Saturday, May 27, 2023

Going for a Spin

The thought processor is whirring...

I am struggling with cognitive dissonance; wanting one thing to be true, and yet knowing there is another truth offsetting the first. It is this disconnect that causes my heart to ache and bleed. No matter how I try I cannot reconcile the two. It is, I suppose, a little like trying to imagine a time before I was born, a world in which I did not exist, and another in the not-so-very-distant future when I will cease to be once again. Pieces of reality that my mind cannot comprehend... problems that cannot be solved... brokenness that will never be made whole,... at least not in this lifetime. And the thought processor continues to spin.


I went to the lake on Thursday afternoon, walked along the lake where the concrete break wall meets the bottom of the hill, and down to the little strip of hidden shoreline where years ago another break wall once was. I picked bits of glass from the pebble beach, climbed over broken concrete slabs and fallen trees, and took pictures before heading back toward the pier and walking along the edge of the sidewalk on the lake. I was looking at the dirty water when all of a sudden my right foot slipped out from under me and I went down directly on my left knee and backside. Mostly my knee. It was quite jarring, not to mention painful and embarrassing.

No one else at the lake seemed to have taken notice. The man who had previously been walking toward me had turned around immediately before I fell. (So much goes through the mind in those split second...) My camera was safe, I was not in the water, and I needed to get to my car. I could still walk but my knee was aching and I needed some ice. I couldn't stay home on Friday without losing my holiday pay on Monday... Long story short, I "iced" my knee with a bag of frozen corn, took a few ibuprofen for the pain and swelling, and propped it up on a pillow. No problem going to work Friday morning. I am grateful.

It was just me and three cousins doing pottery last night. I trimmed a previously thrown bowl and glazed several bisque fired pieces. I have quite the collection amassed. Bowls, cups, and mugs of varied shapes and colors. It will be like Christmas when they come out of the kiln.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


It was a productive day and I am relieved to see the progress we made on the attic bedroom today. I am ever so grateful to The Cabinetmaker for lending me his time and expertise. I took a personal day off work and together we put up a vapor barrier and hung several pieces of paneling on the ceiling.  It was a good day. My mind will be processing for days to come, and I am thankful.

My car was at the shop today for new rear brakes, a pricey repair, and while they were in possession of my vehicle I asked about the front passenger tire which has had a slow leak for the past few weeks. They discovered a nail in the tire and patched that up for me as well. I'm going to be slightly poorer for a little while. Ha ha!

Finally, to top off an already good day, I drove down to the lake and got my feet wet, not intentionally, of course. The lake is tricky and those waves just splash wherever they darn well please, usually on my feet when I'm not paying attention. It was a good reason to toss my sneakers (tennis shoes) into the wash when I returned home.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

A Second Busy Weekend...

 I had to trim this weekend's activities. It's quite impossible to be everywhere and do all the things no matter how much I'd like to do them all.

There was no Man Haters Club on Friday night. We took the night off to rest and rose early Saturday morning for a field trip to Syracuse. We visited Clayscapes Pottery and went away a little poorer (we all bought tools or clay) and afterward went to meet some previously unknown family members who live in and about Syracuse.

This past year I discovered my cousins had an older half brother that no one knew about. We are doubtful that even my uncle knew of him. My cousin passed away in 1996, but he left a wife and five children. On Saturday we met the wife and two daughters. Family resemblances are funny things. We found one daughter to have inherited the high forehead my sister Rachel possess, and her small son to have what we have always called "Shafer ears." 

The Apple Blossom Parade marched through Williamson in the rain this year. We stood under porch and canopy to watch and wave and were rewarded with handfuls of candy, waves, and a serenade.

Today I woke with a debilitating headache. I did not go to church but did venture out to Williamson again to watch Idris run the Main Street Mile and take pictures. I also ran into my sweet, little friend Mara who was on her way home with her parents. She was exceptionally quiet, probably wondering what I was doing outside the daycare center.

This afternoon I drove to the little town of Pumpkin Hook and attended a wedding reception for some friends of my son Ben. It was a beautiful day and the fresh air helped to dispel the headache lurking just under the surface.

Weekends fly by much too fast. It's almost time to crawl back into the baby room again.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

And That Was This Week

 It was a better week. Still stressful, but better. Fewer tears, less anxiety filled moments.

Chiropractor on Monday. 

Pottery class on Tuesday. I sat and watched. I didn't put any clay on the wheel at all. I left early, bought a Sprite at McDonalds and went to the airport where I parked in the short term lot and went to sleep. I was awakened at 10:30 pm by the sound of a chime. My phone informed me that my friend had arrived and I went inside to meet her at the baggage claim and then took her home.

Wednesday was an appointment with my therapist. There are times when I think I don't need to go, when all I do is ramble... And then there are others, like this week where I know the conversation has touched something deep inside. There are typically hard questions, a few tears, and heartfelt thoughts. I only wish I had been able to work through most of this years and years ago...

Thursday evening I went home. Hannah was working an evening shift so I went to the lake.

Friday I left work a tad early bringing my 3 hours of overtime down to 2 hours and 45 minutes. It would have been a fabulous evening for a woods walk, but I went to meet my cousins at man Haters Club, threw a couple of bowls, and glazed 5 or six others. I'm looking forward to seeing the results and enjoying the two I found fired and finished on the shelf last night.

Today I am meeting my sister at the memorial Art Gallery in Rochester. It's teacher Appreciation Day. We'll see if my work badge gets me in for free...

Sunday, May 07, 2023


Rain falls gently against the deck outside the sliding glass door. Birds are chirping evening lullabies and darkness begins to settle in. For tonight everything is calm and settled. A new week has begun. It was a beautiful weekend, packed with sunshine, springtime temperatures, and bursting colors. The trees are wearing clothes of all colors; lilac, magenta, white, deep purple, and green. There is nothing quite like a world awakening after a long winter.

April is over and my heart has begun to settle once again. Yesterday Gail and I went out to her cottage in Williamson and searched the shore for glass and other treasures. I stopped at Bethany's house just before darkness fell and hugged 8 grandchildren. This morning I met Laura at church. Afterward we went out for breakfast and then I stopped at Bethany's all over again and hugged some more grandchildren, two of which I hadn't seen last night. I saw all my local grandchildren but one this weekend. (He was at the doctor's for a possible broken finger, except it wasn't.)

Prayers would be appreciated as work has been quite stressful lately. Thanks so much!

Saturday, May 06, 2023

The Longing

It's the nagging question, the one I don't know how to answer, the one the child inside keeps repeating over and over and over again... "Where do I belong?"

Once upon a time the need to belong was filled. I was surrounded by children who needed me and a husband who looked out for me as I looked out for him. I had a home to tend, meals to make, and laundry to wash and fold. I had a family to hold and arms that enfolded me as well.

Today I long to belong.

It's a feeling that ebbs and flows. Sometimes I am settled and fine, fine alone and feeling fulfilled. Other times the emptiness is all encompassing and I am overcome by the ache deep in my chest and powerless to stop the flow of tears.

I am aware there are people who will think this is my own doing, and I am more keenly aware than any of them of my reasons for walking away, but that does not mean I wanted to leave. It doesn't mean some days I don't desperately want to return... and know I can't at the very same time.

Thursday, May 04, 2023


 It's done! I did it! Every dreaded appointment crossed off my list. New doctor, blood work, mammogram, gynecologist, full mouth x-rays, dental work, teeth cleaned, colonoscopy. Check, check, check, check, check, check, check, check. (I'm just slightly proud of my accomplishment. It's a little like having run a triathlon. Ha ha!) As long as everything checks out good, there will be no more appointments until fall. My boss will be ecstatic. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023


The rain is falling along with the darkness, and the weekend is coming to a close. My friend Laura was not at church this morning. I stayed for a cup of coffee afterward and spoke for a minute with my cousin Dale before going out into the rain, heading toward home, and going to Walmart instead...

The house was still and quiet when I returned home, the rain falling gently outside. April showers... It has been a weekend of invisible progress and I am processing more than I can share. I'm still a puddle, hoping for flowers in May. 

PS. I got my hair cut yesterday. (Thank you, Sandi!) I can still pull it back but it should be easier to tame and much more comfortable for summer.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

A Slow Pace

We're making progress... It's a three steps forward two steps back kind of thing, but after years of trying to figure things out on my own and being ignored by everyone I asked, I finally gave in and asked The Cabinetmaker for some advice on my room. He's offering suggestions and I trust that he won't steer me wrong. I appreciate his willingness to help, although I expected nothing less.

I skipped my pottery class this past Tuesday and didn't mind staying home at all. The class was feeling a bit more intense than I could handle this past week. Lots of researching pottery styles and artists, and smashing those together with our own mug designs. I'm supposed to have 12-13 mugs drawn but I don't have the brain capacity for that after getting up at 5 am every day and dealing with squalling babies for 8 hours. Honestly, I was already emotional and I'm still a bit of a puddle. I'll go back to class again, but I'm not sure what capacity of participation in detailed drawings I can muster.

"Puddle" would describe me well these past couple of weeks. Growing and healing are painful, and I'm finding once again that uncontrollable tears are cleansing. I don't always know what sets off the deep seated sadness. There are no words to describe the ache deep in my chest, I can only tell you that it's a feeling I've grappled with ever since I can remember. I always thought it was normal, but I'm finding instead a wound that needs to be tended, if only I can reach it...

My cousins and I are still meeting on Friday nights. Man Haters Club is going strong. I've been throwing bowls and building cups by hand and will probably stick to amassing a collection of functional pieces. Mugs, cups and bowls are not only easier to sell, but they make fabulous gifts.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Slow Goin'

It's slow going with the attic bedroom. We've run into a snag with condensation that likes to build up around the insulation. I've tried to keep the job simple, but simple jobs have a way of spiraling into complicated jobs and this one is no exception. (Ask me why I hesitated so long to do this...) I will likely have to take out a loan of some kind (when I find out how much the solution will cost) and raise the rent on my tenants. (I kid on the second one, kind of... I would sell my firstborn but he's not mine anymore.)

On a positive note, my dentist appointments are all accomplished and paid in full. I don't have to go back until Halloween. There's something to smile about. Ha ha!

Work has been stressful. Lots of changes, mostly in staff but also with children. Last year all four of my girls came five days a week. I had them from October through June when two left us for the summer. This year has not been so predictable. My twins come four days and they are the only two who've come consistently since September. I lost two of those who started in September. At present three friends come two days a week, one comes three, and yet another only on Friday. It's impossible to set a completely predictable schedule but we do the best we can. (That's just my baby room. We have another with a roster just as crazy.) I'm ready for a vacation but not at all sure how to fit that in with the rest of life's craziness.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Glassy Eyed

Either I've picked up a cold, or spring allergies are upon us. I'm voting for the second possibility because I like how it sounds. It's been a beautiful week with all the seasons sprinkled in. This is April.

I met an old friend for breakfast this morning. I can't recall a day when her name was not familiar. We don't catch up often but will sit for hours when we do. She is a lifelong friend who still dreams that one day we will find out we're actually related even though our DNA tests say otherwise. Either way we both grew up with platinum blond hair and blue eyes, and deep in her heart she always wished it to be so. 

Our conversations today led us to talk of family, genetics, secrets and adoption. She showed me pictures of her bio family; her mother who doesn't want to meet her, the brother who doesn't know she exists, the father who died before she could discover him (she was his only child), the uncle who was thrilled to be found, and a variety of grandparents. My heart aches that her discoveries didn't provide a better sense of relief and belonging... She is as gorgeous today as she was in high school but her eyes are sad, her heart is broken, and I can't fix that for her.

I found myself down by the lake again this afternoon before the cold front swept in, the temperatures plummeted, and the rain began to fall. The waves were gentle today and by some stroke of luck I kept both feet dry. I had no intention of scouring the shore for bits of polished glass and yet came home with a fabulous little collection. (My kids will curse and throw them all back into the lake when I'm dead and gone. LOL!) It's a pointless passion, a worthless obsession, and yet I find a small token of satisfaction in picking the tiny gems from the stones.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Feeling Accomplished

It's done. I have a new filling where an old one used to be. It was entirely exhausting but I survived.

Dental phobia is not fun. I have put the appointment out of my mind for the past couple of weeks. The work had to be done, and worrying wasn't going to change it. The only sign of anxiety was my lack of focus and lowered patience level today. I realized this when I thought to myself, "Wow, Martha! You're amazingly calm..." followed by, "Oh, wait... Maybe that's why you feel totally detached from this job today..." I was customarily disconnected from the anxiety on the outside, yet churning on the inside where even I couldn't see. A little dissociation perhaps?

The appointment went well, even if it did take multiple needle pokes to finally numb my jaw and tooth enough to complete the task. (I lost count of how many but it was at least six.) I knew enough, thanks to a good memory and my sister's comment about her own tooth (on the opposite side of her mouth) that "never gets numb" to speak up.  I'll admit that I didn't like her comment. She was supposed to reassure me, tell me that everything would be fine and I wouldn't feel a thing. But she didn't, and it was probably a good thing because that was on my mind when I walked into the office today and instead of saying nothing, I told them how that tooth did not like to go to sleep. I told them about the dentist who filled it when I was a child and my fear of having it worked on, and found them to be very patient and kind. Even after multiple attempts and a very numb lip, I could still feel when the drill hit a certain spot, but it was tolerable, mostly because I knew they had done everything possible and were still being gentle and kind. Finally the drilling was over and the cavity filled. It's been 3 1/2 hours since I left the office and I still have a numb spot on my lip. Ha ha!

I had so much Novocaine and was so exhausted that I felt a little drunk getting out of the chair. I actually had to catch myself on the wall as I rounded the corner, but I quickly recovered and drove home without getting pulled over for a sobriety test. LOL! I get to go back Monday to have my teeth cleaned. I can't wait! Ha ha!

Monday, April 17, 2023

Wow! Just Wow!

What a week! So beautiful!!! The long awaited, first whole week of uninterrupted springtime. I soaked in as much as I could possibly hold. Moments at the lake, walks in the woods, and even a late lunch/early dinner with a friend and a sister yesterday afternoon. I couldn't have asked for more.

My usual church buddy was not going to be in attendance yesterday morning, so I took the opportunity to visit a different fellowship. I drove two minutes around the corner to the "Church of My Childhood." (That's not really what it's called, it's simply what it is.) My earliest childhood church memories are of the Webster Christian Reformed Church. My parents were in the group of founding members. It is the "daughter church" of the one I have been attending for the past year and was in the planning stages several years before I was born. It was in this church that I learned to fold my hands, to march around the table singing "Onward Christian Soldiers," and to recite the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and the Nicene Creed (along with the Apostle's Creed). It was where I learned about he sacredness of Communion, to close my eyes during long pastoral prayers, and the words to so very many hymns and choruses. Save for one couple, the original founders are gone, the Reverends I knew long moved away. There remain but a few who knew either me or my parents. I'm still processing my visit.

The weather took a drastic change overnight and throughout today. It's not "summer" anymore, in fact we could see snow flurries tomorrow. I have no regrets about spending the entire weekend outside.

Sunday, April 09, 2023

It's Empty

Trauma throws the inner workings of our mind into turmoil. It takes the most natural and normal of thoughts and activities and throws them up into the air and turns them upside down...

My brain works somewhat differently than it used to. I have a difficult time processing church and the forced aspects of Christianity, those things that feel hokey and put-on, the holier than thou appearances of those who are anything but holy, and the judgemental atmosphere that often permeates places of worship. My trust has been shattered. The more accolades given, the more praise heaped upon them, the less I want a place in the party. 

And yet...

And yet I long to belong. To have the emptiness within filled with community. And the only place in my life I have ever known this filling has been through church and family. I lost half of my family when I left James. I knew the cost could be astronomical, but so was the cost of staying... I lost my church fellowship when I moved because I didn't want to answer questions, put up a charade, or make others uncomfortable... I lost my home because I left it behind, filled with everything we had built and collected in our 35 years together, and the piece of land my dad had helped us acquire when I had prayed that "Prayer of Jabez" so many years prior...

I considered not going to church this morning. After all it's Easter and my dressy clothes are still packed away in the back of the closet and mostly inaccessible corners of the attic and my yet unfinished room. But, it's Easter and how does one raised with Jesus stay home on this most important remembrance of Christ? I pulled a dress out of the tightly packed closet and located some pantyhose and a pair of shoes, and I went to church.

There is a comforting familiarity surrounding me in the midst of hymns and scripture. I was born into this congregation, albeit a different building. The old one burned to the ground in 1982. Some of the people there still remember my parents, especially the elderly and increasingly distant cousins, but I am yet a stranger in the midst of the crowd, a stranger who, although I've tried to be seen, remains all but invisible.

It's Easter. "We don't celebrate emptiness..." the pastor said. He was not referring to the emptiness of the tomb, of course, but emptiness in general. Especially the emptiness within our own hearts and souls. Jesus came, gave his life, and rose again to "fill our emptiness" but try as I might, I still don't completely understand how. I know all the right answers, I've heard all the sermons and read all the scriptures. I've done all the things, and at the end of the day I still often feel empty and alone.

I am far from alone in feeling empty. The world is full of emptiness and perhaps that is where the answer lies. Maybe the contentment does not come with feeling full and satisfied, because why would I reach out to anyone else if I don't have a knowledge of emptiness myself? (Am I making any sense here?) My kids and grandchildren, my friends and coworkers, a world full of children, and strangers in the grocery store all long to be filled, and sometimes all they need is a smile, a hug, a nod of the head, or a friendly hello to help fill the void. Maybe it's really all about pouring it out and collecting it up over and over again.

Thanks for listening.

(Pictures from our trip to the Lamberton Conservatory in Rochester.)

Thursday, April 06, 2023

It's Not Friday Yet

Today was my dentist appointment; the long dreaded, but not really so terrible, exam. It was a series of fancy x-rays without the expected poking and prodding of dentist appointments past. I've gone years (once 20) without having my teeth cleaned or my oral cavity examined. It's childhood dental trauma. The sound of the drill is terrifying even if it's only buzzing in the memory of a ten year old me. The tooth wasn't fully numbed and I had walked to the dentist's office alone... One particular tooth has never liked to sleep and, of course this is the tooth that needs a filling replaced... I keep telling myself that things are different now, that it will be over soon, but deep inside I'm still afraid. 

In other news, two of my boys left home early Tuesday morning on the adventure of a lifetime. They hit a snag on the west coast and I got a Tuesday evening call from a very tired and discouraged guy on the other side of the country. I did my best to hear his plight without adding grief, and to encourage without being trite. I'll admit to a bit of tossing and turning between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, but I was smiling when the same son called the next day with news that they were on the road. The smile grew even bigger when I saw Mt Rainier on one of their Instagram accounts. (I can share, right?) While the mom piece still feels anxious, I am so excited for them.

Back in the olden days, when children wrote research papers in cursive with black or blue ink, the 5th grade Martha was assigned a written report. Each member of our class was designated a National Park on which to write. There were no fancy computers to take us on an imaginary journey. Instead we trudged down the hall to the school library, dug through the card catalog, searched the shelves, and poured over books. I did not enjoy doing research or taking notes. I hated writing reports, and yet somewhere in my bedroom, hidden away in stacks of papers saved is my report on Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. I have to admit I am just a tad jealous. Ha ha!

I'm checking in daily with Leo the Cat who today greeted me with a "Meow" when I opened the door this afternoon and called his name. I'm sure he wonders what in the world happened to his "Cat Dad" and he told me he has no idea what I'm referring to when I tell him he once stayed overnight at my house. He likes his fur brushed and, according to my son, I should also "give him hugs and kisses" and "lovingly call him mean names." I seriously considered staying overnight at the apartment just to keep Leo company, but here I am at home instead. 

It was a short work week with a staff meeting squeezed in on Tuesday. Tomorrow we're closed for Good Friday. I'm still working through my list of appointments. Colonoscopy should have been checked off this week along with the dentist appointment, but I had to reschedule. Next Tuesday I start my new class at the pottery studio. I hear we're going to be making cups. Not quite as intimidating as lidded vessels... Therapist on Wednesday. Yup, I'm still going. Don't always need to, but it's still profitable as I continue to learn about Martha. because understanding myself is always beneficial.

Saturday, April 01, 2023


This old blog is getting drafty. My blog list is full of unfinished drafts. Incomplete thoughts. Unfinished sentences. Fragmented reflections. I'm undergoing a complete metamorphosis and don't quite know how to put my thoughts into words. Transitions take time, often more time that I desire yet I'm well into the change and have come to appreciate its many unexpected blessings, although I am occasionally overtaken by the expectations of yesteryear. They come with a clutching of my heart, a tightening in my shoulders, and (often) the urge to fight back tears. I've been reminded that singleness too is a gift, but sometimes I momentarily forget.

Change can come on suddenly and drastic, like this afternoon's weather. We had an almost summer-like day until about an hour or so ago. The clouds rolled in, the wind changed, and the temperatures began their descent. It's raining. There will be no half-naked chalk drawing on the sidewalk tomorrow. It will be an entirely different kind of day and we will find different kinds of pleasures to pass the time. This is the way of life, and this is okay.

I'm not sure I can recap the past two weeks... (I had a birthday sandwiched in there somewhere. Still getting younger, although the mirror doesn't always cooperate. LOL! Down to 31 again.) Mostly thoughts have swirled though my mind, never quite settling before being stirred up and tossed about again. I stared into the eyes of a 15 year old Martha who appeared in my Facebook memories and found a complete stranger. I wondered at what felt like an impossibility... How can one not know herself? How does that happen? And the thoughts begin to swirl again. They're swirling still...

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Barn Collective

 The "other barn" from last week's drive down Old State Rd in Angelica, NY. (I played with the picture a little bit. Warmed it up a tad.) This one looks pretty much abandoned, it's square silo missing a cap and the windows boarded up or broken out. I desperately wanted to get out of the car and peer through the windows but resisted the urge.

This barn and the one I posted last week were likely standing when my father was a small boy 90 years ago. I wonder to whom they once belonged?

It's Sunday Again

It's been a relaxed weekend. Yesterday I ordered the paneling for my room. Sergio and Carlos went to retrieve it from Lowes in the afternoon. I'm excited to see how the room looks and feels when it's all put back together again.

The checklist of catch-up doctor appointments continues. I have an appointment tomorrow for a precautionary ultrasound, a date for the dreaded colonoscopy, and a double-recommended dentist to contact tomorrow as well. Two totally unconnected friends named this particular guy and nobody recommended another. I'll be paying the dentist out of pocket but I'd rather have one who comes highly recommended. (Call me foolish but it feels better this way.) 

Three of my pottery cousins attended NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) in Cincinnati this past week. I could have gone along but I chose to save the money ($300) and my vacation days. It sounded like so much fun but I just couldn't justify it at the moment. I'm hoping we have time for some local festivals this year instead. (And I signed up for another class... Yikes!)

Sunday, March 12, 2023

The Barn Collective and Pancakes Too

It was time to change the clocks back an hour. To celebrate this momentous occasion I stayed overnight with my sister Priscilla. We rose before the crack of dawn and set off in the dark for Cartwright's Maple Tree Inn in Angelica, NY. There was already a line to get inside but it wasn't extraordinarily long. We enjoyed a fabulous breakfast of eggs, buckwheat pancakes with real maple syrup, and coffee (which we sweetened with maple syrup too). 

It is quite literally impossible for either my sister or me to leave the Angelica area without driving through town, around Park Circle, and past the house where Great grandma Shafer lived with Uncle Leo. 

Angelica and the surrounding towns, once dotted with small, working farms like those of my great grandparents and great uncles, the area is now home to a rather robust community of Amish families. We passed several buggies with families on their way to Meeting. We waved at each other as we drove past. I saw them smile and I was smiling too.

I left my camera back at Priscilla's house (thought of it on our way through the darkness) so I took a few pictures with my phone instead. It's a handy backup when I don't have the real thing along.

I'm joining you today, Tom.

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Day in Three Parts

Part One- I went to work but when I arrived the coworker who unlocks the door was nowhere to be seen. I sent a text to my boss who called said coworker and discovered her phone had somehow been set to read nearly 5:30 am instead of 6:30. While we waited for her to arrive, another coworker and I let parents know she was running late. I offered to let a few kids wait in my car so their moms could get to work on time. One accepted the offer and two little boys and I waited together. Soon the besmirched coworker came speeding up the road. She was mortified. She was embarrassed. She was swearing. She was all apologies. 

Part Two- The police found my son's car today. The thieves, desiring only a momentary thrill, crashed it. This has been the practice regarding many stolen Kias and Hyundais. It's rather sickening.

Part Three- We're having another weekend winter storm. March never fails to deliver when it comes to a late winter blizzard.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Mediocrity, and Bucket Lists

I've come to the not-so-very-surprising conclusion that I have settled for mediocrity. In an effort to be content, which is a good thing, I have not chased after my own goal and ambitions, which is a bad thing. Rather than keeping my eyes on the goals, I have lost sight of them altogether, if I ever had my sights on them in the first place.

What did I want to be when I was a little girl? Was I ever encouraged to be anything other than a wife and mother? What DOES my heart desire? So many questions and so very few answers...


I am checking doctor appointments off my list; physical, mammogram, gynecologist... (Once upon a time I kept up with doctor appointments and then our insurance became to expensive to maintain and we went without for years.) I'm told it's time for a colonoscopy, and I have a number to call but haven't set up the appointment yet. Maybe tomorrow. I saw the OB/GYN today. He's the same guy that delivered my last two babies and was my doctor for the last four. His hair used to be brown. Now it short and white... It's been about 36 years since I first started seeing him. He wants me to have an ultrasound so I'm adding an unexpected appointment to the list.

I should probably find a new dentist too. The dentist terrifies me. I literally cry when it's time to go. (I once went nearly 20 years without going... Now it's been  probably six.) I still have all my teeth, so there's that. 

The hair... It's long. I haven't had it cut in over a year. Almost a year and a half. My sweet, beautiful hair dresser passed away just after Christmas. I drove an hour to have Amanda cut my hair. She was worth the drive, always smiling, always encouraging, always making me feel beautiful... Amanda. Forever beautiful, forever young, forever missed. Maybe someday I'll get my hair cut again, but it isn't in the plan anytime soon.

One of my sons can cross "have my car stolen" off his bucket list. Ugh! I saw the door cam video. They smashed the back window, climbed in and drove away. Just like that. Yup, it was a Kia. Makes my heart hurt. The bright spot is he took his basket of dirty laundry back inside the house last night "for some reason."

Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Start ... Stop

I've started a few new posts only to stop and never publish them. There's been a lot going on in my mind, but not much time to process everything, When thoughts come out chopped up and lumpy, rather than smooth and flowing (which sounds like vomit either way...), I have a tendency to drop them into the draft folder rather than hit the publish button.

Our little guy ended up in the hospital last week. He ate something that didn't agree with his system and couldn't stop throwing up. He lost all his color and his lips were blueish white. Hannah was freaking out inside while doing all the right things on the outside. She called the after hours number for the doctor, got hold of me (I was out with a friend in the village), and then they rushed off to the nearest emergency room. I stayed with Idris and got him on the school bus the next morning before going to work myself. 

After the hospital fiasco we were hit with the stomach bug. For some unknown reason I am typically able to fend off these illnesses without ever puking. My stomach was "off" but I didn't actually get sick. 

On Friday I made a visit to a new doctors office, the second in a month's time. My old doctor's office knocked me out of the practice for not having an appointment for over three years, so I returned to a practice in the village of Webster where I submitted blood work and then had a physical on February 6. A week ago a friend suggested he was not a very reputable physician and suggested another practice. Since she had once worked for the other doctor, I took her advice. The new office has a much better feel. I am getting my medical records in order, and scheduling appointments and overdue tests.

The upstairs bedroom is not finished yet. The insulation has been replaced but we have yet to purchase paneling. 

The mind is still tumbling... I still have blogs to write but they're still "cooking."

Saturday, February 25, 2023

And That's the Way It Is

It's been a little bit of an off week. At the beginning of February I wondered why I was feeling tense and chalked it up to it being the middle of winter. Since February is such a cold, bleak time of year, and no major milestones were coming to mind, I figured that was the answer... and this week I remembered my mother's passing at the end of February nine years ago. (How can it be nine years already? Didn't I just post about her moving in with us?) Nine years... Ugh. It's harder today than it was at the time.

My daughter had exciting news this week when she was contacted by a sought after family member. She couldn't stop smiling. She is quite the internet sleuth. She's getting answers to questions and there is great satisfaction in her recent accomplishment. It also comes with some sticky situations attached. She will need wisdom in moving forward but I have complete confidence in her ability to be both kind and truthful.

I had a therapist appointment just before our recent "severe weather." It was suggested that perhaps I should write a letter to each member of my family, including James. The letters aren't meant to be sent. They are simply intended to help me sort, clarify, and process thoughts and emotions. The empathetic me is often disabled emotionally by those closest to me. I no longer fall apart over what may be the feelings of others but there is still work to be done.

School was in recess for Presidents Week the past several days and our routines at the daycare became entirely unpredictable. Though I'd like to envision myself as flexible and compliant, the truth is that I hate unstable and inconsistent routines. I want to know what I'm doing and who I am doing it with. The upside to a changed routine is I got to spend an entire day with my friend Mara on Thursday. She will be two in May.

I have working headlights! My son Ben came over on Tuesday and put the new bulb in for me, just in time for this week's ice and snow storm.

The bowl I had ready to be fired, the one with the funky glaze job, has been altered, Someone tried to help me "fix" the glaze and poured more over it. Ugh. Another lesson in letting go of expectations. I am now uncertain how to proceed with it. I'd really been looking forward to seeing how it turned out. Oh, well.

My room is progressing. Sergio has been replacing insulation. Soon it will be ready for new paneling.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

* My work review was a little "iffy" this year. I started to post about it twice and then thought better of it. The short version is they said I was "grumpy," which is actually sad and hilarious all at once. It came with a 50 cent raise. We had a mass exodus of staff just before Christmas and our new staff is questionable. They are afraid I might tender my resignation, which is possible, but not imminent.

* The bedroom project is moving along. Slowly. We're hoping to get something accomplished this weekend in the way of insulation. 

* I almost ran into the back end of (what I think was) an Amazon delivery van in the rainy, dark, predawn hours of Friday morning. There was just enough time to realize I couldn't stop, no cars coming up the other side of the hill, and to swerve around. It was parked in the road on the crest of a hill, with flashers blinking. My car is missing a headlight and my brain was set on autopilot. It was a bad combination and I am grateful it did not end badly.

* My headlights have to be special ordered thanks to whoever owned the vehicle before me. (We'd already tried to change it on Thursday evening.) They are now on order and should arrive on Tuesday.

* We had some gorgeous weather on Wednesday. It was 67 degrees and I took a walk on my lunch break.

* While Wednesday's weather was supremely beautiful, it was also windy. It was a bad day for one of our sweet, daycare families whose house caught fire and burned to the ground while they were away at work and school. No people were injured, but they lost everything including 3 dogs, 3 cats, and a bunny. I can't even imagine the heartbreak.

* Pottery night. I did very little pottery yesterday. I wasn't feeling it, but I did trim some bowls thrown earlier this month, and glazed my remaining bowl from Dan. (See how I claimed it as mine?) I'm interested to see how the glaze turns out as I tried a different application.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Bits and Pieces

 * We're almost halfway through February already. I should stop in Wegmans but I'm not at all interested in wading through their gargantuan Valentine displays. Maybe I'll hold off until Wednesday, or go to Walmart instead.

* Last Friday I trimmed the two bowls Dan threw when he visited our pottery night. They turned out nice.

* This Friday I picked one of the bowls off the shelf, mistakenly thought it was bisque fired, and mishandled it. A big chunk came out of the side and the rest of it crashed to the floor. I was left picking up the pieces. It's amazing how many thoughts go through the mind in a matter of milliseconds.

* I was disappointed in the broken bowl, I was embarrassed (just slightly), I was relieved (I knew Dan wouldn't be upset), and I was deciding how to proceed. In the end I broke up the bigger pieces, put it all into a bucket and added water. I brought it back to life. And, I eventually texted Dan and told him about it. He made me laugh and I was relieved, although I was never worried about his reaction.

* Yesterday morning I went to a memorial service for the father of a close friend. Goodbyes are hard.

* I have managed in the last week to empty my upstairs bedroom. Well, mostly.  The dressers have been moved to the narrow end of the room by the attic. Soon we will begin to tear down the paneling and replace the old insulation. I need to make a run to Lowes.

* It's Superbowl Sunday. The boys are coming over.

* 163. It's my starting point. I have a 20 pound goal.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Man Haters Club and Stuff

 It's been an interesting week, which is why I shouldn't go days upon days, and weeks upon weeks without setting my thoughts to words...

Last weekend's excitement was family history and genealogical research. The short version; my sister found one maternal great, great grandmother's maiden name, along with her parents and siblings. She had been previously known as simply "Emma." Now she has a history. ---- I learned that my paternal great grandfather had a step father who died in 1938. Through this we were able to track down his mother, Augusta, and his half sister, Pauline. ---- But the biggest find was an unknown first cousin. The DNA connection twas discovered months ago but the names were unfamiliar and there were few clues to how we were related. While searching old newspapers last week, I found a news article that put the pieces together. Old newspapers are gold. My cousin passed away in 1996, but he left behind several children who are now grown. Pretty wild.

Last night my friend Dan finally made it to our Friday night pottery group, affectionately known as Man Haters Club. He threw a bowl for us and then gave us some pointers in improving our throwing skills. (I took pictures of Julie throwing a pot.) It was a great night and I feel more confident in reclaiming my ability to throw a decent bowl. Julie also invited a guy they met in early December. He mixes his own glazes and it was fun talking to him too. Even Mike, who gave us the moniker, came downstairs a couple of times.

It was a slightly different kind of Friday night, but in a totally good way. Dan, sometimes known as "the chiropractor" seemed pleased to find "there was no (man) hating." It was amusing to find the glaze mixer and a friend of my cousin both knew him from somewhere. The Glaze Guy from the pottery studio, and the friend because she had gone to high school with his daughter. It's a small world, after all...

I accomplished a few things today. Had blood drawn for a fasting blood test (appointment for a physical next Monday), had my car detailed (Yes! It's clean inside!!!), and moved my bed downstairs so we can begin the terribly frightening task of redoing my attic bedroom. It's not a monumental task (tearing out old paneling and insulation, re-insulating, and putting up new paneling) but it's one I can't do alone. It's also one I don't want to leave until summer. Now begins the arduous task of letting go of things and simplifying my life. I do not want to be owned by my possessions. I can do this, even if I did just wish for a coaster when I threw out a stack of them 3 days ago...