… the Beat Goes On

I’ve been waiting to hear if I would be making the four hour drive up to NC to bring my grandchildren back here to the beach in SC on Friday.  I had suggested to my granddaughter that perhaps she might want to ask her best friend to come to the beach with us.  This was early summer.  And then between my trips and their days with their mother (my son and his ex-wife share custody), it never happened.  Well, two weeks ago my granddaughter asked if I was still going to do it.  But, that following weekend they would be with their mom.  So we moved it to this weekend.

They go to year-round schools, which means they attend school for 9 or 10 weeks, then they are off for about 3 weeks all year round.  And it works very well.  We all like it.  But, right now — they are in school.  Hence, the weekend deal. I’d pick them up Friday after school and have them back Sunday night.

Now — some people might think I’m crazy to drive four hours to get them and four hours back down here.  Then the same in reverse for such a short time.  Actually, there have been times I’ve gone up and back in the same day.  I lived in Southern CA for 22 years, and believe me, people do this out there all the time.  So no big deal.

Spending time with my family is a big deal, though.  So whether it’s up there or here, I’m in.  And maybe that’s why in my last post, I mentioned that I discussed with Jim the fact that we have the time, since we are retired, to be the ones to make the trips to visit his family.  Seeing the grandchildren growing up and even the grown ones is such a joy.

The importance of family hit home with me when my husband died suddenly at the age of 57.  No longer could I count on spending my retirement years as we had planned, doing all the things we liked doing.  Knowing I would never celebrate my 50th anniversary with him.  Knowing he would never know any grandchildren.  Or them, him.  You always hear — live for today because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  And it’s absolutely true.

Relationships matter most

My priority is those I love.  So much of what and when I do things is dependent on their schedules, as well as mine. I think I have managed to incorporate my life and their lives very well.  Sure, I miss a few things here and there.  Mostly small things though.

When I die, I want my grandchildren and my son and daughter to remember all the fun we’ve had. So as long as I can do the drive, I will.

The following weekend, they’ll be back again for Labor Day.  That weekend will include Nascar’s Southern 500 in Darlington.  It will be my six year old grandson’s first race. Should be fun! I may be missing it, though, if my granddaughter raises too much of a stink about going.  Nascar races aren’t her thing and as we all know or can remember — almost 13 year olds really only want to do what they want to do. Otherwise you get the eye-rolling, the “it’s not fair” comments and some pretty good sulking. So, my attendance at the race all hinges on her.  Grandma may have to make the ultimate sacrifice and stay with her.  I’m hoping she chooses to go. Of course, we haven’t purchased our tickets yet.  So, it all may be a moot point.

Notwithstanding the uncertainties, I’m looking forward to these two weekends.  When I spoke to her last night, she definitely didn’t want her little brother coming this weekend.  “He’s such a pain.  He won’t leave us alone.”  I extracted a promise from him that he won’t bother the girls and if he does — he’ll have to go spend time out at Mr. Jim’s.  And in that sweet six year old voice, he replied, “I promise, Grandma.”  Makes my heart melt.

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Trying to Get a Better Perspective and Having a Hard Time of It

Retired and Happy in Murrells Inlet

I just got off the phone with an old friend.  She heard I had just come back from another trip — this one to Pittsburgh (to visit family, mostly my 76 year old sister, who lives in a nursing home) and then on the Connecticut to visit with Jim’s children.

It was good to spend the afternoon with my sister.  She had a stroke 5 years ago and is paralyzed on her left side.  She’s not a good patient and reaps her own reward per the nursing and aide staff.  But that’s another story.  Her son, his lady friend and his daughter, along with Jim and I, and my sister had lunch together in the nursing home dining room.  They left to get back to work and I took my sister out to sit in the fresh air.  She doesn’t get to do that very often.  I felt bad leaving…

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Trying to Get a Better Perspective and Having a Hard Time of It

I just got off the phone with an old friend.  She heard I had just come back from another trip — this one to Pittsburgh (to visit family, mostly my 76 year old sister, who lives in a nursing home) and then on the Connecticut to visit with Jim’s children.

It was good to spend the afternoon with my sister.  She had a stroke 5 years ago and is paralyzed on her left side.  She’s not a good patient and reaps her own reward per the nursing and aide staff.  But that’s another story.  Her son, his lady friend and his daughter, along with Jim and I, and my sister had lunch together in the nursing home dining room.  They left to get back to work and I took my sister out to sit in the fresh air.  She doesn’t get to do that very often.  I felt bad leaving her.

We left the next morning to drive to Connecticut.  It was an all day drive and we didn’t arrive until evening. His daughter was out of town on business and wouldn’t be getting in until the next day around noon.  We were okay with that as Jim’s son-in-law is a pretty neat guy and so are Jim’s grandchildren. Turned out, she got caught up in the radar breakdown over the Washington D.C. snafu and at 4 p.m., she was back at the airport to pick up her luggage after procuring a rental car to drive home to CT.  She didn’t get in until 10 p.m.

For the next couple of days, we had a great time hanging with his family.  The last time he was with them was last Thanksgiving.  We see my family quite often, but they’re only four hours away.  I’ve impressed upon him that’s it’s much more convenient for us to go see them as we have nothing but time on our hands.  They don’t necessarily want to spend their precious vacation time coming to see him all the time.  So we’ll be going to CT and Kansas more.     Untitled design

Which brings me to the gist of this post.  I got a call from a friend who wanted to talk about my trips.  No, not that kind of talk.  She and a few other friends had been talking about where I had found the money to be taking all the trips Jim and I have taken this year.  WTF?  Who cares as long as I didn’t ask her for a loan?

Why did I feel I had to justify?  What business is it of theirs?  I would always rather spend money on trips, than on furniture, clothes, etc. I reminded her that I drive an 11 year old car with 175,000 miles on it.  They all have new or newer cars. I don’t spend much money on clothes.  Most of what I wear are things my daughter has given me as gifts. She has a wardrobe to die for.  Neither Jim nor I have cable.

I have such wonderful memories I’ve gathered on trips.  I don’t feel that way about a single sofa or car.  I did have that one outfit I bought when we were visiting my son in college.  I was a knockout in it, but it itched like crazy.  And I have that one piece of sculpture by Sergio Bustamante that I got in Cancun.  That will go to my granddaughter when I die.  She was the only one to ever get excited by it.  When she was an infant and saw it, her little legs would just bounce and bounce.

So — am I right to feel ticked by the conversation? Once again, I wish I hadn’t felt the need to justify.  Are they jealous or just nosy?  I can’t think of a single time when I ever felt compelled to say anything to anyone about how they spend their money.  Except when I told Jim to stop spending his money on everything he sees on eBay. Why would anyone care?  They can all spend money on trips if that’s how they feel.

Okay, my rant is over.  Got it off my chest. I would love to hear how you feel about it.  Would you be ticked like me?  Or would you let it just roll off your back?

*I just read an email update on an acquaintance who was horribly burned in an accident on her farm.  Why am I even wasting any of my energy on being ticked about an insignificant issue when Martha is fighting for her life? Life is definitely too short.  I intend to enjoy my days left on this Earth.

Going to my Happy Place

For those of you who know me well, you know that music is an important part of my being.  I’d rather listen to music than watch television.  And music does soothe the soul.

I like and listen to all kinds of music, which puts me at odds with most of my friends who prefer one type — oldies or country. If you listen to my iPod — okay — my mp3 player — my selections are all over the chart. My favorite type, and has been for about the last 15 years, is Smooth Jazz.

I discovered Smooth Jazz when my husband died.  Pop music was too upbeat when I was not.  Country singers sang about somebody leaving or their trucks or their beer.  Smooth Jazz is mostly instrumental.  Which, at the time, suited me just fine.  I didn’t want words.  I had enough words and thoughts flowing through my head already.

I have since incorporated country and pop back into my music choices — namely Lady Gaga, Zac Brown Band, Rihanna and Jason Aldean.

If I find myself feeling down, I listen to something to put me in my happy place.  One such song is easy Like Sunday Morning by Paul Jackson, Jr.  If you are unfamiliar with him, here’s a link if you want to check him out.

Another favorite is one I use for walking.  It has a great beat that seems to match my footsteps perfectly.  I have other songs that work, but this one keeps up the pace I like.

What do you do to get in your happy place?

Revisiting my goals

You would think being retired, I would have time to focus on projects I’ve taken on.  And I do have the time.  Why do I waste so much of it?  Maybe I need to step away from Bingo Bash and Mahjong on Facebook.  Or Jewel Quest II on my computer.

I started my blog well over a year ago.  I really never planned to do one.  It just sort of happened.  I had helped a friend set his up and I enjoyed the process of getting it all ready for posts.  So then I decided to set up a blog of my own.  And I’m glad I did.  I really enjoy doing it.  So why am I so lackadaisical about it?  It’s not like I don’t  have things to write about.  My head is full of all kinds of random stuff.  I hate when I procrastinate — which I do too much.  I suspect I have a lot of company on this one, right?

About a year ago, I publicly stated that I was setting a goal of one post a week.  And I’ve failed miserably.  Bad girl — go to your room!  If you haven’t learned to set priorities by the time you’re 72, will you ever learn?  Is it too late for me?  Well, I’m giving it another go.  This time with the help of a writing course.

I will be driving you all nuts with my daily posts, so bear with me.  It won’t last forever.  And when I’m all through, maybe I’ll be a better writer — and a big maybe here — maybe I will become disciplined enough to post weekly.

Wish me luck!