Sunday, January 26, 2014

Isn't life strange (that's a Moody Blues song)

Yesterday I was not feeling well, so I stayed in my pajamas all day.   I did some tidying up in my bedroom (mine and Nicks). 

There is a small pile of old camera bags with old cameras in them, leaning on the side of Nick's dresser.  I wanted to make some space for it in the closet where we keep pictures.

This closet is FULL of boxes of photographs covering our 41+ years of marriage, hundreds of thousand miles traveled, and five kids from birth to present.  I decided to take down one box.  One.  Just one.

The box I took down was not only filled with photos, which it was, but also with the kids' various school papers.   I had no idea that they were in there.  I have boxes in the basement for each kid, with their papers inside.  yet, here I was, looking at even more.  There are stories written by each of the kids.  Courtney's admission letter into TJ.   The cables back and forth between the US Consulate in Guangzhou, the Embassy, in Beijing, the Consulate in Hong Kong, and the State Department.  I have a vague recollection of the cables, but have not seen them in over 20 years, if at all.   So strange seeing  "it was good that the hellicopter was ready, even though it was not needed".  

There's a paper Morgan wrote about how he taught himself to ride a unicycle.   Letters back and forth from grandparents, and friends and other family. 

There were some adorable pictures of each of the kids.  Some in Halloween costumes.  Some just being cute and amazing and funny.   Darcy and Austin were the blondest.  Chance wrote in a school paper "Dad has brown eyes, like me"  

My life has been so full and so fun.  I have to remind myself that more often.   Each word on paper and picture is just a fraction of the wonder of the life I have lived.

I separated out the pictures from the letters and the papers.  I am [eventually] going to catalog and organize the pictures.   I don't know what I am going to do with the letters.  They mean so much to me.  Even the short notes.  They mean that someone cared enough to put pen to paper and connect.  Often across and around the world.

What to do with the letters?  Nick said that our kids and grandchildren won't be interested in them. They will probably all get thrown out when we are gone.

I feel a need to somehow preserve them.   Maybe transcribe them?  I don't know.  Something to think about.

It took me over three hours to go through one box.  And there are so many more.   I need to retire- whatever that means- so I can get this project done!

And I started knitting a hat for Chance today.

And now to bed.  The gym is calling - not literally- I am going to the gym in the morning.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Trying so hard

I have been going to the gym pretty religiously for more than a year.  I know that I don't eat great.  I am really trying so hard.

Today I took my first belly dancing class at the gym.  I did pretty good, I think.  But looking in the mirror in the classroom, all I kept seeing is how big my belly is.  Why do I have this huge gut?  Why am I so heavy?

I am always shocked and surprised when I see myself in the mirrors at the gym. I don't look like that in my mind, but the mirror doesn't lie.

It sucks and is hard and discouraging.  But I keep trying.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just pondering

I have a picture of my brother, Dale, that has been hanging on my wall.  Not in a frame, just the photo.   It fell off the wall and has been sitting on my desk for the last few days

I wonder if it's the last picture taken of him alive?  Probably, but I have no way of knowing.  He looks so happy.  Proud of his bike.   The bike is so new you can see the new tread on the tires.

Nothing profound to write about here.  Just looking at this picture and all of the what ifs are going through my head.

Dale Alan Thompsen  April 9, 1950-June 15, 2001 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Whinging and whining

I suppose I will add a title to this when I finish up writing, or if I think of something clever.

Today was like many days.   I felt like doing a cleaning project.    Specifically the garage.  As I was getting ready to go out, I asked about the paint cans.  How many of them do we need to keep.  They look awful.    The reply was not an answer, just words.   "This is not a project that can be worked on now, it has to wait till spring".  That is not a very satisfying answer.   In fact, it felt like I was being told that I don't deserve a real answer.  It was not a rhetorical question.   An answer that might not have made me feel so bad might have been "I don't know, let's talk about it when you get home".

As I was backing out of the driveway I was really pissed off.  Paint cans.   I don't know if it was about the paint, or the way I was spoken to.   As far as the paint goes, I think we could toss all of it.  I cannot imagine any of it has been used in several years.  It has been sitting in the garage through the heat of many summers and the cold of many winters.

I feel like I get shot down all the time.  Maybe I don't, but I feel that way.

My house is a mess, by my standards.  I cannot do much about it.  Cleaning house, I mean really scouring type cleaning, is something I like to do alone.  Often I like to have music playing and I can sweep, mop, scrub the sink, counters and stove top.  It is so satisfying.   Dust the wooden furniture and look at the dirt on the dust cloth.  Scrub the kitchen table and look at the dirty water that gets squeezed out of the sponge.

I am never, or almost never, alone.  It is hard to feel like doing anything when I am sidetracked by the TV, or conversation.  Or whatever.

My own study is a mess, but it is MY mess and I don't think it should bother anyone.  If it does, I can shut the door.   I know I leave things around in other parts of the house.  I have a bunch of stuff on the stairs right now that I need to bring up and put away.  These things are mainly mine- a scrapbook- oh wait, that's Nick's, I just assembled it or him .  Bills.  Yeah, I own all the bills in the house, right.  I am the one who knows where to put the bills because I am the one in charge of paying them.   I am not sure why.  I guess it is part of my control freak personality.  I don't trust anyone else to get the bills paid in a timely enough manor to keep the power and water, gas and cable and internet all running.   I don't really want the job, but I feel like the only one who can do it "right".

Okay, anyway, I was in a snit when I left.  I was planning to go to the gym or go swimming after my call.  I really wanted to exercise today.

But after spending over an hour with a sweet baby and his parents, I feel so mellow that the anger had passed.  I did something good.  I made a difference in someone's life.  I got to watch a mother nurse her baby and see her feel empowered to mother.  The dad was in on it too.  And I got to hold and talk to that baby.

There are times when I leave after a call and have a feeling of not being quite a success.  Wishing I had one more trick up my sleeve.   Feeling doubt.  But usually when I make follow up calls a few days later, things are going better.   And when they are not, I am able to help the new mom see what her success is and how much she has done and how great she is.

So, mellower me came home.  Nick had done some tidying.  He really tries.  Really.  Unfortunately, I have my mother's critical eye.  It is almost impossible for me to look without seeing the things that were not done really very well, or were not done at all.  The difference is, most of the time (99%?) I do not have my mother's tongue.  My mother is the only person I know who was actually fired by the Merry Maids!

Planning to go to the gym in the morning for Pilates class.  I hope I make it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Is there anything that is new and original?

I was talking today with my psychiatrist (yes, I have one of those).  Talking about aging and watching kids grow up and mortality.  I came to the conclusion that there is no original thought.  Throughout the ages I am sure people have wondered about life.  Birth.  Death.  Aging.   all of the stages we all go through.  So, my thoughts and feelings are probably inherently part of being human.   Thinking and wondering and making up religions or theories to explain it all.

So, in the midst of all of this philosophizing, I went to the gym and signed up for a 12 week fitness challenge.   So, here I am doing something that involves the passage of time and the things that I can do during that amount of time to affect my health.

Then we took Budd,y the dog to the vet.  He is perfect (of course).   He got some shots and tags.  Stopped by the pound to get his license. .  Came home.  Buddy is good to go for another year.

Here I am.  Going to bed soon.  Really trying to make myself get to bed before 2 am.  Or even 1 am.    Goals.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's a new year

How come New Years eve isn't as exciting any more.  At least, I don't find it exciting.  Just sort of dumb- as in- oh well, it's another day and month and year.  Yup.  That's all.

I know I am like everyone else, at least in my assessment of my life over the last year and what I am going to do differently this year.  Resolutions they are called.   Yes, I too make promises to myself.  I am just embarrassed to admit it to anyone including myself.   It's it one of those things- next time I will do better.  Eat better.  Exercise more.   Lose weight.  Read more. Sew more.  Whatever it is that I feel deficient in.

The one thing I cannot do anything about, or make resolutions about is age.   Make that two things; age and time.  Time keeps going faster and faster.   I keep getting older.   I am going to be 60 this year.  What the hell does it mean?  What can I do about it?   I can answer the second question.  Nothing.  I can do nothing at all about turning 60.  Almost all of the people in my life are either older than me, and so have been 60 and don't care to remember feeling the way I do.  At least that's how I feel.  I don't feel like I can tell my 85 year old friend that I am freaking out about turning 60.  even the two most important people in my life are both 66, so they think of me as younger (which I know I am).

The other people in my life, "my moms" are all young nursing mothers (for the most part).  I am as old or older than their mothers, so they don't know what to say or think what I say that i am turning 60 this year.

Am I afraid of getting old?   Probably.  I do not think of myself as a youth worshiper, but I do think of myself as being active and vital and busy and much of the time energetic.   I have to be doing "something" all the time.   Even if it's just knitting little do dads while watching TV.  I always feel guilty about wasting time.

But here I am.  More than half way done with life.   My time is more and more limited.  Honestly, nobody knows how long they will live, or how it all turns out.   I just feel closer to the finish line and I don't fel like I am anywhere near ready to be done.

I feel like I am 20, not 60.  At least in my ambitions.  There is so much to do and so many things to learn and make and see.   

I suspect that actually passing the date of my birthday will be rather anti climactic.   Then won't I feel silly?