bunrab: (me)
(I woke up sad this morning, and then realized - it's April. Steve would have been 68 on the 25th of this month. That apparently still, yet, even, gets to me, even when I'm not consciously thinking of it.)

Change Is Not Infinite

Because of who I am - the parts that do not change -
I still remember the things we didn't do, the things we didn't fix
The things we didn't say.
That's just the way
I am. I have changed, but change is not infinite,
And regret, apparently, is.
I still stop at the stations marked "anger" - there are several stops on that line.
He didn't take better care of himself.
He left the dishes unwashed.
He took the long way around to avoid tolls,
Even though we could afford them,
And even though it made us late.
And then anger at myself,
For being angry at him for those things,
When I never told him so then.
He might have changed!

That stage of grief where you look back only at happy memories?
Moving forward to thinking only of now and the future?
I don't think this train is going to make it to that station.
I don't think I'm on that line,
I'm probably not even on that continent.

(And once again, friends, it is neither your duty nor obligation to attempt to (a) tell me it's OK to feel this way, (b) remind me that everyone has their own path, (c), try to jolly me out of this mood, (d) whine or sob together with me. ALL you do, if you don't want to annoy me, is wait it out. I'm not asking for sympathy or empathy, I'm JUST VENTING. OK? You know who you are - stop offering comfort and support, because that implies that I need comfort and support, when what I need is just to talk myself right back out of this mood by myself, which I am quite capable of doing. THIS MEANS YOU.)
bunrab: (me)
I am pretty much through with my annual fall fit of the weepies - the one where every time I think "The leaves are so beautiful" a little voice in my head tacks on, "but Steve's not here." The little voice isn't quite as loud as last year, or as constant and frequent as the first couple years, but it's not gone completely, either, and I don't know that it'll ever go away completely. It doesn't hit me like a ton of bricks so that I double over trying to catch my breath; it just takes a little chunk of time to enjoy things away from me. That's what "getting better" consists of.

Long, whiny self-justification )

So - is that enough "moving on"? Do you think I should be feeling no grief at all anymore, just faint soft memories of the happy times? Bullshit. If everyone else is tired of hearing anything about Steve by now, say so, but don't tell me I shouldn't be thinking of him any more.

I was reading The Book of Woe, about the making of the DSM-5. One of the things they did was remove the "bereavement exclusion" from the definition of depression, so that anyone who acts depressed for more than a couple of weeks due to grief is now considered to have a medical condition that can be and should be fixed. This is pretty much ignoring all of recorded history about how humans handle loss and grieving. And the book - which disapproves strongly of the DSM-5 - includes a quote about that from a doctor and medical anthropologist who lost his wife: "I still feel sadness at times and harbour the sense that a part of me is gone forever... I am still caring for our memories. Is there anything wrong (or pathological) with that?"

I'll be visiting Austin next week. And going to the quilt show in Houston!
bunrab: (me)
Just whining. I have made inroads into the pile of boxes from the storage unit, but not very much, and very slowly. And part of it is, the totally irrational thought that I don't want to get rid of too much, or change too much, because what if he comes back - will he be able to find me? Will he recognize me?

It's the most irrational, pointless thought and yet I suspect that there isn't a widow or widower around who doesn't have it sometimes - who doesn't have that as one of the subconscious reasons they haven't given away the last of their spouse's clothing or stopped wearing the perfume or aftershave brand their spouse liked or changed their hairstyle -  or, in some cases, quite gotten around to selling the house or getting rid of the non-working car or throwing away anything.

I'm not quite that much in thrall to the irrational but I do have moments. I mean, I know it's a good thing I sold the house. Especially after getting a phone call from my former next door neighbor, telling me that the people who bought the house apparently didn't winterize something properly, and both the bathroom pipes AND the fuel line from the underground oil tank to the furnace burst, and they've had to move in with relatives while the entire floor of the house gets ripped up and the backyard gets dug up. I don't know whether I want to drive by in horrified fascination or not. I know Steve would never have let something like happen, and I was afraid I would, because I was not as conscientious or knowledgeable as Steve and I was never sure I was tending to everything that needed to be done, but I don't think I would have let water freeze in the lines. But I hate that the house will be changed that much, and that it won't be the house Steve and I shared anymore; I want stuff to STOP CHANGING quite so much or so fast, even when it's stuff I've already moved past - because part of my mind is still there, I'm not really completely past it. Because, what if Steve could see it? How upset would he be, how much would he hate it!!

And for that matter, would he be upset with some of the other changes I've made and things I've done - or would he be even more upset that I didn't do those things with him, while he was alive? I know I'm upset that I was so lazy, that I didn't do some of this with and for him. I should have taken better care of him!!

No, you don't all have to offer reassurances. I loved him well, and he loved me well as I was - and if I maybe was too lazy to do everything to the best of my abilities, well, he was enabling that - he was being lazy too, and he didn't want to cope with a couple seconds of  grumpiness I have in the morning so he just didn't wake me up. He could have tried a little harder; I wasn't the only one who was lazy and took things for granted..Oh, I want to go back and shake both of us!!

And part of this whine is just because Larry's sick and there's not a damn thing I can do about that either, and that's frustrating. So it brings up older frustrations. Don't mind me, I'll talk myself back out of this mood in a bit. Maybe cookies will help.
bunrab: (Default)
A quick summary, for those of you who haven't seen daily Facebook posts and the photos I've uploaded there:
When last seen, I was getting the kitchen in the house in Catonsville touched up, repaired, minorly remodeled, in order to contemplate selling it. It got sold!
Selling the house, buying a condo )
The condo I bought wasn't perfect, but it met my essential requirements: first floor, large enough for me to have a guest room and with room for the critters, pets permitted, safe neighborhood. What I got was a 3-bedroom unit, built in 1982, so not too old by condo standards, though not new. It's in the Long Reach area of Columbia. And this coming Sunday, a Wegman's opens up in Columbia which will then be my nearest supermarket - how cool is that?

More than most people want to know about the condo kitchen )
I am not finished unpacking yet, though I've been here a month and a half. There's still a lot I need to get rid of; cutting down from a house to a condo, even a large condo requires getting rid of a LOT of stuff.  And I had been trying to do a bit too much, so the universe sent me a reminder last week to take it easy, in the form of a v-tach episode that triggered my defibrillator. One emergency room visit later, I have some pretty firm instructions from more people to take it easy, watch how much driving I do (I was forbidden to drive for a week), changed programming in the implanted device, changed dosages of my beta-blocker, which itself is making me tired, and pretty much nothing at all accomplished in the past 10 days.

So of course it struck me as time to whine on LiveJournal!!

And how are all of you?

I will try to post next week: my goodbye pics of the house, some pics of the condo, some pics of the pets, and lots more trivia. Maybe I'll even have time to read a book and mention it!

Could someone please let me know whether the cuts are working?
bunrab: (Default)
After not visiting LJ in 9 months, I was checking my email and realized I had to come here to delete all kinds of crap comments. So I thought while I was here I'd say hi. I still don't have time to blog regularly, and I still haven't managed to read recent posts of everybody else's. Somehow, managing my day to day life seems to take up all my time. I have been reminded a lot of how very spoiled I was, to have the easy life I had while Steve was alive, to have so much free time to do whatever I wanted. Most people don't have that even if they do have a partner, do they? Usually both partners are still working, and if retired don't have the retirement income Steve did, so that there's still not the combination of time-and-money to do all the frivolous things we did. Or to get computers repaired or replaced as often as we did. I really was very spoiled.

Right now, I am using a borrowed computer, because mine got fried - pretty much literally; I came home to the smell of burning electronics one night after rehearsal a couple of weeks ago. It was the computer, and there's no telling why - everything else plugged into the same surge protector was fine and turned right back on when I reset it. So I've mailed the computer back to HP, and I have ordered a new one, and went ahead and bought the service plan for two years, too, because I seem to be the sort of person who needs a service plan, now that I don't have my live-in geek. I keep thinking that somehow, if Steve had been here, he would have done something differently and the computer wouldn't have fried itself, somehow. He had much better computer juju than I do; things just didn't go wrong as often, and he seemed to do all the right things to keep them running correctly all the time. Anyway, my new one should arrive soon.

Besides that, I am getting the house ready to sell, an incredibly stressful process. I made the decision right after New years to do this, sort of a New Year's resolution. I love the house, but I can't keep managing 2000 square feet of house on a third of an acre of land by myself. I know there are people who can, but I am not one of them. I've given it a fair shot, I think, for a year and a half since Steve died - this doesn't count as giving up without trying, or as making a decision in a hurry. It seems to me that in the normal course of things, it takes a family to manage a single-family residence: at least two healthy people, to manage all the cleaning and the maintenance and the outside chores and the repairs; even just to manage to have someone home for repair people is easier if there's two people to choose from. And I'm not even one healthy adult. And I don't enjoy trying to remember everything that has to be done. Steve enjoyed it - he got a kick out of putting "change the furnace filter" into his PDA for every three months for 6 years ahead, and then having it give him little reminders. He didn't mind talking to 3 or 4 guys who want to clean the gutters, chatting with them and then choosing one. I don't enjoy any of that stuff. So, I want to sell the house, and find a nice condo, about half the size, where not only does someone else do the lawn mowing and snow removal and gutter cleaning and furnace maintenance, but I don't even have to go looking to hire them; it's done automatically as part of the condo agreement. I don't even have to think about it, let alone choose and hire someone to do it. And a smaller condo will be not only cheaper to heat because it's smaller, it will be cheaper per square foot just by virtue of being multi-family housing where other people's shared walls also mean better insulation for me. And most condos are newer and have gas heat, rather than oil. My latest oil bill was $551 for a tankful, and in the winter months, that happens EVERY MONTH. Because this is a huge house, and has old single-pane windows mostly, and still has leaky spots around windows and doors and whatnot, although I have been trying to find and take care of the worst drafts. I could whine for hours about house repairs, and then whine for hours more about what it takes to upgrade this house to the point where it is sellable for at least 60% of what we paid for it - because, of course, we bought it just BEFORE the 2008 economy crash, and property in the Washington DC area, which this counts as, has lost on average about 40% of its value since then. But I'll save that whine for another post.

So, once I get an offer on the house, I'm going to look for a condo in Columbia - about 8 miles from here in Catonsville. I love Catonsville, I love my particular neighborhood, I love my neighbors, but it's not worth continuing to maintain this house and pay taxes on such a large property just because I love my neighbors! Catonsville, being an older town, has pretty much nothing in the way of condos; it doesn't even have much in the way of apartments or townhouses, because it was mostly built out already before those kinds of housing started appearing in suburbs. Columbia, on the other hand, is a planned community started in the 1960's, and a huge percentage of its housing stock is townhouses and multi-family housing of the rental or condo sort. Some of you may remember when we first moved up to MD, we had an apartment whose address was Elkridge; it was actually in a corner of Elkridge abutting Columbia, and all my doctors, and our insurance agent, and our attorney, and stuff like that, have been in Columbia/Elkridge/Ellicott City (another town abutting Columbia and hard to tell where one ends and the other begins) all along anyway. So, Columbia is the logical place to look now. It will put me 10 minutes further from my friend Cindy, but there really isn't anything like what I'm looking for any closer to Cindy, and it will put me 10 minutes closer to the Montgomery Village Community Band, which I'm still playing in.

I'm also still playing in the Baltimore Symphonic Band, where I am the music librarian. I am also playing in the Browningsville Cornet Band, which isn't cornets and is in Damascus, not Browningsville. And recently I played in the pit orchestra for a community theater musical over in Montgomery County, too, and I'm on the list of people they'll call back next time. And speaking of Montgomery County, I am dating a guy who lives in Silver Spring. He's very nice, and very understanding about the fact that I still talk about Steve a lot, and still have hours when I just start crying and can't stop. He is pretty good at patting me on the back and saying soothing things and then reminding me that getting Steve back isn't one of the options and that I have to keep thinking about charting a path forward, because that's the only direction there is. I don't think he's the next great love of my life, nor does he think that I am "the one" but we are enjoying seeing each other and dating exclusively for now, and it's an awfully lucky thing to find someone this agreeable first time out in the dating pool. (Online dating site OK Cupid, if anyone's wondering. And how I got there is a separate story for another day.)

OK, still self-centered as ever, because this is all about me and I haven't gone to read what any of you are doing unless you're on Facebook, too, where the one-paragraph status updates are something that I can almost keep up with on a good day. I know I have a bunch of you as FB friends; if you're on there and want to friend me, my nickname there is bunrab, too, and most of you know my real name to look for me - I've got it listed with my first initial, then the middle name I usually go by, and then last name, if you want to look that way. If you can stand all the whining. Because being a widow still sucks, and I still whine. But nonetheless I would love to hear from some of you whom I've lost touch with.
bunrab: (bathtub warning)
For the last couple months, my computer has had something wrong that entirely cratered IE, and also rendered Mozilla Thunderbird unusable, while rendering Mozilla Firefox just a tad glitchy. [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet couldn't figure it out. Finally he called a rent-a-geek, and as of Wednesday, the bizarre interaction between our networking software and the particular firewall/antivirus software I had has been fixed. New firewall, of course. So if you were wondering why you had seen maybe 2 posts in the last 2 months, and why I haven't commented on your posts, it's because it was a nuisance getting online and so mostly I had been saying the hell with it and going off to read and knit. (I sure have been twittering from my phone a lot, though! Yay for phones!) I checked my email on the web, a nuisance, and read and replied only to the most urgent. Now that the problem has been fixed, I am just about caught up on all my email, and now I am going to read my flist. I am not going to try to read two months worth of everybody; I'll settle for a week of everybody and going further back only if something drastic seems to have happened that I missed.

Catching up on the mail made me realize just how much junk I get voluntarily. The various listservs: Biker Skum list, bunny people, crumbling-old-house DIYers, band music geeks, and more; daily tips on green living, vegetarian eating, low-fat recipes, knitting and more; weekly tips on more recipes, Excel, more knitting... sheeesh.

Anyway. Off to read some of you guys, instead of concentrating selfishly on me.
bunrab: (alien reading)
A review at Amazon.com of Ash Wednesday by Ralph McInerny - I gave it three stars though that's actually overrating it a bit, but people don't like to read two-star reviews, I've noticed. Anyway, check it out if you would be so kind.

My email client is causing our network connection to go wonky. Weirdness that even [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet cannot untangle. So forgive me if I'm a bit slow on email; checking it on the web is a pain. Going to try and get a professional geek to look at it sometime soon.

Colbert xmas special - well, about what we expected. I liked the Willy Nelson bit, as well as the angel singing hold messages.
bunrab: (alien reading)
After we got back from Europe, I was only home for a couple of days before I turned around and went up to New York to help my friend Sally-the-hoarder throw some stuff out. Just got back this Thursday. Did not have computer with me while I was there, and didn't have much chance to use Sally's computer. We did get some stuff thrown out, but it's a battle - while she knows she's got a problem, she doesn't like to think that any individual thing is a problem, and so every single piece has to be looked at, categorized, and a decision made about it. We couldn't even compromise about putting some stuff in boxes and sticking them in the POD that I rented for her and then deciding about them later, because the stuff in boxes *might* be something she'd need within the next couple months. The fact that many of said things were things she's done without for years because they were buried under other stuff does not in any way alleviate her anxiety that she might need it, that she can think of a possible use for it, and therefore it can't get stored somewhere where she can't get at it instantly, let alone thrown away. So we debate that need to a standstill on every receipt, every tennis ball, every bag of candy purchased in 2004 and long since past its expiration date. Despite all that, we DID make some progress. And I got a chance to talk to a couple of her other friends who live up there, and started enlisting them to help out with one small chunk of STUFF at a time.

Wait, here's a picture, so that this post isn't just whining! This one is me on my travel scooter, on the road leading to the beach in Opatija, Croatia; the bikes behind me are Kawasakis, which seemed to be the most popular motorcycles in town, though still far behind motor scooters in numbers; there are a couple other band members, too - we were on our way to the amphitheatre for our first performance!


Anyway. Reading. Let's see. Re-reading some Terry Pratchett - so far, Guards, Guards!, Men at Arms, and Feet of Clay. Also have progressed through Matriarch and Ally in the second trilogy of Karen Traviss' Shan Frankland series. Now on the final book, Judge - I'll give a more thorough report on that one when I'm done. Also have started the latest Harry Dresden book, Small Favors (Jim Butcher) - I won't give anything away, don't worry. Um, Carolyn Hart's Death Walked In in her Annie Darling series - eh, she's recycling plots lately. There's been other stuff as well - I know a bunch of library books have wandered in and out of here - but I can't remember what.

Wait, I am drifting into boring, must be time for another picture! Here are some bikes and scooters parked under the palm trees along the sidewalks of one of the main streets. I bet you never thought of Eastern Europe and palm trees in the same breath - but Croatia is a seaside country, this is a seaside resort town, and yes, it has lots of palm trees!


We got most of the remainder of the stuff out of the old house yesterday - there's still loose odds and ends in the kitchen that we can carry over in the car, but all the big stuff's out of there, and we can call in the carpet shampooers and the general cleaners and probably have that house ready to rent out for September 1! This house is messier than ever now - but the electrician is coming next Thursday to do the rest of the work on the outlets, and then we can push all the bookcases against the walls and really get to unpacking the books.

This is the Hotel Agava (yes, after the agave plant), which is where we were staying in Opatija.


Anyway, I'm just going to look at my flist starting now, and only go back if (a) I see something drastic that begs for explanation that may be in an earlier post, or (b) you actually put a comment here telling me that there's something I should know or would like to know in your posts of the past month. Sorry I'm being so lazy - but lazy is my middle name, right?

One more pic: This is looking out from the stage into the audience portion of the amphitheater, during our sound check a couple hours before the concert.
bunrab: (bunearsword)
OK, I'm not going to ever be able to catch up on everybody on my flist, so I'm just going to read the past two days; if there's anything urgent I should know that isn't somehow in there, let me know via comment or email.

Thank you all for your thoughts and condolences.

The funeral was, well, a funeral. The work of cleaning up the house and dealing with the estate is ongoing. We will be returning to TX for another 8 days at the end of this month, and then probably again at the end of February, and then who knows. Our petsitter may not be getting rich but she's certainly going to be busy.

Little Vlad the Impaler grew noticeably in the 9 days we were gone. He is one wheelin' little hedgie.

I spent the entire time in Texas wheezing from "cedar fever" - the local name for allergy to ash juniper pollen, which is always at its peak in January. [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_magnet doesn't suffer from that; instead, he caught a cold on the airplane on the way home, so now he is all sick and stuff, coughing in a manner disturbingly reminiscent of old-fashioned consumption.

Now I need to continue dealing with a weeks worth of newspapers, mail, phone messages, etc. I suppose bill-paying should be at the top of that list.

Gaaaaah, there is so much to deal with. If I could offer ONE lesson to everybody right now, it would be this: if you have old printed photos, either label them as to who-when-where RIGHT NOW, or else THROW THEM OUT right now. Your heirs and assigns are NOT going to save photos of people they don't recognize in places they can't identify.

Oh, and for pete's sake throw out those cancelled checks. If you have a very complicated tax return, then keep the most recent three years worth of checks; NOBODY I know needs to keep any older than that.

That goes for all your 1973 gasoline charge card receipts, too.
bunrab: (chocolate)
1. Hey, people, flip-flops are a really stupid idea for footwear when you're going to a museum where you're going to be walking for hours. But if you were stupid enough to wear 'em, please don't bore everyone else in the gallery with your whining.
2. That goes double for mules (slides) with narrow heels. What were you thinking?
3. Cropped pants look dumb on most people. Cropped pants with a large tropical flower print look dumber. And cropped pants with a large tropical flower print on a guy look gaggably horrible. If you can afford that bicycle and that helmet, you can afford decent pants!

Dear teenage boy:
The answer to every question you asked your parents, me, and other random strangers, is on the sign next to each portrait you asked about. I know you can read, because you asked "Who's Roy Lichtenstein?" - so you read his name. Why not read the rest of the damn plaque while you're at it?

Dear Museum Shop:
Is it your contention that because admission to the museum is free, you can charge lots more for souvenirs? That certainly seems to be the way you have things priced.

Dear Museum:
The gallery in question just barely opened. How can the elevator be broken already?
bunrab: (bunnies)
[livejournal.com profile] bunrab's LiveJournal popularity rating is 2.72/10.
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plus nobody has even stopped by my recent posts to tell me I'm nuts. I would've thought they merited at least one comment that I need to get a new pillow, or new drugs, or something!

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