dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Kitchen Memories…

Two years ago yesterday we moved to our current home.  We did not like it here.  It was not the house we wanted to be in, yet, we had to move since the owners of our previous home wanted to live there.  We understood why they wanted to be there, it is a great home.

So, anyhow, fast forward two years and I am again neck-deep in boxes.  I really don’t mind and I haven’t wanted to dwell too much on here with moving, although when you are in the middle of it, it is what you think about and ultimately write about.

Yesterday, I jumped into the kitchen.  Determined to whittle down what was in the cupboards to the bare minimal.  We are hoping to close soon and I want to be able to throw what is remaining into a box and have it done with.

I am also sorting as I go.  Pitching things that are way beyond useful and pulling out things that still have life to them to donate.  I confess, I did hold on to a couple of small appliances that truly are past their prime, but still work well, although they do not look good.

But, for the most part, I looked at things critically to decide what went and what stayed.  The thing that spoke the most to me was how often some of these things have been packed.  I wrapped some things that were wedding gifts 40+ years ago.  A cake plate.  Given to us by our best man.  I use it daily, well, it sits on my counter top.  I love it.  The lid that I now put on top of it belonged to another cake plate hubby got me a few years back.  The plate itself didn’t last long, but the cover was heavy enough and it went with the original cake plate.  I wrapped them both and prayed they wouldn’t be broken in this, their last move.

I did this often yesterday.  Picked up a piece and wrapped it, and remembered how long I have had it, what the story behind it was and thought of the moves we have made over the years.

For some of these things, it is the 12th move.  That’s not a large number considering we were military.  But, having stayed in one place for 28 years, it is still a lot of moves.   Memories crowded my mind and kept me company yesterday.  It was an interesting day.   I remember our first ‘official’ move.  The one we did not do ourselves.  The packers came in, they packed things up quickly and then looked around our little apartment.  They wanted to take the furniture, which would have helped us, but, it was a furnished apartment.  We had enough to fill a half of a crate.  Up to that point, we  thought we were overloaded with ‘stuff’.

This move will take a very large truck.  We have a houseful of furniture and a storage shed.  We will most likely take things we shouldn’t.  Things that would be better tossed or donated.  But, we have come to a point where we look at things and see a place and a point to keeping them.  I am hoping it is not weariness guiding us, but, I have a feeling it is.

So, two years after being in this home, I have started to say good-bye to it.  We didn’t start as friends, but, it now echoes memories and laughter and some tears.  It amazes me how packing up a few dishes reveals the heart changes that happen.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Sometimes I wonder about myself….

Yesterday while sorting through some boxes, I felt my back rebel.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and sat down.  Today, I was still.  I watched movies for most of the day and had a quiet day.  After watching the last movie, I decided to go online.

This is where I start to wonder about myself.  I went to Facebook and started to answer some messages I had and looked at what people have posted.

The messages were fine.  But… there is a post going around which is creeping me out.  It is the post of the tick nest.  It’s gross.  This is where I should have stopped, but, no, I didn’t.  This is where I begin to wonder about myself.  I thought, we are moving to a rural area.  I bet that area is filled with ticks.

A normal person would just be creeped out and research bug killers.  Not me… no….  I searched tick nests.  Again, I should have stopped there.    I was curious as to what they looked like so that I could see them and take care of them before they got to me.

Warning to everyone reading this…. DO NOT LOOK AT PICTURES OF TICK NESTS!!!   I have never been so grossed out.  I felt like I was crawling with them.  Eww!

So, as I was showering trying to make myself feel normal, I decided to warn anyone who reads this.  Do yourself a favor and learn from someone who should have known better.   The images cannot be erased from your mind.

I knew there was a reason why I like cold weather…  those things don’t survive the cold.

Thanks for stopping by today, I think I need to go spray something….  DAF

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Some Days Just Hit You…

Today I had an interesting day.  It started out pretty normal, making fresh juice and coffee.

Hubby has been working on his car, his baby, for the past couple of weeks.  From what he is talking about, I expect it will act like a brand new car and drive incredibly well and be fast.  Of course, it was fast before, and there are claw marks in the dash from me trying to drag my feet, but that is another story.

Hubby went to the shop to work on his car and I proceeded to pack some more boxes and go about my day.  I did manage to get a few more things packed and realized I am very close to being done.  A great feeling for me.

But, what is interesting for me today is the scope of things and people I have talked with today, either on phone, or via Skype or via Facebook.  It was a day that, when it is over, you go, “hmm, what a good time I have had today.”

I had someone talk to me about some issues pressing in on them.  Minor things, but, nevertheless, even minor things can weigh heavy on hearts.  I was blessed that they thought of me to talk with.  I am hoping I, in turn, blessed them.

A friend of mine became a grandparent for the first time.  I am so happy for her and we somehow ended up not fully connecting, but I was able to let her know how thrilled I am for her.  I know this child will be so loved by this woman.  This child will learn much from my friend, she will learn to laugh, to explore, and to love.  This child is so fortunate to be able to call my friend grandma.

Another friend just needed to vent.  I love our venting conversations.  They are honest and full of opinions and laughter and tears.  We talk for long times together, it just works out that way, and even though this conversation was filled with the frustration of the past couple of days, I hung up feeling better in just hearing her voice.

I was able to see Little Man and Little Miss via Skype today.  They make my heart glad.  I love my conversations with Little Man and when he tells me to have a good rest of the day and tells me he loves me, well, that’s the best thing in the entire world for me.

By this time, it was evening, actually night-time.  I answered a couple of more messages and thought over the day.

Throughout this day I also thought of my sister and her family.  Tomorrow marks the anniversary of my brother in law’s death. She mentioned on Facebook tonight about how she feels about the day today and tomorrow.  I admire her in so many ways.  I shed tears in thinking of all she has gone through and yet, she remains the encourager and strength for her family and me.

Days filled like today are few.  So often we go about our days not noticing the life that surrounds us.  I do that often.  Today, lives touched mine.  My heart is full as I write this, and my mind is filled with memories.    I just had to share that.

Thanks for stopping by…. DAF

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Long Distance (S)Mothering….

The mother of Little Miss, my oldest daughter, is 2450.92 miles from me.  We are on the opposite sides of this country.

This presents its challenges.   The love of her life is away now, serving this great country of ours.  It is his job, his privilege, and his duty.  I understand this, as I am a retired military wife.  This also sucks.  Especially when you have a six month old.

I have tried since he is away to chat online with her daily.  We Skype so we can see her and talk with her and the baby.  Last night, we were able to Skype with her, Little Miss, and her step daughter who is 8 years old.  We had a good visit.  We gooed and cooed with the baby and I made faces with her step daughter.  It was all fun and games.  We blew kisses and hung up.

My evening was continuing for about another hour.  My phone rang and on the other end of the phone was my daughter.  The one I had just Skyped with.  I hear her voice.  I know something is up.  “Mom, how do you know if a toe is broken?”  This is always a good way to start a conversation.  My mind immediately raced.  Okay, I thought, it won’t be Little Miss, she is too little for anything like this to happen to her.  I was right.  I then asked who the toe belonged to.

My daughter eked out a painful, “Mine.”   I take a deep breath.  Okay, I can do this.  I ask the right questions.  What happened, what does it look like, can you move it, are you in great pain, are your neighbors home?  I ask her to take a picture of her foot and send it to me.

Now, I am not a nurse.  I do not own a  medical license.  The only credential I have are the stretch marks and grey hair that show I have survived motherhood.

I look at the picture of her feet.  The first picture was of both of her feet.  I thought that was smart so I could look at an uninjured foot along with the injured one.    I show hubby the photo.  We look at it and say, it may just be a good stoved toe.

We write back and tell her what we think may have happened.  (Like we would know…)  I then tell her that most people I know who have broken their toes usually end up just having it wrapped.  I tell her I really don’t think that there is much to do for a broken toe.  A broken foot needs a cast and possible surgery.  A toe…   well, in my medical opinion….  (Yes, that and a few dollars will buy you a coffee at your favorite shop).

So, thus began a 24 hour session of (S)mothering her.  I tell her to put ice on the toe.  20 minute on, 20 minutes off.  I tell her to elevate it.  I stress the importance of her staying off her foot.

She went online to see what needed to be done.  Since it was a Friday night, all the neighbors were out.  She was in the house with a six month old and an 8-year-old.  My mother’s heart and mind went into overdrive.  I offer to wake friends and have them come and get her.  I have a list of friends I know that would love to hold the baby and others who would drive her to the emergency room.

I suggest everything I could think of.  Hubby, meanwhile keeps reminding me of her age and her ability to figure this out for herself.  He is worried, but he is also confident that she can handle this.

In my mind, I am in a panic that my baby girl hurts and I can’t be there to kiss it and do something!  Anything!  Get her a cup of tea.  Make her toast.   Prop up her foot.   Anything.

I finally stopped chatting with her and let her get on with her evening.  It was a painful evening for her, but she survived.  I am proud of how she has handled it.  Today, the verdict was in, it’s broken.  It hurts.  But, she will get better.

Meanwhile Little Miss is working on her first tooth.  So both of them are in pain and miserable and me?  Well, I really dislike not being able to (S)mother her up close.    Isn’t there a time when you stop worrying about your kids?  I noticed a few more gray hairs today…  soon I will no longer have gray highlights, it’s just going to be all white!

Thanks for stopping by… DAF

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Dinner with Friends…

This evening I was invited to have dinner with a couple of friends.  They wanted to have one more meal together while we were all still in the same town.  I was treated to a lovely meal downtown and I feel special because of their caring.

We are getting closer to moving.  I have packed so many boxes, I think I should be finished.  I’m not and when I look around all I see is more ‘stuff’ that needs to be sorted through.  But, that is not what I wanted to write about tonight.

When we moved here five years ago, I never truly thought about what it would be like to live in a city where I knew no one.  I had lived in San Diego for so long, that I knew people and had friends.  I took that feeling of belonging to someone’s circle of friends for granted.  I still miss those friends, and time and distance has not erased the wish to meet for coffee or walk around lakes.  They are forever etched into my heart.

This evening I had dinner with two women.  One I know and can talk with, but, we have never spent time one on one.  Until this evening when we carpooled to the restaurant.  It was the first time I had actually spent more than five minutes alone with her.  The conversation was easy and fun and I will always remember the drive into town.

The other women was my first friend in Charleston.  When you move, you meet neighbors and they are polite and nice.  They sort of have to be that way, since, after all, you are neighbors.  Then I met people at church, and again, people are nice because, well, they sort of have to be.  I felt that these people were a given.  But, this woman, was my first friend.  She had a conversation with me when there was no real obligation for her to do so.  Of course, she did own a shop and I was in shopping, but, the conversation went beyond that.  I visited her store often and each time the conversations grew in length and fun.  Soon, I was working with her and we would talk the day through, if we could.  I had a friend.

I once wrote a blog post about friendship, I referenced the Girl Scout song, make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.  I mentioned this friend in the link and said that I thought that she would one day move from the silver group into the gold.

This  evening, I realized that this woman has become a golden friend.  We have shared much the past few years.  We have laughed and cried and shopped and laughed some more.  We are both retired military wives and we know what it is like to start over again and again.  We know that distance does not make a friendship disappear.

Our friendship will not disappear, this we know.  But, once more, this evening I felt the pang I have felt so many times in my life.  I have sat at a table laughing and talking only to have the time run out and the last words spoken: good luck; this is a new adventure; and, we will miss you.    All wonderful words, but they hurt the heart when you think of so many friends you have said this to.  I carry in my heart faces of women who have blessed me, laughed with me, propped me up when I could not stand, and made me laugh until I snorted soda, or tea, or coffee from my nose.

So, in the next month I will be in a familiar situation again.  I will meet new neighbors.  We will find another church to attend.  And hopefully, I will find someone who will take that chance to strike up a conversation that will never truly end.

And so dear friend, thank you for the dinner and the memories of a wonderful time spent here in the Lowcountry.

Thanks for stopping by….  DAF

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Happy St Patrick’s Day!

This is always a fun day.  I have never gone out and celebrated the day with a bar crawl or anything, but it is still a great day.

I was born into an Irish family.  Our family really hasn’t been in America that long.  I love that fact.  We were raised to be proud of our Irish ancestry.  And, we are.

In our small town there was a north side, south side and the east and west end.  The ends we didn’t pay much attention to, but the North side hailed a few more Irish families and the South side more Italians.  I was raised in the Catholic faith, went to a Catholic school for the first eight years of schooling.

There were three Catholic schools in our town.  There was one on the south side, and two on the north side of town.  From what I have just said, it seems the Italian kids went to the school on the south side and that left the rest of the Catholic kids to the other two schools.  One of the schools was in an area called Palace Hill, we had another name for the hillside, but, I won’t write it here.  This hill was inhabited by mostly Polish families.  It was a wonderful place, and the food that you could smell and get there, Wow!

Anyhow, I digress.  The other Catholic elementary school was St. Joseph’s.  Or, as we called it, St Joes.  It was where the ‘Mick’ kids went.  I went there, for eight years, some wonderful, some, well let’s just say, below par.

Today, I thought of all of this.  I do every year.  We did not grow up in a generation that pinched you if you did not wear green on St. Patrick’s day.  Then, only the Irish wore green.  It was not  a national thing for everyone and their brother to wear green.  So, each year, with my navy blue wool uniform, I would don a pin or a green sweater and knee socks and head to school.  The Polish kids always wore red on St Patrick’s day.  So, at lunch break, here I would be, in my green at my Irish school.  You could always pick me out. I was the tall Irish girl standing in the middle of a sea of red, with my closest friends by the last names of Dolecki, Brzezinski, and Zimoski….  Those are my fond memories of St. Patrick’s day.

I leave you now with my favorite version of the Irish Blessing:

May the Road rise up to meet you.

May the Wind be always at your back.

May you be in Heaven a half hour before

The devil knows you are dead.

Have a wonderful day today, DAF

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Happy Birthday Mom…

Today would have been my mother’s birthday.  She would be in her early 90’s.  She died 49 years ago this year, I was 11.

I can remember many things about her, but what always comes to mind, besides her being in the kitchen and singing  and me being underfoot a lot, is sitting on the back porch with her and talking.  I can remember when I was in fourth grade and told her I wanted to become a nun.  Don’t laugh, I really was serious.  I can remember her saying that she would be proud if I did such a thing.  I can remember talking to her about marriage, and her telling me how important it was to marry in the faith (I didn’t), and how she really did not like people who used the local colloquialism of ‘yunz’.  To her, it showed ill breeding.  I chuckle each time hubby says it.  I can see my mom rolling over in her grave.    Many years after her death, I was asked to write something on mother’s for the church’s bulletin on Mother’s Day.   When I was beginning to pack for our move, I found a file of old writings I had done.  I reread what I wrote for the bulletin and decided to share it on her birthday.  So, here is a blast from my past.

 

A Mother’s Gift

Twenty three years ago, I sat in a classroom watching all the other children make Kleenex carnations for their mothers.  I tried to laugh away the hurt of not having someone to make a flower for, and on the surface, I succeeded.

Years passed, along with my childhood and the ritual of drawing a picture for my father while the familiar carnations were made.  By the time I was an adult, Mother’s Day could pass with nary a thought of it’s importance.

When my children arrived, the day took on a whole different meaning.  Receiving my share of paper flowers in a bouquet or glued lovingly in a card, I would gently caress them when no one was looking and think of the many years that I had longed to make them.

Each year I miss my mother more.  Often I think of gifts I would give her if I could.  Funny, when I was younger, I would always dream of giving my mother a mink coat, believing that somehow that was the epitome of a gift.  Now, when I think of the gifts I would give her, I dream of a conversation over a cup of tea, a hug, or even reprimanding her for spoiling her grandchildren.

After my reverie, what lingers is the fragrance of my mother’s life, cherished lessons that are with me still; a gift of laughter in the face of hardships, a song sung from her heart when times were stressful, and memories that cannot be erased. If I can impart these to my daughters and remember that the gift of motherhood comes from children, then I will count myself blessed.

 

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF…

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Discoveries…

It is always interesting when you begin to go through closets and drawers.  I am beginning the chore of packing for our move.  It is something I really don’t mind doing, especially when I am not rushed in doing it.  We have several weeks and I have made a good start. I am a bit stiff, but, I am using muscles that have been dormant for a couple of years. Today was an interesting day.  I unearthed unexpected things.  I was surprised by what I found, and laughed at some of the discoveries. I found brochures from various venues and caterers for my daughter’s wedding that never was.  I have moved since  her wedding was called off, and I was amazed I still had the information that I will never use.  I stacked them and then pitched them.  Thinking about it, I was glad my daughter is where she is in her life now, and relieved that this wedding did not happen.  A good reminder. I found a folder of my older writing samples.  I had not read my writing in a while.  I was pretty impressed with what I had done so long ago.  I have toyed with posting some of it here.  I once more was able to see a copy of the short story that was published.  It was a reminder of times when I worked harder at writing than I do now.  A kick to maybe be that diligent once more. After Christmas this year, hubby and I searched the house and garage for a box to put an artificial tree in.  The tree goes in our guest room each year and after Christmas, the box was nowhere.  We searched for days, each of us wondering why the other threw the box away.  Two days ago, I looked at the tree hanging out without a box in a closet.  I grabbed a large box and put it in.  I put in other Christmas decorations that were stragglers.  I resigned myself to never finding the box.  Today, I groaned loudly when I saw the box.  It must have concerned hubby because he immediately asked what was wrong.  I walked to where he was with the box.  He started laughing.  So, the box that should have the tree in it, now has Christmas linen in it.  I figured I would keep the season at least correct.  Plus, I know when I open it next November I will laugh that I did this. I now have two room almost completely done.  I am moving ahead each day.  Yes, I will be glad to have it over.  But, I confess, I am finding it interesting what I have where…  I sometimes make no sense to myself. Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Remembering…

When hubby was towards the end of his Navy career, he attended a course taught by a former Naval pilot.  It was a course that meant  a lot to my hubby, as he was chosen to carry out the subject matter in the course into his command.  He did it well.

When hubby retired from the Navy, he set out to find his next career.  Before he went back to college, he was contacted by the retired Navy pilot. He had watched hubby’s career.  He knew when he was retired.  He offered hubby a place in his consulting business.  He was thrilled that hubby was going to college and told him that they would work around his schedule, but, he definitely wanted him to work with his group.  It was a wonderful venture.  Hubby learned much from this man and a friendship grew.  He was instrumental in introducing hubby to the company that he eventually worked for after graduation.

The pilot’s name was Gerry.  We received a letter today from his wife.  Gerry died in late November.  We saw them before we moved, and in the past two years, we had lost contact with them.  We knew something was wrong.  This year I sent another Christmas card to them and a note expressing our love and concern for them.

The letter today was a short one and a very sad one.  Since then, I have spent my time remembering Gerry and his wife.  They were the most fascinating couple I have ever met.  She is the epitome of graciousness.  She is intelligent and fun to be with.   They owned a sailboat and often in the summer we would get a call to go sailing.  Gerry was older and so, hubby would take over the helm and guide the boat across the water in San Diego.  We would have ‘snacks’ , a bottle of wine, crackers, cheese, fruit.  We would laugh and catch up and talk about Navy life.  Gerry’s wife would recite poetry from memory.  Long poems, beautiful ones.  We would be enthralled.

After sailing, we would head to their home and have dinner.  Take out from a local restaurant.  We would sit on their patio or in their home and we would continue the evening.  The pace was always slow, the conversation quiet, and the laughter, well, it was the way laughter is supposed to be.

I know the next couple of days will be filled with memories of Gerry.  He was one of the best!  A fighter pilot in Viet Nam, a decorated officer, and a true gentleman.  Our lives were enriched in knowing him.  Hubby lost not only a mentor and friend, but also a father figure.  Rest in peace my dear friend.  I look forward to catching up in eternity.     DAF

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Some Days…

Some days it is cold and rainy.  It is dreary and gray outside.  The rain beats steadily down on the roof and the birds stick close to the remaining foliage on the trees.

Some days it is nice to sit wrapped up in a blanket and do nothing.  Chat with friends from long ago, online.  Catch up on the little things in life.

Some days it is nice to have some soup to simmer on the stove and look forward to a bowl for dinner.   Then add some girl scout cookies for dessert.

Some days are like this.   Rainy, damp, cold outside.  Inside a nice blanket, warm soup and a nice bright fire in the fireplace.

That some day is now and I am enjoying a quiet and peaceful day today.  How about you?

DAF

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