Monday, October 31, 2016

I'd be chasing my tail, if I had one

I've been busy and have lots to write. Starting is the hard part. Great news from my doctor, last Wednesday.

The osteoarthritis is nothing to worry about. He says I pulled a muscle and it keeps getting aggravated. The problem stems from my years of lower back pain. I would be fine for a couple of years and then turn (move) the wrong way and instant pain that would last for several days. Seems like I've not had more than a sore back here and there for the past couple of years. Where am I headed with this? The doctor has this theory and I am inclined to agree. He believes I've been subconsciously using my hip for doing things that required  exertion on my back. Light bulb moment.  I've also been having the pains and problems with my hip and knee off and on for that past two years.

I am to a point where too much walking is more wear and tear of both joints. Also the lifting. Whenever I lift or move something awkward/heavy I make myself aware of how I do it. Must be because I am left handed that I automatically shift my weight to my left side instead of centering or shifting to the right to complete the task. Even though I am aware of this, I can't do it any other way.

My prescription and solution is walking, but keeping the daily routine to a half hour. And I am off tomorrow to join Tone U, a gym that has workout machines and that's all I know about it. Will keep you updated. Maybe you will want to join me. It's great to be retired when you are eligible for the Silver Sneakers program and can go to just about any exercise/workout facility for free.

Got my new glasses on Tuesday. I can see everything perfectly, however not close up. My neighbor says I should take them back, but I have readers and I really needed these specks for stuff like driving.  Still have to look forward to next year for possible cataract removal.

I really like both my primary care physician and Eye Doctor. They are both mellow, nice professionals. They both listen and don't make me feel rushed.  They remind me a lot of Kevin, similar personalities.

Thursday afternoon was Grief Support Group. Social Worker Stephanie (our daughter) keeps reminding me there is no right way or wrong way to go through grieving over the loss a loved one. And she's right. There are women in this group who have or have gone through months of not being able to answer the telephone because they know they will break down crying. One woman says she can't stand it when friends ask, "How she's doing?  Another hates the pause on the phone once the caller has asked that same question and adds they are sorry for her loss. The group leader told them this often happens and some ways to get around the problem is by sending the friend an email or note explaining how they find phone conversations too difficult right now. Thank them for their concerns and offer to call them when the right time comes.

For me, after Kevin was gone, I even answered calls that I didn't recognize the number. On Thursday when I thought about that, I realized I may have been hoping for some crazy good news, like, "Your husband is fine and will be home soon." My rational head knew that wasn't happening, but it was too soon to think rationally.

Regarding the woman who took issue with people always asking how she's doing, I looked at that differently.  She said, she's tempted to say how do you think I'm doing I've lost my husband. My world is upside down.

I think I always say that when I start a conversation. I mean it in general and leave it up to the respondent to decide how to answer.  When someone asks me, it really depends on the kind of day I am having. Since Thursday, I've thought about this and I understand her irritation. Handling Grief is different for everyone.

Always have a Plan B. That was the advice to one woman who planned a vacation to either Dolly World or Myrtle Beach with a girlfriend. Turns out her friend can't get away from work, so this woman wonders about going alone. She and her husband vacationed often at both places. Others agreed with the leader that if she feels like going, she should. But she should also have a arrangements made to  return home or go elsewhere, if being in a place too difficult, emotionally to enjoy.

Another woman told the group she opted to put some of her husband's ashes in his burial site at the National Cemetery, when he passed a way two years ago. She and friends booked a cruise and she wants to disperse the rest of his ashes at sea.  Just about everyone in the room had a quick response to this, as it illegal to do without a permit and permission to do so. I have permits needed for traveling with Kevin's ashes, which is necessary for taking them to another state. They were included with death certificates and other paperwork from the funeral home.

The last 20 minutes of the hour-long session were devoted to talking about one woman's sorrow of losing a teen-aged son. He was in an accident. Very sad story. Another woman who'd lost her son many years ago, consoled her. The leader made sure to remind everyone even though these moms' stories are devastating everyone's grief is different and just as hard as anyone else's. Don't minimize your own grief. It is just as hard to bear.

I signed up for a special Holidays Alone workshop at Hospice. It's next week. At first I thought I didn't need to go to this workshop, but then decided it best to know what to expect ahead of time.

Something I have thought about and really hope is true. I believe Kevin is with me in spirit. So, if that is the case, I think he can also time travel. I just wish he would reassure me that the Indians are going to win the World Series -- since he would be able to take a trip to tomorrow night, or the next night to get the box scores. Maybe spirits have a code of conduct to follow and can't be that helpful. But wouldn't it be nice.

I reopened my Etsy Shop. For now, I've just relisted my ID wallets and will continue to bring other items back throughout the week. I want to add my greeting cards, but that will take time as I have to take the photos and write the descriptions. I am also getting requests for larger phone pouches for the larger phones. So, I will also be sewing up a storm.

 If you'd like to take a peek, go here: 

Something else I am looking forward to is lunch with Anna and Sally in Homosassa on Wednesday. Always a fun time out with them.

Kevin and Serena Nov. 27, 2012 at Downtown Disney (AKA) Disney Springs

I am grateful to have your support and understanding. I miss Kevin everyday and sharing this with you is so important to me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Four months

Today is October 25th. It's been four months since Kevin left this world on June 26th. It is easier to accept, but not any easier to bear. I've kept busy the past several days sorting through things. We collected so much in 31 years. Even though we moved a few times and made it a point to thin down, we still have a bunch of stuff. Cutting my side of the inventory is fairly easy. But souvenirs, memorabilia and such that we collected together is harder to thin out. Kevin's stuff, well, is still very difficult.

When my brother's wife died suddenly, He asked me to help out with going through her things. He drove for Mayflower, coast to coast and was away from home a lot. He'd been on the road when she passed and he was lost. Two of their four children were still teenagers. I waited for a couple of weeks, before making the trip to his home in upstate New York. The family obviously was in shock and immobile. Her purse still sat on the stool by the wall phone, There were signs of her everywhere, except for her. After a few days I started with their bedroom, sorting through things to keep and things to donate. The kids stood by, saddened. It was hard for them and for me, as well. My brother took his youngest  and one of his sons on a two-day trip to visit relatives. He figured that would be enough time for me to finish my task, including taking boxes of clothes and items not to keep, to a charity. However, as soon as he left the other two children had other plans. They weren't ready to see their mom's clothes, shoes, bags, etc. be taken away. We talked about it at length. I understood what they were going through, yet I made a promise to my brother.

I need to add, they are very smart and clever kids. They wanted to store the boxes in the already crowded attic. They would make room and they would move the boxes for me. Dad wouldn't know because he had no reason to go into the attic. he wouldn't know.. I weighed my options and agreed to go along with their plan. I sensed their immediate relief.  It worked out for the best.

A year passed before they were able to sort through her things on their own and pass stuff along. My brother understood.

Thinking about them in their horrible time of grief  has been very helpful for me as I sort. I am keeping a lot of Kevin's shirts. His long-sleeved t-shirts keep me comfortable on chilly mornings when I go walking. The hats I made for him keep my ears warm. Other shirts,his Irish apparel or holiday wear and some sweaters are also too precious to pass along.

Whether I keep or let go, everything serves a purpose. and that makes letting go, possible. A little at a time.  Back into the stream of life. Or what I hold close and dearly that I may never  want to let go.

Update about me

I am going to the doctor for regular check up and update on my hip and the osteoarthritis. When I went last Friday, they didn't have me scheduled for an appointment. I brought my appointment card along just in case, because this happened to me at this office once before. Turned out someone else had the same problem and it was because the person who set up the appointment and handed me the card neglected to add it to the schedule on the computer. So, they were booked and had to reschedule me for this Wednesday. Oh well. I've been walking with my neighbor who has sciatica and I think that is what's bothering me more than arthritis. We'll see. Leg is actually feeling better with all of the sorting and moving boxes I've been doing.

Got my new glasses today and am getting use to them.

I am feeling more productive. Am planning a yard sale over Veterans' Day weekend to unload some of my mess and raise funds for much needed dental work. 

I received an invitation from Gannon University Alumni Association today to attend an "annual Mass of Remembrance offered for the souls of members who passed away in this year." It will be held Thursday, November 3rd at 11 a.m. with lunch served afterward. Obviously I can't be there. Annie, would you like to attend on my behalf?

Try to enjoy theses cooler fall days and the fall apple season. Just had a Cortland and it reminds me of  the northern crisp weather and the best apples in the world.

Go Indians!!!

Thank you for reading my posts and your kind responses.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Taking care to take care

A few weeks ago when I went to my doctor because of my hip, the first thing he asked was,"How are you doing?" I replied, "I'm falling apart."  His response was, "Oh no, don't say that."

I didn't really believe it at the time, even though I am facing some major dental work and then my hip and leg pain wouldn't go away, as I'd hoped.

The hip turns out to be osteoarthritis  and I will find out more about that at this Friday's appointment.
Okay, maybe I am not falling a part.

I decided to get my annual eye exam. Last year I went in the middle of Kevin's chemo sessions. I was told the cataracts growing in my left eye weren't ready for surgery, otherwise all was fine. I declined getting new glasses because by my thinking why spend all of that money on glasses that won't be any good once I have the cataracts removed. So, I bought some readers and they seemed to do the job, for a while.

Last weekend when I drove to the craft show at 6 a.m. it was a little scary trying to drive in the dark. That's when I made the decision to get my eyes checked again.

Today, I found out the cataracts are still slowly growing and that's good news because I should get another year before having them removed. But, now I have cataracts starting in my right eye. Eye doc told me to come back sooner, if my eyes get worse, things are more out of focus.

So, I broke down and bought new glasses.  All of the bells and whistles and I will get them in the proverbial week to ten days.

Except for the cataracts, my eye are healthy. I am still falling apart!

I've decided to reopen my Etsy shop. And will do whatever shows come along to help pay for all this falling apart. Yes, I have insurance which is good for covering some little something, but I'm not sure what. My eyes are still dilated and I can't read the receipt.

I messed up and put off taking care of myself. Then when it got to point where I could no longer ignore things, I was busy trying to help Kevin fight cancer.

Kevin tried to undo the harm his body endured from alcohol and cigarettes. He marked the days in his journals since he'd stopped drinking. Three years and 141 days (1,236 days) is what he wrote in his last entry, April 25th. He quit smoking in 2011.

So, I don't mean to be complaining about falling apart. As Stephanie reminds me, it could be worse.

Oh oh. The Indians are behind in the Indians are down 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning. I make sure the game is on for Kevin, although he's probably hovering over Rogers Stadium in Toronto, a city he loves. The Indians were also his Audrey, his mom's favorite team.

Kevin's always loved baseball. He told me he was a pretty good pitcher in Little League. He loved Spring Training and covering games for the Stuart News. He formed professional friendships with some managers and players.

Kevin is probably jumping from start to star over how well his Indians are doing. I need to check on his other favorite sports, college football and golf.

Yikes, better go cheer on the Indians, now it is 4-1, Blue Jays (his other favorite team).

Have a nice rest of your week. Don't neglect your health. Be happy and spend as much time as possible with those you love.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Much to learn at Grief Support Group

I did it. I joined a Hospice sponsored Grief Support Group. When I went Thursday afternoon, I wasn't expecting much. I didn't have to preregister for it. The group meets twice a month five minutes away. I worried I might arrive and be the only person there. That would be awkward. However, more than 30 men and women filled the large room. Some have been involved with the group for two years and there were newbies, like me, anxious and not knowing what to expect.

 It is actually a pretty close-knit group. Lots was discussed and everyone seemed eager to share. . There are as many men as women in the group. Most are seniors and have lost husbands or wives they'd spent years with.  Others lost a parent, brother, sister or best friend. One man lost his wife and son the same month.

Two women I sat near had both lost their husbands in August. Besides still spinning over their losses, one says she is overwhelmed with paperwork and hasn't cried even though she dearly misses her husband. She wonders if she sell their home and downsize. Both feel lost about things in need of repair around their homes and finding someone to do the work.

Many in the group had a lot to say about waiting for six months, a year, even longer before doing anything drastic. Some identified with her, saying in the end they realized repairs, yard work, all of that stuff can wait. As for not shedding tears, there are people who don't weep right away. It will happen eventually. It is not healthy however, to hold back tears.

I was quiet today, which is unusual for me. I felt more comfortable listening. I did speak up once, when a woman talked about not knowing what to do with old documents and photos her husband had kept. She said he had his parents birth certificates and old pictures that are of no interest to her. She said she was going to clean house and throw stuff like that out. I suggested passing the stuff onto someone else in his family, maybe a niece or nephew that are interested in keeping family documents together. I added I plan to do this with the same sort of things Kevin has stashed away. The team leader said my doing that is a good step as I am finding function for things that meant something to Kevin. She added it makes letting go, easier.

First everyone is different and no one can tell you how to get through grief.

The group talked about crying. A few people acknowledged not crying for several months until something happened and tears started flowing. The leader explained that is as normal as those who can't stop the tears. What isn't normal is wanting to cry, but holding back. It may take time, she said for some to process what's happened.

That led into a discussion about the process of not believing that person is gone and not coming back to life. Humans aren't experienced with finality, says the group leader  defines: People often speak of the finality of death. Nothing comes after it and nothing that came before it can be changed.

That is a very deep concept to understand. And while one is grieving, it is difficult to acknowledge. The group leader stressed it is something everyone grieving must eventually face.

There was a lot more discussed. I will be covering as much as possible in future posts.

Craft show bound

I also did something else. I took part in a craft show on Saturday, which brought me great angst beforehand. But my fears about all the hard work getting set up without Kevin's expertise and making it through the day interacting with fair goers quickly turned to relief. Although I packed and unpacked the car several times, I finally got it loaded nearly the same way as Kevin would. He would have everything perfectly balanced and packed in order of what needed to be unloaded first like tent, tables and anchor weights. I haven't done a craft show in two years and for this one, I took a sampling of my works instead of every last thing I've made. Made packing easier.

It was Heritage Days celebrating 160 years for the City of Brooksville.  Anna set up next to me with her beautiful aprons, bags, scarves and more. I was glad to have her company  We always try to take care of each other at shows, especially when sales are few and far between. Today turned out to be a good one.

I never planned to talk about Kevin all day, with fellow vendors and customers. But, it happened. Was especially poignant since it was Cancer Survivors' Day.

One couple came by and the wife started looking through my greeting cards. She loved them and as she pulled out her favorites, she asked how I got the idea to make them. I told her about Kevin, his cancer and how he'd asked me to make some thank you notes to send to friends and family that were writing him and sending him small gifts, mementos. Her husband asked about our experience and if I (we) thought it better to have the year together before he passed as opposed to going through sudden or immediate death. He explained,"Some people say they would rather die immediately of a heart attack or what ever, that they wouldn't want to linger or suffer. I've wondered about that."

For me. I explained. For us, the time was precious. Kevin suffered some and felt okay some. Kevin reconnected with old friends, which was one of the best things that happened. He spent more time reflecting on his faith and tried to keep up with friends and family as best as he could. Kevin was grateful for doctors and nurses who were caring and supportive. We spent time walking in the sunshine and making gingerbread cookies. He read as many books as he could finish.

Although, I never really faced the inevitable, I was eased into it. I was determined his health would turn around and as they say, life would go on. We spent all of our time together. I did everything I could to help him fight cancer. Being there for him, giving everything I could to help him was so important to me. That time, well we wanted infinity not finality and we got a year.

Everyone and every situation is different. I know that and reminded my customer that I was not speaking for anyone else. He understood and thanked me for sharing my story.

Another vendor told me about her father's passing 10 years ago and how much she still hurts, thinking about it. She said she was told not to cry in front of her dad because she was upsetting him in his final days. So she would leave the room, whenever she was overcome with emotion. After he died she couldn't cry and ended up suffering with depression for three years. Her doctor finally told her to save her own life, she needed to let her emotions go and cry. The tears finally started falling. They still fall, she says. We talked and wept together.

Even though all of this sounds horrifying, it wasn't. I am an emotion-sharing person. And I was sharing them with people who were open to the sharing.

I loved the crowd, mostly families eager to smell my spiced clay pins and sort through my wallet selection. I marked the pins down for the day and it was cute to see elderly couples giggling and buying pins for each other, kids and moms picking out favorites. This is the last downtown event before Halloween, so children donned their costumes and vendors supplied bowls of treats. I opted for these little boxes of tattoos - bats, jack-o-lanterns and skulls. Something different. And I didn't want to end up with a bunch of candy I would be obliged to eat. Fat chance of that happening, Anna had two big bags of sweets and we just made it to the end of the day.

So,what it all boils down to is I sold pieces, made new friends and got invited to do many more upcoming craft shows. Now, I am thinking about reopening my Etsy shop. It would all be so much better if I could share these experiences with Kevin. I know. Kevin is watching and cheering me onward. He always did.

My booth is the second on in this line. Anna's is the first one.:

And this is my favorite shot of the day:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Loneliness and anxiety

My biggest problem this morning/afternoon is where to start with this post.  I've been busy and more productive. Yesterday I was nonstop, cutting the lawn and preparing, again for this Saturday's craft show. I was shuffling things around on the porch in hopes of making a usable crafting area as opposed to a craft supplies stuffed corner. Plans are to have a yard sale over Veterans' Day weekend, so I am sorting through things I feel comfortable to let go. I know, I will likely regret it. I made a leftover-rich casserole and  spent the evening using up yarn, knitting a hat.

Well, that gets us off on the right foot. On paper, my life is full of energy-using activities. This is a list of things I did on Monday. I was busy this weekend, mostly doing much of the same things.

What I don't address much are my two worst enemies, loneliness and anxiety. For just about 31 years Kevin was always by my side and I never felt lonely.

I would miss the kids, especially when we moved away, but I had Kevin. Truth is I never spent much time in my life living alone.

I now often think of how sad Kevin was his last few weeks in the hospital. One evening when we kissed and I started to go home for the night he said, "I don't want to be alone." My heart sank. While I didn't look forward to spending another night without him home, I couldn't handle staying there around the clock. Emotionally, I needed down time. I tried to ease his sadness by explaining he wouldn't be alone and I would be back first thing in the morning to spend the whole day with him. He closed his eyes and I cried all the home.

One of the night shift nurses told me he was usually asleep with in minutes after I left each evening. I would call him to let him know I was home safe and sound, but he quit answering his phone, so I assumed he was sleeping. When I arrived between 7 and 8 every morning, he was awake, waiting for me and grumbling about all of the interruptions throughout the night. He did get a lot of sleep during the day, when I was there to hinder the interruptions.

I had my turn. He'd become so weak and no longer able to have a conversation. I held his hand and told him I never wanted to be alone. Didn't want to be without him.

Now, I realize our desperation was the same and it was out of our control.

We were best friends and there was never any reason to feel lonely when we had each other. Now things are different.The following link is for an article I found very interesting about loneliness.

Here is an article I want to share, "How to beat the loneliness epidemic:

Me and anxiety

Let's back up. to last Friday. I suddenly realized I hadn't paid the water bill last month. I was still in Boynton Beach so Anna paid the bill in late August. She left the receipt on the counter. When I came home, I saw it and filed the receipt. Then the next day when I went through the mail she'd collected for me, I think I saw the new bill, but ended up shredding it because I thought it was part of the same one Anna had paid. At least, I am very sure that is what happened.

This how my mind works.

No problem.  I would go pay it. However, county government was closed down on Friday because of the hurricane.

Little problem. According to their website I could pay online. But, I couldn't because I had to input the amount being paid and I had no idea of the amount billed. So I couldn't use that function.

More of a problem: Website said I could call and pay by phone. Same problem though, as I didn't know how much I owed and didn't want to either under or over pay.

Huge problem. I had to wait until Monday for their office to reopen. I spent the rest of the day and weekend worrying and conjuring up the most frightful scenarios. I worried that the bill was already overdue and I would have to pay some ridiculous late fee. Maybe they would turn the water off, before I had the chance to pay up.  Or worse. I felt like a loser. Kevin never missed a payment, that I know of.

I kept telling myself, if Kevin were here he would attempt to calm me down and keep reminding me to stop these groundless thoughts. It helped and he was  right about my worst fears never happening.

Finally Monday came and the water was still running. I arrived five minutes before customer service opened. I also brought papers to have Kevin's name taken off the account. Of course all was fine. I paid last month's bill, couldn't pay current one because bills weren't "out" yet. The clerk was nice and I finally felt relieved. BTW the bill was a whopping $28.13.

It's not just the water bill. It is a lot of things. I put off making decisions, making calls,

Anxiety isn't new to me. The stubborn part of me insists it is part of my character. As I wrote, Kevin kept me real.  

Facing loneliness and anxiety without Kevin leaves me thinking and acting in circles.

Regarding my forgetting to pay the water bill, Anna said it will be this way for me for a while. That my life is so changed. That I will probably do more ditzy things before I am finally settled. And that takes time. Her thoughts make me feel better.

I am probably miles from where I meant to be when I first started writing this post. One of the suggestions in the loneliness article is to become a part of a group, so I am going to a Hospice Adult Grief Support Group session this week. I think I will have much to gain.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Lots to write, much to share

First of all, I want to share this quote, that caught my eye earlier. It is part of a sermon given in 1910 by Henry Scott-Holland, a priest at London's St. Paul's Cathedral.

I've read this before, many years ago. Probably you have, too. Today it is so meaningful to my life.

“Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone, Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well. ”

Last night we watched baseball playoffs. Well, I turned the games on and updated Kevin with scores and asides. Today, I've tuned in College Football all day, just for Kevin. He always wanted me to sit and watch with him, but I am too antsy for that and he got use to my wandering in and out of the living room. Besides, he was okay with my making a meal or two during the marathon sessions with the TV. 

I talk to Kevin. He doesn't answer, but I know he is here, with me. I miss Kevin everyday and would do whatever possible to bring him back , alive and well. That isn't possible, so I settle for his being with me, in spirit. 

Someone posted this quote on Face Book today and I was immediately struck by it. I found this excerpt on Good Reads. That was one of Kevin's favorite websites. He spent hours there,  reviewing books he'd read. 

This quote is consoling to me. Sometimes, I feel what I do, like turning on sports for him,  my jabbering about scores, players and offering high fives is a little out there. 

Reading this ancient piece eases my mind. For centuries people have dealt with loss, grief, mourning and discovering the best way to go forward. It doesn't ease the pain, yet serves to reassure us.

Hey Kevin, we'll be watching lots of baseball tomorrow. Go Indians.

Nice letter from an old friend

I received a thoughtful, heartfelt letter from Matt Schaaf, one of Kevin's oldest and dearest friends from Erie. He enclosed a round metal  "Tuit," he's had since He and Kevin spent many Saturday nights drinking 35¢ drafts at Chambers, a favorite Erie bar that's long gone. They each had a Chambers  "Tuit" medallion which is, well, maybe this picture is the best way to describe it:

Matt wrote about their times together and how much Kevin's friendship meant to him. His letter brought tears and solace. 

Round Tuit (get it?) was something they both had at one point. It must have been a popular hand out from the bar. Kevin loved freebies like this, so I know it is something he treasured. Matt had his on his key chain for years and wrote it always reminded him of his friend, Kevin. Thank you Matt for sharing it and the stories behind it. 

Oh yes, I read Matt's letter to Kevin.

I haven't dug too deeply into his many collections stash boxes, envelopes and drawers. It still gets too upsetting. One of these days, though I will hunt and maybe find Kevin's  Tuit.

Another great friend, Steve Urbanski  often shares thoughts and memories of Kevin,  with me.  They enjoyed each other's cleverness and sense of humor. I enjoyed watching the two in action.

 I am grateful as well, for the stories passed on to me from other friends and family members. It is amazing how all of this keeps me from feeling alone and anxious to share my Kevin stories with you.

Here is a Moon Flower, might be the last bloom for this year. Kevin loved it when these plants flowered. They smell amazing.

Last subject is my hip

I have osteoarthritis in my left hip. That's what the X-rays earlier this week. revealed. I haven't been back to my doctor's yet, but read up and it is pretty much what he had suggested. Motrin, arthritis cream to treat topically, stretching and aerobic exercises. Guess I won't be gong on any three-mile walks again. 

Have a great test of your weekend and thank you for reading my posts. Love and Hugs.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Up and down bumpy week

Update: Craft show is canceled until next Saturday, Oct 15th because of the hurricane. Geesh.

It's been one of those weeks that should never happen, but do. First of all, my side of Florida is being spared, so far, from the perils of Hurricane Matthew.

I have some frightening memories of hurricanes past. One time I wound up home alone during one. It started out as a west coast hurricane that shifted course and came straight across the state. Kevin was already at work when it turned. He worked at the Stuart News, about 45 minutes on a good day, from home. And when you work for a newspaper you don't head home when a catastrophe is about to occur. I came home from City Hall where I was working in Finance. The staff spent the early afternoon securing our office and no one was particularly worried. We knew it was headed across the state, but wasn't suppose to affect us, much.  However by ealry evening, I sat in the living room with the transistor radio and ear phones listening to storm reporting, watching it rain from our kitchen ceiling.  I kept wishing Kevin was with me.

Another hurricane memory to share. When we lived in Hobe Sound a mediocre hurricane passed through. It was a big blow that made the roads too messy to travel and the power was off for a couple of days. Kevin fired up his hibachi for roasting hot dogs and he went about telling neighbors  and the property's maintenance men to stop by if they wanted a hot dog.  He was into hot dogs then and we had a couple packages of them in the freezer. A surprising number of neighbors took him up on the offer. Then the couple who lived across the street (their daughter married rich and Maria was very proper about everything) showed up expecting a sit down meal. I dug out everything I could find in the fridge for them. Too funny. That day Kevin really enjoyed serving the masses from his hibachi he'd set up on the sidewalk.

When Hurricane Andrew wreaked havoc on the Homestead, Fl area, Kevin was working at Boca Raton Community Hospital as a CNA. We were so fortunate that Andrew veered south at the last minute and spared us. He was honored to be a part of a team his hospital sent to Homestead to relieve hospital staff of their work and allowed them time to take care of their own families and property.

Being alone during a hurricane sucks. Being with someone you love makes a huge difference. I am speaking now about having to go through anything bad or traumatic.

I sent a text to Stephanie and Maia, and talked to Georgia this morning. I wanted to make sure they were all okay and to offer them a place to stay. So far, no takers. Whether to leave or stay is a difficult decision. Unless leaving is mandatory, most who feel their homes are resilient feel more comfortable to stay put.

Didn't mean to spend much time on the hurricane. You will get all of that on the news. At least it is a break from all of the political crap.

What's been bothering me

I was doing some bragging last week about the miles I am walking every morning. I hit three miles last Friday and felt great that morning. I even wrote about it in my blog post that day. but by afternoon I was in so much pain that started on the upper side of my leg and shot down to my knee. It would happen when I stepped, turned or moved the wrong way. So much so, that each time it happened I felt like I was going to fall on my face. I doubled up on the Motrin and stayed inside. It was no better on Saturday and improved un peu (as Kevin would say) on Sunday. I  was hobbling around using Kevin's cane. 

I finally went to my doctor on Tuesday. It was slowly feeling better, but still bothersome. Dr. Greg says I strained a muscle, the one that runs along the same straight line as the pain traveled. He ordered X-rays and prescribed stretching and weight-bearing exercises. Haven't heard anything about the X-rays.

This isn't a new problem, although it is getting worse. It started two years ago. I was walking about a half hour everyday, not paying much attention to distance. Then I started pushing myself to do more and my knee began hurting. I started wearing a knee brace and then my hip or upper leg was hurting. So, I would quit walking for a while.

Kevin always had the best advice. He would do the old joke about the guy telling the doctor, it hurts when I do this and he'd lift his arm. The doctor replies, "Then don't do that."

When Kevin was at Bayonet Point Medical Center I needed to get some exercise. My days were spent by his side, so I would take the stairs rather than the elevator from the ground floor to his room on the third floor. I did so maybe five or six times a day, going to the cafeteria for Kevin treats. My leg was hurting most days, but I endured. I was sure it would pass, just my overdoing. 

The past three months I've been back to walking and  I can't ignore the pain anymore. Would be wonderful if it is a muscle strain that can be overcome through exercise.We'll see.

Gearing up for a craft show

I am doing a small craft show/market on Saturday. My friend Anna  and I have spots next to each other. This is a big thing for me because I haven't done one in a while and this is the first one I've done in years, on my own without Kevin. Getting ready for it brings on a flood of memories. 

Kevin was always in charge of getting the car packed, unloading, setting up and tearing down, reloading again. He would put up our banner, making sure it was precisely center, while I was busy moving things, tweaking the display, something I do constantly throughout every show. Kevin would say, take a picture when you get it perfect, than you don't have to keep making changes the next time. However in my mind I never got it perfect. And I can't find the banner.

He enjoyed most shows. Kevin would help man the booth and explain the processes for making various pieces. He would wander and make new friends among other vendors and collect biz cards. He'd scout out the best food, entertainment and urge me to take breaks to do the same. He was never bored, in fact one of his favorite sayings he often used on the kids was, "There is no such thing as being bored. You should never be bored."  When he did all of that other stuff he would sit in the back of the tent reading. 

Three years ago, we cut back and eventually quit doing shows or attending local markets. He convinced me it wasn't worth the time, money and mostly our efforts to keep doing them. Looking back he was not feeling well then and all of the work tired him out. I looked forward to the camaraderie with other crafters, artists and show attendees. Of course it will be different without all of his help and company.

So, I will try a few small shows. See how it goes. I have enough stuff to fill a a few booth spaces, so having enough product isn't a problem. I must say Saturday will be an emotional day without Kevin.

Was talking to a neighbor yesterday. We both stood weeping as she described what her husband went through before he past away a fiveor six years ago. I can see there will always be the pain, the sorrow and hurt.

The moon last night and airing out some hats that were packed away, for Saturday.

When will Kevin stop getting these crazy offers? Please pray for those in Hurricane Matthew's path.