Sjs59's Blog

compositions from my heart

September Again

Every year the approaching of the month of September refreshes a deep sense of sadness within my heart.  September 10 it will be 15 years since my daughter Katie took her own life.  At the time that Katie died, I could not imagine how I could go on living for very long without her in my life but here I still am, surviving her loss after all this time. 

Every day I still have thoughts of Katie.  Most memories of my daughter are happy and good memories these days.  The memory of my experience of coming home after work and finding her lifeless body is still in my memory bank but it is tucked away behind all of my most recent memories and stored for only occasional glimpses.  That memory is far too painful and detrimental to my every day health and wellbeing to keep but anywhere else. 

Every September I purposely bring the memory of what happened with my child back to my present mind, dwell on it and write about it.  As Katie’s mother, I feel it is my responsibility to make an effort to keep her memory alive in the minds of other people.  My daughter lived.  She was here.

I know that Katie has not really been forgotten, it’s just that after some time, most people who have died become a part of the past for a lot of us human beings and they are not thought of as often and not spoken about as much.  It’s not a bad thing or wrong.  I believe that this is just something, as a group, that we do.

Katie’s last driver’s license picture taken in May 2003

Katie was 28 years old when she died.  She was a delightful, beautiful person and she was loved by many, many people.  I knew that she had not been feeling happy or content for some time, but never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that she might want to take her own life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When a person you love dies by suicide, it adds a dimension to their death that adds so many questions and feelings along with all the grief that you feel from that person’s passing.  With suicide, one person’s pain ends and another’s begins.

I know that my daughter Katie would never do anything to intentionally hurt me.  I also believe that if she had told me that she was thinking of suicide that she would still be here on this planet.  I would have made sure that I got her the help that she needed.

For anyone who may be feeling suicidal, there is help available.

Almost every mental illness or disorder can be treated. 

It is a myth that someone who is suicidal and attempts to take their own life will eventually succeed.

If you are reading this and are having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  It is a free, 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, confidential phone service.  The number is

1-800-273-TALK(8255)

September 10 is also World Suicide Awareness Day

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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First and Foremost Ladies, Do Not Forget to Remove the Blade Cover When Shaving Your Legs

That’s right!  The first step in the process of shaving one’s legs is to remember to always remove the cover on the blade.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am feeling the need to write and tell you to remember to do this first basic step in leg shaving.  Well, let me proceed.

First I should tell you, rarely do I shave my legs anymore.  It has become one more thing that for me feels pointless and unnecessary.  After all, and I’m only speaking for myself now, the only reason I ever shaved my legs in the first place was for the effect and impression that it made on other people.  I heard other girls talking about it in school and decided to try it for myself.

When I first began to shave my legs, I was in Jr. High School and I used my father’s razor.  It was one of those double edged blade ones that you unscrewed the bottom of the handle to remove or replace the blade kind.  Of course I cut myself.  Not that bad you see, but bad enough to still be able to see the scar today, and my biggest concern then was how to have my father not know about it.  However, everyone knows, you almost never get away with something like that.  At least, I never did.  My father always knew someone else was using his razor because every time he went to use it again, he would cut up his face being that the blade had somehow become dulled from over use.

Well anyway, yesterday I decided to shave my legs.  Not because I had a date night or anything like that, (we all know how that is, right?), but because I just felt like it.  After lathering up my legs, I picked up my razor, ran it under the water and proceeded to shave my legs without even looking at it.  I remember thinking how it did not feel quite right but I never really checked to see if everything was as it should be, I just kept shaving.

At the point where I had finished shaving one leg, I ran my hand over it to make sure that I had gotten it all and it did not feel quite smooth enough for my liking so I proceeded to shave over a few more spots.  Still I did not like it and I could not figure why it still felt rough to my touch.  Trust me, this story is true.

Finally, after still not being satisfied with the feel of my leg after I had shaved it over, I decided to feel and look at the razor and to my surprise and disgust, I saw that the clear, plastic cover was still over the blade of my razor.  The first thing I said was, “You Dope!”

When I saw that the plastic cover was still on my razor, at first I felt really stupid, but hey, what the heck, these things happen, right?

It used to be when I did things like shaving my legs with the cover still on the blade made me want to beat myself up for doing such an idiot thing but like I said, these things happen and it’s not really that big a deal.  Afterwards I just had to laugh because it was a pretty funny thing to do and I thought y’all would get a good laugh over it as well.  

Life is short.  Laugh a little.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

Hey Ma, Look at Me!

I remember saying “Hey Ma, look at me”, so many times when I was very young and I was doing something that I thought was pretty cool and I wanted it to be noticed by my parents.

I can remember pumping my legs back and forth harder and harder on the swings and leaning back farther and farther to make myself go higher and higher almost to the point of making myself feel nauseous just so that my parents might notice that I was doing something cool and appreciate that I could do something pretty cool.

At home I tried doing everything that I was told to do and tried to behave the way I was supposed to behave.  I was a kid.  I wasn’t perfect.  I made mistakes.  Most times I didn’t listen the first time I was told and I needed to be told more than once, the same as it was with all my brothers and sisters.  None of us really liked having to do chores around the house as is true with most kids.

In school I behaved the way I was supposed to behave and did all the work that I was assigned to do, got good report cards from the teachers and passed through all the grades without any trouble.  Unfortunately, my accomplishments were never enough for my parents to acknowledge to me that they thought I should receive any praises or encouragement from them.  They used to say that they didn’t want my head to swell.  

I used to wonder what I had ever done that made my parents look at me the way they did.  There were never any smiles when I looked into their faces.  It was always a scowl, anger or disgust looking back at me and I can remember always thinking, “What now?”

All my life I have loved music.  I loved to sing and I love to dance.  I used to be able to copy any dance that I had seen being done on tv and it really never bothered me to dance in front of anyone. 

Singing was another matter all together.  Up until I was in the sixth grade I had no problem singing out loud at all.  The summer before I entered junior high school my desire to sing out loud went away.  I can not remember where I had heard someone singing opera but I was trying to mimic what I had heard and my mother asked the question in a very disgusted, annoyed way, “What the hell do you call that?” and I was crushed.  I never sang out loud again except in a group where my voice could not be distinguished between someone else’s or with my kids when they were singing in the house or the car.

Some may say that I write this now because I am still that person looking for some positive attention or I’m looking for pity but simply put, I am merely writing about what is on my mind today.

I loved my parents and I know that they did the best they could with what they knew at the time.  “Without them, I would not be who I am today”, (this is a quote from my son when we were talking the other day about how he and his sister were bullied in school) and I thought it would fit for me here.

Today I feel grateful for all the negativity I was given as a child.  I like myself and do not need the approval of anyone else.  I have a great capacity to show love to my loved ones and I have an inner strength that keeps me always moving forward through the next obstacle I am given in my life and the tenacity to never give up on something that I believe is important to me.

So for what it’s worth, use everything that you are given in your life, it is what makes you YOU.

Thank you for reading.

Three Legged Start

I just saw a story on tv about the Corvette museum.  I think it’s in Kentucky but can’t remember where they said it was.  However, a few years ago the bottom started to fall out, literally.  Underneath the museum there was a sink hole in the ground and the floor and several of the Corvettes fell into the sink hole causing a considerable amount of damage, needless to say, but the story reminded me and myself and learning to drive a car.

In October of 1971 I got married.  My husband drove a 1965, Chevrolet Stingray, Corvette.  It was white with red interior, black, convertible top with a 4 speed transmission on the floor.  I loved this car and if I ever had the chance to buy another, I definitely would buy it for sure.  This magnificent car is the car that I learned to drive on.

My husband first let me drive the “vette” at the old abandoned racetrack and airport in Agawam, Ma.  It is now the property of the Agawam Industrial Park.  Of course I had to get a learner’s permit before he would let me get behind the wheel of his “greatest love” and there was sure no way he was going to let me drive it anywhere near a street,,,,,,,for now anyway.  But at least he was willing to teach me how to drive.

Before I did anything else in the “vette”, I wanted to understand what the purpose of the clutch and the shift was.  Up until then I did not fully understand why you needed to push down on the clutch as you shifted through the gears and I was never satisfied with other people’s explanation to “just because that’s what you need to do.”  My husband was able to explain to me that the clutch and the shift worked simultaneously to get the car to smoothly accelerate through the gears to acquire more speed.  As long as something makes sense to me, I get it!  One likes to know what they are doing and why they’re doing it, right?

Driving a car with a manual transmission really takes some getting used to when you first start.  Co-ordinating the movement of your feet and your hands and still trying to pay attention to how straight you’re driving and other traffic on the road, requires that you really pay attention to what you’re doing.  I think that’s what I really like about driving a car with a standard, it’s easier to manage in driving in the snow and bad weather as well.  At least I’ve always found that to be true.  I can’t really remember ever being stuck in snow for any length of time when I was driving the “vette”.

Anyway, after I had gotten the hang of driving the “vette”, my husband used to let me drive it on the street so that I could get the driving experience that I needed to take my test for my license.  When you’re driving with a learner’s permit, you need to have a licensed driver in the car beside you and it’s better if it’s just you and them. 

Most of the time the licensed person that I drove with was my husband but there were a few times when that person was my sister Christine. 

My husband and I used to meet my sister, her husband and daughter Amanda at my mother’s house in the morning before they went to work, (they both worked with my father at the time).  The husbands went to work, Amanda stayed with my Mom and Christine and I went driving.

Oh, and by the way, I didn’t mention yet how difficult it is to get the hang of driving a standard transmission car and waiting for a light to change to green, on a hill, without rolling backwards into the car behind you and without stalling out the car did I?  Well trust me, it really takes some practice.

When I was out practicing my driving I used to pray that I didn’t get stuck waiting for a light to change to green on a hill.  It scared the crap out of me.  I was so afraid I would stall out the car and have everyone behind me honking and getting pissed at me because I was holding them up.

One day Christine and I were out and about practicing my driving and what I dreaded the most happened.  Here we were stuck on the hill at the end of Main St. leading up to Belmont Ave. in Springfield.  I started to get really nervous and she kept saying, “just relax”.  Trust me I tried.  Then I had the bright idea to have Christine put her left leg over the console to operate the gas while I kept my left foot holding in the clutch and my right foot holding the break.

When the light changed green on the hill that Christine and I were waiting on, I slowly eased off the brake and clutch and Christine pushed down the gas peddle and we smoothly moved forward up the hill.  Oh my God, it worked!  The two of us laughed like hell that we had pulled that one off and no one else was the wiser.  

Looking back now on my “learning to drive” experience with my sister Christine is a funny, happy memory for me but I would never recommend to anyone today that they try this solution.  I know now that the best way to get better at anything is to just practice, practice, practice.

Thank you for reading.

 

Uh Oh, It’s Finally Happened

It’s only taken me thirty six days to wake up this morning and not even know what day of the week it is.  I got up honestly believing that it was Monday and yet feeling quite surely that I was mistaken.  Crazy huh?

My brother, (he retired June 30), and I were talking just yesterday  about this on the phone and he told me that it had already happened to him.  I thought it was funny.

To tell you the truth, I never really believed it to be true when other people told me that they woke up not knowing what day of the week it is.  At the time it didn’t make sense to me how that could happen to anyone.  If you go to bed knowing what day of the week that it is, how is it possible to wake up and not know what the day is?  Well folks I’m here to tell you, it happens.

Anywho, as far as my retirement goes, I am loving it so far.  I enjoy so much that I do not have to set an alarm clock except when I have to get to an appointment somewhere.  Other than that, I am allowing my internal alarm clock to do what it does.  So far, the latest I have slept until is 7:10 AM.  I know that for some that is still quite early but for me, it’s late.

On most mornings, even my dog Etta doesn’t wake up until I’ve had at least one cup of coffee and that is an excellent thing!  She’s not a dog that’s too demanding anyway and I am happy that she enjoys sleeping in, but then again, she is twelve years old and older dogs sleep a little more than puppies do usually.

This morning after finally figuring out which day of the week it actually was, and doing all the routine things that me and Etta do in the mornings I was able to get outside while it was cooler and do some transplanting in my flower garden.  Afterwards, I cooked some eggs and now here I am sitting down and writing to post on my blog.  I have to tell you, it feels so nice to be able to do the things that I enjoy doing and having the time to do it. 

Well everyone, that’s it for now.  Hope you all have a great, relaxing Sunday.

Thank you for reading.

Bread is NOT my Friend!!!

I love bread.  Unfortunately, bread does not love me.  The more I eat, the more I want to eat.  I am like an alcoholic with a drink.  One slice leads to another and another and so on and so forth.  So I am better off not having any bread at all.

I will be doing great with what I’m eating for a while and then I know I’m in trouble with my eating habits when I start to crave bread.  The trick for me is to make it through the craving period without buying the bread but so far, I haven’t been able to do that.

My latest bread to love is the white Italian bread that I’ve been getting at my local Stop & Shop….toasted, for breakfast, with lots of creamery butter, an egg, sprinkled with some pepper and onion powder and slabs of sharp cheddar cheese all together in one delicious bite and eaten while it is still warm.

Now I ask you, doesn’t that sound delicious?  Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?

Well, it is delicious but it is extremely fattening and one of these a day, every day until the loaf of bread is gone can pack on the pounds quicker than you can say holy crap!

Story of my life.  It all boils down to my loving the taste of food.  It is not a case for me of not ever feeling full enough, I simply want to taste more of the tastes that I love no matter how much I’ve had so far.

I was born with great hearing, a great sense of smell and super taste buds and if I didn’t make a conscious decision to stop eating when I do, I’d probably be twice the size that I am right now which, by the way until recently when I took off almost 20 lbs., was considered by my Dr. to be morbidly obese.

I had no idea until I saw the words morbidly obese printed on my Dr.’s visit summary paper, yikes!.  I always thought that people who weighed 300 lbs. or more were considered morbidly obese but not so.  All it takes is for your mass body index to be over a certain percentage for you to qualify.

There used to be a time when I used to compare myself to other people.  I always thought that if I didn’t look as big as they do that I wasn’t as bad as them or as fat as them.  

The truth of the matter is that fat is fat.  If you eat fat, which butter and cheese have in them, it is fat, and bread which is a carbohydrate which burns down to a sugar and gets stored as fat if it doesn’t get used as energy, is still a fat.

I know that understanding how the body works does not make it easier to eat any different.  Losing weight is real work and it’s hard work.  I think that for me, I have to make a conscious decision every single minute of every single day to either eat the foods that will help me to lose weight or eat the foods to maintain my weight and always be a fat person.  It is my choice.

Life is short.  Resist the bread!

Thank you for reading.

 

Ah, Here it is, My First Day of Retirement

Last night I got rid of all the alarms on my phone before I went to bed.  I wanted to see how life is when you wake up “naturally”.  Unfortunately for me, my first wake up was at 1:10 AM.

I rolled over and told myself to go back to sleep. 

My next wake up was at about 4:20 AM but that’s not so unusual for me because generally, that was about the time that I ordinarily would be crawling out of bed.  

At first I thought about just staying up but I decided against it because I wanted to see how late I could actually sleep for if I simply satisfied my nature call and went back to bed.

6:20 AM was the last time that I awoke.  It was the latest I could stay in bed.  I tried to go back to sleep but it wasn’t going to happen so I got up out of bed and got going.

Usually, after I have taken my medicine and made my coffee, I sit on the couch reading my news until I’m allowed to have anything to eat or drink after I’ve taken my meds.  Usually a half hour.  I like having an idea of what’s going on in the world, negative or not, “it is what it is”.

Anyway, this morning I decided I was going to start Etta, (my dog), on her new routine as well.  You see Etta is a very bossy dog and very competitive as well.  She likes to think that she is in charge of me, especially when we are outdoors.

I don’t know if it’s because she was a stray before she was picked up by the shelter and before she came to live with me but when we’re outside, she really likes to take advantage of the fact that there are so many people around and behaves quite badly pulling against her leash, choking herself and breathing labored, lunging at people and other dogs, whining, shrieking and squealing and she seems to “know” that I feel very much that I do not have any control over her at all.

Of course, she is right!  That is exactly how I feel.  I know that I lack confidence because I’m always feeling afraid that I will have to deal with her behavior every single time I see someone coming, especially when they have another dog with them and I know that I can not get her to stop behaving badly.  I hate it!  It is so embarrassing to take your dog somewhere and have her behaving like a ridiculous fool and nothing you do stops her from doing it.  I am so tired of it. 

As a matter of fact, I’ve been tired of it since the first time that she did it but I’ve never really had the time to actually give her the time to train as I would have liked.  So now I have the time and hopefully Etta will become the dog that I know that she can become.  She is, other than all of her baloney, a sweet, loyal, loving, really great dog.  I want her to be calm and to have her come anywhere with me and have her do what I tell her to do, that’s all.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?

Our walk this morning started pretty much the way it does every morning with all of Etta’s attitudes, noises and antics.  The leash however was shorter and a bit tighter so that she had less freedom but all along our walk, she fought to try and stay ahead of me.

Etta kept pulling and trudging ahead of me but I kept giving tugs to her leash and stepping in front of her path, taking over her territory or what she perceived to be her territory.  With dogs, it’s all about the territory.  The “leader of the pack” and all.  It wasn’t until we were on our way back home that I noticed that she seemed to notice that I was there and she was a bit calmer. 

Usually, she is oblivious to anyone or anything being anywhere near her.  She generally just plows ahead with her wild eyed, crazed, frantic look on her face and panting heavily, not caring who’s ahead of her or what’s behind her.  

It’s only the first day of a different way of doing things but I believe that Etta will come around to being the dog that I know she can be and I will be able to take her anywhere with me.  At least I can hope, right?

As for me, my first day of retirement, so far, has been relaxing.  I did a little bit of housework, a bit of real cooking, a bit of rearranging, a bit of writing and I also received a call from my cousin Jackie in England who called to wish me well on the “first day of the rest of my life”.

All in all, I had a great first day of retirement.

Thank you for reading.

 

But, what are you going to do????

That is the most asked question to me when I tell someone that I am going to retire in 2 days.

At first I didn’t really think anything of the question but every time I get asked, I feel a sort of urgency to have a definite plan or at least a satisfactory answer to the question for the person who is asking, what am I going to do once I am retired and have all this extra time on my hand?

I doubt that it is anyone’s intention to have me feel any anxiety or to have a definite plan in mind when they ask but rather they have a curiosity as to what anyone would actually do to keep busy after they do not have to go to work any longer.  After all, work is the majority of one’s life, right? 

Needless to say, the question in question has given me plenty of food for thought.  What exactly will I be filling up all my extra time with?

At first I thought that my writing would keep me busy enough but as much as the writing does take quite a bit of time, I don’t know if I want to be doing it every single day.

Then I thought about how much I enjoy making over old things so that they are interesting and purposeful again but I really don’t know if I want to be doing that all the time either.

What I’ve decided that I will be doing once I do not have to go to work anymore and what I’ve decided to tell people when they ask is, I will be doing anything that I want whenever I want.  Simple as that.

To tell you the truth, I think I’m already in a state of retirement in my head and the next couple of days are merely a formality and a fulfillment of a commitment that I’ve made to the company that I work for.

I am so ready to move on to the next phase of my life.  I’m not worried about having enough to do with all my time.  As much as I love the work that I do and I love the people that I work with, I can not keep doing what I do for much longer without it breaking my body and my spirit.  I only have this one body and I want it to still work when I’m not at work.  If I could have done it sooner, I would have. 

Don’t worry folks, not having to go to work anymore doesn’t seem like the worst thing that could ever happen to a person.  I think it all depends on one’s attitude.  If you have nothing but work in your life, you will probably have a real problem having so much time on your hands but if you see retirement as a “freeing up” of your time so that you can do more of the things that you enjoy doing, you’ll probably have no problem and that is what my attitude is and I can not wait!

Thank you for reading.

 

 

“The Walk”

On the 28th of this month it will be ten months since my sister Christine died. 

Some days it seems like forever since I last saw her and talked to her.

Christine is still the first person that I think of to call when I want to share a story with or some news with or just have a chat with and then I remember, I can not call her and a sadness comes over me.  She had always been in my life, all of my life and now she’s not there anymore and I miss her so much.

Growing up I never knew how much I would come to appreciate having my sisters and brothers.  I’m not really sure how all the rest of my siblings feel about this but I know that when I was a kid, like many other kids with siblings, I sometimes felt like they were bothersome.  At times they could really aggravate me and we got into plenty of disagreements and fights and not just with words either.

 At times some of us could get downright brutal when we really wanted something.  All of us had tempers and could explode given the right amount of provocation.  A few times it got pretty scarey and Ma had to interfere and save the kid that was being attacked.  As a matter of fact, I could probably even describe our sometimes, unruly ways by saying we could be “little animals” if push came to shove, (literally) if you get my drift.

Mine and Christine’s relationship wasn’t any better or worse than our relationships with any of our other brothers and sisters.  Our relationship only improved and grew to be a friendship as we grew up and got older. 

For the longest time, she was more annoyed with me always wanting to tag along with her where ever she went when she wanted to be doing something all by herself and with her own friends.  The only time she really didn’t mind me being along was when she didn’t have anything better going on with someone else or when she needed someone to go along with whatever scheme she had on her mind.  It was times like that that she would even actually invite me to go along with her.

Perfect example of a time that she invited me along with her was the day she asked me out of the blue, “did I want to go for a walk with her?”  We must have been about 11 and 12 years old at the time and I asked her “where to?” and she never really gave me a specific answer but asked, “did I want to go or not?”  Of course I said yes and we started to walk.

When I think about it now, if my kids had just taken off like that and not told me where they were going, I would have gone apeshit for sure. 

However, back then times really were different.  Or maybe it was just the people who were different.  In most cases, children really were much safer and most people we met were not predators looking to maim, abuse or kill us.  Adults really did care and looked out for kids that seemed to be getting into a bit of trouble.

So Christine and I walked and walked and walked and walked, up one street, down another and along the way we poked into people’s trash cans that we happened along and pulled things out that we might be able to use at a later day or time and things that interested us. 

I kept asking her where we were going and she finally said she was going to visit Aunt Cecile and that’s when I started to get nervous because Aunt Cecile lived clear across the city and I doubt that Christine ever told my mother that.

I have to say that we did finally make it to Aunt Cecile’s house but the visit was short.  We no sooner got there and she told us that we better get going back home, so we left. 

On the way home, Christine decided all of a sudden to stop in at the First National grocery store.  I remember I kept asking her what we were getting there and did she have any money but she wouldn’t answer me except to keep telling me to shut up!

I started to get a really bad feeling about our little adventure and I told Christine I just wanted to go back home, now, but she kept walking up and down the aisles until she came to the candy.  I thought, “Oh no” and I said to her, “you better not take that or I’m gonna tell Ma” , and again she just told me to shut up.  As we approached the exit door she told me to just keep walking and keep quiet so I did what I was told.

Next thing we knew, there was a man standing at the door waiting for us.  Ugh.  I was mortified.  He asked Christine if she had something in her bag and eventually Christine said “yes” and he told us to come with him.  At this point I was scared to death.  I didn’t have a clue what was going to happen to us next.  But not only was I scared, I was really pissed too that she had gotten me into a mess like this.

Unfortunately for us, getting stopped at the door and brought back to the office by the store detective was not the worst thing to happen to us that day on our little walk.  The worst wasn’t even after the detective called Ma and she had to call Grandpa to come and get us at the store because my father was working and couldn’t be reached out on the road.

What turned out to be the worst part of that whole day was waiting for my father to get home from work to find out what kind of punishment he was going to bestow upon us once he found out what we had done and of course, he was going to find out because, of course, Ma was going to tell him, the same way she always told him everything wrong that we ever did on her watch. 

I once asked her why she had to tell Dad everything we did and she told me that he was our father and just because he couldn’t be there all the time was no reason for him to not know what we were doing and “besides”, she said, “if he found out later and I didn’t tell him, he’d be mad at me.”  So there you are, bottom line, self preservation.

Waiting that day for my Dad to get home was pure torture.  I can remember my stomach feeling like it was in knots and like I was going to be sick but for the life of me, I can not even remember now what the actual punishment was.  That’s how important it was compared to the actual event that caused me to feel that way.  That “lesson in life” was an important lesson for both of us and we never did anything like that again.

That day I do not know if Ma worried about where we were or not because I don’t remember her saying so after we got back home but then again, by the time we got back home she was probably so pissed about the way our walk ended up that she may have forgotten about if she was worried or not.

Thank you for reading.

 

I’m sitting here waiting for my butter and croissant dough……..

to get to what the recipe directions call a “cool room temperature” so that I can begin the process of rolling and folding my dough.

This is only my second attempt at making butter croissants at home.  I absolutely love the smell, taste, feel and texture of butter croissants, completely, like nothing else in my entire life.  Anyone who has worked with me and has paid attention knows this about me if they do not know one other thing about me.  

Unfortunately, my first attempt was a few years ago and it was a total disaster.  I almost swore off baking all together afterwards but here I am back at it again.  If nothing else, I persist until I succeed at something that I wish to accomplish.

For me, I just sort of feel a compulsion, a drive inside of me that keeps pushing me forward until I finally get it done.  Kind of like what a train engine or caboose does to push or pull what is in between to get it to where it needs to go.

As many of you know, I will be retiring this year and that has given me much food for thought about what I will be doing with all the newly acquired time that I will be gaining.  My boss puts it as, “needing a plan”  and she is exactly right.

I like to think that I will have no problem filling that time because I look around me at my apartment and I can see that there is so much for me to be doing that needs to be done.  However, what I see that needs to be done isn’t anything really that I want to be doing.

I know that many of you know exactly what I am talking about.  That’s right!  Housework! ugh!  

Don’t get me wrong, I love living in a clean apartment and I do do what needs to be done, (for the most part, that is) but my expectations are totally unrealistic because I always expect that once I’ve done something, I want it to stay that way,  forever because I don’t want to have to do it again, ever and knowing how ridiculous that sounds doesn’t change the fact that that’s how I feel.

Realistically speaking though, I already know that not much more housework than I have been doing is really going to get done just because I’ll be home and have the time to do it.  Getting really honest here, I know me!  Simple as that.  I have always spent any free time that I’ve had pursuing things that I have a great amount of interest in.  Life is too short and like my Mom used to say, “the dishes are always going to be there”, but my plan is to budget so I can afford to have help keeping my home in a livable state.

Since I decided for sure that I would be retiring this year, and with everything that has been going on in my life lately, my head is chock full of thoughts about a lot of stuff.

Obviously, a good deal of my time will be spent writing this blog.  I write even if no one ever reads.  Writing is another thing that I feel a compulsion to do.  I think especially since I have lived by myself.  It’s not that I have any more thoughts than I ever used to, it’s just that now I do not have anyone here to listen to my thoughts. 

My daughter Katie was a good listener.  She told me once that she loved hearing my stories.  Katie was the one person in my entire life who acted like she liked hearing what I had to say. 

One of the greatest compliments I ever received came from Katie.  She told me about an incident that happened to her in school that day where a boy in chorus pulled the chair out from under her as she went to sit down and how embarrassed and hurt that she felt when she ended up on the floor.  My heart went out to her and I told her I knew what it was like to be targeted like that.  I shared a story of my own with her and she told me that if she had known me when I was a little girl, she would have been my friend.  How I miss her so.

I have a plaque that one of my customers gave to me for a Christmas present one year with the following written on it, [When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say,] “I used everything you gave me.”….Erma Bombeck (an American humorist who had a syndicated newspaper column titled, “At Wit’s End” from 1965-1996

For anyone who might be interested in knowing how the croissants turned out, I will let you know in a future post.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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