Sunday, December 29, 2013

When We Were Fifty

I suppose you could say this post was a year in the making. I started studying the subject of turning 50 in January, when Scarlet hit her milestone. I continued throughout the year as my other friends, classmates and acquaintances celebrated theirs. 

My 50th birthday was a far cry from my 40th. I started celebrating over the summer.  My first gift was a trip to Florida to visit Kitty. It seems I haven't stopped since. I received many fabulous gifts; concert tickets, bottles of liquor (even a collectible one), and an iPad.  Oh, and I can't forget my calendar of witty quotes--something I look forward to every year!! I had the most wonderful little party at home on the day of my birthday, with my little family and a couple of close friends. I drank champagne and ate pizza!  Right up my alley!  And as I mentioned with the work party on Main Street, for the first time in a long time, drama did not get in the way of my celebration. That meant more to me than anything. No drama!! It truly was a fun and exciting birthday that I celebrated half the year!

I'm wearing cute dresses and make up again. I get my nails and hair done regularly. I feel good about myself. I did not reach my goal for weight loss. My weight is too high, and I and not in good physical condition. And while I have somehow managed to stay healthy, I can tell a difference in my strength and endurance. My lazy lifestyle and my weight are definitely catching up with me. Luckily, it's not too late to make a change. 

My children are 16 and 14 years old now. They are happy, good kids. Very well-adjusted and beautiful. My son just got his driving permit.  My daughter has channeled her intensity into music, volleyball, and other positive things.  Matters of the heart are still a source of trouble for me, but I feel I have made big progress in this area in the last 2 1/2 years since I began counseling with Kate. Anxiety, depression, and codependence are still issues that must be dealt with. But again, major progress has been made since I got on the proper medication and started counseling. 

I'm happy with who I am right now. I like myself. I'm proud of my accomplishments and I'm blessed to have many wonderful friends. I still love music. I still love traveling, and spending time with my family and friends.

The world has changed a lot in 50 years. Not only is Michael Jackson no longer making hits--he is dead. So is Whitney Houston. Michael Jordan is retired. Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp seem to be thriving.  So much like the real world, and the other people born in 1963. Some are doing well, some are not.  

I went to a small high school. There were only about 80 of us in our graduating class. Thanks to social networking, I keep up with many of them. Roughly half of our graduating class is on Facebook. Out of those 40, about 20 people post things regularly. The rest rarely post anything. That means I know what's going on with about one fourth of the people who graduated high school with me, and turned 50 this year.   Out of those 20 people, one suffered a stroke this year. Luckily, he recognized the warning signs early, and got care almost immediately. With speech therapy and physical therapy he is progressing well. One has had serious heart problems, but is currently doing alright.  Four classmates found out they had cancer this year. Three of them are now cancer free, one is just starting his chemotherapy. I have another friend who recently went for a checkup and was told by her doctor that due to her weight, she now has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and is pre-diabetic. Even though she was devastated at this news, she is one of the very lucky ones. She is able to attack these conditions, which are all treatable, before she had a heart attack, stroke, or complications from diabetes. If I were to factor in people from the two classes before and after me, there would be many more who have recently had some pretty serious health problems. A very close family friend of ours died in his sleep a few weeks ago. He was 44 years old. He was at least 100 pounds overweight, and a big drinker. As the doctor once told my husband, a little high blood pressure mixed with a lot of alcohol is a lethal cocktail. It is possible our friend had a heart attack or stroke. It is also possible he died from sleep apnea.

I have a specific reason for talking about all this gloom and doom. Throughout the year, as I interviewed my friends, there was one thing I heard over and over. "50 is just a number". After a year of observation, I disagree. I believe 50 is the day of reckoning. If you have eaten right, exercised, and taken good care of yourself, yes – 50 may be just a number. But for those of us who are 20, 40, 60, or more pounds overweight, and get little or no exercise, who eat and drink too much, this is when our lifestyles are catching up with us.  Many of us have said for years "One day I will start exercising and eating better. One day I will take better care of myself".  I believe 50 is the day we may be forced to do that, or suffer the consequences.

Some health factors have nothing to do with weight or an unhealthy lifestyle. Some have suffered cancer and stroke through genetics, or other medical reasons. To that, I say 50 is the year we must stop ignoring our bodies. It is the year we must pay attention to anything out of the ordinary, and be on the lookout for warning signs. We must get regular checkups and preventative healthcare. It's no longer an option.  Ignoring health-care can now mean the difference between life and death. Undetected and untreated high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and sleep apnea can kill us in an instant.

So after a year of observation, I have come up with this… When we are 10, 20, 30, and maybe even 40 years old, time and youth are on our side. Our body might overlook a little abuse. But 50 is definitely NOT just a number. 50 is the day of reckoning. It's the day our bodies become not so forgiving.

So much for that. Now…on to 60!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Birthday To Me

Well, it finally came. My 50th birthday. I have to say, this has without a doubt then the best birthday of my entire life. 

I feel very happy.

Do I look any different today than I did yesterday? No. Do I feel any different today than I did yesterday? No. But there are changes. I look and feel different from the way I did a few years ago. I AM different from the way I was a few years ago. 

Throughout this year of observation I have noted many things. I will share them in the coming posts. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my hot bath, then I'm going to go to bed. Thank you to all who were a part of this wonderful celebration. I can't wait to write about it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Jon Bon Jovi at 50

It's working for his beautiful self. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

45 Christmases

I am thinking a lot about my mother today. Christmas hasn't been the same since she died. 

We have made new traditions, but somehow some of the magic is gone when your parent is no longer there. You spent every Christmas of your entire life with them, so there is bound to be a void when they are no longer there.  In addition to that, I rarely see my sister or her family at Christmas anymore.

I get it....things change, life changes. I know that. But when you spend nearly 45 Christmases together, it's hard to say goodbye to those deep rooted traditions.

I love you Mom, and I miss you every day.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

When We Were Forty

2003 was the year we all turned 40.

I remember going to Kitty’s house for my 40th birthday. She gathered her family together, and we had nice food and drink.

All my friends were busy during this time, I am sure. Raising kids, or focusing on continuing education and their careers. For me, this birthday was a far cry from my 30th. I remember when I turned thirty, someone gave me a large button to wear that read “30 And Still Rockin”. And I was! At forty, I probably deserved one that read “40 And Tired As Hell”.

Gone were the days of the Jackson 5 and "Thriller". Michael Jackson was being accused of inappropriate behavior with children. Madonna kissed Brittney Spears at the VMAs. Eminem, J-Lo, Beyonce, and 50 Cent were the popular artists. The "Lord of the Rings" triology was in full swing, and so was one of my favorites to this day, "Survivor" (I've watched every season).

During that ten year period, everything about my life had changed. I was 8 years in to an alcoholic marriage, and I now had two children. We had built a new home, and had just moved in to it four months before my birthday.

My son was 6, and my daughter was 4. My 4 year old was (and still is) extremely intense, and at the time, quite challenging. Sometimes she literally wiped us out. Although she was raised in the same environment as my son, I was told many times that I had “spoiled” her. People seemed desperate to put the blame for her intense behavior on someone. That someone was usually me. Even though I was now desperately codependent, and had become accustomed to taking full responsibility for the actions of almost everyone around me, I knew in my heart I had done nothing different with her. I knew this was her genetics, and her personality, plain and simple, and that I was not responsible for that. I fought for her and protected her with every bit of life that was in me--to nurture her and to teach her how to deal with the extreme feelings she possessed. I knew damn good and well where she got them, and I knew she either had to learn to deal with those extreme highs and lows, or give in to them and spend her life self medicating them as her father had done. My daughter was a main focus for me during this time.

My mother’s health was deteriorating.

I was fucking exhausted. I worked full time, then came home to start my second job—making sure the kids were fed and bathed, and my son’s homework was done. Usually my husband did not arrive home from work and the bar until 8:30 or 9:00 in the evening. By then he was usually in no shape to help me, or to spend any quality time with me. His drinking was at the first of two all time highs right about then. I felt out of control. I couldn’t control his drinking, I couldn’t control my daughter’s temper tantrums, I couldn’t control what others thought. People told me I needed to “put my foot down” with the both of them. As I’ve written before; I could have put my foot down til it busted through in China and not been able to control either of these situations. The best I could do was to manage them, and managing them was sucking the life out of me.

I got to the point where I didn’t care about getting dressed up for work. The days of my cute dresses and business suits with heels were gone. I was going for comfort. If that meant “old lady shoes”, then that’s what I wore. I rarely had time or energy for makeup.

I hated alcohol so badly during this time that I didn’t drink a lot. Mainly on Sundays with Scarlet. But I ate. Food gave me comfort. I started gaining weight.

Maybe I like the show "Survivor" so much because that's what I was doing. I think I was just surviving at that time of my life. Not living—surviving. Trying to figure out how to "Outwit, Outplay, Outlast". I no longer had time to lie in the floor and listen to Beatles music. I wasn’t the vibrant, beautiful girl my husband had married, and I realized that. Comfortable, practical pajamas took the place of sexy lingerie. But he was very different too. We were still "a couple" at that time, but the stresses of life were definitely affecting us both. I was exhausted. Alcohol had totally consumed him.

To say I still had everything I needed, and most of what I wanted would not be entirely accurate. Materially yes. Mentally and physically, my life was taking a turn, and it was definitely NOT what I wanted.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Quotes I Like

"I believe the second half of one's life is meant to be better than the first half. 
The first half is finding out how you do it. And the second half is enjoying it."

-Francis Lear

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When We Were Thirty

1993 was the year we all turned 30. 

It was the time of "Jurassic Park", "The Fugitive", and "Sleepless in Seattle".

Top television shows included "Seinfeld", and two of my all-time favorite shows, "Frasier"  and "Coach".

Whitney Houston also turned 30 that year, and she was on the top of the charts with "I Will Always Love You". 

Some of my friends had children by now. We were all in very different places in our lives.

My marriage had ended three years earlier. I was single, and already dating my current husband. I was in the prime of my life. I looked and felt better than at any other time before or after that. I had my own little house and a nice car. I had accepted a position in management with my company two years prior. 

I was independent for the first time in my life, and I liked it.  I was very much in love, and spent a lot of time listening to music, going to concerts, and enjoying life. Once again, I had everything I needed, and most of what I wanted.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Miracle on Main Street

Since my birthday is the day after Christmas, it's hard to celebrate with friends. People are out of town, or have family commitments and parties. So the girls in my office decided to take me out for my birthday this past Friday night. We went to a downtown pizzeria after work. They also invited a few of our former coworkers, who got transferred to a new location a few years back. 

In my lifetime, I'd only had one other birthday "party". It was when I was about six years old. My mom invited a few friends from school. I have control issues, so the days leading up to this past Friday became frustrating for my coworkers. I kept thinking no one would come. I kept thinking I was inconveniencing people. I kept worrying about people spending money. They finally had to tell me to relax and be quiet.

I walked into the party with my coworker, and Detach reader, Sally. A few people were already there. But the big long table that was reserved was mainly empty. I immediately started thinking no one was coming. The ones who were there started greeting me. I went around and hugged them all. Then as people started arriving (yes, they did eventually arrive) I got up to greet each of them as well. By then I was beginning to relax. I'd had some drinks, and felt very comfortable.The empty tables were now filled with about 18–20 people. The restaurant was warm and inviting. It quickly became a scene full of love, happiness, and friendships I've had, some as long as 30 years now.  I was relaxed and so incredibly happy, and overwhelmed at the show of love. 

In my life, for so long now, when there has been a special event...any has always been marred by some type of alcohol related drama. Parties always take a turn. Fun things always seem to have a way of becoming unpleasant for me. This event was no different. Alcoholism tried to sabotage it the day before, but I pulled together all my counseling techniques, and cast the drama aside. So by the time the party came, nothing was looming over me. No worries. Just genuine happiness and celebration filled our room.  You don't know what a strange and foreign feeling that was for me. Just to be able to relax, and for once not worry about what other people were doing, or more importantly, what they were going to do later.  It was very liberating. 

After everyone had ordered, our waitress came to the table with an announcement. She quietly told us that an anonymous customer in the restaurant was paying our entire tab!  Everyone was astounded. Very happy, but astounded. Who would do something like this, and why? We all started scanning the room, trying to figure out who it might be! I had my back to most of the restaurant, so a coworker sitting across from me, was doing the detective work.  She concluded it must be the two 60 something gentlemen sitting at the bar. While I was thankful, I was also hoping they would not expect something in return. That they would not come over and try to pick someone up. 

Next the waitress came back and told me the gentleman was cashing out his tab, so anything we purchased from that point forward would be on our own. She gave me the receipt. The total was about  $350 and included a $50 tip for her.  What she told me next, I will never forget as long as I live. She told me the man had said "There are not enough men in this world who appreciate a beautiful 50-year-old woman". Of course that made me tear up. She told me she had never seen anything like this the whole time she had been a waitress. I told her how moved I was. I told her if the person was still in the restaurant to please tell him he had no idea what this meant to me--that the past few years have been very turbulent for me, and this had touched me very deeply. By this time she had tears in her eyes as well, and told me I had no idea how much it had touched her! In addition to the large tip the man had given her, most of my friends were also giving her $10 and $20 tips. Not only did the man pay it forward to us, but we had paid it forward to her. About this time, everyone at my table decides to sing me a very loud and rousing "Happy Birthday". Tears of happiness and pure joy were streaming down my face. 

A few minutes later, the waitress comes back and tells us the gentleman is leaving. She felt it would be okay for us all to give him a round of applause when he left. Imagine my surprise when we looked at the door and it was a handsome young man, about 35-40 years old, with his wife and two children!!!! We started cheering and clapping. He modestly turned around and smiled and waved at us. Then he went on. He wanted nothing from us. He had no ulterior motive. 

My wise and deeply spiritual friend Margo came up to me, grabbed my hands, and looked me dead in the eyes. She said to me, "That man felt the love in this room. He saw the diversity. He felt the goodness. He felt your wonderful, and happy energy. You deserve this Mary. Be happy. We are all so blessed". 

At this point, people slowly started leaving. Eventually there were three of us who were going to walk down the block and watch a set of live music at a blues club. I needed some cash, so we went inside another restaurant that had an ATM. As we were walking down the basement stairs to get to it, a man was coming up the stairs. None of us were saying anything or looking at him, but as he passed the three of us he smiled and said "God bless you all". It was the strangest thing. 

When we got to the blues bar, I ran into a man I recognized from many years past. He dated Miss Pamela for a while. I wasn't putting two and two together, and remembering that he was a bass player.  After a few minutes, he excused himself and said it was time to go on stage. I said "Oh! You are playing tonight?".   He laughed and said yes. During his set, he wished me Happy Birthday.  The next song his band performed was "Dead Flowers" by The Rolling Stones. A song I have always loved.

This night was magical for me. I feel like God was shining a special blessing on my life. Somehow showing me that things are changing. That even though I have felt so much sadness, turmoil, and anxiety for the past few years, I have also been given happiness and friendship. I am a firm believer, this happened for a reason. To show me where true love lies. To show me what is important. To show me if I will believe in myself and allow myself to shine, good things will come to me. This was the most wonderful blessing I could have received on this 50th birthday.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

When We Were Twenty

1983 was the year we all turned 20. 

Blockbuster movies that year included "Return of the Jedi", "Trading Places", "Flashdance", and "Risky Business". 

Popular television shows included "Dallas", "Dynasty", "Magnum PI" and "Cagney and Lacey". 

I was still listening to Michael Jackson, only this time without his brothers. The world was blown away by "Thriller".  He was on the  top of the charts with "Billie Jean" and "Beat It". Other popular songs included "Every Breath You Take" by The Police, and the "Flashdance" soundtrack. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton's "Islands in The Stream" was a huge country hit.

Today when I saw my counselor Kate, she suggested that I also mention another statistic. In 1983 she was five years old. I found that to be very interesting, and a fun bit of trivia. 

Hair was big. Leg warmers were popular (for the first time), and I truly did not have a care in the world. 

We had been out of high school for two years. Some of my friends were in college--either in town or away. But me? 1983 was the year I decided to drop out of community college, and marry my first husband. We tied the knot in October of that year. 

David and I had a one bedroom apartment. Even though we had very small paychecks, money was never an issue. Since we managed the building where we lived (sweeping the hall, changing lightbulbs, and showing vacant apartments), our rent was only $75 a month. We budgeted $25 a week for the grocery store. There was always plenty of food. I cooked dinner every night in our little galley kitchen. On Friday nights we went to Pizza Hut. I continued to have everything I needed and most of what I wanted.

I was desperately, hopelessly in love. But I've already written that story during my "Love Letters" series. 

In only a few months, I would start my first "real" job. I was hired with the company I still work for in January, 1984.

Life was good. I was healthy, thin, beautiful, and dumb as a damn rock. But like most 20 year olds, I had no clue about this. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

When We Were Ten

My friends and I all turned 10 in 1973. 

That year the video game "Pong" was released. Completely primitive by today's standards, but in 1973… cool as shit. My cousin had one, but my mom and dad said they would be sorry, because it would surely mess up their television. Needless to say, we did not have "Pong". 

Like most middle-class families, we spent a lot of time watching television. Popular shows that year included "All In The Family", "Sanford and Son", "The Waltons", "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour", "The Mary Tyler Moore Show", and "Kojak". 

"The Sting", "American Graffiti", and "The Exorcist" were popular at the box office, although I never saw any of those films until I was grown.

Music was a very big part of my life. I spent almost every day hanging out with my three friends from the neighborhood. We all had very cool transistor radios, which we would synchronize to the same radio station. We had tons of 45s. My friend Brenda had all the Jackson 5 LPs. We listened to them continuously in her living room. Popular songs that year included Carly Simon's "You're So Vain", Stevie Wonder's "You Are The Sunshine of My Life", Jim Croce's "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown", "My Love" by Paul McCartney and Wings, and Cher's "Halfbreed". I could go on and on and on about songs that were popular during that time. Music was everything to us. 

My friends and I played outside most every day. We rode bikes,we set up Barbie cities, we played everything. I had a white poodle named Pierre. Life seemed very simple in 1973.  I was a sheltered, happy-go-lucky 10-year-old girl, living in white, middle-class America. I had everything I needed, and most of what I wanted. 

Life was good.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's Here!

So it's finally here. December, 2013. The month I turn 50.  My turn to be the feature birthday. All year long I've been studying my friends and classmates as they celebrated this milestone, And I learned a lot. Throughout the month I will share my findings and my thoughts on the subject, as we lead up to the big day at the end of this month. 

This morning I am thinking about what life would have been like on the first day of December, 1963. The president had just been murdered nine days earlier.  The country was in shock and in mourning. "Leave it to Beaver" Americana was about to evolve into Woodstock, the Civil Rights movement, and Haight Ashbury. 

My father and mother (eight months pregnant), lived in a duplex a couple of blocks away from world-famous Churchill Downs.   My sister was 11 years old. During horse race season, and Kentucky Derby time, my parents would make some extra money by parking cars at their house. People would pay them money, and my sister would hop in the car with the strangers, and guide them around the block, to the alley that ran behind our house. She would show them where to pull in to our backyard. Of course this seems inconceivable today, but in 1963 I guess it seemed fine. 

To gain a feel for what life was like in 1963, here are some statistics:
Gas cost 25 cents a gallon.
The average yearly income was $5,623. 
Postage stamps cost the same as a Hershey bar, 5 cents. 
Popular songs were "Blue Velvet", "My Boyfriend's Back", and "Sugar Shack". 
Popular movies included Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds", and the James Bond flick, "Dr. No". 

This year we talked a lot about my friends turning 50, but there were some other people born that year. Some pretty famous people:
Whitney Houston
Johnny Depp
Brad Pitt
Michael Jordan
Helen Hunt
Conan O'Brien
Travis Tritt
Tatum O'Neal

The Beatles released their first album in 1963, Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his "I have a dream" speech. 

The world was changing and evolving, rockin' and rollin'. This is the world my friends and I were born into.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 50

I didn’t have any close friends turn 50 in November, but I did hear an interesting comment last night.

I was visiting with Kitty and her very good friend Theresa. We were talking about age, aging, and all that. Theresa is in her late 50’s. At one point in the conversation, she said with a sparkle in her eye, “Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be 50 again!!!”.

Funny how at any one given moment, we are all at so many different places in our lives.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Anxious Snowflakes

I'm sitting here on this Thanksgiving Eve, drinking coffee, watching snow flurries haphazardly fly through the air on a very cold, 28° morning. I was just thinking how those snow flurries remind me of the thoughts in my head sometimes. They are flying in all different directions. Some of them even seem to be going up. No purpose, no direction,  just whirling through the air out of control.  Funny thing is, if I take a photograph of them, they look normal, because they are still. It's only when you see them in motion you are able to recognize how anxious they seem. 

Tomorrow I will have about 20 family members at my home. Only 11 will be eating dinner. Normally, my brain would feel just like those crazy snowflakes. But as I sit here today, I feel very calm. I feel excited that I will get to see my two little great-nephews from Minnesota. I feel happy that my daughter will put on her "Diva In Training" apron and make dumplings. 

I am thankful for the peace I have this morning, and hope it can somehow last throughout this hectic holiday season. 

To all my friends and readers, I wish you Happy Thanksgiving. No matter how unfair or crazy our lives seem, no matter how out-of-control,  we really must focus on the positive. Our blessings, and all the things we have to be thankful for.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ahead Of Our Time

I found this to be interesting. 

A favorite playwright to Scarlet and myself, and self proclaimed fellow  codependent, Del Shores recently posted on his Facebook page, that while he loves to be interviewed, he gets tired of the same old questions. However, an interviewer recently asked him some insightful questions, such as "If you could go back and give your 19 year old self a wise piece of advice, what would it be?".   Del was very intrigued by this question. That made me feel pretty good since I had written an entire series about this topic a while back. Most of you contributed letters to your younger selves. It was a fun and enlightening exercise. 

Just goes to show you, all of us here at "Detach" are surely ahead of our time! Congratulations!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Tribute

My first day of employment was in January, 1984. I had just turned 20 years old and was as green as the spring grass. They set me at a desk, my own desk with my own phone, my own typewriter, and a lot of papers. I was excited and scared. The first person I met was the lady who sat at the desk next to mine. Her name was Nancy. She seemed very motherly, and had a nice smile. She welcomed me and told me that if I needed anything she would be glad to help. Instantly, I felt a little better. 

It turned out Nancy and I had the same lunch hour. Often we would go out together, or sometimes just sit at a table in the lunch room and talk. We quickly became friends. 

About a year into my employment, my mother suffered her first brain aneurysm. I was very young, and the thought of losing my mother was unthinkable. Nancy helped me through that time. I will always remember that she gave me a little card; it had a picture of Jesus on the front, and on the back was a saying that assured  me nothing would happen to me in my life that God would not help me handle. For months I slept with that card under my pillow. It helped me through a very rough time. As the years went on I would pull it out anytime I had a stressful situation in my life and tuck it under my pillow until I felt better--until the situation passed. Several years later I gave the tattered card to a friend who was going through something very devastating in her life.  I told her the story of the card and how much it had helped me. It was hard to let go, but at the time the friend needed it more than I did. 

Nancy and I decided to form a bunco group. It would turn out to be something we did each month for 22 years. Nancy was a second mother to all of us, not only in the bunco group, but at work, and  essentially,  to everyone who knew her. Over the years I visited her home dozens of times. I got to know her children, and then her grandchildren. She was a devoted wife. She and her husband laughed, and showed love to everyone. They had a dedication you rarely see in couples, no matter how long they have been together. 

Nancy announced her retirement from our organization about five years ago. Shortly after she retired she found out she had lung cancer. Nancy was not a smoker, but always suffered from recurring bronchitis. She began treatment, and beat the cancer. During the period where she was cancer free she, her husband, and all the children and grandchildren went on a cruise together. A fabulous and memorable experience for everyone. 

In August of this year,  Nancy attended a retirement party for a former coworker. She looked great and felt great. She had just had a check up, and reiterated that she was cancer free. Shortly after that, she began to notice a problem with her legs. They didn't want to do what she commanded them to do. After a series of tests it was determined Nancy had a very large brain tumor. Apparently during follow-ups, they never scanned her brain. Only her lungs. The cancerous tumor was inoperable and there was nothing they could do. The doctors attempted radiation to shrink the tumor but to no avail. Within a couple of weeks Nancy started having trouble recognizing people. A few weeks later, in October, she was dead. 

Nancy's death has affected me deeply. Yet another mother figure to me is gone. My dear friend Mary, my own mother, and now Nancy. 

I will never forget Nancy. She's the type of person you may meet once or twice in your life, if you're lucky. She was a good woman and she touched many lives. She died too young, but the impact she had in 69 years is greater than the footprint most people would leave if they lived to be 100. 

Nancy, I will never forget the dozens of hysterical stories you told. Many times when we were all together, we would beg you to tell those same stories again. I will never forget the many adventures we had together, and the thousands of laughs we shared.  I will never forget your smile, your kindness, and the lessons you taught me. I will miss you.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Bump

There seems to be a popular new trend for pregnant women to refer to their babies as "baby bump", "the bump" or simply "bump". And it's not young girls, it seems to be most popular with women in their 30s. 

I don't know why, but I find this annoying. "Here is a picture of Suzie Q and her bump". "Good news! Ultrasound today and I just found out bump is a girl". 

I don't like it. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Not The Smartest Idea

The other day my daughter was at my dad's house and was going through some things in an old closet. She found two old cameras that she became interested in. My dad doesn't use them anymore and told her she could have them. After she brought them home I noticed something. My dad's Social Security number was engraved on the outside of one of the cameras. 

I remember very well when this was done. In the 1970s our Police Department devised a program where you could borrow an engraver from them, then mark all your belongings with your Social Security number. The idea behind this was that if someone stole the item and tried to sell it, anyone could figure out who it belongs to. My mother went around the house putting my dad's Social Security number on everything of value that we owned! 

How ironic is this? Now we protect our Social Security number like it is gold. Those same thieves can use it to steal your identity. They can apply for credit in your name. A lot of damage can be done with this information. But back in those days you were encouraged to share that number with the world, courtesy of your local police department. 

Funny how things change.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Meemaw's Baby

 When I was a little girl I had two grandmas. I called both of them Grandma. 

Today it occurred to me I rarely ever hear anyone refer to their grandmother as Grandma. It's Mimi, Grammy, Yaya, Gigi, Nana, and a host of other words. I started to think about this, and I guess the answer is pretty easy. My grandmas were old with white hair in a bun. They looked like grandmas. Today grandmas are still wearing jeans and acting young. 

Ironically, I think women are older today when they first become grandmothers. They are waiting later in life to have children, thus becoming grandmothers at 60 instead of 40.

Whatever you call them, grandmothers are great.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Reflections

Yes, I'm still alive. 

Let me attempt to catch you up. 

I'm eating too much again, but not drinking so much. 

I continue to suffer from writer's block, even though I think of interesting things to write about all the time. 

Sometimes I feel I am the most hated person I know. Other times, the most loved. 

Nothing ever seems crystal clear to me. Ever. Things are always grey, and it's very hard for me to trust myself and my decisions. 

I feel my 20 year roller coaster ride has now entered a tunnel. I'm whizzing through it at lightning speed, and I'm fucking terrified. I'm not sure how long the tunnel might be, or what is waiting at the other end. Maybe the end of the ride. Maybe not. I'm not really sure who gets to decide that. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

September 50

I realize it is the end of October, but due to my procrastinating, and lack of enthusiasm for writing, I neglected to post my September 50 birthday. 

My dermatologist and I have had a lot of banter over the past 15-20  years. He is three months older than me. We constantly tease about age. I saw him in September for my yearly skin check, and he immediately started off with some comment about me being 50. I told him I didn't hit that milestone until December. But! I remembered his birthday was in September. He laughed and told me he had just had his birthday a few days before. To quote my doctor "Everyone here at the office dressed in black that day. They had black balloons and streamers everywhere. They loved it. Turning 50 was no big deal to me. As long as I can still get out on the golf course, I don't really care. I just let them have their fun". 

After a clean bill of health (thank goodness), I was ready to leave. He wished me luck on my milestone and said "Hope I don't see you again until next year". 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Loose Lips Sink Ships

I did something really stupid tonight. I lost my temper and exploded at my husband in front of my son. This is something I've rarely done. Usually I can hold it, but not tonight. 

I'm embarased and ashamed. 

I feel God is forcing me to a new place in my life. I don't want to make a change. But maybe if a change comes, there could be peace for us all. 

Feeling extremely sad tonight. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Are The Skies Finally Clearing?

It’s been the strangest few weeks.

You know that feeling you get when it’s rained, even stormed for a really long time, and you start to feel it’s going to rain forever, then it suddenly stops? The skies slowly begin to clear. The clouds are still above you, but you see clear skies, maybe even the sun in the distance?

That’s how I feel inside.

I feel as if I’ve crossed over in to some new chapter in my life. A lot of things have happened to me. For the past weeks I’ve felt numb about writing. There was just nothing in my head. But now I feel like I’m feeling like the skies are clearing, and I’m beginning to know where I want to go. I may not be there yet, but maybe I at least know where I’m going.

I’m on vacation for the next couple of weeks, and hope to be able to write. Don’t give up on me.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blank Cards

I been doing well moving forward. Have been walking every day, working out with some weights, and counting calories. I feel a lot better. 

I don't feel inspired to write though. Every time I think about writing, I think of those pretty greeting cards you get at the store that are blank on the inside. That's just kind of how I feel right now. Just blank inside. Nothing to say, nothing to express.

Friday, October 4, 2013


I've come to the end. It's time for me to say goodbye to my food and alcohol binge of the past several weeks. 

I'm sick of it now. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thanks Krista!

I don't really know Krista that well. She and her brothers are friends with my husband. We are friends on Facebook, and we go to the same hairdresser. So a couple of days ago, Krista posted something to my Facebook wall, saying how she had been to the hairdresser and the two of them had discussed my very short haircut, and how much they liked it. 

Now this is all well and good, but uninteresting on its own. But that's really the END of the story, not the beginning. The beginning had occurred two days before that when I got out of my car at my dad's house. I said hello to him and his first words were "When did you get your hair cut?"  I told him I'd gotten it cut a couple days before, and asked if he was just noticing it. He said "No, I noticed it. I just didn't say anything about it". It hurt my feelings terribly, and as often happens when I feel my dad disapproves of something I've done, I suddenly felt 6 years old. I questioned myself. I questioned the haircut. I questioned my weight, my age, my beauty, and pretty much my entire life's accomplishments...and failures. 

But the universe has a way of fixing things, doesn't it?  A girl I hardly know made it all right again with one random Facebook post. She probably barely remembers saying it...but I remember. 

People always say you should speak kind words to others. You don't know what cross they are bearing that particular day. That particular moment. Your kind word, no matter how insignificant it may seem, could lift them up. It could change their thinking. It could make their day. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"And I Had That House Of Your Father's Bulldozed To The Ground"

There's a scene in one of my favorite movies, "Forrest Gump", where Forrest and Jenny are adults, and they are going for a walk. They walk by Jenny's childhood home. A place where she was abused by her alcoholic father. When Jenny sees the house she becomes very emotional. Very angry. She picks up a rock and throws it at the house and then she picks up more rocks and throws them, and at some point, ends up  throwing her shoes too. Then she collapses onto the ground, crying. In typical Forrest Gump style the narration tells us,  "Sometimes I guess there just aren't enough rocks". 

That's how I have felt lately. Like there just aren't enough rocks. 

Lots of emotion inside me. Like the feelings in there want to scream their way out. I believe this will pass soon. But for now, I'm still eating and drinking too much, and I still want to punch something.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Just Felt Like Punching

I remember one time I had this overwhelming urge to run. I wrote about it in this blog. I felt like Forest Gump. I just wanted to run. 

Tonight, I want to punch something. I have this insatiable, uncontrollable urge to punch something! Not a person, and not with my bare hand, really. I think I want to put on some boxing gloves and just start punching the shit out of something. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Mom

An interesting thing happened the other day. A friend of mine had written a post on Facebook, giving an update about her mother, who was in the hospital. My friend had stayed with her as long as she could, but after a couple of days, she needed to go home for a night, and rest. 

When my friend went back the next day, she asked her mom how she had managed the night on her own. The mother said she hadn't been alone. She has been visiting with the girl's father. 

Tina's father died at least 10 years ago. 

I decided to write a note back to my friend. I was telling her that my father had told me sometimes when he drifts off for a nap, he wakes up talking to my mom. He's actually talking out loud, only to realize after he is coherent, that no one is there. It makes him feel silly. 

I've told my father before, I believe mom is there. Just as I believe my friend's father was there, keeping her mother company. But that's not the odd part of the story. 

When I was typing my response to my friend, I was using my phone. When I got to the part of my response where I said my dad felt silly, AutoCorrect kicked in. It changed the word "silly" to my mothers first name. So what I actually typed out was "it makes him feel Dolly". 
 It was strange, and a bit overwhelming to see my mom's name pop up in that sentence. Obviously the letters are very close on the keyboard, and I can see how it happened. But it made me stop and stare at the word for a moment. Who knows? Maybe mom was with me that day too.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Grand Plan

God has a plan for me. I have to trust that. And it's better than any plan I could devise on my own. 

I have to be patient. I have to trust. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Go On....You Deserve It

So many friends I know are struggling right now. Some with health, some with romance, many with their jobs!  We are  frustrated with many things in our lives. 

It's odd to me how we each handle our stress in different ways.   I have two friends who who control their stress by working out vigorously. And by vigorously, I mean kinda over the top. Hours every day. One of them is a self proclaimed exercise addict. 

The concept of deriving pleasure from 6:00 a.m. double sessions at fit booty camp is foreign. I seem to prefer over indulgence with food and alcohol. Very destructive. Kitty says it's escapism. For me, I think maybe it's something I feel I  can control. No one else can control what I eat or drink but me. Well I'm in a bad phase of it right now. Somehow I get relaxation from indulgence. And right now I've convinced myself I need and deserve it. 

I hope this passes soon. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Reflections

This Sunday morning I have lots of different feelings swirling through my head. 

I feel excited and hopeful for Scarlett, who is taking one more step toward her dream today.

But as my busy mind sits here drinking coffee, I also tap into excitement, sadness, a sense of being overwhelmed, thankfulness, and a little fear, among other things. 

This is a good indication that I need to get up and get busy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The American Dream

Any time the Powerball jackpot gets really high, it's common to hear people sit around discussing what they would do if they hit the jackpot. 

Recently my friend was at the nail salon getting a manicure, when she struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to her. They laughed and discussed what they would do if they won the lottery.

At some point, my friend starts talking to the owner of the shop, a soft spoken, young Vietnamese man, who is working on her nails. She asks if he plans to buy a lottery ticket. He says no. My friend asks why not? He says "I don't need that money. My life is good".  

This made me think how as Americans, we always want more. We desire wealth, and riches beyond our wildest dreams. But for many people, living the American dream is all they desire. Being free from an impoverished country, raising a family, and owning their own business is all they ever wanted. The same thing our ancestors dreamt of when they immigrated here seeking religious freedom, and a better life many years ago. 

Somehow along the way, it seems many of us have lost sight of that wonderful vision, and what it truly means to be happy.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fear Is A Choice

I found this to be a very interesting fact.  Danger is very real, fear is not. 

How many times have I let fear stop me from doing something? 

When I was a girl, I never wanted to do any sports or activities. I wasn't athletic, but fear stopped me from participating in many things, not just sports. In my mind I always felt like everyone else already knew how to do things. I was so afraid I would walk in and everyone would know I didn't know how to do whatever it was. I would look stupid. I would look like i wasn't in  control. I remember my friend Kim would invite me to go to the wave pool with her. I was so afraid I would drown. Afraid a wave would knock me down and I would look stupid. I always said no. Fear kept me from participating in so many things. 

Fear has kept me from doing things as an adult. Making choices, having fun. But fear has also ruined many days for me. Some days I will sit at my desk and feel anxious and not even know why. Just fearful thoughts racing through my head. I have allowed fear to control me most of my life. 

So with this thought, I will try to learn the difference between fear and danger. I will  continue to respect danger, I will try harder to ignore fear. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Mom

Yesterday I was cleaning out a drawer, and I ran across a photo of my mother and me. By the looks of my hair style and dress, I'm thinking it was taken in the mid  '80s, just before my mom had her first brain aneurysm. 

Sometimes it's very hard for me to remember my mom the way she looked in that photo. Still young and vibrant. She was not much older than I am right now when she first got sick. Funny, but at the time she didn't seem that young. Looking at that picture today, she does. 

This leaves me with a myriad of feelings. 

It makes me want to take better care of myself so I can live longer, and have a better quality of life than my mom had....It makes me mad that she could not, and would not lay down the cigarettes that would ultimately kill her....It makes me feel for my dad, who had to spend so much time caring for her instead of traveling and doing what he wanted to do....It makes me very sad, because I miss her terribly. 

I just paused for one quick moment that day, so my dad could snap our picture. I didn't know how much all our lives were about to change.  I wasn't  thinking how 30 years later, that one little photograph at the bottom of a drawer full of junk could bring out so many feelings. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Just A Number?

This whole turning 50 thing just continues to interest me. 

Two of my classmates were battling cancer when they turned 50 earlier this year. Neither of them even knew they had cancer at Christmas time. Now another classmate suffered a stroke this week, just 11 days after his 50th birthday.

Like it or not, I think 50 is a milestone. Even if you believe it's just a number, your body knows otherwise. It's time to start taking care of ourselves, eating right, getting exercise, and recognizing. warning signs when our body gives them to us. 

The whole concept of "I'll lose weight one day", or "I'll start working out one day", is no more. You can no longer ignore high blood pressure, or other risk factors that could literally be putting your life in danger.

So far, all three of my classmates stories have had a happy ending. The two cancer victims are now cancer free. And the one who suffered a stroke recognized the early warning signs, and got help before he suffered devastating effects.

Yeah, 50 is just a number, but it's a number we can't ignore. Our bodies are changing, and if we want to see 60, we have to respect that.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I See The Bad Moon Risin'

When the moon is full, it shines through the blinds in my bedroom. When I lay down on my bed, I can usually see it very clearly. 

The moon is full tomorrow, and has been peeping at me for two nights now. 

I'm full of emotion tonight. A friend's daughter moves into her dorm at college tomorrow and I watched her cry her heart out tonight as the realization hit. She's very excited, but that reality of leaving home hit hard tonight. 

Also, the stress of the kids going back to school has taken a major toll on me this year. Financially, I am tapped out. Emotionally, I am drained from working out logistics non stop for the past few weeks. 

I wouldn't say I've become a lunatic, but the moon has captivated me tonight, and I definitely feel its powers physically pulling on my body and my mind. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

It's A Celebration!

I'm so very, very happy for my dear friend Scarlett. She achieved something major--something she's worked very hard for. Way to go, Scarlett. You deserve this break. 

Hello? Hello?

When you feel so small, and this world seems so big, and the tasks in front of you are so overwhelming, don't you just feel like you need a teeny tiny phone to call for help?  
I do. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Reel It In

There's a problem with being a codependent, and a people pleaser. When you start caring for yourself and stop trying to constantly please others, you then begin to worry that everyone around you is either disappointed in you, or angry with you. 

That's messed up.

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 50

In July a friend of mine turned 50. He's not a reader of Detach, but I told him about my 50th Birthday series, and he immediately agreed to write an article for me. 

Then, things got complicated. 

The guy has really gotten caught up in his thoughts, and has decided he has quite a bit to say on the subject, so he's still working on it. He promises to produce something soon. In the meantime, I will move forward with my August 50. 

Kat and I have been friends since 8th grade, and throughout the years,  we've never lost touch with each other. 

About 4 years ago, Kat became a widow, left alone to raise a teenage son. The two of them moved from the home where her husband had spent so many months sick, and where he ultimately died. They bought a new place and started a new life. I know there were some hard times at first, but they persevered. 

A year or so ago, Kat downloaded a weight loss app on to her phone. A few months later she had shed 50 pounds. Then Kat found a new passion. She started volunteering at the local animal shelter. A job she loves. 

I had dinner with Kat the night before her birthday, and she told me she was excited about turning 50. She said she's never felt better in her life, and having known her most of her life I can tell you she's never looked better. She's radiant! She just glows with happiness. But here's the kicker...that happiness comes from loving herself. It comes from feeling confident and being healthy. You see, Kat doesn't have a romantic partner in her life and she will be the first to tell you she is perfectly fine with that. I am absolutely certain that the key to her contentment is being happy with who she is.  She's  not waiting around, desperate for another person to validate her or make her feel important. She's important to herself. 

Oh to bottle that. 

To be so happy with who you are that you don't thirst for constant validation from others. That is true independence. It's relaxed. It's fun to be around, and its sexy. 

Go Kat!  You really are rockin 50!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

One Day...

I think that before I die, I will figure out this life. At least I am hopeful that will happen. 

There are so many things I don't understand. 

I hope that one day it will all make sense.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interesting Question

I ran across this recently, and found it interesting. "What word best describes the way you've spent the last month of your life?"  

Wow. Actually I can think of a bunch of words:

But I'm not quite sure any of those words "best" describes the last 30 days. In all honesty, the very first word that popped into my head was "frozen". Too overwhelmed to move, so I just stayed very still. 

We'll talk more about that later. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Checking In

After my Heavenly vacation, re-entry into the real world has been an adjustment. I have a lot on my plate right now, which is making me feel a bit overwhelmed. 

I will resume writing soon. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Vacation Journal

The past two days consisted of an abundance of delicious food and alcohol, while lying  around in the sun, laughing, and enjoying the company of Kitty and her husband BB. 

It's amazing what a few days of being away from responsibilities can do for you. No cooking, no laundry, no house cleaning... basically nothing.  I'm beginning to miss my family desperately, but everyone should be so lucky to be able to get away, and feel comfortable just relaxing.

My head is too empty to even think of anything to write, other than how relaxed I feel, and how blessed I am. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vacation Journal

I suppose the opposite of codependent is independent. 

Since today was Independence Day it's a fitting time to focus on pleasing myself instead of waiting for someone else to make me happy. 

That's what I tried to do today. It was a good day. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Vacation Journal

Yesterday I came to the pool by myself for a couple of hours. There was no one else here, and I swim around, relaxed and reflected. I thought back to the last time I was here. I remember writing in this journal, that as I swam back and forth across the pool, I said out loud, "I will find peace in this day, in this hour, in this minute". 

I distinctly remember how I felt at that time. So much anxiety inside me! I could not relax. I was worried all the time. In the   year and a half since, a lot has changed Some things have not. However, I do realize that I no longer suffer from the massive ongoing anxiety that I had in October, 2011. My main obstacle right now is confusion, and that "mountain in the middle". 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Vacation Journal

I began a much needed vacation today. I flew to South Florida for a visit with Kitty and her husband. A gift from them, an early birthday present for me. 

I need this time away from work, from home, from the day to day of life. But interestingly, I have found myself talking about home, and my family since I got here.

I am anxious to see what the week brings.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Mountain In The Middle

My horoscope today:

Sunday Jun 30 2013

Something you aspire to is reasonably within reach. You are almost there, Capricorn. But if we were to use geography as a metaphor for your quest, we might say that there is a straight line between point A and Point B, but there is a mountain in the middle of them. The questions you need to ask yourself would be similar to: 1. How big is the mountain? 2. How are my mountain-climbing skills? And 3. Will the ultimate prize be worth the climb? Only you can answer this, so trust in yourself.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

You Can't Do That

Sometimes I start thinking. Next thing I know, I've spent hours focused on an idea. Hours!  I'll work out details that seem complicated. I'll hatch an ingenious plan. 

Then, I have a reality check moment and think "That could never happen", and my whole idea goes down the drain like the evening's dirty dishwater. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Breaking Down The Serenity Prayer

The things I cannot change:
Anyone's personality.
The behavior of anyone around me. 
The past. 

The things I can:
My behavior. 
My reaction to the behavior of others.
My physical health and well-being. 

So I guess I already know the difference.
I just need the serenity to accept and change. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Morning Thoughts

So many thoughts come to me on weekend mornings as I'm sitting around drinking my coffee--usually with a purring cat on my lap.   

My mind is like a computer's anti virus,  constantly scanning, scanning, scanning--reviewing the events of the week, analyzing them. Eliminating  (or attempting to eliminate) the parts that can cause me harm. 

It was a hectic week, particularly at work, but not a bad week. For the most part I think I'm content this morning.

If I had a magic wand, there are things I would change, but that's just me desiring to be in complete control. The fact is I don't have a magic wand, so I have to control the things that I can can, and let orher people control their part.  

God grant  me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change. Courage to change the things I can, 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Little Notebook

Something interesting happened today. I was cleaning out a box full of papers, and found a little notebook Kitty had given me sometime ago. There was only a little bit written inside the notebook, but I quickly realized it was a precursor to "Detach". I started writing this journal before I had made the decision to write a blog. Here's what I wrote:

For sometime now I've known I need to make a change. I don't know how. I feel like there's a giant jigsaw puzzle on the table before me, and all the pieces are there, but I have no idea how to begin to put them together. Then I realized I just wish my husband would fix everything and put it together for me!  I prayed to God as I drove to the bookstore that he would guide me to something that would help. I suspected it would be something in the codependent section. I found "Codependent No More".  When I got home I mentioned how I was feeling to my friend Marty Marr. I told him I'd been book shopping.  He said he'd hoped I bought "Codependent No More".  I felt excited that I may have picked the right book! 

Oh my Lord!! For the life of me I truly cannot believe no one has ever walked up to me, shoved this book in my face and screamed "Read this!!"  It's me! Maybe my prayers have been answered! 

I truly do believe my prayers were answered that day at the bookstore. "Codependent No More" was the gateway to me finding myself, and starting a journey of healing and recovery. Some days are still hard. Some days are just bad. But I do feel I've come a long way. I feel happier than I have been a very long time. Some days I still feel lost. But I'm growing every day, and I never want to go back. I just want to keep moving forward. It's hard. And sometimes it's very sad. But I know I'm making the right decisions and I feel good about the ones I've made. 

Life is complicated.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What's Your Return Policy?

I'm continuing to have dreams about parting with things, and then feeling extremely sad about it. Since my last post about the subject, I have dreamt again about selling my home. Last night, I dreamed I sold my car. In both cases I was very upset and remorseful afterward.

I believe these dreams continue to symbolize the fact that I am absolutely terrified of change.

Kitty and I have a long-standing joke about always needing a "takeback ". She doesn't like to buy anything she can't take back,  should she suddenly change her mind.  

When you're speaking of life changes, some come with takeback options--most do not.   For someone like me, this is terrifying. So what do you do? When is it time to take a chance? Perhaps more importantly,  when is it not?  When should you continue to hang on for dear life?

Friday, June 7, 2013

June 50

My June 50 is one I didn't see coming. It was actually an unexpected, and very pleasant surprise. 

Stan is a guy I went to high school with. he was very close with Scarlet. They've kept in contact throughout the years. This past winter, Scarlet asked me to go with her to pay a visit to Stan.  He now owns a coffee shop in a nearby small town. So we made a fun late morning road trip to visit him. We had a great time drinking coffee, and sampling assorted food items Stan had concocted. I enjoyed his company, and his shop very much. 

So the other day I noticed lots of well wishes for Stan's 50th birthday. I sent him a message and explained my "50" series, and asked if he would mind sharing some thoughts on this milestone birthday. I absolutely love what Stan wrote. It actually made me a little emotional. Like Stan himself, It seemed very heartfelt and genuine, and I'm so grateful he shared it.  Here are Stan's words:

"I know that every day is a blessing and am grateful for each and every one. I have been blessed with a marvelous life, full of fun and friends and few disapointments.  But a number like 50 makes an impression. I know realistically that life is winding down. I'm on the back side. However, at what point do you feel that today begins the unraveling of everything that has come before?  I have not felt that yet, even today!  Hopefully I won't ever feel that, but ask me again when I'm 60". 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Two Story House

Sometimes I have nightmares that I no longer live in this house. I sold it. My dream home. The place where I'm most comfortable.  Gone. I've had this dream several times, and I always wake up distraught. Why did I sell my home?? My plan was to live here for the rest of my life!  Then I feel relief that I'm awake, and  it was all a dream. It's very emotional. 

But this house is part of the reason for my discontent. It's a big financial obligation. All of my money is tied up here. An enormous amount of emotion, both positive and negative, is also tied up here. 

I often wonder if my life would be different if this house was out of the picture. Would it be better?  Would it be worse?  Would it be the same?

I know it's a building--made of wood and brick. It does not define me. It should not have the power to make me happy or sad.  But it does. 

And tonight...I'm very sad. 

"I've got my story
And I've got mine too
How sad it is
We now live
In a two story house"

Monday, June 3, 2013

Quotes I Like

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
-Will Rogers

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Wasted Days And Wasted Nights

How does one define a wasted day? 

I think every day has something to offer.  Something to learn--a way to grow. But yesterday I actually think I wasted my day.  After making two trips to the grocery store, I ended up on the couch, where I stayed until I went to bed around 10:00.  I dozed in and out, and I can't really even say I watch television. It was on, but I was only staring at it, not really watching. I reminded myself of one of my elderly cats, who goes in and out of consciousness with no purpose, or anything to do. I'm not sure that I solved any life mysteries or dilemmas while i lay there.  Im not sure i accomplished anything!

So today I need to make up for my wasted Saturday.  Today I will make some things happen.  Today I will visit with Scarlet.  I will visit with my mother in law, Cher. Today I will live my life. No more wasted days.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Codependent, After All These Years

Sometimes I get so frustrated with life. 

I want to be the one in control. I want to call the shots. But dammit, life just doesn't work that way. 

You keep drinking. 
You won't help yourself. 
You need to make better grades. 
You need to push yourself...just a little!
You're making a big mistake. 

I am a codependent person. I want other people to do what I think is best for them. I think if they do what I say, I will be happy. But these arent my decisions to make. And my happiness can't hinge on the behavior of others. It just can't. 

I'm very tired now, and I just want to go to sleep. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 50

As I mentioned the other day, there were two 50th birthdays this month. My friend Mark also hit the milestone in May. 

Always like a brother to me, Mark tried to talk me out of every unhealthy relationship I ever got myself in to. I never listened. 

Mark doesn't seem too phased by the birthday. He says 50 is just a number.  To celebrate, there was a small dinner party, and some cocktails. Attendees included other 50s, who joked around about the big birthday, but seem to agree with Mark, you're as young as you feel.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Why Do You Have A Flower On Your Toe?

The other day I noticed how incredibly cute a friend of mine looked. She was smiling, and she had cute sandals, an ankle bracelet, a toe ring, and a fresh pedicure. Bright red polish. And one big toenail was painted with a cute white flower. I commented on how nice she looked, and how I loved the flower. Her response shocked me a little. She said her sister took one look at her toes and said "Why did you get that flower?".

I don't really know why that bothered me, but it did. A lot.

The older I get, the more I do not want to wear beige. I do not want to blend in with the rest of the old people and their neutral, invisible, practical clothes and shoes. I say get a flower painted on your damn toe! Get a tattoo! Be alive! Let the world know who you are. Celebrate life!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Someone made the comment to me today that friends are never really your friends, and the only people you can really ever count on are your family.

To that I say, I am really, really blessed, because I have a circle of strong women and men that have supported me through thick and thin. Through good times and bad. Through heart aches and heart breaks, the loss of my mother, and even financial woes. I've cried to them, they sometimes cry to me.

I'm very happy that I can trust my friends. And I'm so blessed to have them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 50

Aside from a sweet local newscaster, there wasn't a noteworthy 50th birthday in April. Not in my circle of friends, anyway. But to make up for it, there are two in May.

The first occurs mid month, when my friend Old Beth celebrates her milestone birthday.

For the record, I don't call her Old Beth because she's old. I call her that because I have two good friends named Beth, and one day, years ago, when I mentioned "Beth" was coming for a visit, my son said "Which Beth?" I realized I didn't think my kids actually knew the last name of either of them, so I had to think of some way to distinguish them. At the time they'd only met my work friend Beth on a couple of occasions, but had known the other one their entire lives, so I said "OLD Beth". It stuck.

I first met Old Beth in the 4th grade but we didn't get tight until middle school. She still looks like a kid. She's cute, small, and feisty.

I haven't talked to her a lot about her feelings on turning 50. After surviving a horrific car crash in the early 80's, I would say she's just glad to be alive.

I know she's not where she thought she would be in life right now. A lot of us aren't. But she's beautiful, she's funny, and she is so very blessed.

I hope and pray she will see that and will make the most of what life has to offer. I feel like there's a lot more to come for Old Beth!!

Monday, May 6, 2013

This Week

Life is always changing, isn't it?

For so many of my friends, life is happening--ready or not.

New, exciting romance.
Aging parents.
Care giving.
Things that come too late.
Well wishes.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Off And Runnin'

I guess Sally is right--I really have come a lot further than I give myself credit for.

A few short years ago, I would be physically ill right now, worrying about what stunts my husband, aka "The Derby Ambassador", aka "The Derby Sheriff" might pull this week. This year I just don't care. No butterflies in the stomach at the first mention of the "Run For The Roses", starting immediately after the new year. No anxiety as "Thunder" officially kicked things off last weekend.

Thank you God. Thank you Melody Beattie. Thank you Kate. Thank you my friends.

I truly, truly don't care any more.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Know Too Much

I was having a conversation with Scarlet tonight, and it sparked a thought. Is it better to know every little detail concerning the events around us, or are we (at least sometimes) better off being in the dark?

Thanks to television and the internet, we live in a society where we have information pouring in 24/7. Scandals and sordid information just waiting to seethe out.

It's human nature to want to know what's happening around us, but sometimes knowing too much changes things. Sometimes all it does is hurt us.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Quotes I Like

"Partnership, not dependence, is the real romance in marriage."
-Muriel Fox

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Will Always Love You

This isn't the first time I've written about my mother's love of singing. I have memories of her singing with her brothers, or to the radio, or just walking through the house, singing for no reason, as far back as I can remember. A love that she passed on to me. She would always tell me, "Honey, just rare back and sing!"

This passion lives on in my daughter, who is now 13. She loves music, and she loves to sing. She knows it's in her blood, and she knows where it came from.

Today marked the 5th anniversary of the death of my mother. Naturally, it was on my mind, and I felt emotional. In the early part of the evening, I sat down on the couch to rest. It was very quiet in the house, and with a cat curled up on my lap, I dozed off. As I was beginning to wake, the sun was beginning to set. The light in the room was fading, and I could hear my daughter upstairs in the shower singing. I was thinking what a nice way that was to wake up. I didn't recognize the song she was singing, but I thought how pretty it was. It began to remind me of myself as a girl, and how my mother loved to hear me sing. I started thinking "Mom would love this". Then, a song I knew. "Stand By Your Man". She was only singing the chorus. I smiled, thinking not only would Mom love that, but so would Scarlett! Then it was quiet for a few seconds. As if she was regrouping. I heard her start to sing in the softest, prettiest voice, "If I...should stay....I would only be in...your way". Instantly tears filled my eyes. My baby girl sang "I Will Always Love You", the whole song, beginning to end, without missing a note or getting a word wrong. She sang it in the style of Dolly Parton, who of course wrote it, and who sings it very softly and with so much heartfelt sadness. I cried. I cried for many reasons. I cried because it was so damn pretty. I cried because I miss my mom, and I thought how much she would have loved hearing it--it was one of her favorite songs. I cried because the love of singing was in my daughter. I cried because I relate to the lyrics at this time in my life. I just cried.

When my daughter came out of the bathroom she saw I had been crying and asked what was wrong. I told her how her song had touched me, and how beautiful and meaningful it was; especially on this day. Tears began to stream down her sweet face. I told her how the gift of song was inside her because of her Mamaw. I told her my tears were tears of joy, not sadness, and that I was sure Mamaw had heard her sing today. She hugged me and I wiped her tears.

It was a beautiful moment I shared with my sweet daughter tonight. I think we'll both always remember it.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nodrog's Curious Zoo: Part Two

It's not unusual for someone to have a pet rabbit. My daughter's friend had one once. Her parents got it for her on Easter. It lived in a cage in their basement, and when they would open the cage door to feed it, the rabbit would always attempt to escape. Sometimes he bit them trying to get out. When he did manage an escape, he would scurry underneath the clothes dryer, and getting him out was quite an ordeal. I think they kept him for about 3-4 months before they found him a new home at the pet store.

But this isn't the case with all pet rabbits. Nodrog has two rabbits, Peter and Bugs, and they don't live in a cage at all. They roam his house freely. He bought the rabbits at the 2005 State Fair. They were 4 1/2 months old, and won 1st place in their breed for coat. They are black Mini-Rex's. They've had free roam of his house since day one, and never go outside. Their main dietary staple is 3rd cut Timothy hay that he buys every three months from a farm in Washington state for about $40 for a 25 pound bale. They also eat various herbs he grows in his backyard, and a raisin or two as a treat. A bite of a carrot would be considered a treat too because of the sugar content. Carrot tops are fine, though. Mini-rex's are one of about 50 domesticated breeds of rabbit that descended from the wild European rabbit. Most of the time Peter and Bugs hang out in the bedroom, but they hop around anywhere they want. Nodrog has protected all his electrical cords with a metal mesh material called hardware cloth, and the motion sensors on his burglar alarm are tweaked so they don't set it off. Nodrog says he loves his two little fellas, and "they are great companions; aloof, like me, but wise and fascinating". And in case you are wondering...Peter and Bugs use a litter box.

Nodrog also has two backyard turtles that came from a friend's grandmother's farm, in Brandenburg. Her kids found one and then the other, and gave them to him. One of the turtles was pregnant, and two babies hatched in his backyard. This was the same summer he got Peter and Bugs. The little girl named one of the adults Michael, and the other one, Tommy. Nodrog raised the babies, Godzilla and Dave, in his house. They are fairly big now, but not the size of their parents. His privacy fence, along with bricks, keeps the adults safely in the yard, and they occasionally take a wade in his pond, though they are not aquatic turtles, they are tortoises (one is an Eastern Box, and he thinks one is an Ornate). In the winter, the outdoor turtles bury themselves underground. In fact, they just recently emerged from their hibernation. The outdoor turtles fend for themselves when it comes to food. They are omnivores, and eat basically anything, but he does give them veggies occassionally. He believes them to be young, maybe 10-15 years old. They can live to be more than 100. He feeds the indoor turtles veggies and chicken. Nodrog says "they are great fun, and very fast on their feet, and fascinating in a prehistoric dinosaur sort of a way to watch".

I just love hearing stories about these guys, and their adventures. Thank you Nodrog, for sharing the story of your wonderful pets!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Nodrog's Curious Zoo

My friend Nodrog is...well....unconventional. He does things his way, and that upsets a lot of people. Sometimes it upsets me, but I'm just happy to once again be part of the wonderful world that he lives in, and I'm happy he took an interest in my blog.

Nodrog has pets. But not dogs or cats. I asked him for permission to write about the pets because they fascinate me. So stay tuned for a fun story about these beautiful and wonderful creatures, who are as interesting as their keeper.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A New Week

I can't really explain why, but for some reason I feel like something good is about to happen to me.

I feel like this is going to be a good week for me. I feel confident and very strong. In some way I feel powerful. Not over others, but powerful, in that I might be in control of myself.

I hope this feeling will continue.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Perfect Plan

I like Joel Osteen. I really enjoy reading his writing. Often it's extremely inspiring, and i believe inspiration is something we all need.

He's big on the idea that God has this perfect master plan for us all, and if we just relax and let it fall into place, it will. He says no person on this planet can stop God's plan from happening.

I believe that. I just don't know what the plan for me might be, and sometimes that makes me crazy.

I'm trying very hard to just sit back and allow it to unfold. Just stop trying to dictate it all and relax.

As I wrote in the early days of this blog; it is by letting go of the need to control that we might finally gain control.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

"Like" It Or Die!

Why would a seemingly normal and reasonable person post something on their Facebook page that says "Like=Heaven. Ignore=Hell"?

Are they trying to prove their faith? Or maybe they want to put some type of curse on us all; I don't know. But I'm a busy person. When I have a minute to sit down at night and check Facebook, I want some mindless entertainment. Cute kitties--pictures of kids. I don't want to have to make stressful decisions that will impact me in to the afterlife!

I didn't sign on with the intention that I may be forced to contemplate eternal condemnation by not clicking the "Like" button! It's just too stressful for a Thursday evening.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Comment Card

We have these comment cards at work where our customers rate their satisfaction with our service.

A friend from work uses the phrases from the cards to rate her feelings about things. "I was TOTALLY DISSATISFIED" with my husband over the weekend!" or "I am SATISFIED with this pizza". But our favorite phrase is the one I am about to use to describe my mood of the past days and weeks. "I am NEITHER SATISFIED NOR DISSATISFIED with my life right now".

I can't really complain. There's been peace in the valley here at my house lately. That's pretty huge for me. I like calm and quiet, even though things aren't completely ideal either. But all in all; at least for now, I can live with being "NEITHER SATISFIED NOR DISSATISFIED".

Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 50

Today is the 50th birthday of my friend, and Detach reader, Kim. I've been friends with Kim for over 30 years, since the 8th grade. I have known her husband just as long. He turned 50 this month as well.

I recently asked Kim's thoughts on the subject. She told me she is embracing 50. She spent her birthday at her very favorite place, the beach.

Kim told me Cher's song "If I Could Turn Back Time" keeps popping in her head. But, she says, you know, we can't turn back time. Can't change it - so embrace it!

So far, turning 40 was much worse for her than 50. She says she has a few more aches than she used to, and had to see a chiropractor for the first time in Jan. She hurt her back, in yoga!!

Kim told me, "I could, but won't get philosophical about 50. I don't feel my age most days. And I think for as much as I've been in the sun, my skin has held up pretty good. Thanks to moisturizer from about the time I was 14!"

Happy Birthday Kim!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

These Dreams

I recently took a business trip with three other women. We opted to travel by car, but the drive was several hours coming and going. We passed a lot of farm land on the trip, and one lady kept mentioning that she frequently has this dream about being lost in a barn. It kind of became a joke on the trip, as we passed lots of creepy old barns.

I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. I’ve written about that in this journal before. But I’m particularly fascinated with recurring dreams.

There are some dreams I’ve had since I was a child. I’ve had these dreams dozens, maybe even hundreds of times. They may have changed a teeny bit as I’ve gotten older, but the premise of the dream is still the same.

In a dream I have pretty frequently, I am trying to defend myself against someone who wants to cause me harm and I have a gun that won’t shoot. The bullets jam, or they fizzle, and come out with no force. Or I have a weapon, but I left it in the car, or I lost it.

Another recurring dream is that I see a giant tidal wave coming towards me and there’s no place to hide. I run as fast as I can, away from the water, and sometimes I try to get to higher ground; maybe inside a high rise hotel.

I also dream that I see a tornado in the distance. It’s erratic in it’s path and I’m trying to decide which way to run.

Sometimes I dream I see an airplane, and it’s going to crash. Usually the engines are dying and it plummets to the ground. Only once do I remember being a passenger on the plane. Usually I’m watching it from a distance.

Another recurring dream is that I’m driving on a road that has railroad track after railroad track after railroad track. Trains are coming and there’s no lights or crossing gates. I have to floor the accelerator to avoid being smashed.

I'd say all these dreams represent a feeling of being powerless. Of going up against something that is way too big to fight. I guess they all demonstrate codependent tendencies--the need to be in control, but the feeling that your obstacles are way greater that you.

The good thing is, I don’t typically die, or even get hurt in these recurring dreams. They just frighten me.