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Queen, a Toyota Corolla and Love

It has been a reflective kind of day, so far. I think it is all triggered by the fact that my baby turns 20 today. My “baby”! I’ve been thinking about what his life has been and what it will be in the future. Have I done the right things? Have I done a good enough job? Will he be the courteous, adventurous, kind man that I always hoped he would be?

But on the heels of all of that, I was thinking about music. And history. My history. How so very important music is and the role it plays in my heart and mind. Who and what songs remind me of and make me start ruminating. And I was trying a little challenge to think of songs and what they have meant to me. Or how they were connected to my history. I was trying to think way back… what is the oldest song and most poignant piece of music and how did it move me?

And just about that time, a very special song played. One that floods my heart and my memories. Let me see if I can do it justice.

Sitting in a little orange Toyota Corolla, parked along some dusty, unused farm road, sometime in the summer of 1976, I believe. Holding hands with a very special boy and listening to music; desperately trying to figure out what we were supposed to be doing with our emotions and hormones. And “Queen” comes on the radio (or was it on an 8 track tape?) and we both know the lyrics and we sing along. Until we get to that point where they sing “I really love you…  you’re my best friend”. And when we sang it, we looked into each others’ eyes and we both knew we were saying “I love you” for the very first time.

God, it was frightening and exuberant and wonderful and I thought that my heart just might spring from my chest, it was beating so hard. I think we both passed a certain stage where we weren’t quite adults yet, but we were no longer a boy and a girl. God, I will never forget how amazing I felt for those minutes. And I knew that he really did love me!

I still think of that moment in time. Bringing me right back to that tempest of the emotions and not knowing what to do with all the feelings inside. I was just 16 and he was a year older, but then I believed with every fiber of my being that this was the person I wanted spend my whole life with.

Of course, I didn’t. Not even really sure how much longer we lasted as a couple. I won’t embarrass him by putting his name in here, but I know that he remembers too. Maybe not this particular moment, but we did have some good times. And some not-so-good times. Life moved on for both of us, but I have never lost this moment.

MacCupcake

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Chronic Pain and “Cake”

So, I have not had a great day. Actually, I haven’t had a ‘good’ day in a while. I fear, sometimes, that I’ve built a tolerance to the medication that I take for the chronic migraines that I have. And don’t forget about the knees. Its getting so bad, that I really have to think long and hard about making the trek up stairs to my sewing room. And the only way I can do it is one step at a time. Lately the knee pain has prevented me from making the trip to twice a day. On a good day. Did I mention today is not a good day?

I’ve seen some good movies lately. That is the one thing I can do: watch television.

Wait… do we still call it ‘watching tv’ if there is nothing actually being broadcast? I have completely stopped watching any kind of cable, other than I can stream HBO and Starz and Lifetime and a couple other channels. But not through cable, but through my Amazon Prime service. And Netflix, of course. Anyway – sorry for the interruption!

So, some really good movies lately. In fact, I am watching one particular movie for the third time within a week. I find sometimes that I sometimes slip into a sort of drug-induced fog and I can watch something and not really see it. So it helps to be able to re-watch them easily and as often as I like. And I can pause and rewind and replay any and every scene as many times as I need. Or want.

One of those movies – one that I am watching for the third time – is “Cake”. Stars Jennifer Aniston and this is not her usual vehicle. Its serious and yet lighthearted at times. And she mostly is sans makeup and wears ‘sensible’ clothes through. She is really acting. And she is acting her ass off!

maxresdefaultI have generally liked her – ‘Friends’ aside – but she really goes the extra mile in this movie. Maybe I like it so much because she is dealing with something I know a little about. Pain and pain medication. And wondering if people think you are making it up because there isn’t something visible about this particular malady.

I mean, if you break your leg, you get a cast. If you cut your skin, you see a bandage. Flu or chicken pox or a million other diseases – well, there are visible symptoms. Chronic pain? Nothing.

Also, they never really say it, but the movie hints at the fact that she and her husband are estranged and talk about a son. You are supposed to piece it together that she had been in a very bad accident with her son – who died – and maybe was her fault? But there we differ. I know that if anything ever happened to my son… I would first do whatever was needed to the person or persons that hurt him and then I would join him in death. No hesitation. Not. One. Single. Second.

Anyway, back to the blog. I’ve been really bad lately about writing and my readership is down to a trickle. I guess I had hoped for a more interactive style blog, that I would, could be talking to people who are going through the same things as I. Mostly about what is it that you’re supposed to do when you’ve done everything? Get married, have a kid, get a job/career, buy the house and the cars and furniture and landscape your lawn. But then what?

I see that Friday has turned into Saturday and I guess I should try to go to bed. The humidity has made my knees and back ache and I have been keeping a migraine just at the edge for two days now. I am hoping that a solid night’s sleep will help.

MacCupcake

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Contentment in Melancholy

From the start, I have to confess to having one of the most restful naps that I have had since I was a child. I normally don’t like to sleep during the day, as it seems to me, that it is a waste of the day. I have mastered power naps for at least the last decade or so, but don’t consider those 35 minutes anything but a waste of time.

This however, was a full fledged nap. Somewhere in the neighborhood of two and a half hours stretched out on the couch. The movie “The Fly” (the Jeff Goldblum/Geena Davis version). I have always liked it and today I turned it on to watch for at least the 20th time.

Thunderstorms are rolling in and thunder is rolling. These are those days that I appreciate the Midwest. These are the kind of storms that I grew up with and there is some sort mix of melancholy and comfort that goes along with them. I may just go sit on the back deck and watch the clouds and storm roll in.

A new week begins too soon. I need to desperately hold on to this day and its evening.

MacCupcake

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Taking It One Day At a Time

Watched something today that got me to thinking about quality of life and the right to end one’s own life – when and how a person wants.

The show was ostensibly about the Hemingways and how Muriel came from a long line of family members who had committed suicide. That, along with Ernest, his father, her other grandfather, her father and uncle and grandmother (on her mother’s side) along with some others. So, the discussion sort of gravitated towards what makes someone want to end their life.

SO, of course, it got me to thinking about it too. I mean, who is to say when a person decides that they’ve lived long enough. Is it still mental illness if the person is calm and rational and really just done living? I mean, who is to say how long you have to live? Right?

I remember when The Kid was young and we would talk about perspective. That twenty years is a long time if you’ve been sentenced to prison, but not long if you think about it in terms of death of a young person. And of course, I think about my age and how much longer I could live and sometimes I almost panic thinking about it. I mean, if you take the average age of my grandparents and my parents, I’d say I have a good thirty years, at the very least. And when I think of that number, I get almost numb with the thought of spending those years plopped in front of a television and having no life at all.

I think the way I am feeling today is due to the frustration that I am having right now. I finally get my ortho doc to agree that it is high time we replace my knees and the realization that I can’t do it without first going to work for at least a few months (six months would be optimum). But to think of hobbling around on these knees for a further six months really just makes me want to cry. (And sometimes I do!)

I don’t seem to be in a mood to sew or quilt, to paint or refinish furniture or any of the myriad of things that I love to do. I am just a bit down today and feeling pretty dark blue.

I could stand some really good news or something. Maybe I will turn in early tonight and try to get a fresh perspective in the morning. If you have any good news, please be sure to share it. I can take pleasure in other people’s good fortunes as well.

MacCupcake

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What To Do This Time Around?

Okay, I’m banging my head against a wall. Way back, about a hundred years ago, when I started this blog, the whole point imageswas to figure out what to do with this ‘second half’ of my life. I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing for more than half of my life. And I am good at it. Not to blow my own horn, but I am really good at it. For the simple reason that it is really a part of my DNA. I don’t just do QA in my professional life but I do it all the time.

So, I think it might be time for a change. The crazy thing is, I have no idea what else I could or would want to do. I am sitting in one of the online job search boards and I am wracking my brain for what I could do, what I would like to do in this next phase of my life. I have no doubt that whatever I ultimately decide to do, I know I will be great. It’s just figuring out what that thing is.

I’ve tried a couple of small businesses, but I don’t think I had my heart in the game. Or at the very least, I think I need someone else to bounce ideas off or someone to pick up slack when motivation is in thin. I thought about blowing some life back into the startup that I was part of years ago. I thought about the doll house and clothing and accessories line, but there is too much red tape wrapped up in testing of children’s toys. I do love the furniture upcycling and restoring and repainting, but I don’t think that would be steady enough and there actually is a fair amount of money needed up front. Almost need a storefront and heaven knows I don’t have that kind of money. Plus, the work is quite physical and if I cannot work regularly or for long periods of time, that sort of puts the kibosh on making any real money from it.

I wish I could find a work-from-home kind of job. I applied for closed captioning writing work, but apparently I don’t meet the most basic requirements… I think after spending so many years only entering information sporadically that my typing speed is really bad. I guess that isn’t really important, and no ‘ramp up’ time is a requirement.

I can think of a couple of places that I wouldn’t mind working, but the idea of having to be on my feet all day is simply impossible. Now that my ortho doc has ruled me ready for a double knee replacement, I guess that goes without even thinking. I think that I could just fall in love with the idea of working at Joann’s or some other quilt shop or art shop. I’d love to help others seeing their projects through to the end.

I guess today is one of those days where I am back to questioning what exactly is the point of all of it. I am sort of envious of those times past where “old” meant you hit your 30th or 40th birthday. I guess this sort of qualifies as one of those first world problems.

I know that in my heart, that once I get more focused and into something that requires my time and energy, this will all turn around. I suppose to a certain extent that the real issue that is pissing me off is the inability to do that which I want. I want to do the furniture refinishing but about 45 minutes to an hour into sanding and polishing and painting and I can almost not stand for hours following. It has been amazing that in less than a year, the degradation has been exponential to the point it is. A year ago when the insurance company told me that they would no longer pay for the hyalgan injections, I had ask the doc at that time when I might be ready for the knee replacement surgeries, he laughed off the request. He told me that I was far too young for knee replacements. Now less than a year, he put up no arguments at all when I asked. In fact, he seemed almost anxious to get me scheduled! I guess this last year has been extraordinarily tough on my knees.

Well, it has taken me all day to write this post. I just don’t have the drive or determination to get much done today. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

MacCupcake

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The Leg Bone’s Connected to the Knee Bone…

So, today I was finally given the green light for knee replacement surgery. Er, surgeries. The plan is to have both knees replaced and so the left knee is to be replaced first, with the right knee replaced the following week to ten days. I hope I am tough enough to handle the physical therapy that goes along with this, I figure it will probably be worth having both replaced at the same time and be healed and back to a more normal self than to drag this process out even farther.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 6.26.04 PMFunny thing, though, as I really believed that I would be happy to finally get the thumbs up from my doc. (I’ll call him Dr. K  for purposes of keeping his identify concealed. At least until I can ask him if it is okay to call him by name.) But somehow I don’t feel any better or hopeful in getting some kind of “normal” life back. I know that once this happens, I will be more physical and that will help shed some weight and at the same time, keep my back and neck from aching, as I know that compensation for the knees is what is triggering that lower back issue. And just the thought of doing something that will make my knees hurt that keeps me sitting in front of the television/computer/sewing machine. And those extra pounds from almost being frozen in place.

I mean, have you ever thought about what little about you physically when you’re working behind a computer screen or sewing or watching television. I consider myself one of those people who can’t do ‘nothing’ while I am watching television, but my activities even then are things that can be done without moving around much. Stuff like embroidery, hand sewing, crafting with clay, hand painting… do you see the pattern here?

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 7.11.45 PMBut the thought of them literally cutting through two bones and replace the knee and joint with titanium just makes me breathless. The thought of my doctor sawing through my bones is mind boggling. I’m think of myself as pretty tough but I cringe at the thought of how much pain initially this is going to be. Both knees.

And seriously… are the scars really this bad?

I would love to hear from others that have had one or both knees replaced. Was it ultimately a good choice? If you could do it over, would you? Is there something that you did that you would do different? I’d love to hear everyone’s stories, good or bad and whatever in between.

MacCupcake

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A New Old Kick – Music Records!

This is my latest toy/acquisition:

photo 1The Kid recently developed a desire for vinyl when we found some interesting 45s and a couple of full length album in a thrift store. For those who don’t know, The Kid and I have long been fond of digging for treasures in old thrift stores and secondhand shops. I had this really old record player in a box that we had as kids, something left over from the 60’s and maybe the 70’s. If you’re old enough, you remember those. Looks something like this:

il_570xN.248910384Since he had found these records in pristine condition, I wanted to get a decent turntable for him to play them on. Thus began his love of old records and the music.

The other day, on a whim when we were in a different part of town, we stopped into a shop and they had an awesome selection of records. I found one that could only be described as  condition – almost like it had never been played before!

photo 6I figured it would be cover bands singing No. 15 chart hits, but to my wonder it was the actual musicians and bands doing their songs – GREAT songs. Its almost too perfect to ever play!

photo 5

Tony Bennett, Guy Mitchell, Sammy Kaye…photo 4Whoops! I will have to retake that photo!photo 3Mitch Miller, Doris Day, Marty Robbins!!photo 2Frankie Lane! Percy Faith and Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans”!

Cool, huh?

MacCupcake

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Its Not All Gloom and Doom

Ever notice how easy it is to fall into a rut? Especially when that rut is lined with satisfaction and a sense of joy – or at the very least – a sense of contentment?

These last few weeks, as I contemplate going back to work, have been pretty easy going. Most of my big projects that I had defined for myself have been completed. A few are still in progress, but with just a little more time and effort, they too, will be done.

I know that my job search will not be a quick nor painless search. When you get to the point that I am, finding the ‘right’ fit isn’t easy. And it is funny, but being out of the workplace for the last six months have left me a bit out of the ‘loop’. I haven’t been talking to folks nor being privy to those conversations that take place about side projects or little upstarts. My networking, in fact, has pretty much been “un”networked.

It doesn’t help that for weeks now, the weather has been gloomy and overcast and rainy. I think we’ve finally gotten over the real wet part of the spring, but even though I wake up to sunshine streaming into my bedroom, by the time I am up and around, the sky has clouded over and the greyness has taken over. It is days like this that I tend to curl up on the couch and watch old movies. Getting almost nothing done and making no headway on the job search.

I have to say that my other blog is taking up copious amounts of time, though. My readership continues to go through the roof… well, not quite, but I am very satisfied where my the number of visitors that make their way there.

So, of course, my emphasis is there. Which, of course, means that I have to create content (it is a creative blog), so this isn’t just words. If only I could parlay that blog into some cash! Not really sure how one goes about getting a sponsor, and I do have to say that I like not having to be at the demands of a third party. I write what I want, say what I need and give accolades – and criticism – where appropriate.

I have finally taken the time to complete the passport applications and now I need to get photos of me and The Kid. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but that said, I know it will take a specific drive to get them taken. God I hate photos of myself.

Did I ever tell you why I took photography in college? Ostensibly it was to become a photojournalist, but deep down the real reason is that if you’re the person always behind the camera, you rarely end up in front of it. And that is important for someone who really hates photos of myself!

Did I ever share my theory of why, effectively, no one likes photos of themselves? I did a little more research the other day and now have some added information to defend this assertion.images-1Because people as a general rule do not have symmetrical faces, the reflection that one sees in a mirror is the image that we have of ourselves. Then, when we see a photo, we are in actuality not seeing what we normally see and therefore take the stance that photos ‘don’t look like me’. We don’t see what we have in our mind’s eye. And so very few people have symmetrical faces, so relatively few people like their photos.pXsV1KH

But I digress. Once I manage to take the photos necessary for the passport applications, it will just be a matter of time before we have the passports. And we will be ready to make that next leap. I don’t think it is as easy as just hopping on a plane towards a defined location, though, there are all sorts of things that will be necessary. Like visas and work permits. Including what to do with what we’re leaving behind. It is my goal to live and work in Europe for no longer than about two years… maybe a year is a better target, but that means leaving behind my house and all of our ‘stuff’. That is a long time to leave a house sitting empty (of people) but full of expensive toys and tools. Not too mention that I still need to keep paying for all of this that is left behind while also trying to eek out a living five thousand-ish miles away.

It is probably one of those dreams that won’t ever come to fruition, but it is good to have goals to work towards. But I dislike having dreams that have no realistic chance of actually happening. I am torn in this respect. So, often, I don’t think ten steps ahead, I make it more manageable by just taking it one step at a time.

Okay, I need to get moving and really get this day started. Thanks for dropping by.

MacCupcake

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