Saturday, January 05, 2013

Happy Birthday, Michael

Michael was always one of my blog's biggest fans, and, just in case he still reads it, Happy Birthday, Michael! Today would have been your 70th birthday.

Although you died over five years ago (!), you still are with me every hour of every day. Though my hours of tearful bouts have dwindled to momentary teary episodes, you still make me smile very often. I just have to remember the sound of your voice as you encouraged all of my pursuits, your energy as we walked together through the paths of the IU campus and the roads of our shared life.

I smile when I remember how devoted you were to your work, and how you dedicated all you had and all you were to their care. I smile when I remember how you said that all the work you were doing was so that you could take care of me.

I smile when I remember how we'd visit family and then practically run back to the car (or RV) and laugh to each other, "It's US!" It was wonderful to have that sharing. What a gift we gave each other!

Seventy. You would have been retired for 6 years, and we'd probably be here in Tucson now. I know that you'd smile to me about the life that I've made for myself now. While parts are not what we'd envisioned that I'd have, it's all good, and getting better. I know that my joy was all you wanted. And you knew that while joy was frequently elusive for me, I never stop trying to make it. That's another thing you've helped me with.

So Happy Birthday, Michael. I love you.
Your Janee

Friday, January 04, 2013

A Really Simple Tip

This tip is so simple that I am embarrassed that it took me over 50 years to come up with it. I do so hope that I'm not the first, but here goes. I don't care for the throw-away aspect of Dixie cups, so for many years, I've kept a water glass in my bathroom. And after some time, my glass gets ... disgusting ...with lime scale or whatever that is on the bottom. Washing it does not take off that scale. (I am actually laughing out loud as I write this.)

So I came up with this new habit. I got rid of my old glass and went out and bought a sparkling NEW water glass, in exactly the right size and a style I like, for $1 at Goodwill. Now, after I have my drink of water, I take my face towel (which is always clean) and just swish it around and dry the inside of my glass. Shazam! No more of that disgusting deposit on the bottom. Ever. Of course I still wash the glass now and then, but it's never really dirty anymore! Yay me! (Still laughing)

Ok, so while I'm here, I'll tell you another late-in-coming bathroom tip. I got one of those stand-up paper towel dispensers and I keep a roll of paper towel under my sink. This is handy for a quick cleanup. It takes me forever to go through a roll, but it's just handy when I want it.

Ok so yesterday was good. Any day that I have peanut butter with apple slices on Wasa Toast for lunch is a good day! Jack's pacemaker checkup was fine, although it is a little unsettling for me to watch the tech speed up his heartrate and slow it down, all with the push of a button. I mean... what if you made that guy mad? What power he has!

Last evening, we went to see Les Miserables with two other couples, and it was great. Acting and music were fabulous, and there was just a lot of mud but not too much gratuitous violence. The movie has me wanting to learn more about the French Revolution, about which I know nothing. (I know pathetically little about world history, a fact which I am merely confessing and do not hold among my matters of pride.)

After the movie, we went to Freddie's Steakburgers, where I shared in some chili cheese fries and did not share in my Hawaiian Sundae. Funny how the scale registered that stuff immediately. I know that it takes more than an evening of wanton snacking to add measurable weight, but the scale was just cruel to me this morning. I won't slather the peanut butter on so thickly today. ;)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Sunny and Lovely

This morning I began by doing Zumba on the Wii with Jack. Then breakfast followed by a yoga class I opted into. I had never done actual yoga before and... eh... I guess I liked the physical part but disliked the mental stuff and chanting and all that. I have a hard time holding still, so it's probably good for me. We will have to see if I go back next Thursday. Stay tuned.

Next thing was FHTV Choir. I'm not feeling the energy from that yet, either, and we didn't even have chanting. We will have to see if I return to that next Thursday. Thursdays are pretty committed for me this season, and I don't enjoy being overscheduled.

This was taken by my friend Harold at the New Year's Eve dance:
What a fine evening that was! I used a cutting from that for my new profile photo for Facebook. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

It's just a walk in the park

My main fun yesterday was going for a walk with Jack at Reid Park. We went all over the place, pausing to take some photos at the rose garden. There was an ice cream truck there and the atmosphere was festive. Kids were feeding the ducks in the pond and getting chewed out for playing in the waterfall. Others were being pushed ever higher in the swings.

I find it wonderful, that, even in this age of electronic everything, kids still enjoy swinging. Remember Robert Louis Stevenson's poem? 

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down! 

--Robert Louis Stevenson

Here's something I was wondering: Why is it that, no matter how warm the day, no matter how warm the water, whenever you step under the shower, you always break out in goosebumps?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A New Year

New Year's Day! It's the day when I am self-consciously diligent. I eat a good breakfast. I make a to-do list, the first item of which is "Make a To-Do List." Today's the day I'll put into my long-term files all my 2012 stuff and make new folders for the new year's stuff. I'll finish up my thank-you notes.

And I'll likely put away at least part of my Christmas decorations. Michael and I used to wait for his birthday, the fifth, to do that. Maybe I'll wait till the 5th... And I've opted to wait till 2 this afternoon to do my walk, because it was just too cold at sunrise. There is actual frost on the awning!

New Year's Eve was fun here at Far Horizons. The dance was a "speakeasy" theme, with people dressing up like gangsters and flappers. I looked somewhat cute in a new dress, but it was not a real flapper dress. The band was good, music lively, and, while we did not do the Chicken Dance or the Macarena, we did do Y.M.C.A..

I made a big decision toward the end of 2012. I've decided that I'm not having any more to do with Mary, Jack's stepmother. I've come to the conclusion that she is not a good person, and not someone I want to have in my life. Skip the green paragraphs if you don't want to hear the story:

Mary's relationship with her stepsons, for reasons mostly unknown to me, has been strained. The boys continue to send her flowers and cards, which she does not acknowledge. Jack and I, when we are here, have been very helpful to her, taking her to church, running several errands with her each week, taking her dog to be groomed, to the vet, and on walks when Mary's been in the hospital. We've accompanied Mary on just numerous errand trips, mostly with me driving my car. We handle her trash. I fix her jewelry. I've even helped her bathe on a couple of occasions.

And, when she asked me, I offered to type up her obituary.

Upon reading what she'd written, it was obvious that she needed some editing done. Her obit was scattered and uncohesive. She'd left out many important facts of her life and all her facts were out of order. So I rewrote it. One thing I added was a line at the end, listing her stepsons, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and "many loving friends" as survivors. (She came into their family when the boys were 25, 22, and 13, so they've been part of her life for a very long time.)

I printed two copies for her, and gave it to her in an envelope along with her original. Six weeks passed. On Christmas Day, we enjoyed Christmas Buffet with her and some of her friends. After that, in her apartment, she asked me if I still had her original obituary. I replied that I'd returned it to her in the white envelope. She said, "You changed it." I said, "I know." She said, "I don't like it." Now the part with which she took issue was my listing of her survivors. She said she didn't want anything about her stepsons or "grandchildren I hardly know."

Stunned, I muttered something about people who know her family members would want to know that this was the same Mary.... She replied, "To each his own."

This is a sharp woman. She is not troubled by dementia. She knows just exactly what she is doing, and that is to shut out, to her dying breath and beyond, the only people who remain who are doing things for her and with her. I mean... a line in an obituary? Come on.

So after all of the many tanks of gas I've burned for her, after all of the shoe leather I've worn out walking around in stores with her, after spending the better part of two Tucson desert summers here looking after her, when I could have been doing anything else, I'm done with her. And, while I'm sick about Mary and what she is doing to her own life and legacy, I feel good about my decision. I'm done trying to change Mary into a decent human being. I am going to change what I can -- my own behavior. And I'm going to give my time, love, and attention to people who are worthy of them.  

So it's a new chapter for me. I'll have more free time, and I'm going to spend some of that time blogging! I'll spend some of it doing digital art, photography, and Photoshop. So there. :)