There’s a song that my daughter sings in Girl Scouts that I remember singing when I was a Brownie Scout in elementary school.
Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other’s gold.
I’m sure there’s more to it, but that’s all I remember. It’s ok though, that short bit holds all the meaning I need.
I have several dear friends who I’ve known for a long time. Decades even. These dear friends are women who I know I can always call when I need them, and even when I don’t. Sometimes it’s just fun to chat. These are the friends who came through for me and my family during our darkest days, and they helped shoulder the burden of our most challenging struggles. Every day I am thankful for these friends.
Then there are the newer friends, most whom I’ve met post disability and deafness. They only know the newer version, yet my disability is not an issue. It’s just a characteristic, and a minor one at that. These are friends from my support groups, from our new neighborhood, and from our new home town. These new friendships are both scary and exciting (I keep saying I feel like I’m the new kid in grade school all over again). These friends are people I’m really enjoying spending time with and getting to know better. Every day I am thankful for these friends.
Silver and gold, I’ve got em all. In abundance even! But most importantly, I am learning from all of them how to be a good friend. Learnin’ from the best 🙂
Oh my goodness. This past weekend was a whirlwind. Lots of fun activities going on. I can’t quite process it all. In fact, it has sort of left me in a State of Funk. (Also, I just finished reading The Giver, so I’m tempted to capitalize the Common Words. My apologies. Do you accept my apology, Giver Fans?)
Anyhoo, Saturday we went to Luke’s soccer game, and Grandpa took us out for lunch after. Natalie was wanting to do something special with me, so we went to this local “paint your own pottery” place called Playing Picasso. We had so much fun! Natalie was ecstatic, and had so much fun that she has decided she would like to have her 7th birthday party there (because her 6th is already planned). Of course she only gets one birthday per year, so she has the next three all planned out. This year is laser tag, next year pottery painting, and the year after that roller skating. Well, at least we have time to plan lol. Anyway, I really liked this place, and I’m already thinking I would like to come back on my own and paint some stuff. Maybe I’ll even throw myself a party one of these times.
On a normal day, the pottery painting was A LOT of art for this girl here, but I didn’t stop there. No sirree, I had plans to go to Painting With a Twist with a friend that evening. This was a completely new experience for me, but I had heard from other people that it’s a lot of fun. They get 20 or so people set up at tables, with brushes and paint, and then an instructor guides everyone through painting a masterpiece. After 2 hours, you have 20 matching paintings (in theory) and they take a group photo while everyone stands proudly holding their finished paintings.
I was a little hesitant to do this, knowing I would have trouble seeing and hearing the instructor, but we had them place us right up front. This way we had a better chance at reading lips, and could readily ask questions as needed. I ended up asking a lot of questions, mostly relating to which color was which on my palette. My vision is bad, but not in the way most would think. I have a much smaller field of vision, but within that field I am able to see 20/20 with my left eye (20/40 with the right). Colors on the other hand, are hard to distinguish. So most of my questions were relating to the colors: which one is blue? Is this one green? Can you show me where I just painted the white circle? White on white is impossible for me to see, and that happened to be the first thing we did. Oh, I could have freaked out right there, but I decided not to. I was determined to have fun, no matter what, and that is exactly what I did. Even when I lost my balance trying to reach the top of my canvas and almost knocked over the entire effing table. Yes, I lost it. Fell right over onto the table. But I quickly recovered, exclaimed “oops, I forgot I have poor balance”, laughed at myself, and moved on.
At the end of the day, I went home with some fun memories and a painting that turned out to look pretty darn cool!
It may not seem like a big deal for most, but it was to me. I am still, two years later, adjusting to life with hearing and vision loss. I am almost daily faced with tasks that are new to me. New to the NEW Me, not the Old Me. And that can sometimes be a smidge frightening, but I am also daily making the decision to ignore that fear and just keep moving forward. Because today is a gift, and I refuse to waste it being afraid. Do you hear that? Life is a gift! Open that bad boy up!!
The photo above is the view from my back porch. Do you see how the sun casts sort of a glow over the deck? Or is that just me? I took the photo this morning. Our house faces east, so the back porch is still cool from the night air as the sun is rising on the other side, and under the gazebo there is a nice breeze. So this is where I have come to love sitting in the morning (granted, it’s only Day Two), with my coffee and Bible, while Piper runs around the yard or rolls in the grass. When she’s done with that nonsense, she comes and lies down at my feet. It’s lovely. Just lovely. We are so blessed with this new home.
And if that wasn’t enough, we have some really awesome neighbors. All of them. Really. They even have a private Facebook page they use to keep in touch with each other. So while we’ve done some chatting with them leading up to the day we moved in, today we actually got to meet several of them. In fact, when people started getting home from their respective jobs, they seemed anxious to meet us and say hello. The woman from across the street walked over to say hi, and we discovered we both have sons named Luke. A lady from the end of the street stopped at our driveway as she was leaving the neighborhood, and I was able to meet her and her son (whom I found had already met Luke yesterday). Then after Mike came home we met the man who lives next door to us, as well as his wife and two kids. It’s amazing how friendly these people are. We had heard this was a great neighborhood, but now we’re experiencing it and finding it to be absolutely true.
Oh, and get this – there are at least three other couples on the block whose first names start with the same letter, just as mine and Mike’s do (Mike and Mindy). There are the S’s next door, the D’s across the street, and another set of M’s further down. I love alliteration, I really do. What can I say? I’m a geek, all the way.
The unpacking is moving along. Throughout each day there is a constant feeling that I’m about to hit a wall, but I haven’t actually done it yet. I figure if I just go slow, then even if I do hit that wall, I won’t break anything. Just in theory, of course. I am developing some killer calf muscles, going up and down the stairs. But overall, life is good here and we feel pretty well settled. We have internet now, toilet paper, milk. You know, the necessities.
And here is where my brain is shutting down for the night, whether I like it or not. Good night!
I had a wonderful day today. Yesterday was okay, with the exception of a large dental expense. It almost physically pains me to pay for dental work, but it’s gotta be done. A necessary evil, I suppose.
Speaking of necessary evils, today I helped a friend prepare her tax return. She’s a smart cookie and probably didn’t really need my help, but I was able to offer moral support and celebrate with her when we were done. She ended up getting a refund rather than owing a crap-ton of money, so it was definitely cause for celebration. We took the kids out for ice cream cones. It was cold and rainy, but in my book the weather is always perfect for ice cream.
Tomorrow the kids and I will be taking the Spec-Tran to the local bounce house. We’ll be there all afternoon, so we’ll need to be sure to bring snacks and other supplies. I’ll bring electronics just in case one of them gets bored, but I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. I’m really hoping they play away and forget about me so I can sit, uninterrupted, and work on writing my book. It will be a great day for all of us, I’m sure.
Not sure what to write about, but I’m in my little comfy spot in the kitchen. In the corner next to the window, surrounded by shelves and with Piper puppy sleeping peacefully in her crate at my feet. And hot coffee at the ready, of course.
The exciting point of my day may be when the mail is delivered, but probably not. I already received what I was waiting for, which is the Spec-Tran approval I blogged about last night.
When I’m bored like this it’s nice to goof around on Facebook. A friend announced she found the best granola, so of course that sparked a lengthy comment thread. The food posts always do.
This has been a wonderfully uneventful week so far, which I much appreciate after last week. Last week was brutal. All the sickness and the cold. Kids home for the better part of the week, which I should love, but.. I was (am) feeling pretty fatigued. And throw a four-month old puppy into the mix? Just a little more than I can handle. And now hubby sounds like he is developing what we all had. That was inevitable, I suppose.
So when life has slowed down what do I do? I nap, first and foremost, but then when I feel mostly rested I clean. Dishes, laundry, floors, etc. It’s all never-ending. Meaning you are never “done” with laundry or dishes or cleaning floors. These are things that are constantly in progress. Once I realized that fully, I stopped putting them on my to-do-list. It seemed silly to keep crossing them off only to put them back on again. So now my to-do list consists of more irregular things like paying bills and clipping my toenails.
I would really like to get back to writing that book. The process (which honestly hadn’t really begun) got halted when we all fell ill. And now I need to get back at it. To be honest, I feel extremely inadequate at this whole book-writing-thing. Am I even doing it right? I’m just writing, hoping it turns into something I can have published so that people can read it. But publishing, well that’s a road I have not traveled and have no clue how to find. Yet. Let’s write the book first. And this corner spot in my kitchen is the perfect place for it. As long as Piper complies, I could make this a daily ritual. Sitting here, sipping my coffee, tapping away at the keys. That sounds like a Happy Place if you ask me.
Now, enough rambling for me. I will let you go. I have words to write!
This week I had planned for things to return to “normal”, or a feeling of it at least. I’ll tell you how the week went and you can be the judge:
1) “Normally” I walk the kids to the bus stop. This week it was far too cold to make them walk, so Dad drove them on all but one day. (Walking through the snow really works those leg muscles!)
2) I “normally” eat breakfast, drink my coffee, and work on household chores after returning from the bus stop. This week I took a lot of back-to-bed “naps”, stretching my coffee and meals far into the afternoons.
3) I “normally” Skype with my mom every day. I was lucky to get in one conversation with her today (it was her birthday, so of course).
4) I “normally” have meals planned and grocery lists prepared for my husband every week. This week I had to throw it together at the last minute.
5) I “normally” feel like writing things that people want to read. Something about watching this puppy for “potty cues” keeps me on edge, and I haven’t felt any inspiration to write. I did write one paragraph for my book though. Actually, two, but the second one is only three words so it probably doesn’t count.
Oh, but tomorrow. I have a gang of girlfriends coming over to eat dinner and knit and crochet, and chat up a storm – though I know that won’t be like old times because I can only follow one person talking at a time. I’m excited to see everyone and am thrilled to be able to open up my home for this event. Even if I can’t follow all the conversations, it will be great to see everyone having a good time. Group gatherings are an area that I immediately started avoiding when I lost my hearing, so it has taken quite a bit of courage for me to step back into these situations. The fact that it’s in my home certainly helps, but also these are dear friends of mine who I know are sympathetic to my new challenges. I have wonderful friends.
So Friday night should be some good times. Saturday we have a belated family Christmas gathering, and Sunday I may possibly have a date with my husband. Then the kids have a couple full days and a half day off from school the next week. All that to say, “normally” is out the window. Forget normal, let’s just have fun!
The kids are at Grandma’s, and we have had a glorious time relaxing after the holiday. Yesterday after we dropped the kids off we stopped at the indoor shooting range. This is our idea of a date, because we both enjoy shooting. Mike is good at it, and has done well in competitions. In fact, I think he won the last one he competed in. I, on the other hand, am not so great. I just don’t get enough practice, but also the impaired vision doesn’t help. Though I surprised us both yesterday. I did a lot better than we expected. My reward? An early Christmas present purchased from the gun store, registered in my name.
After our time at the range, we headed to the local Italian restaurant for a good, Chicago-style pizza. Mike had been craving it, and I am always up for pizza. Even the day after Thanksgiving. We always like to order the largest sized pie and bring the leftovers home. Mike and Luke both just love cold pizza for breakfast. Silly boys.
So, this morning I had pizza for breakfast, and now I am enjoying the turkey day leftovers for lunch: pumpkin pie and coffee. We haven’t even touched the leftover turkey yet.
Thankfully the house wasn’t destroyed from the festivities, so it didn’t take much to clean up. Dishes are done, extra table and chairs packed away, floor mopped. Mike even got his voice back!
I have to say I was quite amazed and pleased to see so many people giving thanks on Facebook this year. And not just any thanks, but thanks for the simple, genuine things like family and friends and God’s blessings. There was a bit of a trend of hard times for many of my friends and family this past year. Many of us were struck with extreme challenges like major illness and even death, some happening on this very week of Thanksgiving. I honestly believe the devil was trying extra hard this year to bring people down, but if my personal Facebook feed is any indication, it didn’t work. People are still seeing the good in life, and thanking God for it. I pray that continues, and that we are all able to see God’s hand at work in our lives.
All in all, it was a pretty perfect holiday. I am still learning to cope with change and enjoy every moment of life I am given. I pray the same for whoever is reading these words. Now… on to Christmas!!
I may be deaf and half-blind, but I am and will always be… still Mindy