Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One wish ...

If you could have one material wish
 (no wishing for world peace here ... )
 what would you wish for?

That was the question posed by a blogging friend called Paula at Smidgens, Snippets and Bits.  That question seemed to resonate like a huge gong in my brain.

And it made me instantly sad and pensive about life.

My one wish is as impossible as world peace.  My husband has a degenerative eye condition that over the last 10 years has robbed him of his vision.  Today he is legally blind and at some point in the future, he will be totally blind.  His condition has no cure!

My wish would be sight for my husband.

In fact, if it was medically possible (it isn't) - I would happily give him one of my eyes.

While this statement sounds self sacrificing on my part - it is not!  It is the fatiguing result of watching too much loss around me.

I spent the last 8 years watching my mom slowly lose all parts of a life she had independently built up  ... lost through age and dementia ... until finally she was left with only her daughters standing by her beside waiting for the end.  She did not even have the comfort of knowing we were there.  Total and complete loss.

Now I watch my husband slowly shed a life time of cherished hobbies.  First to go was some of his independence - no driving.  Then his substantial library of books, followed by his enormous  American Stamp Collection,  and now on the chopping block is his beautiful and valuable toy soldier collection.  TV is now mostly a radio show for him.   Even pouring a cup of coffee without spilling it has become a challenge.

The gift of one of my eyes would be a small sacrifice to make to improve his life.

But wishing is a waste of time.

How easy it is to focus on all the troublesome problems in life.  If problems go on for years and years, it becomes a habit to view life through the lens of loss.

This year - the first year of my mom's passing and the first year of increasing disability in my husband - I have allowed my emotions and point of view to settle on what is missing - what is lacking - on loss!  It has sapped my energies.  Fatigue best describes my internal mental state.

I need to change the lens I am looking through!

So I am pushing myself right now instead of wishing.
  • Organization.  The Bullet Journal has been helpful in putting some control back in my hands.  
  • Gratitude.  I need to write down all the positives - they are many.  Bullet Journal - make room.
  • Adult Coloring!  Yes, coloring for grown ups - and I am not talking about porn coloring books!  I didn't need a new hobby but apparently I have one.  Coloring is apparently a new (old?) hobby - one most likely relegated to children in the minds of many.  But now it has become quite the adult past time to help reduce stress and increase relaxation.  Who knew?  I have new coloring books, new color pencils and I am off and running - well, off and coloring at least. Maybe I will post a picture or two.
  • Legos - opps!  See a theme here?  I will blog more on that later.
  • Knitting - nothing replaces the satisfaction I get from knitting.
  • Walking ... enough said.
If I have one strength  ... it is my ability to adapt and change.  Lately, however, it is harder than normal.  Fatigue is a powerful enemy.  But I have little patience for people who sit and say "poor me" and do nothing about it.

I have lost patience with poor fatigued me!  Working on a different description.

How about you?  
Any wishes?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My kids ... My soldier

I am always warmed by pictures of my two kids together.  They turned out to be such wonderful and responsible adults.  This picture is from the 1990s - when my son served in the military as a Marine.

This post is to recognize that service.  I wasn't the best 'service mom.'  Our family does not have a history of military service.  It is not part of my life experience.  While I am a strong supporter of our military, their families and the sacrifices they experience every single day, I don't do separation well. Separation from family is part of the deal when you join the military.  I wish now I handled that time better.

And now I recognize the short comings of those feelings.  I am not proud of them at all, but I am very  proud of my son's choice and his service.

Happy Veterans Day, Matt.

Here are my two wonderful 'kids' today.  

How lucky can one mom be!!

Monday, November 9, 2015

A journal of a different kind.

Over the years I have had almost every kind of calendar / planner you could name.  They were always paper - never digital.

This year I went "rogue."   With little structure in my life - no job or caregiving duties to wrap my days around - I assumed my simple life could be reduced to a simple bullet list on 3x5 cards. Each day a new card.  Undone tasks transferred to the next day's card.  Completed cards - thrown away.

Well ... it hasn't been pretty!  Not pretty at all.

First off the cards would be prepared and then ignored.  Opps!  That's a fail!  Then cards got lost.  Great.  Now I have to rely on my 68 year old memory.  Another failure in the making.  Finally, if the cards were completed, they were trashed and the information was lost.  Mostly that wasn't a big deal because things like ... clean toilets, do laundry, and take a walk - aren't huge losses if they aren't saved for posterity.

But other lost details were sometimes important.  It is nice to when your last mammogram was done, when that specific bill payment was sent (since the post office lost 3 pieces of our mail in the last 6 months) and did you send that birthday card/anniversary card/wedding gift?

So the 3x5 cards had to go!  I searched and searched for a planner - finally bought one.  But it was totally ignored.  I was back to the 3x5 cards (the writing, the ignoring, the losing, the pitching.)

Enter the
 Bullet Journal.

I learned about bullet journaling from a blog I follow called Assortment.  The blogger just started using a bullet journal and I followed her link to a Bullet Journal site to watch a video.  It all clicked in my brain.  Then I watched some videos of other bullet journaling folks.  I learned that your journal can be as minimalistic or as elaborate as you desire.

Here are the pros from my perspective (I think I will use bullets ... Ha!  )
  • It is analog - just the kind of planner/journal I prefer. 
  • It has a stitched bound spine - not loose leaf or spiral bound.  Yet it lays flat. 
  • Pages are not printed with a manufacturer's organizational structure.  Pages are dotted - sometimes a grid.  You create your own structure and boundaries. Simple or complex. 
  • No wasted pages (like financial tracking, or telephone lists, or exercise logs - unless you add it in.)
  • I am less likely to lose a book - not like those illusive 3x5 cards.
  • There is no fixed end date - like December 31.  Use up the pages then move onto a new journal.  
  • Structure can be customized on the fly.  Reduce or add more as needed.
The cons (and there is only one for me):
  • You build the journal - that almost sounds like a pro statement, but it does involve some time to set up.  I think I can off set that by keeping my journal simple - it doesn't need to house my whole life.  
That is it.

I watched several YouTube videos on this topic and it is interesting to see what folks include.  Shopping lists, weekly menus, recipes, reading lists ... you name it.  Some journals include decorations like a scrap book and a place for actual journal writing (not bullets.)  Some include tabs, others include add-in pages that are preprinted to minimize set up.  All are stored safely in a simple book.

Or it can simply house an organized bulleted list of tasks using the Bullet Journal techniques described at  Check out the link to get a quick sense of how it is set up if interested.

My new bullet journal was delivered today and I am off to set it up.

I love lists and bullets and keeping on track to get things done.  Keeping my fingers crossed that 3x5 cards are history ... and this tool helps make things "pretty" again.