Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Learning to write again

Okay, okay.  It's been awhile.  My husband has been cajoling me to start writing again or at least write a farewell note. In the past month about 10 people have asked why I'm not updating my blog, and so I'm going to take this as a sign that I need to write. That and the fact that I've been feeling that familiar itch again (writing that is).

I don't know where this is going, or if I want to continue my blog, but here goes for now...

Sunset on the Ohio River
This past year had really low lows and really high highs.  I know, I sound like one of those tv ads for  anti-depressants.  The year really tested my ability to see things as "glass half full". I just didn't always feel too happy to tell you the truth.

My mom's passing about 15 months ago affected me much more than I expected.  Preparing for her death was so different than preparing for life without her.  There is still a profound sadness at her not being here to share in daily life, and I miss the phone calls and the visits and the laughter.  And there are still tears when I least expect them.

Then there is the realization that I am an adult now responsible for all my own decisions without a parent to run things by. Crazy I know, at age 61. Then the other day I realized I didn't have a parent looking over my shoulder at how I was doing things.  And you know that lack of "critiquing" was a bit of a relief.  Recently I realized that I was no longer living to please my parents. That was a weird but liberating feeling.

Getting out for a walk
My sister had a tough year after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January.  More doctor visits than you care to count, a couple of surgeries, hospitalizations, tubes, stitches, infections, and the list goes on.  She handled it all pretty well and was quite pragmatic about taking all the steps necessary to get through it. She had a good support system of family and friends, and she was very smart to accept help from people.

I spent a lot of time with her after these surgeries, and I was so happy to be there for her.  I was fortunate to be retired and only a few hours away.  Because of my own battle with breast cancer 7 years ago, it felt like we were kindred spirits tackling this together.  In some ways it was very cathartic to help her, and in other ways all those painful memories from my past came crashing back like that rogue wave that knocks you over when you are aimlessly walking down the beach.  Just when you think those feelings are all worked out, you realize they aren't far from the surface.  Anyway, she is doing very well now with another surgery scheduled for next year. And she has a great positive attitude which is the best possible situation.

Lunch with Mike in Cinque Terre, Italy
And then we've had some memories that will last a lifetime.  Mike took a sabbatical from work, and we went to Tuscany for a couple of weeks. If I had a "bucket list", this would have been on it.  We spent a week touring Tuscany with our favorite American-Irish band, Switchback, and then we rented a car and drove into the mountains to research where Mike's family came from.  Though we didn't meet up with any relatives, we were able to find the small towns where his grandparents and great grandparents were born.

We simply loved Tuscany.  It was breathtakingly beautiful, and the people were warm and welcoming.  The food and wine were amazing, and we agree that if we ever had to leave this country, we are probably headed to Tuscany.  Ok, I know that probably sounds very weird, like we're going to be in the witness protection program or something.  No plans for that so don't jump to any conclusions if I don't continue with the blog...

No lack of mud on the Jeep Jamboree

We traveled to Pennsylvania for a Jeep Jamboree.  We spent a long weekend in the beautiful woods driving over coal roads and testing our Jeep and Mike's driving capabilities.  We all survived very well, thank you!

The Pacific Ocean

We also visited Portland, Oregon and soaked in the beauty of the countryside including the beach and Mt. Hood.  And then there was a family trip to Nashville, TN and several trips to Ohio for my nephew's graduation from The Ohio State University and my niece's wedding shower and wedding.

Brian and Allie

Family trip to Nashville

My hollow form ring

And we continue with jewelry classes which are a wonderful way to learn and keep the brain sharp.  Hours can fly by when I'm intently working on a jewelry creation.  I was fortunate to win best of show for the Jewelry and Metalsmithing section of the Student Art Show.  I think luck was on my side for that one!

So, a crazy year of ups and downs.  Weighed pretty heavy on me really.  Possibly it was so busy that I didn't have the time I needed to process things.  I don't do well when life is so busy that events propel me forward from one to the next.  I need down time and didn't always find much of that over the past year.

But you know I survived the year ok and am feeling more optimistic about what is ahead.  I recognize a need to write again-not sure what the medium is yet but that will work itself out over time.  In the meantime, thanks for being patient. Thanks for encouraging me. And thanks for reading.   Take Care, Diane