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Archive for the ‘Musings and Epiphanies’ Category

I was only six years old when I saw King Kong. Yet I remember it vividly. I suppose it’s because my dad took my brother and I to see it on Christmas Eve. Now that I am older, I understand why my dad was insane enough to take a six and seven year old to the movies on Christmas Eve. I don’t remember what he did during the movie, but I do remember my brother and I were captivated. Our favorite part was when King Kong battled the snake.

When we got home we had to tell all about the snake. I guess we agreed on the car ride home that I would get to tell about the snake, or I declared that I would get to tell it. But my brother had other ideas. He just walked in the door to the house and blurted the whole thing out. I was so upset!

I don’t know why it was so important to tell the story of the snake. The whole movie was fantastic for kids. Big giant ape, gigantic snake, tall buildings, damsel in distress, Jessica Lange, and Jeff Bridges. What else could a kid want? And to see the “new” movie on Christmas Eve? WOW!

Remember this was in the days when the idea of a “blockbuster” was new. Jaws is credited with being the first blockbuster, and set the bar high. For a kid who didn’t get to go to the movies a lot (they were expensive!), to see King Kong a week after it opened was incredibly cool. And to have seen it with my brother, and to have that happy funny memory is a gift. A wonderful Christmas gift that I only came to appreciate fully upon losing him four years ago.

I hadn’t seen him for decades, long tragic story behind that and it doesn’t deserve any attention in this post. But he wouldn’t give up on me. And when we saw each other for the first time in a long time in 2015, he hugged me so tight, I think he just wanted to never let go. I thank God every day that my brother was so determined because he brought me back to my family.

And what an amazing family. I hate that I missed three decades with them. But I work to not focus on that and focus instead on how they welcomed me back with open arms, and unconditional love. No anger, no blame. They had a better understanding of why I didn’t see them for 30 years than I had. And they helped me better understand why I didn’t see them–the whole deep manipulative world I was trapped in. They understood and they forgave before I could even ask them to forgive me for my blindness and ignorance.

You know, my brother blurted out about the snake in 1976. If I had remembered that sooner, and realized he was still blurting out about the snake, I may have returned sooner. I just didn’t put it together.

Me & my brother

I am so thankful I had the time with my brother. I miss him every damn day. But I try to be like him. I try to make him proud. And I’m glad my family got to know him, even if for just a little while.

He brought me to my dad, stepmother, and baby brother. And my cousins, my aunts, my uncles. It’s a blessing. And I thank my brother for that gift.

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And so there is a snow storm around. Supposed to be a good ol’ fashioned nor’easter by tomorrow. I hate driving in snow, but sitting at home and binging tv or playing games or reading a book are great. I’ll be making potato soup tomorrow, and that will be yummy on a snowy day. The boys are virtual tomorrow anyway, as is my work, so no snow day. But still a quiet day in a sense. The world is quieter with snow falling.

I’ll read “One for the Road” by Uncle Stevie tonight. It’s tradition during a snow storm. Get myself all creeped out and then fall asleep. The sound of the plows may interrupt my slumber at some point, but I’ll drift back easily enough. I drove in the snow earlier, of which I am dreadfully fearful. So adrenaline went up and I am exhausted.

But the outside looks pretty, the cats have a fun “movie” to watch through the windows, and maybe the dog will let me take him out. He’s scared of walking in the snow. Only while it’s falling (and “attacking” him). When it’s done falling, he loves romping through it.

Enjoy the quiet this evening.

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So as I am 95% misanthrope, I have been mostly ok with the current situation. But at times I do miss the company of humans. Obviously, my three stooges are here keeping me entertained, and I see my folks, my bro, some close friends every once and a while. But just general people? Been a long time and I hope I remember my manners when we finally see each other again face to face.

I have had to own the fact that even now that I have the “time” I have not improved my diet or exercise habits. I am pleased that I have not gained weight, but there is no excuse for not having lost weight and creating an exercise routine. I need to create new habits and I am always solid about my plans in the middle of the night, as I drift off to sleep. But in the day, with the light of the sun streaming in the window, I eat the M&Ms and I sit on my ass. So I need to substitute that with a walk, or a stretch, or anything. I am sure I would see results quickly just by cutting out the sugary snacks.

I have fun things to challenge myself with when I prioritize those things over playing yet another game on my phone. I have been taking classes in a master’s program, and I start teaching my class again next week. The brain work is good, as I fear my memory has taken a toll during this “timeless” year. I struggle to know what day of the week it is and have become overly reliant on my phone to know the actual date. There is a certain type of freedom in this though. I feel less first-world stress. I don’t mean to start a conversation about that, but that is the world I live in and those are the stresses I have. I am thankful for my education, but not the debt that hangs around my neck. Suffice it to say the return on investment they claim is not accurate. At least not with the choices and path I have walked. The first master’s I got was a step in the right direction, so I thought, but still twenty years later, it is only now beginning to show some benefit. I hope the next master’s helps more quickly. {giggle} I am also just investing in myself to avoid a narrow focus and becoming boring. I have been learning more about topics I have always wondered about, and I am crocheting.

Spending time with my sons is both wonderful and frustrating. They are at an age where spending umpteen months in lockdown with your parents is the last place they want to be. They should be forging their independence and learning how to make decisions, without me literally always in the next room. They will be fine, but this whole generation of teens are being shaped by this. The younger children are going to have different hurdles to deal with, and my heart weeps for how it will have shaped them when we start to really see it in ten years or so.

My dog has heightened anxiety because I rarely leave and now he cries when I do. I know the cats are tired of us. One constant is the beardies. They still just sit on their trees, eat their food, drink their water, and poop. Bearded dragons are most decidedly not impacted by a pandemic.

Those are my rambling thoughts for the evening. I miss writing. And I needed to let it get to a point where I missed it. I hope to write again much sooner that the last time. Be well.

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Oh dear gentle reader(s), if there are any of you left. 2020 has been quite a year. And for me it marks my half-century. I look at my sons regularly wondering how they can be 15 and 17 years old, how does one of them have a driver’s license? And where did my little babies go? It’s natural as a parent to reflect on the passage of time for their children. And as I spoke with my dad today I realized as he said, jokingly, “50? One of my kids is 50?” that I am feeling what he has been feeling for years.

And as I am the type to reflect, I thought about hitting the mid-century mark.

First, I’m quite thrilled to be on top of the ground and not under it. Second, I am so glad to be with Hubby and sons to celebrate it.

I had planned to do a girls’ getaway to New Orleans to mark the occasion. Total Hallmark movie plans, rent a little house, be tourists, long talks till the wee morning hours about life and all the things that girls like to talk about when they gather in their little covens.

That clearly didn’t happen.

Tonight I suspect we will eat homemade Hershey’s chocolate cake made by Hubby. Then I think we will watch a Halloween movie because I have been derelict in that this season, much to Younger Son’s disappointment. The house is decorated, inside and out, costumes are almost done being sewn, but we haven’t read a word of Poe nor watched any scary movies. But it’s 2020.

And that is the fatigue I am feeling. I have gotten quite comfy with blaming the year. I haven’t accomplished some great project, written the great American novel, or even written regularly for this. What have I been doing this year? What have I been doing my whole life? And I realized, I’ve been living it. I’ve been enjoying it, the little things, the big things. I’ve walked through sadness and grief. I’ve laughed my ass off. I’ve watched in awe as my sons have grown up. I’ve loved and laughed for twenty years with Hubby.

I’ve lived with schizophrenia and not let it control what I do. I am fighting my fears about dementia and its history in my family. I’ve walked a path of advocacy that my sons can follow no matter what the reason they need to advocate for themselves. I’ve been scared, I’ve been relieved, I’ve been probably every emotion we humans have ever named.

I try to make sense of everything that is going on in the world. It overwhelms one. But I do try. I reflect inward to try to examine myself as that is where I can start change. I look at how I can shape my sons, I look at how life passes from one generation to the next.

And the soundtrack to all of this is from that last place I would have guessed if you had asked me back in 1987. But he wrote a whole album to help one reflect on 50, so I couldn’t ignore it. He would never, so I certainly couldn’t let him down either. Then he made another album to make sure I remember it’s a Beautiful Life.

And the album is amazing. The voice is even better than it was in 1987. My sons were introduced to Rick Astley because of the pinata in a Psych episode. The Older Son grew into his voice and is a baritone so he does a pretty mean impression of Rick Astley. And then we discovered the 50 album. And then Beautiful Life. And then he treated us to “Titanium” during this world lockdown, which I sing almost every day.

But the song that helps me each day, ok, there are several, but if I had to pick, ok, I couldn’t. Here’s the bare minimum line-up: “Try”, “Keep Singing”, “Pray with Me”, “Beautiful Life”, and then “Dance”. In general, these two albums, along with any and all Queen, have been this year’s soundtrack for me. And Older Son and I sing Phantom while Younger Son plays on his euphonium. But I digress.

“Try”. As I have been reflective during 2020 and approaching 50 like a bat out of hell, I keep coming back to this song. I’m half tempted to find a decent karaoke track and pop it up on Youtube, but I don’t know that the world needs me singing it. “Even if I’m broken on the inside…” And there have been times in my life when I felt that was so true. And there are times when nothing makes sense. And there are times I miss my brother so much and wish he had heard this song.

So as I turn 50, I know I need to try. Try something new each day, or do squats, or laugh, or do something to show myself that I have a beautiful life. Then try to share that with the world to add to the beauty rather than add anything else negative. I will try to lift myself out of the funk that started five years ago and has been haunting my dreams with sadness, death, rejection, loss. I will instead focus on my family, my blessings.

“All I know is nothing’s certain
So I’m gonna try, I’m gonna try
It’s only myself that I’m hurting
If I don’t try, if I don’t try

When it feels like all my hopes and dreams are shattered into dust
I remember that the only thing I have to do is trust…” ~Rick Astley

So I try.

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This has been a soothing time for us, with ups and downs as anyone is feeling in these “unprecedented times”. Although, the world has lived through times similar to these before I am sure.

But I am writing about my life right now. It’s hard to let go and realize I don’t have to run somewhere…at any time right now. My body, mind, and spirit are slowly adjusting to it. Things are stressful, Hubby’s work has slowed dramatically, my work has had a decent share of stress. I had one my beloved vestibular migraines from April 9-April 29, so that was fun. But I finally don’t look like I’m drunk while I walk around my house. And happily did not need to drive anywhere because I can’t.

And in this time at home I have rediscovered cards. How did I forget about the joy of cards? Younger Son is mildly obsessed, has over a dozen decks. He has several from a company called Theory Eleven. The cards were so nice I finally broke down and bought myself two decks. Not that I don’t still have my trusty Bee Peppermill deck of cards that I’ve used since my college days.

But these new cards are art. I felt a little guilty when I first shuffled them, starting to break them in. They’re gorgeous. We’ve been playing Go Fish, Palace, Gin, Gin Rummy. I want to remember how to play Spit and War. We also played Uno the other night. And a coworker told me about Pit. I ordered it online, it arrived, and we played it last night. All I can say is our neighbors may think us insane. Shouts of “Trade One! Trade Three! Trade Two!” echoing out of our living room windows last night. We were loud, laughing, and having a grand time. May have scared the dog a bit. Older Son was thrilled to FINALLY win a game.

My goal once the world gets spinning again is to keep this pace as best we can. We usually ate dinner together most nights. We often played games. But there was always a lingering presence of The Things That Need To Be Done, at least in my mind, and then I would speak about The Things That Need To Be Done, removing all of us from the moment. Living in the moment has been a beautiful accident with the way the world is right now. I pledge not to let go of that. This is that chance to see what life can be if one chooses to slow down, appreciate what one has instead of thinking about what one wants, and focus on what really matters.

It’s the simple things, like a beautiful (old) deck of cards.

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Happily, my OTC allergy medicine arrived. My sinus may actually slow down their ridiculous levels of mucous production. Man, if I could find something to make with that I could retire.

And of course with copious amounts of free time, ghosts like to come visiting. They usually lurk in the dark shadowy areas of my mind and memory. But at the moment, they like trying to have a chat in the middle of the night.

To avoid them I wander down the random path of Google link after Google link. It’s interesting to see how different people and things are connected much the way we’re all connected to Kevin Bacon. Six little degrees, my friends.

Now I’m off to eat leftovers-mmmm, gumbo! And I’m attempting an Oreo cheesecake in my Instant Pot.

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Hello Gentle Readers

That’s right. I finally stopped playing Disney Emoji Blitz long enough to put pen to paper. I want to remind you of a simple fact.

Get off of social media. Stop comparing yourself to what so-and-so has done with these circumstances and do what you want to do.

Crafting-sick of people posting how much craft stuff they have done? This is the crafting I’ve done. I realize I never do it. I finally owned that I don’t need the clutter from an activity I do so rarely that I am lying when I say I like beading.

Cleaning-ok, I was cleaning like a banshee, you know getting rid of crafting supplies, but then my town announced there would be no bulk pickups. We just switched to a cart trash system. I can’t fit a couch in that. Now my driveway looks horrific. But I do keep adding to the pile.

But neatly.

My favorite thing about this has been longer family game nights. We have them regularly anyway, but without a commute, I can try to stay up later.

Confession. We played Cards Against Humanity with our teenage sons. I’m blaming that one on the desperate times.

So to be brutally honest, the misanthrope in me is doing just fine. I’ve got what I need and a lot of what I want-my family, my pets, health, and a chance to breathe.

Just be you, do what you want/can/need to. And don’t compare with others. You’re doing exactly what you were made to do.

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A long time ago

in a galaxy far, far away, I, like millions of others, started a journey with George Lucas. 42 years later it will come to a close for me tonight. I hope I like where they take the story. I hope I feel it is the right ending to a 42 year journey.

I’m not the “#1” Star Wars fan, would never claim to be. I don’t know every little detail, every nugget of trivia or lore. But I love the world of Star Wars. And a part of me is quite sad to see the end of the three trilogies. What a massive universe to enter into as a seven year old to finally skywalk out it as a 49 year old.

May the force be with you.

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Oh my lanta

Second (or connecting) flight is delayed almost 2 hours. I wanna see my kid!

Older Son is gaining so much independence and knowledge of how to handle life stuff.

And I’m slowly (and I mean slowly) learning that I have to let go of control.

That’s gonna take a shit ton of work, and learning to let go.

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While Older Son has about another decade before he has the PhD, I am a paleontologist’s mom.

A sample of his patience with my ignorance.

Lifelong learners. 🙂

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