Sunny Saturday

Absolutely beautiful today.  A bit on the chilly side right how but bright and sunny, which makes me bright (?) and sunny…..or at least feel good.

I’ve already thrown the comforters in the wash so they can hang out in the sun to dry and am getting get busy with a few other things on my list.

My grandson is having a sleepover tonight.  I’m pretty excited about that.  He always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to my time.  I’ve got to keep him busy though.  He will sit with a book or watch TV for a while but he’s like the energizer bunny…..he just keeps going and going.

IF my day goes as planned, he’ll come to the dump with me…..I think he’ll actually like it there, except maybe the smell, but he’ll get over it.  The rest of the afternoon we’ll spend outside…..lots of odds and ends to do and keep him busy with.  He’ll also get to play with his little buddy that lives in the cul de sac.  They’re the same age and get along great.  I’m really looking forward to today.

I’ve gone out a couple times with him to kick around a soccer ball or the hockey sticks, which is something that Grandpa would have done with him.  I find myself trying to do things like that when he comes over……make up for the missing Grandpa!  But I don’t think I come in at even a close second.  Having two sisters around all the time it’s not easy to get the time to do “boy things”.  He does have his other Grandpa but I don’t think they spend much time together.  I sometimes wish Ken’s brothers would kind of jump to the plate on this but I’m not sure exactly what they could do.  My son is a good Dad….he does anything and everything with him, but I always think that just doesn’t make up for not having a Grandpa when the come over here.  He’s so young, only 4, and likely doesn’t really remember Grandpa very much, so he probably doesn’t know any thing different does he??

I’m so glad I didn’t go into work this morning.  It’s very stressful there right now but there is so much work to do and I keep thinking that the sooner we can get it done the better but getting worn out and not able to think straight isn’t going to get it finished any quicker.  And it would be such a waste of a beautiful day…..a day that I feel great!

L.

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A Good Heart to Heart Talk

Sometimes it’s really good to have these.  My daughter and I did last night.

We get so wrapped up in OUR own thoughts, feelings and emotions you don’t even notice other peoples.  Or maybe you do notice but ignore them or think yours are more important….or whatever their issues are will just go away.

I have definitely noticed my daughters and I certainly haven’t ignored them, but I also haven’t really and truly sat down and talked to her or shared mine.

We did that last night.  It wasn’t a weepy, sobby, yelling, blaming, emotional kind of talk, just pretty casual…..sitting around doing nothing exciting and we just started talking.  We just talked about everything and anything.   It was good.

Both of us came to the conclusion that we were rather self-centered and absorbed in ourselves…..we laughed about that!  This isn’t a bad thing because we both have our own issues that neither of us can really understand and even after talking about it all, we still probably won’t.  But it’s all good stuff to know.

I’m lucky, I think, that we can talk like this.  We talk all the time but more often than not, we just half listen to each other because we do spend a lot of time together and you kind of think to yourself, “I’ve heard all this before”…..blah blah blah…..

We’re not terribly good support for each other because we’re a lot alike in some ways and then so very different in others that we can’t even begin to understand each other.  Not sure if that makes sense really because we’ve always been there for each other but never quite know what to say to get us out of our “moods”.  We can make each other laugh and that is definitely a plus.

She’s a softie, and maybe a bit of a dreamer.  I’m not.  I’m pretty much a realist and accept (most) things for what they are.  We can both be a little OCD, which is not the best trait in the world to have.  We’re both pretty independent, me more than her.

I don’t understand depression.  I don’t know what to say sometimes when she gets into one of her funks.  But I can, and do listen…..I know I’m supposed to do that.  I just wish I could say the right things……sometimes nothing I say can make her feel better.   She struggles to get out of these funks.  I do to too but I CAN make myself get up and change gears and move on with my day…..if you are truly depressed you can’t just do that…..I know that, but I don’t “understand” it.

Caregivers learn to cope, adapt or whatever to our various new normals.  It’s hard sometimes but it’s a matter of survival, isn’t it?  We become resilient in many ways.  We can certainly be depressed (understatement!!)  but it’s not usually real clinical depression.

We have ups and downs, we hide feelings from our loved ones so we don’t upset them.  We go to bed at night (always the worst time of day for me….) thinking “what am I going to do” but most mornings get up and start all over again….usually feeling a lot better than the night before….it’s a new day and we always hope it’s better than the day before.

If we don’t have anyone to talk to, you kind of bottle your thoughts up or push them to the back of your mind.  They don’t ever really go away and come back again and again.

Having someone to listen and just let all these thoughts fly out of your mouth is a good thing.  It still doesn’t make them go away but it does feel like a bit of weight has been lifted off your chest….for a while.  Our patients don’t understand, they have themselves to worry about, they don’t need to worry about us too….that’s what we often think, so wouldn’t share how we feel with them……it’s our job to make THEM feel better, not worse.

SP https://www.smartpatients.com/  has a caregivers discussion group.  It was a bit of a lifesaver for me for a few years.  Having a good face to face, heart to heart talk (and a nice glass of wine…..) would have been wonderful, but just not possible because we’re from all over the place.  You could read about others going through the same thing you’re going through….the same thoughts, feelings, ups and downs, worries, etc.  It was good to know that you weren’t alone.  It’s not going to change what is…..but it gives you the chance to get everything off your chest when you don’t have anyone to talk too that can even remotely begin to understand how you feel.  Sometimes it’s even easier to just type it all out than to actually say it and, even though I think of these people as friends, or SP family, there is a certain amount of anonymity that lets you say what you want.

It’s good sometimes to BLAH-ther on about things………..

Well, it’s Friday (hooray) and we’re expecting a nice weekend.  I am NOT working tomorrow so I’m going to soak up every minute of it.  It makes me feel GOOD.

L.

Throwback Thursday

With his Dad…..

around 3 years old.  What a cutie!

around 3 years old. What a cutie!

He was a lot like his Dad.  A pretty easy going guy that didn’t like conflict of any sort.  Generally kept his opinions to himself, got along with just about everyone and just liked to have a good time.

Reno bus trip with his parents

Reno bus trip with his parents

His parents like to go to Reno.  One year they talked us into going on a bus trip with them to Reno and San Francisco.  I think it was about 10 days…..a long time to spend on a bus!  We’d been married a year or two, so probably some time in 1975 or 76.  I remember we were the youngest people on the bus….everyone called us the “honeymooners”….definitely not something I would have done for a honeymoon!  His parents were probably the second youngest couple on that bus.  But we did have a good time.

The Reno time was of course all spent in casinos….but we had a budget and had to stick to it….it was before the days of ATM and bank machines so you could only spend what you had.  I don’t remember if we won anything, but probably not, we weren’t very lucky when it came to gambling.  Ken liked playing roulette and did pretty good, or at least didn’t lose everything.

San Francisco was fun.  We were there for a few days and went on a couple of tours organized by the bus people but one of the days we rented a car and drove all over the place….  We went to see the Righteous Brothers at one of the hotels.

Part of that tour took us through the Napa Valley and on a couple of winery tours.  We bought wine and stuff for a “picnic” on the bus.  His parent were a lot of fun back then…..especially if his Mom had a drink or two…lol.

I can’t remember much more…..that was such a long time ago now.

We went on other trips to Reno with parents, but flew….no more buses.  I think in later years that’s what put Ken and I off on ever doing another tour where a bus was involved.

After we had kids we went on a couple of road trips with them, to Yellowstone Park, down the Oregon coast and a few other long weekend trips.  We always had a good time.  They were pretty easy to get along with.  Ken always did the driving…..he liked to drive and said that he felt the safest if he was driving….he was NOT a good passenger….trust me!

We also went on a couple of trips with my parents…..they were fun too.  I think we were lucky to have had the opportunities to do that.  Not everyone does.  The kids loved it.

I hope I can go on trips with my kids and grandkids.  We’ve got Hawaii coming up, which I’m really looking forward too.  Ken would have liked that for sure……I’m not sure about road trips though…..especially if he wasn’t the driver.

L.

Wonky Work Hours

Working late and longer hours, including a few hours on the weekends, is really throwing everything off around here.

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Because there is just me, I don’t have to worry about making dinner…..and I haven’t.   I get home too late to make anything exciting and because we tend to have a lot of snacks in our project room, I’m not really very hungry by then anyway.  I do have a good lunch, so that hopefully makes up for some of the strange things I’ve been eating in the evening.

I guess they’re not really strange things, just not things that one would normally have for dinner.  Tortilla chips and salsa, popcorn, a couple of pieces of cheese, some fruit, a bowl of cereal, peanut butter on bread (not even toasted!) to name a few of the gourmet dinners I’ve had the last little while.  This could become a bad habit again!  This was my routine when Ken was in the hospital too….just not really very good.

I’ve also not been doing the things around here that I want to do…or should do.   I’m not the type of person that comes in the door and gets right into working on whatever….dinner, housework or a project.  I need my “down” time first, which is checking the mail, reading emails, having a glass of wine etc.

This “down” time business started a couple of years ago.  Dinner was later because Ken would have his lunch later, usually around 2 in the afternoon.  He was really struggling with meals so he was never in a hurry to have dinner.  This wasn’t a bad thing really because initially it gave me time to get a half decent dinner put together after work and get some things done around the house before it was too late.  We’d usually eat between 7:30 and 8.

For the first little while I’d get home, get dinner started and do things…..get a load of laundry in, tidy up, clean a bathroom….maybe even vacuum.  The first year or so Ken was still doing “his jobs”, which helped a lot.  Usually the after dinner dishes and whatever else I’d put on his “to do” list for that day or week.   Then he couldn’t do some things anymore and I took over those jobs…then eventually all his jobs.  I started to get tired and I didn’t really care anymore if this stuff got done on Monday, Friday or even the next week……or if any of it got done at all!  And really none of them were that important when you looked at the big picture.

I’d get home from work and instead of doing anything, I’d get dinner started and sit down….read a book or get on the internet searching for that illusive thing that would help him, catching up on emails and my fav websites…definitely nothing that “needed” doing around the house.

After dinner I wouldn’t do anything either because by then it was “too late” to start doing whatever.

It was a bad habit to get into, but such was life back then……..it was what it was.

I’m finding some of those habits awfully hard to break now.  I was doing pretty good……and had pretty well gotten out of some of those bad habits….until I started working later.  It was really easy to slip back, but now for a totally different reason.

The good thing is, this won’t last forever.  There is an end in sight to the audit at work….and of course for work, period!  I only have about 30 work days left before I retire.  I don’t want these weird dinners and this doing nothing habit to come back…that is not how I want to spend my evenings when I retire.  Although every now and again it won’t be a bad thing…..just not all the time.

…..and I have a lot of stuff on my list(s)!  They are NOT going to get done if I fall back to my old ways.  For now though, seen this is just a temporary set back, I’m not going to worry too much about it…..if I keep it up after then I’ll have some real work to do!

L.

Another Fortune Cookie!

Last year I didn’t like the message in my cookie…..you can read about that here:

https://lindarblog.wordpress.com/?s=fortune+cookie

Bev and I went for Chinese food the other night and I got a fortune cookie as usual……

“The love of your life will appear in front of you unexpectedly!”

Hmmmm…..what does that mean?  I know these are just for fun, but every now and again you get one that you do have to wonder about…..like the one in that other post.

This new one could mean a few different things:

  1. I’m going to see a ghost
  2. I’m doing to die
  3. Some tall dark (or grey) handsome stranger will come along

Those are the first things that popped into my head.

As much as I’d love, in all my heart, to see Ken again, I hope it’s not 1 or 2.  And at this time of my life I don’t want a 3.

I can’t even imagine sharing my life with someone else right now.  I’ve just barely made it to where I am at this point…..getting used to it.  I think someone would just complicate things more.  I’m slowly settling into this new normal, accepting it for what it is and making the best of it.   And I kind of like being on my own now…..I do what I want, when I want.  I’m my own boss…..whatever I do, or don’t do, I’m the only one responsible for it and I’m the only one I have to answer too.  That’s not a bad thing at all.

Sometimes it would be nice to have someone to go out with but it’s not someone new I want to do that with.

After being married for eons and getting that “happy wife, happy life” thing down pat with Ken, I’d have to start all over again.  I have a lot of bad habits and/or quirks, that he just accepted over the years, and vice versa, so we were content and comfortable in our relationship.  We didn’t need to put on a show for each other, or anyone else….we were just us and pretty darn happy with that!

I know widows/widowers do meet new people and have relationships, even get married, and live happily ever after, I’ve met a few of them.

I also know you should never say never…….

L.

 

Another “Late” Morning

No time to even think this AM, let alone post something!

I had a terrible night’s sleep……I think!  I went to bed early….right after Downton Abbey…..so not a late night at all.  I don’t remember waking up either, which is a good thing, because I usually do at least a couple of times, so all in all I should have gotten a really good sleep.

But this morning I feel like I was out partying or something……I didn’t even have a glass of wine last night 😦   I have a horrid headache, my nose is stuffed and I would like to just crawl right back into bed.  I don’t know why.

I did manage to hit the snooze button a few extra times, but now of course I’m behind schedule and have to get into work early….argh.   Sometimes when I feel crappy in the morning, once I’m up and about I do start to feel better…..so far that is not the case this morning.  I’ve got too much to do to feel like this.

Feeling miserable is not a good thing for me…..I hope it gets better as the day wears on.

Maybe it was the Chinese food last night….

L.

Good Friends

The plaque over the door to my kitchen!  I love it and it's so true......

The plaque over the door to my kitchen! I love it and it’s so true……

I think this should be first on the plaque……because really, how can you enjoy good food and good wine without good friends??  You probably could, but it’s definitely more fun and much better with friends.

We seen some great pictures last night…..she’s a great photographer and has, or had (got stolen 😦 ) a really good camera….that she knew how to use.  She was there in October of last year and we’ll be going in November, so it gave us a pretty good idea of the weather we might run into.  Wearing layers was the best thing…..you just never knew if you were going to freeze one minute and cook the next.  Another helpful hint…..very helpful….was that pit toilets were pretty much the norm there….except for the handicapped stalls…..this is good to know!

Lots of gardens and flowers that were beautiful…..it’s a fairly temperate climate so hopefully, even with the odd chilly day, there will still be lots in bloom.  The colours of everything…..buildings, streetlights, gardens, statues was so brilliant and vibrant.  I can’t wait!  Food, of course is subjective, but she pretty much enjoyed everything and was sorry that she didn’t try some of the street food, at least the cooked stuff, but she chose to err on the side of caution….just in case.

It was a great evening, with not just good, but great food, wine and friends.

My plaque says it all.  Friends are so important.  I love entertaining and one of my goals is to get back into doing it.  We had so many fun nights, dinner parties, game nights or whatever.  I love cooking too…..and it’s just not that much fun doing it for one!  I could get pretty creative before.  I really miss that.  And the only way it can happen again at my house is if I make the effort to do it! 

Homemade "pull apart" buns shaped like a cluster of grapes....Ken painstakingly but out the grape leaves....

Homemade “pull apart” buns shaped like a cluster of grapes….Ken painstakingly cut out the grape leaves….

I did manage, last year, to pull off a couple and they were lots of fun and not the least bit awkward, which is what I was a little afraid of.  One was a whole group of people for a retirement party…..that was actually the easiest.  Lots of different conversations, everyone brought food, it was a beautiful day, so we were inside and outside…..easy peasy.  But I did worry about it before…..what would it be like, just me putting something like this on?

I have had a couple of dinners, which also worked out just fine.  I didn’t feel like that odd person out, like I thought I might.  We were usually always couples….it was different but it wasn’t awkward.

These people have been friends forever….I love them all.  I don’t know why I was worried.  I feel very comfortable with them, which is a great thing.

I’ll have to add a dinner or two to my “to do list”.  I’ll definitely have one for the friends that are going to China…..we always do that before a vacation.  Those dinners are usually a theme dinner based on where we’re going…..Chinese is not one of the things I’m terribly good at, but that will be my challenge.  It won’t be too authentic but it’ll be my version of Chinese food.  I can do it!

Today is beautiful again…..I have to make up for the time lost yesterday and get cracking on everything that needs to be done.  Some housework would be a good place to start!  I can’t find my counters for papers that have accumulated over the week….how annoying.  I keep saying that isn’t going to happen but it does, over and over….. maybe I can fix that after I’m retired!

L.

Happy Saturday!

Well…..it will be after I get home from work!!  Argh.

It’s such a beautiful day and I hate to miss the morning because that’s when I’m the most productive around here.  I’m only going in for a couple of hours but I’d much rather be spending it here.   So I guess work will get the best of me today!

I’ve got a fun evening to look forward to and might just treat myself to a bit of shopping on the way home.

Depending on how tired I am when I do get home, I may get around to putting the knobs on my cabinets and getting a bunch of stuff ready to take to the dump tomorrow.  Ken would have had all that done by now….but unfortunately I don’t move at the same pace as he did.

I’m still getting various papers in the mail regarding the estate….mostly forms that will be needed for filing his income tax and mine.  Yesterday I received two…..how many more are yet to come?  I really don’t like receiving these…..”Regarding the estate of…..” or referring to him “NAME, deceased”.  I know its all part of the process but I still don’t like seeing it!  Along with all the papers over the last week, I also received another cheque from his employer…….for the balance of his holiday pay from 2010!!  It wasn’t a fortune, but really……almost 5 years later they get around to sending this??  They deducted $178 of tax, which I’ll get back but the stupidest part of it is that they dated it 2015, so I’ll now have to file tax for 2015 too!

I have all that to deal with before the end of April, so will add it to the list….but it’ll have to be close to the top because it HAS to be done, unlike all the rest of the stuff on those lists…….

Well, I’m off to work on a beautiful, bright, sunny Saturday morning…..not a happy camper!  But not many days left now, so I won’t complain too much…..

L.

Ten Months Ago….

Sometimes it seems like forever ago now…..like it was another life.  And I guess it was!

I am getting used to all this, very slowly though.  Some days are harder than others.  There are some days, or parts of days….usually in the evenings, that I just feel lost.

No matter how much I have to do sometimes, I have a feeling that I need to be doing something…..just what I don’t know.  It’s like being unsettled, not anxious unsettled, but it’s like I’m waiting for something to happen…..I can’t really explain it.  It goes away just as fast as it comes on, which is a good thing.

I still miss him so much and wish so often that he was here for me to tell him something, hug him, kiss him…….I don’t know when and if that feeling ever goes away.  It supposedly does.

When I read that his friend from work died, I wanted to tell him…..my first thought was “I’ve got to tell Ken”.  Or when I was on vacation, looking at shirts for him….I actually caught myself thinking of buying one and then thought….”what am I doing”!

After 40 years of being with someone, things like this don’t just stop overnight do they.  I guess I’ll eventually get to a point where I don’t think like this but it’s just so automatic, it just happens.  You catch yourself and have that moment of sadness….

I’m looking forward to this weekend!  Lots of things I COULD be doing, just how much I’ll actually do, we’ll see!

Off to friends for dinner tomorrow, one of the gals I’m going to China with.  Other friends will be there with the pictures from their China trip last year….I can’t wait to hear all about it.  I love looking at other peoples pictures….it inspires me to travel more, to go to the same places.  There are always some good stories to tell that go along with the pictures too…..it’ll be a lot of fun.

It’s supposed to be sunny and warm(ish) all weekend, so that always helps how I feel.  And the sun shining through the windows makes me notice all the dust….and dirty windows!  But on nice days I feel like getting everything cleaned up….bright and shiny, just like the day.

I could also go into work for a few hours to work on the project…..but I’ll just play that one by ear.  I want to really enjoy the sunny days while we have them!

L.

Throwback Thursday

1966ish....

1966ish….

From the time Ken could drive, he did!  Starting with motorcycles then eventually moving through just about every type of sports car that was on the market.

The motorcycle days were before me, thankfully.  I don’t think I would have liked them too much, especially if those guys drove them like they did their cars!!  How we all survived back then, I really don’t know.

When he got his drivers license he was going to school of course but also working part time at a local garage……that way, when he did finally get his first car, he’d not only be able to fix a lot of things that went wrong but he’d have a place to do it.  One thing his parents instilled in him was that you took responsibility for whatever your bought and they didn’t have the money back then to help the boys out, so it was buyer beware.  Know what you’re buying, have the money to buy it (the most important lesson) and then have the money to fix it.  All the boys worked, bought their motorcycles and cars and managed to keep them all in running order.

This was a good thing.  Over the years I can’t even begin to think how much money we saved on car repairs because between Ken and his brothers, they could fix just about anything.  As cars became more and more computerized, those fixes weren’t so quick and simple but luckily by then, we could afford to buy half decent cars that didn’t need all the repairs the old clunkers did.

When we did have better cars, it was hard to understand why he’d want to buy and old clunker again!!  He would have preferred a 65 Mustang, but not too many of those on the market at the price he wanted to pay….he wanted a restoration job.  The car had to be at least driveable, but he was going to do whatever else it needed.  He spent hours and hours on that car.  It looked pretty darn good by the time he “finished” it.  But  truthfully it was never finished….there was always something that needed doing….the trunk was full of tools and spare parts because you just never knew what was going to go next.

He bought a new Mustang in 2006 so the old one didn’t get driven to and from work anymore.  We only insured it in the summer when the weather was good.  All the body work that he so painstakingly did started to need redoing.  The plan was once he retired he’d take it in and get it professional done and repainted again.  He loved that car.  My kids loved that car……I don’t think they got to drive it too often though.

He bought the car sometime in the 90's.  This was the "finished product many months later.  Found this picture on an old roll of film....it was so old they could only develop it in B&W!

He bought the car sometime in the 90’s. This was the “finished product many months later. Found this picture on an old roll of film….it was so old they could only develop it in B&W!

This is not my picture but it's exactly what MY 66 did look like and will hopefully again, on day....

This is not my picture but it’s exactly what MY 66 did look like and will hopefully again, on day….

I still have the car.  It’s a classic so I’m sure it’ll always be worth something, whatever condition it’s in.  It hasn’t been started for years now, it has a very flat tire and I think some squirrels live under the hood.  What a shame.  Both of the kids would love to have it, but neither have a place to keep it.  I’ll hold on to it for now……maybe one day my son and grandson will make it a project or even my daughter…..she’s the one that is mechanically inclined in our house.

Getting it back in running order will definitely NOT be a project that I’ll take on……

L.