Month: February 2016

  • Oscar

    It's an Oscar day. As someone who really hasn't watched [any] movies in years, I tried to watch some of the bigger ones in anticipation of the awards tonight, so that I can watch and know what they're talking about.

    I saw The Finest Hour, The Revenant, Youth, 45 Years, The Martian, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Room, and maybe one or two I'm forgetting right now. For me, that's a LOT of movie watching, but it's been fun and most of the movies were good (except Youth) and some really excellent (The Revenant.)


    It's a really Spring-like day here today. I'm thinking that soon I really need to do Spring cleaning, and am wondering how I'll find the motivation for that!? Maybe a room at a time. I go floor to ceiling, so the curtains need to be washed, the blinds need to be cleaned, and kitchen cabinets done. Oh and windows! Will surely have to hire out windows and yard clean up. March is my month for all of that. My birthday falls on the first day of Spring. It's a lovely day for a birthday, I think. So I like to have it all done by then. This year might include some painting too. Oy! But it will be so nice once it's all done.

    Going to go do some cooking and baking now, will be in pajamas watching the red carpet fashion show by 6 o'clock.  Would you believe I've only dressed up in a gown twice in my life? Dresses of course, even some very nice dresses, but formal, beautiful gowns, just two occasions.


  • And The Winner Is...

    After months of deliberating I have made a tentative decision about The Move. Tentative because I have a year yet before the house goes on the market, and we all know a lot can happen in that time. But if all goes well, I will be moving to Colorado. I struggled a lot with the decision for several reasons, but while it isn't exactly perfect, I am at peace now that I've made it. I've spoken to both sons, they seem to be cool with it. My plan will be to move to the Denver-to-Boulder area and rent an apt or condo for 6-12 months while I explore the area, find one I want to live in and then go house hunting. Or condo hunting perhaps. I know that I have a lot of time and could have mulled this over much longer, but this way I know where I'm going and it's something else I can take off my plate. I will be near enough to eldest son that he can come over on Sundays -his comment- but not so close that we run into each other in the lobby. :wink: My middle son will then be living in the Phoenix, AZ area. It's only a couple of inches on the map, but after looking up the mileage I see it's about as far as driving from here to NY, a drive I vow never to make again...each time I make it.


    So. That's settled. Today's blizzard pretty much was all south of us. Spring cleaning inside and outdoors will be on the agenda soon. Oh, and I'm feeling fine on day four of lower med dose. That's a wonderful thing.


    The extent the blizzard reached us today.

  • Addiction

    Many of us have addictions.

    Drugs, alcohol, food, love, sugar....

    We use the term literally and figuratively.

    "I'm addicted to books."


    "I'm addicted  chocolate."


    "I'm addicted to Game of Thrones."

    I probably have several addictions that I'd like to kick. Others that I wouldn't mind having. Right now, for the past 3 days, I am working on kicking a bonafide, serious addiction. I didn't really know I had this addiction until I googled my symptoms, which lead me to my meds, which lead me to their side effects. Yes, I'm a (retired) nurse. Funny the things that do not really occur to us when we're the patient.

    So, as I've mentioned before, I have a pretty severe anxiety disorder for which I take a medication called an anxiolytic- which basically means anti-anxiety. It's in a category of drugs called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are bad and should not be used long term. My doctor saw fit to keep me on them for, oh, 7-8 years. I must admit, there have been some terrible storms in my life during that time.

    But now things are calmer and more importantly, side effects have come to the fore, namely, memory loss. I don't know if I can regain any of it by weaning off the medication, and have no idea how to control sometimes debilitating anxiety once I'm off the med and have an anxiety attack, but that's getting ahead of myself. For now, VERY SLOWLY, I have begun the taper. I am going extremely slowly, hoping to mitigate withdrawal.

    Wish me luck.


    (Yes, the irony of being addicted to a drug is not lost on me.)

  • Semi-Productive Saturday

    Today is a cooking and baking day. I don't plan them ahead but I did go shopping yesterday with a few recipes in mind. I find chopping and preparing quite cathartic. I still don't cook for one, but I have been dividing, labeling and freezing leftovers. Right now I have a new chicken stew recipe in the slow cooker. I'll make meatballs next and then get a marzipan cake in the oven. Might as well get a few things out of one messy kitchen! And, boy, am ever a messy cook. Luckily, our new house has quite a small kitchen that's a breeze to clean after I'm done cooking.

    Chicagoland had very heavy winds yesterday. There seems to be lots of damage in the city, and I was concerned about the trees and roof here, but everything held up to what was reported to be 69 mph winds.

    As I've mentioned before, I continue to angst over where to move and have also added worrying about selling the house if the economy takes another dump like in 2007-2008. But I have made a little progress, and unless things change drastically between now and next spring, I have decided to move to the Denver area. I suppose I could become a Broncos fan. The weather is much better than here, but there are certainly still 4 seasons. I have Denver as well as a few other places on my weather app which I check daily and consistently it's nicer there than here, be it not as hot in the summer, nor as cold in the winter. Sounds like enough of a tentative plan to work towards.

    How do people with pets go on vacation? I've been wanting to take a couple of trips but I really don't want to kennel the dogs. The cat isn't too much of a problem because my son can take care of him, though he's a snuggly cat and will get lonely. Ah well, it isn't something to stress over yet, maybe by late spring, or even summer.  Right now I don't have any sure plans other than Grand Rapids in July for the wheelchair tennis tournament.

    There's a caucus and a primary today. Will go finish in the kitchen then turn on early returns.

    Have a great weekend!

  • Man's Work and Stuff...

    I am a feminist by dictionary definition only. As far as everyday life is concerned, I believe in women's work (pretty much everything) and men's work (the stuff women really DO NOT want to have to deal with.)

    For instance, the CAR. I don't know why I feel so strongly about it. I mean, other than it's an odious chore that I abhor, of course. I don't want to go to the car wash. I really don't want to go get the oil changed. And having to do more than that, like does it need new tires or why is the engine light on, is enough to send me into a full blown hissy fit.

    I also don't BBQ. It's not that I don't like to eat BBQ, but I am not running in and out of the house, salads and sides in the kitchen, meats and veggies on the grill. That's just silliness. I rarely even use the grill on my stovetop because it isn't worth the cleanup.

    There are household and yard and garden type chores that I wouldn't mind delegating, but for the most part I can and will do them.

    Well. That list didn't turn out as bad as I thought it would. Surely I've forgotten something. The only one that will forever be my cross to bear now, will be the car. I'm thinking of it today because I have two dashboard lights currently on, the little wrench and the tire pressure light. I already googled all the lights to find out their meanings for my make and model car. I know that procrastinating these things is not a smart idea. And, dammit, there's no one to sweet talk into taking care of it for me!


    Next week I will be starting with an 8 week (once a week) bereavement group through the HOSPICE. Can't hurt, right? Maybe I'll find it helpful.


    The local Community College Summer catalog arrived today. William and I always talked about taking classes together. Once we moved here we actually drove over to see how far the drive was, whether it was doable or not. One of our issues was that he wanted to take the same class, but I wasn't interested in any classes he was interested in, and vice versa. By the time last year's catalog came out, he was too ill to go. Those aren't issues anymore, so I read through the catalog today and picked 2 classes. I will enroll this Spring.

  • Yes, It Was Heroin

    Every now and again the fact that I "lost" one of my children comes up. I rarely bring it up myself anymore. Under what circumstances would that happen? But there are times, like today at the hospital, that it comes up, for whatever reason.

    I have really come to dread the follow-up question. "What did he die of?" I would like to think that I have never asked that question. Of course I don't really know, my memory is failing me and who would remember bits of a conversation anyway? But I'd like to think I wouldn't ask. The question should be outlawed or something equally ridiculous. Or etiquette should strongly dictate that it is just a question that is not okay to ask. Like someone's weight or age. I will tell you if I think it's something you need to know, or I need to share.

    The reason for not telling is the smug judgment of all those who would never, ever, find themselves in such a position. I don't know how heroin got to be such a problem when no else's child is doing it. Depending on who's asking, I might give more details. (Let's just call them what they are, "excuses.") But I find myself doing that less and less, which I see as a good thing. I take it to mean, "I don't care what you think." And, Lordy, that has taken a lot of therapy.

    I think the loss of a child, of any age, is a most horrible thing for a mother, a parent, siblings. I fail to see how cause of death can make it any better. Cancer or other diseases, accidents, suicide, addiction, the war...are some deaths more acceptable than others?

    If I could give one piece of advice that everyone would abide by, it would be that once you hear of the death of a child that you don't ask the follow-up question. If they want you to know they will tell you. If they don't tell you, well there you are. They have a reason for not telling.

  • Hello Darkness My Old Friend

    William and I lived together for 18 years, 8 of them married. They were not the easiest of years, in fact most of them were filled with drama and trauma. There were many, MANY, times over the years that I was going to leave. But for a variety of very good reasons I never did. Nor did he and I suspect he might have had his own list of reasons to get out of Dodge. The pressure really never let up until, unfortunately, after Youngest Son's death. Not even immediately then, because first came my Craziness, then my New Normal.

    But gradually there was a new peace between us. Nothing to fight about. No one to worry over. We began to have quiet dinners for two. We talked about OTHER things. It's like we became the people we hadn't been for years. A couple. Sadly, almost at the same time, William's health began to decline. We downsized, sold our home, bought a new one, smaller, in a nice little town on the Fox River. Plans to travel in our retirement were shelved, much to his chagrin and extreme disappointment. But for a time, before last summer when his illness started accelerating towards the end, we found a sort of contentment.

    I'm writing these thoughts down now because they have been bouncing around in my brain today. Specifically, all the times I almost left. Now that I am learning to cope with aloneness, if not yet loneliness, I can't think of anything so agregious that I would leave. Even the terrible, difficult, emotionally draining and fatiguing last months I would take back rather than the thoughts and the worries of each day with no one to share them with.

    And the silence.




  • The Fourteenth

    Problem with being an introverted widow: no one to talk to. Which doesn't actually bother me every day because I have become a much more quiet person than I was in my youth. Or even just a few years ago when I was still working. The more you isolate yourself, the more isolated you become. Obviously.

    But sometimes things come up and I feel the need to discuss them with another person. Things like earthquakes or crane collapses, or the death of Antonin Scalia. I have two sons left, neither of them here at the moment, but even if they were, I wouldn't be discussing those things with them. Interesting too, they are both very different, so I wouldn't necessarily even be discussing the same types of things with them.

    But with The Husband, anything was fair game. Earthquakes and structural failures would have him glued to the screen trying to diagnose the reason for the collapse. He was my math guy too. Politics and football were my things, but he always listened. In politics we could have real discussions. With football he was always amazed that I kept up with it all every year and could intelligently discuss it with anyone.

    Well football is over for the season, but politics is just getting more interesting everyday. Last night's republican debate (down to six men fighting for the nomination) was so ugly I actually wondered if there would be fisticuffs. I kept thinking "oh my god, the whole world is watching this, for shame, for shame."

    President Obama has 11 months left as President of the United States, and yet the Republican Senate wants him to hold off selecting the next Supreme Court Justice. His constitutional duty, as it is the Senate's to vet and approve him/her. But there's talk of them causing a delay and a delay and a delay until it does end up the next President's responsibility. Of course they're hoping that will be a republican. Scalia, was a super convservative. Supremes are supposed to be nonpartisan, but that's changed since the 50's. With Scalia's death, the Court is tied. Not much will get done until that seat is filled.

    Agh, tapping my thoughts out on an iPhone isn't a substitute for a chat with William.

    Guess I'll go shovel snow instead.

  • Valentine's Day

    This has been a difficult holiday for me at various times of my life. Growing up it wasn't a holiday our family celebrated. Being immigrants, my parents didn't really celebrate the traditional holidays that were celebrated in America. We also didn't celebrate Thanksgiving, nor the 4th of July.

    A few times during my teenage years I remember having a boyfriend who sent a card or flowers or chocolates. Very sweet.  What a great holiday, just a day to express love. I was definitely adding this one onto my calendar of special days to be celebrated.

    I got married and had children. I made Valentines with the kids. I'm not sure they still do this, but back then the kids in school all exchanged cards. At home we used construction paper and crayons, glue and doilies to make cards for daddy.

    Unfortunately for me, my husband believed Valentine's Day was a Hallmark holiday. It meant nothing to him and he "forgot" it every year. This was quite a painful blow during the years we were married, silly as that may be. Worse is that our sons seem to have picked this up from him. Don't they remember my role in making Valentine's Day special? They are now 39 and 35 years old and I still send them cards on Valentine's Day.

    Luckily, William did believe that Valentine's Day was special. He was never caught unawares on February 14th. Minimally, he had a card and flowers. Some years there were other gifts, chocolates, perfume, jewelry. Three years ago he brought me a giraffe so large he had to take it back. It was so much fun, he snuck it upstairs into my bedroom and put it in front of the window. I don't think he even minded returning it, like the surprise was enough.

    Tomorrow will be my first Valentine's Day without him, but I'm smiling because we had many years of celebrating a silly little remember-your-love holiday that some believe in and some don't. We did.


  • Health and Wellness

    I took myself to the movies today. A treat and a distraction. I found I now qualify for their Senior rates. Hmph. I saw Brooklyn. I'm not sure whether or not it is a best picture nominee but it is a best actress nominee. I enjoyed the film much more than 48 hours. I wonder how you choose an actress when you like one film much more than another. I'm glad I'm not part of the voting Academy.

    I survived my annual physical yesterday and got lab results back today. Most everything was good except the CA125 was elevated, so I need to go for an ultrasound next week. Mammogram too. Somehow February became health check month. I'm one of the fortunate ones regarding the ACA ("Obamacare") because I have no insurance horror stories.

    Have a great weekend!