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Mom and I at a favourite Bonners Ferry, Idaho cafe two years ago.

My mother is dying of cancer. From the looks of things, combined with my extreme lack of experience with cancer, or of death, I think she has anywhere from a few days to a few weeks left. Or maybe a month, but I hope not, because this is no life.

I wish I had written sooner. I wanted to record my feelings as I went through this, so it might be of some help for me when I grieve in the future. But it is very hard for me to write about my denial, and then shock, and then determination, and then despair.

She’s my mom! My pretty Momma. The woman who was always there is now mostly gone, though some of her is still here, like when she was fighting me just now. I’m trying to get her into the bathtub, because it’s the first time I’ve seen her stand in 24 hours. But she won’t go. And what power she yet yields! It makes me smile.

And so yes, the despair is gone and now I have an immense sadness, and an awed sense of beauty and love.

I am so very lucky and grateful to have spent Veteran’s day weekend with her, and then Thanksgiving. It was shocking to see the vast changes from the middle of November to the end of November. During Thanksgiving she asked me to help her write her living will. She has a terrible fear that she will be taken to the hospital, because she does not want to die in a hospital. So, I was sitting beside her on the couch, the Friday after Thanksgiving, and she was asking me to read and explain things to her. She made a few notes to herself, so she could go ask her doctor about them. Her pen hovered above the paper for a moment, and she made a curve in the air with her finger, then turned to me, “Sis, how do I make a question mark?”

Mom's question mark on the living will

It’s the loss of her clear thinking that I did not expect, and that I have the hardest time dealing with. My mother, who has written long, detailed letters her entire life, couldn’t remember how to make a question mark. During that late November week, she had frequent periods where she would fade out, and fade back in with conversation from a different topic. But I could talk myself into believing it was because of her fatigue, or the pain meds. I talked with her on the phone December 3rd. She drifted and stopped talking a couple times, but it was still very easy to communicate with her.

But now, she speaks only a few words a day. Maybe she’ll say “no” or “water,” but that’s about it. And as vastly helpful as those few words are, I sense they will not be around much longer. I remind myself to transition to non-verbal communication.

She hears just fine, though sentences are often too confusing for her to understand. But simple ideas get through. “My beautiful Momma,” I said to her, as I stroked her hair, and though her eyes had been closed, she smiled. It was so wonderful to connect.

P.S. My mother and her husband Jim do not have health insurance, and she’s too young for Medicare. I made a website to solicit donations. There is also a prize for one person, whose name I will draw from the donators. So, even if you don’t know us, maybe you’d like to have a little holiday fun for a good cause. Please see the website.

My vision is slowly clearing up from the frosted glasses I wore in my last relationship. For me, three months is a long time to snap out of it. I am used to feeling freedom and joy almost the instant I get away from whatever man I’ve leeched myself onto.

What explains the gradual drift away from him, rather than a sudden snap to consciousness? I’d like to believe it’s a sign that I have grown as a person enough to leave a relationship before I am on the edge of despair. In the past, I have left relationships as a last-ditch effort to survive. My grieving the betrayal and loss of most relationships occurs while still officially in them. This time I left earlier in the process, and so maybe I continued the grieving once I was gone. Maybe I’m getting wiser.

In any case, my cathartic experience was Monday, when I finally moved the last of my stuff out of the house and over to my new rental place. In the process of hauling stuff out of the basement, I passed a sickening sight. He’s got a bunch of trash and furniture strewed at random along the side of the house. Who knows how long it’s been there – a month? Plastic, wires, broken things, tools, and painfully- furniture. For example, a pine hutch for the kitchen with cupboards and a drawer. It was in perfect condition when I left. It is now beyond salvage; warped and bleached from rain and weather. One of the pieces was a large oak entertainment center that I had come to get. He had at least laid a piece of plastic on top, but the base was in three inches of standing water. The bottom trim is warped and blackened with mold.

“Just like common white trash,” I thought to myself. “Leaving a bunch of stuff outside in the yard to get ruined.” I wondered: Who is this person who is so thoughtless and careless?

And it hit me: there is no difference in this behavior than anything I knew about him in our six years together. This is how he has always been. He has carelessly smashed half our dishes over the years. When we moved he piled everything in a jumble in the moving van so nearly all our wooden furniture is damaged now (that is, the stuff that wasn’t totally ruined). He stacked spare tires on a rocking chair, so that when we unpacked the chair the fabric cushions had ground-in black rubber. Ruined. It doesn’t occur to him to place any extra value on things that are expensive or of quality construction: to him, no things are valuable. In one way, it could be said that he is not beholden to material objects, but on the other hand – since we have often struggled for money – he was thoughtless and careless not to consider that everything he ruined had to be replaced. For a price. Sometimes the things he ruined had nostalgic value to me and can never be replaced.

The difference is that I am no longer there to walk behind him and clean up his messes.

My transformative thought was that the whole damn relationship was probably me! The catharsis is that I am relieved to know that I was correct to leave him. He isn’t only careless with furniture; he is careless with his life. He does not cherish his friends, and he does not cherish his family. I thought back over all the catastrophes he helped create and maintain, and I thought back over the lies that I told to my family and my friends to protect and support him, and to protect myself from my embarrassment and shame. Like when he was unemployed for 14 months and I helped him maintain all his excuses and lies about why he wasn’t employed. Yes, the economy was bad – a perfect alibi. But I didn’t tell anyone the truth. Such as the time he got a job offer, and let it go.

I am angry at myself (No, not at him; I feel sorry for him.) for not learning this lesson yet. I am a world-class enabler and after forty years and hundreds of relationships (well, it SEEMS like it!), I just cannot seem to learn to stop it.

I need to stop valuing people according to their potential, and begin placing value on what they actually do with their potential. I glom onto a man believing that with support and encouragement, he could be the man he truly is inside! I give, and give, and give until I am sucked dry, and there is nothing to show for my investment. And my bonus gift is that they always (Always.) find a way to spin it so that I am the one who betrayed. I am the one who let it fall apart. I am the evil trickster.

He said to me recently that he has watched me fall into deep depression in the past two years (actually, I have indeed been depressed a lot). He said I am the most depressed person he knows. “I am truly worried about you without me there to look out for you,” he says. “Now that you’re gone you will withdraw from life and sink more deeply into your depression. It drives me crazy because everything you want, I give you, but you can’t be satisfied with anything. You think leaving me will solve all your problems, but you had all you ever needed with me, and refused to see it.”

For the last year I’ve believed him when he told me what a dark soul I was, dragging him down when otherwise he would be happy. Today I say back to him as Eowyn said to Wormtongue, “Your words are poison.” I will no longer listen.

I am now free to try again to live up to my own potential. It is a beautiful, limitless path with brilliant possibility.

Morrison Street house

Life is going: “Whoooooosssshhhh!!”

I’m mostly excited about the possibilities of a new house. I was in Baltimore for three weeks, so my honey was house-hunting without me for awhile, fell in love with some house potential, and put an offer on one. We weren’t too sure about the price they countered with, and added to the fact that I had never seen it, we declined their counter and said “No, thanks.”

They countered again, and asked us to please reconsider. By that time I was able to take a look at the place, and I also fell in love with it’s potential. We put in another offer.

Sooo…. I’ll leave description of the place till I know we get to live there. Suffice it to say, it was built in 1925 and hasn’t had a whole lot done to it since then, except perhaps the addition of a full bathroom upstairs in approximately 1973- judging by the style. And… the addition of gallons of white glossy paint over all the solid wood built-ins, and solid wood doors, and trim, and everything – which can be remedied by some paint stripper and elbow grease.

Baltimore was so awesome it should get its own entry. I think I’ll do that. I was there for training, and the training was great. Good class, great instructors, the material flowed, and I actually feel pretty well prepared to get on my feet and start this damn job.

…which isn’t going to happen for awhile yet. I’m telling you: I’m going to qualify for Professional Trainee any day now. I still don’t have a place to sit in the office (space is scarce). Luckily, a lot of people in my group work at home, and so the new hires sit at other people’s desks for the time being. We have several more weeks of training yet to get through, and our training coordinator said today that she’s thinking we may start working by the end of January. Word through the grapevine is that we may have cubes and desks by the end of January also, so the timing will work out. (did you catch my Pollyanna approach there?)

My daughter is really maturing. It is a fulfilling experience to watch this part of her growth. I feel like it’s something I’ve been waiting for: to see who she turns out to be. She’s got confidence in who she is now, confidence in being an individual aside from her parents. Her input into conversations is with the full knowledge that we don’t have to agree, or even to find it interesting. She recognises when we don’t know something as well as she does, and she shares information consistent with her generous spirit. I love that my daughter realizes that we all have the chance to teach each other.

I love discovering how much of her world is now going on without major adult involvement: friends, topics of discussion among peers, virtual Internet worlds, pop culture. She has her own life and doesn’t need to ask anyone’s blessing on what she thinks or does. It is very exciting for me to see this happening.

Always I ponder the balance of “shoulds.” Should I ask more questions, should I watch her more carefully online, should I learn more about who her friends are? But so far, I find that she is a good kid with good motivations. Perhaps this is because she’s 10 years old, but so far I am really pleased with what a great person she is, and I don’t have worries about her behavior.

This makes me a proud momma.

My partner is going through one of his “UP” swings on the pendulum, and that’s the best sort of partner to be around! He’s bringing home the bacon, which soothes his wretched male ego. He has succumbed to the inescapable fact that our lives are intertwined, and he’s committed to us whether he likes it or not… and he’s finding that he likes it. He had a bit of a freak out when the mortgage lender stated point blank that our mortgage would have both our names on it. But he recovered in only a couple days, and now is proud of being able to say “our house.”

Even better, he and my daughter conquered a wall of some kind while I was gone, and they now share inside jokes (both having infinitely more juvenile tastes than me….) and even a smattering of closeness. The other night she and I both went to bed at the same time, and she called to him to help her put her bed in order and then asked him to read her a story. He got her all squared away (the cat had napped on her sheets and left a pile of fur and dead leaves – ick!) and soon I heard his soft voice stumbling through a chapter from Carl Sandburg’s Rutabaga Stories, which, if you haven’t read it, is a riot of silliness and grand tall tales that might come straight from a Nyquil dream.

Life is pretty good. It’s raining in Portland, and I am happy to be loved and in love and moving through my life today.

Grandma Haley camping with us

I just found out a couple hours ago that my grandmother died. Grandma Freda Haley of the big Haley clan, and the reigning Matriarch of that family, as well as the Truloves. She was 82, and had been ill for months, but not so ill that this quick passing was expected.

Gramma at the reunion

Gramma was the second of 8 children, but Great Uncle Bill died in 1946 when mortar fire hit his tank in WWII. So Gramma was the oldest and all her brothers and sisters loved her so.

She married Rex Trulove and had six children – my Pa is not quite the youngest. I’ve done a bit of genealogy this summer, and by my rudimentary calculations, Freda’s children, grand-children, great-grandchildren – and one great, great-grandchild!!! – and their partners make up about 53 people.
I saw her this August at a family reunion. She was a smaller version of her vivacious self; not as loud, not as brazen, not as big. Her face was less physically beautiful – someone else had applied her makeup for her. Gramma was there despite the deception age placed on her skin, and it didn’t take any effort to see the amazing woman inside. Her devious eyes watching me like a hawk when she made up crazy stuff and told me with a straight face to see if I would catch it. Her bawdy jokes about sex and booze that she made up on the spot. Her willingness to use age as an excuse to cut in line and get the only brownie left, and to get wheeled into the shade when the sun got too warm. She would turn in her chair and look at me and laugh. I got the sense that she was still sort of surprised to be getting away with it.

The memories I have of her are primarily times when I was busting at the seams laughing. She could  – and did – drink as much or more than anyone at the table. She always knew the best jokes and it didn’t matter if I was 12: I could hear them with everyone else. I remember when my Pa brought her to Pine Ridge Inn, in Tamarack, Idaho for the Friday night jam session. She explained that the piano wasn’t tuned to the way she knew her songs, but with a little encouragement, she played and sang all night with the rest of us. (Yep, me and my little guitar and a mic in a redneck bar when I was only 10 years old)

with Gramma at the reunion

When she lived in Klamath Falls she had this teeny, white and curly haired, wiggly mess of Teacup Poodle named Sheba. One of the only dogs I’ve ever loved. Now, whenever I hear the name Sheba, I think it’s a poodle name. I was with her when her cat had babies, and I watched each one be born in a cardboard box. When the mother cat neglected the kittens, Sheba obliged. I was so impressed.

Her great love in recent years was her trusty companion, Spike. He was an indoor cat and gave her love back to her. When Gramma wrote a newsletter for her senior community, she included “Spike’s Corner” for news about pets. Spike died this year too.

Gramma was the only person I remember who washed my mouth out with soap. I don’t even remember what I said. I knew I deserved trouble, and there was no one else there to appeal to. I just accepted it. She opened a brand new bar of soap and made me put the whole thing in my mouth and move it around. Egad! That was horrible. The punishment was so effective that it wasn’t until I joined the Air Force before I was brave enough to learn how to cuss properly.

I have memories of her at huntin’ camp. Back in the days where it was a grown-up’s world and the kids were only invited along because they couldn’t be left home alone. There was coffee or beer to drink at huntin’ camp. I couldn’t bear coffee at that age, so I had beer for breakfast, and then I’d go find a creek to drink, or melt snow in my mouth if we were lucky to get an early fall storm. Gramma seemed at home camping. She was there at the famous Easter camp at some pond. Was it Otter Pond? Beaver Pond? The Easter Bunny found us out there and hid eggs in the Oregon Grape and amongst the pine and fir trees. Somebody imbibed too much and fell into the fire. That was the year I learned how to get over my squeamishness and bait my hook with a live grasshopper and I caught my first fish. It was only about 4 inches long, but my Pa was so proud he filleted it for me and fried it up anyway.

We’ve got this picture of Gramma in her chair right in a river. She’s got her pant legs wet, with her bare feet in the moving water, and a coffee cup (probably filled of whiskey and ice). I can’t remember where that was taken. Maybe it was one of the times she camped with us at Brownlee Dam on the Snake River.

She always laughed and laughed. She made everyone else laugh. She had had a hard life, sometimes things were bountiful, but often in poverty and want. All her kids and her siblings say to me about it is how she made life fun no matter what the circumstances were.

We are all so proud of her.

Grandpa Rex Trulove, Grandma Freda, Aunt Pat, Aunt Judy; my Pa and baby Uncle Buzz in front.

She was proud of her Cherokee heritage. Our Haley family came from Talequah, OK to Oregon. Gramma told me she was called Ho Ho Nay, meaning Calf-Woman. There was a great little story about why, but sadly I’ve forgotten it.

I complained once about being so fair skinned and blonde, saying I don’t look even remotely Cherokee. She told me to shush because she had a framed photo of a Cherokee Chief on her wall and the man had green eyes. I have green eyes. It made me feel better. I have big Indian eyes, especially when I was younger. I’m so white I’m translucent, but when I tan, I get golden dark, dark. I have a lighter streak of hair that naturally grows on my right temple and didn’t think much of until I saw a photo of Gramma with her hair parted in the same place, and a white-blonde streak in the same spot.

Send me some love. I’m so sad I couldn’t be at work today. I need to be strong for the services tomorrow in Eugene.

Comment from the old blog:

april

I’m sending love! I am sorry for your loss, and thankful for the rush of memories you provoked for my own grandmothers that have passed on. Thank you for sharing your grief and your memories with us, my dear friend. And for holding space for your grief by taking the day off and really allowing yourself to experience it.

Oooooh, so timely, go read Joy and Sorrow. The depth of your grief is a reflection of the joy your Gramma brought you.

crystal

Thank you, Ophelia, that’s a beautiful poem.

I leave the house so early anymore that I don’t have time to do my morning computer routine. I can comfortably sit here in the tapestried chair across from the wood stove with my computer on my lap for 4 hours. I only need to get up to add wood to the fire, refill my cup with Peets, or go to the bathroom because of the Peets.

I’ve got four email accounts and eight websites upon which I update my personal life, as well as keep track of my virtual community (most of which are reflected in real life by actual friends and family whom I love). That’s how the time can go by so quickly when I’m online.

The second week of work has wound down, and I realize I’ve barely put myself out there in that time. I’ve read a lot of emails, and smiled at them, and left them in my inbox to get to later. I’ve even jetted off a couple of quick responses. I see that I will need to adjust my routine again now that I have a job that always uses up my morning.

And I can’t do it at night. Yes, I’ve received endless years of harassment by well-meaning friends who truly can’t believe that I really am tired so early in the evening. Regardless, I remain incorrigibly a very early morning person. My peak performance of a given 24-hour period is 3:00am-10:am. (I know this because I worked so many overnight shifts.) Midday I’m ok. I can comfortably work through lunch, and I don’t really notice the early afternoon sluggishness that sets in for many people after a good lunch. However, around 5pm, my brain goes fuzzy. While my mood stays up and I’m happy to go do things, by this time I’ve lost the ability to be philosophical or complicated. By 7pm, I really have lost completely all valuable functionality. I try to get to bed soon after 8, and if I’m not in bed by 9, I have just ruined the next day because of lack of sleep.

It’s Saturday, I am now fortunate enough in my life to have been blessed with a job that is mon-fri and has weekends and nights off. It’s 6:30 in the morning (I slept in to celebrate the weekend!), and my computer is on my lap.

Here are all the things I should have been talking about the last two weeks, but have found my life flying by too quickly to stop and share it:

The trees! Oh, my they are beautiful in Portland right now. Someone actually commented at work that since I came from Massachusetts, the Fall colours would disappoint me, but it hasn’t been the case. The hills, I admit, are duller than New England, but right up close in the city, the bronze, vermilion, gold, fire orange and lemon yellows are blowing me away this week. I am so tempted to take my camera and snap some of them, already past their prime now, but so beautiful.

At my morning bus stop is the most remarkable view through trees and past an industrial building, of four layers of overpasses soaring across the horizon. On a rare clear morning, I saw the sky turn velvet orange-pink just before it began to light up, and so the overpasses were silhouetted in front of the dawn. I find geometric shapes beautiful (partly why I admire Turkish traditional design in architecture), and I also love curves. These lofty highways are black ribbons in the morning, topped with sparkling lights – some brilliant white, some red from taillights – all moving in their quests of employment like me.

Across from work is a park three blocks long. Directly across from my building, in the park, is a pond with cattails and bubbling water and water-shaped stones from Portland’s sister city, Suzhou, China. Yesterday I sat there in the first sun at lunchtime in a long time, and laughed while three boys ran around the pond – jumping over my legs because I was on the banks. What gushing enthusiasm they have. What would it be like to parent a boy?

In less than two minutes, I watched a whole series of trying parenting moments. The middle boy attempt to step out to a rock in the middle, and fell in. The oldest boy and the youngest had climbed around the back up onto a large rock and the oldest had the little one by the neck of his shirt and was dangling him over the water. As the little one squealed, Mom hollered, and the older one said “I’m just helping him get around me so he can get down!” The big one ran down the hill to Mom and said, “Can we leave now?” The middle one, who had already left the pond and was heading down the hill, immediately shouted “No! We just got here!” and ran back up to the pond to pretend he was interested in it. The little one was on the bank on his knees, with arms so deep into the pond his nose almost touched the water, came up with a beautiful river-polished stone and with an expert cast belying his youthful appearance, the stone flew up, up, and right through a hole in the Suzhou rock. The small stone bounced down inside and splashed into the pond. The boy’s face showed pure delight. “Oh!” he said. “Com’ere! Com’ere! Lookit this!” And to my surprise, that small arm expertly threw another stone through the same hole.

My head was spinning from all that activity, and it made me grin.

My co-workers truly care about each other. They truly care. It was not like that in the National Weather Service for the most part. Most of the NWS forecasters are snot-nosed hoodlums right out of college and four years out of Mom-and-Dad’s place – filled with an assuredness and a self-absorption that is common and beautiful among young people. …Just… not beautiful when it’s your co-worker…and they’re 12 years younger than you, making more money than you, with a more impressive titles and gaining more respect and responsibility because of the titles. Those people go on to quickly become managers, and never get the chance to learn how to care about each other, or the people working hard to make their offices run smoothly.

The people I have spent the last two weeks with are mostly in their 40s and 50s. A large portion of them are in their 60s. They have families, grandchildren, divorces, deaths, births,  unemployment, and military service behind them. Nearly every new face looks at me with genuine interest and gratitude at helping to relieve the future workload they all struggle beneath. Someone’s always bringing in baked goods, sharing office resources (because it’s the end of the fiscal year and we are out of materials and out of money to get more). Even though some people could be getting better practice by keeping their places, they get up from their seats and let others sit there and learn because several computers are so old that they aren’t working properly and those individuals are being left out of hands-on training. There are a few young people there too, in the staff of around 160 people, and they have learned to adopt the prevailing atmosphere of love and caring and generosity. I am so pleased with my new work community.

With all the huge technical setbacks, we’ve struggled with, my class members as well as our trainer proceed with so much patience. People say earnestly to each other: “Our attitude is a choice we make each morning.” It’s a very healthy place to be.

I’m beginning to learn the bus drivers and to feel more comfortable with my ride. Again, I’m like a broken record: Portland is such a beautiful, beautiful city. I love the scenes passing by the windows as the bus takes me away from work. (It’s pitch black out in the morning, so I don’t know the scenes as well).

I’m getting used to the security routine. This is the first time I’ve had to go through a metal detector every day, and put my belongings in a tub and onto a conveyor belt. Many of my shoes set off the alarm, I’m beginning to learn which ones, and pop them into the tubs right away. I do look forward to when I get my own ID card, and can wear it on a lanyard and not be in constant fear of losing my driver’s license, which I keep in my jacket pocket with my bus pass in case I leave the building and need to get back in.

My daughter and I plan to carve our large pumpkin today. She said she doesn’t like to touch the “guts.” I said it’s a package deal. Silly girl is happy to pick up a snake, but refuses to touch the inside of a pumpkin. So, if she gets over her squeamishness, we’ll carve a pumpkin today. We watched Narnia last night. Which should be titled, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, because it’s only part of the story.

She forgot to bring her book of the Land of Elyon, which she is just about to finish, so I offered to read to her from the one I’m currently entranced by: Gone With the Wind. Oh my goodness! What a delicious book! The historical references are amazing, back to the Haitian Revolution and the Orangemen in Ireland. The character descriptions are irresistible, and Ms. Mitchell’s ability to grab my heart and pull out emotion is remarkable. The story is so incredible, I never guessed it from the movie I’ve seen. How Ellen O’Hara is the Virgin Mary in Scarlett’s eyes, and how carefully Mammy and Ellen train her to faint and act completely stupid to gain a husband, while assuming that once married, all women will need to have sharpened their intellect to its utmost in order to keep the household as well as the plantation running, all while making the loudmouthed men feel important. It’s hilarious and touching and sad and true, and filled with exquisite descriptions of the land and the costumes on the people – especially Scarlett, with her “17-inch waist, the smallest in three counties!” I recommend the book. Please, please read it!  <<wink>>

Anyway, there’s a bit of the life I’ve been living lately. Sorry to have been so hasty that I’ve left it un-commented-upon for too long.

april

Hello Friend,

I haven’t been feeling very verbal lately due to the tremendous energy expenditure of Pride, but I just had to let you know how happy I am you are working in a good culture.

Isn’t it nice working in a culture of kind people? It makes such a tremendous difference, especially if the work sucks at times. My co-workers share everything from garden grown vegetables to a constant store of chocolate in the ED’s office. Every birthday is celebrated. Every joy is shared. People are appreciated for who they really are. You can bring your sadness from home to work and people respect that you need space and may not be fully present. Or you can take mental health days and nobody has a problem  with it.

I’m hoping to apply for a promotion at work, as soon as I find out what changes they’re making to the position. It’s a management position that doesn’t manage people; only the agency’s relationships and contracts with outside entities. It would put me much closer to the good things the Agency does and challenge me to work on my social anxiety at times, but also give me lots of downtime for research and policy/procedure writing. The position also helps start new programs, which I’d love. It may be that my job search the last year was fruitless because I was meant to bring more of myself to this organization. At least I’m hoping that’s the case. Serendipitously, the Agency has to start addressing the LGBTQI community’s needs beginning in 2008, so I could be a bridge between Humboldt Pride and the agency, effecting how it serves elders.

Anyway, Your strange schedule never fails to amaze me! : ) Your best time of day is when I most like to sleep or relax. And I tend to peak in the evening if I’m working on something I love. It’s no wonder we never talk on the phone…lol.

Love you sweetie,
Ophelia

20 year old me

Well, there are a bunch, of course.

But I try to think about them in a different way. I am one of those freaks who actually enjoys the painful growing process. [maybe Miss Ophelia shares this quality with me?]

Sometimes I am truly angry with my parents for leaving me so unprepared in some ways to make my independent way in the world. And sometimes… I know that this is the only way to learn.

So I guess I learn the lessons I’m ready for. When something comes to the forefront of my mind, and it irriates and grates at me till I can’t stand it anymore and I address the situation, and in the end learn from it… well, then, I assume that I was primed and ready for that particular lesson. I believe that when it goes like that, then I am learning in the best possible way because that’s when the lesson will stick with me.

*sigh!* but if only I could have avoided so many stretches of utter foolishness…

If you read any previous posts, you may have seen that I am writing a book about a significant time in my life when I was stationed in the Air Force on a remote Aleutian Island. In getting my head into that time so the memories will come back, I’ve re-read old journals, and letters that my mother saved (she saves them all – BLESS her heart!). Sadly, I find myself embarrassed of who I was then. Geez Louise, could there have been a sillier, more ridiculous girl ever? Oh my, was I a dingaling. My mother calls me “boy crazy” back then, and I am afraid to say that’s an understatement. Here I am, pushing 40, and my memories of that island are the landscape, the weather, the isolation, the pressure, the crazy antics we participated in to entertain ourselves and keep ourselves sane. What do my journals and letters say? Boys, boys, boys. Like I have no other thought in the world. If only there was a way to go back and do that year again with a bit of maturity…

…but then, that’s the point of my book. It was at that dreadful place that I learned a few life lessons. So, getting back to my original point. I think the way my life has gone so far is the way it was supposed to go.

One of my many guises

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