Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Date Night - Unplugged

Sheldon was out of town last weekend on a guys' fishing/golfing/pool shooting trip to the coast, so we had a date night on Thursday night.  It was so much fun!  We went to The Main Event, a Dave & Buster's-style eatery/bar/entertainment center.  We wanted to scope it out to see if it would be a good option to visit with his family when they come to town this week (he has younger siblings ranging in age from around 13-22).  We had a blast!  We bowled, ate dinner and enjoyed a few cocktails, played skeeball, air hockey, and tons of video games -- racing games, Big Buck Hunter, Golden Tee, that basketball game where you try to make as many shots in 60 seconds as you can, and more.  At the end of the night, it was a draw.  I had beat him at a few things, and he beat me at a few.  I'm most proud of the fact that I pulled off a one-pin victory in our final bowling game of the evening.  I beat him by a score of 127-126, a darn impressive point total for me.

I think what made this night more fun than any we've had in a long time was that I didn't have my cell phone with me.  I had forgotten it at home, and after that initial panicked feeling that sets in nowadays whenever someone realizes they don't have that ever-present technological albatross close at hand, I felt liberated -- happy I wasn't seeing how many emails were rolling into my work and personal accounts, how many calls and text messages I'd missed (and I'm not even that popular or successful), what time it was.  You know what?  I got home and saw that I hadn't missed anything urgent, and certainly not anything that couldn't be seen and responded to the next business day.  Yet if I'd had my phone, I probably would have answered the text message that came in at 8:30 pm from a client, and I probably would have checked my email inbox at least once (not to mention how many times I might have stopped the action to take pictures, update Facebook, etc.).  WHY???  To not let them pile up, or to get a mental jump-start on what I'd be dealing with in the morning.  Again -- why?!  What that type of thing really does is take you out of the present moment, shift attention away from the person you are spending time with, and intrude into your personal life.  Instead, I had one thing and one thing only on my mind -- spending a few hours of time being a kid at heart with my friend and partner, enjoying our friendly competition and just being silly together. 

I think I might start leaving my cell phone at home more often.

When is the last time you gave the person you love the gift of undivided attention and full participation?  How many hours a week are you unplugged, simply living in the moment?

Monday, June 18, 2012


Tomorrow is June 19.  It would have been Brian and I's 8th wedding anniversary.  I will be recovering from surgery.  I knew when I scheduled it for the 18th that I'd be doing that, and I was okay with that.  At least I don't have to think of something special to do.  I can lay in bed or on the couch and watch our wedding slideshow, maybe flip through some photos.  I don't really "celebrate" that day anymore, as much as I "observe" it.  I'm sure Sheldon will get to hear a story or two about our wedding day. 

I had five wedding anniversaries with Brian.  This is going to be my third without him.  It's not fair that our dreams for a future together were shattered.  Then again, life isn't fair.  No one is exempt from tragedy, no one protected from the harshest realities of life.  Every anniversary without him reminds me of that.

Count your blessings.  Show gratitude.  Appreciate what you have today.  Don't wait until tomorrow.  Love one another as fully as you can.

The Tooth of the Matter

I'm going in for my second of three steps of dental surgery this morning.  Today, I get implants.  The periodontist will insert three metal screws into my jawbone, screws that will (in about eight more weeks) eventually hold new porcelain teeth in place.

My surgery is scheduled for 10:30 am.  At 9:30, I take a "magic pill" (okay, it's called Halcion).  Once I'm in the doctor's chair, I take another.  These two little pills will put me almost under, causing a trance-like sleepy state.  After doing that the first time a few months' back for my triple extraction (when they removed all my faulty root canal-ed teeth), I can say that the effect of the pills is to almost knock you out.  At first, you just feel very relaxed and slow, then you get sleepy.  Eventually, you are either asleep or you think you are.  Either way, if you're aware of anything going on (surgery happening to your face, for example), you just don't care.  I have to imagine it's what Michael Jackson felt like for the last couple years of his life.   (Too soon?  Sorry, don't care.  That was funny.)

I've turned on "auto reply" on my work email, and will be changing my voicemail soon too.  I'm not allowed to drive or make any legal decisions for at least 24 hours after the medication takes effect.  Based on my experience last time, I'd say that's a reasonable restriction.  Last time, I took the pills in the early afternoon and have very little recollection of anything -- and spent very little time in a conscious state -- until late morning the next day.

I am lucky that I have Sheldon to drive me to the doctor, drive my sloppy, sorry, drooling ass home, and to feed me soft foods like pudding and ice cream.  Sure, I could do yogurt, but c'mon -- it's like getting your toncils out.  All the ice cream you can eat is one of the few advantages!  That reminds me -- I need to make a quick Ben & Jerry's run this morning before my appointment.

Seriously, though -- there is something strange about the idea that my life is essentially going to be completely out of my hands for the next day or two, and knowing that I'm going to be the equivalent of an adult baby (minus the diapers -- I will remain fully potty-trained, even if I need help ambulating to said potty).  Please, readers, say a prayer for me.  I hope this process goes smoothly, but most of all -- I want these procedures to go well and to work!  This is all work that's being done to teeth that I had root canals done to about six years ago.  Those weren't done right.  I want this step to do be done right, and I am ready for a healthy mouth.  Maybe I should stick to sugar-free ice cream....

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

It Takes a Special Man....

...to hold me as long and as often as I need while I weep for another and wipe away my tears
...to let me tell story after story about my husband
...to nurture my mind and soul as I try to find my place in this new life
...to fall in love with, and take in, an unemployed widow with three cats
...to look at pictures of my last love all over the house, day in and day out
...to have in-laws to deal with before we are even engaged
...to be patient with a cat who sometimes relieves herself in inappropriate places
...to know, and accept, that any number of triggers, or nothing at all, can spur tears for who I lost
...to allow room on his side of the closet for a couple pieces of another man's clothing that his widow can't part with
...to listen with interest, and ask questions, when I start so many stories with, "Brian and I...."
...to understand that I share stories of my experience, but that I'm not comparing or expecting our life together to be the same
...to talk to me candidly about the strengths and weaknesses of my marriage and my late husband
...to be open to my desire to have contact with Brian, and to talk open-mindedly about those possibilities
...to let me play another man's favorite songs on road trips, even though they sometimes make me cry
...to not roll his eyes when we talk about what "the cats should call him" and whether it's okay to call him "dad," and which cats can do that (I was already a "single mom" when I got Mittons....and yes, I know none of the cats can actually "call" him anything)
...to point out to others my tattoo tribute to a big, Irish red-headed Chicago Bears fan he never knew
...to boast about the book I'm writing about lessons I've learned as a widow, instead of shirking from the conversation and avoiding the issue
...to meet, know, and love Brian's friends and family as his own
...to cause people we've just met to tell me how nice and kind he has been to them, upon just meeting them
...to make me glow while I talk about him, and every time I look at him
...to make me feel so content every night as I lay in bed next to him, feeling blessed to share a life and home together
...to make me feel loved and whole again
...to make me feel that everything is going to be okay, and to cause me to have faith in this life and the next
...to make me feel like my life fits me and I am exactly where I'm meant to be, after all that has happened

...for me to love him.

I have a special man.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

To Have and To Hold

It's June, and wedding season has begun!  Brian and I must have gone to at least 25 weddings together (that's a very conservative estimate, by the way).  In our last year together, I remember having something like 5 weddings in two months.  Since he died, I've been to three.    The first was just a reception, the wedding having occurred in another state.  It was a good prepper for the next, which was more emotional because it was a small wedding of some very close friends, and I did a reading that meant a lot more to me because of what I've experienced, and the way my marriage with Brian turned out. 

Now it's time for Sheldon's friends to start getting married, and for us to start the cycle again.  This weekend, Sheldon and I went to our first wedding together, and the first of three "destination weddings" we have scheduled in the next six months.  Okay, technically, only one of the three is being held away from where the bride and groom live, but they are all a long car ride or a plane ride away from San Antonio, so they are "destination weddings" to us.

This weekend was one of the only times I haven't cried at a wedding, oddly enough.  I guess part of it might be that I'm not particularly close to the couple and didn't know many people there.  Still, I felt oddly detached.  I could appreciate all the beautiful touches that went into this country-themed affair -- a background of mesquite trees and with a rustic alter, church pews set up outside, bridesmaids wearing antique lace dresses and cowboy boots, etc.  There was a lot of personality, detail, and love everywhere you turned.  It was a very nice wedding. 

I don't know why I wasn't more affected by the vows, the tearful speeches, or anything else.  I guess that's progresss.....?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One of "Those" Couples

Sheldon and I went tubing with a group of friends from Austin this weekend.  This group of friends is great, not just because of the awesome time we always have either.  Some of this crew are people I count amongst my best friends, and we have the type of friendship where we can talk about anything and everything, and tell each other "I love you." 

(Me in the pink bikini in the back left; Sheldon is raising his drink in the back right)

During the float down the Blanco River (in San Marcos), there were times when all 18 of us -- yep, 18 -- and our 5ish cooler tubes were linked up in one big mass, an island of black rubber and tanning flesh floating downstream.  Other times, we'd drift off into smaller clans or even clusters of 2-3 people.  Twice, I had really cool conversations that left me feeling blessed, content, and that reinforced my decision to move to Texas....in case the recreational opportunities weren't reason enough!

Once, a male friend was talking to Sheldon and me about how life in San Antonio was treating us, what was new, etc.  He asked how "we" were doing, and I said we were great, of course.  He said, "You know, we talk about you guys all the time.  It's so obvious that you're crazy about each other.  What you guys have is rare."  I had to think about that for a while.  I mean, I know I'm lucky to have him.  We know we're ridiculously happy together, and we can see that a lot of other people don't feel that way.  Still, it was cool to hear someone else say that they could clearly see from the outside what we feel toward each other within our lives and our relationship.  Apparently we're one of "those" couples.

The second conversation was more of a one-on-one.  A newer friend, but still someone with whom I have bonded deeply, was talking to me about the blog.  She is a blogger as well, and we shared with each other our thoughts on one another's blogs and life journeys.  We both had remembered specific things the other person had written that inspired us, motivated us, or that we learned from -- lessons and messages that we carry with us in our separate lives and worlds, just because we know each other and are writers.  That was a cool moment, to recognize the impact we can have with our words.  Thanks, Erin.  (http://worldaccordingtoerin.com/)

What a fun, meaningful day.  And I even got a tan!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Blessings Abound

Count your blessings.  The world is full of beauty and wonder.  All you have to do is look for goodness, and you'll find it.  It could be in a blooming pink tree growing in the parking lot where you are getting your fast food.  It could be in the quiet purr of your kitty, happy to see you at the end of the day.  It could be in the joy you know you will bring to your client when he gets the keys to his house, even if the deal is difficult in coming together.  It could be in the boyfriend who cooks dinner most nights.

Where do you find goodness and wonder in the world?  What are you grateful for?