Browse Category by Thoughts From The Hot Tub

It’s easy to wander through your mind when you are submerged to your neck in lovely hot water and gazing at the stars …

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Remembering Sixteen

It’s not often something truely takes me back to being a teenager – triggers memories, but a friend’s facebook posting did tonight – a picture of a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine – wow – full on blast of feels, along with the warm summer and freedom that went along with it.

Click on Deana Carter’s picture to see and hear her perform her number one  song …..

 

 

I was done for – do you remember being 16, in love, lost in summer? I guess Strawberry wine can take you back there … “Is it him or the loss of my innocence I’ve been missing so much?”

Itty Bitty

 

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Holding It Together

Life has continued to be crazy the last week – the TCKLBUG (my little VW beetle) is still in the car hospital, not due to be completed until some time next week. I’m still driving the Nissan SUV whatever it its.  I know it’s too big for me – it’s taller than me – I want my Beetle back!  This transition period remains unsettling – and adds to the (I’m sure normal) post accident driving anxiety.

Son is actively job hunting but has no income at the moment and is trying to get back on MediCal so he can get psyc services and meds for his bi-polar disorder.  One would think it wasn’t a problem, but he’s still dealing wtih earning just a little too much this year to qualify.  Unfortunately, Obamacare or not, though he no longer qualified for MediCal, he wasn’t earning enough to afford a Covered Caifornia policy with mental health benefits (which most of them don’t offer – it’s excluded).  The upside is that he is actively and diligently looking for work in his accounting field – ideally fund management, or as close to that as he can get in California.

Daughter is still struggling on State Disability – and someone arbitrarily deciding that she had an increase of income (though nothing changed) and cut her SNAP (food assistance) reduced by $115 a month.  Her disability barely covers her share of the rent, car insurance, insurance, and gas, not leaving enough for food for three people, so having her food benefit slashed to $115 for no reason has been a big financial hit. Thank goodnes she’s in a relationship where, while it stretches the budget, I don’t need to help her to avoid her being homeless.  Her disability is hopefully ending soon so that she can get back to work and is looking for an aid position in a nearby elementary school, getting her back in the classroom in some capacity.  Her soon-t0-be stepdaughter’s teacher from last year is sincerely hoping to get my daughter on at the school as a resource for teachers either as an aide or possibly more.  She would love that as it would leave her off during school breaks and summer vacations.

With the divorce and expenses I’ve had to pick up (not complaining, it just is what it is) and not having any subsidy from my son, my finances have continued to be out of whack.  I’m hoping after this month finances will level off to an in-control issue.  It’s hard, though, when all but $120 of one check out of 2 goes to pay rent.

Not whining, just a bit overwhelmed.  It’s the empath in me – absorbing the stresses of those I love and are around me.

As much as I know why I am single right now and am conent to be so, it’s one of those time periods when I would love to crawl into someone’s safe arms. Tonight I miss that.  Tonight I could really use that someone to just hold me and tell me everything is ok.

couple

And pay day is Thursday and we’ll make it till then.  Life is not always fun living on the edge – pay day to pay day, but it’s always an adventure and a challenge.

I will win!

 

Thoughts From The Hot Tub, Uncategorized

Moving On

Our divorce was final this week – a bittersweet transition after 9 years together and 5 years of marriage.  I remain grateful that we maintain friendship – and are able to spend time together doing fun things.  As I captioned: Perchance another place, another time –

JnM
2009 At A Friend’s Wedding

This is the third marriage ending for me.  I think I just don’t do this thing called relationships well.

Granted, when my kid’s dad passed away, that was a different sort of ending.   But the fact is, our 25 years together (1966 – 1992) were challenged.  Deeply in what we felt was love (at 16 and 18), we rallied against those who were concerned.  Some of those concerns proved to have a basis.  He was troubled then – struggled with abandonment issues and anger management issues.  Family issues went from bad to worse.  It’s another whole blog on dysfunctional people in relationships.  There was no doubt we loved each other through those 25 years, but had I been wiser I would have cut and run with my (our) kids well before our lives emploded.  I will never know if we would have gotten him help for serious mental health issues, or if we ultimately would have gone our separate ways – and if we would have managed to remain friends.

Then it was the “brainfart marriage” admittedly out of a need (not want) to be in a relationship – to be part of a couple – four years later … to an alcoholic addict.  We were married for nine years before I refused to continue the charade of a marriage which ended in 2007.   We did manage through the divorce civily and remained friends for a while, though we haven’t talked in over two years.

I thought I had found my eureka with #3 – and over the last 8 years there have been ups and downs; growth and maybe even a little regression?  We finally fell apart when my adult son with genetic mental health issues (from his dad) came home from 17  adult years of being self sufficient, employed, self educated, in a puddle of bi-polar disorder, empending divorce and a thrashed sense of self.  For the first time in his adult life he needed the secuirty of home. Hubby didn’t (doesn’t) understand the complications of mental illness and I gave up expecting him to.  But my truth is that I need to deal with my family issues right now.  Though I would have hoped he would, I hold no malice that he doesn’t get it.  It’s ok.

We are friends, we love each other – it’s just not the time right now.  Perchance – another time, another place.

 

 

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

A Season Of New Beginnings

Spring is a time of renewal, rebirth – new beginnings – and in our family, there are two sweet new beginnings ….

Last Saturday, my stepdaughter and her fiance got married.  We’re waiting for the photographer’s pics – but here are a few we’ve gotten from friends to start with!

Proud Dad and Bride – Preparing To Walk Out And Down The Aisle. Dad’s comment –       “I have never been prouder of my baby girl – I didn’t know I could stand so tall”.

Dad & Bride
Dad & Bride

And here is the darling couple – I wish for them a lifetime of ordinary days – sprinkled with many happy ones, and a minimum of challenging ones.

Bride & Groom
Bride & Groom

And the other new beginning – my daughter and her sweetie are officially moving in together today – he is moving into the townhouse she rents from us.  I am happy for both of them to have found each other – and I readily admit that I feel more comfortable with him in her life than I have felt in years.  He is truly a good man!  To them I will say – always be sweet to each other ….

Moneca & Mark
Moneca & Mark

Two down, two to go?  The boys …

Wish you all a season of new beginnings –

Namaste – simply – I honor you!
Itty Bitty

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Ha’ina ‘Ia Mai Ana Ka’Puana – And So The Story Is Told – Part 1

Ha’ina ‘ia mai ana ka’puana … is a line near the end of almost every Hawaiian song one hears … “And so the story is told”.  I love the sound of the Hawaiian language and how it translates!   You will hear this line towards the end of  this song (click link):   Brother Iz Panini Pua Kea.

For the record, this blog is not about Izzy  or Hawaiian language but I love him and his music and the language – and the world lost him way to soon.

Izrael Kamakawiwa,ole - Hawaii's Gentle Giant -  Click To Hear His Wonderful Voice
c Izrael Kamakawiwa,ole – Hawaii’s Gentle Giant –

However, in some cases I like to think this phrase loosely translates to:

“That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!” Or, “This Is My Story”

We all have a story – of our past, of our present, and what may happen in the future.   As 2013 winds down, and the prospect of 2014 is just ahead of us,  I started thinking about all the stories that are my life.  I would call them chapters, but chapters follow each other neatly and chronologically.  The different stories all happen concurrently.  And doesn’t it make life a little crazy sometimes?  But that’s life, isn’t it?  A little crazy sometimes?   I often think my life is not a Hawaiian song, all melodic and beautiful, but rather a country western song … know what I mean?

And how do you order the stories of your life? Prioritize them?  My stories are driven by my roles in life, so maybe there is no order or priority other than what seems to be at the top of the list at the moment.

For instance …

Today’s story is … it’s hubby’s and my 2nd wedding anniversary!  My life with him is one of my stories.

After being married at 18, for 23 years, then being suddenly widowed at the age of 41 in 1992, then remarrying 5 years later for all the wrong reasons and divorcing after 9 years in 2006,  I figured at 56 I was done with all this relationship crap.

Well, that lasted two years.  I was happy being single – happy with myself – but, y’know, it’s nice to have someone in your life, too.  It was a want … not a need … know what I mean?   So after a year or so of the “me time” thing, I tenuously tried the Match.com thing.  Well, there are blogs out there about all the mis-adventures of on-line dating.  I think I experienced them all (except the scam things).

But then in January 2008, after a month or so of winking and brief message exchanges (and my daughter’s January wedding), I got to talking more seriously to this one particular person.  Towards the end of January we decided to meet casually for a drink – in a very safe place (especially for me) – and for whatever reason we hit it off!  A year later (2009) I moved in with him.  A year later (2010) we hit some communication struggles and I moved out.  But we kept talking and seeing each other, and working through the issues we both had – and in September of 2011, I moved back in for the last time.  We were married December 15, 2011, and never looked back.

I have worked part-time for myself for the most part since we combined our lives.  I also work part-time for him and his business (environmental consulting).  As of late, I am still working part-time for me, and increasingly helping him with his business.

The most amazing thing to me about this man is his acceptance of me and my slightly crazy life – his willingness to embrace me and my family and to constantly have my back while I deal with some truly trying situations involving my adult kids.

Another amazing thing to me is how his children (also adults) have embraced me as his life partner – and even as a quasi-mother-figure.

We both work hard at building and maintaining trust – at loving each other constantly and every day. Of relying on each other emotionally – and every other way.  We encourage each other,  How lucky are we?

So that is Part 1 of “That’s My Story“.

Other Stories?

An adult life-long battle with morbid obesity resulting in RNY gastric bypass surgery 8 years ago, at which time I lost 95 pounds.  The battle is not over – it is a rest-of-my-life, daily struggle with head battles, minimizing and struggling to reverse regain and to maintain a healthy surgically altered body.

An adult son with bi-polar disorder who, after 20 years of being highly responsible and self-sufficient, is currently dealing with the effects of a downward spiral 6 months ago that is altering his life in ways he or we never imagined.

An adult daughter with bi-polar disorder, epilepsy and IGA deficiency (an imuno-deficiency disorder) who is a single mom every other week – tries her damnedest to be self-reliant but always seems to take one step forward and 1 or 2 steps back.

Her 14 year old son who is bi-polar and also suffers from a host of other behavioral disabilities such as oppositional defiance disorder, and learning disabilities from oxygen deprivation at birth.

A stepdaughter getting married in 4 months

A stepson who is mid-20’s and still trying to find his way (out of a marijuana fog) in life and decide what he wants to do

Are these really my stories?

I think so – because they are about people I love – and with whom I am involved on a daily basis.   And great life learning opportunities.  And there is still much joy in my life – and I wouldn’t trade my life for anything

What are the stories of your life?  How are you living or dealing with them?

Namaste – Ha’ina ‘ia mai ana ka’puana …  and now the story is told.

Itty Btty

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

We’re Planning A Wedding!

I know this feeling so well right now!
I know this feeling so well right now!

My stepdaughter is getting married next April.  My hubby is experiencing all the crazy emotions that any daddy should when his baby girl gets married … including watching both “Father Of The Bride” movies last September.   My hubby is a scientist – chemist – very matter of factual.   He is also one of the biggest teddy bears I have ever run across.  Wears his emotions on his sleeve.  I love him for it.

As I alluded to in June, when the Bride graduated from University, the relationship between her mom and dad is less than ideal.  It’s a given there will be awkwardness when they are both be in the same space twice in two days (the rehearsal and the wedding).  We will get through it.  It is, after all, all about mom and dad’s divorce issues the Bride and Groom!

What we are not understanding (and at the same time acknowledging that it is what it is) is that mom is refusing to contribute anything financial towards her daughter’s wedding.  Zip – zero – nada.  She can easily afford it.  We are assuring the Bride that her wedding will be what she wants it to be regardless.  The Bride is a frugal young lady and is planning a simple (yet elegant) small ceremony and reception.

And despite the fact that mom is constantly pushing to control decisions about the wedding, the Bride has graciously kept her included in some of the decision events; and kept her at bay (though not always so graciously) for some of the decision events.   Today we are meeting with the caterer to do tastings for the menu – mom feels she should be there.  She was invited to join us – but since Dad will be there, she refuses.  Dad has not been to any of the other decision events, and since he is paying for everything, thought he would like to join the Bride and Groom for the tasting.  Not to make the decisions for them, but to be a participant in the process.

I am pleased they are getting married at the lovely Villa where I work ~ even mom approves!   For a total of 50 people, we will have a head table of 10, 3 family tables (hers, the groom’s and ours) and the rest “take a seat not a side” seating.

I am pleased that the Bride and Groom are including me in the planning process – acknowledging me as a parent (albeit step) and an event planner by trade.  I am seriously honored and delighted to be a part of this life-affirming event!

The Bride and Groom WILL have the wedding of their dreams – we WILL survive it.  I am grateful in all of this that mom (so far) has no problem interacting with me in the “joint planning” we have done.  I am praying that through this experience we can, perhaps, break down some of the walls so that as we go forward and in the future share (with God’s will) grandchildren, we will all have grown a bit.

Namaste – I honor our sweet Bride and Groom ~ and the parents who created them!

(where’s the xanex?)

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Checking in to Grossinger’s Resort – reblogged from Abandoned NYC

When I was a teenager bored as hell during summer vacations, I always thought it would be perfection to spend a summer in the Catskills at a resort the way folks from NYC did … wildly beyond 2 weeks at Girl Scout camp!  Swimming, innumerable activities, forging summer friendships and summer crushes … dances, dining, sort of 5-star camping …..

And then Dirty Dancing came out years later and, just as I imagined when I was a teen,  Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner!  The summer dreams of a California teen came flooding back – and I knew it was somewhere like Grossinger’s Resort that I had been dreaming of.  Too bad it was closed in 1970, long before the movie came out, though the movie was set in the late 60’s.

Checking in to Grossinger’s Resort – a look at what remained of this grand resort as of 2011 – on a wonderful blog called Abandoned NYC – is a marvelous look at a lifestyle that once was … an era that has sadly passed when families actually spent summer vacations together … well, somewhere they did! But, hey, I still don’t understand why a dinner/dance club couldn’t be successful with us Baby Boomers!

Namaste! And thank you, Will at Abandoned NYC for sharing this lovely piece of Americana!

Itty Bitty

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Smile, Laugh, Be Happy!

From the wonderful, uplifting blog heartflow2013 – a delightful, DELIGHTFUL video of a kitty – hubby and I have a curious kitty like this who makes us laugh constantly …. do you?

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

Namaste – I honor curious kitties!

 

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Happy Independence Day, My Daughter …

My Daughter
My Daughter

My daughter’s divorce is final today – yes, on July 4, 2013 – officially signed off by the local county superior court system.  Ironically, it is the date the ex insisted be on the paperwork.

All the ugly details don’t really matter – except to say that, after two years of marriage, she was strong enough to say “enough!” and walk away from what ended up being a physically and, more significantly, psychologically abusive marriage.

It took three years to finalize a very simple divorce for a variety of reasons (primarily because he was the only one that could possibly do it right) and wrongly filed papers (that he insisted on filing)  – but it’s all over now finally and he has gone away.  And, ultimately, as the plaintiff, the settlement went her way – she wanted nothing from him, nothing to tie her to him in any way – she just wanted him to go away.

She still struggles with the psychological injury – but is slowly learning to trust again and how to set boundaries.  Thank goodness she has always been strong enough to speak up when she needs to – that was part of the problem (if you would just …. I wouldn’t have to get mad at you…).  At least she is no longer saying “never again”, but is looking with wiser eyes.

Domestic violence, regardless of the “side of the fence” you are on – a woman being abused by a man, or a man being abused by a woman – is such a horrendous crime against humanity.  Abusers are the lowest form of life.  The worst kind of predators.

It was a privilege for me to be there for her when she was going through these times – and to help her break away from him.  I am a true mama bear – don’t ever think you will cause harm to my cubs – I may be 5 ft 1 in, but you even try to hurt my kids and you have me to deal with.  He has seen me in action.  He tried to harass her, but he, to this day, has never tried to approach me.  He avoids me like the plague.  Good call.  There is a line of people behind me if he ever in his lifetime decides to try to hurt her again. In any way.

But this is not about me – it is about my daughter being a survivor – and about her truly starting a new phase of her life independent of  the ex – on her personal independence day – July 4, 2013.

Namaste – I honor you, my daughter –  and I honor all of you surviving domestic violence.

Itty Bitty

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Sisterhood and a Red Tent

I love being busy – even at “my age” (realizing I’m on the 63-side of 62)!  I’m not ready to stop “working” or stop being productive – granted, some of that is financially motivated – but I was never one to be contented bring a stay-at-home mom (with absolutely no disrespect intended to those who choose to be) or a kept woman (oh, that’s right, I never was).  I never had the financial security to do either. Not complaining – it was what it was.

There was little time for girlfriends/sisterhoods while working full time and  raising two kids (including being a brownie/girl scout/cub scout/marching band/pipe band mom). Or three kids if you count the first husband with mental illness issues. That was  followed by the second husband who came with no desire to be a father and his two little ones (every other weekend)  barely older than my grandsons, and parenting aging parents.  That phase of my life has been followed by assisting my single-mom daughter with my (now teenage) grandsons (one of which is special needs), oh, and loving the love of my life – my hubby.

I still work – two and a half part time “jobs” – operating the lovely Villa in the foothills three days a week and helping hubby with his environmental consulting business. The half part time “job” is my dream of building an independent meeting planning/event services consultancy.  I have the joy of being a gramma taxi every other week (not so much in summer) – of poking around in our back yard garden (the strawberries tomatoes and summer squashes are starting to grow), and being a domestic goddess around the house.

So what’s missing here? Time for those girlfriend/sisterhood relationships!  I miss it!

I recently stumbled on a book called “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant – and the little heard-of Red Tent Movement.  While Daimant’s book is about the biblical character Dinah and her history and cultural customs (including the requirement that women enter the “red tent” every new moon for the first three days of their menstrual cycles) – the real or under story is about the sharing of love, support, joys, sadness, births and deaths between the women and their use of the time to rest from their daily lives and obligations, and replenish their minds and souls.  The Red Tent Movement seeks to bring women together (locally) at the New Moon (whether for a few hours, a day, a weekend)for the fostering of sisterhood, friendship, sharing, support, music,  creativity – and honoring our natural cycles that are our woman-ness.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s a small or large group – it’s the coming together in support of each other, whether we are maidens, mothers or crones.  We each have wisdom to share!

I will be inviting my “sisters” to a red tent evening soon – a time away to relax, rejuvenate, share, laugh, cry, sing, celebrate, grieve … be ….. in friendship (new and old), in sisterhood, in womanhood – where all understand the demands of being not just women, but of being partners, wives, mothers, children of aging parents, working women, stay at home women .. a place of trust and safety within each other.

Do you have a “place” to share with your sisters/friends?

Namaste, my sisters – I honor you –

Itty Bitty