Tuesday, September 6, 2016


This past weekend was nice. Who doesn't like a three day weekend? On Saturday, we went to Bloomington's Fourth Street Festival and then to the Garlic Fest. Doug's oldest son and wife and their two year old, Lilly, met us there. Lilly is so cute, she calls Doug "baaapa." Anytime he steps away, she is searching for him "where baaapa go?" So cute. We were also joined by my friend Karen who is doing Sober September with me. Guess what? We had a lot of fun being sober! This pic of me was in the paper on Sunday following our attendance on Saturday. I joked that they "got my best side." 
Sunday, Doug returned to work and I did what I love to do - putzing and piddling around the house. I started the day with tea from my new mug I purchased at the festival. Isn't it cool without a handle and just an indentation for the thumb? It will be a nice hand-warmer as the temps come down this fall and winter. 

Although general cleaning is kind of boring, it seems even though there are only two of us, it is often a necessary evil. With a Corgi, I mean EVIL. Corgis are shed machines. Corgi owners joke there are two seasons for shedding - January to June and July to December. With my resident Taurus, this shine won't last long.
During the summer, I take most all of my houseplants outdoors. We live in the country, so by the end of summer, they are full of dead leaves and spider webs. When it gets close to time for frost, I want to be ready. A gal I work with gave me a ton of hens and chicks, so I planted some of those. I re-potted a small cactus, I'm curious to see if it will get taller and or wider in the new pot.
I stole, I mean helped myself to a start from a plant in my building's lobby - the one with the red stem. I do not know what it is, but I like it. (Can anyone tell me what it is?) When I broke the piece off, it was very sticky and oozing. It took forever to root. So I potted it and put some chicks around the edge of the pot. We'll see how it does. I re-potted the Christmas cactus my sister gave to me last year. We keep our house so cool in winter (the better to huddle by the fireplace, my dear), and I may need to take it to work to get it to bloom. I have a lovely big window near my desk. Last year the cactus had small pink buds all over it, but it never bloomed and then the buds fell off. I will have to take the tropical fern back to work as our house is anything but tropical!
What is your favorite season? Mine is FALL! I have the fever so bad! I got out my fall table runner and napkins and put a fall towel on the stove. I go crazy sticking pumpkins and gourds all over. For now this is it. Oh, and a few fall candles. The little one is pumpkin chai. So yummy.
This was my adventure in homemaking. I love to make a house a home. I don't get to do so as much as I would like as I work full time. Work is such a bother, getting in the way of what I really want to do! On Sunday I sewed. Christmas will be here before we know it and I have lots of handmade items on my list. How was your weekend?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sober September

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Last night of this for a bit.

It was casually mentioned to me recently. My gal friend and I had met for dinner before heading to a movie. She said "I'm thinking of giving up drinking for a month." I said "Ugh, I don't know that I want to." She replied "I know." And, that was that.

Then I started thinking. I have bounced the same four pounds back and forth all summer long, never getting below a certain set point. Often times I was guilty of drinking too much. My people have always had an affinity for the drink. My sister doesn't drink and interestingly enough, my mother, who may have consumed 4-5 drinks in her life,  died of NASH. I'm often tired and suffer from brain fog. I wonder about the relationship between those factors and alcohol? Suffering since age ten from migraines, having even one drink will often lead to a horrible headache. Even if I only have one drink, I don't sleep as well as I do when I don't consume alcohol. Reading what I've written, I know there are those who would think well, why would you drink at all? Because it has always been so fun, you know? 

When my daughter was young, we had a practice of "doing the day." This meant we would drive to Indianapolis for a day of shopping and lunch or dinner. My daughter must have been twelve or fourteen years old when she said to me "you know what I hate? That moment when you order a second drink." I didn't ask her why she hated it, but now I wonder if she just didn't want to sit there with her mom when she drank or if she didn't like how I acted after that second drink. (Or, both?) At any rate, not good. Not a good mom move. I made my children uncomfortable at times because of my drinking. Come to think of it, I'm certain I have made others uncomfortable because of my drinking.

I think it must go back to the practice of popping a champagne cork - of the celebratory act of drinking. It is so fun. And if it is *SO* fun, let's just have more fun. Ugh.

I am an all-out all or nothing gal. For me, for now, it is nothing. Good riddance.

I write for my own purpose, but I also write to help others. If you believe you may be like me, and drinking just a bit too much, perhaps you should consider taking a break. I've enlisted two friends to teetotal with me. A journey is always easier with friends along for the ride.

Thank you to those of you who have continued to write to me despite the fact that I haven't posted since January. Lots of love to you!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Goldfinch

I started reading listening to The Goldfinch today. There will be very few spoilers, if any, because I just started reading listening to it today.

In the beginning, Theo tells of how his life is marked by his mother's death - life before she died, and life after she died. I think for anyone who has lost someone they love, someone who has always been a part of your life, an important part of your life, feels this way. He says that no one ever made him feel loved like his mother did. How she made the normal seem special. He states that she uses a Mary Poppins voice. He states that she was beautiful too. When he remembers her, he remembers what she had on that day and that is how he always pictures her, in those clothes.

In March, it will be two years since my mother died. The first three months following her death, I sobbed. I sobbed as I gardened. Doug would walk up to me with his arms outstretched saying "Oh, honey." I would wave him away. I needed to sob. I would sob at work - sitting before my two monitors, sniffing and staring straight ahead, blowing my nose. At the end of the day I would thank my colleagues for not making a fuss, not noticing that I sobbed all day. I couldn't really stop. Then her birthday rolled around and I hiked for her at a local state park. This is what I am going to do in her memory on her birthday as long as I am physically able. I went to my daughter's house for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I needed to be with her and her family and to be with people who love me. When someone I normally communicate with said I didn't get in touch that first year, I was shocked. I suppose it was true. The first year I muddled through. This second year has been easier.
I still miss her terribly, I think about her often, she is with me all the time. I see her in my face when I look into the mirror. I look just like her and when people tell me so, it is such a compliment. Like Theo, I always thought my mother was beautiful.

My mother was, for most of her life, very heavy. This led to a lot of the end of life problems she experienced - heart damage, joint issues, knee replacements. In the end, she walked with a walker with a swagger, moving side to side. Despite my mother's weight, I always thought she was beautiful. Oh, I hated it when she frosted her hair when that was popular and when she let the girls at the beauty school work on her, but to me, she was beautiful.
Like Theo, no one ever loved me as much as my mother. She was always there to listen to me. She would pet me over the phone when I would call her to complain of being ill. When I shut my finger in the trunk, I ran to her house so she could take care of it for me.

For most of my growing-up years, my family was very poor. My mother was a cafeteria worker in our school so that she could be off with us when we had school breaks. My dad was an insurance man for whom success came late in his career, coinciding with when all three of us left the house. Like Theo's mother, my mother made the ordinary feel oh so special. When I was very young, my dad worked in a factory. He must have worked the afternoon shift, because in the evenings, it was just mother and us kids. Mother would poor a little Dixie cup of pop or kool-aid for us and serve popcorn in Melmac bowls. She would play albums of classical music on the record player for us - Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Porgy and Bess. I loved those nights and from those nights with the record player began my love of music.

Mother wasn't a great cook, but on our birthdays, we could choose what we wanted to eat. There was one thing she made well and that is what I always requested - spaghetti. Her sauce would simmer on the stove all day long. Often when we went camping as a family, she would cook the sauce over the campfire and everyone camping around us would all talk about how delicious it smelled. She would make a home baked cake and while she cleaned up the kitchen, my dad would put the three of us in the car and we would drive to a drugstore called Hooks, (which is CVS these days,) and he would allow us to pick the ice-cream we wanted to eat.

Just as Theo states his mother used a Mary Poppins voice, I always called my mother Pollyanna. She was usually positive, no matter what - a trait she learned from her Grandma. Often I thought she was naive or unrealistic. At Christmas, no matter what was going on in our lives, it was supposed to be wonderful. I am mostly positive and get this from my mother's example.
Now when I think of her, I think of talks we had or how many times we told each other we loved each other - especially in the end, in the hospital. It was all we needed to say. Now, I mull over conversations, savoring every word. I recall disagreements we had and now that I don't have her any longer, I regret some of my negative behavior and bad attitude and smart mouth retorts, but this was in the years I was a teenager. I know now she was just trying to raise me up the best she could.

I'm fortunate that while doing my job I can listen to podcasts or books. I have a degree in English and used to be quite the snob about how the actual reading of a book was superior to listening to a book. I'm glad I got over this.

I've just started reading listening to this book and thus far, I like it. Today, it made me think of and remember my mother which is always good.

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