Hello Again…

I’ve been resisting writing, just a few stray sentences escaping on rare occasions, suppressing every urge as it crept up. Writing hurts, because it makes me confront truths. Truths I’d rather avoid or just keep moving past, moving so fast, the memories only faintly remain. I don’t think escapism is the right route though and truly it only lasts for so long before I cave. I’ll write and stay writing.

My words are finally beginning to creep out of me. Just in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been beginning to write again, after almost nothing for two months. Not because I have to, but because I want to, I’m going to do the over share thing and get personal a minute. If you’ve visited this blog before, you know I do personal, so here it goes…(not everything, just a bit, sooo…you can breathe and hopefully read on…)

It’s taken me a bit longer to catch my breath than usual as my already overloaded life took a plunge(A.K.A.-nosedive, plummet, dropped off the deep end, etc.) and has been changed dramatically. March brought way more than spring. It brought bittersweet. My husband died March 10th, coming after a long decline in his health. We were back on hospice briefly before it happened. It came quickly and at home, where we wanted. I’d been with him for about 24 years, so I no longer quite know my place in life.

The sweet, came ten days later, our daughter gave birth to a beautiful little boy, her firstborn and my first grandchild. My daughter had the same midwife I had when I had her, but I was able to be the one to catch him. He was welcomed into grandma’s loving hands, then handed to his mother, my daughter. He was born in our home, a planned home birth, welcomed with love and adored by both his parents.

So it is, that within our home, where we’ve lived since our daughter was three years old, the full circle of life took place in only a few brief weeks. It’s sad his grandfather never got to hold him. He loved babies and especially would’ve loved him. The timing came as I guess it was meant to, as every treasured moment I was able to hold my grandson, helped to ease my sorrow. Life goes on, and there is no more reassurance of that, than the birth of a child and the flowery emergence of spring.

I’m back to writing and I’ll see where it goes. Hopefully I’ll keep blogging too and more posts will follow. I don’t claim to know anything right now and it will take time. I’m trying to be gentle with myself, realize it will really take time, and figure things out. I’ve got to get rid of the “shoulds”, there are too many of those I keep trying to hold onto, and just learn how to live in this new life I find myself in.

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Snowy Day Ramblings

Snowy Bench

Snowy Bench

I just finished sipping a cup of homemade hot chocolate. It’s the perfect thing to do on a frosty day like today. Way more snow fell yesterday in our little part of North Carolina than we’ve seen in many years.  It never lasts long, so I just content myself to staying cozily indoors till the roads are safe. Of course since over 3 snowflakes fell, pretty much everything is closed anyway. The only venturing out I do is to take the occasional picture and to feed the outside critters(the resident goat, guinea, and couple of chickens).

It’s been one of those slow kind of days I enjoy. It started with making some delicious wholesome homemade banana muffins, full of good stuff like flaxseed and fresh ground whole wheat flour. I did some essentials, like cleaning up a bit, then it’s been computer time for me. My internet works at the archaic speed of the dial-up age, but I’ve still managed to mostly catch up reading blog posts and emails for now.

I’m still writing, just been quiet. Mainly writing in my journal, bits of non-fiction, and a few poems as the mood strikes. I’ve been reading plenty too, including I just got my hands on The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice, which I’ve been wanting to read for some time now. I’m not far into it yet, but it looks good and though I’m not a big horror fan, I do enjoy werewolf and vampire stories. I’ll have to share about some of the ebooks I’ve read in another post some time.

Besides going to become a grandmother within a couple of months, the thing I’m most excited about is I might actually get to go to my first ever writers conference. It’s the Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair in Lumberton. It happens to be in the same town my husband’s side of the family usually has family reunions in and best of all the price is right within my budget as the admission is free. Several of the talks look interesting.

On a totally other note, if you’ve ever felt life is not going as you planned(ok…I must really be a dreamer if I think it’s supposed to…huh?) or you’re getting older and feel suddenly you don’t know what you want to do when you grow up, then I ran across a couple of interesting blog posts this morning. Both of them are on the same site, but gave me something to think about. Read the comments too, there were some interesting ones. The posts are If You Could Do Anything for a Living, What Would You Do? and The Problem with Plans : What I Learned from Getting Laid Off.

Best wishes in your life and writing endeavors. Here’s one of the many poems I’ve been writing lately…

Heartsong

Somethings are just known
Without any doubt
Felt down deep
Make life worth living
Make life complete
Slip into place
Perfect poetry
Sung between hearts
Grounding my soul
Giving me peace
A return to dreams
An awakening hope

No Excuses and a Poem…

My blog has been a bit quiet I know. I’ve been in one of those melancholy moods where I can’t quite get myself motivated. The caregiving life has hit another bump and I don’t know if it’s one of those bumps we’ll bounce back out of, or if this is where we are, another holding station in this still life of caregiving.

Still life, frozen in time, unmoving, monotonous, forever…all describe how I feel about life in its current state.

I’ll get it back together. I always seem to. In the meantime, I’m giving myself permission to be. I’m tired of being strong, putting on a happy face, and moving both feet forward(which some days feels like walking through molasses in muck boots). I’m tired of saying, “I’m fine and I know how to make brownies.” Chocolate’s good, but unfortunately it doesn’t ease all pain as much as I’d like it to.

I don’t think this is wallowing in self pity(AKA–pity party) or giving up. I think it’s allowing myself to grieve for a very changed life, something I don’t allow myself to do enough I think. I’m still writing, but it’s tending to be in my journal and poems. I was working on some submissions, but disappointed myself and didn’t finish them. I’m in a curl up with a good book and read to escape my woes place.

Hopefully back to a more active blog soon…here’s a poem I wrote for now though…

Release Me

It doesn’t do to be empathic
Feeling other people’s pain
Unable to heal it or let it go
Endlessly the ache remains
Yet should my heart harden
It would fare far worse
Not to feel is no blessing
An apathetic heart is a curse
Pouring rain down in my soul
Beg you give a bit of mercy
Sorrow extracts a heavy toll
From it, please release me

The Book of Me – Prompt 7 : Grandparents

The prompt for week 7 : Grandparents
What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
Photos
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn’t know them have you researched about them?

(*If you’re new here…you can find out more about The Book of Me prompts here.)

(*This turned out way longer than I thought and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Just did a little digging in my baby book, which my mother did a good job of filling out.)

(*Out of respect I’ve always called my grandparents…grandma or grandpa followed by their last name. I thought for privacy sake it might be better to just use first names here.)

I’ve never been real close to my grandparents on either side of our family. The main barrier I think has been distance. They lived in Virginia and we moved to North Carolina after our parents divorced. I was going into third grade and my sister was going into kindergarten. Even though we didn’t see our grandparents as much as we would’ve like, we saw them way more than our father, who was in the air force.

My paternal Grandpa Linwood was born in Thaxton, Virgina. I don’t know where my grandmothers on my father’s side were born though. Grandpa married my first grandma, Grandma Betty Jean and I don’t know how long they were together. I was never close to my first grandma and can only remember getting to meet her once as a child. I still remember she had dark hair that fell a little past her shoulders and she was wearing a bright red turtleneck I’ve been told she was an alcoholic, so I guess that’s why there were never close family ties with her.

My Grandpa Linwood remarried with my second grandma, Grandma Jane. She and Grandpa were the two grandparents my sister and I spent the most time with as children. We would always stay with them for several weeks during the summers. Sometimes we’d get to see Grandma Rachel while we were there too. I remember my grandparents ran a thrift store for a time and I’d get to ride around with grandma to yard sales as she scouted out things to buy to resale in the store. I remember it was in a big brick building with glass windows.

Summers were fun! Two of our cousins were being raised by our grandparents, so there was always someone to play with and we’d make up games. I remember Grandpa’s garden and Grandma’s blackberry cobbler best, she would always drizzle a little milk around the cobbler in the bowl. Grandpa had lost one of his legs many years prior in a railroad accident, but still did pretty much anything he wanted to do. Two not so good things I remember about Grandma were her dry cornbread and getting a switching if you were bad, which only took once for me.

Both of my paternal grandparents are deceased now. Grandpa Linwood died at home from lung cancer when I was 17 years old. I went and stayed with my Grandma for a little while to help take care of him. I had been really close to my Grandpa, he was like a father to me. My Grandma Jane died many years later. I loved her, but we’d never been as close as I had been to Grandpa. He was like a father to me.

My maternal grandparents lived in Virginia as well, for as long as I can remember. Grandma Rachel was born in Tennessee and Grandpa Earl was born in Florida. I never met my Grandpa Earl. He was an alcoholic and died before I was born. He was an abusive man as well from stories I’ve heard. In a way, it doesn’t make me regret that I never got to meet him or have a miss for him.

Grandma Rachel remarried a nice man, my Grandpa Robbie. My sister and I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as our other grandparents, but I have memories of going to the beach…Nag’s Head and the Wright Brother’s memorials…sand crabs, seagulls, body surfing, and sand dunes. Grandma Rachel and Grandpa Robbie both loved to go scuba diving. Grandpa Robbie died in a scuba diving accident, which stories I’ve heard say was a questionable death.

I don’t remember when Grandpa Robbie died, but it must have been when we were young. I remember Grandma Rachel would come to visit us by herself in North Carolina sometimes, but we always referred to the visits as “grandma visits” and it wasn’t as a term of endearment. It stung a little, because we didn’t understand why she’d drive two and a half hours to see us for about an hour and then head back to Virginia. We always wished she’d stay longer, but we were still glad she came.

She never remarried again, but met another man. He was a great love in her life until he died from cancer. Everyone in the family considered him family and included him in holidays without hesitation. He enjoyed woodworking and made many frames for Grandma’s photographs she liked to take. They never lived together, but they spent a lot of time together. Often he would come over, Grandma would fix him lunch or sometimes they would go out to eat. His cancer came as a surprise and took him away too quickly.

I was never really close to my Grandma Rachel as a child, but as an adult, she is the Grandma I am closest to and I’ve had opportunities to get to know better. She is the only living grandparent I have left as well. I love my Grandma Rachel and am glad my daughter has had a chance to get to know her Great Grandma Rachel. She is a vibrant grandmother full of the spice of life. She loves photography, making crafts, and going places. She’s in her 80’s and keeps going. She even still cuts her grass. My mother recently visited her. It was nice when I called and found out they were both busy making beaded jewelry. I can only hope to be as active when I’m in my 80’s.

This and That

This is one of those “little of this and that” type posts, kind of like show and tell at school or concocting soup in the kitchen from a variety of ingredients. I just wanted to share a few things…

I’m excited! A memoir piece I wrote was accepted in an anthology, Back to School 2013 Memoir Anthology. It’s now out on Amazon. My piece is called, “Confessions of a High School Social Phobic”. If you like writing memoir or would like to try your hand, there’s another call for submissions with a November deadline. You can find out more in the post over at the Karenzo Media blog.

Despite the craziness of my chaotic life, I’ve managed to read a couple of books too. One of the books, In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, is a novel set in the Renaissance period. The two main characters are the courtesan and a dwarf. The two flee tragic circumstances in Rome and move to Venice, overcoming much so the courtesan’s business flourishes again. The story is told through the eyes of the dwarf, which offers an interesting perspective.

This book kept my interest all the way through the end. This author is so good at being descriptive, that it’s easy to visualize the settings and the characters. I won’t spoil the ending, in case you decide to read it, but I will say it didn’t end the way I thought it was going to. I enjoyed it! (the book, not the ending) It’s the second book I’ve read by this author, The Birth of Venus being the first.

The other book was a memoir I’ve had on my wish list for awhile, Loose Girl : A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen. It’s a memoir about a woman’s journey from promiscuity to learning how to have a real intimate relationship and how to love herself. She runs through guy after guy and pays the consequences for her actions through loss of friendships, chances at real love, degradation of self, and disease. There’s no fairy tale ending, but like the rest of us, I think it’s about self discovery and always trying to do better.

I think the author is brave for writing truthfully about such a taboo subject, but I was troubled so much I almost stopped reading the book a time or two. It wasn’t the promiscuity causing me such a problem, but the references to drug use interspersed throughout the book. There were parts as well, where her actions seemed shallow and selfish. I know that sounds so judgmental and I know none of us are perfect, but it’s my opinion as a reader. It was interesting enough and I wanted to understand more, so I did finish the book and I was glad I did. She’s bluntly honest.

Memoirs are one of my favorite things to read and write lately. Here’s a neat list I ran across of suggested memoirs to read. It’s by a woman who teaches memoir classes. The post is Writing Memoir? Read Memoir. Here’s a good article over at the Huffington Post by Linda Joy Myers, PhD. with tips on writing memoir too. One final tidbit I’ll leave you with is a quote I ran across. It’s a good one if you’re ever sitting there having guilt that you should be cleaning rather than writing… “At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.”—Rose Macaulay. I love it! 🙂

The Book of Me – Prompt 3 : Describe Your Physical Self

I’m a little late posting this as the new prompt for The Book of Me is due to come out tomorrow, but here it is anyway. If you’re new to this blog and not heard about The Book of Me, then you can read my last post to find out more. I’ve been enjoying the prompts. Maybe you’ll give them a try.

This weeks prompt is:
Describe your physical self:
Your size – clothes size
Scars
Eye colour
Draw your hands
Finger Prints

I’ve always been very self conscious and shy, so this was not an easy prompt. Like age, my size is another thing I’ll keep to myself. Suffice it to say, I’m size “not perfect”, but reasonably healthy. I don’t believe in diets. I try to eat healthier, but love to savor food. I love doing yoga in my living room.

I’m about 5’8” with fair freckled skin. I have long dark brown, almost black, hair that’s usually wavy to curly. My eyes are hazel green and brown, one of my few features I really like. There are normally always a pair of dangly French hook earrings in my ears. I feel naked without them.

My fingernails and toenails are most often painted in a matching color of pink. I have many shades. It’s my happy place, like chocolate, magically makes all problems seem a little easier to handle. About as wild as I’ve ever gotten with nail polish is to paint them a sparkly scarlet red for a party. No blues or greens for me.

My Hand

My Hand

Now for scars and birthmarks. There is an upside down teardrop shaped scar on the finger beside my thumb. I consider it a reminder not to lose my temper, which I don’t do often anyway. I was angrily shoving things in the fridge and a glass drink jug fell on the floor shattering into pieces. I cut my finger while picking up the pieces with my bare hands. My birthmark is a light brown oval near my elbow.

This is pretty much what I look like. I will add I am not a t-shirt or sneaker gal. I prefer running around barefoot and wearing “cute” shoes if I have to wear shoes. I so don’t like wearing shoes and love going barefoot that I’ve actually forgot my shoes at a friend’s house once and forgot to wear them to town once.

(**Going to try to post something other than The Book of Me soon. Just finished reading two books and submitting some of my writing.**) 🙂

The Book of Me – Prompt 2: Your Birth

If you missed the last post about The Book of Me writing prompts you can read more here. This week’s prompt was about Your Birth and you can find out more about The Book of Me at Anglers Rest.

My Baby Picture

My Baby Picture

(Skimpier version with some things like year I was born omitted for a reason… confidentiality and the wise saying a lady doesn’t reveal her age. 🙂 )

Back when I was born, dads were not allowed in the room, so my dad was in the waiting room while my mother had me. I was born in the wee hours of the night, after midnight and before 6:00am, weighing in at 8 pounds 4 ounces. My mother assures me I had hair, though from the pictures it doesn’t look like much. She says I wasn’t a baldy till I did what newborns sometimes do and rubbed some of it off.

An unusual thing, at least to me, is I was born in an army hospital over in Germany. My dad was in the Air Force. My mother actually had been too, until she became pregnant with me. It was customary in those days for women to leave the military when they had children. Mothers stayed at the hospital longer back then too. She says she was there about 5 days before we were released to go home. She took me home in a white and yellow bunting set as the first snow was falling.

A funny story about my birthday is that most of my life I grew up believing I was born on one day and always celebrated my birthday on that day. It was the day my mother told me I was born. Years later, I think it was in my teen years, I finally saw my birth certificate and found out I was born a day earlier. My mother still swears it was the day she told me and doesn’t know why the discrepancy. It wasn’t even one of those things like being born close to midnight or international time that could account for it. Oh well. 🙂

 

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