Today I am offering a completely unstructured array of items I want to tell you, but in no way merit a whole blog alone. Kind of a cleaning out before the new year, if you will. Are you ready for this? Let’s go.
Gilligan — Despite my trepidation that my little fishie friend would not make it through Christmas, he continues to swim around. Eating sometimes but not always. I’m now considering the possibility that Gilligan suffers from SAD, or Seasonal Affect Disorder. He did that last year, too. At any rate, I’m always relieves to see his little blue beta head come up to greet me every morning.
Can I Just Say Something? — I went to a party last night and browsed through an impressive library. When I came upon my little book of newspaper columns slotted in with hundreds of books belonging to people who obviously love to read, I had a moment of being stunned. Then I smiled, slow and wide, and thought about how much I love being a columnist and how lucky I am that my editors believe in me. Especially the guy who originally took a chance that I might prove to be a good bet for readers. Thanks, Alax.
Camo Man — You have no idea how much I love that you folks love Camo Man. You do realize, I hope, that I think a lot about you when I talk about him. You’re important to me and I cannot live without him, so how nice is it that you’ve embraced this new love AND his nickname. However, that does bring me to the next item….
Unhappy readers — I heard from a few of you these past few months, expressing your unhappiness at my happiness. Which is altogether too much “ness.” One man told me he is not going to continue reading my work. While I was treading water in a sea of grief, my sadness matched his own perfectly. Now that I’ve climbed onto dry land and can run once again, he cannot bear to hear about it.
Please, whenever you can, reach out to someone you know who is in a rough emotional situation. Their level of despair is almost always deeper than what they allow others to see. And you might be the only one to give the extra effort which shows the face of compassion to those suffering. I pray my reader can someday find his way out of his own choppy waters and then I hope he can let me know.
My health — A number of you followed my diabetes education series earlier this year. The feedback I got was humbling as I heard over and over how the three-month series in our Health and Fitness tab was offering information in a way that could be readily absorbed. I’ve put all those columns here on the blog, which you can find by typing “diabetes” in the search bar.
While the series ended in the spring, I’ve continued to walk the walk. The low-carb lifestyle has changed a great deal for me. I’ve lost the equivalent of a 10 year-old girl who is closing in on 11. My knees and I are friends for the first time in decades and I am still eating bacon. And cheese and veggies and steaks so tender they fall off my fork. My jean size is a number I might have worn when I was 8. If ever. All I know is whenever I spot them in the laundry hamper, I momentarily forget these little pants belong to me.
I feel healthy and I apparently look it, according to the comments I get. I know all of that sounds terribly braggy, but it’s not me, honest. I manage to maintain my imperfections quite well, I promise. I just happen to be feeding myself thin.
The Great Kitchen Renovation — I know! I still haven’t posted photos. And now it really is all the way done, if you don’t count window treatments. It’s just that I never seem to think about photography when the room is nice and sparkly clean. Therefore, you haven’t seen the cool subway tile and creative cabinet choices. Nor have you laid eyes on my sweet kitchen office area or witnessed that floor that is smooth enough to sleep on — which I did with some regularity when I first started dating Camo Man and stayed up much too late almost every night. Meaning as soon as I crawled in my house after work, I had to lay down for a 20-minute nap as Miss Tallandblond and Martha Stewart, Jr. prepared dinner above my head.
OK, that’s it — my goal is to get those pictures taken and up on this blog before I get married. WHICH…
The wedding — I am still overwhelmed. I don’t have a dress, we haven’t chosen a cake, we haven’t sent out those “Save the date” cards that people assure us are vital. Really? Don’t people either accept the invitation or don’t? Can’t it be that simple?
You see? I’m a mess. And, frankly, I’m so deeply in love that I still can’t focus for beans. But I have to remember there are far more involved than just Camo Man and me. Yesterday I asked Miss Tallandblond if it would be fine if we simply got married by a judge and had a family party. By her face, I could see I had suggested the equivalent of getting your high school diploma in the mail and eating a cupcake by yourself to celebrate. Scratch that and return to freaking out.
David — Yes, I still grieve my darling husband. And Camo Man mourns his losses. We talk for hours about our previous lives and marriages. We visit his wife and daughter’s graves. My first love continues to live in a box on the sitting room bookshelf. However, I’m preparing room in my heart and home for when the time comes that I’m ready to acknowledge — fully — that life is for the living. Love is eternal, but our minutes on Earth are numbered and I want to spend those moments really living whenever possible.
But I will always be ever so grateful to my David for a happy marriage. The more I grow into this new relationship, the more I realize that it’s because of that solid foundation I am able to trust and love and delight in the company of a man who adores me. My husband left me an inheritance one can only dream of — a heart that knows the sweet music of love and can sing the tune once again.
Malcolm — Well, all right, my soon-to-come grandboy will merit a zillion columns and blogs, I’m pretty sure. But his cooking days are coming to a close and we just cannot wait to get a taste of little Macalicious. His mommy’s pregnancy has gone beautifully, mostly, despite the challenge of getting it started. His cozy Portland nest is fully feathered and his parents are supposed to be working on deciding on Malcolm’s middle name. In the meantime, we’ve marveled over modern imaging technology (Look! he has his dad’s chin) and the wonders (and sheer silliness in some cases) of baby products.
Six more weeks, give or take, and we’ll get to kiss that little chin. I’ll have the supreme update then, you can count on it.
Cap’n Jack — Oh, that dog! He’s having quite the life, learning about camping and game and running free on dirt roads in the hills. Jack is becoming a real dog…Camo Man even taught him to roll over. If you’ve never seen a standard dachshund roll over, you’ve missed some wonderful laughs. And Jack is awfully proud of himself these days, riding around in the Man Truck with his soon-to-be sister, Daphne. Chewing on elk and deer bones and barking just because he’s king. Of course, he feels that he is now entitled to snuggle on the couch and be Boss of the Doorbell, so there’s some retraining to do. We’ll get around to it, just like those “Save the date” cards.
“Dad” — My kiddos at home are experimenting with the title, rolling it out every so often to see if it settles well on the tongue. Camo Man just smiles when he hears it. No pushing, no discussion, except that we’ve all agreed we loathe the “step” in any family name. So it’s never going to be on the table. And using “Dad” in no way demotes their late father — indeed, it says that my daughters so loved him that to bestow it on another is a precious gift. To Camo Man and themselves.
I hope you all have a wonderful New Year. Laugh a lot, love even more and live like this life counts. Call me, write me, stop by and say hello. You’re the reason I get paid for having this much fun.