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I Cannot Pinpoint the Exactness of My Sadness, Despite How Well I am Doing

August 31, 2015

Seriously, I caught myself doing that heavy sigh too much Sunday. Took a beautiful power walk on the greenbelt along the river early. Sigh. Got my act together to show up to church rather than stream the service like I usually do. Sigh. Went to the grocery store to get a few things for a dinner I am cooking tomorrow night. Sigh. I am getting tired of myself. I wonder if my dog, Zeke, is thinking the same.

You all are going to think, well shit, look what you have been through. The point is, that is in the past. Life begins with birth and ends with death and we just don’t get to plan these life events as we would prefer to. Sometimes it is a shock as it was for me with Paul. No matter what, my heart aches more for his daughters than myself. I do miss Paul very much, but I am the one very alive.

I have been thinking, wondering how on earth I am doing so well. I guess I can attribute that to always waking up happy. Heck, why not!? And, I can also attribute my process to my Buddhist practice which has and gives me the tools to carry on. Then, there is God. I know He is there and sending me boosts of atta girl to me. I smile as I write this because I have received some astonishing gifts from Him and the Universe.

So, why am I sad?

Grief is an interesting and at yet annoying process. You sure as heck cannot fast track it, take it from me. I found a card someone must have given me last Fall, and the quote is this: “If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble” – Molière

Yes, indeed. I have learned talking about grief is like medicine. Blogging has been a magnificent outlet to tell those that follow my blog, my friends on Facebook and Twitter, what is going on. We don’t get together but we do stay in touch, 21st Century style.GardenHerbSalt

My other medicine of sorts is cooking. Cooking by myself. I played in my kitchen Sunday afternoon and in to the evening, hoping to calm that inner sad nag. I made my Garden Herb Salt tonight, and then did refrigerator pickles in rice vinegar with red pepper flakes. That did make my house smell better than my mood. Ok, I am laughing now, a much needed chuckle.

They say to talk to others about your grief. Sometimes I wonder it that other person is tired of the story. But, I need to tell you – all of you out there –  that I do need to talk about it and so do others that are grappling with grief. Please do listen. Someday it will be your turn. I will be there for you. You can count on it.

I hope I have not overlooked circumstances or things in my grief process, even the things that have come to haunt me lately.  I suppose sooner or later these things will work themselves out. And yet, I am grateful that I can still laugh.

Thank goodness I wake up happy.

#grief #lifelesson #cooking #happy

The Ladder Fell from Under My Feet, and I Knew I Had to Let Go

August 24, 2015

No kidding, my Friday last week started out in disaster mode. When Zeke & I walk the greenbelt route, we head over to Veteran’s Memorial State Park and Friday was one of those days. The trails back in the trees along Veteran’s Pond are beautiful, except for the part when I got bit by a huge black ant! It hurt like H E double two sticks and I hobbled for 30 minutes until the pain subsided. Once I returned home, I attempted to finish cleaning the gutters and removing pine needles from the covered patio. However, the ladder had other ideas… As I was pushing a broom to move the needles away from a corner, the ladder teetered away from my feet. I am left hanging on to the patio roof thinking to myself, well, I am going to have to let go.

You should see the bruises on my elbows! I think I need to have extra insurance coverage for being a klutz. All kidding aside, I kept going back to what I thought as I hung on for a brief period of time. I am going to have to let go. Let go.

I have had to let go of so much since Paul died nine months ago. Letting go is a painful process, too. I had to let go of my notion of a wonderful man that loved me as much as I loved him. The best relationship I ever had. A life we had together as well as a life I thought we would have. The loss of those sweet text messages, the phone calls, the slight touch in the middle of the night. The roof over my head was even taken away. Promises made that were never meant to be. I had to let it all go. It is all past tense now, and that is the strangest feeling.

I often wonder how on earth I am functioning as well as I am. I think part of my recovery back to life is being in this tiny house, a space of my own. But the best perk is having a garden and making that tiny kitchen work. When I am in a kitchen, my heart soars! squash dinner cookingTonight I pulled out the spiralizer to make yellow squash noodles. I went to my garden to pull two small red onions and two mini sweet peppers. I just walked out the back door!

I quickly sautéed the onions and peppers in butter and olive oil, then added the noodles. A few quick stirs to cook the squash for about 3 minutes and pulled the pan. I did add a teaspoon of basil pesto I had in the fridge and topped my noodle bowl with asiago cheese. It was magnificent!

My brother, Phil, posted on social media that he is going to eat better and now his meals are in small ice cream bowls. My dinner tonight was in a soup bowl. Phil, does this count for your diet regime?

squash noodles

#cooking #grief #tinyhouse #summergarden

Dear Paul, I am Having Fun in a Kitchen Again – My Tiny Kitchen!

August 17, 2015

Dear Paul,

I’ve been thinking: it has been nine months since you died and things are so much clearer to me. I am stronger and yet vulnerable. I am more assertive and yet defer in certain situations. I am happier and yet miss you so very, very much. But, I have to tell you one thing: moving in to this small cottage, this place of my own has given me my kitchen ju ju back. And, you know how much a kitchen gives me joy!

Honestly, I cannot believe what I can pull off in this tiny kitchen, which has been nothing short of shocking. I have that small wood block island but it is in a corner holding my Kitchen Aid mixer & a lamp; it is too heavy to move when I need it so that is not an option. Instead, I am using a beautiful wood butcher block cutting board, well, a huge piece of custom built block as an extension in my kitchen. This sits between my sink and my tiny stove top. This one single piece of wood has been a lifesaver in this kitchen.

Vintage kitchen in the Tiny House

Vintage kitchen in the Tiny House

Friday night is still a blur because the week was absolutely exhausting. I think I ate what I could throw together, watched a movie and went to sleep by 9:30. Saturday night there was much more activity in mi cocina. After dinner listening to music at the Sandbar Grill, Zeke & I went home to make a quick salsa from the garden: I roasted my tomatoes, and used the Cuisinart to chop onions & an odd looking pepper from a friend’s ranch. On Sunday, I added fresh lime juice plus cilantro to finish it off. Gifted the neighbors all afternoon! Sunday night, I made a tomato-avocado panzenella salad with arugula that I bought from the Capitol City Market yesterday. WOW it was delish.

Thank goodness I was able to get your barbecue because that has been my outdoor cooktop this summer. I found a beautiful table and chairs from Ennis that fit perfectly inside the tiny house, in the “dining” space. I was gifted a wonderful teak table and six chairs for the outdoor patio; all it needed were new cushions to liven the set. I have the seating thing covered for my dinner parties, which I am hosting again, too.

Somehow, some way I am going to do a bit of canning this Fall in my tiny space.  I think that food dehydrator will work perfectly for all the pears in the backyard tree. I am definitely going to make a batch of the garden herb salt this weekend.

What I am trying to tell you is that I have my ju ju back from having a kitchen of my own again. For me, playing in a kitchen gives me the peace and joy I need right now. It’s just delightful!

#griefiswaning #cooking #tinykitchen #happiness

Savory Kale & Sweet Potato Scones, and Yes They are Delicious!

August 10, 2015

I harvested a great deal of kale from a friend’s yard since she is out of town for a week or two, I just could not let those gorgeous leaves go to waste. Problem is, I have never cooked kale. Eaten it, yes. Cooked it, no. What the heck! A bit of research turned up a similar recipe to mine below, but I cannot find it in myself to copy any recipe. I must make changes! Especially since I did not have buttermilk and it is not butternut squash season.

savory scones close up

Result? Sweet potatoes instead of the butternut squash. Plain yogurt instead of the buttermilk. Did not have cheddar cheese but did have Monterey Jack, my favorite. I figure I cut some calories along the way!

Ingredients

2 cups kale leaves, medium packed

2 cups unbleached flour

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ tablespoon raw sugar

1/3 cup cold butter, grated

1 egg

½ cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons filter water

1/3 cut sweet potatoes, finely diced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or less depending on your taste)

1 cup large grated jack cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 375° with oven rack in the middle. Blanch kale to soften. Chop finely, and squeeze any liquid. You will now have 1 cup of kale! Add the chopped sweet potatoes and set aside.

Blend the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar together. Cut in the butter and mix well. In a small bowl, beat the egg and then add the yogurt and filtered water. Whisk until creamy. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture and then add the kale mixture to combine. Use a bit of flour if it gets too sticky. Now add the cheese and voila! You are ready to bake you some heaven!

savory scones baking sheetForm small balls or drop a heaping tablespoon on to parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until a beautiful golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!

NOTE: Any leftovers need to be heated. I took them camping and they were good but not as good as fresh out of the oven. Maybe more cheese??

Bon Appétit!

A Broken Heart Need Not Be, Those Tears Can Mend After All

August 3, 2015

Tears not tears. Or is it both? Tears in the leaf or tears from your eyes? A broken heart seems to take on many different facets when such a life instance takes place. Oh, at the time, you always think you will never, ever be the same. But months later, low and behold, you are okay again. Not the same and that is a sign that you learned and earned a life lesson. With the right attitude, it really does get better. Again, not the same, but that is just fine. It’s not supposed to be the “same”.

Since May, I now live three houses from the Boise River greenbelt system in Garden City. Living in this neighborhood and climate is so much different from anywhere else I have lived in Boise. Zeke and I take our morning walks on the greenbelt every other day, with the other days returning to our favourite trail system in the Boise Foothills. As of late, I have noticed that the leaves from the cottonwood trees that fall on the greenbelt can be almost heart shaped. Just yesterday morning I chose to collect a few leaves, and my discovery inspired me to write about it today.

Looking at these leaves, I realized that some are green and fresh, some are mottled and weathered, some are going brown too early and some are torn and weary. As our hearts reflect, we have similar patterns that mark our life experiences. In fact, I have a golden fortune cookie necklace with an actual fortune inside that reads: Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted. That is life, isn’t it? Looking at the leaves, I feel that the tears and breaks and cracks of our hearts cannot be fixed but surely can be mended in order to heal.

cottonwood leaf hearts

When Paul suddenly died, I was deeply heartbroken. Nothing seemed to be able to console me at the time. Maybe only the pillow I cried in to. Eventually I pulled myself up and outside to the Foothills trails. That led to a renewed daily routine I needed but did not realize at the time. The other routines eventually helped me cope day to day and the healing process ensued. It is so cliché, but time really does heal.

Now, I find myself out and about, determined to have a fun summer with my friends. Hiking and biking. Capitol City Market on Saturday mornings, Boise’s First Thursday, music at the Sandbar at the Riverside Hotel, the Sapphire Room and other concerts across the Valley. The travel bug has bit me and I will soon be on a road trip to the San Juan Islands to spend time with my sister friend, Jenny P. This week is a road trip to Challis for the Braun Brothers Reunion with Angie S. and a group of other friends that will guarantee one heck of a time.

This going out thing is exhausting! {insert chuckle} But oh what fun! With this brings meeting new people, and recently I met a wonderful man. He is remarkable in many ways. Regrettably, we may be too different and yet too much the same to see eye to eye. There is a silver lining…..

No matter what happens, I will always love him very much and he will always have a very special place in my heart because he helped mend it. He opened the little door that gave me the courage to pull myself up over the edge of waning grief. He gave me the gift of what can be again. I now smile broader these days.

Silver lining indeed!

#grief #lifelesson #brokenheart #healing

The Relationship You Have with Your Realtor®

July 27, 2015

Let’s say you want to purchase a new home, whether it’s your first home, you are downsizing, you are up-sizing or it’s an investment. Let’s say you want to sell a home for the very same reasons. What do you do first?

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Well first of all, you contact a Realtor® and instantly receive guidance on a reasonable timeline of what to expect. Buyers will be advised to seek a lender. Sellers will be advised to do a pre-listing inspection. Generally, it’s that Realtor® that refers you to the resources you will be using during your transaction.  And, you contacted the same Realtor® that you met or helped you in the past that has actually stayed in touch. If you don’t remember your Realtor®, then ask for a referral from your friends. Or, better yet, call me!

During the course of your search marketing period, this professional Realtor® made everything just right for you. Maybe not perfect, but always managed to make sure that your best interests were the most important.  The phone calls, the emails, the text messages. The visits, the appointments, the conversations. Seriously, your Realtor® is who you are in touch with the most during the course of your business.

Now, it’s time for the closing. Yay! Everything worked out! You get to pack and move, finally! Don’t be daunted because your Realtor® even has some suggestions on where to get the best boxes and wrapping paper, who can actually come over to help you pack and refer you to the movers that are the most reliable. That Realtor® really does it all! At your signing, you leave the title company with elation. You shake hands with your Realtor® or perhaps exchange hugs since the relationship you formed went from business to friendship. Wow! You move, you unpack and you settle in.

But for your Realtor®, things are very different. It is as if the Realtor® broke up with a friend. Silence prevails. No more phone calls, no more emails, no more text messages and worse of all, no more communication. Silence prevails. No more high fives when something goes right. No more advice therapy from the driver’s seat. No more driving even! No more lunches! Oh, what is a Realtor® to do??

I have to tell you, at the end of a transaction it can be quite a downer. But thank goodness, what I really did was establish a new friendship or deepen an existing friendship. With friends, I stay in touch. I call, I text, and I stay in touch.

All is not lost but sometimes it feels that way! Do stay in touch, okay?

#realtor #realestate #newhome #friendship

If You Don’t Test the Water, You Won’t Know How the River Flows. So Go With the Flow!

July 20, 2015

Sis, this post is for you. Before I offer what I hope is sage advice, I want you to know about your early years. The years you don’t seem to recall. The years that are beautiful memories for me.me n marianne

Mama was on bedrest with her last two pregnancies, and even more so with you. I remember her laying on the couch before dinner, and Phillip and I would try to help Mom make dinner from the nearby kitchen. We could hear her give us directions from the living room, and we would look at each other with “what?” but get it done all the same. When Mom & Dad brought you home, we felt that you were the prettiest baby in the world. You really looked more like Mom than the rest of us. I know that because of Mom’s frail health, I bottle fed you and changed your diapers to help her. You were my real life baby doll. So, you see, even though I did not have children, in a way I did thanks to you.

I think you and I became closer when I had breast cancer 20 years ago. I appreciate that you came to visit me that week before my surgery. It was the first opportunity we had to spend time together as adults. We were always close but that particular week sealed the deal. After Mom and Dad passed away in 2006, all of us – you, Phil, and Frank have become closer. And, that is the best part of carrying on as a family.

You have had some real challenges and you have become a stronger woman for it. I don’t have to spill the beans here, but together we have helped each other, counseled each other, laughed at corny jokes and so much more. Listening to each other is what has framed us a women without a Mother to call.

Now you are embarking on a new journey in your life. What I want to convey to you is this: you can be nervous and you can be excited. Call it nervous excitement. Because if you were not nervous, you would not be who you are. If you were not excited, you would not be a loving person.

Buddha spoke of being in the present moment. Don’t worry about the past, don’t worry about the future. Just be present and life will gift you what is in store for you. Jesus spoke of being present in parables so that we won’t miss God’s presence. So why should you worry about what you don’t even know will happen?

Little Sister, I want so much for you to be happy again, to not be afraid to open your heart to love again, to take the step of trusting again, and to find what you truly deserve in a loving relationship. My best advice is to be a good listener, always try to understand the other person’s point of view and be honest.

I am here to tell you anything is possible if you let your heart give it a try. After all, I am doing the very same thing.

#carryon #lifelesson #love #sister

PS: Since we are on topic of siblings: Phil, I really am sorry for passing the salad dressing bottle with the lid barely on. (How old were we??) I thought you would pour the bottle on to your salad. But, no, you just had to shake the bottle! The stream of dressing in the air was the funniest prank I ever pulled on you. I still envision that in slow motion….Sorry, that memory came to mind and I just felt my readers needed the laugh.

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