´d only take the time
I know in my heart you would find
Oh, a girl, who has scared sometimes
Who is not always strong
Can´t you see the hurt in me
I feel so all alone

I want to run to you
I want to run to you
Won´t ya hold me in your arms & keep me safe from harm
I want to run to you
But if I come to you
Tell me will you stay
Or will you run away

Each day, each day I play the role
Of someone always in control
But at night I come home & turn the key
Theres nobody there, no one cares for me
Oh woah what´s the sense of trying hard to find your dreams
Without someone to share them with
Tell me what does it mean


Run away, no
I need you here I need you here to wipe away my tears
To kiss away my fears
No if you only knew how much I want to run to you
Ya know I want to run to you
Won´t ya hold me in your arms & keep me safe from harm
I want to run to you
But if I come to you
Tell me will you stay
Or will you run away

Irony is so much fun!!

I am spending the weekend rearranging furniture and pulling open bags that haven't been touched in a long time. One bag opened to reveal Jim's shoes. A pair of dress shoes, sandals, an awesome pair of boots he used for his costumes and sneakers. Yep. Sneakers that meant he could run. Run to me. Or me to him. To kiss away all my fears. And hold me in his arms.

One of my problems with just giving all his stuff to goodwill is not just that I am losing a part of him...but rather because it seems a waste. I would love to find one of my friends to help by giving him some new shoes. Then I would know in my head/heart that the things weren't just fading off into the mainstream world but rather helping someone I knew. I have given lots of his clothing to some homeless men in my neighborhood that were in need. That made me feel like it wasn't just a blanket 'giving it away' but rather to help, to know.

Anyone need some size 10 1/2 running shoes?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dipping toes in the pool

Testing the water as it were.

In a couple days my niece and finacee are coming to help me rearrange my office and bedroom space. This may be the start of more reworking in the house. Things that have needed to be done and been put off for 3 years. If I can get thru this weekend with no major meltdowns, then there is a possiblity that the other things can get done too. I am going to try and with family and friends around it may not be an issue. It's usually the afterwards, after everyone has gone home, that is the problem.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I want to stand with you on a mountain

Savage Garden - Truly Madly Deeply

I'll be your dream,
I'll be your wish
I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your hope,
I'll be your love
be everything that you need.
I love you more with every breath
truly madly deeply do..
I will be strong I will be faithful
cause I'm counting on
A new beginning.
A reason for living.
A deeper meaning.

I want to stand with you on a mountain.
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever.
Until the sky falls down on me...

And when the stars are shining
brightly in the velvet sky,
I'll make a wish send it to heaven
then make you want to cry..
the tears of joy for all the pleasure
and the certainty
that we're surrounded by the comfort
and protection of..
the highest power.
In lonely hours.
The tears devour you..

I want to stand with you on a mountain,
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me...

Oh can't you see it baby?
You don't have to close your eyes
Cause it's standing right before you.
All that you need will surely come...

I'll be your dream
I'll be your wish
I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your hope
I'll be your love
be everything that you need.
I'll love you more with every breath
truly madly deeply do...

I want to stand with you on a mountain,
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me...

I want to stand with you on a mountain,
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me...

Heard this song on the radio this morning. I haven't heard it in years. It came out the summer that Jim and I met/started dating.
I started singing and got louder and louder. You know that singing you do in the shower or the car when no one is around to hear the missed notes. That was me this morning.
Today is 2 years and 10 months since Jim has been gone.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Eat for a dollar a day

Eating on just a dollar day?

I was reading this blog about a couple that decided to try and eat for a month on just one dollar each per day. Now this was interesting because they did a lot of home baking, some dumpster diving and visiting places like Costco that had hand out food. They said they did have some basic rules and one was not to ramen unless absolutely necessary.

They wanted to see if Americans could do it and as such let go of their processed, corn syrup filled, fast food. Each day they blogged and talked about what they ate and how much each meal cost.

The trick was.....they were able to afford to buy bulk of some basics like oatmeal, corn, rice, peanut butter, flour and beans. They started the experiment with a few gallons of each. So, at breakfast they would have .08 cents of oatmeal and some hot tea. A PBJ for lunch with homemade bread and maybe some burritos with refried beans and veggies for dinner. Even starting out with the bulk materials, being able to make healthy and tasty meals took some doing. If interested, here is there blog - http://onedollardietproject.wordpress.com/

I found the comments people gave to be more interesting then the blog itself.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reading is fundemental

What kind of reader are you? For that matter, do you still read books or just kindle or just wait for it to come out as a movie?

I have been reading for about 40 or more years. As a young child my parents would read to me at night. My dad was great at doing the different voices of characters. This is a side that he wouldn't show to the real world but for us kids to entertain us as we went to sleep.

The small town I grew up in had a nice library on main street. We were in smalltown usa and main street had shops and the post office and library and movie theatre. Living about 4 blocks from the main street made it easy to grab a bike and ride down on a Saturday morning. The ritual was to start at one end of the street to work your way down to the library.

One end held the 5&10 store, with half being grown up stuff like material and yarn and some clothing and the other half being a plethora of small wood bins with things like army men and candy and children's bracelet and necklaces and little dolls and balls and cars and jacks and marbles and just about anything a kid in the 60's could need. And no I don't mean a flower child, but just your cut and dry 8 yr old. Next stop was the other store to get candy or toys. That was the drug store and it was more expensive, so usually it was a go in and look deal. Next could be the movie theatre and an afternoon of Disney fun. I saw lots of them there before they ever hit the tv or vhs or dvd. Finally the Library.

My brothers and sister were never into the library as much as I was. I grew tired of the kids books and worked my way in to the teen section of books and then later even the adult section (that sounds so perverted when I say adult section, but I don't mean the porn area (not that there was one) but rather novels, bios and non fiction). My mom guided me in this area. She and my Dad also loved to read and she always found some really interesting books that I would then see around the house and pick up to read. Taylor Caldwell, Asimov, Shirley Jackson (but not the horror, it was Life Among the Savages), Madeleine L'Engle and others. I had some favorites that thanks to the scholastic book service, I still own today - The Great Brain My side of the Mountain, The trolley car family, Light a Single Candle are ones I can see right now on the shelf.

One thing with me and books is that if I find a book I really love, I will keep it and reread it. Some of them at least once a year I will pull them off the shelf. Some not for five years. Unfortunately for my shelves, which are pretty full, some books I just want around in case I ever decide to reread them. Oh and to be fair, some do go to the used book store or to other friends when I finish them. There are some books I enjoy, I want to read again, know that I own them, can't find them ANYWHERE in the house....so I go buy another copy at the local used book store. And then of course, find the original copy. Also what has happened is that I have a series of a favorite author - Marion Zimmer Bradley for example, and I see a few of them at the thrift store, so I think "gee my nieces would love this" and I buy them. I am glad when my nieces come back to tell me how much they did enjoy the books.

I have had people tell me how strange it is that I can reread a book. Maybe it is my memory disability, but I like to think of it as finding something new in the book each time I read it, or reliving a story with old friends or maybe just enjoying the cadence of the words the author puts out. Oh and I do this with movies also. I like to rewatch my favorite movies much the same way.

I hit a lull in book buying a few years ago. I couldn't find any new authors that tweaked my interest, so I reread the ones on my shelves and waited for the Next in the Series of a couple of favorite authors. Last year I joined an online book club and they talked about some new books that I picked up. Some I read and said 'eh' , but a couple now I have been entranced by and have been scrabbling to get the next in the series (if there is one).

When I wake up, I will read for a few minutes. When I fall asleep, I read before the turning the light out. I can read in the car/bus/train/plane. I read while I am eating. Jim and I meshed in this way perfectly. He was not a book reader, but rather a comic reader. Which was fine. Sometimes he would have his comics at the table, and I would read my book. No big deal that we weren't talking - because we had talked before or would after - we were comfortable. We both would read in bed for a little while. It was a calming, end of the day way to relax.

I love to read in the backyard with the temperature at the perfect 70 and no humidity and just a summer breeze making it all perfect. I could do that one for hours. In fact, it is going to be like that today. I think I am going to grab my newest book and go for a read.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Community garden

Sunday morning and it is community service day. This is not imposed on me by any judge, but rather a commitment I made to myself a couple years ago.

The neighborhood association that I am a member of, actually on the Board of directors for, does a lot of neighborhood clean up. In the Urban community it is important to keep on top of that. We go out once a month or so and work on cleaning a few alleys or working in a community garden or planting some trees. The last is fun. It is called Guerilla Gardening. Not approved by the City, but done with the hopes to make the city a greener place.

Today we are attacking a section of land that right now is weeds and concrete. A house was there, it burned down, the city tore it down and has left the spot vacant for many years now. We are going in to break up the concrete, dig up some ground and put in some community garden boxes. These are large 5 x 10 wood frames that allow us to put in a good topsoil and then plant vegatables.

Our neighborhood has one community garden already and it is a succcess. Neighbors can pay $15.00 and plant what they want in some of the boxes and then reap the benefits from the 'community' ones that usually have basics like tomatoes and cucumbers and such.

We got some of my husbands fathers tools. He has this great rod that Jim called the concrete cracker. I think it is actually a railroad tie "Gandie" a rod that is round up top and then becomes square ending with a wedge. It was used by RR workers to wedge under a railroad tie and lever them into place. There were about 8 Frat boys there and they were sledgehammering the concrete. The rod helped and it was neat to see it being used. That may sound odd, but I was just glad to offer it to help out.

I went back in the evening and they made some real progress. We should have a garden in just a few weeks.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The snow is now brown

The almost 50 inches of snow we had here has dwindled down to a soggy brown in my backyard. Some of the brown in mud and some is dog poo that had been buried by the 50 inches.

Guess what I am doing this weekend. Oh boy. I am pulling out the gardening shovels now.

I also decided to rearrange the house a bit. Move some of the furniture that is upstairs and maybe paint the downstairs Kitchen and Living room. That may be my April/May projects. So in the two rooms upstairs the office/closet/library and the bedroom I have things split up. Some clothes are in dressers and rolling closets in both rooms and some books are in both rooms. I want to move all the clothes into one room and all the books into one room. But to be odd, I want the clothes in the front office room and all the books could be in the bedroom.

None of that may make sense without pictures or drawings, but I can see it all in my mind so that is all that really counts!!

I also want to find someone to help me put some brick down in the backyard where now there is just mud and sometimes there is grass. I would love to open the space up and make it like a patio.

I told myself back in 2007 when Jim died that I wanted to move. I still do. I am still trying to get rid of stuff but I guess I am also trying to make the place easier for me to live here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Farpoint 2010

The Farpoint 2010 Science Fiction media convention was this past weekend.

This is the first convention when I was actually had official things to do - I was the Public Relations committee chair. Prior to the convention I tried to let as much of the fan world know about the convention coming up. Writing up press releases, visiting websites and contacting bloggers about promoting Farpoint. Once there I worked with the press on arranging interviews with our guest stars.

Oh the guest stars! We had Felicia Day from "Dr. Horrible's sing-along blog" and if you have no idea what that is - google it and then try to watch a copy. It is a wonderful movie/video/? that Joss Whedon wrote and produced and directed while there was a writer's strike in Hollywood. Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Finnan are also in it.

We also had Lee Arenberg from Pirates of the Caribbean and man was he a hoot!! That is a man that is great to listen to with his stories of growing up beside the 80's rat pack and working with Johnny Depp. He was a wonderful guest.

Best of all for me, was Mira Furlan. She played Danielle Roussou in my favorite tv show LOST. Her character was nicknamed Crazy French woman. Anyway, in person she was a wonderfully elegant woman with an incredibly sexy voice. And I got to sit in the same room with her. At the end of the session I asked the interviewer to take a pic with the two of us.

The whole convention went well even though I was in the throes of a cold (see previous blog entry) and blowing my nose a lot. The hotel was great to all of us and put up with Klingons at the bar, robots in the lobby, debates on who is geekier Sheldon or Leonard and general fun and pandamonium that ensues at a con.

And yes. I missed having a partner to enjoy the moments of the con with. I had fun, but it still is more fun to share. For someone else to see you jump up and down and squeal privately in your hotel room after actually meeting a LOST character. This is one more of the reasons I blog. To share.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


This has been the week of the cold. Not the cold weather but my cold - runny or stuffy nose kind of cold.

Not bad, but sometimes coughing, always blowing my nose and with my voice sounding a bit funny. I never went to see the doctor and just when I feel I am past it, like yesterday, it flares back up. I keep telling myself this is not me. I don't usually get sick. I mean, when it first started I went to my medicine cabinet and pulled out some dayquill. The expiration date on the side of the box was 3/2008 - that tells you 1) how long it has been since I checked in there and 2)how much even longer it has been since I needed it.

How much mucus can a human body create? I have gone thru a couple boxes of tissues. THANK YOU Mr. Kleenex for this invention. Or maybe it was Ms. Puff's. History is not quite sure about that.

Anyway, most of the fight with the cold has been nasal. Now many years ago I had something like this and my doctor suggested Nasal Spray before coming in to see him. That was back in the days when doctors talked to you without charging you. So I used the Nasal Spray and was able to breathe. I liked this. Then I stopped using it and my sinuses sort got stuffy again. I used it again. This was a repeat for many weeks. I realized at some point I was addicted to the spray and I weaned myself off of it. I am sure it has something to do with my nasal passages not being very well made and getting enough oxygation which has always been my main excuse for my mental incapacity. So, now, many years later I find myself in this loop again. I want to breathe. I use the spray and yesterday I realized that I had to use more to get it to work. Oh my. My need is becoming stronger. The addiction is back. Last night, I decided, that's it. I was going to wean myself off of it again, even if it meant blowing half my body fluid out my nose and losing the skin around my nostrils from chaffing.

I am going to fight this thing. I can do it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

Thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new.
I thought about you yesterday, and days before that too.
I think of you in silence, I often speak your name .
All I have are memories and a picture in a frame.
Your memory is a keepsake, with which i'll never part.
God has you now in Heaven, I have you in my heart.

Jim, I miss you. I am moving forward but still waiting to see you walk around the corner, home from a long day at work and yet, a smile on your face as the dogs greet you and the cat wraps himself around you and I give you a hug.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grey's Anatomy

My mom watched Dr. Kildare and Medical Center. She started me on General Hospital, but E.R. was my medical show of choice.

My niece shared her love of Grey's Anatomy with me. I have watched a few episodes and was skimming thru TV.com and this caught my eye.

Surviving a Crisis - from Grey's Anatomy -

This quote came from Grey's Anatomy Season 5's Episode 19. It made me stop and think and it is about surviving a crisis.

The quote is part of what Derek tells Meredith when giving her reasons why he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

If there is a crisis, you don't freeze, you move forward.
You get the rest of us to move forward, because you've seen worse.
You've survived worse and you know--we'll survive too.

This quote really hit home for me as it would for anyone who has survived a major loss. It is a beautiful testament to survivors. "You get the rest of us to move forward, because you've seen worse."

I can't help but think how many times in the past this would have inspired me to keep moving forward.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

It happened in 2003. And again in 2009. And now once more in 2010.

Snow. Lots and lots of snow! We got hit with 28". Starting on Friday around noon and snowing non stop thru till sometime late Saturday afternoon. It felt like a week in just 24 hours. The change in our neighborhood was amazing. There was not just the snow that had fallen but also strong winds causing incredible drifts and Saturday morning around 3 am we heard thunder snowstorm. An anomaly that only occurs in very serious storms. I would have slept through it but Tigger gratiously woke me up by barking at each roll of thunder.

The city was pretty much shut down on Saturday. Planes, trains and buses were not moving, city plows were just barely out and they issued warnings to stay inside. I didn't go out but did watch it's progression on TV and shared photos and news with friends on the internet. Sometime late Saturday I looked out to see the what the snow accumulation was and saw instead blue sky.

Tigger loves the snow and wants to be out in it as much as possible. She will face the cold paws for the fun of dancing in the snow!

Friday night around 9 pm - it looks so peaceful. Just a few inches.

Saturday morning.

My backyard.

Our street had no city plow come thu and we were the only hope of getting cars out for Monday or Tuesday. The neighbors got together on Sunday and we all worked on digging out. We got a good portion of the street done but not all the cars were able to get out. We tried to be systematic and ask who absolutely needed to go out and who could stay for a day or so. The neigbhors were all cheerful, helpful and worked together. It was a nice afternoon even with all the digging!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another widow speaks

I read this and needed to post.

"I can still feel his hand in mine"
Marc Royce

For the first time since her husband Patrick Swayze lost his battle with cancer, Lisa Niemi talks about their poignant last two years together and the amazing lifetime of love they shared.

I always knew Patrick was a tough guy, but I don't think I ever really saw the depth of his strength until he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He should have been dead after five weeks, but he fought for 22 months. He was still shooting his new TV series, The Beast, working 12- to 15-hour days 11 months into his illness. He was going through chemotherapy but refused to take any pain medication that would interfere with his performance. He was one tough critter, and the way he handled the illness and the discomfort from it was unbelievable and amazed even me.

I was a socially awkward 15-year-old when I first met Patrick at his mother's dance studio in Houston. I was a bit of a hippie, part of this outsider crowd. Patrick was the opposite, the quintessential all-American jock. He was the golden boy ? an acclaimed football player, gymnast, and dancer ? but I wasn't too impressed with that stuff. He always seemed like a show-off to me, a little too full of himself.

But the first time we danced together, it was like magic. And actually it was at that moment, when we looked into each other's eyes, that I knew he was special. I used to think I would get married in my 30s. But I was fresh out of high school when Patrick proposed to me ? I couldn't believe it. And he wouldn't take no for an answer. You have to know Patrick, but he is relentless with everything he does and goes after. And truthfully, there was a part of me that felt, Okay, I'll do this now, but if it doesn't work, I can get divorced later. But little did I know that even then, he knew me better than I knew myself, and it was only a short time later that I remember thanking him for making me marry him.

"We never gave up"

I have this wonderful memory from last year of being with Patrick in the apartment we were renting that overlooked the lake in Chicago, where The Beast was being shot. Patrick had just finished another round of chemo and a 15-hour workday. There was this beautiful music playing, and Patrick took me in his arms and we just started dancing. It was a simple, delicious moment of being in each other's arms and feeling how wonderful it was to be alive. It was one of the best dances I've ever had in my life with Patrick.

When The Beast finished shooting and we came back to Los Angeles, our primary focus became his treatments. I had schedules and doctor visits and chemo treatments and pills to administer several times a day. He occasionally had those "why me?" moments, but he never complained or felt sorry for himself. He was a very spiritual person and into Eastern philosophy, but it wasn't any of this, "I'm going to heaven to sing on a cloud." He's extremely willful and always has done that mind-over-matter thing. It's one of the reasons I believe he survived advanced cancer for as long as he did.

I never wanted to cry around him, but he caught me a few times. He knew how I was feeling. We didn't talk that much about dying or how I was feeling, because to acknowledge that was to acknowledge the end. I'm sure there was a part of Patrick that worried he was letting me down by leaving and that he wasn't going to be around to protect me. Patrick was fighting for his life and working so hard at it, and I just wanted the love I could give him to be perfect. I can look back at our whole relationship and wish I'd been perfect ? but I'm not. That doesn't stop me from wishing. But the beauty of our marriage was that it wasn't about being perfect; it was about the imperfections.

People have always asked me, "What's your secret to this long and happy Hollywood marriage?" which I know is unusual. Someone recently asked me why we even mentioned our separation in the book. [While Patrick worked to recover from alcohol addiction, he and Lisa separated briefly, which they talk about in their book, The Time of My Life .] And we did because it was real and that was part of our figuring things out and getting to a new place together. We worked very hard at our relationship. But the fact is, anyone can work hard at a relationship, but if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be. I do think if two people really love each other, which we did, you can work things out. And even though we were different as individuals, we were also very much the same. We had a lot of common interests ? horses, flying, the ranch, and the lifestyle we led. We also were both the kind of people who never, ever gave up on anything we had set our minds on doing, and most important, we never gave up on each other.

"Healing will happen in time"

I thought I had been preparing those last 22 months for Patrick's passing, but looking back, all the sadness and grief that had come before he passed away now looks like an intellectual concept. Honestly, the kind of grief I experienced after Patrick was gone was literally on a cellular level. It's something deep inside your body that you have no control over. I can still feel the contour of his hand in mine. Sometimes when I'm driving on the freeway, I feel like I can just look over and see him sitting beside me like he did when I would take him to his chemo treatments. I'd put the pedal to the metal in our car and he'd break out into this big, mischievous grin. And I'd reach over and grab his hand and it was wonderful. Even though we'd be on our way to chemo, we both savored those moments.

What I would most like is to hear Patrick's voice again. I recently went to a birthday party for a dear friend, and it was my first outing alone. When I got home that night and Patrick wasn't there, I kept telling myself, He's on location; that's why he's not here to greet me. I wanted to pick up the phone, like I've done so many times before, and call him so I could hear his voice. Or I'll just be going about my life and want to tell him something, or I expect him to be in the stable and I realize he's not here. It's still very difficult.

There are a lot of firsts these days that I am experiencing without Patrick, and those make me miss him the most. The smallest things can trigger it ? coming home to the house for the first time alone, the first rain, the holidays, or just going onto a freeway entrance without him for the first time. It's going to take time to adjust to every one.

My friends have made all the difference in the world; they give me strength. One night recently, I was going into a full-blown panic attack in the middle of the night, and just dialing one friend's number helped calm me down. I can't imagine what it's like for people who have lost a loved one and have no one to talk to. People cannot just walk around with these types of feelings and not share them or they will implode. Sometimes I think the pain is beginning to pass, and I'll marvel at that and say, Wow, I'm really doing great, only to remember that two hours earlier I was dissolved in tears on the floor.

I would like to believe that if I were really, really courageous, I would find a way to go on and be better than before ? even without Patrick. That would take tremendous courage, because in a strange way, I feel like that would be a betrayal to him. When I've mentioned this to my friends, they've said, "Now, wait a minute. Do you really think that's what Patrick would want?" Patrick was always very proud of my strength, and I think he would want me to prove that he was right about me.

I'm a type A personality; I get things done and I put high expectations on myself, on an emotional level as well. But in this case, I've come to realize that the healing is going to happen in its own time. I've lowered my self-expectations for the time being. If I feel I should be doing something, I will try and do it, but if I run out of steam, it's okay to stop.

Life is not fair, death is not fair, but it's not personal in either case. I saw death coming a week away. It was just standing there waiting. I could rant and rave, but it doesn't matter. So I say we should do the things that will make our lives fuller and happier. We have to make our own ride.

I finally convinced myself to go to our New Mexico ranch recently, which has always been a very special place for the two of us, and I had a completely different reaction to it than I thought I would. The moment I set foot inside the house, it was like I was seeing it with new eyes. I realized it was still our home, and there was an unexpected comfort there for me. It felt so beautiful, serene and peaceful, and I remember sitting on our porch and saying to myself, See, there's nothing to be afraid of. I saw Patrick there in the most loving and positive way. And it was like he was sitting on my shoulder saying, "Look at what we built together here."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Isn't it ironic?

This will be an odd memory blog today. I got reminded of some things when a friend was talking to me and I don't think she understood just how much I miss Jim, even the things that used to drive me crazy. She was asked, "But aren't you pleased you don't have to put up with ___ any more?" and a question like that, well it made me feel worse, not better. She didn't mean in harm, I think it was more trying to understand why certain things affect me the way they do.

There were lots of things that Jim would do that would annoy me. Oh god I miss them. His arm over my ribs as we sleep and I would swear I couldn't breathe. I would push it off and then it would creep back. I would lay there and try to stand it as long as I could, knowing it was there in love and comfort...but I couldn't breathe...and now I laugh and cry at myself for ever thinking it was annoying.

He would do this really creepy voice from that evil guy in silence of the lambs "clareese..." with that inflection the actor had and it would freak me out and then he would laugh. And I would punch his shoulder. I miss punching his shoulder. /sigh/ My niece has taken over the role of freaking me out with this now. I called her the other day and she said it to me. I got both goose bumps and chills. And wet eyes thinking about Jim.

Jim had his own spot on the couch. If I sat there then he came in, well, I would have to move. Or if he sat somewhere else he would just be waiting for me to get up and he would jump in the spot. When I came back he would just look at me like "what?".

Then there was the butt crack deal. This is way too much information, but I am going to get it out anyway. So we are spooning in bed. He snuggles up to my back and things are pressed against my butt. Not in an erotic way, but more just a snuggle way. And, for some reason, this would make me need to fart. Just a quick one. I guess it was kind of like the arm over the ribs. My body wouldn't ignore it. Once I got the gas that I didn't even know was there out, it was fine. After I first lost Jim and even occasionally still when I am depressed I will push his pillow up against me. Not the same affect, but still a bit comforting.

And something I thought was annoying but now really miss, was his OCD'ing about clothes. Clean clothes and putting them away and ironing them and the like. It came from his time spent in the Navy and how they had to have everything neat and tidy. We learned very quickly that he was the ironer and such. My closet shows my lack of his tidiness now. Oh and the iron? I think it has been used once in the last 2 1/2 years. And that was by my friend Thomas to help me with a costume. As annoying as it was, if I could now, I would love to see Jim setting up the ironing board right now.

Isn't it ironic?

The things we take for granted. The things that even though they annoy us, they come with the package of the man. I know I have written about the things like this that I loved about Jim and endeared me to him. And god knows there are things that I did to annoy him. But we were a team. Together we filled what was missing in the other.