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It's that time of year again.  Seems Thanksgiving is barely over and the continued waves of grief continue to build.  I only wish I could hibernate until sometime in mid-January.  Lots of glorious uninterrupted sleep!!!  How wonderful would that be?

No holiday festivities here.  Bare, minimal hints of Christmas in the form of a candle holder, a santa bell and a Santa doll.  Oh and the wooden reindeer hanging outside.  No tree, no lights, no garland.  I gave away quite a bit of my Christmas decorations a month ago to one of my daughters who loves decorating for the holiday.  I let her have anything she wanted, including the pre-lit tree.  Wasn't anything in any of the boxes that I wanted to keep.  I'm glad she is able to enjoy them.

In thinking back over the past years, I was trying to recall when the joy and excitement faded.  Besides the obvious death knell of losing my husband, there have been other events that have added to the waning excitement of what once was a wonderful time of year.  In December of 1998, my 18YO nephew was killed in a fiery car crash.  It was very traumatic for everyone, but mostly for his mother (my sister-in-law).  He was her only child. She has never recovered.  A few years later in 2000 while traveling to my sister's home for our annual family Christmas gathering, we learned via phone that her husband had announced to her that morning that he and the kids were leaving her, the house had been foreclosed on (she had no idea), and they left her in the home with nothing more than a TV and a pillow/blanket.  In her immense pain and sorrow over the next few days, she attempted suicide.  She survived and has lived with me ever since.  My dear husband turned the car around and said "let's go get her and she can live with us."  He was saint.  

That event changed the dynamic of our traditions for ever and always.  Then my grandmother died, my mother died, my family was forever and irrevocably splintered.  DH and I decided to take the reins and become the family glue for OUR family and become the host family going forward.  We worked hard to plan and make new traditions. And now he is gone. 

I desperately miss the feeling of Christmas.  With any luck(?), I will be able to regain some of the joyfulness of the season sometime in the future.  It could happen.  But not this year.

Hi! Remember me, The Queen of Procrastination? You can tell from my lack of posts that the title is worn very well.

So, I decided to take a peek into a tall storage bin the other day. It is one that has been stuffed with stuff over the years, then parked in the garage or in a closet. I really like this bin because it is a stack of smaller bins that lock together and it is on wheels. Another trait I have is a desire to be crafty, so I buy (read "hoard") supplies. On any given day I could paint, crochet, sew, cross-stitch, bead, make stained get the picture? Honestly, I haven't actually made anything, but I am prepared.

Which leads to today's post. While going through the bins, I came across a project that has been the source of a good chuckle over the years by my dear hubby, mother-in-law and kids. When my youngest was still crawling, I decided to get into quilting. My MIL was doing it at the time and while she was visiting one day we visited a store and I fell in love with a particular pattern. She helped me select the fabrics and gave me some basic guidance before she went home. I did fairly well getting started; strips were cut, some panels were assembled and some actual pieces were pieced! And then....into the bin it went.

To be honest, I'm not sure what possessed me to take on such a challenge as my first ever quilting project. So here I am 20 years later picking up where I left off. Now THAT is the truest example of procrastination!

Thankfully I found the instructions and had I not already assembled some of the pieces, I might be totally lost. I've been busy assembling the panels from the strips, but am too afraid to make the first cut until I am absolutely certain that I do it right and not waste any fabric. What if I mess up? Where would I ever find the material if I did mess up? So I head to the internet to do a little research.

HORRORS!!!! Every picture I found of this particular pattern have done it differently! There was this one, and this one too. My heart kept sinking with the thought that I had done it all wrong! Then I found this and I'm feeling a bit more confident.

The pattern is called a 9 Degree Tree Skirt and uses a wedge template. On my instruction sheet I had written 60 degrees, plus the fact I had actually assembled some of it gave me some reassurance that I was doing it correctly. Although I don't have any more of the holly fabric, which concerns me.

Here is what I have so far.  The beauty of the pattern is that you get two different skirts when it is done; one is the inverted pattern of the other.  This picture shows the two different (potentially) finished designs along with the template at the bottom.

This is a picture of the strips sewn together.   The largest black fabric is the holly that I only have two pieces left.  I supposed if I have to use something different, I should be able to find something that will work (I hope!).

I'm hopeful that I will at least get one completed in time to use it this Christmas. Ambitious, I know. Especially for me.

I often wonder about the labels we place on others, such as father or dad. I was raised without a dad, but I do have a father. At least I still did last year when I emailed him about Wade's death; only because I don't have his phone number. He and my mother divorced with I was barely walking and he was absent until I sought him out at the age of 16, and his presence has been less than sporadic. It's very difficult to gain back those years lost during the crucial part of a child's development. And I'm certain that is very true for children who have lost a parent to death at a very young age.

Ah, parent. There's that word again. What is a parent really? Are they a teacher, or possibly a role model? Maybe a mentor or nurturer? Caregiver, confidant, consoler? To be honest, I really don't know, or should I say I didn't know. Well, that's not entirely true.....I have learned what a parent's role is in the life of their children. But it was done with a sort of backwards approach. You know the one......"don't do as I have done"....basically learning from observation and a great deal of common sense and innate ability.

However, I have also learned that being human means we will fail at times. How we overcome the failure is what is most important, especially in the lives of our children and loved ones.

Late last night, I was reading the blog of someone I have come to view as a good friend in the making. :) We met through our respective blogs and have talked a few times through email and on the phone. Over the weekend, she was weighing heavily on my mind, which experience has shown me is a sign. One that should not be ignored. She posted about the death of a neighbor and how sad it was and how she felt about this neighbor and friend. Knowing that she was grieving herself, I just knew this event was probably compounding her grief even more, so I called her today. What has blown me away about S is that our lives are somewhat intertwined in the most eerie of ways. No need to go into the details, but her blog mentioned the name and age of her neighbor and I got chills.

As a child, I remember clearly calling my mother "momma". I'm not quite sure if that was what she wanted us to call her or if it was naturally assigned. As a teenager, it became uncomfortable for me to use that term mostly because it sounded too juvenile. So I began to call her "mother". Never was she referred to as "mom". And I think subconsciously it was intentional. My mother was never a "mom" but was a custodial parent. That sounds so clinical, doesn't it? Well, for all practical purposes, that is an accurate description. Mother was never nurturing, was never loving, was not a role model in any positive fashion whatsoever, although she was physical, and I don't mean in a good way. And never remorseful. Verbal assaults were commonplace as well.

She was married 8 or 9 times (I lost count), had inappropriate sexual encounters throughout my life, used sex as a means to an end (new washer/dryer, new car, new jewelry, etc.) But she was all about appearances. If I had to define her in a word, I would say she was the epitome of narcissism, a term I did not know existed or the meaning until after her death.

What I learned by the time I entered young adulthood was that close relationships were not possible, marriage was nothing more than a legal contract typically contested through the courts based on infidelity, sex was a means to gaining approval, the giving of material items equated to love, and the best way to get your point across was through verbal and physical aggression. OK, so not all of these I took with me as I made my own journey through life, but they were most definitely the basis upon which I thrashed out my beliefs of what is right or wrong and how I would choose to live my life and raise my family. And I made a promise to myself that my children would know parental love and support, that they would be encouraged in all they do, that they would have a good example of a real loving relationship between adults, and most of all, that family is there for you no matter what. I so remember during those trying teenage years with my kids of always saying to them after doling out punishment, "I don't approve of what you did, but it does not change the fact that I love you." Then we would hug and sometimes cry as well. But there was never any doubt in their minds that above all else, they were loved. They hated me at times, I know because they said it, but also because I was stickler for them owning the consequences of their actions. As teenagers, that "talk" seemed to physically chafe them, but now as they are grown, they have acknowledged (and thanked me!) for towing the line with them.

Did I do it right? I think so. Did I make mistakes? You betcha. Would I do things differently? Honestly, about as many incidences as I can count on one hand I would like a do-over. But I do know that I have wonderful relationships with my children and for that I am so very grateful. And they call me mom.

Six years ago last month, my mother died. She lived alone in a downstairs apartment and was in poor health. Her name was Carolyn. And she was 63 years old.

Life In Reverse

I love this from George Carlin.

I want to live my next life backwards:
You start out dead and get that out of the way.
Then you wake up in a nursing home
feeling better every day.
Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.
Enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.
Then when you start work,
you get a gold watch on your first day.

You work 40 years
until you're too young to work.
You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party, and you're generally promiscuous.

Then you go to primary school,
you become a kid,
you play,
and you have no responsibilities.
Then you become a baby, and then...

You spend your last 9 months
floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions
- central heating, room service on tap,
and then...
You finish off as an orgasm.

Hello World!

Miss me yet? Sorry, couldn't resist a little political humor.....lord knows we need some with the mess we are in now.

Anyway, if there is anyone who wondered if I fell off the face of the earth, I can assure you that it didn't happen. Not that I wasn't really wanting it to happen at moments, nor was there a lack of certainty it was indeed going to happen. I often wonder if others think like me, that they are just waiting....waiting....waiting....for what? The end? The realization that continually waiting for the end that will come someday is reinforced by awakening to a new day. Some days that reality is aggravating. Other days are ho-hum. Never (yet) has it been welcomed with anticipation, eagerness or energy for that matter.

However, taking on new activities has brought some pleasure (dare I say joy?) into an otherwise flatness of existence. One step at a time, right?

The new floors were put in and they look great! It became too overwhelming to tackle on my own, so the option of hiring a crew was taken and it was well worth it.

My will has been done which provides a smidge of relief that the loose end has now been tied up. And who knew that finding a notary for a will would be such a challenge? The bank won't do it, another lawyer's office said no as well. My lawyer is on the other side of town and thinking that getting a notary would be no problem, finding someone close became an intense focus. I like to think of it as my Widow Warrior coming out (remember Towanda* from Fried Green Tomatoes?). Like Kathy Bates character, I'm older and I have more fire in me. OK, I changed that up to suit the story.

I have discovered that my, let me rephrase intolerance has spilled from my usual diplomatic approach to most situations. Holding my tongue is somehow not in my bag of tricks anymore. Not mean, not hateful, but certainly if I have an opinion, it feels right (dare I say liberating?) to speak my mind. For example, last night my daughter and I went to Wal-Mart and a peeve of mine is people leaving the shopping carts in the parking spaces. Really irritates me. No, I mean REALLY irritates me! Especially when the corral is one or two parking spaces over. The impulse to make a comment to anyone within earshot overwhelms me and it rolls off my tongue so naturally. And it feels good! It feels damn good!

Another thing discovered on this crazy journey is remembering the joy of a lifestyle I always wanted, as in when I was a new young adult dreaming about the future. Who I was then, the things that I enjoyed, the pace of life I wanted....those are the things that are helping me climb out of the deep pit. Music has helped, and it has hurt, too. I find it terribly difficult to listen to country music now. So much of it we shared through the years and many songs had deep meanings for us and listening to them rips at my heart. One song that was released after Wade died is Cryin' For Me (Wayman's Song) and guarantees an uncontrollable blubber fest for me. The review pretty much says it all: “Can you write a song that’s too depressing even for country music?” It speaks directly to the pain of grief.

So I turned to classic rock and it became a great retreat for a while. But then began searching out live music, partly because it is one of those rediscoveries and also because Wade and I both enjoyed it together. Going it alone gives me some level of apprehension.....or is it pitifulness? There have been some great shows I have seen recently (Pssst! I went to Willie's Picnic) and uncovering a jewel of a radio station has centered me to some degree.

Looking for a job still. That's a lie. I did look and I do want to work, but saying I am "looking" would imply some activity of some sort, no? Everything is done online and no one responds or even acknowledges receipt of resume submissions. What happened to one-on-one interaction for a job? It's been so long since I had to find a job. I seek the opinion of other (younger) folks on how best to maneuver through the new world order of job searching. So far all I have been successful in attracting is a butt load of spam email and two hack attempts on my computer. Well, there was that tremendously lucrative and appealing offer from the widow of the President of Benin that I failed to respond to. Procrastination does have it's benefits after all.

A little soul searching revealed I do not want to work for anyone. There is an opportunity to work as an independent agent in a very familiar industry that I am seriously considering. All I need is someone to kick the procrastination right out of me.

Even though I have mostly been a slug over the last year.....Shit! Has it been that long?......there have been moments of forward motion. Well, any motion I view as forward cuz you can't go backward. Anything that involves getting up from the couch (that I still sleep on 6 days a week) is a move in the right direction. There are those two quilts completed for Downy Quilts For Kids. Taxes for 2008 have been filed; I will have to put the IRS in my will as an heir to get them paid off. Sold Wade's pickup truck (to his brother in another city). Planning a tree planting in Wade's memory on the land we were going to build upon. That's another subject for another day. Attended a medal ceremony for the families of donors. The event was incredibly touching, sorrowful, joyous, heartbreaking and rewarding all at once.

Some closets have been cleaned, some organization has happened, the house is on the market and I'm dreaming of a future. Dreaming? Really? Maybe fantasizing would be more correct. My daughter introduced me to The Secret and although the essence of it I believe to be innate, bringing it to the forefront of thought is very beneficial in my healing. So yeah, thinking about the future whether it's called dreaming or whatever....been doing that.

A special note to those bloggers out there who are so gifted in their writing abilities, I applaud you. This is so very difficult for me to put into writing what I am thinking and feeling. My brain seems to work at warp speed and my fingers can only type so fast. I wish there was a USB port in my head that would capture those flashes of thoughts and feelings and then I could plug it in and download it here.

Tomorrow, I package up some denim squares to send to another widow who will embroider a design for the memory quilts I am making for my daughters, myself and my mother-in-law. And go see David Allen Coe. And Saturday will be spent in Galveston hanging out with my sister and brother-in-law. Can't see much past that. But it's motion.

*Wade would call me Towanda at those times when I would pull out my bitch card.

Happy? Birthday To Me

What is so "happy" about birthdays anyway? All they are is one step further from the start and one step closer to the end. And an annual reminder of that fact. Why would anyone want to celebrate? Yeah! You are closer to death! Whoopee! Let's party!

We are born, we die. Another fact. Life is tough. Life sucks.

A Punch In The Gut

I feel sick. Really, really sick. I haven't felt this bad for a few months and it all came back with such a force that I hadn't realized how far I have come. Now I am right back there and feel like I am starting all over again.

Today, my brother in law called. He and I talk several times a day as I have signed on as his mentor in his new business adventure. It is not unusual for us to talk a half dozen times a day, but today there was a call that just sucker punched me so hard that I have now fallen back into the pit.

The phone rang and I answered as I always do when I see his name on the caller ID. Only this time he didn't answer back. I called his name again, and still nothing. I can hear the flashers on his truck in the background, but nothing movement, no rustling papers....nothing but the flashers. I listen. I contemplate that it is just a pocket dial and I should hang up. But I don't. What if something has happened to him and I were to hang up when he may have used his one and only means of reaching out for help? Instead I start screaming his name over and over again.

I was transformed back to the day Wade died. And all I could think was this can not be happening again. And I began to panic. And I began to cry.

And then he answered the phone. He had hit redial, but had forgotten he had done so but said he heard a faint voice which reminded him of the call.

I don't think he realizes even now how absolutely terrified I was and how profoundly this has affected me. I have been reduced to a blubbering idiot once again. I am feeling all of the pain and fear all over again and can't stop crying.

This sucks.

Grief is a species of idleness. ~~Samuel Johnson

I'm trying to be productive, I really am. I think about it a lot; however I lack the motivation to get going. I really am trying to change. Really, I am. I guess I need to put on my boots and kick myself in the ass.

Today, I made a little progress. Realizing that if the wood flooring was not picked up and brought into the house soon, it would never be acclimated, or for that matter, installed. Mentally a list was made of some of the other things needing to be done so that the trip out of the house was a good use of time. So the journey began.

Post office....check
Home Depot.....check
Wood, well, how about a tick mark instead?

It seems that a little advance thought and planning was in order, but was obviously overlooked. Apparently having a means to transport the product is somewhat crucial. Well, I have the vehicle, but didn't think about removing the bench seat so that I would have a full eight foot of room to work with. With a little more forethought, the trip would have been successful, but as it stands, I will be making the trip again tomorrow and probably twice. Seems I also didn't take into account the weight and I think 1500 pounds might be too much for one trip. How much weight can a 1/2 ton carry anyway? Wade would know the answer.

I should probably check the gas gauge. Running out of gas would make for a very bad day, not to mention a huge embarrassment. And when was the last time the oil was changed? Oy! Why do I now find this all so troubling? I am stronger than that. Wade always said that he loved that I was a strong, independent woman. He said he knew I would be OK when he wasn't around and that I wasn't clingy and needy. There wasn't anything I couldn't do, or at least attempt. And for many, many years I was that woman. The difference I suppose was that when he left, I always knew he was coming back. Or I could call him and he would know the answer.

Now it seems as if nothing really matters. Most things take on the appearance of menial, make-busy work that are minute and meaningless in the big scheme of things. The joy is gone. The enjoyment of having a partner to share in the accomplishments is what makes it all worthwhile, and I miss that connection.

Another widow includes at the end of her posts a list of things she is thankful for each day. I'm sure I have much to be thankful for, but I'm still quite apathetic and would give it all up in an instant if I could only have Wade back. And since I am struggling with overcoming my ever growing list of things to do, perhaps a list of things I actually accomplished would be more apropos.

Today I Accomplished:

  • Mailed the Special Warranty Deed to the lawyer
  • Recycled 2 CFL bulbs
  • Bought the glue for the upcoming wood floor job
  • Attempted to pick up flooring
  • I don't do cold well.  And living in the southern part of Texas is usually bearable during winters, with shorts and tee shirts worn throughout November and some of December and a sweater or light coat for what remains of our short winter season.  But this year it has been cold.  Really cold.  And wet.  And quite unpleasant.  I don't like it.  I did my tour of colder climes when we lived in St. Louis for five years.  I didn't know it could get that cold!  Brrrrrr

    This weather makes me want to hunker down even more than I have been over the last few months since Wade died.  Is that possible?  To hunker down even more?  I don't think a committed recluse could be hunkering down more than I am lately.  Today, I was thinking back over the past week....or two?....trying to recollect where I have been and what I have done.  I think I went to the bank last week or was that the week before?  Who knows.  Today I met my brother in law for a brief moment to get some paperwork to him as he was passing through town.  Yep, that about covers it.

    If the weather was nicer, I would be outside working in the yard.  Heaven knows it needs tending.  With the cold weather, the plants suffered a great deal and most had to be cut back to the ground because of the freeze.  I am thankful my sister took care of that chore for me.  And because of her, my compost pile overflows.  Lots and lots of leaves and grass from the yard along with the shredded paper and along with some fertilizer it should make some nice compost, if I would just get out there and water it and cover it so it can do it's thing.

    One thing I always enjoyed was mowing the yard.  Now mind you, it is a riding mower because the lot is about a 1/2 acre.  Another one of those "gifts" we gave each other...of course it was totally justified, and fits into the "power tool" category that Wade and I both had for necessary tools.  Although a self-propelled walk behind would be nice for a little exercise, I suppose.  Regardless, I would grab a bottle of water, put on some sun block and my iPod and really enjoy mowing the yard.  Wade hated the way I mowed the yard.  I would catch him watching me sometimes, just shaking his head.  He felt that I wasn't efficient in how I tackled the job, but I always tried to convince him that my way was the best.  I suppose if the mower had broken down before I finished, it would have been a sight since I do large "S" patterns to minimize any duplication of mowing.  Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  He was more orderly and precise than I and did each row in sequence.

    During the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, he was putting gas or oil in the chain saw and put it in the wrong place.    His eyesight had gotten so bad, I'm sure that was the reason, because he was the smartest man I ever knew.  And he knew machines and power tools and electric stuff and cars and trucks.....and everything.  He took the chain saw apart, cleaned it and ordered the repair kit, but never got around to putting it back together.   Now I need the chainsaw to take down an overgrown, freeze fried Monstera and he is not here to do it.

    I'll put repairing the chainsaw on my list.

    In the meantime,  perhaps I should focus on "the list."  It is growing and it looks daunting, and I have only completed one (small) thing so far.  One step at a time, right?

    I'm looking forward to Spring.  It will be a time of  renewal for me I am sure.  The feel of the sun on my face rejuvenates me and  I need that.  Yes, that is my story and I'm sticking to it.

    Yesterday was much like any other day.  Except that I found my white board and made my list.  Actually started working on 2008 taxes!  When I say "working on" what I mean is running the balance sheet from the program-from-hell that was used for our business.  It is marketed as a user friendly software package specifically for the trucking industry.  Well, if you have an accounting background, understand double entry accounting and know how to verify that what you have input truly balances (no trial balance available yet.....4 years later!)....then it is perfect!  I grew very tired of hearing them tell me that my errors were "operator errors" only to provide them solid proof of their errors, which resulted in new releases for the benefit of everyone.  GRRRRRR.  Anyway, that is the main reason I have not finished 2008 taxes.  With six employees, there is a lot of stuff to go through.  Have I mentioned lately how much I hate taxes?

    As I was saying, yesterday was moving along like any other (recent) day.  I went to the bank and while sitting there I remember counting on my fingers how many months it has been since Wade died.  Hmmm....six months already.

    Yesterday was a lot like any other day, except that Wade's brother began his first trip running his new business.  He is a truck driver as well and Wade had always encouraged him to become his own boss and get his own operating authority.  When I shut down the business, I made the authority a voluntary revocation with the intent of giving it to his brother.  Wade would have wanted that.  I've helped him with all of the legal aspects, compliance issues, record keeping, customers, etc.  I helped him get everything in order so he can be his own boss, like Wade would have wanted.  Yesterday was his first trip.

    Yesterday I found out that Wade's 90 year old grandmother was in intensive care.  She was having difficulty breathing and was rushed to the hospital.  I don't know how his mother is going to handle one more loss if she doesn't pull through this.

    Yesterday was a first for me as well.  Wade had a way of going into the kitchen when we would say there is nothing to eat, and put together a feast.  He got this talent from his father.  Anyway, I channeled Wade last night and made a nice dinner from odds and ends.  I had some chicken breast, MexiCorn, stewed tomatoes, cheese and corn tortillas.  It turned out like a Mexican lasagna and was quite tasty too!  I need to tweak the recipe to make it fit together better and be a little more presentable, but we ate it.  And did I mention it was good?

    Yesterday my daughter came home from work and had been crying.  She said it was a bad day.  I finally got her to talk to me about what was going on.  She's a very strong person and not much gets under her skin.  She said she had struggled all day with her college classes and teaching at the high school and trying to remain composed.  Finally, on her way home she was able to let it all out.

    Yesterday was the six month anniversary of Wade's death.  I almost made it through the entire day without even realizing it!  My daughter and I hugged and cried together and talked about how unfair it all was.

    Yesterday I hugged my pillow a little tighter when I finally layed down to sleep.

    Gotta Stay Focused

    Watching a TV commercial last night sent that familiar surge of panic through my body.  It was about a company that helps folks with past due taxes.  Have I mentioned that I HATE TAXES?  Well, I do.  Every flavor of them.  It's not one of those things you can ignore.  Unlike many other things in life that I despise and choose to avoid, this is not one of them.

    Taxes are just one more thing on my (imaginary) list.  I really should keep a list to keep me focused on the things that need to be done.  The extension I filed for 2008 filing will be up soon, and the dread of finalizing the paperwork and meeting with the CPA just fills me with dread.  Or like getting my daughters to sign the probate papers.  I have had them in my possession for about a month.  I didn't want to mail them; I thought a personal visit would be better especially since I haven't seen them all since the holidays.  I lack the motivation to make he road trips (yes, three different cities and total miles of around 800).

    I have a number of white boards somewhere in this house.  I figured I would find one and use it to keep a list.    Then I would have a strong visual of all of the things I need to do.  Fear is what is keeping me from doing it I think....fear of the overwhelming realization that I am a failure and having it in my face, right there reminding me.  But I am going to take a big deep breath and suck it up.

    Now I have to find the box that has the white boards packed in it.  This is a real challenge for a procrastinator (like me).  One step at a time.  Repeat as necessary.

    Today I Was Pampered

    Remember me?  Ms. Procrastinator?  Well, today I FINALLY got around to doing something for myself after almost a full year.

    Last year for my 50th birthday, Wade coordinated a surprise birthday dinner with a few of our neighbors, my sister, our youngest daughter and another daughter who lives 150 miles away.  All he would tell me was that we had dinner reservations at 6pm.  That was suspicious in and of itself.....Wade and reservations???  Very uncharacteristic, yet pleasantly curious.  We went to a Mexican restaurant nearby that has wonderful margueritas (but doesn't take reservations....go figure).  When we went to the outside seating, there was everyone except for the out of town daughter.  It was a very nice surprise.  At one point, I excused myself to visit the ladies room and when I returned to my seat, I looked up and my other daughter was seated across from me.  It was a great surprise!  We all had a nice dinner and conversation and then my daughters gave me a gift of a spa package.

    So for almost a year I have held this gift.  My work schedule didn't work well with trying to schedule the appointment (4 hours worth), and then Wade died and I couldn't be bothered.  I mean why put forth the effort?  I've had that same perspective a lot of times, like feeling guilty when I put on makeup to go somewhere.  It just felt wrong.

    But lately I've been seeing this gift certificate sitting here on my desk and knowing that it would expire soon, I felt an obligation to my daughters to use it. Then I got a serious crick in my neck and decided the time was right.  So today I went.

    The massage was first, and I have to admit I really needed it.  I don't think I knew how much I needed it until about half way through when I started crying.  I couldn't help it.  Part of it was the stress relief I believe.  But another part was remembering how I came to be blessed with this gift, and it was partly because of Wade and his surprise birthday dinner.  So I had the therapist stop, get me a few tissues, and then I felt obligated to explain why I was crying.  I mean who cries during a massage for heavens sake?  What a wuss.

    I have become acutely aware of every instance when I tell people that my husband died.  Does that ever go away?  Will there come a time when I can get through any interaction or situation and not feel I have to share that piece of me?

    I got through the facial just fine.  No tears.  No need to reveal anything about Wade.  Got through the pedicure just fine.  The manicure was a different story.  I didn't cry or anything.  Well, I had a bout of low blood sugar that caused a slight ruckus, but was easily cured with a Coke.  Not sure what I did with my glucose tabs, so I'll have to search for them and put them back into my purse.  Once that mini crisis was over, the manicurist kept pressing me about my job and I told her I was not working, but she wouldn't leave it alone.  I was becoming a bit annoyed with her continued questioning, so I told her.  Yep, I played the widow card once again.  That shut her up.

    By the end of the day I had been rubbed, buffed, scrubbed, polished, infused with a whole lot of different products and walked out feeling tired but relaxed and refreshed.  And my daughters were pleased.  I'm sure Wade would be too.

    Meet Ms. Procrastinator

    Yep. That's me. One of my more defining qualities. Or flaws. And I am not ashamed to admit it; fact is fact.

    A while back I started on a home improvement project whereby I removed a door, took out a small wall, reframed, sheetrocked, yada yada yada. It's almost done. :) Very minor details remain like the baseboard. I have it, I just haven't put it on. The laundry room and now-expanded closet have been patched, textured, primed, painted and the shelves and hanging rod put up in the closet. My excuse? Well, I told myself I would not move on to the next project of moving the washer/dryer and their related plumbing until I finished the closet. I may be a procrastinator, but I am true to my word, even to a fault.

    So you may ask, why not finish the closet? Well, that would require a decision to be made. And sometimes, it's the decisions I struggle with the most. In this case, it is what to do with the floor in the closet so I can put the baseboards in there and call it complete. When I took out the wall between the two closets, I then had two different floor surfaces (well, three if you count the bare concrete where the previous framing existed). I cannot count how many times I have opened that closet door, studied the floor for inspiration, and then closed the door. I did, however, decide that I did not like the existing tile nor did I like the existing carpet. So I took them both out. Now I have a bare concrete floor and thought for a few days that I would just put new tile in the closet. I have plenty of it in the garage and went to Home Depot to buy the thin set and grout. But that's as far as I got.

    The reason for my indecision is what lies outside the closet door. Take a look at this picture and you will see why.

    See, I believe that there is a serious design flaw in how either this door was placed or how the flooring options were selected before we purchased the home. And I can't quite come to grips with placing yet another different kind of flooring surface to add to the confusion. So i started doing some more thinking.

    The carpet that is part of what you see in the picture, continues through our den/family room. It is a very high traffic area and the stains and discoloration really show. Plus I have an indoor dog and two cats and just can't bring myself to spend the money to have the carpet cleaned yet again, since I cannot stand this carpet in this room. We had discussed many times that if we had it to do again we would have hardwood floors.

    So guess what? I will be installing hardwood flooring! I placed the order yesterday and it will cover the den/family room, the closet and the very-expensive-needs-refinishing-mid century-terrazo-tile that I love/hate. The flooring won't be here until late next week then it has to acclimate in the house for at least five days and then it can be installed. Just in time for my birthday! YEAH! And I know Wade would be pleased with that. We never got each other gifts for the sake of gift giving, we always preferred to spend money on something truly needed and house repairs/appliances/tools were always high on the list.

    I am going to bend my own commitment to myself just a little, and go ahead finish the laundry room reconfiguration before I finish the closet. But I haven't decided exactly when. So the well earned title of Ms. Procrastinator still applies. And I wear it well.

    The Dream

    Well, it happened.  I finally had a dream about Wade.  I'm not sure I have dreamed at all since he died, and reading other widow(er) blogs about their dreams made me sad that I couldn't even connect with him on that level.  But this dream was not a pleasant one at all.

    My recollection is that the dream was very short.  Wade was in the driver seat of some vehicle that I didn't recognize.  I was standing at the window on the passenger side.  There was some conversation, but I don't recall  about what.  He said something that startled me and then all of a sudden I began to feel ill.  Then violent shaking, falling, and vomiting.  And I remember Wade saying "Oh Shit!" and leaving the vehicle to come to me.  The dream was over before he reached me.

    And that was it.

    I often wonder if daily experiences we have greatly influence our dreams.  I like to believe that is true.  So looking back on that day, I remember watching the newest episode of Big Love.  The wife of the clan's prophet had died and she had placed him in a walk-in freezer.  When her daughter Nicki came over, the wife was hysterical that she herself dropped dead.

    And looking back on the events at the hospital when Wade died, I remember clearly struggling to stand and having to stop and put my head down between my knees so I didn't pass out as they lead me to "the room" where they told me he had died.  And the day before he died, I was not feeling well.  I honestly felt I was having a heart attack, but was convinced that if I took an aspirin and rested, I would be better.  Twenty four hours later it was Wade who had the heart attack.

    I think I said "Oh Shit" a few times myself that day.  Among other things.

    The Cat In The Hat

    I have this cat. No, I have TWO cats! Technically they are both still kittens at 8 months old. What was I thinking!

    OK, I know what I was thinking. My other cat of 15 years had died suddenly on Thanksgiving night 2008. He was my cuddle kitty and slept with me every night. Then my husband died in July. He didn't sleep with me every night (he traveled alot), but he most definitely was my other pillow partner. So about a month after Wade died, I adopted two kittens from the SPCA. Went to get one, but they were so cute, and on sale at two-for-one! Seemed logical at the time. Again...what was I thinking!

    The first weeks were very difficult. These two urchins loved to climb into the box spring liner under my bed, so there was this tousling that disturbed my already disturbed sleep. Then they would chase each other under the bed and and the constant twanging against the metal cable supports of the bed frame played an unpleasant tune....again disturbing my (lack of) sleep. I tried locking them in the bathroom, but the clawing at the door and constant meowing didn't help. My daughter offered to keep them in her room at night. I couldn't let them roam freely in the house because they are intense counter surfers (a HUGE "pet" peeve of mine!).

    Even though these two are litter mates, they have very different personalities and habits. The bigger of the two, Bubba, is a talker. OMG! He won't shut up! And he's the bigger of the two so his constant clawing at the door cannot go unnoticed. Boo, on the other hand, is the meeker (and smaller) of the two. He's petite, graceful and quiet but also demands a lot of attention. He has to always touch me (a good thing), but when I am sleeping and he demands to be petted, it can be annoying.

    Bubba's nickname is Brutus. He is the most uncoordinated cat I have ever seen. Rarely does he ever make an intended landing target when he jumps and I have the scars on my legs to show for it. He also has a weird habit of chewing on wicker. None of it is safe, and I mean none of it! He chews on everything. The plastic bag that my blanket came in is full of holes. The tags on power cords, paper, Q-tips (from the trash no less!) and now my straw hat! My closet door is a bi-fold that he has figured out how to open. Apparently last night he was bored. This is what I found when I opened my closet this morning.

    Do they make chew toys for cats?

    And how could I forget this?


    Everyone seems to have sayings that inspire them, or words that offer encouragement in one way or another. I have found through friends (real and online) that there is a wealth of words strung together in a variety of ways that cause me to ponder life, love and loss. I thought I would share some of them here.

  • Love is like the wind. I can feel it, but I can't see it.

  • Any emotion if it is sincere is involuntary.

  • Keep your loved ones in your heart and not on your mind.

  • The love you take is equal to the love you make
    (OK, those are lyrics from a Beatles song, but they are words said to me by an ex-lover from many, many years ago when we broke up that stuck with me and I have tried to live by since.)

  • Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

  • And then there was this little gem from a fortune cookie:
  • Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

  • This last one really struck me as being tremendously profound.

    Well, this just sucks

    What a shitty day. Not all of it mind you, but the part I was most looking forward to fizzled out like a dud of a firecracker. Not the climactic close to the crappy year I was hoping for, but it's over now.

    And I am still fighting back the tears.

    I so wanted to have a toast to the end of this year and the welcoming of the new year. And yet I have two bottles of champagne still unopened. Those I chose to be with for this event all left my company in one way or another before midnight arrived. No need to go into any details, other than to say I am disappointed. I have tried to be brave and strong and patient and cheerful when I can muster it. I must not have tried hard enough. I am fighting to hang on. The pull for me to give up and drop into the deep dark pit is becoming too strong and I fear I will lose the battle with that demon.

    OK, so I lost the battle of the tears as well. Shit! What a fucking memorable new year this one turned out to be.

    I'm going to go soak my black eyed peas now. Then eat some chocolate and go to bed. Tomorrow I will drink mimosas for breakfast, black eyed peas (365 for sure!) and cornbread for lunch, and probably wallow around in my comfy clothes all day. And maybe, just maybe I won't wear my brave face and will cry when I feel like it, no matter who is around. And I won't feel bad about it either. I'm going to play the widow card big time. Just watch.

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