The Writer, the Move and Death

This last year has been rockiest of my life.  In early July 2017,  I wrote about my heartbreak when my relationship of over a decade ended.  By early August, I had decided to move.

It was a long time coming; little of the move had to do with my Ex. He only helped in determining the place.  My beloved fairy godfathers had offered several times to help me move back to Virginia and get settled.   Looking around, I realized that there was nothing holding me back anymore.  Well one thing, telling Papa that I was going.

September came with Hurricane Irma.  My little yellow house, my precious little house survived the night. The power lasted until 5:20 am.  It flickered on and off until going out with a crack. It stayed off for four days, I was out of work for a week while they worked to restore power.

On the second day after the hurricane, I got a roommate and lost my office. It’s a long story and only parts of it are mine.

One causality of the hurricane was my purple PT cruiser.  The hurricane froze the brakes then electrical system decided it wanted attention.  For two weeks, I had to pop the hood every time I stopped the car to remove a fuse.

My incredibly wise sister convinced to go looking for a car.  I came home that day with a new car.   The man who sold it to me turned out to be a distant cousin. (thanks again, Cousin Martin)    Papa was there helping me make one of the biggest purchases of my life. It was one of the last times we went out.  The next time would be my birthday.

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Momma, Papa and Me – October 2017

Since May 2017, Papa’s was growing worse.  His cirrhosis which we were lead to believe was treatable was not so willing to be treated.  He was and out of the hospital. The road ahead for my parents looked bleak and was bleak.

My second year as a middle school teacher wasn’t going any smoother than the first year.  Mentally, I was checking in and out at work knowing that I won’t be at the school for another year. Professionally, I had a lot of things to do to prepare for my move. Motivation to move was strong. The motivation to do the things necessary for the move was not.   The paperwork for my new teaching license was left to the last minute.

Eventually all the change meant putting my plans to start a page on Patreon on hold.  I was writing, but not finishing much of anything. I couldn’t see myself asking for me to support my heart if I wasn’t producing it.  Starting and not finishing projects.  My mind was too scattered.  My life was being to be summarized by a series of things that I couldn’t get myself to do.

Thanksgiving came and Papa was in the hospital.  We celebrated our last Christmas as a family and then Papa went into the hospital for the last time.

He passed on January 8th of this year. Momma, my brother Eric and I were with him.  The whole night remains surreal.

img_4296Two weeks after he passed, I reconnected with an old friend. Not only did I have a mini adventure on Sanibel Island, but I am now planning on going to France next summer.

 

June 15th, I moved back to Virginia. Papa wasn’t told I was going. It was an open secret before his death.  Before I left Momma handed a framed picture of Papa to me.  It sits on my writing desk.

I feel at peace here in my new writing nook looking out the mountains. There are walks everyday. The writing routine that was pushed aside is coming back.

I still miss Papa. I don’t think I will ever stop missing the man who choose to be my father.

This Thursday, Papa will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery.  Our family hero will be laid to rest with dignity and respect.  I can not thank my friends and family enough for their patience, love and understanding this last year.  The brightest spots in the year were because of all of you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cardboard Box Contemplations

Several of my friends are moving.  New homes and new starts. That’s what I think of moving. A chance to begin again even if nothing else is changing. Changing your most intimate spaces can bring the breath of fresh air that a life needs.

There is a part of me that has been discontent for a while and dreams of buying the little house I live in have been replaced by dreams of moving. I know what I want and don’t want. School is still looming in my future and moving once the school year starts, in between potential grad school classes and two other jobs, is out of the question unless it is absolutely necessary.

And I really hope that it isn’t necessary.

Needless to say, all of their moving has got me thinking about what I will be taking with me and what will be staying.

The hardest part will be the books. I have a lot of them. At one point, there were close to a thousand books. My collection used to be a point of pride for me. Now, I look at it and, while there is still love in my heart, moving them is time consuming and painful. My shoulder is still not at a hundred percent. The heavy lifting will have to be done by someone else. One friend of mine who is moving via the friend-volunteer service has fifteen boxes. Some of the books will have to go. Some will journey to good will. Others will make their way in friends’ libraries. Maybe some of those folks who are moving would like to adopt a few of my books.

The idea of moving has also got me thinking about the amount of furniture that I have and there is no way it is going with me if I move to a smaller residence or out of state. The lawyer bookcases will be staying as will the French desk.  There are a couple of other things that parting with would be difficult. I feel better when there is less stuff crowding around me. It is nice to have a fresh perspective. One thing that I want to do is get rid of the need for a storage unit for things other than holiday decorations. (Can’t give up my Halloween gear!)

Then I thought. Why wait to change my environment?  Why wait to change the way my home feels and shred some of that discontent? I feel at times like my living room is too dark and there is just too much stuff crowding the dining room. So some new lighting will come in as the china cabinet departs.  Some paint will be sneaking its way onto the walls. 

Letting Go..

deadeverafterRecently, I discovered that one of my favorite authors was ending a series that I have been reading for the better part of ten years.  It saddens me, but I get it. She needs to me move on and it is time for us to let go Sookie Stackhouse and her fangy friends. Charlaine Harris‘s series has been going strong since 2001.  There have been bums along the way, but fans have been eating the books up.

So much so that some fans have threatened to kill themselves if she goes ahead with her plans.If you are one of these fans please seek help immediately.  Serious, do not stop on go just get help now.

As readers we get attached to characters and tend to forget that there are living breathing people behind them.  I haven’t always agreed with what characters in my favorite books have done.  (Richard in the Anita Blake series is lucky I couldn’t bitch slap him.) The people behind the keys giving life to our favorite stories are the ones that create the worlds we love. The worlds I aspire as a writer to make. And since my style of writing is akin to Ms. Harris, I feel sympathy for her situation.

It may be easy to say to an author that they should continue to write because they are making money, but writers like teachers don’t do it for the money. We do it because we are can’t help ourselves. And yes, I said we, because regardless of whether or not I reach the level of success as Ms. Harris has I will continue to write.  It is our passion and when the passion begins to fade for a storyline it is time to move on. Maybe we will come back to it in time.

Mercedes Lackey said this about her long running series “Hey, everybody needs a vacation, even from the best job. So, until I come up with a story set in Velgarth that is as compelling as the ones you’ve enjoyed in the past, I’m taking a break. The last thing I want is for my own favorite series to start limping along and go out with a whimper.”

Authors need breaks to recharge their creative juices and while I will miss the Stackhouse Series I understand.

Fellow readers I know that you are upset, but give Ms. Harris some room. She has been writing this series for over ten years.  She wanted to end it years ago, but kept going when the HBO series took off. She has already gone on after she wanted to quit for you,me, and the almighty dollar so let her be. The quality of the books have suffered.  As much as I loved them somewhere after book four, I got lost. She tried it your way and she still wants to go. Let her.

And while you are at it pick up some of her other great series.  Lily Bard, Aurora Teagarden and the Harper Connelly series are all excellent. (My personal favorite is the Aurora Teagarden series.)

Stalking and taunting your favorite author into producing something won’t work the way you want it, too. Trust me, when people have gotten unpleasantly freaky with me I back off.  So let us take a moment, be thankful and let Sookie go.

Thank you, Ms. Harris, I look forward to your next series or book and I am so very grateful for your stories.

Love, Hugs and Moo’s,

Lu

My First Thirty Day Challenge

081Currently, I am on day eight of no soda for a month.

So far, I have only been tempted once. It feels good to be accomplishing something, even if it is something so slight.  Everyday for the last eight days, I have been successful. I know there are a lot of folks out there that have ceased drinking soda a long time ago and don’t look back, but for me the ties to soda go deeper than just a sugary choice.

I was raised with it. I am not lying.  When I was sick, I was given a soda. When I was upset, I was given a soda. And so on and so on. There are pictures of my mother and grandmother sitting by a Coke sign with coke in my mother’s bottle. Once on a family trip, I suffered from horrible gas and bloating after eating too many clams that left me crying.  The first remedy tried was a coke that had gone flat.  Drinking all of my mother’s Cokes was a felony offense growing up. One I committed on multiple occasions.

My heart has not been in the anti-soda fight for a while thought I have tried in the past to cut back.  I reasoned that since I don’t eat anything with gluten further restricting my diet would be a burden.  A silly and definitely immature reason, if something isn’t good for you then not giving it up based on other things given up for health reasons makes no sense.

So here I am, the first day back to work after Daily Light Saving time, with my morning coffee haven’t successfully dodged the urge to get a coke for the caffeine and sugar rush to get me started. It was hard to go to sleep last night and then my sleep was interrupted by a friend in need.  Not a problem, it happens, but the result was less sleep than my body commanded.  So walking into my beloved 7-11,  I was tempted to go for the quick fix, a soda and coffee, to solve my exhaustion dilemenia.   I settled for a banana and some pomegranate juice along with the coffee.  My fuel for this morning is sitting in my purse uneaten, but I made it through the day without a soda.

The decision to undertake a thirty-day challenge was inspired by watching the following TED talk video.   

After watching Matt Cutts, a co-worker of mind decided to join me on my quest.  Next month, I am toying with several ideas from biking to work to returning to daily meditation.  I love the idea of breaking the stagnation that had settled into my life with small sustainable challenges. What would you try new for thirty days? Seriously, what would you try?

All By Myself

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Sitting alone in my house for the first time in months with no roommate expected back and I don’t know what do with myself.

My roomie is moving out by the first of the month.   It seems strange being alone in the house knowing that in a few short days my home will be all mine  again. I am happy and a little melancholy since I had just gotten used to sharing my space.  So, I am on my own again. It isn’t a bad thing, it is just a thing to adjust to and move with; not against.

Life is full changes. Some are handled better than others.

The time between Halloween (Samhain or the Celtic New Year) and New Year’s Day has become the time when I test drive my resolutions.  One of the resolutions is become a more discipline writer.  Another one is to become a better money manager.  The latter takes on a greater importance now that I will once again be the person solely responsible for the paying household bills. ( The kitty boys refuse to get jobs and Luke is still just a puppy, albeit a fifty pound one; still he isn’t capable of really holding down steady employment.)

Unemployed Puppy

Unemployed Puppy

Resolutions are goals that need to be planned for in order to achieve success.  Today’s events present an opportunity for such planning.

Blessings come in all forms.

The Blank Brain…..

After an afternoon of shopping with Momma, I sat down to finish the post I started on and there was no love in it. So here I am with a blank brain.

Well, not completely, it is thinking about the gigantic mess in my spare room.  It is too horrific for me to post a picture of it. Also, I think I may have lost a kitty in there; .then it drifts over towards the kitchen.  The dishwasher is swishing and swooshing water about.  Then it flashes forward to having to unload everything

Yes, this is the glamorous life of a single working woman.

It is a good life, just not as fancy free as some might imagine it to be.  The most important thing is that I am happy. Not jump over the moon happy, but a good almost settled kind of happy.  Real life isn’t glamorous.  It is lists of chores, sticking to a budget and window shopping on a winter afternoon. All and all, pretty close to perfect.

Adventure Update

I have been in my new home a little over a month.  The storage unit that has haunted me isn’t half-way empty as I had planned. I wanted to have the unit cleared out and most if not all of the stuff stashed away in the spare bedroom.

Plans, I  have reminded myself are meant to be amended. The current one is to clean out the old unit and move to a smaller less expensive one. The opportunity to save money each month is awesome, plus it means finding more and more of my treasures like the first chapter of a friends novel – given to me prior to it’s release, fragments of poems long forgotten and pictures of my first Florida friends.

It will be twelve years ago this May 13th that I moved to Florida.  It is hard to think that much time as past, but something things haven’t changed.  I still have things to let go of; things I am not sure, I am ready to let go, but haven’t used or displayed in years. Chalk it up to the fear of losing one more thing after a life time of loss. Then realizing that what I have gained over the years is so much greater.

Sometimes looking around this new home, I am reminded of how much of the past I have carried with me.  Memories held by objects of where my family has come from and where they hoped to go.  Memories of old lovers and all the promises whispered in passion.  There are new memories waiting to be created as well.  Little by little my life is stitching itself together, once again.

Monday night, I cooked dinner for myself for the week.  Chicken with pesto, zucchini and mushrooms… A yummy way to work on my financial goals.

My other goals are in various states of progress.

I have been walking twice a week and doing all the exercises that my physical therapist recommended. I feel better which was the motivation for restarting this goal.  There is no magic number or dress size that is going to stop this from being a live long habit. When I do slack up, I end up hurting again. The choice makes itself clear.  Pain bad – Exercise good.

Honest… It is amazing how just adding a few things to my routine has helped. Key so far to my success has been no punishing myself for not doing what I want or need to do.  Just enjoying & rewarding myself for doing what I have done.  Not by having cake or sweets, just a good old fashion pat on the back. (Ok and it doesn’t hurt that my jeans are comfy as well as sexy once again.)

It isn’t easy and I am sure that there are going to be days ahead where I fall on my face  big time. Still, my heart remains optimistic    and really does believe  that as long as I don’t stop working towards the future then I haven’t failed.

Where do we go from here?

So I took the plunge and started my life over again. Now what? What is it that I am trying to do that I couldn’t do before and with a partner?

My new house is coming together. There are curtains hanging in the bedroom and dinning room.  I even have a table cloth and place mats.  There is even money left in the bank prior to payday.

Yet, my happy ending isn’t here yet. The mailman must be confused, because surely, I deserve on after everything that I have gone through.   I did the right thing, isn’t time for life just to settle into place and be perfect from now on.

Life doesn’t work that way and once you clear the hurtle before you there is another one and another one, until you die.  You can take life as it comes and deal with or you can be miserable waiting for happily ever after.  There is no prince to rescue me. I need to do that myself.

So where do I go from here? Where do we go? We go into the future. We move forward together. Day by day and step by step.  I will continue to write, sharing my thoughts and poetry and you will continue to read and encourage.  Don’t be bashful.. tell me what you think… even if it is something that I might not want to hear.

Back on Track.. Well.. Kinda of…

Thank you for continuing to patronize this site in my absence.

In the last two weeks, I have ended a long term relationship and moved into a place of my own again.  It was a hard step to make, but a necessary one.

Sometimes even when you love someone it isn’t meant to be a long term relationship and you have to know when to move on. I still care for my ex-boyfriend and I am so grateful for having had him in my life.

As with the ending of any romantic relationship, I hope that we will be able to forge a friendship out of the ashes.  In any case, I am still blessed to have had the opportunity to know and love him.

This is my first post from the new house, the other more recent posts were scheduled in advance, thank you, Word Press, for that feature.

My new home is a little yellow house with kind neighbors and enough space in the yard for me to have a garden as well as extra room inside for me to make my own writer’s corner.

My new domain is still filled with boxes and I have more to move in;  still, it is home. My home.  And I love it.

Tossing the junk; cleansing the past (An Update)

The past calls to me, but it is like the siren’s call; deadly. It urges me to hold on go things. The objects which in turn sing my name; yet these items straddles me with their weight. They threaten to limit my future: emotional, physically and financially.

This past weekend, I ventured into the confines of the storage unit I have shared with my parents for nearly a decade.  The size has fluctuated; sadly at one point there were two units. The siren’s call was too much for both myself and my mother to resist. So we held on and on…

Then, the financial burden began to wear on us and the voice of a new siren called us to clean.  (Thank you, Clean House) Momma and I went through the units over a weekend and downsized enough to fit everything into one smaller unit.  It wasn’t difficult at the time.  I organized and took items to goodwill across the street. Momma wisely took over going through my paternal aunt’s pictures; sifting through them and weeding out those that  I had no connection with.

Judith Rose never married, although she was courted by more than one man. I look a lot like her and have a picture in my classroom; watching over me. She is sitting at a desk; posed to look like she was working.  Judith was an imperfect being who had many faults, but she taught me to value the past.

We never discussed her maiden aunt status or it’s effect on her social life.  It wasn’t my place as her niece. She lived next to her parents her entire adult life, well, actually above them. Her home was on the side of the mountain that over looked my grandparent’s home.  She spent a lifetime collecting and learning; as a lover of history you can imagine my horror at seeing her precious collection given away.  Everything I could fit was packed into the car that I inherited from her.

Upon my graduation from college, the things that I managed to save were moved from one unit in Virginia to another one in Florida. There wasn’t a place for them for a long time. Eventually, I rented two rooms in a house from a friend.

Suddenly, there were places for things to go; yet the storage unit was still half full. Things with that roommate didn’t work out and I rented an apartment of my own.  It was a studio which resulted the storage  nearly full.  The next move filled it.

We could barely set foot in the door; after two weekends and about eight hours of work you can step inside easily and even move around.  Momma and Stew, my boyfriend, were there as I went through boxes.  Stew lifting and hauling.  Momma trading the look with encouragement.  The two of them acted as a safety line; ensuring that I didn’t become overwhelmed or hurt myself by lifting something I shouldn’t.

Surrounded by love, it was easier to let go. Easier to say goodbye to the past when my future was standing with me.

This weekend, I am tackling my home off so that I can have a place to be craft.   A place to create and model my future.