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Salem, Mass (Witch City) resident with deep southern roots! Love New England - let it snow! Still making up for all those years south! I'm a widow attempting to make merry but it is very hard. This is my way to vent, share, and talk about my path to finding happiness again. September 2006 I became a widow. My road out of the abyss of grief, guilt, and anger hasn't been easy but I'm clawing my way to something better. Seeing rays of hope and joy. Feel free to comment, share words of wisdom, or just read about my fairly mundane life. Slainte!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Faith, Hope, and Patience

Bet you thought all had been said that could be about the inauguration of President Obama and Vice President Biden. Probably, but I want to add my thoughts. I found myself getting teary just watching the crowd at the One Concert on Sunday. U2 and the Boss - how can you go wrong with them in the same lineup and they didn't disappoint. Then yesterday morning watching the sea of people on the Mall setting record attendance for an inauguration was another thrilling, teary moment! We have waited 8 years for a ray of hope and someone who cares about the future of this country to lead us. He is here! I thought it funny that the oath got flubbed - first because Obama started racing ahead of Roberts then waited to make sure he got it right. Then Roberts completely flubbed it on his end. Good thing Obama had it memorized! I heard most of his speech before having to step out for an appointment. I later read the text of the speech on-line and heard most of it in bites on MSNBC. What a day - scary with Sen. Kennedy (one of my senators) being taken away due to fatigue (God Bless him) and then Sen. Byrd getting upset about Sen. Kennedy and having to leave the luncheon. High emotions all around! These people care so much! Just as we, the American public, care!

We all have out pet causes or just want the country to be good to us I have many things I want changed for the better and I am willing to be a participant! I found myself out of curiosity going to yesterday evening after I heard the first e-mail had been sent. The web site has been totally overhauled. It is now professional, easy to use, and dignified! I immediately took advantage of signing up for e-mail updates and sent a congratulatory e-mail to President Obama and VP Biden. I've been serving my country as a Federal employee for many years. Now I want to do even more! I want to be active in rebuilding our infrastructure and getting this country back on its feet so it can provide health care, feed itself, harness alternative energies, and live up to the expectations of us, the US, from around the world.

But it will not be easy. That was the message of President Obama's speech. A lot of things have gone badly; a lot of bad things have taken the place of rights and liberties on which the USA was founded. It will take patience and time to change these but WE CAN! That's why with faith in ourselves, in our country and its leaders, and in God, we can keep this new found hope alive and have patience while the country heals and even make things even better for ourselves and future generations.

Thank you voters for giving us this chance. I also thought it only fitting that the Eastern States Ball was the last on the list for President and Mrs. Obama last night. As many said, "they saved the best for last". To quote James Taylor, "What a different world we live in nw, my friends. In the heart of Massachusetts, in true-blue Massachusetts, we feel like we got the country back."

Yes, we are the bluest of the blue! Keep the faith! Be proud! Peace!

Monday, January 19, 2009

When your parents get old

it can really be an adventure and at times it can really suck! My mom never had the chance to get old. She retired at 65 and within weeks was diagnose with colon cancer. At 66 she passed away. My dad, God willing, will be 86 in July! He remarried a wonderful woman that has become one of my best friends. He had a heart attack and a quadruple bypass by deBakey nonetheless back in the 1980s. They gave him five years if he didn't change his life style. Well, he's proven to like a cat with more than nine lives - survivding almost 30 years since then. He's been pronounced dead three times (his claim...I'm not certain). He's had at least one major stroke (right after the heart surgery though no one told me until he was all over) and several TIAs. He retired early and spent many years seeing the USA in his silver bullet (read Airstream). He and my stepmom even drove from Louisiana to Alaska and back! But Dad isn't Dad anymore.
Over two years ago (ironically at the same time my dear husband was dying of lung cancer) dad had an episode where his oxygen levels (he suffers from a heart that is barely working and congestive heart failure among other things) dropped dangerously low. He was rushed to intensive care and the family kept vigil. Mine was long distance as I stayed close to Charlie's side who was fighting hard against cancer. I bought my plane ticket to go back to Louisiana only when told there was no hope. I changed the reservation three times - the last was to cancel. Dad had rallied back and was moved from intensive care to a nursing home for six weeks of rehab. He couldn't walk without assistance and was suffering from short term memory loss. Meanwhile, Charlie lost his fight and we said our goodbyes in this life
Dad is still with us, though he is weaker than ever, will never walk again without assistance and his short term memory is really shot. I still love him so much but our relationship has changed. He tries so hard to hold conversations but he gets confused so easily. I try not to correct unless it is really important so I have to bite my tongue sometimes. In the past two years he has been in and out of the hospital so many times I've lost count. He's had staph infection in his elbow from a cut that took months of IV antibiotics followed by surgery to heal, a hip replacement, and surgery for a fractured vertebrae! Like I said - a cat with many lives!
He is such a trooper but at the same time he is demanding and can be so frustrating. He insists that he will/can walk and he will/can drive. Thus, the crux of my angst today. He can walk only short distances with his walker. He has been told by every doctor never to drive again. This is a huge issue for him. I've been told its very common - a loss of independence - but it hurts and worries the entire family. He even called the local dealership (there is only one in this small town) and asked them to bring a car for him to test drive. (My stepmom was gone for all of 60 minutes!) The dealership did their job and showed up with a car. They let him drive it! I don't know how far he got or how he drove but this is scary! The last time I know of Dad driving, he backed my stepmom's car out of the garage and ran into the fence. He sold his Lincoln over a year ago knowing he would never be able to drive again. But this resurfaces ever so often (too often) and causes all of us much distress. So I played the bad guy and told Dad he didn't need a car and he shouldn't be driving! He is angry and his feelings are very hurt. He will get over it and may not even remember it clearly after today.
But it is so depressing to see someone who was so vibrant, strong, and full of life wear down and not be able to do the things he loved to do. Sometimes I'm at my wits end and my poor stepmom is beside herself. God bless her! I love Dad dearly but he is giving us a run for the money. Patience is a virtue and I'm learning it the hard way!
To be continued...

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

No sleigh bells but plenty of plows and snow blowers are going today after almost 16 inches of snow this weekend! It is absolutely gorgeous outside. The snow has turned everything into a world of white. It is almost surreal to see the tree branches draped in white just like on a Christmas card. After back to back storms, it is a good thing today is a Holiday. It started snowing Saturday night then we had a second storm come through yesterday midday. And guess what - there's more coming tonight and maybe even more Tuesday-Wednesday. I took pictures from the warmth of my house during the storms. I hope to post these soon. I may take my camera out when I run errands later to capture some more of this beauty.
Yesterday afternoon it was absolutely dreamlike. Big, fluffy flakes were falling really hard sticking to everything, covering up the plow tracks from earlier in the day. It was quiet outside and no one was out and about. If only I had been snuggled up with someone other than my book and hot tea, it would have been truly a dreamy day. There is something magical about snow to me. Yes, I know, it gets messy and dirty and we have to shovel and all that stuff. But, I'm talking about the beauty of it all and how there are no two snowflakes alike. I love walking in new fallen snow. It has a sparkle to it and that soft crunch sound that makes one realize you're the first person to walk this way today. Even as night closes in, you can tell it is still snowing. There is a stillness and a brightness from the snow that gives everything a feeling of twilight. This is what is known as "white nights" in Siberia. There is so much pristine snow that it bring light to the darkness of night. Oh to be able to share that feeling with the world; it is a beautiful thing. I wish you peace...and the glory of new fallen snow!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside!

No kidding! It's maybe 10 degrees and going below zero tonight. Tomorrow will be our coldest day in years! It's really nice that we have a lot of snow cover and this will make it stick around awhile but even I have to admit that this is cold. My house is 100 years old and drafty! I have all the storm windows down but one can still feel a breeze wafting through the house at times. Think I'll have to ratchet up the setting on the electric blanket tonight. My normal 2 - 2 1/2 isn't gonna do it.
I'm sitting here warm and snug in my slippers and just finished a wonderful cup of tea. But I'll brave the cold once more before tomorrow comes. I'm meeting a girlfriend for dinner so it should be worth it. We've had a time finding a day when we're both in town and have no conflicting plans. So I'll be off to visit "the moose" as my dear Charlie used to call it (Bugaboo Creek for those wondering) in a few minutes. I had thought I'd mosey over to Macy's to check out a sale but screw it - it's too damn cold to shop!
The entire weekend is supposed to be very cold - downright frigid with highs in the teens if we're lucky. We're supposed to warm up to the low 20's on Sunday and Monday and get more snow. My dear friends and neighbors - the wolf pack - are down in the Bahamas. They are going to love coming hold to this artic chill.
Oh well, what do I expect - it is New England. This is part of the package. If you don't like it, move on. I chose this and I like it. Though at times like this I do have fond memories of sipping Hurricanes outside at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans with a light jacket on.
So, my friends, snuggle up (hopefully you won't be alone like me), and keep it warm and cozy until spring! Brrrr...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Let it Snow! I'm getting over Saturday night!

There's nothing like waking up to see big, fluffy flakes of snow drifting by your window. It is so quiet out and I am warm and cozy in my bed. It was so nice around 6 a.m. when I woke up long enough to check the snowfall from our latest storm. In the five minutes I was actually conscious, the snow started blowing and wind howling. Oooh, better jump back under the covers! Sure enough, I did and when I finally woke up for good at 9 a.m. the snow was just flurries but then the work started. First I heard I snow shovel and at least two snow blowers started up and roared down the sidewalks. This was followed by the sound of a plow and the beep-beep of the salt and sand truck. So much for my quiet Sunday morning. At least it was Sunday and I didn't have to worry about hurrying off to work, which would entail cleaning off the car and maybe shoveing a path to the street. Now that I've procrastinated much of the day, my car has been cleaned by a neighbor (he's off to the Bahamas tomorrow morning!) and the path to the street cleared by my landlord. Now I just have to shovel off the back porch. Not too shabby.
It is still only 21 degrees outside so I'll make sure that hot cocoa or tea waiting when I get done with the porch.

Well I ventured out late yesterday afternoon to mingle with friends over a few drinks. I started off at Bertini's where I saw a few people I hadn't seen since before Christmas. All was well. Had a couple of scotches and som good craic. Then I ventured up the road to Sidelines. It's been at least two months since I've been there. Luckily, Michelle was behind the bar and we had a nice chat catching up on things. She also makes an awesome dirty martini! :)

I still don't feel quite as comfortable going out on my on as when I went out with Charlie. His personality was so huge and gregarious that I just got swept along with it. Thanks to him I have all of these acquaintances and friends that remember me. It's a little different by myself. I'm not quite as outgoing, though I'm not shy either. I think it's hard when you've already done this bar scene thing once as a single, then as a couple, and now back as a single. You know all the things that can go bad. You don't want to drink too much - don't want to embarrass yourself now plus there's no one to help you get home! I'll hang in there and see how things go. Maybe I can get more comfortable doing it. And I am out talking to friends.

So, I was good. I stopped drinking after a glass of Sam Adams Winterfest. I ordered food to take home. I went home and had dinner and promptly fell asleep within two hours of getting home. I do remember checking outside to see if it was snowing (yes, started just after I got home) and that my car wasn't too close to the street so it wouldn't get plowed in. I woke up at midnight and put myself to bed. No wonder I woke up at 6 a.m. the first time!

Hopefully my future adventures into single territory and bar hopping won't always result in a snoozefest! I'm learning the ropes again...trying to anyway.

I wish you well. Until next time...peace!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho - Back to Work I Went

Well I returned to work on Tuesday and have now reacclimated to my cubicle and the office setting. Why is it that every time I am off from work for a week or so, I expect lots of things to happen? It's not that the work can't go on without me - believe me, it does! I just always re-enter the work environment expecting changes or something exciting to have happened. I am almost always disappointed. My workspace looks the same, is still covered with papers and to do lists. (Yes, give me a flat space and I will clutter it.) Nothing exciting happened to the agency or to any employees that was earth shattering. People celebrated Christmas or Hannakuh and New Year's and that's about it. No one I know even got that exciting a gift this year (any gift is happiness though). Maybe it's just the excitment (or anxiety) or going back to this place where we spent so much of our lives that generates these expectations (or apprehensions). My coworkers missed me and we're still catching up on things but otherwise, no big deal.
I really enjoy my job and I do get to travel a lot with it - not always to the most exciting places, but I'm still out of the office more than a lot of my coworkers. Maybe it's me searching for something exciting (so why am I looking at work?!) but anyway the bottom line is - work is nice, I like it. Re-entry was disappointing but non unpleasant. Maybe I should be thankful that nothing did happen!
I feel very lucky (blessed) to have a good job with benefits and job security. I feel so badly for those who have lost their jobs or are just hanging on by their fingertips! I really don't know how that feels. Good for me, not for them. I do have friends and relatives that are in those situations. I am carefully watching how Obama's team will affect my work. It will be indirectly but since I do work for a government agency that deals with human services (food and nutrition issues), there may be an impact. Maybe I should be looking at the holistic view of my workplace and not just what's going on in my cube.
Oh well, today's snow turned to ice and now freezing rain. Tomorrow night we get more snow - yeah! (Yes, I am a weather nut! So expect these little tidbits to creep into my thoughts quite often.) Be well!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Continuing Resolutions

My last day at home before going back to work. I haven't taken this much time off for the Holidays in years but had no choice - either "use it or lose it". Me give up a vacation day? Never! Those of you who have worked for government may recognize the Continuing Resolution (CR) term. In the Federal government it happens almost every October when Congress doesn't pass a budget to fund the government. So we continue to work on a CR until the budget is passed. A CR only funds us for the same amount as the year before. So this delays our ability to do some things - like purchase supplies or enter into contracts. So much for the civics lesson, my CR is all about those pesky New Year resolutions. No I don't make a list - never have. Tried it once and immediately broke at least two of them the same day. So I am adopting the CR for my life forever. My CR is composed of two parts: health and discovery. Health as in being healthy; continuing the diet I started January 2008 that actually works for me; exercising my body and my mind! Discovery is a path for me to rediscover myself, continue existing relationships with family and friends and find new ones. Discovery is also about looking at the world without any patina, going to new places and revisiting others. If I can accomplish any part of these, then I will find some happiness and even have some fun! So if you are making resolutions and then breaking them, try this tip. Keep them short and not too narrow. You may say lose weight. I think everyone has that one of a list! Well, maybe the better way to approach it is to say be healthy or address your health. This broadens the ways you can meet that resolution. Hopefully by getting healthy you will reach the more narrow goal you originally started with. I used to always say travel to such-and-such a place. Travel now falls under discovery! I don't box myself into one or two places that may or may not be achievable in a given timeframe. I broaden the horizon and can meet the goal and also keep the resolution in many ways. Try it! I lie challenges and this works well for me. I don't punish myself for not meeting a narrow goal but feel good about meeting something in the broader realm of health or discovery. So health and discovery are my continuing resolutions. Good luck with yours! Now I have to set the clock for 5:15 a.m. in order to go back to work tomorrow. the work, not the hours! Persevere!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down

Does anyone remember that song? It was written by Kris Kristofferson back in the 60s. I have the Mark Lindsay version of it on vinyl and CD. Anyway, I woke up this Sunday morning and that song title popped into my head. Must be the cold meds at work but the lyrics were appropriate. Sunday's are my day, meaning they are special to me. I use them to relax and rejuvenate before starting the work week. I usually read both Boston papers, have a leisurely, nutritious breakfast, then turn on the TV and watch movies (and football). When Charlie was with me, we used to go out on Sunday afternoons to watch the games and drink a few brews. Now, I cocoon myself away and try to breathe deeply before the hectic schedule of the work week takes over. I have no clue what is on TV now - it is just noise. I reserve Saturdays for blasting the stereo and Sundays for TV. I am at loose ends today. Don't feel well enough to do much of anything useful around the house. I don't know why but I have this thing, this urge, to always be busy. I need to learn how to relax again. Charlie could make me relax. He used to tell me to sit down and not worry about anything else. I miss that and I need it. Sometimes I feel like the energizer bunny who keeps on going and going and going.
Sundays were made to rest and after I post this I am going to do my utmost to do just that! It's sunny but cold outside and I have nothing that absolutely has to get done. So this is when most people relax. I'm going to try. Peace!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's a New Year!

Why am I blogging? Because my dear friend "Diva" turned me onto her blog and I love to write. Also, because I am hoping that blogging will help me find myself and what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Why do I need to find myself? I lost my dear husband to lung cancer on September 15, 2006. We had been together almost 31 years. I have been sleepwalking - better yet - running ever since! I need to figure out who I am by myself and what I want and need to be happy. I miss him terribly but it has been long enough now that I need to wipe the patina from my view and get my act together. I have to figure out my life now as a, dare I say it - single woman in her 50s. Yikes! Where did the years go? I feel like I'm in my late 30s!
Anyway, this is one way for me to search for what makes me happy now that I am alone. Yes, I have friends and family that I love dearly and they have been so supportive. Alas, the majority of them are far away from Salem.
I travel a lot - mostly for work - and that keeps me occupied and is exciting, but it is also a form of escapism. So, as a form of New Year's resolution, 2009 is about finding my life and what I need and want from it to make me happy.
This may also give me a shoulder to cry on and a place to vent. Feel free to join me on my journey. Advice is welcome.
I wish you well.