Thursday, November 27, 2008

I Give Thanks

A quiet, chilly morning, still, deep in the night, and I am without sleep. Sometimes the mind will not rest and I find myself in a dark living room beneath the subtle light of a single lamp, wandering the Internet, reading messages from family and friends, lost at times in prayer, meditation and memories, and this morning is no different. For whatever reason, my mind is awake and has things to say, and I suspect I will not rest until I have said it.

It is Thanksgiving 2008. I look beyond myself this year to see a world heavy with hardship, fear and sorrow. Over the past year, the news of every family who has had a loss has touched me deeply. Between Thanksgiving last year and this year has been a time of profound healing and personal insight. It has been a year of fluttering, shaking mental fingertips bidding farewell to my oldest son in a different way, a recategorzing of my grief and a sensation of sobs fading in my raw soul, a toddler-like tantrum coming to a shuddering, exhausted end as I open my eyes and begin to look about me again. The release of the anger, the shock, the denial has been a horrifying relief, and so I start my list this year being grateful for the passage of time that allows my memories to hold me with greater clarity and greater joy. I am thankful to be able to feel thankful for the time I got with him in equal measure to the debilitating sorrow. I am thankful for the hope that one day, I may possess the gratitude and joy of Joseph's life and the examples he gave me in much stronger measure, that I believe as I continue to grow as a person, the light of his life will continue to grow within me. I am thankful for healing, for inner strength, for the grace that I believe is God moving in my life. And, of course, I am thankful for the memories and for having been chosen to be his mother. I am thankful he was here at all, however brief. His life changed mine.

I am thankful for a renewal of spirtuality. It is frail and hesitant, wounded and battered and shaken in one of the most profound ways faith can be. I still cannot imagine myself running to God with my sorrow and I still have trouble sitting in true prayer. It is a shy rediscovering of that relationship after years of bitter silence and fury. I am thankful that God is patient. I am thankful that I do in the end still believe. I feared I never could again. I am thankful to learn I never really stopped, but was simply so battered over the past five years of tragedies that my voice, God's voice inside me perhaps, became hoarse and nonsensical to me. I have had to assimilate a great deal of personal suffering and suffering in my children, and God has told me no more times than I am okay with. I am thankful that I can now sit quietly with God and that in my solemn, tentative approach God seems to understand my hesitancy and frailty and simply lets me exist within his presence, without requirement, without demand and without expectation. I am thankful for baby steps of relearning faith.

We have elected an historic president who hopefully can bring more of a moral, human, peaceful grace to the running of our country and our relationship with the world. I am thankful that the bad habits of our country are finally coming to their natural fruition and thankful to see mankind responding on the whole as they should, with less consumption, more internalizing and reflection and renewed attention to the value of saving, working and simple things. I, of course, do not think anyone's suffering is a good thing. But I see examples every single day of suffering gracefully. And I see a spirit of intense hope and understanding in the election of President-elect Obama. I am thankful we have come so far as a country to have the courage to make a change such as this.

I am thankful for the generosity of others. Even as our economy began to crash down around us, we were able to raise over $6800 in Joseph's name back in September for Heroes For Children, a move that has become a pivotal point in the healing of my grief and the sense that Joseph is very much still with the world and, more specifically, with me. Thank God for people who look beyond themselves. Thank God for advances being made in the lives of families dealing with cancer, and for slow but steady progress in the treatment of these children. And I am thankful that these children are without fail the most amazing spirits you could know. Such strength in such little people. Such forebearance. I am thankful for what they continue to teach me.

The last year has been very solidifying in my relationship with Joe. Every relationship must eventually find its way, make the transition from the early honeymoon stages into the workaday world and the inclusion of every mundane irritation and earth shattering tragedy. It was eye opening as we negotiated the muddy waters of blending our lives to find both of our chins stubbornly lifted to the light of our love for one another, and to emerge from the first turbulent year to a steady, strong pulse of peace. I cannot say that I could not do it without Joe. I know that I could now, and it is him who taught me that. But I also know that I choose not to. And that he can say the same. We make one another's lives better. I am thankful for the thankful for the punctuations of joy that overtake us and leave me luminous with inner peace and contentment. I am thankful for the sensation of being fragile at times, and sheltered, pampered, protected and spoiled. Every girl needs a little spoiling now and then. I am thankful for the difficult times, the times the only reason I move forward is because I know that he expects it, for the feeling of not being able to bear any sense of being less, that I might not live up to the high esteem he holds me in. He makes me more than I would be motivated to be on my own, and then somehow makes it seem as if I were all that I am in my own right, all along, and that he simply helped me see it. I have grown as a person in this relationship, learned to control a raging, volatile temper and have become a sweeter, more open woman to the world, in large part because of who he allows me to be when I am with him and in our home. I am intensely grateful for the financial well-being that we enjoy in these turbulent times, for our lack of debt and for our nice home and nice cars. I lived many years wondering how I would make it through the month and I am so thankful that he has guided me to a place of personal management that has eliminated that personal stress. I am thankful for the passion between us, for the feeling of femininity I get from his masculinity and for the way we balance one another. I am thankful he is not an angry man, that I do not suffer abuse at his hands of any nature and that he is patient and logical when upset the vast majority of the time. I grew up in a very different atmosphere and no matter how many times I steel myself for the brunt of his temper, it just never comes. I am thankful to be loved, wholly, without reservation, without boundary, without contradiction and with a great deal of passion, humor, joy and peace. I love you forever Joe and I am so grateful God brought you into my life.

I believe I possess many unique and truly fortunate relationships in my life, and one of most important to me beside Joe is my relationship with Stewart, the father of my children. He has handled my falling in love and moving in with Joe with grace, dignity and nothing but a desire for my happiness, and has never treated either Joe or myself with anything but dignity, respect and friendship. He continues to be a wonderful, loving, giving father to our children and a caring, generous friend to me. There are times a hug from him is exactly what I need to add a jolt of tenderness and softness to my day, and I cannot describe how I cherish the evolution of our relationship from child-like lovers to loyal, adult friends. We have weathered the change in our relationship well over the last seven years and I am protective of and grateful for the depth of that relationship. The definition of the word "love" between us has altered, deepened and gained richness over the years, and I am so grateful that we have been able to give our children the family they deserve to have despite change in circumstances. We share deep and special memories, and the maintenance of our friendship has allowed those to live out loud. Stewart, I am so very grateful for you.

I have two beautiful not that little boys who are growing too fast, who evolve and change gradually but steadily and give me glimpses of the men they will become. I am grateful for the steadiness of their love and respect for me, for their generous views on the world and the people in it, for the tender way they treat me and for the absolute absence of pre-teen and teenaged angst in our lives. They fill my life with fun, with love, with laughter and moments of intense, humbling pride. I am so thankful to be a mother and to have all the joy and challenge that title brings, and I feel so privileged that these amazing souls are mine. Nick, Alex, you are unique and precious to me. I love you forever. I like you for always. As long as I'm living, my babies you'll be.

I am beyond fortunate in the family that I was born into. This year has brought more than usual opportunities to reconnect with people who have known and loved me since before I can remember. As far back as my memory goes, they have been there, and it is a deep, abiding love and sense of having a place in the world....aunts who were the epitome of beauty to me as I watched them in their youth, uncles who held me on their knees, lifted me high into the air and tickled me into childish glee, who now look upon me as a woman and still see the girl. I am thankful for the values these people have taught me, for the way we come together after months and even years apart and everything just falls into place. I am so grateful for my aunts, my uncles, my cousins. I love all of you and am just now realizing how deeply you complete my life. More than anything I am just so thankful for the love that is our family. We are blessed beyond measure in one another.

My girlfriends continue to be a life-sustaining force in my life. I do not know how I ever existed without girlfriends, and the years when I had no close ones were lonely and neurotic to say the least. I am convinced a great deal of my mental health rests on these beautiful ladies. It is affirming and energizing to be in their presence, to talk, laugh, share a drink of wine or of coffee. I cherish so much having one Sunday set aside every month simply to connect and come together, and so grateful for the effort that all of you make to keep one another a priority in our lives. I am soul-filled grateful for the unconditional love you have shown me, for the laughter that we find together, the hugs, the deep talks into the depth of dusk and for the way you affirm my existance. I am grateful for the way you can talk me down from high places and give me a soft place to fall, and also for the way you take up the pitchfork and head out as a lynch mob toward any thought or idea that has caused me angst. We've cried together, laughed together, explored new ideas and held one another's feet to the fire. I can't imagine my life without any of you, and I never want to. I picture us as old wrinkled ladies talking about things we should not be in public places, laughing just a little too loud and looking fabulous. We have years of friendship behind us now and it has sustained me through the darkest years of my life. Thank you so much for all of you. Heather, Nessa, Felicia, Amy, Ginger, Becca, Erin, Cecelia, Aislin, Kate....I give very profound and deep thanks for you, more often that you possibly know. We do not see one another as often as I would like, but I love knowing no matter what, we are always there. We ought to write a book about us.

I am grateful for my internet friends, particularly my PW friends, some of whom have been in my life longer than most of my real life friends. Somehow we have turned the hardware of electronics into the softness of womanly friendships and you have given depth, color, meaning and flavor to my life. We are such a different, diverse bunch of people. You have watched me struggle and change as I recover from my grief and have quietly sat by and maintained a loyal affection for me in spite of some truly neurotic moments and odd times of angst as well as through the ups and downs as I try to redefine my life. Thank you for sticking by me. Thank you for loving me, over so many miles, across the land and sea...we are far in distance, but linked in heart. I love all of you and would always want you to know it.

Karen, my online friend who lost her daughter Katie not long after I lost Joseph, thank you for sharing your grief journey with me, for your soft notes of support and spirituality. Your grace has touched my own and brought it forward and you have been a true gift to me. I feel honest, deep love for you though we have never met. I suspect our impish children had something to do with this, and for that I am thankful as well.

I have so much I am grateful for this year, but it strikes me how much of my gratitude revolves around relationships and people. For the first time in my life, I have a sense of having enough, just like that email story that circulated some time ago...."I wish you enough"..... My life is very full. My spirit is very old I think sometimes. I am thankful to have found strength in myself, the kind of strength nobody thinks is there and nobody wants to have to find but is absolutely necessary in certain circumstances. I am grateful for the lessons the difficulties of my life have taught me. I am thankful to be quietly okay within myself, to find on the whole, my heart is happy, and that happiness actually engulfs the tragedy of Joseph's loss now, that they assimilate into one person, whole and complicated. I am grateful to be multifaceted, to not have all the answers and to know there is more yet to discover and see, more to learn, more ways to grow. I am thankful to be alive. I am thankful for survival. I am thankful....for gratitude.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The day before Thanksgiving

I can't believe the official Thanksgiving holiday is here. It doesn't feel like much of a holiday this year to be honest. Mom has gone to celebrate in Nebraska with our family up there for the first time since moving to Texas. I had a small surgical procedure done last week and while I am doing well, recovery keeps me from actively participating in the way I am used to doing. Due to that, I told Stewart he could do whatever he wants this year with the kiddos, so Stewart and the boys will be at his sister's house for Thanksgiving instead of here, which is kind of lonely. But not long after this is my Christmas Tea with my girlfriends and my grandmother is coming home with Mom from Nebraska to stay the month. I have some Christmas crafts bought to do with the boys and of course my baking is starting to kick into high gear. I will be attending a Christmas concert with my family the night of the 12th and in all I think there is excellent potential for this to be a festive holiday season. Now if it would just get cold the way it ought to be. It can go back to the 60s after Christmas is over and stay there the rest of the winter for all I care. But around Christmas, I want cold if not snow. Damn me and my idealism. Joe will haul down all the decorations for me this weekend. I want the house all decked out before my Tea and that will take a little time.

I am stressed out and bummed about gift giving this year. We are blessed and are not hurting the way some families are, and I have been doing some shopping and enjoying it. But the boys are so fun to buy for and I have trouble deciding whether to get them this....or that.... And ultimate of bummers, the "big gift" I got for Joe arrived the other day...while he was home...and I was not...IN ITS ORIGINAL BOX. :mad: Grrr! So now he knows what I am getting him and totally ruined the surprise, which makes me furious for me and feel bad for him. He is like a kid at Christmas and really enjoys the lights, the music, the drinks, the decorations, the presents, the surprises. I hate it that the surprise was ruined. The box was not even sealed. Why on earth would they send an item without packaging it?! Jerks. is the day before Thanksgiving. And I work at the best place in the world, so look forward to going in today. And I have many blessings right now that I am aware others do not. Tomorrow I will write my annual message of thanks, and will spend my day focusing on that which I am thankful for. Its a wonderful thing to do.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Little pleasures

I have today, Monday and Tuesday off work to take care of some personal issues. I woke early today, very early, with much on my mind and sleep fluttering away from me. Its all right. I have learned its better to just go ahead and get up if I awaken an hour or so early, than to try to get back to sleep.

I begin to get sentimental at this time of year. I love having the excuse to look adoringly at my friends and family in my mind, to begin counting the ways that I adore them, thinking of ways to spoil them and just letting my heart fill up. I love to get out old movies that I adore, old books, the stories that bring to mind people no longer here, times that have changed, patterns that have brought us to where we are and habits and customs that could bear some revival. Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility. Tales of femininity and strength, gentility and yet great, driving passions. Stories that touch the woman in me and make me happy to be one, that remind me of gentler times when a glimpse of a woman's ankle was as erotic then as a bit of cleavage is now, when being a woman was no less powerful and perhaps even more cunning and subtle due to the overt restrictions put upon us. Times that seemed truthfully not at all long ago in the years of my childhood on my grandparent's farm, learning the graces and expectatons of ladies versus men that still had flavors of the 1800s from when that huge old house was built. Family pictures from the turn of the century, from the years of the Great Depression, the awareness of lineage and tradition passed down one story at a time. Faces that resemble mine here and there, souls I never knew and who died long before I was born. I wish I knew more than just their faces and the basic outlines of their lives, their travels, their heritage. Who did they love. What did they suffer. What did they triumph. What made them happy. The sister that looked so delicate versus the sister solid, like me, whose face was happier though her beauty seems less. I wonder about them. And thus wonder....who may one day wonder....about me?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Crystalline morning

Ah, glorious frigid morning, finally! We covered the tomatoes late last night after suspecting a coming frost, and it is a good thing we did. I woke this morning to a brilliant sun, glancing out the windows of the kitchen, into the backyard, to see the heavy nod of my pansies beneath a blanket of crystalline beauty and the certain death of our peppers, which were forced to bear the brunt of the chill naked. Joe has lit the fireplace for a warm Sunday treat and the musky scent of burning wood tinges the air with the smell of coffee while I peruse the Sunday ads looking eagerly for signs of retail panic reflected in sale prices, which frustratingly enough don't seem to be presenting as blatantly as I would like. I got a little Christmas shopping done last night at Stacey's Partylite sample sale and got us a lovely new hurricane lanterm that reflects dancing snowflakes on the frosted glass when lit, sure to play a role somewhere in my decorations for the Christmas tea, coming up fast.

The frost is already melting away, shimmering into droplets almost from the moment the sun touches it and we are headed to about 66 degrees, not exactly fireplace weather. But I am enjoying it while it is here...we didn't turn on the furnace last night, so the house is nippy. I have baking and writing and painting to do today, maybe some Christmas shopping if time allows, which I am already pretty sure it won't. Alex has popcorn to deliver and eventually today I return the boys to their dad's house. Mom leaves on Wednesday to have her Thanksgiving holiday in Nebraska and is bringing my Grandma back to spend the month of December with our family here in Texas, which we are all rather giddy about...its the first time we have done that and all of us are looking forward to spending time with her.

So that's more of my quiet little life reflection on a Sunday in November. We've hit the point we brought Joseph home from the hospital two years ago after his bone marrow transplant. I am trying to decide whether to have his angel tree again this year, or to mingle the memories of him with the rest of the family on our traditional heirloom tree. He is still, after all, a part of us. I will see, when it comes time to decorate for Christmas, which way the wind is blowing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday musings

It is a cold and blustery Saturday morning, probably the coldest we have had yet this year. It makes me feel festive, holiday'ish and ready to tackle things around the house. Joe and I slept with a window cracked last night and it was a snuggly sleep to be sure. Everyone is in the living room in jammies and slippers and robes with afghans draped over laps. All we need is a fire and a Christmas tree to complete the idyllic scene. All in good time.

Christmas is coming up fast and I am making my baking list. I want to do a lot this year and send little baskets of goodies home with co-workers on Christmas Eve and to the husbands of my girlfriends after our Christmas tea. I might be being overly ambitious, but I don't think so. I think about Christmas this year and how fast it all goes, how we can't remember the following year half of what we got in terms of gifts and I feel just a little bit hollow about it all. There has to be more. I am not ready to get into massive volunteer work, so I will start close to home and try to make people I love grow fat on sweets. After all, what is life without a New Years Resolution? Yes, you all can thank me later.

So I am trying more to get outside of myself and notice the world around me, to take the snapshots of life that seem to get filed away in my head for later times when I am writing and need an image to call upon to communicate an idea or mental image. Yesterday I was driving behind an apple red corvette on the way to pick the boys up from their dad. The wind had turned out of the north and the cold front was just starting to move in, blowing everything around. It was, not unexpectedly, an older gentleman driving this pretty, expensive vehicle. I think most normal people can't afford that kind of thing until later in life, and it was obvious by how he drove that this machine was something that gave him pleasure. We stopped at a red light, me behind him, and I marveled that in a car an ass that low to the ground and that wide is a GOOD women, not so much, with the requisite internal somewhat good natured grumbling. As the light turned green and we approached I-75, suddenly the road was clear before him, and he took off like a shot, leaving a scattering of swirling leaves behind him that would have been the dream shot of any Hollywood director. He took the corner to head south on 75 without breaking speed, and I found myself smiling. He wasn't being a jerk. He wasn't trying to race anyone or push his good fortune and fancy toy in anyone's face. He was just enjoying what that vehicle could do when given enough space and opportunity. I was happy for him. It was pretty, shining red in the sun and performing to an exacting standard, leaving a gust of autumn in his wake. I liked it.

Today is busy....painting the master bathroom, doing a little shopping, doing a little baking and then going to my sister-in-law's house for her end of the year Partylite closeout tonight (she sells it...let me know if you need her number. She rocks). I really love getting girl time. This should be fun.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ebb and Flow

It happened again last night. Alex had a school performance and, of course, I went to attend. There were a lot of people there, and anyone who knows me well knows that I am not really that comfortable in a crowd. There were all these kids who I have known since they were in kindergarten, now in fifth grade, only they don't look the same. During Joseph's illness I shrank away from all the school stuff and focused on getting through life, so all my memories became very my head, none of the kids had grown up, even though mine has. It startled me last night to see all these kids having changed so much from my internal perceptions and memories of them. Some of them I did not recognize.

This was the grade school that Joseph attended and left to continue on to middle school. A lot of the administration there knew Joseph for years and many of the teachers are still the same. It is conspicuous to me how they all know Stewart so well. He has been a very intense and commendable volunteer at the school, whereas I am SO not a PTA Mom and have never been comfortable with the subtle comparisons and judgements that get passed around, the politics of motherhood. I went through a hard time emotionally when Stewart and I were divorcing and the subsequent cascade of tragedies in Alexander's brain tumor, my father's death, and then, of course, Joseph's leukemia and his own subsequent death, and as a result, my ability to navigate what felt to me like very unfriendly, hostile waters shadowed in smiles just disappeared. My willingness to volunteer for anything at all went away and I stayed away from the school as much as possible. I have been a stranger to that part of my children's lives, and I am not proud of it now. I always feel as if people there look at me as the absentee mother, that they perceive my divorce from Stewart and leave-taking of school activities and volunteerism as my having abandoned my children. I question those decisions (that of disappearing from the school activities) on my own part now and wish I had done it differently, but life has moved on, children have grown and time cannot be regained once it has passed. I did my best to smile, be open and friendly and I was proud to watch Alexander do his thing last night.

I was quiet coming home and settled in on the couch to read and withdraw from the world for a wihle. I had no sense of sadness, just a silence in my heart. When Joe called me over to him and I knelt at his chair and leaned in to kiss him, he put his palm to my cheek, tenderly...and I just felt this internal surge, a sense of warmth and energy rushing from my insides into the warmth of his palm and the strength he has represented in my life...and, rare for me, I was suddenly, inexplicably overwhelmed. Poor guy. The tears started to fall and he had no idea what was wrong with me. I didn't really either and simply said so when he asked what was the matter. It was the school and the continued echo of a place where Joseph lived his life. It was all the things I missed and failed to do. It was all the love I feel for my children now. It was recognition that Nick is turning 14 in two weeks and will have officially outlived Joseph in number of years (a subject that probably deserves its own blog entry. I cannot explain the odd sense inside of your middle child being older than your oldest child). It was just something that had to come out I guess. He just pressed me into his chest and told me to cry...and I obeyed. He took me to bed and held me and I wept myself to sleep in his arms.

I always have felt vaguely guilty when that happens. Its not as if it happens often, but it seems unfair. I came home and was quiet and uncommunicative. Maybe his head wasn't in that place. Maybe he needed something from me and I let my grief trump any need he might have, without even seeing what it was. He would never want me to apologize, and so I won't. Obviously I needed that to happen. I struggled for a short time against it and my throat hurt so badly from trying to shut down my weeping that I almost could not breathe. In fact, I do hold my breath when I am trying not to cry, so that when I finally must breathe, the next breath comes out as even more of a sob than it would have been if I would have just had peace with the emotion as it hit me. It just broke over me, like a wave. I was honestly helpless to it. I feel the resonance of it today still, but am feeling much better. I think the silence of heart that temporarily letting go of school has allowed me has let me grieve in a better, healthier way and also let me live in a better, healthier way. There just isnt' room for it when I am so busy.

A good friend of mine, who also has lost a child, referred to her new fulfillment in domesticity as "nesting"...that though the ability to care for our sick children is now gone, we can still care for the family we have, and it gives us something to do with the lingering energy that the missing soul once used. That makes sense to me.

"Come Sail Away" by Styx came on the radio spontaneously twice yesterday. First time that has happened since somewhere around 1985 I think. It made me smile. It made me remember. It made me sad. It made me relieved. He isn't sick anymore. And neither am I.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I miss blogging!

I miss blogging!
Current mood: calm

But I have not felt my "voice" rising up of late. Not even now as I type here! But I feel neglectful, as if I should encourage it, so I am going to clackity clack and see what comes out.

I have dropped my fall college course, A&P. I was not doing piss poor, but was not doing as well as I need to and have been massively stressed out. I have been intensely ashamed of posting this here...nobody likes to think they are a quitter, and I have been so vocal about my goals. The goals still remain, but I am going to start again in a slightly different format in the spring. The instructor I had, though she was fantastic, was not the right instructor for me, and I had split my lecture and lab classes between two different times of day and two different instructors. They never taught the same thing in the same order at the same time and it was like having two different but very intense classes. I hate to sound as if I am making excuses for myself. The truth is, I am also in a very different place in regards to my grief, and having to redefine why I want to do this. I am still and always will be devastated over the loss of Joseph, but it is no longer working to go to school as a way to cope with the pain of his loss. His loss is becoming also somewhat redefined, and as such, the motivation for school needs to come more from me and less from him. So I am laying my embarassment out there for all to see, but tempering it with telling myself I don't really have to be all that ashamed. I don't know, though, if that is a lie.

Since dropping the class it is like a weight coming off my shoulders. I have been able to take better care of the house and spend more time with Joe, and just enjoy not having something niggling and nagging the back of my mind on a pretty much constant basis. I am sinking myself into planning the Christmas Tea that my best friends and I have together annually (I am hosting again this year, which delights me), into gearing up for Christmas and trying to think of ways that I can bring more energy and joy back into my life. I feel like I have lost my sense of humor to a degree and that I have shrunk in my writing to documenting a lot of internal thoughts and complaints, but not too much observation about the world around me. I feel its time to wake up a little bit and let the light in. Joe and I are starting to contemplate where to go on vacation next year and that is fun to think about. We are also putting this house on the market just after Christmas and are starting to actively look for one that may not be a lot bigger, but bigger enough to have a work space for him and a good place for me to study. I am starting some serious body sculpting and trying to decide whether to return to belly dance and how deep I want to go in learning to read Tarot. Joe took some "before" pictures of me on Sunday and its been both motivating and alarming. I think part of the reason I have let myself get this way is just plain shyness. I never know what to do when men notice me and when you get as overweight as I am, you become invisible to them. What I didn't realize is that I have been invisible to myself as well. I am both better and yet worse than I thought, depending on the angle and whether I am smiling. Some of the aging that has happened to me since Joseph died is starting to fade. Some of my friends went down to the Texas Rennaisance Festival to camp this fall and I found myself yearning to be with them and ready to plan on it next year. Gently, hesitantly I am turning toward the sun, stretching into light and warmth. We had our montly girls luncheon this past Sunday and those of us still in town met up and I left feeling almost giddy happy, just from knowing I am loved and for having so much affection for them. I don't know how anyone survives without good girlfriends.

So this is my rambly babbly blog entry, without any real poetry. Let's see what the day brings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

San Diego Wedding Pics:

Some of my dad's siblings, gettin' down to "We Are Family"
My brother Ryan, his girlfriend Jessica, with my cousin Steve and his girlfriend, Lacey
The Hanzel Family. Sue is my dad's youngest sister. First is my cousin Abby and her husband Zach, my cousin Ben and his fiancee Libby (getting married in March. Ben is in medical school and is an osteosarcoma survivor), then my Aunt Sue and Uncle Larry
Cousins! My brother Ryan, Cousins Allison, Ben, Zach (Abby's husband), Steve, Gina, Abby and me with my eyes shut
Cocktails before the reception. Mom, Libby, Ryan, Uncle Larry and Jessica
Me, Mom and Ryan's girlfriend Jessica
Me, my brother Ryan and Mom

Halloween Pics:

Sweethearts with their sweets
My cute little bad guys

Not a lot of blogging going on these days. My inner voice is very quiet right now. Changes are coming quickly and I am just steady and strong, absorbing them as they happen or as I pursue them. For once they are good changes, but change is change and must be assimilated whether positive or negative, and that is kind of where my head is right now.

I have been impressed with our nation as a whole this week. I could not get into school the other night due to the line out the door and snaking through the lobby at school for people lined up to vote. I do not think I have ever witnessed that kind of a turn-out in my life, and I am glad to see our citizens waking up again and taking part in our democratic process. Without getting into my personal views or politics in general, I find the current election moving, in that no matter what new territory will be broken, with either a man of color or a woman being put into positions in the White House. Either way it opens doors of possibility that had seemed closed until now. It is exciting. I do find the zealousness of both sides alternately amusing and shocking. I have heard Obama called the anti-Christ and a communist, both at McDonald's yesterday, and Sarah Palin and McCain referred to in extremely unflattering terms. I think people forget during elections like these just how little the president is able to accomplish on his own. Personally I think the congressional elections are far more moving this year.

My speaking about it here sounds like I am keeping a close eye on things, but truthfully it is more like half an eye. I have a lot of things pulling at my attetion these days.

Halloween was fun this year. The boys were able to carve their pumpkins utilizing miniature saws and stencils, so they feel pretty proud of how they turned out. Nick lamented yesterday morning that he is getting older and this might have been his last Halloween. I made my traditional chili with cheese, sour cream, corn chips and Stewart came up to eat with us and go trick or treating together. Joe stayed and handed out candy. Lots of adults were dressed in costume this year as they took their kids around the neighborhood and he enjoyed one adult Tinkerbelle a great deal.

San Diego was a fun trip. I didn't get my walk on the beach. The beach was not really close by and there wasn't really time. But I did get a walk around the marina that the resort sat on, and I got a lot of time with my family, which gratifies me. We had a great time. The reception had one moment of extreme pain for me, as I watched my aunt Joan dancing with Dustin, the groom and her oldest son. It just was such a sweet moment, as I remember when Dustin was born, and now he is all grown up, self sufficient, supporting himself very well and enjoying a very successful career in California and newly married to a girl who seems perfect for him. Seeing him so tall and handsome and happy, dancing with his mom, reminded me of a moment I will never get with Joseph, and it broke my heart. I had not thought of it until I watched them, felt the sweetness of the moment, and missed it for myself.

In all, life is good, happy, busy.