Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas. It's here.

Whether you are ready or not, it's that time of year to look over our shoulders at 2016. Personally, it was my worst year. I lost Kevin. That was after he suffered, but put up a brave fight against cancer. When I think back over the years we were together, I am reminded of many times when he was brave and I wasn't.

He worked hard and mostly terrible hours. He loved the art of news-papering, but couldn't take the politics and posturing. He persevered as long as he could and never complained.

Kevin lost his brother, then his mom. Rick and Audrey meant so much to him. So do his sister, Georgia and sis-in-law, Micky.

Christmas was always right up there on Kevin's list of favorite holidays. It was second only to St. Patrick's Day. Most places where Kevin worked gave employees their birthday off as one of their paid holidays, Kevin always requested St. Patrick's Day instead. And he always got it. When he gave up drinking, he still celebrated the day, but with nonstop Irish music all day long at home.

I guess all of this comes from my looking back. My head is filled with memories of times. Good, sad, loving, happy, scary, normal, exciting, etc. times.

Not sure why,  but this song popped into my head, one that Kevin always loved:

Okay on with today. In the first place I am happy that business is picking in my etsy shop. I've had a few sales this week even though I haven't done anything to promote its reopening.  I redesigned my phone pouches to accommodate the big phones and already made two of them for different customers. This is good as it has helped keep my mind off of Christmas. Or the thought of Christmas without Kevin.

I am spending Christmas weekend at Stephanie and Serena's in Boynton Beach. The plan is to celebrate Christmas Eve at Maia's and Taryn's in Jupiter. Cody is home from Tuscon for a few weeks, so this will be as complete a Christmas I can get without Kevin. I really thought I could spend the day by myself. Stephanie said Kevin would never want me to spend it alone. And she's right. So she is coming to get me tomorrow, We are going to Horst and Liz's 3rd Annual Neighborhood Get Together tomorrow night and heading back east on Friday. We are going to church on Friday night for a special service, will have fun on Saturday and Sunday, then she's bringing me (and the cat) home on Monday.  Mothers can make life complicated.

On Wednesday I will spend hard time in the dentist's chair and finally on my way to a better smile.

The only holiday thing I've done is experiment with cream cheese mints. So far, I've made the usual peppermint ones. Then I branched out with cinnamon, chocolate and coconut, even root beer flavored mints. They all taste good to me. I will take a tray of them to Horst and Liz's party and the rest to Boynton Beach. I stayed away from making the usual holidays cookies. Maybe next year.

Tomorrow afternoon I have Grief Support Group and am looking forward to it since I haven't been in a month. Even though I am feeling pretty good about this weekend, I want to go for all of the tips and suggestions that get passed around there to consider in case I do feel overwhelmed.

Then I am looking forward to getting busy with craft shows and Antsy Artist on etsy. By the way, here it is.  I still need to list Kevin's painted bottles we moved from his etsy site to mine before closing it.

I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Be happy, stay healthy and count your blessings. I will take pictures of the Goellers' holiday lights and share them with you.

Thank you for reading my blog posts and for all of the love and support you pass along to me. Love and hugs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Back to Being Me

When I sat down to write this post I realized many days have passed since my last post. So have many thoughts I've had, that I wanted to share. Of course now I can't remember them. It isn't that I am losing my mind. It is more that I try to store too much in my cranium..

The latest and freshest item on my mind has to do with our cat. Last night I woke up around 3 a.m. My pajama top was wet and I felt sweaty. When I opened my eyes, Snuggles who sleeps on the foot of the bed was standing next to my head with her face staring  down on my face. She was quietly meowing at me. I had a quick recall of the dream I was just having. Something about my being sick (I think instead of Kevin). By the time I was fully awake and sitting up,  any memories of what I was dreaming were gone. Cat, sensing all was well turned away and resumed her sleep position on her favorite towel. I switched the light on, changed my pajamas and sat for a few minutes thinking, it must have been some dream to disturb the cat. Then I remembered just about the same thing happened a few nights ago.

I find this a little bizarre since lately my days have been pretty low key. Oh, I had a brush up with myself over health insurance and not understanding the ins and outs. It's not that I am paranoid over being overcharged  for services rendered. It is more about saving and being able to pay  my share.

I'm healthier than a horse at least for now, My worries are over optical and dental, the expensive stuff that Medicare insurance hardly covers. I think I am getting a better handle on it. I just want to be sure I am not being over charged, because with these prices it seems probable.

So to counteract those worries, I am hitting the gym three or four times a week and walking a mile or two every time I go. If I stay healthy and last a good long time, it will be money well spent.

Maybe the worrying over health-related bills has something to do with the dream. Hmmmm.

I did a craft show last week. On Thursday evening the City of Brooksville presented Christmas on Main Street 2016. As always I committed to this event  a month beforehand, even though it was a evening event and my friend Anna opted not to attend. The first show I'd done since before Kevin got sick was tough for me, but Anna set up next to me and that was a big help, emotionally. This time I was on my own and as the date got closer, I started to have second thoughts.

But, I went and really enjoyed myself. I packed the car, pretty much the same way Kevin would have done. I wasn't sure what to bring, so I brought mostly holiday-related goods. I brought my greeting cards which included Christmas cards, but they didn't get much attention because even though I had a few led lights, it was still dark in the tent. My best sellers were copper wire wrapped star ornament bedecked with buttons, beads and jewelry findings. Oh and as always my spiced clay pins.

What meant most to me was meeting new people like the mother/daughter team next to me that sold all kinds of jams they'd made together. The girl just turned 16 and she reminded me of our granddaughters who seemed to enjoy helping us out at green markets and craft shows just a few years ago or more..

On the other side of me was a couple my age selling bird houses they'd made to resemble historical buildings in the area. He was the carpenter and she did the decorating. They are looking for ways to supplement their income. The problem for them is medical bills,especially paying their share for prescription drugs.

I met a few people who've lost husbands, parents or wives to cancer. I am not sure how we got on the conversation in each case. I guess it came up while I was explaining why I hadn't done any shows for the past two years.

Then there were the little ones, so happy  that Christmas is near and eager to watch the tree lighting, enjoy a candy cane or two, listening to the Christmas caroling and just be out on a school night with the family.

I think meeting other vendors and event attendees was his favorite part of doing craft shows. A couple of weeks ago I found a stack of business cards he'd collected from other artists at shows we attended.

For a few years  we had a booth for spring and fall shows at Lake Eola which is a beautiful downtown park in Orlando. We stayed at the EO Inn and Spa just off the park, which made it a fun walking weekend. Those were happy days.

Last Thursday,what started out as a chilly, breezy evening that made me feel anxious turned into a heart-warming experience.

When I came home, all tired and worn out, I sat next to Kevin's favorite rocking chair and said, "Kevin I did it. I did it all from loading the van, setting up the tent and tables to taking it all down."

I also responded for him,"You did and I was there watching over you."

I miss Kevin everyday. The good part is having so many great memories of him and being able to spend our lives together.

All else in my life is busy work, trying to get my sewing area reestablished and the house in shipshape. I really need to design a new pattern for the bigger phone pouches as I am getting more requests for them through my Etsy shop. Something inside of me keeps putting it off. Dread maybe. Probably because once I start sewing I get buried in it.

We (me and cat) had visitors yesterday. These two Sand Hill cranes seemed as curious about us on the patio as we were with them wandering around the yard. I even tossed out pretzel crackers which they crunched up.

I am pretty sure Kevin was trying to make an "N" for Nancy in the sky last Saturday morning.

Now it is countdown to Christmas so enjoy all that is enjoyable. Thank you for reading my posts. You are a great support for me. Love and Hugs until next time.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Could it be PTSD

I have a few things I want to write about. Some weighing heavy on my mind and a little bit about the Weeki Wachee Yard Sale (I'm not sure who is more mind boggling, some of the vendors or some of the attendees.)

I have been experiencing some emotional memories, more like flashbacks since last Thursday when I was at the gym. I feel irritated, short-fused and at my wit's end (whatever that means.)

This gym has a series of toning tables that you lay down on and complete various exercises. For instance one replicates walking. The bottom half is split in two and it raises and lowers your legs as if you are walking. On another one, the bottom half raises and lowers your legs and hips for doing sit ups. and strengthens your back, if you also work with it.

The tables are set up in a row. The attendant switches them on for six minutes each and sets the rate, slow to faster. I was talking with  the woman following me in the line, when the attendant switched my table on and started walking away. I called after her because I wanted it turned to a higher speed, but she didn't hear me and walked away. The woman I was talking to said, "Too bad you don't have a bell."  I replied, I can just see that, all of us ringing our bells for their attention."

We laughed at that thought. Then I closed my eyes and found myself back in the infusion room while Kevin was having chemotherapy. The first few months he was there, the IVs/Infusion pumps would ring or buzz or something when the IV had finished or it was time to change from one drug to another. They were kind of annoying, but the nurses were pretty good at getting to the patient and making the changes. Then they upgraded to new pumps and the alarm system on those were very annoying.

We would be there in the infusion room for hours, twice a week. Most of the time the rooms was filled with cancer patients undergoing chemo.

When I closed my eyes the other day, I was next to Kevin. He was sitting back in one of the recliners.I felt as though I was reclining or laying down, but I would have been sitting next to him.

Bells were beeping continuously. Some nurses, especially one in particular, would ignore them and were adept at not making eye contact with other patients sick of listening to the alarms. The alarms never meant anyone was in danger, but I am sure it made every one's blood pressure rise.

I was tired that day and Kevin was having some bad times. By then the chemo sessions left him shaking for a day or two afterward. I talked with the nurses about it and they had theories. That was about it.

On this particular day, the ringing, dinging alarm noise was making my heart race. I wanted to start screaming, but of course I couldn't do that. I just wanted it to stop. I wanted all of it to stop. I wanted to wake up and find that it was all a dream. I started crying. Kevin took my hand and gave me a reassuring look. I thought to myself, "I will never forget what this sounds like." Then I took a deep breath, smiled and gave Kevin's hand a squeeze. I thought, "We have to get through this."

I opened my eyes just as the six minutes were up and it was time to move on to the next toning table. The first thing that popped into my mind was that I could not remember at all what those pump alarms sounded like I have no recollection as to whether it was a ringing of a bell or more like an alarm. And during this memory or flashback, there wasn't any sound, just my thoughts and visions.

It seemed so real and like I was there and it was happening right then. All over again. It just took a suggestion about bells and  my imagining everyone in the gym ringing bells to get the attendants' attention.

Since then, I keep thinking about this and feeling somewhat emotional. Now that I take a cautious look back, I was doing a pretty good job of blocking out the bad stuff, or at least I thought I was.

Maybe it is because of the holidays  creeping up on me.  We missed having Grief Support last time because of Thanksgiving. Now I am l looking forward to it this Thursday.

I don't remember having anything like this happen to me before.  It hopefully isn't PTSD, Maybe it is more like I wanted to suppress something coming back up like a loud burp.

I actually feel better after writing it down and sharing this with you. We'll talk about the yard sale another time.

Here is a picture of Horst and Liz Goeller's yard. Their house is tucked in behind all of the grand decorating. We always looked forward to spending an evening with neighbors, catching up on news and celebrating the holidays with them in Horst and Liz's yard amid the Christmas lights. Thank you Horst for good times with great neighbors. I am looking forward to this year's special evening and I am sure Kevin will be nearby, watching us.

Tomorrow I will be busy getting ready for Christmas on Main Street in Brooksville, Thursday evening.

Thank you for reading my posts and for your kind emails and comments.

Love and hugs, Nancy