Sjs59's Blog

one tiny voice among many

The Importance of My Morning Coffee

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything.  Mostly because I just haven’t had the time.

Believe me, I always have plenty of ideas to write about.  It’s just having a good amount of time to finish the thought that I have at that particular moment.

I don’t know about other writers and how the process works for them but for me, I like to be able to finish what I start before I go onto the next thought.  I find that if I put off to finish something later when I have more time, my mind has already moved on to something else and my original idea gets forgotten about completely…..or at the very least, thought about again a few months later and by then it’s a totally different idea than it started out as.

I often think how great it would be if I could wake right up in the morning and immediately sit right down at my keyboard and begin my day.  However, that is not me.

Most mornings I am awakened at 6 A.M., no matter what time I go to bed, by the most irritatingly, awful sound of my beeping alarm clock.   

As quickly as I can manage, because everything on me is so stiff and hurts, I get myself out of bed so I don’t fall back to sleep.  I then get myself to the kitchen and plug in my coffee maker….first thing.

After the coffee is going, I have to take my medication for thyroid and since I can’t eat or drink anything after taking it for at least a half hour, it has to be taken even before I go to the toilet because I want to be ready as soon as I can to have my coffee.  

And that is it in a nutshell my friends……I can not do anything right away in the morning, least of all write, until I have my morning coffee…..really necessary in my life anyway.

 

The One That’s Not Here

I don’t know about anyone else but on occasions like today, Mother’s Day, I have a tendency to think more about those that are no longer with me on this planet.

It’s not that I think more of them than others who are still here with me.  It is that I have more thoughts about them and how much I miss them.

For a mother who has lost her only daughter, it is bitter sweet.  It feels so good when my son calls and is making a special effort for me because I am his mother and yet the emptiness that my daughter’s death has left in my heart is always there.

I can’t help but remember all the Mother’s Days of the past and how it was when both of my children were right where I thought they should be….physically with me.

I know, as much as I have these thoughts, that I am blessed to have had her physically in my life for as long as I did and that she is always still close by.

Bittersweet thoughts on Mother’s Day is part of my new normal and what better thoughts could I have today but thoughts of my two great kids, my wonderful son Adam and my beautiful, sweet daughter Katie.

Thoughts of My Ma

It’s been a long time since my mother died but I still think sometimes, “I’ll call Ma and tell her this, that or the other thing” and then I have to remind myself, “Oh yeah” and then I sigh.

I don’t do it now as much as I did shortly after she died but I do still think that way sometimes.

I still have questions that I think she would probably know the answers to.  I also would’ve liked for her to tell me more about Grandpa and him coming over to America.  And how was it with her Grandmother Caroline living right next door?

I wasn’t done wanting or needing her in my life and I miss her very much.

My mother was such a smart woman and creative too.  She used to say that “necessity was the mother of invention”.  When I was younger, I thought she was missing out on something by not doing what she loved doing, studying plants.

I used to often wonder if she hadn’t been a wife and mother, what she would have been.  I just know it probably would have been someone discovering great things about organisms and plant life because she was just so interested in always learning much more than she already knew about it.

But my mother never saw it the way I did.  I know this because I asked her once why she had so many kids and her answer to me was, “so which one would you suggest I give back Shirley?”

When I asked her that question I wasn’t thinking about wanting to send anyone back, I was just curious and I have to say that her answer only gave me more to think about…..I was just sorry that she thought I was being critical of her and her choices.

I know now my Ma was just who she was supposed to be and doing exactly what she wanted to be doing.  Thank God for my Ma being my Ma.  I feel so lucky.

 

 

Painful Lessons

I wish I knew why my life is the way it is.

I know, an understatement, right?

Was it all pre-determined before I even arrived on this planet or what?

I’m not looking for pity or attention or anything else from anyone, I am just trying to rid my head of my thoughts.

I find that writing helps me to quell the turmoil in my head.  If I get the thoughts out and get them written down somewhere, it helps to quiet my mind so that I can focus on what it is I have to do in the moment that I am living in.

Being alone is not the easiest thing for me to be.  It is something that I am still learning how to be.  I have had a lifetime of being surrounded by a lot of people, first with my parents and siblings and then with my son and my daughter. 

When my son was in high school he moved in with his father then it was my daughter and I and we lived together until her death in 2003.

After my daughter died, my son and his wife offered me a place to live with them but even in my shattered, grieving mind, I was coherent enough to know that that would NOT have been a very smart or good move for me.

Firstly, because their marriage was in trouble.  Secondly, because I knew that what she probably wanted was a live-in babysitter and as much as I love my grandchildren, I did not want to be in a position where I had no power over my own life.  Thirdly, I knew me and I knew her and I knew that I could not keep my mouth shut about her behavior and I did not want to be fighting with my son about his wife so I decided to just stay where I was at.

It’s now been almost twelve years since Katie died.  The first five or six years I was still on my grief roller-coaster ride over Katie’s death and I was grateful that I did not live with anyone.   I had the freedom to feel any way that I was feeling….I did not have to “act” any particular way if someone was uncomfortable with my sadness.

As it is, I have since found out that even though I did not live with anyone, my sadness affected some of my relationships.  I wish someone had told me at the time but that is neither here nor there, all I can do is the best I can do, today.

It is when I am alone and don’t have anywhere that I have to be when I think the most about what I do not have in my life.  I’m not talking about things.  I’m talking about people.  I try to focus on what I do have and try feeling grateful for that but the negative thoughts always seem to find their way into my head and take over my thoughts. 

Staying busy and trying to be productive is the best way I know to not be focusing on what is not in my life.  I am trying to accept that my life is the way it is supposed to be.  I have no control over people, places and things and what will be, will be.

I believe that it is purposeful that I am alone.  Perhaps the lesson is just that I am supposed to learn to live by myself and be totally self-sufficient and the only way I will learn that is to have it in my life.

I just don’t always like the way it feels when I’m learning how to do it.

 

 

The Snow is Finally Here

storm of the century 001

Today we got 14″ of snow on top of the 8 or 9″ we got last week. This is the New England weather I’ve been most familiar with all my life.

At about noon today, the maintenance crew at the apartment complex where I live started to remove the snow from the sidewalks.  Right now there is twice as much snow as there was then.

more storm 2015 001

Also, I was just watching the plow clearing the snow from the parking lot that I can see from my dining room window.  I wonder, did it really make sense to that plow driver to pile the snow up right in front of the dumpster to the point of where it’s buried?

Now, thanks to him, the maintenance men have a lot more work ahead of them…..that is of course, when all of them, (3), get the time after they finish clearing all the snow on all the sidewalks throughout this 144 apartment complex, fronts and backs of buildings.

I can remember when I was a kid, my father had a system when it came to removing the snow or for doing anything……basically it was, use common sense.  

I know he would definitely think that the plow driver did not use common sense.

My father was something.  I don’t remember him ever, voluntarily, taking a day off from work because of the weather or being sick.  Come hell or high water, he went to work.

The only times I can remember him not going to work were the times he dislocated his shoulder, (he did that twice), and the time he broke his back helping to carry a refrigerator up the stairs and it slipped and fell on him.

I remember too when I was young,  my father coming home, sometimes around 7 p.m. after a long day at work that began before 5 a.m. and having to shovel out his parking space before he could park the car.

When my sisters and I got to be about 10, 11 and 12 years old, we would help him shovel out his parking space.  One thing he always told us, no matter what it was we were doing, “if you’re going to do something, do it right.  If you don’t, someone else has to come along behind you and do it over.”

Shoveling snow is hard, back breaking work especially if the snow is heavy and dense but I can remember loving being out in the dark with my father and my sisters, on William Sands Jr. Rd. helping him shovel just because we were out there with him.

Later on, as we got older, it wasn’t quite as much a treat anymore to be out shoveling out my father’s parking spot.  Most of the time, it was us doing it before he got home from work so he wouldn’t have to.  Not because we wanted to but because our Mom told us to and it was done as good as if my father had done it himself.

Not necessarily because we had to but because we wanted to.  We had learned from my father that in doing a good job, you acquire a sense of pride and accomplishment in yourself.

Things really have changed so much from when I was a kid. Nowadays many people no longer care whether they do a good job or not…..they just want to get it done.

The plow driver burying the dumpster in heaps of snow is a perfect example of the half-assed work I’m talking about and don’t even get me started on how well the sidewalks that I have to use to walk to work on are cleared….not enough time right now to go into that particular little pain in my ass.

Anyway, the snow is finally here.  There is lots of it and at least it’s much easier to walk on than all the ice that we were getting earlier in the season.  

Grateful for snow and not ice and thank you for reading.

So Where is all the Freakin’ Snow??????

This is New England for crying out loud….we are supposed to have snow, not this bleepin’  ice!!!!!  At least when they clear a path in the snow and it’s packed down, you can walk on it without slipping and falling on your ass and possibly breaking something.

I’m so mad because I just had to give up 5 hrs. of time and a half because I can’t get to work.  I can’t even walk down the sidewalk in the front of my apartment building.  It’s a thin sheet of ice, just enough to make it impossible to walk on.  My body is getting old and I’ve gotten very afraid of falling and hurting myself really bad.

Not to mention how I’m leaving everybody who is there at work, working hard, in a lurch….like my boss, who is the best boss I’ve had since I’ve worked for this company.  I feel like I’m letting her down terribly.

I know right now she is probably not too happy with me and that she has to deal with one more thing that seems to be the nature of and normal for our business these days but I know she will appreciate that she would have done the same thing if it were herself in my situation.

And wouldn’t you know that since I’ve ordered some cleats to walk on ice with, the weather couldn’t cooperate at least until they arrived within the next couple of days.  OF COURSE NOT!!!! 

Watch, once I get them, it’ll probably snow for the rest of the winter and I probably won’t even get to use them at all.

I know this would be a situation that is perfect for the use of the Serenity Prayer but since I’m not yet at a point where I can immediately turn to prayer……I NEED TO JUST RANT…….OKAY?  arrrrghhhh!!!!

Okay….now I feel better and I will just say “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference……thy will, not mine be done.”,  Amen.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

“Here’s what’cha can’t have Benny”……..Minnie Driver in the movie “Circle of Friends”

That is exactly how I feel sometimes……..the world is full of wonderful things, people and situations but it hasn’t been my lot that I am supposed to have them like everyone else.  

My life is such that I constantly struggle against the effects of not ever having a lot of positive, opportunistic things happening in my life like I see so many others having.

I used to be much more optimistic but it has become much more work for me to maintain the optimism.

Just one point right here that I’d like to stop and make though, is that contrary to what some might think, I am not looking to be pitied when I write what I write, I am merely expressing, with honesty, the feelings that I have and that I go through occasionally.  I know that “this to shall pass”.

Don’t get me wrong, I do know that my life is not supposed to be exactly the same as anyone else’s.  Everyone on this planet may have many similarities in their lives but they’re not supposed to be exactly the same……I know this.

I also know that most people have periods of time where things happening in their lives are not always positive……I know, that’s life……I get it!

I guess my point is that even though I know all this, I sometimes go through periods where I compare what I’m getting to what others are getting and in my eyes, it just always seems like I am getting less than what other’s are getting.

When this happens, after wallowing in self-pity for a time, (sometimes a lot, sometimes briefly), I have to start reminding myself of the things that I am grateful for having in my life instead of focusing on what I don’t have.

And for here, right now in this minute, I am grateful that my fingers are working and I am able to type this out.  

I am grateful that I woke up this morning,

that I can breathe,  

that my son Adam called and wished me a Merry Christmas,

that my legs and feet worked the way they were supposed to and I was able to walk my dog earlier,

that I had my beautiful daughter Katie in my life for 28 years,

and so it goes.

Gratitude is the mender for me…..thank God I can still think of things to be grateful for.

I know that others will still end up with different things, people and situations in their lives that I will not get but no one is getting anything that is supposed to be mine either.

Everyone gets what they need to get to help them to become the best human being that they can become…..this I know !

Thank you for reading and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

Ah, so Where Do I Start?

This morning I was out walking my little dog Etta and again, we had the great misfortune of running into a know-it-all, not giving-a-damned about the rules and doing-what-they-want kind of dog owner who proceeds to tell me what is WRONG with my dog and how I can FIX her.

It really baffles the shit out of me how they, who allow their very large, wormerwiner, (is that how you say it, not sure?), anyway it’s a very large grey dog with pink colored eyes, to walk a good distance ahead of them with the dog leash dragging behind it aaannd, never picking up the large dump that the dog makes along the way.

For one thing, I already KNOW my dog is neurotic so shut up already.  That is why I walk her when there is little to no chance that we will encounter you in the morning or later on in early evening when I walk her again.

For another, she is a rescue dog and I know now that she was probably abandoned downtown by someone exactly like you who allowed her to do exactly as she wanted when she was a pup and when she got older you didn’t like it anymore and didn’t think it was quite so cute anymore.

Furthermore, if you think that in the last five or six years that I’ve had her I haven’t tried to retrain her to not do the things that she does that are so undesirable, you’re wrong.

Etta’s incessant whimpering, whining and getting over excited about almost everything is probably the direct result of not being taught anything about decent dog behavior.

The way Etta behaves, it’s as if she has two separate personalities, her indoor or “at home” personality and her outdoor personality.  

At home, except for her whiney ways, she does pretty much everything I tell her to do….for the most part, she listens!

On the other hand, when we are outdoors, she does not listen to anything I tell her.  It is a constant battle for me to try and get her to behave in a normal, calm, well behaved dog way that I could take anywhere.  I can not even take her past a certain point in my neighborhood without her whimpering and hyper-ventilating….it’s really so embarrassing sometimes.

 I have had choke collars, shock collars, brought a rolled up newspaper with me, a crunched plastic bottle to make noise to get her to pay attention to me, tried giving her praise or treats for behaving good and nothing I have done has changed her neurotic behavior.

And one more thing I should mention, is the fact that every time I try to teach Etta, or discipline her outdoors, I seem to run into another dog owner, whose dog, btw, is, of course, walking them, if you know what I mean?, telling me that they are going to call “Animal Protection” on me because I’m being abusive to my dog.

I meet people too along the way that think that Etta’s whimpering is cute and keep encouraging her to do it more when they say “oh, what’s the matter, it’s alright, etc., etc.” or something to that effect.  I’ve had the thought of putting a sign on  my dog stating to please ignore her whimpering because I am really sooooo, so tired of telling so many to ignore her.

I love my dog so much.   I just wish it wasn’t such a challenge to get her to behave in such a way that I could take her anywhere with me.  

It would be so great to be able to even just take her for a ride in the car without her freaking out and whimpering and crying all the way to, for instance the vet, and then all the time we are there in the waiting room and then all the way back home again.

In the summer I used to love going to the outdoor concerts and I would love to be able to have Etta come with me but I can not.   She’s such a great companion to me at home and it’s such a disappointment that I can’t take her anywhere with me.

I guess the reason I’m writing this is to ask people out there when you encounter dogs and dog owner’s along the way and you think the dog is behaving badly and the owner is not doing anything to try and control it, don’t interfere.

Ignore the dog, especially if it is making a lot of noise so you will notice it.  Keep walking….the dog does not need your attention unless the dog owner allows it and only when the dog behaves in a calm, quiet state, otherwise, you are a part of the problem, not the solution.

I do realize that I am the only one responsible for how Etta behaves and I won’t stop trying to get her to behave in a calm, quiet way when I take her outdoors but I would really appreciate it very much if everyone I run into while I’m out walking her, would just mind their own business and let me do what is necessary to try and teach her to behave better.  Thank you.

 

Letting Go

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to see that for some things you just need to let them go.  Things like situations that you try your darndest to rectify and nothing you do is ever enough.  Your efforts sometimes may even make the situation worse if you do not stop. 

I am at that point with a situation in my life.  I have to let it go because my self-worth is deteriorating as a result of my still trying.

The one thing about myself that I constantly have to work at is keeping my self-esteem in check.  

High self-esteem is not a natural occurrence for me….it is something I have had to build up over my lifetime and it is an ongoing effort to maintain.  If anything, it is a natural occurrence for me to want to tear myself down….especially if with all my efforts, situations do not change or get better.

Also, what does not help is that I have had plenty of people in my life who want to tear me down too.  It’s kind of like a “catch 22″, when you have low self-esteem your actions give it away.   Everything you do says who you are.  People who have less self-esteem are attracted to you because of it….the cycle just keeps going.

What is very true about me too, is that I am a stubborn person….very.  I really hate to quit or give up on something until I have exhausted every idea that I can think of and it still does not change the situation.

Some people seem to know right away to give up on a situation.  I do not.  I believe that we are given situations in our lives to teach us things about ourselves.  I just don’t know how much or how little I am supposed to do before I give up, or give in to it.  Perhaps for me that is the lesson here to be learned.

When I begin to feel like who I am as a person is compromised because of all that I am willing to do to get someone to see me as valuable and worth while in their lives is when I finally see that it is time for me to let go of the situation.

People are going to see what they want to see no matter what I do or how well I treat them.  Some people just do not have inside of them what it is I want for them to have.  They are not capable of giving me what it is that I want so I have to just rely on myself and do the thing that is best for me in the long run…….let go of the situation and believe that everything is going to turn out just the way it is supposed to.

 

Clutterer’s Anonymous?

I sometimes look around my apartment and wonder why I ever divorced.  Just think, if I still had that husband, I may not have all this clutter surrounding me.

Yes, he was a definite deterrent to all the clutter in my home.  Every time I turned around he was going behind me, cleaning up and throwing away everything that I thought I wanted to save.

One time he even threw away a greeting card that his Aunt had given us and it had money in it.  Believe me, he had no quams about digging through the trash that night after I told him what he had done.

But seriously though, clutter is a serious issue with me because I can never seem to decide what is worth keeping and what I should throw away.

 

clutter 001

This is one example of what I’m talking about.  Both in the basket and the bag are papers that I am going to shred because it has my personal information on it.  The problem is, there is never a convenient time, when I have time that is, to shred it.  

Either it’s too late or too early to be running the shredder in the apartment building where I live.  I do not want to disturb the neighbors with all the noise.

Another example is my desk.  Believe it or not, for the most part, I do know what’s in this pile……it is stuff that I need to file away so that I can find it when I need it, said with a sheepish grin and red, embarrassment face.

clutter 003

What’s funny, (not in a ha ha way), about being a clutterer is the fact that I seem to be oblivious to what I am doing sometimes until I notice one day that it is done.  At that point though, I become thoroughly disgusted with myself and get angry that I have let it get like this.  It’s very frustrating to say the least.

I know of no one who enjoys being a clutterer or who enjoys living like this. Personally, I like neat and orderly, I just don’t seem to know how to keep it that way.

I have discussed this with a few others who do this and who shall remain anonymous……we keep trying to find a legitimate reason for our cluttering.

Some seem to think it’s heredity and some think it’s learned but whatever the reason, it always makes one feel like crap about themselves and yet, we keep doing it.  I seem to keep cluttering no matter how many times I’ve vowed to just throw stuff away after I’ve looked at it but I can’t seem to stick to my decision.

This got me to thinking the other day that maybe like in AA, one has to first admit to having a problem before they can do anything to change it.  So consider this post my admission to being a clutterer. 

Now that I have taken the first step by admitting it, perhaps I will finally stop cluttering.  

Well, I guess one can always have the hope at least.

 

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