Zero to sixty — the finish line is in sight!

As with everything I do, procrastination plays a HUGE part. I’ve been thinking about finishing this list off and on over the last couple of weeks. Today just might be the day I do it.

51.  Seeing Bruce Springsteen in concert — twice! The first time was a birthday present from Tim. (He always gives the best presents!) I was so excited and didn’t even care that our seats were in the nosebleeds at Coliseum Stadium in Edmonton. When we got there though, we were redirected to the box office where our nose-bleed seats were exchanged for second row seats on the sidelines right next to the stage. I nearly died. Being that close to the Boss and his E Street band was amazing. The second time was a trip to Toronto for his Wrecking Ball tour. 63,000 people in Rogers Stadium, and Tim, me, my sister Lori, her husband Ted and my sister Tracy were part of the magic. I didn’t sit throughout that marathon of a concert and I belted out every song. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Bruce Springsteen?

52.  Teaching myself to crochet. I love handmade things. Anything that someone puts themselves into to create is wonderful in my books. I’m drawn to things like needlepoint, knitting, crochet, sewing — anything tactile. So, years ago I tried knitting and it didn’t go well. I can do a lovely stocking stitch, but that’s about it. When I got pregnant all those years ago I wanted to make a blanket that I could bring our baby home from the hospital in. I turned to crochet. It took me nearly the entire nine months to make it and it was a little lopsided, but I did wrap our son in it for his trip home. That blanket is stored away in a box along with other treasures from Landon’s childhood. Where it, and they will wind up is a mystery. I just like taking them out from time to time and holding them. I unfold that blanket and smile.

53.  Bungee jumping. Another birthday present from Tim. This one was for my 40th birthday. I was petrified when I was standing up there on that tiny platform, but then I told myself “if you can jump out of a plane, you can jump off this” and I did. It was incredible. I highly recommend it.

54.  Learning the hard way that pyramid schemes are nothing but a scam. A friend and I, back in the days when money was a bigger issue than it is now, decided to risk investing in what was a ‘sure thing’. The only thing ‘sure’ about it was that we were going to lose the money we invested. Some things you’ve just got to learn firsthand.

55.  Losing friends and learning that sometimes it just happens. Then realizing that friendships give you so much to be grateful and thankful for, that, even when they are over, they’re still part of who you are.

56.  Sharing my love of theatre with my granddaughter and my love of gardening and cooking with all my grandchildren. The opportunities get fewer each year they grow older, but for the times that I have been able to share with them I hope it’s made an impression.

57.  Being able to go to the last Black Family Reunion in  2017 and having my grandchildren meet all my crazy-wonderful family. We had realized by this time that my dad was terminal and that it would be his last reunion, also it was just after his 80th birthday and a few months before his and mom’s 60th anniversary. There were other milestones celebrated at that reunion as well, and I’m so glad we were there to share in them all.

58.  Eating New York style pizza for the first time at Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge. That experience explained to me why I had always loved and revered Gondola pizza from Manitoba! And it has inspired me to try making my own Neapolitan style pizza. It’s a work in progress.

59.  Learning to like myself — it’s been a long, hard road, and there are times when I still don’t like myself that much, but mostly, I think I’m okay. If I could undo all the wrong I’ve done, I would, but then, who would I be?

60.  Embarking on a new life story at the age of 60. And the journey begins. . .

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Day 6

Wow. Six days into the new year. Only six. It feels like more.

Today I got rid of a bunch of expectations. I mean, I really let shit go. Personal stuff, stuff that always makes me feel bad about myself. It’s time.

I went for my daily walk and as I’ve done every day since beginning I said good morning to my father. We began our route – the usual one I take. We head north from my house and then turn east. As I came upon my first corner the waxwings I mentioned the other day came swooping overhead. Hundreds of them. I smiled and continued on.

Suddenly they came flying low overhead and made to land in a couple of mountain ash trees on the opposite side of the street. They dove into the branches and then whoosh! out and up again. The sound of all those hundreds of wings pushing against the air made me gasp. They repeated this display twice more and I stood totally captivated. Then I heard the trilling sound of more coming to join them from behind me. As I turned this other flock swept low above me; if I had reached up I’m sure I could have touched them they were so close. All those tiny bodies making such a huge impression. What a gift that was.

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July 20th & 21st

Days 202 and 203 —  Yesterday — rainy and cool so decided to do more housecleaning.  Took on the main living room.  Got up close and personal with the upper windows and am looking at some re-caulking work and painting before winter.  Those window really need to be replaced, but. . .

Am continuing on my clean and purge routine.  It’s such a great feeling!  The wall unit in the living room where I keep just about everything under the sun was a big job.  I threw out a a TON of outdated manuals and junk that had accumulated over the past 23 years.  I can’t believe how much crap we stick in drawers!  I also packed away some things that just didn’t need to be collecting dust anymore.

When I got to the bottom cupboards I discovered the photo albums we used to put all our pictures in.  Looked through them quickly, got a little teary and though my intent had been to pack them up, I just couldn’t.  It’s wonderful to look back on all those pictures and see the young us.  Tim, fresh-faced with a look of eagerness and excitement in his eyes; Landon, so young with all those beautiful red curls he had as a baby and toddler — and always with a big, beautiful smile.  And, then, there’s the young me.  Looking, I thought, often far too serious, and much, much thinner.  I had smiles too, though, and it made my heart ache (just for a moment) for all those years gone.  I love my family.  I love that I have these pictures of us.  I now have a pile of pictures that need going through and placing in those albums.  Another rainy-day project.

Today was quiet.  Tim had to work and I just putzed about.  At noon I went and picked up my youngest grandson and had him come visit for the afternoon.  We worked in the yard and then I made us strawberry milkshakes.  After we played UNO and he beat me.  Four years old and already a card-shark!  I loved having that one-on-one time with him.  Doesn’t happen very often with any of them anymore.  I’m going to have to work on changing that.

I chose a new book.  It’s Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King.  A summer just isn’t a summer if I don’t get at least one SK book in.  He is my writing hero.  This book is a collection of short stories — novellas, really — and I just finished the first one.  1922 is a grim little story about being careful about what you wish for.  Vintage Stephen King.  I loved it,  though some parts were a little squeamish — but then, that’s why he’s the master.

And now, it’s off to bed.  Hope I don’t have nightmares.

July 4th – July 17th

Day 186 – 199 — Wowza!  199 days blogged about.  NOT — to clarify — 199 blogs, but 199 days recounted in my blog.

I’ve been busy with summer and holidays, hence the break in writing.  I left on July 7th to go have a little mini-holiday with two of my sisters.  We went to my one sister, Lori, and her husband’s cottage in Northern Ontario.  Near Kenora.  I may have written about it in the past.  It’s a lovely place.  We spent the better part of a week just sitting on the dock, drinking various cocktails and beers, playing Scrabble, and jumping in the lake when it got too hot.  I am proud to say I got a tan.  Some have even said:  “you look great — all tanned and relaxed” so that made me feel pretty darned good.

Prior to leaving for my little holiday I had spent time trying to get my house in order.  Cleaning, gardening, making sure the bills were paid, etc.  Boring, but necessary stuff.

I had high hopes that Tim would have the pergola finished when I got back, but alas, it was not to be.  He has got the main beams up, so now I’m just praying that he gets it done before the end of summer.  If we have a nice autumn I’ll still be able to enjoy it for a bit.  In Tim’s defence, I have to say that it rained a lot the week I was gone.  It rained only once while I was at the lake, and only for a little it one afternoon.  And it was warm rain.  Not like the cold rains of Alberta, at all.

When I arrived in Calgary Monday night for my connecting flight I was very disheartened when the pilot came on to tell us that the temp was 15 degrees.  I nearly gasped.  For the past week I had been enjoying temps in the high 20’s and low 30’s.  Talk about a shock.  Still, when I stepped off the plane in Edmonton, where it was a wonderful 2 degrees warmer, it felt good to be home.

As much as I always dream of getting away, I’m always grateful and happy to get back home.

With so much of summer still stretched out before me I’ve got lots of plans and lots to do.  I’m going to make the most of every moment and be joyful in the moment.

A few shots of my sister’s place in Ontario:

June 28th – July 1st

Days 180 – 183 — These past four days were spent with our grandkids.  First weekend of summer — what a way to kick it off!  My youngest sister and her two youngun’s came and spent most of the weekend with us, too.  The joy of watching cousins play and get reacquainted.

We had a ton of fun — swimming at the outdoor pool, bbq’s, ice-cream, popsicles, staying up really late and then last night, fireworks to celebrate Canada Day.

Now, it’s time for Grandma to get the house cleaned up and start planning for my own time away.  I just absolutely love summer!

June 25th

Day 177 — I like that number – 177 — something kind of neat about it — neat as in tidy, not neat as in ‘cool’.  It’s interesting counting the down the days of the year like this.  The number doesn’t seem all that big, but when you think about it — that’s one hundred and seventy seven days of getting up, going to work, packing a lunch, buttoning a coat, brushing your hair, fixing breakfast, stopping to get gas, and on and on and on.

Well, today is the end of the getting up and going to work and packing a lunch part for me.  At least for the next two months.  Yes, today is freedom day!  That big ol’ carrot is dangling within reach now, I can almost sink my teeth into it.  I’m sure today will go quickly and then I’m going to come home and sit on my deck with a cold beer in hand (if the sunshine holds that is) and ponder the joys and possibilities of the next eight weeks.

 

June 23rd

Day 175 — It was a gorgeous day!  The sun shone, there was barely any wind — a slight breeze to keep the mosquitoes at bay.  I spent the bulk of the day outside planting and weeding and just generally enjoying the feel of the sun on my skin.  Absolutely fabulous!

May 29th – June 3rd

Day 150 – 155 — Holy crap!  155 days!  Can’t lay claim to blogging for each and every one of them — which was my intended goal — but I am at least recounting them.

As you can no doubt tell by the sporadic way I’ve been posting, this is my REALLY busy time of the year.  It has been just insane lately, but the end is in sight.  I am counting the days, the hours, the minutes. . .

I think we’re finally going to get a break in our rainy, cloudy, cool weather.  I sure hope so, because I’ve got a pail of deck stain just burning a hole through the floor in my front hallway.  There are so many jobs I’m behind on right now that it gives me fits if I start thinking about them.  So, I don’t.  I just shelve them in the back of my mind and tell myself — you’ll get to it, don’t worry.  It’s not worth stressing about.

And, in truth, it’s not.  But I want things to get done so that I can just mellow out and relax.  Spend more than one night a week cooking a meal.  Sit on my deck and read a book with a cool beer beside me.

So, I haven’t really recounted what I did over the last 5 days.  It wasn’t much, believe me.  Just travel and meetings and getting ready for meetings.  But last night, I attended the retirement party for a dear friend and colleague.  Charlotte is truly one of a kind and she will be greatly missed.  The kids she loved and mentored and helped to educate owe her so much, but all she ever asked for was a smile and a desire to try.  I learned much from her over my ten years working together and I knew I could always count on her for a shoulder to lean on and a friendly face to talk to.  I miss my old school still, and seeing Charlotte retire brought that home again.  It also reaffirmed that times change, people move on and we all have to seek our own path.  I wish her well on wherever hers takes her.

May 6th, 7th & 8th

Days 127, 128 and 129 — Must be the nice weather that’s keeping me from keeping this up daily.  Which isn’t such a bad thing.  Better to be outside enjoying the sunshine than cooped up inside in my dark little office tapping away at these keys.

Pretty eventful 3 days — 3 women in Cleveland who had been held hostage by a sexual predator were found alive on Monday.  Thank God.  Actually, one of the women risked her life to escape.  It’s an absolutely horrific and fascinating story.  I hope the bastard that had them suffers mightily.  And I hope those 3 women — and the little girl that one of them had by her captor — can heal and get back to the joy of living.

I’ve come to a decision in my life — a good one — more to come on that later.

My leg is healing — slowly.  I get out for a walk every day — a little bit further each day — and I don’t think it will be too much longer before I’m back on my treadmill.  I do need some kind of therapy, though.

Tim resigned from his Inspector’s position Tuesday.  He’s feeling relieved, but also a little down.  Time will take care of that, I think.  He’s getting to that point where he realizes it’s time to retire.  He needs to explore his options, though, and he’s having a bit of a struggle.  It will all work out, I’m sure.

We went from a temperature of 32 degrees on Monday to a temp of 14 degrees on Tuesday.  Had a hell of a wind storm Monday night.  Made me think of tornado’s.  But, in the morning all was calm and, of course, cool.  Yesterday was a bit better and today we’re heading for 24 degrees.  Yay!

April 16th

Day 107 — Cancelled appointment.  Evening at home.  Enough said.

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