Sunday, February 16, 2020

communication

in

I copied this from Facebook.   I think about my kids all the time.  I am always afraid/ cautious about what I say and what I ask.

Sometimes the reactions to my communication, I feel that the kids think I am being judgemental or intrusive.   I'd love to know what my kids are up to.  Are they working?  Happy?  Lonely?  Busy?  I love them all so much.   I hope that they all know that. 

One time I sent an email sharing my thoughts on how I perceive my environment and the awe in appreciating nature.   Imagining the animals and people who have trod there.   The reply I got from my child was that everything was going great until my email arrived. Somehow my joy was perceived as an attack and insult, or even  overly nosy. I was crushed and puzzled.

I miss my kids



Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Feelings

I have been feeling really down lately.   I think it started a few weeks ago.  At Weight Watchers, the woman who leads the group was talking about her weight loss.  She lost 100 lb and has kept it off for 15 years.  Okay, fine.

Then I started thinking.  In 15 years I will be 80.  Fifteen years isn't a very long time, but 80 seems pretty old!  I know the joke "consider the alternative".   But as a reality it really hit me hard.

Also birthdays.  Courtney and Morgan both have birthdays in the next few weeks.   She'll be 42 and he'll be 39.   And I won't be seeing them on their birthdays.   I cannot remember when we last celebrated their birthdays as a whole family together.  When they were living at home I feel like they were still mine.  My kids.  My babies.  Now they are these whole, aging, independent adults.

The whole passage of time and aging is a common theme in my writing.  I guess because it's where I am and what I am thinking and obsessing about.

Nick has been scanning old pictures.  I have been helping him identify some of them.  He cannot always tell which child or baby is in the picture, but I am pretty confident that I can.

There's a shoe box full of letters sitting on the round table.  Actually, there are lots of shoe boxes of letters, but it's the only one that I have been in today.  They are funny and informative.  And make me remember things I had forgotten.  And I wrote about things that I don't remember, but since I wrote them I guess they happened.

Dale and I sitting in our old family car.  I think it was a Nash Rambler




Curly haired me at about age 3, probably in Greece



My grandparents, my dad and my uncles.   I am guessing around 1934

Sisters 1964






Carol's high school graduation 1966

Nick before I knew him.  One his motorcycle in Dijon, France





Sunday, February 9, 2020

Feeling blah

I am so tired and without energy.  I think I might be anemic.  I noticed that I have been chewing ice, a symptom of anemia.  And, as I said, tired.

I've started taking iron, so I am hoping that will help.

On top of it all, I feel like I might be fighting a stomach bug today.

I tripped on a rug the other day and fell mainly on my new (artificial) knee.  I didn't break it which is good, but my whole legs is sore as is most of my body.

I finished up a knitting project I was working on, so that's a good thing!  No pictures yet.  After the person I am sending it to receives it, then I'll post a picture.

Just over five weeks until my next knee replacement surgery.  The left one was done in August and the right will be done in March.   I know now how rough the recovery is.  But I also know how good it will be to have two working knees!

One hundred forty five days until Courtney and I go on our Alaska cruise.  I am really looking forward to that!

Courtney will be 42 on the 25th of this month and Morgan will be 39 a week later.  

Nick and I think about and talk about the kids all the time.  They were all over us as little kids and as babies.  They needed us.  They also cuddled us and gave us unconditional love.   I am happy that they are all so self sufficient, but I do miss them.

Before we had internet, and when we were living overseas, I wrote letters.  A lot of letters.  Mainly to family, mine and Nick's.  But also any friends who wrote to me.    I longed for mail from home.   I would get so sad when nothing came in the mail.  At one point I subscribed to at least 12 magazines just so there would always be mail.

Now we rarely get any postal mail and we get very little real- personal email either.

That's progress? 




Saturday, February 1, 2020

Blog posts from our cruise


January 23, 2020 4:15 pm

Sitting in Baltimore Harbor waiting for the ship, Grandeur of the Seas to sail.   The ship boarded late because there was illness on the previous cruise and hey had to clean and sanitize the ship.   We wanted lunch but food service in the dining room ended at 3:00 so we didn’t get that.  Oh well, we did find potato chips and munched on them.

January 24th 9:00am

Last evening, we must have walked a hundred miles.  At least it felt like it.  From one end of the ship to the other and back.  Didn’t really have lunch aside from a bag of potato chips.   Had dinner with three people from Philadelphia who invited us back to their table.  Saves us the hassle of reserving a table or searching for a place to sit every evening.

We the went to a show last night.  It was the intro to the various performances we can see during the cruise.

Woke up to a rainbow out the window.  I took some pictures which I will put on here when I am online again.

I really enjoyed breakfast. 
The food was good, but the people watching was great!   I noticed how so many people are wearing t-shirts and torn jeans (a current style).   Nobody was dressed up.  Funny how  the snob in me has an image of cruises made up of people all dressed up in their elegant finery.   When you spend this much money you expect that.  But, these trips are probably as practical if not more practical than many vacations.   I think one of the reasons I scoffed at cruises for so long is that it seemed frivolous.  I am more of a snob that I realized or would like to admit.

Watching the family at a table near us at breakfast was a study in families.  A small one, but relatable as the parents dealt with their six kids.  The mother ever vigilant watching over her brood.  She was constantly aware of who was doing what.  Talking to the teen daughters while keeping an eye on the little ones.  She didn’t look as totally relaxed as I was.  And I felt and remember that feeling.   Even a vacation is work.   Both parents speaking a different language- it sounded Polish but I was not close enough to tell.  The teen daughters speaking American teen.   The two youngest required more of their mother’s attention than the others   One little girl, I would guess the fifth of the six children had an attitude.  She was determined to find everything unfair and not to her liking, When the youngest had a  doughnut the little girls crossed her arms and stuck out her bottom lip.  Mom tore the doughnut in half and gave the little girl half.  The younger child, a little boy didn’t complain.  I guess he was used to it.

The multiple languages being spoken is something surprised me a bit.  Too many British shows I suspect.  They all speak English on those shows.   There was a couple at a table near us who I would guess were American.  Three Chinese people sat down to share the table.  I have scripted them in my head as a couple and someone’s mother.  The “mother”, the older woman, sat as the others went for food.  The “grandma” studied the white couple as if they were something new and strange.  She put her glasses on to look.  She lowered her glasses on her nose and looked over them to be sure she of what she was looking at.  The couple didn’t seem to notice.  I wonder what the older woman was thinking she looked so serious.

It feels like we are “supposed to” be doing something.  But we are on vacation.  We don’t have to do anything we don’t want to.

I’m trying to decide if I want to take a shower before we hear out again, or not.  Tonight, is formal night.  That means I will put on the long skirt I got for the occasion and the sparkly shirt I borrowed from my sister.   I’ll put on makeup and put hairspray in my hair.  Nick will wear slacks and a shirt, tie and jacket.   We will all be dressed up and feeling a bit fancy and a bit silly at the same time.



January 25, 2020
Day 3  7:54 pm
Yesterday after breakfast, Nick was not feeling well, so he slept most of the day.  I napped some and wandered around some.  Had lunch with a retired Foreign Service couple (he was the officer she the spouse) That was fun.

One of the things I did yesterday that seemed like a good idea at the time, was go to the fitness room.  I did 10 minutes on the stationary bike, which was fine.  Then I did the leg press and the leg curl and boy did I hurt!  My right knee was so painful it was even painful to walk with my cane.
Nick was able to get up for dinner and we sat with our table mates.  Three people, friends, from Philadelphia.  Ken and Aniela are a couple and George is their friend. Very nice with lots of stories.


We went to a pub quiz, but the caller’s English was hard to understand which makes for a difficult trivia quiz.  

Saw a stage show “Beatle Mania”.  I was excellent!
Today, Saturday we went to a “Meet and Mingle”.  I met a guy with a tattoo of his dog’s paw.   His dog was 11 years old when he died 

Not sure what all we did, but it was a nice restful day with naps between meals. 
I love to people watch.   With my knee so painful, and needing to use my cane, I found myself thinking “I’m one of those people”.  The old, overweight cripples.   It’s hard to sit in a chair.  It’s hard to get up from a chair.  It’s hard to walk.    I am overweight as are probably the majority of the people on this cruise.

After a nap (before dinner) my knee was feeling much better and I am walking without my cane for the moment.   I know that losing the 100 lbs. I need to lose will make me feel so much better.  More mobile and lighter on my feet.  That and getting my right knee replaced (and recovering) will be wonderful.

There’s no mistaking my 65-year-old body for my 20 something or 30 something body, or even later.  I am starting to understand the quest for the fountain of youth.  Not that being younger is so desirable.  But the physical changes that come with age and annoying at best and handicapping at worst.

Day 6 11:15 am
January 28, 2020

Yesterday we went to Coco Cay.  It’s changed dramatically since 4 years ago when my sister and I were there.  It’s a real water park/ amusement park.    

We just sat in beach chairs and enjoyed the weather.  We each took turns walking to the water to put a toe into the cold water.   Lunch was buffet style and a bit chaotic.   The wind whipped up and we headed back to the ship.   Walking on the beach and also the long walkway to the beach was pretty hard on my knees!



 
The other night we went to a comedy show that was great.  Not sure when we saw the “Love and Marriage” show, but it was really a lot of fun!

This morning we had to get up and leave the ship by 6:45 so we could go through US customs in Florida.  Not a terrible hassle but it took a couple of hours.

I really enjoy the people we sit with almost every meal.  Dinner we are pretty committed to three people who are friends, traveling together from Pennsylvania.   Breakfast and lunch, we never know if we’ll eat alone or share a table.  So far, I have enjoyed all of the people we have met.

We’ve been going to the trivia games too.  Sometimes we get a person reading the questions who’s first language is NOT English.  That can be challenging but it all works out.
Who knew that Nick would be so social!

January 28, 2020

We saw pelicans.  Lots of them flying over the boat.   Here are a few of the pictures I took.




There were beautiful mornings seeing the sun rise and also spectacular sunsets.  I'll post some pictures here.

Sunrises


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 Sunset Pictures



























Tuesday, January 7, 2020

First snow of the season

It wasn't a big snow, but it was pretty.



Deer in the snow near my sister's house



This is what we could see through the front door camera



Friday, January 3, 2020

It's a new year, decade and an election year

I keep telling myself to write something on the meaning of life.  I have so many thoughts and ideas and philosophies and feelings.  And these things change now and then.  Maybe several times in a day.

Once upon a time, over 30 years ago, Nick and I saw a therapist.  We went because we were worried about one of our children and we wanted tools to help him.  The therapist asked me "what do you do for yourself".  I replied that I am a La Leche League Leader and that's what I do for myself.  She persisted- No, what do you do just for YOU.   She stumped me.    But now I know (and I did then too) that being a source of support and knowledge that can support other mothers is what I was doing for myself.  I know that is part  of why I continue in La Leche League.  Of course in the early days I was one of the moms as well.  Even though I was there to help other moms, I needed support and friendship too.

Now I see myself in the role of a mentor/ mother/ grandmother figure.   The moms who come to me now can't identify with me as their peer.   I am not there peer.   But they know that I will take the concerns and feelings seriously.  They know that if I don't have an answer, I will try to find an answer.

Does that mean that service to others is the meaning of life.  No, I don't think so.   I couldn't be a counselor a minister.   But it does compliment all of the things that make up me.

My kids were everything in a way, for a lot of years.  At times I resented them for how much energy I  had to give away to my children to keep them safe and myself sane.    They are still incredibly important to me.  They grew in me.  Physically, but emotionally too.  We did things like play with play-dough and make cookies.  They had chores. I yelled at them way too much.  I was frustrated and often felt that I must be doing the whole mothering thing wrong, or they would be perfect  little angels.

And now, it's mainly just Nick and I in this big house- except for when one or more stay with us.   And, as much as I miss my kids, I sometimes wonder, how did we do it?  How did we raise. live with, feed, bathe and survive all of us together.  It seems like it was all a dream.

I am happy that I had five children?  Yes.  Do I get the meaning and worth of myself from being their mother?   I think about all of them every day of my life.   But my days, waking and sleeping, don't revolve around them any more. 

Obviously, if I hadn't become a mother, I would have still been capable of being a whole, happy and complete human being.

It's complicated!