Moving Forward

Never has there been a year in my life when so much has changed. My mother left me an orphan and we left her at Horseshoe Bay, beautiful acre upon acre of Lake Superior shoreline; she worked, successfully, for a over a decade to ensure that it would remain pristine and undeveloped in perpetuity. I retired after 32 years as a psychotherapist. We sold our house in Ann Arbor- my hometown for 35 years where I raised my family, kept my friends, grew my garden. I left Wit’s End, my small version of an outermost house, where I could escape the city lights and watch meteor showers and salamander migrations. We moved to Chicago, the most urban and urbane of cities, to live in a brick rowhouse 100 yards from a helicopter landing pad. I designed and contracted a major rebuild of our small historic bungalow in St. Petersburg, Florida. I began my new "career" as a zoological park docent and educator.

And that was just my life and, at that, only the parts that are remotely fit to print.  You know we all have some additional quagmire, the stuff that falls under the heading of "secrets" that we don’t talk or write about but it sits there on the closet shelf threatening to tumble out every time you open the door- well, I had some of that this year, too. But the children: Abby flowered- a fairer blossom I can’t imagine. Daniel grew himself into a major musical career; the album is nominated for the BBC Jazz New Album of the Year. Bud survived his loss bravely, had major surgery and we began that dance where the (step) parent and child change roles, even as he remains my hero. Rich made a strenuous and graceful transition from his own business to life as a corporate officer in a dynamic agency. My brother and sisters and I came together around illness, death, memorial services and a beautiful family Christmas.

You would think I could milk a Christmas letter out of all of that, but no. Nada. The cards are here, in Florida, waiting to be sent. The main thing that came out of all that upheaval was erratic fits and starts of energy and mood. I think I moved forward in my life but it’s entirely possible that I’ve been using every single calorie to just tread water. I know I was so busy that I fell short in maintaining my personal relationships and that’s one of the most important things in life, for me. I also know it felt as though I was constantly taking care of others and myself not at all- so in the end 2006 is sort of a muddle and a mystery.
I’m not sure if I’ll continue to blog or not. When I do it in good humor, casually but consistently, not only in posting but in visiting and commenting- well, I love it. You people are in my circle of friends. When I try to recount the seriousness of life and death and all that muck I don’t think I do so well. So, the vote is still out. I have the time now to figure it out over the next few weeks.

We’re here in Florida for the next bit of life. One of the perks of Rich’s new job is that he gets to work here for four months a year. Although we were barely settled in Chicago (and I am truly starting to appreciate and enjoy what that busy city has to offer), here feels good. Really good. Today it rained most of the day but with the new big porch I could leave the doors onto it-all four sets of them- open and wander in and out. I checked out where the water runs off the roof the most and considered a place for a small pond or fountain as I plan the native xeriscape for the yard. I tried out the new porch fans and the best place for my rocking chair. The cats followed me and they are clearly settling in with ease. Sophie spotted her first anole lizard but didn’t venture off the porch into the rain to investigate further.

Yesterday, when it was sunny and 75, we took time from settling in to take the short walk to the Bay and there were three manatees, many turtles, some Blue Herons and my favorite from last year: this small Green Heron.

I think these next few months will provide me some time and space to collect my thoughts and feelings. I hope to be a better friend and reconnect with people I care about and I really hope to take good care of myself. I have several knitting projects to finish, my loom to set up, a garden to plan, letters to write, books to read- and of course, those Christmas cards. I suspect some yoga would help, too.

Hey! Happy New Year!

20 responses to “Moving Forward

  1. When a certain blogger sends an email to a mother of eleven entitled “Trojans. Who needs ’em?”, you know you have a winner on your hands.

    Sorry to hear of the Wolverine loss. But, don’t look upon it as an inauspicious beginning to 2007. Rather, know that things can only improve, as your pennings on the extraordinary life you lead have improved the Land of Blog and as your friendship and example have improved the life and outlook of that aforementioned mother.

    May you know yoga in every moment, dear Vicki. And, may you know that you are always in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. I would hate to see you stop blogging, but sometimes it can get in the way of life. We will always be your internet community of friends, just like the ones that you don’t see that often in real-life, but can connect with when you do get together. Your life was full of changes this year; I remember a list of stressors I saw many years ago, and your bad and good events of the year would add up to a hefty score. So, breathe deeply, drink in nature, and enjoy that 75 degree weather.

  3. I understand the stresses you have weathered this year, but when I read the line saying you might not blog any longer, it was all I could do not to burst into tears. You are such an inspiration, Vicki, to all of us. When you write about your life, both the bad and the good, you teach us not only how to live gracefully but how to write engagingly.

    Whatever your decision, I will have to respect it – but I surely don’t have to like it if it turns out to be no. I pray that you will reconsider all the perks of blogging and come back to us.

    Whatever your decision, I hope that you will have a wonderful year in 2007, and that you will only grow stronger from the stress of 2006.

  4. Vicki, I would sorely, sorely miss your voice if you stopped blogging.

    I can say that when I quit this summer it was a good thing for me.

    I can also say that now that I am back I HAVE found balance. Blogging is just a hobby now, not an obsession. Not an addiction anymore. Now it is just me sharing with a smaller circle of friends.

    You do what you need to do, whether that’s taking a break or continuing to write. But if you leave, please come back whenever you have something to say.

    I really can’t bear any more of my small circle of friends leaving. No, I can’t.

  5. And yes, Bonnie, that last part was directed at you.

    When you are fluttering around here, my world is better. it just is.

    And the same for you, Vicki.

  6. I love imagining you down there in Florida, puttering and enjoying the warmth.

    It was a hell of a year for you, I know, but as you made your way gracefully through it, I often felt inspired.

    Find your balance, whatever that might be. I hope it includes an occasional post. xoxoxox

  7. You may have “retired” from your career as psychotherapist, but your posts still touch a cord in my life. So I vote that you please stay! But life can become too busy.

    I feel your pain about the Michigan loss…. I may never cheer for Oklahoma again…. although David and Goliath was one of my favorite Bible stories, I really thought it would end differently.

    Mr. Rhett wanted Sophie to know that the satiny pink pillow toy was especially for her. He thought it was beautiful and silky just like her beautiful grey coat. Yes, and he votes that you continue to blog as well…. how would he keep in touch with his heart’s desire?

    What lens do you already have for your camera that lets you get these gorgeous close-ups? And what lens do you have on backorder? Such a beautiful bird. There is to be a full moon tomorrow evening and I plan to be down at the oceanfront at 5PM to try my hand at an ocean moonrise. We’ll see how that goes…. I still have to read this manual.

  8. I am glad that you are there safe and sound and that the house is what you had hoped. I know that there is still a bucket of work to do, but now you can do it at your leisure. I love your writing and will miss this contact with you a lot if you decide to discontinue your blog.

  9. Bonnie- I just couldn’t resist. 😉 And I’m so glad to see your recent posts!

    Roxanne- The lens I’m waiting for is the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Zoom Lens. It’s pricey- the best price I’ve found is about 400.00. But it’s great for aging photographers because it has a built in image stabilizer that cuts out the 9 out of 10 fuzzy photos I take. I use the standard EFS 18-55 that came with for day to day use and it’s fine. I also have a Canon zoom EF 75-300 mm for zoom work. The camera itself is simply wonderful and you’re going to love it more and more over time. I have yet to read the manual- sigh. I’m more of a learn-by-doing kinda gal.

    Thank you all for the encouraging words. I had a good time last evening cruising the neighborhood so whether I continue to write or not, I’ll be around. I’m thinking I’ll aim for a simple and uneventful year so maybe some posts that reflect that are in order. If Raehan has time to write letters to the tooth fairy I can at least write a bit about manatee and kitchen tile.

    Roberta- WHEN? Tickets are as low as I’ve seen them…

  10. I think you do quite well on the serious stuff. I know your writing on your mother’s death really helped me process my own loss – maybe it was just the timing, you put the words up there when I was about ready to read them, but I don’t think so.

    And I really love the animal posts.

  11. Never mind this life-changing event stuff, how can you even THINK about moving forward after such a sour Wolverine loss yesterday. My year’s shot already. Let me tell ya, if it came down to capturing Usama versus a Michigan win in the Rose Bowl, I’d take the “W.”

    And you need to use your 32-years experience in psychotherapy on your Spartan friend out there. She tells me she was cheering for the Trojans!!?? I think all that Yoga has her loyalties all askew. Might some aromatherapy help here? Some farm smells might remind her of her midwestern roots.

    Hope you and your’s have a great 2007 (the rest of it anyway).

  12. Happy 2007 Vicki! I don’t have contact info for you since your move. Will you e-mail it to me?

  13. Thanks for the info…. I don’t have the cash to do the lens yet but I can have a wish list can’t I? Rhett is crushed that Sophie is more interested in lizards than him.

    Does this mean you have actually gotten internet access at your winter home? You no longer sit out in the street trying to find a hot spot? Will wonders never cease!

  14. What they all said up there. Plus infinity.

    Don’t go. We need you.

  15. Go if you need the change and the time, but don’t go because you think your posts aren’t valuable, because we all love them.
    You certainly deserve some down time after a year like that.

    Thanks for xeriscaping.
    One word for you… coontie.
    Take care.

  16. I’d miss you, but sure hope you won’t disappear. Have some time in the sun to think things over.

  17. Happy New Year, Vicki. Please know how much I would miss you in the neighborhood.

  18. I hope that balmy 75 degree air is healing, Vicki. The thought of you stopping when I’ve just found you, well… it makes me sad. But, as the universe keeps trying to tell me, it’s not all about me. Right? Just know that I’ve so appreciated finding your blog this fall. . . and whatever you write is a pleasure to read.

    Happy New Year. May 2007 bring you joy. Lots and lots of joy.

  19. I so agree with everyone’s comments. I feel like I’ve just gotten to know you after lurking for a long time at Outside In.

    You certainly did have your share of grief this year, and changes. I’ve had some of those, but they’ve been spread out over a few years. My poor mother lost both parents and her husband within a 13 month period. Later, when I realized her time of life and everything, I wondered how she ever kept her mind.

    I’m sorry about Michigan’s loss. I was cheering for them; I truly was. I’m just very happy that Penn State won!

  20. Well as my little sister used to say, “You better don’t!”

    I sure would hate to see you hang up your blogging hat for good. Unless you’re going to write a book. (And really, even then you should probably keep the blog! 🙂

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