family

It (?)

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The other night I was sound asleep in a very deep sleep.  A strong noise, maybe a thud or a bang, woke me to a stir.  Wasn’t quite sure if I heard something or if I was dreaming, but now I was awake either way.  And to be honest I was a bit annoyed because I was enjoying the  solid rest.

Next thing I see is my phone lighting up.  It was on mute without a vibrate, by the time I got to it I missed a call.  This late at night?  Who? What?

My Mother had called.  She left a message which I listened to and she said it was no big deal, it was 11:30 and she couldn’t sleep.  I looked at the time of the message and it wasn’t 11:30PM at all,  it was about 2:30 in the morning.

I returned her call immediately, and before I could even think I was dressed and driving on the freeway.  I was going to pick her up to take her to ER, just to be on the safe side.   We found out she was suffering from congestive heart failure.  We had no idea.

Today we are a few days out, and she is back home on several new medications.

But what was it? A noise or a different kind of something?  What awoke me in time not miss her call?  I don’t know.  I may never know, but whatever it was it saved my Mother’s life.

So I thank you “it.”

Cheers!

I get it.

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Today I am heading outside to work on a project that has nothing to do with “unpacking” any rat.   I have already spent an hour freezing my butt off at the dog park, and as if that wasn’t enough, I am heading back to the woods to work with my camera.

I have to leave it behind. “It” being all the external stuff that isn’t me.

Let-Go

I had a particularity bad day yesterday.

I believed ( for the bazilllionth time) that people could overcome past hurts and heal.   Now, I know that belief only holds true for me.  Why?  Because it is my belief –  mine not theirs – and that makes all the difference in the world.  They do not want to change anything.  And no matter what I do, say, or try, no matter how much I care,  I can not, and will not, see my desires come to fruition.

These people are no longer worth my efforts, energy or thoughts.  I will never have what I want with them.   I should know, because I have spent my entire life trying.  Really trying.

On top of realizing that whole “belief” issue, it has taken me a long time to also understand that I get to choose what that bad day will do to me next.  If I choose to stay in it, (dwell on negativity) I will be hurting myself and every single moment of today.

Today- I am here to say, “I get it.”

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is out, and I am okay.

I am taking control of my thoughts and focusing on my real life and how I want to shape it.  It feels good but it is a constant effort.

I am off walk in the sunshine, feel the crisp breeze, and let each fresh moment fill me with love and gratitude.

Thanks for reading.  Cheers!

To Do, Doing, Done

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What a difference a year can make.  Last year at this time I was highly stressed over everything.  I was dreading the holidays, and looking for answers to my dysfunctional family of origin.  I was burdened without knowing where my next home might be and uncertain as to our future regarding EVERYTHING.

I carried my disappointments front and center all the while trying to make sense out of things that had no answers.  This practice lead me to intense sadness, and counter-productive thoughts. Even though I logically was writing about solutions which contained numerous rationalizations, I wasn’t really seeing positive results.

I used to describe my living condition as a sort of limbo hell both physically and emotionally.  In essence that was what it was; limbo hell.

I wrote.  I read.  I planned. I learned. I tried everything, nothing worked.

You know why nothing worked?

Nothing worked because I thought writing the ideas, reading them, and believing  I knew something would be enough to make things better.  I am going to tell you right here and now….”knowing” anything  is worthless without “doing.”

And that is where I am now.   I am in the “doing phase.”  I am, once and for all, dropping all the slights and the hurts that I perceived over the past several years of my life.  Seriously, in order to get anywhere you have to stop “feeling” the past.  I use the word ” feeling”  the past instead of living, or thinking about the past because it’s how you feel that squashes out your light.

Very soon after I started this “journey to living better with less” I broke down and cried when told I had too many framed photos.  That scene made me well aware that my journey was about much more than just “stuff.”  I know why I cried.  Inside all those frames I saw photos of better times.  I cried because I was forced to acknowledge time had vanished into thin air faster than a blink.  It all hit me at once like a ton of bricks.  I was without.  I was in limbo.

Fast forward to now:

This year I am hosting Thanksgiving  for my entire family, including my family of origin and I am doing it with an open heart.   That’s right, for those people who I have said terrible things about and who I saw as a problem.   Those who I shut out and avoided.   I am kind of shocked about this myself, but I have thought about this for a awhile and it feels right.

They say time heals, but I don’t think it is time.  I think we heal by our own choice.  I am not saying it’s easy, but at some point in time you have to move on and you have to let go.  You need to live in the present, and see the here and now and you have to eliminate feeling the past.  The past is gone.

So now, maybe now, I can say I have grown.  Maybe I am capable of putting everything I have learned to work.  I’ll tell you this much, it feels like a huge heavy boulder has been remove from my soul, and that is a good thing.  I don’t plan on ever holding on to emotional garbage again.  From my experience emotional clutter is far more destructive than any of the items collecting dust in my storage unit.

Time to carry on. Cheers!

Be kind to yourself.

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I was very kind to my self one day. I did a very simple exercise. I complimented myself. I told myself I was a good mother in the way I raised my children. I can’t tell you how incredible that felt.

Usually I would worry about all the things I would have done differently. Like not fight with their father, and not turn weekends into a cleaning marathons. I would beat my self up for making my children sad because I yelled. I constantly saw my errors instead of any of the wins.

One day it stopped, I stopped making chores a priority. I stopped expecting things I really deep inside didn’t care about. I learned that perfection was never going to exist in our home. I let that go along with all the other unrealistic goals.

I went a bit overboard, seriously, we had a messy house most every day of the year. But the kid’s friends would come over, and it was relaxed. I told them they never had to knock, come over any time, need dinner, then please join us. It was awesome. I sold my self short, I never knew how my children loved having the house where everyone was welcome and virtually nothing mattered.

I would drink wine, get silly and they would laugh at me. They would take over the living room to watch scarey gross movies. It was all that I always wanted; an open house.

We never even locked our doors until my one son bought his own computer, then he asked that we start locking the door. Probably a good idea, seeing my car was broken into twice, while in the drive.

Even with all this success, I still would focused on my mistakes. For so long I didn’t know how to make it up to them. I wasn’t perfect.

All three are in college now, living and learning and growing into fine human beings. They make me proud everyday.

I am a good Mom. Finally I believe that even with all the errors and the growing pains. I believe life teaches you what you need to learn, that is- if you are aware and open to the endless possibilities.

Tip: Never beat your self up – it does no good.

Inspiration: “The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~Honoré de Balzac
(so, mothers forgive yourselves, we aren’t perfect)

One-day one-thing: If something doesn’t bring joy into your home – change it..

Happy Birthday Batman!

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Today is one of my dog’s 9th birthday. Batman is nine. He is a gentle soul, a loyal buddy, and his is big fluffy and hug-able.

He has his faults, as we all do. He has a weakness for cats and not in a good way, but other than that no one could ask for a better dog. I have a photo of him when he was just a puppy with my entire family. Now I can tell how old we are were in the photo, because before I couldn’t quite peg it by sight alone. My children were 10,12, and 13 in that photo, it was taken during spring soccer season, right before my youngest turned 11.

Batman and my youngest son 9 years ago

The photo is somewhere in all my stuff that was shuffled out of our home while we dealt with the nastiness of the recession.

Our “situation”, it doesn’t change quickly because what some people don’t seem to realize is when all the work is done and you are out of the house the rebuilding starts and that takes time, a lot of time. On the contrary, nine years just flew by when I was living a normal life. Now time seem to seep away slowly as if I have a tiny leak in my soul.

I have stopped expecting anything good to ever happen, or even wishing or hoping. Too many tremendous let downs recently. I am making it through each day but I barely feel like I am here, but I know I am here because I can’t get away.

I am thinking about my escape, and I am thinking real hard, because what I am doing right now isn’t cutting it. It may be unconventional, but I am going to fix this so that I can stand the “situation” until we find a house.

Right now we are waiting to hear back on the 5th house that we have bid on. I quit looking at photos of the home, because I have really talked myself into liking this one. It ended up with multiples. Funny how that’s now happen twice with this same lister. Any time there are multiples, someone appears to get an inside tip as to what the amount needs to be offered to win – we never win. I personally think it’s like insider trading and it’s a huge scam.

In any case, one way or another, I am existing in this temporary situation. It’s temporary. It’s temporary. It’s not a healthy living environment for me or my animals. Temporary has now become too long.

Happy Birthday Batman, I love you.

I have left this environment two other times in my lifetime; once when I alone and single, and once with my entire family cutting a holiday visit short. Always because of the same reason.

Why in the world did I think that it would be any different this time?

Tip: Forgive people, but don’t forgive so much that you forget what you had to forgive, or it might just happen again.

Inspiration:

Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

– Hafiz of Persia

One-day one-thing: Learning what I already knew.

Reasons

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Are there reasons for everything?

I think there must be, because that is the only thing that makes sense out of a senseless situation. I am not going to whine about what happened today, but I will quote words that were spoken to me in the most hateful tone.

“I don’t need you.”

What do I learn from this, well the first thing I learned is that I better ask if that is really what she said to make sure I didn’t misinterpret anything. “Did you just say ‘you don’t need me’ ?” Well that is what she said. She hasn’t said a word to me since, and I have no plans in speaking to anyone who said such a hateful thing to their own child.

What I have learned from this is the following:

1. Not everyone has the same understanding of love and family.

2. Not everyone is cut out to be a mother.

3. Some people are actually sociopaths, they really do exist, and it’s possible to be related to one.

The mere thought of telling any of my children that, “I don’t need them” would never ever even enter my mind. It is a completely foreign thought to me.

I would literally stand in front of a bullet for my children. I would, and have, done everything in my limited power to protect them, support them, and to help them and love them. I would die for them. I would die without them. I need them like I need oxygen. They are most amazing blessings and loves in my life.

Needless to say I am blown away- blown away.

I realize now how uniquely special true love is. I am fortunate to have a loving husband and three wonderful children. I recognize just how solid, even with our many faults, my family is. Even through rough, super rough times, we are still a “loving” family and I believe we will be for many years to come.

It makes me sad to think that some people live in such a loveless manner. But it’s no longer something I will seek to change or even try to understand. I don’t have the time for such nonsense.

I have a life to live.

Cheers!

Tip: If you give up on yourself once in awhile, that’s okay, it’s only temporary. You decide when to stop giving up on yourself. Work through your issues and you’ll find out everything is going to be okay.

Inspiration: ” Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

One-day one-thing: Let it go – for real this time -breathe in freedom.

Accepting truth

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I am taking a break because I just can’t think straight right now.

It’s no big deal, this house hunting has been a miserable experience, I don’t know how many we have lost. Oh and the one we were going to close on we found out is loaded with asbestos, disturbed asbestos. So we rescinded that offer and lost that house last week.

I knew it was hard losing our home, but I thought I did okay with that. Getting rid of a bunch of stuff hasn’t been that bad. I don’t miss any of it. (mind you I have a lot left to go) I knew having all my children disappear to college at virtually the same time, and then letting me know they are never moving back to Ohio would be hard, but I manage it. ( I want them to live in many places – that’s how I like to live) I am proud of them and support them. I miss them to pieces, but that’s to be expected.

The economy sent our business for a loop, but we are getting through that, not fun, but so what.

life should be this pretty

The killer issue: living in my mothers house has proven to be more than I can take. Funny, how when you live away from someone you tend to forget their faults. You make excuses for them, you don’t see them for long periods of time. I have faults too, but seriously, the sh*t I hear daily is so disturbing.

I used to bend over backwards in kindness, generosity and consideration, trying to win a measure of love, respect and kindness that just isn’t available in my family of origin. Unfortunately, the way they think is deeply rooted in me, and their beliefs about love lives in my core like a damaged chromosome. I do not want become her/them, but it could be too late. When I see things I have done, behavior just like them, I know it’s alive in me too. I get disgusted and sometime I don’t recognize my behavior until it is way too late.

I fear for the damage I may have done to my own children. I will forever feel guilty for all my mistakes.

For the bulk of my life, I created a different reality-one other than the cold truth, but the truth never hides. Now I have to somehow fix myself. There have been days I have contemplated should I become a drunk or a drug addict. I swear, I never saw this coming, not this late in the game. I really got f*cked up in my upbringing.

A while back, I remember telling someone else, that their mother loved them no matter how it seemed. That may be true, but there are different levels, different definitions and various understandings of what love means for each person. And when those ideals don’t line up or aren’t even close to lining up, it doesn’t work.

I know people really don’t like to hear negative whining. Repeated posts complaining of the same old situation even bores me. Hand me the happy feel good, cheerful smile, inspiration and success stories, please. So I’ll leave you with a beautiful photograph (above), and promise you I will get through this.

Wish me luck, I am very sad broken damaged and I know this will be hard. I am bitter and I regret the years I wasted. And I am unimpressed with my ability to deal with what I know.

Over and over again, I convinced myself to believe it was different, because that’s what I wanted to be true.

100,000 miles

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She lay lifeless in the medium.  Two people were standing over her without any expression, as if they themselves were not there.  Four cars scattered about in the snow covered grassy area separating the westbound from the eastbound traffic. A fifth car sat damaged on the far right shoulder of eastbound lanes.

It never occurred to me that I would see a dead person on my drive to NYC.  She had obviously been thrown from one of the vehicles. Her body was tangled on top the snow in an unnatural state.  I could tell she was dead from a distance.

Thoughts rushed through my head;  like if I had left 3 minutes earlier, I might have been in that accident. Or I bet they were just heading out to go shopping and in no shape or form did they expect this.  That poor woman, her family, her children, oh my God!  All because of a slippery road, an accident.  No one wanted this to happen.  No one.

It was the first snow of the season, and the roads had not been touched.  No salt, no plowing.  Actually there wasn’t enough snow to plow, but there was plenty to make it extremely slippery and dangerous driving.  It was awful.  As I continued on my way there were more fender benders, a  pick-up that had rolled-over, and another truck that lost it’s front wheel (not just the tire – the entire wheel) – it must have hit something with high impact.

My driving speed raged between 20 and 40 miles per hour,  I was considering turning around.  But little by little it cleared up, the roads improved and I was decidedly on my way.

Traffic was light until I hit the Delaware Gap, from there in it got worse, much worse.  Jill, my GPS voice,  is old out-dated.  She doesn’t know anything about the detours and construction before the Holland Tunnel.  By this time, it was dark, she directed me onto several side streets in Jersey City.    Surprisingly these streets were loaded, completely packed full, with Christmas lights. It was stunning.  Fast forward through the H-tunnel and Canal Street (both total chaotic messes) and I finally made my way to Brooklyn, arriving only one hour past my original ETA.

Today I cracked 100,000. miles on my Odyssey.  All miles that we put on the car.   We’ve never done that with any other car, so it’s an accomplishment of sorts. I knew it would happen on this trip.

However what remains is the snap shot of what I didn’t expect.  Except for the two people gazing over the body, each driver stood alone motionless next to their own cars.

In my head, they are all still standing there, frozen in time.

(Post note: I have been unable to verify any details of this accident, maybe she lived)

# years, are we there yet?

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“#” is representative of the number of years since you [I] decided that, well, you weren’t cut out to follow the herd. The # number of years that have past since the time in your mind when you said this or that is bullsh*t. Or the time you said, I don’t think this how I want to live, I want to live differently.

I am not there yet, not after many ## years..

It is kind of obviously from my tormented posts, and my ups and downs and my vacillation and creative rationalizations. I fall into the category where I can easily identify the steps anyone else, except me, should take to change their lives. I am excellent at telling others what to do. But I try to do it for myself and I try really hard, and I fail.

Each time I fail, I start to settle for less and then I begin to procrastinate. I justify my failures, and I rationalize them away with excuses as to why some thing didn’t work. This leads me right back to the place I was when first I decided wanted life to be different. That, I will tell you is why my posts are a roller coaster. There are many times I stop believing I will ever get “there.”

I read several other blogs, and I love them all. I see I am in good company with some bloggers. But there are others bloggers who were able to do the hard work and really change their lives. Success stories. Those people have moved on to bigger and better things expanding their lives and living their dreams. And they manage to make it all work out fine within the confines of the need for money, shelter, work, love and fulfilling responsibilities.

I enjoy reading them, especially the honest ones. But they have done it, they are “there.” These blog are inspirational in a way that says,” I did it, so can you.” But they are so far beyond the point I am, that I barely identify with their reality.

Unfortunately, I think I need to see the the process. (someone’s progress other than mine because mine sucks) I want to see how they made their choices, and what they would do differently and how they learned from their mistakes ( if they had any). I want to know how they balanced responsibilities with their dreams. If they ever felt like they were letting anyone down, or possibly crushing someone’s dream to get to their own.

I understand nothing is simple, and one size will never fit all. This is a difficult journey.

For the sake of a simple example; one small change I am doing, trying to do, is I am changing Christmas and it’s not going over well. And maybe I will change it back. But right now, it’s most unpleasant to be the one that stands up and changes something that effects others. No one talks about how they really feel and I am just plain worn out from the dysfunction and I want it to end. So I am ending it.

I will be viewed negatively, and be seen as the odd-ball who “just can’t get along.” I already have be given the silent treatment on my proposal. Zero acknowledgement that I even spoke the words. Nothing negative or positive. Nothing. What I said was so inconsequential, it didn’t deserve the most basic level of respect, an acknowledgement.

And this is why, people who actually accomplish anything challenging, who create change, are so incredibly awesome. Because it really isn’t easy, no matter what “advantages” you may think someone has. To create real and lasting change of any sort, epic or teeny-tiny is quite possibly one of the most difficult things in life to do.

The tide of time never stops and it makes me wonder if we will ever get there.

Tip: Some people are happy with the status quo, they rarely understand those who seek to live differently.

Inspiration: “The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.”- Oscar Wilde

One-day one-thing: Ignore your detractors, as best you can.

The Perfect Gift – Encouragement

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(written Saturday night)

To tell you the truth, I don’t even think I have a positive thought in my brain right now.  Do you ever feel that way?

Just another day of house hunting disappointments.  Actually two on one day, no make that three. I sick of moaning about it, so I will keep this short. The first and second house of the day were no good.  The first one was okay but not right for us.

The second one, which was my only remaining  “maybe” out of about 30, I found out  is in a neighborhood that is fighting a huge incinerator installment.  The incinerator will bring 500 diesel fueled garbage trucks thorough their neighbor 24/7 from all over the county.

People from the Sierra Group have even  joined the fight to protect the health of the animals at the nearby Zoo.  No incinerator like this one exists anywhere in the USA.  I learned all this from homeowners who had activist signs in their yard.  It’s horrible what the city is doing.  As I was leaving,  I told her her neighborhood was nice she answered,” Yes it is very nice, but you know we all have guns…… it’s Cleveland after all.”

The third house lifted me up.  It matched all the crossed off goals under my photo. It had everything, even enough land to build a Eco-house if we wanted.  We stopped for some Mexican food and margaritas.  I was so excited my husband said I sounded like I was on drugs.  I just kept saying, “It’s perfect.  This has everything we want! ” On and on, even the food was great. When we got home and we called for the lock-box code, but we were too late the house already sold.  My heart sank.

I did learn quite a bit  today.  I know where I don’t want to live.  I think I know where we do want to live, so that means I have gained some focus, and direction.  That is, at least for now, and that alone is wonderful because it was just yesterday that I had absolutely zero vision.  I’m still in limbo but with a much better  idea of where we are going…….eventually.

I like this even better than the last one.

Here’s the thing, I could have stayed home, done laundry and moped around because I had no idea what to do.  I was blank screen.  And honestly I would have done just that, except the laundry.  But my Husband made encouraged me get out of the house, and just drive through various neighborhoods.

Even now  although I’m still bummed, at least for some amount of time today I was overjoyed, excited and deliriously happy.  I felt like we hit the lottery or something.  We both were so hopeful and life felt fun.  Those moments with those great feelings we shared were wonderful.  Some days you get those moments other days you don’t. Some day you think you’ll never have another fun day the rest of your life.  Believe me I know.

The lesson learned:  You have to shake it up when you least want to.  When you want to craw inside a cave and let the dishes pile up because you just don’t give a sh*t – that is exactly the time you have to force yourself to do something, anything.  I am as bad, if not worse,  at doing this at the the next person.  It can be really tough to pull yourself up, by yourself.  I know for sure I wouldn’t have budged an inch, without loving encouragement from my Husband.  Thanks MrRat.

Cheers to the great moments.

Tip: You can give up once in awhile but you really can’t quit.

Inspiration: ” One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.” – John O’Donohue

One-day one-thing: Encourage someone, anyone.