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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Name Change

I was writing a check this morning and looked at my signature.  I have had my last name more than half my life.  I have had this name ever since I was an adult. 
 
This name.
 
The name that belongs to my sons.
 
"We are.... and we do not act like that", I would remind my sons at least a thousand times through their adolescence.   Even though my marriage had ended, the name was important... it linked me to my adulthood and linked my boys to their dad and his family. 
 
In less than one year, for the first time in more than two and a half decades, my name will change.  For the first time, my sir name will be different than my sons' name.  And with the name change will come a change in my life. 

I will no longer identify myself as "divorced"... "Married" will be my new pick when filling out forms.

I will be some one's wife.  And while by no means is that bad, it is strangely surreal to me at this moment.  I will be part of a union ... the Mrs. in the "Mr. & Mrs."

Surreal.  Just surreal...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

12 Things I've Learned So Far

I've been on a diet since March 20, 2012.  I have eaten what I like, but less of it.  Some days it has been extremely difficult & other days, it's fine.  The reality is not only do I like to eat, you must eat to live.  Eating isn't like smoking... you can't just quit, so learning how to manage what I eat is my best hope for a non-obese life.

While on this dieting journey to my perfect size, I have realized a lot of things about food, diets & all the "advice" I've read about dieting... and most importantly why dieting didn't work for me in the past.  So below are the first dozen things I learned thus far...

#1- Not only do I like to eat, I HATE - got it???? H A T E to exercise!  Really, I do hate it!  And by exercise I mean "going to the gym", "running", "jazzercise"; "walking 60 minutes a day", "walking on the treadmill"; "sit ups"; "push ups" or any other thing that I was forced to do in gym class so many years ago. 

#2 - "Exercise" actually means "movement" - any kind of movement... So while I don't walk every day, I do try to go "play in the dirt" at least weekly.  Pulling weeds, transplanting flowers and shrubs, carrying bags of mulch & soil around the yard is movement, therefore counts as "exercise".  And, cleaning the bathroom, mopping the floor, vacuuming, washing windows, even cooking & going grocery shopping are considered exercise.  When I log all my activities into a tracking tool & see how many calories I burned, I feel like I've accomplished something.  It's motivating!

#3 - From a purely volume perspective, I really didn't eat all that much - but from a calorie perspective - well, it's no wonder I got so big! 

#4 - In order for the scale to move in the right direction, I MUST limit my salt intake and I MUST drink water.  The least little bit of salt winds up pushing the scale up 1 or 2 pounds in a day!  And while I know it is "water weight", if I'm honest with myself, it is still discouraging to see the scale creep up even a pound...  So--- I am trying to remove it from my diet & it isn't easy.

#5 - I must weigh myself daily - at the same time & on the same scale & the scale must be in the same exact spot on the floor.  I do this to focus on weight change - and deviating from any of these can cause the weight change to not measure accurately!  I find it so odd that if I move my scale to the left or right, that my weight will change - within seconds - so there is something to this theory - for me at least.  I'm a science focused person, so I do need to see changes in the scale and be able to correlate them to my food intake--- No once a week weigh in for me - been there, done that & failed. 

#6 - I do like vegetables.  And while I prefer pasta, potatoes and rice (in that order), I really can do without a ton of it if I have good veggies on the plate as well.  I toss them in olive oil, add some seasonings & roast them to bring out the sweetness or the intense savory flavor.  Meat - well, I can take it or leave it... 

#7- I eat candy when I want to eat candy - like today after a particularly hard day at work, I went to the store and got 1 Snickers bar.  The key is that I can't buy the pack with lots of little candy inside because if it here, I will eat it!  Same goes for muffins - so I will only be making these on Saturday when I know I will be taking them to church to share on Sunday!

#8 - While I am much bigger than I want to be -( I've got between 40 & 50) more pounds to go, I feel great that I have actually lost 30 pounds!  I don't look like I want, but my good curves are beginning to show again and that is a good motivator to choose my foods wisely.

#9 - Kitty was right.  After 12 weeks on the diet it got considerably easier to stick with it.  I've been on for almost 6 months & with the exception of when I am baking, I dono't really feel deprived. 

#10 - 10 pounds lost does not correlate to 1 pants size!  That's nuts.  I have lost 30 pounds and I have only went down a little over 1 pants size!  I have lost plenty of inches off my waist, but my hips, thighs and butt are moving at a much slower pace.  So while plenty of people say "throw the scale out & watch your clothes"... that would never work for me!  I don't loose weight in a specific spot... I loose weight all over.  so while 20 pounds lost did show up in my face and my hands (my ring started slipping off), it didn't show up that much on the lower half of my body.  Without the daily scale, I would have never been able to stick with this process so long.  I need my scale!  I'm even thinking about taking it on the cruise with me in 8 weeks!

#11 - To be successful, I have to be fanatically strict about my food when I am traveling!  Eating in airports is rarely good for me.  Too much salt and sugar... just too much of everything!  I have to make sure I eat before meetings (so I can avoid the muffins, bagels & croissants they always put out around 9:30 or so).  And I have to drink water!  For some reason when I eat junk while I'm traveling it seems to send the scale up faster than when I am home... Odd, but I've found it to be true (for me at least).

#12 - So going back to the beginning... after 6 months, I still hate exercise & won't be doing any "standard" exercises any time soon ( or ever!).  I have, started living like I did pre beseness (that might not be a word -lol)... I did not get in the car to go to a store that was a 1/2 mile away.  I did not sit for 9-10 hours a day without taking time to eat lunch - even if lunch was only a slice of pizza!;  I did not eat pasta every chance I got.  I did however, eat popcorn at the movies, I ate something every morning & I ate lunch every day.  Dinner was often skipped because I truly wasn't hungry.  I enjoyed the outside & enjoyed the neighborhood.  I went dancing, I tried new things.  In essence, I moved more.  And since I have now hit the inevitable plateau,  my plan is to move more!     

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What I saw when he picked up a puppy...

I watched him as he tenderly picked up one of the puppies and stroked its' soft coat.  I listened as he spoke ever so softly.  And I looked at the expression on his face.  The expression was one of  kindness, one of adoration, one of compassion, one of selflessness.

At that very moment I remembered why I love him so.  

These are not the qualities that I see in the busyness of every day life - but they are the ones that are there inside him.  Sometimes they have to crack the shell to get out - but they are there...  These are the qualities of love - - - the ones that I remember whenever I am anxious about getting married again.   The ones that bring me peace... and joy. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 11

September 11, 2001.  A day I will never forget, nor understand.

I was sitting in my office in Westerville, OH going about my day.  All of a sudden a woman walked hurriedly by saying something about "we've been attacked".  I didn't know what she was talking about.  I went into one of the rooms with a TV and looked up & saw a plane flying into the World Trade Center.  My first thought was "Oh my God, that poor pilot"  because surely the pilot must have had a heart attack & went off course & the plane ACCIDENTALLY flew into the tower.  I assumed it was a small plane - not a jumbo jet.  I worried about the pilot, the [probably few] people on the plane and certainly for the people in the office building.  Undoubtedly some people were hurt - if not killed.  "Lord Have Mercy" , I thought.

But then, another plane went into the building & I realized that "we" were being attacked.  Now I am simply mad!  Who the hell would fly a plane into the WTC?  What the hell is wrong with people?  Are human beings just getting more ignorant and cruel by the second?  Grrrrr!  Whatever idiots were flying those planes surely didn't have a beef with all the people inside the buildings or the city that I love so much!  How dare they destroy so many lives in the blink of an eye!  I don't give a crap what happened to them that upset them!  How dare they????!!!!  Idiots!!!

Then I saw the towers begin to crumble, people screaming and running in terror.  I saw the firefighters and police officers doing their jobs & knew that each of them were in harms way. 

And I thought of Sammy--the man who I married & bore 3 sons with.  The marriage that years later collapsed and shattered my heart into a million pieces - leaving me hurt and angry at him, his family & the whole messed up situation.  At that moment - at the moment I saw the towers begin to crumble, I worried about that man.  He was a NYC police officer.  He could be down there in that mess, that rubble.  My children had already lost him once through our less than amicable divorce... my God, were they going to loose him to death?  Death at the hands of idiots, no less!  Everything in me now turned from anger for the idiots flying the planes & compassion for the people who had died... to terror

Terror not borne of fear for my life, but terror that came from the possibility that my children may loose their father!  "Dear Lord", I prayed, "PLEASE TAKE CARE OF SAMMY!"  Tears welled up in my eyes as I thought about the possibility that my boys would have to endure any more pain.  Hadn't their lives been difficult enough by the divorce, by me moving, getting sick, being poor, etc., etc., etc.  "Please God" I continued to pray, "please don't do this to my boys".  And so I tried to call him but the lines were down.  I called every relative and friend I had in the NYC area (which were all my relatives!).  Couldn't get through. 

So I went home.  To be with my boys.  To pray and pray and pray!  To ask the Blessed Mother to pray for Sammy's safety.  To ask the Holy Spirit to guide Sammy's footsteps.  To ask St. Michael to protect him from death.  To ask God to spare my children this pain. 

We sat around the TV watching the horror show over and over--- it was painful, but we could not look away.  I recalled the bombing at the WTC years earlier & the smugness I'd felt in 1993 ("of course 'they' can't take down the WTC with a bomb!  Idiots! ")  I didn't feel very smug now... quite the contrary... vulnerable!

Two days past before we would hear from our family.  No immediate family members were lost - but we all seemed to know someone who either worked in the towers, or was a fire fighter, police officer or paramedic who was hurt or killed.  No one had talked to Sammy... not even Stacey.  And as I realized that Sammy may indeed be hurt, the pain and anger of the divorce subsided and I was recalling only good memories of this man who I had once loved.  I was remembering all his good qualities... all those reasons why I had said "I do" so many years earlier.  My pain from the past dissolved.  Unconsciously, I let the past go. 

My heart grew heavy - even as I assured my boys "don't worry, your dad is fine!  He is just busy & can't get to a phone.  He is helping people."  They didn't believe me and with every hours' passing I was beginning to not believe me.  

And just as all hope was beginning to slip away, he called!  Alive, safe, unharmed.... he had been in Staten Island when this all occurred - in the station house --- the "1 - 2 - 0" as the cops called it - doing paperwork!   Thank You God!

Relief swept my entire being.  The boys relaxed.  I said a prayer of thanksgiving; and then went back to praying for the dead - for the innocent and the "guilty".  I turned the horror show off & rather than dwelling on "those horrible people", I began to dwell on all the children who would be without their parent.  And I prayed for them. 

I still pray for them today & for all children who have lost a parent. 

I have come to realize that while I have not given my children the idyllic life that I dreamed of giving them, they are still fortunate because regardless of anything else, they have always had their parents - parents who love them with every breath we breathe.

Today I continue to pray for the children who lost their parent to this senseless violence.  I continue to thank God for sparing Sammy the wrath of death.  And I thank God for allowing me to let go of the pain of the past.

I will never understand why any of this occurred - but I continue to believe that God has a plan--- for the living and dead.  He is the writer who does not need backspace, delete or spell check. 

HE'S got this...


  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ahhh...Vacation! Hmmm....Vacation? And...I'm Melting :-)


On vacation we went...

I wasn't sure what to expect. 
 
We'd certainly been away for a day or so together before, but never for more than that--- never with the express notion of "being on vacation".  So, the fact that we were on vacation was a big thing. 

Forget about the destination..."Being on vacation" means different things to different people.  To me, it means...
  • sleeping in ---in a king size bed with soft sheets. 
  • Getting up in the morning & just lazying around for a while with my coffee.
  • Taking a long hot shower - while the room is cool, so when I get out the cool air hits my skin!
  • Brunch in a nice restaurant--- not worrying about the cost of every single thing--- and not worrying about the calories of every single thing that goes into my mouth.
  • Sitting on a park bench, watching the world go by... admiring the differences in sights from my normal day.
  • Visiting places or things that I have never seen before - or that I did see before & am dying to take you to because I just want you to see what I see.  (This is such a dangerous thought when you are engaged to oil and you are water! LOL)
I wasn't sure what "being on vacation" meant to him... But I was about to find out.

Well! It turns out that other than "sleeping in" - (he gets up before the chickens--- before the roosters!!!  EVERY DAY!), "being on vacation" meant doing what I wanted to do - no questions asked (wow!).  It meant...
  • not being upset every time we hit a bump in the planning road. 
  • going into museums and letting his guard down so he could enjoy the displays... not focused on race, gender, the economics of the artist - or the moment... preconceived notions were left at the door so that when he saw beauty, he could actually see it!  And appreciate it!  And now he is hungering for it!  Longing to see the miracle of "simple" blown glass formed into something that beckons your head to turn in it's direction;  to see artifacts from people who lived so long ago; to hear the majesty of history & determination by humans to come back from disasters even stronger; to know the hope that they certainly "should not" have had - yet they did.    
  • getting into the hot tub that was overflowing with chlorine "just to see" if it would soothe our aching muscles
  • swimming - because it is the exercise I can do that doesn't make my back scream with pain
  • giving me a kiss even when I have 'coffee breath"
  • It meant not worrying about every cent - not going overboard --- simply appreciating our good fortune to be able to get away.
Little did I know that this vacation was his gift to me...
"Don't you want to ...?" I'd ask;
"We always do what I want to do, let's do what you want to do." he'd reply. 
 
At that very moment, all my cares melted, all my fears about becoming a "wife" and he becoming a "husband" melted away... because loving someone gives you a warm feeling inside, but being loved & appreciated by that someone makes your insides melt. 
And... I'm melting... :-)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The world needs more of these people!

A few weeks ago, Polly Anna told me she had skin cancer.  While I was with her I tried to make light of this... "it's treatable/curable", I'd say.   "Don't worry - God would never take my best friend away--- see, Polly Anna - it's all about me!" I'd quip.  And she would still worry, but for a minute she would smile.  Hopefully it bought her relief from the constant worry that comes with cancer.

Today, Polly Anna went to the doctor for a follow up & got "really, really good news".  When I read this on her Facebook post, I sighed with relief.  Not only because I didn't want to see my friend suffer with this terrible disease, but more importantly because I know in my heart what a special person she is.

The world needs more people like Polly Anna!  The world needs people who...
  • For their birthday celebration ask everyone to bring a winter hat that she can then drop off at the homeless shelter. 
  • Worry about their neighbors and go out of their way to make the lives of the less fortunate a little better
  • Is a good mother to their child & other's children when their parents are unable to care for their babies properly
  • See the beauty all around us
  • Are not afraid to step outside  of the world into which she was born to get to know someone else - whose ideas and ideals were not so conventional
  • Will hold the single mother's hand when she is wracked with fear that her children are going down the wrong path - where Polly Anna says and BELIEVES that "it will be okay"
  • Will allow their children to follow their dreams --- respectfully & responsibly
  • Sees the positive EVERY   SINGLE    DAY - regardless of her circumstance
  • Believes in first loves and second loves
  • Believes in true love
  • Will be their friend's cheering section - because she knows it is what the friend truly wants - even when Polly is not so sure
  • Who will work bingo in a smoke filled room for 4 years to ensure their child received the eduction of her choice
  • Who walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to most everything - but especially [Catholic] Social Justice teachings...
  • Value the love of a family - given or chosen.
I could go on and on about Polly Anna.   I have yet to meet many people like her in my 50+ years of life.  Not that I haven't met good people - I have...  But there is something very special about this woman.  I can count on my fingers how many people I have met like this in my life.  Polly Anna is  unique.  Her faith in action is unique.  

She not only sees the good in everyone, she sees the potential, the promise, the hope and the joy in each and every person she encounters.  In short - she DOES see Jesus in every person she meets.  

The world needs more people like Polly Anna - many, many more. 

For now, I am happy to call Polly Anna my friend - and I am indeed blessed that she is in the world I inhabit.

Dear God - Thank you so much for keeping Polly Anna safe!  We really need her!"

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thank You

Just thought I'd say "Thank You" to the man that I love...
Thank you for cutting the grass
Thank you for edging the grass - something that looks so nice, but I would never do
Thank you for getting the 25 bags of mulch out of the truck, even though you were tired
Thank you for washing dishes
Thank you for cooking the fish
Thank you for fixing the car
Thank you for vacuuming the dog hair
Thank you for having the sense of smell as good as a drug hunting blood hound
Thank you for putting up the ceiling fan
Thank you for moving the boxes into the living room, then into the basement
Thank you for hanging the picture in the right spot - just a little bit over
Thank you for painting the deck
Thank you for painting the walls especially since you hate to paint
Thank you for pulling up the smelly carpet from the basement floor
Thank you for pulling the staples and nails out of the stairs
Thank you for smiling
Thank you for noticing the 22 pounds lost just when I needed it to be noticed
Thank you for loving me with or without the 22 pounds
Thank you for choosing the ring I would love - classic, simple & elegant
Thank you for never forgetting to say "thank you"
And most importantly, Thank you for BEING THANKFUL FOR US!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A House vs. A Home

So apparently I didn't know the difference between "light coffee" and "light yellow"... cause my walls upstairs are light yellow & I could have sworn that little swatch was a light coffee color.  Surprisingly enough, it is pretty.  Not too bold, but not pastel either... it is just right.  This shower curtain never looked this pretty when it was hanging in my master bath!

Isn't it funny how when put in a different light the same item can look different.  I think that goes for situations as well.  Take this whole fire thing... Originally I thought I was going to have a short (but complete) nervous breakdown from the stress of getting the house put back together, not to mention paying the un-budgeted deductible.  When I looked around I could see "messes" every where.  I stressed about the clothes that the cleaners took - leaving me with my work out clothes and business dress clothes; leaving Don with simply 2 work outfits!; leaving us with no towels or washcloths, etc.  There was soot every where & drywall dust.  It stunk like a chimney!   And I was so tired of saying "I'm so sorry that there is noise in the background.  I'm having some work done on my home"!  It didn't look or feel like the house was ever going to be put back together... It looked and felt like a disaster!

Yet, here I am 2 months after the fire and the house looks wonderful.  Freshly painted walls, new plush carpet, new appliances & new hardwood floors... Plus even the ducts were cleaned out (I would have NEVER paid to have that done!).

While the construction was going on, this place was still a house, but it definitely was not a home!  Now when I walk in, I see a home. 

The house is relaxing again. It is my sanctuary.

This is again the place where memories were made and will continue to be made.  The walls will get marred (hopefully one day by "little hands"); the beautiful hardwood floors will get scratched from dogs, furniture & simply life; the beautiful stainless steel appliances will get covered with grease from the frying of fish; the oven interior will be stained from the lasagna that boiled over - or the cake that overflowed because I thought "It won't rise THAT much" lol; and the dust will come back...  Life will occur in this house.  Living will occur in this house.  And that is good - very good.

The light has changed in the past 2 months... And while I always said I wanted a "home" rather than a house, these past two months have accentuated that feeling!  The light has changed.  A HOME is critical to my happiness, to my peace of mind, to my ability to relax.  I will no longer take these walls for granted, because I have had a glimpse of what it would be like to have only a house, but not a home & I didn't like what I saw. 

This home... Our home... Don, the kids, the grand kids & me... Our home is important for all of us & I will treasure it more now that I ever did before!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

My House and My LIFE in Transformation

Humpty Dumpty is almost put back together again!

Today we picked out wall color.  No more dirty, flat ugly walls upstairs.  The rooms will be a calming light cafĂ©-au-lait color. 

The floors will be covered in light brown shag carpet - yup, I said "shag".  Not a long shag (like in the 60s).  I honestly think this will look nice - and it will hide dirt (my #1 criteria for carpet).  It's called "Shimmering Shag" and it's a soft color, not bright like they were when I was a kid. 

My color is between the top & second color... not too dark, not too light.

















And praise God, the rest of my new appliances will be here soon!  It will be great to be able to bake again!  No more frying food - yeah!

And my brand new wood floors (our treat to us!) will be here in a few days.  Within one week, I will have a totally transformed house.

And as I think about my transformed house, I am thinking about my transformed life. 

I've come a long way.  Twenty four years ago when people said "you should get married so you have someone to help you raise your boys", my answer was "Marriage is like death!  You do it once and that's it!"  And I was dead serious... the end of my marriage was beyond devastating when it was happening and for many years to come.  I was suicidal for the longest time, unable to bear the excruciating pain.  I am only alive now because my desire for release from the pain was not as strong as my love for my wonderful sons.  I was determined to not leave them, as I had been left. 

Once I was able to not let the pain consume me 24 hours a day, once I stopped crying myself to sleep every night, I promised myself that I would never give my whole self to someone like that again and besides, I didn't think I was worthy of that type of love anymore (having screwed it up the first time!).

Now, today, here I am.  Twenty four years later with a life transformed... And it's all because I wanted to 'date' - NOT marry.  I didn't want anything serious... I figured I had raised my boys and now I needed some adult companionship to spend time with... after all, eventually my boys would be gone.

So onto Match.com I went... and after some funny dates & meeting some nice guys and some jerks, I met Don.  He too was not looking to get married again... "Perfect" I thought.  We can have fun without any pressure.  We will live in the moment. 

Time traveled on and we went from just dating to a little more serious, then to a lot more serious.  And while we eventually decided to live together, we didn't decide to get married.  I had determined that I was good with where we were... I never brought up the word marriage.

But then he started talking about it... little things, here and there... and I routinely changed the subject.  What we had was good, I thought... Why throw in the monkey wrench of marriage?  Plus I still had a child at home... A grown child, but my child still the same.  Marriage & kids... that had warning signs all around my head.

And then an opportunity came for me that would allow me to travel for work.  I jumped at the chance, since one of my mottos is "have passport will travel".  And so I began.  Going from here to there to everywhere...Gone for a week or two at a time.  Sleeping in hotels (and sometimes airports).  Eating fast food or bland airport salads.   Finding out that I was missing him more than I thought I would.

Missing that wonderful smile and that strange elf laugh!  Missing him complaining about the sandwich Brandy stole 2 years ago!   Missing him ask me why when it is 90 degrees in the house that I have to have the sheet on me or I can't sleep - even while I sweat!  Listening to him tell me yet again, "well I don't know any Black person who does..." and me thinking -"he needs to increase his social circle!  He's in a box & doesn't even know it!"  Just Missing Him!

I sometimes think that God put that job in front of me so I could be away from him for periods of time so I would think about what it would be like if we stopped living together.  Eventually I realized that I wouldn't want to be without him.  But then fear (or the devil) took over so I didn't venture into 'marriage', I just stuck with the status quo and didn't give the future much thought.  I was living in the moment - yet I was beginning to wonder about marriage, about what that would be like.  I was wondering if I could do it again?  If I should?  I wondered if he really wanted to get married or were his little comments just comments and nothing more... I wondered what my kids would think, what my brother would think.  I wondered about my stuff, his stuff, our stuff... I feared that my feelings would change. 

Then on January 6, 2012, he asked me to marry him.  And with those 4 little words "Will you marry me?", all those fears vanished.  I looked at him and knew that he loved me & that I loved him.  Those words transformed me...

I have a pre-January 6th self and a post January 6th self.

My post January 6th self has taken the lessons of the past with a hope to never repeat them.  My post January 6th self knows that while there are no guarantees in life, and that life without transformation is not life.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Busy as a Bee


 

A while ago, a friend gave me these slippers because, she said, I was as always busy as a bee.   While she may think so, I don't think I fit into that category any longer.  I did fit in that category when my boys were younger.  I was always moving... always doing something.  And even when I was scared to death, lonely, worried, happy, sad or mean, everything I was doing (in my mind) was important... because I was a "mommy".  I was raising my sons.  I was doing the most important job that God gave me... I had failed at being a wife, but I was determined that I would not fail at being a mother.   

Today, looking back at my "buzzing days" I would have done many things differently --- to make my sons' childhood happier.  But I did the best I could at the time.  And I prayed A LOT!  Today, I look at my sons and think "Wow! Prayer works!" 

And every day I am grateful for my babies that have grown into wonderful men... But then again, every day, I miss the sounds of those little feet running in and out of the house.  I miss cooking for them.  I miss watching them grow up.   
And, they did grow up.  And now, I have 3 grand children & one on the way.  In my mind's eye years ago, I thought that once I had grand children that I would be able to fully enjoy them!  As I pondered - I thought of all the things I would one day give my grand children that I was not able to give my children.  I thought of the candy I would feed them - not worrying about a sugar high (LOL).  I thought about how I would side with them when their "mean dad" wanted them to cut the grass, clean the bathroom - or pick up their dirty socks.  "Poor little baby" I would say.  "I don't know why your dad is so mean." I would chuckle. 

So far...
one little girl,                                                         






& two boys

  and one on the way

Unfortunately, they live in Texas & Florida... not Ohio.  Not where I can hug and kiss them all the time.  Not where I can sit outside and talk to them one on one.  Not where they can come spend the night at Gram's house (or as Tehtum calls me "GrandMom").  I feel like I am missing out... I am missing little feet running around, I am missing out on first words, first steps - a myriad of 'firsts'.  And that makes me sad...

But I am lucky because I know that my sons and the women in their lives are good parents ---- and there is FACEBOOK! 

While I can't see their "firsts" up close and personal, their moms keep me up to date - and for that I am VERY grateful...

I am no longer "busy as a bee", since I don't have little ones to care for, to watch grow... But now, I'm another kind of busy...

Planning a wedding, ensuring my house gets put back together, enjoying my opportunity to work at a job I truly like, traveling to states I would probably never voluntarily choose to visit, (i.e. Mississippi, Arkansas or Georgia) and of course, loosing weight!


And while I do miss my grand children, I can look down at these slippers and remember my buzzing life.  Thank God for memories... & thank God my friend gave me these slippers that remind me so much of my buzzy days. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wedding Venues... the Planning Begins!

So we have started looking at venues to have our reception (and maybe wedding - who knows). 

We've seen an old mansion in Delaware called Andrews House.  The hard wood floors, the fireplace, and the beautiful staircase were all things that caught my eye.  And because it is used as a place to care for those in need during the week, I felt good about supporting such a wonderful and important mission.  Yet, when we went in, it was beautiful, but obvious that it would not meet our needs.

We've driven around and looked at places like Ohio Wesleyan.  The outside is gorgeous - the pictures would be great.  But we haven't seen the inside yet. 

While getting my hair done, I pondered the Columbus Museum of Art, but quickly gave up when I saw that space rental ranged from $1,000 to $4,000 (yup - four thousand dollars!!!!) for an evening affair.  I've thought of the Columbus Downtown Library--- but not only is that a bit too "Sex in the City-ish", it is probably outside of my budget as well.

I looked at Franklin Park Conservatory in a magazine - and it looks wonderful - but I suspect out of my price range --- but I'm going to check anyway. 

I've thought about the room under the theatre at St. Charles...  It was a pretty room, as I recall and the pictures would be wonderful!

Last week we looked at the Council for Older Adults here in Delaware.  And I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the room was - and how informative the event director was.  And again, our money going to help a worthy cause makes me feel warm inside.

The last place I looked at (so far) was Brookshire.  Haven't been inside yet... Just looked at the web site. 

I continue to look at venues... and I'm starting to form a picture in my head of this day...



Arriving at HRSJ





Walking down this aisle


Hopefully it will start this way.... we Catholics are the "church of rules" I know - so while I am hoping this will be the aisle, I know it might not be because sometimes our beloved church is on an isle of her own.



No matter the beginning, the reception tables will be draped in white linen...a cobalt blue table runner will call hold a floating candle and gifts for our guests.


Our guests will arrive to a warm and inviting space.  Casual yet elegant.  Inviting.  No bling.  Music from our world - R&B, Jazz, Line Dancing Music.  Aromas of the delicious meal to come will waft through the air.    

The sounds of happiness, joy, peace & laughter will fill the air.  Lots of "how are yous" & "hmmm good food" and probably some "lord have mercy, I thought we'd never get here!" will be said.  

And when all is said & done, Don & I will look around at our family & friends.  We'll see them having a good time... And we will say "Yup, it was worth it". 

That's my vision... Two people destined to be together.  Two people with friends and family supporting their every step.  Two people who are declaring their love before God and all.  Two people wanting to say "Thank You" to our loved ones with a party.  A party that is casual, elegant, inviting. 

And at the end of the night... two people who will look at one another and say "Yup!  It WAS worth it!"







Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More NOPEs than CHECKs

Electric redone and house safe - CHECK
Refrigerator chosen and purchased - CHECK
Stove chosen - NOPE :-(
Dishwasher chosen NOPE :-(
Televisions chosen NOPE :-(
Home Theatre System chose - CHECK; Purchased - NOPE :-(
DVD Player chosen - NOPE :-(  Do they even make simple DVD players anymore????
Pencil Sharpener - Just need to get to the store
Beds - That's going to take a while :-(
Pillows - Ordered
Carpet chosen - NOPE
Wall color chosen - NOPE
Carpentry eve started - NOPE!!!!!

The list goes on and on... And I continue to have more NOPEs than CHECKs...

So the reason we had a fire in the house was to teach us patience--- I'm failing that lesson!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

12 Pounds Gone, 23 More Pounds to Go!

I'm still waiting for the weight to drop off...


I started this diet on March 20 --- that's 10 weeks ago.  I've lost 12 pounds so far.  Which is not as much as I wanted, but not bad either.  I'm a third of the way to my goal of  35 pounds by the time I get on that cruise ship in November.  At 35 pounds less than I was on March 20, I will still be a plus size - but I will be a smaller plus size.  I will still have another 35 (or preferably 50) to go before the wedding, but I'll cross that scale when I get to it. 


So far, I can't really see the difference - except on the scale.  But, since the fire, I only have a few clothes & most of which are stretchy - so I can't feel a difference.  However, I was more comfortable on the plane the last time I flew.  It might be all in my head - 12 pounds probably didn't change the width of my hips!  But, I'm going to let it stay in my head - it's good for my ego.


One of the things I should do, but haven't, is exercise consistently.  Logically, I know that sitting on my butt all day long only contributes to my big hips & thighs, but let's be honest - I HATE EXERCISING!  I keep trying it, thinking that some day I will like it, but I haven't found that day yet.  I try to think about the 'runners high' and think to myself - if I could just experience that 'high', I would love exercising.  Ha! Take a look at the "runners high" description below from FitDay.com:


The runner's high is a state of euphoria that is experienced by not only runners, but by anyone engaged in a vigorous workout.  Boxers and bikers have reported similar states of being, as have weight lifters, cross country skiers and rugby players.

The high itself is variously described as a feeling of well-being, to being one with the world or to a total out of body experience. It is typically related to longer periods of vigorous exercise rather than shorter, easier workouts, possibly due to the stress the body undergoes as the major muscle groups begin to run short on glucose. The experience of the high also seems to rely on the individual makeup of the runners themselves, with some experiencing it at 5 miles, while others must run 20 before the euphoric feelings kick in.



Just so all is clear, I am never going to run 5 MILES, not to mention 20!  I am never going to be a boxer  - which, by the way isn't a sport, it's just angry people acting a fool; a weight lifter - the only thing I want to lift at this point in my life are grand children; a cross country skier - I hate the cold as much as I hate exercising; or a rugby player - because according to the rugby blog, this is a 'full contact' sport - which means hitting and tackling - and if someone hits me, I will not handle it well.


So, how oh how am I going to loose weight?  I know it is possible because #1 - I did it before; and #2 - I can scientifically prove:
 fewer calories + increased metabolism (i.e. more exercise) = weight loss.


So, I guess I will have to eat fewer calories AND exercise consistently - UGH! 


I will pat myself on the back and say that I have mastered the fewer calories part of the equation.  Now I have to master the more exercise part.  And that means walking!  Boring - but apparently critical to my success. 

I'll start at 20 minutes a day and build up to 60 minutes a day.  That isn't going to burn a ton of calories - but it is better than nothing...and the diet plan I am following actually suggests I start with 15 minutes a day (guess they are concerned that more than 15 minutes might cause us non-exercisers/couch potatoes to have a heart attach - LOL).  So as long as I keep my calorie intake low, I will still loose weight. 

The goal: LOOSE 1 POUND PER WEEK.


The cruise is 24 weeks away...


Keeping up my current pace, I'm on target to lose 35 pounds, (or more!) by November 10!


Wish me luck!!!! I'm going to need it!

:-)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Waiting for the Weight To Drop...

I'm waiting for the weight to drop off.  Most days I get on the scale praying for some miracle to happen... I'm praying that the 70 pounds I gained years ago will magically disappear & I can get my clothes on!  Well, so far, I've been getting on the scale for 8 weeks - every day while I am home...Some days I'm thrilled (those are the days that the scale is moving in the right direction).  Other days, I'm aggravated - when for the past 2 days I'd eaten salad & hard boiled eggs, yet I've GAINED weight!  Then there are the days I'm just resigned to "well at least I didn't gain any weight".  On my best days, I think "I've already lost ____ pounds & I only need to loose an average of one pound per week to get to my goal. Thus far, I've lost 11.6 pounds - not bad for 8 and a half weeks - but with summer coming and our wedding in 2013, every now and again I get nuts!  So I started thinking about why... after all, I don't remember Don saying "I will only marry you if you loose 70 pounds"...

Weight & women is such an odd phenomenon in this country.  The sixties ushered in anorexic thin, while the 40s and 50s pin ups portrayed women with hips and breasts (imaging that -a woman with hips and breasts!).  Now we are in the 20-teens and while all the mass media claims to tout "healthy" as the way to be, I don't see it in the pictures. 


Really?  She is Plus Size?  REALLY????
Recently, I saw this photo of Rachel Ray  and the commentary said she was "Plus Size"!  Really, this is plus size?  Now no doubt about it, I AM plus size - but this picture portrays a 'plus size'?  How ridiculous! 

The pressure to be thin - to maintain the body of an athletic 16 (or younger) year old girl is silly...

I am 50.  And unless I work at it very, very hard, AND have bariatric surgery, I'm NEVER going to have my 16 year old body back.  And while I want and need to loose weight to be HEALTHY, I don't think I want my 16 year old body back.  That body was "cute" and insecure.  Today I want a body that reflects sophisticated, mature ('wise' not 'old), approachable, easy going, attractive & graceful.  At 16 I was none of those things!  Perhaps my fat has made me realize that these qualities are really better and much more important than "thin thighs".

At 50, 3 sons, a daughter in law, 3 grand children and 1 on the way, I think I've earned some of my fat! (Notice I said 'some" - even I realize this is way too much fat!).  I raised my sons into wonderful young men... I made the best home for my boys that I could...I worked as hard as I could to succeed in my chosen career... I've said "oh crap, I can't believe I made the same mistake again!" many times, but never gave up trying to get better... I ate Ramen Noodles when they were babies, trying to keep the roof over our heads and ate Ramen Noodles when they were older trying to pay tuition bills... YES, I've earned some of my fat!  I believe that 10-15 pounds over the "ideal" weight should be considered compensation for getting to 50 - yet alone getting to 50 after raising 3 children on my own!

In 2013, I'm getting married.  I'll walk down the aisle, (or around a wooded path - I haven't decided about this wedding thing yet ) with my brother at my side.  I won't be a svelte size 10, I won't have deep brown hair with natural red highlights.  I won't have thin thighs - luckily I'm not getting married in pants! LOL.  But ---
  • I will have... Gray around my temples and maybe streaming through my hair that will be done just so by "the little girl at church who does my hair".  Those grays will remind me of the hardships of the past & to be thankful for all today & tomorrow gives
  • I will have... Wrinkles around my smiling eyes and lips - signaling that "I have enough experience to get this right this time"
  • I will have... Three sons, and the loves of their lives with my grandchildren sitting right there with smiles on their faces - proud of & happy for, their mom. 
  • I will have... My brother, who helped raise me before and after my mother was gone; who, with tears in his eyes told me "mama died" and every day after that, he allowed her love for me to radiate through him. 
  • I will have... My best friend - who when I said "This is never going to work" &" I'm going to be miserable forever & I guess I deserve it" &" I just can't" she always said "God's got a plan, just pray" & "you deserve someone good who loves you - God's working on him" and "of course you can".
  • I will have... A body that while not "cute",  hopefully will be seen by Don as "beautiful".
  • I will have... A man who I love and who loves me - fat & all!  
Yes, I'm still waiting for the weight to come off.  I am going to exercise while I am traveling to nudge that scale in the right direction... I'm doing this because for all the things I have today - a loving fiancĂ©, family, and friends, a nice home, a good job - I am grateful.  And I want to take care of myself so I can continue to experience them all. The most prevalent lesson of the last few weeks was and continues to be: TOMORROW IS NOT PROMISED TO ANY OF US!

So, I continue to wait for the weight to come off but I know that when I'm 'done with this diet' - I will still have 'fun fat' - and that's okay.  And the "thin thighs"... well, I'll just have to wait for heaven to experience those again.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Putting Humpty Together Again...



Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men

Couldn't put Humpty together again 


Ever feel like poor Humpty Dumpty?  I feel like I am living in Humpty right now!      


We had an electrical fire in the attic after lightening struck our home.  Yup - lightening!!!! 

Since the lightening strike, I've been in insurance hell!  And the house smells like a camp fire.  My nose  & eyes hurt when I'm here with windows closed.  And while I can't usually smell much, I can smell this horrible smell quite well (it figures!).  The 'cleaners' came to get our clothes to dry clean them & they took EVERYTHING!  They even took the clothes out of the hamper!  They took every curtain, sheet, blanket, wash cloth, towel - they even took my shoes (leather pumps & boots)! Strangely, they didn't take our pillows - and the pillows STINK!

We have electric in only half the house.  Luckily for everyone who comes in contact with me, I can plug in my coffee pot - since this process would try the patience of Job!

Today, we have gotten estimates for the electrical  work so the electric will be fixed soon.  Then the reconstruction of Humpty can begin.  Cleaning, painting, re-carpeting...& finally I can get my stuff back!  This is a long process. 

Through out this situation, I've been looking for the lesson in this craziness.  I'm still not sure what the lesson is, but I have a few ideas:
#1 - I should stop complaining that Don can smell anything within a mile of wherever he stands!  Without that nose of his, we might be dead!
#2 - I should review my insurance policies every time something changes.  My deductible is huge (at least to me)
#3 - I should be more thankful for this home God allowed me to obtain - it could be taken away very quickly
#4 - Delaware - that I laughingly used to call "Mayberry RFD" is still Mayberry RFD -  and I'm thankful for the 'small town' that it is full of concerned and giving neighbors, and a fire department and police department with a great response time
#5 - Considering I've been wearing the same few outfits that were "luckily" in my suitcase when the cleaners came - apparently, I don't need nearly as many clothes or shoes as I thought! (LOL)
#6 - I should focus every day on how lucky we are to be in this home, in this neighborhood, with our family & neighbors. 
#7 - Unlike all the king's horses and all the king's me, the contractors will be able to put this Humpty together again! 
The air around me might stink, but ...
LIFE
IS
GOOD!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Act Like A Baby

I was offered a new opportunity today & instead of leaping at it, I second guessed myself.  "I can't take that on", I thought.  Now looking back, I see that my attitude was defeatist.  Time has taught me that the more I doubt myself, the more afraid I become of the unknown.  But it really shouldn't be that way... 

Look at any baby learning to crawl or  walk. and no matter how many times they "fail" they always try again... Look at any toddler determined to figure out those 'child proof' locks. Given enough time, we usually determine that 'child proof' isn't really meant to keep children out - since the toddler just opened your cabinet and took out all the pots and pans!  Babies and toddlers are optimistic about almost every thing!

The rest of us 'learned' grownups should take a hint from the short people in our lives and pursue the impossible.  Every day! 

After all, babies don't know that they "can't" do something,  They believe they can do anything! 

What freedom there must be in believing so fully in yourself that you can follow your heart.   Contentment with life would probably move up a category or two to JOY with life!

So OK, I've decided I am going to act like a baby!



Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Honeymoon

So based upon a recent post, I am definitely freaking out a little about being married again.  And I can't be nuts until September 2013, so... instead of focusing on being married & a wedding - neither of which am I  confident that I will do well - I will focus on the honeymoon - because "traveling" - yup, that's my thing!

So far, I've thought about going to New York City (of course!), Turks & Caicos Islands, France , England, Italy and just recently Niagara Falls! 


I am leaning towards Niagara Falls for a few reasons...

First...I can say I went to NY- LOL! 

Second...Niagara Falls is the quintessential honeymoon spot.  Our hotel room could overlook the falls. ..Very romantic. :-) 

Third & most important...Niagara Falls is God's creation... God alone.  And, I so want God to be the creator of our marriage. 

Note to self - "God's In Charge - REALLY"

I stayed away from church for a few years.  Life was - well - life; & church wasn't on my agenda.  Eventually I went back--- first to St. Mary's (so wonderfully close to my home), but eventually I decided to go back to The Community of Holy Rosary & St. John the Evangelist (HRSJ).

A lot had changed since I had left.  My beloved Jesuits had left.  A diocesan priest had been assigned.  Through email, I knew that drama had been in full swing for a while.  I am allergic to drama so I was going back on a trial basis... I wasn't going to get involved in activities, I was simply going to go back to "go to mass amongst family" & go home. 

I remember my first mass back... I looked up at the processional and saw a very young man in the role of priest.  I thought "hmmm... that's nice, he must be visiting".  Mass was underway and his homily was meaningful and funny.  To be honest, I don't recall what it was about, but I do remember that I laughed & I felt the warmness of Jesus' words while I sat and listened to this "little boy priest".  Eventually I learned that he wasn't a visitor, but he was actually the PASTOR!!!!  "OMG", I thought, "This is a child!  The bishop sent us a child to run a parish that needs an adult to steer this ship!  Well, I guess the rumors are true.  The bishop has sent someone to close the parish.  Oh well, that's what happens to small, poor parishes". And so, I resolved, I would attend until the parish closed.  I would not fuss or argue because we weren't the first to close, and we would not be the last to close... that's what happens when you don't have enough priests.

Well, time's marched on since that day.  HRSJ isn't closed.  It's growing! And the "little boy priest" is still there, running the show & steering the ship.  He's made quite a good captain (and priest, of course!).  And while in my minds' eye he will probably always be a "little boy priest", he is far from a 'little boy'.  He is loving, he is kind, he is spiritual... but more important (to me) is that he is intelligent and mature beyond his age.  He knows when to speak & when to listen.  He is flexible.  He has taken time to get to know the parish family. 

I'm glad I went back.  Even though I don't get back every week, it is good to know that my "church home" is alive and well... and growing!  HRSJ is the epitome of "God in in charge!"

  

Friday, April 6, 2012

A New Beginning
On January 6, my life changed...


And every day, the change becomes more pronounced... Not in a bad way, but in a realization that I am really going to share my life with someone again.  Sharing my life with someone is something that I have wanted for more than 10 years, yet now that it is so close, I am fearful...


Can I do this?


How do I go from "me" to "we"?


What about our separate 'stuff'?  Does it all become "our" stuff?


Do I know how to be a wife?  Does he know how to be a husband?  And what exactly do those nouns mean?


Life is ever changing all around me.  Some days I feel in total control & on other days, I feel like I'm simply on for the ride!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Beginning 2012 With A Song

I love live theatre!  I started 2012 with this show... Can't wait to see more... Already have the shows planned I want to see -at least for the next few months).  

"42 Years of Arts in Columbus"... I'm going to see what I've been missing!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Grand Central & Home

The background of this blog shows the inside of one of my favorites places - Grand Central Terminal in NYC.  It's an architectural masterpiece in the heart of Manhattan.  One of those places that when I take a minute to look around, I am always awed at its' majesty.  In my heart and soul, I will always be a New Yorker (perhaps one in exile, but a New Yorker, just the same), and this place says New York to me.
Now, in the prime of it's existence, it is polished - but no longer shiny; it is large - but not cavernous; it's ceilings are high- but their cove is seemingly touchable.  It's majestic and welcoming.


Grand Central has been through it's trials and tribulations through the years... There was a 10 year gestation before the building I know as "Grand Central" took it's first breath. 


Over the years, Grand Central has been through many changes... but it remains one of NYC's landmarks... Something that - when I look at it's picture - says "New York City" to me.  It yells "home". It beckons me "home".


But that home is one that only exists in my head now.  There is no house to go back to in Staten Island, NY.  I moved away long ago... when I was trying to get a handle on the mess that was my life.


OH was where I landed.  There couldn't have been a place more like Staten Island, NY (without ethnicity, but that's for another post).  It had large yards with small, medium and huge houses.  There were malls, lots of cars & traffic jams.  There was a reasonable library.  There couldn't have been a place more different from Manhattan (the island I love!).  "Ethnicity" was looked down upon... here we were all "Americans", no hyphens allowed.  In the streets no different languages were spoken.  No public transportation, no majestic buildings of days gone by... the buildings had been knocked down!  No on-going live professional theatre.  The tapestry of difference which drew me from Staten Island to Manhattan for work and pleasure was non-existent here.  But I was here & I was determined to clean up the mess I had made of my life & build a good life for my boys and me here in this "Staten Island-esque" place.


So for 20+ years, I picked up the pieces of my life - yes, it has taken that long,  because all those little shards of life were scattered everywhere.   But I got most of them up in the first 7 or 8 years & all the while I was cleaning up my life, I was trying to build a life and home for us.  It wasn't easy.  I ached for my childhood home.  While the surroundings looked like Staten Island, I longed for the refuge of Manhattan.  I longed for the Staten Island Ferry  to take me across the water so I could buy a soft pretzel from a food cart, go to Madison Square Garden to see the Knicks play,
to go the NY Public Library (down the street from Grand Central), buy a $2.00 umbrella, and marvel in meeting foreigners who so quickly own the term "New Yorker" while still speaking so fondly of their home.  Hyphenated Americans are celebrated in NYC.


There is no 'Manhattan' in Central Ohio.  And since I missed it so much, I focused on doing what was necessary so I could one day afford to visit... because I was here now and I was determined...


Life (and taxes)  taught me that I needed to own my own home... so I began that adventure & built a house... in the Staten Island look-alike city of Delaware Ohio.  Farms dot and border this 'city'.  There is no public transportation.  The downtown is a few blocks long.  Everyone seems to know everyone -  especially the Black people here... they all seemingly grew up together.  I took my boys and I from being potted plants that kept changing homes & not able to grow roots , to being planted firmly in our new house.  We were going to grow roots in the earth here - no more pots necessary! 


And we have grown roots over the years... New friends, cars to get back and forth between here and their friend's homes, graduations, marriage, and a wonderful church family all have fertilized our roots.  I own a house and my boys and I have a home.  When I sit in my living room or cook in my kitchen,  I look around and think "Not bad for a Lady Bug".   My boys know my heart and home is always open to them & anyone they choose to share their life with.  Few days pass that I don't feel appreciation from them for the struggle and sacrifice.  I look at them and beam with pride.... not that their life was easy - but they have made the best of life & that speaks to the men they have become. (Insert "big grin & me patting myself on my back & taking a bow" here!)


I still miss Manhattan and the architecture of places like Grand Central and the energy of that place.  But here - here in Delaware, Ohio is where I've made my own home & I'm happy here.  It's not majestic, but I hope it's always welcoming.


I've got a handle on my life now.  I learned from past mistakes & some slivers of my past life, to go full steam ahead cautiously and gratefully.


Not bad for a Lady Bug...