August Was a Bitch

When a loved one dies, time stops.  No blogging, tweeting, socializing.  My laptop was silent for several weeks, the only activity my phone saw was the ringing from relatives calling and the beeps from text messages.

Every Saturday night when I was little, Pa-Pa and I sat in the den while Nanna cooked dinner.  The lights were on, the room warmly lit and welcoming.  Tom & Jerry was our favorite cartoon to watch, followed closely by Popeye and The Pink Panther.  When I was older, we’d spend every Saturday roaming around, stopping by the mall, or a toy store, or just spending time together while the car had its oil changed.  I’d spend hours in the den, showing him my gymnastics Barbie dolls or building things with Lincoln Logs or brightly colored cardboard bricks.  After we moved in, Pa-Pa would come say goodnight to me every night, and always sang me to sleep.  Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, I Come to the Garden Alone.  His favorites, and now some of mine, too.

When I got older still, Pa-Pa picked me up from high school, always stopping by Chick-fil-A or Krystal if I was hungry.  And he drove me to my first day of college, parking in the keyhole at Oglethorpe and watching as I made my way into Hearst.

I wasn’t there when he died.  Mom, Nanna, and Uncle Henry were there, however, so thankfully he wasn’t alone.  I had contemplated getting up in the night and driving the dark and silent streets to sleep in his room with him, so he wouldn’t be alone.  One day I’ll learn to listen to my gut when it’s telling me to do things like that.

It’s been over a month, and none of us can settle down.  After several months of being on call and going, going, going, it’s jarring to suddenly have come to a stop.  What now?  What do we spend our time talking about and doing?  As Nanna said, after the memorial service, “Well, what do I do with the rest of my life?”  I think the first step is finding peace.

It’s a quieter house, now.  The tv, always alive with football or baseball, is silent.  When I visit, I open the door to an empty room.  We’re talking about remodeling, new carpets, painting, new artwork, so life is slowly moving on.  New projects are good for the soul.

I miss him every day.  I will always miss him.  And I don’t have any positive spin on the subject, some neat way to end the story to make the reader feel better.  I’d love to say I’ve spoken to him in a dream, or felt his presence, or heard his voice, but I’ve never been a big believer in that stuff.  So I’ll be happy with my memories and my pictures…I have so many happy ones, and that’s what counts.

October!

As anyone who knows me can attest to, I am a freak about holidays.

For instance, the first cold night of October (NEVER before), I make my special chili and either cornbread or garlic bread.  I buy a new bottle of wine I’ve never tried.  I open all the windows.  I bring in the autumn decorations, both literally and figuratively, and spend the evening watching a Halloween show, cooking, and decorating.  It’s arguably my favorite night of the year.

DSC_0679

I’ve never understood how people can lose sight of the magic still left in this world.  How they can become so blind to the beauty, whether it be fire colored autumn leaves, sweet spring breezes, or the sun reflecting off the swimming pool water in the summer.  Life is beautiful.

What a view.

What a view.

I’m almost five months into working for myself, and though the road has been arduous and at times treacherous, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

(I actually get depressed when I think of ever going into an office again.  I’ll take that as a sign)

DSC_0688

I love spending my days at my own desk, writing blogs or planning social media attacks or addressing envelopes.  I love taking breaks to pet Walden or make some tea coffee (who am I kidding, if it’s not whiskey, it’s coffee).  I love having the freedom to come and go as I please, which means my newly-retired grandmother has fashioned a list of things we can go do together.  She’s paying for my gas while I drive her to doctor’s appointments, I’m taking her to new restaurants so she can experience new things.  So far, it’s working well.

DSC_0692

Halloween is coming quickly, and since giving Comcast another try at providing me television I’ve been watching the shit out of some Halloween episodes on the Food Network.  I’m going to the Little 5 Points Halloween Parade on Saturday, which is always crazy awesome.  I should get a pumpkin at some point, too, which means I’ll go for a medium sized orange fellow and leave with 2 large pumpkins, 3 small ones, and an array of various gourds, baby pumpkins, and other autumnal items.  I can’t resist.

omg Halloween magazines!

omg Halloween magazines!

And, finally, with autumn comes change, a new chance to begin.  I’m all about that.  I’ve improved my Facebook page (which everyone should visit and Like, btw).  I’m planning out my blogs in advance in case I get lazy (let’s be real, I totally will get lazy and forget to post).  I’m making plans with mom and nanna to go apple picking and scenic railroad riding.

Let’s make this the best autumn yet.

DSC_0690

DSC_0704

I think this is older than I am...I got lots of my Halloween decorations from Nanna's house.

I think this is older than I am…I got lots of my Halloween decorations from Nanna’s house.

More Late Nights

It’s 1:10am, and, naturally, I am wide awake and yearning to write something.  Anything.  Any words that will convey some kind of feeling.

My thoughts are living in my head lately, swirling around, knocking over coffee cups and scattering papers – apparently my head resembles an old British parlor – and try as I might, I can’t form them into something that makes sense.  I’m a writer.  Something isn’t working correctly here.

I feel like I’m in a constant state of slight panic, overwhelming worry, incredible indecisiveness and annoying hopefulness.  I’m working myself into a tizzy trying to make things happen and evolve and work out, and the things that I should be focusing on are falling to the wayside and that makes me even more worried. 

It’s a hot mess up in here.

For instance, I’m meeting a new friend tomorrow for breakfast.  And I’m nervous.  To me, nervousness is a useless feeling, one that gets in the way and steps on everyone’s shoes without saying excuse me, please.  I know, logically, that I shouldn’t be nervous.  We’ve been talking most every day for the past month.  But yet, here I am, thinking ridiculous thoughts about where I will park and what I will wear and if the shop will be open at 8:45am and what happens if it isn’t and should I wait in the car or inside or maybe outside, but it’s hot and I don’t want to sweat –

See?  Too much here.

I wish I had a definitive answer as to how I can get ahold of myself and stop the world from spinning so quickly.  But I don’t think there’s a button that will magically make things better or easier.  I’m beginning to think this is life, and it’s time for me to join the ranks of those who are holding on for dear life.

I’m not sure how to feel about that (cue another round of extreme self-introspection) but we’ll see how tomorrow goes before I make any rash decisions.

Until.

Tonight

Tonight is a night for toasts.

DSC_0657

A toast to the freedom to have a messy desk (it means things are happening there).

DSC_0658

A toast to the freedom to drink wine every night.

DSC_0659

And a toast to the freedom to eat cookies every night.  Or the whole damn box in one sitting (update: I didn’t).

Here’s to sleeping soundly all through the night and keeping a clean house.  Here’s to staying out all night or heading to bed at 9pm, spending all my money on a trip to the beach or adopting 5 dogs.

The point is, some people’s lives are changing tonight.  And some people are settling down.  And there are times I wish I was in their shoes.  But then I step back, and re-evaluate.  Their life is right for them.  Not for me.  I am where I am supposed to be, right in this moment.  I feel like I’m finally coming into my own, emerging as the person I’m supposed to be.  And I’ve had a realization.

I am someone who is looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t live without each other love. I thought I found it once, but turns out it wasn’t real at all. I’ve finally arrived here, and love is finally what I’m looking for.  I love my family.  I love my job.  I love my dog and cats.  But I’m done saying that love isn’t for me.  It is.  I’m ready.

Here’s to being free to do what you want to, and be who you want to be.

Windows Open

The windows are open tonight, and I’m reminded of the summers of my childhood.  I’m here, silent, the only sound the crickets and cicadas outside my window.  I’ve showered and am wearing one of the nightgowns nanna bought me for my birthday, partly because it’s comfortable and partly because it’s keeping me cool.

Summers were a battle at our house.  Nanna insisted on turning the air off at night and opening all the windows.  Occasionally a good idea, but mostly not.  Tonight I have no choice, as my air conditioner is broken and not being repaired until the morning.  I remember sitting in my room, Sunday nights, the weekend ending and the crickets chirping.  I was ready for school the next day, and I was probably watching something on TV, from a Disney movie to Desperate Housewives or some awards show.  It was quiet.  Still.  You could hear summer’s southern heartbeat.

It’s funny how life moves.  I could close my eyes and rewind 15 years in a mere moment.

Maybe there is something to being with nature.