Monthly Archives: May 2014

Ode to the boat

This is dedicated to a good friend of mine who I spent weekends with on her boat.  We did this for many years and made many great memories.  They weren’t always good times, but as with anything, it is always better to remember the laughter.  So this post is for you, you know who “you” are, and I have only chosen the more “appropriate” things to share, as I know how embarrassed you can get…

A few days ago we took the boat to be fixed up and sold.  I know it isn’t my boat, it belongs to you.  But the memories made on that boat came back so crystal clear to me, that it was almost as if I were experiencing all the wonderful times over again.  So I thought it only fitting that I write you this letter.

You know when you bought the boat in fall, I know it only felt like winter, and we had to get those “hours” on the motor so it would be ready for ski season next year?  So we put on layers and layers of clothes to get on a ski boat and ride around the lake. Weekend after weekend.  Yes, we were camping in the cold too, but it did not seem as bad as being on the lake; of course, the campfire and the schnapps may have helped warm us up, too.

And we can’t forget taking Sammy, the dog, with us on weekends.  You always wanted to see if he could “ski.”  You never tried it though.  He swam, he camped and he went everywhere.  He was truly the all-around companion.  And every weekend he’d be such a mess…guess a lhasa apso was not the best breed for a water dog!

And all the weekends it was just too windy to ski, for you were always “glass-water” skiers, so we had some wonderful lunches  on your “$14,000 floating picnic table!”  I think the lunch consisted of beer,  hard-boiled eggs, cheese, tomatoes and beer.

There were all those sayings we had:

~ 60 and sunny, warm enough to ski!

~ A bad day on the water is better than a good day anywhere else!

~ This sure beats working (which included jobs and household chores)!

~ I wonder what other people do on Saturdays?

~ Throw me the cushion! (This meant I need a beer and the cushion to set it on!)

And you did some fancy skiing behind that boat, I was always impressed, even if you said I was always “easy.”  It was always my job to “watch,” so I knew when it was a good day or not, of course, I always said it was a good day. After all, I wanted to ride back to the dock.  Especially since I could not swim.  It was also my job to grab the ski after your run, pull in the rope, give you towel, get your cover-up and hand you a beer.  We had very specific “jobs” in the boat.  I was told that this was because of the small space and that we were floating on some deep water.  I bought it.  I followed it. I wanted to go.  Even though I couldn’t swim and I didn’t ski, I had fun and I enjoyed being there.  The other two jobs on the boat were “driver” and “skier.”  Because I didn’t ski, I was told I couldn’t drive.  I just didn’t want to “hurt” your boat, so I was really okay with that!

Remember the day I decided that I would try to ski…I remember the looks on both of your faces…”yeah right!”  But you played along nicely and let me try.  I got in the water and put on the skis, you both gave me very good instructions about how to get up and then you pulled the rope tight.  I remember you waited for my nod, just as I had watched for yours all those times and as I gave it, I heard the roar of the motor, felt the pull of the rope and…damn if I didn’t pop out of the water and I was up!  Only one problem, no one told me how to go from that crouching position of getting up, to that standing position of actually skiing! Why, you ask, because no one believed I would ever, really get up!  So in trying to figure it out, I felt myself lean too far and I let go…the one and only time I ever got up and I let go…I felt bad about that for a long time, until I realized I GOT UP and that was the main thing!

I did enjoy that moment of getting back in the boat. When I washable to say: “get the rope, I need my cover up and where is my beer?”  We all looked at each other and laughed. That may have been a big incentive to get out there and try it after all.  I’d always wanted to say that.

Over the years things changed and I did not get to finish the years you spent with the boat with you.  Things happen, life happens.  I was glad I was there the day you took it to the shop to be repaired and sold.  It seemed fitting.  I could tell you were having a rough time and I knew better than to say too much.  So I let you know I knew and I moved on, just as you wanted.  It was another transition in life, letting go and moving on.  Even though that had really happened years ago, this was just the absolute of it.  As you said, “Priorities change, I want to do different things now.”  I can see that, even though I never thought, all those years ago, that I’d ever hear those words!  But it’s time, time for the Campione to give someone else half the fun, half the joy, half the drunken pleasure it gave to us!



Monday Morning Musings

I haven’t been able to “write” here lately because of my clumsy, accident-prone self.  I didn’t quite make that four-inch step coming into my garage, so the door trapped my foot, took off my shoe and decided I should take a nice hard fall to the concrete floor…with both hands full, of course.  I was having such a fun time, too!

My three kids watching a video!

My three kids watching a video!

My three fur-babies very generously graced me with flowers and potting soil for Mother’s Day, so I was planting them in hanging baskets and planters, so I could display them for the summer.  I was just finishing up, when I took the nose dive into the concrete floor.  I guessing it was a good thing I was almost done! Of course, the plant I was carrying at the time did not fare so well…although while I was laying on the concrete, I did put the soil and the plant back into the now-cracked pot.  I figured I couldn’t get up right away, so I might as well do something useful!  I also assessed my “body” for any damage while I layer there.  It seemed my knee took the brunt of the fall, as I couldn’t use my hands to help.  At least it was the same knee that has already had four surgeries, I thought as I laid there.  As I slowly got up, I realized I was correct, the knee hurt A LOT!  But I looked outside an all the plants I had loving re-potted were sitting in the hot sun and had not been watered yet.  Yep, I watered them, hung them in the shade and cleaned up my mess THEN, I headed for the shower and the ice pack.  It was in the shower that I discovered that my right hand got messed up too.  Hence, I could not write or type!  It is still sore and hurts after use, however I wanted to write, so here it is. It has been over a week now and while I am feeling better, I know that it is not healed.  I did get x-rays and nothing is broken, Yay!  Of course, they say soft tissue damage, which could be worse than a break, but not in my house!

Of course the stress of all of this has made the Psoriatic Arthritis, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis act up like crazy, which helps nothing.  However, I am blessed to have great nephews who help me out with my yard work and other stuff.  And I have friends who will bring me lunch or cook dinner when I can’t, which is also a blessing!  I hope they all realize how grateful I am to and for them.  I have struggled with relationships since moving home, and I am now at a place where I am learning to just accept everyone where they are.  While this is not always easy, and I am always learning, I am getting better at it.  I am absolutely positive that it has not always been easy for everyone to accept me either!

I realized that writing here is a great stress reducer!  I have found that the ‘sphere is a loving and supportive place.  Bloggers, at least the ones that I have met, are accepting and helping.  I know that I am very new at blogging, and I have not met a lot of people, but my life has never been about quantity; it has always been about quality.  And in that way, I have also been blessed and I have much gratitude for the people in my life I trust.  I digress, again!

Writing is a passion.  It is something that if not done, will fester inside until it becomes so painful that when touched, it just explodes.  I find that this is how it is with me.  I have developed a need to write.  Before it was a desire, a want, a something I’d like to do; but now it is something much , much larger.  It is a passion, a driving force.  I find that on days that I am pulled away from my writing, I am becoming resentful.  Not that I don’t want to do the things that are pulling me away, just that I want to write, too!  It is all about balance.  And if I didn’t wear out easily, become so tired and go into the brain fog that comes with these auto-immune dis-eases, I could balance these things much more easily.

I have a passion, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have a goal, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have the tools, I am blessed. And I am grateful.

I have loving support, I am blessed.  And I am grateful.

I have the ability, I am blessed. And I am grateful.

Now to get on with it…

Have you ever seen a 98-year-old’s eyes light up?

Have you ever seen a 98-year-old’s eyes light up when you ask them a question? It is an amazing thing!  I know it has never happened to me before, mostly because I’ve never had the immense pleasure of being around anyone who is 98!  My Aunt turned 98 on Monday and although she has 6 living children, none of them live close, so I was able to take her out for her birthday!  She picked the restaurant and the activity in the afternoon and was very happy when I replied, “whatever you want, it’s your day!”  She smiled more and seemed more relaxed than I have seen her in months.  When we arrived at the restaurant, I told her about a book I am reading.  It is about four murders that happened in a town near where her father and in-laws lived, and it happened in 1912.  That is when her eyes lit up!  She said, “you mean the Pflanschmidts!  Yes, I heard about that a lot. My mother-in-law used to visit with Mrs. Pflanschmidt on Thursday afternoon, which was visiting day in those times.”  She continued to talk with animation that I have not heard for a long time.  She told me what she heard had happened, what everyone thought about the guilt of the son and why and how it affected the community and her mother-in-law.  I was thrilled to know the information, of course, but more importantly, I was so very happy to see her face light up with excitement and enthusiasm! She suggested that we go out and “see where all that happened,”  so she could show me how close her mother-in-law lived and how close her grandparents and father lived, also.  She then said her grandmother talked about it too, but she wasn’t as close to Mrs. Pflanschmidt.

After lunch, she chose to go for a ride in the “country.”  Now we live in a relatively small town, so there isn’t far to go to get to the “country,” but she always wanted to live on a farm and raise her family on a farm.  Due to her husband’s health, she was unable to do so, but she still talks about that having been her plan.  I let her choose the route and off we went, with my aunt pointing out who “used to” live there and who built that barn or that house.  My only regret is that I can’t write and drive at the same time! Well, I can and I have, but not with her as “precious cargo.”  I drove over 100 miles that day, which when I lived in a large city was very typical, but for this small town, that takes some doing!  I only wish it would have been 200!  It was such a beautiful, wonderful, enlightening day!

She talked about a lot of things that she has had on her mind and she said she just wanted to make sure I knew “how things should be.”  It got a little sad, as of course she was talking about her funeral and her estate.  And yet, it was hopeful, in that she believes and knows she is going to a better place.  She talked about her husband who died 34 years ago and her son who died 19 years ago, how hard that was and how she dealt with both. She also talked about how much she missed them both and how much she thinks about them. She said,”you know when you get old and can’t do as much, you have a lot of time to sit and think about things.” I agreed with her, as I do this a lot also.  It surprised me that she talked about all of this, as we are from a strong German heritage, and we just don’t talk about feelings!  Although now that I think about it, she does. She always tells me how she feels…about her anxiety, her worries and her fears.

As I write this, I realize how truly honored I am that I close to my aunt.  And I am also very fortunate that none of her children live in town, as that has allowed the two of us to become closer.  Of course it has its scary moments, like when she calls me and tells me she’s “in trouble,” and when I get to her house, she is having a heart attack. (No, she wouldn’t let me call an ambulance!)  Or when I get a call at 9pm that no one can get ahold of her by phone and would I go check and make sure she is alright.  Those times, however are heavily outweighed by days like Monday.  The days that we get to spend together when her eyes light up and she is relaxed and happy.

She is truly an amazing woman!  Happy 98th year Aunty…can’t wait for 99!!!

Rambling thoughts

What a crappy week! I am glad it is coming to an end…not the week per say, just that I am feeling better.  I do not know what was wrong, just that I have been in bed with something all week.  And I don’t like it!  Haven’t even been able to sit at the computer to do any writing.  Haven’t been able to think well enough to do any writing. The GOOD news is that I am feeling better today.  Not totally, but well-enough.  At least I can think (sort of), and sit up in a chair and walk around without hitting walls!

Amazing the things we take for granted!  Of course, I always realize that after I get sick. All the things I take for granted. Things like:

~ Being able to feed the kids (dogs) without falling over!

~ Walking from room to room without hitting the walls!

~ Being able to sit upright!

~ Being able to get the mail out of the mailbox!

~ Being able to get something to eat or drink!

~ Being able to read and/or write when I want!

None of these things are very major things, but when I can’t do them they sure seem major.  I know that far too often I look at the Blessings in my life as being the BIG things, however I need to start looking at the LITTLE things also.  When I add those up they are far too numerous to count! And that Attitude of Gratitude becomes overwhelming!

Way too often I look at myself in ways that are very judgmental, in ways that only serve to negate whatever achievements I have made.  I know in my head that this is self-defeating and very difficult to overcome. I, like a lot of people, was taught to “evaluate” myself through a very narrow and critical lens.  Although I have tried to widen that lens and allow myself much more latitude in what is success and what is just okay, it is still difficult to not look through that old lens from time to time.  I look at all the things I don’t have because of choices I’ve made or circumstances I can’t control. About ten seconds later, I realize that I also don’t need or want those things anyway, so it really doesn’t matter.  I have everything I need!  I am very blessed!

So when the critical, judgmental, narrow lens focuses on my life and I feel I come up short; I realize that I’ve lived my life the best that I could then and I still am.  I will never have the approval of everyone, nor do I want it, for then I would not be living my life, I would be living theirs.  When I was working, I had a sign in my office that read:  “We all do the best we can everyday with what we have.  Some days our best is better that others.”  It helped my clients and it helped me; my “best” was different everyday.

I am not sure if this is a blog entry or a journal entry, but it is my rambling thoughts today, as I climb out of the bed and make my way back into sanity and life.  Please pardon me if I seem to jump topics.  I would wait to edit this and polish it before I post, however I am afraid it would not get done for days!  I am as far behind on other things as I am on writing.  It is just that I like to write more than I like to do the other stuff!