Category Archives: Aging

09May/17
Sh*t house

Can We Ever Really Get Our Sh*t Together?

and does it matter if we don’t…

poop house

might be the only place to get our sh*t together…

My youngest texted me the other night and I asked her what she was doing. She said she was “working on getting her sh*t together.” I texted her back and said, “honey, I’m 67 and I still don’t have mine together. In fact I don’t even know where it is.”

Since I was at the beach with my girl friends we all started talking about this and every single one of them said they didn’t think we ever really get it all together. So my question today is….Can we truly get our sh*t together or do we spend our entire lives trying to do this? It seems to me and this is just my own personal experience, whenever I think I have it all together, life goes…”not so fast there girl”…and something happens to let me know I don’t.

I’ve spent most of my adult life working on “me”…trying to be a better person, figuring out who I am, and what I want out of life. And honestly I think I know less now than I did when I was in my 30’s. I read all the self help books back in the 80’s and 90’s…books by Norman Vincent Peale, Dale Carnegie, Steven Covey and more… they all helped me be more positive after my divorce and even do some of the things I always wanted to do, like have my own business. But now in my 60’s I have no clue how to get it together. Could it be because we think we know everything when we are younger and as we age we figure out…we don’t.

Maybe the answer to this question is that as we age we know we don’t have all that much time to figure it out anymore? That the life we have left is growing shorter every day and we won’t ever figure out what we really want or desire. I’m not saying by any means that I am unhappy or feel “less than” for not figuring out my whole existence by now. But I really would like to know what I’m here for, why am I on this earth and what am I supposed to do…or have I already done it?

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” ~ Jim Rohn

I still think I should get my sh*t together once and for all at this point in my life. Really I should. I just don’t think it’s possible. However, I did come up with a theory of why we can’t while we were all discussing it and this is what I came up with….Hope you are ready for this one…Maybe we work on our sh*t our whole lives and that is what we are meant to do… and then when we finally, once and for all get it together and figure it all out…we die. I know…I know…but it does make some weird cosmic sense that this may be the answer. We finally have attained the unattainable… so what is there left to do?

After coming upon this life altering thought… I then decided not to work so hard on getting it all together any time soon because I want to be around for a while. I am just going to enjoy my life, have fun and give up on trying to figure it all out. This isn’t easy for me to do because I have this deep seated need to be aware of my reason for being here. I always have. I don’t know if I can really do this or not. But I’m going to try.

Having said that I am going to give up trying to figure it all out also means I can not waste time on the “why’s” in my life…why don’t I still have the marriage I thought would last forever, my family that is gone and the money I was told I would have is not there. Things like that. Thinking about things such as this drive us crazy. Change happens through out our entire lives, as we well know “the only constant in our lives is change.” Sometimes we just have to deal with the cards we are dealt and move forward. It’s the same as constantly trying to get our sh*t together.  We need to learn to live with the fact we may never get it together. And that’s ok!

Ok, I’ve decided getting my sh*t together isn’t important! Life changing decision for me. I hope I can do this. So then what is important? What is important is being able to live in the moment. Don’t try to live in the future and worry about what is to come or dwell on the past and think about the “why’s and “what if’s.” Live life fully, enjoy the people we love and who love us. Dance to the music, walk in the rain and lay on the beach listening to the waves and just “be”… Live!!

Do you have your sh*t together? If you don’t, does it matter to you? If you do, please tell us how you did it?

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” ~ Mark Twain  (maybe this is why I felt like I had it together back in my 30’s..I was very self confident then…and also very ignorant)

 

 

 

28Apr/17
clock is ticking

Don’t Wait Till I’m Dead To Tell Me You Love Me

tell me how you feel, bad or good, just tell me now…

clock is ticking

time is running out…

We had my son’s “Celebration of Life” this past Sunday and everyone told such wonderful stories about him. Things I never knew that he did or how he made people feel. The stories they told made me cry and truly touched my heart. He was a good man and people knew it. People really did “get” him. I loved what they all said but It also made me think…”why didn’t we tell him this while he was alive?”

Yes, we tell people we love them and sometimes even thank them for being in our lives. But do we tell them how they make us feel? I think as we age and start losing people, we start to realize life is short and may not have the opportunity again to say the things we want to say. We may have missed the chance to tell them we cared. And “why” we cared…

I have a wonderful family and friends that I love like family. I have lost so many people so I make sure to tell each and every one of them every time I see them or talk to them how much I love them and how happy I am to have them in my life. But I may be lacking in telling them why. I need to start doing that more. From now on, I plan on telling my friends and family what they bring to my life…. how they make me feel, and why I love them.

Can we really get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to tell the people we love that they matter? That their very existence is a reason to celebrate…and how much that existence means to us. I wish my parents were alive so I could tell them what a wonderful life they gave me and how I felt secure and loved every day. I wish my sister was alive so I could tell her how her kindness and goodness has inspired me to be a better person and how I look for the good everyday because of her.

“The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how they love them while they’re alive.” ~ Optimus Prime

I would love to be able to tell my son what a good, loving person he was and what a wonderful father he was to his two children. One of my favorite stories on Sunday was the one his first girlfriend told. She said she always loved the way he treated me and how much he loved me. He was her first love and she still remembers that almost 30 years later. The story she told touched me deeply. And I know he would have loved to hear what she said. My story was about the day I dropped him off at YMCA Camp and he kissed me and hugged me in front of all his buddies…..not caring what they thought or how they would make fun of him after I left. I always loved that and never forgot it.

The other story that touched me that day was when his uncle said, “if you ever needed to talk or were having a bad day, you knew you could pick up the phone and call Dave and he would be there for you. No matter what was going on in his life, he would be there and just listen.” What more could someone say about you? What could matter more than someone knowing this about you? That you would be there for them no matter what was going on in your life. And believe me, my son had a lot going on in his life. But he was there for his friends and family. They came first, sometimes maybe they shouldn’t have. Maybe he would still be here…

My point is tell the people you love what you love about them. Do it while they are here…don’t wait until you are standing over their grave or at their funeral when asked to speak. I want to clear something up here before anyone takes this post the wrong way…. my family and friends do tell me they love me. They show me they love me in so many ways. I know I’m loved believe me! These past few months have shown me just how much the people in my life care. People that I hadn’t seen for years, people that moved away, people that weren’t even that close to me. They were and are here for me and I know I am loved.

I just want us all to be more aware of how much it means to someone to hear not just that you love them, but also why you love them. How much it means to hear I love you because you have a caring heart. How much it means that you always check up on me and make sure I’m ok. How much it means that you know what I need before I know I need it. How much it means to me that you remember little things about my son and talk about him with me. How much it means that you send me texts about seeing a butterfly and you thought of Dave.

I do think the people we have lost know how much we love them and why. I think Dave heard all of us on Sunday. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to say it to them in person? To see their face and feel their joy. So I plan on telling my family and friends why I love them. I want to let them know just how important they are in my life. I don’t want to wait until it’s too late.

Do you let those you love know how much you love them? Do you tell them why…

“Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell someone how much you love them and how much you care about them. Because when they’re gone, no matter how loud you shout and cry, they won’t hear you anymore.” ~ Unknown

 

 

 

31Mar/17
neighborhood kids

What Can I Be When I Grow Up?

what is left that I haven’t already done…

what do you want to be

Do I look like a nurse in my bikini?

I’m the one on the far right in the bikini. Not even sure it was a bikini, it was a two piece bathing suit. But that’s not the topic of this post. I loved my friends and the lazy summer days spent in our pool. We didn’t have a care in the world.  As you can see my friends had a dog. I wanted a dog too. A poodle..a toy poodle. My parents said they couldn’t afford it and if I could somehow find the money I could have one. I think they said that knowing full well I couldn’t possibly find the money. I was the oldest in the neighborhood and was also kind of bossy. So I told all the kids they needed to give me money so I could buy a poodle and you know what…they did. And their parents didn’t even seem to care. I got my poodle too as you can see in the picture on the right of The Helpful Hellion. I was such a little entrepreneur.

It was around this time in my life that I decided I wanted to be was a nurse. Mom’s best friend across the street was a nurse and I for some reason thought that sounded like something I should do too.. My Aunt Norma was also a nurse and she was awesome. So that was it…I was going to be a nurse. Every time I went to the doctor’s office all I would do was watch the nurses in their starched white uniforms and little caps go about their business and think someday that will be me.

That was the plan until I turned 13. I was going to be a nurse. However my teenage angst and thoughts of far away places changed all of that. Far away as in getting out of the house and moving somewhere exotic and doing something artistic. Since I didn’t have much artistic talent that anyone could see, even me…I decided I was going to be a writer. I was going to write and live in Paris. Yeah, I know…but it was the 60’s and people were doing all kinds of crazy things. So that was it then at 13, I decided to move to Paris as soon as I graduated and write. I started right away, every day when I got home from school I wrote. I was writing the next “Great American Novel.” I called it, “I Walk Alone.” It was about a woman living alone in of all places Paris. I still have it somewhere around here.

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Elliot

I kept the writing thing going and really worked hard in English class until around the age of 15. After that, what I was going to be wasn’t as important as all the cute boys I had started being attracted to. When I got pregnant and married at almost 16, my future was decided for me. I was going to be…a Mom. Having 3 children by the age of 21 didn’t allow much time for anything else. I was a stay at home Mom and I loved it. I guess it was around that time I started working outside the house a few hours to give me some spending money of my own and a chance to get out of the house a bit.

I continued working a few part time retail jobs while the kids were growing up and enjoyed the interaction and loved the retail environment. I loved clothes and shoes and I got a discount and money to spend. I got divorced at age 27 and went to work full time. This time it wasn’t so much a choice of what exciting thing I wanted to do, it was what can I do that I can make the most money and be there for the kids. I got a waitress job and was home by 3 when the kids got home. I made good money and had benefits. So it worked well for all of us.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”~ E.E.Cummings

I am not going to list all the jobs I’ve had over the course of my years because it would take forever. Let me just say, I had more that 20. I have also lost a good majority of those jobs due to a changing work environment. One where companies get bought out or close and people lose their jobs unexpectedly. I had several that I really loved and with no warning whatsoever the company just left all of us go. Early in my 40’s I grew tired of working for other people and decided I want to have my own business. So I thought, what was it that I loved and had always wanted to do? The answer wasn’t hard to come upon as I for a number of years had wanted to have my own clothing store.

Once I decided this was what I wanted to do it didn’t take long for everything to fall into place. One day at work I was looking in the newspaper and saw a local boutique downtown was for sale and couldn’t believe my eyes. I loved this store. As soon as I got off work I went there to talk to the owner. A few days later I put a business plan together and presented it to the local bank. They accepted it and gave me the money to buy the business. All this occurred within the span of a few weeks unbelievably.  The day the previous owner turned over the keys I stood in the middle of the store…my store and thought to myself….this is mine. This is what I have always wanted. I am living my dream.

working in a store

Me.. in my store…living my dream.

My dream lasted for a little over 4 years. I loved owning that store, the buying trips, merchandising all the clothing and accessories and helping women look good. Both of my daughters worked there with me and it was fun. I couldn’t see myself ever doing anything else. Sadly, the climate of the downtown changed and in 1990 when the recession hit, it hit 20 stores plus mine. I had to close my store and lock the door for the final time. It is hard coming back after that. What do you do when you have your dream? Where do you go from there?

Being in the downtown area I got to know people in the community and was offered several jobs, thank goodness. I appreciated every single offer and worked hard over the next few decades. I thought I had found another dream job about 7 years ago in the jewelry business. I was merchandising and traveling to stores all over the place. I loved it. Again it wasn’t to be and I was left go. While working at a few of the jobs I have had over the last decade I had also decided to keep my one part time job as a vendor of a large cosmetic/perfume company. I kept it due to the money, the people I worked for and with and basically being able to make my own schedule. Well as of 2 weeks ago that job has now also gone the direction of so many others I have had due to a recent buyout and reorganization…so here I am at 67 looking for a job.

“Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t , do something else.” ~ FDR

I know you’re asking yourself, why is she looking for work at 67?..well, I enjoy getting out of the house and being with people…I enjoy working at a job I love and doing it well. I like the satisfaction of a job well done and feeling like I am still able to accomplish something even at my age. I am asking myself once again…what is it you always wanted to do and haven’t done that yet? Anyone that follows this blog knows I love to write and started doing that when I lost the jewelry job. I do love it and I am not planning to stop. I don’t make any money doing this and keeping a big old house going takes a bit of money.

I have had so many jobs I loved and would go back to them…if they were still there to go back to. People keep saying to me, “oh, don’t worry, when one door closes another opens”… I have had so many doors close on me I think I will have to hire a locksmith this time. At this point in my life I want to be happy and want to do something I love doing. I also would like to make a difference in some way. So here I am asking myself, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” And I honestly don’t know the answer this time.

So here is the question of the day..What do you want to be when you grow up? I asked my grand daughter this questions today and she said… “a park ranger.” Sounds good to me.

“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Herein lies the key to your earthly pursuits.” ~ Carl Jung

 

 

 

 

 

24Mar/17
older women

15 Signs You Are Getting Old…er

how do we know we’re getting old, let me help…

older women

Do you think we’re old?

As usual this topic came up in conversation with some friends the other night at dinner. Well we really didn’t talk about getting older, we like to avoid that subject, but so many of our topics of conversation that night made me think about this. I thought about it the whole day and decided to put together this list of 15 signs you are getting old..er. So if you’re in doubt this may help.

1. You used to love going to crowded places like bars and concerts, but now if someone is even in the same aisle at the grocery store as you, it bugs you. Why is it so peoply everywhere these days?

2. You have to sit down to put on your socks or take off your pants. If you don’t you may fall over. Remember the days when we had perfect balance and could take these things off while standing up? Yeah, me neither cause I can’t remember a damn thing.

3. You print out the map quest directions when going somewhere you’ve never been before because you can’t see the tiny map or directions on your phone. And quite honestly I don’t trust those GPS things anyway. Remember those people who drove into the water cause the GPS told them to go straight…and they did… Straight into the water. Yeah, that ain’t happening to this girl.

4. When any of the music awards shows are on TV you don’t know who half the artists/bands are that are up for any of the awards. Really, who are these people and why haven’t I heard of them? I watch The Voice, I listen to the radio… I’m guessing listening to the oldies station doesn’t help.

5. When you get together these days with your high school friends… instead of talking about the cute guys you are dating you talk about your aching joints, back spasms, recent doctor visits and your upcoming cataract surgery. I want to talk about the cute guys I’m dating again…

6. You avoid people in the store when you see them because you can’t remember their name…and you know they remember your name because they did the last time you ran into them and till this day you still can’t remember theirs. It’s easier for everyone if you just avoid them altogether. 

7. Everyone is speeding by you on the highway. Remember when it was us speeding down the road yelling at all the old people to go faster or get off the road. Yeah. Karma…

8. When you can’t lose 5 pounds in one day anymore by just cutting out one  thing like soda or ice tea. Now I couldn’t lose 5 pounds in a year if i stopped eating entirely.

9. You tear up at almost anything these days. TV commercials, Hallmark movies, puppies, babies…Folgers commercials…yeah, I get all teary at coffee commercials..

10. Your sentences these days go something like this…”where is the thing that goes in the whatchamacallit?” And sadder still is the fact the “old” person you ask this question knows exactly what you are talking about.

11. You wish you could trade some of your body parts in on new ones. Your ears have gotten bigger, your hair has gotten thinner(some places have lost all of it) and your feet don’t look cute anymore, they look like something the Hulk walks on. And speaking of feet, no more high heels. You know I think maybe they are to blame for the “Hulk” feet.  Sneakers and really slippers are my best friends. 

12. You make those horrible old people sounds when you get up off the sofa. I remember looking in horror at my Grandfather when he did this. Now I do it. Where do these noises even come from? Do they help us to get up?

13. When you and a group of your friends are at dinner and every single one of you have special requests of the waiter when ordering your food. Can they hold the sauce.. is it gluten free… dressing on the side, please… what kind of oil is that fried in? You get the picture. Remember when we went to the old burger place and just ordered a burger and fries. No questions asked…those were the days…

14. You are filling something out online and it takes forever for you to scroll down to the year you were born. You could leave the room and get a coffee and come back and it would still be scrolling. Sometimes it doesn’t even go that far back, you have to fill the year in yourself….very disappointing.

15. And last but certainly not least…you have a note on your front door that says, “Did you remember your cell phone?” It was written by your grand daughter because you have forgotten yours so many times. And even worse is when you look at the note on your way out and still forget it.

That’s my list. I am sure there are many more you can think of. I would love you to leave some of them in the comments below. What’s a sign of growing old? And remember old is always 20 years older than we are….

“The older you get the better you get unless you’re a banana.” ~ Betty White

10Mar/17
fun

I Want To Be Fun Again…

is that even possible at my age…

fun

Like in this picture, see how much fun I am having…

That’s me in the center in the blue dress. Don’t I look like I’m having fun? I must have been, it was my birthday. So I should have been… But was I? Evidently my mom wanted everyone to and was passing out little boxes of it because as you can clearly see, the little girl in yellow has one. Maybe I didn’t get one and that is why I was so upset. Or maybe.. I just didn’t like my hat!

I did have fun as a child even though most of my pictures don’t show that side of me. We played outside all day long and didn’t go in until the sun went down. And we were never bored. I also had lots of fun as a teenager, while most kids in their teens have that teenage angst.. I really don’t remember ever having that. I’m sure my parents would most likely disagree with that statement but I just didn’t.. I had fun. I wasn’t sitting around in my room playing on my phone like kids today, I was out having fun with friends.

Ok, maybe I was having a little too much fun since I got pregnant and was married at 15, but whatever, it all turned out ok. I had 3 beautiful kids before getting a divorce when I was 27. The kids were older and because I never really had most of my teenage years I had them when I was around the age of 30. I started working full time and met this fantastic group of people at work. We became like a family and did so many different things together. Everyone in the group thought I was so much “fun.”

“If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.” -Dr. Suess

We spent a lot of time together as a group. We went out for dinner together and one of my most favorite things we did was going dancing a few times a week. We danced and we danced. We danced from the time we walked in the door until the time we left. We knew all the local bands and they knew us. We hit all the local hot dance spots of which there were many back then. We were the fun crew and I was the “fun” girl.

I did most if not all of the arranging of our get togethers. I did it simply because I enjoyed being part of this group and I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. And boy did we have fun? They even came to my house and my kids danced with us. This went on for quite a while. I was living life and didn’t seem to have a care in the world. Oh, believe me, I had bills, a job, a house to take care of, kids to take care of, meals to make, wash to do, etc…the same thing everyone else had but some how I fit having a little fun in there too. It made being a single mother of 3 a whole lot easier to deal with.

 

dancing

me dancing…

As I said this went on for a while. A few years in fact. And then some how, some where I lost that fun girl inside me. I don’t remember when it happened or how it happened. Oh, I still have fun, believe me. My friends and family and I have so much fun together. Lunches, dinners, trips to the beach, road trips, shopping and concerts. And let’s not forget “Wine and Pie” days. (we need another one soon) I have fun. Lots of fun. But I just don’t feel like that girl dancing in the picture did…Something inside me was gone.

What happened? Where did that girl go? Did life get in the way? Jobs that took me away from home for days on end, stress, the loss of so many important people in my life…Did all that take the fun out of life, the fun out of me… Or is this just something that happens as we age? Do we have so much on our shoulders these days that life can’t possibly be fun?  I thought I would always be that girl, I just thought I would always be fun.

This whole “me being fun thing” came up today while talking with a friend that I used to have fun with. She had brought some pictures along of us back in the 80’s when we were out having.. fun. Looking at those pictures made me think. I had been feeling like I had lost something and right then and there I knew what it was. As I looked at my face I could see the carefree me just enjoying myself and having fun. We both decided we were going to have fun again. It had been way too long for both of us. And I made a decision right there during lunch that I was going to be the “fun girl” again. We don’t  know how many times we will be able to get out of bed and walk, let alone dance. We aren’t guaranteed anything in this life. We aren’t certain of how many tomorrows we have left. But if there is one thing I am certain of it’s that I am going to have fun! And I will be that “fun” girl again.

When I thought about all of this on my way home from our lunch, I came up with this. I think when you start to forget who you are, you have to think back to a time in your life when you loved yourself the most. That is the real you. I know I loved myself during that time. I thought maybe I loved myself to much. I had obligations. I had a family that needed me. So is that what changed? Did I stop loving myself? Is that what happened? I don’t know the answer. But I am going to try and find that girl in the picture, the one having fun. The “fun” girl.

Do you still have fun? Is it different now than when you were younger? I really would like to hear your comments.

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” ~ Randy Pausch

 

 

 

04Mar/17
chilling on the porch

Packing Up My Childhood Home

and who will be doing mine….

chilling on the porch

me on the porch of my childhood home

My friends are always a veritable source of blog ideas and chatting with them yesterday about this subject brought back memories of when I packed up my childhood home. Several of my friends have had to do this already and another one is dreading the time that will inevitably be in her future.

Packing up the home you grew up in is not an easy thing to do…ever. Even under the best of circumstances. And I really don’t know that there are any good circumstances….maybe if you are helping your parents downsize to a smaller place and they are both still alive. But even that would have to hold some sad moments for the ones who are never going to see the inside of of that house again. However most of the time that isn’t the case and the children are left to pack up the home and all that belonged to their family.

My daughter and I worked alone for months on my parents house. This was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in more ways than one. My father had already passed and Mom was in a nursing home with Dementia and was never going to return to the house I grew up in and that she loved so dearly. Mom hadn’t been well for awhile and left things go and the house was in bad shape..it was almost like an edition of “Horders.” When we walked in and looked around we almost turned right around and walked back out….we didn’t know where to start.

The whole situation was unbelievably hard emotionally and physically and also because we were doing it by ourselves… we were just overwhelmed. We finally decided to sell the place “as is” and found a local buyer who did “flips.” That decision saved us from having to get everything out and clean what would be a feat not even Mr. Clean could or would tackle. But, we still wanted to go through as much as we could to make sure there weren’t any “gems” left in the house before we turned it over to the buyer.

Going through my parents things gave me a whole new view on who they were and what they had been before I came along. We found letters from camp written to old boyfriends from Mom and letters from Dad written to Mom while he was serving in the Navy. It brought up so many questions and I really wished I could ask them about some of them. But sadly that was not meant to be…with my Dad gone and Mom having Dementia that was impossible. Not to mention all of my parents siblings had passed as well so there was no one left to ask about the things that were left behind or the people my parents once were.

The letters and items from Mom’s childhood gave me a whole other view as to who this woman was. You never think of your parents as even having a childhood and being young and carefree with hopes and dreams just like us. I wanted to know this person, I wish I could have been friends with her. I think I would have had a lot in common with the young child and person she was before she became my “Mom.”

We found paintings Mom had done upstairs in the storage area. I knew Mom had this talent as I had seen some of her paintings early on in my childhood. But I forgot how good she was at it and would have loved to ask her why she stopped. Why didn’t she continue to paint and what would make her give up this talent? Did she do it for my sister and I? Did she think she wasn’t good enough? I will never know the answers to these questions.

Mom loved to shop and that was never more evident to us as we went through the closets full of clothing, shoes and handbags. This whole shopping addiction has been passed on to me and my daughters. So you see it is not our fault we shop! Going through the stacks and stacks of clothes with tags still on them made me decide I wasn’t going to do this anymore. And I have tried to be better about what I want and what I really need. If I buy one thing I must give up two items. I give away a lot of things to my friends and family too. I would rather give it to them than make a few bucks on it or give it to Goodwill. So I have learned something from this experience.

While going through one of the closets I found something else that totally blew my mind. Something so horrible and vile that it is forever etched in my mind…As I lifted a pile of pants something hard touched my hand. I lifted the item out from between the clothes so I could see what it was. OMG!! It can’t be…it is…it was… a “dildo.” I screamed and dropped the offending thing on the floor. Yes, you read this right… My Mother had a dildo in her closet. Believe me, this is not something I thought my own mother would even remotely know about, let alone me finding one in her closet. I ran in the bathroom and scoured my hands with antibacterial soap for much longer than needed and tried to regain my sanity. My daughter was screaming too so when we finally both calmed down, we got a trash bag and threw the heinous thing inside and sealed the bag tightly so it couldn’t escape and do more damage than it had already done.

This whole “dildo” episode made me think…what will those left behind to pack up my house find….I did call my friend and made her promise to go through things first so nothing would scare my children or whoever is left to do this. I got rid of the most offending items I could think of…however, there may still be a few things I need to lock up in a box and then maybe even swallow the key….

As you can see there are many ways to look at doing this life changing thing of cleaning out your childhood home. There will be a lot of good memories to be found and also some sad ones. But then you might find something that will make you laugh. Almost as though it was left there for just that reason. I know I sure have a good laugh whenever I remember Mom’s “dildo.”

Home Sweet Home

My childhood home

Have you gone through this? Have you packed up your childhood home? What did you find?

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

 

 

25Feb/17
eat some ice cream

Best Advice I Ever Got

And who gave it to me…

eat some ice cream

“Just eat ice cream and you’ll feel much better”- me

Advice…what is it? Why do we listen to others and why did our parents bother to even give it to us…were we even listening? Googling advice…here is what comes up.. “Advice, noun….guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative. Not everyone who has given me advice has been knowledgeable or authoritative..well thinking about this, I guess my Mom was authoritative in that she was my Mother.

I am good at giving advice, but not at taking it. And one thing is for sure, I am not good at taking my own advice. Having said that, here is some of the best advice I have received over the years and it has stuck with me to this day.

“Lower your expectations” – A  good friend gave me this advice at least 20 years ago and I have never forgot it. I was always getting hurt by others and telling her that I didn’t understand why this happened. One night she told me that not everyone was as kind or generous as I was and that is why they couldn’t live up to my expectations. And she said, maybe If I lowered mine I wouldn’t be hurt so much. I have tried to live by this and it has helped. Sometimes it still makes me sad that people can’t be kind or do what I would do. But that is just the way it is..

“You should be a writer” – I have been told this several times in my life. Once by a teacher I had in school and often by friends and family members. I never had the time when the kids were growing up. I know its a lame excuse….But I am writing now. Just a blog, but I’m writing. I still have a book or two in me, maybe one day I will let them out.

“Never let a big dog jump on you” – Another good friend’s mother told her this and she shared it with me. I think this is good advice and really a metaphor. I think it means to try not to let something you don’t want to happen to you… happen to you.

“Make sure you always wear clean underwear” – This one is from my mom. She always said you never know when you will have to go to the hospital and you need to have clean underwear on if that happens. I did have to go once and thank goodness my underwear was clean. Thanks Mom!

“Never change who you are for someone” – I don’t remember who told me this but it stuck with me and I never have changed for anyone. I am me, take me as I am.

“If a relationship isn’t right, you can’t fix it. And if it’s good, you can’t mess it up” – An older woman friend of mine told me this once when I was in the beginning stages of a relationship and asked her how I could fix it. She also said you shouldn’t have to fix it at the very beginning, it should be awesome. I never forgot this or her. And it is so very true.

“Never ever stay with someone who gets violently angry wth you for throwing away a dirty napkin” – Advice from another friend…she is no longer with him. Pretty good advice I think. Also never stay with someone that gets angry because you forgot the taco sauce when you made tacos… just a little advice from me..I know it’s important to have taco sauce when you make tacos, however to throw things and scream at someone is not…

“Ice cream, pie and wine can make anything better” – This is from me. I know it can’t fix everything but it sure does help.

“Roll down the windows and turn up the music” – This great advice is from the show on NBC, “This Is Us” Love this show by the way. I think this is awesome advice, so next time you have a bad day or life is kicking your butt… get in the car, head out on a back road…roll down the windows and turn up the music…

“Never go to bed angry” – Again… Mom. She always told me to make up with whoever I was angry with before going to sleep.This is good advice and something we should all adhere to. Life is short, so fix what is broken and tell people you love them. We aren’t guaranteed another day. And if you wake up the next day and the person you were angry at isn’t around anymore, you can never fix it.

“When you are 90 and sitting in your rocker on the front porch, think about this problem, this thing you are upset about, will it be important then?” – Me again..I always ask myself this question or people who come to me with a problem. It works when you ask this, because most of the time we spend worrying over such trivial, insignificant things… Not the things that really matter.

“Never lose your sense of humor” – Actually it’s “Don’t ever lose your sense of humor Dan, don’t EVER lose your sense of humor.” This line is from “About Last Night”, the movie with Jim Belushi and Rob Lowe. Love this line..and so true..we must always keep our sense of humor…it will help us get through this thing called life. Believe me if I didn’t have a sense of humor I don’t know how I would have survived the things I’ve been through.

“If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” – Crosby, Stills and Nash. Well they sang this song but seriously a guy once said this to me…think he had ulterior motives that night. I may or may not have listened to him.

That’s it for now, I have more but I will keep them for another time. If you have a piece of great advice someone once gave you please tell us in the comments. I would love to hear them. What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

“Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper it sinks into the mind.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

 

 

18Feb/17
friends at a birthday party

“You’ve Got A Friend”

Another song from James Taylor…and more.

friends at a birthday party

my birthday party..don’t I look happy..LOL!!

I am the little girl in the middle of all my friends, the one with the non smiling face…in fact I look mad.  I think it was due to the fact that Mom always invited EVERYONE to my birthday parties, not just the friends from school I wanted to invite. I am happy to say I am still friends with some of these kids. Some have moved out of state and one has passed away, but a few of my childhood friends are still in my life and I give thanks every day that they are.

I have lost so many people in the past few years, so the people I have left are very dear to me. If you have one good friend you have everything. I am blessed to have many. I was thinking about this last night after spending the day with some of these friends. I have been going through some stuff lately and then after hearing one of my dear friends lost her father  yesterday, it once again reminded me how precious life is and to savior each and every moment we have.

I spent the entire day yesterday with friends. We had lunch and then after chatting for awhile we went back to one of their houses and had pie and wine. What an amazing thing, what’s not to like about that? Pie and wine…I think that should be a “thing.” Let’s make it a thing…a weekly thing…a daily thing…ok, I’m getting carried away now, but it “was” awesome. And the most awesome part was that we were just sitting around eating, drinking and laughing… telling stories of when we were in high school together and how and when we first met each other.

We couldn’t even believe how quickly the day had slipped away and when we checked it was near dinner time. Hadn’t we just met at noon and where had the day gone? So we said our goodbyes and left only to have me and my friend who drove me back to my car sit in her car for 2 hours and talk some more. The hours slipped by like seconds and we only realized how long we were sitting there when a couple came out of the restaurant we were parked near and got in their car next to us. A couple that had pulled up when we first pulled in the parking lot. I said oh my, they got here, went in, ate and are finished, how long have we been sitting here? It had been 2 hours and she wasn’t tired of hearing me talk.That’s a friend.

We said our goodbyes again and I headed out for my hour drive home. I smiled the whole way home thinking of what a wonderful day I just had talking and sharing our life stories. And in that hour drive home I also thought about what makes these friendships I have now so different. Why do I treasure them so much and when I was younger even though my friends were important to me…I just took them for granted and thought that they would somehow just always be there. We talked about that a little yesterday at my friend’s house and said it is because at our age, and after losing so many in our lives…we now know how precious life is and so we value the friendships and the friends and time spent together even more.

So what makes a friend a good friend? I thought a lot about this on the way home as well and here are a few things I came up with.

A friend is someone who is there for you during the happy times of course, but then they are there for you during the worst times too. They are present for you when you need them most not just when you are having fun or it is convenient to be your friend.

A friend is someone you could call at 1am if you needed to talk. And I have done this.

A friend is someone who would hold your hair if you were throwing up. Yeah this really happened…so I knew she was a keeper.

A friend is someone who walks in the rain with you. Doing a “walk” for a cause with you when you don’t have anyone else to do it with..and it’s raining.

A friend is someone who finds time to spend with you. If you need them they are there. Doesn’t matter how busy their life is… they will still find time for you.

A friend is someone who listens to you, really listens…not just sitting there waiting for you to finish talking so they can talk.

A friend is someone who loves you totally in spite of all your flaws. They “get” you and love you for who you really are. They don’t try to change you and they think your weirdness and craziness are some of the best parts of you. I think this one is very important in a friendship. If someone is constantly pointing out your flaws or trying to change you in even small ways…they aren’t a friend.

A friend is someone who makes being with you a priority not just a “sometime thing” when they don’t have anything better to do.

A friend is someone who comes back in your life after a long time and nothing has changed. You feel like no time has passed…everything is the same and you are able to just pick up where you left off. The craziness, the love…its all still there.

friend is someone who you are connected to in ways you don’t even understand. They just are. You can be thinking about them and they will suddenly call or text.

A friend is someone who “does” for you. They know what you need and they do it when you yourself don’t even know you need it.

A friend is someone who helps you move. More than once. I hate moving and I know moving other people is even worse so a friend that helps you move even one time is a blessing and a real friend.

This is just my short list of what friendship means to me. I hope my friends think I do some of these things for them. I do try hard to be a good friend, but I am going to try even harder. I love the friends I have in my life now but I have also had to let go of some friendships this past year. Losing a child has changed me, I am not the same person I was before. I am truly sorry this has happened and it makes me sad…but it is just the way it has to be for now. I love my tribe of friends and hope we have many more great times to come. One thing I learned yesterday… its fun to have new experiences in your life at the ripe old age of 67…and having wine and pie with good friends is one of them.

What do you think makes a friend a good friend? I’d love to hear your comments.

Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest…It’s about who came and never left your side.” ~ Unknown

09Feb/17
funeral in the church

The Unexpected Things I Learned About Myself At A Funeral

You never know when you will have these “light bulb” going off experiences…

funeral in the church

the light went off in the church…not literally

I have been blessed in my life to have three “Mothers”. My Mother who gave birth to me, my godmother Lorraine and my Mother-in-law, Peg(actually she hasn’t been my MIL for many years, since her son and I divorced). My Mother passed away in 2014, I was grateful to still have Lorraine and Peg as my “other Mothers”. Lorraine passed in October of last year and Peg, this past week.

All 3 of these women were so important to me and such big influences in my life. They helped to shape me into the woman I am today. All of them were very different, the one constant being their deep love for me and my love for them. I have written about my Mother several times and have shared how much I miss her every day. I was so grateful to have these other women in my life when she passed. Now they are all 3 gone.

Peg had been in a nursing home for the last several months. The very same one my Mother had been in for 4 years and the exact same wing she was in when we said goodbye to her. So it was very hard to go back there when my MIL was sent there to recuperate from an illness. We thought she would go back to her home and that is what she had hoped for also. But that wasn’t meant to be. We went to visit almost 2 weeks ago and she passed a few days later. We knew most likely when we left that day we would not see her again..on this earth.

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

I had been dreading the thought of her funeral, due to the fact that it seems like all I do lately is go to funerals of people I love. However this particular one was different…and we spoke about it many times when we were together. It was different because my ex husband would be there. A man I had loved dearly, a man who was my first love, the father of my children and a man I thought I would be with forever. Knowing also the funeral would be held in the church we used to go to as a family when we were together and where we got married for the second time(yes, we did..incase you missed this in my previous posts, I did marry him twice). It took me a long time to get over him after our divorce. I thought love was supposed to last forever. I couldn’t believe ours didn’t.

My oldest was out of the country at the time of the funeral but my youngest came home with her 3 boys. We all went to the funeral together and also took my son’s 2 children. All 5 of the kids loved their Nanny and wanted to be there. For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I lost my son in July of last year. The 7 of us walked into the church and immediately memories from the past came flooding back. I though it might be hard but I didn’t expect it to be that hard. Thank goodness for the love and support from my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law and their whole family including my nieces and nephew who quickly surrounded us and hugged us. With me not being “real” family and knowing how my ex felt about me, I knew I was the odd man(woman) out…but they did everything they could to make me feel like part of their family. Their warmth, love and understanding was truly appreciated and something I will never forget.

Without going into too much detail, lets just say things between my ex and I aren’t exactly good. Things between us aren’t really anything at all since we don’t speak and I haven’t seen or heard from him in over 30 years. He doesn’t have a relationship with his children(our kids together) and he has never met his grandchildren(his choice). So the fact my Mother-in-law and I could keep a relationship through all of this albeit a close one was amazing. We never knew what to call each other, so I would call her Mom and she told people I was her daughter-in-law. We got tired of  saying ex DIL and MIL and explaining it to people so we just settled on that.

I loved my MIL and I was going to the funeral no matter what. I needed to pay my respects to her for all she had done and all she had been to my children and grandchildren, and of course me. I knew my ex wouldn’t be happy about my being there so I didn’t know what to expect when I saw him. What I really didn’t expect were all the feelings that came over me the moment I first saw him walk in. So many mixed emotions and feelings of “what ifs” and what could have been. I was brought right back to that time many many years ago when we were a family and raising our kids together. I guess its normal to feel this way especially when you haven’t seen the person in such a long time. I guess its normal to wonder what might have been and how life would have played out for us if we had stayed together. I guess it is, I’ve never been in this position before so I don’t really know. I just knew I was overloading on memories and freaking out a bit.

My daughter sensed all of this going on and leaned over and hugged me and asked me how I was doing. I told her I wasn’t doing too good. I told her there was so much going on and so many feelings I didn’t expect to feel. While she was hugging me she whispered in my ear, “turn around and look a few pews back.” I turned around and there was someone else from my past seated all alone just smiling back at me. A friend, a good friend that had been around during that time and knew what I was going through. It was a friend I hadn’t seen in a very long time. But somehow just seeing this person there helped. It jolted me right out of my “what ifs” and “what could have beens”. It reminded me of how far I’d come since that time way back then and that I made it to this point in life all on my own. I had raised my kids myself and did a pretty decent job. My son may be gone but he was a good, kind man and he created 2 sweet loving children to carry on his legacy. My girls are both wonderful young women and they are also my friends. My youngest is raising her 3 boys and they are growing up into caring young men. I realized I had done pretty good without him or his help.

Having these 5 grandchildren sitting beside me made me feel so loved. They were worried about me and wanted to protect me. So did my nieces, they sat in the pew with me as well. I don’t think I have ever felt so loved, especially at a time such as this when I wasn’t sure I could even make it through the day. I do know their grandfather will never know that kind of love. And I feel sorry for him. When he stood  at the podium looking out over the church to read what he had written about his mother, there we were… all 7 of us lined up together directly in his view. He couldn’t NOT see us. He has not seen us for 30 years but he saw us that day in the church. The day we came to pay our respects to the woman who raised him. The woman I called Mom.

“No one ever really dies as long as they took the time to leave us with fond memories.” ~ Chris Sorensen

20Jan/17
crap

Do We Have Too Much Crap?

well I do and where does it all come from…

crap

yes, I said crap…

Since the weather was so warm this week it tricked me into thinking Spring was here, and because of that I decided to do a little Spring cleaning…Now if you know me at all you also know I hate to clean, so I have to pounce on these moments when they happen. And believe me they don’t happen very often.

For some reason, things in my closet seem to multiply. I really don’t understand this. I was just talking to my friends about this very thing and they agreed it happens to them too. The question is… “How” does this happen? Do little gnomes sneak in while I am sleeping and put stuff there… because I know I couldn’t have purchased all this crap. Ok, it isn’t really crap, some of it is really nice stuff. There is just way too much of it in my teeny closet.

I do feel like I just went through all of this about a year ago. Sorting through clothing, shoes, boots and handbags, getting rid of what no longer made me feel joyful. I have heard this quote on many occasions… “Discard everything that does not spark joy.” ~ Marie Kondo  I am not ever sure I can do that totally… How can I get rid of the washing machine or the stove? Anyway, my point being is it is hard to get rid of some things you may have gotten attached to or maybe thought you would wear to that wonderful event in your head that has never happened.

I decided to start with shoes and boots. I made a brilliant discovery while doing this…if you keep shoes and boots in boxes and can not see what is in those boxes, you will never wear them, And when you open aforementioned boxes, you may be quite surprised to see a pair of boots you bought 3 years ago on sale at the end of the season and have never ever worn. Note: this may or may not have happened to me… I could not believe how many pairs of shoes I had and many I have never even worn. I went through them like a crazy woman, throwing into a pile the ones I will donate and others to people I think might want them only keeping the ones that bring me “joy.”

“If you always add and never subtract, you will eventually bury yourself.”~ Peter Walsh

When I moved to this house 9 years ago I got rid of everything that didn’t make me happy or bring me “joy,” I really purged, I figured what better time to do this and there was no reason to take things I no longer loved to the new house. It was so sparse in the new abode, The basement was clean as a new born babe. I had listened to Peter Walsh’s advice about how we move boxes to new houses and never even look inside to see what we are moving. He also advised that if you had things saved from your family members who were no longer with you, to go through them and keep just one thing from the box, but display it. I thought this was good advice and I did that. It was hard getting rid of my grandmothers dishes but now I have one sitting on my dresser in my bedroom with a candle on it. I can actually see that every night and think of her.

But I digress, back to the task at hand. The shoes, boots and handbags are finished… its on to the clothing. This I’m afraid is taking much longer than the accessories. My underwear drawer alone is a daunting task to be had. There are so many different sizes and so many different types in there it is a little scary. Who is going to wear all this crap? Who did I buy these for? Ok, let’s leave that discussion for another day and maybe a therapist.

Last year I made a decision that if I purchased anything new I would get rid of two things I had. I did this for a few months and it was working. I don’t know what happened to that plan but I have now started doing it again. First of all I want to state right here and now and want you all to hold me to this…I do not now or ever in the next few years need a pair of shoes or boots…well that might be a little over the top, I may need a pair of sneakers…walking sneakers…they do wear out. and I walk a lot. But as far as clothing, styles come and go and we do need new things every now and then to perk us up and make us feel fresh and “in style”… I don’t know about the rest of you but at this age I need all the “perking up” I can get.

I don’t know if this is normal or if others tend to do this,  but I seem to get the same things over and over. If I find a certain type of shoe or sweater I am drawn to buy more of that same kind. I don’t know what that says about me or why I do this. I blame it on my Mom. I told my daughter recently maybe we should just take a picture of something we think is cute instead of buying it, that way we can look at it without the expense. She didn’t seem to like this idea. I just know I can’t keep up with all this “crap”.  I had a rough year last year and maybe all this clutter is a sign of that. I need to clear out the crap and get on with my life. This year will be all about clearing out and “healing”…

I will let you know how the closet cleaning is going and by the way if you don’t hear from me for awhile I may be lost in there and can’t find my way out. Please check on me…

Do you do this? Do you have too much crap? How do you keep it under control? I really hope I’m not the only one, let me know in the comments.

“Collect moments, not things” ~ Unknown