Sunday, September 4, 2016

September 4, 2016: Clean Out Time

I've been cleaning out my sewing room - again. This time I'm emptying the walk in closet so I can rip out the carpet in it. I had 2 huge bins that I called my memory boxes. I was able to toss out enough to get it all into one. Plus I cleaned out 2 smaller boxes and put the remains into that remaining one, too.
I threw away high school yearbooks, old film negatives and tons of handwritten letters. My recycling bin and trash can are now totally filled up.
I remember looking through my mother's old photos when I was a kid. Everything looked so old. Now my high school and college memorabilia look ancient. I had papers from my first year in college. There was a letter in the box that I wrote in 1970. I was home from Albany State for a weekend. I described how horrible I felt. My father would be nice one second and horribly nasty the next. I swore I would never feel homesick again. I said that I had no home to be homesick for. I swore that I would not feel homesick when I went on my semester abroad in 1971. That was a very important letter in my life. It explains why I stuck out my semester in Austria until the end. During my first 2 weeks in Graz my roommate and I went on a date with 2 guys that we met in the student cafeteria. I was beaten and my roommate was raped. We reported them to the police. I had to be x-rayed to look for a concussion. We had to go through a court hearing and then shake hands with the 2 of them at the end of it. During the last couple weeks of the semester we would run into them around town and they would taunt us.

It was very hard because I had no one to talk to. My roommate didn't act upset like I did. She barely spoke to me after that episode. I tried to speak to other students in the program but they just seemed to blow me off. I was traumatized. I had just met Ken in October of 1970 at a frat party. I felt like I had gotten over my fear of boys. So, naturally after the that experience in Austria, when I returned home I stuck with Ken.

Then I married him. I ended up marrying an emotionally-absent man who acted like my dad had in many ways. I couldn't share with him. He just wasn't available to me emotionally. He hadn't listened to me while we were dating. He knew that I was handicapped when he married me. But, after we were married he wanted to play tennis with me, ride horses, go skiing. He bought a man's bicycle for me that was so hard for me to get on and off of that I would have to ride up to something and hold on to it in order to dismount.

In the last cruise we took together I couldn't jump down into the Isle of Capris shuttle boat. I climbed back up the stairs and spent the day alone on board. He was so angry with me about that that he brought it up at our marriage counseling.

Anyway I'm digressing. I meant to write about cleaning my closet. The trouble is that I read so many of the papers in the memory box so I could decide what to keep and what to discard.

An avalanche of memories are bombarding me. I kept diaries from 1962 on. There weren't continuous day to day accounts. But, they were consistent. One includes my early marriage. I was never happy in that marriage. I was so thrilled when I had babies. Finally someone to talk to! I welcomed his parents' visits because I loved having company. I enjoyed my parents' visits, too. But, my dad was always a problem. The kids wouldn't play games with him because he made fun of them when he won. He just couldn't connect with them, or me. I was surprised that when my brother did our father's eulogy that he was so upset. I was not at all unhappy about his death, other than feeling sorry for my mom being alone. I knew she was better off alone. Then she could come live with me.

I threw out a lot of the memorabilia from my marriage with Jim after the divorce in 2012. I do have the shutterfly photo albums. I still don't look at them. I'll never recover from the injuries that he caused me. It's hard to believe that he could turn from such a loving man to someone so nasty and underhanded. I know it was from the traumatic injury he suffered but still....

My memory boxes, diaries and this blog show how I came to be who I am today. I am now a single 65 year old woman. I try not to think of the future. Life scares me. What will happen next?

I try to take care of myself so I will stay as healthy as possible as I get older and older. I used to think of suicide. I don't anymore. It would hurt my children too badly. The antidepressants keep life tolerable and even happy at times. I hope I don't live long enough to be a horrible burden. The trouble with my generation is that we know what it is like to get older. Many of us took care of our elderly parents. I loved my momma. I felt bad putting her into the assisted living home. But she was just too difficult for me to care for, especially after my husband became an invalid, too.

I think assisted dying should be an option. I don't want to go through senile dementia like both my parents. Old age is scary. I might have another 15 to 20 years of keeping my mind in tact. Can't I just exit the planet after that?

September 4, 2016: Clean Out Time

I've been cleaning out my sewing room - again. This time I'm emptying the walk in closet so I can rip out the carpet in it. I had 2 huge bins that I called my memory boxes. I was able to toss out enough to get it all into one. Plus I cleaned out 2 smaller boxes and put the remains into that remaining one, too.
I threw away high school yearbooks, old film negatives and tons of handwritten letters. My recycling bin and trash can are now totally filled up.
I remember looking through my mother's old photos when I was a kid. Everything looked so old. Now my high school and college memorabilia look ancient. I had papers from my first year in college. There was a letter in the box that I wrote in 1970. I was home from Albany State for a weekend. I described how horrible I felt. My father would be nice one second and horribly nasty the next. I swore I would never feel homesick again. I said that I had no home to be homesick for. I swore that I would not feel homesick when I went on my semester abroad in 1971. That was a very important letter in my life. It explains why I stuck out my semester in Austria until the end. During my first 2 weeks in Graz my roommate and I went on a date with 2 guys that we met in the student cafeteria. I was beaten and my roommate was raped. We reported them to the police. I had to be x-rayed to look for a concussion. We had to go through a court hearing and then shake hands with the 2 of them at the end of it. During the last couple weeks of the semester we would run into them around town and they would taunt us.

It was very hard because I had no one to talk to. My roommate didn't act upset like I did. She barely spoke to me after that episode. I tried to speak to other students in the program but they just seemed to blow me off. I was traumatized. I had just met Ken in October of 1970 at a frat party. I felt like I was getting over my fear of boys. So, naturally after the that experience in Austria, when I returned home I stuck with Ken.

Then I married him. I ended up marrying an emotionally-absent man who acted like my dad had in many ways. I couldn't share with him. He just wasn't available to me emotionally. He hadn't listened to me while we were dating. He knew that I was handicapped when he married me. But, after we were married he wanted to play tennis with me, ride horses, go skiing. He bought a man's bicycle for me that was so hard for me to get on and off of that I would have to ride up to something and hold on to it in order to dismount.

In the last cruise we took together I couldn't jump down into the Isle of Capris shuttle boat. I climbed back up the stairs and spent the day alone on board. He was so angry with me about that that he brought it up at our marriage counseling.

Anyway I'm digressing. I meant to write about cleaning my closet. The trouble is that I read so many of the papers in the memory box so I could decide what to keep and what to discard.

An avalanche of memories are bombarding me. I kept diaries from 1962 on. There weren't continuous day to day accounts. But, they were consistent. One includes my early marriage. I was never happy in that marriage. I was so thrilled when I had babies. Finally someone to talk to! I welcomed his parents' visits because I loved having company. I enjoyed my parents' visits, too. But, my dad was always a problem. The kids wouldn't play games with him because he made fun of them when he won. He just couldn't connect with them, or me. I was surprised that when my brother did our father's eulogy that he was so upset. I was not at all unhappy about his death, other than feeling sorry for my mom being alone. I knew she was better off alone. Then she could come live with me.

I threw out a lot of the memorabilia from my marriage with Jim after the divorce in 2012. I do have the shutterfly photo albums. I still don't look at them. I'll never recover from the injuries that he caused me. It's hard to believe that he could turn from such a loving man to someone so nasty and underhanded. I know it was from the traumatic injury he suffered but still....

My memory boxes, diaries and this blog show how I came to be who I am today. I am now a single 65 year old woman. I try not to think of the future. Life scares me. What will happen next?

I try to take care of myself so I will stay as healthy as possible as I get older and older. I used to think of suicide. I don't anymore. It would hurt my children too badly. The antidepressants keep life tolerable and even happy at times. I hope I don't live long enough to be a horrible burden. The trouble with my generation is that we know what it is like to get older. Many of us took care of our elderly parents. I loved my momma. I felt bad putting her into the assisted living home. But she was just too difficult for me to care for, especially after my husband became an invalid, too.

I think assisted dying should be an option. I don't want to go through senile dementia like both my parents. Old age is scary. I might have another 15 to 20 years of keeping my mind in tact. Can't I just exit the planet after that?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

September 3, 2016: Wistful

I'm not really unhappy.  Unsatisfied is more like it.  The new life I made for myself is okay.  But, I always have a kind of "antsy" feeling, like I need to go somewhere, do something.

I've traveled a lot on my own in my new life.  I was happiest when I was visiting in Japan -being with family.  I loved being with Kevin in Portland, too.

I did enjoy my trip to Germany.  I'm glad I went.  I always wanted to go back to Germany.  But, it was lonely on my own.  The cruise was just okay.  There were things I wanted to go to on the cruise - like the comedy club, karaoke, a show.  The other women I was with weren't interested so I went alone.

I think about that dumb Barbra Streisand song- "people who need people are the luckiest people in the world."  Those are the stupidest lyrics ever.  If I didn't need people so much, maybe I could be satisfied on my own.

I've been spending my time sorting through all my stuff, getting ready for the big move to Portland.  My life feels like I'm on hold.  Kevin has to sell his condo and buy a house first.  I want to be as close to the family as possible.  Then I have to sell my house.  It will take time.  I worry about leaving the friends I have in Houston.  But, friends just aren't the same as family.  I want to be with family.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23, 2016: 20 years later

I just finished watching "Independence Day" on HBO.  I first saw this movie in 1996 when it had just come out.  Kevin wanted to go to the Almeda theater because it had the new stadium seating.

Kevin, his dad and I drove out to the Almeda theater.  We all loved science fiction.  The aliens were attacking earth.  The president's wife got fatally wounded.  The president acted like he really loved her and would miss her.

I realized at that moment that my husband would have been very happy if I died.  He didn't love me.  He wouldn't miss me.  It was quite a blow.  I knew my marriage was failing but the contrast with that portrayal of a happy marriage hurt me so much.  I cried from that moment on through the movie.  On the way home I sat in the back seat so I could cry.  When we got home, I got my car keys and drove to my friend, Susin's house.  I cried some more.  This was July 1996.

My husband told me he was looking for an apartment and would move out.  I told him that I would move out.  I knew I couldn't afford that big house.   I started looking.  He wanted to know the cost.  He said he could find cheaper apartments.  That was the last straw.  The next day I drove to my lawyer's office and signed the divorce papers.  They had already been drawn up but I hadn't been ready yet.

I served him the divorce papers myself.

I thought that I had found real love with Jim.  We were going to be married the rest of our lives.  Then he hurt me so badly, so much worse than my first husband had.

It's unbelievable to me that I still enjoy men's company.  I have a fence around my heart now.  I never want to get married again and chance more pain.  But, I don't want to be alone either.

Now,  I'm thinking of moving to Portland OR.  I'm flying out to visit Kevin there tomorrow.  I'll be looking at apartments, houses.  It will be a new life.  I have no one to share it with.  I can't afford to bring Bert with me.  It would necessitate a bigger place to live.

Another stage in life.  It may be the last new stage in my life.  I have no idea what the future holds.  Why bother thinking about the future?  Life can change totally at any moment.

Spinach Balls

I'm putting this on my blog so I can "pin it."  The original website's page had so many huge photos and the actual recipe was at the end of a bunch of writing that I thought this would be simpler.
(I copied and pasted from this website, deleting what I thought was unnecessary.)
-->



(freezable)

Did I said that those cute spinach balls are actually easy to make ahead and freeze? I usually love to freeze those spinach balls on a plate covered with parchment paper leaving half thumb space between each to avoid them to stick together. After an hour they are hard enough to be transfer into an airtight plastic box  Honestly, I am not always defrosting the balls before baking. It works really well to bake them frozen – well, it took a wee bit longer to get crispy and hot – but works like a charm!  This store very well and I always have a batch in my freezer. Last time I served those as a last minute appetizer to some friends who pop up!

Spinach balls
Ingredients
  • 220 g fresh spinach leaves,, trimmed, washed - about 6 cups. It makes about 160g (2/3 cup) of cooked, squeezed and packed spinach
  • 3 eggs, size 6
  • 1/2 cup (60g) grated cheese - I used noble cheedar from Mainland
  • 1 cup (75g) panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs of your choice - I used coriander
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
  2. Trim and wash the fresh spinach leaves.
  3. Place the leaves into a saucepan, add salt and cover with boiling water. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes.
  4. Rinse the spinach with cold tap water. Drain using your hands to squeeze all the remaining water. You should obtain about 2/3 cup (160g) of packed cooked spinach leaves. If you are using frozen spinach, defrost and measure this quantity.
  5. Place on a chop board and finely chop the cooked spinach. Transfer into a mixing bowl.
  6. Add eggs, cheese, herbs and panko gluten free crumbs. You can also add salt and pepper if your cheese is not very salty. I did not add salt.
  7. Combine with a spoon or your hands, until it forms a batter from which you are able to form balls with your hands.
  8. If too moist add slightly more crumb until easy to roll as ball with your hands palms.
  9. Place the balls on a non stick cookie tray covered with baking paper.
  10. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes or until golden on the top.
  11. Serve immediately or cold in lunchboxes.
  12. Serve with dips of your choice like pesto, hummus or homemade ketchup.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4, 2016

This morning I woke up at 6:30 AM.  It's Saturday and I don't need to be awake yet.  Bad dreams woke me up.

It's 5 and one half years, why do I still dream of my old life?  Should I up my dose of antidepressants?  Or should I suffer through it?  If I suffer enough, will it go away?  That's my dilemma today.

Everyone I speak to tells me to get over it.  If it were easy, I'd be through with it by now.  My current problem started with Bert telling me something like - "but, you didn't love him."  He doesn't get it.  He seems to think that since I was so hurt, my loss wasn't that big.  He talks on and on about his dead wife.  I listen.  When I tried to share my feelings he doesn't listen

I could go back to my therapist, Stella.  She'd listen.  Maybe that's all I need.  But, first, I'm writing it down.  That might be enough.  It's worked in the past.   My poor blog has turned into a moaning and groaning story.  It started out as a way to share about what I make and how to make it.  I do keep making - it gives me purpose.

I wish I could get back to my "making" sharing blog writing.  There really is no going back.  Have to keep moving forward.

I think about moving to Portland.  Everything would be new to me.  No more places that hold so many memories.  Would that be what they call in AA as the "moving cure?"  Would I then dream about Houston and all the memories it holds?

It's been raining and flooding in Houston for months.  Perhaps the dreary weather is the cause or part of the cause of my somber feelings.  It does cause me anxiety worrying about my house flooding or being stranded somewhere with high water all around me.

Portland would be new.  I can't talk about moving to Portland either.  Bert asked me if I would take him along.  I can't afford to support him.  My money manager told me that I need to keep working and earning money; that it's too early for me to retire.  So, I can't afford him.  I like being with Bert most of the time.  I wish he would stop saying "I don't feel good" everyday.  It's his mantra.  Whenever he has to do anything, like bring in the groceries, he gets cranky and whiny.  It's getting old.  Of course, no one is perfect.  Soon he'll have teeth and a driver's license.  Hallelujah!  It's only taken 2 and 1/2 years to get him moving on it.  Now I'm trying to get him to find his wife's 401k.  He "thinks" that there is one.  Oh my!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

March 6, 2016: do tragedies get better?

I went to see a tragic play tonight - The Rabbit Hole.  A family is mourning the death of their 4 year old son.  The mother asks "do tragedies get better?"

From my experience I can say as time goes by I occasionally feel that I've put my personal tragedy in the past.  Last weekend I was happily enjoying San Antonio and I felt like I'd reached a milestone in recovery.  Then the memories came whipping right back around and slapped me in the face.

The tragedy has shaped the last 5 1/2 years of my life.  Only 4 1/2 more years and it will be 10 years - the length of time that I was happily married.  It only seems fair that by then I should be done with it.

No more "I'm NOT sorry for what I did" ringing in my ears.  That cruel betrayal on top of the horrific accident still seems unsurmountable to me right now.

I have gotten over the sounds and images from TIRR hospital.  It was a living nightmare being there. Then I'd come home and be aware of my mother's mind fading away.  I have succeeded in mellowing out those images,and it gives me hope.  I thought I would never stop reliving the daily horrors of seeing my husband in his pitiable condition at TIRR.

Now when I think of my past life, I remember lots of the good times we had together.  I remember the feeling of oneness with another person.  But, these nice memories come with the associated painful ones.  I remember the intense dislike and anger from the person I was once closest to.

As I write this I can see how I've progressed.  I truly believe that I will get past this tragedy.  It will always be an important part of the person that I have become.  I have been working hard on my recovery.  One day it will be just that - a part of me; not the definition of me.