Thursday, December 30, 2010


There is a new kind of friendship that was birthed by the advent of internet socializing. It is, in some instances, stronger, more powerful and intense than friendships grown in the usual way, as a matter of the course of life, in school, in church, in social groups, through family, chance encounters at bars and nightclubs, meeting someone through someone else... whatever... however... whenever.

I met Tessa during my brief stint as a stay-at-home mom, when I had more time for creativity, including resurrecting my passion for visual art. She was part of a huge art group on eBay, and eventually a small group of us, about ten of us, branched off into the small social circle of an online group.

Tessa's art is just incredible! So full of color and life, it grabs you and makes you smile. Eye candy, but always there is a story there, a message, an invitation to be a part of Tessa's world, to see things as she sees them, to adore them as she adores them.

Her writing is phenomenal! I've always had a "thing" for writers, and she stole my heart the first time I read her blog. She took me on her journeys to her beloved Africa, introduced me to her beloved family, made me laugh and think. Oh, how she made me think!

Tessa was also a photographer, and she captured images of places I will probably never see any other way. Again, Africa. I marveled at her adventures! Her complete LIVING of LIFE!

When we learned we'd been born on the same day of the same year -- Valentine's Day 1960 -- it was such a delight! We referred to ourselves as twins across the miles. She was the tall and graceful twin. I was the short and round. It was such an honor to share the day with this remarkable woman!

On December 27, 2010, Tessa died. She'd battled pulmonary fibrosis for a long time. She was surrounded by her family, who she truly adored, and my heart breaks for them, losing this amazing Light in their lives.

I never had the privilege of meeting Tessa "live and in person", but the impact of this loss has devastated me. I have such a strong faith and an unshakable belief system about death and dying. It is just the next step on the journey. We DO go on. Tessa's soul soars with a billion shooting stars trailing behind, trying to keep up. So why this intense sorrow? The tears that keep coming? I considered that the shared birthday might be making me recognize, truly recognize, my own mortality, but that really isn't it. I think more that it's making me realize that there is so much more I could be doing with my life, and that I really need to find ways in which to do those things. To make a difference in the world, in the lives of my family and my friends and people who need help and...


I will never have another birthday that isn't steeped in thoughts of Tessa, and I will look forward to this for the rest of my life.

Soar, Tessa!

Jeanne, the short and round twin

Friends who would like to get to know Tessa, and you really should!, can read her blog:

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Just Haven't Been in the Mood

I've been writing, sort of. Emails. Proposals. Um. Okay, so nothing I would consider a qualifier for my 15-30 minute a day goal. I have an explanation (illness and holiday madness), but in the end, is there really a good explanation for why I couldn't write? No. I just haven't been in the mood.

And I am completely undisciplined. So, we're back to Day One of the 21 days it will take to make daily writing a habit. If I can make myself do this every day from now through the holidays, I will be very impressed with me.

I've also been a little sad and frustrated over the fact that my throat does not seem to be healing from my recent upper respiratory infection. By the end of the day, I have no voice left. I haven't been able to sing at all for about two weeks. This is not good. I'm in rehearsals for a show. I need to be able to sing. I suspect that the only cure, the only way my throat will heal, is several days mute, but it isn't a realistic possibility. My job makes it impossible. My life makes it impossible. Next week the office is closed for the holiday break, though, so perhaps then, if I'm very, very good and very, very quiet, I will rebound and be singing by January.

I never realized how much I actually sing every day. To the radio. When I'm puttering around the house. In the shower. Sitting in the back office during my lunch hour -- although that singing is pretty quiet. At my desk, I've had to stop myself from humming ditties or singing or humming along to the holiday music that we've been playing. It is difficult! Really, really difficult! Every time I stop myself, I want to kick something!

I honestly believe that if this continues much longer, I will sink into a real depression.

Heh. I may not have been in THE mood, but I'm definitely in A mood! Let's see if I can turn that around.

Tonight there is a significant astronomical/astrological event. There will be a full lunar eclipse just before dawn on the day of the Winter Solstice. It will be an energetic moment worthy of a focused meditation on new beginnings, starting new projects, setting new goals. Before I go to sleep tonight, I will spend time in prayer and meditation. I will send out healing thoughts and energy to friends who need it. I will think and pray about the things I'd like to accomplish in 2011, and in which aspect of my life could I use "new beginning" energy.

If we weren't expecting snow/freezing rain over night, complete with clouds that will block the eclipse, I'd be setting my alarm to go out and gaze at the moon. I may set my alarm anyway and take a peek outdoors. (That's about the time Lily, my Pomeranian, decides she needs to go out for her middle of the night pee anyway.) Then come inside where it's warm and do a little meditation in the wee hours.

I feel as if winter has already been here forever. It's going to be a long one. I better think about getting IN the mood...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time to Formulate Plan B

I am pretty sure that I have become incapable of catching and experiencing a normal common cold.

This is the fourth or fifth time this year that I've started with a head cold that's ended up incapacitating me for the better part of a week. They've all followed the same modus operandi. My nose stuffs up, then I start to feel better, then SLAM! Vicious headache, congestion drops into my chest, bronchial issues that require digging out my inhaler and usually codeine cough syrup after a few nights without sleep, and a sapping of energy that takes weeks to rebuild. (Except that one time this year when I had no cold symptoms, but somehow contracted walking pneumonia. Seriously.)

I am frustrated, grumpy, missed three days of work, have so much I've fallen behind on, and an upcoming week that is busy enough to test what little endurance I have in storage.

The only genuine relief is to stand in the shower as hot as I can stand it and inhale the steam as deeply as I can. The relief lasts an hour or so, but then I'm back to feeling that heaviness in the chest and wanting to return to a state of hibernation on the couch.

I think about becoming an isolationist. No contact with the outside world means no contact with germs, right?

So I think about becoming an isolationist.

And then I realize that continuing along that path is going to turn me into a crazy person.

I'm just tired of getting stupid colds and being taken down by them. It makes me feel pathetic and weak and old. Yes, right now I'm pathetic for sure, but, Lord, I hate feeling weak and old. Physically weak and old.

I remember my Nana, in one of those rare moments in which she let down her guard, telling me about how much she hated getting old. Although it isn't the word she used, it enraged her. She told me how devastating it was to look in the mirror and not be able to see herself through all the wrinkles. She broke my heart a little that day.

I've always been pretty philosophical about aging, because, after all, it happens to all of us, right? There's no stopping it.

Easy acceptance. Grace. That's how I was going.

I think it's time to formulate Plan B.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Question 2 from Live What You Love: 50 Questions to Ask Yourself

2. What is your fondest childhood memory? Who was there? What was going on?

How telling is it that the childhood memories that come to mind are quiet, solitary moments?
I'm trying not to over-think the questions. In striving for honesty, I feel that going with the first thing that comes to mind is necessary. It was kind of startling to realize how much I enjoyed being alone, particularly engaging in flights of fancy or creative pursuits. 
The first memory to comes to mind was my solitary walking along the beach. I was probably 10, 11 or 12... all those ages and more. My family vacationed each summer for two weeks on Cape Cod, and my personal bliss was to head to the beach at the end of the day, just before sunset, to walk the beach and sit on the dunes, to watch the sky turn incredible colors while the warm, gentle surf rolled over my feet and lapped at my ankles. To sit quietly on a dune on the near-deserted beach, and wiggle my toes into the still warm sand. To seek treasures from the ocean hiding in fresh clumps of seaweed. To think amazing thoughts, dream amazing dreams, ponder what a tiny speck I was (am) in the Universe, yet feeling so connected with all that is in those moments, alone, on the beach, by the sea, as the sun set. I could weep with the yearning I feel now to be near the sea, and here I am in landlocked Illinois. Some day. Some day.
The second memory to surface was the composition of my first poem. I was not actually all alone. I was with my friend David McCann, and we were at his house. I was six years old. I was already a reader, and the teacher had read poems that day in school. I was in first grade. The poems were about spring. And I decided I wanted to write my own poem. I made David listen to me recite each line before I wrote it down. I asked him for help with rhyming words, and ultimately dismissed all of his and came up with my own. (David was such a good sport!) It was good, and I was ecstatic with my creation! Today I still remember every word:
A flower is a pretty thing.
It comes out in the Spring.
And when it comes out,
It always spreads about.
A flower smells so good.
I like to wear it in my hood.
My friend and I both say
A flower spends the day
Spreading away.
Brilliant, right? Frankly, 50-year-old Jeanne is still pretty impressed with 6-year-old Jeanne's poetry!
The other memories that stand out from childhood are making art (I love drawing and painting), writing stories and my imaginary friends. I had the most awesome imaginary friends! I knew they were imaginary, but I also knew that just because they were imaginary, that didn't mean they didn't exist. Somewhere. Somehow. Because I believed in the power of personal creation. I don't know what philosophical and spiritual streams I'd tapped into as a child, but I did a lot of profound thinking and imagining along lines for which I had no label until I was older and more learned. Quantum physics, reincarnation, past life recall, mind over matter, creating our physical universe, karma, you get back what you put out, you make your own reality.
I never had a lot of friends as a kid. I really was a bit of a loner. I remember sometimes feeling a little sad or wishing I was included in some specific activity, but for the most part, I was perfectly happy... sometimes supremely blissed out... being with just me.
Today, I still enjoy my own company. It's a good thing I am married to a man who also enjoys his own company, because he gets it! In many ways, I am personally living what I love. Professionally... that's a whole 'nother story to be explored on another day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Out of Sorts Kind of Day

Last night I stood on the back porch watching the gentle snow fall. A thin blanket had already begun to stick, and as I moved, the porch light reflecting off thousands... millions... of snowflakes made the world twinkle. My two almost-13-year-old dogs, Mollie (a knee-high chow/shepherd/something mix) and Lily (a black Pomeranian) frolicked in the fluff like puppies. Noses down and tossing puffs of the white stuff into the air, snapping at it as it fell back down, chasing each other, slipping and sliding. It was great fun to watch.

This morning there is about 4" on the ground. It's so cold that the snow has remained light and fluffy, but it's made travel challenging. I knew this was coming, and about 10 p.m. last night, I emailed committee members that a meeting we were scheduled to have this morning at 10 a.m. would be postponed until tomorrow due to the weather. I thought that was plenty of notice, but one committee member does not have easy access to a computer, and after sending out the message last night, and honestly believing it was plenty of time, I got a call from her this morning. She was not happy with me, as she'd driven into town for the meeting.

Yes, I actually did think to call her last night, but it was 10 p.m., and I didn't think it appropriate to call at that late hour, as it is a family telephone, land line, and I didn't want to disturb anyone. If I'd been thinking this morning, which I wasn't, I would've called, but I didn't. I deserved the lambasting I got on the phone, I guess. I apologized and fully intend to reimburse the gas money out of my own pocket as a further apology. I called another friend to talk about the situation, and she kindly noted that if it had been her, she would've looked at the snow and made a phone call herself to determine if plans had changed before she got in the car to drive any distance. God bless her, and she's got a point, but I'm the committee chair, and it was my dropped ball.

So, I feel like an ass.

It happens, right? I can't even count the number of times in my life that I've driven in the snow only to find my destination closed or an event cancelled. And, yes, that royally ticks one off. Being a contained New Englander, I just suck it up and get on with life. The situation this morning led me to think about how good it might've felt if I'd just once picked up the phone and ripped someone a new one for neglecting to inform me of a closing or cancellation or postponement when I'd showed up as originally planned... whether weather related or otherwise.

Maybe in the moment it would've felt good, but I know myself well enough that the aftermath of chagrin and guilt wouldn't be worth it. The key would be the ability to shut off the chagrin and guilt, but who I am and the way I was raised lends itself more easily to containment, assimilation and release without ruffling anyone else's feathers.

I work hard at it.

I work equally hard at beating myself up when I've effed up. So instead of enjoying the pretty snow and looking forward to the work holiday party tonight, I'm feeling very out of sorts and anti-social and done.

In fact, I'm going to slip into bed and watch some TV instead of putting up the Christmas tree this afternoon.

I would've been a really awesome turtle.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stumble Upon

For those who have not yet discovered, I encourage you to check it out. You create an account and check off your interests. Based on those interests, when you hit the Stumble button, a random website will open. Oddly enough, though I recognize the "time waster" aspect of StumbleUpon, I've also found this method of web surfing to be extremely valuable. It's not "surfing" as much as it is "mining", and when you least expect it, you will unearth a real gem.


So this evening as I stumbled, I came across a wonderful blog post by a woman named Tia Peterson called  (and please click to read this!) Live What You Love: 50 Questions to Ask Yourself. What wonderful fodder for my journaling! And because I am desperate to find myself earning a living doing something I love, it is even more timely.

I'm going to have a go at this! Not only does it look productive and fun, it will also provide impetus for my journaling. At least 50 days worth, right? Actually more, because as I've reviewed these questions, what I've discovered is that there are often sub-questions for the main question.

Let's consider the first question:

1. How do you really feel about what you are doing right now at this exact moment?

Is this question literal? This exact moment? When I'm sitting in my room at my computer writing? Or is the question broader, embracing my life in general at this exact moment?

Well, let's have a go at it and see.

I am feeling guilty that I haven't gotten the bills paid and ready to mail yet. I am feeling great that I'm journaling and fulfilling my goal to write a minimum of 15-30 minutes a day. I am happy to have a warm home and furkids, and to hear my beloved husband watching TV in the living room. I'm missing my son so much it hurts. I'm wondering how soon my stepson will be leaving us for the next phase of his life journey. I'm thinking I really need to change out the cat litter and be sure my tote bag is packed for tomorrow. I'm dreading... seriously dreading... my return to work after a week off. (I traditionally take Thanksgiving week off, because, in my current job, it's necessary to my mental health and my ability to get anything done for Christmas.)

I hate my job. That's about as honest as I can get on that subject. I've never had a job that I flat out hated before, but I hate this one. I hate the stress, the chaotic atmosphere, and the fact that working at this location with this customer pool has tarnished my idealism and caused me to experience negative reactions I've never felt in any situation before this. I like the people with whom I work. They are pretty terrific. But the job itself... not so much. I am constantly on the look out for new opportunities, but my timing has been all off. I keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason and the right job will come at the right time for me and for my family. I'm starting to have trouble keeping that faith intact.

But the fact that I'm writing right now, and that I've managed to keep it up for almost a week now, every single day... I'm excited about that. Happy about that. Hopeful about that. I've not yet given up my dream of writing something of lasting impact before I depart this Earth for other realms.

And now another moment as passed, and I'm feeling the need to go open the back door and let my barking dogs in out of the cold!

On to the next moment...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shhhh... I'm cheating...

I got too wrapped up in enjoying the evening with my husband last night, and I didn't get in my 15 minutes of writing. I thought about it, but I really was very tired, and I just wanted to slip into bed and drift off to dreamland. So that's what I did.

It was an interesting night in dreamland. Before I woke up this morning, I was dreaming I was a teenager again, and, with a choral group, I was visiting the White House. We were IN the White House. Actually spending the night in the White House. I'd lost my purse, so what felt like hours and hours, I was going in and out of room (resembling dorm rooms), looking for my purse. I actually found myself in the Obamas' living quarters, and a room decorated for Christmas, with gifts under the tree. I remember thinking, "How is it possible that I have this much freedom wandering around the White House?"

I never did find my purse, but during the search, something fell on my right foot, nearly severing it about a third of the way down from the toes. I'd done some kind of basic binding on the foot... and I remember something about Super Glue (how convenient that it was handy!), but the pain was excruciating.

I woke up when it was morning at the White House, still not able to find my purse, but my last memory of the dream is looking at my foot, which was a real mess, and remembering how much it hurt.

In actuality, it wasn't the foot, per se, but the ankle that is painful. The ol' metal and bone combo not expanding and contracting at the same pace. I got to the point of limping yesterday, and usually getting off the foot and warming it up in bed helps, but it's still pretty darn sore.

I will spend part of today pondering the meaning of the lost purse. As everyone knows, a woman's purse really holds all the critical items she needs for life. This could get interesting.

Now I've spent 15 minutes writing, and I haven't opened my email yet, so when I respond to the inquiry about whether or not I got my minimum 15 minutes in, I can reply yes with a somewhat clear conscience. Right? 

This evening, I'm going to select a writing exercise to switch things up a bit.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

On Your Mark... Get Set... GO!

I may not be in the mood to write tonight, but a commitment is a commitment!

Thanksgiving is coming to a close. The food was terrific! Truly the best turkey I've ever turned out, and the pumpkin whoopee pies are incredible! (I remain frustrated that nobody here in Danville ever seems to have heard of whoopie pies of any type, so I've had to do a lot of explaining.)

I was still steeped in memories of Thanksgivings past, and it was hard to stay in the moment today. I kept going to other places, other times. The infamous Simpson clan Thanksgivings. Thinking about my brothers and their families. The nieces and nephews I don't really know at all, and that makes me sad. And being so far away from Mom, and not knowing when I'll see her next.

I'm left feeling at loose ends and as if the day is somehow incomplete.

But I am about to hit those online Black Friday sales, and tomorrow morning I'm meeting a friend for coffee. A new day! Preparations for Christmas will begin, and somehow, some way, I hope to make this a good one for the people I love.

Not a lot of writing, but I've done my time.

And now I'm going to SHOP!

Woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Thanksgiving Blues

My dad died 23 years ago this past October. He was all about family, and he loved the holiday season so much. From the gathering of the Simpson clan on Thanksgiving to the celebration and gift-giving of Christmas, Dad was in his element. 

We had a volatile relationship when I was young, from about the time I was 12 until I was well into my 20's. Though I am often prone to exaggeration, the word volatile in this case is putting the situation mildly. Dad and I had issues, and that may be fodder for another day's writing, but for today I will just say how grateful I am that we worked a lot of things out before he died.

Even after two decades, the holidays are inextricably tied to Dad. A lot has happened. Things that you think might alter my feelings. I had a baby, I got divorced, I relocated, I remarried, we raised three boys. I am far, far away from the Simpson clan. I have a new life. I love my life. I adore my husband and our boys. I've made incredible friends here. But I am homesick every day for my family and those dear, forever friends I left behind. I would love to pick up my life and move it all to New England. Ah, if wishes were fishes...

Thanksgiving is tomorrow. For the first time in 14 years (since I relocated and remarried), we will not be sharing the day with our good friends, the Summers family. They are on a road trip to pick up their eldest son from basic training, so this deviation from what has become tradition is completely understandable, but I'll miss it. And my son left home about a month ago. This is the first Thanksgiving he will not be with me. Since he was born. 

It just feels like a lot this year. And on top of all that, I keep having this bizarre thought. "I want my dad." Heck, I never even had that thought when he was ALIVE! Seriously! I spent so much time trying to separate myself from him, and then, as an adult, it just wasn't something that ever happened... me wanting my dad. I knew he was there. Right up 'til he died. And in the ensuing decades, I've missed him, but I've never had this persistent ache, this desire to see him, to be with him, to hug him. To let him know that NOW I understand. I understand so much that I didn't back then. I'm a grown woman. I've raised a child and had to be a grown-up about letting him go to follow his own path. I understand now how hard it is to do that. How much it hurts. 

God, it hurts.

I always thought I'd be a joyful empty-nester. And I think that time will come. But not now. Not yet. It's too soon. And it hurts. By February, when my younger stepson is probably departing for the Air Force, I can't even imagine how I'll feel.

I understand now why Dad was the way he was with me when I was a teenager. It was that parental overload of love and fear. It makes a parent do crazy things. Over protection. Attempts at control. Heh. None of it works in the end, and I always knew that, but I couldn't help but try, right?

I am so grateful... SO grateful for all the blessings in my life. My husband, my boys, Mom, my family and friends back east and here, my soulsisters, my friends, my furkids, the roof over my head, a job in times when jobs aren't easy to come by, and the feast I am able to prepare for my family tomorrow. I am grateful for the strength of my spirituality and my unwavering faith, for my creativity, for my appreciation of the simple things in life, like books to read and moonlit skies at which to gaze.

I don't want to follow all that with a but. But...

This year...

I want my Dad.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My On-Going Commitment to Honesty

I've been cast in the show A...My Name Will Always Be Alice. This is a show I've championed for two years now, so I was very excited when it was selected as part of the community theatre group's current season. Tonight was the second rehearsal and final song/dialog assignments were announced.

In the interest of the honesty I discussed in my last post, I will admit to being disappointed in my own assignments. No dialog of substance. None of the truly meaty songs for which I am vocally experienced and suited. Yes, I am disappointed.

I've spent the last few hours pondering this, and it's really not an ego issue. I really do know my abilities and my limitations, and where I can shine when provided the opportunity. What perplexes me most is that I don't understand the director's choices -- as they pertain to me and others.

That said, the bottom line is that I don't have to understand the director's choices. I just need to take what I've been given and do the best I can with it. 

Just watch me...

Monday, November 22, 2010

15 Minutes A Day

Could it really be this simple?

I was passing time this afternoon cruising the web via the addictive, when I stumbled across 

The premise is this:  It takes 21 days to develop (or break) a habit. On HabitForge, you type in the habit you want to develop. You are emailed daily with an inquiry about whether or not you met the goal for developing the habit the previous day. You click yes or no, and that's it. When you're feeling daring, you go to the website and check your stats. If you miss a single day, you have to start at day one again.

This is my first day one. The habit I am trying to enforce is to write 15-30 minutes a day. I did not specify what I would write, or in which journal or blog I would write. (I have three that I will tell you about.) Just that I would write 15-30 minutes a day.

I can do that, right? Just write. For 15 minutes a day. 

(I think I am going to LOVE this particular application of technology. It's like a gentle, personal nag! But without all the noise.)

I have three blogs/journals currently built and ready to fill. One is the one you are currently reading. I have another one in which I will do writing exercises from a few books from which I've blown off the dust -- THE ARTIST'S WAY and THE WRITER'S IDEA BOOK.  The third is dedicated to my son, and that one is currently private. I may start a fourth private journal for all those terrible, dark or deeply personal thoughts and feelings that I'm just not bold enough to express publicly. Yet.

One of the things I will strive for as a writer is openness and complete honesty. I wonder if that's even possibly when you've attached your name to the venue of expression. How honest can I be?

I was once accused of being "honest to the point of brutality." I will never forget that moment. All the details are etched in my memory so painfully, so sharply. It was during a counseling session with my ex-husband. He was late for the session. He arrived inebriated. I didn't want to go ahead with the session, but the counselor insisted. I was asked how I felt at that moment, about my soon-to-be-ex-husband's tardiness and condition, so I answered. I told them both that I was angry and disgusted. That I was tired of being told that I shouldn't be angry because "alcoholism is a disease." I was disgusted, by that point, with the very sight of the man. I didn't love him. In fact, I'd never been in love with him, and I told him repeatedly before we married that I'd only end up hurting him in the end. He didn't listen. He wore me down, with the help of friends and family on both sides. 

Oh, yes. It all came out in quite a torrent, but I never raised my voice. I spoke calmly and pointedly. I sat very still in the cushy chair, and I looked both of them in the eye while I spoke. I felt strong and empowered. The sun was setting and a ray of light was coming in the window at a slant across my hands, which were folded in my lap.

When I was done, a sudden and heavy silence fell in the room. Then he said it. The counselor said, "You know, Jeanne, there is such a thing as being too honest."

"Excuse me?," I said, my voice rising with emotion for the first time. "EXCUSE me? Are you suggesting that I lie? That I lie in a counseling session rather than tell the truth?"

I looked over at my ex-husband who appeared to be totally disengaged. (In fact, I am quite sure he doesn't remember the session at all, although it was our last.) 

The counselor then spoke the words that pinged around in my head like a bullet shot inside of a tank.

"You are honest to the point of brutality."

And there you have it. 

Before that day, which was over 16 years ago, I'd believed that complete honesty was a good and noble practice. I was stunned into silence. All I could think about was the brutality to which I'd been exposed. The brutality that comes from the gut of a wounded, angry man who sought oblivion in a Budweiser bottle, and why was that okay... and honesty not?

I got up and walked out, and that was that. When my ex-husband sobered up the next day, I told him I wasn't going back to the counselor with him. I reminded him that he almost didn't show up, and that when he did, he was drunk, and that it obviously wasn't doing either of us any good. I also told him about the comment equating the extent of my honesty to brutality. To his credit, he apologized and told me that I should always be honest, even if it did hurt, if what I was speaking was the truth. 

I felt a little better about it, but since then, I've spent a lot of time mulling over the nature of honesty. I still believe that honesty is the best and most noble route, but I also understand that one has to exercise care with honesty. Care with the time, the place, the circumstances in which it is expressed, as well as the intent with which it is expressed.

Sometimes silence... or even "a little white lie"... just may be the lesser of two evils.

And that is why there are some truths that will most likely remain tucked away in the safety of a private journal. I'll follow Mark Twain's example, and allow its release 100 years after my death. 

Ohmy! 34 minutes of writing! Fascinating where the mind takes you when you just let it go, huh?

Before I finish this post, I want to state that less than a year after that counseling session, my ex-husband put down the bottle and never picked it up again. He has been sober ever since. It wasn't what was needed to save the marriage, and we both grew to realize that we didn't really bring out the best in each other. We divorced more-or-less amicably, are still committed to the raising of our son, and both moved on in the love department. I learned a lot from my first marriage, including what I really want and need in a relationship, and found it, joyfully and thankfully, with my current husband. All is well!  

Now I must venture out into the unusually warm, stormy night to take the Pom out for a pee! That's about as real as it gets!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

All right already! I went to the doctor!

Like most women I know, I am stubborn and a little stupid when it comes to taking care of myself. Take this whole sciatica situation, for example. It all began with pain in the ball of my left foot probably a month or more ago. I didn't think much of it. It went away. Then there was the pulling sensation in my lower back, down the back of my thigh. That went away after a few days.

So when I went to help spruce up the new rehearsal space the theatre company acquired, it didn't dawn on me to sit back and let someone else lug out the 5 gallon buckets of dirty water from the steam vac. Nah! I knew I could handle that. I am, after all, WOMAN! Foolish woman, but WOMAN, nonetheless.

Had I not learned? Had I not learned from the occasional bouts of back pain brought on by similar chores? Obviously not, because a few hours after the lugging, the pain in my lower back... oh wait! No... that's not really my lower back. It's my entire left buttcheek! Oh, and now it's shooting down my thigh, and zingo, skips the knee and goes right out the ball of my foot.

I am not a wimp. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. When I write that the last two weeks I've reached level 8 on the pain scale, I'm not exaggerating. For those who have listened to me whine endlessly for days, I'd apologize except I know something you don't know. The whining is the only outlet that has kept me from tears, and I feel like I've kept going pretty well and been toughing it out.

Pleh. Well, now the real toughing it out starts. I've been given a mild painkiller to take when I really need it. I'm to call a chiropractor, recommended to start yoga, and, of course, I need to get serious about weight loss. Somehow, I've gotta' do that while not stressing my back. (That means no walking, no treadmill, no aerobics, no... uh huh! You've got the picture!) I wonder if I have the fortitude to return to the modified fast that led to my 100+ pound weight loss 20 years ago. (Time flies when you're eating chocolate!) I'd only do that until the back eased up, and I can really move again. Hmmm...

Welcome to 2010 and my 50th year! The year of my rebirth!

But no. Despite today's blah blah blah about my sciatic and moo-cow-weight issue, this is NOT going to become a diet blog. There are already many of those in the world, and though the weight loss is essential, there are headier and more spirited aspects of my life I'd rather share with anyone who cares to read them.

Mostly I just want to get in the habit of writing SOMETHING every day. Because I do have, somewhere deep within me, a really, really good book.

Until I write again...

Friday, January 1, 2010

January 1, 2010 ~ Predictions and Stuff

It takes the onset of pain for one to really appreciate good health and being pain free. My sciatic nerve is very unhappy, and the extent of the pain is really quite astounding. I've gained a new empathy for those who suffer with sciatica, and pray that mine will resolve itself soon. (Web research shows that 90% of sciatica flare ups resolve without surgical intervention. I love the internet!) I've put off calling the doc and/or a chiropractor, but am waving the white flag of surrender and will be calling Monday.

In the meantime, I think of a woman I loved very much who left this world on Thanksgiving. Mrs. Gentile suffered almost every day of her life from pain, but she lived with grace, joy, humor and love, and no matter how badly she was feeling, she always noted that there were people worse of than she. I'm going to embrace that philosophy and muddle through this temporary set back, and celebrate all amazing things in my life.

I begin 2010 with so much hope and anticipation! Chris is plugging away on his edited manuscript, which is due back to the publisher on January 6. His second book will arrive in print in July. People are already pre-ordering the book! It's very exciting, and I've had a sense all along that this book was going to do very well for Chris. His first book and his research have already reached around the world, so the pre-orders are no surprise to me. I predict now that he is going to spend the upcoming year fielding requests for attendance at conferences, doing presentations, radio shows, more TV/film, and that by next year at this time, he will be able to retire from his job and make a fine living doing the research, writing, traveling and exploring on which he thrives. I am so proud of and so excited for him!

I am blessed to share my home with two wonderful young men... my son Geno and my stepson Alex. They are both 18 until Alex hits 19 in a few weeks. They have both faced some academic challenges this year, but I have confidence that as they find their paths and focus on the future, they are going to excel. I love my time with them. They make me laugh, they make me think, and they put up with my mothering, which is never easy for 18-year-olds! I am so proud when I hear from others that Geno and Alex are great kids, and, although the grades could be better, I know they are passionate about what they love, they are respectful, intelligent and likable. For them I predict a year of finding themselves and their passions and impressing themselves as much as us with their achievements.

Danville Light Opera is keeping me very busy, between my work on the Board of Directors and my work directing THE SPITFIRE GRILL, which opens in February. I've made some amazing friends through DLO, and find that I love the all-encompassing creative process that is directing. It is a real thrill to have a vision and watch it coming to life before my eyes. My cast is incredible! And the production team is made up of capable, enthusiastic people. I can't WAIT until opening night, and look forward to each and every rehearsal until that happens. I predict a very successful run! And I'm thinking about directing another show next year. Maybe.

My job continues to be a real antipode. LOVE the people with whom I work. Love them SO much! The job itself is incredibly stressful and not very creatively fulfilling. Not that I'm not great at what I do, because I am. But I'm not very happy. Because I work at the community college and enjoy the free tuition benefit, I'll be there until Geno and Alex complete their ASA degrees. If I give up some of my theatre responsibilities, maybe I'll get a degree, too, but if I'm honest, it's not a huge priority for me right now. It should be. But I'm having too much fun doing other things! : )

Chris and I learned a few days after Christmas that my eldest stepson, Pete, and his girlfriend will be having a baby in June. This is Chris's first grandbaby, making me a stepnana. The situation isn't ideal, but we are focusing on the blessing of the child and hoping this will be a good thing for Pete and Trina, and a joy to all of us. My initial feeling was boy, but I'm a little wishy-washy now. Probably comes from looking at cute girl baby clothes at Baby Gap while shopping earlier this week. So I'm sticking with my original feeling that the baby will be a boy.

Things I'd like to achieve or do in 2010 include... *sigh* ... yes, losing weight and getting more fit. I know 2009 has been a really bad year for me weight-wise. I know I've put on more weight. I'm shaped like a big ball. The ankle I broke is often uncomfortable, and I'm pretty sure my weight is contributing to this sciatic nerve pain. I avoid the doctor because I don't want to get on the scale. Ignorance CAN be bliss, right? But it's time to stop avoiding and start working on my weight/health issues. I need to make myself exercise. HATE IT! But it's a necessary evil, right? If I could figure out a way to hook up the laptop to the treadmill, I could play games like Pathwords while I walk, and wouldn't that be awesome? : )

I want to make another trip back east. I think I need to do that at LEAST once a year. I need to reconnect with friends and family. I am so sad that I'm missing my nieces and nephews growing up. I'm very sad and frustrated about the disconnect with my brother Scott and his family. I really want to smack him upside the head, but I need to rise above it and make the effort to re-establish communication. I'd also like to get to Texas to see my Mom and meet her boyfriend, too. And, the last of my travel wishes, is to take a REAL vacation with Chris. Of course, with limited vacation time from work, I don't know how I'll make this all happen, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Time to ice my back again.

Until I write again...