Thursday, June 21, 2018


Part of being a body who experiences anxiety and depression is that it's hard to realize when you are starting down a dreary path.  And so, in the midst of life happening, its hard to see the happy things.  So I am choosing to pause and think about no particular order:

*A day off and a large bucket of popcorn at the movies 
*A quiet house first thing in the morning, with killer A/C and a coffee pot gently perking
*RAIN.  Lots of it.  I can hear my fig tree sighing out there, as well as the lawn.
*All my peeps seem to be on even keels.  I would love for a couple of them to make progress in certain areas, but I am happy that all of them seem to be going about their daily lives in mostly positive ways.
*Mark and I are on strong financial footing and he enjoys being back at his old job.
*My elbow tendonosis is gone.  My back doesn't hurt.  My eye stopped watering. My nails aren't peeling. And I'm drinking lots of water so I don't feel dehydrated.
*We get to take Chloe and Spencer to Bell Springs on Saturday.  We will have a fun lunch, nice wine, listen to good music, enjoy the outdoors.
*I took some of my JA jewelry in for cleaning and repair and that always makes me feel like I am getting new bling!
*I only work four days this week, and since I picked up extra hours on Sunday for overtime I get to work with an old friend and a new one.
Just typing that list made me feel better.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hopefully still a good cause

About 6 months ago, one of my estranged sisters and I (well, we are all estranged, I guess) decided that in Mother's best interests we would pull together to keep closer tabs on her.  We would inform each other of visits - when they would occur and how they went.  We would each pick a day of the week to check on her.  We check in with other for news of Mother - what we can do to help, how she is getting along.  All of that is positive, and makes me feel like we are putting the important shit first.  But when the old feelings come to the surface for me - like I can't trust her, or count on her not to make this about us, or discuss something pertaining to Mother's best interests - I start to think I made a mistake.  It mostly comes either in the form of supposedly well-meaning advice-giving:  
Me:  (when Mother and her friend got lost in Austin last week) Traffic here is terrible.  Even if you know your way around.  And they don't which makes this even more ridiculous... I'm going to have a chat with Mother about this nonsense.
She:  Word it carefully, she is sensitive about it and stubborn...she will be flustered over the car ride when she gets there.
Or, in an insincere and mildly aggressive compliment:
Me:  She said she will call the eye doc in Brenham and make an appointment for 4 mos. from now.  I think I will try to visit her on a Saturday in the next couple of weeks.  When I nail that down I will let you know.  I've just been very busy.
She:  You stay busy, it's just who you are (insert stupid smiley emoji).  That's a good thing.

I'm aware that I sound like a crazy person ranting about this, but believe me, there is history.  I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about those texts last week, and I didn't even reply a simple "yes" to the last one until a day or so later.  I don't want to play her passive/aggressive games designed to see who is the better daughter.  Life is not a race for first place.  I know my mother loves us both, and I am happy to do what I can for her, and even happier that I have at least one other sibling out of six that is on somewhat the same page.  Even though I wonder about her motive.
It's not about me, I get it.
Because I am suspicious I'm probably reading more into this.
I wish things were different.  But they aren't. And they never will be.
Maybe I am reading too much into it, but I don't want to deal with any bullshit, now or ever, and I feel there will be years of it yet to come.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Getting 'er done

Last week I took Friday off just to get a break from work and accomplish some things on my To Do list.  Funny thing about that list, it never seems to be completely done.  I get a whole lot crossed off and it magically grows back.  Now, truth be told, I'm the one responsible for that.  Sure - I could toss the list and go on with life.  But I actually like caring for my home and my fam.  

gyro plate! 

Plus, on those days, I tell myself I will eat a great lunch.  So here was The List this go-round:
Drop off items at Goodwill
Go to REI and buy cooler
Vac the car out
Pick up grocery fillers
Move the BBQ grill
Move firepit to garage
Re-connect the landscape lights
Copper spray the Lantana
Go buy door paint
Sweep garage and breakdown boxes for recycles
Move the Sugar stone
Go buy earrings
Go to bank and deposit contents of change jar
Repair fallen downspout
Paint and reattach hose holder
Rake around dumpsters
Pack weekend food and clothes
Do a pedi
Change sheets in guest bedroom and vac it
Sewing repairs
Prep dinner
Make lemon jam
 Member, Clean Plate Club

I was actually a little tired, and after eating my gigantic lunch I felt like a slug.  I got some other odds and ends done around the house and called it a day after supper.  So I guess my list is just going to keep growing, but that's OK.  I will continue to try to get 'er done...another day.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


 My brother in law passed a few weeks ago.  Tom, married to Mark's sister Sharon

At Mark's college apartment, 1984
 Thought they were technically old enough to be our parents, we thought of them as just slightly older than us since they were young at heart.  Sharon and Tom took me under their wings and made me part of the family. 

At Mark's college graduation with his aunt Aagot and Uncle Ken, 1984

 Visiting us at our first apartment in Austin.

 At a UT football game - one of Tom's passions.

I was never all that close with Tom - he was a reserved kind of guy - but Mark was, and since I loved Sharon, I thought of Tom as family to me, not just to Mark.  We visited them several times in Dallas while we were in college, then when the time came to marry, Mark chose Tom as his best man.

 The Best Man, 1985

  Once we had a couple of kids, we weren't seeing them often as they lived in Dallas and we in Austin.  We were poor, working full time, had our hands full with small children.  And by the time we had Baby #3 and Baby #4, we had gone through many changes in life.  We drifted from them and their two kids, who seemed to grow up in a blink .  Fast forward to 2015 and Sharon passed. A hop, skip, and a jump, and Tom followed.

Tom and Sharon, with Bryan and Paige

I started writing this post in a disgruntled state of mind, and maybe I feel that way a little, still.  While you have your hands full raising a family and trying to get further along in your career, you tend to drop the people and activities you had earlier because you run out of things: time, money, interest.  Sounds terrible on our part, but that works both ways, of course.  They sort of ran out of interest for us, too, while they were busy doing the same things. And suddenly we were all much older, and they had health concerns.

Tom and Sharon at Rustown, 2012

I'm sure both of them had some warm and fuzzies for us, but we were separated by so many things.  And it was apparent  this last weekend at his funeral.  It was a long drive, but no one asked or expected us to stay overnight or spend any one on one time, connecting as a family. ("Ya'll could make a pallet on the floor..." is what we were offered)  I felt less like a family member and more like another funeral guest.   I'm not sure how Mark felt about that, but he remarked that it was the end of an era - in fact, the era had passed long ago.  
I know a lot of folks want to give you advice to the effect of telling the people you love that you love them and spending more time with them while they are alive, but it doesn't always work out for that to happen.  So for now, I will hang on to all of the happy memories and speak their names with love.  They were an important part of the early years and I grieve for all that is lost.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


You could argue that of course Mark should help my mother in any way, seeing as he IS her son-in-law.  I don't think that's necessarily correct - it's not his job.  Sure, my mother has been plenty generous to him over the years and she is friendly to him,  glad to see him.  But this is the same woman who asked me if I was sure I wanted to marry him, because after all, Gina "you are a pretty girl".  In the background was my sister, bobbing dumb head in agreement.  I guess I've always had a stubborn streak, because I ignored them and went on ahead with my wedding plans...And I guess over the years my mother has softened a little, as she has come to know him.  But that doesn't mean there weren't some rough spots.

She was hyper-critical of him when he refused to be the administrator of her will, opting out to protect our little family from my angry siblings in the future.  And she roasted him over the coals pretty good when he broke (and immediately fixed) a picket in her fence by running into it with her riding lawn mower.  Recently he accompanied me to my mother's house and did the jobs I couldn't do:  rebuilding an asparagus bed and getting her computer up and running.  Prior to that, he has done many other similar odd jobs involving either yard work or home repair or computer work or insurance assistance.  His mother is long gone, and yet he continues to treat mine with respect and love.  She doesn't love him like she loves me.  But she should.  He's the son she never had.  A good husband and father for the last 33 years.  A kind and generous man who loves me no matter what and will never let me nor our children down.  Someone who will come to my mother's aid someday, if she requires it, and always encourages me in my moral responsibility to her.  A loyalist on all fronts. 
I hope someday she gets the chance to tell him how glad she is that he is in our lives.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Another list of happy things

Gah.  After the freaky dreams I've been having, I need to fill my head with some positive thoughts and good vibes.  I would so rather dream about happy stuff!
Good things:
*We took Dylan and Michelle to Bell Springs the day before Easter to enjoy some wine and an al fresco lunch while listening to live music - fun!

*My nails are once again, growing and not peeling  (so I think I may start doing manicures again) and I got my hair cut - 2 inches! - and it feels so much better. Hooray for self-care!
Chloe passed ALL of her CPA exams and will be sworn in in June.  
*My knee was hurting so badly a few weeks ago.  I thought for sure I had injured it again.  But magically it stopped hurting.  Along with my back - yay!  And that nasty blister on my heal.  All healed.  I feel fairly intact!
*Our finances are on an even keel and we owed $4K less in taxes this year!!   Mark worries about how we will cope if he loses his job.  For some reason I can't get worked up about it.  I have a sense of calm about it because I think it will all work out.

*We got a lot of the Big Trash collected at Highlands and the drive up to the barn looks entirely different.  Bluebonnets are poking up too - pretty soon our hill will be FULL of them.
Those are some pretty big Happy Things!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dream feelings #2

Another restless night, another very freaky dream.

So many twists and turns and seemingly unrelated images.
My mother came to me about something she left at a doctor's office. Some sensitive medical information.  The doctor had it and I had to retrieve it.  Turns out it was a string of sorts, but information.  Then it becomes more substantial as I look at it - it was made of cloth - a shirt?  Multi-colored plaid and woven,  with what I think is decorative stitching coming out.  Mother seems distressed about it.  As I am trying to hand restitch it, I realize I am doing a poor job and must start over.  It becomes a dress, Mother disappears.  I need to finish it as soon as possible because one of my kids needs it for a field trip they are going on in a few minutes.  Hurry!  I get on the school bus to give it to my kid - turns out it is Grayson and he is small, maybe around 3 or four.  The bus is going to NYC.  The principal is telling everyone that they cannot go to a big store or someplace that she promised them, so the kids are standing in clusters around teachers, being comforted, including my kid, although I am still on the bus as it is pulling away and the bus driver will not let me off.  I don't have my purse or phone or money or even shoes.  I am pleading with her to let me off, but she won't stop the bus.  She says she can't because there is someone tailgating her.  I am suddenly in the back of the bus, poking my leg out of the open back, pushing on the car behind us.  Its a delivery truck and the driver of it is just starring at me.  There is no glass in his windshield.  I am screaming stop the bus!  But it won't, and no one is listening.  I start sobbing and place my hand on my stomach to steady myself as I cry.  But I realize the hand is not mine - its the man that is driving the truck behind us, and he has reached into the bus.  I push his hand away and the bus arrives in NYC.  All of the kids clamor off the bus with the teachers - we have arrived at the place that the principal said  they weren't going to - surprise!  I never do connect with Grayson - off he goes with someone else.  I am standing in a room of teachers - no kids - the principal is like some kind of ceremonial person conducting what?  A meeting?  She is wearing a turban and flowing clothes.  The dream ends.
So much despair in this dream.  Images of losing things.  Being someplace I don't want to be and ill-equipped to deal with it.  Rushing, trying to fix things, not being heard.  I feel like I barely slept last night...what a way to start the week.