So yeah…

Once upon a time, there was an active blog in this site.  Sometimes irreverent, sometimes slightly naughty, sometimes intellectual, sometimes goofy, sometimes all of the above.  Lately there’s been a whole lot of:

My prolonged absence has very little to do with anything Richard Armitage has or has not done…I recently watch Pilgrimage (meh) and LOVED Armitage’s voicing of Trevor Belmont in Castlevania.   No, my absence has definitely been all about me.  This space has been really important to me, and it continues to be, so I want to find a way to be present in it again – in whatever form it evolves into.   In the spirit of disclosure I thought I might give you all the highlights reel of what’s been going on that’s been keeping me away.

Back tracking about a year….this time last year, I was having a blast in Greece with Guylty, jholland, Kathy, Claudia and Wydville…a Hellenic girls week.  When I came home, I fell back into my regular routine both at work and at home, but changes were on the horizon.  My Dean’s campaign to find me a full time, full benefit position at the university where I’d been an adjunct instructor for so long was about to bear fruit.  In 2016 we hired a new President and about six months later, a new provost – and we were in for a bit of a ride.  Our new administration has pursued an aggressive program of change in the past year – some of it better received than others, but so it goes with change.  There were hints at a change in my position at the university in November of 2016, but the real kicker was an icy day in January when, due to a knee injury incurred just after Christmas, my meeting with the Provost became a phone meeting.

That phone call initiated a big change in my career path which ultimately resulted in my being offered and accepting a position as an Assistant Dean this past summer.  The past six months has been a crazy journey.  I really like my job, but most days I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into in terms of my insane workload.  So, reason #1 that the blog has been rather quiet, my job has changed to the extent that my down time when not encroached on by home is pretty limited these days.

Never one to limit my challenges, in early March about a month or so after assuming my first job title change, I finally made the decision that my marriage was really over and relocated to my sister’s with my kids while we sorted out the details.   My husband (we are not yet divorced) and I had been unhappy for a long time, and when we finally talked a couple weeks later, we agreed that to preserve some degree of affection for one another and for the sake of our younger child, we should acknowledge that our lives had gone in different directions and that we were no longer a couple and had not been for some time.  Thus far, things have been relatively amicable.   And so, Reason #2  – major life event.

Now, reason #3 is not really about me, but about my oldest child – you know, Showbiz Son.  Well, it turns out that ShowBiz son is actually SuperGlam Daughter.  She had come out to me as transgender about 18 months before, but my split from her father and our subsequent (albeit temporary) move from our family residence was the catalyst that allowed her to begin her outward transition.  She is still a complicated soul, and transitioning is full of all sorts of unseen challenges for us all, but she seems ever so much happier in her own skin these days!

 When I put it all down in writing, it seems pretty crazy.  Yeah, it IS pretty crazy, but we’re all muddling through.  The kids and I are back at home and their dad has his own place not far away.  We’re on the way to establishing our “new normal” I think.   Things have perhaps begun to settle into place a little bit in the new job and even if it is crazy, I’m determined that I really need to carve out a space in my day for blogging.  I’m not entirely sure where I’ll go at the moment, but I hope you’ll decide to come along.

DULCIUS EX ASPERIS

“Fine as frog hair!”

You may have noticed that I’ve been kind of an absentee blogger of late.  When blogs go silent, I always find myself wondering, “WHY?”  Is everything OK?  Has blogger X lost interest?  Just really busy?  Suffice it to say that the answer to the 2nd question is a resounding “NO”  I’ve definitely not lost interest, nor run out of things to talk about, I’m just hovering between answers to the first and last questions.  I’ve been in a personal funk the past couple of weeks…some of which is due the to loss of a very dear member of my church family.

Despite being 40 years my senior, and a itty bitty physical form, my dear friend Bev had a joie de vivre that made her seem far younger than her 85 years.  “Fine as frog hair,” was a typical response to an inquiry about her mood.  Not even cancer could fully quell her huge spirit.  Last November her oncologist informed her that she had about 4 months left on earth, to which she replied, “I’ll take 8.”  In true form, she lived every minute of the next eight months…despite battling through chemo and the toll it took on her already diminutive frame.  She was able to settle her own final affairs and stay in her own home until the end…entering hospice care for only one week before she died, surrounded by her loving family.  Upon hearing of her death my mother remarked, “She really lived until she died.”

By the time one reaches middle age, funerals are a part of life as the elder generation ages and passes on.  This funeral was different though…it was a first funeral service my children attended where they really knew the deceased.  Bev’s funeral was as much a celebration of her remarkable life as it was a mourning of her passing.  A spirit like hers lives on I think…in a myriad of ways.  I found this out first hand while preparing the food that would be served at the funeral luncheon.

As you may recall, I do a little catering on the side – particularly for church related peeps.  A few years ago, I catered a luncheon for my mom’s ecumenical church ladies groups, and Bev was among the diners.  She approached me after and asked me if I would cater her funeral dinner…using the same menu.  I immediately said, “Yes” and put it to the back of my mind since Bev wasn’t going anywhere right?  A couple of months ago, she came to me and confirmed that I would still do this quipping, “just watch the paper – when you see my obituary, you’ll know to get cookin’!”  All I could do was nod and laugh a little (while swallowing back a tear because I knew that this time she was serious).  

So, that is how I came to spend most of last week preparing a “lite luncheon” for 125.  Bev’s spirit was clearly on hand the morning of her service.  Several months before, as she was cleaning out her house, she gifted me with her well seasoned Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.  Anyone who cooks is desirous of one of these…even if the OFF switch is a little quirky.  “The switch doesn’t catch all the way, so you have to unplug it to turn it off,” she cautioned me as I gratefully accepted her gift.   Apparently, I forgot that little fact as I was mixing up the chocolate buttercream cake frosting…I unplugged, lifted the mixing arm to scrape the bowl and then (forgetting to lower the mixing arm back into the bowl) I plugged it back in…chocolate frosting went flying all over the kitchen.  One of the other women in the kitchen said, “Bev is laughing now!”  We all laughed together as I scraped chocolate icing off the wall.  🙂

20160714_134749.jpgThe luncheon was beautiful – we welcome a lot of non member funerals at our church and pride ourselves on hospitality – but everyone pulled out every stop for this event in honor of a most beloved friend…a most beloved friend who was a big fan of Americana and Pepsi!

I was very happy to be able to honor her memory by giving of one of my gifts, and her family seemed genuinely touched by all of the love that went in to the preparations, so it was well worth the week’s worth of job catch up I’ve been slogging through this week.  My career is the other area contributing to my current funk.  I’m at a bit of a crossroads. Since the beginning of the year, the Dean of my academic school has been planning for me to take on a larger administrative role withing the school, but this role is still not fully determined…despite the fact that it was supposed to have started officially on July 1.  As of today, six weeks from the beginning of the fall semester, I do not really know if or how my job and/or my income will change.  I do not function well under this level of uncertainty…especially when I am already fully booked for the fall semester AND will be in Greece for over two weeks at the start of it.

I honestly don’t know how people like Richard Armitage, who’s professional life is a matter of perennial fits and starts, handle that uncertaintly.  The number of “what ifs” I currently have in the air is exhausting – primarily because I can’t seem to force my brain to stop from turning the various outcome scenarios over again and again.  Then, just when I think that I might run stark raving mad, one thing will fall into place and I can re-center again.  That hasn’t quite happened yet, but I’m hoping it is around the corner…

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because I’d really like a more permanent version of the peace I felt when I looked up last night and saw this….calm after a stormy day…in the sky above my house last night.  (I wish I’d had a better camera on hand – here for some other views)