Sunday, October 30, 2016

Life Lessons

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. About three years ago, shortly after my husband died, we were introduced.
Widows know each others’ pain; it’s something we just have to live through or not. People who haven’t had this loss hide behind a wall of words telling you how you should feel or even better how your husband would want you to feel. Well intended people can make you crazy in your grief.
“You feel how you feel. You can’t push it. You can’t change it. You just have to accept it. It hurts.” She identified with the experience. 
An obviously wounded woman spoke the truth. We bonded in our grief. We gave each other moral support to make the best of the days we shared. Lost in Puerto Rico with two senior ladies could be the title of our early adventures. In the depths of my mourning, I learned to laugh again.
Have you ever met someone fun? I enjoyed her quixotic changes of topic. It taught me to be flexible. I can be rigid. And, oh, my, she bathed in the center of attention! I was the Martin to her Lewis; we laughed through many experiences.
First, I love myself; teacher set the example. No matter what the topic her sentence always began with I. After a while I found that annoying, but realized she struggles also, so accept a friend as she came. Later it crossed my mind that I should find what my husband found lovable in me. 
For three years this soul has been my closest friend, whom I love dearly. There is so much I admire about her. We had some great fun together. This time in my life was better for you being in it; gracias. I wish you all the best. It hurts to say, “Goodbye!”
The only thing that would grieve me more is to again be subjected to the hateful speech hurled at me on Thursday. That was the meanest I’ve ever seen you do. You wanted to hurt me; why?
Doesn’t matter because you did it; you hurt me so badly that we’re done. Is that what you wanted?

Give me Thanksgiving Dinner for one.

Friday, October 28, 2016

When a Friend Is Not a Friend

Stay positive; don’t bitch. That’s what my angel says. Tell it like  it like it is; the hell with whoever gets pissed. I don’t know who whispers that in my ear, but I hear it in my head.
We all have that public persona of how we’d like to be seen or perhaps more importantly how we’d like to be. I want to be a nice person who’s fun to be with, but if you hurt me or piss me off, who knows?  
We all spend some time in the asshole zone. God forbid, but maybe, I’m about to go there. That’s not a place I care to visit, but one thing I know is that when someone starts “messing” with you, it won’t end until you leave or have it out.
Just for the record people mess with you when they say hurtful things or embarrass you in public. You know the one, when you give them the how could you look, they look back with that innocent, huh, but you can see the corners of the eyes narrow ever so slightly, giving away intent.
Would it surprise you to hear that the person who messes with you will innocently rip you off? This person owes you a hundred dollars, and when you’re handed the folded money; will you look at it or will you stuff it into your pocket? You count and it’s twenty short. The twenty appears from the rear pocket where it was missed. This personality never apologizes, preferring to offer humorous quips. 
People who hurt the ones who care about them are perhaps repeating the treatment they received in childhood. As much empathy as I have for them, I need to escape that. I won’t choose to be with anyone who makes me feel bad about myself.
All my life long besties are dead. In finding compatible friends we go through so many misfits. Some times I just want someone to share a good day, but don’t mess my day up with meanness.
Who tells a friend to “order your Thanksgiving dinner for one? You should have a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving. You need this. This is a good idea for you; do you see this? Dinner for one, this is perfect for you. You should get this.” 
Who hammers this at you, while at the same time bragging how many homes welcome them? Is this person insensitive beyond imagination? Why would a friend be so hurtful?
This conversation took place over a coffee. “What are you trying to say to me?” I felt stunned.
“I’m just sayin, in case. You know,” attempting to sound conciliatory.
I rose and began collecting my napkin and cup.
“I don’t have to clean this up; let them clean it up,” my friend said in a voice so haughty that it shocked me.
Unfortunately, shock doesn’t slow my mouth; I fled the scene saying something about arrogance and ignorance, clean up your mess, and who knows what else.
What do you do, when someone tries to stick a fork in you every once in a while?  I grew up in a neighborhood where people messed  with each other as a big competition. I moved to the country to escape.
My sweet country boy didn’t like that thing city people do, so I stopped. He was right; life is more pleasant without it, so anyone introducing that negativity into my life needs to go.

This is so sad.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Love Letter to My Husband

My honey, my husband, forty months ago you died. The bitter Sunday I lost you grieves me; we could be smiling and laughing still. We always did whether times were good or hard. We found something to smile about; didn’t we!
You gifted me with the sweetest soul I ever knew. Losing you cracked my hard case into pieces. Putting me back together, without your physical presence to give comfort, piece by piece has been my dark night of the soul, and a job far from done.
Since 1988 you lived with pain no one would want to imagine, but you found joy in the day. You always had something kind to say; that was your way.
As the famous Joseph Campbell taught, most people go to the right, the main stream route and a few take the path to the left. It’s a shady dirt road through a forest, and then a ridge with rocks and ocean vistas as far as the eye can see. Alone it’s just me; I’d so much rather it be we, but the path to the left suits me, as it did you.
You valued me way more than I valued myself; what did you see in me I often wondered. Everyone or most everyone, who met you, fell in love with you. All the women who sought you out drove me nuts, and yet, I wasn’t jealous. You loved me.
Alone, I’d rather be than with energy draining strangers, who showed up this day to tell me all their woes. I struggle to see the good some days, but don’t wish to share with someone who doesn’t care. They don’t want to hear me, so why should I indulge their whines?
The travel we planned, I’m doing for us. Although we never spoke of Cuba, I’ve been there. Two kindred spirits live near Havana, you would love them as I do. There is love in my life.
You know how hard I always worked and tried; those days are gone. Even my workouts at the gym are no harder than I’ll allow, but I continue to go and do. That’s where the fun is; right? 
The road less traveled, that freaking lonely road without you is still worth the trip my love. Life is a gift to honor, but I’ll miss you every step.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Go and Do or Sit and Talk

Go and do versus sit and talk, or sit and watch TV; have you noticed how much of each you do?
 No TV in my house, so I substitute sitting online dreaming about travel. The planning stage of checking prices throws out nuggets of info on things I couldn’t have imagined. Be still my heart!
Sit and talk with interesting friends; can you envision a better evening? I can spend time sitting!
It’s the going and doing that forces me to buck up and get off my ass. And that ain’t easy!
Did I mention that DVD movies and excellent TV programs provide my entertainment, during which I’m more prone? I’m so lazy; it’s scary.
If I did what I felt like doing, sitting and whatever, I wouldn’t be able to walk. The arthritis in my back and knees wouldn’t allow it.
I tell my mother that I go to the gym and about the young men, who flex in the mirror after every rep. I prefer to talk in a positive vein, so when I finally told my mother that I hated going to the gym, she laughed. Ha-hah!
The good news is that after much repetition I now need to force myself to limit hard workouts to four days a week. There’s a Zen moment when you exercise that feels so good; it’s positively addicting. If you have any idea of the pain it takes to get there, your head is still nodding when I say it’s worth the trip.
My go and do’s can be quite corrupted; a night of wiggling through a food festival swinging to salsa has become instead nocturnal  wandering aisles of Wal-Mart for any number of stupid reasons. On such a night I found the Tudors, DVD. Winner!

Now that I’m getting better at being alone, I need to get better at limiting my sit ands.. Ugh!!   

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What Will It Be

Days drone on, if I don’t do anything to create special.
Figuring out what I want is problematic. What do I want to do?
Thinking about can make me feel quite edgy, like its taboo. If the thought makes me twitch, I release it. Now is my time of year to plan, so I need to figure out what the hell I want. I will get back to it.

Sometimes it feels strange to obsess over my tiny cares, when the world seems about to go to hell in a hand basket, but that’s where my life is now and I won’t be happy, if I don’t honor what’s important to me.
The Great Recession crashed all over my retirement. Money is a huge object in pursuit of my dreams, so planning is everything.
Europe whispers, “Come see me. Stay a while, be changed forever.”
OMG, the thought excites me! Experience the cultures that begat our Americas; can you imagine!”  Meet the culture that fucked the hell out of the Caribbean and South America, killing men and impregnating the women in the name of God. Each culture owns a brutality and elegance in homogenous balance, perhaps for the last time in the history of the planet. Knowing and understanding comes only after meeting. Duh!
Yes, I want to live in Europe, but I have two dogs, so saving and planning will require more than a year. Having a two or three year goal to salivate over is all well and fine, but some short term attainable goals will make this old girl feel better!
I should think on it at the gym. Blessings.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


In your life have you ever hit the reset button? I’m not talking about walking out on spouse and kids mega reset. Sometimes I get to the point I quit; it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing whatever, when it’s over. That’s a little reset.
Some people become something when they graduate; they do that their entire lives. Others explore more options, resetting our image to reflect new interests.
Some resets you want; you pray for them to happen, but hurricane, recession, accident, anything can reset your life.
After three years of living in the twilight land of I give a shit, caring, hoping, and wanting, welcome; haven’t seen you in a long time.
“Are you ever satisfied,” my husband occasionally asked, as I careened from one goal after another. My productive years of being, doing, and giving gave me an action adventure. I could have done differently, but wouldn’t. “Yeah, Honey, I’m satisfied.”
Retirement, alone is a reset different from what I had in mind. I saw myself pushing his wheelchair all over the world.
Sixty-eight seems late to hit the reset; what are my options?

Monday, October 17, 2016

All That Jazzed

What’s on your list of favorite things? On my list you’ll find jazz. A goal to fill life with my favorite things in 2014 became my 2016 goal to attend as many jazz festivals as possible.
The Heinekens Ventana de Jazz in the tropical splendor of Condado on the last Sunday of the month provided my jazz staple this year. The San Juan Jazz Fest in the Tito Puntes Stadium and the French Quarter Fest in New Orleans spiked spring with quality music. In June the monthly Heinekens Ventana de Jazz moved to Old San Juan, another beautiful spot by the ocean.
90.3 fm, el capital de jazz, my favorite jazz radio station en el Caribbe hosted a festival in Rincon, the island surfing capital. If you want to hang in a hip tropical isle town, Rincon will get the how cool is that juices flowing.

Brenda Hopkins Jazz Band held me captive in Rincon. For a woman to lead a band full of men, I find unusual; don’t you?

How does a woman, the key board player, lead a half a dozen young buck musicians? Heart and soul, she out plays, while honoring her teammates’ talent; the girl’s got class. Meeting women like that is truly one of my favorite things.
Ta-dum, drum roll, please, the oldest, the biggest, the best jazz fest in the Caribbean happens in November, the Dominican Jazz Fest, Nov 8th-12th and I’m going with a friend.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Moments, Precious or Not

Precious moments or not so precious moments make up our lives. I’m working hard to make more of my moments precious.
So much crap comes into each day.  Whether it’s the power went off or the loss of your BFF, it’s the bitch of the day or proof of life.
What really kills me is that at this age the odds of my demise keep going up. Who thinks much of life ending in the twenties? Okay, the depressed will.
My mom is ninety-three and counting, so I may have a longevity gene, but my dad died at forty-two. If I live until my mom’s age, that gives me about twenty-five more years.
My first twenty-five years came and went in a flash. I’ve met people more messed up by childhood, but then I sure could hold my own. If they wanted crazy, I’d show them.
Blessed are people who are interested in anyone other than themselves. Without the few adults who noticed and liked me, my childhood would have been unbearable. To those people I credit my desire to do well, and please.
So at sixty-eight and counting, I hope to focus on this being the best year I can imagine.  Days I’m out, experiencing my beautiful island, you can believe that day pleases me. The hardest days of my grief, thankfully have been endured. My question is no longer, how can I go on without my husband, but how can I best go from here.
Hope for today, hope for the future relinquished due to age appalls me. I require a new skill to adjust my expectations to what I can do. How do I challenge what’s possible?
It’s the time of year to list my goals for 2017. Just thinking about it gives me a precious moment!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Another Saturday Night

 Frequently, I have no one to go with me to the movies or to listen to music, or whatever. Sometimes that’s a so what, but other times it’s a complete stopper.
Last night Q, a night club in my town had the blues, the blues! The blues right up there with jazz!!
You have no idea how pissed I am at myself for being such a candy ass little bitch.
Brenda Hopkins’ Jazz Band, one of my very favorites on the island, was performing the blues.
Have you ever watched yourself sabotage you? You really want to do something, but can’t workup any enthusiasm.
Any time spent listening to live music, vibrating with the band, the sound synching us with the musicians’ virtuosity, can’t be beat. Smile.

I wanted to go to that concert and didn’t.

About three o’clock that afternoon, I took a shower, washed, and set my hair. You could say that the event was eagerly anticipated; I haven’t heard live blues since New Orleans last spring. I popped a movie into the computer. During the opening credits I shuddered with a feeling of dread.
What the hell is the difference between going into a bar alone or with another woman? I can go into all types of places with a companion. If she’s stupid enough to go in there, I’m certainly stupid enough to give it a try.
I knew from that moment of dread that it wasn’t going to happen.
Senior years bring self imposed limitations because as a New Orleans blues man said, “I’m a victim of comfort.”
An agitated feeling irked me. My fingertips got wet; my hands shook. The conflict, the thought that I would let fear or laziness prevent me from doing something I dearly want to do flipped my switch.

Last night with the strength from a good bit of healing, I grit my teeth, and vowed I would get out of the house to hear the blues.
I ate dinner during the movie commentary, which made me drowsy. I must have dozed, but in my zeal to get out I left early, a very early seven thirty.
I drove through Quebradillas, which had a fiesta in the public plaza. Parking looked grim already. I went to a party in the plaza in Hatillo on Friday night, so decided to deal with parking after going to the store in Isabela. Coffee and movies beckoned.
Walking around the store warmed up my back, which felt ok, but I couldn’t focus on shopping after finding The Tudors, the complete series. For a Saturday night the line was short, by quarter to nine I’m back in Quebradillas where the police have pulsating blue lights blinding me in terminally stalled traffic, and no blues until after ten.
To get to Q I’d have to go all the way around the plaza and suddenly I felt so tired. Tired like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. All I wanted to do was get away from there.
The pulsing blue lights destroyed my resolve. It felt as if I couldn’t go. Intuition or a panic attack; who the hell knows?