Friday, March 31, 2006

Tin Pan South -- Rodney Crowell

Last night Hubby and I got to see one of our favorite songwriters, Rodney Crowell, in action at a Tin Pan South venue, The Basement. If you're not familiar, here's some info on Tin Pan South taken from their website: Established in 1967, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is the world's largest not-for-profit trade organization dedicated to serving songwriters of all genres of music. For those of you who don't know Rodney Crowell, I urge you to get to know him. He writes songs for grown ups -- some are hilariously funny in an ironic, OMG I've been there way, and some are just plain poignant.

We were about 4 feet away from Rodney the entire performance, which was like heaven/torture for me. The man is HOTTTTTTTTTT! But we were also treated to the music of Will Kimbrough, who collaborates with Rodney and is a fabulous musician in his own right -- someone I know we'll be keeping up with from here on out. Kim Ritchie, another wonderful artist, plied her craft, and we'll be whipping out the albums of hers that we have to enjoy her again soon. There was one other guy there, whose name I don't know, unfortunately, but his music/lyrics/voice were also very appealing to us both. AND we had our picture taken for publishing in the Nashville Scene, so I guess we also encountered the PAPARAZZI! Quite a night to be sure.

While I'm talking songwriters, and before I go further into Rodney-praise, I want to mention a very talented artist who also happens to be a very dear friend of ours. Her name is Melissa Sigler and I STRONGLY encourage you to hear and buy her music. We met Melissa last April when we went to hear a songwriter friend of Hubby's (have I mentioned Hubby is a professional keyboard player who accompanies bands/artists in his "spare" time?) play at The French Quarter Cafe here. The French Quarter is home of Jack Scott's Writes' Night, maybe second only to the shows at The Bluebird Cafe. Anywho...we were having a bite after our friend's performance, and some other performers were on stage. This blonde girl was the last person on the stage, looking like she wanted to melt into the background. However, when she began to sing, we looked at each other in amazement at the beautiful, sultry voice coming out of this woman. She sang the blues like she was born to do it. Like in most writers' rounds, she performed 3 songs, each better than the last. After her set ended, Hubby high-tailed it over to her table to ask if she had a CD for sale. She was embarrassed to charge for her record!!! But we bought it and have worn it out listening to it, along with the other that she has out now.

Living in Nashville, I've learned that there are 1652 songwriters in Nashville. Actually, I think there are about a billion, but that number was a reference to the song "Nashville Cats" by The Lovin' Spoonful. The big thing here is "Writers' Nights" or "Open Mics", meaning that songwriters get a chance to play a few of their tunes for no money. Yes, you heard me -- NO MONEY. Unless you're an amazingly well-known artist, you don't get paid for playing here. That was a huge surprise to me, but it's because this is a saturated market. Everyone and their brother is a songwriter, and everyone and their brother thinks they're going to be "discovered" here. But the truth is, unless you're very very lucky, it ain't gonna happen. Hopefully, you'll write a song that gets pitched to a big-time artist and they'll buy it from you, but that's only a remote possibility, again, unless you're very very lucky.

But back to Rodney. :) First, he's HOT, and apparently about to become a Granddaddy for the first time. Being married to a Granddaddy, I can tell you that in no way diminishes the hottitude! Some of you might remember that Rodney was once married to Johnny Cash's daughter, Roseanne, but they divorced a few years ago. I understand they still are on decent terms, even performing on the same stage occasionally, but I digress...

Here are some lyrics from my favorite RC songs. Maybe this will explain why I'm such a big fan -- hubby too.

From the album "Fate's Right Hand":

Song: Time to Go Inward

It's time to go inward take a look at myself
Time to make the most of the time that I've got left
Prison bars imagined are no less solid steel"

" Jesus and Buddah and Krishna and Minnie Pearl knew
Do unto other the things you want done unto you

Time to go inward take a look at me
Try to make some sense of life's illusions that I see
Try to solve the riddle of what it is I have to offer to this world"

Song: Earthbound

" With each new day that passes I'm in need of thicker glasses but it's all O K
Someday I'll be leaving but I just can't help believing that it's not today
Every golden moment I have found
I've done my best to run right in the ground.....earthbound"

Song: Fate's Right Hand

" Redrum dot com dim sum smart bombs
Double cappuccino and a heart like a tom tom
Ozone long gone that's it I quit
Natural inclination says enough of this shit
brat pack black jack heart attack crack
We need another news channel like a hole in the back
There's a 187 on the 405
And we all go to heaven on a hard disk drive

Fate's right hand.....I don't under stand at all"

Song: The Man in Me

" There's a man in the mirror
I don't like his looks
His teeth they are crooked
His hands are like hooks
He speaks 4 letter language
Because his mind is so small
His voice is like venom
I don't like him at all
God, I gotta get away from the man in me"

" She says
What are you afraid of
There's no need to judge
You know I can help you
But you won't even budge
Pretty flowers surround you
but all you can smell is a rat
She says
Why do you insist on your head in the sand
Building walls all around you, you don't understand
These ways are outmoded,
but all you can change is your hat
The man in me don't wanna know nothing about that

There's a man in the closet
He wants to come out
He wants to be noticed
But he's so filled with doubt
He wants to be well known and famous
But he's so filled with pride
The keys to his fortune stay locked up inside
Can it be the man in me?"

By now you should get the idea. I would highly recommend you search out this amazing wordsmith, and fabulously talented musician as well, and listen to a few tracks. "Fate's Right Hand" is my favorite album of his, but there are many others that run a close second. Check it out, and let me know if I've turned you on to something soul-satisfying.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Oh, it's SOMETHING....

Well, today I bit the bullet and went to visit my family physician. Actually, I saw one of the nurse practitioners, which was fine by me. I described my symptoms of sharp pain in the outer parts of my arms when I try to bend them, usually toward the back, or reaching over my shoulders. It doesn't hurt when I extend them forward, it doesn't hurt when I bend at the elbow, if I don't twist in any way, but when I try to do anything beyond that, YIKES! Further, I have had headaches, daily, since about January, maybe earlier. They seem to be tension headaches, as the pain seems to emanate from the place where my neck connects to my skull, but I also have pain in my right temple (site of shingles a few years ago), and across the bridge of my nose.

The FNP, upon exam, noticed I had some sinus drainage, and I have recently been treated with Levaquin for a sinus infection, which I believe has not completely resolved. In January I was treated for a "pseudo-flu" by another nurse practitioner in this office, but it evolved into a sinus infection, and I was given Augmentin then. Around that time is when I became aware of the headaches. The arm/neck/shoulder/upper back pain has been around much longer, but I just kept thinking it would resolve on its own, since I hadn't "injured" myself.

The biggest thing this nurse did for me was hear me and validate my visit. She said she felt that I have a great deal of tension in my upper shoulder/neck/arms, which is common in women, and that I could potentially have fibromyalgia, which is what my psychiatrist said, too, and really kind of scares me. That's a diagnosis that is not taken seriously by very many, and I would hate to be labeled as such.

I have always been leery of seeing my doc unless there was something really severe going on. If you've read my past posts, you're aware of other issues (like fearing not being believed) that keep me from getting the help I probably need. Today, as I was leaving the doctor's office, I remembered this little vignette: My (now) late husband was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation on 12/23/93, which was about 2 months after we were married. His cardiac output, we learned, was about 15-20%, which meant he was on death's doorstep, quite literally. The doctor who diagnosed and admitted him was a friend and then colleague of mine (I was a training coordinator for medical software system and had been doing some billing consulting with this doc as he was just starting up his solo practice). He took me outside on Christmas Eve and told me this: "You two need to have 'the talk'. Today. This can't wait." I was stunned, to say the least, and I clarified what he meant by "the talk". He said he meant that we should settle our affairs and discuss anything that needed to be discussed in terms of plans for his death. It was really that bad. We were supposed to have left for my parents' home that December 23rd, but obviously, that couldn't happen. I called my family, who were all together at my mother's house, and told them what was going on. My mother, in her very typical fashion, refused to believe it was that serious -- **SHE THOUGHT I WAS EXAGGERATING**. Therefore, NO ONE came to be with me during this horrible time when I was watching my husband die. Mom blew it off. I was really clear that I was not important enough to interrupt other people's plans, and that I was thought to exaggerate the seriousness of things. That very day I'd had to drive across town to another hospital to retrieve hubby's medical records from his previous hospitalization a few years before for a heart issue, because it would be more expedient for me to do it, being it was Christmas Eve, than for the hospital to go through all the hoops to try to get it. I remember standing in that medical records office, getting some flack from the little clerk who was working. She could see, though, that this crying hysterical woman meant business, and I assured her verbally that if I had to find them myself, I was not leaving that office without his records, come hell or high water. I got the records.

As it turned out, hubby held on, thanks to EXCELLENT care provided by my friend the doc. The one and only difficulty we had was with a floor nurse who did not want to give him the dose of valium doc had prescribed at the time he was scheduled to receive it. Hubby had been a smoker, and was going cold turkey (obviously) with this hospitalization. When he called for his 2pm dose, she came in the room a while later and asked if he couldn't just wait. I became LIVID, and called my friend. I asked him if he had prescribed this drug at these intervals and if he meant for hubby to have it. He said of course he did. I asked if he was aware that the floor nurse was trying to wean him off this drug, after a day, and that it was making hubby very anxious? He did not know that, and I guess FLEW up to the floor and read that particular nurse the riot act in front of everyone. Needless to say, the nurses were coming in ahead of schedule with his meds from there on out. I still get angry thinking about that. But I digress...

I have also been a doctor's office manager, in a psychiatry/psychology practice, and in family medicine, as well as an ENT specialty, so I know enough to be dangerous. I am always leery of seeing a doc with a complaint of pain, for fear that I will be seen as drug-seeking, or just someone with psychosomatic symptoms. I worry about taking up the doc's valuable time with nothing, when there are patients who are more ill or in more pain than I. I worry about the money it costs to see a doctor, even if you have insurance, and I especially worry about the cost of prescriptions, even with a prescription drug plan. I worry about being labeled as a chronic complainer or a whiner. I worry about there REALLY being something serious wrong, like cancer or something equally as deadly.

Another concern is the toll this takes on my psyche -- I don't want to be 'a patient', 'sick', 'needy', etc. I worry about how this affects my husband. Now, he reads this blog, which means that he will, as usual, make a lovely statement about how much he loves me and is there for me, but that only serves to illustrate why I worry for him. He's a good man, and I hate that he's having to deal with a partner with so many issues. He's done his time with a sick wife, and I don't want to do that to him again. I also don't want to deplete our resources, and with my inability at present to work for a living, I'm totally dependent upon him and his ability to take care of us. I've never been dependent on anyone since I was about 19 years old and moved out of the house for the 1st and last time. I've always been the one who earned more and was the stronger partner, but now I'm in a completely different situation. I'm dependent on this precious man who gives everything to me so generously -- money, time, care, affection, love -- anything I need. I don't want to use that up, and I don't want him to feel burdened.

Bottom line, though, is that I got some help. I was given a prescription for a muscle relaxer and for an anti-inflammatory that is stronger and longer-lasting than the OTC things I've been taking. I've also been doing meditations and muscle relaxation, trying to avoid having to take more drugs. I have to take these things for 14 days, and if, at that time I'm not "well", the FNP will send me for x-rays, which she suspects will be benign. Then it's physical therapy, which would suit me fine.

I am hoping that I won't have to go back to see the lovely FNP who cared for me today, but if I do, I'll feel heard and paid attention to appropriately. I will feel taken seriously, which is the most healing care I think I can receive these days. Thank God or whoever for these health care providers who really listen to their patients.



Monday, March 27, 2006

Lance's poetry to me

This is a poem he wrote, unbeknownst to me, for a poetry club of which he was a member. He showed it to me the night he wrote it, 12/11/98, asking my permission for sharing it with others. Once you read it, you will understand why I was overjoyed to allow him to share this work.

Some memories stay fresh.
It is our first night.
We stand facing,
Inches apart and leaning.

Against all wisdom
I turn the music up
And step in close
In this erotic dance.

Patterns and lines,
Circles and waves,
Fingers and tongue
Down the front of you.

Hearing your breath.
Feeling you quiver.
Touching and tasting.
Senses overloading.

Everything I wished,
Hoped, and dreamed
Pressed tightly to me
And sweetly moving.

Throbbing pulses,
Our bodies shake,
Shiver, and sweat.
A tiny bit of death.

Collapsing together
In afterglow, in love.
I want you to know
It could have been today.

(C) Lance W. Peterson, 1998

I was sitting in front from her.
Her spouse was on the left.
She and I played "footsie"
Exciting but not sufficient.
Dropping a spoon I bent
Under the nearly full table
And ran my fingers up her leg.
Smiling at her shiver
Returning to upright
Before curiosity triumphed
And brandishing my spoon
As evidence of my design
To our small gathering
And other dining patrons.

(C) Lance W. Peterson, 1998

There are others, and if I can locate them I'll post them here. Hope you enjoyed these pieces of him, and a glimpse into the life and love we shared.


My depressing, but vivid, poetry


in life
We were one.
in death
Am half
Of two.



Seven years

This is my late husband, Lance, on our wedding day -- 10/9/93. Seven years ago today, at about 6:00 pm he passed away, stricken by a massive heart attack. At this time, now 8:11 pm Central time, I would have been arriving home from the hospital, in a daze, and wondering how on earth I was going to get through the rest of my life.

Tonight I sit here with my amazing and wonderful "new" hubby, who is, as we speak, preparing our dinner for tonight. I made lasagna last week, and he loved it, so we're having it again tonight with a salad that he will also prepare. He loves to cook, or rather, to prepare food, so we're a good team that way.

Lance's heart attack occurred while he was watching the Final Four game between Duke and UCONN -- he wanted UCONN to win for some reason. Current Hubby asked me if it bothers me to watch the games now, and I told him no, far from it. I enjoy them, because of Lance. I had never gotten into basketball before him, but he was so knowledgable about it and enjoyed it so much that I grew to enjoy it too. Hubby's late wife Nancy was also a huge sports fan, and even was a golfer like my Lance, so I told him tonight that wherever they are now, I bet they're watching the games, playing golf, drinking liquor, and doing God only knows what else, having a marvelous time, happy because he and I are happy and together. I'm not sure I even believe in an afterlife, but I do believe that whatever there is of us that is still in the universe after our bodies die connects with others, and that whatever consciousness exists is very benign. If it's possible for Lance and Nancy to look down on us and love us still, then I know for a fact that they are doing that very thing.

Today I received a call from Lance's sister-in-law, with whom I am very close still. She informed me that her daughter announced today that she is PREGNANT with her first child! Talk about an excellent way to remember her uncle!! He would have been as happy as anyone that his beloved niece was going to bring a new baby into this world, to continue the family line. I called dear niece to congratulate her and asked if she realized what this day is. She knew as soon as I said that, and I told her that there is absolutely no way she could have made me any happier than to deliver this news. :) Talk about the universe being synchronous and benevolent!

In the next two posts I will enter some poems that I wrote after he died, and then will follow in another post with some of his poetry. One of the things on my lifetime to-do list is to compile his poetry and have it published. Lance was a prolific writer, and a very gifted one. I promised many of his friends that I would make sure his poetry was published eventually, so this will be something of a start for that.

Peace to all of you on this very happy and significant day. :)


Friday, March 24, 2006

Oh, it's nothing...

Yesterday I had a checkup with my trusty psychiatrist, who gave me some much-needed valuable and non-psychiatric advice that I've needed for about 20-something years. Here's the gem: when something hurts, you should tell your doctor about it. Novel concept for me, maybe not for the rest of you, but for's like turning on a floodlight in the dark.

Here's the situation: chronic headaches and neck/shoulder/back pain. I've tried all of the over the counter remedies for the headaches, creams for the neck & shoulders, massages....nothing seems to do the trick completely or for long. In fact, I recently had a deep tissue massage that actually left me BRUISED, but still did not relieve all of the tension and pain in my upper torso.

I mentioned the headaches to the doc yesterday in case they were a side effect of some of the meds I'm taking, though I was pretty sure they weren't. She asked a few pertinent questions, such as the type, whether they seem to be affected by position, etc., and confirmed what I thought to myself -- tension. She said I should talk to my family physician about a prescription for Flexeril, ask if there was a reputable chiropractor he would recommend, and/or get him to refer me for physical therapy. This was all just matter-of-fact, which, again, some of you may see as no big deal, but I guess for me, I've always operated on the assumption that complaining about something "minor" like a headache and muscle pain was akin to "whining". Oy vey.

I think this is because I had trouble getting my mother to believe me when I was sick as a child. Her classic advice, even at times now, was "gut it out". I am sure that there were times when I exaggerated, or even made up, a stomachache or something similar to get out of something, but I also recall the time I was at school and complained of a sore throat. She didn't believe me, but they made her come get me anyway, and it turned out I had strep. Then with all the serious illness in my family throughout my growing up years, I think I may have just convinced myself that nothing short of death was worth reporting to the medical community.

When I was married to the idiot first husband, I had constant headaches, which eventually turned into frequent migraines. I also had all kinds of abdominal pain, and had all kinds of tests as a result. Xrays R Us, it seemed like at one point. I had everything from EEGs to IVPs, CTs to Ultrasounds, and nothing was ever found. Well, let me take that back -- I did find, thanks to the IVP dye, that I'm allergic to iodine. And I did eventually have a laparascopy for abdominal pain, which revealed polycystic ovaries. But for the headaches, "nothing" was ever found. I was given several different types of medications, but they continued, and evolved into classic migraines, complete with aura, sensitivity to light, odor and sound, right on down to the eventual vomiting and "hangover" for the next day or two after. The migraines slowly subsided during the first few years after divorcing the idiot, but I don't have an idiot in my life at this point, and, thankfully, don't have migraines any more.

The doc and I talked about why we don't mention these things to our physicians -- saying that she's also LIKE ME in not complaining when she should. She said it's a trait of women who do too much and think that they can just "handle it", when in reality, there's a very real issue going on. She said this while reclining on her sofa, 6 months pregnant and confined to "bed rest" by her own doc. Yes, "bed rest" -- this was her version of bed rest. Sounds an awful lot like something I would do.

To be believed and supported is worth more than all the prescriptions and analysis in the world to me. And you can bet that, next week, when I'm niece-free, I will be seeing my family physician. And further, as doc told me, if family physician doesn't take it seriously, I will call her back for a referral to someone else who will take me seriously. I can't tell you the sense of relief I feel to know that A) a doctor (a psychiatrist, no less) doesn't think I'm making this up, and B) strongly encourages me to seek relief, because C) I don't deserve to be in pain when there are things that can be done about it!

Let me repeat -- this may seem like common sense to people reading this, but to me, it's a revelation and affirmation of the highest order. Maybe it's evidence, too, of learning to trust more and to tell the whole truth instead of the bare minimum. And maybe that means I'm REALLY on the road to recovery. Wouldn't that be nice?


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Head vs. heart

Today I learned a lesson, once and for all. As my Hubby stated, a leopard doesn't change its spots, no matter how badly you wish/hope that the leopard isn't a leopard. They are what they are, and there's nothing you can do about it. He said "Your heart is bigger than your head sometimes." I know that's true -- that I give people benefit of the doubt when they don't deserve it. The dilemma for me is how to balance the two. I think I'd rather err on the side of mercy and kindness than suspicion and cynicism, but in doing so, I risk pain. But the bottom line is, I can sleep at night, knowing I've done everything possible to retain a friendship, despite indications that the friendship never truly existed in the first place, at least not the way I thought it did.

Do I regret it? No. Am I upset about it? Somewhat. Hubby got caught in the middle of a relationship that existed under false pretenses, and things were said about him that were hurtful, 100% wrong, and absolutely uncalled for. He always acted in an above-board manner, and basically was slapped in the face. That REALLY pisses me off.Bottom line -- nothing I can do about it. It's the price I pay for caring for people who end up not being deserving of my friendship. Now to move on and try to not let this happen again. Easier said than done, I'm afraid, but it's the logical (and only) thing to do.

Parting shot -- I believe in Karma. This person will have this choice bite him in the ass eventually. I don't need to be there to see it, or ever even know about it, but I know for a fact that what goes around, comes around. So watch out, users. It's gonna catch up with you, probably when you don't expect it and can least afford it.


Temporary teenager

Oy. I have a teenager in the house. A beloved teenager, but a teenager nonetheless. My niece has been visiting since Friday night, and I am officially worn out. Today will be a day of attempted rest, though I'm virtually certain there will be heavy periods of non-stop babbling, giggling, and singing of Japanese anime songs, I think, and teenybopper songs. Now, to give the girl credit, she does like "old school rock & roll", which means the stuff I call CLASSIC, but what's in a name, right?

Yesterday was a very full day, including a morning full of painting and drawing, lunch out, shopping, and watching a movie. Make that Hubby and I watching a movie (Goodnight and Good Luck -- EXCELLENT FILM -- remember, those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it!!!) while niece read her "Left Behind" book. Yes, my niece is a Christian, and very devout. She's also a mostly-Republican.
I am her hippie aunt, and I think she's beginning to realize how different that makes us under the skin. BUT, I'm in hopes that she will be able to use her considerable intellect to understand that differences don't make people "bad", just different.

I visited my therapist yesterday for the weekly session, and a lot of what we talked about had to do with time spent with niece. Therapist asked if I was regretting not having been a mother myself, and I told her that I'd been sort of in mourning over that particular issue for a few months now. I do not have children because I am, apparently, infertile. I did become pregnant once during my first marriage, but, thankfully, miscarried. I say thankfully because had I completed that pregnancy, I would be forever tied to the abusive, perverted first husband, and I don't think I could have handled that at all. As well, I didn't know I was pregnant until after the miscarriage, so there was not the angst that other women have experienced due to anticipation, which is a blessing for me. Others reading this may think I'm cold or heartless, but far from it -- I think my heart would have been broken beyond repair had I known I was carrying my child and then lost it. But I digress...

Life does deal you a particular set of cards, like it or not. My set included infertility, but it also included, I think, greater room for loving more children since I don't have to tend to any of my own full time. Therapist commented that I'm a very loving person, and that my joy seems to come from loving and caring for others, which I think is true. I told her that my life's mantra has always been to love others as I would want to be loved, and I try my damnedest to do that at all times, though naturally, being human, I fall short. I particularly like being able to help kids have a safe person to talk with about things they can't talk to other people about. When I was a teenager, I had some friends' mothers with whom I could do that, and I know how important it was to me. They understood somehow that I was "older than my years" and needed more information about the world than my parents could or would provide me. They understood my yearning to get OUT and to see the world, literally and figuratively. They understood that I wanted more CULTURE, that I wanted to be more civilized, that I wanted to be more educated, not just through books, but through LIFE. And they helped me do those things. They encouraged me to stretch my wings and fly,and I hope I can do that for other kids that need the same things. Now, mind you, I don't want to encourage other people's children to do things they're not allowed to do, not ready to do, not able to do, not responsible enough to do, and I don't want to "convert" anyone to my way of thinking -- I just want to be a resource, and I think I am that to some.

Working online has taken up quite a bit of my last 10 years. Most of the time I worked in forums with teens, so I've come into contact with quite a few from all over the country, and the world, for that matter. Back in the mid-90s, when things were not quite as crazy on the Internet as they are now, teenagers could actually volunteer to be chat room host on certain sites, and I became a coordinator for those volunteers. I managed about 40 people -- at least half of them teens -- and to this day, I am in nearly daily contact with about 6 of them. These "kids" are now graduating from college, entering grad school or the work force, and they still talk with me about what's going on in their lives. On my trip to Sanibel a few weeks ago I met one of these kids in person for the first time -- I've known him since he was 14 years old, and feel like he's "my" kid. There's another young lady in New Jersey whom I've met several times, have visited her home and gotten to know her parents and other family members, have had come visit me at my home, and I feel as though she's partly my child too. There's one in South Carolina with ADD, which has been a constant struggle for her, but one she's dealt with realistically and maturely, and now she's been accepted for grad school to get her master's in Library Science, which has always been her dream. Yet another is in Boston, still finding her way. I remember when her mother died, and remember her purchasing a novena for my husband when he died. All of these people are precious to me, and they're not the only ones.

I have other nieces and nephews, as well as step-grandchildren, all under the age of 9 at this time, with a couple of exceptions. One niece, my late husband's niece, actually, is a Forensic Chemist with a state law enforcement division -- pretty spiffy. Five others are grown and are step-children who did not enter our lives until later on. The little ones all hold a great deal of promise, and I hope that one day they'll come visit their hippie aunt.

I will do as I've done with this teenager here now -- take them to see things that are different from what they're exposed to at home, listen to them without trying to judge, talk to them about ideas that may be foreign to them, and hope that they will continue to love me even when they realize that we have as many differences as similarities.

Wish me luck for the rest of this week. Right now I'm very grateful for coffee. I think I'm going to be grateful for it for the rest of this week, too, unlike all the other days when I'm grateful.

In the paraphrased words of Edward R. Murrow, a real American hero, Good morning, and good luck!


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Another inspiring quote

Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- Albert Einstein

This is particularly relevant to me today, and brings some comfort. I live in Tennessee, which is a beautiful state, with some wonderful, talented, thoughtful people, but it's also quite backwards politically and socially speaking. This is a trial at times. It's hard to be a blue person in a red state.

But, onward and upwards. Today we took my niece for a ride in the country, which was a lot of fun because my Hubby moos at the cows.
Seriously. Rolls down the window and MOOOOOS.

This is guaranteed to crack me up, because A: it's just plain funny, and B: the cows seem to respond like "Do we know you, dude?", and C: I am hoping that someday a person catches him doing this, and D: he is normally Mr. Respectable. There's just too much about it that begs for enjoyment. Naturally, my niece found this utterly hilarious, so I know she'll have at least one good story to tell on her uncle. :D

Having a teenager in the house is a challenge, even if she is an angel of a teenager. I have just taken a BC powder to see if THAT will help with these daily headaches I've had lately before we go out to the symphony. I know we'll all enjoy ourselves, but I want to enjoy it fully, and if I'm sitting there with this nagging pain in mah brain, it won't be nearly as fun as if that were not the case. May have to end up seeing the family doc about this -- it's been going on much too long.

I have received two wonderful emails today -- one from a friend I know "in real life", and one from a blogger friend whom I've not met in person. Both said such kind and supportive things -- I am just blown away by the kindness they express. Both are lovely, wonderful women who definitely don't get enough credit for just being who they are, not to mention what they do in life. Along with the friends I thanked in a previous post, I'm adding these ladies to the list -- KT and DM, I'll call them. I am truly blessed to have such amazing and gifted people in my life. Maybe the fog is beginning to lift after all...

So peace! Out, yo! Remember to mooooooo if you get the chance, particularly if you have a kid in the car. I guarantee you'll feel better afterward.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Thought for the day, from Inspire

Without change,
something sleeps inside us,
and seldom awakens.
The sleeper must awaken.
- Frank Herbert

Why can't I think of clever titles?

Hello, folks. I'm having a lack-of-witty-thoughts day -- unlike all the other days when I have a dearth-of-witty-thoughts. At least it's Friday, and that means...ummm...tomorrow's Saturday. That's gotta be good for something.

Tonight my 15-year-old niece arrives at 11pm to spend her spring break with me. She is my brother's stepdaughter, and I just adore her. She's been part of our family since she was about 3 years old, so the step part is basically irrelevant. I don't know how my brother became such a wonderful father, but apparently he morphed over time from the little creep he was who used to torment me 24/7 to a guy who knows how to raise a decent, well-mannered young woman. Who knew? Tomorrow night hubby and I are taking her to the symphony -- but not just any, not us! This is going to be special! This is ::::ta daaaaaa:::: Bugs Bunny on Broadway! Bugs Bunny cartoons shown while the Nashville Symphony Orchestra plays the music that accompanies them! My favorite? The Wagner "Kill tha wabbit! Kill tha wabbit! Kill tha wabbit!" -- naturally to the tune of "Ride of the Valkyrie" from "Der Ring des Nibelunge". (Yes, I had to look that last part up!) ((Another side note -- another niece is a forensic chemist (go figure), and her mom got her a shirt made that says "Never send a monster to do the job of a mad scientist" with an image of Gossamer, the monster.))

My, how I digress! Oh well. It's Friday. Enjoy, everyone!


Thursday, March 16, 2006


This is just a brief note to say how grateful I am for girlfriends. I am blessed with those who get me and my funks and still love me and understand that I'm working on things. They understand that it's hard, and that I have very little if any control over how I feel at present. They encourage me, talk to me like I'm 'normal' (whatever the hell that means). They support and worry for me, and always extend their love.

Thank you, friends. You should know who you are. Some of you I've never even met in real life -- others I've known intimately. Either way, you bless me with your presence, and your ongoing commitment to a relationship with me. I really don't know what I'd do without your graces. Know that you are loved deeply by me, and by Hubby, too, for what you do for me. You are angels, all of you.


Thoughts from therapy -- looooong post

Monday was my regular visit to my therapist, and, as usual, it gave me a lot to think about. I reported how lovely the reunion with Hubby had been, and expressed that my lovely vacation really had not been that great, which was disappointing. It's not that anything was wrong -- it's just that I don't seem to have the ability to enjoy things as I should. The trip itself was perfect -- it was me that was not.

I asked the doc for an assessment of how I'm doing, where I am, and if I'm making any progress. Her responses were all positive, but cautious, as I pretty much expected. In her words, I'm wrapped very tightly, and only now, after nearly 5 months of work, are we getting to the 'real' me. I have been told before that I'm difficult to get to know, because I don't reveal much, and though I feel like I talk my head off during that one hour per week, apparently it's not enough. I expressed to her my disappointment at not feeling any better than I do, and my concern that maybe therapy is not helping, or that maybe I need a different kind of therapy.

I explained, too, that I'm discouraged that I don't feel better after upping my Effexor dose 3 weeks ago. I wonder if that means I am going to have to take more, yet again. I don't know how much you can take, but I wish I could take the lowest dose possible, or not have to take anything at all. My psychiatrist said I have a "complicated depression", and I have no idea what that means. It definitely feels complicated, though.

Lately I've been having daily headaches. By lately I mean pretty much since January, right after I had the "pseudo-flu" and then a sinus infection following. Yesterday I saw an ENT who said he couldn't see an infection at this point, but still wanted me to take Levaquin, a very strong antibiotic, for 10 days to see if it would resolve my problems. So I'm taking that now, along with some Acidophilus to help with abdominal upset, and we'll see how that goes. Yesterday afternoon, I took the advice of a massage therapist I saw recently and took a nap with an ice pack under my neck and a cold gel mask over my eyes. When I woke up, the headache was indeed gone, so I may have to try that again. I have a little headache now, for which I'm thinking of making a cup of real coffee, instead of the decaf I normally drink.

I think my greatest disappointment at this point is for my Hubby, who must deal with this incapacitated woman on a daily basis. He does so much for me, emotionally and practically -- I don't know how he maintains such a cheerful disposition. I tell him this, and he tells me not to worry, that he loves me and is here for me through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, but he has no idea how much I hate the thought of his having to think of it that way. I know I am a drain on him, emotionally, physically, and financially, but I am powerless to change any of those things. I am afraid I will wear him out, that he will need to look in other places for someone to enjoy. He's not that kind of person, I know, but it seems so unfair for him to have to deal with me. This is not what he signed on for -- he thought I was whole when he met me, and now he's discovering that I'm not. For what it's worth, I thought I was whole, too, but much to my own chagrin, I am not.

It's not that I don't have pleasurable moments -- I do. I enjoyed going to church on Sunday, watching over a children's class as a substitute for whoever else was supposed to be there. I enjoyed going out to lunch with a group that does this every week -- met some new people and connected better with some I knew already.

I laugh, I smile, but it's an effort at times.

My therapist said that I'm very skilled at presenting myself in an appropriate, professional manner, so that people have no idea what's really going on with me under the surface. She said I'm quite good at intellectualizing, that I try to learn and understand as a defense mechanism. This is not the first time I've been told this. I want to understand myself and others -- how is this a handicap, which it apparently is to some extent? You read, you observe -- that's how you learn and increase your understanding, isn't it? There's a saying that goes something like this: No one ever learned anything by talking. I think that's my guiding principle. People like to talk about themselves, but I don't. I'd rather listen and learn.

Lately I've been doing a lot of reading -- the authors have mostly been Alice Miller, the Swiss psychologist (at my therapist's suggestion), and James Hollis, another psychologist who happened to be a student of a friend of mine, oddly enough. He mostly writes about midlife and the perils and possibilities of that time of life. Alice Miller writes about abusive childhoods, and I have a hard time allowing myself to identify fully with that, even though things she writes about resonate with me deeply. I don't want to identify myself as an abused or neglected child, nor do I want to identify my parents as those who abused or neglected. I don't want to be "a victim". Yet, I have been victimized in a variety of ways by a variety of people and institutions.

I was sexually molested by a neighbor at age 4. I don't know how long it lasted or what all happened, but I don't think I have to know that. Around the age of 8 or 9 a friend and I were approached by a young man with his penis exposed while we were playing at a ballpark. From the time I "developed", there were at least 2 friends' Dads who touched me inappropriately, and of course older boys who did as well. By age 17 a colleague of my Dad's (who had already passed away by this time, when I was 16) propositioned me to give me a job if I'd have sex with him. When I threatened to report him, he let me know very clearly that no one would believe me if I did, that there were no witnesses, and that basically, I was screwed when it came to ever getting at job there, because I threatened to tell. I've never told my parents or any authorities about any of these events.

Brought up Baptist and attending a fundamentalist Christian school through grade 7 made life very confusing. I *wanted* to be like these other people who seemed to *get* the whole Christian thing, but I could never buy into it altogether. I could never reconcile things in my own mind and heart. I couldn't understand a God who supposedly loved us, but also punished us and allowed bad things to happen to us. I couldn't understand a God who would supposedly let people go to hell even if they'd never heard of Him or Jesus. I couldn't understand why men were allowed to be the authority on everything, no questions asked, just because they were men. And I certainly couldn't understand why I was told to "stay away from Mr. Willie", the old pervert who liked to feel up the girls at church, rather than someone making HIM stay away from US.

At age 19 I was robbed at gunpoint at work. The robber put his revolver to my temple and ordered me to clean out the cash drawer of the sandwich shop at which I worked. He then ordered me, gun at my head, to go back to the safe and lie face down on the floor while the other employee cleaned out the safe. All this with a gun at the back of my head now, and no way for me to see what was going on. I just prayed that I wouldn't die, prayed that he wouldn't shoot, prayed that I'd get to see my family again. Then he looked for a place to lock us in, but there was no place like that in this building. He settled on putting us in the girls' bathroom, and instructed us not to come out or call the police. I wedged myself between the toilet and the wall, hoping that if he changed his mind and started shooting through the door or something, I'd be protected. He was caught the next day, and the police came to show me pictures of people so he could be identified. I started crying the minute I saw his face, even though he'd shaved his facial hair off and wasn't wearing a cap and glasses like he was when he robbed me. Between this time and the trial date, I received harassing and threatening phone calls at home from either him or his friends, and I couldn't do anything about it. Criminals are allowed to have all of your information if you're a witness, but you aren't allowed to know anything about them. I went to trial and testified against him; my coworker could not be 100% positive it was him, she said. I don't know if that was true or not, but I couldn't lie. For some technical reason, a mistrial was declared, so I had to do this whole thing all over again months later. He was convicted, and sentenced to 75 years in prison for the armed robbery, with another 15 added on for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. I guess he should be out roaming the streets now, but I can't even remember his name to even try to check. I'll never forget his face, though, or the feel of cold steel against my temple.

My first husband was an emotionally abusive alcoholic, who made life very scary for me. I never felt safe, I never felt secure, I always worried about what would happen next. I didn't understand what alcoholism was, and I had never known a person like him. I felt that I had to stay married to this man because that's what I was taught in church -- divorce is wrong and you should live up to your vows, period. I learned a few years into our marriage that he had molested his own daughter, before he and I had met. I was horrified, sickened, devastated. His daughter, 15 by this time, recanted her story when I told her I would take her and her brother home (they were visiting during the summer) and that I would have to leave her father. She convinced me, because I wanted to be convinced, that she'd made up this story to get sympathy from her very strict mother and to get out of trouble for some things she'd done. Not long after, we got a letter from the HRS stating that an investigation had been done and no evidence of abuse or neglect was found. Naturally, this greatly relieved me, but deep in my soul, I knew he'd done it anyway. I feared he'd done other things, too, but obviously could never find out. Eventually I succumbed into a deep depression and repeated panic attacks, as well as myriad physical symptoms (headaches, stomach aches, abdominal pain) due to the psychic pressure I was experiencing. I sought help from an anxiety clinic, and then a psychiatrist, and got better. Then he left me for another woman -- a younger woman, naturally, though I was only 28 at the time. I was devastated at first, but it didn't take long to realize that a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Shortly after he came to me and said he would never marry again, and that he wasn't dating anyone, though I later learned he was living with this girl and her mother, for God's sake. I asked in some way about whether or not he considered the fact that other men might find me attractive and want to date me -- his response was "no", and I could tell that this thought had never crossed his mind. In other words, I was nothing to him. This really pissed me off, and gave me the strength and fire I needed to want to move on with my life, sans him. Naturally, this is when he checked himself into an alcohol rehab facility, realizing he was going to lose everything. And stupid me, I ended up letting him come home after his stint there, though HIS counselors told me flat out to divorce him and move on with my life. He had been diagnosed as not only an alcoholic, but also a sex addict. God knows who all he fucked and/or hurt, but I know there had to be many. I checked recently on the sex offender list and see that he's back in jail for lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under the age of 16. This is a broken, unfixable person, and he should never, ever be allowed to be around normal people, ever again, especially, most especially children.

I was fortunate enough to meet a man who appreciated me, in ways I had never experienced, and had a wonderful, loving marriage with him for 5 1/2 years. He died in 1999. My therapist says I also have some grief issues to deal with, which surprises me. I can't imagine that there could be more tears to shed, but maybe she's right. I've been dreaming of him a lot lately, which is unusual for me. I suspect uncovering things in therapy brings deeper things to the surface, and that reading books on grief/grieving, etc., also aid that. The month prior to his death, I lost my beloved grandmother, then 2 weeks after his death, I lost his uncle, and my grandfather. Within a year I lost his aunt, to whom I was very close. It was a really shitty year.

Later traumatic events include dealing with a very dysfunctional sister with multiple issues -- chemical abuse, possible bipolar disorder, exceptionally bad judgment -- including an emotionally and physically abusive husband. His abuse of her started while they were dating and goes on to this day. Only now they have 3 children. She calls me when something's wrong. She calls me, wanting me to help, wanting me to understand. And I have gone to her rescue more than once. She has been a stripper at times, has gotten into physical fights with other people, has done God knows what kinds of drugs and God knows what else to make a buck. She's passed out drunk with her then-toddler in the house. She's been in and out of psychiatric facilities. I've had to face down the asshole she won't leave permanently when he's been in a rage and trying to break down her front door; hubby and I were there last year after he'd thrown a car seat at her in her garage and broken the window of her car. He and I got into a verbal fight that basically insures that I can never, ever be around him again. Not sure if I can be around her, now, since she's decided to go back to him. She left him the day of the fight I had with him, and we moved her down to my mom's. But within 2 months, she went back. I don't understand her and I guess I never will. She's told my mom that she would call me 'if I would let her', and I explained to my mother that I was unclear as to how I was keeping her from dialing the phone. This was because I addressed a postcard to my niece and told her to have her mommy help her write me back.

Then there's the son-in-law, who threw hubby and me out of his house. We'd been called by daughter to come up because they'd had a domestic dispute which landed him in jail. Once the temporary restraining order was over, he returned home. He was angry that we were there and ordered us out of his house. He taunted hubby with remarks about being 'an old man' and was exceptionally hateful. Daughter doesn't understand why we just can't let bygones by bygones and pretend like everything's ok. This hurts hubby, because he can't have a decent relationship with his daughter and grandchildren, and that hurts me. I also hurt because I hoped that daughter and I could be friends, but it's obvious that this is not possible. I know this behavior of hers is not a new thing -- hubby and his late wife experienced basically the same kind of treatment for other reasons. But the bottom line is, it SUCKS.

I want these things out of my head, and out of my soul. I want to not dream about them. I want to be myself again. I want to not have headaches, and not have to make an effort to be sociable. I want to be able to keep my commitments, and not have to back out at the last minute because I just can't handle the idea of having to put on a happy face. I want to be able to keep house in a way that would please Hubby and not leave him with so much to do here. I want to sleep, a full night's sleep. I want to not wonder what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. I want to be good at something, appreciated for something. I want to make my husband's life rich and full, happy and peaceful. I want him to not have to worry about me, or expend any additional energy on our life. I want him to be all that he can be, to play music and write and travel and enjoy his life. I want to be able to participate fully in those things.

In closing, I do know that I am fortunate. I have friends who do care about me, and I have a good life. I have the world's greatest husband, and lovely nieces and nephews and grandchildren who enrich my life. I want to be able to keep these things in the forefront of my mind, rather than buried in there somewhere. It's not fair to them to not have that be a more prevailing attitude -- it's not lack of their love or support that contributes to this situation. Whatever it is is within me, and I need to get it out.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I must say, I've never experienced such a delicious homecoming as I did Friday night. Hubby picked us up at the airport, his face alit with delight. Though I was very tired from a long day of driving in what seemed to be continuous rush hour traffic, I was so glad to be home and back in the passenger seat of our van.

Once we got home and retired, she showered me with affection -- not just sex -- I mean AFFECTION. He held me, caressed me, kissed me, for hours. He told me how much he loved and missed me. He lavished such tender loving care upon me that I couldn't really comprehend it all at the time. And we made love -- very sweet, but very passionate love. It seemed like it had been forever, and it kind of had. I had not been feeling very lovey-dovey in the week or two prior to my trip, so it was even more of a homecoming than most.

The next morning, after making love again, he made breakfast -- bacon, HOMEMADE waffles, juice and coffee. We spent the day doing a few household things like grocery shopping, and then decided to have "naked day" for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Hubby grilled some fabulous chicken for us, and made FROM SCRATCH delicious yeast rolls. Yes, he's quite the cook! Am I lucky or what? That night we fell asleep in each other's arms, after having cuddled and petted each other leisurely.

Sunday we went to church, which was delightful. We celebrated Purim -- a first for us both. We were told the story of Esther and Mordecai, and were instructed to yell and clap and celebrate each time their names were mentioned. At the mention of Haman, we booed and stomped, along with the rest of the congregation. Prior to the beginning of the service, we were given 'sticky notes' upon which to write the names of tyrants or bullies, so that when we stomped, we were symbolically stomping on them, too. My sticky note contained the names of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, my step son-in-law, my ex brother-in-law, and my ex-husband. I have to admit, I did derive some satisfaction from that exercise. Background and offeratory music was performed by The Klezmer Kidz, which greatly added to the enjoyment of our service.

I was so surprised that so many people welcomed me back. The reason for this was because last week Hubby lit a candle for me, saying he wished that I'd have a wonderful vacation and safe travels, looking forward to my return. Not only was that precious of him, it was overwhelming that so many people remembered that and commented on it. I love my church community. I feel like I fit in and am needed. People seem to like me a lot, and seek out my company. I am just blown away by that.

Today I need to get my highlights done! I also need to shop for my sister-in-law's birthday present. She's disabled -- "mentally retarded" -- but a real joy in my life. I called her this week to ask what she wanted for her birthday, and she readily said "a watch". I asked her what kind of watch (meaning what style), and she said "Timex". lol I went on to ask if she wanted one with hands or just numbers -- meaning analog or digital -- she answered "hands and numbers", indicating that she thought I asked a stupid question, which I guess I did. I finally determined that she wants a silver watch, so I am on my way to get it for her. She also loves to take pictures, though they tend to be the same picture over and over again. But who cares? As long as she has fun, that's all that matters. I've never had a person like Mary intimately involved in my life, but I'm so glad I do now.

So for now, I'll close. More to come later, I'm sure. It's a beautiful spring day, though coolish, but I like it cool, so that's a bonus.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Another dream

This dream occurred two nights ago -- trying to get it down before I forget.

I returned home from somewhere with Hubby, and as we drove up the street, I could see that everything on the outside of our home was missing -- the driveway, the porch, even the steps leading up to the door. All that remained was dirt, as though it had all been dug out. Hubby went across the street to get our neighbor, and the two of them went looking for the culprit. When they found him -- in a red 70's era Grand Torino or something similar, like a Charger -- he threatened them that he would be back to get more, and there was nothing they could do about it.

Next dream, same night: I am visiting my exhusband, apparently in jail or somewhere similar. His girlfriend is there -- the polar opposite of me -- much younger, dark curly hair, thin. We are seated at a lunchroom-style table, with food on our plates. There are tiny portions -- meat the size of a golf ball, 5 or 6 green beans, and a tablespoonful of potatoes. He has shaved the top of his hair off -- definitely not balding, but intentional, kind of monkish looking. He was hard, steely, not at all open or friendly, which is his usual nature, oddly enough. The girlfriend was very suspicious of me -- I don't know why I was there but there was some "legal" reason I had to visit him. In my dream I became overwhelmed with a feeling of compassion and sorrow for his life, and I wanted to give him my food, because I realized this was all he had to sustain himself daily. I asked the girlfriend if it would be ok -- I didn't want to appear as though there was any reason for her to be jealous or suspicious, and she reluctantly agreed. Then the scene morphed into my childhood home -- the girlfriend and I were there, and I needed to retrieve some things that belonged to me. Somehow this was where my ex and her lived, though it was my old home. (In real life in our divorce, I gave over our house to him, no strings attached -- signed a quit claim deed, didn't get any equity or anything -- I just needed out.) The girlfriend followed me around, making sure I didn't take anything that wasn't mine, but as I was getting my things, we talked. As time went on, she grew to trust me more, and would tell me things about him that bothered her, which I confirmed was nothing different than what I had experienced with him. I told her some things (I can't remember these details) that she recognized as part of her experience as well, and then realized at last that she needed to get away from him. She kind of became my friend, and wanted me to mentor her in some way. I grew OK with this idea, and we left this house together.

That's it for what I remember. Seeing my therapist today, and may mention these. I wonder sometimes if I'm making any progress, or if therapy and meds do me much good. My friend said during the vacation that I was kind of wavering between 10% and 90% myself -- more like myself than I was a few months ago, but definitely not all there yet. The week before vacation I'd sent out a few resumes, but both she and hubby discussed and agreed that I'm not ready to return to work yet -- still too fragile in some ways. This bothers me -- I'm not used to not being in control, still.

Next week I see the psychiatrist again. I will have to tell her that I don't feel any improvement from the increased dose of Effexor, which makes me feel bad, too -- like I'm not doing something right. I had trouble sleeping while on vacation, and have nightly dreams. I don't know if they're because of the meds, the therapy, all of the above, or none of the above. Things are very complicated in this way.

But, I do feel better than I did a few months ago, so I think I'll stick with my "progress, not perfection" mantra for a while longer.


Home again

I'm so happy to be home again! Vacations are wonderful, but I think the returning home is possibly the best part. It was so good to be in familiar surroundings again, to sleep in my own bed, to know where everything is, and to be more in control of my daily life. This is where I was -- Sanibel Island, FL. And yes, it really looks like this.

I was stunned, having grown up on the Gulf Coast, in Pensacola, FL. Our beaches are beautiful too, but the water here is shallow much farther out than in Pensacola, so the water looks much more green before it turns to the dark ocean blue. The sand is as white, maybe whiter, but the number of shells that wash up on these beaches are beyond belief until you see it for yourself. See?

There are also beautiful flowers, like these:

Hibiscus outside my door.

And these:

Wild orchid


And how about some wildlife?

This is just a taste of what the week entailed. More to come later. :)


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dream -- getting it down before I forget

I'm with my old friend Denise, on the corner of Pace & Jackson St. in our hometown of Pensacola, FL. I had been to visit an old client and her daughter, and there was something important about my cell phone. Denise and I were trying to get "home", but had trouble with the car we had. We decided to go a few blocks away to a stadium where some high school sporting event was going on. We got separated. Eventually, I decided to go into the locker rooms to take a shower, because I felt hot & sweaty. When I came out of the shower, my purse and clothes were gone. I found something to wrap myself in and began looking for my things. I found my way into a gymnasium, and found a Latina who seemed to know something but wouldn't tell me. She said something that had to do with her father knowing where stuff was, and I asked where her father was. She laughed, and I cursed at her. I found a group of African American guys and asked if they could help me. I offered a reward, and one guy said he'd find it. I then met a woman who appeared to be a gym teacher or school administrator -- someone in charge. I explained what had happened, and she agreed to help me look for my things. As we were going back to locker room area, she told me she had to have an operation on her sternum. We encountered a "maid" who said my things were back where I had left them originally. The adminstrator and I went to find them, and then I woke up.

Observations: The gym teacher is probably my therapist. My purse/cell phone is "me" -- my identity? Other than that, I'm blank. Anyone with other theories -- please comment. I'd love to hear them.

Now, back to packing for Sanibel!


Friday, March 03, 2006

Leaving on a jet plane

This is what I hope to see a lot of in this next week, minus the romantic couple, if possible.

Sanibel & Captiva, FL -- here I come. :)

What else is there to say? Rest, relaxation, and shelling -- life is good. I'm taking the trusty ole laptop, but don't expect to spend much time on it. More than likely, my next post will be in about a week or so, hopefully with pictures. Wish me luck on avoiding sunburn, since I am one of the whitest people on the planet.

Lots of love and good vibes to all,


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Spring is coming!

This is what I'm looking forward to seeing -- my garden filled with beautiful, colorful plants. Last year was the first time I've ever had a garden -- in my whole life! So I was really thrilled with the success I had. Now, let me be clear -- Hubby did all the hard work -- the digging, preparing the beds, etc., so I really shouldn't claim credit. All I did was pick out the plants, arrange them, and observe them for the rest of the season. I did some of the watering/fertilizing, and a little weeding, but he really did the hard parts. This year I'm looking forward to planting more of the really successful things, and adding some new stuff to the mix.

Mainly, I'd like to plant things to attract butterflies and hummingbirds to our front yard. We have 3 hummingbird feeders out front, and they stayed busy with visitors all summer long. I think we need to put the feeders out this week, as I believe we had hummers coming around not long after the first of March, which was yesterday (duh!).

Though I really love fall and winter, I have learned to anticipate spring here with much delight. I'd never lived in a place that has such definite seasons, until I moved here in December of 2003, after I married dear Hubby. We met online -- I lived in Memphis, he lived in Nashville. After six very romantic months of courtship, we married in Gatlinburg, TN, at a beautiful Methodist Church, and after a brief honeymoon, we began our life together here. I had a lot to learn about Middle Tennessee, and it was tough at first, but one thing I never had a problem with was the climate. It's quite mild -- even summers are not too long, especially the hottest part of the summers. Springs are long, falls can be long and variable, with plenty of "Indian Summer" days to tease you.

Winter can be very cold, and contain a lot of groovy precip, but they have not been brutal. The snows we've had this year haven't caused much trouble in terms of school closings or roadway problems. I truly love the look of our neighborhood when it's snow covered.

Dear Hubby keeps 6 bird feeders (2 suet cages, 2 thistle feeders, 1 for sunflower seed, and 1 mixed seed feeder) filled for our feathered friends in the winter, who grace our deck daily. In the warmer weather, there are 2 additional hummingbird feeders. During the snowy times, he puts out a "bird party", which consists of scattering seed along our deck rails, so we can see more birds up close. They seem to love, and I know we do.

This is the view of the left side of our deck. As you can see, we have woods surrounding us, which makes for a lot more privacy. In the summer, it's a green curtain in all shades and shapes, providing plenty of safe places for birds and other critters to exist. We've identified over 40 different species of birds visiting our feeders, along with some turkeys and flying squirrels.

This is the right side, which includes the bird bath. Unfortunately, it's not heated, but we do try to make sure there's fresh water every day, even when we have to chip the ice out of it to do so.

I think I'm going to go out and check on my little daffodils that have been trying to burst out lately. I'm afraid a late snow got a lot of them, but I still see some buttery yellow over there, so maybe, just maybe, there'll be enough for a vase-full. Wish me luck, and get outside to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine!


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

More perspective

Last night was a wonderful opportunity to enjoy my Hubby at his best -- playing music with someone he really connects with in front of a very appreciative audience of other serious musicians. I am continually amazed at his talent, and so so grateful to have the opportunity to experience this kind of life with him. Music has always been essential to the quality of my life -- I don't get people who say they're 'not into music'. To me that's like saying they're not into oxygen.

Hubby sounded fantastic, we got to hear several other artists who were also pretty awesome, and Hubby got to schmooze and hand out lots of business cards. He was as happy as I've ever seen him, and he told me so when we got home last night. Knowing that there have been periods in his life when he's not been able to pursue his muse makes me even happier to participate in this phase of his life. I hope I can help him to realize his dreams -- anyone with his talent deserves to be celebrated and appreciated and supported. I believe with all my heart that he's poised on the edge of something big, and I want him to reach for the stars.

On a completely separate note, my mother seems to be making a greater effort to stay in touch with me without needing me to do something. She made the offhand comment to me that she'd said to my crazy sister that they never call me unless they need something. I don't think she really meant to say that to me, but it was very telling.

I still find this hard to accept, but the little girl in me is very welcoming of this gesture. Mom doesn't understand why I don't feel that she likes me, and I don't know that I can explain it with specific examples, at least not now. When things happen that indicate to me that she disapproves or is in some other way critical of me, it all becomes clear. But when she's sweet to me, acts like she actually cares about me and my life, I tend to forget the bad stuff. Here's to hoping there are lots more of these 'forgetful' days. I'd like to not be afraid of or dread interacting with my mother. I am cautiously optimistic that that can happen.

Just spoke with my sweet Brother on the phone -- his 15 year old stepdaughter is coming to spend her spring break with us in a few weeks, and I'm really looking forward to having her company. She's a very sweet, and apparently fairly naive young lady, and I know we'll have a marvelous time together. The plan was to meet in Memphis to make the 'exchange', but now they've decided they're going to fly her here. So no Memphis trip, unfortunately, but we can do that another time. I need to get to Memphis and see people. It's been a long time since I've been there, and ah needs me some BBQ!!!

Much love to you people out there who check out this rambling mess from time to time. Hope it's a great one for you all. :)