Friday, December 30, 2011

Listening to That Still, Small Voice

It's been there for months now. The realization that we're not quite where we want to be. If blame were placed, it would be on me because I was insistent on moving here from the Upper Peninsula in stead of straight to Florida.

As things have worked out, it's been a midway point on our journey with plenty of advantages. For one, it's helped both of us distill our ideal lifestyle. I've made new friends and reconnected with an old one. And finally, we've recognized that even though we both have medical issues, we still have the ability to move once again.

Now, whether or not we will remains to be seen. But, I'm a firm believer in making my intentions known to the Universe & honing in on subtle messages via people, dreams, conversations, research and memories - to name a few.

If you've read this blog for any length of time you know Sweetie was a shrimper in Florida & has always wanted to return to the state, not the profession. I'm the one who's attitude needed to change. My ONE experience in Florida was miserable & my knowledge of the state minuscule.

In the past year I've read every thing Florida til my eyes turn blurry. The friend I reconnected with lived in Florida after spending her life in Michigan. She's been a gold mine of info and knows me fairly well

And, like all dreams/aspirations they have congealed over time. Looking back I can see where step by step I was approaching this life change while not realizing it. Some examples are: the move to the Upper Peninsula; leaving the UP; buying the 22' Carver boat; learning to fish again (though I'm still not a fan, I can do it); and being honest with ME about who I am and what I like/dislike/believe.

Not only have I become reclusive, I am also more intolerant and disgusted with most of what passes for civilization. The mantra that keeps flashing in my head is: "Simplify, simplify, simplify."

Simplicity no longer means owning acreage, barns, animals, machinery and 3-5 years worth of firewood. Neither of us have the strength or will to care for any of it.

On my crankier days I'd rather lay in bed and die than get up and vacuum, wash clothes, participate in community activities, drive anywhere, sort food storage, weed the garden, can the tomatoes, sit in the doctor's office, have another damn test that will tell me what I already know, or listen to anyone complain about who's doing what or how beautiful the Kardashian wedding was. It's all too much anymore.

So yesterday, during a quiet afternoon, with Sweetie in his recliner & me in my wing chair, I asked him, "what would you do if you could do anything with the rest of your life?"

"Live on a boat in Florida."

It was that simple.

We have no idea how or when but we know why. And we know we're in it together.
While drinking tea, I filled four 8x11 pages both sides in a tablet with info, ideas, questions and dreams.

Today I've been online since 9 a.m. It is now 6:16 p.m. and my research has helped us distill yesterday's musing, writing and decision.

A little while ago I sat here & laughed til my sides ached. Sweetie kept smiling & finally asked if I would include him in on the joke.

"This is the best solution EVER for you not accumulating anymore junk for the pole barn & me not bitching about it!"

With a grin he said, "Think of all the times we wouldn't have moved my junk if you had agreed to Florida four years ago."

Grinning back, I said, "Four years ago you wanted to buy a house in Florida."

True this is the early beginning of our next move but our hearts are light, our spirits bright and any stress or worry has evaporated - for now.

What a wonderful place to be!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Year Ahead

Our friends from Flint drove over yesterday & joined us in our Christmas meal. The company's been good; so good, in fact, that we all took a nap within an hour of dinner. Nice to feel so comfortable with people that pretense and expectation are non-existent.

About this time every year, I reflect on the past and think about the coming year.

In the last few months I've felt a shift coming. Nothing dramatic or earth shattering as in a cataclysmic event - though who knows if one subscribes to the 2012 hoopla.

Over time I've become more reclusive and contemplative. My interest or desire to participate in just about anything outside our home has evaporated. I don't feel I've missed anything nor owe anyone an apology. It may sound arrogant, but I prefer my own company. I savor the quiet, the antics of our cats, the clock ticking, the cloud formations, the wind scattering leaves, the shadows as daylight wanes, the simplicity of needing no title or designation, the warmth of a bowl of soup or cup of tea, the freedom to lay in bed for hours without apology, the ease of communicating via a glance or smile, the joy in just being & not striving.

My posts have been few this year and this will continue. It's not that I have nothing to say or don't care. Most things have already been said and I hear more in contemplation.

Blessings to everyone in 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Our Way

Christmas our way began by getting out of bed at 1:30 p.m., staying in my jammies and savoring three cups of coffee and one yogurt. The leisurely, carefree mood continued as I fed the dog, kissed Sweetie, gave each cat their tummy rub & hug, then read emails & Facebook.

Repeated remarks about "rushing," or "haven't got it all done," left me feeling thankful I don't buy in to the drama!

We have no tree, no decorations inside, no gifts, one blueberry pie, and a wreath outside where the birds feast on nut cubes, suet packs and popcorn garland.

Had a light dusting of snow last night but it melted by noon. If the weatherman's forecast holds true, we'll have a green Christmas. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!

Called my elderly friend & who repeatedly said, "I'll be glad when this is all over." Felt strange to say, "Have a merry Christmas in spite of all the craziness."

For company in her long, housebound days, she listens to the scanner & soaks in the negativity. I suggested she turn it off but after 30 years the background noise is part of her DNA.

We may or may not receive a phone call from "up north" where most of my family resides. Sweetie's son called two days ago, dreading the next few days & recounting his money woes so that was cheerful.

With all the self-induced stress and distraction people create over the holiday, it's a wonder anyone has peace and good will toward others.

Makes me count our blessings even more while the frenzy continues a few more days.

My wish for each of you is a thankful heart, compassionate soul and love for one another.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Anyone Else Notice

Today, on Facebook, a "friend" of my youngest son, made a wisecrack about him miss-spelling a word & then called him a F-ing retard.

Being Mama Bear, I got upset. Of course, I sent a private message to the young man telling him my son's is dyslexic, has worked his arse off in his business & gets tired (& sometimes angry) with people's remarks.

The mid-20 man messaged back: "So what. I'm dyslexic too and Idgf (I don't give a F---) what I say. Chill out."

This exchange could easily become tit for tat but why bother? He's probably laughing his arse off. But - I am damn sick of careless remarks; teasing people who have various challenges and downright rude behavior. I doubt this generation knows what "rude" is based on their typical behavior.

Of all the young men, women & teens my son comes into contact with, he sees one constant: swearing, rudeness, impatience and an "I want it now" attitude. He began his business at 17 with $300 he borrowed and has worked an average of 14 hour days ever since, often seven days a week. His skill and drive have given him a business that grows every year - all while he doesn't read or write very well.

Plenty of people have offered to help him improve his reading/writing but he's too busy multi tasking. He also ignores the red lines beneath miss-spelled words. His mind is either computing, planning, organizing, obsessing or stressing. Yep, in addition to the dyslexia, he's obsessive/impulsive. The first trait has him running circles around competitors while the later has required lots of counseling to temper the impulsive tendency.

Despite his best efforts, the long hours coupled with other business & personal demands take their toll & his fuse blows. When it does the people in the immediate vicinity get a dress down - not the ignorant joker.

Call it Mama Bear wisdom from holiday rushes past, I just knew he would blow today. Unfortunately, his kids and girlfriend where the recipients. If the idgf Facebook friend had been present, perhaps he would have understood the ramifications of his remark.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

Seems every once in awhile we get a reminder that the best laid plans go astray; the unexpected should be expected, especially as the economy unravels and big government grasps at every opportunity to keep people down.

As I've mentioned before, we have a property we sold on a land contract. It's become routine to hold our breath every month waiting for the payment. Once again, it's late. Once again Sweetie placed a phone call, which was ignored. Once again we'll mail a registered letter only this time it includes a notice to quit. Then we hold our breath and hope no physical damage is done to the place or we have faint hope that the buyer will magically pay us in full. Reality will be somewhere between those two scenarios.

What angers me most regarding this situation is that the buyers are both working but spending money foolishly. Meanwhile our monthly obligations become a juggling act and we often dip into what we call our sacred cache in order to pay on time.

Then there's other unexpected events that leave us bewildered. One is the ongoing struggles of an acquaintance. After "poor me" pleas and drunken rants fail to solve her problems, she resorts to stealing and blatant lies. It's hard to have compassion when she repeatedly makes poor choices. She was found hiding in a janitor closet at a business about to close. She slapped the night clerk, tried to grab cash, was chased by the police, fought with them, and tore her clothes off in the squad car. Screams of "I'm a victim, I'm a victim" no longer garner empathy because her anger, fear and carelessness have clouded her thinking. Consequently, she's in jail, her children in foster care and her belongings on the sidewalk following an eviction.

Then, we make a quick trip to town and come home to find more cats dropped off here and some one's spun donuts in our front yard.

We called two of the three neighbors visible from our place but none had heard or seen anything. One did say: "It's just beginning. I think we need to have a neighborhood patrol, especially after dark." He then told us the wood he piled on his back deck yesterday had disappeared and the neighbor in the valley next to him had his truck windows smashed in two nights ago. What's incredible about that is the truck was sitting 1/4 mile down a driveway that cuts through the woods! In other words, way out of plain view & his iron gate is locked at night. Some ass walked through the woods or down that drive just to break windows!

We're half a mile off a main road near a community of 600 people minding our own business and trying to keep our heads above water. If it's this crazy here is it because everything is more apparent in a small town or is this a microscopic sample of the big wide world?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Some People's Perspectives

About this time every year I hear lots of stories about trying to keep up with the Jones, stress about finding a gift for the "difficult" person on the list, and dread over who will and will not have to be tolerated at the annual Christmas bash.

We participate in none of it, so the weird looks, discomfort and name calling from holiday revelers ramps up a few notches.

Their attitudes are a symptom of people conditioned to follow the crowd. Financial risk or ruin and "being left out" are to be avoided at all cost. Doesn't matter if they're complaining about the cost, the rush, the worry, the strain on relationships and the relief they'll feel when it's all behind them.

Today, while shopping for my elderly friend, I ran into five people in our writing group. All were in Meijer' stocking up on candy, fruitcake, cookies, hams, cheese balls, presents, cards, decorations and "last minute ideas." In comparison, my cart held TV dinners, donuts, bananas, dog food and red delicious apples. And even though they've all know I don't participate in Christmas, they couldn't resist asking: was I "tired of being Grinch" or had I "realized I was missing out."

I just shook my head and said, "I'll do as I please, you do likewise."

Like a chorus of the faithful, they felt bad" that I was "in the doldrums!"

No appreciating another person's choice to GIVE to strangers from this crowd. No wonder Jesus wanted the money changers out of the church.

I too will be glad when the holiday frenzy passes.