September 30, 2011
My body says "please, don't ask me to do one.more.thing". At this point I'm saying it is "asking" me. More than likely it is telling me, in no uncertain terms and stamping it's feet to make the point.
Since February we have moved 2 people twice each. That's 4 moves in 7 months. Crikey. I haven't moved myself in over 25 years so really, I think this is an incredible feat.
We moved my mother-in-law into her retirement home apartment in February. It was a matter of loading a truck with some of her furniture and belongings for a one bedroom apartment. With that move we had the help of our youngest son and two of his friends. In June we finished cleaning out her house once it was sold and moved some things here to this house, took some things for charity resale and others were put into the garbage. Another big job with some help. I suppose there will be one final move for her, one of these days but I choose not to think about that and will deal with it when the time comes.
In early September we moved our oldest son to Windsor, Ontario where he was going to be taking classes for his teaching degree. Life has a way of changing when we don't expect it. He took this particular program because it fitted with his further life plans...as he saw them at the time. A dissolved relationship gave him pause to reflect that it was time to do what he really wanted. This program was not the one for him so he has moved home...which necessitated another truck and we spent yesterday doing that. Leaving here at 10:30 a.m. and not home again until 12:30 a.m. (with waves hello to relatives in Windsor, and waves to all my friends in Michigan as we left Sarnia for Port Huron and drove through to Detroit and back into Windsor -- much faster to go that way through the U.S.). All of the classes he was taking turned out to be in Sarnia (though he was told it would be split between Windsor and Sarnia and this after he'd signed a lease for an apartment in Windsor).
The truck still sits in the driveway needing to be unloaded and returned sometime on Saturday. I don't think I could lift one.single.thing.today. And truthfully neither my husband nor our son want to do that either. I've lifted some of these items more times that I needed to in this lifetime. But it will get done. And yes, once he is accepted for a new program for teacher's college for next fall (he plans to travel and work for this year) we will move him AGAIN. Because it's what parents do. And I see it as insurance for the day he will need to move us to a retirement residence (or a shed in his garden, whichever seems most appropriate!).
September 28, 2011
I have managed to make some "me" time and have been doing that every day as I walk away from fatigue and the stress of where my life is right.this.moment (and for who knows how many more moments in the next few weeks). It feels good to dabble and to be creative.
Two days ago I sat with my jewelry making supplies, and still feeling the energy of goldenrod and grey, I made these earrings and bobbies. You can find all of these in my Indigo Girl Designs etsy shop.
Yesterday I made tomato soup following this recipe from Kathy at Kathy's Cottage and it is now gone...3 of us drank it up and I know we all want more. So easy and so very good! The fresh ingredients made it tasty but I think it satisfied something deeper within us -- something made by hand and created with love at a time when we are all dealing with stress and anxiety. The fact that the recipe called for 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup of white wine had absolutely nothing to do with it's restorative and calming effects! But it sure didn't hurt!
September 27, 2011
You can catch my post today over at Vision and Verb where I'm being not very serious at all...even though I'm serious about what I'm talking about...curious? Come and find out...
September 26, 2011
When I see that Jennifer Weiner has a new book on the shelves I'm anxious to pick up a copy. I enjoy her style of writing and I enjoy the topics that she writes about. I love her wit and humour but I love her take on the real world, relationships and how we navigate our way through life.
I read "Then Came You" this weekend and as always finished the book with a sigh that there wasn't more and that I wouldn't know how these characters lives continued to unfold.
What is still lingering with me is the subject matter. The change of the face of family. Family has undergone some radical shape shifting over the last 50 years, from what we considered the "typical", "ideal" family of the 1950s....Father, Mother, children. Divorce was not common or prevalent and one parent families seemed to exist only if one parent had died. As we moved forward divorce became much more common and two parent families seemed to take a backseat, no longer the given or the "norm".
We now face same sex marriage and same sex parent families. We have children who are adopted from other countries, other nationalities. And we have surrogacy which is another spin on "family". The old "family tree" has taken on a new shape, a new dimension and a new face.
I don't watch "Modern Family" on television but I love the concept and the name. This is what the modern family is all about. Family is about the people who love us, who share our lives and who teach us, support us and give us our sense of belonging. Schools have been slow to catch up with this reality. I still remember projects where my sons were asked to fill out the family tree. Or make gifts for Mother's Day and Father's Day. Fine in our household where there was a Mother and a Father. For those who had only one parent, the sense of being "different" and not being able to take part must have been devastating. I no longer keep up with what is being taught and promoted in the school system but I can hope that they are on board with what is our new reality with regard to home life and family.
September 23, 2011
How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
Not ever having been a "fan" of Autumn, I do like this quote which I found this morning as I ponder the first day of Autumn. I like how it describes aging and the change to final days with grace and beauty. As I move into the autumn of my own life this is what I wish to remember and to take with me. A life full of grace and light and colour, rich and vibrant.
September 22, 2011
(image found on google.com)
My car battery works...it took just a little cleaning around one of the terminals to remove the corrosion and I've been motoring since the lovely man "cleaned up" behind my mess. Ah if it was as simple to rev my own motor...a little cleaning around my terminals and off I'd go. The reality is, I CAN clean around my own terminals and make myself go. It might take a little more energy or a little more determination but it can be done. Or I can find a lovely man (handsome, tall, dangerously good looking...) to clean around my terminals but I digress and that's a thought for another day.
I appreciate all the comments and support and the recognition that we do get like this from time to time. The lovely and inspiring Anyes reminded me that I need to make sure I carve out even 30 minutes a day just for me to do something I love and the reminder was so very much needed. Thank you for that!
And today, the Queen of Arts, the delightful, artistic, joyous soul that is Kim, reminded me that joy is there to be had...we make it, we shine our light on someone else to make that happen or we are the one who benefits from someone else shining that light of remembrance upon us. We create our own joy.
This is the last day of summer, the sun is shining, it is warm and it is simply a day to soak up and smile and be grateful for the beauty of the day. I can see the joy, I can feel the joy and I can make the joy happen, even when my heart is hurting for a child who is going through lost love and finding his way again and a mother-in-law who is flirting more and more with dementia, delusions and perhaps even hallucinations.
Life does not move in a straight line in a smoothly flowing river day after day. Even the river bends and turns, eddies and is pulled by the currents. Sometimes the best we can do is grab a life vest and a paddle and ride it out until we come to the next spot where we can catch a breath. Better yet is to be the one in the front with the paddle, deciding where the next move will be.
September 20, 2011
(image found on google.com)
I'm sitting here waiting for the mechanic from the CAA to arrive and tell me why my vehicle won't start. It worked fine this morning though I did notice the ignition did not want to catch, ever so briefly when I was leaving the library this morning. As I made myself comfortable in the truck after lunch to make a trip to run a few more errands I turned the key and got "nada". Tried a few more times and it just grunted a little bit and I let it be. Made my phone call and now I wait. Strangely, we had a similar problem with our other car last week. They are the same year, both Fords, maybe batteries just corrode at the same time. Whatever the problem I'm leaving it to someone who knows what he or she is doing (last week we had a female mechanic).
I'm seeing this as a bit of a metaphor for my life right now. I'm incredibly exhausted and fatigued. I'm putting some of that down to the weather and my allergies. I put some of it down to having to be there for both sons as they are adjusting into their present situations and in one case we may need to drive to Sarnia on Thursday to arrange new accommodation for one of them. It's about 3-4 hours each way. Not looking forward to that but it's a must do. Add all the stress around my mother-in-law starting rehab (and not going into it gracefully), I think my own battery has died. I certainly need a recharging in more ways than one.
I haven't been visiting the blogs I enjoy to see what's happening with others, I haven't been creating anything and I haven't been doing most of the things I enjoy. I know all of that will resume once I get myself "boosted". If only it was as easy as putting on some clamps and being recharged from someone else's energy.
September 16, 2011
Refreshed, rested, relaxed and rejuvenated. A wonderful couple of days outside of the city, cottage living on the river as summer comes to an end. Good food, exercise, no make up, no shower, no fussing with hair, laughter, bobbing in the water on a tube drinking beer (moored to the dock so we didn't drift away!), wine and then more wine. Sleeping deeply in the dark of dark with no noises in the pure still silence.
Regular blogging will resume next week. In the meantime, I'm going to ride this wave of relaxation! Enjoy the weekend!
September 13, 2011
Later today it's off to a friend's cottage north of here for an overnight. A last trip before the cottage is closed for the winter. A girls getaway where we can talk and laugh, drink some wine, eat some good food and just catch our breath. We are both empty nesters with sons near and far from home (her youngest is over 13 hours away) and it's been a whirlwind week or two for both of us. It is time to just kick back, relax, forget our worries and our cares, and enjoy some peace and solitude. We'll likely make some "next step" plans for ourselves while we're at it. Anything is possible over a bottle or two of good, fine red wine. I think I'll treat us to some Chateauneuf-du-Pape because we're worth it. I usually save this one for special occasions and I can't think of a better special occasion than being a mother who has guided her children to their futures. Maybe I'd better bring two bottles...just in case!
September 12, 2011
And we did...haul. Friday night and Saturday morning spent filling this truck with the bits and pieces left at this house by the firstborn. Husband drove this monster and I drove the SUV. We drove 1 1/2 hours and connected with the son in Waterloo where he was spending some time with his girlfriend and finished loading the truck with the pieces he had left at her place. I'm seeing a pattern here...this guy leaves bits and pieces wherever he goes...
Another 3 hours driving to our final destination...a convoy along the 401 highway to Windsor...the end of the road on the 401. 3 vehicles to move one person (he'll keep my car with him so he can get about).
Life is just a funny old thing. You could get angry when things happen and often we do (I have been known to partake of anger myself from time to time) or we could just say "it is what it is" and make the best of it.
When our son looked at his schedule for the next 2 years he was told he would be doing his B.Ed. at the University of Windsor and the ECE (Early Childhood Education as he would like to teach at the elementary level) would be at Lambton College in Sarnia. These two cities are a little more than an hour apart. His semesters were to be split for the years with Windsor/Sarnia and then Sarnia/Windsor. In searching for a place to live he chose Windsor so that he could jump across the border to Detroit for sports: Red Wings, Lions, Tigers (I think they missed out on Bears..oh my!). And he will make the drive to Sarnia by going through the US to Port Huron as it is a faster drive than going Windsor-Sarnia. All set, all planned and the apartment is taken in Windsor. Roll on to Friday past where he had his orientation in Sarnia. And oh yes, all of the classes will be in Sarnia for the 2 years. WHAT??? He's not distressed and quite frankly, neither am I. He can do the drive (and spend the money on gas) and while in Sarnia look for a place to rent when this lease is up. Or he can try and get out of this lease and move to Sarnia. Either way it works.
After this weekend's move, I'm in no hurry to help again. And moving Windsor to Sarnia is a lot better than Toronto to Windsor. Besides which, by the time he's ready to move again he can call on all of his big strong friends to come and do that with him. Mother and Father are signing off and out!!
September 10, 2011
September 9, 2011
My mind has been otherwise occupied for a few weeks and I'm often distracted or exhausted or both. Yet within that time I still had the desire to create and to empty my mind by working with my hands, creating textures and layers and building something that would give me joy. I'm not sure I did it with this. I worked at it and worked at it, changing things, painting over, adding, wiping away until finally I said "I'm done". I do like the finished piece although there was a time when I was ready to just chuck it into the bin! But I persevered and refused to let it "beat" me. I'm stubborn that way!!
"The Air is Like a Butterfly" is now for sale in my etsy shop.
September 8, 2011
The plan was that with the boys out of the house ... both of them now, for the first time ever, that my husband and I would drive to Columbus, Ohio for the Country Living Fair which runs from the 16th - 18th of September. It would mean that I wasn't sitting here, possibly missing their presence and if I was busy with my own interests, I'd have less time to "pine" for them (not exactly sure that there would be much pining, but it sounds good!).
These plans were made before life stepped in and does what it often does...change the plans. It was my decision to cancel the hotel reservation and to not make this trip next week. Not because I'm worried about my mother-in-law and not because I feel we might be needed. It's stress and I made a promise to myself six years ago that stress and I would never be friendly, walking hand in hand ever again. Yet I can feel it circling me. Headaches, upset stomach, clenching my teeth and general irritability. Must. Stop.
The stress is mostly caused because of my husband's job. It's year end where he works and as he's necessary to the financial reporting that needs to be done, taking 2 days off in September is dicey. The vacation time was approved, yet this week has already been incredibly stressful for him. Concern and worry about his mother. Overtime at work because he's getting the wonderful mixed message from his bosses. Upper management says "take the time with your mother, you need to take care of family" (if he wasn't an only child much of this wouldn't be necessary) and at the same time they are saying "we need this report and we need that report and have you finished with this report..." You get the idea.
Last night he left work at 10:00 p.m. after working from 9:00 a.m. It's a long day. A long stressful day with no time taken to eat or think or pause to catch a breath. He worried I'm sure about not being able to get to the hospital to see how his mother is doing (I did that with our older son). And I know that despite the fact he was given the all clear on taking 2 days off mid month, it was weighing on his mind.
After a restless night of my own I made the decision this morning to cancel our reservations and cancel the trip. It isn't important. It was something to do. But there is no delight or enjoyment when it comes at a cost. When I told him what I was doing he didn't argue, simply asked me if I was sure. I knew then that I had made the right decision.
There will be other trips, other opportunities to get away for a bit. I'm thinking right after Thanksgiving in October. Both boys will be home for the first time since beginning their new school semester and having them leave again might then be the time that I feel it more than I do now. If I'm also packing up and heading out -- I won't feel left out and coming home to an empty house won't be emotionally difficult. At least that's the plan!
September 7, 2011
This very well might be the last rose I see in my garden this season. The roses in my back garden didn't bloom much at all this year. This rose in my front garden was eaten by those who found it's leaves such a delicacy they couldn't sate themselves. So far this summer there have been all of 3 blooms on this bush. There is another bud which hopefully will open.
This bloom sat there all alone, its heavy head bending down as if in sorrow that it was being unappreciated. When I came in this morning from my errands I knew I wanted to be able to appreciate it -- not just it's beauty but it's delicate fragrance. Whoever it was munching on this bush wasn't going to rob me of all the beauty and joy. Snipped, watered and sitting where I can enjoy it for as long as it lasts. I could enjoy this flower every time I stepped out the door or I could have it indoors where it would grace my living space. The decision really wasn't hard to make.
September 6, 2011
It's been a very busy few days, and as often happens in life, when one door seems to be closing, another door or a window opens to something else. Most often that is something "good", a new opportunity or the possibility of taking life where it wants to go. In my case, it's taking me where it wants to go, and has grounded me to being the "care" person once again.
A less emotional day than I anticipated on Sunday as we moved the youngest to his residence and felt the anticipation and the chaos of 300 young people moving into residence and taking those steps away and leaving the security net of home behind. Emotionally and physically tiring for me and for my husband, we came home and crashed, thankful that Monday was a holiday and we could sleep in and just do nothing if we wished or tackle the things around home that have been neglected as we've been so immersed in our children's futures.
Roll to 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning and a phone call from the retirement residence where my husband's 95 year old mother lives. She had fallen and been taken to the closest hospital for x-ray and treatment. X-ray revealed a broken bone at the hip -- just under the hip socket and surgery would be necessary in order to repair the damage with pins. Surgery was finally under way at 7:30 p.m., a 2 hour operation that my mother-in-law sailed through. This woman is in remarkable physical health...frail though she may be. Exhaustion for us has been the buzz word for the weekend.
As the door closed on our son moving on into his future, the window opened and we now have at least 6 weeks of long term physio and rehab to go through with my mother-in-law. She will be in hospital for 1 week, then transferred to a rehab unit at the hospital for a further 4 weeks. From there, should she require further rehab, an extended stay facility will be the next stop. All of this depends on her will, her determination and her body's ability to push forward so that she is ambulatory once again. Being told that she was not to put pressure on that leg for 6 weeks wasn't exactly what she was hoping to hear. While she won't be living with us over the course of this rehab, we will be back and forth and concerning ourselves more than ever with her welfare and well being. With the boys off doing their own thing and not requiring our assistance at this time, it frees us up to be there for her without distractions.
Life is a funny old thing. Like a box of "bits and bites" you never know what you'll pull out when you reach in your hand.
September 4, 2011
His first day of school, September 5, 1996. A brave, excited yet uncertain 4 1/2 year old. His first experience of leaving the nest for the wider world a few blocks away.
Today we move this same young man to college, into his first residence, first experience of living away from home, with a roommate and dipping his toes into the waters of life as lived by a 19 1/2 year old. This leaving the nest for the wider world is a lot more than a few blocks away. As it should be.
It's a beautiful, bittersweet day. I'm so happy for him, and yet I am sad for me because I will miss having him here. But I am more than ready to let him fly, to let him have his adventures and create the life that he is meant to live.
On a very sad note, the lady that he met on that first day of school, his wonderful kindergarten teacher (who also taught his older brother...her first year at the school and his first year at the school) passed away on Thursday. Much too young from cancer.
It just adds to the poignancy of this experience we call life. Those who come into our lives at the right time and those who leave when it is time.
And it is time for me to let this little bird fly.
September 1, 2011
I almost refuse to believe that this is September 1st. August was skimming along just nicely and then suddenly I could feel that definite change in the air and the nights were a bit cooler and the mornings were cooler and the air just had that different feel to it. September was wafting in the wings just waiting to make an appearance.
The trees have been losing leaves for weeks which I'm putting down to the incredibly hot summer we have had and the fact that we have had sporadic rain. Hearing that "crunch" as I walk across the grass or walk in the garden sounds just so wrong. The cicadas and the crickets are much more vociferous than they are in the early days of summer. But it is gone. August is gone.
So is my external hard drive. It had been making some "interesting" noises for a while and then just stopped working completely. I spoke to someone in the Geek Squad at Best Buy a few weeks ago and he suggested I bring it in and they could do a diagnostic on the hard drive and retrieve the information for me. Yesterday while shopping with my son who is getting outfitted for his first year living in residence, we made a stop at Best Buy and this really amazing young man talked me through the reality of my hard drive.
Toast you might say. Done like dinner. Oh I can certainly have them run diagnostics which will start at $60, just to have a look. Then there are three levels of repair ranging in price from $279 to $1,700. There's a lot of magic to be performed at each of those levels and of course you would hope that your problem would be at the $279 level. But bless his heart, he told me that he would only recommend doing any of this "if the information on the hard drive is something that would keep you out of jail." Ah. I loved that.
Is there anything special on the hard drive? By this point I have no clear recollection of exactly what I saved there. I was advised to have an external because my PC had a limited storage capacity. I know there are digital graphics on there and some photographs (copies of things I have elsewhere) and other than that, I truly cannot remember. Whatever it is, there is nothing in there important enough to warrant spending that kind of money.
That young man's words have stayed with me into today. I'm certain there is nothing anywhere in my files on my PC or my external hard drive that would keep me out of jail. And it's really quite clear now that the only things I need to worry about having are those things that will keep me out of danger or out of jail. I certainly can't take any of it with me at the end of the programme. And really, when it's gone, it's gone.