Thursday, November 25, 2010

At The Top Of My List

* Loving & supportive family
* Friendships - old, new and renewed
* The impact of those no longer with me
* My health
* My house - built with love in a fab location
* Having a good job (I live in Michigan, after all!)
* The ability to start over

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Wescott House

Springfield has a Frank Lloyd Wright home, the Westcott House. What a beauty!


I love Wright's little spaces.

Especially when he puts them all together.

Another Class

I had a really good class in Springfied on Saturday! The county’s Fair Housing Office somehow learned about the class and sent over these bags as gifts for all the participants! On top of that, a gentleman who facilitates federal lead-safe certification classes attended.
My dream outcome for my class is that someday it could be accessed through city and/or county officials as a remedial offering to landlords who find themselves in trouble. I would love to have education (preferably mine!) be an option to penalties for those who are cited for property violations, discriminatory practices or have tenants escrowing their rent. A partnership with a county Fair Housing Office is a great place to start!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Benefits Of Age

Middle age must be the prime of life. I know that we’re supposed to mourn our youth and dislike aging, but it’s not working that way for me. I think I’m at the balance point on the teeter-totter.
With the exception of losing Butch, I am much happier the older I get. Everything is better when you get older. Storekeepers stop following you around to see if you’re going to steal something. You’re better prepared for a lot of circumstances because you’ve already experienced them.
As you age, you just don’t care as much what people think, so it’s easier to disregard others’ perceptions of you and just do what makes you happy. You get better at using your strengths and learn to compensate for your weaknesses. You are more appreciative of how your body serves you and less concerned with how it looks. You (and your partner) develop even better sexual skills. You start to determine whether your employer meets your needs as well as vice versa. Depending on your nature, you either learn to defend yourself or you develop a bit of diplomacy (guess which applies to me?).
I’m anxious to see if my hair goes grey or white because I have a hairstyle picked out for each. I am excited about taking ElderHostel vacations!

It's All Relative

I just talked to my sister, who’s also thinking about our recent holidays. Mom, apparently, is dreading the upcoming anniversary of her stroke.
After musing over what this year may bring, Sarge said, “At this point, I’d be happy with a good, old-fashioned family fight!”
My sister can always cheer me up!

Floaty Pens

Remember these? My sister wants one, but they don’t sell them in souvenir shops anymore.
In the internet age, however, nothing is unavailable! There are lots of fun ones for sale on ebay. Most of them are used, but you can still get new ones, too. I can’t decide, so Sarge is getting 5 of them for Christmas!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas In Distress

An upside-down flag indicates distress. Here's an upside-down Christmas tree!
I just started thinking seriously about the holidays. It should be a nice season this year, since I will be off on the “eve” dates because Christmas and New Year fall on Saturdays.
I realized that I’m afraid of the holidays now. Last year Mom had a stroke and one of my dearest friends passed away. On Christmas Day, we sat around Mom’s bed at the rehab center, her little dog in a Santa suit. We were thrilled that she was recovering, so it was a joyous Christmas, despite circumstances.
The previous year, my grandma passed away; she got sick just before Thanksgiving and died shortly before Christmas. She was 94 and died without suffering the ravages of her recently-diagnosed lung cancer, so her death wasn’t a tragedy. For a few years, Ging had been preparing herself to go. Part of the difficulty of living to a ripe old age is having to say goodbye to so many people you love; my grandma had acknowledged this pain. I will always remember the aching sadness across her face when she unwrapped her last Christmas present from Butch. They sat across from each other, knee-to-knee, just looking at each other silently. She was 93 and (we thought) healthy as a horse; he was 60 and days from death. You could see her desire to give him whatever years she had left and the frustration of her inability to do so. With the most tenderness I’d ever seen in her, she planted her final kiss to the top of his head. It was agonizing; I’m glad that she didn’t have to experience it again. Days after she died, one of her favorite nieces was diagnosed with advanced abdominal cancer; I’m so glad my granny didn’t have to see Jan’s suffering. Even a timely and gracious death is tough on those left.
The year before, of course, was Butch’s death. Each year since that loss, I sense my family’s desire to reclaim the holidays. Yet, our attempts to recover have been interrupted by another tragedy.
I’m not sure that we even know how to celebrate anymore.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans' Day!

Butch’s bronze veteran’s grave marker, “recast” to cover the last name in the interest of internet caution.

I’m taking my friend, a Navy lifer, to a Veterans’ dinner at a VFW post tonight. Remember to thank a vet today!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

North Again

My sister and I made a vacation of my weekend with two classes in northern Michigan. We hiked to the lookout point for Tahquamenon Falls in the Upper Peninsula and were treated with these beautiful views.

***************************************In St. Ignace, we found a memorial to commercial fishermen whose lives have been lost on duty. It’s a beautiful whitefish sculpture with a glass eye.

Then, back across the majestic Mackinac Bridge.

****************************************************************************************************************************************************Beach scenes

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************To my favorite spot in the state.

With a little kitsch for the trip home.

Name Change

Destination Unknown signifies my lack of direction on a few levels:
a. Life options – figuring out which direction to face after losing Butch
b. Drink it in – trying to do it all after deaths of a number of family members and friends in the last couple years
c. Oooh, shiny! – my boss’ perception of how easily I’m distracted (I still say she’s missing all the good stuff!)
d. Plenty of travel – all these schools for all these classes!
e. My experiment with real estate education – I never expected it to lead here