Sunday, September 2, 2012

2012 Sept 2 a Dream...

A Dream…

Early this morning, I dreamed of an odd mix of people and places. Some of it directly attributable to links to current Facebook friends and their moving. Some of it just strangely attributable to the chaos that swirls in my brain and is responsible to the name of this blog.

I dreamed of New Hope Church, in a sort of removed from the action way. I guess that perspective is expected, as it has been a few years since I was an active member there.
I dreamed of Ken Hale, and peripherally, of Annie Miller, both of whom are friends and neighbors from the New Hope period. I dreamed of my Mother, who has been dead for thirty six years, but who, in the dream was much as she was back in the mid 1960s. I, on the other hand, was NOT, in my relationship with her, as I was back then. I was kinder, more relaxed, and more loving toward Mummy in the dream.

In the dream, I wanted to blog about New Hope Church, because it was closing its doors, due to the inability to attract a new pastor. What I wanted to blog about was the whys of this apparent mission failure. I was living in a very small space, with my Mom, and kept telling her that I needed some time to think and write.  

Part of the "thinking" process involved talking to Ken, since he and his family were leaving Pittsburgh to move to Asheville, North Carolina. In talking with him, I asked why everyone (apparently, other New Hope leaders were also moving away, since the church was closing) was abandoning the neighborhood, and the professed mission to the Marshall - Shadeland area. My question was: Why is it necessary to have the church building? Can't the outreach continue without a church building and EPC affiliation? Ken's answer, which made absolute sense to me in the dream, was that there was no one qualified to preach the gospel.  Also, that there needed to be an affiliation to some governing body, like the Evangelic Presbyterian Church, as a sort of failsafe.  He also mentioned that in moving to Asheville he would have the opportunity to grow as an artist, better opportunity to grow his business, and provide for his family. It all was so reasonable, in the dream, that I mentioned to him that I might have some names of folks I had met over the years who either were artists, or  had businesses in the Asheville area and might prove helpful in networking.

Annie Miller and I had been having a conversation in the dream, which I rudely ended to go and speak with Ken. Sorry, Annie.

After talking with Ken, I was anxious to get my thoughts down and was trying to explain to my Mom that I needed to get to the computer and have some quiet time to think, reflect and write. Mainly, because my perspective had suddenly, after talking with Ken, changed, so that I was able to see the issue of closing the church from both side of the problem, and I wanted to get all my ideas down while they were still clear in my mind.

The odd thing, is that the very statements that seemed so completely reasonable in my dream, now seem hollow and untrue to me.  No one qualified to preach the gospel? What? Were a bunch of fisherman, a tax collector, or the rest, whose occupations are unknown, somehow more qualified to preach the gospel? OK, granted they all had firsthand experience with Jesus, but weren't they all just regular people, chosen by God. And, as believers, don't we, too, have first hand experience with Jesus? And the need to be affiliated with some governing body - well that can be a positive, but it can also be very limiting. That one seems like a 50-50 proposition, at best.

In my dream, one of the thoughts that kept recurring had to do with the disposition of the Cafe and Creamery. Although it never came up in my dream conversation with Ken. I wondered why the Cafe and Creamery couldn't remain and even be used as a "church" when there was need for a building. I had thoughts, rather amorphous, that the former church elders could preach, until such time as any individuals felt called, and that praise and worship could be held outdoors at Horace Mann Field, or at the Cafe. No need for a big church building with all its upkeep and maintenance.

[It occurs to me, that someone reading this may have no idea what "The Cafe and Creamery" is. New Hope Church's 501C3 organization,which was interested in community development, bought a property down the street from the church which had been a nuisance bar. It was converted into a cafe and ice cream shop, initially. Since then, it has expanded to serve soup, sandwiches, and to offer a place for local musicians and performers, as well as a safe haven for neighborhood kids.]

Of course, intruding on this aspect of the dream was the knowledge that when I was still at New Hope, the mortgages of the church building and the Cafe were linked, and that the demise of one, might preclude the demise of the other. Another troubling aspect of my dream was that on the last day, at the last service, the former pastor, from my time at the church, was the keynote speaker. He was also, unashamedly, still trying to woo the leading people of the parish, to "don't give up". But only people he was engaging,  were two leading African-American doctors, who seemed to be at their wit's end with him. The former pastor followed them as they left the church, continuing to cajole them for donations to keep the mission alive. This I realize is a manifestation of my own belief that the former Pastor was more adept at community development, that he was at shepherding.

I'm still not sure what to take away from the dream, if anything. I did like that I was nicer to my Mom in the dream. I also liked that I kept my opinions to myself and let other people express themselves freely. I liked that I was able to see what was happening and appreciate both sides of the events. I like that my waking self thinks it unnecessary for someone to be "qualified" by degrees and doctorates to preach the gospel of Christ. ( If one reads Matthew 22:35 - 40, doesn't Jesus give us the distilled and concentrated message of the gospel: Love, first God and secondly our neighbor and ourselves?) I wish that my unconscious had a kinder view of my former pastor.  I wish that I hadn't been so rude to Miss Annie in my dream. First and foremost, I am glad I remembered so much of the content and nuance of the dream. I think that somehow it's important. I'm just not sure in what way. But I trust that God will make his/her will known and allow me to continue to decipher any meanings that are important.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


2012 August 15

Yesterday on my Facebook feed was a post from a traveling friend, in which she asked for support, because her husband of 17 years had announced to her that he wanted a divorce. She was devastated. In this particular situation, there have been struggles, but my friend never saw the "divorce card" coming until it was played. It got me thinking about marriage, divorce, and communication.

Every marriage has periods of struggle, poor communication, and stress. But I am continually surprised by instances where one or the other partner is suddenly blindsided by the other's desire for divorce. It seems duplicitous to me to approach a lawyer and/or others (like older children) before ever mentioning to your partner that you feel irrevocably unable to continue on in the marriage. I mean, I understand that people change and that goals and desires flex and morph. But here's what bothers me: Do you TALK as the changes are happening? And do you disregard the solemn vows? 

It seems to me, if there is minimal communication taking place, nobody should ever be blindsided by their partner's desire to dissolve the marriage. If there are areas of dissatisfaction, the only way to facilitate resolution is to communicate, talk, yell if  necessary, and work together. When a partner suffers in silence they are being dishonest, both with themselves and with their spouse. Too often, the suffering in silence is an excuse to find fault with a partner and then come at them completely unaware with a divorce request. Part of the problem is dishonesty, another part is that we, as a society, accept divorce as normal.

That's where my question regarding the solemnity of the taken vow comes into play. Our wedding vows said, "for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death due us part ."  We didn't say, "till we get sick of each other, until depression, infertility, or alcoholism makes life hard, until something better comes along, or until one of us just wants something different"! 

It seems to me that we have become a society of people who lack the ability to commit. It worries me as to what impression we leave on our children when we give up without a fight, or lack the fortitude to address issues forthrightly. And it makes me wonder about the kind of people we are deep down in the recesses of our souls. How do we live with our spouse day to day, while managing appointments with lawyers, before ever mentioning our dissatisfaction in the marriage to our spouse?

So that I don't seem like I'm taking the moral high ground here, let me confess that I was one of those immature people, lurking in shadows of dissatisfaction, who suddenly asked for a separation. It was in a previous marriage. I'm not proud of my immaturity. But, that experience lead to a more grounded attitude when approaching our current relationship and marriage. My husband and I discussed the meaning and fulfillment of our wedding vows before making that final commitment. We have been together for 32 years, married for 27 of those and we have had highs and lows. But, I think one of the things that makes us able to survive even stormy seas, is the fact that we have told each other throughout the marriage that we are both in it for the long haul. We talk through the tough times and the easy times, as well. We realize that we are individually responsible for our own happiness, as well as for each other. We try to practice easy give and take. We try to be responsive to each other's needs. But neither of us expects the other person to be able to read our mind! Everyone says that communication is essential, and it is! What no one tells you is that sometimes that necessary communication is hard, sometimes it's embarrassing, sometimes it's hard to hear, sometimes it hurts, but it is always necessary. 

Some people mature early. I've met couples who married when they were teenagers, and have remained committed to each other through six decades.  My guess is that they talked to each other a lot and about everything.

Perhaps I've strayed from what originally motivated me to write today, but it has reminded me that R and I should have some time together to talk. And so should you and your spouse. About the trivial and the important.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Happy Birthday, Raymond.

2012 July 1

Hope this day really is special for you. Sometimes I feel as if there is nothing really special I can do for you on special occasions, because you ask for so little anytime. So, you get to choose your birthday dinner, that hardly seems like much. So, I am going to tell you some of what I love about you.

I want you to know the things I appreciate about you. 

Your kindness and generosity are inspirational to me. Rarely have I ever heard you, in the 35 years I've known you, say that you wouldn't give something to someone. Unlike me, you have an open hand and an open spirit of giving. Your mostly even temper is a far cry from my angry yelling. Although, as time goes by, I think your even temper is growing to encompass me, since I confine my yelling to hockey and when I am behind the wheel, in traffic, and even that seems to be mellowing some. I admire that you hardly ever use salty language; I can't remember the last time I heard you cuss. I love that you always make my friends welcome, even when you don't think you will have anything in common with them. I love that you are a genuinely nice guy. I love that you always give people the benefit of the doubt. I love that you think Greyla loves me best :) [she doesn't, you know]. I appreciate that you put up with me through the good times and bad, through my emotional highs and lows, and provide perspective when I need it. I am glad to know we share a commitment to each other, regardless of circumstances. I am grateful for you, even in those times when I seem not to be. You are good, kind, generous, fair, just a little left of center. I love you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


2011 October 15

[written while on vacation in NC with my DH, SIL, nephew and two brothers, before getting on the road, in our motorhome]
Over the last few nights I sensed more than remembered working out some lingering "stuff" in my dreams. Perhaps because I am away from the day to day preparation for getting on the road, my mind is finding it easier to sort through some of the complex relationships that have been neglected in the chaos. I found myself dreaming about people from New Hope Church. I haven't retained many details, but the overall sense is that I have disappointed some whom I call my friends. Is that truth, or just a reflection of my perpetual guilt? I suppose one way to get to the root would be to talk to the people I can remember dreaming about. I am not sure either they or I can really do that, though.

There is a veil of sadness that seems to envelope my relationships with many at New Hope Church. Whether that comes from me, from them or from a combination of us, I don't really know. Perhaps both they and I felt abandoned. After all, I simply disappeared from the community and the very few folks who did reach out to me, I avoided because I couldn't find an honest way to tell the story without edging it in anger toward Rodger Woodworth. Even now, it's hard to say that the reason I left New Hope Church was because my then Pastor suggested that "perhaps it's time for you to find another church". Granted, I could've mentioned that if we were truly a church based on reconciliation, telling me to find another church because of personality differences between myself and the lead pastor was hypocritical. But, at that point I could no longer sit under a man for whom I had so little respect, so I welcomed the escape. It didn't occur to me that to simply leave the fellowship without explanation would hurt me so much. Neither did it occur to me that many in the body would simply continue on without any thought as to my departure.

There were some folks who knew the whole story. They were ones whom I thought were close enough to me to be confided in without worry about gossip. Perhaps I was wrong. It seems that there may have been some sharing, but how much I don't know for sure.

All of this is moot at this point in time, I guess. I have since returned to New Hope after encouragement from one of the Elders. Rodger is no longer lead Pastor. Yet there still seems to be some unfinished business. Yet I have no clue how to address what I feel is unfinished.

So while I am away from my daily routine, my sleeping self is addressing some of this unfinished business. Each night I dream about different people and different relationships. Sometimes I remember only the people in the dreams. Other times I awake with only a general sense of what I dreamed about and an even more general feeling that my sleeping self is working out whatever needs to be addressed.

I am slowly coming to grips with the idea that life in all its aspects is fluid. Perhaps nothing lasts forever. When I initially came to New Hope, I was certain that I had come "home". And, indeed, for a while I had. Yet, the dynamic of the church changed and the change had a negative affect on me. And that's OK.

What hasn't changed is the fact that Jesus is Lord. That is the most important lesson to have taken away from this whole episode. And there are lesser examples of insights and morals uncovered as well. And as my brain works through the layers of my subconscious, I am learning to trust that all will be fine, eventually.

Happy Birthday, Bobby

2012 May 24

Happy Birthday, Bob

No, not Bob Dylan. 

My brother, Bob, or Bobby, as we more often call him. He is baby brother number 2, born when I was five years old. He was named after our cousin, Bobby Rase, for whom our Mom had real affection. Bobby Rase may have also been my brother's Godfather, but those details have long since slipped from my memory.

I also have no memory of when Bobby was born, except that when our Mom was in the hospital, in those times, for about 5-7 days, she sent notes home for me and Billy regarding our new addition, as well as those little jellies that come with hospital toast. Other than that, I can't remember anything about that time, which would've been spring of 1955. No memory of the homecoming, nor of who cared for me and Billy while Daddy worked and Mom was away. Strange isn't it, what the mind hangs onto and what it allows to disappear?

I remember Bobby as a toddler and a pre-schooler, although we didn't use those terms in the 1950s. I remember him as a surly child with most people, although I also remember that he lit up around our Mom. I don't recall much interaction with Bobby, and the few vivid memories I have are of unpleasant situations. Sorry, Bobby. Perhaps that is as much my brain's fault, as it is your surliness as a kid.

One of the incidents that stands out in my memory was from a summer holiday, maybe Memorial Day, or July 4th, when Bobby was about 4 or 5. My Dad took us kids, who probably numbered five at the time, (although we may have only had four of us at home, if Billy had been relocated at that point. Another memory gap), to his sister's house about a half mile away. I am sure we walked there, because we didn't have a car. It was uphill over a cobblestone road, not heavily traveled at that time. At Aunt Barb's there was a huge (to us) grassy backyard and a very large covered porch. I remember Uncle Joe squirting us with a hose. It was nice to be with my Dad's family, aunts, uncles, cousins, but it didn't happen very often. 

At some point in the course of the day, Bobby took it upon himself to leave. Again, the memory doesn't exist as to why. But, he left, and walked the half mile home alone. Not sure what he told Mom. What I most remember is the huge fight between our parents when Daddy brought the rest of us home later in the day. Mom was livid that such a small child was "allowed" to walk home alone. Daddy was just as livid that Bobby would take it upon himself to leave without saying a word to anyone. That argument is the thing I most remember about that day.

My other vivid memory of Bobby happened during the late spring of my senior year in high school, so it was 1968. Our Mom was in the hospital having her gallbladder removed. In 1968, that was major surgery, involving incisions and drainage tubes, so I'm guessing that Mummu was in the hospital for at least a week. One evening, Daddy had gone to the hospital to visit Mummy and we kids were home on our own. I was eighteen, Bobby, thirteen, and the other player in this memory, our brother Dave, was ten.

For some reason, Bobby and Davey had gotten into a yelling match, in the kitchen, that was becoming a fist fight. Since Bobby was older, bigger and heavier than Dave, I felt like it was my responsibility, as the oldest kid, to step in and put a stop to it before anybody got hurt or bloodied. I stepped between them, and got Bobby away from David. In his rage, Bobby proceeded to knock me to the floor, on my stomach, sit on my bottom and pummel my back with his fists, until Vinny, (our 11 year old brother) pulled him off me. After that experience, I was always a bit afraid of Bobby and kept some distance between us. In fact, I left the house that night and sat on the porch until Daddy got home from visiting Mom. I was too afraid to go back into the house with Bobby in there.

Years have gone by. Bobby has had plenty of ups and downs, and I have tried to be there for him, but there has never been the connection that I feel for most of my siblings.

Bobby was the first person in our family to become a Christian. Then, he met and married a woman who shared his values.  

Then I came to faith in Christ, as my savior. I thought that finally Bobby and I had some common ground. Well, we do, but it isn't enough on which to build a friendship. We have too many personality differences and too much history. Not to say that I don't love him, because I do, but not in a way that makes me look forward to spending time together. I am sure the feeling is mutual. Bobby loves me, but not in a way that makes him want to spend time developing a relationship. 

Bobby, I know you'll never read this, because of your seizure disorder and your inability to use a computer, but I had to write it anyway. I don't want you or me to feel guilt because we are not close as siblings. We both are who we are. I appreciate the poems and scripture you've shared at times when my life was a rocky path. I like remembering the times I came to hear you sing at your church, and the times you came for poetry and worship ant mine. I hope that in time, those memories will help to displace the older, less pleasant ones. 

Perhaps one of the reasons we are not close is that we are too similar, carry too many of the same burdens. We each, in our own way, carry the burden of Mummy's mental illness and her tendency to play favorites among her kids. But know this: I do love you, as my brother in Christ and I do wish you a Happy Birthday. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

2012 May 13

It's Mother's Day. Not one of my favorite pretend holidays. My own Mom died in 1976, of lung cancer. I was 26 years old, and the oldest of eight kids. The youngest, Jimmy, was only 5 when Mummy died. 

When R and I married, we assumed we would have children. But that was not to be.

R's Mom was very much alive for many years, so I suppose I had a surrogate Mom in Adelaide. Unfortunately, because I still bore so much anger toward my own Mom, it wasn't until much later in our relationship, that Adelaide and I became close. 

I've had other surrogate mom people in my life over the years: Pauline, who was my neighbor for 20+ years; Marlene, who is probably my age, or younger, but has such a warm, maternal spirit, that when I met her she just seemed like "Mom".

But Mother's Day, in general, makes me sad. Sad for what could've been, both with my own Mom, and in my life. 

My Mom was adopted in 1927, when she was 6 months old. Her name at adoption was Virginia ___________. All I know of her birth name is that it began with a "B" and that according to my paternal grandmother, it sounded Lithuanian. My mom was dark haired, dark eyed and had a slightly olive complexion. And although she spoke of being adopted sometimes, I don't think she ever really shared how deeply she longed to belong and to have something that was hers, except with her close friend, AnnaMae, and with my Dad.

Whatever her origins, she was born at Rosalia Foundling Home, that much she shared. She supposed that her own birth mother was a young, unwed woman. Beyond that, she shared nothing. 

Whether her insecurities or her genetics, or some combination of the two were the cause, my Mum was a sad, depressed woman, coming into her own in a time of repression. The 40s & 50s were not the time when one analyzed ones feelings, and sought treatment for such ailments. 

She and my Dad managed to produce eight kids. Not very long ago, a family friend told me that my Mom once shared with her that the happiest times in her life were when she was pregnant. No wonder she got pregnant so often. I often wish that she had lived longer. Mostly for selfish reasons, but also because, the times are different now and maybe she could've been treated and actually had some degree of peace and happiness with medication to balance whatever imbalances were part of her makeup.

And, I wonder how she would've counseled me when I faced my own crisis of depression and infertility. 

Years of therapy helped me to dispose of my anger toward my Mom for what I viewed as her shortcomings. Now, I am simply sorry that none of the good Christians who were among her in-laws and in her own adoptive family, reached out to help her. Instead, too often, they criticized her and behind her back and in front of her children, made her out to be the bad guy.

I am sorry for the scars inflicted upon her by the community and times in which she lived, and by her on some of her own kids. Families are complex organisms and even more complicated when some form of mental illness is present. 

Mom, Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


2012 Apr 1

I started out trying to discover what exactly causes the melancholy I seem to experience with the start of each April. My first thoughts had more to do with Raymond and his diminished sense of family, which lead me to thoughts of my family.

Tomorrow is the birthday of my first baby brother. Thoughts of his life always bring with them regrets for all he suffered, none of which was his fault. Our family of origin, as the psycho-speak goes, in majorly dysfunctional. And not in the "we put the FUN in dysfunctional" way.

Suffice to say that when my brother was about four, I think, he went to live with our Mom's Aunt and Uncle, for a couple of years. I don't remember much about what all precipitated the move. I do remember, years later, being told by the Aunt who took him in, that he has been beaten so badly, that she had to do something. Neither do I remember when exactly he came back to live with us. I do remember that when the same Aunt and Uncle came for him again, he may have been in third grade. I do remember watching him as he packed his little belongings and the look of pain/relief in his eyes. I remember the song that was playing on the radio and that for years, when I heard it, I would cry, without remembering why.

Perhaps when he left it was April. 

April Fools Day

2012 April 1

What is it about the beginning of April that makes me feel so melancholy?  When we were in Pittsburgh, I thought this affliction was due to the unpredictability of spring in Pennsylvania. But, having been in what basically is either deep spring or early summer since late December, I fear blame cannot be affixed to seasonal changes. Must be something else.

April 1 is R's sister's birthday. That may be contributory. For reasons still unknown to us, she cut herself off from Raymond and, we assume, the rest of her family. When their parents moved, first into an apartment, and later into an assisted living facility, she had no involvement in the processes. Later, when their Mom died, unexpectedly, followed by their Dad a few months later, she didn't even travel to Pittsburgh. All of that comes back each April 1. R has made attempts to contact his sister. The last one resulted in her hanging up on him. Needless to say, he hasn't attempted it again. There was a time, when I was first getting to know R (many, many, many years ago) that I was with him when we happened upon her at Conneaut Lake Park. I didn't know she was his sister. I still remember the joy on his face when he saw her, and I can still remember thinking, "Wow! there is a really intense relationship here. Whoever this woman is, I better rethink my own relationship with Raymond  in the face of this!" We all laughed about it later when introductions were made. But remembering the look on both of their faces that day makes it harder to understand how it all changed so drastically, 20 some years later.

There was no argument between R and her. There were never any mean words exchanged. Just suddenly, without explanation, total withdrawal from what was, up till then, a warm, loving brother-sister relationship.

Part of me grieves for what R has lost. Not just the relationship with his sister, but also the loss of his parents. Sometimes I think it must be very difficult for him to have only one brother, with whom he shares very little, either emotionally or intellectually. Of course, he has me. But there are so many diminished or completely changed or gone relationships in his life, that I sometimes wonder at the amount of inner strength he must have to maintain his calm demeanor.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dave!

2012 March 19

Happy Birthday, Dave!  Don't know if you'll read this or not, but I wanted to tell you that I hope your birthday is special. I wish there was some way you could join us in Arkansas. We have reservations at Crater of Diamonds State Park this Wednesday, following your birthday. Knowing how much you enjoy treasure hunting, and remembering "who took my diamonds", makes me think that you would enjoy this part of our journey.  Maybe we will get to travel there again sometime and you could come, too.

Thinking about you and feeling just the tiniest bit homesick. Only, homesick doesn't really seem like the right word, now that R & Greyla & me are traveling in our home. I think you and Vinny and I would have a blast at Crater of Diamonds. Ray's only really going to humor me :) 

Someone mentioned something about a place in North Carolina where you can search for gem stones, but they didn't remember much about it. I'm going to do some research. Maybe that would be someplace that we can meet up while Ray & I are on the road.

Well, number 4, baby brother, I do hope you have a great birthday. Maybe someone will remember that you like cheesecake and get you some. 


Saturday, March 10, 2012

A ReBirthday

2012 March 10

While staying at Sunset Isle Park, in Cedar Key, Florida, we met a man named Art Townsend. He wrote a book called, "Time's Up, the Story of My Death and Learning What It Means to Live". Every now and again, someone comes into my life whom I feel certain was placed there by God's hand. Art is one of those people.

His book tells the story of his literal death, and the measures taken to bring him back into this life. He touches on so much that affects us in this modern life we lead. One thing that jumped out at me, was the need many of us have to clean up our eating. In particular, Art speaks of the unhealthy relationship some of us have with food. If you are one of those who use food as a comfort, as a reward, as a weapon, as anything other than what God intended it to be, I'm sure you will recognize what Art is talking about. I am one of these people. Art is not the first person God has placed in my path regarding this particular issue. He is simply the latest and the one that felt like a smack upside my head.

I am grateful for a God who cares enough about His sinful creation to intervene. I pray to be the kind of creature who responds in a loving way to this intervention. At the moment, I'm still trying to sort out the food angle of my life, but I know it's not about the food. Before I became obsessive about food, I was obsessive about sex.  

When R and I married, it was important to me that I be faithful and sexually exclusive in our marriage. Perhaps this is oversimplification, but one way for me to be "unattractive" and to feel nonsexual, was to gain weight.  There was a sexual assault by someone close to both R and me, which added fuel to my depression and yet more pounds to my frame. Add to that the struggles we had with infertility, which increased my depressive tendencies and also increased my weight. My fat became my safety blanket. I hated it, but I needed it to feel safe, since I didn't trust myself nor anyone else. So, I continued to gain weight, hoping to insulate myself even further.

In the nearly two weeks since we met Art, and I read his book, I have done some psyche searching. Perhaps I don't have answers yet, but at least I'm asking what I hope are the right questions. I'm sure now that neither food, nor sex are the deepest issue. The next layer of this emotional onion will be peeled and the next, until I get to the core of this issue. But, for now, I am glad to start. And glad that I didn't have to die, like Art did.

I am grateful that God decided to hit me with that two by four disguised as Art Townsend. I am certain that it was what I like to call a Godincidence (instead of coincidence) that Art gave us his book on the morning of my birthday, when the gifts I had just received were all sugar laden food items. 

This has been a time of reflection and the beginning of recognizing patterns of behavior that need to be changed for something better. It reminds me that we are all works in progress. Making changes in lifestyle choices isn't always easy, but if it leads to a closer relationship with the God who loves us, then it is good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Privacy and Potential

2012 January 25

How is it possible for the day to go from 'just fine' to 'how did I get so bummed'? I'll tell you how. First, the area of the RV park you are staying in, suddenly becomes extremely crowded. Where there were three empty lots across the street and beside you, there are now people. In a park where the lots are smallish to begin with and where they have it set up so that you and one neighbor end up facing each other's 'yard', there is suddenly a real claustrophobic feeling. Second, you get email regarding the house you wish to sell that mentions a leak in the roof.

I don't want to be the kind of person who allows stuff like this to drastically change my mood. But, damn it, I am! 

OK, the RV park has been a sticking point since we got here. Every park we've been in so far has been set up so that the awning and entry door side of our couch faces the slide out area of the coach beside us. It allows for the illusion of privacy. Here, our slide butts up to the slide of the people on our left, but our awning/entry side faces the awning/entry of the people to our right. Not only is there no illusion of privacy, there is no actual privacy. For example, sitting in the dinette area yesterday evening, listening to the Pens game, I could hear our neighbors conversation while they watched the State of the Union address. It is simply too close for comfort. I suppose if it were hot, and we had the windows closed and the AC on, it wouldn't matter. But the weather is perfect for leaving windows open. OK, it's a first world problem. I get that. I'll try to adapt, especially since it's not long term for us.

The house though, is not such an easily adaptable issue. We knew it would be a tough sell. Granted, it's a brick house, solidly built. It is on a double, fenced city lot, with trees. It is also in a marginal neighborhood. But, having taken all that into account, we wanted to sell the house for $35K. Our agent, said no, absolutely not and listed it for $49K. Now, today's news is there's a leak in the roof. There have been a few showings, but the feedback is always the same: "lots of potential, but too much work". What can I say? That's exactly the reason I never wanted to live there to begin with! There IS a lot of potential, but there is ALSO lots of work. I did what I could while we lived there. Raymond did what he could. But the fact of the matter is that neither one of us really did all that needed to be done. And if we didn't still owe money on the mortgage, we would give the house away! But we DO still owe money, so we need to sell it. We're not interested in making a profit, but we need to sell it for enough money to pay what we still owe, as well as all the incurred costs that come with selling.

OK, so the RV park stuff will change when we leave here. And I guess too close for real comfort can be dealt with for another nine days. As for the house stuff, if you know anyone who might be interested in a four bedroom, brick, with a fireplace, fenced yard and lots of potential, let me know and I'll give you our agent's number.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


2012 Jan 21

Something weird is going on with my head and stomach for the past couple of days. I wake up in the morning feeling pretty good. Then, as the day progresses, I begin to feel headachey and extremely tired. Sometimes, the tiredness and headache are accompanied by nausea and the absolute need to sleep through most of the afternoon. It's very disconcerting. I need to do some research to see if these could be reactions caused by what for me may be too much sun. I have had a fairly low tolerance to sun exposure since having severe sun poisoning many years ago. I also have low tolerance to high temperatures. Because of these intolerances, I generally limit my time in the sun and in high temperatures.

Today, I sat out in the morning sun, reading. Not long, just two chapters worth. When I came inside, I was feeling OK. I had lunch. Took the dog for a brief walk. Then suddenly, I was sick. Terrible headache, followed shortly, by a feeling of being so tired that I HAD to lie down. I fell into our bed and slept rather fitfully, until I awoke with an overwhelming feeling of nausea a few hours later. My first thought was, "Too much sun". My second was, "Not enough water". I did what I could to remedy the lack of water intake and thought that perhaps it really was a simple dehydration problem. The evening has passed relatively uneventfully. But, now, as the hour becomes later, I can feel the headache beginning again, at the base of my skull and the cycle begins again. 

Last night the headache resulted in me taking some ibuprofen at 4:30AM, and sleeping in till 9 this morning. I don't want to become reliant on ibuprofen to allow me to sleep. Especially since one of the recurring issues I'm having involves nausea. The ibuprofen certainly won't help that symptom!

Crap! I am not a good patient. I just want to feel good. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jimmy

2012 January 13

Happy Birthday, baby, baby Brother! I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday. 

The day was cold, windy and icy. I was back home for a long visit. Mummy was out of sorts that day. Then around 11 AM she began to complain of low back pain. Having no personal experience with pregnancy, I was feeling a little nervous and I kept asking Mummy if she was in labor. Her answer was ambiguous and I remember yelling at her that this was her eighth pregnancy, how could she not know if she was in labor or not!

I wanted to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital, but she wanted to take a bath first. That made no sense to me, but once Mummy decided something there was no changing her mind.

After her brief bath, I insisted on calling the ambulance and Daddy, at work. 

The ambulance and Daddy seemed to arrive simultaneously. The paramedics were having trouble navigating the icy sidewalk and all those steps at our 57th Street house. I remember the relief I felt when I saw Daddy walking up the street! Finally, the paramedics decided to simply support Mummy as they made the decent on our front steps. They got her settled into the ambulance and Daddy hopped in and off they went to St. Margaret's. It was approximately 12:50 PM.

At 1:30 PM, the phone rang. I answered and Daddy said, "Well, kid, it's all over". My heart stopped for a microsecond. I stammered, "What? What do you mean?" His response was, "You have another brother!" with just a hint of pride in his voice. Daddy said that the doctor told him he got into the delivery room in just enough time to catch you as you arrived! Apparently, all that low back pain Mummy was having was back labor, which she had never experienced in all of those other pregnancies. You were unique.

You were also a contented baby. I was sleeping on the couch during the visit and you slept in a small crib in the living room with me at night. The reason was that you had some sort of nasal malformation and the doctor told Mummy that you shouldn't be moved from room to room with varying temperatures. So, I took on the late evening and during the night feedings. I have no memory of you being whiny or whimpery. I remember that you often took a bottle at 11PM or midnight and then slept through the night, sometimes till 6 or 7AM.

You were sweet and I remember whispering "I love you" to you as I held you. 

I am happy to have you as my baby, baby brother, Jim. I am glad that Mummy didn't listen to me when I advised her to have an abortion when she called me in Kansas and told me she 'thought' she was pregnant. You have been a lifeline for Daddy, I think. When Mummy died, if Daddy hadn't have had you to care for, I think he would've curled up in a ball and died himself. 

There are so many things I could say about you, but maybe that's for another blog. For right now, I just want to wish you a happy birthday and to tell you that I still love you.