This is exactly how guinea pigs talk, except for the ones that have girl voices…cause they have vaginas. I’m pretty sure that’s why our voices are higher pitched. I had lengthy talks with all of our guineas. They’re one of the sweetest pets you could ever have.
I paid my dad a visit today. I was going to make it official on Sunday but it was a beautifully sunny day so why wait for potential rain to muck things up. I brought him one of his favorite gifts…a jar of olives, the queen size olives! He loved eating olives but my mom always yelled at him if he ate the ones in the cupboard that were reserved for holidays, when guests came. I always thought that was a silly rule; same as the one where you don’t use ‘the good silverware & dishes’ for every day. So I broke the rule (I do that sometimes) and bought him big jars of queen size olives for any special occasion I could think of…and mom wasn’t allowed to have any control over them. He got pretty excited over having his own jar of olives. It didn’t take much to please my dad.
My dad was quite a talker and storyteller. It could be why I likewise have a tendency to talk a great deal. Today we were both pretty quiet. I toasted him with the jar of olives; a thank you for what a great job he did helping mom raise me. Then I silently ate olives while memories of my life with him ran through my head like a black & white filmstrip. The tears come with the understanding that there will be no more hugs & kisses, no more sharing our humor & stories, no more tender moments of dad’s love. It’s quite a conundrum, this sense of loss despite the feeling that he hasn’t left my side.
I watched the busyness of the ants for a while streaming across the fresh dirt and across my legs. I poured some of the olive juice over the grave and told dad I loved him and then I did what any self-respecting gardener would do…I picked the weeds out of the dirt. It’s all nice and tidy again waiting for the grass to grow back in. I’m not much of a grave visitor, I think everyone should be cremated, but maybe just for now, maybe Sunday, flowers would look nice on that little patch of dirt.
UPDATE: It’s the next day, Saturday the 15th, and #3 and I have gone shopping for supplies each of us need for our overseas adventures. We finally stopped for lunch; our stomachs had become quite unruly with their growliness. While we were waiting for our food the Kansas song Dust in the Wind started playing, to my surprised enjoyment. “Hi Dad, glad you could have lunch with us!” He loved going out to eat, always asking us to go along. “I’ll pick up the tab this time Dad. Thanks for coming along.”
Today’s been a relatively normal feeling day. Only one episode of crying during a moment of quiet in the car between the chaos of planning the funeral, helping my mom and trying to accomplish my own errands. My house is crazy dirty & unorganized because before I took off down to be with my dad we were in the midst of purging the house and reorganizing; that all got put on hold right in the middle of things getting worse before they get better. Things are still in the ‘worse’ stage at home.
In the middle of an errand I get a phone call from two friends, Kathy & Maria, who went to my father’s funeral only to discover that no one was there…
“Hmmm, there should at least be cars from the family here!”
They were all dressed up with no place to go so we made plans to meet at a local restaurant. I call Gary to let him know I won’t be coming home because I’ll be having a pre-wake for my father with friends.
“What a surprise,” Gary exclaimed, “Russ & Julie are here at the house because they went to the funeral and no one was there.”
“Holy Crap!” How many people thought the funeral was today?! This is insanely embarrassing! Earlier today two of my mom’s friends were bringing food for all the family that was expected and it didn’t occur to me what was happening because there actually IS family coming to help prepare for the funeral.
I thanked Julie & Russ, Kathy & Maria, for coming to my dad’s funeral…a week early. We talked, laughed & reminisced. It was still a pretty wonderful time because all of them can relate with losing a parent and they know what I’m experiencing (even if I hadn’t told them) and it’s oddly comforting knowing that. I love you guys a lot!
Coming home to the band practicing was another level of therapy. I brought shot glasses and my Irish whiskey to the basement and the guys and I toasted to my dad and his incredible gift of music. Coach taught himself to play the guitar just like my dad did. We talked about life and they played to me the music I love. Music, friends & laughter are the best kind of therapy around. Once again I am so aware, at this exact moment in my life, of how freaking blessed I am! I am so grateful for the people that are in my life. It feels like my dad is already communicating to me through my friends.
I cried so much over the last 2 weeks and now, I feel oddly at peace when I think of my dad. I had an incredible relationship with him; through happy & difficult times. Without really having the right words, my visual take on it is that, it feels like his unconditional love for me is wrapped around my heart like a protective shield…at least for now. The emotions may flood back once the funeral is underway. But for now, I appreciate the peace I feel.
Most people don’t know it but I actually gave birth to Stellaluna on December 4, 1999. You may not believe it, even I didn’t know, until that moment on a cold winter night. Our new puppy needed to go outside for the umpteenth time for a potty break. I’m standing outside with her, dressed in my black & white tennis shoes, black pants, black leather coat with a fur lined hood and my brown hair blowing around my face. After she finishes, she toddles over to me, crawls onto my shoes, curls into a ball and looks up at me. At that moment I realized that to her I actually WAS her mother…and since then she was a momma’s girl through and through.
Her best friend, Zoe, came to us 2 years later and they became inseparable. They sounded like race horses when they chased each other around the yard. We tried landscaping one year and gave up afterwards. Our design areas seemed to always overlap with their play areas. I loved just watching them play together. Zoe got cancer when she was six and Stella never got over the loss of her. I felt so sorry for her.
It’s been hard the last 2 years to watch Stella slowly get old. Her joints gave her grief and the meds seemed to only give mild relief. She would get anxious whenever I’d leave and not eat. I recently found out that when I would go to work she would lay in the chair by the window all day until I came home. Sometimes she would howl in a soft, low, eerie way that freaked out the kids. Her love for me was intense and sometimes overwhelming yet unconditional. Our love for each other was deep. I feel sorry for people who never experience the love of a pet.
When we came home last night Stella was in the back hall, sitting but in a goofy way. She had urinated and when I helped her stand up realized that her back end was paralyzed. All my fears of this moment hit me full force. We called the 3 girls that don’t live at home and then waited for #2 & PoohBear who were 5 minutes from returning home. We decided on an emergency room in the city that #3, #4 & my eldest sister live in so they could be there; #1 lives too far away. We spent an hour with Stella, petting her, crying, reminiscing of all the wonderful memories we have because of her. I’m so grateful that I have Gary, my girls, my sister, my family…and the Simply Sleep sleeping pills that kept me asleep all night.
I’ll miss how her mouth would go up into a smile when I would come home and her obvious joy that I was back. I’ll miss her companionship. I’ll miss her meeting me at the door. I’ll miss her on our camping trips. I’ll miss all the things that have become habit with her & me. I know she’s with me. I wish it didn’t have to hurt so much. I know she was in pain…and now she’s not. I know she’s with Zoe and they’re racing & happy again. It’s just all so bittersweet…
I love you so much Stellaluna.
I’ve never had a time in my life that there wasn’t a dog in it. I loved all of them and each was special in their own way but Stella was the closest thing I can imagine to having a soul mate in a dog. My heart feels that she will be the last dog for me. So thank you for the unconditional love Stella, Zoe, Madison, Minka, Gypsy, Brandy, Pixie & Katie.
I received the ultimate compliment from a teacher the other day. She said she wished she could spend more time around me because I’m always smiling and ‘spreading cheer’ throughout the school. I told her that even if I’m having a bad day, the kind you wish you could spend in a dark room under the covers, it always turns around when I’m at school with the kids & staff because there’s so much positive energy here. It’s great therapy!
One example happened this week Tuesday. I was with my first group of kids, 8:10 in the morning. Before we got started on their reading work I chatted with them about their Easter weekend. I questioned them if they knew that candy has sugar in it and that, blech-gross, they shouldn’t eat it. The reaction I get from the kids is always entertaining. The conversation worked its way around to age and I asked them, “Well, how old do you think I am?” The first boy, “Somewhere in your 30’s.” Second boy agreed, “Yeah, you’re in your 30’s.” The third boy must’ve noticed my eyebrows rise & the smirk in the corner of my mouth, “You’re 40.” The last kid and only girl said, “I think you’re 36.”
I told them what any old sane woman would say, “I LOVE you guys! I love each and every one of you and if I had candy I would give it to you!” (Yeah, I know, sugar is poison…blah, blah, blah). Then I told them that I was really 53. *insert dead silence & the sound of crickets* I wish my eyes could take pictures; it was a Kodak moment. The shocked look in their eyes & their open mouths seemed to say, “And, and you’re still alive?!” The girl was the first to speak, “You don’t look that old at all!” Which I replied, “And YOU are my favorite!”
I love working with the kids; I love the interactions with the staff. I love my job.
And then I have to go home.
And deal with responsibilities in life that just aren’t fun; stuff that’s emotionally draining.
And during a moment last night of just letting some of the emotion out through my tears, the Universe (via my favorite radio station) reminds me…
…to carry on.
We all have hard-hitting crap happen in our life that tests us. I remind myself that some people have it so much worse than what I’m experiencing. It doesn’t make my problems go away but it does make me think of all that I’m grateful for. I like my life. I especially love having fun & laughing so I do it every chance I get; it balances out the sad times where you just have to take a lot of deep breaths, cry (to wash away the toxic chemicals) and carry on…which I believe most of us do very well given the circumstances.
And that’s why I seem to be happy all the time to some people. I’m not always happy…but the alternative isn’t nearly as fun.
Three (or is it four) weeks of empty nest after #3 and her OsoBear moved out. Oso bought a house in the big city that he’s had his eye on for almost a year. This is why they moved in with us in the first place; so he could save his money instead of putting it all into rent. Excited wasn’t a strong enough word for how he felt when he signed the papers. After telling us, he even told Peach the cat how excited he was. Understandable because buying a house is a really big deal! So they’re all settled in and turning the house into a home.
Sunday, #2 daughter & her PoohBear get a call that there was someone interested in their (very expensive) apartment & if they wanted out of their lease early they need to be out by Wednesday (June 30th’s lease date was a long time & a lot of money away). WooHoo!!! I was thrilled to pieces that they could leave early! So the scramble began. Trailers were loaded. Cars & vans packed to the roof (I’m an excellent packer…great spatial perception). Treks up & down basement steps for storage & more again for their living area upstairs. Advil was our friend! Thank god for Pooh’s brother, dad & mom for helping; it goes so much faster with more hands.
Most of Wednesday, #2 & I cleaned the apartment. Top, bottom, inside-out. The lease pretty much stated that it needed to look like a brand new apartment. If there was a surface, we cleaned it…we wanted ALL the money back! I’m so happy they aren’t slobs! Oh yeah, that burned out light bulb we couldn’t find in any store that we had to replace…they have to special order it! Seriously?! (insert any foul language here) Well then, I guess you’ll have to charge us for it huh? What a scam.
Notwithstanding the negative reasons; I’m going to just dwell on the positive.
1) We have the cheapest rent in these parts. Now they too can save some money for more important things! Like #2’s college loan (and Pooh’s when he graduates).
2) I get to see my 2 grandkittens EVERY DAY if I want to. The boys love their grandma!
3) I can go back to only visiting this particular city when I attend functions at my Alma mater or hang out with my girlfriend. Oh Happy Day!
4) Getting a full load of clothes for the washing machine shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
5) I think it’s cool to get a chance with yet another daughter to spend more time with them before they leave ‘for good’ to start a new life.
6) Gary & I will have to put naked yoga in the living room on hold for now…you’re very welcome #2 & Pooh. We can wait.
I think my body has recovered enough to celebrate #3’s birthday today & tomorrow. Happy Birthday #3!!!
HAPPY SPRING EQUINOX!!!
Where are you?
Byam Shaw “Rising Spring”
She’s just harder to see with the blanket of snow covering her but she IS under there…somewhere
Okay, I admit…I love winter…I love the pretty snow…but even I was hoping for a balmy 30 40 degrees and a lot less snow.
So here’s my ray of sunshiney hope. Hang on to your sanity, if not for the sake of yourself, do it for the apples. Last year this time while we were shaving off our gorilla growth to wear shorts & t-shirts again, Mother Nature was budding out into the false security of spring. And because we live in the Midwest…what happened next? We froze our butts right back into our winter coats! And all the produce that was blossoming out froze. No apples on our trees AND other produce died a horrible flash frozen early death. I’m not keen on how much my apples are costing us right now.
For those of you that are going to respond with, “Blah, blah, blah, blah!” here’s a nice video with warm weather pictures.
And now I’m even more appreciative of my massage therapist.
I’m starting to think I’m a walking, talking guitar string; my muscles seem to be tight everywhere. I know my massage therapist is making huge progress just by how I feel but it also seems like 3 steps forward…one step backward. My unresolved emotions seem to think that my muscles are their personal storage facility. Maybe if I start charging rent they’ll stop this madness!
SheRa walked all over me on one of my visits. It was my first time and it was really cool! The broadness of her feet and the weight of her body really gave my scapula’s a run for their money. They’re supposed to move…they didn’t; now they do! Even though she can’t dig into spots like her fingers can, her feet found muscles in my legs that made me stop talking so I could breathe through the pain.
We have a number system for pain level. She backs off when it gets to an 8 although there are a few times when I just breathe through it because I want that muscle to get back to normal. And that is what happened when she inadvertently found…my secrets spot.
My next session with SheRa was back to using her hands. She started working on the muscles under & around my arm pit and they were incredibly tight and sore. SheRa’s response, “OMG, what are you hiding under here?” Betsy & Elizabeth were concentrating on relaxing the muscle in question. Out of nowhere Tebazilena said, “My secrets. The stuff I don’t tell anyone.” And then my eyes started leaking. SheRa noticed and asked me a couple questions. I don’t even remember what she asked or what I answered but then the damn broke & I was crying a LOT!
And now SheRa knows my secrets. Everything came tumbling out and then…calm. I’ve noticed over the last couple weeks that it’s gotten easier to deal with/release the emotions involved with my secrets. I’m able to see them in a different light. It’s a great feeling! So now my incredible massage therapist is also my therapist. She has done wonders for my physical AND mental body. I’m thankful that she doesn’t charge for both!
Who knew? We have a place on our bodies that we store our secrets. Those tricksy* armpits! I think next time I shave we’re going to have a little talk.
*how can tricksy not be a word?
I talk a lot.
Not all the time, sometimes I’m actually quiet, but for the most part I like talking.
I had a number of people comment on Facebook that my posts were fun to read but more like blog posts because they were so long (It was a happy day when Facebook stopped limiting how many characters a status post could be). A blog seemed a lot easier than the supposed book the Universe has planned for me to write. So, I read Blogging for Dummies, consulted a blogger friend, and procrastinated because somehow blogging felt more like a commitment & I wanted to do it ‘properly.’ With the well wishes of my Facebook community I started a blog. The safety of my Facebook family to the world wide web of Blogdom without a safety net. It’s been a few months now since I started. And, well, it feels as though I’ve entered…the twilight zone.
It’s a totally different world out here in Blogdom. In Facebook land, it’s kind of like sitting in a living room and friends pop in to hang out and talk. Conversations sometimes banter back & forth as if you are actually with each other. I’ve had some hilarious interactions even when comments are written hours or days apart.
In Blogdom, I’m still Queen Elizabeth of my domain (blog humor) but I feel as though the comfy living room couch is sitting in the middle of the vastness of space. Hello…Hello…Hello. Is anybody out there?!…Is anybody out there?!…Is anybody out there?!
I’ve decided to set up my living room on the Milky Way because there are lots of lights and it’s pretty…pretty darn quiet (I made sure it wasn’t near a black hole. Those bastards will literally suck you up and not spit you out). Betsy wanted to run back to the sanctuary of Facebook and the camaraderie of friends. Elizabeth & T have discussed the melancholy of our experience so far and decided we’re staying put. It’s harder to be funny on command with the expectation that you ‘should’ post every 3 days. It’s hard to post humor when life just isn’t funny sometimes. Blogging is not what we thought it would be so we’re rethinking how we view it.
We’re letting go of the instant gratification that Facebook can be. Instead, we’ll assume it’ll just be the 3 of us discussing life, and if some manner of ‘wild life’ happens in…all the merrier! Tebazilena wants to change the setting to an ancient forest clearing. She likes being grounded (not for being naughty…that’s Elizabeth’s forte). Elizabeth’s stringing white lights in the trees and Betsy’s in charge of refreshments. We’ve downsized the party to a smaller, more intimate level…for now. This change shouldn’t be too difficult. I’ve entertained myself my whole life; I’m usually easily amused!
At least I seem to be ‘popular’ enough to get picked up by a Chinese spam site. We’re about as excited of that as we are with the Made in China stickers on virtually every bloody thing sold.