My Staycation is Over…

My staycation has been a heavily guarded secret. Four people knew outright that I was taking a week off besides my co-workers.

I sit here on a Sunday evening, on my front porch, watching the sun start to set. This time tomorrow night I will be back at work.

It is quite. Not a great deal of traffic comes by here on Sunday evening. Not like other days. I am listening to a Van Morrison song I heard last night. I imagine what it would be like to be in his arms, swaying to this song. It is “When the Leaves Come Falling Down”, you should give it a listen. I have just left him yet, I want to be with him again. I miss him as soon as we part ways. I knew he was tired and I needed to get home to get ready for the return to working life. I wanted more time but I knew what I should do.

My staycation was made amazing by a single trip. The other days had their merits, but that little variation from the main road was excellent. It was one of those days when we were just going to ride to the next town and then something changed. They were working on the road, paving crews were scattered about in different area of the road.

We decided to come back a different way. We drove some back roads. We passed a river that we both love. We pulled off and we were looking at the waterway. I looked up and he had taken off his shoes and was walking in the water. It looked like fun. I wanted to do it as well. So out of my sneakers and socks I came. I am tender footed so it was interesting getting from where I took my shoes off and the water. My mom has always had us scared of drowning because she is afraid of water. It was barely up to our ankles but I walked around in the same river I was baptized in many years before and that was the last time, I was in that water.

It was so relaxing and just being there with him. That was the it for me. Being there with him. He had told me earlier that he thought I would go somewhere while I was off. One place in particular was mentioned. I told him I wanted to go there with him. He said I should have gone even if he was busy. I said I WANT TO GO WITH YOU!!!

So he gave me  a day of both relaxation and adventure on series of back roads.

We went in the river and after I got my shoes back on I sat there and basked in what I was feeling in that moment. The river and the sound it made as it rolled along. The nearness of his presence. It was more than I could say to him.

After I sat there for awhile, he gently said, there are other adventures awaiting if you are ready to go. It was almost as if he thought he would disturb my mood if he suggested it, I was happy to go see what else he had in store for us, so I got up and we started driving again.

We circled around a dusty gravel road and we saw this amazing view. I did some video with my phone because it was so beautiful; I was awestruck to say the least.

Once again, I was completely aware that he was right there with me. He was saying nothing. He was just letting me enjoy the view. He was letting me take everything in. He would speak if I said something but he was letting me take everything in, the big view and the details.

Our last stop was a rock mound that was connected to his childhood. It was a magnificent sight to behold. He told me stories of his childhood and his memories and I took each and every word he said in.

There was a moment when we were standing there and I said you know someone had to use this place as a dwelling place long before we got here. You could hear the water running up above our heads. It was a great experience for me to just be there, being there with him made it so much more special. That was the it for me.

He doesn’t realize it but that day was one that will live in my heart forever. We just bought lunch and gas. That is all the money that was spent but what I was given that day was priceless. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

It is not where you go or what you do, it is that you are there with the person you love. That is the good stuff.

I will go back from my stacycation refreshed, even though it stated out pretty stressful, it was on so relaxing to just go on a huge adventure a little ways from home base.

I Will Always Love You….

My girls (my great nieces) are growing up so very fast, the oldest one just turned 13 in May. An actual teenager in Earth years but she has one of those old souls.

She is so wise for her age, wiser than me some days, as she proved to me today as we had a conversation driving up the road.

We were doing a photo shoot for her new CD. Everybody’s first response is that she is beautiful. She is, no doubt about it; she is gorgeous. She is also, smart, talented, funny, goofy, wise beyond her years, a loving person who wants to see good in everyone. She is strong in her faith. She will not do anything she finds distasteful. She is focused. She is driven. She will not put her name on something she is not proud of. She is so much more than what people see.

They simply do not know her like I do. She always tells her other sisters that I love her more because I have loved her longer. I love them all, in different ways. They are all so very unique. They all have their strengths and very singular personalities. I give them the attention each needs. It’s just that right now the focus is on the older one getting her CD done.

We were alone on one of my favorite crooked country roads. It is the second round of photos for the project.  Her parents leaving her in my care,  had left us  to do what we do because they had to take care of some other things. We were fighting for time, there was a thunderstorm not so far away.

We did the shots and as always, I had music playing from an old cell phone. The song “Forever Country”, which is a mashup of some classic country songs sang by some of the greatest voices from the past and the present,  came on. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9gAXwYZtfk

We were looking at the shots we had just taken, she has to proof each of them. As we stood there flipping through pictures, we began singing along with the song. At the end of the song the last song they blend in is “I Will Always Love You” came on. As they began to sing that part, she laid her head over on my shoulder and sang to me.

Of course, I cried. In that moment, I knew that I was loved as deeply and as innocently as anyone could ever be. She wanted nothing but to in her way tell me she loves me. She does all the time but that time was a little more special than all the times before. No one saw it, no one was supposed. It was a moment but one that I will hold in my heart forever.

Simple…

I am not hard to understand. I like simple. My mind is busy, but not complicated.

This morning, after finishing a 12 hour shift, I went for a walk. I enjoyed the smell of the fresh morning air. I looked at the dew as it lay on the blades of grass. I got into my music as I walked. I twisted my lower torso to get more effect of the walking. I did a dance with a robin that would hop along in front of me just a few paces ahead, it would fly just a bit and land back in front of me, we did this for a good while.

After he got bored with the game. He flew off.

I went home and I slept. I slept until I woke up. No alarm needed. No phone call from my mom. I woke up feeling refreshed. I didn’t sleep as  much as yesterday. Yesterday I slept all night and the whole day. I needed rest. I was tired.  Today, I was rested.

I wanted fresh air and sunshine. It was my late day to come in. I went and took some of the best photos I have taken in a while. I actually shot in manual and took more control over the camera than I have in a good long time. I spent over an hour trying to get a good photo of a dragonfly darting about. I didn’t get it but I tried. I got some good practice in. I got to understand what I can do without the camera doing it for me.

As the sun set, nobody knew where I was. When I had spoken to my  mom, I was going to get dinner. When I had spoken to my best friend I was going home to get dressed for work. My person, he had no clue where I was.

Where I was, was standing in the middle of a cemetery where my grandparents are buried. It was the best place to get the photos of the sunset I was seeing. I paid respect to them while I was there but the sunset was what had drawn me to this place.

Once again, I shot with the “M”. This mode scares a lot of people. You have to do the thinking. It is in my mind, a dividing line. I would shoot, adjust, shoot again, adjust again. It was a learning exercise for me. When did it get grainy? What are the limits I could push it to and still get an acceptable shot.

I enjoyed my day and I did that thing I love to do. With no thought of what was going to happen with  the images. I am not taking them for monetary gain. I am taking them for me. Most people will never even know they exist. They don’ t need to.

When I got to work, I got into a conversation with one of my co-workers about life. He is newly married and he doesn’t realize that it is a world of compromise. He told me some things and I asked him some questions. The most common phrase I heard was I never looked at it that way. I was just asking questions. It was up to him to make his own assessment of the situation.

It was a simple day. It was a day of reflection and not loneliness.

I don’t need the world. Looking at my little corner of it in a way that no one else sees it, that has to be enough for me, for now.

Life is simple we make it complicated. A place to relax, someone to love, something to be passionate about, a roof over our head and food in our belly. Those are the “simple” things in life that are the grand things.

I Like Using My Hands…

I love to work with my hands for many things but for the purpose of this post, we will limit it to jewelry making.

When I am working with my jewelry, I lose track of time.

I love to take parts and pieces of things and put them together.

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When I am working with my glass, I talk to it. Court it. Make it feel special. I tell it the things I want to hear. It going to be hot in there but just hold it together and you will become something amazing. When it comes out of the kiln in one piece, I tell it is beautiful. If it comes out broken, I still try to finish it and make it something interesting.

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As I have worked more with the glass, I feel like my skills are improving. Stay on task. Learn all the rules. Safety first. Have fun, first and foremost have fun. Learn something new. Add to your skill set.

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I bought a grinder, I am one of those females who get excited by power tools. Dremels, grinders, I even looked at a saw the other day. It has made a world of difference in my final product. While I am grinding the glass, I forget to worry. I run on caffeine and anxiety.  So when I are shaping the glass, I listen to the hum of the grinder and I watch as this glass in my hand becomes something that is desirable. Something I long to be.

I don’t worry about what is going to happen later at work. I don’t wonder what I have done wrong. I just sit there music playing in the background, listening to the hum of the grinder and work with my hands. I relax. I let the grinder do its job and I create something beautiful. The thing with glass is….it is fragile. Just like us humans. Glass breaks easily!!!

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For my birthday, my person fed my passion. He bought me glass and kiln paper for jewelry making. Then he gave me some lights that I can embed in the jewelry. Once again stepping it up a notch or ten.

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Taking it to the next level. I told it that it would be something amazing when it came through the fire. Just like me.

Live Like You Are Dying…

I didn’t realize how long it has been since I have written. Sorry about that. I have just been trying to deal with life. A great deal has been going on and honestly, I haven’t been writing in my journal the way I should. I am beginning to feel it.

I have been battling with what I wrote about in my last post. Feeling not good enough.

I am seeing some things I don’t understand and I am not saying anything. I just don’t get it. I am working on my jewelry more and getting more of it out in the world. I am not seeing the results that I would like to see at this moment but I will so until then I work.

I have some friends who are helping me promote it. So, I promote it myself. I am not so good at promoting myself. That don’t be prideful thing.

I have had some fun along the way, don’t get me wrong. I have had some pretty cool things happen since I last wrote.

I have ridden in a helicopter. I have walked into a burning building. I have (hopefully) given someone one of their best birthdays ever and I stood under a waterfall (sort of) just for shits and giggles.

I might should go back and explain some of this.

I work for an agency who deals with many different types of emergencies. Sometime the helicopter lands and our local hospital. Recently, we were allowed to take flight with one of the crews. I was so excited. Remember, I am learning to fly with this blog.  The only time before that I had ridden one, I was terrified to the point that I didn’t enjoy it. This time, I luxuriated in it. I took photos and video and I wanted to remember this with the awe it deserves.

Now walking to a burning building, I was a little more nervous about. I was facing one of my worst fears. Fire. There is a reason why I fear fire, my grandmothers neighbors died when their home burned down when I was a child. I don’t talk about it much.

So when I was invited to join a local fire department for a burn, I said yes. As the day grew nearer, it took more resolve on my part. I invited a guest to go along with me. They said no. I told those that mattered to me most what I would be doing and I set off on my way. Just in case something went wrong.

It was right comical to watch me put on the gear. It took the whole village dress the idiot. They kept saying it is your first time putting all this stuff on. One of the guys must have sensed that I was nervous because he asked me if I wanted him to go in with me. What a relief knowing that someone had my back when I felt very alone in a group of people. He was going to make sure I got out of this thing safely and more educated.

While inside the house, we had an visitor. A black snake. The guy who was there for me, told me to stand still, he would get the snake out. I learned that most firemen will run INTO a burning building and FROM a snake.

I learned about how gasses burned off, rollovers, how to turn off the beepers that go off if you don’t move enough inside the fire. I made human connections with people who hear me but never see me. These people appreciated my effort to understand them and what they do.

Then came the birthday day trip (let’s just say part one of the birthday trip) I say this because I am planning something else, I am keeping that one quite though. Haven’t mentioned it to a soul. Until now, I really can’t keep a secret.  Part one, we enjoyed food, laughter, found a new place to explore and at one point I even took him by him arm for a second.

Yesterday, it was rainy and cold here. We went to look at how high the water ways were in the area and we wound up at a place where the water was rolling off the rocks in water like fashion. I got some great photos and while he had the camera, I was debating with one thought, I want to be standing in that water. I want to see what it feels to stand in a waterfall. Although, this was not an actual waterfall per se.

Now, the air temperature was cool. That water had to be really cold. I let him do his thing and I talked myself through it. I would need to take my jacket off, I was within running or a very swift walk to the car, I had another jacket in the car, I really wanted to do this. I told him I wanted him to take the photos but he would have to be quick because as soon as I did what I was going to do, I would need to go directly to the car. With those words, I stepped into the surge of water cascading down the rock face.

It was flipping cold, I haven’t see any of the pics but I am sure the look on my face is awful. I enjoyed every second of it as long as I could. I was soaked. I was cold and I was happy as a clam.

No, I don’t have a death wish. I am (to quote the Tim McGraw song) living like I am dying. Because I am, we all are. Every day we are getting closer to what is inevitably going to happen to us all.

So I am less than a month from 49 and I feel like a kid.

Just Do You…

I have something on my mind and I need to get it out there.

I am a big girl. Not as big as some, not as small as others. I am too big to be average size, certainly no supermodel.

I am one of those women who doesn’t show all the cards she is holding.

I think about a great number of things when I am alone, which is a good deal of the time.

I don’t talk about all the things I think about and I don’t put them all on here.

I have those super secret saved pins on Pinterest boards about corsets, lingerie, fishnet stocking and such. Not that I am ashamed of them, it is for the simple fact it is nobody’s business but mine.

I have battled my weight for ummmm….forever. I was a chubby kid, the fat girl, the plus sized woman for most of my life.

Here is what I am… I am a woman. I like frilly things although no one has ever seen them but one man. I don’t wear them for others, I wear them for me. I like they way they feel on my skin. I like knowing they are there and nobody else has a clue.

I have spent an entire lifetime getting to the place where I can feel comfortable in the skin I am in, no matter what the size in my clothes say and believe me when I say the size I used to wear was much larger than I do now. My goal is to live healthier not skinnier.

For my entire married life, my late husband tried to assure me that I was a desirable creature. Believe me, he tried, every chance he got.

I couldn’t or wouldn’t believe him. Shame on me. I should have believed him when he told me those things.

My person has more than once told me that he wishes I could see me the way he sees me. I could tell him the same thing. He kind of blows it off when I try to tell him I find him desirable. I do the same thing. I should say thank you not ahhhh nah.

Lately though, there has been a shift in my thinking. It is up to me if I feel sexy. Sexy is not a clothing size. Never has been, never will be. Beauty comes from the inside. Beauty is seen by those who wish to see it.

What I have been criticizing all these years is what makes me, me. I am not the size I want to be but I am not the size I was and once upon a time, someone found that me desirable.

 Recently, someone told me that I looked happy. I said I am, they said no, you don’t understand, I have never seen you look truly happy. Now, this person has known me for two years. They were part of my troubles which caused my job change. In that however I did find my voice. I also found a place where I am appreciated for the talents I bring. It is appreciated, not abused.

So, no matter if you are a size 2 or a size 22. Love yourself. Love your body. Treat it well, it is the only one you have. Love your heart, your spirit, your soul and your mind for that is who you truly are. Those who make you feel like you are less than if it be for being too skinny or being too fat, that is their problem not yours.

If you wanna wear sexy knickers ( or none) under a uniform, that is nobody’s  business but yours. Just be who you are. Either people will love your for it, tolerate you for it and some will hate you for it.

As a friend told me one about five years ago…. “Just Do You”.

Collecting Moments….

So my break on Sunday was a great thing. I have made progress on my glass projects and I am working through thousands of photos that I have keep stored on memory cards thinking I can do that later.

I fell into the Pinterest rabbit hole last night. I didn’t work on them any at all. I had the 9 memory cards and the computer with in arms length but I was watching glass fusing tutorials and looking at ideas.

So tonight, there has been only one social media interaction. There has been no looking for ideas or watching YouTube videos. Only looking at photos.

I am doing it very methodically. I look and each image, pick the best one and delete the others.

I edit want I want to post right now, the others are saved for later perusal. As I was scrolling through the moments I had captured, I saw places I had visited for a week and got to relive the amazement of walking a greenway several hours from my home. I saw urban scenes that I normally don’t see. I saw butterflies dancing on thistles in my moms yard. Here it is the dead of winter and I am looking at two other seasons.

Then I saw it.

It was a photo I sneaked and took of him. Instantly, a smile spread across my face. My heart sped up. It was my heart living outside my body. We had been walking in a national park and I was lagging behind, as always, short people  and I had captured the moment. I knew right where we were. It was a beautiful summer day and he had taken me on a trail I had never been on. I am still smiling. He makes me smile, what can I say. I have several of those photos. They are always from the back, one of the benefits of having short legs.

So, I sit and I smile knowing that nothing can take that moment away.

I am a collector of moments but my favorite are those that make the smile in my heart spread across my lips.