Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tool Time Tessie

OK, a whole new page has been turned. Look out lumber. Watch out, water. Who balanced the ph in the h20?

Yep. Tool Time Tessie!

Daniel & I finally cleaned the empty hot tub. Used the shop vac (yeah baby!)to empty residual puddles of sudsy water & sand. Making sure the drainage valve was righty very tighty, we filled it up & followed instructions according to the manual.

See, what I found out is that Vic kept meticulous files on EVERYTHING - including all appliances, equipment, etc., for the house.

When in doubt, head first into the filing cabinet.

If that doesn't reveal the answer, I sit & simply ask Vic for guidance.

Next thing you know, I find myself opening a drawer, moving stuff & bingo, there is the answer!

Next on Tool Time Tessie's agenda: charge up the drained battery on the Ryobi 18v electric screwdriver!

What a trip that will be. I already found an old coffee tin full of miscellaneous nails, screws, plugs. This is important because there is an entire drawer of at least 25 boxes each containing job specific hardware. WTF? I just want a simple generic screw!

Hey ho. With a built-in spirit level, Ryobi-san, Mr. Coffee's miscellany & I might become very good friends. I feel the need to hang things. Now that I can, that is ...

Even though the discoveries are fun & exciting, the fact is Vic left a gigantic crater in the middle of my life. The children seem to be handling things better than I am at the moment.

I hear him, feel him, remember him in things all the time - but random things. The triggers I avoid are fine.

It is the unexpected flashback encounters that are ambushing me.

3 months into "the process" & the battlements are feeling the wear & tear of the sieges. Reserves feel like they are depleting instead of being restocked.

Vic was the sails, the rudder, the engine of this family.

Right now, this particular boat is has a body, map & a compass.

Unfortunately, it is just out there, bobbing away. Just to make things worse, the crew (yours truly) is mutineering against the captain (also yours truly).

What a joke!

If only to be one of those people for whom life is black or white. No grey. Simply this or that.

Sadly, for me, I live through all the spectral shades.

Sometimes simultaneously.

Oy vey.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sharing Grief

The mantle of grief can be as weighty as it can be light. Layers of it feek like thick, wet, felt-wool. Itchy. Dense. Uncomfortable. Other layers soothe,like wispy strands of gossamer silk gently skimming over the surface of ones skin.

It is 12 weeks today. 3 months. Almost to the day.

It seems like so much longer.

Snapshot memories fly at me from the strangest of places.

Driving south the other day, I realized that the last time I drove this route was the last time I went to the hospital ...

Random landmarks & signposts would take me back to the 19 days that I made that trip - each direction coming with its own set of thoughts. Energy. Anticipation. Hope.


a couple of days ago, I was tearing out crossword puzzles. Folding them in four. Putting them aside.

Last time I did that, I was going to the hospital ...

Nice things in the Bealls catalogue. Vic would really like those shoes ....

Oh, peanut butter ice cream. Great. Vic love peanut butter ...

I never realized just how programmed I had become. Just how automatic was automatic. Just how numb to the pain of it. Just how much responsibility I carried totally alone, those 5 years, day by day. I was the only, the one & only person in the whole world who was there for Vic. The only one that Vic totally knew had his back. That he totally trusted.

We prayed to G-d, Every night. Every day. A whole lot.

Now, I seen to function day to day with crash & burn frequency. Everything takes a monumental effort on my part. I push & push to get through all the most mundane things. It's confusing. At one point, I was superwoman. Now I'm just super depleted.

I just really want to be home. Alone but for the children. Home, where I am happiest & safest. A home oozing warmth & love. I find myself needing to keep my commitments to barest minimum. I am forced to say no more than ever. No, I just can't. All I really want & need is to be with our children. And the closest of friends who understand this difficult, discombobulating time.

As far as grief & loss go, I am one of the fortunate ones. Vic & I had a long time to talk about things. To have no regrets. To know that you said what you wanted to say. And got to repeat it, as I was able to with Vic many, many, many times ... it's a beautiful, beautiful gift. A great blessing.

That is why I do wrap myself in the loss, the grief, with love. I walk deep into my feelings & in there, I find comfort.

How strange & yet wonderful.

How freeing.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

OK, do I have plague or something???

You know things are off when even your recycling is rejected!

Seriously. My recycling was left behind accompanied by a note, telling me to put this with that, the other with the following.

Goodness. I mean, there I have 2 huge bins brimming with things that can be turned into mulch & shoes & bags & siding (OK, I was reaching there). I took the time to forage in my trash compactor for the cans & paper & plastic the children throw out only to have it cast aside next to the road in my snazzy 'Wheel Away" recycling bin on wheels.

Le me recap the rejections of my last 2 days: first, my therapist sends me an email subject: "termination" - never a good way to start any communication: next day, recycling is rejected!

In a nut shell, from the lips of a nut case, with apologies to Cole Porter;

"Can't save myself - can't save the planet.
Let's call the whole thing off!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Glory of Nature

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Under the OMG category

'On such a day as this" ... did my therapist break up with me!

How am not to take that personally?

So be warned. One more fruit is running around outside of its loom.

Can you fucking believe it???

It's got to be the oddest form of rejection. I know it is fodder for much juicy material . Perhaps I will have a Nora Ephron moment & write about it in a scathing novella.

"Rejection therapy."

To think I was only just learning about "Positive therapy."

And the world thinks that I'm weird? No freakin' wonder!!!
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Friday, January 8, 2010

To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

Ok, ok, I have to share this one, in this morning. It is not new, but maybe it is to you.

It still makes me laugh so enjoy ...

1.. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice!

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks . Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions,Switch to Espresso.

5. In the Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write ' For Marijuana.

6. Skip down the hall Rather Than Walk and see how many looks you get..

7. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

8. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is 'To Go'.

9. Sing Along At The Opera.

10. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You have a headache.

11. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream 'I Won! I Won!'

12. When Leaving the Zoo, Start Running towards the Parking lot, Yelling 'Run For Your Lives! They're Loose!'

13. Tell Your Children Over Dinner, 'Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go.'

And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What's your animal totem?

Just over 2 years ago, a pair of Screech Owls established a camoflagued residence in our untrimmed Eugenia tree, right by our front door.

Eager to please, ("mi casa, su casa"), Sweet Judy Blue Eyes gave multi-talented Vic the official Audobaun Society directions for building a nest condo to their specifications.

They flew right in & next thing you know, the sound of baby owls!

They reared their young, left.

Then came back. Repeated the behaviour.

Left again. And returned again.

I developed a total love affair with the pair, named Dede & Man (don't ask). Being the spirit seeker that I am, I googlized the significance of owls in mythology, history, magic. The owl as an omen.

I found that they signified both wisdom & death.

The owl is the symbol of the feminine, the moon and the night.
The owl is the bird of magic and darkness, of prophecy and wisdom.

The owl is associated with Athena.

An owl totem gives you the power to extract secrets.
Meditate on the owl and things will be revealed.
Listen to its voice inside of you.

You will hear not what is being said by others, but what is hidden.
You can detect subtleties of voice that others cannot.
People cannot deceive a person who has an owl totem.

Owl people can see into the darkness of others souls.
Most owl people are clairvoyant because of this ability.
It can be very scary at times.

Learn to trust your instincts about people.
Let your owl totem guide you.

The owls that guide me are Screech Owls.

Very courageous and ferocious, this Owl teaches you how to be a fierce individual
with an ability to cooperate with others.

Global warming? I don't think so ...

I thought I was living in tropical La Florida.
But nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. This morning, I woke up to a 28 degree, freezing, frosty Florida.

Instead, it seems I live in La Florida-sur-ice.

I don't care what people think (like I really do) - I am wearing my 20 year old apres ski boots. Uggs off - it's all down to my politically incorrect, "vintage" furry boots for this cold weather baby, baby. Thermal thongs just don't do it when it's this cold. Fleece knickers, there's an idea.

Steaming hot tea, a delicious crumpet dripping with melted butter & an early morning crackling fire - yep, that works fine.

Definitely a night for soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooup with garlic bread.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scenes from a new year

I had a really great time on new year's eve, despite myself! I was in the company of really cool people, dining outside under a beautifully decorated tent ... A delightfully cool evening, I learned the benefits of being in the presence of a well created Lord Rumson firepit. It's unique & specific design causes the heat to expand outwards therefore covering a larger area of well dispersed heat.

But the real joy began once I got back home around 12.30am.
The blue moon was rising in the cloudless sky.

The children were with friends. My tea was hot. The fire was inside was gorgeous.
Our home has a very special, wonderful feel at this time of year. Many was the night that I would sit in front of the fire when everyone was asleep. Just staring. Trying not to think. Losing myself in the dancing, tangerine flames.

Recapping the evening, I was surprised not to have been bothered going to the party alone (as in unaccompanied, as in no Vic). As I was driving down the dark, dirt road, I reached a dead end. Right in the middle of no where. On a gravelly road. Not even in the Jeep.

Oh, Vic was loving this. "How would Karen extricate herself from this situation?"

Yep. Lost. Totally. Instead of freaking out, I kind of laughed.

"I'm on an adventure" I thought. Actually, it was more how I felt.

Can you feel like you are on an adventure? That is what this feels like. Life after Vic.

As I sat on the patio, I not only looked back upon the year, but upon the decades that have passed. How I have acknowledged this annual "event" - from a child in Switzerland, to being married to the starter husband, practically ignoring every holiday as was his family way, then to Vic & our first Christmas & New Year together in Ft. Lauderdale.

The key to grieving is to look back without regret. Never to use the words "would", "could", "should". As I sat alone on oure deck on new year's eve, I felt oddly fulfilled & happy just as I was. Scared? For sure. But in an excited kind of way. Really, really weird. Not at all what I had expected.

Certainly not the grief model upon which I was raised ... 'Our Lady of Perpetual Guilt & Grief' ... Sunday grave crawls, a requirement.

Instead, I focus on the here & now. Of being present. Very present.

Maybe it is a form of escape.


But it works for me.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Mindfullness with Jon Kabat Zinn

A wonderful way to start the new decade.

I adore him. His energy is the purest of experiences ...

I found this on You Tube. He is at the headquarters of Google, teaching mindfullness to employees.

Happy New Year.