In 2002 we ran away from Illinois where we were born and raised, and started a new life in SW Florida. This blog is about me (an eccentric old artist), ROM (my Real Old Man), Isabella (our neurotic Standard Poodle) and Emmy (our crazy snake killing Jack Russell Terrier). Oh- and the neighborhood old people. Life is good in Florida!


Monday, May 19, 2014

Ebb and Flow of Life and A Day At The Beach

Too many time during my lifetime I've known emotional pain that has brought me to my knees and left me certain that my spirit was broken beyond repair. It wasn't and I survived them all.  And during my lifetime I have also experienced times of such incredible happiness and joy that I was sure it must be a once in a lifetime experience. It wasn't, I've had many times of spirit soaring happiness. What I've learned is that life is a continuous ebb and flow, always changing, a mixture of good and bad.  Never let the dark times trap you because there is moment of joy just waiting for you to find it. I'm as certain of that as I am that the sun will come up in the morning, set in the evening and the stars will come out at night. And with that in mind, it's time that I begin to work my way out of my grief.

Surrendering to grief would be easy, the path of least resistance. I could settle into it with no effort at all. And that would be a damn shame, not just for me but also for those who love me. I need to ease myself back into the ebb and flow of life. And what better place to start than at the beach...

A day at one of Anna Maria Island beaches reminded me of several things I knew and had forgotten, such as...

The simple beauty of nature is always inspiring to me...

If no one will throw the ball to you, throw it yourself!

 And catch it yourself when the waves bring it back to you...

Building sandcastles in the sun with a friend is always better than hiding inside trying to go it alone. 

Sharing your little joys with a loved one is better than sharing your misery. 

Looking for the little treasures of life can lead to joyful discoveries. 

I know my grief won't magically disappear. The loss of my son is a pain I will carry with me the rest of my life. But there will also be times of happiness ahead for me and I will be ready to experience them. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Day On The Lanai With ROH & The Girls

Yesterday I chatted on Twitter with a woman who lost a sister to a drug overdose. After we spent some time commiserating over how awful it is to lose a loved one to drugs, we decided we needed to work harder at bringing some joy back into our lives. We made a pact to spend time every day finding at least one joyous thing to celebrate. I'm a simple gal, so I find my joy in simple things like my husband, my dogs, nature (BEACH!), my plants and my lanai. So today I spent the afternoon tending to my plants both inside and outside the lanai. 

Of course a day on the lanai is number 1 on the list of things the dogs enjoy. Isabella was showing off her cool and casual new summer hair-do. She must have been feeling really good about how she looks today because she posed like a cover girl for photos.

And Emmy? Oh hell no! She can't be bothered with such girly things like posing for photos. There were geckos to hunt and dragons to slay. I'd call her to me and as soon as I started to raise the camera to take her pic, she'd whirl around and race back to her guard post worried that a little anole may have snuck into her lanai. So I got a lot of photos of her ass. (While Bella continued to pose)

After cleaning my plants they looked pretty good. We had a mild winter this season, unlike the past few winters, and they came thru it with no damage. Can you spot the hidden treasures among the plants? 
 A mermaid

 A Yellow Gecko

A Seahorse

I bought this ponytail palm plant Dec. 1st and it has really grown. I have several out in the rock garden that are taller than me, hopefully this one will stay small and grow slowly in a container. But if it doesn't, it will move outside with the other plants that have outgrown the lanai.


And this, my friends, is my dose of joy for the day. Life is good... now go find your moment of joy! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If Only...

I thought this past weekend would never end. I was repeatedly reminded that it was Mother's Day weekend- commercials on TV, email ads, fliers in my snail mailbox and the numerous floral vans making deliveries in the neighborhood. I stayed away from Twitter to avoid seeing "Happy Mothers Day" tweets. Twitter isn't a good place to be when you're feeling raw and emotional.  Trust me, when your child has recently died the last thing you want to hear is Happy Mother's Day. There's not a damn thing happy about it. I just wanted to dig a hole, climb in it and die. (No, I'm not suicidal. I would never do that to my husband. It's just a feeling but I would never act on it.)

It's horrid enough to lose a child in an accident or to an illness, it's even more complicated if your child died due to his own preventable actions. Not only is there grief, but also an abundance of guilt, regrets, and anger. If only he had gotten off of drugs, if only he had stayed on a treatment plan for his mental illness and addictions, if only he hadn't hooked up with other drug users, if only I had been a better mother, if only his father hadn't abandoned him at the age of 3, if only I hadn't sent him away the last time he was here- all those if onlys played over and over again in my mind all weekend. Yes, I know it's futile to indulge in if onlys but sometimes you just can't stop your brain from wallowing in thoughts and memories. 

I can't go back and undo anything, there are no do overs when it comes to parenting. All I can do now is try to keep my demons at bay and not wallow in my grief and regrets. So I need to spend my time doing things that bring me peace of mind- like playing in my studio, observing nature and being grateful for my husband who loves me no matter what. I have so much to be grateful for, even when my sadness prevents me from seeing it. I need to learn to enjoy and love what I have in my life, instead of drowning in grief for what I no longer have. 

I spent some time last night watching the moon. A strong breeze made the palm trees sing as the moon peeked in and out from behind their fronds. If you've never listened to a tree sing as a breeze blows through the leaves, you must. Each tree has its own melody, and our Florida palm trees sing a much different tune than the oak and hickory trees that surrounded our home when we lived in IL. 

I'll close this post with some photos I took of the moon last night...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Signs Of Our Impending Dotage...

I like to think we are growing old gracefully and still somewhat cool people, but clear signs of our dotage are becoming impossible to ignore. 

One of the omens of our impending senility is our struggle to keep up with technology. It's becoming harder and harder with each new gadget we acquire. We recently shit canned our hated Blackberries and got new phones. ROM went with the iPhone and I chose the Galaxy Mega.  

 The Galaxy Mega must have been made just for me. For years I've bitched about the tiny size of phones- the tiny screens and even tinier keypad. The Mega is my kind of phone! A screen I can actually see and a keypad my clumsy fingers can use. Here is a photo of it in comparison to my laptop. 

But we have had our problems with the new phones. I figured out how to tweet from my new Mega but had a helluva time figuring out how to turn off notifications when I was mentioned in a tweet. Throughout the day and night my phone would make chirping bird sounds- not only did it annoy me, it drove Emmy crazy. Every time the phone would chirp she would run to it and bark like a maniac. And she has one of those high pitched ear piercing barks- like someone stabbing you in the ear drums with an ice pick. Finally I figured out how to turn off notifications... just before I either killed Emmy or threw the phone outside. 

After resolving that issue, there was still one major problem... I couldn't figure out how to answer the damn phone when someone called me! When a call would come in a screen would pop up showing a green receiver on the left side and a red receiver on the right side. I assumed tapping the green receiver image would connect me to the caller and tapping the red receiver would terminate the call. So I'd tap the green icon and say hello- but nothing. So I'd frantically tap again and yell Hello Hello Hello??? Like screaming and pounding on the green image would make it work- ha! 

I even had ROM call me while he was sitting right beside me so I could show him that my phone didn't work. Like two simple minded idgiots we took turns tapping the green receiver image trying to make it work. I finally said fuck it and clicked the home button while it was still ringing because I was tired of dealing with it. And what do you know- the ringing stopped and I was connected to the call. Who knew someday I would be so thrilled just to be able to figure out how to answer a phone? 

Another sign that we're sinking into old age is the retelling of stories and arguing over whose version is right. Have you noticed that with old couples? Takes them forever to tell a story because they argue over every little detail. ROM's parents were masters at this- constantly correcting each other over story details and then arguing whose recollection was right. ROM and I swore we would never get like that. And we have tried, truly we have, especially in front of other people. But when we're alone in the privacy of our own home? Not always. 

The other day ROM was explaining to me where a certain business was located in a strip mall. I commented that was the strip mall where we met the couple for drinks and she spit out her dentures and flashed her bare tatas at us (story here). As he has insisted before, he said he was sure it happened at the Elks Club.  Why he thinks that I haven't a clue and I usually don't argue that point with him but on this day it rubbed me the wrong way. I jumped up from my chair and screamed "Stop saying that! It was a gawd damn bar in a strip mall. Every time you say it was at the Elks I want to slap you! Think whatever you gawd damn want but don't ever say that to me again!" After a moment of silence he started to mention the Elks again and I cut him off with "Do not say the Elks to me again!!!". After another minute of dead silence, he grinned at me and said "Okay". But I betcha' the next time he tells the story he will say it was at the Elks... because that's what old people do.