Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Walk in the Past

My parents are visiting this weekend.  With them, they brought my dog.  I had this dog for nine years, ever since she was an eight week old puppy.  She was with me through everything up until September.  In September, my parents offered to take her for the upcoming winter months.  The intention was to help me out so that I wouldn't have to wake up early to walk the dog with my son in the cold and so that I wouldn't have to walk her alone at night with my son as well.  It was very weird at first, not having a dog. It was quiet and lonely when my son and I would come home to an absolutely silent home.  It was even more quiet and lonely at night after my son went to sleep and it really was just me, alone with my thoughts.  But, as with everything else, I adapted.  It was nice to sleep in a little bit later in the mornings since I didn't have to get everyone ready for that early walk.  It's nice to not have to rush to get home from work, the zoo, any sort of outing to let a dog out to go the bathroom.  The little break was needed and appreciated.

As it turned out, my father, who is retired, and my dog, who likes the quiet attention of an older person, are a perfect pair.  They keep each other company during the day and they help keep each other fit and active with multiple daily walks.  So, my dog's new home is now with my parents.  My parents and I discussed this arrangement and for my dog it really is the best situation for her.  My parent's have a house and a yard.  My father is home during the day... Yet, it's just another thing.

However, she is here with me now in New York visiting.  It is so nice to see her.  To see her with my son, to see them play together.  She still seeks out her favorite spots in the apartment to take her naps, to eat her treats, and to plop her toys.  It's as if she has never left.

The past two days I have taken her for her nightly walks.  I've taken her on the usual routes that I have taken so many times in the nearly two years that I have lived in this neighborhood.  There was a comfort and a familiarity in these walks that I have missed.  Between my two dogs, I must have walked over a thousand miles over the course of the ten years I had them.  They were our babies.  No, we didn't dress them up and take them into grocery stores.  Instead we'd walk them rain or shine, hot or cold (that includes snowstorms and hurricanes!).  They went on vacations with us to the beach house.  We'd wake up super early to walk them before a long rode trip.  I even waited while my husband took the dogs for a quick walk before going to the hospital when I was in labor!  These dogs were just an important part of our daily lives.  Now she is officially not living with me and I have adapted to life without her.  So when I do see her, she now remind me of my old life.

Both nights as I walked with my dog, I couldn't help but feel as if my old life was sitting right there, just out of arms reach.  The first night, last night, I actually had to remind myself that when I returned home from this walk, I would be returning to my parents.  It wasn't old times.  I can't ever go back to old times no matter how far I would be willing to walk backwards.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Skye.  <3

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lady Friends

Since I am nearing the one year mark, I have had a lot of things on my mind lately.  I can remember specific events that occurred during this time last year and the exact day that they occurred.  I have been reliving getting the news and have been thinking about everything that happened immediately after.  I have even been thinking about what happened in the weeks and months that followed not long after. 

In the immediate before and after, there were three main people that I relied on, my sister, my best friend, and my sister-in-law.  I don't know what I would have done without them.  They were there for me morning, noon, and night.  They listened to me talk (sometimes in circles), cry, and ask questions that had no answer.  The most amazing thing about them is that not one of them lives near me.  They were not physically present to give me that much needed hug, to get me out of the house, to distract me in someway, to help with my son, or just to sit with me and help take away the loneliness, especially at night after my son went to sleep.  These three women are so amazing that they didn't have to be physically with me. Their love and support was so strong, I could feel it in their voices when we spoke and could see it in their words when we texted.  They were my main support system and thinking back on those first few months, I am in awe that I made it through that hell as gracefully as I did. 

It sounds kind of sad, at the time, I had lived in New York for almost 4 years, but I was only somewhat close with about two people.  These two people were very concerned and I knew they cared, but I wasn't close enough with them to unload.  I didn't know them well enough to seek them out for comfort.  My parents did come and stay with me for a couple of weeks after my husband's death.  But after that, I was quite alone, with my child, in this new world of ours.

One of the first considerations I had when thinking about this new life of mine was to move back closer to my family.  That consideration lasted for about a day or two.  I knew in my heart of hearts that was not the place for me.  I love my family.  I love the comfort of the small town that I grew up in.  I love the grass and the fresh air and the simplicity of it.  I love to visit.  It hasn't been the right place for me since I left and went to college.  I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't envision myself living a truly happy and fulfilling life there, so I decided to stay.  Even though it meant enduring so much on my own.

I am not so alone anymore.  This past year, two women have come into my life and I am so grateful that they have.  They were a gift from my husband.  They were coworkers of his that I had never met before the day of the funeral.  They have supported me and checked up on me and loved both me and my son.  I don't see them as often as I would like, but when we do meet up, it's as if we had been friends our whole lives.  They are truly special ladies and I am so grateful that they are a part of my life now.  I have also become quite close with a few women that I work with.  We meet up regularly for dinner, we go to the gym, they come to my wine and treat nights that I host at my home.  We talk, we laugh, we have a good time.  And there is too of course, my babysitter.  Without her, I wouldn't have the same opportunities to take some time for myself to enjoy my new friendships, to relax, to heal.

My core group is growing.  I am still the same person in that I don't need many people in my life.  I just need good people in my life.  Not only did I find good people, I found wonderful people.  For the first time in a long time, I actually have people that are near me.  I am starting to feel as if I have a family here in New York as well.  That is so important to me.  Especially if I am going to stay here, even if it is for just a little bit longer.  I have to admit though that I am starting to feel like maybe New York could be my home, my son's home, our home.  And I once again have some amazing women to thank for that.  Because honestly, I have been searching for what feels like home for a long time, and this little tease that I am getting now, it feels good.

Like everything else in life, who knows what will happen?  What I do know is that I have yet another blessing to be thankful for.  Thank you to all of my lady friends.  You all mean more than words can say.  :')


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Familiarity from a Different Sort

Last night was date number two.  It was nice.  He was nice.  I really can't go beyond the word nice.  It's not a bad thing, it's not a good thing, it's... a nice thing.  I am happy with that.  I didn't want a bad first experience nor an amazing experience.  I just needed something comfortable and safe.  That is what I got.  But its the realization of some of what makes me feel comfortable that is difficult.

There always had to be a first.  There is just no way to avoid that unless I vowed to live the rest of my life alone, which I don't want.  So here I am taking the first initial steps in moving on in my life in what I view as the absolute most important and most beautiful of ways, an initimate relationship with another person. 

Last night I cried.  I miss him. 

My date reminded me of my husband in some ways.  When I was on the date, it was familiar.  The familiarity made me feel comfortable.  But when I got home, it only reminded me that He is not here. I do not regret that I have begun my attempt to move on in this way.  I don't think that it would ever be easy, no matter how long I waited and healed.  Just as everything else, this is a process.  It's a painful one though.  It is as if wounds are being opened up again, just so that they can reheal in a different way. 

As I have stated, I know that this is a process that must occur.  It is something that I am willing to endure.  I just hope that it leads to something amazing.  I know that it exists.  I'm not sure if I'm ready for it right now.  But, amazing.  Simply, utterly, phenominally amazing.   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sixteen Candles (x 2 + 1)

No, it's not my birthday.  This post is all about my date that would have been appropriate for a sixteen year old, lol.  But, the tone was completely created by me.  I wanted simple and sweet.  My date, he delivered.  I don't think I could have had a better first date.

We met in the city and had dinner at popular New York must do that I never did before.  In keeping with the "Sixteen Candles" theme, I had a burger and chocolate shake, no lie.  After our 15 minute in and out dinner, we just walked around the city.  It was a beautiful night.  We just walked and talked.  There were no awkward silences.  The conversations flowed and we got one another's jokes.

The site that I met him on didn't give me the option of stating I was a widow, so he didn't know.  I did tell him.  He asked a few questions and could tell that I didn't want to go into any more detail than what I provided and he casually dropped it with care.  I later felt comfortable enough with him to tell him that he was actually my first date.  Flattered is not the right word.  But he understood the importance of this first date for me and his role in this.  He immediately asked if I was having a good time, and I was.

However, with the stroke of midnight... no, no.  At the stroke of 10:00, I jumped onto the subway and was on my way home.  This is true... I purposely didn't ask my babysitter to stay too late.  I wanted this date to have a definitive ending and I wanted it to be short and sweet.  So just before I walked down the steps into the underground world of the NYC MTA, I got a hug.   I also got asked to go out with him again this coming week.

This person gave me a comfortable place to live out the reality that I am in fact moving on.  I am moving on and I have to do with it someone who is not the man that I married, the man that I had been with for almost 14 years, the only man that I had ever known in each and every way.  I am truly grateful that it was as soft as it could be.

But, I think I gave him something too.  He laughed at how cheap of a date I was, but I think he realized that was only monetarily speaking.  He could tell I was being honest and genuine and that I wasn't playing any sort of game or following any "rules" of dating.  I think that made me different and I think he appreciated that.

One date at a time... let's see what Tuesday brings.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Moving On

I have a date tonight.  It is my first.  I know that I have made a few postings on this topic since I first put myself out there two months ago, but lingering online and actually meeting someone in person are two completely different experiences. 

It's funny how things work out.  I was cancelled on.  I cancelled on someone myself.  And I guess the third one is a charm.?.  But, I think that it is for the best this way.  The first potential date I felt nervous for because I thought very highly of him.  The second that I cancelled on (actually I didn't really cancel, I just made plans instead of waiting for him to respond) seemed too serious or intense.  I wasn't really excited about it, I was just doing it to "break the ice."  But this guy that I am going out with, I don't know a whole lot about.  What I do know is that he seems very sweet and interesting.  I think of this meeting as more as meeting a new potential friend, and that is how is should be.  I don't feel very nervous (yet), and I actually feel comfortable meeting him.  That is a good thing.  A very good thing.  For a first date, I think he is probably the perfect sort of first date, atleast for me.  The date itself is going to be very casual.  A very casual dinner and perhaps a stroll around the city.  For me, simple at this point is the best.  So as I near the 7:00 mark, I am starting now to get a bit nervous, but more so, excited.

However, this is my first date.  My nerves are not so much about making a good first impression.  My nerves are moreso geared around the fact that "it's my first date."  This is a huge step forward.  When I first put myself out there, I wasn't sure if I was ready.  It has been 2 months and I got comfortable with messaging some men.  But as I stated above, virtual and in-person reality are very different.  I won't know how this will truly effect me until I am actually in the situation itself.  That is why I think it worked out for the best that this guy is going to be "my first."  It's strange how we can have an effect on people without even knowing it... His actions may trigger my reactions in either a positive or negative way.  He could make me feel comfortable going out and conversing with another male or he may make me reconsider so that I wait a bit longer.  He has no idea though.  And truly, I do feel comfortable and part of this comfort is that I am not thinking too much into this date, or should I say past this first date.  One day at a time, that has been my motto for everything else, why not this? 

I will let you know how this goes.  :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sing in the Morning

This month's Happiness Project focus is on parenthood and as I have already posted, one of the suggestions is to sing in the morning.  The purpose is to help create a light mood and to start the day off right.

Lol, I have to laugh at this one because I am such a lousy singer.  It's embarrassing actually.  It's so bad that my two year old son tells me just about every time I break out into a sing song melodious rant, "No singing Mommy!"  There is but one exception... when I sing in the morning.

One thing that is very important to me and I have tried so hard at doing was to keep my husband as alive as can be to our son.  Talking about him, looking at photos, taking our son to visit his side of the family, and creating some traditions are all ways that I have tried to keep his spirit alive.  Another of these ways is to sing the song that he used to sing to our son in the morning to wake him up.  I have no idea where it came from or if it is just a song that he made up.  It's funny, it's cute, it's a way to wake up.  It goes like this... "Get up, get up, get out of bed... Get up, get up, you sleepy head..."  And that's it.  Or atleast that's all that I know of it.

So, every morning that I go in to wake up my son, that is what I sing to him.  And you know what?  He never tells me to "Stop singing Mommy."  Even on the mornings that I can tell he just does not want to get up for anything, he still let's me sing this song.  The best (and worst, lol) part is that when he wakes up before me or if he ever sees me close my eyes for more than the 1/2 second it takes to blink, this is what I get... "Wake up sleepy head... (in the same tune as the song itself)."  It's absolutely adorable.  Not always welcomed, but always appreciated.  I need reminders too.

Sing in the morning.  Each day is a gift.  Enjoy the moment and the life you are lucky enough to wake to each day.  <3

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fate or Free Will?

This is an area where I am right down the middle.  I believe that there are always options.  We always have choices and have the freedom to make those choices.  Sometimes they are hard to see.  Sometimes they are extremely difficult to make, but they exist.  That sounds like free will doesn't it?  Well, here is where the fate comes in.  I also believe that after freely making these choices there are consequences that follow.  Good, bad, or indifferent, the consequences exist just as the choices do.  Sometimes, it is easy to predict these consequences.  Sometimes it's not.  But, I feel that after a choice is made, it does take us on the path to that eventual consequence.  The difficulty in seeing the precision here is that we are constantly changing our minds and actions and we are not the only factor in this.  There are people all around us that influence our lives in ways that we may not even be aware of,  just as we may not even be aware of these particular people.  All things considered, our paths, our "destinies" are capable of changing.

I have been thinking about life and what I want from it.  As hard as it is, I feel that my theory above does apply to the life I had with my husband.  We met when my suite mate in college got a new roommate and this new roommate was dating one of my husband's friends.  That is what eventually led us to our first encounter.  There are many events that I could pick out throughout our nearly 14 years together where I can see how the choices we made led to particular outcomes.  However, hindsight is 20-20, isn't it?

During this past year, I feel as though certain events and more particular, certain people in my life became very significant in allowing me to have the softest of cushions to help me deal with the loss of my husband.  My family was there for me, in particular, my sister and my best friend.  I became closer with some colleagues of mine at work, where now I consider them actual friends, not just women I work with. I even have some new friends in my life that have made such an important impact in my healing.  Then there were some things like finding a babysitter (on the Internet!) who is absolutely wonderful and who my son absolutely adores.  My home (that I only lived in less than a year before my husband passed), work, and son's day care are all so close to one another.  That is a lifesaver between getting both of us ready in the morning, tackling laundry at the laundromat after work, going grocery shopping, or just running an errand that is so much easier to do without my son.  I can get these things accomplished and pick up my son from day care the time a "normal" (non-teaching) parent would pick up their child.  And I can't forget the perks of being a teacher... great hours, weekends, holidays, and summers off.  I even have health care which is priceless, especially with a child.  All of these factors have helped me to transition to a life on my own and the smooth transition has made my life less stressful and that has helped my healing process significantly.

One thing that I know for certain that I want from life is to meet someone and to be married again one day.  I loved being married.  I love being with that one person and all of the glory and comfort that comes with it.  But, it's a process, one that I am not enjoying so much (more on that another day).  But the first step is to meet someone.  Well, I almost did...

A few postings ago, I mentioned a man that I had been exchanging e-mails with that I was very interested in meeting.  We had a date set, but he had to cancel, said it was a family thing and I actually did believe him.  Just the other day, he wrote to tell me that he was seeing another woman and that it had become more frequent and that wanted to see where that was leading.  Boo!  I was and am still very disappointed.  My impression of this man was that he was in fact very kind and sincere.  Even the way in which he told me about this other woman was done so with care and class.  On paper, I think that this guy was a good one, a real good one.  I'm not sure how we would have worked in reality, but now I won't ever have that chance in knowing.  Timing.  Timing can be so critical.

But was this fate working here as well, my fate?  He used his free will when he chose not to meet me.  I had no control over that.  So if this is my fate, where am I headed?  I can tell you this, not to anyone that I have met online anytime soon. :(

Back in December, I wrote about a book/movie called One Day.  In this story, the two main characters are friends for about 15 years before they (the guy) realize they are soul mates and eventually marry and thus finally find happiness.  Why couldn't that have happened 15 years earlier?  It would have saved them so much heartache and would have added many more years of happiness into their lives?  I think they were fated to be together, but their free will led them both to make choices that wouldn't allow them to be together until the precise right moment.  Timing again.

I have been watching Sex and the City (practically with a pen in hand to takes notes, lol) and have been talking and listening to my single girl friends alot lately.  Even my married friends have stories from their single days to share that are telling too.  What everyone seems to say about the one that got away is that "it wasn't him" or "he's not worth it" or "it wasn't meant to be" or "you can do better."  All of those sayings (and I have said them to) are meant to make you feel better, to restore any optimism or hope you may have had in that one person who may have took a piece of that with them.  However, how long can that work for?  I have only stepped out into the dating world two months ago.  On a scale of 1-5 on how serious I am about wanting to find someone at this point, I'd say I'm at about a 2-2.5.  Despite that low number, it can still feel disheartening when something doesn't go the way you wanted.

So, as of today, April 13 (Friday the 13th no less), these are the choices I am freely making...

  • I am exercising regularly to stay fit (and sexy, of course!).
  • I am buying some fun and sexy date clothes and am breaking them in going out at night with my girlfriends... no, I will not wait around for a man-date.
  • I am on online dating sites and I am only initiating contact with men that I feel are worthwhile, to me.  And I am only responding to men that I might be interested in as well.  
  • I am continuing to work on myself... discovering more interests, sharing my thoughts and opinions with others, and even settling in more into my apartment, my home.  
Fate, well... it's fate.  I really can't do anything about that.  However, I am hoping that by making positive and healthy choices, those choices will led me to a fate that is filled with complete happiness (...with unicorns and butterflies and roses! lol)  But seriously,  I am very hopeful and optimistic about my future.  :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Ahhh.... spring is in the air.  The days are longer, brighter, and warmer.  The trees are in bloom and we have been graced by magnolias, tulips, and lilacs.  The air smells fresher and cleaner, earthy.  Spring is the time for awakenings.  Spring is the time to clean.

I've put the pledge and windex sort of cleaning on the to-do list though.  My "spring cleaning" is of a different sort.  It has almost been a year.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.  It seems like it has been both the fastest and slowest year of my life, simultaneously.  However, regardless of the pace of time, this past year changed me in many ways.  

Not too long ago I posted about finding what is right for you, whether it's a job, home, or person.  I have decided, that even though my rent is going up $100 next month, that this apartment that I am currently in is the right place for me, atleast for right now.  There are things about this place that I do like... the location, the size, and the neighborhood.  Then there are some things I don't like about it... no laundry, the layout, and white walls.  It's blah inside.  

I may have never mentioned this before, but I am an HGTV junkie.  I love it.  And I know from my friends at HGTV and from being a one time home owner myself, Decorating 101... Paint!  There is nothing easier and probably cheaper than a fresh coat of paint.  It can do wonders for a room to brighten it up or to just give it a touch of the personality that you want it to have.  Not to mention that it makes the room appear to be sooo much cleaner as well.  Therefore, I have decided to paint, not all, but a couple of rooms in my apartment.  I'm going to use light, neutral colors just because I don't want to have to repaint when I leave and also because I am going to bypass asking permission from my landlord.  I'm actually pretty excited.

I have also been looking around at little things that I can change with the things I have filled this apartment up with.  For some reason I started in the kitchen.  All I did was get knew pots and pans, dishes, and glasses and got rid of the the old ones along with anything else that I never use, and that has made such a difference.  Now, my focus is in the living room.  This is where I feel like I am going to change things the most (with little things) to represent my personality now.  I want to brighten up the place a bit more with some color.  In the olden days, I would have picked out bright colors and florals.     In my married days, the tone was darker and with more plaids.  Now, I want color, but I also want sophistication.  Thank God I have a brown, neutral sofa because my new accent color is going to be purple, like a plum and cream to add that tint of lightness.  I am going to add new curtains, pillows, and a throw to begin.  I also hope to find new lamps.  I never cared much for the ones I have, they were just a gift and I felt obligated to keep them.  However, I have had them long enough.  They and I have both done our duty.  I'm going to go shopping for these pieces tomorrow and I can't wait! 

I have a confession to make as well.  I visited Peter Lik today, the photographer.  Well... not actually him, but his gallery here in NYC.  I talked to one of the art consultants and I am actually considering purchasing one of his photos.  They are super expensive and I am hesitant, but when I see them, they just make me happy.  I was talking to someone today about this and I shared how I just love the landscape photography.  She questioned if it's because it captures life... in it's pure and simplest form.  It's fresh, it's calming, it's beautiful.... yes, perhaps she is right.  I feel like it's fresh air blowing in my face and who wouldn't want to come home to that everyday?  

The problem is, which one do you choose?  This one below is one of my favorites.  I'm surprised actually that it is, but it is.  Can you tell where the color splash inspiration comes from?  

This spring cleaning of mine has also made me put more things away.  I have rearranged some photos.  I have gotten rid of some more non-sentimental decor.  I want to replace the piece of art that was of my husband's choosing with one of my own.  One thing that I have learned more than almost anything is that he is not in things, he is in us.  It wouldn't matter if I did a complete makeover of my whole apartment, it wouldn't take away his spirit.  It's taken almost a year, many good byes, and even more tears to accept that I do not have to feel guilty about choosing to make changes to my life because of the changes that were put upon me without choice.  

As for the changes in me, I am finding that simple elegance is my taste.  I want a simple and clean living environment.  Clean, simple, fresh, bright, light, lively, warm, welcoming, and comforting... that's the kind of home atmosphere that I want for myself and for my son and for the wonderful people that enter our lives as they pass through our door.

P.S.  I did go shopping the next day, today, and got a throw, 3 pillows, two curtain panels, and two candles... all for $100.  I only painted the trim and my room already looks so much better.  I can't wait to throw on some wall paint!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Wow... I cannot believe that it has been nearly two weeks since my last posting.  I've had plenty to write about, it's just that these past two weeks have been tough.  So this topic, which actually is inspired by The Happiness Project theme for the month of April, works perfectly in more than one way.

These past two weeks, I have been busy recooping a very sick child and now trying to recoop myself.  I have been on the verge of sickness during this time, but haven't really budged either way.  I don't want to be sick, but this limbo state isn't good either.  I have been very exhausted.  :(

My son got sick last Saturday and I found out Monday morning from the doctor that it was a viral infection and we had to wait it out, which meant, no meds!  I had to call for reinforcements, which I don't do, but I had no choice, I couldn't miss a whole week of work.  So, my dad, who is retired, drove 8 hours to watch my son for the rest of the week.  (Thanks Dad! <3)

The worst part of being single with a child is not the late nights, the lack of sleep, or the grouchy child (and parent).  It's the worry.  There is no one to share the worry with, no one to reassure that he is going to be fine.  It's scary when your child has a fever, is crying, and you know there really isn't a whole heck of a lot that you can do to make them feel better.  If only hugs could work magic.  So I am partly recovering from stress as I am of physical exhaustion.

Funny, on one of the online dating sites that I am on, I took a quiz to find out more about my "dating personality" and I am considered "balanced."  I am balanced to the point where it can be portrayed (this is all from the website) as a negative by some because I don't overreact, I am not dramatic, and I don't get overemotional, even during circumstances where it would be somewhat appropriate or understandable if one did.  That's just me.  Rarely do I snap and I don't nag, even when I am tired and cranky.  Although I do have my moments, and that is why I am excited about this month's topic in THP.

"Lighten up" is what Gretchen has to say about parenthood for this month's goal of being a "happier" parent.  As with each month, these are the aims that she gives for this month...

  • Sing in the morning
  • Acknowledge the reality of other's feelings
  • Be a treasure house of happy memories
  • Take time for projects
As I read this chapter, I felt pretty good about it.  I am looking forward to doing some of the things Gretchen suggested and since this will directly impact my son in a positive way, I know that I will be more successful and take on this month with more gusto than I have taken this project during the past two months, oops.  (But, I seriously do want to get back on track of doing this project because I do believe in it.)  So, I decided that instead of one huge post about all these aims, I will spread them out throughout the month.  

I have mentioned before how I do take life one day at a time and how that has been a true gift.  I slow down, I appreciate the little things, and I don't stress so much.  I've lightened up.  My son is at the age where he is curious about the world around him.  He is both physically and mentally capable of interacting with his surroundings.  He is absolutely fascinated by the littlest of things and he is pure joy and refreshment for me.  He has taught me so much about life; how to live it and truly enjoy it.  The only way I know how to repay that is by creating a loving, happy, and safe environment for my son.  I am not a perfect parent, but I try to be the best parent for my son every day.  Welcome April and a whole month dedicated to becoming a better, happier parent!