Type A or Type B


I realized this morning that I literally had no idea what the date was. I used to be on top of things like that, I had to be with my full organizer and insane schedule of things to do and take care of in my hand. The more I thought about it, the more I realized something odd hand happened to the Type A, over achieving, overly committed, organized person I used to be. I was, heaven help me, turning into a Type B, laid back, unworried, unorganized, uncommitted person. The very kind of person that used to drive me crazy when I was the real me. How could I allow that to happen? How did I become such a slacker that I had no idea what the date was, even if I did know the day of the week? (As a Tuesday, I didn’t have dialysis, so I knew it was Tuesday – or a Thursday – or the weekend.) GASP!

When I was involved in Scouting, then in college, then working, I was always organized. I had things planned weeks and months in advance – all carefully written in my organizer and calendar. I had lists of things to do, lists of things to buy, lists of people to contact, and lists of when my lessons were due and papers needed to be turned in before exams were scheduled to be completed. I was never late to any event, and always prepared for my school work. I would sit down with each syllabus from each class and write everything down at the beginning of the semester. I would bookmark each and every story or article I had to read for each class – color coded no less – with the date written on each post it note. I was the champion of organization.

When it came to cleaning and organizing my house, I had a set schedule for each room and what had to be done when. I spring cleaned and fall cleaned every closet in every room in my home, every year without fail. I would shop for groceries once a month, and planned out every single meal I was going to cook ahead of time. I would have lists for those meals for the fresh things I would need every week, and I kept a running list of things I ran out of so I would always know what to buy at the grocery on those weekly trips. I knew, at one glance, what needed to be done next, and I kept the laundry just as organized and set up to be done efficiently and quickly. I was the one woman dynamo who kept my family just as organized. Until my boys became teenagers and I decided they just had to fend for themselves since they wouldn’t cooperate with my schedule. That worked too.

Yet, somehow, somewhere, over the past ten years, I lost my organizer, I quit working, I got sick, I got well, and I got old. I learned to stop over planning and allow life to happen on its own schedule. Then I realized that it didn’t matter if I was organized or not. Because I had no schedule, my closets would still be there to sort when I got healthy or determined enough to clear them out. I decided playing with the grandchildren was more fun than cleaning house or grocery shopping, or even cooking. And one day, BOOM, I became a Type B personality. It is shocking, it is hard to accept, but here I am, nonetheless. Now the only thing I schedule are doctor appointments and dialysis. In fact, if I didn’t have those things to go to, I would have NO social life at all. I guess I will learn to settle into my new normal eventually. It is a bit uncomfortable, like too tight jeans, right now, but I will stretch into the fit and learn to relax about everything as I continue to age.

Life is too important to do it at a full out run. I wonder how many things I missed because I was too busy looking ahead instead of enjoying the moment. I can’t go back and fix that, but I can change how I do the future. So this Type B, laid back, unorganized old woman is going to spend more time with my Mr., listen more to my children and grandchildren, and do more fun things like paint with my great granddaughter and write stories from my heart. And when I occasionally panic over losing the Type A part of myself, I will learn to laugh at myself and go do something totally unimportant, like have a cup of tea and a cookie.

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Downsizing


We are getting ready to retire at the end of the year. Since we will be moving to a new home, we have started packing unnecessary things. We are constantly saying things like: What’s this? When did we get that? It’s not yours? I don’t know? Why would we need anything like that? I know, I didn’t buy it. Which kid did this belong to? Should we keep it, sell it, or toss it? Wow, this is cool! Does it still work? Who bought this stuff? Hey, that’s a keeper! I forgot all about this!

Downsizing is a new fangled word for getting rid of junk and clutter when preparing to moved. All of the above comments are the things we mutter while clearing out all the accumulated things every household seems to collect over the years of living in one place. None of it is planned, it simply happens as time rolls by and the family grows or shrinks, we redecorate rooms, or move things around and run out of space for items over time.

When we start going through everything we have collected, on purpose or through neglect, it is amazing the things we discover. So far, I have only started with my bookshelves and it is surprising the things I keep finding. It makes it really hard to get anything done when I keep stopping to read from books I forgot I had or haven’t read in years. If it is this hard to get through the bookshelves, I can only imagine what is going to happen when we get to the garage and attic.

Last weekend, I cleared out my closet like I do every year, twice a year, to get rid of things I haven not worn over the past season or two. I also cleared out the clothes I can no longer wear because they are too large. Some of the things were hard to let go because they have special meanings attached to them. For instance, the dress I wore when the Mr. and I went dancing at the Rainbow Room in New York City, and and the out fit I wore when we went sailing on The Flying Cloud in the Caribbean the first time. Both are many sizes too big, and I will never wear them again, but it was hard to let them go.

I noticed, today, I have many keepsakes in my craft room from our travels, from my children and grandchildren, and from my own penchant for collecting things that I am unsure we will have room for in the house we are retiring to in the new year. I don’t think I can get rid of them, especially the things from my boys and my grandchildren. I mean, how can I toss out the handmade paperweight my son made for me when he was a teenager, or the painting my budding artist granddaughter made for me when she was eight? I have no idea how people do things like that. I would sooner toss out my dishes. And that is just the stuff in my craft room. I have as much in my office, more in my bedroom, and even more in the living room – and that is not counting the art on the walls.

The Mr. and I are veteran collectors of everything from music, art, and books to gizmos, curiosities, and did I say books? All of that has found homes in various rooms in the house. We are also preppers, so that means our spare spaces are filled with all sorts of items in preparation for any disaster. The garage is filled with gear, including a generator and a multitude of tools and boxes of “just in case” items. Because we love to decorate for various holidays, our attic is stuffed with boxes and boxes of those decorations. I know I have sixteen boxes filled with Christmas decorations for inside and outside the house alone. Those are not going to be left behind or sold, because we will still want to decorate our house when we are retired and some of that stuff is impossible to replace since it came from abroad.

We are obviously stuck between a rock and a hard place. We have lived here for eleven years, longer than we have ever lived anywhere since we got married. I used to be an expert at moving, we did it on the average of every three years. I never collected anything bigger than a thimble. Now I have too much of everything, and a house big enough for all of it. The new place is almost as large, but configured far differently – with fewer, if larger, rooms. I guess I will have to bite the bullet and just learn to let go of things that don’t have an emotional connection. But I want to go on record stating that I hate downsizing. It, quite frankly, sucks.

Worrying


I saw a meme on social media that basically encouraged the reader to remember back to the days when they had no worries and simply played barefoot in the sunshine. I suddenly realized that I never had days like that as a child. In fact, I can’t remember when I didn’t worry about things in my life. It was, I think, a built in reflex, like breathing. I even worried in my sleep, come people call them nightmares. Now I wonder, is that normal, or is it something specific to me?

I can remember always worrying about being late for school, even though I don’t remember it ever happening. I was always afraid I would have to walk into a classroom late and draw attention to myself, making me open to ridicule and teasing from the other students – and heaven help me from the teacher. I worried about failing subjects, I worried about making a mistake, and I dreaded, above all, making myself a laughing stock. Nothing upset me more than for other kids and adults to laugh at me.

I worried about forgetting to do things, or doing things and messing it up. I worried about homework, chores, and taking care of things that were my responsibility. In fact, I still worry about those things. I worried about doing something or saying something that would upset other people. Even worse was trying to express myself and messing it up. So I just didn’t say anything to anyone most of the time, even if I did know the answer to a question, or had a different opinion than others. That has completely changed now, I say what I want, when I want no matter what others may think. But, back when, I was always self conscious and fearful of consequences, so I simply didn’t speak up.

I worried a lot as a young wife and mother. I worried that the Mr. would fall out of love with me and in love with someone smarter, prettier, sexier, and more interesting then that plain old boring girl from nowhere Oklahoma. I wanted to be everything he needed in a wife, but always felt insecure in my value as his wife. I was always aware that his parents never thought I was good enough for their son, and it made me both angry and frustrated. I always worried he would believe the gossip and idiotic nonsense spread around by those who didn’t want me in his life. But somehow, we found our way back to each other time after time.

I worried that I wasn’t a good mom to my boys, fearful that they would be bratty little monsters around others and fingers would be pointed at me for being a bad mom. I worried about their health, eating habits, and all the other things mothers worry about when trying to be a positive influence on their children. I worried when my oldest started driving and hanging out all night with his friends, I worried that my youngest would follow in his footsteps, but he never did. I always worried that I would lose one of my boys, and when we did, it nearly tore us apart.

So, no, I don’t remember playing in the sunshine without worries, because I have always been a worrier, and that hasn’t changed much over the years. Only now I worry about my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I worry about the Mr.’s health, I worry abut being becoming decrepit, I worry about my mother living on her own at her age. I worry about the state of the country and the America haters who wont’ live elsewhere, but still hate what we stand for as a country. I worry about money, health care, and getting old. And I still worry that the Mr. will find someone prettier, smarter, more interesting, and younger that he will fall for. Silly of me, but it is a bad habit left over from years of worry. Folks say, “Don’t borrow trouble.” I always look at worry as a way to be prepared for what ever might happen. Then I am prepared for the worse, but joyful for the positive things that happen, no matter how much worry I put into it.

I wonder, am I too old to play barefoot in the sunshine and learn to leave the worry behind for a few blessed moments in time? Now I will probably worry about that too.

The Farmer’s Market


Every Saturday morning from spring through late fall, there is a Farmer’s Market on the court house square in Hernando, Mississippi. We try to attend as often as possible. It isn’t a huge market, most of the sellers are local men and women who grow fruit and vegetables on their land. After awhile, they recognize buyers who turn up regularly.

It is a rather eclectic group of people. There is one man who sells fresh milk and eggs, but you had best be there early since he always sells out in the first two hours. The lemonade and fried pie guy has delicious products. We always buy lemonade, pies not so much since the Mr. isn’t all that fond of fried pies. I love them, especially the peach, but they are a no go on my diet. Darn it. The man who does sharpening for knives and anything else that needs a sharp edge is both affordable and super friendly. He does a great job, my kitchen knives have never been sharper.

There a several ladies who sell their home canned goods. I have never had better piccalilli, and the jams and jellies are delicious. I especially like the blueberry jelly the elderly couple who are always on the north side of the court house sells. They also make pickled okra that runs from mild to super hot. I get the medium because it is hot enough to be spicy but not so hot as to take the hide off my tongue.

Last week, we bought Addie a butterfly plant complete with caterpillar that had hatched that day. The vendor wrapped the plant in one of those wraps that will keep the caterpillar from getting away and still let in sunlight and made it easy to water. Once the caterpillar hatches into a butterfly we can let it go and re-pot the plant so it will attract other butterflies next spring. Addie is avidly watching the caterpillar for growth every day. There are several vendors who sell plants for gardens, flowers, and herbs at the market. Each one seems to specialize in different areas. We enjoy talking to them as we wander by.

There are a few hippy dippy types who specialize in things like soap and honey and lemon based products for the home. There are always a few folks who only sell holistic products, and they seem to do a booming business with the young mothers who are all about that sort of thing. And the vendors who appeal to the older folks are mostly down to earth farmers who simply sell good vegetables at a good price.

One of the charming things about the market is that most of the stalls are family operated. Kids from about nine and older help out. The Mr. always engages the kids, asking them questions about how the food is grown, if they helped harvest the product they are selling, all sorts of questions that sometimes stump them. He will buy from the kids who are the most informed and willing to talk to him. They can’t be a good salesman, or woman, if they aren’t willing to talk to the customers.

Among the vendors are artisans of all sorts, from bread makers, to candle makers, to pottery makers. It is always interesting to see what they have for sale. My favorite is the knife maker. For several years, I had looked for a knife that wouldn’t fall out of my hand when I used it. I have arthritis issues that makes it hard for my fingers to bend properly. Not only did he have what I needed, he was willing to make it so it fit my hand perfectly. Best of all, it was affordable, came with a sheath, and was as sharp as the knife sharpening guy could make it. A true artisan was at work that day.

The one stall we always stop at is the one operated by the local animal shelter. Every week they have kittens, puppies, dogs, or cats for adoption. I have to force myself not to take a new pet home every week. It is especially hard when they have kittens and puppies. We stop and love on the animals, then keep on going. One day, though, I know I will weaken and end up with a new pet. The Mr. won’t like it, but he will get used to it. He always does. I love the Farmer’s Market, it is a family destination.

Taking On The Future


Lately, I have slowly come out of a depressive mood. It was brought on by the sudden need for kidney dialysis, causing the cancellation of a much anticipated trip to Italy. Something I had dreamed of doing for many years, but mostly something I wanted to do with the love of my life after finally overcoming the distance between us brought on by the loss of our son, the natural slipping between two people who take each other for granted, and the process of an aging relationship. I was looking forward to the special time alone in the city we both love.

We were within days of getting on the airplane when I came down with an illness that threw my body into chronic kidney failure. I was furious with myself for allowing myself to get into such a state, and I was miserable with guilt for ruining our trip. I cried, ranted, and fell into despair. I felt like I had failed both of us. I knew he didn’t blame me and all he cared about was that I got better. He wasn’t angry, and he loved me no matter what. But those of you who suffer from depression understand that logic has nothing to do with the feelings that lead to depression. I was a failure, once again. Damn it all.

Over the past two months, my new normal has taken most of my time. Quite frankly, I hate being tied to a damned machine four hours a day for three days a week. It creeps me out to think that it must remove all my blood, clean it, and put it back just to keep me alive and mostly well. So, the depression had a strong element of anger mixed in. The anger was mostly directed at myself, no logic involved there, of course. This was not what I had planned for this stage in our lives.

Being tied to a machine makes me feel less that attractive, and having this thing in my chest is down right disgusting to me. Absolutely kills any thoughts of sexy or desirability. It has a huge ick factor going for it as far as I am concerned. The Mr. keeps telling me he doesn’t care, as long as I am getting benefit from the treatment, I can have all the bits I need attached and he will still want to chase me down the hall to the bedroom. What did I do to deserve such a man?

Now, here I am two months down the road and I am slowly, finally, crawling out of the depression hole I dug for myself. The good news is I have lost another nineteen pounds, my A1C is one point above normal, my stats are all good, and I am improving daily. I am less exhausted each day after treatment, and there is hope, albeit slim, that I can come off the machine at some point.

Sometime in the future perhaps we can plan our romantic holiday again. I hope so. But until then, I just need to get over myself and learn to accept what is in my life. And let the Mr. chase me down the hall no matter how I feel about how I look. After all, he loves me like I am, I guess I should learn to love myself too. Time to give myself a swift kick in the attitude and take on the future once again.

Planning The Future


Addie wandered into my office holding her favorite baby doll. She needed help with the tiny buttons on the dress it was wearing. As I helped her we fell into conversation, as we always do.

Addie said, “Nana, when I grow up I want to have two girl babies.”

I said, “What about having a boy baby? It could happen you know.”

A: “Nope, I don’t want a boy baby, they are messy and loud. Besides, I don’t like boys.” (She is six.)

Me: “Well I had two boy babies, and I loved them very much. You might feel the same way.”

A: “No I won’t. I only want girl babies.”

M: “Keep in mind that you need a husband to have any babies. To do that, you will need to love him too. Just like I love your Papa.”

A: “Oh, yeah. I know that.” Long pause. “Well maybe just one boy baby, because my husband will probably want one since we will have two girls. But the Dad can take care of the boy, since I have no idea how to do that after they are little babies.”

M: “That would be a good compromise. But I bet you will love your boy baby as much as you will love your girls. Any baby is hard work, but it is worth every minute of your time and effort.”

A: “Oh I know that, Nana. You worked hard to raise my Grandpa Arron and Uncle Riley. and my Mommy, and now you work hard to raise me. I want to be just like you when I am a mommy.”

Me: Blinking back tears. “Oh Addie, I love you very much. I simply want you to be who you are and do what you want with your life.”

A: “I know, Nana. You will always love me all my life. So will Papa.”

With that, she wandered off to change her baby doll’s diaper. I heard her singing a song to rock it to sleep. In so many ways, I see her copy behavior she has seen from me and her Papa. It warms my heart and fills me with hope for the future, and she will eventually soften her attitude on boys. At six, all little girls find boys hard to understand. They are loud, dirty, and messy, but that is all part of being a boy learning to be a man. Just as she is a girl learning how to be a woman. Today she wants to be a mommy, tomorrow, she may want to be a unicorn or a fairy. Either way, we encourage her to discover her imagination, grow as she wants to grow, and love her no matter what. She is our angel baby, and one day, she will be a mommy who knows how to care for and love her children. She makes us proud every day.

Annoyed


I know each facility for dialysis will be different in the set up, room size, and people. I get that. But today I was annoyed beyond reason when the nurse spent the majority of her time with her face in her phone texting away. Bells would go off, patients were getting antsy and uncomfortable, but she would do the minimum and go right back to her phone. My machine, I called him Clyde, was done and practically screaming the fact for a full five minutes before she put her damned phone down and came to get me unhooked. No apology, nothing, I guess I was disrupting her busy social life on line. When I sarcastically apologized for bothering her, it went right over her head, and she replied “Oh, that’s Okay..” ARRGHH!!! SO vexing.
Clyde did a good job though, and other than being tired, I feel okay. No lasting aches and pains, and the headache went away as soon as I had something drink and a Tylenol. But that nurse’s lack of attention to her job really rankles. I think all personal phones should be banned when they are on the job. Just saying.

Toxic Male


I am married to a toxic male. There, I said it.

And I thank God every day for him. I know it isn’t the in thing to want to be with a man and not feel required to change him from an uninhibited male, but something between gay and a metro-sexual pretty boy. But he is exactly what the real woman in me needs and wants in my life.

Let me tell you some of the things my toxic male does that drives the far left folks insane.

He has a job. A real job that pays all the bills and then some. He has held a job every day since we got married nearly 48 years a go. During all the years he has worked, he has built his career in such a way that we will always be provided for, and when he retires we will have a small business to keep him busy and provide income. To him, it is the responsibility of a man to provide for his family.

He was a hands on father and is an involved grandfather who loves all our progeny. He has taught them to be strong people who are able to think for themselves and determine who and what they are in life without depending on popular culture to tell them what to do. Because of his leadership as the head of our family, our children and grandchildren come to him to talk over their decisions and life issues. He gives them advice then gets out of the way and lets them follow their own paths. Because he believes that is how a man should treat his family.

He is my equal in all things. Not only does he work outside the home, he helps me in the home. He has always helped with the kids, but he also helps with the housework, especially since I have had health issues. For decades, he has always done the dishes. I cook, he cleans. He does laundry, and cleans when needed. And he does all the vacuuming of the floors, since it is a chore I hate doing. In short, he takes up my slack, and being a man, he takes care of me. Above all, my toxic male has encouraged me to do what I wanted and supported me in all things. He is my biggest fan and he believes in me when I falter in my goals. He thinks I am something special, even when I don’t. He loves me, and treats me like I am a treasure because he believes no man is complete without a woman who loves him as much as he loves her.

He protects our home and family. He believes it is his responsibility to make sure we are safe from harm from others. He made sure all of us are trained in how to use weapons to protect ourselves if he is not present. He made sure that our home is protected by installing alarms and equipment to insure our security. And he stands between all of us and the evil out there in the world, ready to take up arms and do what must be done to ensure our safety. Because that’s what a man does, he protects his home and his loved ones.

He is religious, believing in his God and in the church in which he is a member. He stands as the head of our family, holding me by his side as his equal as he teaches our family how to stand firm in their beliefs as well. Although we do not expect our family to follow blindly, we do always offer them a place to learn and worship as needed. He does this because he firmly believes a man must set an example for others to follow, and he must stand by that example – always.

Like many toxic males, he loves guns, rides motorcycles, loves the outdoors, and enjoys hanging out with other males, mostly his brothers. He is political, staunchly conservative, patriotic, and loves America for all it stands for and does for the world. He is unwavering in his standards as an American. And he is this way because that is what a man, a strong independent male, does.

My man is a toxic male according to the leftist agenda. I can guarantee every single woman out there who has to put up with the cry baby males of the left envies every last one of us women who has a real man in her life who isn’t ashamed to be an uninhibited male. I know I am thankful to have mine.

New Normal


The newest adventure in my crazy life is Kidney dialysis. I am supposed to be in Italy, but a case of bronchitis led me to kidney failure bad enough to need emergency dialysis. That mean the insertion of a catheter into my heart and a week in the hospital as they pulled over seen liters of water from my body. That was two weeks ago.

Now I am booked at a dialysis center three days a week for four hours or more a day. It is an out patient center, and we all have turn up for therapy. The center has a few offices up front, but the room for dialysis patents is one huge room. There are around sixty recliners, each with its own dialysis machine next to it. I usually get either number 48, 49, or 50. I call my machine of the day Kevin. They do the hard work, so I figure they need to be acknowledged and greeted every day. The nurses think it is funny. I take it seriously.

Once in the room, we are weighed for water gain. Then the nurse takes you to the chair. While they are getting set up with our Kevin, we are allowed to take out our gear. I take a blanket, because they keep it COLD in there. I take my Kindle, my coloring book and pens, Mp3 player and headphones-and a small snack since I get out after 8:30 in the evening. They have a TV screen above each station with limited stations, so I can watch that if I get bored. I generally don’t bother to turn it on.

Later appointments mean there aren’t a lot of people in the room. Most people nap, so it is very quiet. Most people don’t talk to each other, just with their nurse and aide. The later it gets, the more the medical people talk to each other. I find it interesting to listen to their stories, gossip, and frustrations with difficult patients. It is easy to see who likes whom, whose personalities clash, and those who simply avoid each other. It is even easier to see who is there because they love their work and who is there just marking time until they can move on. Fortunately, my team – always the same people, love their work and it shows.

What makes me sad are the patients. Some are so fragile, and it is clear they are getting near the end of their lives, versus people like me who are just starting out on this journey. I have a good chance for reversal of issues, and if not, a transplant. While they don’t talk in the dialysis room, they too greet each other and talk in the waiting room. They all come on the same day and see each other every time, so they share information, hints, tips, and ideas. They even make sure to greet me and welcome me every time I get there. They haven’t become super friendly yet, but this is the south and it is only a matter of time.

Most of the patients are elderly, the youngest is probably in h is forties. Some are very fragile, and most are brought in by family. But what you won’t see is a pity party or whinging. You will hear them laughing, talking about family, and sharing about their religious beliefs. Being forced to use dialysis as a way of survival brings our lives into a new normal that causes a whole new way of balancing everything, No matter if we go through outpatient dialysis or do the at home program, that means being positive, accepting that it is what it is, and that the machine keeps us alive one more day.

It is exhausting and leaves me tired. I can hardly walk at the end of a session, but it will get better as I adjust to the new normal for my body. Meanwhile, I am sure to greet Keven, 48, 49, or 50 each time, follow the rules, and learn to live this new normal of my crazy life, and keep moving forward. Italy will still be there in a few years, and so will I.

To My Children and Grandchildren


If I should die in the spring, plant flowers on my grave, bright yellow and pink. Watch them grow, and enjoy them blooming each year, bursting with color, life, and love as a remembrance of my life.

If I should die in the summer, plant a shade tree next to my grave, one that will grow, spreading its branches wide to give shade and comfort to those who come by to say hello. Remember that I wrap my love around you every moment of every day for eternity.

If I should die in the fall, place a bench next to my grave, so those who visit will have a place to sit comfortably. Then maybe they will stay longer to talk about their life – good and bad. Remember that I will always be available to listen forever.

If I should die in the winter, place a small brazier next to my grave and place a fire in it. Let it give light in the dark, warmth in the cold to all who come near. Remember that even in the darkest night and coldest day, my soul will watch over yours, you will never be alone.

When the time comes, and I must go, remember to bloom where you are planted, share your love, take time to listen, and bring those who are lost and lonely in from the cold and give them a warm place to rest.

When I go, I will be waiting for you to call my name. Look for me, when it is your time to leave this earth, and I will be there to meet you. I will find you in the moonlight, or bright day, and we will rejoice. Above all, my beloved children, remember that I love you and always will.