Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saying Thank You

A couple of months ago, my dad called me at work to tell me that one of my teachers from elementary school had been diagnosed with Huntington's disease. Of course, this may seem unusual that he would call me in the middle of the day to tell me about a teacher from when I was a child. But she wasn't just "a teacher". She was my teacher. I was in the gifted program when I was in school. I took all of the tests in the second grade and from that point on, I was pulled out of class every other week to attend the gifted program classes. Our school system was small, so we had just one teacher for all of the gifted students. So, from second grade until graduation from high school, she was my teacher. She went with me from being a precocious child until the day I walked down the asile to get my diploma. She was my friend. She was my mentor. She was my teacher.

She was the kind of teacher who just did not fit in small town Alabama. She was very much a hippie, and still is to tell the truth. From the long hair to the long flowing skirts, she epitomized "different". We listened to Van Morrison during class. We learned the scandalous details about the kings and queens of England. We had class parties at her house where we would all sit around just talking about ideas. Once I was able to drive, I probably had dinner at her house at least every other week. She taught me to drink hot tea (something at which we Southerners do not excel). She taught me how to make my thoughts into words and art. She taught me that I can do anything if I just try. She gave of herself every single day in order to expand our minds and make her students better people.

I know that the dementia that comes with the Huntington's disease is going to eventually take her memories. So, I keep trying to sit down and write her a thank you letter to thank her for everything that she did for me in all of the years that I have known her. But I just do not know how to say thank you enough. How do you thank someone who opened your mind to art and music? How do you thank someone who encouraged you every day to be yourself and to not let the way other people treat you to keep you from being yourself? How do you thank someone who molded your young mind and opened you up to a world that you never knew existed outside of small town Alabama? Honestly, I have not found the words. I have left the thank you letter unwritten thus far. I will thank her in a letter just so she can hold on to it and have it as her memory slips. But more importantly, I will thank her with my life. I will do the same thing for others as she did for me. I will encourage those around me. I will not stop being myself just because myself is a little weird. I will continue to keep my mind open to new experiences and new thoughts. I will not be the kind of person who runs away from difficulties. I will live the life that she taught me to live. I will say thank you every single day in the best way that I can. And, I will write that letter.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of Year

Let me just start by saying, I love Christmas. I'm not enamored with all the rushing about and shopping and generally being around lots of people, but oh how I love Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas music since October. I have a pile of movies that I watch every year (Elf, White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, Little Women, etc.). I still send out real Christmas cards, the kind you actually sign, not the phoning-it-in photo cards. No offense to my friends who send the photo cards, but there is just something magical about putting pen to paper and signing cards that I have painstakingly picked from the voluminous selection of Christmas cards. I love the food of Christmas...fudge, red velvet, cookies, cakes, hot chocolate, ham, sweet potato casserole, etc. I love the Advent season services at church. The lighting of the Advent candle each Sunday thrills my heart. I didn't grow up in a church that celebrated Advent, but now this is one of my favorite parts of the season. I say every year that I'm going to have my own Advent candles at home, but alas, I always seem to forget until the season is upon us.

This year I have added something new to my Christmas traditions. I have a real Christmas tree. This is the first time in my almost 30 years of being alive to have a real Christmas tree. I grew up in a mobile home where the only source of heat was a wood burning stove. A stray spark from the stove could easily set a real tree to blaze, so my parents never risked having a real tree in the house. Oh, I had such romantic notions of going to a tree farm and picking out my very own tree to cut down, but time and circumstances put those notions to rest. Plus, Costco had trees for $30, so I grabbed one up and took it home. And, it turned out just perfect.

The second thing I added to my Christmas traditions was having someone I love to help decorate the tree. Yes, I was married for six years. And yes, every single year I decorated the tree alone. This year was different. This year I had someone by my side. Someone to help me string the lights. Someone to help hang the ornaments just so. Someone to take pictures as I swept up the fallen needles from the tree. Someone to wrap me in his arms and wish me a Merry Christmas as we stood back and marveled at our handiwork. Someone to say, on hey since you have that fake tree too, we should decorate it as well. Which we did of course, because why have one tree when you can have two.

I love Christmas. And this year, I have love at Christmas too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Busy Bee

Well, what do you know...I'm back. Life has been just a touch hectic in my neck of the woods. I'd love to write a real post about something meaningful, but instead, I thought I'd just give a little update about what's been going on recently.  In no particular order (in regards to time or the alphabet) here's just a few things that have been keeping me busy:

  • We've been having the financial statement audit at work. Now, this isn't my first audit, so I should have been prepared, but we changed auditors and great goodness have they been kicking my butt this year. The audit is over, but I'm still working on footnotes, and good grief I just want this to end!

  • I of course took a little trip to Asheville, NC. I was going to write a post about that, but now it's been so long, I guess I won't. You can read about it here, but that's mainly just a review of what we ate...of course all we really did was eat, so there you go.
  • I stopped taking my headache medicine. I was taking a very strong medicine every single day. And you know what, I still had headaches. And to make it worse, the first medicine made me have nightmares almost every night and then the second medicine made me want to sleep all day and gain ten pounds in a MONTH. So, since my quality of life didn't improve, I decided I'd rather just do things a bit more naturally, so no more pills.
  • I visited the south's largest flea market. It was kind of awesome. I got to pet a baby pig and a couple of puppies. And I got to wonder, aloud even, how many items at a flea market were actually stolen before they were brought to the flea market to sell.
  • I have gone gluten free in my diet. The hippie doctor who does my B12 shots suggested that perhaps that I have gluten intolerance which could be causing me to have headaches almost every day. And since going gluten free doesn't make me have to take a pill every day I decided to give it a shot. I can't say that I've noticed that much of a difference at all yet, but I did buy a lot of gluten free food products, so I'm going to be gluten free until that's all gone. Of course I am only 9 days in, so we'll just have to see I guess.

Well, that's about it. Hopefully once things slow down, I'll actually get on a regular schedule of writing. Thanks for sticking around.  You are all very pretty (and handsome).

Monday, September 5, 2011


Preface:  Now, I said I wasn't going to write about the divorce, but I need advice, so I'm going to have to write about it.

I'm a huge fan of the Golden Girls, and right now, Blanche is really the only person who has ever been able to describe how I feel. I feel magenta. Blanche used the term to describe when she felt a lot of different emotions at once. And boy am I feeling lots of different emotions. And quite frankly, it's starting to get the best of me.

When I was going through the divorce everyone told me I would go through the grieving stages. I expected the sadness and I expected the anger. Heck, anger was all that bouyed me onward at some points during the divorce process.  But what I wasn't anticpating was the guilt or the panic.

Let's start with the guilt.  The best way that I can describe the guilt I'm feeling is to call it survivors guilt. It's like I was driving the divorce and killed the marriage, and now I feel guilty for moving on with my life. And yes, I am already moving on. I am dating, as I should be, because I was basically alone for the majority of my marriage. I was tired of being alone way before I ever filed for divorce. But it's like I feel guilty for being happy. For instance, I went out a couple of weekends ago (which I will blog about as soon as I get the pictures on my computer). I went with a new fella. And several times during the trip I was just overcome with guilt for being out on a trip with someone and for having a good time. I don't really give a hill of beans if my ex is dating. I actually hope he is. But that doesn't make me feel any less guilty. I almost feel like I'm cheating. Which makes no sense, because I'm not married anymore. But it's still hard. The guilt comes and goes a lot easier than the panic though.

The panic really is the worst. Things will be going along perfectly fine and then all of a sudden I am gripped by panic. My heart beats too fast. I get extremely nauseated. I just don't know what to do exactly. I wouldn't call it a panic attack that needs medical treatment. It's basically when fear tells me that no matter where I go or who I date, that things are just going to be just like they where. For instance, the guy that I'm seeing just kind of nonchalantly mentioned that he most identifies with Catholicism. Fear basically gripped my heart and said "hey, don't forget, you were married to a Catholic for six years who believed sex was for procreation only and was dirty and selfish otherwise". See, it's not even rational fear like the fear of heights or snakes. It's like my mind just doesn't want me to be happy. And really, I hate it. But, I can't make it stop. And the worst part is that the panic makes me want to run away from ever being in another relationship. Like maybe I should just be a spinster and just be on my own the rest of my life. Because that is safe. And if I am safe, I won't get hurt. Because I'm tired of being hurt. And I'd lot rather be alone the rest of my life than hurt like I did for the past six years ever again.

See, it doesn't make sense to me.  And I'm already in therapy. But my therapist hasn't been through a divorce. She doesn't know what it feels like. So, friends, help me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Today is the Day

So, I said that I wasn't going to talk about the divorce on here. And I'm not, especially in regards to they where, what, how, or why. But, as far as the when...the judge signed the papers today. I am officially a single woman. And, I haven't altogether figured out how I feel about that. I mean, yes, the divorce was for the very best for me and for him. But the pattern, the routine, the predictability of knowing who I'm going home to every day, losing all of that has kind of thrown me for a loop. I'm a routine person. I like order. I love following schedules. I make to-do lists for the weekend. I have only been a "fly by the seat of my pants" person one time (if you're wondering, I decided to go on a vacation on a Monday and I left the following Thursday). This is all new to me. And, I don't really know what I'm doing. But I think maybe that's okay. I don't have to know what I'm doing right now. It'll all work out, because as one of my favorite songs from growing up says, "it didn't come to stay, it came to pass."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hospitality and Pyrex

This past Sunday, in the message the preacher talked about the hospitality of Jesus in feeding the 5000. After the comments on Jesus' hospitality, all I could think of was my grandmother, my mama's mom, or Mawmaw as we called  her. She passed away almost 20 years ago. But there are a couple of things that are vivid in my mind still. She was probably the most hospitable woman who ever walked this earth. If you came to her house, it doesn't matter what time of day, and you mentioned that you would hungry, she would cook something for you right away. I can vividly remember sitting at her kitchen table eating a grilled cheese sandwich on wheat bread. I don't know why I remember that it was on wheat bread. But I know that it wasn't breakfast or lunch. She just made it for me because I was hungry. She and my Grandpa raised seven children (two boys and five girls) on very little money at all. They didn't have a bathroom in their house until my mom was 21 years old. My mother was 25 when she had me in 1982 if that puts that comment into perspective. She made clothes for her children as well as herself. She also made aprons, quilts, pillow cases, you name it. Her sewing machine sat in her tiny living room. And goodness did I ever love that sewing machine. Whenever I would visit she would give me a little scrap of cloth so that I could sew on it. Of course it was always a disaster, but she was always kind of gracious as she unwound the thread of her machine.

So what does this have to do with Pyrex, right? Well, I already mentioned how Mawmaw would fix up food if you were hungry. I don't remember a time that I was at her house when there wasn't a Pyrex bowl of something on the table. Maybe some green beans. Maybe a bowl of soup. Maybe some mac and cheese. There was always food. Recently, I've started collecting vintage Pyrex bowls. I've been teased that I'm a hoarder. I've been teased that I've bought all the Pyrex there is. But every time I pick up one of my bowls, whether it's to take a bowl of soup to a potluck or mix up some eggs for an omelet, I think of my Mawmaw. And I think of the impact that her life had on so many people. Of her seven children, six are still living, and they all carry a part of her in them. My mama has Mawmaw's ability to whip up a meal for thirty people in no time flat. My favorite aunt has her disposition. Two of my aunts look just like her. My uncle has her sense of humor. And I hope that I have just a little bit of the hospitality that she always showed to others as well.

When my Mawmaw passed away, people from all over the community brought food to her house for our family for days and days. She had fed them when they were sick, when they had lost loved ones, when they had just come to visit. And they paid her homage by feeding her family during such a painful time in our lives. And I'm pretty sure, most of the bowls were Pyrex.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Lease on Living

So, hi. My name is Amy and this is my blog. I have recently gone through a major life change - divorce. My marriage was a difficult one; however, I will not be talking about that here. That's in the past, where it will stay. On the contrary, this blog is chronicling my new life. The divorce gave me a new lease on living, on love, on adventure, on everything really. My mind is busting at the seams with things I want to do, and see, and eat, and experience. And if you'd like, you're more than welcome to come along for the ride.  It might be long, it might be a bumpy, but I plan on it being a fun! I'm glad you're here.