Friday, July 22, 2011

Travel Planning

I have previously described my sense of staying in line based on what the neighbors would think.  At that time I happened to live in a different neighborhood.  Quite honestly, the neighbors, were pretty low key and laid back- I was probably more worrisome as an anxious, high-alert mother, wife and neighbor, tense and wary.   The move has done me good.  I have regained a great deal of my former self, as in 20 years former, and have become quite neighborly.   I have since come to realize a few things of note: 1) The “neighbors” are all embroiled in their own flawed activities hoping that their neighbors aren’t paying careful attention or not really giving me a lick of attention.  2) It is our individual duty and right to do at least 1 ,  or perhaps 27 or so out of character activities to keep the neighbors guessing, stay in our game,  or simply have something to giggle or snicker  about in our later years, and 3) We need to keep in mind that we can always move and get new neighbors, so we really owe it to ourselves to find out what makes us happy, alive, fulfilled, and live in a way that  is true to that vision. I personally think it’s important to be mindful of others and try not to hurt anyone in the process, but not everyone feels the same or can readily assess what behaviors are hurtful to others.  For the most part, choose your activities kindly when you can.  Be a bit neighborly.

Today I had to take another loooooong look at my own private NEIGHBOR Clause.  Evidently, I have some residual “always where clean underwear”  issues.  And I have to say, that seems to correspond directly to worrying about those stinkin’ neighbors.  Not just next door proximity, but community range neighbors.  I realized this as I was insanely cleaning my house this morning, before going to my doctors appointment, a quick breakfast meeting with a friend and colleague to check in on the progress of a project we have undertaken, followed by a day of work, and a trip to Albany to exchange my son and car for a one way ticket back home to continue cleaning and packing.  (Said son, car and daughter will be back later this evening after enjoying a very special birthday gift.) The packing is related to vacation plans.  Packing will continue, sleep, and a little frenzied searching for travel type accoutrements. 

So, this is how my travel plans go: months of peering through travel books, brochures and search engines that lead to hotel bookings, car rentals, restaurant recommendations, event or destination targets.  This part is fun, really.  I know it isn’t for everyone, but for me it builds the excitement or maybe, takes some of the stress away- by the time I get to a new destination, I can quote historical facts and make my way toward numerous historical landmarks, forts, and  $restaurants.  I can stay away from $$$restaurants or cross the street as I approach them, or look longingly at them and wonder.  The studying is followed by the booking, and then the laundering, shopping, packing, rearranging and changing the packed items, losing itineraries, reprinting boarding passes, etc, and so on.  And then the neighbor thing happens.  It takes hold.  My traveling companions wish they had cash money to take the train, bus or ferry far away and in a different direction from my overly planned destination. 

And here lies the problem, before I travel far and wide, or go away for a weekend, I clean.  Not just tidy.  This is when my very best cleaning occurs.  Serious company cleaning.  Floors swept and mopped, baseboards scrubbed, laundry done, refrigerator cleaned out, closets organized, papers tossed, carpets vacuumed and washed if needed, and bathroom scoured.  Why? 

While its true that packing generally turns the house slightly upside down, it’s really only slightly turned askew from general everyday living.  So, with traveling comes risk.  With risk comes fear. With fear comes exaggerated actions to either release stress or attempt to gain control.  The cleaning comes from the fear that if the plane goes down, the car crashes, or the hotel goes ablaze, when family, friends and two-bit neighbors come to “help” in this time of  my imagined end or long term crisis, they will not see me in my dirty old bloomers, or with an unkempt home.  Their impressions of me will not be soiled by dust bunnies or grime.  The growing green projects in the refrigerator will not conjure images of me.  The next time they see the spider webs or bathroom scum around their own bathtubs, they will remember me fondly and wish they were able to juggle life as well as I had. 

If nothing else, when I return, tired, exhausted, excited, my home sweet home will be waiting for me.  When I rest up, the neighbors can come right over and hear stories of my latest adventures.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The American Way-wardness of Baby Boomers: Bye-Bye American Pie

 Last night I went to a meeting of sorts.  I am a vocal and proud Democrat, typically.  But last night, I was more than that or, a great deal less.  More because I was ready to take a stand.  Less, well, read on.  The purpose of the meeting was to reinstate “The American Dream”.   I came out to support the efforts and become more vocal.  After introductions and purpose was set we broke into smaller groups. I would like to imagine that I joined the “wrong” group.  My group seemed to consist of one voice.  This voice did not represent all members because there was little interest in allowing for all voices to be heard.  Hopefully other groups were a bit more collaborative and considerate, or sadly this is what has become the very non-partisan “American Way”.   We bulldoze and stampede.  We have an idea and agenda and the loudest or most aggressive gets to determine what the rest of us want or need.  This occurs locally, nationally and globally.  The purpose of the meeting last night, however was to change all that.  Or all that is wrong in America today.  The purpose was to engage folk, down home sorts, grassroots style.  Question, collaborate and maybe even determine what we believe to be some necessary actions or future programs to help reinstate that good old American Dream.  I thought that was the purpose, that’s why I attended, I am one of these foolish hopeful types.  We don’t really belong in these political venues, us foolish hopeful types.

After we broke into smaller groups, our task was to rate the most important issues and/or solutions in the following categories:
·      How do we create good jobs and invest in a sustainable future for America and our kids?
·      How can we stop corporations and the rich from dodging taxes?
·      How do we ensure good healthcare, quality education, and a retirement
·      with dignity for all? 
·      How do we make sure the people call the shots—and no one gets left out?
These are all meaningful and important issues.  Somehow, we are missing some really important constituents in making these decisions and I can only hope that was just a shortfall of my meeting’s attendance.   The cross section of this group was upward of 45.  A few younger representatives were in the crowd, but I would love to see more, soon, fast.

Jerry Rubin is remembered for saying “Never trust anyone over 30”.  It has never been more pertinent than it is currently.  But I will be generous enough to change the age to 46.  That would be the cut-off for baby boomers and older generations.  Maybe trust is not the issue as much as being gravely concerned with permitting us 46 + to speak on behalf of younger generations, or to be the loudest voice, in shaping what is to come.  The majority of issues, as well as solutions, have a great deal to do with the agendas of this, my,  aging population.   Again, I hope this is relevant to the particular group I was sitting alongside of and not the overall experience, but I kind of think it is a bit more far reaching based upon the topics of this event, a growing consensus against worker’s rights, weakening support of education, outsourcing of American jobs, tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthiest few and the American corporations that are not employing Americans, corporate buy-outs, and the limited number of newly developed jobs in this nation over the past 30 years, give or take. 

The baby-boomers, a group I am somewhat ashamed, statistically, to be a part of, seem to be very adept at wanting the cake, eating it too, and wondering why anyone else thinks they should get a piece. Our parent's generation expect social security, but they don’t particularly want to pay the taxes needed to educate their grandchildren, and some truly can’t afford to.   We want skilled laborers to be available to repair our endless foray of gadgets and gizmos in our homes, McMansions,  weekend homes, and myriad of vehicles, but we long ago looked down upon vocational educational programs and maintaining a skilled labor force. We want safe drinking water in our faucets and recycling plants for our endless supply of plastic drinking bottles.  We want organic foods in our super stores but we don’t want our fruit to have any natural bumps or bruising.   We want some sort of clean and green energy, but we don’t want it in our backyards, we don’t want the wind turbines to hurt the birds or shadow our landscapes.  We don’t want the drilling to impact wild-life, we don’t want the oil that is owned by others to cause us to threaten or wage war, but what else are we to do, really? We don’t want to have to support such a large military, but how will we get that oil that we would prefer not to use?  We want or need or are accustomed to getting, having and keeping. Democrat, Republican, all. 

One item that bothered me a great deal on one of the rating sheets was to “End the War on the War on Drugs”.  Not because that particular war was never really supported with any real purpose or goal, but because I think we pulled the plug on that war a while back, and I thinke there are issues that are quite a bit more relevant to hone in on.  We want to end this war on the war on drugs, (according to the rating sheets and the consensus of my group), but we don’t particularly see the purpose of equal rights and equal pay (also on the rating sheet, but not considered very important).  Women’ s Rights to Health was not particularly  important either.  As a woman, and a mother, I think these issues are  extremely important.  In spite of the fact that my child bearing years are behind me, I am still  concerned about allowing, yes, allowing women equal rights, equal pay and even access to healthcare about our bodies.  Go figure.  But that’s me, hopeful and foolish. I guess if I had to do drugs  and it was legal, I wouldn’t worry about these silly little women things.  If we didn’t have to work so hard to get our currently illegal recreational drugs, we wouldn’t have to worry about those inequalities.  We could just numb ourselves in peace and maybe call it liberty.  Ok, a pot-shot for sure (enjoy the pun). 

I personally think it ridiculous that we spent as much money on the “just say no” campaigns.  The fact  that  we continue to fill our prisons with drug users and small time dealers is a bit over the top, while drug cartels yield big power.  We then refuse to offer rehabilitation programs that work after we imprison these silly little drug users.  In this way we can ensure that prison jobs are justified, I guess, but even prisons are getting closed.  We change and alter the criteria for possession and DWI’s and then we have to  pay fees to overturn the decisions and continue the cycle of abuse.  The American Dream may just be learning to put your money in the right coffers  to do whatever you want.  When I was growing up that was the concept called communism and I was lead to believe Russia and China were horrific for engaging in this corrupt system while pretending that everyone was equal.  OK I digress, a bit.  We are a wee bit idiotic about our dependency on drugs and alcohol and our way of managing this highly marketed money making dependency.   But I don't think this area is first and foremost in making radical change to a system that warrants immediate change.  Not even the top 3.

I don’t have all the answers, but I can say with great clarity, we, yes, us, baby boomers especially, are the very people that have embraced a style of living and being that was doomed from the start.  “The American Dream” to own a home, have a job that provided a living wage, and contribute to our own retirement has long ago gone amuck.  The American Dream once meant if you worked hard you got ahead.   You provided for your family and you appreciated this way of life.  When did we reconfigure that aspect of the American Dream?   We started to want a little more , and then that was no longer enough.  We tested the boundaries and pushed the limits. We needed 2 or 3 cars in the driveway.   We now express anger over the current state of foreign oil dependency.  It probably has nothing to do with wanting or “needing”  a surplus of fuel dependent Soccer Mom transportation vehicles that could enter combat zones with some assurance of safety and go to the grocery stores with style and ease.  We supersized and superimposed this lifestyle onto our children that want, need, must have more. Now that we must face the reality that we were not ever able to provide for this particular rendition, we want to be involved with creating the New American Dream by complaining about it and pointing fingers.

It seems as though we want the American Dream but we don’t want to have to pay for it. Or we feel like we paid enough and we are done.  We “can’t take it with us” so we may as well have it all now.   The generation before us find a little humor declaring “we are spending our children’s inheritance”  proudly on bumper stickers of their gas guzzling cars on the way to their winter homes and summer cottages. Here’s a newsflash: as you are spending that money, and demanding to collect pensions, social security and medicare, your grandchildren can’t  fund college or find jobs to begin working.  We forgot that the American Dream once meant, everyone had the opportunity to work hard and get ahead to own a small piece of the American pie.   We want a big piece.  We want it all and we didn’t think about what that might come to mean. 

We point our fingers at the corporations, and the politicians.   We forget that we have the power to enact change.  We need to stop pointing fingers and start joining our hands.   Ok, that was schmaltzy, but we do need to take responsibility and then really work together toward change.  It’s going to be painful.  But it will be a great deal worse for those that follow if we don’t start making some radical changes now. 

Years ago the NRA had a slogan: “Guns don’t kill people, People kill people”  It meant guns  were not responsible for murder, people were.  It was a twisted way to support NRA’s goals.  In the same way, Corporations are not destroying the American Dream, People are.  Corporate greed is directly connected to people.   People that run them, people that support them, people that benefit from the goods and services they supply.  We own these corporations that are doing so well.  We own them because we are the CEO’s of them and the employees of them.  We own them because we purchase the goods and materials that they supply.  We own them because we own the stocks and bonds that keep them operating.   We own them because we vote for the politicians that protect them and provide for them and hide the legally corrupt practices that help them not pay taxes, and help them not provide new jobs, and help them with unfair trade agreements.  We can change the way corporations function.  We can stop purchasing some of the unnecessary goods, even briefly, to send a strong message.  We can vote for politicians that are willing to work for us and we can not vote for them if they fall short.  We can’t accuse these corporations and politicians of rape and then get back in bed with them time and time again.   We can get into our own beds and dream big- American style, and fix these problems.  We are Americans, and that once meant something of great value.   If I recall, it was done by the people, for the people.   

Good Night. And pleasant dreams.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Milk Moms and Moments of Madness, No More

My son made a confession this week. My daughter squirmed in her seat, trying to squelch it, knowing how it might end. Cars are magic talking devices. They are.

We were returning from a hike and swim. It was an especially wonderful day. We had hiked, just a little, in and of itself, amazing. I have been working on this quest to become a 46er. Hiking is suddenly serious to me, and my son. A 46er is one of the esteemed few that reaches all 46 High Peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. A high peak is distinguished by it’s altitude of 4000 ft or higher. So the fact that we went hiking without a serious plan or commitment to reaching the top is a small miracle- I am learning how to relax.

Of course change is difficult. My son might have been a little uncomfortable by this new, relaxed approach. “What do you mean we aren’t going to the top? He implored. “We’re just going to hike a little, I only have one bottle of water, the rest of the water and food was left in the car.” I answered. “What?” He demanded, “No, we have to go. Why are we here?” Actually we were here because I wanted to find a special swimming hole, except I didn’t exactly know where it was. It could have actually been closer to the top for all I knew, but I was relaxed. We were also there because it had been a family tradition since we came to the Hudson Valley almost 13 years ago. We hiked on the 4th of July getting to know the area and exploring the beautiful surroundings. I wanted to keep some of our family traditions intact even though our family was abruptly altered this year.

We frolicked more than hiked. We have not frolicked in some time. It was so nice to be out in nature with my son and daughter. We have not been together without a “purpose” for some time. We had been too long in sadness, anger and grief. We needed this and it came without force or prodding. After frolicking uphill for a brief amount of time, maybe 30 minutes, we meandered downhill. When we approached the car, I asked a few hikers if they knew where Blue Hole was. They hadn’t heard of it but offered to look on their maps. I asked if it was a "topo map"-serious hiker, I. It would not be visible on a driving map. They said “yes”, but they would need a few moments to locate it. As they scrambled for keys, I smiled and said, “No worries, we are going to head to the creek and follow it for a bit and see what happens, thanks anyway.” My children were already sitting near the edge of the creek waiting-for lunch and water, but cheerily. The creek would be cool and refreshing even if we didn’t find Blue Hole.

Not too much further, it appeared to us. There it was, an incredible swimming hole. A rope hanging from a tree over a ledge approximately 20-30 feet above the “pool” was inviting. Stone gorges and green forest below one of Catskills higher peaks, it was enchanting. I was determined to “do it”. Grab the rope, swing and drop. I watched others without creating undue fear and apprehension, and then, I did it! Hitting the ice cold water, my chest seemed to implode, gasping for air, through asthmatic breaths-I couldn’t help smiling-widely, proudly. I made my way to land and laughed as I finally pulled enough air in. I did it! I will do it again, soon. It was just the bit of risk and adventure I needed. I believe it was the relaxing and supportive time we shared that gave me permission, freedom.

So, back to the car, following the relaxation, the confession. With my smile and pride we headed home. Talking and sharing. Maybe the idea that I wasn’t quite the same was too much. I was different, relaxed, caused my son, angst. He needed to set the equilibrium back on course. Somehow the conversation turned to parenting and children and responsibilities. We started talking about parents that drive their babies around at night to get them to sleep. I shared my opinion. They weren’t surprised. They added their own snickery renditions. Walking to school uphill both ways in a snowstorm-war story type of thing. Yawn, groan, Oh Momma! I can be a bit ornery and a tad righteous from time to time when I’m not relaxed and jumping off cliffs into freezing water. So to create a sense of homeostasis, my son started making a confession.

Aside from the not driving my children around to get them to sleep because children need to learn how to calm themselves philosophy, I have thoughts about lunch making. You may have already come across my philosophy: if you are old enough to clap, you are almost old enough to slap 2 pieces of bread together and march uphill to school in a blizzard with something to eat. Somehow, my son was either so relaxed, or he had a great need to bring his real mother back from this relaxed and unrecognizable space. He started sharing tales of Milk Mothers. He was surely provoking my being relaxed, my daughter not so much, she was imagining her exit strategy. Milk Mothers, or a distinct few, have been the bane of my existence, at times. Or unrelaxed me, allowed them to become larger than life, demonized creatures that should have to go through finger-printing, back ground check, security procedures like the rest of us that have contact with children in public schools. Why on earth do schools need them? These demonic beings that control the social scenes of 5-12 year olds based upon random, not controlled, bogus research methods-such as: reporting confidential observations that seem to go like this: "Tsk-tsk, that little boy never brings a lunch to school, he must be, poor, neglected, uncared for. He must have a “bad” mother. He is probably from a broken home, with lice, bed-bugs, and maybe store-brand bread, and surely no brie or avocado or aged-formaggio artisan cheeses." “His mother “has” to work, but can’t she think of him and make sure he gets fed?”  They spread these tales around the social scene. Sometimes the sad, forlorn children get to be invited to homes or birthday parties occasionally as a bit of a service project to help their own children understand how good they have it. Mostly not.

Ah yes, relaxed me. All he had to say was, “The Milk Moms always felt so sad for me. It was weird.” As I started to attempt to get more information, how did they “know” he had to make his own lunch? He said “I didn’t always bring it, I just wanted an ice cream sometimes, and they would feel sorry for me.” My adherence to a healthy lunch, and my desire to boycott the price gauging was a bit shall we say, unrelaxed? As my daughter squirmed and tried to get him to stop talking. I remained, mostly relaxed. I am finished with the Milk Mom scene. I myself, enjoy an artisan cheese from time to time. I now keep pesto in the cupboard when I don’t have time to make it fresh. For some unexplained reason I keep a very well stocked bread selection around lately. He gets his favorite wheatberry and nut bread or a peasant Ciabatta to choose from. My daughter is no longer squirming but she can't believe she didn't get to benefit from any of this. I tried to explain that middle children simply have this lot in life- I am also a middle child. We stopped for ice cream on our way home. None of the Milk Mom’s were present to help my son or witness my loving act.

Soon my children will all know how to drive and I will relax enough to doze off-well, maybe. They might just want to throw me in a car to get me to fall asleep. Life goes quickly, all of these worries, are so meaningless in the scheme of things. I wish I had learned to relax a little sooner. I recently made and packed a few edible lunches for my son as he went off to his summer job. I confess, I felt a little uncomfortable. I worry that he may just expect it, and not understand the importance of being self-reliant, or remember to be appreciative and thankful. I’ll try to recall the jump into the cold water. The lung implosion, my wide smile. Making lunch probably won’t kill me or him.

But to all the milk moms out there: He was fed and provided for. I continue to think it important for children to learn responsibilities, developmentally. He was clapping at 2 and thought himself the “best clapper ever”.   He didn’t make his lunch until he was 5 or 6, with direction and support. He makes the best lunches that I have ever had, sometimes he makes them for me. He still “forgets” to make or bring lunch to school from time to time and he knows how to get a pesto and mozzarella sandwich from the most beautiful girl in town. Apparently the Milk Moms were simply training camp. He is  quite self-reliant after all and charming.

My daughter had her own confession. She thought she might take up watching the Food Network. She feels somewhat ill equipped about her artisan cheese knowledge and her cooking vocabulary. She has avoided cooking up until recently. She doesn’t much care for my "if you can clap you can eat" concept, wait til she comes across “if you can read, you can cook”. She went off to her new apartment with an impressive set of cookware. I better hook her up with a cookbook! When I get done with my cliff jumping- I am going to have a pretty big appetite and I will know where to get a couple of people to feed me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Building a Bright New Tomorrow

Transitions have this way of testing our moxie, as well as a few other character traits; stamina, perseverance, patience and best yet self-control. In addition to the regular ordinary transitions that have relentlessly been presenting themselves at this midway point, the ending of a marriage has provided a few more twists and turns in my life. That's me, always the over achiever! I am not quite certain why, I have always been a great believer in Vignelli’s “Less is More” philosophy, I just can’t get the Universe to trust me and go along with me here.

I have noticed a few interesting or at least suddenly, traceable, consistent aspects of myself that have needed closer examination, maybe for a long time coming. I haven’t quite decided whether I need to alter, abandon or accept the findings just yet. The noticing is pretty important in and of itself, for now (note to self: record start time, device a plan, make some changes).

First finding of note: I can get excited. Easily. Occasionally, this has occurred more frequently than I would like to say. Sometimes this is perceived as intense. (That word still bothers me, but I am accepting of that.) I have known this for some time, but I just considered it a matter of fact, like eye color, not a matter of course that can be changed, like hair color. At times I have felt exasperated in my excitement as though the course of the excitement was propelled by something outside of my reach. I get excited when someone is causing harm to others, or making destructive decisions. I can get excited when someone is dishonest or unethical. Sometimes I get more easily excited based upon environmental conditions, lack of sleep, or food, too much humidity or weeks of gray cloudy skies. The regulars. Of course, all this excitement is based upon my perceptions and personal experiences. In the past, this type of excitement generally ended with me seeming intense and over-excited and the harmful party seeming calm and controlled in comparison, left to continue causing harm. Not very effective, this excitement. Alas, I only get to be the boss of me, no matter how excited I get.

I have noticed I get excited sometimes before someone finishes sharing a complete thought. I can see things, or so I firmly believe. Sometimes truly- not like the Sixth Sense and dead people, or the future, or premonitions, but I can see things coming together, formulated, soup to nuts- the end product, practically in visual 3d form! This is a trifle annoying, to more than a few. I do need to curb my enthusiasm, so to speak; maybe even let others finish sharing their thoughts before I launch the master plan. Perhaps I can even learn to
share my observations based upon these conceptual "seeing" abilities I profess to have. At other times maybe I can try this on for size; “Oh, I have some thoughts about how that might be addressed, resolved, etc.” “I thought about what you said and I have some ideas that might be worth considering if you are interested.” I don’t think I am capable of smiling and nodding- all those ideas and excitements might start bumping into each other, and next I'll have a migraine and other visual problems. More likely, if I attempted the smiling and nodding routine, I could still hear other things, and then I would start figuring them out. It’s not that I am a very bad listener; it’s more that I listen to everything. Someone, once near and dear to me, understood that the TV or radio could not be on, eye contact and sitting face to face helped ensure true listening. He knew there were certain conditions that had to be in place. A good team we were at times. Acceptance is truly a wonderful thing.

I do still have a hard time when people are talking to me about problems, that can be fixed, that I know how to fix, and they prefer to talk.

About those problems.

And not do anything to fix them.

I may be able to alter these interactions by requesting that certain people only speak to me when my super sonic sound blocking ear plugs from my I-pod are tightly inserted into ears, or the TV is on, or we are at a loud restaurant sitting within and on top of everyone else's personal space bubbles. Sports bars are the best for this; 5 or more TVs, all on different stations, yelling, cheering, glassware clanking, conversations... Talking about problems simply to talk about problems is for me, a problem that I need to avoid, like the black plague and a sports bar.

Unfortunately, a friend was recently explaining something, and I got excited, and suggested a way to solve it. Only I didn’t explain that I had applied my visual-conceptual super-power and was seeing how to implement the final stages of the resolution and she hadn’t quite finished explaining the first stage. I messed up here. But it helped me to notice, my excitement, visual-conceptual, resolution process that is often perceived as weak listening skills, or worse. I will work on this one; I will slow down and listen carefully and kindly.

Another recent observation: I like to make things. I don’t always like to follow directions, however. I can figure things out and make them. I made a table this week. And finished up a chair that I started a week or so ago. I didn’t use plans. I looked at various pictures for the chair and I kept seeing it, thinking about it, measuring and angling it in my mind. (That visual-conceptual thing again) I am not the very best rule follower, but when building furniture, rules or at least plans are helpful. The table has a little wobble to it, and when I envision eating steak on it, as I surely will at some point, the cutting is going to be tricky, unless I reinforce or re-build following some plans or rules, or pretend that I am experiencing a minor earthquake and just have fun with it, workable and agreeable excitement. While the making things is a big part of who I am, I am not sure if I like to make things to avoid a few near-ancient inner conflicts I have with being me.

One of these conflicts is being an artist. If I make a table, with a washboard, and call it my "kitschy-kitchen table", I am creating. It is functional, more so when the wiggle is waggled out, and creative. But everyone knows it’s a table. The risk of criticism is minimized, the self-esteem protected or merely left unchallenged. That might be the big one- taking certain risks, believing in myself- slowing down a bit to take a look at who I am and what I want to "make" to honor my creativity and my experiences. How do I want to be an artist?

I also have been known to keep insanely busy to avoid looking at some of what undoubtedly would benefit from a little fixing in myself, and my relationships. I have stayed busy enough so as not to come to terms with a relationship that had long ago gone into deep disrepair. I worked, and gardened, and parented, and hiked, joined committees and built things. I enjoyed many of these side-trips. But I will never know if I could have helped repair this broken relationship, or if it was never really the relationship that I had hoped for, believed in, and “created” to avoid looking more deeply and seeing it for what it was not. And friends, this is a BIG Ticket item for me. This me in relationships thing.

I have managed to participate in two failed marriages. I am not exactly sure what that says in the scheme of the Universe. I am certain I don’t want to add another, ever. I am also toying with the possible realization that maybe I chose perfectly, and poorly. Not all that came from these relationships was a failure or a failing. I will neatly pack up and protect the memories that were built on love, real or imagined, and happiness. There were many in both and I haven’t been very good at honoring this truth. It’s difficult to see any good when there is much unnecessary bad. Marriage is hard. Divorce is harder still. But sometimes it is the hardest part of our journey that makes us strong, and clear. Forever begins, again and again. It interweaves, and connects and breaks apart and sometimes rejoins in the oddest of places.

I have been offered a great opportunity to take this new-found wisdom and road test it. Divorce, that great opportunity to road test some newly acquired skills. It's all in the framing, dontcha think? So I am working on balance, here. And not getting excited, about some of the harmful actions that seem unnecessary. My patience is also being tested. But that Universe thing? It's bigger than me. Just going to sit back a little, and see what's next for me in this particular stretch of the journey. Maybe take a few risks, create, build, oh sit back a little. Smile more or less. Get excited with laughter and loving.