Sittin On A Porch

Sittin On A Porch
Our little back porch

Sunday, December 12, 2010

So much

So much has happened.  So much.  I woke up Tuesday morning, so tired.  Not that bone tired exhaustion that I had after my last chemo treatments, but just tired.  Sleepy tired.  However, I got up, took my shower, washed my 1/4 inch long hair, chose my clothes, fed the animals, cooked steel cut oatmeal (quick cook version) and drove to work.  It was an important day.

I got to work, reviewed my leave hours, and yes, I think May 31st will be the best date to retire.  I wrote my letter of intent, made copies and handed them out.  I returned to my office and wept.  The idea of leaving the known is scary.  I love my job.  I love the people I work with and for.  I am good at what I do there.  I am not so good at not going to work.  Well, I haven't been in the past.  And I am leaving this job because I don't have that much longer on this planet.  That is not true.  I have all the time in the world left.  I have years yet.  OK, maybe not 20, probably not 10, but I do have years.  And it is time to leave the comfort zone of the known and dip my toe into the unknown.  I don't mean to sound depressed, just a little frightened.  Frightened of the unknown.  And I know this unknown has all the opportunities of the world.  I can set up a new time to wake in the morning.  I can fix anything I want for breakfast because I will not have to rush to work.  And then will I sit and read the paper?  Or will I go out and work in my gardens? Maybe throw the ball to the dogs, or just sit and read a book.  Each day a new canvas to paint on anyway I want.

I went home that evening, so tired.  I sat in my red chair and fought to keep my eyes open.  Fought to sit upright.  Like I said I am not exhausted, just sleepy tired.  I worked on Christmas cards and made pumpkin bread for tomorrow's Division meeting I refused to give in and sleep because I was afraid I might not sleep through the night, and I need that full nights sleep.

Wednesday I awoke even more tired.  But I got up and went to work; after all, there is a party at work.  Well, party might be a bit overstating.  It is a giant cover dish.  We sit in the big auditorium lit only by Christmas lights and the fireplace on the TV.    In other words, it was dark.  Not really the best way to celebrate the festival of light.  But we had a good time and ate and ate and talked amongst our tablemates laughing.  Another year gone by.

Thursday when I got home, I sat in my red chair and fell fast asleep for 2 hours.  I woke and moved to the couch where I slept for another two hours.  Then I got up fixed dinner and then went to bed.  I was asleep by 6:30 and slept until the alarm went off the next morning when the alarm went off.  Up and out to work.  How can I still be so sleepy?

I managed to get a lot accomplished this week at work.  It felt good.  Then I met my friend Paige for lunch on Friday, across the street at the Chinese restaurant.  We sat and talked and laughed for hours.

Then I hurried home to dress for the Opera House Christmas Spectacular.  I pulled out my Christmas red sweater.  No, I put the sweater up and pulled out my new black cashmere sweater.  Yes, a bit Goth for Christmas, but it is warm and soft and feels like a baby’s breath on my skin.  Suzanne and Tim Peary, neighbors from behind me picked me up.  

And I have to say I highly recommend this Christmas spectacular.  The Director starts out in a green velvet low princess cut neckline that fit her like a Barbie doll.  She looked beautiful.  She went through two more changes ending in a long white dress reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe.  In fact a teenage boy ran up to her after the show and actually told her she looked like Marilyn.  She glowed.  

But there was more to this spectacular then just fancy dresses.  It reminded me of a Perry Como Christmas special.  There was dancing and singing and children who have grown up on that stage.  There was a scrooge story told from a Monticello point of view.  Instead of Marley being Scrooge's sidekick, it was John Perkins, the father of our Opera House.  And there was Victorian Carollers, teenagers dancing/singing to Rocking around the Christmas tree.  There were rockettes, Monticello style, religious music, the nativity, but no live birth.  There was a bit from Babe's in Toyland, Santa Claus, more singing and dancing, and flute playing and so much more.

But my favorite was Larry Blake accompanied by Caleb Vaughn, Michael Starling and another young man playing guitars with a choir of young children all dressed in white led by Lisa LItteral and they sang John Lennon's Christmas song.  "So this is Christmas, and what have you done.......” with the chorus singing, "war is over if, you want it" and the tears filled my eyes.  That is my favorite Christmas song.  

The show ended with "We wish you a merry Christmas" with Santa, played by Larry Blake who was a wonderful Santa.  And all the young children got to feel so grown up as they helped the even younger children in the audience up the rickety stairs to the stage.  Eyes bright and so important.  They are not babies anymore.  And they are not.  Their legs go on forever, the baby fat on their faces leaning out to reveal the adults they will one day be.  Voices changing, choices of clothes more mature, so grown up and yet so young.  I have watched these children for 3 years now, such a short time to an adult, an eternity to a child.  I sat in the audience with the few people who came with out my hat.  I sat there brave and strong, with my little fuzz of baby hair covering my head.  And I smiled and sang along and silently cried as Larry's beautiful voice and the guys acoustic guitars sang out through the hall of peace and love and giving to your fellow human.  The hall glowed in the gory of the fellowship of friends and families who have bonded here at the Opera House.  Watching their children grow, babies born and families coming together.  It was a magical night, truly a Christmas spectacular.  And as my friends too many to count on the stage and behind the scene, saw me and recognized me and my baldish head, I saw smiles and tears.  And after the show hugs, big strong hugs.  If these people could heal me with a hug, I would be the healthiest person in the world.  

Yesterday I sewed Christmas bags.  I wrap very few Christmas presents in paper, preferring to sew simple bags of cloth tied with ribbons to hold my presents.  It started when Corie and Cole, and Annie and Jim were young.  They asked me why.  I explained that they were reusable and environmentally friendly.  They loved the bags.  Sometimes more then my presents.  Annie and Jim's family have received so many bags over the years that they now use them for their family presents.  Year after year, I watched tiny ones eye's glowed as they figured out how to open the bag, pull out the present and throw it to the side as they then gleefully stuffed all other kinds of things into the bag.  Children love boxes and bags.  They love places where they can put their own things.  Their very own stuff.  I also worked on some Christmas cards and then said, I have to get Vicki and Ken their present so I can mail their box with the Grantham and Kriner boxes this week.  So I got up and dressed and drove into town and finished my shopping.  Yes, I am finished.  Well, I will continue to look for stocking stuffers for Dad.  And I am still looking at a family present.  I was able to look at something yesterday and it gave me some great ideas.  I can't wait to see my brother's and their families faces when they open it up.  

I have been blessed with so much.  I have 2 plus acres with a barn, a chicken coop, Chickenham Palace and a little trailer, 2 airstreams, a car port, gardens, orchards and a vineyard that I put in with my own hands, my own sweat and those of my friends.  I have worked hard for the Department for 25 years.  I have moved up through the organization to a position I love.  I have had the opportunity to work in lots of other places also.  I have made people laugh as a professional clown.  I have taught others how to give in that same way.  I have worked with stained glass, a flower shop, plant nursery, a park ranger, worked at every level of the restaurant business; I have owned my own business making soap and other natural body products and herbal teas.  I have worked in an art gallery and been surrounded by such talent.  I have laughed until I cried more times then I can count, I have had food on the table, even if at times, I had to pick grapefruits free from my back yard, and buy brown rice from the bulk food store to eat with veggies picked from the neighborhood garden.  A feast at the time.  I have been given diamonds, had a champagne bath, road in Rolls Royces, and walked.  I have had all of my heart's wishes come true and spent time with the most remarkable people.  I have been loved and have loved, and even though I will never be a woman of unlimited resources, I have enough to give back.  Which in the past has been some of my happiest memories.  Nothing makes my heart sing like dropping a dollar into the red bucket, a sincere Merry Christmas spoken with true belief from the bell ringer.  I truly believe that each time I give I get back 10 fold.  Whether with the song in my own heart, or the look on the other person's face when they realized that someone thought of them and gave to them.  I like being anonymous in my giving. It takes the joy from the give and gives it to the receiver.  As it should be.  

And this morning I awoke not as tired.  Not so worn out.  Finally!!!  I suppose it will come back after the treatment on Monday, but for now, I feel good.  And I got up early and started sewing bags, then wrote Christmas cards during Charles Osgood.  And now I have caught my blog up.  I swear that I did a million other things, all of course quite important, but all I remember is being tired.  Sleepy tired.  And I slept and allowed the healing to strengthen my body finally.

Today the temperature is dropping, the wind is picking up and it will be so very cold tonight.  Tuesday morning will be the coldest day of the year.  Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe the cold!  And today I will look out the window to the gorgeous sunshine tempting me to come out and play.  Oh, you can never trust the sunshine in the winter, it looks warm and lovely.  But the sun is so far away and as hard as it tries to warm our little corner of the world, it is focused elsewhere on our blue and green planet.  But it will come back in the spring, warming the dark mulch rich earth, causing plants to sprout and shoot out of the ground reaching up to the sun.  

Oh what a wonderful week it has been.  Even with the sleepiness and tired moments.  I was strong.  I wrote a letter that I didn't think I would write for years yet.  And when I was in JoAnn's yesterday, a woman came up to me and shook my hand.  With a big broad smile, she told me that she had just been given the news that she is one year cancer free.  I told her that I am still going through treatment.  She hugged me and told me to hang in there.  I smiled, I didn't tell her that my cancer is uncurable, it was her moment, I didn't want to tarnish it.  She was so proud.  And I am proud also, of what I am accomplishing.  I don't know that I will ever hear anyone tell me that I am one year cancer free.  But I hope that I might hear that the cancer is contained.  My achievement will be waking up as many mornings as possible and get up and smile and welcome another day.  Another day, isn't that wonderful.  It does not make me happy to hear people say, "Oh you will live for ever."  No, instead, it makes me happy to see my friends there knowing that I will not be here forever, but that I am here today, and really, that is what is important.  

Today, that is the most important day there is, today.   And I am here, and I am happy and I am sending cards to friends and sewing bags to wrap presents of my beloved ones in.  It is a wonderful day.


  1. And you are wonderful too. I am glad you are not so tired, and can do the things you want to do. I loved reading about all your adventures and accomplishments - amazing. I love your gift bag idea and will have to try to sew my own, since it is such a great idea. I too am happy donating and giving this time of year, it makes me smile from the inside out. Your inner beauty is shining like a beacon right now, thanks for beaming it out to share on your blog. Take care and enjoy the season.

  2. Dear Kathleen - What a beautiful recitation of your gratefulness for all life has brought you so far. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have been living a "retired" sort of life for the last three years, not yet saying I am "retired" for good but not taking on a new project. It is wonderful to get up each day and live life on your own terms and in your own time. I think this is a wonderful gift to be giving yourself. You seem to be such a generous and loving person. Time to be generous to You. x0 N2

  3. Catching up.

    Sorry you're not feeling good about retiring... I'd be happy to show you how you too can be good at not working.. :-)

    The Spectacular sounds spectacular.

  4. You know what I love? I love when I call you and how you always say, "Good morning!" It is one of the high points of my day. I love to hear your laughter. I love to hear you talk about your kids and your days, your plans. And yes, even the hard things. I love to hear you talk about them too because you are trusting me with them.
    Well. Tomorrow I will make you pizza. The sheets are clean on your bed and MR. MOON HIMSELF made that bed up when I was at rehearsal.
    Oh yes, he loves you.
    And so do I.
    See you tomorrow.
    Love you truly....Mary

  5. I'm glad that you caught us up on what has been going on. Each day is a blessing for all of us. I am glad that you see it that way too. As for retirement, I had to grieve mine before I left. But once I retired, it felt so good. And I am still loving it. Finally, no schedule. Awesome.