Another New Year….

What will 2018 bring? It’s difficult to know and as I have mentioned, I gave up making resolutions quite some time ago. The short visit with the kids and granddaughter was a bit hectic, but fun of course. Two-and-a-half is on the cusp of so much. The ability to express in words advances, but not yet to the point of being able to explain all those outbursts of frustration. The wanting of a cupcake for breakfast is pretty easy to understand – the sobbing over some other issue once all the usual questions are asked not so much so. On the other hand, it does provide the opportunity for grandparents to say, “Yep, you were like that, too, and this phase will pass”.

I hadn’t actually calculated it before, however, 2018 will be both our 30th wedding anniversary and the kids’ 10th – theirs in August and ours in November. Special trips could be in the planning, although there are personal events which could also occur to impact plans and it might be best to not make any arrangements too far in advance.

Our schedules aren’t likely to slow down a bit and therefore, it would be rather a waste to act as if that’s going to change. At the top of the list though is me doing everything I can to stick with my intention of getting out to dive once a month. Yes, the water will be chilly for a few months, but I have a thicker wetsuit and still more natural insulation that I care for. That generally helps keep me warmer. As for writing news, I’ll talk about that in future posts.

For those who do still make resolutions, think through what you’re considering and be gentle with yourself in the process.

Do People Change?…..

Musing thoughts ahead. I had an interesting discussion the other day about whether people change. As I’ve posted in the past, holidays can provide a chance to reach out to family or friends where estrangement might have occurred. It doesn’t necessarily mean you should, but it is a common thought this time of year. For the sake of this post, let us assume you have a strained relationship you want to considering trying to recover. The first question is who made the break? Second question is was the break acknowledged or simply happened and “isn’t talked about”? If an individual isn’t actually aware of the break, addressing it can be rather awkward. On the other hand, that could also mean it’s easier to deal with because the other person might say, “Of course I didn’t mean to hurt/upset you? – or – “No I’m not upset with you – why should I be?”

Moving into the more complicated situation of both parties being well aware of a strain, now comes the, Do People Change? In all seriousness, that depends on what is meant by change. Maturity usually has an impact. Other life experiences can have an impact. The decision to want to change for whatever reason can have an impact. In some cases, a person doesn’t change exactly, but perhaps perspective does and that can make a big difference. In some strained relationships, time elapsing does allow perspective to change and hurt to diminish. And with diminished hurt – healing can follow.

On the deeper level, do I think genuinely mean people change? No. Do I think people who behave in a mean manner can? That’s another perhaps. After all, isn’t that why we enjoy the movie, “A Christmas Carol”?

Those Amazing 50ths…..

There is good reason to celebrate when a couple makes it to a 50th anniversary. (Yes, I know 50 years doesn’t mean it’s a great marriage, but those aren’t the couples I’m talking about.) Both sets of grandparents had their Golden Anniversaries, although I was only able to attend one of them. (Neither quite made it to their 60th) Some friends will be at their 51st tomorrow and another couple had their 50th yesterday. At the moment, I can’t recall how many of my aunts and uncles ticked over that mark, but it’s definitely more than one pair. I’m not sure what my sister has in mind when they reach their 50th in a couple of years. One other couple is planning something big for their upcoming 60th.

There are thousands of sayings about marriage – what it takes, what makes it work; all kinds of advice. Few marriages are without some degree of conflict and whether a couple can smooth them out varies a great deal. “We refer to them as our practice marriage,” one couple says of their respective first spouses. Then there is the couple who married, divorced, re-married, divorced, and re-married. I lost track of them after that and am not certain of the ultimate outcome. I have, as I’m sure everyone has, know those who have been on the brink and then something happened to cause them to step back and be glad they were able to do so. Health is the factor that can’t be controlled of course as with my parents. So for all that have passed, or are approaching, the milestone of 50 years of marriage – congratulations!

 

Reminder of Holiday Emotions….

It’s been a while since I posted about this and I was in a conversation the other day with a friend when the topic came up. I do enjoy the holidays (especially after the cleaning lady has been here to help prep) and try to keep them from being too hectic. My success rate for that one is up for debate, but we always manage to get through them fairly intact.

The sad fact though is holidays can be extremely difficult emotionally for people who have suffered the loss of a loved one, economic set-backs, a relationship that has come apart, family estrangement, and numerous other problems. In most cases, reaching out to the individual is absolutely the right thing to do. Your offer might be declined and that’s when it can get a little tricky. The initial “no” could be for several reasons. The temptation is often to try to urge with the, “You really don’t want to be alone, do you?”; or “Come on, it will be good for you.” Notwithstanding good intentions, it’s hard to know when to press and when to back away. What I tend to do is say something like, “I understand and we’d love to have you, so consider it an open invitation if you change your mind.”

It has been a long time since I’ve spent a holiday alone and back in the day it was a mixed bag of when I really was okay with being alone and when I appreciated being included in others’ celebration. In any case, I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving in whatever form that takes.

October Trip Day 5……

My on-going computer aggravations are why the Day 2 post didn’t go up when I thought it did. In speaking with Hubby last night, he thinks the core problem is a settings issue (which would seem logical considering what’s happening) and he might be able to fix it without me needing to consult the Geeks. That would be nice, but we shall see.

I am in Shreveport – well, Bossier City – across the Red River. The wonderful steakhouse of Two Johns is on this side and I’m staying near there. I’m flying out a little later in the morning than I usually do. I was a bit tardy in booking for this trip and the earlier afternoon flights from Atlanta to Miami were already full. While in general I’d just as soon have a longer layover in Atlanta, I decided to change it up a bit this time. Either way I did it was going to mean leaving MIA at a terrible time from a traffic perspective. At least I don’t have to do that very often.

Today is son’s birthday and we exchanged email greetings this morning. He won’t be getting any celebration time for almost two weeks as he has overlapping dance performances. That happens to him about every two years. We’ll try to make his Fall show next year if things aren’t as hectic.

The visit with my dad was good. His health is fine although he will never recover full vision in the eye where a blood vessel burst several years ago. He’s been having treatment on it for a long time. Surgery is an option, however, it doesn’t always help and at his age, surgery without a good probability of improving the condition doesn’t make a lot of sense. He opted to not bother with it.

The temperature dropped overnight and I forgot to throw a wrap into the suitcase. I’ll plan to walk briskly from parking lot into heated buildings.

 

 

 

Now The Work Begins…..

As much as we rightfully spend tremendous effort in the safety aspect of preparation, the logistics of recovery is critical, especially in this case when such a huge amount of the state was hit. I will briefly talk about the storm itself. With the hurricane shutters, you are basically enclosed in the house although this type of shutter allows in a little light top and bottom. Since they are metal though, you also get the rattle as well as the sound of the wind and rain. We closed the last shutters about 4:00 Saturday afternoon as the wind picked up to near tropical storm strength. Irma was so large, that even though she made landfall about 80 miles south at 9:00 Sunday morning, we could not open the shutters until daybreak today. The main impact to us started about noon Sunday and went for around six hours, but the winds were still dangerous into the night. The remaining time was because of lingering bands passing through. Somehow in all of this we kept power and were/are very thankful for that.

Damage to most of our neighborhood was slight, lots of downed trees and debris, but few structural issues. The critical thing is to try and stay off the roads so the first responders, cleanup and power crews can do their jobs without interference. Having enough groceries, medicine, etc., on hand to stay out of those places for a full three days is also helpful. Shelves can only be restocked at a certain rate and allowing those supplies to start flowing normally again is important. Do you risk going a little stir-crazy, particularly if you don’t have power? Yes. Being out in a mass of people possibly vying for items still in short supply isn’t really a better alternative.

The state, counties, cities, and major players such as Florida Power and Light and big retailers (to include gas stations) have done an admirable job of being ready for the recovery and allowing them to get to it is key. Sadly, there is also the reality of looting and there have already been some thieves caught thanks to so many more video cameras than in the past.

In going back to the question about whether or not to evacuate, being able to return to your home is a factor. Right now, a lot of people can’t have access to their homes for today and possibly into tomorrow because the roads have to be cleared. Downed trees and power lines are the main obstacles. When you have spent days prepping and days in a shelter or on the road, the extra delay is incredibly frustrating.

More tomorrow as I go down to keep reassembling the house.

Day 3 into Day 4…..

Poignant thoughts alert. Although my time with the quilting guild was absolutely delightful, there was no way they could cover my expenses for this is trip. I came because it was truly fortuitous. Of all the places I could have been invited to speak, what are the odds there would be a group within a five-hour drive of my friend whom  I had not seen since 2003? If one chooses to not believe in such things, that’s fine.

My drive over yesterday was pretty much without incidence, other than the fact they failed to replace a directional sign I needed after doing some roadwork last year. As I was going along and felt perhaps I had missed a turn somewhere, I stopped for a bathroom/beverage break and being female had no problem asking if I had in fact missed a turn. The young lady immediately said, “Oh yes, everyone does that,” and explained the problem. I was only about ten miles off’ so that wasn’t too bad. I arrived within fifteen minutes of my original plan which from my perspective put me on target.

My friend and I passed a pleasant afternoon catching up and reminiscing. We had dinner that night with her daughter who is only a year younger than me and lost her husband unexpectedly Thanksgiving morning. The irony here is I met my friend years ago after she lost her husbandly unexpectedly at the too-young age of forty-five. However, since I lost my first husband unexpectedly at twenty-seven, I was able to help her sort through the intense emotions. And so, last night we were both able to sit there and offer support to her grieving daughter. Such is the power of female friendship.

Relax With a Short Story….

If you’ve never roamed around my website into the Short Story Archive, I invite you to do so. For whatever reason, this morning, I suppose because it’s Mother’s Day, I was struck by a desire to go and look at one I did which has a unique twist to it. “Mamma in Moonlight” http://bit.ly/174Vq6v is actually a prequel to, “The Frequent Bridesmaid” http://charliehudson.net/stories/story200606.html

This is not normally something I do. I originally wrote, “The Frequent Bridesmaid” and some time after that, I ran across a writing challenge (I think it was),  where you were given the first line and went from there. In this case, the first line was, “Mamma has always had a love for possessions.” I don’t recall why that one struck me as it did, but I realized it could match with the previous story. It is what I refer to as “drippingly Southern”, and yes, I know there is no such word. This falls into the category of words that should exist and as a writer you can sometimes get away with such antics. Although I do behave when a book or other publication is involved, I’ll exercise my right in a blog to step outside grammatical boundaries in this case.

Anyway, if you want to sit and relax with a couple of short stories, you can take them in either sequence. Have a great day. Circumstances are such that I’ll be working most of the day because in the freelance world, deadlines don’t really respect weekends or holidays. I will stop around 4:00 and will celebrate Mother’s Day after that.

Oops on the Gap….

I managed to let a couple of extra days slip by without posting and could say I’m not sure how that happened except I do know. I’ve had overlapping deadlines and am juggling several other projects and let the calendar slip a bit. On the other hand, I certainly don’t get bored. I caught up with a friend by phone whom I hadn’t spoken with in a while and have been looking at different travel arrangements I need to make. No exotic locales this time – all family or business related. Our son, who as most of the regular followers know, is with the Bowen McCauley Dance Company in the DC area. (http://www.bmdc.org) We try to go up to see him perform at least once a year and there’s almost always a performance close to our granddaughter’s birthday. It’s a little later this year being in May about six weeks after, but that’s close enough. The performance is ordinarily at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater, but that’s being renovated. The Lansburgh Theater is in a different location which means managing new logistics. It’s supposed to be a nice venue and is where the Shakespeare Company often plays. It’s very much “in the District” not too far from the Capitol and the National Mall. Although we spent a fair amount of time in the area, we almost always took the Metro in. I don’t recall us being near that theater, but if we take the flight I think we will, there will be adequate time to scout things out.

The trip I’ll be taking to Wisconsin the following month is to present at a quilting guild and then go to see my friend whom I called the other day. I wasn’t sure if everything would come together and as she said, she didn’t want to get her hopes up. It looks as if it will all “sync” nicely and I am looking forward to it.

Valentine Day Musings…..

Valentine’s Day used to be important to me for reasons that I’m not going to go into. I enjoyed the whole of it even when I didn’t have a “Valentine” to celebrate with. I find that has changed now. I don’t mean I’m anti-Valentine, merely that it doesn’t carry a great deal of significance. Several years ago, we stopped going out because quite frankly, it tends to be the same kind of semi-chaos as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Since we both enjoy cooking, Valentine’s Day is another time we do a special meal at home. (The exception obviously is when we travel.)

We’re at the stage where we buy fewer and fewer gifts and with trying to watch my carbs, a box of lovely candy isn’t really a treat. (Well, okay, a few will do). Flowers are nice, although I’ve never particularly cared for roses because they simply tend to wilt too quickly. I think as much as anything though, with us having been married for more than 28 years, it isn’t that we’ve lost romance. It’s actually the opposite. Our romance is a daily thing, a thing of comfort, of a togetherness that doesn’t need a special day to acknowledge it. After all, when you’re married, there is the anniversary and often the anniversary of when you met. (Which was ironically Feb 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day and then I didn’t see him for a while because he left on a business trip).

I know it can be a difficult day for some people – those who aren’t in a relationship and would like to be or those who recently lost someone they love.

Whatever category you fit into, I hope you enjoy or make it through the day. And if it isn’t an easy day, be gentle with yourself as you reflect.