21. Living Wisely

Journal #97 February 2010 – November 2010

I am using the gift my son gave; the Secret Gratitude journal. Wes is coming home from Mesa after being on a few week’s holiday with guy friends. I have lots of gratitude for Wes; for my healthy body, for coffee; for free flowing emotions, my poems; my writing; my singing ability; my relationship with my kids; my life; great job; money; nice house; wonderful friends; flowers; beauty in the world; love; good food; great co-workers.

I put in a job share proposal at work. The idea is I will work April until September full time and my job share partner would work October to March in each year. It would allow me to go to Mesa for the winter and maybe a younger mom to be home with her kids in summer. Wes and I complete a first budget together.

A friend of mine prints BOOK II. I’m being gramma at soccer games; visiting my aunt a lot; walking with close friends; sorting music. The roof of my house is leaking. I’m trying the indoor golf dome experience as practice for the upcoming March holiday in Mesa. It’s a new way to spend time with friends as well.

March 2, 2010 My aunt dies at ninety eight years old. Feels monumental to me. A Tuesday. My last phone call to her two days before, she asked me to say hi to Wes and repeated several times, “Take Care of Yourself.”

When I told her, “Pretend you’re getting a hug,” she answered, “I got it.”

You know what I was most happy about; that on my visit the Saturday before her death; she could still walk to the bathroom and she still had her own panties on. The nurse, when I phoned, told me the morning she died, said she was tired; went back to bed, lay down and died. What a gift her life was to us.

It was a hard decision and yet not, to carry on with our pre planned trip to Mesa. Helped knowing I had said my good-byes and had been there for her in all the ways I had wanted. I was really glad my kids were going to the funeral.

Wes picked me up from work at noon on March 4, 2010. Off to Rosetown, Kindersley and on towards the Alberta border. Snowy great plains landscape where the deer and the antelope play. Actually, the antelope kept their distance. Deer jumped the highway. I’m humming a song called Homeward Bound. We see the open pit coal mining, a sugar factory and about twenty windmills before the border guard asks “How do you two know each other?”

Wes is speechless.

I say ,“We live together.”

Good to go. We pass oil derricks and then we’re into badlands. Great Falls stop for the night and then the mountains and canyons. Scenic sunrise. Miles and miles of empty train containers. This is similar to the BC Rockies mountain landscape. Incredible beauty. Red rock formations like steps on the mountains. I can see how jewelery and art are inspired by nature. A high, snowy mountain pass with fog for a hundred feet and then sunshine. I see the the sign Bridge of Madison County. We see hawks in Idaho as we leave the rocky mountains behind. Wes and I delve into life’s deepest questions. Do we believe in an after life?

Scenic postcard shots much of the way. Salt Lake City had the winter Olympics one time so all the mountains should not have been a surprise but were. We stay in Beaver, Utah and now back on the road, are munching snacks a friend packed for us. We go through places that look like Drumheller and Cranbrook and see a Wallmart Distribution Centre. Huge. Huge. Huge, but then looks small compared to the magnitude of the mountainous land masses.

Exciting when see first palm trees and desert grasses. Miles and miles of twisting, turning, up and down canyon roads. Sheer Rock. Looks like golfing and gambling happening at Mesquite. Native inspired art on the freeways. Resort hotels,casinos, golf courses,a sign suggesting try out a machine gun or I see a poster to be a co-star. Twenty four hour everything. Live here, eat free it says. Bottomless mugs, Steak Dinner for $4.99 at Las Vegas.

I found the 1931-35 built Hoover Dam mind boggling that now, a new bridge is being built. Indescribable green and brown mountain ranges. How did the pioneers cross is my question? So rugged. We get to Kingman, Arizona. It feels weird driving through town at the speed of seventy five miles per hour, We’re through fast and the desert is in bloom. So green and filled with yellow flowers, aquave plants and orange blossoms. Finally the saguaro. Came to Phoenix through Surprise. Spent one hundred and sixty dollars U.S. on gas and one hundred and fifty dollars on hotels to get here in three days.

Helped celebrate a friend’s fortieth anniversary; bought a noodle for aqua size, had an unforgettable tennis lesson and now own a free bike. We went to a hillbilly Saskatchewan party in Scottsdale, enjoyed turkey dinner for nineteen and no kidding, had tennis, golf and biking in one day. That day was too tired for the hot tub. I love the yoga and hiking. I now own a deluxe three wheel walking cart for golf. My sister and her husband come; then Wes’s brother and his wife and even had cousins visit. I win a large, blue candle centrepiece at the concert in the park and the man presenting states, “You will bring light to the park.”

Blueprints are made and within weeks; we are signing off for a future Arizona room.

Deep,deep emotion when back home in April. Aloneness feeling; revisiting the grief of change, Dad and Mom being gone, losing my aunt, my friend, the end of a way of life if we’re thinking of living half time in Arizona.

Told my manager at work how much I enjoyed Arizona; and he said, “What? The weather? Their economy is tanked, it’s a republican state, they’re at war, the dollar is down, largest per cent of homelessness in the US….”, and he continued with a few other things. Unsure what that was all about.

Soon after, I am told the job share is not a go. Went into deep despair that lasted a month. Surprised me; not at how deep it was but at the bitterness I went through. It was like too bitter a pill to swallow; my nose was even burning. I burned my fingers when I was trying to bake a pie. Body hurting. So down. Sleepless nights. Transformation I hope. Deep into fear and then crying. Went through release of emotion for days.

April 17,2010 Golfed eighteen at Silverwood with a forty one and forty three.

I’m learning to live

Learning to love

All over again

Getting rid of the hate

Rid of the sorrow

Of deep inner pain

Denying my love

For all that’s lost

Won’t give in

Destroying my trust

In all that is over again

Letting us in

Listening inside

Is how we’ve won

Lost in the wasteland

Lost in despair

My girl had no answers

How to get out of there

Descent into darkness

The blackness of cloth

Clinging tightly

At home at last

Lessons in remembrance

Come into play

Magic of illusion

In our day to day

Dreams so big

All but gone

Despair anchored

Finding what’s wrong

Dense review

Derision aside

Detail life

My own best bride

Drift on awaits

Challenging the deep

Dancing in the wilderness

Instead of sleep

Remembering my life

The strength to go on

And make a contribution

And still have time to play

Keeping all my strengths

Adding to them too

An outlet for my desires

That will be my fuel.

Incredible amounts of energy going up and down my legs. End of May still in the sorting of my life. I sold my 1994 car and Wes buys a 2010 Jeep.

Wrote the following from a four part collage:

“WHAT ALL KNOW: Shared life experience, come walk with me whether walk, golf or all just for the fun of it. Love purposeful work.

WHAT INTIMATES KNOW: I want a smart way of adult fitness. A work out that works. Connected like yoga. Arizona, a place to play. Wes and I can get ready to dance.
WHAT I KNOW: I love nature; gives me perspective. I have the courage to break tradition. I’m celebrating that I am always growing. I live my life in style, beauty and elegance. I need to express. Life can be as complex or as simple as we make it. Always connected is so important; more important than degrees. I choose to do other things like write a first and second book than to get the social work degree or the certified insurance professional designation. I have a way of giving back. I stand out at work. TRUST.

WHAT NEEDS KNOWING: I can trust. Look back with pride and love. I have left a legacy. I’ve got the goods, something to say and it’s a way of saying thanks. We are a guest here on earth and we can go home to ourselves any time. Writing a third book. Doing my best. What I can do when I have time off work. A new chapter. Advanced performance. Empowered vision. Relooking at the past through memories. Making room in my life to do it. Every step counts in getting to today. I have been dedicated to healing, to being the best I can be, to discovering – what is my culture? It is serious; about people, energy, sensibility, transitions, back from the fire. New vision: activity, innovative awakening. I have a gift: prestige not, debut unfolding, support of great minds, climb, ideas, labour of love, extending myself, taking care of business with power and precision. Changing happy endings. Peak.”

Coming up with new ideas for a transitional retirement for my employment and a second proposal is submitted for why a six month job sharing contract could work and benefit the company. Did some serious retirement financial planning. Reread my first book. Talked to my renters about increasing rents. Was able to get a tradesman to put vents in roof which will prevent any future leaking from condensation or winter ice dam build ups.

As if I needed to gather strength to do what needs to be done, to tell my truth in order that the despair can lift. The deepest feelings are where Essence lives. Pounding in my brain. Not going insane. Deepening. Reminder to myself. I am whole. I am where I need to be. I am loved. I love. I am free. A spiritual coming to be of energies.

Have my second book in print and brought it home. Wes helped me. If not for him, I don’t think I would have did it. He and I have put our papers together in the same filing cabinet. A summer of flooding in various areas of Saskatoon. When I’m not in fear of my house flooding, I am golfing or working; being with the kids, out with friends. I enjoyed the northern lake experience of Waskesieu with Wes.

I had the idea to read the second book; write the third but got as far as reading the songs from the second book; had them in my head and tough time getting them out, so left that idea alone. Went to friends and families fiftieth and thirty fifth wedding anniversaries which makes me realize how old I’m getting. Was all strung out following the family anniversary; golfing with my brother who had abused me when I was young.

I tried not to let it upset me, but notice am just not overflowing with peace, love and joy. Twice I put the golf hole flag in front of his ball; or when I went to move the flag, I hit him on the leg with it. For weeks after the anniversary, I was crying every time I’d be alone, over everything.

It was another review of the past. Often times I am thinking of retirement. The world of work seems to be shrinking. I know my kids don’t need me. My son is struggling with ending another job. His relationship is over. My daughter is trying to reignite an old one. I am so grateful I am sharing my life with Wes. How often I wanted to be loved, to be cared about; to share my thoughts, my singing, my songs. I’d say success.

I began sorting my song collection from through the years; not just ones I had made up but hundreds I had learned as a child and ones playing at dances and churches. It was as if I had hundreds of songs in my head at once some days. Idea to make a cd of my own songs. Any reason to? Am I here on earth to share more? Do something with the second book? A third? Reprint the first? And then I’m crying thinking these thoughts .Do I matter? What am I here for? Why do I have to do anything? Can’t I be okay with what is? Not doing yoga anymore. Not seeing auras like I used to. Drinking about four to five drinks a week. Does that matter? Is that too much?

Now thinking about selling my house. We sometimes talk about possibility of Wes and I selling the condo we’re in and moving. Doubtful on that one. Look around the condo; as having four women over for supper and wondering if our decorating is tacky and then I think,“No, it’s comfortable. I have touchstone everything. All my things mean something and we’ve made our place a home.”

My work says no to a six month job share again but we did talk about the possibility of a leave of absence. I went for a night in the country at my sister in laws. She listened as I talked about writing the first book called Wanted: Someone to Understand and now the second book As Long As I Understand is printed. I spoke of how poems had come first and then songs with titles like Grieving Alone and Found. I told her that last one is saying, “Now I’m not alone, I know that it’s true, there’s someone out there for me and for you,” and how I wonder all the time if it is time for me to write a third book.

While there, I went by myself for a country walk and connected deep. Twenty minutes of wailing. Such a good feeling to connect. Came home saying what a wonderful weekend it had been. Dreaming that night an older woman with blue eyes willed me her blue dress. Blue for me is expression, speaking out.

Ideas forming to make a website of songs, poems, writings, books, history, an archives, and complete a project about my aunt. Talked to my renters about the possibility of selling the house. The basement tenant asks me to wait to see if he can get a mortgage to buy. I wait two weeks. It doesn’t work for him.

A summer highlight was being gramma at an old fashioned fair with the wild rides. Felt like I had been beat up for days but incredible fun. Now I’ll get to watch football and soccer games.

I have been financial sorting for months; trying to figure out where I’d be at if I take time off work. We go ahead and buy tickets to Arizona for January 2011. Then the January to April leave of absence previously put in gets turned down but do know I can have a month leave approved by management so air tickets won’t be a waste. I decide to list the house. The tenant then gives notice.

September 2010, I explore a new idea for working half time; a fifty fifty job share. Two weeks on. Two weeks off. A precursor to retirement. Home half time; can write, create, do something with books, archives, website and it would be an all new way of living the winter. So much to process. There are lots of other things happening.

Wes sold his business and retiring at the end of October. We have our Mesa home. I am selling my house. My work. Is it time to end? It would be the end of a sixty five thousand dollar job. Or, would I quit and find different work in the summer?

Why do I want to be in Arizona and a list comes. Play music. I’ve made a song list of song titles. I’ve checked out a piano cost with headphones. I have a yoga practice, can learn a gym routine, go biking, go hiking, can complete the project about my aunt, can reread my second book, research self-publishing, make own writer’s website, email friends, link with Tamara’s House idea, make a creative group or a singing group similar to sacred web singers, apply for a green card; idea that I am a social worker and with insurance adjuster skills; have what’s needed if a disaster strikes. If I’m in the States can write my friends or do nothing. That would be a novel experience. I’ve also had the idea to take classes for a certified senior adviser. I guess I am redefining and redesigning my life.

I went to a Saturday workshop at the library on archiving. Won a book. Totally fitting for me. Came home that night and found out my Monday night golf buddy and closest Mesa friend has breast cancer. Devastating. I can’t quit crying.

End of September I put in job share request for the two weeks on and two weeks off. A co-worker with young children wants to apply and does. Went to a blinds and drapery demonstration for ideas for the Arizona room. Won an area rug. That weekend used the previous win of a hotel weekend with brunch gift certificate with two women friends. The three of us plan a give away of something we love; something that was a part of our life and now we are willing to part with. I love the earrings and ring I receive.

I have such gratitude for all that is happening in my life. With girlfriends and friends we talk about our philosophy in life. Mine about living in harmony with all. Peace begins with self.

October 6, 2010 The job share is approved. Dream next morning: “Woman sitting in corner of bleachers finding her voice.”

I have to rent out my basement suite. The house is being shown for sale quite often, and we are telling prospective tenants that it is for sale. Found out a tenant has legal right to three months notice if house sells. Lots of no shows. Ones that did show, I was was not sure about. One let me know his last two places had bedbugs so was glad he did not follow up.

Within days of my job share approval, I buy the eight tickets I will need between November and April so I can spend my two weeks off in Arizona. Seems a little bizarre but I think it’s worth it. I paid two hundred and seventy dollars average; taxes in; per ticket; so that works out to two thousand dollars for the eight tickets so I can keep a job that’ll now give me a bit better than thirty thousand dollars a year. Yes, worth doing.

Wes talks of needing to use or lose air miles so we choose dates for a 2011 spring Eastern European tour. Still journalling everyday. So much on my mind. The journal my son gave me is coming to an end so will have to find another. This was a beautiful hard cover journal with quotes by Rhonda Byrne. The one today said,“My mind is in perfect conscious touch with the intelligence of the universe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Cleaning up the leaves; blowing out the eaves troughs. Making buns; buns to share at work. We’re having a chile cook off. I made extra for the co-worker who gives me a ride whenever I want one. I usually walk the one hour home from work.

Went to the Aboriginal Government Employee’s Conference (AGEN) in Regina. Love that I went as needed time alone. Wes seems to be like that too; in that I notice he waits until he is alone to be able to do things; like setting up his files at home now that he will no longer have an office. I’m craving time alone. How do I take it and feel good about it? When Wes is home, I want to be with him.

I am looking forward to the two weeks off that will come with the job share as want to see what happens when I have time. In the past, poems and songs came when I had time. Will they again?

Rented the basement suite. What a lovely young woman! She’s going to university and has a part-time government job I think. Was totally comfortable with her wanting it. Felt right.

OUR NOVEMBER TRIP TO ARIZONA. We are driving. The night before our trip is to begin, low tire light is on. All tire stores are closed. Wes’s shop is done. He has retired from the tire business and there is something wrong with a tire. Wouldn’t you know it! We put air in it the night before and six thirty am we’re on the road. Freezing rain by Vanscoy; okay by Delisle. We stop at a Rosetown tire store; across from the rink where a younger Wes broke his leg and lost his teeth in hockey. Half hour tire care free of charge because of Wes’s tire service over the years; a handshake and we’re on our way.

I read the Star Phoenix out loud. Look around and see Elrose is now an oil area. Rain and plus three as we leave Speedy Creek at ten am. Gas at Val Marie. Grasslands National Park. Antelope twins and their mama. Cattle Gates. Port of Monchy. Guard asks “Where you going?”

I say,“Mesa.”

He says, “No, you’re not. You don’t have a signed passport, and asks Wes,”Are you a doctor?” and with his no, he continues, “Your signature looks like one.” I pull out a pen and sign as he asks, “Fruit, vegetables, meat, or plants?”, and when we say no, he ends, “have a good winter.”

Six men on horseback driving two to three hundred head of black angus cattle. We follow them for miles. Badlands and pine trees; red rock hillsides. Fall colors coming back. Leaves on the trees. Vastness of the landscape amazes. Constantly changing as we move through Billings, Montana to Sheridan, Colorado to stay overnight. Cool sleep. Wyoming sunrise. Hunters on the side of the road. Cattle country rangeland to the extreme. Cattle semi trucks non stop. We drive one hundred km an hour through Denver which has about 500,000 people. Saskatoon has to take notes.

It’s twenty five degrees here. A pine tree mountain pass welcomes us and who knew there is a Las Vegas, New Mexico. Radio has German sounding Mexican music. Comfort Inn at Santa Fe where we enjoy margaritas and Mexican fare at the Blue Corn Cafe. Fall is still here. The vastness again as we travel towards Albuquerque. Miles of nothing. but magnificent red mesas. Truck convoys from Montana to Arizona. Twelve thousand foot elevation at Flagstaff compared to thirteen hundred at Cypress Hills. Sign says “Watch for Elk” and landscape reminds me of Radium, BC. Arrive at our desert abode having enjoyed the pink bougainvillea flowers upon entering Arizona. It’s twenty seven above and the renovation looks good. Thirty two hundred km equaled thirty two hours driving; $260 gas and $120 in rooms.

I was in Mesa about sixteen days; flying home by myself on the fifteenth of November.. Lots of action when I was down south. The Arizona room was framed when we got there; then drywalled and stuccoed to match the park model’s inner walls. Biggest bathroom you ever saw. Mistake? Oh well, has the laundry and everyone says we can dance in it. Wasn’t the easiest relaxing time off as men here nearly every day or we were out buying the washer and dryer, looking at curtains, a couch and chairs. They call them sleepers; we call them hide-a-beds. Me picking paint chips. I did not phone anyone back home; kids or anyone; must have needed the break.

Did golf a few times; sometimes golfing with Wes; golfing with the women here and sometimes two of us women put our names in for a tee time. Interesting that we end up golfing with a Saskatchewan couple.

And, surprisingly, while I am there, I start summarizing my journals. Is it the start of writing the third book? My sister who rents the main floor of my house phones that they will be moving December fifteenth as have bought a house, so have to start the rental process all over or will the house sell?

Lots of questions while I’m there. Will this flitting back and forth work? Stomach was in knots over so much going on; before I came down and while I was there.

Wes had eight men over after golf; so I phoned the women. They came too. Glad it worked. Next morning; had deep crying going on over one of the women bringing a wonderful dish of appetizers without being asked. So nice. So kind. I guess this crying is gratitude.

The crying continues for days. I’m so worked up. It’s like a tap was turned on. Is it over going home alone? Is it work? Will the job share work? Will I drive to work now or walk? Wes won’t be there. Renting out the house? Selling it? Divine intervention as to when all will happen? Is that my spirituality speaking? Or is it me processing my whole life again?

Solitary it will be if I don’t share. This is all about coming to terms with who I am. The life I am creating. The plane rides home, getting groceries; the newness of this life down here in a different country where many carry guns. How do I stay connected to life back there? To BE and DO; in harmony with all. How do I stay connected to Wes while I’m gone. I never want to lose what we have.

Had all day flight experiences by myself. Enjoyed. This ticket was Phoenix to Chicago to Regina to Saskatoon. The flights coming up throughout the winter are all different. Went well. Finished reading a book on the rituals of our lives. The house felt empty. I took the car to work the next day. Work went well.

First Saturday home, I’m sitting in bed by myself opening Wes’s mail. In the two weeks we were gone, he had twenty-two letters and I had two. We had lots to talk about on the phone. Bizarre feeling even though he wants me to open his mail. Wonder where life will go from here? Lots of love, harmony and wholeness.

End of Journal # 97. End of this book.


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