Birthday fun.

Birthday flowers.

“Birthdays are good for you.  Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” ~ Father Larry Lorenzoni

It was a good birthday.  I don’t know why but it seems to me the older I get the more people remember the day.  I had phone calls, cards and emails from just about everyone I know, even D.  It’s very nice to know that so many care enough to take the time to acknowledge my special day.

I think maybe having one’s own party may be the way to go.  But in the future I need to figure out a way to convince people, that when I say I don’t want gifts, I really mean it.  That’s the one thing that would keep me from having a party for myself again.  Any suggestions?

This is my fifth birthday without my ex-husband and I have to say it’s getting easier.  Time is truly a healer.  The first one was in 2007 when D was still living (in a manner of speaking) in the same house with me.  He, of course, was out-of-town.  He didn’t call.  He sent a brief email message which said “Hope you have a good birthday.”  Or something equally trite.  I was crushed.  He hadn’t even moved out yet and already he was ignoring my birthday.  He who had given such lavish gifts in the past and always made sure he was home in time to celebrate with me.  And I didn’t even rate a phone call!  I remember, too, that I had just learned about his OW because I found a receipt that described an expensive ring he had bought for her.  Not nearly as expensive as some he had bought me, but even so, a twist of the knife.  And by the way I still take some pleasure in knowing that hers was “slim pickings” compared to some of mine.  Okay.  Okay.  I know how childish that sounds.  Fortunately I get less and less snide and childish as I gain a distance from the “main event.”  I’m grateful for the healing and I forgive myself for the lapses.

Oh, and another benefit of giving a party:  My house is clean!  I am a happy soul.

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Growing. Up, up and out of the ashes.

My! How he's grown!

This is my grandson’s hand print when he was four.  He’s nine now and he loves to put his hand on this print to show me how much he’s grown.  I wish it were that easy to measure my growth.

To grow:  to increase in size or substance; to become by degrees; to become mature or experienced; to attain mental or physical maturity; to come into existence; to arise.

Obviously I like the last definition best.  It’s what I want to do.  I also like the fact that this is a verb, an action word.  I’m a little tired of adjectives.  It’s time for verbs!  There comes

Flight of the Phoenix.

a time when I have to stop describing myself, my situation, the “bad guys” and begin to act in a way that will help me to rise above all the garbage and detritus of my broken marriage.

What, exactly, am I doing?  What action am I taking?

Well, this weekend will be my first party, other than family dinners,  since D left.  And, yes, it’s my birthday.  I don’t intend this to be a birthday party, just a party on my birthday.  Sometimes you simply have to take the “birthday bull” by the horns.  That’s what I’m trying to do.  Here in the South, people always ask what they can bring.  I’m telling them nothing, absolutely nothing.  I’m preparing the food myself.  That should keep me busy all day Saturday.  And that’s a good thing.

I have organized my sewing/project room.  I have some of my favorite fabrics at the ready so I can start a new project once I’ve finished cleaning up after the party.

I have volunteered for another project at church because I think it’s very important.  We are going to make “pillow case dresses” for girls in Haiti.  I haven’t yet seen the written bulletin on this project, but as I understand it, young girls are being raped in large numbers there.  I hope I get this right.  If a girl is wearing a dress, it indicates that she belongs to a family and she’s much less likely to be violated.  Numerous dresses are needed.  Now that I can do with energy and enthusiasm.  But what a sad statement that it needs to be done.

I don’t know where else this Phoenix flight will take me but I shall continue to examine and figure it out.

How do I put me back together again?

Help me! she cried. I am dropping pieces of me all over the place.

I bought this little picture a long time before D told me he wanted a divorce.  It was how I felt at the time.  That means, of course, that I realized something in my life was out of kilter.  In fact, even though I didn’t acknowledge it readily, I knew that he and I had some problems in our marriage.  And we couldn’t seem to talk about them.  What I didn’t understand speaks volumes.  Because he had a history of depression, I blamed any and all problems on that.  It’s gets really hard to separate the problem from the depression.  Was he depressed because of the problem(s) or did the depression bring on the problem?  I will never know that for sure.  I doubt that he knows.  I believed at the time that he hit a midlife crisis in his late forties and was never able to climb out of the abyss.  I still believe that today.

So how do I put me back together?  That’s what I’m left to deal with.  If I use the jigsaw puzzle analogy as I started out to do, I could get  frustrated.  What do I do now with the puzzle pieces that no longer fit the old mold?  My self-esteem was severely eroded.  That piece might work again now that I’ve made good progress toward building it back.  I don’t think it’s shaped exactly the same, though.  And what about the piece of me that was half a couple?  That piece doesn’t even resemble the shape of the old piece.  And the new independent me doesn’t have any interest in relying on someone else to pay the bills.  This independent piece of me wouldn’t mind having input on major decisions but I certainly can make them on my own when I need to.  Right now I need to and so I do.

So much about me is altered beyond recognition.  I guess what I hear myself saying is that I have to take the pieces as they are now and create a whole new picture.  My job is to try to make it a happier, more beautiful picture than ever before.

“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”~Lewis Carroll

Smile and the whole world smiles with you.

Not to worry.  I didn’t slay the Jabberwock.  I just love nonsensical, imaginative speech. And it’s not a day for slaying.  It’s a day to jump for joy in the glorious sunshine and warm weather.  It is a frabjous day!  We will probably pay for this early, fake Spring.  Not today, though.  I’m enjoying every minute of it.  There’s a smile on my face and if I didn’t have a sinus infection, I would have a spring in my step.  I do have a song in my heart and on the iPod.  Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to do the household chores when you’re singing and dancing with the music?  Works for me.  Wherever and whoever you are, I hope you’re having a good day!  Blessings to you.

What are my passions?

“There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but  not for man’s greed.” ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Girl Before a Mirror" Pablo Picasso

I’ve had a very productive day.  I cleaned a great deal which is a mindless job so it gives me time to ponder.  And it feels good to look at sparkling clean kitchen, bathrooms, etc.  I’ve been thinking about things I’m passionate about.

I have been an environmentalist most of  my adult life.  D and I were recyclers long before it was the “in” thing to do.  I still am.  I’m sure he is too.  I’m a member of the Sierra Club.  But today, in search of goals, I have been thinking of ways I might do more.  That’s one possibility to examine.  I’m not sure how much of an activist I’m willing to be.

I’ve thought for a number of years about ways to make women’s lives better.  But how?  I’m on the Women’s Council at my church but it seems to me we don’t have very ambitious aims in that group.  Granted, it’s a new group and we’re just feeling our way.  But somehow the Valentine’s Dance just didn’t do anything for me nor will it ever.  How about starting a women’s writing group.  Maybe writing journals and sharing.  Or not sharing.  Writing can empower even if no one reads it.  Something to think about.

Another passion of mine is art.  In particular, fabric art.  I love textiles.  And color.  I’m not a painter (well, I paint walls) and I don’t draw but I love to manipulate fabric.  I’ve looked for an art-quilting group in my area but haven’t found one close enough.  Where does that leave me then?  I’m not a big organizer.  But I do know several quilters.  It wouldn’t hurt to ask around.  I guess if I could get a group started, I wouldn’t have to be the leader.  I don’t really want to be in charge.  Just a participant.  This is an interest I definitely want to pursue one way or the other.

OK.  I’m tired and brain-dead and I’m going to bed.  More on this another time.

Out of the blue…

“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going because you might not get there.”–Yogi Berra

People laugh at Yogi Berra quotes because they are illogical, don’t make sense.  This one makes perfect sense to me.  It’s saying to me that I need a goal.  I’ve never been good at setting long-term goals.  I usually wait for a bolt out of the blue and that becomes my short-term goal.  I accomplish that one and drift for a while and await the next bolt (idea).

I know that I want (and even need) to be doing something visually artistic.  I think that will always be true.  The problem that I often encounter when I’m manipulating fabrics and color and trying to come up with something beautiful, is that I tend to isolate myself.  I think it was one of my daughters who told me recently that according to the “experts” we need seven or eight hours of interactions with other people every day in order to be mentally/emotionally healthy.  Wow!  If this is true, I am already hopelessly wacky.  I would have to get a job for that much people time.  Horrors!

Let me rephrase what I said in the first paragraph.  It’s not that I’ve never been good at setting long-term goals.  I used to have long-term goals.  Maybe the reason I don’t have them now has something to do with the fact that I’m retired.  And I’m older.  I love doing what I want when I want.  I do believe, though, that I would make better use of my time if I made a daily schedule (that’s a very short-term goal, no?).  I’ve had that notion in my head for quite some time and so far I haven’t done anything about it.  Well, let me put it this way:  I’ve made mental schedules in the past but I usually go off schedule fairly early in the day.  Do I dare try again?  It’s no fun setting myself up for failure.

Maybe I’m just a hopeless, old adolescent.  Any suggestions?

Note:  I would like to give credit to the artist who painted the blue picture above but I can’t remember the name.

Moving on, slowly.

“Moving on is a simple thing; what it leaves behind is hard.” –Dave Mustaine

Most people in an unwanted breakup of a relationship dislike the term move on. It’s a cliché.  It makes what you’re in the middle of seem trite or easy.  But it isn’t easy.  It’s your life and it’s taken a turn that you didn’t want and you  had no say in it.  If someone tells you it’s time you move on, it feels as if they trivialize your pain.

I know that moving on is essential to my well-being.  In fact, I have moved on.  I haven’t always met my own expectations but I look at where I am now and where I was months ago and I see a huge improvement.  Sometimes, though, things crop up and cause setbacks.  I have to remind myself constantly that there are peaks and there are valleys.  The peaks are easy enough.  When I hit a valley I remind myself that it’s temporary.  This too shall pass.

A friend called me this afternoon to say that my last posts had sounded a bit sad.  How sweet it is to have friends who are observant enough to notice and then take the time to call.  I explained to her that my current “low” is probably the result of knowing that our mountain home is on the auction block this week.  D refinanced the house when we separated in order to buy me out.  His  new payments were exorbitant.  He held on as long as he could.  Despite his efforts, he couldn’t keep the payments up-to-date.  The bank foreclosed.  They will sell it on the courthouse steps.  How sad is that?

So…even though I no longer have a financial interest in the house and property, still I will mourn the loss.  One more thing over which I have no control.  Thus, I must let it go and move on.