Category Archives: Awareness

Bats

I had one in my house the other evening. It flew in through an open window.

I was sitting mindlessly in front of the television when I started seeing shadows in my living room. I turned and stared at the light. Sure enough here it comes flying through the air, tight to the ceiling.

“Oh Shit” I said. First I opened up my sliding glass door, then I ran upstairs and shut all the doors and ran back down turning off all of the lights on my way back into the living room.  Then I proceeded to flail my arms like I was possessed and at this point I probably was. Seeing the humor in all of this I started laughing hysterically. All of a sudden I didn’t hear anything. Bats are very, very quiet. Their sound is more like a rush of wind. I stood there in silence for about 3 minutes, finally moving toward the open door. There stood my dog, half in the house and half out. She just stared at me. “Come on” I said. She stayed at the door. “Come on” I said a little more persistent. She came in the house. I quickly shut the door and turned the lights back on. I felt pretty good about myself, scaring that old bat back outside!

Jumping to 2004: Earlier in that evening, our daughter had all the doors open from our garage all the way up to the second story so that she could carry stuff up to her room.

That night Terry and I were in bed sound asleep and I awoke to whish . . . whish . . . whish.

“There’s a bat in here” I said.

“Yep” Terry said. I turned toward his voice and in the moonlight I could see Terry’s head covered by the sheet.

“Really?” I said, “You did nothing to get this thing out of our bedroom?”

“Nope, You’re the exterminator”.

Sometime in the late 80’s I had my license to kill bugs. Not a very glamorous job, but it paid well and it wasn’t too gross. I had a job where I had to spray dorm halls and basements, and tunnels. Which honestly I enjoyed the lower levels of all buildings. That’s where all the secrets are! But I digress. Lots of times I would be in one of the dorm hallways and I would either get stopped by a screaming young woman or I would just notice that there were bats hanging out. Back then I had really short hair, so I would put on a hat, pull on my gloves and grab my towel and remove those little buggers outside. Typically, the hardest part was finding something to stand on. So I did have a little experience in removing bats.

Whish . . . whish . . . whish.

I got up and went to the window and opened the top half and laid back down.

Thunk.

“What the heck” I said as I climbed back out of bed. “Since when do we have a screen on the top half of the window?” I pushed it off with the bat still attached to the screen. It hit our roof four feet below. As I pulled the window up I looked over at Terry and said, “It’s safe now” in a smart assed tone.

I laid back down and closed my eyes. “You are putting that screen back on in the morning”. I went right back to sleep.

Whish . . . whish . . . whish.

“A second one???!!” I yelled.

“Yep” Terry replied.

“Oh my gosh” I got back up and opened the window. The second one flew out.

I got back into bed and smacked him on top of what I thought might be his head since he was still covered up with the sheet. And then I laughed at him. The jerk, making his wife get rid of the bats!

Back to 2016

I came home to let my dog out and I went into my living room for something, who knows what and there hanging off my woodwork was a bat. Not just any bat, the bat I am sure I tried to scare out of the house two nights prior. I wasn’t quite prepared for a bat, so I went to the closet and pulled out a hooded sweatshirt, found my leather gloves, grabbed a towel and then I got my sunglasses, but I am not sure why I needed my sunglasses!!!

I stood on a chair and grabbed that little bat and carried him outside and put him on the ground. I did however run back to the house and close the door. I didn’t want him to think he was invited back.

As I stood looking at the sliding door, I remembered Lucy my dog not wanting to come back in the house the night that I thought I had successfully scared the bat. But now that I think about it; she really didn’t want to come in at all. Hmmm. Moral of the story: if your dog doesn’t want to go into the house then you probably shouldn’t be in there either.

But for me, it was just a bat, an animal that I actually think has a great purpose here on earth, so hopefully he flew away tonight and is eating all the mosquitoes that he can!

 

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Will I know how to live after Prairie Meadows?

After 8 years, (technically 7 ½) I will be quitting Prairie Meadows. Easter Sunday at 11 p.m. I will be punching out and closing that door to a very stressful time in my life.

While I was there; three grandchildren were born, a husband died. I quit my real estate job, started up my real estate job again and created a ton of new friends.

What I missed out on? Birthdays, I think I had to work for both of my daughter’s 30th. I am sure missed tons of family time. Time with my husband. Countless holidays. A million friend’s events; weddings, anniversaries, birthday’s, deaths. Enough said.

I am questioned about entertainment and news events quite a bit:

“Have you seen . . .?” “No I always respond, someday”

“Have you read . . .?” “No, someday”

“Did you hear about . . ?” This one I am grateful that I do not know because 99% of the time it is about something horrific and I just don’t want any of that in my mind to think about.

Come Monday morning March 28th I will be able to reconnect. Amanda told me I will have 9 hours a week more just to do personal business, such as banking, doctor’s appointments and actually be in my office to do more work. She also figured that I would have an additional 30 hours in the evening to do whatever the heck I want! Seeing family, friends, knitting, writing, watching movies I missed, reading books that I have wanted to read, playing with my flowers, working, sitting on the beach or possibly just doing nothing. Plus I will have an additional 5 hours a week to be able to sleep.

It’s so scary to think that I will be relying on one job to pay my bills, buy I also know that I am very capable of doing just that. I am also scared because now it will be just me. To live my life with just me. To come home at night to just me (and Lucy).

And you ask yourself “well haven’t you been coming home to you for the last three years?”. I have been, but when you walk into the house at 11:30 at night, you fall into bed and don’t have to deal with the empty house syndrome.

I was off a couple of times in the last two years for a few weeks because of surgeries and I know what it will feel like, but I also knew I was going back to Prairie Meadows and it was just a temporary stay at home.

I have had the most horrendous panic attacks this last week, each one getting a little better. Amanda suggested that I make a list of all the people I want to see and the things I want to do and every time I have a panic attack I pull out my list! Great advice.

I am so excited to be done. A lot of my “young” friends started there just after me and finished high school and then have since finished college and they are now starting their “new” lives with their “new” jobs. They will be gone and I will miss seeing them and working with them, so it seems fitting for me to also move on. They have graduated and now it is also time for me to graduate.

I never lived by myself until Terry died, but I was never home long enough to call it living. So now I will start my new life living by myself. I am sure I will love every minute of it!

Maybe I need another dog!

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2014 Was Exactly What I Didn’t Want!

This morning I am reflecting over my 2014 and I am shocked to find that I stopped writing in my Grateful Journal on January 14th, 2014!

I didn’t want to spend my year immersed in my emotions. I wanted to live it and be grateful for every moment. But as I sit here looking over my goals and journals, I realize that I couldn’t be anything more than what I was. I needed to forgive myself for just being. That it was OK not to know where I was going and who was going along with me.

I have been so afraid of losing my old life that I couldn’t see my new life that lay ahead of me in full bloom! I will always have my old life as long as I keep in touch with all my old friends, but my new friends are also coming along on this ride. And that is what will make my life rich and full. (Along with my family of course!)

So on this first day of 2015 I will be making my goals, visualizing my dreams and making plans to move on in my life so that I don’t miss a moment of this year! More importantly, I want to make sure that I am grateful for every second!

So thank you all for reading my blog last year. My wish for each of you is: Peace, Love and Prosperity! Happy New Year!

Julie

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First Date

I went on my first official date. Weird, very weird. Now this was my third time to have actually “met” him. The first I made him come to Altoona, a midway point between the two of us at 9:00 am for coffee. The second we had a couple of beers at a bar in Altoona. But this time was different. He pretty much decided on everything and I was to meet him at the Cheese Cake Factory at Jordon Creek Mall in West Des Moines because we would be going to a movie just across the food court in the Mall. So I went a little early and window shopped.

He emailed me and said he was early and at the restaurant. So I rode up the escalator and started freaking out. This was my first date. “OH MY GOD WHAT AM I DOING!” I pulled out my lipstick and tried three times to get my hand to stop shaking and put it on in short swipes. I had visions of lipstick across my cheek, on my teeth, in my hair, you name it. In three short seconds I envisioned it all over my face.

I purposely walked with long strides and my body very rigid. It was the only way I could control my body. I was terrified of what it would do.

OK, I have to be honest here. I don’t know who I inherited this from, but every time I am nervous about something I get diarrhea. It’s my sign from my body that my mind is not happy. I can look and act like everything is OK, but my body never lies.

So into the restaurant I walk. AHHH . . . he is sitting on a bench looking like this is just the most awful thing he has done in years. HAHAHA! I suddenly feel better, because I feel sorry for him.

I picked out four items on the appetizer menu that I would be happy eating and let him have the final say in choosing. I chose things like Thai spring rolls, lettuce wraps and a couple of other things. He has already figured out that to me all food is good food as long as someone else is preparing it! I tell him that I like everything except for liver and onions and he laughs because he just had that two weeks ago. He picks the safe appetizer, an artichoke and (something) dip. He also decides on a shrimp and a pasta dish for us to split. Very safe.

We have dinner, nice conversation, he knows one of the assistant managers who comes over to see us and sends us a pumpkin cheesecake to finish our dinner and we literally run to the movie because we are 10 minutes late.

We settle into our seats and of course there is an additional 15 minutes of previews on top of the 10 minutes that we have already missed! The movie starts. It’s the ‘Judge’ which was very good up until the point that the “mother board” broke and we sat there in silence staring at the screen. The lights come on and the “on duty” manager comes in and apologizes. 10 minutes later he comes back with a free ticket for all of us. I give mine to my date (I can’t imagine ever driving out that far again for a movie!). The manager come in again (3 more times) to apologize and finally comes back and says “it can’t be fixed this evening”.

Fortunately for us the guy behind us says “Hey, we need more free tickets so we can see the end of this movie”. The manager come back again and gives us another round of tickets. This time my date gives me his ticket and says “Now we both have 2”.

We leave and walk out to the parking lot. It has snowed. Really!? And it’s 23 degrees. I give him a hug and say “thank you” and jumped into my car and drive away.

As I sit here I am asking myself, “Did I enjoy it?” Hmmm, it was ok, but I have to say that tonight I went to my local bar “where everyone knows your name” and had a beer and there was no difference between the two. I don’t think I am attracted to him . . . maybe that’s why it feels the same.

OH! Epiphany! Shoot, am I supposed to be attracted to them? Damn I missed that memo. Maybe I am just lonely and all I really want is someplace to go where I am welcomed. I learned a trick from my granddaughter when she was three; when you shout someone’s name upon seeing them that they feel loved and wanted! There is nothing better than my grandchildren yelling my name. And tonight when I walked into the bar two people called “Julie!” (There were only five people in there)

Anyway I digress. Apparently that’s all I want right now. Someone that is happy to see me and shout my name. Actually isn’t that what we all want?

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What I have learned on EHarmony

This summer my brother-in-law told me that I needed to start dating and he wanted me to know that Terry would want me to be happy. It was very sweet of him to actually tell me that and it was kind of a blessing from Terry in a roundabout way. I have since realized that everyone wants me to be happy and that it’s OK for me to move on with my life.

I still can’t say that I want to move on, however I know that I am missing out on life by not doing anything, so I took the step and joined EHarmony. It has been interesting to say the least! Blind dating at its best (or worst).

This brings me to “What I Have Learned on EHarmony”.

  1. Don’t put a picture on a dating website that is 5, 10 or 15 years old! Geez do you honestly think you still look like that after you have gained the 40 pounds three years ago! It’s like being 18 again and need that fake ID only this time you’re not fooling anyone.
  2. Bleach your teeth. Very inexpensive way of looking better, younger, healthier, etc.! And while I am talking about teeth, going to a dentist is a good investment in your health. Feel like you can’t afford it? Dental colleges charge 1/10th the amount that you will pay at your local dentist and the college has the newest technology! Tough to look at someone with bad teeth, let alone kiss them! YUCK!
  3. Don’t talk about how perfect you are . . . if you are that perfect and make that much money, then why are you single?
  4. Please don’t say things like “You look like you have healthy hair”. Really? Can you say creepy! Besides the fact that obviously there is nothing else about me that you found attractive. Just don’t talk to me!
  5. If you don’t want to meet after talking to me for two weeks, then have the balls to say “Hey I don’t feel that we have enough in common” or “I have met someone” or anything would be better than nothing.
  6. Put a photo on the website. For gosh sakes you are paying money to have women look at your profile and the one thing we want to see is you and you deny us a picture. Those gentlemen go in my trash within the week.

So much for my griping! I would love to get a hold of all these men and help them portray themselves in the best available light! Unfortunately I might hurt their feelings, but sometimes don’t we all need to see how we look through someone else’s eyes? An honest look at ourselves?

When people look in the mirror they see someone totally different than how others view them. Such as anorexic women who see themselves as fat. Or when people sing, they hear something totally different than how others hear them. Listen to the tryouts for American Idol, all of those people believe that they have a shot but they don’t hear what we hear. It’s the picture that we paint of ourselves in our own mind. My theory is that we don’t honestly know what we look like or how others perceive us!

What scares me is that I have no idea what I look like in other people’s eyes. Shit I could be the one with the boogers hanging out of my nose. I often wonder if that’s the reason people rub their noses while they are talking to me.

The truth is that I don’t care.

Last week I met a man at 9:00 am for coffee with one of the worst colds I have had in years. I had to get up and blow my nose 5 times, I drank 4 cups of coffee and ate a piece of French Silk Pie for breakfast (and I may have moaned a little while eating it). I told him that I had a couple of other guys I was meeting and that I needed his full name so I could Google him. My girls were like “MOM you shouldn’t say all of that!” But again, I don’t care what they think of me.

So maybe I am really not ready to date. But I did see the same guy this week and spent a couple of hours talking to him over beer and a quesadilla. It was awkward and nice all at the same time. It is still really weird to me, but next week we are going out to a movie. He’s a nice guy, but I am kind of treating this like a science project. I don’t really have a hypothesis yet so I don’t know what my next step or experiment should be! Poor guy. All my friends say “Keep an open mind”; however I don’t know what to be open to . . . bad teeth, no hair, fake photo, we’ll see.

I will keep you updated on my experiment!

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Summer

I said I would Blog 52 times this year and right now I can’t remember the last blog I posted. It’s amazing how life gets in the way of your goals!

Today I decided that I would take one hour just to go outside and enjoy my surroundings. This is not something I get to do very often. Typically when I am outside I am mowing, or weeding or cleaning the beach or something that is considered work. And although I don’t mind doing those things, it is not just sitting around and doing nothing.

So I went out and yes I did rake the sand a little and got rid of the algae, but I also stood at the water’s edge and watched the ripples from the summer breeze and the bugs and birds that dipped into the water.

I saw birds soaring and beautiful puffy clouds and marveled at the blue sky. I laid on my stomach on the dock and watched little schools of fish swimming around. I waited patiently for a big fish to come and scare them, but none came.

I watched my dog Lucy become annoyed with the scores of dragonflies buzzing around her. She finally laid down and stared at me.

And as I sat there looking at my surroundings, I realized I am at peace. Probably only for this very brief moment in my life; but still it is something that I should really take notice of.

It’s not that I don’t miss Terry any less than I did two months ago, but that I know that I am comfortable in my own skin and I am going to be OK without him. I am amazed that it’s alright for me to just be by myself and not have to worry about another human day in and day out.

And yes, I would trade it all in for Terry to be alive; but it wasn’t fair to him, so I have to give up and let go and let life be life and enjoy mine.

I guess this is what summer is all about. Making time to find a little peace.

 

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Age

I don’t know when it started, but I have this weird need to complete my goals. I feel like my clock is ticking and it’s ticking faster and faster all the time.

I have always been an impatient person, but lately it’s like I am very concerned what is going to happen with my life? I wake up at night with this weird sensation that I need to figure this out. It’s not that I believe that I am going to die in the next 20 years, it’s that I know that every day that I am not moving forward means I have lost another day of my life to inactivity.

And it’s not really scary, just very annoying because I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life! But I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with the beginning of my life, so it shouldn’t faze me. However, now that I know what I know: Law of attraction; positive thinking; see it, feel it, be it; you know all of that stuff; I am constantly struggling to figure out what I want out of life now!

It’s only been 20 months since Terry died, but when you’re in your 50’s 20 months is a long time to just flounder in life! I have always said “Wait six months and your life will change” but I don’t want to wait anymore! I want to make my life better for me! I want to be happy with everything I do and right this second I am not! (Yelling at this point!)

That’s really not true, (Thinking rationally again). I am probably happier than the average person because I know that today is my only day for today, so I have to make the best of it, but gosh darn it what is it that I want for tomorrow?!

Who knows, I sure as heck don’t. When Terry was alive I had a mission of trying to keep him alive and relatively healthy. Now I get up and think; eggs or cereal what’s my choice. Maybe I am a little bored? I did so much for so long that now that I do not have to fight for everyday to have Terry with me I am underwhelmed with my life.

Hmmm, I think I may have just solved my own problem. Amazing. One thing I do know, I won’t be going out and finding a new problem to fix! I am going to stick with eggs and cereal for a while, wait six months and give myself a break!

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Moments

Terry and Julie Golfcart

The other day my older Granddaughter was staring at a photo of Terry and I that was taken on our younger daughter’s wedding day. She turned and looked at me and asked, “Do you love Papa Terry?” I looked up at the photo and said, “What do you think?” She turned back to the photo and said “Yes you love Papa Terry.”

As I stare at this photo, I see love and comfort screaming out from the picture. The photographer caught a moment in our lives that shares with the world how we felt toward each other. The way I am looking at him, the way his knee is bent toward me, the way my body is melting into the curve of his body. It’s a comfortable safe place where love has known no boundaries; where this kind of love has taken years to build. It was just a moment in time, but for me I see years of tenderness and contentment.

And somehow my 5 year old wise soul granddaughter saw that also.

It’s been over a year and a half and I still have moments where I just want to crawl into bed and pretend that he didn’t die, but I can’t. I look at my grand babies and my daughters and I am so grateful that they keep me going on days when I don’t want to. I am grateful for the wise words I hear from them and my sisters. I am grateful that a brief moment of my life was caught on a camera for me to look at and remember the love.

I also know that every day has become easier. Time heals all wounds but it’s the moments and memories that keep me grounded with love, making each day more comfortable in my mind and my heart.

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Asking for Help

I don’t get asking for help. It’s not that I don’t need help, it’s a feeling of failure, inadequacy, and worthlessness if I ask for help. And it’s very strange because I don’t believe people who ask for help are that way, just me.

I seem to think that I should be able to do everything all by myself and I am slowly learning that I can’t. I recently admitted to my sister that I may actually need a man to help me. God forbid!

I live on this beautiful acreage with lots to mow and lots of machinery to get ready in the spring. Last fall I made sure to add an additive to all of the gasoline, just like Terry told me to do. But when spring came around I had two flat tires on one mower and another flat tire on another mower. Additives do nothing for flat tires. My big mower requires a special tool to take the tire off and I don’t have it!

Now if I had money I would just pick up the phone and call someone to have them fixed. But that is a little problem! Fortunately my brother has a little bit of extra money, so he called to have them fixed. Thank you Pat!

Last week on Wednesday (the first day of my weekend) both mowers were back. So I jumped on the big one and tried to start it – Rrrraaa chug chug clunk. Ok I thought, the battery didn’t hold a charge. So I jumped on the next one – Rrraaa chug chug clunk. Really???! So I went and got my battery charger. I hooked it up to the small mower first because I really needed to use the wagon attachment and pick-up sticks first.

Off to the house I go. Surely there is something I can do for the next hour while I wait for my battery to charge. I went inside and poured myself a cup of coffee and went to my office and worked. I headed back to the barn after an hour and Varoom! I was now in business! But I decided not to pick up sticks, because I would have to turn the mower off and on, chancing that the battery would die again. So I mowed and mowed. The grass was so long that it took three passes to cut it! I was just moving along and CLUNK, my mower stopped.

Could it be that I was out of gas? Yep! Off to the barn to get the gas can. I looked all over for the funnel and finally gave up and went back to the mower and started pouring the gas in. After a minute I thought gosh my leg feels wet and I look down and low and behold my gas can had a hole in it and was pouring down my pants into my shoes, and all over the mower. I decided to walk away and not try to start it at that point. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might catch myself on fire!

I walked to my house and I open my garage and got out my push mower. I thought I could just trim a bit while I am waiting for the gas to evaporate. So I drug the mower clear out to my flowers beds through grass that was at least 12 inches long. I primed the mower and started pulling on the cord.

Nothing, nothing, nothing. Not even a hint of some power. I tried again and again and again. I drug the mower back to the garage.

I went back out to the mower that had gasoline all over it and I jumped on and started it. At that point I thought I don’t care if I blow up! Obviously I didn’t but geez, this was getting ridiculous. I finished my trimming and decided to go to the beach and rake the sand a little since my grandchildren were coming out to play. I drove down to the beach on the golf cart (something that actually started) and hopped off and started setting up chairs and tidying. I was raking the beach when I remembered that I forgot to grab my beach bag so I jumped on the golf cart and pushed on the gas . . . nothing. No click, click, nothing, nothing at all. OMG!!!

I walked away.

That night I told my sister that I might need a man. One week later as I was relaying the story to my daughter and she scolded me for not asking for help or at least asking her husband to come out and see if there was something he could do. It was at that moment that it occurred to me that my day could have happened to a man too and not all men know about machinery. My husband didn’t have a clue when it came to motors, but he knew people who did.  So what did he do? He asked for help! Wow novel concept! So why can’t I?

This week I am vowing to pick up the phone and call someone when I need help instead of just waiting for hell to freeze over. By the way the golf cart got hauled off to get fixed – I called someone!

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Forgiveness

I was just reading an email from marc and angel.com and it was entitled “3 Wake-up Calls You Need to Receive”. I just want to touch on the story that was told at the beginning of the email. A young woman received four flannel shirts from her grandfather as a birthday present. They came from his closet, but they were in great shape, hardly worn and he felt they would look nice on her. She thought it was such an odd gift and didn’t really acknowledge the present. He died two days later and she didn’t say thank you.

Although what she received really was an odd gift, we all have moments like that. Things we should have said, hugs we should have given, notes that should have been written and apologies that should have been made. But this blog post is not about regret, but forgiveness.

At Christmas many, many years ago when I was 10 or 12, my grandmother gave me a two foot tall cabinet to display my pewter figurines. I was so pissed off. Who knows what I wanted but that wasn’t it! My Mom yelled at me, my Dad yelled at me, I am sure my Grandmother was hurt and I was sent to my room on Christmas day.

Honestly I don’t know if I ever thanked my Grandmother for the gift and fortunately she didn’t die until I had time to grow up and show her that I really wasn’t a spoiled brat; but that moment has stuck with me. I have long since forgiven myself, but the lesson I learned from that minute in time has made me a better person.

I am still very insensitive at times and probably will continue to be so for the rest of my life, but I did learn that no matter what gift was given, your response is invaluable to the person who gave the present and when we or someone we love makes a mistake, forgiveness is in order even if “I am sorry” is never spoken.

It may be something that someone said to you or did to you, or something that you did to another, but forgiveness needs to be granted. Even something horrendous needs to be acknowledged and forgiven.  I have seen people on TV forgive another for murdering their child and if that is possible, then the rest of us can forgive others for petty things that were said or done.

I feel for the young woman who received the flannel shirts because she is going to feel that pain for years to come and she really needs to forgive herself for her lack of action, but I am also sure it will shape her behavior as an adult.

For my Grandmother and me; she continued to give me gifts and I loved every one of them after that traumatic day, but none are cherished the way I cherish my little cabinet. It sits proudly in my office and is a reminder of how much my Grandmother really did love me and how forgiveness is at the heart of life.

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