Missing Grandma

I’m not one of the lucky ones who spent oodles of time with their grandparents while growing up.  I didn’t really get to know them as some kids know their grandparents.  For this, I will always be sad.

The only times I can remember seeing them is on major holidays.  Grandma made those holidays special.  She went all out to make sure everything was picture perfect.  There was always this special feeling in Grandma’s house whenever the holidays were around.  I miss that feeling.  My mother lives in that house now, but it’s just not the same without Grandma.

We now have our holidays at my uncle’s (Grandma’s son’s) house.  We always have a wonderful time there – it is filled with love, laughter, and great food.  But, it’s not the same.

I fondly remember the food Grandma made – all of it.  Some of it I will probably never have the chance to eat again (shrimp aspic anyone?)  I try to bring some of her with me when I go to family gatherings (I’m responsible to bring dessert, so I try to bring candy – something Grandma taught me.)  We all knew that Grandpa didn’t even bothering signing his name to the tag, let alone do any of the shopping.  Grandma not only wrapped the presents, but the house in decorations and the day in love.  She took great joy in making the holidays special.

I’m sure that’s one of the big reasons I’ve been thinking about her the last few days.  I’m sure the other is that we lost Grandma during the holidays (Christmas Eve.)

I did spend time with her.  I appreciated her as a Grandma.  I have memories of her.  I guess I should be thankful for the time that I did spend with her.  Some kids didn’t even get that.

I’m sad that I didn’t really know her.  I was too self-absorbed before she died to make the time to get to know her, which truly saddens me to this day.

I think the other thing that is bothering me now is – if I’m still bothered by the lack of Grandma’s presence (a woman I didn’t really know) how much of a wreck will I be when I lose my mother or sister – who I absolutely adore?

This is not the time of year to think of such things.  Sorry.  I promise tomorrow will be a happier blog.

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She Didn’t Give Up on Me!

A while back… Jeez!  I guess it was almost a year ago, I met a woman who edits manuscripts.  She said she would edit mine for free.  I couldn’t tell you how excited I was!

For months, we sent e-mails back and forth.  She was giving me the feedback I so desperately needed.  And I respect her, so I bought into everything she said.  It was going so well!  I just knew this was the beginning of the end of the editing process of my manuscript.

And then she stopped responding to my e-mails.

I was devastated!  I wondered what I had done to upset her.  I wondered if my book was so bad that she had just given up on me.  I wondered how I could go on without her help.

So I didn’t.  I haven’t touched my manuscript since.  Why bother?  I was heartbroken.  My lifelong dream was shattered.

The other day, I was looking at my e-mail on an actual computer (instead of my phone).  I stumbled upon an e-mail from her which had hidden itself in some weird folder.  She had responded all those months ago!  I just hadn’t seen it since it was hidden in this folder that I never check on my phone.

She hadn’t given up on me!

Quickly, I e-mailed her, telling her what had happened, apologizing, hoping she didn’t think I was a jerk for not responding to her.

She thought I had just gotten busy with life.  She totally understood.  She wants me to send her more pages!

Oh my heavens!  I can’t tell you how excited I am!  I feel like walking away from my Camp NaNo personal challenge of blogging every day just so I can work on my manuscript.  And then I realized – there’s no reason I can’t do both!

I feel like I just got a massive injection of motivation.  My dreams aren’t over.  I can move forward in making my goals reality.

Yay!!!

Tea with the Girls

My mother, sister, and I have found that we enjoy going to high tea together.  Okay – Mother might not love the tea aspect of it, but she loves any chance she gets to hang out with my sister and myself.

I asked my sister how she wanted to celebrate her birthday, and she told me that she wanted to go to tea.  Yay!

I took it upon myself to find where we wanted to go.  I found a new place in Seattle which sounded great.  It was the most expensive place we’ve been to, so I hoped that meant it would be better (more expensive does not necessarily mean better).

We’ll just say that we probably won’t go back again.

The weird thing is – while it was overpriced, overcrowded, and not very well organized, we still had a marvelous time!

My sister requested that we wear fascinators that she had purchased just for the occasion.  What’s a fascinator?  Just look how cute we are!

The place was seriously adorably decorated.  They put thought into all of their choices.

They even had little timers on the table so you knew exactly how long to let your tea steep.

Heck – they even had fancy sugars and pens!

Most of the food was quite tasty.  No regrets there!  They even brought out a vegetarian tiered tray for Mother.

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After tea, we stopped by their sister store (where you can buy things to take home with you), a yarn store (where they sold insanely expensive yarn), and then a really cool outdoor mall (which would be even cooler on a not a stormy day).

Okay.  I have to admit – I had way too much fun at the mall.  We sampled smoked sea salt caramels dipped in chocolate.  We tried a super yummy tea.  We were aghast at the horrific styles in one particular store.  And I’m currently wondering how I’ve lived over four decades without ever stepping foot into a Williams Sonoma store before.  Like a kid in a candy store!

Despite all the things which weren’t perfect, I had a really great day.  I was with two of my favorite people.  I had earmarked my paycheck from my second job for that day, so I didn’t feel guilty spending as much as I did.  And, as always, we got along beautifully.  It was just a really great day.

I love when I get to make wonderful memories like that!

Three Egg Day!!!

I’ve told you that I have somehow found myself living on a farm, much to my surprise.   I’ve introduced you to my chickens.  While I’d wanted chickens for a while, I never imagined I’d actually have any.

They bring a whole new aspect to daily life.

Recently, we had to buy and attach a heat lamp into their hen house so they wouldn’t freeze at night.  This is not something I’ve ever had to deal with before.  I’ve never even thought of it before.  Now all of a sudden, I’m worried about frozen chicken cutlets on a perch.

Mr. C got our first three chickens.  And then more.  And then more.  With all of the freakin’ chickens running about, you’d think we’d have eggs coming out our ears.  At the beginning of all of this nonsense, I was told we’d get an egg every other day from each hen.  With our six hens, that means three eggs a day.

Nope.  We’ve been getting 1 – 2 eggs a day for a while now.  Actually, that’s been fine.  I mean – how many eggs can two people eat?  (We’ve had fried egg sandwiches for many a lunch lately.)

Today was the first day that we got three eggs, and I was totally excited!  Apparently, it doesn’t take much to excite me.

The thing is – each egg is different.  We can tell who laid which egg.  Ruby’s eggs are darker, speckled, and the shell is thinner.  Sandy lays perfect light tan, roundy eggs.  Spot’s eggs are colored more like Sandy’s, but longer.

Three of our hens haven’t been laying – the three newest ones.  They are the youngest, so we were being patient with them.  Lately, I’ve begun to wonder if they are, indeed, hens.  (Not like we haven’t experience gender identity issues on our farm before.)

Yesterday, we got a new egg.  This one was light tan, like Sandy’s and Spot’s, but shaped differently.  Actually, it was really odd.  It was like the egg was stuck in the shoot for too long, so the top of it was incredibly pointy.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

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Until today.  Today, we got another egg identical to yesterday’s new egg.  Yay!  Not only is that hen producing for the first time, but she’s giving us an egg daily (up until now, Ruby has been the only one to give us an egg a day.)

Now, we just need to catch her in the act to figure out which hen it is.  My money is on Priss II.  She is the same type of hen as Sandy, so it would make sense for their eggs to look similar.

Plus, the other two of the new ones are supposed to give us blue/green/rose colored eggs.  I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of those eggs!

You Decide

I learned a very important lesson when I was a teenager.  (I just did a quick search and I don’t think I’ve blogged about this before.  If I have, please forgive me.)

When I was a teenager, I was very religious.  I was heavily involved in my church – seminary every weekday morning, church every Sunday, youth activity every Wednesday, Fireside one Sunday a month, many business meetings during the month, and some bonus outings for the youth.  It was ridiculous!

And, on top of all of that, I tried to go to a church dance every weekend that I could.  Most of them were really great – great songs (church approved, of course) with people I knew from all over who I only got to see at each particular dance (I had to drive all over to get to a dance every weekend.)

I remember one in particular.  I was going with a friend from school, who was also my religion.  We each prepared for the evening in our respective homes and then met there.

She and I were at different places in our lives at that moment.  I was in a happy, long term relationship with my high school sweetheart.  I don’t remember exactly what was going on in my life at the time, but I was happy – content.  Maybe I had had a good day.  I don’t know.  Whatever it was, I walked in, ready for a great night – expecting a great night.

My friend came in in a very different mind set.  I don’t remember if she had fought with her parents or broken up with her boyfriend, or what it was, but I clearly remember that when she walked through the doors, she was in a foul mood, and she expected to have a terrible time – expecting the dance to suck.

The thing is – we both were right.  I had a marvelous time, and she had a horrible time.  I thought it was one of the best dances I’d been to, and she thought is was the worst.

That lesson has stayed with me to this day.  Our attitude, our expectations, and our mindset have a huge impact on our lives and how we see the world around us.  If we go into something, expecting the worst, we’ll probably get just what we figured.  If we go into the exact same thing with a song in our hearts and a smile on our faces, we’ll probably enjoy the experience so much more.

That knowledge has helped me immensely in my life.  I have had some really crappy jobs and some really horrible bosses.  I make the most of each day, enjoying the parts of my day which are better than the ugly parts.  I go in with a smile and a pleasant attitude, and I can ignore the parts which make other people’s days a dread.  It’s truly a wonderful gift to have!

I think it applies to most things in life.  If we see a particular situation as rules we have to follow or a burden we have to bear, we never see the opportunity to make a situation better.  If we can only see a relationship we have to endure, we never see how we can help someone else have a better day.

Have I mentioned that I’ve always loved the movie “Polyanna”?  The Glad Game just makes perfect sense to me.  I think I play it by myself subconsciously.  It can really make any situation seem more tolerable.

The Other Foot

I have participated in NaNoWriMo a number of times in the past.  It’s always been a source of great pride and some inspiration.  I’ve loved it.

I’ve tried to make it as normal for my loved ones, but, well, who are we kidding?  There is no normalcy when NaNo is in the house.

This year, I get to feel what it’s like on the other side of it.

Mr. C is participating in it this year, and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of him.  As I watch his progress, I see what it’s like from this point of view.

I see the pride in his eyes when he gets a massive number of words written.  I see the glee he’s experiencing as his page numbers increase dramatically.  I see the joy when he tells me about the latest badge he’s earned.  It’s really cool to witness.

And yet it’s a pain in my butt!

Mr. C usually manages kitchen duty while I’m at work in the mornings.  We both agreed that while he’s working on NaNo, I would take over keeping the dishes clean.  Luckily, he agreed that I get to do it my way.  It doesn’t get or stay as spotless as he manages, but as long as it stays relatively clean, he seems to be okay with it.

But more than that, I’ve kinda lost him.  I mean, not really, but when he’s done with work, I want to talk with him.  I’ve been meandering around this house, not bothering him while at work, all alone.  When he’s done with work, I’d love to be able to chat with him.  I had a really bad day at work yesterday, and I would have loved to talk with him about it.  He was busy working on his book.  I get it, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

He’s being relatively patient with me, but I’m not being as supportive as I could be.  I wanna talk with him!  I want to share my day.  I want to visit with him.  Especially on days when I spend all morning alone in the vault, all I want is some human interaction.  I yell at him through the house (something I hate when he does it to me,) forgetting that he’s working on his book.  When I hear his “I’ve sunk so far into my writing that I barely remember you’re alive” voice, I realize I’ve interrupted him and I feel badly.

Mostly.

It’s a good thing I’ve done NaNo or I wouldn’t be able to handle this at all.

I’m glad that it’s only a month long!

Social Rules

I’ve run across a couple of social rules lately which have got me to thinking – Who makes up this crap?!

The first one was when a co-worker laughed about the fact that another co-worker was wearing shorts and long sleeves.  Everyone in the lunchroom laughed.  I walked through the door, made a show of holding out my arms (with long sleeves) and looking down at my shorts, and smiled at the loudmouth who had laughed at the other co-worker (who wasn’t in the room to defend himself.)

It got me wondering how such arbitrary rules came about.  I mean, people wear short sleeves with long pants all the time.  Why is that okay, but not the other way around?  It baffles me.

Today, I had a really rotten day at work.  I’m talking REALLY rotten.  I knew that when I walked through the front door of my house, my goal was to be medicated – either by booze or chocolate.  “It’s 5:00 somewhere” rang through my head.

(I Googled, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” images and got a TON of results!)

Why?  Why is that?  I get that most people get off work at 5:00 and you’re not supposed to drink on the job.  Sure.  But what about those of us who get off work at 10 am and had a super sucky day at work?  Why can’t we have a drink when we get home without feeling like we need to justify it?  Why does drinking (after work) at 11 am make us a lush?

But wait!  There’s more!

You can drink before 5:00, but only if it’s a mimosa.

Huh?

No, no wait.  There is another time when it’s okay.  When it’s with your boss and/or coworkers when you go out to lunch together and they’re having one.

Wait… what?

Seriously – whoever gets to make up these rules – I want in on it!  If for no other reason than to mess with people’s heads.

Why do we follow such rules?  Well, I guess I should ask why normal people follow them, ’cause I sure as heck don’t.  I dance to my own drummer and sing along with him!  I don’t get hung up on all that crap.  If I wanna, (and it’s not going to hurt anyone,) I’m gonna.  I don’t care if you think less of me for it.  Your silly rules mean nothing to me.

Which is really funny coming from me, the biggest rule-follower of them all.  If it’s an actual rule (work rule, law, etc.) I won’t break it for the life of me.  But, if it’s some made-up crap to which I never agreed, I do whatever I want.

The Ferry

A dear friend recently asked about my mention of riding the ferries.  I thought it would be an interesting subject for a blog.

I live on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

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What does that mean?  It means that the Puget Sound separates me from the greater Seattle area.  It means that I can only get to my house via ferry or a long drive which the locals call “the down and around.”  The down and around is driving all the way down to Tacoma, crossing the bridge, and then driving all the way back up again.

People who live on the peninsula are quite familiar with riding the ferries.  We know which ones takes how long.  We know the sizes of the ferries.  We know when it would be better to do the down and around than wait in line three hours for a ferry (they run about every hour, but on the weekends, the wait times can be ridiculous!)

We also know that riding in the morning is very different than riding in the evening.  I’ll give the example I had just the other day.  I rode the ferry to Seattle and back to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  The two rides were vastly different!

While waiting for the ferry in the morning, the air buzzed with excitement.  When living on the Peninsula, there isn’t a whole lot to do but get off it.  For a fun outing, many of us go to Seattle for this, that, or the other.  That morning, children ran around, like huge waves crashing again the rocks – full of vim and vigor, excited about their day.  Women gossiped about the latest make-up trends and relationships.  Couples pranced about, looking forward to their outing together.

And then there was the ride home.  The children didn’t have that same sense of adventure, but somehow they still had energy to burn.  Exhausted parents schlepped after toddlers who were still working on their walking skills.  Girlfriends laid their heads on their boyfriends’ laps, trying to rest from their busy day of playing.  Instead of chittering with enthusiasm, the ladies now quietly droned about unimportant matters, just for the sake of keeping the conversation going.

The first time I rode the ferry, my companions laughed amiably at me.  It was new and exciting!  I had to be outside, out front, to see everything.  They had done it before, so it was old hat to them.  Now, when I see people outside, all excited, I know they are newbies.  Don’t get me wrong – I still take pictures from the bow of the ship, but now I do it as a part of a whole memory (this was the first leg of our trip to Portland, last year) but I don’t have the same exuberance as I did that first time.

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I guess the difference is that on my first ferry trip, it was out of necessity, but I didn’t really understand that.  It was simply new and exciting for me.  Now, it’s more monotonous because it’s there to make my life easier, not better.

Maybe I should see if I can find the fun of it again – watch the waves, search for sea life, gaze at the houses on the shore, enjoy the breeze, be amazed at the power of the engines, etc.

Or, I could find a nice bench seat, lie down, and take a nap.  That’s what any good local does.

I Don’t Wanna Fail

This popped up on my Facebook feed.  Normally, I don’t care about that sort of stuff, but I’m sad about Anna and Chris splitting, so I checked it out.

(In case you didn’t check out the link, it’s celebrities opening up about their divorces.)

The thing is – I couldn’t relate with most of them.  They spoke of being heart broken, of the only thing worse than a divorce is losing a loved one to death.  They talked of missing their loved one and the relationship that had been.

Yah – that wasn’t my experience.  I couldn’t wait to be free of him and the torture/slavery that was labeled “marriage.”  I didn’t miss anything about him.  I didn’t miss the companionship because there hadn’t been any for years.  I didn’t miss the friendship because that had never existed.  I didn’t miss him because he treated me so very poorly.  I was only too happy to be getting a divorce.

The thing that made me cry during my divorce?  Failure.  I felt like a big, huge failure.

When I got married, I never intended for it to end.  I knew it would be tough, but I was tougher.  When I got married, I was determined to make it work, willing to do whatever it took.  Fortunately, I was able to draw the line when “whatever it takes” meant “lose my identity completely.”

While I was the one to leave and I was the one to file the papers, I still feel like a failure.  I mean, how can you fail worse than ripping a family to shreds?  My one big adult choice, and I botched it.  When I look back at the one time I cried during my divorce, that was why.  Not because of a love lost, not because of the end of what was – because I failed.

To this day, I figure – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I mean – Brad and Angelina were together for 10 years before they got married.  Two years after marrying, they are divorcing.  It wasn’t broken, they tried to fix it, it failed.

I love Mr. C.  I love him more than I could have ever imagined loving a man.

Which is why I don’t want to marry him.  I don’t want to fail with him.

That makes sense, right?

Fear Eased

There was a lady with whom I worked who was a nice enough lady, yet nobody really liked her.  As I paid attention, I noticed that she always talked about herself.  But, it was more than that.  She was always complaining.  ALWAYS.  Nobody likes to be around that.  I realized that it was for this reason that she was just… tolerated.

 

One day, she told me it was her last day.  Normally, when it’s someone’s last day, there is at least a little hoopla.  Maybe even some fanfare.  There was nothing.  There was less than nothing.

I felt really badly for her.  We all see the to-do that goes on for anyone who leaves.  To leave without anyone taking notice, that must have really hurt her feelings.  Had I known, I would have tried to initiate some sort of something for her, but I didn’t know her last day was coming so soon.

The next day, I went to the manager (where HR just happened to be sitting) to tell them about what hadn’t happened.  The manager’s response?  He said that it’s a popularity contest.  The going away things are put on by the friends of the person who is leaving.  Nothing was done for her because nobody was sad to see her go.

My initial response was to feel really badly for her.

My next response was to wonder what kind of stuff would happen if/when I leave (if any).

The manager took that moment to mention that I wouldn’t get much of a going away party because the only who really knows me is my co-worker in the back office.

For those of you who don’t know, I used to have a really low self-esteem.  Really.  Low.  It was bad.

I’ve intentionally become a person that I like, so my self esteem isn’t as bad.  But there are still moments when I wonder how people see me/what they think of me.  I would like to say that it doesn’t matter, but who am I kidding – it does matter to me.  It shouldn’t, but it does.

When my manager said that, it bothered me more than I would like to admit.  I try to be outgoing and friendly (despite my introvert nature.)  I try to fit in (even though I suffer some of the effects of PTSD, which effects my interactions with people.)  I try to act as if I’m not constantly doubting my like-ability.

Maybe my manager just doesn’t know how hard I’ve been trying to chat with people.  Maybe he doesn’t know that I’ve formed relationships with the women in the Paint Department.  Maybe he doesn’t know how I’ve stepped far out of my comfort zone to talk with almost everyone.

Then again, maybe he’s right.

Today, another of my co-workers made me feel so special!  I went in to work to get a heat set-up for the chickens with Mr. C.  While there, one of the associates in the electrical department came up to help us, not recognizing me.

When he finally realized it was me, he became far friendlier, which was cool.  He told Mr. C that everyone likes me.

The clouds parted, the sun shone brightly on me, and the Hallelujah chorus went all out.

The things is – he could have just been saying it, but I honestly don’t think he would have.  Why would he?

It was just an incredibly kind thing to say!

What’s my point in all of this?  You never know the difference your kind words can make in someone’s day (or beyond).  If you think/feel something kind about someone – why not let them know?  You may never know just how badly they need to hear it.