The Future is Hilarious

In three month’s time I’ll have lived in my own modest house for two years. It’s so hard to believe. And I still love it here even while I am nervous about expenses and can’t do nearly as much as I’d like to to make this home special.

The problem is that I have zero disposable income. I’m not sure if I’m considered “working poor” but so far, I cannot save a penny. It’s all I can do to not borrow from my little savings to get by each month. If I could even get to a point where I could save $100 a month, I’d feel pretty proud of myself.

At this point I’m learning that I will have to wait for next year’s tax refund to take care of more expensive issues, like yard projects. And with the tax change this year, I’m not sure I’ll get as much back as I did this year.

I received a six percent raise on July 1st and honestly can’t say that its made any difference. Not sure if it’s simply because I put a little more money aside into pre-tax deductions for medical costs through work. I haven’t sat down to figure out why I haven’t felt my financial load easing due to my raise.

I suppose in some ways I am saving — I just can’t access it. I have read, and confirmed with my mortgage lender that if you make one extra house payment per year, you can reduce your home loan by seven years. Each month I pay $100 extra toward my loan balance, which adds up to more than one extra payment a year. So with any luck the extra $1,200 paid each year will take my 30 year loan and turns it into a 23 year loan, or maybe less.

But I turned 61 in June so it’s not likely I’ll be able to continue to work to pay off this house. And paying off this house is the only way I’ll be able to scrape by in retirement. In short, I’m fucked.

But I knew that before I bought the home, of course.

I knew that when my ex dumped me and left me alone, broke, and bankrupt.

My very elderly parents are in fragile health. I stop by to see them on my way home about 4-5 days a week. Dad has COPD and it is running it’s ugly course. Mom fell and got a concussion several months back and has lost her sense of smell/taste and is losing weight like crazy. My childhood trauma from being their kid is taking a backseat to the fact that I’m really all they have and I plan to do all I can for them.

I spend time pondering what I will do when dad goes (he’ll probably be first to go) and figure I will probably have to move in w/ my mom to help her. But in helping her, can I manage to also help myself a little? Like renting this place out and paying the loan down some more? Maybe, but I will also have to give to her to help her. It will still be very tight.

I’ll be so sad to leave this home, and something may happen where it may not come to that, but mom has said that neither of them will be able to manage when one of them goes. They made mistakes, too. They have earned a lot of money in their lives and have very little to show for it. They’ve borrowed so much off their home, that they only have a little more equity in their home than I do!

But I can’t judge them. I’ve fucked up my own life too much to do that.

I wish I could take good care of my health so that I can be as healthy as possible and live a long life and keep working, but I am as heavy as ever and I seem to get sick a lot.

Many people my age are slowing down. I guess I hope I can keep working and then just die suddenly. That’s about all that would work for me.

I also hope that when my parents do go, and I’ve settled their little estate, that my own daughter and her husband will consider inviting me to live in their home. I don’t know if they will. I know I’ll never ask. Of course my plan B is always suicide.

But it would be nice to meet someone who finds me interesting and funny and loving and enjoys spending time with me and share my financial load. After four husbands I simply can’t fathom who that would be, especially with my embarrassment about being fat.

I don’t even want to go look up the stats about single women over 60 verses single men. What’s the point? We outnumber single men by about 6,000 to one, I believe. Add to that that I’m pretty picky and well, there’s no point.

So I do not go out seeking men. I don’t sign up on dating sites and I don’t go to bars. I’ve never been a good flirt. And yet I’m fairly resentful about women my age who have partners.

The sad part is that I think I’m a fairly interesting person and I that’s what I wish I could share with someone. My sense of humor. My odd interests. And I want to laugh at someone else’s jokes and learn about things they like.

In the meantime I have done something amazing in the last couple of months. I bought a four year old cat from the “shy” room at my local humane society. It’s been pretty great learning how to share my home with this wild creature.

MM watchin bears.jpg

I’m not at all happy having to deal with cat hair on my new furniture and stinky kitty litter, but she’s worth it. We talk to one another, sleep with one another, and I put on videos of kitties, birds, and bears for her when I leave the house. She had been at the shelter for six weeks and I was sure she’d be there for another six, so I picked her.

I thought about starting this blog up again and writing on a more consistent basis as I used to, but I’m going to take it a day at a time. I don’t really know how this post comes across, but I’m not feeling particularly depressed tonight — I’m just calling it like it is. It’s the hand I was dealt and dealt for myself.

If I were a real writer and could better express the challenges of being a single, sixty (one) year old woman, and living in today’s world on a tight budget with an uncertain future, I’d do it. I figure there must be more women like me out there.

If you’re out there, please let me know!

 

Seven

I am not making any progress in any good direction. Neither am I having huge setbacks. Is that success for me? Maybe it is. Status quo.

I joined a gym two weeks ago and haven’t gone yet. I realized I have no clothes to wear to a public place to work out in. So I spent $100 on some shit at Old Navy and it hasn’t come yet. I’m wondering if it got stolen off my front porch. People do that.

I’m coming up on a year in my own home. It’s been a really interesting adventure. I did buy a lot of new stuff when I moved here because I had to. I had no couch, bed, etc. But then I stopped buying and made do and during that time I had time to settle in and really think about what I want instead of just buying it because I had to. A month ago I ordered blinds for two windows and installed them myself. I still have several other windows to deal with.

I’m struggling to deal with end of year bills PLUS Christmas. I will have to go into savings to make it through. Next year I’ll plan better. It took me seven or eight months of living here before I didn’t have to transfer from my small savings just to get by. I have definitely learned that I feel horribly panicked when finances are out of control. So if it means eating burritos or peanut butter sandwiches to make ends meet, it’s so worth it for me.

But it does suck to deal with this all on my own. I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to that. In the past it didn’t really matter if my job didn’t pay that well because there was always another income (except my last marriage, who provided no income). So, yes, it’s empowering to manage on my own. But it’s also scary. I applied for a better paying job and got an email for an interview, then I decided I didn’t want that job so I cancelled. I am just not ready. I feel secure at my job for the most part.

And I look at my little snug house and want to do SO many fun things to it to make it perfect. But there is no disposable income for that. I’ve decided that I can only do my best and that, in the end, this is a good investment. I have a fantasy that in ten years (when I’m 70) my daughter and her partner will invite me to their home and I’ll turn over what I have to them and have them fix up the room in their backyard for me.

I called this post “Seven” because I am once again, endeavoring to get a grip on my health/weight/sleep. I keep telling myself and others that my diet isn’t “so bad” throughout the day, but at night I just can’t stop eating. So, I’m doing my best not to eat after seven. That’s it. That’s the only change I’m making.

At 6:45 tonight I brushed my teeth, then I used my Waterpik, then i put in my mouth guard that I recently got. My mouth generally hurts and feels tight. I thought it might help. So far I can’t tell if it is helping. Then I used my Netipot because my sinuses are a mess, then washed my face and put lotion on. I hope to make this a routine and part of winding down, which aids in sleep preparation. We’ll see.

I do know that I really do not like eating after I’ve brushed my teeth for quite some time, so I feel optimistic in that regard.

I just had a five day weekend and don’t have much to show for it. Saw my parents a few times, but that’s it. I try not to think about how solitary my life is. Most of the time I don’t really mind, but sometimes I do. I think about how I will probably be alone the rest of my life and when I ponder why that is, it is totally due to my weight. I cannot believe anyone could see past it. Sometimes I feel I can accept that I could be without a romantic partner, after all, I’ve had four husbands and many, many lovers. But I think it’s sad that I have no real female friends. I honestly don’t know why that is. Sometimes I think people my age already have all the friendships they need. Sometimes I just think I must be too weird for most people. But I don’t really mind being different.

On a positive note, I took part of my spare room, which is rarely used, and put up my easel and began a painting. I’m super rusty holding a brush but I do hope that I’ll begin to spend more time doing that. I’ve also collected a few houseplants which feel sort of like a poor girl’s cat… I made myself laugh there. But yes, I say hi to them now and then and I stroke their leaves. I have one I’ve moved away from the others because it seems to have a bug.

I am also discovering jazz which is an enormous endeavor. I can’t put my finger on what I like but sometimes I know what I don’t like, and of course it also depends on my mood and what I’m doing. After the cheater and I split up I could not listen to the music I used to like and turned to Bach. Not classical music, just Bach. And I really loved it and still do, but I decided for my painting, it was time to discover jazz.

Here we are, a month away from Christmas and the shortest day of the year. I always like to get that day behind me because it’s so horribly dark here in Oregon at this time of year. Time really does fly and it’ll soon be getting lighter again.

xox

Steps to Healing from Early Childhood Trauma

I’m not new agey or touchy feely, or into incense and bells. And, while I’ve bought a couple of self help books in my life, I can’t say I’ve ever read one from cover to cover. (Except Chump Lady’s book).

But the time has come to begin to heal myself and I’m just slightly aware of what I need to do. Lucky you, I plan to share this adventure here.

To be honest, as broken as I am, I am still sort of a walking miracle. I should be dead, an alcoholic, in jail. So even though I feel like a loser for just getting on my feet financially and buying my own home again, I am so lucky I was able to do it.

When the cheater ex left me penniless and suicidal almost four years ago I said to myself, “You cannot let him win. You simply can’t.” And from that moment I decided I had to pull myself up from nothing.

If you had said to me at that time that I’d be working full time, in fact get a promotion and raise at said job, and even buy my own little home, I would have said you were nuts. But here I am. Don’t get me wrong. I struggle to get buy and drive a 17 year old car. My house is only 877 square feet and is nothing fancy. But I like it and I’m here and it is mine.

So now and then I have to stop and acknowledge that, and give myself a little credit for not giving up. At that time I had been on disability. I could have signed up for assisted living and spent the rest of my life there living among other mentally ill, broken, forgotten people, but I decided that was not the life I wanted for myself.

I react badly/weirdly to things and I get very defensive. I have lots of quirks that make my heart pound and make me want to run away. These are the times when I remember that I am a damaged and broken person and need to cut myself some slack and be gentle with myself.

Other imperfect people walk this earth with me, but they don’t feel there’s a spotlight on them — they know it’s okay to be imperfect. They can laugh and shrug off mistakes and have the inner confidence to move right to the next thing without missing a beat. But for me, with all my insecurities, I get crippled and set back constantly.

I found this article from Psychology Today and actually read it:

Six Ways Developmental Trauma Shapes Adult Identity

Identity formation is an important part of normal development, and takes place across the lifespan. Identity — including one’s sense of being good enough, integration of emotion and intellect, basic awareness of emotional state, feeling secure and coherent as an individual, and even the basic experience of who one actually is — is disrupted by developmental trauma, because basic survival takes precedence over, and uses resources ordinarily allocated for, normal development of the self. Early trauma shifts the trajectory of brain development, because an environment characterized by fear and neglect, for example, causes different adaptations of brain circuitry than one of safety, security, and love. The earlier the distress, on average, the more profound the effect.

My neglect began the moment I was born six weeks premature and never stopped. My mother neglected me and physically and emotionally abused me. My parents fought violently in front of us. My mother outwardly despised my sister and I and unnaturally adored my brother, focusing all her attention on his academics and sports.

Sometimes I think if she had just treated the three of us equally, I could be more understanding. But she knew how to be a decent mother. She just chose not to be one for my sister and I.

I adored dad, but he’s not without fault. We lived in terror of his temper and violence. I think mom didn’t like that I felt close to dad. But dad could have stood up to her and at some point he chose not to. She’s an incredible bully and no one can pout for a longer period of time. I guess he chose his battles. But I told him recently that he didn’t do us any favors. We walked on tiptoes around mom so that she would not get upset when he should have stood up to her and told her to fuck off.

I also lived in fear that they’d get a divorce and I’d end up living with mom and some pale skinned Christian who would sexually abuse me. I don’t know why I had such an specific fear, but I did. Mom was the Christian who dragged me to church every week. Dad would not go near a church ever.

Dad did a few things for me that I will always be grateful for (he built a darkroom for me, for one). But I was so used to getting crumbs that I felt grateful for anything. I remember going to my parents asking if I could buy a high school class ring like all my friends were and I knew they simply would not part with money for me. There was never any money for me so there was no point in asking for it.

But it didn’t occur to me until much later, that they always had enough money for my brother’s letter jacket, class ring, sports fees, sports clothes, proms, dances, trips, and even the year he went to study abroad in college. I think my sister and I felt we had to suffer because the money needed to go to our brother — the one with potential. It was only right.

While my classmates were getting their hair done and putting on their pretty necklaces and buying blue sweaters for our high school senior photos, it never occurred to me to go to my parents and ask for anything. I just made do with what I already had.

But by then my relationship with my mother was so horrific, that I’d have died before asking her for anything.

I don’t want to spend any more time today rehashing my childhood. I do want to begin to form a plan to become more of a whole person.

  • I want to ease some anxiety
  • I want to have a couple of friends
  • I want to become physically healthier
  • I want to learn to love and accept myself

I think my list is simple and attainable, nevertheless I don’t think this journey will be quick or easy.

The article I linked to above has a follow up article:

Six Ways To Beat Childhood Trauma & Stop Self-Sabotage

The author has suggestions on self care, mindfulness, recovery groups, and cultivating patience and compassion.

So this is where I am going to begin:

  1. Taking more time to make meals that I am deserving of and then enjoying those meals.
  2. Find ways to move/exercise more both alone and with others.
  3. Go find social interactions whether through Meet Up, or Overeaters Anonymous, or church, or hiking club.
  4. Find a good therapist who knows how to help people who experienced trauma.

I’m open to any advice and encouragement and would love to hear stories of how others have found ways to thrive in spite of the neglect and abuse they endured.

I Never Ask Anyone for Anything

I virtually never ask anyone for anything. So on those very rare occasions when I do, it’s incredibly hard for me.

I think it’s wrong that I am not comfortable asking anyone for anything and I’m not sure how that came about. I think it has to do with fearing they will let me down (and they often do) — because I’m not worth helping. I’m not worth remembering.

I’m traveling for work tomorrow and will be gone for a week. I wasn’t going to ask my elderly parents for a ride to the airport, but my mom kept insisting. I should have known better. She loves to plan and nit pick about the plan — but she does not actually like helping someone. Why on earth does she keep insisting on helping?

And I get nervous since I don’t travel much and I like to make a simple plan and stick to it, not pick, pick, pick at it.

But a couple of days ago, against my better judgement, I said, well, if you really don’t mind, I would appreciate a ride to the airport on Sunday, but in a week, when I’m home again, I’ll call a cab, because it’s too late to have you guys out. I absolutely insist on that.

She said what about the house? (We live two minutes apart). I said, well, if you can drive by it a couple times and make sure it hasn’t burned down and maybe get the mail when you do, that’d be great. I said, if you guys can stop by for a few minutes on Saturday I’d like to show you the lock on the garage door. Oh sure, she says. No problem.

It’s like the moment I accept her help I open myself up for her rejection. It feels all too familiar. It takes me way, way back.

So this morning she calls and starts talking about me coming over there for dinner and how they are going to help my sister out this morning. Maybe after we eat tonight they can follow me back to the house to have me show them the garage door lock.

I said, no. It’s not necessary. We’ll be too tired by then. The house will be fine. Forget it.

This is part of my fight or flight reaction. The minute I feel her rejecting me (by making things complicated, controlling the situation, etc.), I back completely out and act ridiculous. Never mind. The house will be fine.

Later on she asks me if I want her to pick me up to take me to the airport in the morning. Huh, I thought we had already agreed on that, but since you’re asking me, you must not want to (of course you don’t want to. You don’t even like me.) So of course I said, No thanks. I’ve already made arrangements.

And she says, Okay, hon. Have a great trip and keep in touch! We hang up.

And I point my middle fingers up at the ceiling and call her names wishing my windows weren’t open. I’m sure my neighbors have realized I’m insane.

So here my mom has managed to make herself look so FUCKING HELPFUL and making sure she didn’t actually help me at all.

I’m sure from another angle it simply makes me look like an idiot. I could have cooperated with all of her change of plans and still had a ride to the airport and someone to check on my house — but I don’t want to be beholding to her. Ever.

When I was a child we fought so horribly when my dad wasn’t home. She’d scream at me. I’d scream at her. She’d end up in tears, curled up in a fetal position on her bed. In an hour she’d come out with her nose bright red and gather my sister and I for a trip to the mall because that’s how she made up for what she said to us, by buying us stuff.

So when I was 15 I got my first job so that I could never accept anything from her ever again. She was NOT going to buy my love or my loyalty or my forgiveness. I realized I could be incredibly stubborn.

And I have stayed in that mode for my entire life. My entire 60 years of life. I behave like an immature child because of a very fucked up childhood. I have never grown up and I feel so ripped off about that. I feel so shorted. I want to be an adult so much.

I remember I was 11 or 12 when I thought to myself, she’s fighting with me like another kid and not like an adult. I distinctly remember thinking that.

So when I’m mad at her as I am right now, I am that hurt and damaged child all over again and the pain is very, very real. I feel alone and helpless. Unloved.

Why didn’t she love me then and why do I kiss her ass now so that she doesn’t get mad at me?

If I manage to outlive her I truly feel that I will feel sadness over the mother I never had and relief that the game is finally over.

About an hour ago my dad called and said, when can I come by and have you show me the garage and the plants?

I said, “Dad, I already told mom I don’t need anything. The house will be fine.”

She hadn’t even fucking told him?

And why did I tell him that when temperatures have been in the 90s and my few potted plants will die? Because I’m not worth it.

My anxiety was obvious to him and I let a little slip out, “I just wanted five minutes, dad. Not dinner. She always has to complicate things.”

He says, “Okay, I hope you can calm down and relax and have a good trip.”

“Thanks” I said.

I wish that too.

So now I’m depressed and I’m so alone, as always.

When I moved to this house I had no one to help me. I paid my parent’s neighbors, a father and his high school aged son $75 each to help me and it only took about an hour and a half.

I moved myself into this place alone and I’ve done almost everything here on my own. I need help very much, with window coverings and putting up a shelf. But I have no one to ask.

I hear my neighbors having a barbecue in their backyard and their friends are laughing. I am mentally ill and I will always be alone.

I wish I could say I could go one single day without wondering what my cheating ex is up to with his 20-something girlfriend (wife, by now, probably). She’s probably not introverted. She’s probably not lonely and alone.

Ok. I’ve brought tears to my own eyes. And all I can do is think of the innocent child I was and love her across time. I deserved to be loved. I deserved to be acknowledged. And I deserve it now.

When I get this low, realizing that after all I’ve been through I have ended up alone, I try to refocus on my job and try to be the best I can at it.

I also realize that I really, really need a good therapist.

I haven’t been to church in over three months and I miss it, but I realized no one misses me when I’m not there. A single older woman is a dime a dozen at church. If I’m not serving in the kitchen, I feel I have no purpose there. The couples have all coupled up. I am invisible.

As a severe introvert I don’t blame them — it truly is me.

But I do try to remind myself that God loves me and in that I am not alone.

 

 

 

 

Making Peace With my Scale

I’m glad I don’t write here everyday as I used to when I was in the throes of agony over my ex’s cheating. I’m glad that my life truly has settled down. I am happy to write when I have something to say or get off my chest.

I’ve continued to weigh nearly every day and this morning I was almost exactly what I weighed when I started. It’s been interesting for me to simply have the courage to weigh each morning and watch my weight fluctuate by almost five pounds from day to day. I guess you could say I’m making peace with my scale.

But I’m not making peace with my weight. I just know I have to come at this from a this is forever state of mind. I’m tired of gaining and losing, gaining and losing.

I turned sixty at the end of last month. Me, 60. It’s mind boggling because I feel like I have always felt. But I simply don’t want to court ill health by being so overweight. That’s the bottom line. And I’ve been quite lucky so far. (Knock wood).

But there’s more. My weight tells people, whether it’s true or not, that I have no self control. My weight tells me that I don’t consider myself worthy of having a partner because, after all, who would want me like this?

I don’t really believe in “fat acceptance” but I do believe in loving yourself where you’re at in your journey, no matter what. I do not think, however, that this world would be a better place if we all keep getting fatter and fatter and fatter.

At my age, I’m not concerned with things that concerned me twenty or thirty years ago. I’m not obsessed with looking young but when I really applied myself (after the discard) by swimming nearly every day and eating small meals I felt so damned good physically. My butt fit in my chair better. I could easily cross my legs. I didn’t worry about being the fat one on the plane. I enjoyed how my body felt and the energy and strength I had. I’d like to get a little of that back.

I don’t care how long it takes me as long as I see progress. In fact I think it may be good for me to purposely lose weight slowly.

Yesterday I decided two things, a.) I want to buy a juicer, and b.) I want to buy a treadmill.

I gave a decent juicer to my daughter before one of my many “moves” to England and I’ve missed it. I tend not to eat much fruit and veg unless they are juiced. I’m pretty savvy about making them healthy and not overly sweet.

So last night I spent three + hours researching juicers and settled upon this one, the Omega J8007S. It’s quite a step up from what I had before, but still not a top of the line juicer. It cost me $240 which is an enormous investment in my health.

My project for the weekend will be to buy a treadmill. I’m a good walker, but I don’t enjoy walking in my neighborhood. I feel too cold, too hot, too embarrassed at who might see me, too alone. I don’t walk as far as I’d like because I just want it to be over. But I’ve had success with a treadmill before, and want to give that a go. And I like knowing I can do it whenever I want to do it.

I’ve also recommitted to vegetarianism. I was a vegetarian for over 20 years when I met the ex, a meat eating Iranian. It took a while, but eventually he seduced me with barbecued shrimp and Persian style chicken kebabs. Since then I’ve eaten bacon and now and then some fish, but I don’t feel good about any of it.

I don’t enjoy eating it much, I never have, even as a kid. Also, I am seriously sensitive to the pain and suffering of animals. I can’t eat any meat without thinking of the life and death of the animal. I’m so relieved to eat the way I want to eat and will not compromise again.

So I feel optimistic that I can embark on this journey of health. With any luck I can work into my seventies and keep being independent. Yes, I should have acted before now, but I’ve been busy regaining my sanity.

Thanks for reading.

xox

 

Weight is a Tricky Thing Indeed

I made brownies on Father’s Day for dad and ate a lot of them and am not losing weight. In the past I’d give up, shove the scale aside and binge for months until I decided to tackle my weight again.

Not now. I’m still getting up and weighing every day. I don’t want to have my head in the sand. I don’t want to pretend I don’t weigh 252 pounds.

I spend most nights alone, although I do spend several early evenings a week at my folk’s house having dinner and maybe watching Antiques Roadshow, so I have really been aware lately that the way I eat is similar to the way an alcoholic drinks. Without control. Helpless to it. Ashamed.

When I was in my early twenties, and not even overweight but thought I was, I went to an Overeater’s Anonymous meeting in Newport Beach, California. I was preyed upon by an older man who went to those meetings for one purpose: to pick up young women with self esteem issues. I later found out he just went from one newbie to another. How despicable.

So I don’t recall much about it, although I am familiar with the 12 Steps. I may look into it again — I haven’t decided. But I do feel that my “habit” is out of my control and has always been out of my control.

I feel my attempts to eat healthier foods is fairly successful, though — my primary issue is the between meal snacks. But hey, this is a small victory.

I looked at that scale this morning and thought I could be happy if, very slowly, I could get ten pounds off and then maintain it. My biggest fear is losing all the weight (haha) and then gaining it all back.

When I lost 70 pounds after the ex dumped me I read all I could on ways to keep it off because I knew it would be very difficult. Over and over again I read that the only way to (most likely) keep it off is with bariatric surgery and I do not want to go there.

My sister had that surgery over ten years ago, and she’s emaciated, malnourished, lost her teeth and much of her hair. I would not like her health, appearance, and quality of life, but to her, it is worth being skinny.

Speaking of The Sister, she never got back to me about getting together for Father’s Day. She wished him a happy father’s day on FB and never called him. I’m in such shock over that. This is the first Father’s Day she’s had in Oregon and she couldn’t even be bothered to call her father, let alone visit him. He’s 82 with COPD — I wonder how many more Father’s Days he has.

I said to him, “Dad, I’m mystified by her behavior, but there’s no excuse for her not calling you.” He agreed which was amazing because he’s usually so understanding. That’s sort of what made this worse — he’s the one who always reaches out to her. He’s the one she should reach out to.

I don’t know what to do about my sister so for now I’m doing nothing. But last year she dominated my Fall and Winter and I won’t let that happen again. Last year we “must” come to her house for her birthday slash Labor Day. And we “must” come to her house for Thanksgiving. And we “must” come to her house for Christmas.

So I did, but hated every minute of it. I went out of guilt and suffered through her children. By the time New Years came I realized she didn’t give a shit if I was there or not! What a relief! I won’t be missed if I decline her invitation!

Mom, dad, and I really don’t know if she’s pissed off, oblivious, too burdened with her own problems, or what, and nobody has the nerve to ask her what the heck is going on. I wish I had the nerve to say, “What they hell? You didn’t call dad on Father’s Day!” But my family just doesn’t do confrontation — we just wonder what’s gone wrong and never know the truth.

So my goal this Fall and Winter will be to learn how to handle the guilt for not going. I feel more sorry for my mother, who hates being over there, but as a grandparent feels she has to.

This is just incredibly sad because my sister did say to me she wanted to be here in Oregon because dad’s health was so bad. But I have been reminded that I have never really known my sister and never been close to her.

I wish there were a way to deal with my ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) so that I could easily get to the reason I overeat. I don’t have the money for therapy, and I don’t know that it would work anyway. Maybe I should put it into God’s hands, but that’s a conversation for another day. I haven’t been to church in nearly two months and it’s making me sad.

I welcome input about weight loss, but I am not interested in Weight Watchers.

xox

Summer Has Finally Come to Oregon

I love my little home, all 888 square feet of it. When you stand in the living room you can pretty much see the whole house. There’s the guest bedroom, there’s my bedroom, there’s the bathroom, there’s the kitchen, and off the kitchen is the laundry room and garage. That’s it, there aint no more.

I started laundry last night and finished it this morning. Then I swept, vacuumed, cleaned the bathroom, rearranged a few things, then ran to the store because I had invited my folks over for veggie burgers. My little home is pretty spotless and uncluttered and I have windows open and fans going. It’s a lovely early summer day. I feel really lucky.

This house is not without its challenges, in particular the mortgage each month, and the overgrown trees and shrubs that need to be taken out or seriously trimmed, but I bought myself a battery powered lawnmower and I “mow my weeds” like a boss. That reminds me, I need to plug that in tonight. The battery weighs more than the mower!

One challenge is telling myself that I don’t have to have the yard perfect in a year, or even five or ten years. I can keep it under control, more or less. But most people can look ahead to a day when they can put money into a long awaited project. I can’t see that happening for me. Except maybe a small project if I get a tax refund. That’s another time when having a life partner can make things easier. You can plan those projects together and make your home your own.

But I looked for so, so many months until I found this place and I know that it was meant for me. The inside was refinished and is almost all new. New kitchen cabinets that silently close. New subway tiles. A decent aggregate type counter top and the vinyl floors in kitchen and bathroom aren’t bad. I don’t like the carpet in the living room and bedrooms, but at least it was new carpet.

I didn’t have to do much — I paid for two new windows in my bedroom because they were the old metal ones and the rest of the house had replacement windows. I bought a used washer and dryer. Then the old fridge that came with the place died and I had to buy a new fridge. I didn’t really mind because the old fridge was the only old thing in the kitchen.

Because I’m a “creative type” I love to set things up to be pleasing to me. Small, uncluttered vignettes that just make me feel good to look at them. I bought a brand new couch and living room chair — had to wait six weeks for it to be made in Portland. It may be the last couch I ever buy. There are certain things I don’t like to cut corners on.

But I can walk around my house and point at all the things I bought at thrift stores, both in the USA and England. I can recall where I bought stuff — I really loved living in England, except for the poverty, mental torture, and missing my family back home. I could have stayed there forever if my ex could have only found a way to make some money.

I could have probably found a job, but I was never there legally. He never had the means to sponsor me.

Ironically, the vicar who married us in London has become an Instagram friend and she’s nearing retirement and has invited me to come to her home anytime. They will be moving to a village not far from Stonehenge. That’s the part of England that Christianity came to very early on. I really hope I can go. I’d rather use a tax return for that trip than take out a tree in my yard. Priorities!

So my parents came and we ate and they left. I washed all the dishes and here I sit. I played some David Bowie and whistled loudly as I washed the dishes, not worrying about what anybody thinks of that.

I’ll get together with them again tomorrow for Father’s Day — I’m making tacos at their house. I bought dad a sweet little yellow bird feeder with seed for small birds. I invited my sister but she hasn’t responded if she can come or not. Don’t get me started on that.

My life is pretty simple. There are few outings. I’d like to do more, but I’m such an introvert and I am pretty socially awkward. It’s a good thing that I just love being in my home, puttering around, or watching something on Netflix and I’m comfortable just being alone. When the clock hits 9:30 or so, I brush my teeth and go to bed. I know, I’m a wild woman.

But I’m pretty contented and it’s all mine.

xox