Saturday, February 27, 2010

Second Life

When I was a kid, I imagined that when my kids were all grown, that my life would be fairly quiet. Just a time for quiet reflection, and preparation for the day when I'd have grandkids to spoil. (and I will...spoil them, that is!).

However, now I am that point at my life when my kids are all adults, and beyond the occasional reminder, and copious batches of cookies & banana bread, don't really need my help. So, where am I now? Seated in a rocking chair, quietly reflecting on my life, as though it were over? Nah.... not happening here.

Instead, I find myself at a time in my life wherein I have been reinventing myself. Oh, as my best friend Connie would say, 'don't get me wrong', I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a mother. And I really & truly miss sitting on the couch with my three kids, reading to them....

However, now I find myself with time. Time to explore other interests, other sides of myself. Two seasons ago, I became a Grid Goddess at Waterford Hills racetrack. My dad used to take my siblings and I to watch the races. Now, I get my dad (and mom) into the pits, right into the midst of the action. I get to harass drivers, er, check safety equipment, and I love it. The sound of a open wheel car rumbling it's engine goes straight to my soul!

I am also spending time, nearly daily (tis my goal), writing. I am writing articles, my father's stories, and even working on a book (over 25000 words!). Granted, some times getting my backside in the chair to start is the hardest part, but once I'm there...I'm in heaven.

This may not seem like much, working at a racetrack, writing, hanging out with friends, but it's only the start.... and I'm happy, really and truly happy. I still get to see my kids, not as often as I'd like, but they are still in my life. (thank God for cell phones & texting & computers!) But this second life of mine is just getting started. Wonder what will happen next?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Hello all. I usually post on this blog on Tuesdays and Saturday. Today, despite having a great day at work, I had a bad afternoon. During a conversation with someone important to me, I mangage to, well, see if I could put both feet into my mouth. Bleh... I've always believed that words are very powerful. They can uplift, push down, and affect relationships. Well, I used the wrong ones today, and hurt someone, insulted his pride. I know he'll eventually forgive, and maybe forget... but for now, I'm in the valley of discontent.

Thus, I'm feeling less than inspired....

I'm off to bake something as an apology.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

What is it about Farmville?

The other day, my son Ben called, and asked what we were doing. I told him that his sister was hard at work on her math homework, and that I was playing an online game called Farmville. The poor boy thought he was in the Twilight Zone.

I have never played video games, much less online games. Oh, there was the occasional game of Pac Man and Galaxia when I was a teen, but I never really got into it. And I've played solitare on the computer, but not often. But now I find myself logging on daily, heading straight to Facebook, in order to go harvest trees or milk cows on Farmville.

For those few that have never heard of it, Farmville is exactly what it sounds like: an online game wherein you manage a farm. You are given a small plot to start with, a few coins, and 4 plowed spaces. You plant seeds from a limited selection, and wait. As you wait, you can send gifts to other players, and help on their farms. These gifts are in the form of farm animals, trees, and decorations, like fences. You become 'neighbors' with other players.

Why am I nearly obsessed with playing this farm game? For one, it feeds my gardening urge buy letting me watch crops grow, and most especially, have an entire forest of trees-apple, banana, walnut, plum, olives, and more. The game is customizable. Me, I love at least a third of my current large plot is covered in a forest. Others have a few trees squished together, and a lot of crop land.

The other reason is for the social aspect. I first got on Facebook because I discovered that many people from my church were on it. Many of these same people are now my neighbors on Farmville. It's fun to kibitz about the game. I often chat with my best friend Connie, while we both play the game. We help each other build barns, send Valentines, and help on each other's farms.

Now, I'm off to play Farmville. My chicken coop is nearly done being expanded to hold more, and I have grapes to harvest. And if you stop on by, I'm always looking for new neighbors!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day Aftermath

Well, I survived it. Another Valentine's Day... my least favorite holiday of the year. From when I was a kid and joy on Valentine's Day was measured in whether or not you got the nifty valentines with candy attached, to now, when if feels like Single Awareness Day, I have never enjoyed the day. When I was a kid, I did everything I could to avoid being at school on that day. My mother was a nurse in training, so it wasn't easy. I'd have to start nearly a week in advance with the sniffles, and slowly, day by day, add symptoms to my growing condition. Some how, she never caught on that I was faking fact, I often really did get sick. Murphy's Law, I guess. (on a side note, I finally confessed my fakery to her this year. It's good to confess.)

This year, I actually enjoyed a few things about the day. First, I play Farmville (which my son Ben is still in shock over... his mom, playing a computer game.) Well, on Farmville, my mailbox is overflowing with valentines... and they are still coming. Then at church, I got to see my other son, Robert, and his long-time girlfriend, Lauryn, at church. They gave me a picture, a beautiful picture, of the two of them together. (so beautiful, I'm going to have to buy a special frame for it...none I had seem worthy). Then, I got a great gift from my secret pal, including dark chocolate! Yum. (Thank you, whomever you are!)

Then it happened, the one gesture that warmed my heart, and made my day. I walked out of the sanctuary, and into the foyer, and saw Robert holding a gray woolen coat. It didn't register. I turned to go get my coat. He smiled, and walked up, holding out the coat. Then I got it... I know, helping me on with my coat may seem like a simple thing, but it made my whole day. It was sweet, and caring, and made me smile.

So, I guess this Valentine's Day was, well, okay. Wonder what next year will bring?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My daughter's new obsession

My daughter, Cat, who is almost 20 years old has a new obsession. Actually, it's not that new really. She's been obsessed with anything Japanese for many years now. My kitchen cupboards are filled with ingredients I can't pronounce, much less understand what are. There are books in our bookcases (I'm a readaholic, I've bookcases everywhere), that have symbols instead of letters, and are read back to front. Many icons on this computer are labled with words I don't know. She cooks Japanese, speaks rudimentary Japanese, and hopes to go there someday (perhaps to live!)

In high school, she discovered a Japanese passion... collecting, customizing, painting, sewing for, and talking about Ball Jointed Dolls. The dolls come in several sizes, including an 18" one. They remind me of marianettes without the controlling strings. And with elf ears.

Well, Cat saved up for one, and finally, via the magic of pay pal and our computer, ordered from an American company who gets the parts from Japan, and assembles them here. Then the wait began. Every day for months, I was informed of the progress of the delivery of the parts to that company. Then the long wait until those parts were assembled, stuffed in a yellow silk-like sack, put in a box, and shipped here. She agonized, complained, chittered with excitement, and finally, her ball jointed doll arrived here. I thought things would calm down then.

Not a chance.

Then she had to order hair for her bald doll. And make clothes. After all, you can't carry around a naked doll! My creative daughter decifered directions from a site, and made jeans and a top for Chi, her doll. From keychains, she created tennis shoes emblazened with Hello Kitty.

Then Chi started coming everywhere with us. To the movies. To the store. To school. To church, where our beloved greeter, Janet, declared jokingly, 'get that ugly kid away from me!' Now I find myself often standing at a checkout, holding Chi, like she was a grandchild or somesuch, while Cat rifles through her purse.

Now I find that the doll is growing on me. Hey, this hobby got Cat learning to sew, use a sewing machine, measuring tape, and my material.... If possible, she's even more outgoing, happily explaining about her doll (and why the blasted wig keeps falling off), and her obsession.

I guess this is a good thing... and it's definately here to stay! And it's far better than those octopus meatballs!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Another definition of Family.

Family. I realized another aspect of being part of an extended family today. I just got a call from my mother. Why? It's snowing major inches all over Michigan, and she just wanted to make certain that I was inside and okay. Then, I was on Facebook, and Roy, my 'other father', tagged me to ask if we were both home & warm. Next thing I know, I'm getting a weather report from Kentucky, and other friends checking on us here to. (friends, family..the lines blur).

So, family is a group of people who care about you, who during a snowstorm, call and check on you. They are those who offer to install your daughter's light fixture, or do your taxes, reload your computer, or check on you during a snow storm...who refuse all forms of payment, other than baked goods.

Family is amazing. Now I need to go bake cookies....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The past becomes the present

Thursday, 6pm, found me walking into church, grumbling at having to leave my warm house to drive in my cold car up to church on another evening. I have so few evenings completely at home. Keeping my coat on, to ward against the chilly temperatures inside of the sanctuary, I found a seat at the end of the row where the altos were to sit.

Gary, our fearless choir leader, handed me the cantata, and a copy of three hymns we are going to be singing for Easter morning. Here I found myself grumbling again, as I was told they would be familiar hymns...but having been raised in a Lutheran church, only one hymn was familiar to Me.

Then we got started. Gary explained the basics of following music, and I had to force myself to not roll my eyes. Such a negative spirit I was!

When we began to sing, everything changed. Hearing the beautiful harmonies that altos are privileged to sing. I found old skills coming back. I knew what a DS coda was, how to find a measure, what dynamic markings were. Everything I learned from Mr. Demarea, Mrs. Sopoliga, Professor Kurt, and Matt Bays, from years in high school choirs, college choirs, and the wonderful purple robed choir at New Community. It all came back.

Everyone was sitting, but I just couldn't. The words of Mr. Demarea, 'you can't get music from a folded instrument' prompted me. Ignoring the embarrassment, I stood up. Others in the choir looked at me, like 'what?'...but I had to. Standing up, I could properly sing, to get the needed support as the alto's part soared up into soprano range.

And my spirit soared with it.

I owe Gary an apology for my grumblings, and to God. I am so looking forward to next Thursday, for the chance to sing with a choir again. And amongst those sitting, I'll be the one standing up on the end, singing fortissimo.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

He saw his Shadow

So, it's Groundhog Day. A day when the world looks to a small furry creature to decide if we get to endure an extra 6 weeks of cold and ice and snow. Big surprise...Phil saw his shadow. Personally, I'd have been surprised if he hadn't. After all, this is Michigan. We have 4 seasons here. Almost Winter. Winter. Still Winter. Then 2 weeks of blazing hot summer. Then rinse & repeat.

So, here we face another 6 weeks of winter. Probably more like 8 weeks of frigid north. I remember seeing snow in April a few years back! So, my snow shovel will stay inside, so that I can still be prepared to shovel my way out of the house. I have only vague memories of what the sun looks like.

But I have faith. One day, in the distant future, my daffodil bulbs really will fight their way out of the ground again. Shortly thereafter, I'll hear the one distinctive sound that always hearlds the coming of Spring for, not a robin's the blissful roar of a Harley, racing down the highway.

Until then, I'll keep my slippers nearby, extra blankets on my bed, and the thought of blue skies hidden in my heart. Someday, the sun will return....I believe!