Monday, June 29, 2020

Double Post (Because I Didn't Write Anything Last Night)

Sunday, June 28, 2020

I woke up a little late, took my shower, and logged into Church Online, but partway through I made a last minute change of plans. I hopped in my car and drove to my son's house as quick as possible. I didn't want to miss "Worship in Our Yard." I arrived early, in time to soak in a warm hug from my boy, and visit Numbers 7 and 10 before any other guests arrived. I haven't been to physical "church" since March 8, sixteen weeks. It was the perfect morning, the perfect gathering, and I left perfectly blessed.

It was a lazy afternoon (I even took a short nap on the living room carpet). Mid afternoon I met my friend Chris and we drove out to Canandaigua where we met two more friends for dinner in the Beer Garden at the Rheinblick German Restaurant. So fun and so yummy! Another wonderful weekend.

June 29, 2020

I've found that cleansing (and healing) old wounds can be a detailed process, especially if the original wound isn't dealt with properly. It might even need to be reopened and cleaned again. The "wound" I speak of doesn't ache and bleed like it did years ago. The deep and hidden grief is past, and the raw, throbbing ache hasn't plagued me for a very long time. I can't even recall the last time my heart needed stilling due to the pain. I thought it had healed, yet I've found it helpful in recent years to revisit the wound and drain any remaining debris. (Are you confused yet?)

I've written about Joey a couple of times (here), but the years of battling deep loss are difficult to admit. I grieved his loss silently and alone. How could I admit to the heartbreak inside when I had married James? I couldn't. I had little ones to tend and a guy who needed me to love him. I buried the sorrow over and over again until the sands of time dulled the ache.

Joey was a childhood friend who "loved me" according to his sister, and that is where our relationship began. Our time together couldn't have lasted more than 6 or 8 months while in third grade. He moved here in late fall and moved away before school was over in the spring. He showed up at our door with his cousin and sister one spring day to say goodbye. It was the last time I would see him because he was moving. That could have, and maybe should have, been the end of the story, but even as a child I had an overactive heart. When a letter arrived a few months later, my mother talked to neighbors and hunted down a return address. It was 1973.

James entered my life the summer of 1979. I'd never had a "boyfriend" other than Joey, and Joey still had my heart. Through the years I'd received a handful of letters, a few school pictures, several phone calls, and we had stopped at his house in October of 1978 while we were on vacation to Virginia. This lonely girl couldn't help but be smitten by the handsome football player of her childhood, but there was another boy in town, one whose heart was hurting and I became entangled in another web of hopes and dreams. (Cleaned up story here) Each time my heart returned to the thought patterns of my childhood, I took a few minutes to grieve and then pushed the sadness from my heart and mind. I couldn't live there.

When things unraveled between James and I, I found the need to seek out the little box of letters from the child/teenager of whom I'd once dreamed. It wasn't  re-connection I was looking for, it was closure (again), and I found it, like I had before, reading the letters. I didn't find the boy of my dreams tucked into old envelopes, but a guy with some self-centered tendencies I'd been blind to as a girl.

The internet has the unthinkable way of making what was once totally impossible, possible. It's way too easy to learn a smidgen (or two) about those we once lost track of. My childhood friend appears to have done well in life. He has a beautiful and successful wife, two handsome, now grown children, and an incredibly huge house on the banks of a well known river. I've stared at him in photographs, trying to catch some glimmer of the little boy/teenager I once knew, but the years have taken a toll I know nothing about and he is unrecognizable to me. I wouldn't have given him a second glance had he bumped into me on the street. At least I don't think so. Maybe my subconscious would know something I didn't pick up on with my conscious mind. ?

My friend and his wife live in what looks to me like a mansion. It's for sale. Over $1,600,000.00! A mansion has never been in my plans, especially one with five bedrooms and five bathrooms that all need to be cleaned. (Can anyone really use that many bathrooms?) There may have been days of raising children when I longed for a place to escape, but 7400 square feet seems a little bit overkill. (I have absolutely no clue what my old friend does for a living. Maybe he doesn't work at all... Ha ha!) I'm not glitzy and glamorous. I don't even wear make-up other than mascara. She is the national sales director in a extremely well known company, and has won numerous awards. (What does one person do to win 13 all-expense paid trips and 19 cars?) Oh, my! More than anything I am amused. I genuinely hope and pray they are truly happy.

Maybe all those years ago my mom thought our puppy love friendship was cute, but in reality she had no idea how deeply I would entangle my heart in future hopes and dreams. I'm sure she thought the relationship would slowly fade away and become nothing more than a sweet childhood memory. Maybe it finally has...

Saturday, June 27, 2020

I Like Saturdays

I didn't have any big plans for today. Nowhere urgent to be, no meetings with friends. That's tomorrow. I slept later than I'd planned, a little too late apparently. I missed the morning's rainstorm that drenched the inside of my car. It hasn't rained at all until this week and I left my windows half down all night. I even checked the forecast before I went to bed. I missed the part where it was supposed to rain this morning. Oops.

I worked on cleaning the gara... I mean "Veranda" today. Even took myself into Home Goods while I was out and found some spiffy indoor/outdoor carpets. I sent several photos to Hannah and then, since I couldn't decide, and the garage is big, I bought two!  Back home I did a lot of sweeping and vacuuming, a bit of rearranging, and some stowing of boxes in the attic. It's not completely done, but it's looking pretty nice. We've been eating dinner out there, sitting, watching rain storms, and enjoying the space.

Tomorrow I have afternoon/evening plans with some friends. Maybe I'll take my camera along for the journey.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Not Much Happenin' and Too Much Happening Too

I am not exactly sure what is happening in the world, but it feels a bit like it's been knocked off its axis lately. Like it's wobbling to and fro... All we can do is pray, love our neighbors, and hold on tight. (Oh, boy.)

I came home from work absolutely exhausted Monday afternoon and fell into one of those deep, deep sleeps. Maybe because I didn't sleep so great on Sunday night? Or was it Monday night I didn't sleep?  A little nap goes a long way. A long nap? Those are heavenly.

I attempted to clean out my "dungeon" yesterday afternoon, but then it started to rain, so I left my shop-vac and garbage box in the garden house and headed back to the garage. The dungeon will have to wait and so will the dragon. (I kid.) When I got rained out of cleaning the dungeon, I called Bethany to see if she had any beer... She found one old and lonely bottle in her fridge, left from a January party. I took a ride to retrieve the bottle of beer and snuggle my Henry. Back home I poured the beer into tuna fish cans and set them down into my flower garden. I'm hoping to catch the hungry slugs that have been devouring my marigolds. No luck so far. maybe they don't like beer.

This morning I woke up to a strangely quiet bedroom. My alarm was sounding, but my fan and air conditioner were silent and still. The light did not work. Fearing I would fall back to sleep and be late to work, I got up, used the pitch black bathroom, and headed back upstairs to dress without showering. There was no checking the internet. There was no making coffee. What could I do but leave early, find a coffee along the way, and arrive at work 20 minutes early?

At the suggestion of a friend, I've renamed my garage "The Veranda." Sounds fancy and fun, even if there is nothing fancy about it. Ha ha! My garage door screen have arrived. They have arrived in doubles and not just because there are two garage doors. Oy vey! The pair awaiting me at Home Depot will need to be returned. I already received a pair at the house. And yes, I've been charged for both.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Bits and Pieces

I made it through the weekend without any emotional breakdowns. (I did that on Thursday.) Thankfully, this particular event/anniversary packed weekend doesn't occur every year. Sometimes Father's Day comes a little earlier... The other events remain the same as they are the anniversaries.

I'd talked with my therapist about this particular weekend when I was in the office a week ago and we both agreed that I should seek out some friends to spend time with, so I put an "ad" on Facebook and waited for my friends to respond. LOL!

On Thursday afternoon I met the sister of my friend Shelly. She lives a few miles down the road from my work so finding her was easy. We shared a drink and some lunch and chatted for a couple of hours. It was a good visit. The emotional piece came after my return home when I learned that my Minnesota son and his family had changed their summer plans and there would be no backyard camp out at the end of July. (This situation has since been remedied, much to my relief, but I couldn't stop the tears at the time.)

Friday evening I drove out to Victor, NY to have dinner with my friend Laura. After our cookout we took a ride into Canandaigua for an ice cream cone at the Cheshire Farms Creamery. I had Sea Salt Caramel ice cream. So delicious! We ate our cones in my car and then drove down by the lake. It was a beautiful evening. I didn't get home until around 11 pm. Imagine that!

Saturday afternoon found me driving out to Williamson to find my friend Gail. We've known each other since we were children, but never hung out together. We walked from her cottage at Hollands Cove over to Hugh's Marina and sat on a driftwood log along the lake shore. It was the perfect June day.

On Saturday evening Hannah and Sergio went out to a party and I stayed home with Number Nine. It was an absolutely fabulous evening. We went around the block (his suggestion), watered the flowers (which of course resulted in him getting wet), and he played in a bucket of water out in the driveway. When the water had been dumped twice, we headed inside and he took a shower (with some help, of course).

Today my friend Chris picked me up early and we headed into Rochester to visit the Maplewood Rose Gardens, walk along the river, and visit Brown's Race at the High Falls. Before heading home we stopped at Panera Bread, picked up a lunch, and took it to Webster Park where we ate in her car with a perfect view of Lake Ontario. At home I took a long nap.

It's been a beautiful weekend. I made it though without any major issues. It was perfect.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Shedding Some Light (Or Lightening Some Sheds)

I'm cleaning out sheds. 

Over the weekend I emptied one half full woodshed into another half full woodshed compartment. (There are four separate areas to the long woodshed behind the garage.)

 I now have one empty woodshed and one full woodshed compartment.

I also consolidated all the garden tools and snow shovels into a Compartment #2.
See the firewood peeking through the slat divider?

Today I took my brand new shop-vac out to the Garden House in the back corner and cleaned out decades of old dirt and spider webs. It's looking pretty spiffy!

This is Compartment #3. We had Big Ideas about building something fun out of our old tires... Who knows? Maybe it will still happen. Only time will tell.

(I have no picture of Compartment #4, which appeared when Dad closed up the gap between the garage and the long shed in order to make a place to keep bicycles, but there aren't any bikes in there. It's more of a "catch-all" at the moment.)

And then there is this beauty. This is a cinder block "dungeon" off the back of Dad's Garden House. He'd hoped to keep vegetables there in the winter, but neglected to fill the cinder block walls with concrete, and it failed to be weather proof. It's another "catch-all" which I will empty a little at a time depending on how brave I feel. I took a few pieces out of there today. Mostly I'm afraid of critters. Ha ha! It's not she-shed material, that's for sure. I don't have any plans for this space other than storage and I'm not sure what.

Our garage is looking a little less congested too. It's far from the summer living area I'm dreaming of but I have two weeks before July is upon us. Stay tuned to see if we make it happen.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

This Girl Here

You wouldn't know much of anything about her by looking at the picture. Even her age would be tough to guess. The only hint she is married is the ring on her finger. You might even believe she is a newlywed, but I can tell you a few things about the girl in the picture...

She's 32 years old, has been married for almost 15 years, and has seven children from 14 years old down to 9 months. She had her makeup done in Texas, but she's actually from upstate NY. In fact the only make up she typically wears is a touch of mascara. She is terribly uncomfortable with this surprise photo shoot. She is emotionally and mentally spent. She's very likely suffering the effects of a near nervous breakdown and it will take years for her to recover. In many ways she will never be the same, but she will survive.

Today she looks at this photograph, sees beauty and innocence, and remembers a time when everything around her felt hopeless. The depression felt impossible to shake. For two years her feet had hit the floor running in the morning. She could hardly remember the last time she'd sat down to relax during the day, and she crawled into bed totally exhausted every night. Home schooling had become impossible so she'd taken the advice of a friend and registered her children for school even though it was already April. It didn't go over well with her husband and she fell apart that evening, dropping to the floor by the couch and sobbing. He bought her a plane ticket to Texas. A getaway to visit his sister. She recalls sitting on the plane before takeoff, her 9 month old daughter on her lap, and thinking, "Someday this will be a distant memory..." and now it is.

Twenty-four years have passed since that first trip to Texas, there was another the following year, and her understanding of the breakdown is clearer today. There were things she didn't know back then, at least not consciously, that likely contributed to her plight. They say the body knows what the mind can't accept, and there were plenty of reason for her to struggle. Even one of those reasons could have made daily life a challenge, but bunched together they were just too much. The prayers of friends and family carried her through and she emerged stronger on the other side, and when life dished up problems bigger than she could handle alone, God was there helping her through. He's still helping her through today.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

And So ...

I found a brand new refrigerator/freezer in my kitchen at work this morning. Pretty fabulous even if I do have to bend down to see inside. No more stashing milk in tiny, infant room units, and there should be plenty of room to stash ice cream for this summer's fund raiser (that I hate with a passion).

I've been taking a new route to work the past few days. A surprise detour sign appeared Tuesday morning almost making me late. Good thing I drive fast. Ha ha! There isn't an especially quick detour since getting to work involves crossing the canal, but as long as I know to drive a different route, I can get there in the same amount of time as usual. (The photo was taken on my way home on Monday while we waited for a train.)

This afternoon I was up to my old tricks. Hannah and I decided to make a quick run to Target in her car. Before leaving I stopped to roll up my car windows and grab a few things out of the console. As I got into her car I realized I'd forgotten my face mask. That's when I discovered I'd locked my keys in my car. Again. Ha ha! This time I remembered I have a Triple A membership that James paid for back in October.  He might be happy to know it didn't go to waste. That's twice I've locked myself out of my car in my own driveway.

It's been an emotional week. So much upheaval in the world, so many opposing stories and viewpoints, and so many anniversaries on top of it. I took a look at my blogs from last June and decided even though I feel some strong emotions, I am not at all where I was this time last year. I am more okay with who I am than ever before. This is good.

I had a very long conversation with my friend Sandy this afternoon, much of it about race. I am seeking to understand a different perspective and I love that she is willing to talk with me even though her viewpoint is not that of a typical black American woman. She did not grow up in a country filled with racism as her home country is in the Caribbean. Still she helps me look from a different angle. God continues to stretch and grow me in ways I never imagined.This too is good.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Bits and Pieces

* Last week I witnessed a rescue. Just across the railroad tracks on the other side of the Erie Canal, a white truck was stopped in the middle of the road with several cars waiting behind. Traffic in my lane had also come to a stop. A black man with a shovel, and his white female companion, were scooping a turtle toward the swampy area along the road. I can only assume it was a snapping turtle or they'd have likely picked him up with the hands. Once the creeping reptile was safely on the other side, they hopped back into their truck and we all went our separate ways. I'm guessing several of us were smiling. I know I was.

* Today I got a surprise at work. I opened the refrigerator to take out the milk and was greeted by a blast of warm air and the scent of old hot dogs. You know as well as I do that the interior of a refrigerator is supposed to be cold... Ours was not. I put my hand on one of our milk jugs. It was not cold. In fact, it was quite warm. (blech!) One of our staff ran down the road to Walmart for two more gallons of milk and I took a new package of hot dogs out of the freezer. Pretty much everything in the refrigerator was lost. I saved some fresh carrots and a jar of grape jam. Everything else went into the dumpster. The garbage men don't come until Friday and to tell the truth, I'm a little concerned about those three unopened gallons of milk in there. I might just park as far away from that dumpster as possible for a while.

* I was surprised at work one day last week too, but it was a good surprise. Someone sent me a card with a little gift inside. I haven't a clue where it came from, except that I don't think it was one of my coworkers. It was sent in care of the daycare center. How fun is that? On the way home I bought myself an iced coffee to celebrate. So yummy!

* Tonight I am finding myself tired and achy. Wearing flip flops can make me achy, and spring allergies always make me sleepy. I'm going to bed early again tonight.

(No photos of bulging milk jugs or snapping turtles. Not even a shot of my coffee. Instead a couple of photos from my drive home from the party the other day.)

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Twelve is One

Happy Birthday, Logan!
(It isn't here quite yet. He'll be one on Monday, but we had the party today.)

It was a lovely evening for a party. Doesn't it look like fun?

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Pain and Agony

Our nation is in agony, writhing in pain, struggling to breathe...Where will all of this take us? What have we become? What does the future hold? God help us.

Checking the news has not been my habit in the past years. Rather than actually read, scrutinize, and digest what is happening in the world, I have been caught up in my own struggle. I've read article titles and personal interest stories instead. With Covid-19 filling most recent news pages, I've stepped away even more. Until this past week.

I could attempt fooling myself into believing everything is normal in the world, but that would only find me running smack into a brick wall in a very short amount of time. I can no longer ignore what is happening. I don't understand it, and I cannot rationalize it. I cannot shake it from my mind. It must drive me to my knees instead. I don't know what to do, but I am willing to do whatever it takes.