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Archive for the ‘anxiety’ Category

Well here we are heading into August. Summer is beginning to wind down once again, meaning fall isn’t far behind. The onset of the autumn months always get my heart to pumping. Fall is most definitely my favorite time of the year, perhaps due to the fact I was a November baby, or I love the sound of crisp leaves crumbling under my boots, the smell of my first pumpkin candle flickering in the window, or rain on the roof. I don’t know, it’s a cozy, pleasant feeling like slipping into a hot tub after a long day.

Yesterday, there was a lot of smoke in the air from the fire burning in the Yosemite area. The giant sequoias have so far escaped injury thanks to the efforts of the fire personnel. I have visited those beautiful trees many times, and my heart would be saddened to see any harm come to them. Fire is so devastating. Often I think of my friends in Paradise, California who lost so much in the Camp Fire in 2018. 85 souls were lost on that day, and so much devastation inflicted on the area. When living in Butte County, I worked in Paradise for nearly four years at the Paradise Post. That building, like most in the town, was burned to the ground. As our temperatures rise, it seems logical the incidence of fires will rise along with it. I try not to worry, because it is such a wasted emotion. All the energy put into worrying could be so much better utilized to do something more constructive and, in the end, isn’t going to change anything set in motion to occur. This is a lesson I remind myself of each and every day.

I had a dinner party of sorts last night. Have to admit my dinner party muscles are a wee bit atrophied. My house, as I’ve mentioned, was not built to accommodate a lot of guests. It’s really at it’s best when housing two people and a cat. The table looked pretty. I lit a candle, though it was hot out, just because. The conversation was interesting. My company sat at the dining room table talking and kibitzing me while I slaved away in the kitchen. I am an old hand at dinner parties. In the past, pulling one together for sixty people wouldn’t have had me even breaking a sweat. My kitchen back then was set up beautifully for entertaining, with lots of counter space and room for appliances and tools. The one I have now, though I love it and my sweet old house, is reminiscent of a galley on a ship, long and lean, and perfect for the minimalist. We ate, we laughed, we share stories, and all the swirling news of climate change, political unrest, gun control, and women’s rights seemed dimmer and farther if only for the moment.

It’s not that I believe we shouldn’t investigate and participate with vigor in the world’s problems, it is rather that sometimes we have to put the heavy subjects in the closet for a while and simply BE. Lately I have found when I do this, I see the clouds more clearly floating by outside my window, the colors more vividly in the butterflies hovering over my plants in the yard, and hear the squirrel chattering for a mate clinging to the side of my tree. All things, as they say, in balance.

When up like I am tonight before anyone is supposed to be, I have been tuning in the CNN special on Patagonia. What a fascinating series it is, for those of you interested in the world around you. Wow. The cinematography is beyond impressive, and I do love the animals and creatures of the sea, my favorite perhaps being the penguins. I would love to travel someday to where these birds are and spend some time among them just once. They are definitely on my bucket list.

On a totally unrelated subject, I got my first paychecks. There were two. Though hardly large enough to be thought impressive, I was impressed. Many years have passed since I collected a paycheck, and it made me feel rather proud. One of my friends pointed out I could be making more slinging burgers at In n Out. Somehow, when processing that idea, the thought of standing at the grill with a bunch of teenagers amassing pimples while regaling them in stories of back in the day when phones were still connected to the wall and computers but a seed in Bill Gate’s brain cells didn’t sound like a plan to me. Although, I have to admit, the all you can eat employee benefits did ring a happy bell in my taste buds

The new job so far, is rewarding. The residents of the assisted living/memory care facility are definitely the icing on the cake. The other day one of them rolled up to my desk and said to me, “Let me ask you something. If you were me, what would you do now?”. This simple question really touched my heart. He was confused, and had no idea where life took him next. I suggested a visit to the library or perhaps taking a walk through the halls. Both seemed like such shallow solutions to the more pressing problem he faced. Life had become small for this gentleman, essentially held within the walls of this facility. It was a stark reminder to me to live every day fully, cherish my time with my children and my friends, and make the best memories and difference possible while time is still available to me. He went off in search of a book to read. I wondered if he found one and opened the pages, would he remember the words written there. Life goes on, new life comes in and old moves out. The circle is complete.

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Night before last was the weirdest night I’ve had in a while. Of all things, I walked in my sleep. Well, perhaps you wouldn’t call it sleeping, as I remember parts of what is transpiring. I guess it’s more of a twilight in-between place I find myself where logic does not prevail. This is only the third time I can remember ever experiencing such a phenomena. Each time, once the episode is over, it leaves me with the strangest feeling like there is an unfamiliar dialogue streaming in my head. Sort of the way I feel after waking up from a bad dream. Takes me a while to shake it. In the first two episodes I endured, the sleep walking was triggered by medication. Not recreational, no, no, no, but prescribed. The first time, I believe, was attributed to a pain medication my doctor had prescribed post surgery. In this most recent instance, I can only point to the melatonin I decided to take before going to bed to help me sleep as being the likely culprit. I took the natural sleep aid once before and experienced perhaps a lingering laziness the following morning as the only side effect. This time, so desperate to get a good night’s sleep I also drank Sleepytime Tea, rubbed my arms with lavender laced cream, and may, I say may, have taken two instead of one melatonin capsules by accident. My bad. Totally, my bad.

The first time I went wandering about while still asleep I was in my twenties. My then husband, discovered me piling into my car at 2:30 a.m. fully dressed, lunch packed, and preparing to head off to the work. I had packed the back seat with a pup tent and some camping gear. Not only was it a Sunday morning, so there was no work, but 3:00 might have been a little early to arrive at the office had it been an actual workday. Why I packed camping gear I have no explanation. I suppose I could have pitched the tent and made some s’mores until everybody arrived for work on Monday. My husband said I made no sense when he asked what exactly I thought I was doing. Realizing I wasn’t sharing his dimension, he guided me back to the bedroom, put my pajamas back on, and tucked me back in bed. That time, I didn’t remember getting up at all. This time, was much different.

The second time it happened, I got up in the early hours of the morning and made a meatloaf and ate a full dinner leaving the remains of my mess on the counter and going back to bed. That night I’d taken medicine for the pain associated with an abcessed tooth. Have some memory of that incident, but only whipping light and fluffy mashed potatoes. I woke up the following morning with catsup on my shirt, only to find the dog standing on the counter licking up the residue of what was left on my kitchen counter. Thankfully, I didn’t either try to drive that night or go down the deck and take a swim (we lived on the Sacramento Delta at the time). My angels do keep me safe in spite of myself, I always feel.

This time after consuming all the sleep aids, I picked up my book. Under normal circumstances, if tired, I barely get two pages under my belt before my eyes droop. I’m not sure to be honest I even opened the book to begin reading before I dozed off. It was early, before seven probably. I don’t usually drop off that early in the day, but as I said, I haven’t been sleeping. Also, I am adjusting to working eight hours a day again after all these years. I woke up with a start. Groggy, I looked the clock by my bed. Almost eight o’clock. OMG. I had slept, and overslept. I flew out of bed and began to run around the house, stopping first to push the on button on my coffee maker. Being late on my third week on the job is simply not good form. Somewhere among the cobwebs and sinewy stuff cluttering my gray matter, an idea hatched in my addled brain. Suddenly I remembered I needed to call the Automobile Club and have them jump my battery in my car before I could leave the house. Now, this would not be a surprising thought to entertain, if my battery in fact needed jumping. It did not. First, I called work to tell them I would be late. A man answered who told me my boss was not in the office and wouldn’t be in until the morning but he could take a message. Morning? What are these people stupid? What morning? Then, he offered to give me my boss’s supervisor’s number. Really? Yup, called old John (who I don’t know from Adam) and told him I was going to be late because I had called AAA and they were on they way. Thankfully, the phone calls ended there. I did, however, continue on without restraint to send an email to my boss explaining the whole situation in detail. Next, I made a piece of toast (one does have to eat) and suddenly at that point became confused. Looking out the window, rather than getting lighter outside as it would during the daytime, dark was closing in. Now, my mind had no idea how to process that. It had no idea how to process that, because I had only been asleep one hour when I woke up and had begun this whole charade. Good Lord, it was now only 9:00 p.m.

When my eyes opened the following morning I was sleeping sideways on my bed, glasses on, cell phone in hand, with Boo on my chest staring in my face. On my phone I could see I had sent several texts about my battery to friends as well who had responded and gotten no further communication from me. Four concerned voicemails were waiting in the queue. “What”, I wondered, “had I done”? Oh man.

How embarrassing is that? I had to go to work and explain I created all this mayhem while asleep, or quasi asleep. I half expected to be handed a check and have her tell me they already have enough mental situations on campus without adding me to the pot. Amazingly, they were all laughing about it. The email was pretty funny stuff, I have to say. I’m sure there was some serious ribbing going on about me when I wasn’t in the room. My boss told me I definitely brought the entertainment factor to the table. I do my best.

So, it was just another day in the life of at my house. Really my life never seems quite bubble in the center. In the atmosphere in the world around us, we have to learn to lighten up and laugh at ourselves. Oh, and last night I nearly beat myself to death when I opened my blinds to find something looking back at me. It was the tree outside my window. It hadn’t moved there during the night. It has by the looks of it been there for many years, three years definitely since I’ve been here. I don’t know. Maybe I’m suffering from PTSD. Happy Tuesday!!!

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Thursday was my fourth day on my new job. I haven’t actually done anything thus far but sit and watch an endless stream of videos on memory care issues, state guidelines, fire safety, and general elder care concerns. Though interesting material, eight hours straight sitting in an uncomfortable chair staring at a computer screen is positively mind numbing. On entering the fifth hour on Thursday, I was beginning to question if a person could actually become legally insane while doing something of this nature? Were there studies? Should I explore this when I go home and decide whether or not it is safe to return to work? OMG.

The grounds of the assisted living facility I am working in, I have to say, are lovely. Great care and attention seems to have been given to providing the residents nice surroundings in which to spend their twilight years. I found a shady spot with chairs and a table where I could eat my lunch, then took a quick walk before heading back in for the second half of my video torture for the day. The room where my computer was set up I shared with a gentleman named Brian. Brian carried on mundane snippets of conversation with me as he popped in and out of the office He reminded me of a jack in the box exploding up and down in it’s container. Inactivity makes me tired, as does a big meal. When home, I often close my eyes (I call it resting them) for a few minutes after lunch just to rejuvenate the working parts. Sitting mesmerized in front of the computer screen, old habits must have kicked in. Before I knew it, Brian was nudging me gently whispering, “Susie, you’re asleep”. “What, me”? Glad he found me before I’d face planted into the keyboard and created a scene. If my friends were here they would tell you I can sleep anywhere if tired enough. It’s my super power. I’m sure this is not reassuring to those drivers sharing the road with me, but honestly if I get that tired while driving, I will pull over and grab a few winks. Never want to prove a danger to myself or others. I recall when Star Wars first came to the theaters (I know, ancient history). I went to a showing with my then boyfriend. We had been water skiing the whole weekend and I was both sunburned and exhausted. Now, Star Wars was loud even by indoor theater standards. In spite of the noise factor, I managed to sleep quietly through about two-thirds of it. Had to see it a second time to see what all the hoopla was about.

After my day was done at work, I came home, answered a few phone calls, and took a long walk. Sitting for long periods of time is not easy for a “hummingbird” personality like myself. Sitting has always been hard for me. Rick used to get annoyed with me bouncing up and down out of my chair when we were watching a movie or taking in a 49er’s game. Sorry, I came into this world with this impossible metabolism and the girl was just born to run. One of the phone calls was from a friend of mine who was coming to dinner on Saturday. On hearing his voice, I was pretty sure I didn’t need to take the hamburger out of the freezer. Turns out, he tested positive for COVID. That pesky little bug simply isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. He’s been shot and boosted, and HAD the virus, and yet here he was again down for the count. Discouraging.

Friday I spent relaxing, actually I devoted the whole day to it. I finished a book I’ve been reading since the beginning of the year, cooked something yummy for dinner, and settled in with Boo, the Queen of Cats, for a movie and some long awaited cuddling. All in all, it was a very non-productive and pleasant way to spend the day. The movie I chose, was one I’ve seen before. It’s a thriller with Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman called “Kiss the Girls”. Why on earth I chose that for an evening in the house alone escapes me. I ended up watching parts of it through the gaps in my fingers. There must be part of me that enjoys being scared. The book I finished was penned by Dean Koontz, also known for his weird and unsettling stories, so I had a lot to think about before turning off the light. Amazingly, I still managed to sleep most of the night without a weapon under my pillow, nor entertaining any boogey men in my dreams.

So today I am meeting someone new for coffee. This really has been an adventure into the over sixty dating scene over the past few months. I’m not in any kind of hurry to brew something in the pot, simply interested in exploring the different varieties on the shelves, and seeing what this is all about. Someone asked me if I got nervous meeting someone new. Not really. Maybe a small butterfly or two, but I am a fairly outgoing person, so conversation comes easily to me. No one who has moved 39 times and held as many temp jobs as I have, can be too hesitant about finding themselves in an unfamiliar situation. After a while, you get used to it and it becomes the norm rather than the exception. The biggest thing I am looking for is a “connection”. I have met several men who I enjoy as friends, and the one gentleman I shared time with the beginning of the year with different political ideologies, but I mean a real soul connection. If I can’t find that, then it is Boo and I and my lovely circle of friends going forward.

This morning will either be an enjoyable cup of coffee or an uncomfortable hour of stilted conversation. I’m going for the former. The jury remains out on this one as yet. I will bring updates when next I sit down at the computer to write. I have a friend who believes our lives are all about the experience. Makes sense to me. I think often about the numerologist who read my numbers back when I was thirty-five. He told me I had a really complicated and interesting life. My numbers, calculated by him according to when I was born, where, or whatever, told him I would basically recreate myself every decade. Looking back, much of which he spoke to me about has transpired. Here I am once again laying the bricks on the foundation of a different life for myself. What a journey it has been up until now, and if my intuition serves me, there is still much to tell waiting in a shroud of fog around the bend in the road.

Update. I made it through two hours of very pleasant conversation with my new friend. He was nice and interesting, but we had as many things in common as those we did not. For example, he’s a diving instructor, not flying but of the scuba variety. Now I love, love, love the water. Along with that love of water, I harbor a claustrophobic nature and a terror of being locked inside any area I can’t easily escape. We all have our little nicks in our armor. The thought to me of being hundreds of feet under the surface of the ocean with a mask covering my face is mind warping. Hmmmmm. Next, and he’s not the first male to say this to me, he spent some time letting me know he is VERY independent, doesn’t need anyone to take care of him, likes his space (a lot of space apparently), and is looking more for a traveling companion because he doesn’t like taking road trips alone. That being the case, I wanted tot suggest going to the local animal rescue and picking up an amiable golden lab. Why, one wonders, sign up on a site who’s sole goal is matching people to one another, if you prefer being alone? The logic here baffles me. That being said, he was a lovely person, if not one I choose to get to know any better. Again, about the experience and not the destination for the time being.

So, the quest continues. I am not in a hurry, as I said earlier, I shall simply hand the man my ticket and enjoy the ride.

Take the day off today. It is glorious sometimes to just abandon the to-do lists, leave the vacuum in the closet, stay in your pj’s and fuzzy socks and just be for a while. Rejuventating.

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Well another fourth has been put to bed. As it happens, the fourth was also my maternal grandmother’s birthday. She always requested strawberry shortcake for the occasion. I think of her each year as the fireworks explode in the sky, and hope she’s slathering a mound of fluffy whipped cream on fresh strawberries somewhere in the universe.

I made plans to go to a local Fourth of July parade with a friend, and then attend a pancake breakfast at the Elks Lodge immediately following. It was warm, but thankfully not hot like in the past several weeks. We waited with other enthusiastic onlookers in the semi-shade about an hour and a half for the parade to begin. The first car carrying the “Grand Marshall”, a local celebrity of sorts who owned a string of car washes, went by followed by a small but merry group of flag twirlers. After the flag twirlers rounded the corner, three ladies came into view riding palominos each with an American flag painted on their flank. (That would be the equines with the flags not the ladies.) A few stray cars went by next, not associated with the parade itself, and then two fire trucks and some beautifully restored classic cars. The whole performance lasted about eight minutes. Well worth the wait, lol.

After the parade had passed us by, we made our way across the street to the Elks Lodge to stand in line to get tickets for the much touted all you can eat pancake breakfast. Breakfast, we were told, included scrambled eggs, unlimited pancakes, and sausage. Yum. My stomach had begun grumbling as soon as it smelled the maple syrup. Purposely, I had held off on eating before I came, so I could enjoy a stack of unlimited pancakes to my hearts content. Yay. The Elks had it set up so you gave your name to the ticket lady, who, in turn, handed it off to the volunteers in the kitchen. Orders came out one after another for about an hour with names being called to identify the table they belonged to. My stomach finally gave up the vigil and quieted down to a dull roar settling for a glass of orange juice until the pancakes arrived. About ten people before us, one of the runners announced they had run out of food. Really? We were told a tri tip and hot dog barbecue would commence in about an hour and a half. I was first in line for that one I guarantee.

Turns out while we were waiting for lunch to be served, a band was setting up in one of the great rooms inside. We milled in with the others waiting with us, to listen to what they had to offer. They weren’t bad actually. I wore flip flops because, a) it was warm, and b) I was wearing shorts, and my invitation to go dancing must have gotten lost in the mail. Dancing in flip flops is not the ideal footwear situation, but for the next hour I found myself doing exactly that. Turns out these Elks can actually bust some moves on the dance floor. At one point, 80% of the room got out there and did an amazing line dance that would have been impressive even in a Texas roadhouse. Wow. Must be taking lessons on the weekend. I’ve never learned to line dance. For some reason I can’t seem to hold on to the choreography. My ex-husband was from Odessa. There I believe line dancing and cow wrangling are required courses in grade school. He taught me a lot in the ten years or so we were together, both good and bad. I’ve forgotten most of the dances over the years but it was fun to watch. Made me think I might sign up for a class somewhere along the way myself.

I came home early before the fireworks because I had driven back from the Bay Area the day before, where I visited my son and his brood. After four days of busy activities my behind was beginning to drag along the asphalt. I’ve been riding myself pretty hard lately and the old bones are beginning to feel the strain.

Yesterday was my first eight hour day on the new job. For those of you who didn’t read my blog saying where I was working, I took a job at an assisted living and memory care facility two days a week. It continues to surprise me how much my mind is fighting this new development. I keep hearing phrases like “Where oh where is my prince?” swirling about in my head. Once I officially retired I think my mindset was to keep that employment designation, but as I’ve said sooooooo many times life doesn’t always read the agenda you have written out for yourself.

My official job title is Concierge. I know, very flashy, yes? Actually, administrative assistant more accurately describes what I am doing. However, I rather like the title they assigned me. Rolls nicely off the tongue. I spent the day seated in an incredibly hard folding chair in front of a small laptop watching videos. In order to work in such a facility you are required to be somewhat versed on the conditions at work in the people living there. In this case, that would be mainly dementia and Alzheimer’s. Because my mother had dementia in her nineties, I am fairly well versed in how the condition manifests itself as it moves along in it’s progression.

Being the “new girl on the block” prompted a procession of sorts by the door to my temporary office comprised of the men living in the facility. Men will be men, I have observed, no matter the age group. One after one, they circled the hallway most pushing walkers to get a look at the new face in the building. It’s probably one of the few places I could show up for work these days where I would be considered a member of the younger generation in the population.

After about four hours in that chair my body began to complain. By the time I rolled into the eighth hour I had assumed more positions in that miserable little chair then a professional ballerina performing Swan Lake. I go back to work tomorrow, and they are going to have to find me a softer place to land or I’m going to end up in traction by the weekend. I do feel like I am learning a lot in between the squirming, however. It is a little scary to think that most of us will develop dementia on one level or another, and many of us Alzheimer’s. Hopefully, medical science will come up with something to reverse or stop the progress of this disease. Makes you wonder though. The average age in nursing homes now is 80 years old. Used to be people didn’t live past sixty. If we live to be two hundred, I do hope they also combat the physical effects of aging or that might not be a sight I’d like to see facing me in the mirror every morning. I’m just saying.

Well, happy hump day to you. I lost a very dear friend suddenly day before yesterday. Thankfully, we had lunch several weeks ago and parted by saying “I love you. See you soon.” You never know, capture each moment, appreciate the clouds and the stars, taste the food on your plate with all your senses. Live every day to the fullest.

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My life has been a melange of up ups, peppered with some serious down downs. Having survived the down downs, and finding myself still on my feet, I try to live my life by the mantra “don’t sweat the small stuff”. By small stuff, I mean those significant little irritations in life we humans blow up into unreasonable proportions, then chew on like a bad cut of meat tainting our days with worry and anxiety. These time wasters, zap our energy and lower our ability to find the real joy most of us are searching for.

Yesterday, was a good example of this in my world. I went to Costco with a dear friend. I have let my membership lapse at Costco for several reasons, 1) I don’t need a six pound block of Parmesan, and 2) even though their gas is the cheapest in the area, by the time I drive the forty five minutes and take up place number 25 in line at the pumps, it’s really not worth the effort. There you go. That being said, most of my friends DO have memberships and are kind enough to let me tag along when they visit the store. Yay.

At any rate, I had far more on my shopping list then my friend did, so her list was satisfied by the time we reached the produce section. After that, I filled the cart and she browsed through the shelves. Even though food prices have gone through the roof recently, the amount of people in the store didn’t seem to reflect the uptick. Wading through the humanity in the aisles, at one point I said over my shoulder I was going to go pick up some paper goods. I had the cart, so made my way to the back of the store and piled on what I needed. As of this writing, I’m happy to note I have enough toilet paper to see me through 2030 no sweat. Once I’d satisfied that part of my list, I made my way back to the aisle I had left my friend in, only to find her missing. I went up and down the surrounding aisles without seeing a familiar face. Thankfully, we are all connected at the hip these days, so I retrieved my cell phone from my handbag and texted “where are you?” to which she responded “in the front”. ????? The front of the store, the front of the aisle?? Determining she was up by the registers, I pushed my way through the throng of shoppers and found her waiting for me. Yay. Uh-oh, she looked upset. She explained she had not heard me say I was making a side trip. Oh. I apologized, not sure why, but that is a behavior we women are trained to do from birth. This is something I am seriously working on. A therapist once told me on a visit I made back in my thirties, if there was a third world war I would figure out a way to take responsibility for starting it. Not anymore.

So, I noticed there was still a bit of a chill in the air as we checked our items through the checkout line. This created a visceral reaction in me, because my mother, God love her, had a way of doing this same behavior if upset. She wouldn’t come out and say, “you didn’t put the dishes away like I asked you to”, if she was mad about it. Instead, she would exude an air of icy indifference that would cause you to have to de-ice your nostrils before breathing in the air around her. The irritation traveled with us to the car and to some level remained lightly hovering in the air the rest of the day. I wanted to say, “was this worth it? I got lost in the store and you couldn’t find me for fifteen minutes. Now you are highly irritated which has oozed over onto my playing field and managed to permeate every moment of what should have been a fun and productive outing between two good friends.” I should have, but I did not. “Don’t muddy the waters”, is another lesson I learned well, I am currently trying to unravel. My stepfather used to have a rather tasteless expression he used when someone accidentally broke wind. “Better an empty house than a rotten tenant.” Oddly enough, I believe this applies to our emotional well being as well. What we hold in tends to build up inside of us and begin seeping out our pores or showing up in unhealthy ways in our behaviors. I have decided I will talk to my friend, because I love her, over our next lunch and clear the air. If it does not clear the air, at least the rotten tenant will have to find a new place to reside.

Communication seems to be something we have difficulty with as human beings. In my mid-thirties I was working for a company very pro-active in team building and promoting good communication among it’s employees. To this end, each of us was asked to participate in a communication seminar. The seminar was held in a local hotel, and was three full day sessions. The group I was in, included about thirty of my co-workers. It was a mixed group, men and women, of all ages and types. Of all the classes I have taken of this genre, this was definitely the most illuminating. There were two instructors, one man and one woman. They took us through a lot of different communication scenarios and taught us skills to better handle communicating with the people we work with as well as those populating our personal lives. Often, I have pulled these tools out of my tool box over the years and put them to good use. First, they put us on camera. We were asked to speak for three minutes on the subject of our choice. Easy peasey one might think. Not so fast. When the lens points in your face and you are asked to speak all your little body tics, and betrayals of uncomfortability rise to the surface like a poached egg floating in boiling water. Fear of public speaking is right up there the top of the list of things people most fear. Not bad enough they made us record ourselves, they then played the tapes back on a full screen and we were critiqued by our group on our social behaviors. Ouch. I’m a mover, apparently. This does not surprise me on any level. As I’ve said my friends call me “hummingbird” or “tinkerbell” because I’m a flitter. Flit, flit, flit. Guess this would be considered “Type A” behavior. I’m not Italian, but every appendage I have at my disposal seems to go into action when I am trying to communicate my feelings. Interessante!!!!

Next they discussed body language and intonation of speech. Have you ever asked someone, “would you like to go to a movie”? They answer, “sure”, but the sure is said with such lack of enthusiasm and disinterest you wonder they bothered saying it at all. They said the right response, in the wrong way. Instead of just saying, “I’m not really in the mood”, they told you in another way a movie was not high on their to-do list for that day. Physical “tells” are often a way of expressing yourself. Arm folding, for example. I know I do this when someone is saying something to me I either feel is an attack on me, or I don’t like the tone of the person saying it. Eye rolling is another particularly annoying response when you are talking to someone, or when someone laughs at you when you are feeling particularly passionate about the subject you are speaking to.

In this day and age when everything feels so black and white with so little gray injected in the picture, we perhaps need to learn to communicate better with each other. Listening to what the other person is saying is paramount, rather than waiting for them to finish so you can interject your opinion or point out to them how wrong they are about theirs. Even if we don’t agree, perhaps finding a middle ground where we are comfortable to concede a few points of shared agreement, or at least acknowledge the other parties right to entertain an opinion not on your play list.

There is so much in the air at the moment with regards to women’s rights. I could write the definitive book on how passionately I feel about this subject right here and now and still have so many words left over to express. This is a heated “hot button” topic where people seem to be firmly entrenched in one side or the other with little room for discussion on either side. I am female, which would seem to make it clear where I stand, you would think. However, that is not true in the least. Women stand firmly on both sides of the fence. I believe intrinsically we are all entitled to the right to decide what we do with our own bodies. There is so little privacy left any more in the world. Our personal lives are blasted across social media pages for everyone to see, admire, or pick apart. What we eat, who we associate with, pictures of family vacations, and milestones go up faster than high rise condos in Miami. If you want to know something about or locate somebody, there are sites at the touch of a fingertip ready and willing to offer up for a small fee every piece of available information on that person at their disposal. Our bodies, last I heard, still belonged to us as individuals. There are so many ways to go with this particular topic, so for now I will leave it at that and hold fast to what I believe in. One thing I do know, if men were the ones carrying these babies to term, we would be entertaining a far different line of dialogue, if any dialogue at all. I’m just saying.

So for now, I will simply say we need to begin using our ears as well as our mouths to keep the lines of communication flowing freely. I like to think most of us are doing the best we can to get by and suck some joy out of our lives. People are edgy, prices are high, and there are a lot of angst raising topics floating about in the air out there. Remember to love and forgive. Ask yourself how important something is to you before you go to the mat for it. Last I heard hugs and kisses are still free. Spend them copiously on those you love.

Happy Sunday.

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I am currently pet sitting for a friend of mine. She has two senior felines who truly are the sweetest of beings. The furry mother and daughter are usually waiting for me at the door when I arrive and don’t leave my side until I again make my exit and go home. I believe I am going to sign up to be a kitty sitter once I get the part-time job situation tied up and have some idea what days I will be actually working. I have a second interview at one place today, and a first interview at another on Tuesday. The results seem to be positive from the people I’m interviewing with. I’m not sure whether this can be attributed to my undeniable charisma or the fact that there seem to be more jobs than applicants applying for them in the job market currently. I prefer to think it’s the former because my ego seems to be a bit in the tank over the past few weeks, and I need to add some air to my tires.

I mentioned quite a few blogs back, I had begun dating someone about three months ago. You can cross him off my list. Dating at this age is not an easy process. I believe I’d rather sign up for a daily root canal. Perhaps I should have gotten a puppy and called it good. Men of a certain age are pretty settled on their foundation. I’m sure if I polled the guys in that category, they might express the same opinion about the women they are encountering. The gentleman in question, I thought perhaps might have serious potential. The one big road block to us moving forward was we share different political ideologies. Now, twenty years ago I don’t think I would have looked at this as closely, if at all. Rick and I shared different points of view politically when we met in 2000, and it never interfered in our relationship. Now, however, there are so many “hot button” issues floating around people have dug in firmly joining one camp or the other and there isn’t much going on middle ground. When we realized we were polar opposites politically, we originally agreed to disagree, and decided not to discuss the subject when together. This might have been a solid plan, but our families and our friends all tend to lean into the same values and views as we espouse so, pretty soon that isn’t going to be a fit either. Sigh. Life, at times, feels to me like I’m trying to drag an elephant up a steep slope. The good news will be, and I’m holding on to this tightly, once I get the pachyderm to the top of the hill, I can hop on it’s back and ride easily down the other side.

I’ve talked often about discussing what you want in a relationship with a potential life partner earlier rather than later. Once the hormones have begun to work their magic on your brain, and wherever else they might be doing their magic, it is much harder to take a clear and objective look at the situation. I have asked myself why I want I am even considering bringing another relationship into my life. On that, if little else of late, I do feel clear. I like to have a partner. By nature, I enjoy sharing my life with another person. It’s not that I cannot live a fulfilling and satisfying life without someone else by my side, I certainly can. It is rather, I prefer to share the stage with someone. That being said, I feel as a codicil to that statement, I would rather have a puppy hands down and never share my life with another mate, then be involved in a relationship that was draining or demeaning in any way. I am also crystal clear about that.

So I reset my sail and rethink my destination, and begin my journey on my own once again. At times there is something incredibly freeing about only being in my own company. I find myself more contemplative and likely to to pick up my pens and begin a new piece of artwork when only dealing with me. Also, I begin to think of the things I haven’t done in a while because there was someone else in my life to consider. Thinking along these lines, I realized, one again, how very much I am missing the water. Being by the water, in any form, helps me to free my mind of any heavy or disturbing thoughts, and find joy in simply being. Having mentioned this desire to several friends, I am excited to report my dear friend Nancy, who has two kayaks leaning against her lovely little house in the tall trees, has suggested a day on the lake. The thought of kayaking has always made me a little squirmy. My first question to her after seeing the kayaks was, “how stable are they”? My fear has always been turning over in the water and becoming trapped inside. Nancy assured me her kayaks were not turning upside down any time soon. Though I know this to be probably true I still checked them out with a cautious eye. Fear and I go way back. People seem to think I am not afraid, because I try a lot of different things some people might find a bit edgy. It’s not I’m not afraid, admittedly I seriously am. It is more I feel I am in a tug of war with fear, and am not willing to let my hand hit the table and let it get the best of me. I will report back once the deed is done who won for this round.

Boating is definitely on my mind. It has been a hot, hot week here in northern California, and when the heat is on, I want to get in the water. Boating is one of my favorite activities. I’ve owned two speed boats, one during my second marriage, and one when Rick and I lived in the big house on the lake. Often, after a long and grueling week in the restaurant, he and I would go down to the marina, untie the boat, and motor out to a quiet cove for a swim and dinner. Floating along in the water on a warm summer night you could almost see the tensions of the day lifting up from your body and dissolving into the air above you. Unfortunately, at that time of day these tensions will most likely carried off by a marauding band of mosquitos, but it is peaceful nonetheless. I miss that, I really do, and Rick.

I like most types of boats, but sailing is a particularly lovely way to be on the water. To my mind, anyhow. Unless you are becalmed, when under full sail, the only sound you hear is the wind rushing past your ears and the hull of the boat groaning as it cuts through the waves. Growing up in Nova Scotia, on clear summer days I would sit with my arms around my knees on the high hill below my house and watch the sailboats cutting through the choppy water. From such a distance, they looked like tiny ants each carrying a bit of sugar cube back to the nest. Boating was a fact of life living surrounded by the Atlantic as we were. It was what you did in the maritime provinces, when you weren’t skiing, hunting, or fishing. My Uncle Gordon, my mother’s brother, served as Commodore of the Yacht Club in Halifax, and was a consummate sailor most of his life.

Gordon’s estate, Jollimore, sat on the northwest arm of the Halifax harbor. During the warmer months his yacht was moored there. I always enjoyed a visit to Jollimore when I made it to the east coast. Truly that was one gorgeous piece of property. I will never in my lifetime come to understand that high level of living, but from an observers point of view, I have to think it can’t be a bad way to spend your days. There were three houses on the property, as I remember it. The main house, further down the hill a guest house and lanai, both situated around the salt water pool, and finally the groundskeepers home, which I would happily have taken up residence in if invited. My uncle was a bachelor most of his life, and a urologist all of it. Jollimore was purchased as a joint occupancy situation with his best friend, Allen, and his wife, Kay. Gordon had his living quarters on one side, Kay and Allen on the other, then there were shared common rooms in the center of the house. The three roomies, friends since grade school, found it to be an equitable living situation for all three participants. Kay, the only female in the trio, was both a gifted cook and hostess providing that feminine influence for both men. When Allen passed away, after a respectable time had gone by, my uncle, unmarried until he was seventy, married his best friend’s widow. They remained happily together until Kay and then Gordon each went on as well. To my mind, that was a story that ended as it was supposed to be written.

When I visited Nova Scotia as an adult, my family usually was invited to a formal dinner at Jollimore with all the relatives still living in the province in attendance. Let me preface this story by saying, I am probably the only Canadian citizen who will go on record saying they loathe salmon. Sad to say in my case, it is true. Fish is one of my favorite meals, and I like most varieties I find on restaurant menus, …… except salmon. Euuuw. Perhaps this is because I was weaned on it. My grandmother could find a way to slip the orange fish into everything. She made salmon loaf, salmon cakes, poached salmon, stuffed whole salmon, salmon salad, salmon aspic. You name it, she could make a case for including salmon in the ingredients. Had there been such a thing as a salmon pancake, I’m sure that would have been incorporated into the meal plan somewhere as well. Every time it showed up on my plate as a kid, I longed for a dog, so I could hand it off to a waiting mouth under the table. Because it was considered such a “treat”, often it was the star of the formal dinner at my uncle’s home. A covered silver tray would be placed on the center of the table, and when the lid was removed everyone oooohed and aaaahhhhed over the fish as though greeting the royal family. Usually this was the whole fish, poached and topped with a delicate cream sauce, served with fiddleheads. Fiddleheads. For those of you going fiddle what, are the coiled tips of the ostrich fern, considered delicacy in some circles. My circle happens not to be one of them. Now, there isn’t much I won’t eat. I am definitely not what you might call a finicky feeder. However, the two food items topping my list of vomit inducing foods would be salmon and fiddleheads. Served together, they create a gastronomical nightmare for my internal digestive system. Ugh. As an aside, I also find nothing appealing about a meal such as a whole fish capable of making eye contact with me as I prepare to eat it, just saying.

So, I think of my roots this morning, orange fish, another relationship slipping to the side of the road, gliding across the cool clear water, and the confusing state of our country and feel a bit like I am standing in front of a road crossing with signs pointing in twenty different directions. This will smooth out and the right path will become clear, but for now I want to be sailing along without a thought in the world but the sun on my face and the salty spray in my hair.

Happy Saturday to you.

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So, I’m adding Dog Wrangler to my list of qualifications on my resume. The new man in my life has a lovely Labrador retriever, blonde in color. Some time back, the dog enjoyed a tryst with a wolf red retriever that produced eight little puppies, two blondes, and six reds. So cute. When first born, they were just so sweet to watch. Innocent little beings with closed eyes, who ate, slept, and pooped their way through their days. However, like all beings, puppies do not remain little forever. Now, entering their sixth week, their eyes are wide open and they are busy, busy, busy, little bees. They are only sleeping when they have thoroughly worn themselves, and us, completely out. Reminds me of how excited I was to see my daughter take her first steps. The occasion, when it happened, was marked with a video and much ooooohing and aaaaaahing of encouragement from her loved ones. The excitement ebbed considerably, when we realized the child was now fully mobile and able to get into everything and anything within her reach. Oh-oh. Like human babies, everything that catches the pup’s interest (which is virtually everything from an old Q-tip found on the floor to the foliage on your house plants) goes in their mouths. Hounds by breed, they run along nose to the ground searching for something to get into. I had to sit cross legged on the couch keeping my feet off the carpet to prevent them from untying my shoelaces or nipping at the back of my ankles. The mama dog sat in the chair next to me watching the chaos of her spawns of the devil unfold. Every once and while she’d cast a worried glance in my direction like “what have I done, Susie, what have I done”? Another concern is there hasn’t been a big response to the ads to place these puppies in new homes, which is starting to be cause for concern. They are entertaining now and cute, but seven big dogs running around in a small space has less of a tickle your funny bone feel to it. I told him we could stand out front of Safeway with a box and a sign reading, “Free Puppy With Any $50 Purchase”. Some people have no sense of humor.

I can remember days like that when my kids were little. They were born a year and two weeks apart. For the first six months or so, they were both in diapers. I would imagine I had much the the same experience parents would have with twins in the house. Once both babies were walking, it was a full day every day. Their dad and I had purchased our first house when I found out I was pregnant with our second child. He was going to college nearby and working a night shift, and I had a secretarial job during the day. Looking back and thinking I was only twenty seems unimaginable to me. Sometimes I don’t know how we did it all. Looking at twenty year olds now and picturing them with a baby on both hips seems unreal. I’m sure there are a lot of young mothers out there, but I don’t see them all around me the way one did when I was producing offspring. According to my granddaughters, marriage is not in the forefront of the minds of young women coming up in the world anymore. An exact quote would be, “Marriage and commitment are not the priorities, or possibly even on our radar”. Interesting. Girls often go to proms in groups of friends, rather than attending with a date. Dating seems, at least to my well seasoned eyes, a far more casual affair in 2022, more about the moment at hand rather than the ultimate outcome. But who am I to say? Each generation thinks the ones coming after them are totally going about things the wrong way. Basically, if they are not doing things the way we did them, they must be doing them wrong.

Girls when I was growing up were supposed to target a marriage partner once the ink dried on their high school diploma. I was married (the first time) at nineteen. Of the four marriages I have to my credit, this was to be the only “formal” wedding I was to enjoy. I remember thinking as I walked down that long aisle towards the man of my dreams, we would be together forever. Forever, as it turned out, was to last only eight years. However, though the marriage didn’t stick to the wall, during our time together we did manage to produce two beautiful humans who have brought me so much joy since the moment they arrived making it such a blessing. Life has a way of going in the direction it chooses to do, and more often or not we are just flotsam swept up in the current. That sounded rather cynical, and I don’t consider myself a cynical person. It’s only over the years I’ve come to see that sometimes what we perceive as the direction we should be moving in, isn’t always the best choice for us to be making. It has been my experience the harder a push the universe at such times, the more resistance I experience in return.

I have a friend who fathered ten children. Amazing. I used to think I wanted six, but managing two as a single mother could be an uphill struggle. How you spread yourselves effectively among ten kids I cannot imagine, and manage to save a moment for yourself. All ten, so he tells it, are uniquely different with totally individual likes and dislikes, and personalities. Isn’t it funny how you can have children who all grow up in the same house, sharing the same parents, with the same values taught to them, enjoying similar activities and conversations, and still they often grow up to be polar opposites as adults. That would be an interesting study to read about. I’m sure there is a paper out there somewhere on the subject already having been written.

At times I wish I could go back to the early days armed with the arsenal of knowledge I have gleaned and begin at my beginning again. Maybe we should start out really on top of things, bursting at the seams with wisdom, and let it leak out like air in a balloon with a small hole in it until we peter out as we get older? Remind me to mention that to the powers that be, once I get wherever it is I go once I peter out.

On a totally unrelated subject, I actually went to the gym today. I know! Not only did I go to it, for I’ve done that before, but this time I got out of the car, opened their business door, and went inside. So proud, really. I need to do some free weight work. If I take this job I mentioned previously working for the Air B&B cleaning company, I need to strengthen my core. The work is physical and requires agility and free motion. The young woman in the facility was kind enough to say I looked to be in excellent health and seemed in good shape. True enough, my physical self, when clothed, is not a lot different then when I was younger. Admittedly, some southern movement has occurred, one can’t escape gravity after all, but all in all it’s still in fairly good fiddle. The problem lies in, like a well-worn wool suit, the material covering it has gotten a bit stretched and out of shape and doesn’t fit as well as it did when it was new. A little tightening up is definitely in order. This girl started laughing when I said that, and continued to do so every time we made eye contact. I do enjoy a good audience. I signed up for their summer “tightening up special”. Twelve weeks of miserable workouts, three times a week (should you be an abuse magnet) to get you in tip-top summer shape. They also have a pool which offers water aerobics which I will avail myself of. I have friends in my age group who won’t wear a bathing suit in the pool anymore. To me this is incredibly vain. One woman I know, wears pants and a long sleeved shirt to swim in if swimming in a public pool. When she steps in the deep end, she sinks to the bottom like a rock. I refuse to not wear shorts when it’s hot, or a bathing suit when I swim simply because my legs aren’t twenty anymore. As far as I know I haven’t gotten to the point where I traumatize small children, or put dogs teeth on edge, so I’m doing it.

That is what I know for a Thursday. The heat is moving our way. Going to be 107 tomorrow. Ugh. The shorts are definitely coming out.

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Outside my window rain is pouring down, in June, in California. This is a big statement. Wow, this weather is really bizarre. It’s not a light sprinkling either, but actual real, heavy, precipitation. I am most impressed. Weirdest thing. A huge crow just catapulted down from my roof. Now he’s walking around my front yard shaking his head. Shocking weather for him too apparently.

Conversely, yesterday was a gorgeous mid eighties early summer day. A friend had offered to help me shape up my yard which of late isn’t wearing it’s happiest face. My landlord is supposedly on the hunt for new gardeners, as the old ones were awful. They were a crew of three. Every two weeks they would swoop down on my yard, and be in and out picking things clean like locust. Once I asked them to weed the bed towards the front and they simply used the weed eater and eliminated all the viable ground cover. One mows, one blows (to me they all blew), and the other one dumps the compostibles in the bin. The one who had the blower, seemed to just blow everything in a corner. When the first breeze kicked up, it was all right back where it had been in the first place. I was taught by my grandmother early on in my development, if you’re going to do a job, do it to the best of your abilities. Was she out in the yard with these guys holding her rolling pin, I have a feeling things might have gotten done right.

Accepting the offer of yard work help, my friend and I got an early start. The first stop we made was to the nursery, along with everyone else within twenty miles, to pick up potting soil and some additional plants. I didn’t want to get my usual hefty supply of annuals, because the water situation is such here in California, I was afraid wouldn’t be able to keep them alive. It’s amazing how quickly the tab adds up when you start piling gardening supplies in a cart. Whew. I mortgaged the farm, and had to sign Boo, the Queen of Cats, into indentured servitude working in the fields for a couple of months. Don’t pity her, trust me, the feline could use the exercise. I didn’t need to get much really in the way of plants, as I had a lot of full pots waiting for repotting already in the yard sent for my mother’s passing. People were kind enough to send some lovely plants which definitely needed some attention. I’m so proud the enormous orchid sent by my dad’s family is still alive and thriving. Usually, they are down to bare limbs by this time under my care. Every time I walk by it and see all the wonderful blooms, I say, “you’re welcome”.

The mercury retrograde was thankfully over Friday afternoon, and a miserable one it was. I could almost feel the energy lighten and lift as it was on it’s way out. Amazing how the alignment of the planets can effect we minuscule beings inhabiting this lovely piece of the universe. For those of you scratching your heads going retro what? A mercury retrograde is when the planet Mercury appears to be taking a backward tour in the sky. The general state of affairs thought to be present during a retrograde event is electronics breaking down, emotions running high or low, and general chaos prevailing. In order to come out unscathed, believers suggest you enter such a phase prepared. Back up your computers, make sure you have air in your car tires, etc., etc., and remember to breathe, and then breathe some more. There is also a plus side. A retrograde can be a time of reflection and introspective thinking. For me, I’d rather be sailing. I’ve done enough reflective thinking over the past four years and my coffers are full. Let’s get some air in those sails and get out on the Bay instead, I say.

So, with the retrograde at our backs, I felt it was a safe and positive time to get busy in my garden. Gloves and sun hats in place, we took out our bags of soil, gardening tools and hoses, and dug happily in the soil for three hours. There is something positively rejuvenating about planting that revitalizes my soul. Perhaps it serves to reconnect us with our beginnings. My friend, a person who enjoys conversations with every living creature from ground squirrel to robin when we walk together once a week, is truly a human who aligns herself beautifully with the earth. Like a puppy or small child, she plopped herself down soundly on her behind in the wet grass and had at it with plants scattered all around us. As to me, I managed to get an equal amount of dirt on myself as I did in the pots I was working with so a good time was had by all.

I was glad to get the garden behind me. The next few weeks look hectic in my world. As I said in my previous blog, my calendar has felt a bit tight lately. I seem to be bouncing along like an out of control ball rolling down a steep hill. Work will be on the agenda as well I suspect pretty soon so that should make things even more interesting when it comes to keeping up with my schedule. Last week I had something, or several somethings penciled in each and every day. Tuesday is always a busy day for me, and there were four notations under that day. Whew. I made it to three. Yesterday, while digging in the dirt I thought of a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while, and was reminded of a lunch date we had made over the phone several weeks ago. Oh-oh. Opening my calendar, sure enough her name popped up under Tuesday last with a notation “Lunch with…… at…….”. Hmmmmm. According to my notes, were supposed to meet at a favorite restaurant at 11:30. My bad. I called her number, already feeling the humble pie repeating itself I knew I was going to have to eat. She answered sweetly, “thanks for ditching me”. Somehow, though I heard a sugary tone, I didn’t feel the sweetness oozing through my end of the phone. I asked why she hadn’t called me when I didn’t show up. She politely explained, because she was upset. Oh. Apologizing, I explained how busy, busy I have been, which sounded lame even to me as I was saying it. Apparently, she had waited thirty minutes before ordering and eating alone. Sorry. Truth is, no matter how busy we are, we tend to make room for, and remember, what is important to us.

I try to do my best for my friends. Obviously, I don’t always rise to the bar. My friends are really the foundation of my life these days, and sweet Boo, the Queen of Cats. I am also exploring the newest addition to my world in the new man I am learning about. This is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. A new relationship is so full of highs and lows it makes West Virginia look like flatland. Sometimes I want to run, but mostly I am curious about the new being I am observing across the table from me fairly often over the past several months. It is fun to get to know new things about him, and share old things about me, which are new to him. Where this will lead I have no idea, but for today it is something I am interested in seeing through to it’s natural end, wherever that might be.

Well, I am off for lunch with a friend on this surprising rainy day. Happy Sunday to you. Finish that book, call a friend, or put your feet up, find a great movie and push “play”.

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The holiday weekend is upon us. I wonder so many people I know are going on road trips with the price of gas being what it is. Literally, my gas tank is siphoning my bank account dry. The good news is apparently prices are headed up, not down. Boo, the Queen of Cats, may have to seek employment if she wishes to continue indulging in her special salmon/chicken treats that cost me an arm and a leg every week at the pet store.

The past week, I have been sifting through open jobs online. I sent out three applications from one site before noticing the email associated with my profile was an old one I deactivated some time ago. Thinking this to be an easy fix, I went in to change it. After a half an hour of expletives and repeating the same task over and over again with no positive result, I had to throw up the white flag and admit I was stumped. Hate that. I decided to see if I could locate a customer service number on the site. Naturally, there wasn’t one to be found. They never include these numbers, I’ve noticed lately, so you have to muck about on your own until you either give up or drink the Kool-Aid. Jesh. Doing a Google search, I came up with an actual phone contact number. Yay. Dialing it, I was dropped into the usual endless loop of questions about why I had called in the first place. I have come to believe companies do this so they will wear you down and you will simply hang up and slink back under your rock. The first question in the next loop said, “If you are a job seeker, press 1”. Dutifully, I pushed 1 on my phone. The message once 1 had been pushed said, “Thank you for choosing our company for your job search. Please go to our website located at …….. for assistance. Good luck with finding a job you love”. Since there was no other option available but to hang up, I did, but then called right back. Turns out, when listening to the message again, there was also an option 2 available. Option 2, it appeared, was for companies looking for employees. Hmmmmm, says I, and pushed 2. Sure enough, a human voice appeared on the other end of the phone. I explained to the woman what the problem was, and she assured me she could rectify the situation on her end. SUCCESS!! She asked me all the questions used to identify the caller as the actual owner of the account. Then, she asked the name of my company. Ummmm? So, I did something I actually have perfected, I acted dumb. “Company”, says I? She went on to explain this line was for company inquiries. “Oh, huh, who knew”? At any rate, after putting me on hold, she came back on and fixed the problem for me. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I say.

Good news is I already have an interview set up for this coming week. The jobs I chose to apply for were definitely a lot below my skill level. I have had high impact, stressful jobs most of my life. This time around I want twenty hours a week, a small supplementary paycheck, and zero – spell that z-e-r-o stress. The past eight years have had enough stress packed into them to satisfy my stress quotient for the next twenty years, so I feel at this point I am good to go.

Today I am going out to lunch with the new man in my life. Cheeseburgers are what the restaurant we are going to are known for. This offers up a direct line to my heart, as a good cheeseburger is my favorite meal. With fries, naturally. We are just beginning the arduous process of getting to know one another. When you are in your twenties, you haven’t had enough life experience to really have a lot of wrinkles to iron out. Now that is not true of everyone, of course. People like Charles Manson covered a lot of ground by their mid twenties, but generally people of that age are at the beginning of their learning curve. By the time you’ve hit fifty, you’ve pretty much crested the hill, and have most likely added a lot of notches to your belt. At the mid point of our lives, there are usually marriages, or at least serious relationships behind us, children, grandchildren even, and a whole bag full of life to share with a new partner. Some of the contents of the bag, one would certainly hope, will prove productive. There will be learned lessons tucked away in the bag, along with uncovered talents, achieved goals, hopes and dreams, all mixed in with heartaches, losses, unfulfilled desires and failures. The trick is to not take the memories or unfortunate events associated with old relationships that did not work, or memories with hard edges and drag them into the empty bag waiting to be filled up by a new relationship. I speak from some experience, this is not always an easy task and one I struggle with.

Outside my window the tops of the trees are bent in the wind. We seem to have an awful lot of windy days this year. According to the weather station this can be attributed to climate change. Wind always makes me a bit edgy. My friend, up on such things, says it has something to do with ions which effect your mood. My mood has been a bit off for a couple of days. I need to move it up the happy scale a bit before I meet my new guy for our burger. As I’ve said I’m usually fairly sunny as a personality but for some reason, could be all the sad news this week about shootings and mayhem my smile is beginning to droop. I’ve noticed I’m not alone in this. The phone has been ringing even more than it’s usual craziness and often the person on the other end has wanted to discuss a problem or was simply feeling somehow down and without energy. I keep pumping up my tire, and someone keeps coming by to stick a nail in it. It is hard not to absorb the collective energy swirling all around us right now. For me, when effected in such a way, I have to chain myself to my chair to keep from heading out for a little retail therapy. I am trying to generate new income right now, not deplete what financial security I do have. I heard a startling statistic this morning, 25% of Americans have no savings whatsoever to lean back on. That really did surprise me. I wouldn’t have any either if it wasn’t I have recently sold a house. Just heard that since I sold my home three years ago the value of it has increased by $100,000. Whew. Up, up, up and away here in California with the price of either owning or renting a place to hang your hat accelerating at a fevered pace.

At any rate before I go completely down the rabbit hole here, that is what I know for today. I need to go in and readjust my smile and prepare for my date. Have a good and safe holiday weekend. Keep your smile in place and hope for the best outcome no matter what.

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Here I am seated at my keyboard at 3 a.m. again. Sigh and double sigh. Methinks I may never get another complete night’s sleep again. I do long for those days when I would hit the snooze alarm three times before dragging my tired self out of a warm bed to get ready for work. Sleepy eyed and wishing for one more hour of shut eye before facing my day, I would pad into the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. I ask you, where oh where has that eight hour a day sleepy girl gone?

Guess lack of sleep is part of the aging process. It’s not my favorite part. There are many things about getting older, however, I totally embrace. For instance, I do not miss knowing I have to go into work every single day of the week and remain there for eight hours or more. I do not miss this. I do have to say, of late, I have begun to wonder how on earth I fit eight hours of work in my day. I can’t even seem to find free time to have lunch with a friend on my calendar. Life has gotten very busy since the pandemic released it’s grasp on our lives.

Another thing I like about getting older, is I seem to have learned quite a bit along the way. Between simply trying things on and seeing how they work for me, doing incredibly stupid things and finding out they don’t work for me at all, and generally soaking up all the information from the lessons presented to me during my lifetime, I seem to have gathered some wisdom along the way. Amen to that. It used to be I jumped into a situation with both feet and then figured out how to back out of it somewhere later down the road. Now, I sort of circle the wagons and take a long, slow look at what I’m doing before simply diving into the pot. Like that. Like that a lot.

As I said a while back, I have begun to explore dating once again. I have never dated at this age before, largely because today I am as old as I have ever been. If you get my drift. Most people who have reached this point in their lives are pretty much settled into who they are going to be. I know this is true of me. Was I to describe myself, I might use the adjective my friends seem to like to choose for me, “hummingbird”. I am a flitterer for sure. My metabolism, thanks Mom, keeps me moving. Fast seems to be the only speed on my dial and this remains true even though my body doesn’t always cooperate the way it used to anymore when asked to keep up the pace. Artistic might be another adjective I would apply when speaking to who I am. Certainly I am neat, and for the most part I like to show up on time and prefer others to do the same. Most of all I would say, I love to laugh and have fun. Now, there are lots of checks on the negative side as well, of course. I’m not saying I’m by any stretch of the imagination I am a perfect being. I am totally stubborn at times. Rick used to say I was the most hard headed female he ever knew. Most likely that will be written on my tombstone. “Here lies one hard headed woman”. I like to communicate, and am a pretty good talker but also enjoy my quiet solitary times and can, when in that mood, prefer to be left totally alone with my thoughts. I am not high maintenance as far as material things, or I like to believe that to be true, but I do love to be adored and like lots of attention. I am, after all, an only child and a scorpio one at that. There you are, Susie, the pluses and minuses, in a nutshell. Not looking for perfection in the person I’m dating either, just mutual respect and some line items in common to bring us together.

The first man I attempted to get to know, we’ll call him Paul, was also a talker. At our first and only meeting, Paul shared with me right out of the gate, he was the father of ten children. I might have saved that piece of information at least until after the coffee was poured. Whew. It’s not that I mind he has such a brood, I love children, but his children have children. When he showed me a family picture it was taken in a panoramic format so as to include everyone in the frame. My mind immediately went to meeting all ten of his offspring. It has been my experience having one or two adult children check you out when dating their dad can be a grueling process. All those unstated questions hanging in the air. “Are you trying to replace my mother”, “are you after dad’s money”? Imagine twenty inquisitive eyes dissecting you like a frog in biology class! After I’d digested that big bite, he went on to tell me he had recently made a trip to Ecuador to explore the spiritual side of his nature. That he was exploring the spiritual part of him, I found exciting. I said that sounded like an interesting trip, and asked him to tell me more. Turned out trip was the optimum word here. While there, he continued, he had ingested some kind of magic mushrooms which took him to places in his mind where he had never been before. At that point my mind was taking me places as well, such as looking for the exit doors in the restaurant. Thanking him for a lovely cup of coffee and the scone, I exited stage left. When I got home he sent me a text stating he had a questionnaire he would like me answer. He went on to say, he would do the same on his side, to see if we should proceed from there. Next!

After Paul, I waited a bit to test the waters again. Next came Dan. Dan was a lovely man really. He was an engineer and had a beautiful home high in the foothills above where I live. Dan had been widowed for six years and was very attractive and well spoken. After we met through a mutual friend, Dan asked me to have lunch with him, and I accepted. Have to admit there were a few butterflies fluttering around in my stomach as the time approached for Dan to pick me up for our lunch date. When he arrived, and I invited him in to see my house, his first words were “wow, you are so neat and clean”. I took this as a compliment, but thinking back it came as sort of a nervous response. Hmmmm. We had chosen a fun place to eat locally for our first meal together. Over burgers and fries we scratched the surface of who we are as people. The usual questions came up about children, activities we enjoyed, types of food we like to eat, etcetera, etcetera. I swear I’m going to write a book and simply hand it out at the first date. If they get past chapter four and wish to proceed, we can go from there. Dan has two children, boys, living in the Bay Area. He likes to hike, which I do as well, was involved in remodeling his home, and was looking for someone to spend time with and perhaps have a relationship with if that worked out. Check and check. A beginning.

After lunch, which went well, we made plans to get together the following week for dinner. During the week we texted back and forth a few times discussing what was going on in our respective lives and just generally keeping up with one another. Once we made it to the day of our second meeting, and arrived at the restaurant where we were to have dinner, we were getting along great. The meal was delicious, the conversation flowed, all was moving along swimmingly. Well, almost. When dessert was served Dan brought up that he enjoyed being single and living alone. The reason he does, he went on, is that he likes the freedom to throw everything and anything everywhere and anywhere it landed. He told me though he was dressed nicely for our date, at home he was a complete slob and enjoyed living that way. Now, I’m all for personal freedom. You should live whatever way that works for you. Seriously, I’m all about that. If throwing corn cobs on the floor or never making your bed works for you then God bless you, really. However, that is not how I choose to exist. Mess and chaos make me messy and chaotic. I was processing this information when he told me there was another woman he had been dating for five months. She, according to him, was in love with him, but this feeling was not reciprocated on his part. Uh-huh. Check please. Sigh. Why, I wanted to ask, are we here eating Tirimasu if you, a) like being single and want to live alone and throw your clothes all about, and b) already have a relationship? Perhaps I should do a questionnaire myself?

So, it is back to the drawing board for me. I’m just not sure where I want to proceed from here, or even if. I do have sort of an eternal optimism about love. I believe there is one more true romance out there in my story, and I am willing to do the research to see if I can find him. Perhaps we are back to the old adage, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”.

That’s it for today. Hot, hot, hot here in Northern California. Got the air cranking and the blinds half open. Have a great day!!

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