Monday, December 31, 2012

2012

I have never been a New Year's person.   I always seem to get emotional, even when I was younger.  I even hate those television shows about all the events that happened during the past year, I can't ever seem to get through them without some degree of tearing up.

For the longest time, New Year's Eve just became a day for me to be relieved that I, and everyone that I loved most, made it through another year.  The new year was full of uncertainties and the unknown, and I just didn't like it.  I didn't realize how bleak of an outlook that was until I told that to my best friend that last year, but I can't help but to admit that was how I felt.

Last year, I spent New Year's Eve with my parents.  2011 was not a good year and I needed for it to end.  There was no reason to celebrate... I fell asleep before midnight as I just wanted the old year to end and the new to begin as quickly and as quietly as possible.

This year, today, I am not partying it up, however, I am actually looking forward to this new year.  I no longer fear the unknown of what this new year will bring.  I am actually looking forward to what this new year might just bring!  I think one of the reasons for this change is the fact that despite everything, 2012 was a wonderful year for me!

I traveled... I took my solo trip to Las Vegas.  I took a family vacation to the Adirondack's with my family.  I went to California with my brother and son.  I went to Connecticut with my son.  And I took many little day trips around NYC and spent lots of time visiting my family during the summer and long weekends throughout the year.  Right now, I am in the process of deciding if I want to take a cruise to the Bahamas with my son in March!  I need to decide soon.  I've also talked to my best friend about taking a girls' vaca this summer... I am so excited about that!

Connections... My closest peeps are still my closest peeps.  But I have some new ones that have meant alot and I am glad that I have become closer to them.  I even have a small group of people that are just outside of my inner circle and I appreciate having them in my life too.  I am going to continue to keep good people in my life and I know that I need to work hard at being a good friend.  I get too comfortable doing and being on my own.  Hopefully having a dinner party next week will be a great start to the new year!

Mommy... I made it a whole year on my own!  We made it through winter, spring, summer, and fall... a full school year of work, waking up early in the mornings, sick days, crabby days, fun days, travel days and all of the other wonderful days in between.  I'm a single mom.  I make mistakes.  I love my son more than anything, and I can honestly say that he knows it.  Every night when I lay down next to him to put him to sleep, he kisses me and tells me that he loves me and he falls asleep holding my hand.  He melts my heart.

Another... I have put myself out there and it is quite the process.  I have met lots of men and chatted with some interesting ones, but I did not go out on as many dates as I thought I would have.  However, there is one that has stuck.  I don't know what will come of it.  But, part of what I like most about him is that I can stay in and enjoy the moment with him.  I hope to enjoy many moments with him in this new year.  However, whether its with him or someone else, I have to admit that I am looking forward to possibly not spending this whole year alone.  I am ready to open myself up to more.  I want to welcome a relationship back into my life. 

Me... I found myself this year.  My family, friends, experiences, therapy, this blog, reading, soul searching, stepping outside of my box... all of these things have helped me to find and define myself.  This is the most incredible things of all.  I feel good about myself and that has trickled into all aspects of my life... mommy, friend, finding new interests.  For that I am truly grateful.  And I can say that I am happy.  I look forward to this upcoming new year and I can say goodbye to the old with a smile.

Happy New Year everyone.  I wish all the best to all of you!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boulevard of Broken Dreams

My boulevard of broken dreams happens to be the NYS Thruway.  I know... what a terribly depressing title and thought, but it was a thought that ran through my head just the other day, so it is something that is very real to me. 

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, my son and I stopped at my husband's parents' house a few days ago so that he could spend some time with his grandparents for Christmas.  It is difficult to be there because that little town is just a reminder of him.  There are some great memories that get stirred up by being there, but I also find that place to be harder to handle the memory of my husband despite that.  That was hometown.  He grew up there.  It is where he is buried.  So whether it is Christmas or any other regular day, the emotions that place causes me to have are the same. 

It is always more difficult to drive from that town to my parents' house then from that town back to NYC.  The reason is that being there stirs up so many memories and emotions and the route I have to take from there to my parents' seems to be a route through my earlier life.

We had met in college, in Rochester, which was located almost exactly between both of our home towns.  After graduating, we lived there and continued to live there for a year after we had been married.  We got both of our dogs there.  We had even begun looking at houses there (before I was laid off and we moved to Virginia).  I have always loved Rochester and I have such wonderful memories of him and with him living there.  It was always a place that I had wanted to move back to, but it just never worked out.  Anyways... I have to pass through this area to get to my parents'. 

Although so many of the memories are wonderful ones, it just makes me think of what was.  It reminds me of all of the hope that I had when I was so much younger.  It reminds me of what I had wanted with my husband and what I was looking forward to having with him.  It makes me think of the what-ifs... What if we had bought a house?  What if we had never moved to Virginia?  What if?  What if?  What if?  I know that life doesn't work that way.  But when I travel along a road that we had traveled together countless times, my mind cannot help but to wander in that direction. 

It has been almost 10 years since I have lived in Rochester.  But the thoughts and memories are very real.  Rochester is a place that I will one day take my son.  I will take him to the college where we both attended and met.  I will take him around and show him places that we spent so much time together... parks, Wegmans (lol), and even old apartments.  I think that no matter how much time has passed between now and then, whenever that visit may be, it is going to be very difficult and emotional.  This was the place where the dream began.  The loss of a dream is one that is hard to get over, no matter what may have caused it.  In my case though, I have to admit, it just makes it that much more difficult and makes this post title quite fitting. 

But, as I always try to do with this blog...  I am truly thankful in that I can find happiness in the life that I am living now.  I can see that I have so much to look forward to.  And I learning how to let go of old dreams and how to create new ones with my life as it is.  However, that doesn't mean that the old ones can't still sting from time to time. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

4 Days of Christmas

I have been busy celebrating Christmas for the past four days.  Add to that a fantastic sinus infection and bam... I am enjoying this snow storm that is currently going on outside my parents' window because it gives me a perfect excuse to stay indoors and be absolutely lazy. 

On the first day of Christmas... my son and I stopped at his grandparents' so that he could spend some time with them for the holiday.  We had a nice lunch and my son had a nice time opening and playing with the gifts that he received.  It is a very difficult day as being at my husband's parents' house without him only emphasizes his absence.  I am sure that his parents feel the same way having only the two of us there as well.

On the second day of Christmas... I spent it with my parents, my brother, my sister and her family, and my grandparents.  This was the first time that my immediate family held our own Christmas festivities and it was nice.  Since it was such a small group, we ate very well... prime rib, shrimp, cheesecake, etc.  Although I always look forward to our traditional Christmas cuisine of Polish sausage, pierogies, etc.  I have to admit it was nice to have a fancier Christmas dinner. 

On the third day of Christmas... I went to my paternal grandmother's house like we always did from the time I was born.  However, this was the first time in atleast 7 years that I was able to make it and it was really nice to be there.  It's funny how things change and don't change at the same time.  In some ways it didn't feel at all like it had been that long since I had last spend Christmas Eve at her house.  However, even though the family has expanded, there were less of us there.  I have a cousin who now lives in Florida and didn't make it up.  My sister's boys were with their father and her step children were with their mother, so no one from her family was there.  I did get to see two of my other cousins that I do not get to see all that often and that was really nice.  It's amazing how quickly children grow as my cousin's eldest is now driving!  Crazy!

On the fourth day of Christmas... it was actually Christmas!  This was the first Christmas that my son understood the concept of gifts and Santa.  It made it lots of fun!  We spent the morning opening gifts and playing with them.  Then we had to get ready for the big family party (with my mother's side of the family) at my parents' house, which is where I am staying while home for the holidays.  It was great to see everyone... aunts, cousins, kids... but there were many faces missing as well.

I guess that is the thing about the holidays... it is a great time to enjoy with your family and friends, but it also makes it more apparent when everyone gets together to notice the ones that are not there.  There are some not with us any longer because they have passed on.  But there are others not able to make it due to spending time with in-laws, work, or even living far away.  I am thankful for the four days that my son and I got to spend with my family as they do make for some great memories. 

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas (if you celebrate it) and enjoyed the company with whom you were able to spend the holiday with. 


Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Heavy Heart

I felt like there wasn't anything else that I could post until I posted about Friday's tragic event.  I didn't hear a single thing about what happened until about 4 o'clock.  I was at the gym and just got onto the bike and when I saw what the little t.v. was showing me, I just couldn't believe it was real.  I sat there watching the news and riding that bike as tears rolled down my face.  There are not any words to describe the depths of sadness for such an unfathomable event.

As both a mother and a teacher, this incident hit so close to home.  I look at my son and I cannot imagine life without him.  He is only a couple of years younger than those children.  They are so innocent.  So vibrant.  So full of potential.  My heart breaks for those parents as I just cannot imagine their sorrows.

I have always been proud to call myself a teacher.  As stories have unfolded about the heroism of the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary, I am even more so.  I only hope that God forbid I should ever find myself in a situation such as that, that I wouldn't panic, but that I would  be able to act in a heroic manner as well.  I say that not only for the safety and lives of the children that I teach.  But I too entrust my son's life and well being in the hands of others and I can only hope that he would be taken care of in the same way.

There is a third layer that hits close to home as well and that is of mental illness.  I have no soap box to step onto right now nor do I feel like this is the place for it as well.  All that I can say is that the mind is incredibly powerful and it doesn't loose that power no matter how sick it may be.  And that is frightening.

Sometimes life grants us a second chance.  Unfortunately in this case, there is no second chance.  It just is.  Terrible.  Painful.  Sad beyond all measures.  Those who were directly effected have their own paths of healing to begin.  But for the rest of us... we have been effected too.  Leaving politics at the door... What can we do?  Look at the big picture.  Get your priorities straight.  Cherish the people whom you love most.  Enjoy life.

Friday night, I didn't hug my son extra tight.  I hugged him just the same as I do every night.  I am not the mother of the year, nor is he a perfect angel every second of everyday.  Perhaps I learned the hard way as well, but I am so thankful for him everyday.  And each day brings hugs and kisses and hand holding no matter what our moods may be during and throughout the day.  My son and the many wonderful people in my life are what matter most, everything else is just details.  I think we all are reminded of that when something tragic like this happens.  The key is to not let that feeling fade. 




Thursday, December 13, 2012

Limbo

Limbo... as in teetering back and forth between assumptions, expectations, and pure hope and faith.  The unknown...  I have realized that I do not function well in limbo.  I find it extremely unsettling and I hate that feeling.  When the truth is out there, I just want to know.

I have not always felt this way.  I actually lived in limbo for quite some time.  I didn't know half of the time if I was coming or going.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells.  At the time though, it was the norm and I didn't feel the way that I feel now when I am in limbo.

There are many scenarios in which I think we can feel stuck, helpless, and just waiting in limbo.  I have a friend whose grandfather is not doing very well.  She recently shared with me how she felt like she was living day to day in limbo not knowing what that day would bring for him.  She was reliving all of the emotions of potentially losing a loved one day after day.   That is such a difficult situation.  When the future seems bleak, the only alternative to settling that feeling of limbo is an outcome full of heartache. 

Fortunately for me, I am not in a state of limbo such as my friend.  In just this past week, two different people put me in this unsettling state by not fully communicating with me.  This is the type of limbo that I was accustomed to previously, but that I can no longer take.  It's just not acceptable for me to let anyone put me in that position because I absolutely hate it. 

I have to admit that I am finding that I think about The Four Agreements quite often.  They really do help to put people and life into perspective and I find them rational and calming.  So how have they helped me this past week?  For one, I have had to remind myself not to take anything personally.  That can be hard to do, but when I step back, I can see how I am not the center of their universe and that their decisions and actions do not revolve around me, they revolve around themselves and who they are and what is going on in their lives.  This has helped for me to take a deep breath and respond and act in a way that am proud to represent myself in (be impeccable with your word.)  I have also tried to keep an open mind and to not let assumptions creep in, so I have asked lots and lots of questions.  I don't always feel comfortable asking loads of questions, but I have gotten much more comfortable putting that to the side and asking anyways and if I feel the need, I explain why it is that I am asking all that I am.  The last of the four agreements is to always do your best.  Sometimes it is hard to know if someone else is doing their best because it can change from time to time, day to day.  Asking questions and communication in general can help for you to better understand a person to help you to determine if what you are getting is their best.  However, even at one's best it doesn't mean that your needs are being met.  It can still be disappointing none the less. 

I think on that last one, the best that you can do is to do your best.  My best is to work through the first three agreements and to do all that I can on my part to move out of limbo and into a more calming and amiable situation.  That's not always easy, but all that you can expect out of anyone including yourself is the best that you can do at any given time.  And you hope that is enough. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ghosts of Birthdays Passed

There is a reason, I know, that the holidays are especially hard when you are missing a loved one.  Not too long ago, I posted about that.  Those "special" days help vivid memories to surface.  It took the simple act of me twisting my ring around my finger to muster up some of my own memories of birthdays (since I just celebrated mine yesterday) spent with my husband.

Our first, my 19th, was 15 years ago!  Eesh, that makes me sound old!  We had just recently met and I remember celebrating with my friends in my dorm room.  I remember the blue sweater and gray cords I was wearing and the grey sweater, jeans, and hat he was wearing (I have pictures too.).  He gave me an Irish Claddagh ring and a little plaid bear.  I remember lots of laughing with him and my friends.  I also remember a "strip" tease he attempt to give to me, but only made it to taking off his sweater (and that was the late nineties when everyone wore layers and layers!) so I didn't see too much, lol. 

For my 21st birthday, he took me out to dinner, Jack Astor's.  I remember the waiters made me stand on my chair as they sang "Happy Birthday" to me.  I was fifty shades of red!  He didn't come out with me that night, he wanted me to have fun with the girls.  And that I did!  I don't remember my gift, perhaps that was the year he gave me a Lladro.  But I was happy.

Things were not going so well for us around that time of my 22nd birthday.  I remember opening up my gifts at his apartment.  It was just the two of us.  I don't remember what we did before... but that was the year that he gave me his grandmother's engagement ring.  He didn't propose then!  His grandparents had owned a jewelry store back in the day.  And earlier that year, his grandmother passed away.  Since his grandfather had already passed, the remaining jewelry was divided among the family.  He was given a (nontraditional) diamond ring and he gave that to me.  I knew it meant alot to him and that it meant alot for him to give it to me.  About five months later, we were engaged, with my own ring. 

My 25th birthday was my first living in Virginia and my second as a married lady.  We went out to dinner at The Olive Garden.  We later picked out our Christmas tree and decorated it listening to Christmas music.  I remember thinking that I loved that birthday.  It was simple and perfect and I spent it with my little family... my husband and my two dogs.  That was a happy day!

My 30th birthday was spent here in NYC.  I remember the red dress, the black shoes, and the fancy earring that he bought for me.  I wore them to work (a bit overdressed, yes) and then he picked me up and we went into the city for dinner.  We went to Little Italy to be exact, Pellegrino's, and my dinner was superb!  We also went to a sex shop afterwards and bought some "furniture"/wedges.  I remember not being so jazzed about that, it wasn't really what I wanted for my birthday... But it did later lead to our son, lol.  (Sorry I went there!)

Two years ago, for my 32nd birthday, things were different.  He didn't take off of work or have the night off like he always did for my birthday.  He had presents for me.  They were not wrapped, but left in the bags that he had bought them in and they were left on the bed.  I didn't have cake.  That December, two years ago, that's when things became apparent to me that things were just not right. 

Last year, was my first without him.  My parents came up for that weekend.  I don't remember what we did.  I just remember that they were here and that it was nice so that I didn't feel alone. 

Yesterday, now marked the second year without him.  My brother and my cousin came up for the weekend.  We spent part of the day in the city on Saturday and went out for dinner Saturday night.  Our after dinner plans didn't work out as planned.  But I laughed alot and had a really good time.  They made me breakfast yesterday morning, which was really sweet.  My guy, whom I haven't mentioned too recently, but have in A Touch of Warmth, Kinks, Exposed... that guy... well, I thought he would have been part of my 34th.  But as I posted yesterday, things often don't work out as planned and I spend last night eating sushi, cake, and chocolate wine by myself... and my blog. 

It's funny what our perceptions are and what memories we carry with us.  Yesterday was not the happiest of birthdays for me.  But I wonder how I will view yesterday in a year from now.  Will it eventually turn into one of those years that I skip over because I don't remember anything significant about it?  Or will it impress me in a way yet to be determined?  All that I am certain of right now though is that memories are a treasure, a gift.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!

Surprise... A new look!  I completely missed my one year blogging anniversary date which is when I wanted to reveal the new look, but today works just as well too.  I have to admit that I was getting pretty tired of looking at the old layout and felt that this was the perfect time to update.  I feel as if I am in a new phase of my healing, in moving on, and in my life in general and my blog appearance needed to reflect this change as well.

Surprise... Today is my birthday.  I am 34, officially in my mid-thirties.  When I blew out my candle today, I wished for the ability to continue to trust my gut and to not loose faith in my own instincts.

Surprise... There are always life lessons to learn no matter what age you may be.  And life doesn't take a break from teaching you these lessons even when it is your birthday weekend and you are excited about what was planned.  Sometimes you need a plan B, C, D,... ;) or if not, a good sense of humor to look at the bright side and come away with a good story to tell.  However, I also learned that some situations don't leave room open for plans other than the one that missed its mark.  When that happens, you get up, dust yourself off, take all that you can get from it, and move on with your head held high looking for that sun to glimmer through the aspen.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Home Sweet Brooklyn!?!

Today, during the deep breathing, relaxation, and stretching of a Pilate's class, it hit me that New York City is my home.  Way back when, I posted about finding the things in life that are right for you, one being your home.  Back in March, when I wrote about my thoughts of living in NYC, I wasn't sure if this was the place for me.  When we moved here, it was with the intention of being only temporary.  Finding myself to be a single mother living in the city by myself, the thought of moving closer to my family had crossed my mind.  However, I also found myself with the complete freedom to move anywhere I wanted.  Although the idea was exhilarating, it was also very overwhelming as well.  So, I decided to stay in NYC because I had a secure job here and I didn't know where I wanted go. 

Those were my thoughts... almost a year ago.  This past year (and I don't count the first few months after my husband's death, I was just in survival mode) was all about me healing.  My healing consisted of being open and truly aware of all the had happened in my relationship with my husband, from beginning to end.  I had to accept many things about our relationship and that acceptance had helped for me to find peace.  The peace put to ease the many unanswered questions and feelings of guilt that lingered within me.  Sadness, confusion, and yes even the guilt come back to me, but I have been able to let them come and let them go just as quickly.  That is attributed to the second part of my healing, which was to find myself again.  And I feel like I have.  I am still a work in progress as I hope I will always be, but my core is well defined. 

As I enter the second year of this blog, I feel as if my journey is moving on to a new chapter as well.  Now that I am confident in who I am, it is time to put that into action.  I have decided, apparently just tonight, that NYC is home.  As I posted in "Home," there are many perks to living in NYC, however there are downfalls as well.  I always thought that I would own my own home.  I loved big old houses full of charm with two floors and lots of space.  I wanted a decent sized yard big enough to play baseball with the kids, the dogs to run around, and a garden for some fresh veggies.  Those are not very realistic wants for me in NYC.  However, I already had that, atleast most of that.  And at the time that I did, that was me and I loved my house and the home that my husband and I created there.   However, when I think about who I am today, that is not me.  So my dream needs to change with me as well.  And that was hard, to give up that dream.  But I had to, I have to.  The dream doesn't match anymore and if I forced it, I wouldn't be happy living it.

What I have discovered and accepted in myself is that I like my home to be neat and orderly.  However, it doesn't come easily or naturally for me to keep things tidy.  Therefore, I function better in a small home (or apartment).  I remember feeling overwhelmed in my house many times because it was so big, I felt like I was always cleaning.  On top of that, I do not necessarily find joy in sprucing up the home.  I love the end result, but the process... ugh.  I would rather be out doing something with my son (and that is something that NYC does not lack in, things to do!).  It would be great to have a big backyard to let my son run and do his boy things in, but at the same time, yards are a lot of work.  I have been able to focus on myself and my son and not feel so overwhelmed by being alone, partly because I don't have a home I need to take constant care of.  Believe you me, there have been plenty of times in which I just wanted to send my son out and watch him from afar.  However, since I can't do that and the playground and open spaces here are so public, I need to be mindful of my son.  I have to take an active part in his recreation, and that isn't such a bad thing.  We spend alot of time playing and bonding together.  (And I have the time to do it because I only have a little apartment to look after!)  Another thing I have found in that I want to simplify things.  After going through all of our storage last year, I realized that we had soo much stuff!  Too much.  I have tried to get rid of things that I do not use or like or want anymore.  This is a difficult task in that I have kept many things as sentimental items of my husband for my son, and for me as well.  I have found though as time has gone on that I have been able to release more.  But, there will always be a stash, especially for my son who will one day be able to decide what he would like to keep or not keep.  But truly, I want simple and clutter free (thanks Happiness Project!) and that compliments a little home nicely.  The only true downfalls for me is the lack of any outside space and laundry, and this used bad floor planned apartment.  How do I solve that?  Move to a different apartment.  A pain yes, but atleast I have an option.

So having said all of that, I think that I have accepted that my dream of a house and yard and the bringing up like I had in that respect are no longer part of my dream.  My dream can always change.  But right now, my dream reflects who I am.  And who I am today is a person who feels like right now, she is where she is supposed to be, Home Sweet Brooklyn!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Black and White

Perspective.  I have always tried to see the two sides of any situation.  I did so almost to a fault.  Some people see black or white.  I always saw gray.  I pulled from both ends and what I ended up with was a muddled perspective in which I found myself stuck in.  I was stuck because I wasn't able to make a decision and take a stance one way or another. 

I acknowledge that there are times and situations in which a definitive stand is both necessary and appropriate.  However, that is not always the case.  I think it is more often the case for those who see through lenses of either black or white to limit themselves to a vast variety of possibilities. 

People, situations, life... it is all multi-dimensional.  We are so interconnected with one another that it is difficult to say that there are only two sides.  We all have so many layers and dimensions... that is what makes us all so unique, yet potentially complicated at the same time.  We rely so heavily on our own experiences and despite how different each of our experiences and the mindsets we all have in those experiences, we use that knowledge to help us chose a side and make a decision on how we choose to look at a person or a situation. 

I now look through completely different lenses and no longer see a muddled gray.  It has taken me a great amount of time and patience, acceptance, self discovery, and therapy to look through the lenses and see both black and white individually and simultaneously. 

In one of my very first posts, which happened to be almost exactly one year ago, I wrote "The Comfort to Just Be."  It was in this post that I shared a piano piece, "The Promise" that seemed to capture what I was feeling at that time... a deep sadness, peace, and hope.  I remember feeling unsettled in feeling such sadness and at the same time having feelings that seemed to be on the other side of the spectrum in peace and hope.  It is interesting for me to be able to look back at that post and see the beginning steps in this transformation, if you will, that may actually be the most important element in my healing. 

A suicide is a death far different than any other.  It is a complicated death.  It leaves those left behind with an endless amount of questions,  what-ifs, and even guilt.  I am no stranger to those thoughts.  However, they must be confronted and addressed to move on, even if there are no answers, redoes, or second chances.  For me, when I looked back on our years together it is not hard to find happy memories.  At the same time, it is not hard to find even some of those same happy times somehow tainted, tainted by which I can now see as severe side effects of a mental illness left untreated for far too long.  Sometimes looking back on it, it makes me feel sad for me, for us.  But what I have to remind myself is how I felt in that moment.  And for the majority of those moments, that spanned for over 13 years, I was truly happy and I adored him.  I loved him endlessly, even as I had to step away hoping that he would focus on himself and his health. 

I see black and white as an intricate weave.  Sometimes there is more black than white, and vice versa.  Sometimes they are so intricately woven that it is hard to decipher, however, they are still both there as separate entities. 

I don't think that I am any "better" at picking one side over the other.  However, I am no longer stuck either.  I can accept that polar opposites can coexist.  It doesn't necessarily make things more settled, but it is the acceptance that is the key.  Choosing to accept... that settles the desire to choose one way over the other. 





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seconds

What a great title to follow the Thanksgiving post!  But I assure you that this will not be all about the food I ate on Thanksgiving.  Instead, it is about the seconds of everything as time inches ever so closely to that second year mark without my husband. 

It is hard to believe that it was two years ago this time of year when I started to notice that things were just not right with him, with us.  Things were just so off.  Looking back, his mental health had been on a decline, but for some reason it was at this time two years ago that it began to take a more drastic and noticable dive.  Hindsight is 20-20 they say though, and with good reason.  He was so good at hiding his deep troubles that all I was able to see was his coping mechanisms that were far from positive or healthy.  These coping mechanisms, that were established and engrained at an early age, were detrimental to not only his health, but to our relationship.  As with everything else, it is hard to believe that it has been already two years since things started to slowly come undone.  At the same time, it seems as if it has been forever... forever since I have seen him.

Seconds... We made it through our second Father's Day, Anniversary, Birthday (his and my son's), Halloween... various other smaller holidays, vacations, and now Thanksgiving.  In the 8 years of our marriage, we spend 7 of those Thanksgiving together.  Out of those 7, we spent 4 by ourselves.  Whether it was just the two of us, or a small family gathering, he always made the feast.  He loved to make pies.  He made the turkey.  He made homemade apple sauce.  Thanksgiving was his thing and he was very good at it.  Last year, I spent Thanksgiving at home with my son and two aunts.  I made the Thanksgiving dinner and as I did, I thought of my husband and tried to make everything like him.  Although extremely sad and difficult, it made me feel like he was still with us.  This year, I spent Thanksgiving with my parents and everything was done.  I traveled 8 hours on Thanksgiving morning, so I wasn't able to help out with the dinner.  Those 8 hours though provided time for many thoughts to pass through.  I had a few moments of tears and sadness.  But, spending the holiday with so many other people made for a big destraction.  I was actually thankful for that quiet time in the car. 

I have to admit though that the holidays do not strike a painstaking chord like it does for so many others who have lost a loved one.  To me, a holiday is just a day, one day.  It is all the time in between that I find to be so much harder.  It's all the little things that happen either on a day to day basis or spontaneously that I miss sharing with him.  Yes, the birthdays and holidays are difficult, but I think that's just because memories are more prominent.  I would trade all those days to get back the "regular" ones.  That is not how life works though, does it?  Instead, my son and I will continue on our journey of seconds. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Inhale with Gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving!  This is my favorite holiday.  I love this time of year.  From September on... apples, pumpkins, cider, cozy sweaters, beautiful foliage... I can't think of a better way to conclude all that I love best about fall than with all the above plus family, friends, and lots of wonderful food!

I have so much to be thankful for...

-I am thankful for my son.  He is a healthy, happy little boy and for that I am completely grateful.  He has such a wonderful energy and spirit.  I am truly blessed.
-I am thankful for my mom and dad.  I am thankful for all that they have done, especially in the past year and a half, to help both me and my son and we feel their love in many ways.  I am also thankful for being raised to be an independent, hard working, respectful, and compassionate woman.
-I am thankful for my brother and sister.  I have so many wonderful memories with them growing up as kids and now as adults.  They have both been there for me in their own way this past year and that has meant more than words can say.
-I am thankful that at the age of 33 (okay, just a few weeks shy of 34) I still have three living grandparents.  My mother's parents have been married for 64 years!  And my father's mother is still a spitfire, lol.  I am happy that my son has had the opportunity to meet them and to share memories with them.
-I am thankful for my other family members as well.  My family is crazy, lol.  But they are extremely generous and caring.  I know that they would do anything to help me at any given time.   
-I am thankful for great friends both old and new.  For my old friends, I am grateful for all of the memories that we have shared over the years and for all of the love and support given to me over the years.  For my new friends, I am grateful for their kindness and friendship.  It was a concern of mine, living in and raising my son alone in NYC.  However, I don't feel alone and I do feel like NYC is home.
-I am thankful for my health and for the health of my family and friends.  We all have our own battles.  But, at this time, all of the people that I love most are healthy and for that I am deeply grateful.
-I am thankful for my job.  Financial stability and independence has allowed me to keep a stable life for both my son and I.  I have also been able to provide both of us with a variety of wonderful experiences that I will treasure forever.
-I am thankful for my life, past and present.  I am thankful for all of the wonderful memories that I shared with my husband.  I am thankful that I have a connection with him in our son that is a daily reminder of all that was good in both him and in us.  I am thankful for all he taught me both about love and life.  I am thankful for the time that I had with him.

On Tuesday, my spinning instructor said, "Inhale with gratitude."  I love that.  There is so much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sharing

Being exposed goes far beyond taking off one's clothes.   It's sharing your true self all the way down to the very core.  No bells.  No whistles.  Just you as you are. 

It has been two weeks since I posted "Exposed" and my desire to share parts of my past with this man with whom I am beginning to let myself look just a bit ahead into the future with.  It has taken this long not because of my own procrastination, but because of a little something that got in the way, life.  In this case it was more so his than mine, but it only gave him another story to share which seemed to open the gates and make my own past that much easier to tell.

Part of my struggle which prevented me from sharing sooner was deciding where to begin and how much do I share as far as details go.  I decided to start with how he died and backed up a few months to share some the events that happened which led to the tragic ending.  As far a details went, I didn't get very specific mainly because I felt like I didn't have to.  He just listened and understood.  I wasn'tsure of how my words come out, but they did.  I felt so comfortable talking and sharing my heartbreaking story with him as if he were an old friend.  When I was done, he hugged me and asked me if I felt better for having had shared with him.  And I did.  But even as I spoke, I could feel the heaviness dissipate as it changed from sharing a tragic tale to just sharing me.  That's me.  That's my life. 

I have worked very hard to deal with, accept, and put to peace all that had happened.  He was the first person that I have shared myself with in that way in over a year.    And I think that I have come a long way.  But just as important was the receiving end.  He makes me feel completely accepted and safe in sharing myself, not just the past stories but all of me... cheesy dork and all.  That means more than I can possibly express.  And while I am beginning to look into the future (weeks) with him and I am enjoying each moment as they come as he has remained exactly what I need in the present.  And for that I truly thank him. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Drop Dead Diva

This summer my 15 year old niece came and stayed with me for a few days.  We had fun exploring Netflix at night and one of those nights, she stumbled across a show I never would have ventured to watch, Drop Dead Diva.  I'm surprised that even she selected this show since she is in a goth phase right now and just the title alone doesn't seem fitting to her.  Anyhoo, we had a mini DDD marathon that night and we became hooked.

I don't watch much television, but I finally finished up season two of this show and I absolutely love it!  The plot of the series is this... A young model (Deb) from L.A. with a super hot boyfriend is in a car accident and dies on her way to a Price is Right audition.  At the same time, a super smart, plain, pretty, and heavy set lawyer (Jane) is shot.  Both women end up at the same hospital at the same time and they both "see the light." However, it is the model, Deb, who pushed a button and ended up back on earth, but in Jane's body.  To thicken the plot and to show what a small world it is, Deb's boyfriend, Grayson had interviewed with (the old) Jane and is now working at her firm.  So, you got it... Deb who is now Jane is working with her boyfriend.  Each episode is revolved around the firm and the cases all have some connection to the lesson that Jane learns that day.

I love Jane's character.  She is a heavy set woman, but she exudes confidence.  Her confidence comes from all areas in her life.  She is super smart and that has helped her to become a successful lawyer (who therefore makes lots of money).  She takes care of herself (yes, I know this is fictional tv, but just play along) and from her hair to her outfit, looks impeccable.  She dresses to and for her body and just always looks terrific.  She is just a beautiful woman with a sweet and cute personality.  If I had to choose a tv character role model, it would be her, lol.

All kidding aside, I actually started to write this post a while back, but never finished it.  It seemed like the perfect post to follow up from yesterday's.  Confidence.  It's sexy despite insignificant details like numbers, name brands, and all those other little bodily imperfections we all have but no one else really ever notices. 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Confessions from a Skinny... Bitch?

Really, does it make me a bitch because I am skinny?  Being skinny is not what this post is about however.    It's really about the body, my body.  I just so happen to be on the skinnier side.  This post is even more so about health and feeling good about yourself and having confidence.

So, why did I add in the skinny bitch part?  I did so because it's hard to talk about your body with other people when you are on the smaller side.  How small am I?  I am 5'2" and last time I weighed in, 113 lbs.  This is the most that I have ever weighed, aside from being pregnant.  The weight range that I had seemed to settle into prior to having my son was in the 103-107 weight range.  It's not a big change and I am not here to complain about my numbers.  Actually, my biggest concern after having my son was just being able to get back into my old clothes.  Once I hit that point, I was happy.  I am even happy with the few extra pounds that I do have because I feel like they give me a bit more of a shape and God knows I could use a little help in the voluptuous department.

This is what I am not happy about, my stomach.  I don't have long legs.  I don't have a second glance rack.  I learned to accept that, especially in the tough younger years.  But the one area that I had always been proud of was my stomach.  It was flat and even had a bit of definition.  It was the one area of my body that made me feel sexy.  Right now, I feel like its my least favorite part and I have to admit, I don't feel quite so sexy these days.  

I don't think it matters what size, shape, or number we have.  We all have body image issues.  Not too long ago I was having lunch with some ladies and I started to share my concerns about getting older, not having as much time to go to the gym, and seeing the repercussions of that and I got a few eye rolls.  That's disappointing.

However, the fact is that I am getting older and it is difficult to schedule in gym time and to be able to make it there consistently multiple times a week.  But, there are other things that I can do.  And good thing for resurrected pledge to The Happiness Project.  I have added sit-ups right next to "to go bed earlier!"

But like I said in the beginning, this post is not about weight and numbers.  It's really about feeling good about yourself and having confidence.  Now that I am working on taking better care of myself, I hope that I see an improvement in the ab department as well.  There is nothing sexier than a person with confidence.  I want that.  Not for the benefit of someone else, but for me.  Just me. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

What ever happened to...

The Happiness Project!?!  I know right, I dropped it like a fly after only a few months.  The sad thing is that when I was doing it, I felt like it was working.  I had my goals and checklists for the month (and I just love checklists!) and I was set to go.  I think I just got too caught up in the many other things going on in my life in the spring... work, book club blog, the drama with my art piece, the death of my dog, and of course the one year anniversary date.

In my last post, I wrote about how I feel like I need to start taking care of myself better again.  I thought that The Happiness Project would be a great place to start.  I plan on starting from the beginning again, because that first month was by far the best month for me in my first attempt... organization and decluttering.  I have to admit that structure and routine made life so much easier last year as I adjusted to being a single mom.  I have gotten away from it a bit and I feel now like I have just been getting by.  Just getting by means that my home is not as clean and as organized as I find peaceful and comforting.  Just getting by means that I am not managing my time well and my new bedtime is well past midnight.  Just getting by is just not acceptable to me.  I want more.  I want better.  And if that means I am pulling out those checklists, then so be it (it's not like I'm sacrificing my spontaneity, lol). 

One of the first things I did last year when I started this project was to come up with a list of personal beliefs that I posted in "The Happiness Project."  Well, it has been awhile since I visited them and as I just reread them now, I think I am sticking with them.  I am happy with that list.  So happy, I am going to share it again in this post.  Here it is...

1.  Trust your gut.
2.  Surround yourself with good people.
3.  Let go.
4.  Smile.
5.  Live in and enjoy the moment.
6.  You are stronger than you think you are.
7.  Find beauty in the small.
8.  Hold your head high, with confidence and grace.
9.  There are always two sides.
10. Share your thoughts with tact and dignity.
11. Just be.
12. If you always choose the rational, you may miss out on the extraordinary.

Gretchen Rubin called her list her commandments.  If these are my commandments, I think that I did a pretty good job in upholding them and living my life according to my beliefs.  That makes me happy.  So I guess I'm getting restarted on the project already on a good foot.

Here's to happiness!






Saturday, November 10, 2012

Fix You

In this past year, I have shared a few songs that were ones I found much comfort in as I tried to heal after the death of my husband.  One of the reasons I had found comfort with these pieces was that they contained no words.  The instrumental pieces may have helped guide my emotions, but the story that they conjured was mine, not the artists'.  

One song that did contain words that I listened to repeatedly was "Fix You" by Coldplay.  There are so many outside factors (both positive and negative) that we rely on to help us through tough times... family, friends, religion, therapy, sex, drugs, etc, etc, etc...  However, the factor that matters most, is you.  It doesn't matter how strong and positive of a support system one may have, if change is going to occur, it truly must come from within.  Unfortunately, I witnessed firsthand the devastation that can occur from one not being able to take care of himself in such a way to truly cope and heal from within.  

This song seemed most fitting for me to dedicate to myself.  Sounds a bit silly, I know.  But the only one that can truly take care of us and fix us is ourselves.  I was surrounded by the love of my family and friends and that meant everything to me.  That helped give me the courage and strength to fix myself so that I could heal and move on in a positive way.  But it was me alone who did not once not get out of bed.  It was me alone who went through my husband's personal belongings and decided what to keep and what to donate.  It was me alone who had to tell my son that his father was dead and that meant that we won't ever be able to see and talk to him again.  So it had to be me alone who had to work through all of the questions and confusion and guilt to make it to where I am today.   

I feel like I am in a very good, healthy place right now.  However, having said that, I feel like I can be in an even better place.  I feel like I have been on an adrenaline rush for the past year.  But lately, I feel like that adrenaline has been diminishing, but I am still moving at the same fast speed.  Exhaustion has started to creep in more and more and I don't like it.  There were many things that I turned to and used as therapy to help me to get to where I am today.  Some of these things I have not been as dedicated to doing as I have once been.  I won't ever be completely fixed or healed, but that doesn't mean that I should stop trying, especially since I do feel good.  No matter what state or place we are in our lives, we are all works in progress and can always continue to grow and get better.  I need to remember this and start taking better care of my core again. 

Fix You
When you try your best but you don't succeed 
When you get what you want but not what you need 
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep  
Stuck in reverse
And the tears come streaming down your face  

When you lose something you can't replace  
When you love someone but it goes to waste  
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home  

And ignite your bones  
And I will try to fix you
And high up above or down below  

When you're too in love to let it go  
But if you never try you'll never know  
Just what you're worth
Lights will guide you home  

And ignite your bones  
And I will try to fix you
Tears stream down your face  

When you lose something you cannot replace  
Tears stream down your face And I
Tears stream down your face I promise you I will learn from my mistakes  

Tears stream down your face And I
Lights will guide you home  

And ignite your bones 
And I will try to fix you
~Coldplay

Monday, November 5, 2012

Giving

It has been a week since Hurricane Sandy hit this area.  The effects were devastating.  I was so fortunate in that I did not even lose power and besides the fact that schools were closed all of last week, my life went back to normal pretty quickly.  I wish I could say the same for everyone. 

I would have loved to have been able to get out there and volunteer my time and services to help out my fellow New Yorkers, but its not so easy to up and go when you have a child to take care of.  So, I helped out in a way that I could, donations. 

It is quite chilly this time of the year in NY, and there are so many people who lost so much of their belongings and are without heat... and I had just the things, winter jackets.  I had donated most of my husband's clothes last year when I went through his belongings.  For some reason though, I never touched his jackets.  This was the perfect opportunity to let those items go.  It made it so much easier to do so knowing that they would be going to people that are truly in need of them.  I have to admit though that it did choke me up and this past Saturday was more of a somber day for me. 

As time moves on, I have started to find items that I saved last year that I feel I can now let go of.  In this past year, I have donated a tremendous amount of items from clothing to an antique dinning room set.  As hard as it is to say goodbye to these pieces that were once a part of my life, it is so much easier to donate them than to sell them.  Last summer, after going through my storage site, I did attempt to have a yard sale.  I did sell many items, but its so hard to sell items that hold memories for dollars and cents.  It's like a punch to the gut. 

I have kept some clothing of my husband's, like a few sweaters that immediately make me able to see him so clearly in, ties (for my son someday), and a few other odds 'n ends that I also thought my son might like to see or have someday as well.  The last things that I have, that I don't plan on keeping are his suits.  I know that he loved them and they are just hard to get rid of.  I am not planning on keeping these for my son because who knows if he could ever wear them or if he would even want to.  It's hard, but I just can't keep everything.  So, I know that the suits will go too.  And, I think once things start to settle down here and people are finding that they are having their basic needs met, I may donate the suits as well.  Just the thought though does put tears into my eyes because not only do they represent something that my husband loved, but they are also the last pieces that I have to donate.

In a way, being able to donate his things, makes it feel like he is still here, giving.  Letting those suits go is going to be a difficult thing to do. 

*As a little side note, since I mentioned Hurricane Sandy in this post, I felt a bit of giving from my husband in the midst of this storm myself.  Not knowing what to expect, I wanted to be prepared, so I had water stored, I had lots of food, I filled my car with gas... the only thing I was missing was extra batteries.  I was in need of two extra for the flashlight and 2 more for a radio.  I decided to check out the storage room to check out a box that we used to store those types of items in.  I kid  you not, there were 4 batteries in that box.  Two that I could use for the flashlight and two for the radio, exactly what I needed.  Fortunately I didn't need them, but as I was all alone to weather the storm, I didn't feel all that alone. 




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Exposed

I've been having a very difficult time finding words lately as I have mentioned in my last post.  This still holds true and perhaps even more so as I continue my journey in moving on with my life.  I am now in unchartered waters as I begin to take steps in developing a real relationship with a man whom I deem to be wonderful.

Despite the amount of patience, understanding, and respect that this man has shown me and despite how comfortable I feel when I am with him, I just have not yet been able to find the words to tell him about the past.  At first, it didn't seem to matter.  It was very early and it was most important to just get to know one another at a basic level.  We are past that and as we see more and more of each other, I am starting to feel the heaviness of my story, my life weigh on me as I put it off.  I am beginning to find it difficult to share my true self with him because I feel as if I am leaving out this big chunk of my life that has so profoundly changed my perspectives, my thoughts... me.

The story is not that my husband took his own life.  That is only the tragic end to the story of us.  My story dates back almost exactly 15 years to when I first met him. I feel as if I need to start from there and share certain events and most importantly who I was and who I came to be throughout the years and how in almost some tragic poetic tale everything came together to create a perfect storm.  I want to continue to tell him what those last few months were like.  I want to share with him my thoughts and feelings so that he will understand the actions that I had to take to protect myself and my son.  I want to share the events that happened that caused me to take the actions that I did.  I want him to know my pain and heartache... I want him to know my hell so that he can both understand and appreciate what it took for me to be sitting next to him.

More than anything, I want him to know that all that I just did was share my life.  I want him to understand that I did not just dump a burden or my baggage onto him.  I want him to know that they belong to me and me only and that I have acknowledged them and dealt with them and that I carry a light load.  I have not been bogged down by the darkness of my past and I am in no way passing it on to him.

He is wonderful, but I am not sure if he is amazing, my amazing.  However, I feel that after sharing this, I can just completely let go and be me.  That wasn't something that I was able to do in the past.  It's scary to be that exposed, but I trust him.  I believe that in order to find amazing, that risk needs to be taken.  I think he is worth it too.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sandy

Hurricane Sandy.  I am one of the lucky ones that still has power.  The lights have been flickering and I am prepared, but so far so good.  I feel a bit guilty hoping not to lose power when so many others have lost so much more.  The brunt of this storm really didn't hit the NYC area until after it was already dark, so I am not sure what kind of destruction it caused in my neighborhood.  However, I am not in a flood zone and have been fortunate enough to not have had that much rain either.  It'll be interesting to see what the morning light will bring.

This is not my first brush with a hurricane (or tropical storm).  After living in Virginia for less than a month, Hurricane Isabel struck way back in 2003.  I lost power for 10 days.  Let me tell you, it was awful!  It was September in VA.  It was humid and buggy and just disgusting.  School was closed for that same amount of time, so I couldn't even find refuge at work.  Not fun, not fun at all.

A couple of years later, still in VA, a tropical storm came through.  That was the storm in which I killed my car.  I lived only a few blocks away from the school I worked at, but I drove because it was RAINING!  I got stuck in some deep water and had to abandon my car.  I ran the rest of the way to work and arrived like a wet dog.  The assistant principal and another teacher came back out in the rain with me to push my car to the side of the road.  That was awful, just awful!

Last year, Hurricane Irene came through the NYC area.  I fled!  It was still during my summer vacation so I had no need to be here.  I didn't want to chance it and my son and I drove out to my parents' house and stayed there until the storm passed and everything cleared.

This time, I had no choice.  School is being called on a day by day basis and I can't just up and go.  Fortunately, like I said, I have not been terribly effected.  I know not everyone is as lucky.  I am thanking my lucky stars.  And my thoughts go out to anyone who lost a loved one or their homes and other valued possessions.  Stay safe everyone!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kinks

I feel as though I have so much to say, but nothing seems to be coming out.  Fittingly enough, it's not just my words that are having a hard time surfacing, I have some feelings that I am confused about and don't completely understand either.

In my last posting, I shared with you how I had met a wonderful man.  He is (still) everything that I had written in my last posting and even some more.  When I am with him I feel happy and my mind does not wander.  I don't feel any hesitations, it just feels good and right and I just go with it.  He is the first that I have really welcomed into my life with a genuine excitement.  However, that excitement has not been able to really surface beyond my own self.  I have told my friends about him and I say that I really like him and leave it at that.  I have told my parents that he is a really great guy and have left it at that.  I have not even called my very best friend to share any of the details of what has been going on in the past couple of weeks... and I don't know why.

The way that I feel on the inside does not match the way that I am projecting on the outside.  Of course I've thought (and thought and thought) about this, but I am still unsure of why this is so.

What I am sure of is that this is all about me.  I definitely have some kind of mental block.  What I am unable to determine is if I am in some sort of self preservation/protection mode or if I am just breaking down new barriers in moving on, or maybe a combination of the two.  I was talking to my brother, of all people (lol), about this and he helped make me see that maybe I just have to be comfortable with the fact that life has and is moving on and that in living my life I have found someone who makes me happy.  And that's okay.  That's more than okay.  Maybe he is right.  Once I can truly accept that I have the right to find happiness and to move on living a happy life, then maybe that's when I can share my happiness with others.

Kinks... Everything is still a process.  I can talk and prepare for what may come all I want, but I can't anticipate the feelings that will arise until I am actually experiencing them.  Perhaps if I focus more on what I am actually experiencing and feeling they will help to smooth out those kinks, whatever they may be, all the quicker.  I just want to be more aware of where they stem from so that I am dealing with them in a positive way.  I don't want them to creep up on me and take away any piece of happiness or the wonderful feelings that I am having, they just feel too good.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Touch of Warmth

A little more than three weeks ago I met a man online and since that time, we have met in person four times and have texted almost daily.  Two weeks ago, after our first date, my impression of him was that he was kind and sweet and my word for him was warm.  I have had two more dates with him since that time and I am sticking to my first impression... warm.

Although I have described him as sweet and kind, I wouldn't say that he is sappy nice.  A nice guy yes, but I have associated the word "nice" when it has come to dating to good guys with no spark.  He is not that.  There is something edgy about him, not bad boy, but something that I can't quite put my finger on.  Maybe its his confidence, not arrogance, but confidence that makes his sweet side that much more pronounced.

I enjoy being with him.  When I am with him, I am with him in the moment and that is such a great place to be.  This is new territory for me... not just seeing someone more than once, but being open to having a physical and emotional connection with another man.  But he has made it easy and I am surprised at how easy it has been.

We have not spoken much about the circumstances surrounding my husband's death, but it's more than just that... I haven't shared who I was prior to that and how I have changed to become who I am today, the person that he is sitting next to.  It's important for me to share who and why I am who I am and what that has caused me to think, believe, and want out of life.  But I haven't, atleast not yet.  However, from his responses and reactions to the little that I have said have caused me to believe that he has thought about this.  Maybe its the polite and respectful thing for any man to do for any woman, but the pace of this relationship I feel is directly in my hands.  He is flirty and I know that he has a strong attraction towards me.  He has made that known, but he has also made it known that he understands that this is difficult for me nonetheless and I feel that I have the control as far as where, when and what happens to move this along.

Tomorrow, he will be coming over to my apartment.  It's difficult to work around busy schedules and plan babysitting on top of that.  He will be going out of town for a long weekend and I'd like to see him again before he leaves.  I may not have many options to work with, but I am not hastily inviting this man into my home.  This is such a personal and intimate event, one that I hadn't even considered to be until tonight.  Inviting one into your home is inviting them into your life.  You get a sense of who that person is without the facade, behind closed doors.  Pictures, momentos, style, domestic skills, wealth... all can be looked at (and maybe assumed) from going into one's home.  I have to admit thought that I am actually excited about it.  I am not nervous or scared because I haven't felt that way with him at any other time.

In the past year and five months, I have counted and have been thankful for my many blessings.  I have always felt that I was being taken care of, whether is was through the people that are in my life or just the convenience of the location of my apartment in relation to work and my son's day care.  No matter the situation, I have felt this entire time, that I had what I needed for any particular moment.  Even when I look back at the three other men that I had gone out with, The Fab Four, they each served a purpose and played their role well (sorry if that sounds insensitive, I don't mean it to).  My point is, is that at this time in my life, I am ready to move on a bit more, a bit further and this man that I have met is the perfect person to do it with.  He is warm, yes, but comfortable and I just like him.  I don't know how I will feel about him in two weeks, two months, or anything beyond that.  I don't know if he is the one, if he is my amazing.  It doesn't even matter though because right now, he is the right one and I am looking forward to taking that next big step for me with him.






Monday, October 15, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy


I can't believe that it's been over a week since my last posting.  Time certainly flies, especially when you are having fun and having fun is what I have been busy doing lately.  Because I am sure you are so intrigued, here is all the fun that I have been up to this past week (and few days).

Last Sunday and Monday:  My trip to Mystic!!  The weather cooperated as much as it possibly could and my son and I had a wonderful time at the seaport, aquarium, beach, and even the hotel indoor pool (the rain just couldn't hold out completely).  What a wonderful weekend this was!!!

Mystic Seaport
Mystic Pizza... Yum!
A beluga whale at the aquarium... awesome!
My son was able to touch sharks and sting rays again.
Well... not from this tank.
New London, CT
The clouds were mesmerizing...





Tuesday:  Date #3... at a cozy, quaint wine house.  More to come on this one!

Wednesday:  Therapy Wednesday... Have I ever mentioned that?!?

Thursday:  Sitter, but no date... except for the gym, which I needed.  But I was up super late cooking and cleaning for...

Friday:  Wine and Treats night with the ladies!  The theme was Halloween and it was lots of fun.  I didn't have one in September and it was nice to sit and relax and just chit chat with some of the ladies that I work with, friends, that I haven't had the opportunity to do so with as much I would have liked in the past month.  

Saturday:  Date #4!!!

Sunday:  A gorgeous fall day at Central Park with my son!  

So just in case you missed me, this is where I have been.  Keeping busy... it's a good thing.  :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

So Much to Do

One of the best things about living in New York City is that I can never complain about not having anything to do.  There is so such much from Lincoln Center Performances to a walk in the park, the possibilities are endless.  What else is so great about living in New York is that there is so much to do in just a short driving span outside of the city as well.  Many of these places can be made into a day trip and some are excellent for a long weekend.  Thank you Christopher Columbus for sailing across the ocean blue and for this long weekend.

Right now, I am sitting in a hotel room in Mystic, Connecticut pooped out from enjoying the first of a three day trip with none other than my son.  I had such an awesome day today!  First off, I love fall.  I absolutely love it and today was a perfect fall day for the activities that I had planned.  We drove about 2 hours out of the city to Essex, CT where we took a 2 1/2 hour steam train and river boat ride.  It was awesome.  We sat in an open car located right behind the engine, which was really cool.  The scenery from both the train and boat was quintessential New England in the fall!

After that, we drove about 25 minutes to Oakdale, CT to The Dinosaur Place.  This was so much fun!  You basically walk through some trails in the woods and there are life size dinosaurs scattered throughout.  It was just... cool.  There are also some neat indoor activities to do like excavations and such, but we just stayed outside today and enjoyed the beautiful day.

That beautiful day lasted just until we reached the hotel and then the rain came.  It's supposed to stay and rain all day long tomorrow :( but clear up and be cool but clear on Monday.  Our plans are tainted a bit by the weather, but not ruined.  Tomorrow we are going to the Mystic Aquarium which is supposed to be wonderful and we will of course find and eat Mystic Pizza and think of Julia Roberts.  I'm hoping there will be a bit of a break in the rain so that we can atleast go to a cider mill and get apples and pumpkins.  On Monday, we will have to do a more rushed tour of the Seaport, as we were originally going to do that tomorrow.  But that should be great regardless.

I love finding these smaller scaled things to do, especially with my son.  I feel like these are the types of things that I did with him when we were in California as well and they have brought such a variety of different and interesting experiences for me and my son.  I feel like in planning these trips, I do think first of what I am going to do with my son to keep him happy and occupied, but I am also thinking of myself too.  It has been fun and enough for me to just go to these different places for the experience in viewing someplace new.  It has been equally fun finding activities in these places that will give my son an experience that I think is different and mind opening for my son.

There is so much to do, not just in New York City and its surrounding area.  But everywhere.  You just have to look and use a little imagination.  It is however the time spent together that is the best part.  My son was just wonderful today and we had a blast.  I am very much looking forward to the next couple of days, rain or shine.

The Steam Train
Swans in the Connecticut River
The Dinosaur Place!
.
A little boys paradise...



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Fab Four

It has been about eight months since I have ventured out into the (online) dating world and what do I have to show for those 8 months... 5 1/2 dates in total with four men.  Hmmm.... Lol.

My very first date was back in April and just the fact that I was going out was a huge step for me.  It only took two months later for my second date and two months after that, in August, my third date.  I didn't even post about that one.  It wasn't a bad date.  None of them were.  I think that I was really lucky with those three as they were all complete gentlemen towards me and I had a really good time with each of them.  I just didn't want to continue on with them because I just wasn't feeling it.  Maybe one date wasn't fair, but I guess that was my loss I was willing to chance.

Well it has been two months since my last date in August and low and behold, I am keeping up with the pattern.  I had a date last night.  I had met him very briefly (hence the 1/2) last weekend for coffee and got a good vibe from him.  The one date wonder actually wanted to see someone a second time, lol.  We had been texting between then and now, but last night was date night.

But let me back up a bit.  I had a really nice time with him when we met for coffee which was literally about a 30 minute encounter.  However, in that short time I felt as if he were someone that I could really see myself with and I was actually excited to have had made plans to meet again.  Later that night I cried.  I realized that I could see myself with him because he had a lot of physical features similar to my husband.   He, as in his personality, didn't strike a reminder button with me, just his looks.

But I liked him.  And I thought that it was time to take the plunge into going out with someone that I actually could see myself with so that I could and would actually want to go out multiple times with the same person.  That became the next scary step.  But I took it last night in leather heeled boots, in the rain, with frizzy hair :( lol.  I had a really great time, it wasn't just nice.

He seems to be very sweet and I just like him.  There was only one moment when I had a reminder of my husband, but it came and went.  Other than that, I was mentally with this man the whole night.  His body language was telling me that he's quite into me, lol.  That made me feel more aware of my own and actually how closed I was, but as the night went on, I felt more comfortable and opened up more too.  The night even ended with a kiss, a few actually.  It had a been quite a while, but I wasn't awkward (I don't think).  It was nice, really nice and I felt completely comfortable with him.  There weren't even any tears shed when I came home.

I can honestly say that right now, I feel very much in the moment.  And in this present time, this man feels very... warm.  I am looking forward to our next date, but that is about as far as I am looking.

The Fab Four... Thanks guys.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Not Super Cool, but AWEsome!

What an awesome experience to watch your child grow.  What else is awesome (and very scary too) is how you can see yourself in your child.  My son just turned three last month and he is at the age where he mimics everything he sees.  It's sweet, it's funny, it's... a whole lotta pressure!  I influence him in ways and he picks up on things that I didn't even realize were obvious or me for that matter.

On Saturday we were at a small quiet playground.  There were two other boys there, one my son's age, the other I'd say was about 5 years old.  What was great was that they were all kinda sorta playing together (which meant I could actually sit) and what was even better was to watch how my son interacts with peers.  OMG... what a little dorky goofball my son is.  At first I couldn't help but to laugh at him.  Then I got a little bit panicked because I began to wonder if he is a bit too odd which would lead to teasing later in life.  Then, I realized that he was actually the leader of the group and in a quiet behind the scenes sorta way, he dictated how the game was being played (beam :).

But this is what I saw... the older boy was pretending to be some kind of monster.  My son would look at him and scream (like a girl... okay, like the way I scream when I play with him) and he'd run away (also like a girl... okay, like me, but I never knew I ran like a girl and I was pretty athletic back in the day).  The other boy just egged the older one on to "scare" my son (all in good nature).  My son was the one who talked the whole time.  Nonstop.  He even changed his voice to a low manly one (I do this with him to either distract him from a tantrum or to get him to continue walking vs. being carried) which I think frightened the other little boys.  It was definitely funny, but okay a little weird too.  Wherever my son ran, the others followed.  My son was definitely the life of that party.  It was just a real neat thing to watch.  And I learned so much about my son and about me as a parent and the awesome responsibility that I have in raising him.

I have been having a bit of an issue at my son's daycare.  I guess technically I should call it preschool since his days now are more curriculum based.  The main issue is that his teacher has been working on hand grip with the class.  She talks to me everyday about what they did that day and how my son is doing (which is great).  But, then that also means that everyday I am told to practice at home with him and that he hasn't improved in the few weeks of doing this.

As a teacher, I respect his teacher.  Now, I am on the other side and its very different.  However, there are some similarities too.  As a teacher I always appreciated students' differences in abilities and talents and although I held them to high standards, I did my best to not let my teaching be confined by the state tests.  So, as a parent I see what my child is capable of doing... loves books and comprehends them, very logistical, very much left brained.  He's very intelligent and I am not worried about his abilities to be successful in school.  He does however gets frustrated easily and depending on the task will give up on his own.  He also isn't completely potty trained yet.  So, knowing him and what I know as an early educator, development is crucial.  It's okay for him to not hold a marker/crayon the right way right now.  I do show him how to hold it correctly.  But he switches to a more comfortable grip which allows what he produces to be better.  He's just not ready yet.  But also too, I have to admit, I don't want to do "homework" with him right now.  I know what school is like and how demanding even kindergarten is.  My son doesn't color or draw everyday, it's just not his thing and I am not going to force into it.  I want him to be a creative little kid for as long as he can be!

So I feel a bit of pull from both sides.  I understand the academic part.  But my instincts as a parent are stronger.  Right now, I am more focused on making sure that my son is developing the critical necessities for becoming a confident little man.  I want him to learn how to be kind and respectful to other people and to the environment.  I want him to develop strong social skills.  I want him to be able to communicate his thoughts in a positive way.  I want to foster his interests and talents.  And I want to expose him to as much as I possibly can and give him as many different experiences as I can.  That is what is important to me and I think that is what would have been important to my husband as well.

I did succumb to some guilt (sorry 4 Agreements) and bought some colorful workbooks and special toddler scissors.  Today was the first day and my son loved them!  I showed him how to hold the marker and he tried.  But, it looked uncomfortable and I showed him an in between grip which seemed to work.  It'll come... but when the time is right (just like everything else in life).

I'm learning too as I do this, so I guess my son is raising me too in a way.  What an important and equally awesome job we have.









Sunday, September 30, 2012

Letting Go of Fear

Six months ago, I wrote about a man that I met online (Baggage) who was also widowed. His story is one that would pull on your heartstrings and it is hard to not admire someone who was able to pick themselves up and move on in a positive way as he did.  I never ended up meeting this man and that's okay.  Either the timing wasn't right or he wasn't right.

Last week I met another man online who also went through his own hell.  I felt a connection with him, not because we shared a similar experience but because I felt that he possessed an understanding that even I can't fully grasp.  After just a few e-mail exchanges, he like many others asked what happened to my husband.  However, with him, I felt that he wasn't asking to be nosey.  He assumed it was a profound experience at the very least and asked so as not to make any assumptions.  And what I gave him was the truth.  It was the first time that I shared it with anyone that I met and it was also the first time having to tell anyone in a real long time.  I felt comfortable sharing this with him, because I felt for some reason that he just "got it."
And he did.  He understood in a way that I was not expecting.

This man was a recovered alcoholic and had been for nearly ten years.  I don't know the details (just as I didn't share all of my details) of how or why.  He did share his epiphany moment, when he contemplated suicide.  He had come to realization that he had two choices... to stop drinking or to stop altogether.  He chose life.

I read his story and felt a connection and admiration for him, for the strength and courage it must have taken him to find his way out of his hole.  I also felt frightened.  Extremely frightened.  I knew very little about him and knew nothing of the circumstances for his addiction.  But the thought of subjecting myself to someone who seriously considered taking his own life...

At this same time last week, I was also chatting with a man who all of a sudden became very clingy.  I hadn't met him.  We shared no personal stories nor made any real connections, yet he spoke to me and of me in a way that seemed very possessive.  That was frightening.  Funny how things work out sometimes because comparing this clingy, possessive man to the first man I described above, the latter is even more frightening and I politely said good bye.

Even though I was afraid of the unknown with the first man, I decided to take what I learned from reading books such as The Alchemist and The Four Agreements and to not live in fear nor let it control me.  He saw in a me an understanding and an appreciation for life that I think he also shares but we probably both gained these through our experiences.  How could I judge him or fear him when I knew so little.  Ask questions, gain knowledge, then decide.  Besides, one of my own "commandments" from The Happiness Project is "If you always choose the rational, you may miss out on the extraordinary."  I want to actively practice and to live out all of these affirmations, agreements, whatever you want to call them.  I don't want to live the confining life of a victim.

So, I didn't run.  I actually continued to exchange words with this man and shared even more with him.  Lol... I think we had "a moment" and it came and went.  I haven't heard from him in a while.  Online dating, you just never know which way the wind is going to blow. But I think I gained something valuable from him regardless.