formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Friday, September 15, 2017

I Ain't Askeerd a Nuthin'

Yesterday I had a "conversation" on Facebook with someone I don't know, via the comments section of a friend's post. I can't even remember what the original post was about (something political). This guy (someone I came to realize is much younger than I am) said something like, "Ignorance can't survive in today's world."

Lord, how I wish that was true!

I commented (after several others), that ignorance can and does survive; it has always; it will always, forever and ever amen. His subsequent comments were sweet, really, and full of optimism and idealism. He felt that I was being a Negative Nelly. I said I'm simply a realist. I've lived in a world full of ignorance and intolerance my whole life, it was that way before I was born, and I believe it will be that way long after I die. I went on to say that I believe humans will destroy the planet long before we ever become a truly enlightened race.

And I believe that completely.

I also explained that I believe there are many, many intelligent, good-hearted people doing good work around the world. I try to be one of those people. I raised my daughter to be one of those people. My realistic view of the world doesn't mean I don't try to change my part of it, to make it a better place.

His last comment, again sweet and full of optimism, told me to be brave... he told me not to let fear win.

Be brave. Don't let fear win.

I let that sink in for a moment. I thought of all the things I've dealt with in the last 20 years. I thought about all the times I've had to will myself to be brave, in order to just get out of bed in the morning, just to do what had to be done. And you know what I realized?

I ain't askeerd a nuthin' no mo.  

I've dealt with death and depression and illness and divorce. I'm living with cancer. I've raised an amazing kid all by myself, with woefully inadequate funds. I've been out of work and underemployed. I've had relationships I thought were rock-solid, relationships I thought I couldn't live without, simply evaporate without explanation. I've felt alone and stranded and completely stuck in some dark places, both literally and figuratively.

But here I am - upright - looking forward to the next phase of my life. 

In looking at that list of difficulties, I realized that while I have certainly been afraid - so very afraid - I'm not anymore. Because I made it through, that's why. Oh, I bear the battle scars for sure, and there are still some open wounds, but they will heal. They are healing. I am healing.

And for the first time in a very long time, I can honestly say there's no fear. My heart feels open, my head feels focused, and my whole being feels ready for the big things coming my way. Good things... good things I'll let you in on over time.

And if some of the stuff heading toward me isn't so good? Well, I'll handle it... just like I've handled everything up 'til now.

Because I ain't askeerd a nuthin'. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Dog Days

It's been nearly a year since we lost our beautiful boy - Sundance. That's nearly impossible for me to comprehend. I still miss him every day. But not long after he was gone, the sharp edges of grief were dulled, ever so slightly, by another dog.

This is Finn, the day I brought him home from his third shelter in his short life - just 8 months old (though the shelter mislead me a bit, assuring me he was older), scary-skinny, and bright as a button. It was all good for the first couple of days. And then, I guess, he started to feel more at home.

After his second night, and my third pair of shoes, he had to be crated. He's still crated. He'll chew anything not nailed down. Including Pip and Rue, the cats.

There was definitely a period of adjustment for those two.

There have been rocky moments. Rue, who crazy-loved Sunny, wants to love Finn. Desperately. And Pip wants to be his buddy. But it's really hard to take kindly to someone who spends most of his time making sure your head fits in his mouth. I completely believe Finn thinks the cats are simply odd-looking little dogs and he just wants to play with them the way he plays with his peeps at the dog park. After nearly a year, however, there has been no blood let and, as far as I can tell, the cats still haven't used their claws on him. So, although I spend a lot of time picking up stuff they knock over and yelling, "What in the fresh hell is wrong with you people?!," we're all good.

At the dog park, Finn is a bit of a celebrity. When we arrive, we hear choruses of "Finn!" It's sort of like when Norm entered the bar on Cheers. Then Finn makes his rounds... to every single human in the park. He's well-loved, is my boy. He does have himself a good time - every time - and comes home, more often than not, sporting a Pigpen-like cloud of dust, dirt, and just plain muck. And if it's rained recently?

I once had someone ask if he was a chocolate lab. I looked at her like she was nuts and replied, "Um, he's black." She looked at him again and exclaimed, "Oh my god, that's mud!" 

Yeah. We frequent the dog wash regularly.

He's been a handful since Day One. Truly. And because I was still grieving for Sunny and probably shouldn't have gotten another dog right away, it's taken me a little while to fall in love with him. Though I think he's quite smart sometimes, he's a colossal idiot at others (most others). But he's also the friendliest, happiest dog I've ever had. He hasn't yet met a person or mutt he doesn't love with his whole heart, and that makes it easier to love him, even when he's chewed your new pair of running shoes. 

And he's a handsome fellow, too... 

Who has had some very cute moments... 

Even if he's a little dumb... 

Now, at 18 months old, he's still puppy. But he's a big puppy. No longer scary-skinny (and a frequent diner at the Cat Food Buffet), he's 80lbs of black fur that winds up on everything I own. He has absolutely NO concept of his own size and he thinks he's a lapdog... 

He's a big goofball, who makes me laugh (and shake my head... and holler)... 

He's definitely part of the family... 

And I really do think that he's going to be a good dog. Someday. 

Until that day? I'll just keep loving him. And pushing him off the couch. And extricating the cats' heads from his mouth...  

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Year of Me - Just Diane

When I started this blog, my daughter was 8-years-old, in the third grade.

I told lots of stories here (and on Facebook) of her growing up. The readers who came here regularly got to know her pretty well. I'm not sure if any of those old regulars are still coming 'round but if you are, I'm about to make you feel very old...

Three weeks ago, I drove her over to the University of Virginia and moved her into her dorm.

I'll just let that sink in for a moment.

My kid is in college. And I'm now living alone for the first time in my life. Well, as alone as I can be with a big dumb dog and two obnoxious cats.

It's been a bit of a transition, for both of us. Things were a bit rocky her first week at school but they settled down and she seems to be pretty happy. I get frequent texts and calls, but not because she needs things... just because she wants to tell me about a cool class or club or person. It makes me so happy. I'll admit, though, it was hard for me that first week (because if your baby is hurting, you're hurting, too), and leaving her at school was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do (I had to pull over at a rest stop because I couldn't see to drive), but things settled down for me, too. I'm kind of enjoying the empty house, even if I have to do all the dishes myself.

This empty nest has left me thinking, though... about how I move forward. I realized just how tangled up in Ryan my whole sense of self was. Is. And I've realized that I need to do some work - and some play - to reclaim me. Just me. Just Diane. Not Diane, Ryan's mom (though I will always be that person and glad of it!).

For the first time in 25 years, I'm on the front-burner. There is no one ahead of me on my immediate priority list. That's a strange feeling, peeps. I've been spending some time thinking about

What Do I Do With Myself Now...

And making some lists.

I've planned several trips this year, to see faraway friends, starting with The Brown-haired Bestie in Charlotte (during which we'll squeeze in a writer's workshop, like in the old days). I'll be seeing my friend Cari in NY over my birthday, I'll head to England with my girl over her spring break, then there's a visit planned to the Red-haired Bestie (some of you may remember Blognut) in Chicago, and then I'll head to Maine to camp for a week with my Close-by Bestie.

In between those visits, I've got a tai chi class planned, I've joined the gym, and I'm looking a few other things to get me reacquainted with my life.

In my last post, I rated the areas of my life and found every one lacking in some way (some pretty significantly). I went into a busy summer, plugging along, feeling tired and overwhelmed. We're starting fall with me feeling much the same way, but I also have a sense of optimism I haven't felt in a while.

Right now there's a big pot of chicken-vegetable soup simmering on the stove. It's lunch for the week... I'm starting back on the Whole 30 eating plan, as it's the only one that seems to right most of my physical wrongs. And tomorrow morning, I'm going to do my best to get up at 5am and get to the gym, to swim, something I love but don't do near enough of.

It's just the start.

It's a whole new year, peeps. The Year of Just Diane. Come on along if you want. I'm happy for the company! XO

Yeah, that's me, right there. Hiya!