Vacation & Cemeteries

Who knew this vacation would find Mike and I exploring so many cemeteries. We wandered through three in Cambridge NY and found this one in Leominster. I was drawn to the round sphere of a stone. I even caught myself in the sphere. I loved how one stone said thank you for stopping by. Mike and I enjoy learning the history of a town and people who lived there. This cemetery has 378 Union soldiers buried here and many from both World Wars. It was a beautiful fall day to venture out. 

It has been an interesting time for me to relax and enjoy my time off. We have traveled and stayed in three states so far but have enjoyed our time in each. Cambridge NY has rolling hills and beautiful landscape that is so different from the flat flat flat land of Delaware where we live. I loved looking at the changing leaf color and also the differences in the farming between NY and DE. A lot is the same what is different is the land. 

We traveled to Amherst MA after NY and used GPS to lead our way through very scenic land. The GPS did great but at one point we followed a road GPS told us to go on and it gradually turned into a dirt road only to find us creating a hill and coming up behind a farmers barn. I told Mike I thought we were in a farmers field when the farmer himself walked across his drive and waved at us. One of the farmhands looked at us as if this happened everyday. We finally got to Amherst and I drove Mike all over UMASS showing him where I went to college and where I lived. I told Mike I wish I had not been so frightened and shy when I attended college. It took me two years to settle in at college. I am no longer in touch with anyone I went to college with which sometimes makes me sad. I am much closer to friends who I grew up with. I still communicate with them via Facebook and letters. I’m old fashioned and still write letters. 

We are staying with my nephew and his family for a few days prior to heading to Maine. It has been a quiet and relaxing visit. My great nephew seems to enjoy my company and smiles a lot. He is pretty laid back as are his parents. 

I had a wonderful conversation with Jon and Maria prior to leaving. They have inspired me to write more and continue expressing myself and even step it up some! Stay tuned! 


Love and PTSD 

Life has been in a constant state of flux for a year now. I am getting better at dealing with change and going with the flow. I found in dealing with my mental illness that people are still wary and uncomfortable knowing I have it. Mental illness acceptance has come a long way but still carries a stigma. People are more comfortable with sick days at work for the flu, migraines or any physical ailment but try to call out when struggling in the throes of a bad mental health day and you get chastised, told to get over it or the worst…When others state there is nothing wrong with me.

I knew from early in our relationship that Michael had PTSD. I have observed it and witnessed it’s hold on him. I have heard people doubt that he has it. I am often astounded that people would never think of telling someone with a heart condition or cancer that they don’t have it but think nothing of telling someone dealing with mental health issues that they do not have any problems. I was told recently to get over the struggles I was experiencing trying to be there for Mike, to be strong but at times it can be harrowing to hear what he experienced. I assume others have the same degree of compassion for the suffering we all have in our lives but am shocked when they say hurtful and unhelpful things. 

I don’t often speak of my troubles and worries to others and am grateful to my friends who are there for me. I am thankful to be on life’s journey with Mike. He recently started therapy for the PTSD. I can see an amazing transformation already in a short time. He has embarked on a few projects around our home and property. He has big dreams and takes steps towards fulfilling them. One of them has been cutting a trail through the wooded part of our property. It is where he feels at home and safe with nature and wildlife around him. 

I hope to write more about our journey with the PTSD. I have found writing though difficult lately has helped as well as photography. I took both photos yesterday at sunset.

Bees and Life

I feel as though the bees in my present photos reflect a lot about my life and perhaps my friends lives. I at times feel as though work takes up so much of my time that my friends fall to the wayside. And I think it is similar with my friends. I really get irritated when people say if it is important to you then you would make time. That is easy to say and something else to actually achieve. I used to live twenty minutes from most of my friends but now live forty five minutes to an hour away. My friends are busy too with their lives and struggles. The bees are always working always buzzing and doing the best they can. They work towards the same goal but don’t have time to acknowledge the other as pictured in my photos. 

It seems as though the last year of my life has been walking from one crisis or hiccup to the next. The end of July is the one year anniversary of Michael’s car accident. We are still a one car family. Still waiting for the insurance money to come through. Michael went through much physical therapy and is now doing quite well. Working at ups is pretty stressful and now they have changed our pension and retirement which is bringing me much closer to leaving in the next year. If I stay beyond the next few years I actually lose money for my retirement. Both Mike and I had similar health issues this past winter with Mike having to undergo surgery. My mom and stepdad were in a serious car accident a month before Mike and my wedding. I have missed much work this year more than I ever had. Thankfully my bosses worked with me on the time off. Mike and I got married in May. I had another health scare the end of May. It turned into me fighting with a nurse practitioner who in trying to cover all her bases wanted me to get what I considered an unnecessary test. She then proceeded to call me two times asking why I did not have the test done. She went as far as to try telling me I may have a form of cancer. I did get checked by my primary care doctor and my gynecologist. Both said that I am incredibly healthy for my age. A week ago I was in a hit and run accident. I was unhurt but was very frustrated that the person got away, my bosses boss thought I was trying to get an additional day off when I called out due to the accident and then it took quite a bit of explaining to 911 to explain where I was and where the accident occurred. Mike and I live on the state lines of Delaware and Maryland. This resulted in my 911 calling first going to Maryland though my accident was in Delaware then I was transferred to southern Delaware’s dispatcher before being transferred to the correct dispatcher. I was screaming at this point. I had been chasing the driver who hit me but was told to stop. It took the police three hours to respond to my accident due to two very large fires occurring not far from my accident. I ended up driving home as the accident took place only half mile from home. I should have known something was up when I told the dispatcher where my accident occurred and they said where is that. 

Getting back to the bees and to finish this long rambling post. I learned an important lesson that I have struggled with and that is the need to let go… Of outcomes, of what each day will bring, and what others think say and do. Like the bees I am going out every day to do my best and now I think I need to start reaching out to friends, family and others. Perhaps that is what the accident taught me was to reach out.

Dover Air Force Base Museum 

Mike and I were on Dover Air Force Base today to get id’s. Mike got an updated military id while I received a spouse id. I had not realized it was something I needed as I was not with Mike when he was active duty. It was a little intimidating driving up to the main gate and then maneuvering around the base. Mike knew for the most part where we were going as he finished his career at Dover working on the C5-A’s engines after working for many years on the B-52’s jet engines while stationed in California. I drove like a tourist on base gawking and looking at all the buildings and straining to see if I could see air craft which much to my surprise were located at the far end of the runway and hard to see. Dover Air Force Base is home to a fleet of C5 cargo aircraft which are enormous lumbering planes but carry a lot of whatever needs moving. Dover is also home to the mortuary where deceased and killed in action service members from abroad come to prior to heading to their home state for burial. I found it sobering when driving past the mortuary complex. Though the building and complex itself was understated and was labeled like all the other buildings. 

After Mike and I finished what we needed to I asked it we could visit the museum on base which turns out is actually just off base. When you enter the museum you walk through a long hallway filled with photos and stories on Medal of Honor recipients through history. The hallway emptied out into a hangar where there were about ten aircraft from a glider used during World War Two to a B-17 and everything in between. I enjoyed looking at photos and paintings of the nose art that used to be painted on planes. I cannot imagine sitting in the turrets located all over the B-17. After we explored inside the hangar we went outside to view the many aircraft on display. There were around twenty five planes outside. Some you could go inside and others you needed a tour guide with you which we did not have. While walking around we could observe an AWACS plane practicing touch and go’s. 

All photos were taken with my phone as I had not planned on going to the museum when we set out this morning. I used a black and white filter on the first photo and I loved the side view mirror outside the cockpit. I was intrigued by the vastness of the collection both propeller planes and jets. I especially liked the Linus painting. I enjoyed our day and we finished our tour of the museum visiting their 9/11 Memorial which had two pieces of steel from the 81st floor of one of the towers as well as piece of the pentagon and a rock from where flight 93 went down. 

I found photographing the planes a challenge.

Say No To Fat Shaming 

I went to my doctor today for my annual check up. I honestly was dreading it as I was fearful what my bloodwork and other tests would show. I am overweight and have never fit into the BMI scale. For my height it says ideally I should weigh 135. I haven’t weighed 135 since I was 17. I have experienced fat shaming at work, with acquaintances and those closer to me and from complete strangers. For years I would not take a selfie or let people post photos of me. I am astonished when people feel the need to comment on my looks and weight. I have been gifted clothing to reduce my size. I listened to my coworker’s tell a fellow coworker how wonderful they looked after having stomach reduction surgery. They lost almost 85 pounds as a result. Skinny gets attention, love and it’s what sells magazines, movies and other things. I was handed diet food at work one night saying I may need it. I asked the employee why and they almost choked trying to give me a politically correct answer. I am not ashamed of my body, my body type or the fact that I have to shop for clothes in large and extra large size. 

The doctor ran an ekg on me, then came in asking many, many questions covering my lifestyle, exercise, diet, family history and then asked questions on every part of my body. It was very comprehensive and I asked questions too. I was shocked when the doctor said my bloodwork was normal as were other tests, my blood pressure and pulse was normal, my lungs were surprisingly clear given my asthma. The doctor said I am amazingly healthy in spite of being on the obese side of the BMI scale. I want to tell people who automatically assume that fat people are not healthy to shove it. I know I carry extra weight I don’t need to be told that. My doctor knows I carry extra weight but we are working on healthy ways to reduce my weight. I am proud of my look and my health. I may not be the size 8 or 10 that you see in movies, magazines or elsewhere but I love my body. I will not fear next years annual exam and I will for new ways to deal with those who feel compelled to comment on my weight. 

I will continue to write about it as needed and take more photos of myself as I start the journey to lose weight. I am starting horseback riding again next week after not riding for sixteen years. I asked Mike for a bike for my birthday and I got one😃. I am looking forward to taking more photos with a new to me camera. I have been making more time for myself and Mike and I have been embracing a new round of self care. I have been caring for others a lot the past four months as well as all the pets and sometimes forget to care for me. 

I chose this photo of me as I love it and think I look great!

Magic Afoot

It seemed almost as if magic was afoot when I spotted the gray fox in our yard. He started in our back yard then proceeded to the side and front yard which is where I took these photos (from a bedroom window) 

I had returned home from a two and a half week pet sitting job on Tuesday. I sometimes find I have a difficulty being home again after being away for a while. It’s like being on alert all the time while pet and house sitting to not having to be as vigilant. 

I as always look to nature and animals to help me find my balance again. It is a real treat coming home. Driving down our driveway is a way for me to unwind. It is 7/10 of a mile long winding its way across a creek and through woods. I often encounter turkeys and deer when I arrive home in the evening. The driveway spills out into a two acre yard. The house is set back against the woods so the cleared area is our front yard. It is a real treat to watch all the birds and animals who visit us. We have a pair of bluebirds nesting in one bird box while a pair of purple martins have taken up another. Mike has many bird feeders out and has always had been feeding the birds. I was delighted to discover turkeys both male and female who wander through our property. We often have raccoons, possums, squirrels and red foxes visit but only twice have we had the gray fox visit. It made me happy it was comfortable enough to hang out for a little bit. Both Mike and I keep Ted Andrews book Animal Speak nearby and enjoy looking up the different animal meanings. 

I am truly blessed living with Mike and living on the sweet piece of property we own. I am hoping to have one bedroom set up by the end of the summer for writing, painting and photography. 

Reflections on my Birthday 

As I rapidly approach my forty eighth birthday (in twenty minutes😃) I was reflecting on my life over the past fifteen years specifically from my divorce from my first husband to marrying Mike a month ago. When I divorced my first husband I was devastated as I felt I lost my chance to live in a house and be stable. It was a short lived marriage and after getting over the heartbreak I found it was for the best to not be with him. I wasn’t sure if I could finically support myself again, find a place to live or find peace. After much work and soul searching I found I thrived living alone. I lived in three different apartments prior to meeting Mike. I lost one apartment to a fire started by a neighbor trying to make drugs over the stove. Through it all I relied on friends and a cousin to support me and keep me going. I tried dating through both friends setting me up and five different online sites. I was determined not to settle for anyone just so I was not alone. I was able to further my knowledge and education without having to worry about someone holding me back. I acquired art and books. (I love visiting art exhibits and thankfully Mike is happy to accompany me). When I met Mike I was frightened by how well we got along and wanted to run quite a few times as if a happy relationship was not something I was worthy of in my eyes. Silly as it seems I channeled my inner George Costanza and did opposite George where in the past I would run this time I forced myself to go on dates with Mike. We slowly got to know each other and honestly at times I felt like I had known him forever. It is wonderful to be married to someone who loves you without trying to change you. I share a home with Mike and he does not mind all the artwork I have hung in every room nor all the books I also have in every room except his office. I even have books in the bathroom. Over the past year we have hit many road bumps both with ourselves and our family and have grown closer with each occurrence. 

I would have never thought fifteen years ago that by age 48 I would be married again, celebrating 20 years at ups and enjoying my life with as much carefree abandon as my quiet shy self can muster. I am thankful and grateful to all my friends and fellow creatives who inspire me everyday with photos, stories, poem, essays and paintings. I’m looking forward to expanding my creativity and am looking to start painting in the fall. At this point the best I can do is finger paint so I can only improve. Onwards and upwards to live each day to the fullest!

Scenes From My Weekend

A Storm Blew Through

Sunday Morning Walk in the Garden (at work)

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