Flounder — To struggle or plunge about awkwardly. Early in the morning the word came to me. First question — is it a word? Second – what does it mean? That accurately describes my feeling at the moment. Now I know that January has always brought depression in my life. Too many cold days, NO SUNSHINE — nothing to look forward to. Do I need to go on? This year is more difficult. I’m missing my mate. Even though it was cold last year — we had a date to meet friends for lunch, I was ordering his medicine, a date with the doctors was cancelled because it was 3 degrees and I didn’t think we should travel.
Thankfully it is not that cold YET. I know it is coming. Since the ice kept me in the house for a week in October, I’m not looking forward to cold, snow and ICE. `I hate to admit it but I HAVE NOT accomplished anything worthwhile in too long to mention. Television, magazines and stores are full of ideas to lose weight. It would not hurt me to lose a couple of pounds, okay maybe more than a couple but I don’t have the motivation. I DO NOT want to try any of the newest, hottest ways to lose weight nor do I want to try the old and proven. I have learned that I my body needs meat, vegan is not for me.
I planned to go the senior center for an art session and I did. I thought that it would be helpful to learn to draw. Sadly my hand was hurting on the day I went and drawing didn’t help it. It put my hand out of commission for a few days. My daughter asked me if I had fun and I honestly replied “no!”
I won’t bore you with the list of things I DID NOT WANT TO DO. Did that feeling pass? To be honest I don’t know. My stubborn spirit raised its head and I committed to activities that would help. I DID NOT GO CRAZY! No plans to “diet” or restrict my eating. No plans to use my time to organize the house. Instead I committed to two steps. First to walk more than 3,000 steps a day. Looking at my log, many days were under 2,000. Second: do Tai Chi every day. Of course, I also wanted to drink more water and get more sleep. I have been taking my blood pressure daily and the numbers were higher than I wanted.
A week has passed and I’m happy to acknowledge that I met both of my goals.
I admitted that I finally realized that I walk to a different drummer. Over the last 25 years, since my father passed, I learned that I have crossed a bridge — I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK. Remembering when I was young, I wanted to be normal. The scars from the fire were very prominent and I had a hard time making friends. I don’t know if I ever was normal, I know I’m not now. AND I’M EXTREMEMLY GRATEFUL.
Over the last 25 years, I have received “help” from “my friends in high places.” I have become better at acknowledging their “help.” The second book I wrote JOURNEY WITH ME contains 29 stories of the lessons I’d learned. I have been writing this blog for over 5 years. Well over 400 thought rambles, each describing a “new” experience.
Why am I going on and on about this? Good question. This time I have an answer. January 6, Epiphany,
“Little Christmas” I planned to meet my youngest daughter at the airport to transfer her dogs who had kept us company for a week. I phoned the airline, actually spoke to a person because the computer could not find the flight. Disconnecting from the call, I checked to make sure the cell phone had kept the phone number. A message crossed the screen: “Jesus calling. I am Your Lord! Trust me. ” There were a few more words to finish the sentence but they disappeared quickly and I COULD NOT FIND THEM AGAIN. “AMAZED. BEWILDERED. DUMBFOUNDED.” There are no words to express my feelings. HOW? WHY? WHAT?
To say that it made an impression on me is an understatement. Since my husband joined my team at the end of October, my life has become even more interesting. Evidently he learned that I REALLY need “their help.” And he is up to the job. As much as I’m trying to be strong, I’m floundering.
Yesterday, I discovered a black and white cutout of a picture of my husband and our dog resting on his chest, on top of a purse. ?? Where did it come from? I was happy to find it.
Today from a stack of CD’s, I randomly picked “Alone In IZ World.” Brought back good memories. My first trip to Hawaii and Kawai was with my husband. We went to Pearl Harbor. His oldest brother was on one of the ships, thankfully surviving the attack. At 4:00 AM a rooster woke me to greet the sun. My husband got sea sick sitting in a restaurant watching the waves. I discovered IZ’s world. His songs have greeted me each time I have returned to Hawaii. The album contains “Over The Rainbow.” It also contains “In this Life I was Loved By you.” Popcorn tears! The album ends with IZ’s reflection on how important oxygen is to life and his embarrassment in connection to the tank.
I have the habit of using two daily calendars too try to keep track of my life. Not that it is extremely busy or very active. First I don’t have a paying job — no timetable to go to work or come home. Second, our life is not that active. We don’t belong to clubs or organizations which require time commitment. Until my husband’s health required more appointments with the doctors, there was really no reason to have a calendar. Let alone two. Of course, I noted special dates for our children and grandchildren — vacations, school performances, etc.
One calendar — My Inner Reflections is from the Self Realization Fellowship — Lovely photos, Inspirational writings by Paramahansa Yogananda. I discovered the calendar years ago at a bookstore that is no longer in business. I write my daily activities, important events.
The second calendar changes over time. A few years ago, I noted the food I consumed on a daily basis, hoping to help my weight. I have expanded the calendar to make it more useful. Now I use the monthly dates to note Dr. Appointments, scheduled events, blog titles, etc. I have been a team player for many years — single will be an adjustment.
My husband was sick in September and October — the months I normally remember to acquire new calendars. I bought my nutritional calendar at the end of October before his health took a turn for the worse. I didn’t pay too much attention to it — I wanted a monthly page and individual dates with enough space to write down my food log. Since it is a calendar that I use daily, I paid attention to where I put it. When I started using it in January, I was happy to learn that each week has an inspirational quote and a place to note things you are grateful for.
I ordered my Inspirational calendar later — in November. When it arrived I stuck it somewhere for safe keeping. It was so safe I COULDN’T FIND IT. New Years Eve it was still hidden. I don’t know why I pulled it out from its hiding place. It was not someplace I would have expected to find it. I was very glad that it surfaced when it did.
Just recently I paid attention to the photo on the cover. A single swan is swimming on a calm lake with a mountain in the distance. Swans mate for life. The photo is very significant for this year in my life. I have become a single swan swimming in a reasonably calm lake — reflecting either sunrise or sunset in the colors of the mountains and lake.
Loss is a hard feeling to deal with. Especially when the person who has crossed over is very close to your heart. I am EXTREMEMLY LUCKY. When my father passed over more than twenty years ago, he sent me a message that he remembered me. I was alert enough at that time to recognize it. And that has made all the difference. Now I’ll admit that my mother has probably been active in my life for many years. But she was skilled in her activities. My father is skilled too, BUT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM THAT HE LET ME KNOW HE WAS FINE.
I wrote once that I’ve crossed a bridge. Over the years I have received many lessons from my “spirit team.” I have detailed many of those experiences in my book JOURNEY WITH ME. In fact I was reminded of the book recently when I sent an e-mail to my family, giving them homework — to read a chapter a day or a week –to remind them how spirit interacts with our lives. Their grief was very visible.
Thankfully my husband also sent me a message after he passed. Thankfully he is often with me at home and when I am out and about. I recently crossed paths with a gentleman who is 102. He was shopping at the store, not using a cane or a motorized cart. He wants to live to be 105. That same day I met a woman who is taking care of her handicapped husband. They watched a movie together and he laughed. He thanked her. He was glad that he could still laugh. We talked for a short while. During the conversation she told me she saw her deceased father sitting in the back of a car. I saw the spirit of a dog who had recently passed run through our house but I don’t normally see things. I don’t “see” things when I meditate either. My daughter confirmed that I’m not visual.
I like to have presents under the tree for my family for Christmas. They don’t need to be large or expensive, just a little surprise. I wanted a present for our son. Nothing called his name when I was looking for a gift. He had already announced that neither of us needed anything. And he is right! That doesn’t solve my problem! Until my husband went shopping with me and I found the perfect present. It would have been perfect for my husband if he was still alive. Hopefully it will be perfect for my son.
When my husband was alive, shopping was NOT his favorite activity. Especially when I wanted to visit many stores. I don’t know if his feeling for shopping has changed but I love RECOGNIZING HIS HELP.
QUEST FOOTNOTE: I took a photo of the NEW, GREEN MOTORCYCLE ornament I bought for my husband. I tried to share the find with my family. I sent the photo in TWO messages. Neither of the photos were received. I took a photo of the motor cycle hanging under an angel with a trumpet announcing his ride. That photo was received.
In a recent trip to Costco I discovered The New Frontier cookbook by Ree Drummond. It is my practice to open a new cookbook at random and see if the recipe fits into my style of cooking. To be honest, I have no idea what recipe I opened to. I put the book back down because it didn’t have nutritional information. Before I left the store, the book was not only back in my hand, but in my cart leaving the store. I had noticed that she had MANY photos showing the steps.
Did I NEED to see the steps in making the recipes? I didn’t think so but I was intrigued. And I am so glad that I did. Two of her daughters are no longer at the evening meal each night. Her household has shifted to mostly male, growing teenage boys. My household has also changed. For many years I cooked the meals that my husband liked — meat and potatoes, no salad and very few vegetables. Now the world is my oyster.
Since my husbands passing, I have made three oriental recipes. More are on the pipeline but the traditional menu for Thanksgiving put a hold on my experimenting. Thankfully my son is more willing to try new foods. He even suggested that I didn’t need to peel the potatoes when frying them. I’ve discovered that red potatoes work better than rustics. Onions don’t need to be diced as small. I can even add peppers.
Have I mentioned that I like to read cookbooks. This one fits right in. Ree introduces each recipe with a short thought ramble. It has already reminded me of many cooking adventures in my life.
I decided that I would only read two recipes a morning in the new book. It was a good choice. I have started my day with laughter many times. I’m almost finished with breakfast. I have to admit that many of the recipes will be a challenge. They are designed for from 6 to 8 servings. I’ll either have to cut the ingredients or freeze the leftovers.
I planned to write a new thought ramble and thought of the title Learning The Ropes. I saw that it had already been used. So I read it. It deserves to be reprinted. The fun I had when my friend passed deserves to be shared again. My husband has joined my team on the other side. My husband was involved with ham radios. My CD player WOULD NOT play a CD I chose. When I was able to listen to it, I understood why. That same day I was NOT ABLE to change the TV to a program I wanted to watch. Giving up, I went out to fax a copy of his death certificate. Returning home — I was able to change the TV to that station. I won’t bore you with all the FUN I’m having. This Saturday we are gathering to celebrate my husband’s life with music, stories and fun. More than four days since he has passed, he has learned the ropes. LET THE FUN BEGIN.
Mischief is afoot. I would raise the white flag but I know it won’t do any good. It took me awhile to become aware that someone was in training. But I’m a bit slow at times. Christmas is coming and my life will be busy. Not necessarily with parties and celebrations but baking and decorating the house seems to take more time and effort than it used to. I refuse to admit that it is because I’m heavier and older. I can’t do anything about being older but wouldn’t you think I’d be able to do something about the weight? I needed a few ideas to write a ramble about so they would publish during the time I was occupied with Christmas. My friends in high places are happy to oblige.
Anyway back to training. My friend Dorothy passed on Tuesday. My favorite knife DISAPPEARED on Wednesday morning. I have searched and searched without success. I remember putting it in its holder on the sink — GONE! I think life was relatively calm from Wednesday to Sunday but then my memory isn’t what it used to be. I know I should keep notes of the happening in my life but I don’t unless my attention is drawn to a happening — like my knife disappearing.
Saturday we celebrated Dorothy’s life. Sunday got my attention. Did she have time to rest, visit with those on the other side and was now ready to expand her knowledge. I don’t know but Sunday got my attention. It started with my husband’s poker game floating face down in the toilet. When did it go for a swim? Good question. I went to Mass and let the rest of the household sleep. I walked and it started to rain as I entered church. The gospel was the same as the reading at the service on Saturday. Our music director was late and a cantor with an excellent voice lead us in song.
On the home front, my husband’s day was interesting. Vitamins and pills had a life of their own — falling on the floor and spreading around the desk. He mentioned other happenings but I don’t remember. We decided we should take life easy and go out for breakfast. The restaurant was so packed we left for another place. Everybody must have been out for breakfast, finding a parking spot at the restaurants was impossible. I won’t bore you with the search just let me say five restaurants later we finally stopped to eat. Thankfully the food was very good.
Returning home, I wanted a cup of tea. Eight boxes of tea cascaded out of the cabinet all over the floor. I often switch to herbal teas early in the day and I have an assortment. I was reminded of all the flavors as I picked up the boxes and tried to get them settled again. Sometimes one or two boxes will fall — as if someone is helping me with the choice — but eight??
I wrote CELEBRATING A LIFE. Evidently some of my writing didn’t pass — the computer refused to save it. I deleted and changed a few thoughts. The ramble was saved!
I wanted to print something off of the computer and used the computer in my husband’s office. Trouble, trouble again. The computer had issues, when it finally let me access my e-mails — they were all gone. I was reminded of the fun my family experienced after my father passed and was learning how to mess with electronics the day of his wake. Our son and our daughter’s boyfriend each had different computer issues on that day.
Four days to visit and rest — that is about right.
I knew my husband was a man of honor. This morning I opened the bible to Job 30. Normally I DON’T LIKE to open to Job. It usually alerts me to rough water. Today was different. “I wore my honesty like a garment.” Christian song early morning reminded me that I am loved. I am extremely fortunate in many ways. Our son moved home more than eight years ago to help his parents. I am not alone in the house. Yesterday it SNOWED. More than 3″. He took care of the steps and the sidewalk. I had started on the steps with a broom — only to quickly discover that there was too much snow on the steps already. I had planned to go to a Veteran ceremony but the snow changed my plans.
My husband enjoyed helping others. He was quick to give away stuff he was no longer using. I’m sure he is happy that the insulin he no longer needed has been given to a couple of people whose finances made getting insulin difficult. His clothes are also going to a couple of out reach places.
I have over 30 photo albums and piles of photos that never made it into an album. I found an album that I had put together using a photo service. I planned to send it to one of my husband’s sisters until I looked at it closely. I made the album when my husband and I returned from a trip back to his home in Maryland. We visited with three of his sisters, enjoyed a visit with his childhood friend and experienced more than a foot of snow arriving on the day we were scheduled to come back home. The pages are full of my memories of the trip. Since it was one of our last trips together, going through the pages with my notes — “A fellow at breakfast told stories of bear hunting. I was concerned that we would be in that area. The fellow told me not to worry. A note on one of the pages not only told the short story, but mentioned the bear hunting checkpoint sign.”
I’ve mentioned that I’m aware that I walk to a different drummer. I’m aware that I receive “help” from my “friends in high places.” I was wondering why I hadn’t noticed “help” from my husband. Sorrow does strange things. This morning I not only remembered my daughter needing a new battery in her car before she returned home. She had used her car with NO PROBLEMS taking her father back and forth to the doctors. She had moved her car in front of the house to make packing easier. She learned a new battery was needed when she planned to leave.
I’m an early riser, soon after my husband passed, I took my pens and books and calendars into the kitchen closing the door to not wake those who were sleeping downstairs. When I went to retrieve my pens they were gone. I remembered I had pens in a valentine box given to me by a dear friend. Opening the box, I found a red silk pouch containing a message. “This represents a: Life, b: Endurance, c: Hope, d: and Change.” It had a drawing of a butterfly and a personal note that I’ll keep private. It accompanied a butterfly magnetic pin. Last present and note I received from a special man.
Walking Robin in the early morning in the country, I had a unusual experience. The morning was cool, I needed a jacket. I felt like I had stepped back in time to a morning when our children were small. I was trying to cook breakfast on a two burner propane stove outside of our apache pop up camper in the country. I wasn’t skilled. It took me a long time to make breakfast. Just for a short moment I felt I was there.
Later in the day, I had a similar experience. Years later, I was preparing to can green beans or tomatoes. Standing at the stove, pressure cannier ready, jars ready for filling. Caps and tops in hot water. I still have ALL my equipment — pressure canneries, jars, caps. I’m not quite ready to get rid of them.
I have read of people who have had similar experiences. Normally these are not a part of my life. Remembering, I often think of various experiences but I don’t feel as if I am experiencing them again. One was unusual. Two — I can’t comment. I think I was puzzled but not scared.
I NEVER felt my age, to be honest, I didn’t remember how old I was. Sadly time has changed that. I don’t know if it is because of the trouble I’m having with my joints and other body parts. I don’t if it because of my weight. Many articles are currently appearing on the benefits of a vegetarian diet. I’m happy for those who are able to do that. I like most vegetables and enjoy some vegetarian dishes. I have learned that my body NEEDS MEAT! After my children were born, I requested Italian Beef sandwiches.
I recently fell. Thankfully I didn’t break anything. I might have stressed certain body parts. They are making their presence known. We had a small, personal table on our deck. I was placing a dogs collar on it when it collapsed, putting me off balance. After a few forward steps, I collapsed, face down. I didn’t break anything. THANK YOU, LORD.
Since my fall I’m craving beef. Hamburger, steak — doesn’t matter. Evidently there is something in the beef that my body NEEDS. I have had pork, chicken, cheese and beans. Plenty of protein. Doesn’t matter. I’m reminded of the commercial “Where’s the Beef”.
Our oldest daughter challenged the family to spend five minutes each day drawing. She discovered an APP that provides a new subject for a drawing each day. Slowly the members of my family have signed up to play.
I probably helped when I shared a tidbit from Woman’s World that reported from the journal Neurology that woman who create art stimulate their brain cells, making them 79% less likely to develop degenerative brain disease such as dementia. Since my father had Alzheimer’s disease, keeping my brain active is very important to me. I’m already experiencing some forgetfulness. Words like to hide when I want to use them.
When I signed up, I didn’t know I would need a user name. Brain froze, couldn’t think of anything interesting or creative. Evidently as with this Blog, it was something I was supposed to do. Name was accepted.
I didn’t know that I could paint until I was in my 40’s. The campground provided an opportunity to paint — bring your body, they would provide instruction and supplies. I DID, I was so impressed by my painting, I was hooked. For years I put oil paint on canvas, exploring the world. I ran out of wall space, and my husband developed breathing problems. I stopped.
My family has been pestering me to start painting again. I’m trying acrylics which doesn’t leave an odor. It dries quickly. I have not finished many paintings. Subjects have been hiding. My imagination is asleep. I WAS NEVER GOOD AT DRAWING! A group in the country gets together to paint, but it has been raining and we have been in the city.
New challenge. I have looked at sketches submitted by my children and grandchildren and am impressed. Of course, my ability to sketch might improve if I practice. My daughters have reminded me that they have been practicing for YEARS.
Today’s theme was Magical. Magic to me is a baby. I tried to sketch a child — definitely nothing to write home about. I decided to submit it anyway. After I did, I received an award for my first sketch. I couldn’t pick out the subject. It was just a rectangle of color. I chose the colors I liked the best. I was surprised when the image surfaced of a black cat.
When my granddaughter was at St. Joseph hospital because of her headaches, I told her we should compose a story about an Amazon Warrior who used her strength to battle the headaches and thunder boomers. I don’t know if that idea ever really became a story. While she was in the hospital I gave her the puppets I had acquired for her birthday — a Unicorn and a Pegasus. Unable to visit on her birthday because of her headaches, the idea for a story became a painting.
I will be the first to admit that I do not have the ability to draw. I needed a female warrior, a stick figure would not work. I tried to draw the image, it turned out better than I expected. Now I will admit that I petitioned everyone on my “spirit team” for help. I tried to draw a unicorn — the image had no relationship to the being I was trying to draw. I tried to draw a shield with limited success.
I hoped that paint would improve my drawing ability and drew a new image on a canvas board. I decided to put in a mountain with storm clouds leaving followed by blue skies with wispy white clouds. The sky, the clouds, the mountain became the image that I wanted. The female on the other hand, became a challenge. First I decided that she needed to move back on the canvas. She was too close to the front. I finally was able to improve on the image so that I had a female warrior, standing tall, ready to take on the world. The shield was another matter. I realized I had no idea what a shield looked like, let alone where to place it or paint it.
The unicorn was another matter. Poor unicorn, ears aren’t too bad, body is pudgy, eye and nose are okay.
The best I can say is that I tried. I decided not to clutter the background up with rocks or trees. After I fussed with the sky and the clouds and the grassy terrain, I knew that I had to take a photo and send it to her. It might have been possible to improve on the unicorn, it might have been possible to make it even more of a mess. I might have hidden it behind a tree. The photo gave her a smile.
I learned that I had trouble with the brushes. I learned that I had trouble with the paint. I learned that if I wanted to join the artists painting on location in the country I had to practice. I had planned to start painting when we first came home from the country. I didn’t! Hopefully — winter is almost over. Spring will soon be here. I have an easel and chair for wandering, I just need to PRACTICE so that I’m more comfortable using my materials.