One of the scariest and best things I have ever done.

22 Dec

“Oh my! No time to pour my heart out. It overflows already as I go through the leftover possessions, photos, files, clothes, and everything in every drawer of my large house. I am leaving.
It is wrenching, but worth it. A new life beckons even though I will be living in my mother’s house and not my own. Even though I have no paying job at the moment. Still, I am elated with the innumerable opportunities available to me!”

I wrote these words in the midst of my move and you can hear the anguish and tension along with the hopeful quality which made it possible to do this with so little forethought.

And the results have been positive beyond belief. First of all I am happy. I am happy in my newly painted, robin’s egg blue room. Some of my favorite small things have found a resting place here. My vermeil dresser set which belonged to my grandmother Lilla Youngblood Buchanan sits atop the dresser. Along with many of my clothes, this piece of furniture holds my necessary accessories such as gloves, and headbands, jeweled hair clips and small scarves and sachets and some simple jewelry and broken treasures not yet repaired. There is a photograph of the pear trees at Heathfield before they came down. I will share that story at a future date. A great lesson which I remember every time I look at that photo. There is a cup, hard-painted by Jules Fritz who used to be the gardener here when I was a little girl. It has my name and his and the date Xmas 1949. This is one of my most cherished possessions.

Several favorite lamps illuminate the space with various amounts of wattage. Sometimes I write with only romantic low lighting surrounding me. Other times I use the brightest setting to distinguish one set of black trousers from another, ditto black turtle necks. Light comes in very handy in those instances.

People who wear a great deal of black will understand.

 

Mostly this room is a happy place where I play my own music. I sit with and cuddle my long haired, black and tan dachshund Magnus. We both enjoy this. Sometimes I open the doors to my balcony and let Magnus go outside and sun himself while I read or write. He lets me know if anyone approaches the house. I have plenty of free time here in my upper story lair at the opposite end of the house from my mothers room.

If you must caretake for an older parent, be sure you have an area in which to retreat and gather new energy. Rebooting, I call it. And just as it helps your phone or computer, it will help you, too.

These days I take time for myself and I meditate. Meditation has changed my life. It has changed me. The idea is to never skip a day. And it is rare that I do. Even a few minutes can make a huge difference in my day. In fact, I am going to go find a quiet spot in which to meditate right now.

December 21st 2017

Writing is my creative outlet, Look out!

8 Nov

The good thing is that I write all the time, every day at least a little bit.

I read somewhere that people who write should NEVER pay attention to the reaction of their own families to their work. Just write and let the others be damned!

However, I have been guilty of this for the last 8 years. It paralyzed my writing when my family reacted with embarrassment about my book Ahead of the Curve.  One of my daughters was so mortified I could not even discuss it in her presence. I could not mention the fact of writing. Ever.

I really was sad and concerned and ‘stopped in my tracks’ by the fact that it upset her so much. Writing seemed like this evil thing that I must quit to save my family embarrassment. That was wrong.

Sometimes I think of myself as such a ‘slow learner’.  And though my family accuses me of being a contrarian, there are many instances where I have simply changed what I wanted to do because of my family. It is true that sometimes I react contrarily to some suggestion or event. Certainly, my first reaction to any doctors diagnosis is: Let me check on that and do it my way! or even “Hell no!” (when some physician prescribes drugs for things that can be corrected with lifestyle changes.)

Where my family is concerned, their happiness comes before my own in most cases. This maternal effacing of self seems pretty normal to me. Yet, my children are middle-aged and it is time they learned to deal with my natural desire to live my own life. Though I am far from free technically, because I am living with my 99 year old mother, my time is sometimes my own. In those hours, I write. Originally I did it to save my sanity. Now, it is because the creative juices awakened with a vengeance and will not be put back to sleep.

It was a terrible mistake to let my children influence me in a way that stopped the creative outlet that I crave the most.  I will not make the same mistake twice.

So, kids, LOOK OUT! Mama is writing again and she is not stopping for anybody!!!

 

Moving is Momentous!

29 Oct

I began to move a couple of weeks ago, but this is an unusual type of move and so it is taking a lot longer than normal. Perhaps I should mention that I have lived in this house for 9 years and I love it here. I love the area, I love the house, and I wish I could stay.
However my mother is 99 years old. She will reach the age of 100 in less than 4 months. She is healthy. She is basically happy. But her friends have mostly all died. This is really sad for her. And she is lonely. Of course she is becoming frail as well, so she needs much more help than before. She stopped driving herself when she was 93. She has a man who drives for her and does other heavy lifting about the place. Her cook has been with her for 40 years. Mother lives in the same house she and my father bought before I was born. Now she has 24/7 caregivers and it is best if there is someone there to keep tabs on all these helpful people.
No one else in the family was able to do it. So one day I decided that in keeping with the Serenity Prayer, there is nothing I can do to “Change” my mother and her living arrangements. However, I can change my own attitude and my place of residence. I found that I had the courage to do it. So my move to Washington DC is nearly complete. Compressing my long life into one room and some extra closets requires some very serious downsizing. My children have helped me manage this by taking most of my things off my hands. It is very flattering to know that they want my things, that they like my things and will take good care of them. When I go into one of their houses and see my favorite paintings, rugs, silver, and furniture it warms my heart. It makes me feel right at home.
Really, it is fun to see each house displaying various aspects of my personality and preferences from my vacated house/home. It is sort of like multiplying my own design ideas and seeing them mutate in marvelous ways. That part is great. What is difficult is sorting through files, going through photo albums and scrapbooks. Most of them have never been culled. Many of the boxes of files have followed me from house to house and office to office without actually being sorted in years. And so many need to be shredded, deleted, gone. But they MUST be gone through because there are actually some important documents among the detritus.
I am almost done now. After many bags of trash and trips to second hand stores, the rest is going to be carted off by others. I will be free. I will be unencumbered by things. Really only my books and a reduced amount of clothes and my 2 small dogs are going with me to Mother’s house. My computers will be reduced down to a laptop and my iPad and a bunch of flash drives! My new life calls and now I have space for it to arrive.