Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

December 31, 2011

2011: What a Year!!

As it turns out, I was, indeed, surrounded by assholes.  At work, at home, on my commute.  I've been off the anti-depressants for 5 months now, and it feels soooo good to be free of them.  I don't miss work and the hell that came with working in family law. Self-esteem hasn't been an issue since I got together with my man.  He is so, so good for me.  I've never felt so good about myself in my life.  No one has ever loved me as much as he does, and I've never loved anyone as much as I do him.  I'm so happy and it feels good.

Last December 31st, I did a '2010: Year in Review' HERE.  I was re-reading it, to see what I had to say about 2010, and my hopes and/or goals for 2011.  It was clear my depression was still extremely bad, and I'd lost all hope for any happiness.  The last paragraph of that new years post hit me pretty hard:

"I continue to hope that 2011 will be a better year, but it's getting really hard to psyche myself up for it and be hopeful. I am reluctant to list things I'd like to accomplish in 2011, because at this point, I'm just taking each day as it comes.  Thinking about the future is impossible because life is throwing way too many curve balls.  I'm afraid to hope for anything because I'm tired of having them dashed.  All I can do is just keep playing everything by ear, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst..."  

Well I definitely never saw a complete and utter 'do-over' of my life in the cards for 2011!!

I try not to let myself think about my old life very much.  It's still too weird for me to deal with yet.  I can't even look at the pictures I shot there over the years, esp. pics from this spring when I was trying to see as much as possible before the move.  The stuff that makes me the saddest is when I remember our first few Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays in that house....the fun, joy, decorating, baking, traditions.  We were really happy there at first.  We'd moved to Washington  in 1999 to start over, after a very challenging last couple of years in California. But it all started falling apart again in 2006 and went downhill on skis from there.  Holiday traditions began to be abandoned bit by bit. Apathy, depression and indifference set in.  He kept going to the bar more and more and I stopped caring, and, in fact I relished having the house to myself for a change while he was out of the house. Yeah we still had a few laughs, and I tried so hard to be positive and ignore what was happening around me.  The clusterfuck disaster that was 2009.  How much I truly hated my job. The crushing resentment that I was carrying us financially for years while he went to the bar night after night.  'Existing' became the name of the game.  "I'm afraid to hope for anything because I'm tired of having them dashed."  Isn't that a telling statement?!

Then all of a sudden this window of opportunity opened for a do-over on life and I seized it, terrifying as it may be at this age.

I was definitely dead inside, this time last year.  But I was willing to continue plodding on at a job I had come to loathe.  I loved my boss and my coworker/friend, but it was the same shit day after day.  The same clients unable to behave like adults, the same work over and over, the same crappy commute every day.  The same stressful life at home, trying to make ends meet on one salary.  Me doing all the breadwinning, cooking, cleaning, yardwork, etc etc etc.  I was too scared to end it, and it was just easier & convenient to keep the status quo than to actually do something about it.  My sweetie gave me the strength to leave.

As happy as I am and as amazing as this year has been, 2011 came with it's fair share of challenges too.        Saying goodbye to my beloved Sagan broke my heart.  Ending a 22 year marriage, quitting my job and moving 3,000 miles home was extremely difficult and I am eternally grateful to all of my friends (and you know who you are) for holding my hand, calling me, sending encouraging emails, and making sure I kept focused and my 'eye on the prize'.  My mom is in failing health.  Friends of both of our families passed away suddenly in Oct., Nov. and Dec. We also had to deal with hiding an intense & long distance relationship for 6 months and his psycho ex-girlfriend (and her equally psycho friend) who tried in vain to break us up last spring.  The truly ironic thing is that he and I kind of owe her a 'thank you', b/c she's the one that talked him into getting the computer & joining Facebook, and the first thing he did was try to find me!  lol

When I think of all the things that had to fall into place exactly right in order for my life to do a complete 180, it blows my mind.  He got a computer for one reason and ended up using it for another.  He didn't want to tell me how he felt, especially since I'd lied and  told him that I was happily married for 22 years.  He confessed to his best friend how he felt and she pushed him to tell me, just to see what would happen.  I am eternally grateful to her for that; we both are.  Ultimately the decision was up to me.  "Should I stay or should I go now...."

Other highlights of this year include having success at my first craft show in November, the trip to Maine and getting to see my bff Michelle, Gene's Christmas party, Barit's Christmas Open House, getting to see my cousin Sharon after her heart surgery instead of just calling/texting/emailing, seeing Diane & the kids when they come up from Maryland, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, having time to beach comb, walk Pepper and shoot lots of pictures and rediscovering all that this region has to offer.  It's nice to be so close to the water again.  Yeah I lived near Puget Sound and all, but it's not the same as being on the coast, which was a 3-4 hour drive from my house in Washington.  I can go a few miles in any direction and be on the water.  I can walk to Buttermilk Bay Beach from my house.  That's a huge plus.

I lived on the west coast for a long time; I was 24 when I moved there, so we're talking almost a lifetime. And considering I really have no cognitive memories of ages 1 through 6, the 2+ decades spent on the west coast is more than a lifetime.  It's hard to compartmentalize that much time, routine and memories, and move them into the filing cabinet of my brain, especially when I'm surrounded by so many of the trinkets and souvenirs from that time period.  This is a totally new phase and I'm still adjusting to it.  Last December 31st I never in a million years thought I'd fall madly in love with a former classmate, leave my marriage, quit my career,  drive across the country and move back to Cape Cod.  It's 1989 in reverse and that's one of the things that weirds me out.  Talk about bookending a life! The only difference between 1989 and 2011 is that back then, I wanted, and planned, to quit my career, drive across the country and move to San Francisco.  It was going to be a solo move, but then Brian and I got together and eloped after 2 months, so he went too.  On 12/31/88, I knew that I'd be on the west coast by mid-89.  On 12/31/10, I had zero inkling that I'd move, and back to the Cape of all places, by mid-11.  Sharon still enjoys teasing me, "'I'm never moving back to the Cape.  Nope. NOT. EVER.' what happened to that one, Jo?"  Never say never.

Starting over at our ages of 47 and 49 is one scary-ass prospect.  It was a 'devil-may-care' & exciting adventure at age 24, but now it's terrifying.  But I say that with humour, I really do.  There's no one else I'd rather embark on this new phase than with my man.  It's so great to see old friends and have new laughs with them. We went to a Christmas party in early December and I was surrounded by so many people from Sandwich High School that it blew my mind.  It was at my friend Gene's house; a house which I literally grew up in, as our parents were (and still are) very close (my parents are his godparents).  So many memories of visiting them on Christmas Eve in the 70's, after 5:00 p.m. Mass, when we were children. And the parties his parents threw in those days!  Wall-to-wall adults in the house and everyone's kids outside playing.  It was a little surreal being there again; this time we are the adults socializing inside, and a new generation of kids was running through the house like we did 35-40 years ago.

I look over this past year with wonder.  I can't believe all this stuff happened to me; it's like watching someone else's life unfold.  All I know is, I must've done something really great karma-wise to have all these amazing things happen to me this year.  The only black mark on it is that I miss Sagan very, very much.  On some level I really thought that I'd see him again.  I figured that, by now, I would have flown him east and he'd be with me and Pepper.  That's been the hardest part of this entire move, leaving behind my beloved dog.  He is so sweet and I miss him so much, and just thinking about him makes me cry.  I miss giving him snuggles and cuddles. I miss how he'd dive halfway onto my couch and bury his head under my arm, then rest it on my lap.  I miss seeing him being goofy...this 90 lb German shepherd playing like a little puppy, rolling around on his back and grunting with a squeak toy in his mouth, then when he saw me staring at him and laughing he'd stop squirming, leap up and run over to me for a cuddle.  I can only hope that he is being well cared for, as there is zero contact between Brian and I.  Some of my friends are FB friends with him and will inquire how Sagan is doing, just to let me know, and I appreciate that.

As I said I don't miss work, but I do miss the generous Christmas bonus I used to get each year.  I really looked forward to my annual January and February online shopping sprees and trip to the annual Palmer Wirfs Antique Show & Sale in Puyallup.  Ah well.  I certainly don't need anymore 'stuff'.  I have boxes that haven't been unpacked as it is, and no room for anymore knick knacks.  The other day I was surfing around on all my fave shopping websites, just to see what's new, what I might have wanted, what I might possibly be able to afford.  I surprised myself by not finding much, if anything.  There are a couple of beaded cross stitch kits, but that's about it.  I have all the art supplies I could ever want.....I ordered a ton of stuff after last Christmas before I decided to move, and I never got the opportunity to use them b/c I was too busy packing.  I still love to look at antique beaded purses, but I have nearly all my collection in an acid-free box b/c they were deteriorating out in the open all those years, so I can't even display them.  It would be nice to have a little extra money for us to take a trip, or buy a sectional reclining couch unit so that we can actually sit together, but that will come in time.

2011 was quite a year, yes indeed.  One I'll not soon forget.  The year that I got my life back, the year that I found my soulmate and the love of my life, the year that I finally pulled out of a decade of depression and hopelessness.  I know that whenever you have a good year, a bad year often follows.....that's just the cycle of life.

Who knows what 2012 will bring? But at least I feel better prepared for it, now that I have a loving man and lots of friends by my side.  I don't make resolutions, so all I'm gonna do is continue to try and build a better me.

Happy New Year everyone!!!

December 29, 2011

The Lull Between Christmas and New Years

Diane and her kids are up on the Cape now from Maryland, for the rest of the holiday week, through New Years.  I jetted into E. Sandwich on the 27th to hang out for a few hours.  

Noticed this the other day when we went to mom's for Christmas dinner.  This is the corner of Old County Rd. and Jones Lane.  Mom said one of the neighbours did it.

Sharon has quite a knack for decorating.  This is her magnificent tree.  The shape is so perfect I thought it was fake but it's real!

Sharon & her fiance, Paul, bought her grandparents' house a few years ago, right down the street from my parents' house.

I loved how the outside spray looked against the diningroom door lit up by the spotlight.

Paul did an amazing job decorating the outside of the house.  I forgot to take pics of the garland & bows on the split rail fence in the yard. 

Then continuing the tour of lit metal frame designs along Rte. 6A, we have this light family in E. Sandwich.

I. Want. This. NOW!  No idea they had lighted peace signs but I must have one.

The Glass Studio's glass blower.

Cool looking sand dollar at Canterbury Travel.

The Beehive Restaurant.

This is supposed to be a guy holding a giant lobster, in front of a place where you can buy....wait for it....lobsters.

Scenic Roots Lawn & Garden Center (aka "Agway" to us old timers who can't remember the new name).

I leave you with a couple cute shots of Diane and her kids....her youngest, Logan, was outside and missed picture taking time.

Adam, age 13 & Diane

Di and Maddie, age 11.

And one of the sisters, Di & 'sisters' too, since we're closer than cousins.

December 27, 2011

Ooooooooo SHINY!!!!!

Easily distracted by shiny objects since 1964.

We went over to my squeeze's sister's house on Christmas Day, around Noon.  She said she'd heard that I made jewelry, and she had some loose beads she wanted me to have. She gave me this bag of crystals, which I can ALWAYS use!!!  

Then she asked me if I liked marbles.  I couldn't believe that she asked me that!! My eyes lit up and I said, "Marbles?  Oh my god I LOVE marbles! I'm addicted to them!"  He groaned and chimes in, "Oh my god you should see our house! Marbles! Beads! Everything glitters.  It's so bright in there I can't see."  

His sister then presented me with a gift bag that had marble jewelry inside!!!! MARBLE. JEWELRY!!!!!  Interchangeable too!!!!  Here's the necklace complete with a sack of different colours to use!!!  

Here's a ring with interchangeable pee wees.

And the earrings, also with pee wees.  So pweeeettyyyyy!!!

She also gave me this necklace/earring set, with the thought that I could either sell it as-is, or use for parts.  These beads are so pretty!!!  I'm already thinking of restringing them with lavender and blue crystals....

Christmas was a peaceful affair and radically different from what I'd grown accustomed to since 1989.  It was bitterly cold in the morning and we had some snow flurries that didn't stick.  Watched TV till we went over to his sister's house, then we went to my mom's for a mid-afternoon dinner.  She'd gotten a pre-prepared meal from Stop & Shop which just had to be reheated.  The turkey was soooo incredibly good.  She sent us home with all the leftovers too! 

We'd decided not to shop for pressies for each other this year.  Instead, we cashed in our coins and got an gift certificate, made a list of stuff we wanted, and ordered said stuff.

Here's Pepperbean on Christmas morning, sporting her jingly red velour collar.  She got a couple of new toys from us and also from my mom.

Here's a shot of the sunset on Christmas Eve, taken from our back yard.

I hope everyone had a joyous holiday on the 25th, and 26th too for those of you who observe Boxing Day!

December 25, 2011

Have a Beautiful Day!

Image created for us by Carolyn Brentwood, of Vancouver BC

December 24, 2011

Happy and Merry Everything!!!


Phew! I think I have it covered!!!  Did I miss any?  Have a wonderful holiday, no matter what you believe or observe!  I love you all!!