Last week I shared a little about how I grew up and how I raised my boys. I even touched briefly on the next generation, my granddaughters.
Then I got busy on Wednesday helping my oldest son, and on Thursday, John and I were back on the road. We took some major twisty roads over to the Oregon Coast and then drove to Sacramento.
Often times, when John is driving, I’ll use that opportunity to pull out my laptop and write. But curves and twisting roads make that impossible for me.
So I was itching to get back to my laptop and write the third installment of my posts about growing up. I got my computer out while John drove us home on Friday, and wrote and rewrote a post to share.
And I agonized over it.
Yesterday I wrote about growing up in Michigan and how we spent most of our time outside.
I also mentioned because of that experience, I wanted to be sure my kids had the same opportunity.
When I got pregnant with our first son, my husband was still in school. We lived in a townhouse near campus and it was fine. By the time our boy was six months old, we’d moved back to Oregon and found a rental in town.
It wasn’t until after our second son was born that I started to remember my own childhood, and what it was like to grow up on a farm. I had married a city boy, and I wasn’t sure he would want to move into the country.
We played outside when I was a kid growing up in Michigan. It didn’t matter if it was winter or summer, we were outside most of the time.
In the summers we would play hide-and-seek until way after dark. There were a bunch of us and so many different places to hide that the game would go on for hours.
We also had a sandbox to play and dig in, though I do remember the cats liked “digging” in it too…which was a little gross.
We found things to do and explored beyond our farm too.
We learn how to be women from our moms, or at least a mother figure.
So we watch them closely and subconsciously put each act or word into columns of either, “This is good advice to live by and pass on,” or “No way do I believe this and I am so not going to do this to my kids.”
There are probably a lot of other columns too, but those two stand out the most for me.
I learned how to be a woman by watching my mom. Which is probably why I’m not a girly girl. She didn’t wear makeup or dress in pretty clothes. And she lived in “practical shoes” and flip-flops.
I think she made most of her dresses. You’ll recall I said she only wore dresses, even as a farm-woman, right? I have to wonder if her mom wore dresses too. But I can’t recall much about my grandmother.
My mom learned how to be a woman from her mother too. It’s passed down from one generation to the next with varying degrees of changes for each of us. Continue reading
We got back from our four days of working on John’s home on a Sunday night in January 2012. I didn’t see John the next day, but we got together on Tuesday for coffee and to go over the applications for tenants.
We were sitting side by side at the Starbucks we’d first met at and John had applications spread out on the table. His phone was there too.
Within just a few minutes his phone lite up with a text message. From Toni.
Driving home from our road trip, I was content and happy. I had a wonderful time with my kids and new granddaughter. And it felt like John and I were closer, even though we hadn’t seen each other in two months.
On our way back, I was looking at a text John had sent me and I said out loud, “I think I’m falling for him.” My son said, “Yeah, I noticed.”
I could see the man he was before his divorce. The one who was devoted to his little family and their life together. I could also see the profound hurt that kept him from “going there” again.
So I wasn’t surprised when he texted me and asked what day I would be home. Or that he asked to come over and play tennis with me the very next day. Continue reading
John wrote this post while I was away for the holidays. He was messaging me daily and we both agreed online dating was getting old.
Column 26 – Don’t Forget to Use Your Breaks
(I used this column to say “focus on where you’re at”.
I also used it to disparage the dating sites a little. They can be frustrating, and I wanted to tell people if the sites are annoying then the best thing to do is leave them alone for a minute.
About the time I wrote this one, I texted Loretta to get her thoughts on the sites. She said they didn’t feel ‘organic’ to her, and that she was done with them.
I said I agreed and was going to take a break from them myself – saying it would probably be months before I got back online).
Something I’ve come to know about myself is I can be stubborn at times.
A while back, I shared a blog post called A Look Inside. I wrote about feeling off that day, and shared that I spent the day trying to understand why. I got a lot of very nice feedback on it, and several people shared some of their off moments with me too.
I like that so many people have commented and shown support. And I’m using several different platforms to share my blog, in hopes to reach people who can either relate, or just find my stories interesting.
I am also learning as I go, which is sort of the point of the blog. You know, reach 60 and be wise, healthy, happy and content. One thing I’m learning is that there is a bias towards sharing one emotion: Happiness.
After John and I had our one and only romantic evening, he was still texting me and sending me his columns, but all of a sudden he didn’t have time to meet for coffee or play tennis or get together at all.
So I got busy with my own life and plans and let John figure out his own issues.
Column 22 – If the Truth Hurts Then Shouldn’t it Come With a Warning Label?
(One of the things Loretta and I had in common was our love of family – we sort of lived for our kids. Continue reading
This is a book excerpt from November 2011. John and I had known each other for about five months at this point. Though we had started out as friends, we were now both single, and sparks were flying.
One evening in November sitting together on Loretta’s deck, which overlooks a tree studded hillside, the conversation turned to personal matters. She told me of her life – and of how big a role her kids played in it. My stories paralleled hers as I told her how I wanted my life to look, and how important my kids were to me.
We’d been having these conversations for a while now – at least since September – and I think we were both getting the same sense from them. The one that tells you that, hey, there’s got to be a reason why this person always feels so comfortable to be around.
John was desperately trying to keep me at an arms distance, especially when it came to his heart.
In September 2011, John and I continued our friendship and tried to hold each other up while the people we were dating were letting us down. Here is an excerpt from his book, Romeo’s Dilemma, with some commentary from me.
September 2011 – Act 4
By now Loretta’s pilot had adopted a policy of radio silence – she was hearing from him less and less. You know the drill, where the guy who was once texting all the time now isn’t. I took that to mean someone else was now on his radar screen.
John was so right about this. Mike went cold on me so fast my head was spinning. He was still stringing me on though with lovely emails, but I was also getting the “I’m out of town, or busy” signal way too much. And I had no idea what in the hell happened. Continue reading
I left off with my story telling you I had met a guy named Mike, who I started dating just before leaving for Florida to help my son, and his family, move. When I returned home, Romeo had dialed up the charm a notch…or two.
I thought I’d share with you what John wrote about that time, with a little commentary from me.
Here is an excerpt from his book, Romeo’s Dilemma:
It’s Wednesday check in and I want to share that I am doing the happy dance!
I’ve been slowly and steadily losing weight and I’m finally at a place where I feel so much better. And it shows-inside and out. A few good wins added together can really make a difference in my attitude, which then spurs me on to continue. Continue reading
My final trip to Florida to visit my son and his wife Amber was August of 2011. I picked that time to go for two reasons: One to help them move to Mississippi but more importantly, to meet my first grandchild.
In May of 2010 my son graduated from the Naval Academy and married his high school sweetheart the very next day. Then they started their lives together as a military family. By August of that year I was back to help them move to Florida, where my son would begin training as a pilot. Continue reading
Have you ever felt good about yourself and happy with your body, and then see yourself in a dressing room mirror and immediately frown?
I wrote last week that after my Mom’s death at the age of 48, I’d vowed to stay healthy and fit. And for most of my life, I’ve done just that. But somewhere around age 56, that started to change for me.
Since then, it’s been more of a struggle to lose weight and keep it off.
I’ve wanted to blame menopause or that I’m married and eat what (and as much as) my husband does. Hell, I’ve even tried to (jokingly) blame my best friend. But it’s all me. Continue reading
Tomorrow is a big day for me.
I don’t mean in the sense that something exciting is happening, or I’ve got a bunch of big plans. More in the way of it’s a calendar date that I never forget and always reflect on.
It was August 3, 1970 when the world changed for me. And for the last 48 years, it’s August 3rd that I still feel the pain of that day and our loss.
I know there are a whole lot of you reading this now, that know exactly how I feel. Losing a parent, especially when you are a child, is something you never fully “get over”. Continue reading
Did you ever spend summer vacations at your Grandparents house?
I never did. I mean, we went there to visit, but I don’t remember staying at their place for a week or even a few days without my parents.
We did, however, have fun during our summers growing up, and I loved it when we played Hide and Seek outside until way after sunset. And we always had a great time at the beach. Continue reading
When John told me he was dating someone else, I wasn’t surprised. I could tell from our very first meeting at Starbucks that he’d been on many such meet and greets.
He was tall, dark and handsome, smart and witty. And I had been online dating long enough to know he was a rare find indeed. But just because he was one of few, that didn’t mean I wanted to jump into an intimate relationship with him.
So someone else did.