Incomplete

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As she walked along Main Street of this funky little fishing village, turned artsy community, she knew that she would feel incomplete when she left it. It was just a small village, but she had visited it many times. Every time she was here, she was afraid it would be the last time. She felt like it should be the first. She felt she belonged here.

Have you ever found a place that felt like “your” place? A place where you felt perfectly at home. Like you could fit in perfectly. That’s how she felt in this village. Like she had finally found home. She didn’t know what made her feel this way. Maybe because the village was full of creative people. Eccentric people. People who had gotten tired of the ways of the outside world and had somehow found this village to escape whatever they had to escape. She liked everyone she had met here. Odd. She didn’t like many people these days. She liked the people here.

Here, in this village, she could smile again. It had been a long time since she had smiled. All her cares seemed to slip away here along with the bad memories. She didn’t think about or remember him anymore. The one who had hurt her so badly. She didn’t even think about the one she had left. It felt like a fresh start here in this small village.

She had to leave it at least one more time, even though leaving left her feeling so incomplete. She had to at least go back home and wrap up her affairs. Then, she could come back here and stay forever. She could study the ecosystem as they tried to re-establish the wetlands. She could write her novel and get this second novel placed with a publisher. She could live day-to-day and not put any value on the material stuff of life.

She had already rented a place to live here. Her new life before her was exciting. She thought he had ruined it. He had certainly tried. If she was honest, she would say that he had ruined parts of it. She wouldn’t ever feel anything again for a man. At least she could still feel for a place. This magical place.

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Elusive

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Sleep was always elusive for her. Her battles were fought when she was awake. She lived the consequences during her sleep at night. She had fought too many battles. This last battle had marked her deeply. It wasn’t over yet. In fact, it had barely begun. She was divorcing her husband of many years. They had not gotten along in years. So many years, she was surprised he wasn’t relieved that she wanted a divorce. Then again, she’d always known he’d stayed for money. She had been right.

She finally had to have a break from the animosity between them so she had come to her favorite place for awhile. She had found tonight that the night terrors were especially bad so she was out walking. She could hear the palm trees shake in the wind and smell the ocean. She felt the crunch of the sand beneath her feet instead of the squish of the clay dirt back home. She had no fear walking at midnight on this island in the Gulf of Mexico. She would never have done this at home. She hoped the sound and smell of the surf would chase away the latest bout of night terrors where her husband played a starring role.

Wasn’t it time for her? No one knew how much time we had left. She didn’t want to spend her time with a man who made her miserable. Sure, she loved him but like her family, not like a mate. He didn’t even realize he was abusive. There was no one who had been in his life who had been a role model. She needed years of peace while she still had years to spend.

She knew she’d have no one when the divorce was over. Her family was mostly gone with only a few remaining by her side. Friends tended to vanish when you became that one single woman in their lives. They didn’t quite know what to do with you then. She’d witnessed that at Christmas this past year. She thought she would probably sell her house and move down here, where the sea oats bloom. Make a new start. So what if she were alone during her golden years? Did it really matter? She didn’t think so. Contentment perhaps mattered more than anything. It was time to depend on just herself.

As she was walking back to her short-term rental, she thought of another alternative. Making it work would be elusive. Perhaps it was the answer. When she wrote, she could write under a pen name. No one would know who she was. She would simply just….vanish.

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Transcendent

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She was only 19 years old. He was her best friend’s neighbor who lived just down the road. He was also working with her dad on a civic project. They were good friends. Maybe not good enough. He was a professor at the local university and she was a student. His student in just one class. Just another student. He was a young professor, a new Assistant Professor. Only ten years older than she was. He was married with a beautiful little girl.

He was tall, blonde, incredibly handsome. She was mesmerized by him. In class, when he came to her house to see her dad, when she was at her best friend’s house and they watched him and giggled at the window. She had a little crush on him as student’s sometimes do on their professors. Everything he did had transcendent importance to her. She never dreamed anything would really happen between them. She was speechless and tongue-tied around him.

Then he started flirting with her a little. She thought she was imagining it. She flirted back, but she thought it was just a game. Back when she was 19, a lifetime ago, that wasn’t very old especially not in the environment in which she had grown up. She had only one real boyfriend and that had ended badly. She had grown up very sheltered. She hadn’t been allowed to stay out late or date many people. She was living at home while she attended college.

The flirting grew and he asked her to join him one night when he had to drive to another nearby town. Just to talk, he said. She was so incredibly flattered that she didn’t even think about the fact that it was probably wrong. The wrong thing to do. He was, after all, a married man. She rode with him that night.

Thirty-five years later, he had moved on to another university in another state. She had married, divorced, and married again. When he was in the vicinity, he still called her and asked her to take a ride with him. She still saw everything he said and did as transcendentally important. He had affected her in a way that lasted the rest of her life.

Impenetrable

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His emotional walls are impenetrable. For 40 years, they have been impenetrable. I don’t know him any better now than I did 40 years ago. At least not emotionally. How is that possible? Is it me? Am I that clueless? Or can someone who you have known for 40 years really still be a complete mystery to you?

Maybe he has no emotions. Sociopaths really don’t have emotions. But surely he is not a sociopaths. To be honest, I’ve often wondered about that. Whether or not he is a sociopath. There are things he would do without remorse if I didn’t tell him no, that those things were wrong.

I feel like he walks around with an impenetrable shell around him, so I also walk around with a shell around me. Not impenetrable. Not at all. But a shell that keeps me from feeling much of anything most of the time. I blame him. He’s taught me how to do this. He’s taught me why to do this. To be impenetrable.

#SoCS – Jan 14/17

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Pajamas are a wonderful thing. I’ve been exhausted from trying to get ready to travel for a trip where we will be gone for about six weeks. I’ve also been desperately trying to keep up with my writing. Last night, I finally decided that I had to rest. I put on my pajamas and just relaxed, although I have to admit that I made a list of things I have to do this weekend. Writing things. Travel things to get ready to leave in a couple of days. Just putting on my pajamas relaxes me even though I still did some mental work.

Pajamas, a robe, and house slippers. What is better than that? My little dog, Betsy, is so happy when she sees me putting on my pajamas. She knows I’m staying home. Dogs are pretty smart like that. If I’m putting on makeup, other clothes, jewelry, Betsy knows I’m going out which is something she surely does not like.

I get some of the same relaxation effect when I put on leggings, which tend to be my “around the house” clothes. But, they don’t give me as dramatic a relaxation effect as pajamas. What relaxes you? Do you get the same effect as I do from putting on your slippers, robe, and pajamas?

 

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#4: Adventures in RV Travel

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Getting Close to Leaving!

Two days away! We only have two days left until we take off on our RV trip. I’m excited….and tired. Very tired. I haven’t stopped moving in days. I’m resting tonight. I told a friend, if I didn’t, I’d be in the hospital, not in the RV! I just started my third list…….third in the last three days. One list seems to lead to another. I’m down to last minute things now. One of the most important things on my list for tomorrow (Saturday) is going to the grocery. I won’t completely stock the pantry and refrigerator for the trip. I will stock up for the duration of the drive to our destination in Florida.

It’s easiest on you if you continue with whatever diet you eat at home. For me, that means salad. Lots of salad. For the first part of the drive, I chop up all the salad vegetables, put them in separate bags, and refrigerate them. That will get us through a couple of days. Then I’ll do it all again. Just like at home. This is just an example of what you might want to do if you’re taking such a trip. Simple is better. Search the Web for camping recipes. You’ll find recipes using only a few ingredients. As for me, I limit my carbohydrates. I have more energy if I do as my blood sugar stays lower. Try it! You might find the same thing. I keep lots of tuna, salmon, and boiled eggs on hand. I also have a lot of water with me.

After going to the grocery and putting everything in the RV, then I box up my clothes and put them in the RV. It sounds funny, but it’s hard to think in terms of packing for a climate where it is 70-80 degrees in the daytime since it is certainly not that warm where I am now…..well…….it’s hard to think of packing t-shirts, sandals, and jeans! I keep trying to pack sweaters, which I won’t need! Then I will pack sundries, cosmetics, etc.

While I’m doing that, my traveling companion will be finishing up cleaning the RV, hauling the heavy stuff to the RV, and getting the car we are towing ready for the trip. It needed the oil changed, tires checked, and other general maintenance. We have a small car that we drive around town and also use for towing. It’s a Toyota Scion. They are good little cars for both purposes.

Speaking of the car we’re towing, one thing you have to be hyperaware of when going on a RV trip, is weight. Even though you pack what you need, you don’t over pack or travel with heavy objects if you can help it. Why? Gas mileage. Rv’s are gas hogs. Our RV gets about 7 mpg. Yes, that’s what I said. Seven mpg. It never sees a gas station it doesn’t like! This is made worse by towing and any heavy packing you do. It is like any other vehicle. The faster you drive, the more gas you eat up. We drive no faster than about 65 mph and often not that fast.

In the past, we’ve driven as far as 400 miles in a day, but that is really very hard on the driver. We also have a dog on board and that means frequent stops. We’ve decided to drop that down to a maximum of 300 miles per day this trip.

So, dear readers, things are moving right along toward Monday, when we leave. We hope to be out of here early in the morning. More of all the last minute stuff from “Adventures” over the weekend!

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Mistaking Power for Love in Relationships

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Have you ever been in a relationship that feels more like a power struggle than a healthy love relationship? There is a lot of that out there. There is nothing at all healthy about such relationships.

A healthy love relationships is, first, one where the partners have mutual respect. That is at least as important as love. After mutual respect comes love, trust, shared values, and true caring for each other. As far as power is concerned, in a healthy relationship, the balance of power usually shifts back and forth between the two partners depending on their situation. It is never overwhelmingly held by one partner. If it is, that constitutes control. A relationship where one partner tries to wield control is not a true love relationship. It is a power struggle.

If a relationship is a power struggle, it cannot possibly be an enjoyable relationship. Love is not power. It is not giving up your power in a relationship to someone else so they will “love” you and stay with you. If your partner requires that, then your relationship is already over. It is just dying a slow death.

If you feel like you require the power in your relationship, you should examine your motives. Partners who require power in a relationship are basically insecure. If you only want the relationship if it is on your terms and you are hanging around to see if you can force the other person to see that your way is the right way, you might as well end the relationship now. This will never be a healthy relationship. You’re forcing your partner to be submissive to you and he/she will always resent that.  You may, quite simply, be with the wrong person.

If you require power in every relationship, then that is another issue. Unless you examine your motives, you will never have a healthy relationship. You need to learn to give and take power in a relationship as the situation demands.

Power usually involves control and manipulation. If you hold the power in a relationship, you usually use control and manipulative tactics to get what you want from your partner. Is this love? Of course not. If you are the partner being manipulated and the one without the power, run, don’t walk, out of the relationship. You may want to say something like, “But, I love him.” I say, “No, you don’t.” You just think you do because he has convinced you of it. It’s part of the power and control tactic. Find yourself a healthy relationship where there is a give and take situation concerning power.

Whether you are a person that requires power in a relationship or the partner who is submissive, don’t spend your life with the wrong person. Find someone you love and with whom you can have a healthy relationship without the issue of power.

The Mongrel

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I already had the most wonderful dog, Eliza, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi. She was my baby, my friend, my protector. One Saturday, I went to the pet store to stock up on supplies for Eliza. Saturday is the day the pet store invites the Humane Society in, and some of their rescued dogs and cats, in case any of the patrons want to adopt a pet. If I’m there on a Saturday, of course I have to see the dogs. I am a dog lover.

As I was walking down the aisle of rescued dogs, I came to a large cage. Lying in that cage was a large dog with the saddest eyes I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of sad eyes.  Something about those eyes stopped me in my tracks. I leaned down in front of the cage and there was a big dog, obviously a collie/shepherd mix. Immediately, a name jumped into my head – Murphy. I have no idea where that name came from. I sat there and talked to him for a while. He didn’t really respond. He just looked at me. There was just something about that dog. But, when I got up to leave, he looked up at me and whined. Everything in me told me to take this dog home with me.

I found one of the Humane Society workers and asked them about the dog. He was a stray they had picked up. He was hard to capture, very afraid. He acted like he had been hurt or abused. He was a biter. They were afraid he was vicious and were not sure they should even have him there for that reason. Something in my heart told me he would not be vicious with me or Eliza.

I left the pet store. I had to think. I ran some other errands. The Humane Society worker told me they thought he was an older dog. So did I. There was something about that dog that was pulling at me. He needed a home for his last years on earth. I thought he needed my home and my care. He needed Eliza as his friend. But I had never had a large dog and I lived alone.

I went back to the pet store and set up the adoption process. I was going to adopt him or at least give it a try. I just had a strong feeling it would work out. The Humane Society was going to neuter him. I could pick him up in two days. I bought a big, cushy bed for him, healthy food, a toy and chew bone, and then I went to tell him he was coming home with me. Maybe I was imagining things, but he stood up in his crate and seemed to brighten up.

Two days later, I went to pick up Murphy, his new name. I had also bought a new collar and leash for him. We walked out to the car. He was very good but didn’t understand cars. I taught him to jump in the back of my SUV. We had a 70 miles trip home. Murphy never made a sound.

We got home. I guess the rest is history. He and Eliza got along famously. I had to housebreak Murphy, but it only took one time. He lived in the house with Eliza and I and spent lots of time on his new bed, which he seemed to love. I don’t think he’d ever been in a house. He was the sweetest dog to me and became my protector. He loved my girlfriends, but he hated men. I had to be very cautious when any man was around because he would have attacked them. Obviously, someone had hurt him. During the entire time Murphy lived, that never changed though I tried.

Murphy was healthy. My vet thought he was at least eight years old which is getting on in age for a large dog. Eliza and I loved Murphy for three years. During those years, Murphy developed hip dysplasia. He had the beginnings of it when he came to us. Finally, he couldn’t get up anymore without great pain even though he was on medication. At about 11 years of age, I had to have Murphy sent to the Rainbow Bridge, but I was gratified. His last three years had been wonderful. It was apparent he never forgot the first eight years of his life, but I could always tell he was so appreciative of his last three years.

I loved that big dog. He loved hugs so much. Was Murphy a mongrel? Not in any negative connotation. He was a mixed breed but he was my Murphy and one of the most wonderful dogs I’ve ever had.

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JustJotJanuary Blog Challenge

Linda G. Hill of Life in Progress is offering the JustJotJanuary Blog Challenge this month. I was just the Guest Host for two days and it was great fun. To all the bloggers out there, check it out! You can join at any time and you can find the rules at the above link.

You’ll meet a lot of new, very nice bloggers and stretch your writing skills!