Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Can I dress myself?

I am in a confessional mode now (dangerous to a former Catholic!). So I thought I would share something with you all.

As I mentioned, we had Christmas Eve at my sister's and her boy/manfriend. He's in his mid-60's so I want a better phrase to use. Suggestions?

Anyhoo... I was staying at my mom's. Showered, got my hair blown dry (vital that your hair is very dry, before venturing outdoors in Cold Country), dressed and put on my face. So we drove out to A and R's, mom riding shotgun. Along the way she announced that she was not drinking alcohol that night. I replied that I was. I am not a fool - I will not drive if I am impaired. Unfortunately for most women, that limits me to about one drink or glass of wine during an evening - but I do know that and live with that limit.

I had really watched my food intake over the holidays, trying not to overstuff myself on cookies and the like. I thought I had been very successful. However, when I got dressed, I noticed that the waist of my underlovelies (panties, to the rest of you) seemed uncomfortably snug. So I figured that maybe I hadn't been so successful with those calories, after all. Sigh. All that sitting around, I figured.

After some time at A and R's, I had to use the loo. So I went in, shut the door, and dropped trow. Pulled down said underlovelies, and imagine my surprise! They WERE snug - but for a reason. Some idiot had pulled them on sideways - yes, what should have been the waistband was, instead, a leg opening. And when you see that fuzzy little portion of the undies on one of your hips instead of its intended place, you know that something's wrong. So I proceeded to take off the shoes, remove the jeans entirely, put the undies back on in the fashion they were designed to be worn, pull jeans back on and slip shoes on feet again. Somewhere in all of this undressing/redressing activity, I managed to remember just why I had gone in that room originally, so that also was taken care of.

Sometimes it's not easy being me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Reality lurks around the corner

Well, I am back at my humble abode, unpacked, looking at the bills that arrived while I was gone.

My mother aside (FAR aside), this was a good visit. Saw only a small handful of friends and family, and I was liking most of the situations. Had Christmas Eve at my sis's - only she and her boyfriend (still not liking that "boyfriend" phrase, but...), her daughter and mom and me. Had pizza for our holiday meal! It was actually good stuff - a regional chain makes these take-and-bake ones, and the ingredients are fresh and the crust is freshly-made. Just gotta bake 'em.

I don't know how much y'all can take, of me carping on my time in my old "hometown". You know, I only lived there from ages 9 until 18. I lived in the Mpls. area about 18 years or so, and will mark my 24th year in Houston on New Year's Eve. So just what criteria qualifies someplace as your "hometown"?

Mom made this a very difficult time - much more than when I was there in July. I just don't know why she is acting like this. Harp, harp, harp. Criticized my driving a LOT, and I never sped while she was with me. Makes me wonder how I have been able to drive myself to and from work in heavy Houston traffic, all these years!

Anyway, I guess I just need to move on to some more fun things to describe. Tomorrow, I'll explain how much trouble I have, dressing myself.

'Bye for the evening.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bidding goodbye to Cold Country

Well, I am nearing the end of my visit back to Cold Country, and damn.... I don't know how my Texas-acclimated body will adjust to living in this weather again. I think I may be a winter Texan - A LOT. I'll spend time up here in the spring/summer/early fall, then go back to warmer climates, returning only for a courtesy visit over the holidays.

Lots of fodder for the blog. Not a lot of it pertaining to "warm and fuzzy" stuff. I do envy those of you who have a great relationship with your mothers. Me, not so much. I can only say that I stayed with her 8 days (and nights) and it was a very stressful time. Much easier to chat with her by telephone than to be up close and personal, if you get my drift. My dear mother is 81 and keeps saying that she's gonna live until 104 (one of her grandfathers was that age when he died). And my sister confided in me - "I can't take 23 more years of this." Somehow, my mother has turned into this carping, complaining, critical old lady. Very judgemental - VERY - and of course, freely shares these judgements with me, my sis, whoever.

On the plus side - I did talk her into a humidifier (her apt. is like Death Valley, for humidity), a floor lamp, and a new box springs and mattress (which I told her I would pay for). Re: mattress -- my back was KILLING me after many days on that thing. Neither my sis nor I can recall it ever being replaced - AND I slept on the side of the bed which my much-heavier father slept on for lo, those many years. So... she assures me that she'll buy a new set today (Monday). I think she is afraid that I will not visit her again if she keeps the old one - and she is correct.

I am typing this on my brother-in-law's desktop in his basement and it is COLD in here. My Reynaud's syndrome is about ready to shut down my fingers (they get white and numb in the cold weather). So I'll cut this off and let you all know that yes, Virginia, I DID have a white (and COLD) Christmas this year. Lovely to look at, nasty to shiver in...


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Quick update

Hi, all!

Up here in the Great White North Country. Freezing my ta-ta's off, although, by Minnesota standards this is quite reasonable. It's 13 above zero - yes, that IS below freezing. But hey! Above zero is okay, in this part of the country at this time of year. Back in Texas, if this was the weather, we would probably be shutting the entire state down!

Definitely having a white Christmas - ground is frozen and fresh snow has been falling fairly frequently, just dusting off the earlier accumulations. It gives the snow a fresh, clean look.

Having to get used to driving in this stuff again... I am probably more timid than I would have been years ago. Got a 4-wheel-drive vehicle at Hertz, and I could not have been happier about that. Uses more petrol - but that's a sacrifice that I am willing to make (for my safety - but more importantly, for the safety of the other innocents who are driving alongside me!).

Anyway, just wanted to say that I am here, not liking the cold, but toughing it out. We may get some nasty weather and that may impact tomorrow's (Sunday's) plans. If it gets as nasty as the weather folks are hinting at, we will NOT be going to Duluth to gather with my cousins. And I will definitely NOT be driving to the Cities (Minneapolis-St.Paul, to you outsiders)later that same day.

Low-key days, unusual for this working stiff, but I think I can adjust. Hopefully, I won't go stir-crazy. Trying to keep occupied with my mom - we have a jigsaw puzzle to take up some of the time.

Gotta go shopping for some boots to replace this pair that I am wearing. The sole is separating from the main part of the boot! I have had the pair (which look like new) for many years - and of course, the boots haven't had much wear over the years. So I'll have to replace 'em. Wish me luck on finding some...

I'll try to post later. Not having easy access to a pc can be a killer!

-- Merry Christmas, if I don't post before then!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

No ho-ho-ho

For obvious reasons, this is not gonna be a merry Christmas for me. I am trying, though, I really am.

I had already decided that I would not, could not decorate this year. It was too much of a WE thing, something that we always did together. So… not. this. year. But last weekend, I had an urge to listen to Christmas cd’s. We have (I am guessing) about a dozen or so. And I could not find them. Could not find them – anywhere. I had assumed that they would be with the rest of the cd’s – wrong. I was all over the place in that house – both floors, all kinds of places where I thought they might be stashed. Nothing.

I reached the point where I was exhausted/frustrated from all the searching-and-not-finding. And I lost it, dissolved in tears. All I wanted was some Christmas music. Was that asking too much? Apparently. After reflection, I thought that Mr. Organized (aka Greg) had probably packed them up with the Christmas decorations that I am NOT unpacking this year. And maybe there will be a happy reuniting of me and said music another time. Maybe he just could not stand another year of hearing me caterwauling along with the music, even given the distance now separating us. He always knew how much I liked music, and even more so if I could sing along when the lyrics were familiar.

On a related holiday note: I decided that I would send out Christmas cards this year. I always like receiving them – particularly if the sender(s) have included some kind of family/personal update on the year just passed. I composed a letter and printed out several copies of same. Brought the copies home, then (next day) re-read what I had written. I cannot in good conscience send those out. Too much of a downer for folks, even if it reflects my mood (at that time). So I’ll try to write an upbeat letter, somehow. Most of the folks on the card list know what happened, and for the one or two that do not… I’ll try to be gentle.

The struggle goes on, and those who are walking in these same shoes, know just what I am experiencing. Only for me, this is the first time – this Christmastime – that I am really feeling the depths of doing this alone, when so many have family or a spouse or a significant other (how DID we ever start using that phrase, anyway?).

Hug someone you love today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moving forward after Bird-Day

So... another "first". I am getting so tired of these. But there they are. Only two more to go: Christmas and New Year's Eve/Day. We won't discuss 2009 yet.

Thanksgiving was fine. I was with friends, weather was great (close to 80 on Thursday), and the deep-fried turkey was great! Love it!! Had the traditional dishes, except for mashed potatoes. And let me tell you, a day without pie is... GREAT! Since I never (okay, rarely) have pie, it was at first a treat. Eventually, it felt like a prison sentence that HAS to be completed. I copped out with just a small portion for take-home and I am thankful that I did not bring a bigger cooler with me and thus could NOT take home any more than that little bit. The turkey carcass (destined for soup stock) took up too much room!

My Wimberley friends have goats on their property (referred to as a "ranch" in Texas) which they raise for meat (they don't do the prep work - they will truck off several of them to auction from time to time). It was baby-poppin' time, and those little guys and gals (called kids) and all their bah-ahh-ing for mommies was cute to see and hear. Four of 'em needed bottle-feeding, as either they were offspring of a mama who has since died, or of a mama who would not let them feed. So-o-o, four times a day, a bottle was prepared for each, and we would walk into the holding pen and feed 'em. I somehow managed to miss that 7 am feeding, but was there for the noon, 5 pm and 10 pm ones. The first bottle that was produced was attacked by one kid, with 3 others trying to grab it, too. So you literally had to grab one by the head and practically shove the bottle in its mouth, to break up the mob. They made short work of the bottle, I can attest!

Anyway, the weather was cooperative, and the last two days were cooler, but tolerable. Traffic was HEAVY on the way back to Houston, including a half-hour slowdown that was caused by rubber-necking at a minor accident on the opposite side of the interstate. Puh-leez. Since most of us were probably heading back to Houston and had seen our fair share of accidents over the years... what was so damned fascinating about THIS accident? Jeesh.

My W/W group has its monthly dinner this Saturday, and since A is going (she went to the church bazaar the weekend before Thanksgiving), I guess I will go. That creepy "assistant organizer" is going, too. Need to avoid HIS end of the table, for sure. Plus G, along with her boyfriend. So far, it seems like a small group will attend. That could mean an early exit me. I don't want to listen to B complain about how "we don't ever get over it". I want to shout, "Speak for yourself!" It is a journey, this grief, this loss. But we WANT to heal, and still remember the times spent with our spouses, the good and the bad. It is a journey, there is no doubt.

My Christmas will be quite subdued. No decorations. Greg and I always put up the tree together and also decorated it (and the house) together. He had a good eye for these things. I have been trying, in my mind, to write a brief letter to include with cards this year. Almost everyone has heard the bad news, and I cannot think of one (on the card list) who has not. I am sure that some will fall off the card list, thinking that the only reason they were comminicating was because of Greg - and not knowing that I addressed the cards and composed most of the letter. Last night I was thinking - I got lots and lots of cards from MY friends, but very few from his. His family has been very attentive to me (okay, except his brother, but that is HIM, not me) and were great to visit with this past summer. The guy who surprised me, who sent me (out of the blue) Greg's certificate for induction into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame, was a former bandmate of his. His income had been pretty stretched, and still he sent me money and a nice note. Greg would be happy about that. Not for the money - but for the thoughtfulness. I need to try to see him on one of my trips to Mpls.

Need to try to get a package mailed up to MN before I head up that way myself. Greg's sweaters would probably find a better use in northern climates rather than in Houston weather. Nice sweaters, too, and in good condition. Maybe a Christmas gift for someone who can't afford much but will shop at Goodwill. Hope that is the case.

I have already received a few cards - on Thanksgiving and one Christmas card - telling me that these holidays will probably be pretty lonely ones for me. Well, way to pump up the spirits of the widow, folks! Come on... please just wish me a Merry Christmas and tell me that your thoughts will be with me, or something along that line. Or would you rather have me collapsed in tears most days?

Okay, okay.... I'll calm down. But if you ever find yourself thinking about what to write on a card to a widow (or widower) for the holidays, think about the wording, eh? I'm just saying.