Free Falling

Saturday morning at 5 am was my last work shift. I quit my job. I had just had it with the hours, the arbitrary schedule changes, being treated like a recalcitrant three-year-old whenever I asked a question, literally being told “STOP TALKING!” when I was trying to answer a question that I had been asked. I could go on and on. How a company could manage to create a hostile work environment when you work from home is a mystery but this company did it. I had been dreading going to work for a long time, and I was lucky…I worked when all the big bosses were off (nights and weekends), but after I got off work on Tuesday mornings, I spent most of my down time worrying what I had done wrong (that I didn’t know of) and how hard I was going to get yelled at when I came back to work. Miserable.

I was professional. I put in a two-week notice. I thought about writing long, ranting letters to the powers that be, but that would have been a complete waste of energy. They don’t care. It’s a corporation. The next warm body was in the seat five minutes after I left and all will carry on. That’s been the same since there have been companies and I don’t even need to think about it. Time to move on.

The decision to quit was a confluence of many factors. About a year ago, I decided to make another trip to Scotland (which would have started tomorrow). I put in my request for time off a YEAR in advance, because one of the other things my former employer is notorious for is not allowing you to have any time off. Oh, you accrue the hours, but trying to actually TAKE the time is an entirely different story. So, I put in my request and checked up periodically to see if it had been approved, which for the most part got no response. Finally, I had some back and forth with my boss and I got the hours/days nailed down. I made plane and room reservations, etc.

Then COVID hit. Days and weeks passed and Scotland was being firm about quarantining, etc. My boss asked if I was still planning the trip. I said yes. Then, I found out my daughter needed major hip surgery the week before I was supposed to leave. That started things teetering. In the meantime, I had a long conversation with my oldest friend about how lost I was feeling and she, out of the blue, said, “Come live with me. My house is paid for and you won’t have to work for a while if you don’t want to.” I was stunned. I honestly didn’t know what to say, but simply having such a generous offer suddenly took a huge weight off my shoulders. Then, I got an e-mail from Icelandair, where I had booked my direct Denver to Glasgow flight, stating they had canceled my flight on Sept. 8 and were moving it to the same time on Sept. 7. The utter despair I felt at having to talk to my boss to let her know that my flight had been changed sealed the deal. For three years, since I started working for her, every time I needed to make a change to my schedule for a personal reason or had any kind of Internet or computer problem, I always felt she thought I was lying. Like I want to go through this misery with you just to have a night off? I don’t think so.

I can be slow to make up my mind about things, but once I’m certain, I act fast. I decided it was time to leave the soul sucking vortex of a “job” and take my friend up on her offer. But first, I will be helping my daughter get back on her feet and actually be available for a change. She won’t be able to drive for 6 weeks and will be going to lots of appointments and her husband has to continue on his job, so now I won’t have to try to juggle work, sleep and trying to help out. Once she is up and about, I will be packing a truck or a van and taking myself to Texas for the next chapter. My daughter, roommate, grandsons and a couple of other friends know, but I had to keep it close to the vest until I was actually done with working, since you never know who will say what to whom. I was a success because the busy-body coworker who reports every WORD you say to her to my former boss knew nothing when asked. I learned my lesson about her early on. Talk about food and TV shows only!

For the first time in my life, I have no real plans going forward, other than to get to Texas. In nearly 48 years of working full time, I took a month off when I had a baby and about a month off when I moved from Atlanta to Pueblo. And in both of those cases, I knew I had to work soon, and so the time was about as far from relaxing as it could be. Now, I just want to get to Alice’s house and set up my sewing machine and chill out for at least a little while. She lives on a nice piece of land out in the country and her brother lives in a small house behind hers. She also adopted her granddaughter (who just turned 18) a few years ago, so we have that in common, too. I went to visit her for Thanksgiving week in 2018, so have seen the area and it’s lovely. Of course, I’ll be in a red state and I can’t say I’m thrilled about that or the fact that they seem to be fairly anti-COVID precautions, but, again, I will be in a rural area and not doing a lot of socializing. But her house is open and airy and I also realized that living in this dark apartment has affected me more than I realized. It’s just time for something entirely new and it’s time for something that is entirely about ME for a change. I honestly have no idea what will happen, but I will figure it out. I’m going to try to embody the words of my favorite mantra: Relax, nothing is under control.

Here’s to free falling. May the parachute open when it’s supposed to.

#Deucember – Day 1 – The Second

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Well, here it is December 2, and I’m starting a new writing challenge.  The #Deucember challenge is to write 200 words every day for the month of December.  I’m already behind since I didn’t find out about this until December 1 was nearly over, and I was working.  But, I’m going to give it a shot because I really enjoyed getting back to the blog last month and I got some nice feedback…AND…I finally came into the 21st century and activated a smart phone that my roommate had given me months ago, and so I will try to add at least one blog post from my phone.  Howzzat for an old granny?

I’m actually supposed to be working now, but two of our servers are down and I’m just pretending there isn’t any work anywhere else, at least until I publish this.

December is off to a big start here chez Granny.  My roommate is completely and totally in love with Christmas.  Now, nothing Christmas can appear until after Thanksgiving, but then all bets are off.  So yesterday, while I was sleeping and working, she did her magic and our apartment is now a Christmas wonderland.  As for me, I put up my little fiber-optic tree where the lights shift and change colors and I’m good.  It sits on the bookcase across from my desk and I can see it while I work and it makes me happy.  Decorating done!

I left a lot of things behind me when the last relationship fizzled.  That happens when you’re kicked out of your home with a short deadline.  However, I’ve done it before, and I know that stuff is just stuff and can be had again, but the one thing I really miss at this time of year was a small Christmas ornament that I got at Stirling Castle in Scotland the last time I was there.  Just a little brocaded thistle blossom, but the thistle is part of my family crest and I miss it.  However, I’m planning another trip next year, so my goal will be to come back with another ornament (or two).  Just a couple to hang on this little glowing tree to remind me of the places I’ve been.

And now, the work server is back up and so I am off to be productive, having fulfilled my word commitment (and more) for my first #Deucember post.

Happy Monday!

#BuckFifty – Day 18 – Oh, Well

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Exhaustion and procrastination got the better of me, what can I say?  I won’t make my goal of 30 days, but I did more than 15, so I’m going to be happy about that.  I’ve been trying to think of why I don’t seem to have more motivation and I think a big part of it is that this apartment is quite dark.  Think of a hollow rectangle with a hallway all the way around.  You enter the building from the street or the parking garage, and the apartments are on the inside, another ring around the perimeter of the rectangle.  On the first floor, where we live, all the apartments have French doors out to the pool area, which is great, but because we’re on the inner corner of a 4-story box, we get NO direct light in our flat.  Wait, I take that back.  In the spring, my room gets about 15-20 minutes of sunshine, sort of like the inner room in the Newgrange stone-age monument on the Winter Solstice.  Otherwise it’s just dark.  And guess what?  In this fancy-dancy “luxury” apartment building, my bedroom DOES NOT HAVE A CEILING LIGHT.  It has a ceiling FAN, which COULD have a light on it, but there’s NO LIGHT.  Of all the stupid things to scrimp on.  Thank God my closet had a ceiling light in it or I’d never find anything!

Anyway, even when I get up on my days off with the intention to get all kinds of things done, somehow my motivation just leaks out of me by the time I’ve gotten dressed and had coffee.  Today has been a little better.  I got up to a cold and drizzly/snowy day, which would often put me right back to sleep.  But…I had a massage scheduled, and I was sure not going to miss that.  I found a rec center very near the flat that offers massages at a GREAT rate (90 minutes for $75!!).  The massage therapist is a man, and though I have had MANY massages in my life, never from a guy.  But he’s a little older than me, and has a kind manner, and so the first massage went well and today was my second from him.  It was really, really good.  I feel relaxed but not sore.  Came home, ate something, watched a couple of shows I wanted to catch up on, then came here and started tidying up my desk.  I guess “tidying up” is a relative term.  I’m sure for a lot of folks, my desk still looks like a tornado blew through it, but I can tell a difference and I’m happy with it, which is all that matters.  So, now I’m going to go get my new stained glass coloring project and work on that for a while.

Tomorrow’s my Monday and I’m trying to psych myself up for that.  On the plus side, my laundry is done AND put away.  That has to count for something, right?

Happy Thursday!

So Much Stuff

I hardly know where to begin.  It’s been so long since my last post and so much has happened in such a short space.  Maybe I should talk about some of the things I’ve learned in the last few weeks, a couple of them in the last day or two.  First of all, turning 60 is no joke.  It’s weird.  It’s not that I suddenly feel old and decrepit, but perhaps for the first time in my life, I’m really aware of my physical limitations or potential limitations.  Over the last few months, I’ve been dealing with a health situation.  It’s relatively minor, as long as I stay on top of it, which I’m doing.  I’m currently on a 90-day course of medication that’s supposed to remedy everything (90% chance) and I’ll have another biopsy in October and go from there.  I’m so lucky that Pueblo has such an excellent county health department, because I still don’t have health insurance.  It’s simply an added expense I can’t afford right now.

Which brings me to a second thing.  A couple of weeks after I wrote my last post in early July, my company, or rather, the company that my company is basically a slave to, suffered one of those huge cyber attacks.  I remember it vividly, because I got off work from my usual weekend shift on a Tuesday morning at 5 a.m., and some time later that day was when it hit.  No one could work.  All our hospital accounts were offline and unable to connect.  The master company had been arrogant enough to think that it could “never happen to them” and they had very little, if anything, in the way of defense against such an attack.  They were blindsided.  I thought, well, good timing, I’ve got three days off, surely their IT folks would have it resolved by then.  Nope.  We couldn’t work for over two weeks…and then only a couple of accounts were able to get back online, and one of them was via a very laborious work-around.  That was nerve wracking.  Again, I was lucky enough to have had nearly five weeks of PTO in the “bank” and because of the way the pay periods fell, I only ended up having to use 30 hours, but I think it put the fear of God, or at least unemployment, into everyone.

Since then, my company has laid off close to 60 people.  The accounts are back online and I’m working, but I know the only thing that has saved me is that I work graveyard shifts on Saturday and Sunday and no one else wants those.  I am the new kid on the block on this work platform and otherwise, I think I would have been history a while back.  Not a great feeling.

I’ve been looking around.  I updated my resume to somehow pack 45 years of work experience into a page and a half.  I had two really good interviews with a hospital here in town for a job that I would be perfect for.  They were probably the best interviews I’ve ever given and I was quite proud of myself, since I haven’t had a face-to-face interview in fifteen years.  The second interview was about three weeks ago and I’ve heard nothing, despite assurances that I would hear “either way.”  I’m 99% sure they’ve filled the positions (there were three for the same job), and if so, it’s entirely their loss.  I’ll keep my eyes open, for physical jobs here locally and online.  Honestly, I’d much rather continue working from home, but I would have taken that hospital job in a heartbeat if they had been able to pay what I needed (probably another reason I wasn’t offered it–Pueblo is notoriously low paying).

Otherwise, I’m dealing with an intense period of low energy/no energy, mostly due to the above situation.  For about thirty of the last forty-five days, leaving the house has been iffy due to physical circumstances.  I keep harking back to summer ten years ago, my vision quest, and Camino pilgrimage, and the similar challenges I faced then.  It feels worse now, maybe because I haven’t had to deal with any of that for over five years.  But ONLY five years?  It’s absurd.  Exercise became out of the question.   Obviously, I couldn’t swim.  And yoga, which requires bending over and abdominal contractions, etc., was out.  Even walking, being away from the house (the bathroom) for more than fifteen or twenty minutes, was problematic.  So, I have been feeling my strength and flexibility and endurance slowly slip away.  Is that what it means to get old?  It sucks.  I’m no fitness geek, but I’ve always had pretty good energy, the means and desire to get up and go and do pretty much anything I wanted to whenever I wanted to.

Now, it’s difficult to get motivated to make breakfast.  I know that part of it, right now, is due to the health stuff above.  But I am also coming to realize that perhaps the larger issue is working the damn graveyard shift.  I’m a natural morning person.  In fact, I’m writing this on my day off at five something a.m., after having only four hours of sleep.  I usually only get about four hours of sleep on a work day.  But it’s different.  On days off, I go to bed around midnight and usually wake up around four, so I sleep during the “quiet hours” of the cycle.  Work days, I am up, say at ten or eleven, and am up all day and overnight until five the following morning (when my body really wants to get up) and then I have to figure out how to FORCE myself to sleep four or five hours during the “unquiet hours” and start the whole thing all over again.  Sometimes I try to nap a little before I start work at five in the evening, but that doesn’t always work.

It takes its toll.  I know this shift was a contributing factor in the decline of the last relationship, especially when the ex didn’t think I “did much” because I sat at a computer for ten hours a night and couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to dig ditches and clean gutters on my days off.  I’ve (GASP) committed the cardinal sin of gaining weight.  I know that I eat more than I should because my body, craving sleep which it can’t have, will tell me I’m hungry instead.  And sometimes I AM hungry.  At two in the morning, when I’ve been focusing every ounce of energy I have on not making a mistake that will get me fired (because there are a blue million things I have to keep track of on my shift), and all the mental energy that’s going out of me like lightening, I stop and realize I’m starving.  So, I eat.  But I’ve also realized that on my days off, I’m not really hungry during the day, so my whole circadian rhythm has shifted and it’s not an easy situation.  Also, living with E, who is picky and really only cares to eat about once a day, has taken a huge toll on my culinary creativity and desire to cook.  So, more fast food, takeout, etc.  The way I shop for groceries has changed.  The amount of food I cook at one time has changed.  I now gauge a recipe by an 8 x 8 pan instead of a 9 x 13, and try to figure out if either one of us will really eat the leftovers.  This summer, I’ve pretty much only wanted to eat cantaloupe, peaches and corn on the cob, none of which appeal to E.  So, I buy a few ears of corn at a time, a few peaches, cut the cantaloupe up and keep it in the fridge, and buy E the snacks that he wants and I cook a “real” meal maybe three times a week.

Many changes.  Many things to think about.  Many things to not beat myself up about, but I do anyway.  It’s another form of starting over.  After I finish my course of medication, I know I’m going to need to get back into some kind of exercise routine.  I’ve discovered various forms of yoga on YouTube and I love that.  I also cut the cable (even though I still have internet via Comcast), and got a Fire TV box, so now I can stream the yoga videos on the big TV in the living room.  I got rid of my bicycle, so I have more floor space.  I like that a lot.

I’ll keep going.  I’ll figure it out.  I always have and I always will.  This is a momentary bump in the road, but these days, the bumps feel bigger and seem to slow me down more.  Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s the emotional climate of the entire country and the world today.  I don’t know.  There are a certainly more things going on that I have no control over and fretting about that isn’t healthy either.  But some days, I literally wake up and realize what’s going on in this country and who’s “in charge” and I feel like there is a huge weight on me, keeping me from even getting out of bed.  It’s not an excuse, but it’s true.

But then, I have to keep telling myself, I’m here, I’m basically healthy, I have a job, I have friends, I have so many things that others don’t.  I have to keep the focus there and I will.  I am doing my best to stay conscious and aware through all this, to try to navigate everything by staying present.  It’s not easy, but it’s imperative.  Blessed be.

Little By Little

Happy October! Welcome to my favorite month of the year. Today dawned cool and a little foggy. I’m taking that as an auspicious sign of a good month to follow. This month will mark six months since the break up and big transition. I believe things are finally starting to settle down in a lot of ways. We got the bureaucracy out of our lives, which is nice. No more worrying about UAs and home visits, which to be fair weren’t that bad, but just more items on the daily to do list that now don’t have to be done.

E is doing better in school, seems more motivated. Conversely, or maybe corollary, he may be becoming a bit un-enamored of football…at least with the coaching staff this year. They continue to want him to play quarterback, and he does, but he doesn’t care for the position, especially since they don’t pass a lot (he’s got an arm on him, this kid does), but when they let him play wide receiver (which he wanted), there are so many in the rotation, he doesn’t get much playing time. This is all from him. I don’t go to practices and only one game, since the majority so far have been out of town and on Saturday. Last week, I had to have them at the school to get on the bus at 5:45 AM!! That worked for me, as I just got off work and took them, but oh my goodness, that’s early for teens!

In any event, he’s doing his homework, trying to keep up better on a daily basis and actually asked me if he could apply to a program called Upward Bound which will help him with his school work and possibly allow him to take college classes while he’s still in high school. Well, DUH! Of course! That was very encouraging, trust me.

I think I’m getting a better handle on trying to map out a couple of weeks’ worth of basic menus that make it easy for me (if a little boring) and keep everyone happy and fed. Something Mexican (tacos, burritos, etc.), something Italian (spaghetti, baked ziti, etc.), some kind of casserole with hamburger or chicken, something like chili, pizza every couple of weeks, baked chicken, etc. I finally figured out how to cook pinto beans the way he likes, and of course, green chile. I says he won’t eat leftovers, but if I heat them up a couple of days later, he doesn’t seem to notice. Plus, I am working on downsizing things. Casseroles are now in an 8 x 8 dish instead of 9 x 13. I have been eating the leftovers for breakfast, which suits me. I buy small amounts of veggies for me, and quit worrying about trying to serve a side dish with meals. The KISS method works! Thinking in terms of a week’s worth of menus makes things easier to plan.

In other areas, I’m trying to add more sleep to my day. For two days last weekend, I deliberately took a 1.5 hour nap shortly before I was was due to start work. I almost always try to do this, but rarely succeed. I felt so much better on those days and then the other two days I was busy and didn’t manage. I definitely felt a difference. I know that I probably won’t ever sleep seven or eight hours in a row, that’s just not me. However, I can add more sleep, if I make it a priority.

Also, working on adding fifteen to twenty minutes on the bike right after I get back from taking the boys to school.  I get to watch whatever show I missed the night before and break a sweat at the same time. Two days in a row. We’ll see what happens over the weekend with the work schedule, but again, the title of this is “Little by Little” not “Fixed All At Once.”

Finally, for the last couple of days being out and about, walking, getting in and out of the car, etc., I have noticed that I seem to be having less pain in my lower back/hip areas. My left leg is still falling asleep after I walk or stand for a while, but the overall pain of really tight muscles and connective tissue is less. I haven’t been doing anything special, but I think the clenched feeling I had in my life the last few years in the house is finally starting to relax. In fact, I never even thought of myself as “clenched” until I just wrote that sentence, but I was. I know I was. I was sort of in a defensive mode all the time, trying to justify everything I did that wasn’t something she would have done or something that she didn’t think was “productive.” I don’t even know how I got there, but letting go of all that feels really, really good.

Little by little, the changes are happening. October will be a good month to celebrate.

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And Here I Am…

I’ve been managing an hour or so of “me” time pretty well. I guess I cheated a little bit on the no TV thing because part of the time I’m spending with myself is involving some exercising and movement, and I found a number of nice, brief workouts in the free on-demand section of my cable. This is a really great thing! I found a very good 10-minute walking workout that I can do when I get really groggy in the middle of the night…it’s great for getting the blood moving and brief enough that I can do it on break. I’ve also found some yoga/pilates and strength/weight routines, too. It’s great to be able to have those choices when it’s too hot to go out or I just want a few minutes of something.

I also finally bit the bullet and bought a new swim card at the college and updated my parking pass. I was really bummed because I had about 5 swims left on my old card, which was in my wallet, and I think in clearing out a bunch of old receipts somewhere along the way, I accidentally tossed it. However, this new one is tucked inside my photo protectors so it should stay safe and sound. E has football camp at the college next week and hopefully, I’ll get in a couple of swims, too. AND, it’s so close now, I could walk if I were really motivated…but maybe not carrying my swim bag.

I’ve also started journaling again–pen to paper actual writing. There are things I need to write about that I don’t really want to put here, even in a private post. And there’s something extremely cathartic about watching the words flow out of your fingers. It’s just a different process than typing. Long ago, when I wrote, I did everything longhand and then typed it into the computer (or on paper via typewriter–anyone remember typewriters?). It took me a long time to learn how to compose fiction at the computer. Now I would find it physically exhausting to try to write a story or a novel with pen and paper, but I love the process of journaling and I’m happy to be doing it once more. And, yes, I inaugurated a new journal in honor of the challenge. It’s a thick one, too, so I have to keep at it.

I’m doing my leg stretches most every day. They definitely help, although as time moves on, I find that drastic changes in the barometric pressure make a huge difference in my pain level. I don’t know if it’s the climate here, with the rather thin, dry air, or what, but there are days when moving is just really difficult and I think, why, I haven’t done anything to warrant this, and then I watch the weather reports and invariably there are massive, conflicting fronts clashing along the Front Range, moving through. I mean, if the tides can affect us, why not air pressure changes as well?

I haven’t made much progress on my little grotto area, but that’s more due to budget concerns than anything else. It’ll happen. E is winding down school and winding up football, so once that schedule kind of adjusts, maybe I’ll be able to hit a few garage sales.

The thing I’m learning about doing this challenge is how to work with my own rhythm. I spent so many years following someone else’s imperatives (and for most of that time happy to do it), that I kind of lost my own sense of how I would like to move through this world. I know it’s a slower pace than a lot of people. I can have really long-term goals and be okay with not knowing how I’m going to achieve them in this red-hot second. Another thing I’m learning…”how” isn’t that important. “How” will take care of itself if I’m just clear on “what.” So, I’m concentrating on the “what.”

I think that’s pretty good progress for a week. Going to go spend some time with myself now. I’ll check back later.

Cheers!

Bad Feelings

I had to go over to the house today. Okay, I didn’t have to, but I decided to. G messaged me that E had a card from his dad’s side of the family (I would have thought the forwarding order was still in place, but oh, well). I was already planning to be over that way this morning because I was going to pick up some eggs from our faithful egg lady, so I said I would just run by and pick it up on the way there. To be fair, she offered to meet me on this side of town later when she had her VA appointment and save me the trip, but I declined. Anyway. She told me she would just leave the card out in a certain place and I could just run up and get it. Fine.

This morning is the second nice day after the rain; in fact, we had some T-showers last night as well. Of course, the yard is stunning…I mean out of a magazine gorgeous, more lovely and lush than it has been in a long time. I know intellectually that about 97% of that is the fact that it’s had nearly unlimited water this spring, but when I stepped out of the car this morning, all I could think was that the yard was happy I wasn’t there any more. And, not even really that, but that the yard was reflecting the relief of not having the conflict inside the house.

The only really odd (and sad) thing was that the cherry tree is in all likelihood dead. We had an extremely long “fall” last year, if you could even call it that. Temperatures were well into the 70s all the way up to Halloween. Many of the trees had not even begun to shed their leaves. Then, on November 7, it went from 71 degrees in Pueblo to -7 in the space of 36 hours. Yes, you read that right. So, it’s completely understandable that we might lose a tree or two. And yet, the red-bud tree and the two apple trees (one just on the other side of the stone bench from the cherry) are all doing well. I was the one who wanted the cherry tree, who picked the cherries, who tried to save enough from the birds to make at least one pie or cobbler each season, who was hoping to make cherry jam this year. That was my tree. And it’s the only one that’s dead. Symbolic much?

Of course, the card wasn’t where she said it was going to be, so I had to call her inside the house and she brought it out. I got to stand on the patio and feel the yard taunting me. I saw everything blooming like some English cottage garden on steroids because of all the damn rain and all I could think of was getting kicked out of the garden of Eden for bad behavior. It was hateful. Then the door opened and she handed me the card, and I thanked her and left. I could not get around the corner fast enough.

I drove past other lovely yards and gardens. In honesty, the whole town looks great this year because of all the rain. Even weedy empty lots look landscaped because the weeds are full and soft and green, as if they had been planned. But, I didn’t care about those places. I could only think of that yard, mocking me. The weird thing was, I was hardly even thinking about G. Oh, yeah, I had visions of her out there at least 7 or 8 hours a day, pulling, poking, weeding, moving, whatever it is you do day after day after day in a relatively small space…honestly I could never figure out just how she always had so much to do, but I guess when you can’t be alone with your own thoughts, you can create a million things to distract you from them.

But I’m here with mine and I’m trying to sort them out. I certainly don’t want to go back there, there’s none of that feeling in all of this.  I don’t want to dig up around my apartment and start planting things. I don’t even have access to a hose!  Maybe I’m just feeling cheated in a general sense. She probably would never even have explored the possibility of buying that house if I hadn’t encouraged (pushed) her to take the chance.  There are a lot of things she wouldn’t have done or experienced if it hadn’t been for me.  But I’m not going to start keeping score. I can do it for five minutes, but not over the long term. I’m not a good candidate for the suffering Olympics; I don’t have the staying power.

I just never thought that standing in the middle of such a beautiful place would be so hard.

One Month

It was a month here on May 15. I celebrated my birthday here on the 12th, too. It was a quiet day, the kind I like best. Thanks to a gift certificate from a friend, I took myself to one of my favorite coffee shops for a latte and a scone. I finished a book I had been trying to get through, in peace. It was lovely. I have change from the gift cert to use when I meet another friend there tomorrow for more BD goodness. A birthday is too wonderful to confine to just one day…I’m using the whole month, and what better month than lovely May?

We have had a LOT of rain here this spring and it has been cool and sweet. The cloud-covered skies are inspiring and I never knew there were so many shades of gray (way more than 50!) E and I are falling into a routine. He’s picked up another friend, who happens to live nearby, so now it’s a trio. They made a plan to rotate weekends at each others’ houses and that works for me. I had them this past weekend and told them they could take over the living room, since E’s room is so small. The two folding mattresses have already paid for themselves in convenience. I inherited E’s twin when he got his futon (which he loves) and now everyone is at least a few inches off the actual floor.

I continue to break in the kitchen and forget where I put things. I finally went back over to the house this weekend and got the majority of my artwork. Now I’m trying to decide where I want it and I’ve already got myself set on a new purchase…now that I have a wall big enough to hang it. For the art fans who might read this, PLEASE go to my friend Jay’s site and look at his work. I love it. He’s raw and vibrant and real and he deserves to be noticed.

The trip to the house was brief. G wasn’t feeling well and while the yard was as beautiful as ever, I really had no desire to stay any longer than I absolutely needed to. It’s not my space anymore. Again, I was kind of surprised at the lack of emotion, but I did notice the cherry tree was dead–I don’t think it survived that awful hard freeze we got back in November. I thought that was just a tad symbolic.

I think the best thing about this month is that I have been learning to take my time and listen to myself. Do I want to go for a walk? Hmm, yes I do. Do I want to cook breakfast? Hmm, no not right now. I know it’s going to be somewhat different this summer with E out of school, but I’m hoping football will fill up a lot of that time. Either way, just going to take it a day, an hour, a moment at a time and not stress over it.

And now, time to toss laundry in the dryer before work.

Later, taters!

Discoveries

I’m learning my new neighborhood. I’ve gone a few times to walk around the track at the middle school that’s just across the street. The other day I went in the morning right after I got back from taking E to school. As I did my laps, kids came from various direction, cutting across the old softball field below the track, through the gate and across the soccer field in the middle of the track and up the stairs to school. At least one teacher came that way, too. Then, as I was on my next to last lap, I heard the distinctly American sound of a snare drums and whistles, and the marching band from the local high school (only a little further away) came up the street, practicing, practicing. So much fun! I couldn’t help but walk in time with a big grin on my face.

This neighborhood is hilly! It’s a big change from everywhere else I’ve lived in town, which has been pretty flat as a pancake…or there were slight rises up to areas that plateaued into flat neighborhoods. This place has actual slopes. It’s an interesting change. This morning, after several gray/drizzly/wet days in a row, it was lovely, cool and sunny. I decided to tackle another part of the neighborhood and just walk. It’s a great place to walk…sidewalks everywhere, wide streets, very little traffic. The rain had energized everything and there was a lovely aroma of evergreen all around.

The architecture here is quite different. In my old neighborhood, houses had been around for a while…they’re the mill houses, build to house workers from CF&I Steel when steel was king and Pueblo was bigger than Colorado Springs. Lots of houses there from the 1900s, 1910’s and on up. Ours was built in 1940.

These neighborhoods are pure 50’s forward. Today’s route was probably even into the 70’s forward. But still, there was variety and even a little character, not the same-on-same sorts of development that look like they’ve been squeezed out of a Play-Doh tube and slice off with that little serrated plastic knife. I could get to like this place, I think. Once again, I live near a highway…this time, US Highway 50. A few years ago, the city put up a large sound wall along the road to help mitigate traffic noise. There’s an area where I could just walk along that wall for a good while and possibly end up at the college where I swim. Today, I just did a pretty good sized circle, noting street names and where they crossed at various places should I want to mix up my walk a little bit.

Also, I discovered that the little area where I walk down three steps to go into my apartment is the absolute perfect place for stretching my legs. As I look out of the door, the wall and a railing is on my right, but there’s a retaining wall on the left that’s a little bit above waist-high on me. It’s the perfect height for stretching my SI joints and putting my foot on to stretch my quadriceps muscle. I haven’t had anything to do that on in ages. It’ll be great even to step outside when I’m working just to loosen up the limbs and get some fresh air.

The people above me have hung up a tiny bird feeder from their porch railing. This makes me very happy. I’m thinking of putting up a hummingbird feeder just to see what happens.

I unpacked the last box today–well, one still has my shoes in it, but it’s stowed in the closet, so I might not unpack that one. The one had the photos. Some I filed, others I just moved to a smaller banker’s box with a top and put it on my closet shelf. My goal is to get a decent photo scanner that feeds, and scan photos while I watch TV. Then, if I can force myself to do it, I can toss the actual photos. I may or may not do this. The ones I threw out before I moved were easy, but what I have left is a lot of life/family history. Even if they’re digital, for me, there’s just something about being able to touch an old photograph that gives you something that just looking at a digital image can’t capture. We’ll see. No rush. No rules but mine now, right?

I finally broke in the kitchen and baked last night. A loaf of banana bread for E. I discovered that my coffee maker WILL fit under my kitchen cabinet (my eyeballing it said no), and so that will clear my little extra stand to put a microwave on. Still waiting on that, as I had to break down and buy a vacuum cleaner. I found a Shark at Lowe’s for a quite affordable price and this thing is equal to the Dyson at the other house. I’m very happy with it. E will now need to get into a vacuuming routine!

My phone still gets very iffy service throughout the flat. I finally was able to make and receive some calls at my desk…that was a relief. I still may go with the Vonage option, but for now I’m just going to see how it goes with what I have.

I’m still working on giving myself permission to be “lazy,” to watch a movie if I want to, or read a book or just sit in the chair and not do anything. E is looking forward to starting football soon, and I confess I am too. I’ll probably just hang out at the school in the morning and wait for him, so I can do more track walking there. Or reading. Or dozing in the car.  He was getting ragged on my one of his friends in a football group chat last night about his performance/what happened earlier this year, and I think he handled himself pretty well. He said he just wants to focus on school/football and not get caught up on that kind of stuff. I hope he can follow through on it.

I still have to get back over to the other place and get artwork. Those are the last things. I confess I am quite reluctant to go there. I don’t want to, I don’t want really to talk to her or see her. Without getting into a lot of messy detail, I feel like she has gone back on everything she ever said to me about “being fair” and I just want to cut ties and move on. But, the artwork is mine…a lot of it acquired before we met, or things that were to my taste and I want them here. My friend D said he would help me and she wants it out out the house, so I will just bite the bullet and do it…but not today.

In the meantime, I’m sure I have a lot more discoveries to make about this new space, new place and new life. Here’s to exploring.

A Week

Yesterday was a week since we moved. It seems like we have been here forever and that the last 13 years were but a dream. Isn’t that odd? I expected to be more broken up about the break up, but I’m not. I confess that sometimes I wonder about myself. I wonder if there is something missing inside me, because I can detach like this, almost in an instant. I wonder where the line is between detachment and pathology is–if one can be so detached as to just fall off the edge. Does that make sense? Can you have passion and detachment at the same time? I wonder.

I’m still unpacking, but nearly done. Mostly it’s books now, and where they should go. I got the furniture in the bedroom rearranged yesterday and I think things will stay this way for a while. This bedroom is REALLY big. I see where I might need a piece or two (I need a low sort of table or night stand right next to my floor bed. A regular one is too high for me to reach the lamp at night, and I want to get the lamp off the floor.) I guess this means I can take the tape off the file cabinet drawers and file a few things.

The one issue I have is that the closet doors are mirrored. No, no, NOPE. I hate mirrored closet doors…and the ones in the model that I looked at were not. For now, the doors are just open, so it’s almost like my closet at the other place, but a friend of mine sent me this brilliant article about using fabric for “wallpaper” and putting it up with liquid laundry starch. I might find myself some funky fabric and do that…after I test that it will stick on the mirrors and that I can get all fabric and starch reside off the mirrors without a problem. It would definitely give me a pop of design color/accent in this otherwise very beige/white room. And as long as I could take it off harmlessly before I moved (hoping THAT won’t be for a while), it should be okay.

I still have to hang pictures and I still have to get quite a bit of artwork from the house. I’m sure G is worrying with that like a bone. She’s already moved everything down to my old meditation room, but I know she hears it nattering at her constantly. I need to coordinate with friend D, who drives a large truck for his job. He’s been so willing to help me out with just about anything. We just have to work around his schedule, which takes him out of town on the road on my days off. But we’ll get there.

All in all, I feel pretty settled. I’m hoping to get back to the pool next week…this new place is SO much closer…I could probably ride my bike if I wanted to…and I might ride up to the college just to ride, but not lugging all the swim stuff too. I don’t think I’m that coordinated.

And now I need to go cook part of dinner and maybe unpack a few more books. Thank you for all your good thoughts and encouragement. It means a lot and I really appreciate it!