Thursday, December 29, 2011

Remember, Be Here Now

Finally feeling better, and so much has happened. Life can spin around so fast sometimes.

The big news is that my offer on the house has been accepted. The paperwork might take longer than normal, so the closing date is set for February 8th.  I am very excited about this house.

I am having a New Year’s Eve party at my apartment this year, and I had previously planned to get the place organized and put up some artwork on the walls, and shop for snacks and beverages… but this ugly sick spell that has a hold of me is keeping me down. I just now am starting to catch up on normal housework like laundry so the extra spiffing up probably won’t happen.


I am starting to waffle and be indecisive again. With the holidays, B.D. has been out of town for a while and we have not talked. The distance has been nice and has me thinking this whole relationship thing with her isn’t too bad.


Work has been extremely busy and the days have been flying by fast. I like it.

With busy work and a sick body, not much inner exploration happens, and it is a rather nice respite. Sometimes it’s good to remember to “just be”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

waiting for the healthy part

Still waiting to hear if my offer has been accepted on the house.

I was intending to boycott Christmas, and my body decided to make it official. I have been ugly sick since Friday morning. I went home from work Friday about 9 am and barely moved from bed until late Sunday afternoon. I missed the ugly sweater party, the Christmas Eve gathering of the clan, and small family gatherings as well.  Whew! I’m still not healthy though. In fact, I feel downright crappy.


This quote has been my mantra for the last few days:
Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.  - Jesse Jackson

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Unexpected House Hunting

I was just getting ready for bed last night, and checked my email and noticed an email from my realtor. She was excitedly describing a home that had just gone on the market mere hours earlier.

I looked the house up and wouldn’t you know it, the house fits 99% of my wish with a few extras that make it darn near perfect!

I took a couple hours off work today to walk through the house with my realtor and LOVE the house!

It is a modest 2 bedroom 1 bath home with a full basement. The kicker is in the basement….. there is another bathroom and a FULL kitchen!

I have a busy day submitting an offer and gathering appropriate paperwork.  This could be a very nice Christmas gift to myself!

There wasn’t an offer on the house yet, so I may be the first one!
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Xmas Funk

I think my downer attitude is just the basic holiday blues.

I talked with my in-laws last night and they have invited me to their home for Christmas again. I don’t think I will go over there this year. My father-in-law and I talked again about a remembrance gathering for my wife on her birthday. It was a tear-filled phone call for me as I sat in the parking lot of a restaurant on my way to a Christmas dinner with my co-workers.

The last few days I have been looking at large vans/small RV’s again.  I am seeing some really sweet setups for about $20,000. I’ve been thinking of forced motivation if I had a small RV. I would still work at my current job.  I would want to join a gym for the nice showers. Hopefully a gym with a decent yoga instructor and frequent classes with multiple locations.  It might force me to want to socialize more. God forbid, I call my friends every once in a while.

I will be going to an ugly sweater party on Friday night.  Should be lots of fun, and hopefully will get the funk out of my face.

JAMES BROWN Soulful Christmas  Santa's Got a Brand New Bag

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Giving Yourself Permission to Forgive Yourself

I’m not feeling 100% healthy today and I have a company dinner tonight I should attend.  I don’t NEED to attend, but I’m a cheapskate and can’t turn down a free meal. Besides, it will force me to stay on this side of town after work and get some grocery shopping done.


There is another wonderful post by Becky over at InterstellarOrchard  about Giving Yourself Permission. So very hard for me!  I would also add Forgiving Yourself for Past Mistakes to the list of difficult things for me to do.

So very often I am held back for lack of self-permission or guilt over past experiences.  A great example of this was last Sunday night. I went to a singer/songwriter event at a private residence. A bunch of people sharing poems, writings, songs….a wonderful exchange of non-judgmental  expression.

I just sat there and listened. I had a great time. But what would have happened if I stood up in front of my peers and sang a little song  “a cappella” ? I have so much fear of standing alone and expressing myself! All eyes directed on me!

These people don’t care if I can sing well, or if I sound like Oscar the Grouch. Lord knows there were plenty of people there that night that couldn’t carry a tune… but they got up anyway. .I know I can sing.  I can sing Karaoke like nobody’s business. I sing in a garage band with a bunch of other middle aged Tech guys. I’m not a great singer, but I can carry a tune.

So why can’t I give myself permission to stand up in front of a warm and caring group of friends that support and encourage me every day? What past failure might be keeping me in my seat?

How often does this lack of permission and forgiveness affect my daily routine? What else in life am I missing out on? Am I blocking off entire possible life paths because of a lack of permission? How high could I soar with permission and forgiveness? How open towards life could I become?

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Passing in the Night.

My mother’s husband died over the weekend. He was sick for a very long time and my mother has been caregiving for him.  Apparently hospice came to the house, told her he would only last a few more hours, handed her a slip of paper with some basic instructions and then said to call them if anything changes. And then the hospice worker left.

At least that is my mother’s interpretation of the events.

Apparently he did not have a peaceful passing.  My mother was alone with him, and she said he had a lot of pain and emotional torment at the end. She has been telling everyone that he died peacefully in his sleep. She told me this thinking I would understand since I was there alone with my wife when she died. I tried to reassure her that she shared this very private experience alone with her husband, and it was perfectly acceptable to keep that shared moment close to her heart and not feel obligated to share it with others, other than a counselor or shrink.

Went to my company holiday party with B.D. on Saturday night. She is a great dinner party companion.  Beautiful, engaged, smart and articulate….she can quietly impress with her strength and empowerment without being boastful. A true catch by anyone’s standards.

But it isn’t enough for me.

I am mostly drawn to her stability. She has a clear path and patient persistence towards her goals. She has a strong voice and carefully thought out opinions.

She also has a rigid and extremely quiet demeanor.  

Yes, she is opening up, and yes, I finally heard her give a hearty laugh…. But is there a strong enough connection for me?

No.  There just isn’t enough of a spark for me to be happy in the long term.

She is leaving for the holidays this week, and will return the first week of January She is drawing me closer into her life and while she has an extremely strong sense of self-preservation I don’t really want to be that guy that breaks things off right as she is stepping onto the plane to visit family. But maybe it would be better to talk now, so she can process while on a break from work and school?

Rod Stewart- Sailing

Friday, December 16, 2011

What do you do?

I went to B.D.’s party last night. It was a bit overwhelming and definitely not the kind of crowd I normally move in. There were fancy haircuts, fancy shoes, and plenty of turned up noses. If I had to guess what most of the attendee’s favorite pastime was, I would guess “making more money”.

B.D. is comfortable in this crowd. I am not. I made the most of it, and tried to be engaging and talkative. Didn’t work out so much. I was pretty darn quiet. Especially when the first question on people’s lips is “what do you do?”. 
Hrmm…. What do I do?

And of course my over-active mind didn’t hear the question of “What do you do so you can eat”, but rather, “What do you do to make you, you?”

Great question. Difficult answer.

What is it that I do, that makes me, me? Sure, I do yoga, hike, karaoke, hippie dance church…..but what else? What do I do to nurture my soul? I’ve done more gentle holding of my soul than nurturing the last 3 years.  What do I do? I see a shrink every week. I used to see a hospice grief support group twice a month. I go to a young widows and widowers support dinner once a month.   

Is that who I am? When my wife was alive, it never seemed to be a question that needed answered. I was Husband, Best Friend, Confidant, Lover. Part of a Team. There was no need to ask “what do you do?”

The question of “Who Am I Now?”  is so very difficult for me to answer.

What makes you, you?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Widowed People United in a Boycott of Christmas

Christmas is coming, and I feel like running away.

I’ve boycotted Christmas for the last three years since my wife died. My in-laws were actually leaving the country the first 2 holiday seasons .  Like many people, my wife loved the holidays and bringing family together. We would have all of the big holidays at our house. My wife was very happy on those days.

These days, I let the holidays slide by, or I create new traditions like the four-day no-family Thanksgiving extravaganza I attended.

I’m meeting B.D. tonight after work at a dinner event for a friend of hers. Apparently this friend has rented an entire bar for the event. I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into, but it should be fun. I guess I better wear something a bit fancier than those 501’s with the knee holes, and the T-shirt from 1997 with the pizza stains.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Pirate Life for me, Spending Loot and Drinking Wine Spodie-Odie

Really? For the time being, Google thinks I am the best search result for “Spending Loot” ??? 

The post that it references is more of a nod towards a great Chicago band The Tossers more than anything else.

Spending Loot?  Top SEO rankings? Hey! Buy my program for $19.99 and I’ll show YOU how to retire early with only 2 hours of work a day!


Yesterday there was another great post by the folks over at The Good Luck Duck . In the post they mentioned finding space for spreading ashes for a loved one.  You would think my own intimate relationship with death and grief would have me thinking warm and loving thoughts towards the nature of the post. My reaction was to laugh. Not out of anything funny (although the Duck Folks quack me up) but rather trying to make it lighter and not such a heavy feeling within myself.   I wanted to post irreverent comments. Things like “Hey, it’s great to get the guy out on the town, my wife has been stuck in a closet for years!” 

I belong to a widow and widowers support group that meets for dinner once a month and sometimes we make jokes that others would be horrified to hear. They would think we were being cold and calloused. We are actually trying to hold ourselves in a normal space, and trying to lift ourselves from the depression of grief. Should I feel guilt that I have kept my wife’s ashes hidden away in a closet for the last 2 years? NO! Should I subject friends and potential new partners in my life to a barrage of pictures and memories of my wife when they enter my house? NO! Should I find whatever way possible for my brain to move forward in accepting that my wife is gone? YES! Does that include making stupid and inappropriate jokes about sensitive subject matter? YES!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Generating Passive Income in the midsection

People seem obsessed about generating passive income.  I spent last night talking with a friend that wants to buy another rental property so he can have income in 15 years when the house is paid off. I’m all about delayed gratification, but that sure does seem a gamble. As I look for a house to buy for myself, I see how many homes have “deferred maintenance” that are selling dirt cheap. As I research these homes, I realize most of these have been rental properties.

I see landlords that didn’t spend a dime on any upkeep whatsoever, allowing their tenants to live in homes falling apart. Why replace the windows at a cost to the landlord, when the tenant can increase their cost by turning up the heat? I’m not so sure I could be that type of landlord.


I don’t seem to have much to say about anything lately. Work is getting very busy and I am very tired.
I stood in line for over an hour last night at the local Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my drivers license. Easy Breazy, just like that, I had a new license. With a fat picture. Seriously…. Not phat, but fat.

Monday, December 12, 2011

illegal and flaunting it.

So I have been without a valid drivers license for almost 30 days. I had just given notice at the old apartment when I received the notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles informing me of my impending doom by way of an expired laminated notice of vehicular competency. I didn’t want the new license to have my old address , so I just waited and let it expire until I moved into the new pad and having received the appropriately required mail, indicating I am a Real American because I have utilities provided to me by a big business corporate conglomerate subsidized by the tax payers dollars.

Now I’m hoping I didn’t make a horrible mistake in letting it lapse…… My fear is they will require me to re-take the drivers test! Ha! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sailboats and Vans

I had dinner last night with a woman who lives by her own rules. I was enthralled. She wants to live on a sailboat. We compared notes of sail boats and small RV’s. The difference is, she has the courage and self-empowerment to actually go through with it.  She has done similar things in her past. She lived in a 10ft trailer for over 5 years, living off-grid in the middle of the woods on her own piece of property.

Why can’t I find that courage within myself? I have already found a rather easy path to try it out. I buy a fully self-contained small RV \ large Van and still keep my current job. Moving around the city that I know so well, parking in neighborhoods with busy on-street parking and staying at various friends driveways.  Rotating the overnight stays to once a month so there was at least 1-2 per week. If it was something I could handle, I could move forward with true independence and travel. If the small space and lack of possessions didn’t work for me, I sell the Van/RV and move back into an apartment.  The only loss would be furniture and knick-knacks.

I feel like I’ve written that same exact paragraph many times before. Ugh.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Be vewy vewy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits in my mind

Skipped my first week day post yesterday.  It was just so darn busy there was no time.

My mother’s husband is out of the hospital. With the help of Hospice, she took him home yesterday.

I went to a hospice grief bereavement support group on Tuesday night. First time I’ve been back to the group in months.  It felt good to talk a little bit.  I tend to ramble on (much like my writing) and meander back to tie things together at these meetings.  After the meeting the facilitator and I were catching up a bit and she good-naturedly chided me for having this image of myself as rambling. It was quite nice of her to say that I bring a depth and openness to the meeting, and that when I share it doesn’t ramble, but rather brings multiple aspects together. HA!
And to keep with the death and dying theme, I saw my shrink yesterday. She is really starting to kick my rear-end and have me look at myself more critically. She is moving me past the counseling of my grief and moving me towards looking at my other “Stuff” that affects me, and that has always been with me.

My Father worked very hard all his life in a very physical manual labor job. He worked a lot of swing and graveyard shifts. He slept a lot in the day time. My mother would constantly try to keep my brother and I quiet. Her simple request of “Shhh, be quiet, your dad is sleeping” somehow added together with other stuff to transform in my mind to “Shhh, don’t speak up and be noticed” which of course then added up with my other insecurities of a lack of education to turn into “Shhh, don’t talk, and they won’t notice you have nothing worthwhile to say”

All of this is crazy talk, and my rational brain knows this. But the 12 year old hiding inside doesn’t like talking to my 44 year old brain. 
Bjork- It's oh so Quiet

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Reality Hits You Hard

Got a call on my way home from work last night. My mother’s husband is in the hospital again
This guy is really working hard to use all of his allotted nine cat lives. They took him off the feeding tube and life support stuff, gave him a bit of morphine, and he spent the night relatively alert and talking and completely cognizant of the situation. As of this morning, he is still going strong. Not sure if he is eating or drinking though.

I still have a hard time entering hospitals. I paused at the doorway and felt the grief wash over me again. It passed fairly quickly and with just a tear or two. I met my mother and brother in the waiting room outside of the Intensive Care Unit. I won’t go into the room. I can’t look at anyone hooked up to the machines.
I won't go into the private "little room" where the doctor can give you updates. The little room is not for positive updates. I can't go in there.

I let my mother’s grief explode in her, giving her my shoulder and a warm hug. It’s quite hard for me to hear her speak words and phrases like “You know” and “You are the only one that knows how I feel”. No Mom, I don’t know how it feels. I know how I feel, and each of us feels differently. I just hug her tighter and say yes and nod my head.  I got her to drink some water and then I got some food from the cafeteria for her.

When my wife died, my vocabulary diminished down to one phrase: OK.

I said OK to everything asked of me. It was an answer, a question and expression of pain. I said OK as a statement when no one else was talking. I said OK to myself. I said OK to the wall.

My mother was saying OK a lot last night.


I had canceled a date with B.D. last night, and she was very supportive. Tonight I will be going to my Widows and Widowers Support Group for the first time in months. This event seems to have triggered the need.

I expect a phone call today though, telling me he has passed on, and I will spend the evening with my Mother.  I don’t know if I have the emotional strength.

As the famous philosopher George Lindell once said. "Reality hits you hard, bro"

Monday, December 5, 2011

skidding on the Plateau, slamming into the Wall

When life is in turmoil, my first reaction is to curl up on the couch and escape into television or mindless web surfing. I am currently in that mode, and am having a difficult time finding the motivation to do the daily tasks and chores.

Oh, don’t get me wrong… if there is some social activity to engage in I am happy as can be. I’m just at another plateau and the next hurdle is slamming me in the forehead.

My dating life is taking the hit. The relationship with my wife was such a deep connection, with lively and fun interaction...our wants and needs blending so well together….and that type of connection is something we worked on strengthening all of the time.  So now I feel if I don’t have that strong connection right away with someone, it’s not worth pursuing. I realize the fallacy of that, but I still can’t seem to get over it. Why expend all that energy and emotion on someone if I don’t “feel it” right away? Ahhh…. My brain tells me I should spend that energy and emotion on strengthening myself and everything will fall into place. I need to be my own favorite person. My Passion and Purpose should be within myself, and not wrapped up in someone else.

Friday night I went to the home of a friend for a singer/songwriter jam fest. I have had the biggest physical attraction to this woman for over 2 years. But I know it isn’t worth pursuing. At least I think so. We are going to hang out together alone on Thursday. We have always been in a group when we meet, so the interaction will be interesting.
Saturday morning found me lazy and unmotivated. I literally lounged around feeling sorry for myself and surfed the web all day until late in the afternoon. Saturday night found me listening to a friend sing Christmas carols at a wine bar. It was a great time, and my friend was very well received by the customers. I met a friend of hers that is a doctor in Canada, but only works 3 weeks on, 2 weeks off, and has a house here in town.  Wow, what a life!
Sunday morning was incredibly lazy again. I forced myself up and to at least get out of the house. I had plans in the early afternoon to meet some dear friends from out of town. This couple was very close to my wife, and were considered family. They have been extremely supportive and encouraging to me these past 3 years. We ended up having dinner and I invited B.D along.  This was a huge big step. It felt surprisingly ok. 

Can I move forward? Maybe the question is…. Do I want to?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Music Non-Stop

I get the mini-van back today. Went ahead and did a bunch of other repairs I have been putting off. Total repair bill: over $600. Ouch.  Hopefully the repair to the electrical system is good.

On the plus side, it has been nice taking the bus to work this week. When the weather turns a bit warmer, I may even purchase a monthly bus pass. I could save over $175 a month if I took the bus every day.


It’s a music filled weekend.
Tonight I will be stretching my boundaries again. I will be going to a singer/songwriter musician jam fest.  Quite funny since I have no talent in any of those artistic endeavors. Sure, I sing karaoke, and play with a bunch of guys in a garage band, but that isn’t really talent. But it will be nice to be with a new group of people, with a few faces that I know. And Saturday night I will be travelling about 1 hour out of the city to a little town that a friend is singing at. This is her first paid singing gig and I am very excited for her. Hopefully her next paying gig will be a bit closer to home.


I will be seeing B.D on Sunday night, she’s back in town after a presentation for her graduate studies. I feel like she is sucking me into a relationship. I will be joining her for Happy Hour on Monday with some of her friends from out of town, we are going to accompany each other to our respective company holiday parties this month, and it all seems easy and comfortable…..
Kraftwerk - Music Non Stop

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On The Bus

Mass transit is a wonderful thing. I took the bus home last night from work to get my minivan that had died that morning. I got the van jump started and then headed across town to my mechanic  (in rush hour traffic) and then took the bus back to my apartment.  I missed a few connecting transfers, watching the connecting bus pull away from the curb as my bus was still rolling to a stop, and that added at least an hour’s worth of travel time to my night. I started my bus ride home at 3:00 pm and finally got home about 7:30 pm.

The people on the bus were quite funny. It is amazing how loud some of the people listen to music in their earbuds!  Everyone has a head down, stuck in some book, or playing a game on their phone. Except for the one lady that was on the phone. I knew we were in for some fun when she first stepped on the bus and while talking loudly to the person on the other end of her phone, that she was happy to be moving so she didn’t have to step on cockroaches at night anymore. Her conversation got more colorful as the trip went on. Apparently her roommate leaves intimate things in the bathroom, including her used monthly items. This seems to occur more frequently as she has been “smoking crack in her bedroom” and stinking up the whole apartment and not even sharing it! The young woman was then arguing with the person on the other end of the phone about moving some furniture out of a storage space. Apparently this whole conversation had been with her mother, as the young woman finally exclaimed  “I’m not going to argue with you mom, I stored a ****load of your **** when you were homeless, so I’m hanging up the phone now” 

On the bright side, I stopped at a Starbucks and had a Hell Dog Latte..... tis the season!

Kiss me on the Bus - The Replacements - from the Album 'Tim'
"C D E made a boat, C D E made it float"