Posts Tagged ‘#valentinesday’

It’s been 3 months today since my mom passed away. I still miss her as much as you might imagine. However, I’ve found out that’s she’s inside me. Not only in my heart but in basically how I am, act, speak and look. 
When I was in college, a friend was looking at a professional portrait our little family had taken around the time I graduated from high school. It was just my dad, my mom and me. This friend commented that she’d never seen anyone look equally like both parents. Usually people favor one parent over the other in appearance, if not completely looking like a double. At the time, I never saw it. I thought I looked mostly like my dad. Now that she’s gone, I see her when I look in the mirror. Maybe only in the light behind my eyes because she had green eyes and I have brown. I hate looking in the mirror but seeing her makes me hate it a bit less. 

I feel like I’ve aged quite a bit since she died. I felt much younger than her because I was. 41+ years age difference will do that to you. Now all of a sudden, I am understanding how hard I pushed her to do things. I made her get dressed everyday, even putting on her own socks. I helped her as needed but didn’t let her get away with not doing it. I think if I hadn’t made her do those things, she would’ve lost the ability. The old, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. I sit on the basement floor (carpeted) and sort laundry and pretreat stains, etc. Then getting up off the floor is no joke. I used to be able to do it like nothing but since I hurt my knee a year ago, it’s slow going. My knee is healed but “tricky” and gives me pain or acts up if I don’t watch it. I can now kneel on both knees. I pretty much marvel every day that Mom could get out of the bathtub by herself at 95 1/2. She was working in the garden every day weeding until age 88 or so. The fact that she could adapt to all the advances in technology is mind boggling. She grew up without electricity or running water. Back when there was a party line for the telephone and a horse and buggy to go to town. Yet she learned to drive a car at age 12. She lived through a lot of changes and embraced them all. She loved playing slot games on the computer.

We were very different personality-wise. She and my husband were both born in April and were similar in a lot of ways. I’m more calculated in doing things. Before doing things, I like to research things and do a lot of thinking and planning about them. Both of them would get an idea and just run with it. They’d try anything and always be up for an adventure. I’d have to be coaxed into it. Both my mom and husband dislike greeting cards. They also don’t like exchanging presents. My mom would send a few Christmas cards to her sister, her nieces and 2 coworkers she had met 70 years ago and had still kept in touch with. She liked receiving cards from these people. She disliked writing letters but would force herself to write her sister, brother and those coworkers a few times a year because she knew they’d write back. I grew up with a love of letter writing. I had penpals since I was 12 years old. Then I went into slams which was more writing. I’ve always loved sending cards and receiving them. Mom and Greg never wanted cards from me. They both thought it was stupid. So I obliged and never made them hardly any. It dawned on me one day that I have no cards from my Mom. Others whose mother died might have a shoebox or even bigger box just filled with cards they could look through telling how much their mother loved them. They could look at them over and over again. Instead I have memories of her telling me she loved me (up until the last 5 years or so) often and showing me in countless ways. My mom wasn’t a demonstrative person. She grew up in a time when you didn’t get hugs and were never told you were loved. Ever since I was a baby, she told me many times daily that she loved me and I always got hugs and kisses. She used to call me “Kissy” because I liked kisses so much. My dad never told me he loved me and didn’t give hugs or kisses. So I got all of my affection from Mom. When I was in high school, she’d send me off to school with a kiss on the lips and “Have a good day!”. Nobody really understood how close I was to my mom because I don’t know anyone else who had as close a relationship with their own mother. There was a girl in high school who was older than me by a 2 years. We were in the same grade but she’d been held back. So she was 18 and her mother had left her. Instead of kicking her out when she turned 18, the mother moved but must’ve paid the rent because she had a house to herself. Anyway, we rode the bus together and she came to the door to get me so we could walk several blocks ahead because we were one of the last stops and if we waited to get on, we wouldn’t get a seat on the bus and would have to stand the whole way (5 miles). She really resented my close bond with my mom and was downright jealous. She saw Mom kiss me on the lips and the next day there were rumors swirling all around school that I was a lesbian. It was a vicious thing to do to take something so innocent and loving and turn it into a lie. As with most rumors, there’s nothing you can do about them, people will either believe them or they won’t. But I was really hurt and even though I knew where her intentions came from, it didn’t make it any easier to deal with. I was so upset and didn’t want to tell my mom for fear that it would make her not want to kiss me goodbye every morning. But I did tell her because there wasn’t anything that I didn’t share with her. We got through that and our bond was even stronger. Only death can separate us from one other.

Yesterday I made a bunch of Valentines on the computer. It made me think of all this. I never know if others like getting cards but I try to acknowledge others and send them. I know I like getting them and typically only 2 or 3 send me any for the various holidays. I do cherish them. It makes me wonder how important it is to have tangible items that belonged to a dead person. My mom doesn’t have many possessions. She moved dozens of times throughout her life and didn’t keep things from her childhood or even early adulthood. She would give things away when she moved so she wouldn’t have to pay to transport them. Then in the last 10 years (5 years or so before the Alzheimers was diagnosed), she started throwing things out. She didn’t have a lot to begin with but any old cards or letters, she would read one last time and then put in the garbage. I used to argue with her about this but she felt so strongly about getting rid of the stuff, that I gave in and didn’t question it after that. She was always trying to get me to get rid of some of my stuff. The more she would egg me on, the harder I would hold onto things. She did get me to part with a lot when we moved from my childhood home in Eau Claire to Sussex, WI. 

I feel blessed to have had every single kiss, hug and declaration of love from my mom. I know not everyone is so lucky. I think the secret is to love like there’s no tomorrow. Which is what we always did. We never knew how much time we’d have together but we knew it wouldn’t be enough. Happy Valentine’s Day dear friends!! 🙂 Hold onto your loved ones with all your might!

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Whenever it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, you can rest assured that I’ll eventually turn up with a tale or two to tell. We went a week without Internet access which isn’t exactly conducive to writing. Then we killed a whole day having the AT&T repair guy come out. I got him here 2 days sooner (it was going to be 9 days w/o wifi) because I complained on Twitter. Behold the power of Twitter! He was supposed to be here between 9-11 am and got here at 11:20 am. He was here until after 4 pm. He had to install new fiber optic wires and gave us a new modem. He also put a new box outside and who knows what else. He wouldn’t hook up our Apple Airport Extreme so that’s been just sitting there for a few weeks now. Greg found some directions online about how to do it. Now he just needs some time. I found out yesterday he’ll be going out of town for a week next month for work. I’m already dreading it. It’s not that I can’t handle things alone, it’s just a much bigger burden. At night, our bedtime routine entails him taking the 3 dogs out in the backyard so they can go potty and I take Mom upstairs to the toilet and put her to bed. If I have to take the dogs first, it just complicates things more. I shouldn’t feel bad. Greg’s the one going to Newark, NJ. Ha. At least he’ll know at least 4 people there that week to chum with. In other work news, he was passed over again (don’t ask how many times) for the same job he’s doing now at a  higher pay band. It’s beyond pissing us both off. He started applying for that pay grade at other airports and of course they all want him. I don’t know if I want to move though. All my life I’ve wanted to live in California but this is just the wrong time in my life for it. Time will tell what comes up next.

As I may have mentioned before, this is the weirdest winter in memory. Weather-wise, we’re being hit with tons of snow. Like three times as much as average years and a lot more than the past few years. When the snowflakes stop flying, the temperature drops to sub-zero temps. It’s only good for hibernating bears. For 5 years I’ve been walking the dogs religiously every day. Now since the beginning of Dec., they’ve only had a handful of walks. Not even one day a week. It bothers them a great deal but they still have a yard to run around in for brief intervals. I’ve been housebound way too much. I mean, technically, if I can sit outside in a Packers football game in 5 degree weather for over 3 hours, I can walk the dogs for a half hour. BUT that was largely due to not knowing it was going to be that cold when the tickets were purchased. Sure, it’s winter and all but we’re used to 30 degree winters. Some sunshine once in awhile. I don’t like walking the dogs when it’s under 18 degrees. Maybe that makes me a winp. Amber, the Shiba Inu, does well in cold weather and loves the snow. Elvis, the Jack Russell Terrier, is hearty too. But our Basenji from Africa, Ivy, just can’t take the cold. Her feet freeze and she starts limping after a couple blocks. I also have developed a fear of falling down. There’s a ton of ice on the sidewalks from people who never shoveled their sidewalks and then it snowed on top and then it froze again. In Park Ridge, there isn’t a law saying that homeowners need to clear their sidewalks. You know what that means, just under half don’t even bother. It really sucks. The snowplow piles the snow up at the corners waist-high where you’re supposed to be able to cross! I wouldn’t think of walking without my heavy winter boots but still, it’s not good. We’re expecting 2 more days of snow this week and we’re running out of places to put it.

Have I mentioned I’m going stir crazy? I get out with hubby a bit on the weekends which is good. I’ve become so scattered anymore though. Maybe distracted is a better term. I have the attention span of a gnat. I don’t know what the deal is but I can’t concentrate on anything. I go from one activity to another and never finish. I’m very unsettled. I don’t know how much of it is attributable to the weather and how much to this time of my life and circumstances.

4 years ago I got into the Winter Olympics for the first time! All my life, I’d never cared a hoot about them. I still don’t care for the summer ones. But we started watching the snow and ice sports and had a ball. This year, I was actually looking forward to it. I’ve been recording whatever NBC shows and we watch it at night. The Opening Ceremony is not to be missed. Of course, it helps to have a few drinks and make snarky comments on Twitter. I like the ice skating, hubby likes the luge, we both like the moguls and now our new favorite is called “slopestyle”. Snowboarding down a hill instead of in a half-pipe. The most ridiculous sport has to be curling followed by the biathalon. Cross country skiing and shooting a gun? They go together like peas and carrots! I don’t know if they have a triathalon but I’m sure that includes those 2 things and swimming. 🙂 The commentary is annoying at best. I don’t know who put Bob Costas in charge but it was a poor choice. He’s had a running narrative on his eye infection. Why he’s wearing glasses, how it’s not getting better and comparing himself to a cartoon character (from Peabody & Sherman) and a Superhero (Clark Kent=Superman). I expect him to come out in an eye patch tomorrow just to garner sympathy. 😉

Aside from watching the Olympics, we’ve been working on getting our house in order. For years we had plain walls and now we’re slowly hanging our latest vintage acquisitions. A few weeks ago I got a pair of matching wooden shelf units. We finally got them hung on Sat. in our bedroom. We also hung 2 more (different sizes) ship’s wheels in our hallway for a total of 3. We have another one but it’s a bigger size and not sure where it’ll fit. Our house is starting to look like a museum and I’m ok with that. Hubby is getting obsessed with globes. The regular vintage globes in blue and tan and the ones that light up. I love them too. We’ve got a few in the LR and are going to add more to the other rooms. If I can’t travel the world, at least I can dream big! 🙂

With all this time indoors, I’ve been getting more into Instagram. Not in the way I’d like. I haven’t taken hardly any pictures or posted any. Yet I’ve found a community of vintage collectors on there that sell vintage quilts, afghans, sheets, Pyrex, dishes, etc. They do it through Instagram and don’t pay fees. Just the paypal fee for collecting money and the postage fee which some pass on to customers. Some also sell on ebay and etsy but others do a huge business just on IG. I’ve gotten so involved in it. I started followed a lot of people and they post the items they’re selling. Since they only have one of each item and they’re fairly rare finds, they do it by whoever replies first with their email and zip code. This has caused me to spend an inordinate amount of time on there stalking their feeds. I’ve boughten from a few and have added to my glossy bird collection. (We also put up 2 plate rails in the dining room above the windows last week. One has my birds sitting on it, the other has my spaghetti poodles.) I’ve missed a lot of really extraordinary things but of course, none of it is anything I NEED, just stuff I enjoy. I’ve also run across things where they quote a price and while my cheap self is sitting there calculating if I should buy it, someone else comes along and buys it out from under me. Sometimes that’s a blessing.

So over the past few months I’ve been formulating in my mind that I’m going to start selling my excess estate sale goodies on Instagram. Thinning out the vintage and selling things I find that I think others would like. On the one hand, this isn’t that much of a stretch since we were one of the first selling on ebay back in the 1990’s and also still sell collectibles on our website. On the other hand, I’ve never done it in that kind of format. It’s a lot harder than it looks. I don’t gussy up my pictures when I take them. The sellers I’ve seen on IG, “stage” their pictures with a pretty backdrop. They write ON their pictures the price and any other info. They make announcements of sales and giveaways constantly. I don’t know if this is for me! I’ve got the name all picked out and once I’m ready to open, I will announce it on here. I don’t expect to sell to my friends. I’ve never really wanted to because I don’t want there ever to be any hard feelings. Then again, if I could treasure hunt for people and keep an eye out for them for specific items, that’d be pretty cool.

I started another IG account just for this vintage business but haven’t posted to it yet. I’m almost paralyzed with fear. I’m just terrible at starting things. And following through. I get super excited about things and when my enthusiasm wanes, it’s hard to carry on. I’m also worried that it’ll be hard to switch back and forth between accounts. I’m usually on my iphone 4 when I’m on there. I didn’t want to use my regular feed because it’s got a few thousand pics and all personal stuff. I don’t want to chase away the friends I’ve made on there by posting things for sale. Oh, the dilemnas I manufacture for myself.
Valentine's Day Cards

Valentine’s Day Cards

Yesterday I made Valentine’s Day cards on the computer. They turned out cute but I wish I had the time, skill and energy to make them by hand using markers, stickers, rubber stampers, ribbon, beads and all kinds of crafty things. I’m old fashioned enough to enjoy remembering special people by sending them “happy mail”. Most people really don’t care about that anymore. Valentine’s Day used to be my favorite holiday. All of my blog readers are my favorites and I want you all to be my valentine! I hope you have a wonderful day and get some sugar from your sweetheart! If you don’t have a sweetheart, hugs from your dog or cat then. 🙂

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