Tag Archives: January

Do Over

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a word that I was going to focus on throughout the year. I had put a lot of thought into that word. I drew pictures about it. I wrote in a journal about it. So it only makes sense, then, that I’ve decided to change my word.

*sigh*

Here’s the thing. The first word that I thought of when I was considering the possibilities was “create”, but one of the other bloggers who had talked about doing this challenge had already chosen the same word. I wanted to do something different. But as I try to come up with the sub-text for my word, to put it into little chunks of focus for the year, I get stuck.

So today I decided to change my word. My fellow One Little Word participants agree that it’s okay to have a do-over. One of my favorite people said “…shifting from one word to another means you’ve been thinking about it and it’s evolving for you, which seems to me to be the whole point of the journey anyway!” I’m so glad I have friends like that. (thanks Angie!!!)

So my word is now CREATE. But I’m going to have to get back to you with my plan and my intentions with this new word… stay tuned. 🙂

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Tell Me A Secret

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We all have secrets. Some of us keep secrets from our spouses – the fact that your credit card balances aren’t quite as low as you claimed, or maybe the fact that you were engaged to someone else before you met them. But what about secrets that would be appreciated, or even cherished, by someone else… but you decide to keep them to yourself. Have you ever been selfish with a memory?

As my husband has been receiving updates from his step-mother and watching his father suffer what is probably his last battle with a lifetime habit of cigarette-smoking, we have talked about his feelings and how I can support him through the child’s journey he’ll be taking as his dad goes through treatment. One evening we reflected on my mom’s cancer battle, and he suddenly said “There’s something I haven’t told you before.” Obviously, in other circumstances, I might worry about this statement, but in context I simply wondered what he could be referring to.

His tears welled up a little as he confided a secret he’s kept for over 3 years. The night before mom died, as my siblings and I wrapped up an evening spent laughing (loudly) and telling stories in her hospice room, we each said our good-nights to her and headed out the door. Rick was the last to bend over her and give her a kiss, and he told her he loved her. She was heavily medicated to relieve the seizures she was experiencing due to her brain tumor, and had not been responsive or able to communicate for a couple of days. We were hopeful that she was able to hear us, but unfortunately we didn’t get to hear what she may have wanted to say to us. But when my husband said goodbye, she responded to him. He doesn’t recall recognizing any words, but she mumbled. She recognized that he was communicating with her, and she let him know.

Mom was probably the closest thing to a real mother that my husband had, but they had only a short time together – almost exactly 6 years. She was never one to mince words, nor did she hold back when heaping praise. She took Rick in when he moved here, unemployed and broke, from Colorado to marry her daughter and be her grand-daughters’ step-dad. They had so much in common it was kind of funny. I used to joke that he married me for her. 🙂

We left my youngest brother with mom that night to spend the night in the room with her, and around 6 a.m. he let the rest of us know that she had died in the night. I suppose I could be upset that my husband never told me about that night. Some people would be, I’m sure. I mean, she was my mother, afterall. I certainly would have enjoyed knowing that she recognized him. But, I know she thought he was pretty great, and I’m so pleased that her effort to say something to him at least confirms that she knew we were there. I hope that she heard our laughter and knew that she had done her job in this lifetime… she raised four children who will care for each other and be there for each other in her absence. She taught us how to remain positive and move forward through difficult times with determination.

I think it’s better that she didn’t respond to me, because I probably would have wanted to make her say something… I would have asked the doctors if perhaps she wasn’t ready to go. I would have hung on, even when it was obvious there was no point. It was time to let go. She said what she needed to say to the person who needed to hear it. I’m glad he has that special memory… but I’m also glad he finally told me about it.

So, here it is.

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I suppose I need to address the new year…

“Hello, New Year.”

That sounded kind of Seinfeld-ey, didn’t it?? Kind of snide… a little dismissive. Not my intention, really. I’m feeling pretty good about 2012. Excited, even. I started to come out of a strange kind of fog last fall and and am pretty confident that the months ahead are going to be full of awesomesauce.

I’ll try again…

“Hello, New Year, you sexy beast!!!”

Well… 🙂

I have never been much of a goal-setter. Which would explain the astounding number of cool things I wanted to do when I was younger but never quite managed to accomplish. 😉 But this year, this dreamer is going to become a PLANNER!! That’s right, people! I’ll be putting together some action-steps to make some of the things I want to do actually get done, and I’ll start my list right here.

  1. Get one home project done each month.
  2. Make a plan for Punkinhead that will improve inventory creation and sales.
  3. Hone Junque Rethunque’s brand and focus to build business opportunities.
  4. Create time to focus on writing portfolio.
  5. Spend more time communicating with the divine.

So those are the Big Ones. Those are the game changers that will make 2012 the Year of Change for me. But there are some smaller things, or at least some more daily-life kinds of things, that I’m also going to do to make some changes. Not for me, personally (because frankly, a couple of these will be pretty challenging) – but for my community, my planet, and my children.

  1. Carry reusable bags to the store every time.
  2. Use my composter.
  3. Sign up with a CSA.
  4. Buy second-hand.
  5. Plan meals and cook at home at least 4 times each week.

I’ve done a lot of numbers 1 and 4 in the past couple of years, but haven’t been as diligent as I plan to be this year. I’ve started out pretty well so far. I think the hardest will be the plan to buy everything I need or want second-hand. I shop at thrift stores often already, primarily looking for treasures for my vintage flea market booth and to use in my hobby business, but I haven’t made a real effort to purchase EVERYTHING I need throughout the year at thrift stores, online, or at yard sales.

Today I caved on the second-hand plan, going to Walmart to buy some Rubbermaid totes when I hit a couple of thrift stores and didn’t find any. I rationalize it because I have to get them filled with fabric to get my organization plan completed in my sewing room. In order to make number 2 happen, I had to go to Walmart. Not sure I can get by with that very often if I want to be successful. I think I’ll keep a list of purchases to compare what I pay second-hand against what I would pay new. At least, that’s a great idea… we’ll see if I can stick to it. 🙂

So, what are your plans for the new year?

Hard, but not impossible.

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Having now celebrated two Christmases without my mother I am convinced that, contrary to what well-intentioned people have told me, it will never get any easier. 2009 was very difficult because I spent both Thanksgiving and Christmas that year away from home and my family and the traditions that are comfortable for me, but this most recent holiday season I got to spend both of those days with my siblings and it was still hard. Not sobbing-in-bed-for-hours hard… there was no crying or reminiscing aside from a comment at Thanksgiving about the day also being her birthday… the difficulty was less intrusive, but just as painful.

One particularly tough moment came at a craft fair my sister and I were selling at in October. As I was browsing the other booths I discovered something that would have been a perfect gift for my Mom and was hit by the stunning realization that I would never buy her another gift. My mother was a joy to buy for. She and I had similar taste in many things – decor, clothing, hobbies. Perhaps that’s why I now have so much of her stuff in my garage? I felt I knew her so well that when I found The Perfect Gift it was a thrill just to anticipate her opening it, let alone seeing her reaction post-reveal.

Another wrinkle this year was the grand-baby in our house. She looks so much like my mother did as a baby – she has her chin and her smile and her red hair!! – and I know Mom would have loved to have a new baby to buy for. I hope I can measure up to Mom’s stellar Nana talents as I learn to be a Nonnie for my little one.

But being with my brothers at Thanksgiving and my sister for Christmas helped somewhat as we move forward “sans mere”. I’m confident we will make new traditions as we learn to share our own homes with each other instead of relying on mom to always be the hub of our family wheel.

Losing a parent in 2009, and gaining a grandchild in 2010 kind of trumped any list of goals I made those years. I’ll give 2011 some thought and get back to you on that.

Until then – I’ll share my mantra for the new year:

Do or do not… there is no try.   — Yoda