Posted in food and eating, memories, progress, routine, self-discovery,

Leo

Sometimes, my thought convolutions and trails of memory surprise me. This morning, in the wee hours, to get a brief break from work, I read an online essay at Lucky Peach, a great food, cooking and culture magazine. In it, the author talked about keeping a food diary for none of the reasons that people are often urged to do this, i.e., track your food so you’ll know if you eat “too much” and then you can eat less and lose weight. This woman keeps a food diary as an aid to memory. Even writing this takes me down another mind corridor, to a conversation I had years ago with a college friend and her husband in New Orleans about our parents and their various quirks. Her mother invariably remembered events and occasions by what was eaten: “Oh, remember when we went there? We went to X Restaurant and you had that dish, and your father ate that?” while her husband’s father always seemed to remember event by how much things cost: “Oh, remember when we went there? We went to X Restaurant and the bill was X dollars, and you had that steak that cost X!” And so it goes.

Working nights is weird. I get hungry at odd times. I mean, really hungry. I don’t know if it’s the brain power I’m expending at times when my mind would normally be resting or if it’s just my body trying to tell me to sleep, but instead it just gives up and says, “Well, I know you’re not going to sleep, but I’m really tired, so why don’t you eat something instead?”

Either way, tonight/this morning there was a perfect combination of circumstances that threw me down memory lane big time. I decided I wanted some cheese toast. Toast has become a real treat for me lately because over the past few months, I discovered that either wheat or gluten or some combination of the two was the major culprit in all my miserable itching. I did two somewhat controlled experiments where I quit eating bread, baked goods, wheat flour products, etc. for a couple of weeks, then ate the same and wow…the itching had calmed down a lot and after I ate the things (2 donuts the first time, 1 corn muffin from a restaurant the second time) and had immediate and severe skin reactions, I thought, well, I can do without bread, etc. if it means not scratching myself till I bleed.

I did well the first 6 weeks or so. I’m not a really big bread eater, although I like it. Crackers are more my downfall, and I found some gluten free ones that I liked, so all was well. But, every now and then I want a sandwich. Or a piece of toast. So, after nearly 3 months of no bread, wheat flour, etc., I found a loaf of Udi’s gluten-free bread on sale and thought I would try it. I got the millet-chia variety and it is really good. My first piece of toast in 3 months was incredibly delicious…buttered under the broiler, with peanut butter and cherry preserves. Yeah, THAT’S a memory.

Which brings me back to tonight/this morning. I wanted cheese toast with tomatoes. And wanting cheese toast with tomatoes, I thought of Leo.

Leo was my boss at Six Flags Over Georgia in the Crystal Pistol for four years. The first year I worked there, I worked in the general wardrobe, where I took in the dirty uniforms for all the park workers and handed out the clean ones for the next day. I worked with a high school friend and her mom along with the rest of the crew, in a huge warehouse type place full of long racks of brightly colored uniforms for the different rides. There was a guys’ side and a girls’ side because every day after shift, the workers came in, went upstairs to the locker rooms, changed into their street clothes and brought their uniforms to us, got replacements and then went back upstairs to put them in their lockers for the next day. Over time, I learned people by their clothing size. I learned to look at a guy and think, “Oh, 32 x 32” instead of “Cute butt.” I learned to look at a girl and think, “Flume Large” or “Sky carts medium” which had absolutely no bearing on whatever size she might wear in the real world. But that’s a whole other post. The wardrobe was my world for the first year I worked as SFOG. I worked weekends and nights after school when the season overlapped and nights during the summer. It was my first experience with night shifts. SFOG was where I learned to drink coffee.

I liked working there, but even then my introverted self did not want to be out in the park mingling with the tourists. So, the second year when spring time rolled around, I put in an application again and started following up. My mom called, I called, but nothing seemed available. Finally, when I was just about to give up hope, my mom made one last call and the HR person asked, “Can she sew?” Oh, yes, I could, and so I got an interview with Leo at the Crystal Pistol.

On the day of, I went into the office area that I was familiar with and was told I needed to go out to the Pistol for the interview–that was where Leo worked. So, I found my way there, and asked the crew where to find Leo and they directed me backstage, where I found a woman in a tiny cubicle with a two sewing machines facing each other, surrounded by vast yardages of lace, net, tulle, satin, rhinestones and sequins, separated from the rest of the backstage space by a counter and a Dutch door.

As I got a little closer, it appeared that I was looking at her through the neck of the sewing machine…her head was barely over the top of it. I stopped at the Dutch door and told her who I was. She slowly got up and made her way around and through the piles of fabric and to the door and opened it for me, inviting me into her inner sanctum. I stepped in, more than a little nervous, especially when I saw that Leo was probably older than my grandmother and barely taller than my waist. Think Linda Hunt as Hetty in NCIS: LA.

Leo greatly resembled Gertrude Stein and she was, in effect, cubic. She was almost literally as wide as she was tall. She wore long smock tops and loose pants, and she pulled one of those vertical wire shopping carts along behind her coming to work and going home. She had crisp gray hair that she wore pulled back in a severe bun and bright blue eyes in a round face that was soft with wrinkles. She was not a particularly cheerful person, but over time, I could tell when she was amused because her eyes would sparkle even if her expression never changed. She never hurried, but she got everything done on time. She was a brilliant seamstress who had no formal training but she could look at a person for a few minutes and work out a pattern to fit them from thin air. I was immediately intimidated, but she asked me if I had made the top I was wearing, and I said, yes, ma’am, I had, and everything was downhill from there. I was in.

Leo ruled the backstage area. Nobody messed with her. As with the general wardrobe, the performers turned in the part of their costumes that were washed and cleaned every day…tuxedo shirts, or similar, various ties, accessories, even underthings (dance belts–if you don’t know what a dance belt is, Google it), dance hose, leotards. We were responsible for keeping the costumes up, washing the things that could be washed, and maintaining the dressing rooms. But Leo brooked no sloppiness. We kept things cleaned and mopped, but woe to anyone who left a bow tie or a stocking behind and woe to the person who turned in their things bunched up or inside out. There would be fines and no one got their items back until the fines were paid.

In addition to the two sewing machines and piles of fabrics and shiny things, Leo kept a fridge and toaster oven in the tiny space. I’m sure it was some kind of a fire hazard, but no one was going to tell her she couldn’t have them. One of the things she loved to make was cheese toast with tomatoes. She brought big, juicy tomatoes from her yard (her husband, Harold, was a gardener–when he wasn’t watching religious shows on TV, something Leo greatly disapproved of, as Harold was apparently prone to sending money to the televangelists. Leo was nothing if not frugal.) She sliced the tomatoes thick and the cheese thicker, and popped her little open-faced gems into the toaster oven to bubble and ooze into melted perfection.

My mouth watered every time she made this concoction, and I vowed I would try it at home. At work, I brought a cold lunch in and Leo and I ate together while I trained.

The first year, I worked under Leo’s close scrutiny. I learned to fit and alter, to sew yards of rhinestones onto plush velvet without marring the nap, to take regular looking street clothes and turn them into something showy that was also able to be yanked off a moving body in a hurry and replace with an equally showy different garment for quick-change moments. I once even fixed a young man’s zipper while he was still wearing the pants. When I told him sternly, “Don’t MOVE,” and he didn’t, I began to understand where some of Leo’s power came from.

Throughout the season, Leo continued to make her cheese toast with tomatoes. And I started making it at home. It’s such a simple item, but so good…way better than the ubiquitous grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. I could never abide tomato soup, even as a child, but the warm tomatoes coated in the melty, bubbly cheddar atop the crispy, buttery toast…that was comfort food at its best.

And so, last night/this morning, as I made my toast, Leo wandered into my head and in just a moment, I relived all those years at the Crystal Pistol, sewing rhinestones and sequins, watching the pretty boys and girls dance brilliantly onstage and cuss like sailors and smoke like chimneys backstage. I felt the swish of the netting around me as I worked in the close confines of Leo’s creative closet. I smelled the funk of costumes that can never really be washed but only “cleaned”…that unique mix of dry cleaning fluid and body odor that never exists anywhere but in the back of a live-performance theater. I thought about the author of the article, writing her food diaries ever day, hoping to preserve her memories of events and people by writing down menus. It’s a powerful technique, if just thinking about cheese toast and tomatoes can carry me back this far to a long-passed period of my life.

I’ve got short ribs in the crock pot tonight. Maybe I should write that down.

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Posted in clarity, musing, progress, routine, self-discovery,

Leaving

Once upon a time, I put everything I owned in the trunk of my car and left behind a house that I had lived in for a long time, but wasn’t mine. I moved to a different city and lived in a mostly empty two-room apartment, that never really felt like mine, even after I bought a table to sit at and eat breakfast. I was scared to death at first, but eventually enjoyed myself and learned a few things.

Then, after a little while, things there got hard and sad and I retreated back to the other house that felt like home but still wasn’t mine. It was comfortable there, but I had become used to moving and so after a while, I found a job that moved me all over the place until I decided to “settle” in a number of ways, in another tiny apartment that did feel like home for a while, but then it didn’t and I left that and moved again, to a larger house that was nice but isolated and far away. Things got scary there, and one night, I left everything behind and moved out in a hurry, in order to save my life.

I went back to the house that still wasn’t mine and stayed there for a while, but all the things I had taken out of the last house stayed boxed up, as if they were waiting for the time that I would move again. When it came, I left most of that behind, put just a few things in a moving truck and this time went across the country to live in another house that wasn’t mine. I had hope that perhaps one day it would feel like mine, and it was comfortable for a while, but then, once again, things happened that caused it to feel strange and alien, and so, leaving everything but a few of the necessaries that I had schlepped from one state to another, I moved into a different small apartment, that for nearly a year, really did feel like home.

Then another opportunity arose to once again live in a house that wasn’t mine, but most definitely felt like home for a longer time than any of the others. But when things went wrong there, they went wrong in a hurry, and all of a sudden, the home was simply another place to leave and I found myself in another small apartment with almost the exact inventory of things that I had left home with nearly two decades ago.

Now, I am in this home-feeling place, but I know that in a fairly short while I will once again be leaving. I’ll once again move to a house that is not mine and leave behind anything that won’t fit in the trunk of my car. The circle will be unbroken.

We come from a long lineage of leavers. Our forebears left countries and societies that had become impossible for them to tolerate, whether for political, economic or religious reasons. They settled for a while along the Eastern shores of a new country, but then, even then, some of them weren’t satisfied and had to leave again, to forge out into the unknown parts of the vast country they found themselves in. They left behind men, women, children, possessions, security. They didn’t know what they would find, didn’t know if they would live long enough to get back, only knew that for some unknown reason, they couldn’t stay.

Today, we leave jobs, we leave homes, we leave relationships, we leave loved ones and not so loved ones, we leave children, we leave friends, and wonder what went wrong. What if nothing went wrong? What if, by a process of selection, like blond hair or big ears, we have simply evolved a leaving gene? What if all this leaving over the span of hundreds of years, has made us incapable of sustaining marriages, jobs, relationships, for more than a few years at a time. You could argue that it’s society that has changed, becoming more mobile, causing the need for job transfers, etc., and that the age of working for one company for 30 years and then retiring is over, and that is true. But how did that happen? When you drill down, what is the basic source? Perhaps our society has evolved this way to actually support the idea of leaving, that “getting out” is what you do, that staying anywhere long enough to put down real roots has become uncomfortable, like feeling trapped. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

I can’t answer that question and all of the above are just rambling thoughts that have been going through my mind for a while. Why does one person manage to find a partner, a job, a life that satisfies them for thirty or forty years with relatively minor changes, and another person rambles through their life the way I have, completely uprooting themselves every so often in ways that their friends often can’t comprehend? I may never know, but at least now I’m comfortable with the idea of being a loner and a nomad, and I can pursue my path without disrupting anyone else’s life. For that, I am thankful.

Posted in allowing, boy, enjoyment, no schedule, Summertime

Summertime…

…and the livin’ is easy. I have been enjoying this summer much more than I have enjoyed this season in a long time.  There are lots of reasons: A pool right outside my door, a sweet air conditioned apartment, a completely flexible schedule outside of work, volunteer work at the local farmers’ market, hanging out with my grandson, watching movies, laughing with his crazy friends, teaching him to DRIVE (yes, you read that right). And no one to judge when or how or why I do any of these things. For instance, take Monday and Tuesday mornings. They can be rough. I get off work at 5 a.m. and E has football practice at 7 a.m. both days. That doesn’t leave much time for sleeping. I try to doze till about 6, get him awake enough for both of us to get in the car, then I scoot the couple of miles to the school, drop him off and park the car, where I then recline the seat and snooze till he’s done at around 8:30 or 9. By then, he’s worn out from about two hours of weight lifting and wind sprints, so we go home and both of us crash. I usually sleep less than he does, but at least I manage to go back to sleep. He wakes up later or he sleeps all night. I let him. This may be the last summer he has without some kind of a job, so hell, sleep all day if you can, my boy, and enjoy it. Some days he wakes up, we watch a little TV together, and he may fall asleep again or he may stay up till the wee hours. Doesn’t bother me. If he’s hungry, he’s learning how to do basic stuff, ramen noodles, chicken sandwiches, bacon, eggs and toast. He won’t starve if he gets hungry enough. Sometimes he plays his XBox, sometimes he watches Netflix and catches up on one of our favorite TV shows, The Fosters. We like to watch things together–The Fosters, America’s Got Talent, various sports movies or action films. We want to go see the new Mission: Impossible movie next week, so I got the 3rd one, Ghost Protocol on Netflix last week, so he could see that one first. The stunt of Tom Cruise climbing on the skyscraper in Dubai alone is worth seeing it. We talk about a lot of things when we watch movies. It’s a good time for both of us.

Thing is, who cares when we eat or sleep, really? We get where we need to be when we need to be there, work gets done, bills get paid and the house is in pretty good shape. If I want to drink a pot of coffee at midnight, who’s to say I shouldn’t. If he wants to take a shower at 4 a.m., why not? I will simply be glad he’s bathing.

So much energy has been wasted on “schedules” and things SHOULD be done a certain way. I’m done with that. I want my life easy. I understand being polite and considerate of other people, but it’s just the two of us and it’s summertime. Life is meant to be easy.

And on that note, please listen to the classic song by the inimitable Billie Holiday:

Posted in Appreciation, grandsons, summer days

What I Did This Weekend

It had a lot to do with these three:

tresamigos (640x480)They had football camp starting this past Thursday through Sunday morning. They all stayed here, and I trucked them back and forth to the practices and scrimmages. Fortunately, I now only live about 2 miles from the college where the camp was held (same place I swim), but combine multiple trips with my work schedule and trying to keep these three fed, it was pretty exhausting. They’re good kids, though, all three of them, funny, witty and sweet when you aren’t looking. Today, they’ve gone with the middle one’s family to a small water park in Walsenburg, about 40 miles south. E spent the night last night, so I’m having a whole day kid free–until later this evening when they come home and I promised them we’d go to Jurassic World tonight for the five dollar movie. Did I mention that our local theater has five dollar movies ALL DAY on Tuesdays? Yes, they do, so I am seeing a lot more movies these days as you might imagine. And loving THAT.

Then, tomorrow, E and I head north to Denver where we will have an overnight with his brother, who I haven’t seen since the day of his father’s memorial service. I got a hotel with a pool and an arcade and maybe we’ll go to the 16th Street Mall downtown or the zoo or the aquarium or wherever. Then E will spend the rest of the week there with his dad, I think.

Then, next week, football practice and conditioning start in earnest. It’s been nice to know this week is activity free, but it will be over too soon. Still, I have today, and that’s been good.

Summer in Pueblo is shaping up to be pretty good.

Posted in allowing, Another 30 days, Appreciation, blessings, me-time

Keeping My Own Company

Yesterday was a long swim, nearly an hour. More than, if you count the undressing and re-dressing parts. Every time I go swimming after a long hiatus, I spend at least the first few minutes kicking myself that I let so much time go by between swims. The moment I slide into the water, my entire perspective changes. All is well. I can’t explain it. There is just nothing like being in the water. In addition to swimming my laps, I consciously tried to spend at least a few minutes just being in the water. That’s a little more difficult, but yesterday, after I finished, there was no one waiting for a lane, and only one other person in the pool, so just just hung out for a bit. Thing is, I am naturally buoyant. At the deep end, 13 feet, I don’t have to tread water, I just naturally bob out at about chin level. I could hang submerged in the water all day, if I wouldn’t completely shrivel into a prune. So, I just bobbed for a while, then walked a little back and forth in the shallow end, stretched and called it good…oh, I did swim about 50 laps first, so it was a good workout. Then, in the locker room, I struck up a chat with a woman who asked me if I worked for the college. I said, no, I just enjoyed swimming there. She told me about an on-campus challenge they are having, called the “Iron Wolf.” The CSU-Pueblo mascot is the Thunder Wolf, hence…

Anyway, the challenge is, for the month of June, to swim 2.4 miles, ride your bike 112 miles, and walk 26 miles…the distances of an Ironman Triathlon, but just to do it in a month. I thought this was a fabulous challenge. I am working on getting my bike back over here and saving up for a trunk-mounted bike carrier, and when I do, I am going to set this as a challenge for myself. Of course the swimming part won’t take me long, but I need to map out a few walking routes here around the neighborhood, so I can keep track of my walking and fortunately, I do have an odometer on my bike. I am really excited about this. I am following this amazing woman as she prepares for an Ironman, and so I will kind of feel like I am making strides in that direction myself. I will do my best not to let hot weather, etc. talk me out of it. And if any readers would like to throw some words of encouragement my way, I wouldn’t decline them.

Otherwise, E finished up 9th grade! I don’t know how good his grades were, but he’s got his schedule for next fall already, and now we are plunging into football with a vengeance. I went to the used bookstore today and picked up a copy of “It” by S. King to keep in the car. I spend a lot of time waiting for him, so might as well have a good read along with me. I’ve already re-read “The Shining” and something by Dean Koontz. I never got to leave books in the car before (NOTHING could be left in the car…well, tools) so I’m reclaiming that, too. Reclaming feels wonderful. In fact, I had to go over to the house again today to pick up my suitcase and an item that came in the mail over there, and I remembered this article that I read recently. G wasn’t there, so I spent a little time walking in the yard/gardens, and calling my power back to me. I saw that not only was the cherry tree gone, but also the apple and plum tree that we had planted the first week we moved in. I chose not to be sad about that. I choose to think not only was it about bad weather last fall, but also about me reclaiming my own energy from that place. I want to be able to drive past there or even go visit (I have been offered garden produce and I will take it!) and look at the place in a completely third person mode. So, by calling all of my power back from there, I can allow that to happen. It was a much better feeling than the last time I was there.

I’ve also started looking for places that I could possibly live for a year outside the country once E has graduated and moved on. He may not want to go at that time, but I am being clear to him that Hotel Gramma is closing in 2018. And once I turn 62, and have even the HOPE of Social Security, some plans and dreams are coming true for ME for a change.

So far, I am liking this challenge. A LOT!

Posted in Appreciation, beauty, meditation, mystery, sacred spaces

Everyday Sacred

I continue to settle in. Went for a walk this morning. I got back from taking the boys to school (E’s friend A has been staying with us a lot–I don’t mind, he’s a really good kid and I like him) and came back with the intent to walk but once I got inside, the sleepies nearly took over. However, I can feel myself becoming more deconditioned and I don’t like that, so I did my stretching routine in the doorway and then a walk around the neighborhood. I have to say that I have entirely loved our long, lingering spring. We have had much rain, cool weather, cloudy days–more cloudy days in a row than I can remember since moving here. It’s nearly June and I don’t think we’ve had more than a day or so above 80 degrees, if at all. Suits me! Now I’m back and trying to work on, or begin, a project that popped into my mind this week.

At the other place, I had a meditation room, complete with altar. This was a large buffet/sideboard type cabinet that I inherited when my second husband passed. His grandfather had built it. It’s nothing fancy, but quite roomy and serviceable and a perfect height for me. It was excellent for an altar and storage for DVDs, extra quilting fabric, vacuum cleaner parts, etc. Now, this cabinet is in the living room with the TV on it and it’s doubling as extra kitchen storage for my stand mixer, crock pot, etc. When I decided to move, that was my intended purpose for it, but leaves me without much space for an official altar. I have several bookcases (two in the bedroom) and my dresser, but the bookcases are small and the dresser (at least right now) is too busy with other things.

However. I do have a sweet little space right outside my front door. This is a tiny little grotto under the stairs going up to the upper unit. It’s graveled over, it’s dry and protected from the weather (aside from post rain dripping from the stairs), and the other day, it suddenly called out for me to create something sacred there, or rather, to coax out or allow the sacredness already there to come forward. There’s also a rose bush right next to it, and a couple of small, flat rocks that I could put a little bird feeder on.

So, I’ve decided to start hitting the thrift stores to create my little outdoor altar. I already have a few small items, but I want some kind of a base, a small rug or carpet remnant to lay down first, and a Buddha or Kwan Yin, or just the right angel–I’ll know it when I see it. Of course, this will give me an excuse to hit garage sales, too, so it’s a win/win. I have a small set of wind chimes in the shape of a lovely Green Man that I got as a gift long ago. This has never hung outside, only in the meditation room, so it’s time for that to be up and in the breeze, too. And maybe I’ll add a hummingbird feeder. I heard hummers in the air this morning on my walk. If you hang it, they will come…

I’m excited about this. I feel good about having a calm and sacred space right as I enter and exit. I’m about 99% sure that no one will mess with it and if anyone does, it would probably be a curious kid, and that’s okay. But the beauty of it will be that unless someone is really looking at it, the whole area will be mostly invisible.

And isn’t that the way of the sacred? It often hides from us until and unless we stare right at it, and even then, it takes us a while to realize what we’re looking at. Sacredness is around us all the time–in nature, in our relationships (with others and with ourselves) and most of the time we pass it right over on the way to checking our next text message or e-mail. I want that little space there at my threshold to remind me, as I leave the house and as I enter, that blessings and sacred space are everywhere. All I have to do is slow down a little and open my eyes.

Blessed be.

Posted in allowing, Appreciation, Art, baby steps, discoveries

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!

Posted in Appreciation, baby steps, discoveries, exploring, walking

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.

Posted in Appreciation, blessing, Friends, heart, Rampaging

Rampaging…

You might think this is going to be a rant about G or the breakup or whatever. It’s not. This is a rampage of pure appreciation. There is SO MUCH to be grateful for.

This morning, I drove out east to see some dear friends and just hang out. It was much needed me time. It was an absolutely beautiful Colorado morning and I was so thankful to be living here in this state that I love so much. I was thankful for my job, that allows me to work extra pretty much whenever I want, so I have decided to work enough extra every month to cover my car payment, which will help immensely. I can do it…an hour or so for 20 days out of the month, and covered. It’s a blessing to be able to do that and not even leave my house. I was so grateful to have my little car, to have my insurance, to have my renters’ insurance paid up for a year, to have a new world of volunteerism with the County Extension service and the Master Gardener program that I completed at the beginning of April.

I am grateful to be able to put the boys to work tomorrow helping me get plants from a local vendor for our big fundraising plant sale. I am grateful for a friend from the class who offered to help me move my artwork from there to here. I am grateful for our DSS worker, who came for a home visit today and told me to go get the furniture we need (dining table and 2 chairs, futon and dresser for E) and said, “We haven’t spend any money on you guys, you need this.” I am grateful for friends who feed me lunch and give me over-the-door towel hooks, and wonderful coffee from Germany, and delicate crystal classes to drink my wine and whiskey out of (still have to get those 2 items, but I will be very grateful when I have them), and an amazing tool bag, so I’ll never feel helpless at home if something goes wrong.  I am grateful for E’s friend’s mom who invited me out last night…imagine, ME going OUT on a weeknight no less. I am grateful that even though I overslept this morning, my drive to get E to school is shorter, and so we made it there on time. I am grateful that E actually straightened up his room for the home visit today! I am grateful for food in the freezer and fridge. I am grateful for people who sell me wonderful, delicious local chicken and duck eggs. I am grateful for this quiet little apartment that is starting to feel like home. I am grateful for the ability to put things behind me without resentment and move forward. I am grateful to be writing on this blog and I am grateful for anyone who reads it at any time. I am grateful for social media even though it drives me crazy at times. I am grateful to be able to catch up and keep up with old friends this way.

I am so grateful today that I honestly feel like I have become gratitude. I know this feeling won’t last. I know I’ll dip and have lows just as deep as this particular high is right now. I also know that’s okay. I can be grateful for the full spectrum of emotions as well and know that they are all normal and valid. I can accept everything just as it is…and everything perfect just as it is.

And then, time to fix dinner. 🙂