Boomity

So. I haven’t been tweeting much these days (in case you haven’t noticed).
Here’s the deal, tweeps.
I did some thinking. Came to some much needed conclusions.
You see, I have already proved that I can condemn like nobody’s business. You all know that I can snark better than almost anyone. I can call out. And it’s a verified fact that I can get down in the dirt with the best (worst?) of them and throw some mean verbal punches.
And, in doing so, I can get bunches of likes. Scads of retweets. (Retweet still sounds like Elmer Fudd exhorting you to turn back, btw).
I can get tons of traction.
But you know what I can’t get?

Satisfaction.
Joy.
Peace.
Raise awareness? Bullshit.
All my internet sniping can raise is my blood pressure.
It’s nothing more than a bunch of little old ladies nattering about the new neighbors.
Whose mind am I going to change?
And, what freaking business is it of mine what other people’s minds are set on anyway?
Is kvetching about this group or that politician really going to change anything?
Is jumping up and down and hollering going to cause political parties or groups to suddenly see what I or anyone else perceives as the “error of their ways”?
Hell no it’s not.
Don’t get me wrong – some of you are masters at sharing your opinions. It’s your life’s work (some of you) and you’re damned excellent at verbalizing the angst and channeling the rage.
Me?
I’m tired of it.
I’m tired of the division.
I’m weary of the animosity.
I’m saddened to watch the sides further entrenching in their positions because of the verbal attacks.
There’s just no “there” there in all of that anger for me.
There’s no fight, no “great cause” worthy of my pulling out my soapbox and raising my tattered little banner for.
No. I take that back.
The cause worth my time, my attention, my banner raising is the human condition.
The sameness at the very core of each of our beings.
That spark of humanity, that bit of joy and love within each heart.
So instead of condemnation, I now choose compassion.
Rather than snark, I finally choose serenity.
Rather than calling out, I far prefer to choose lifting up.
From now on, I’m now using the power of the Boomity for good, not evil.
Join me?
I have cookies.

The Anniversary

So. Yesterday, August 26th, should have been my 23rd wedding anniversary. When we first married, I truly believed that he and I were going to grow ridiculously old together. You know – like those doddering cute old couples you see oh so slowly walking through the mall, still holding hands.

As most all of you know, fate had other ideas. I steeled myself for yesterday, knowing it would be my first August 26th as a widow. I prepared myself for a flood of tears, a total boo-hoo day.

It didn’t happen.

Instead I found myself thankful. Thankful that Sid (aka Wyatt to his online friends) somehow found the inner strength to will himself to live past a terminal diagnosis to share what would be our last anniversary together with me last year.

Thankful beyond comprehension that I had almost a quarter of a century with him.

Thankful that I’ve been blessed by such an awesome outpouring of love from so many people in the months leading up to and well past his death.

And, I really don’t know how to say this without sounding callous, I’m not only thankful that he is no longer in such miserable, excruciating, soul-wracking, ungodly pain, but I’m also thankful that I no longer have to stand by helplessly being unable to do anything to ameliorate it. Perhaps the worst feeling in the world is to witness the suffering of someone you love and not be able to ease it, to take it away, to make it all better somehow.

My modus operandi in life has always kind of been that I’m the one who smooths everything out, who finds the answers, who ferrets out the solutions. I’ve always been the one who makes everything all better.

The last chapter in our marriage was one that no matter how much I tried, how much I wished, I simply could not fix. His long illnesses had taken their inexorable toll on his weakened body. I had to witness helplessly as his strength diminished rapidly, until finally, the virile energetic man I’d started my married life with was now frail, scared and in pain.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful for the strengths I learned during his very long illness. The necessity to step in and run the household, the business, make the repairs. The need to be the strong shoulder to lean on, when I’d have much preferred to be the one doing the leaning. Those strengths are ones that I somehow know will serve me well in the future.

And I’m thankful – so wondrously thankful for those close to me who reached out yesterday to make sure I was okay. I spent hours talking on the phone to one of my “best friends I’ve never met” yesterday instead of having the pity party I’d anticipated. We talked about everything from death to houses to careers to neighbors to pets to religion to food to politics.

The time flew by. Just as in many ways my 22 year marriage flew by in retrospect.

I’m one of “those people” who buy e-books when they strike my fancy. A few months back, I saw a post about a quasi-spiritual, sort of “New Age” book about “things the recently departed want you to know”. I thought to myself “I should order that”. So I did. But when I got to the order page, I received a message saying “You’ve already purchased this e-book”. The message went on to inform me that I had purchased the e-book on October 21, 2014 – two years to the day before my husband passed away. Somehow, in the sudden need for and purchase of a new computer shortly before he died, I neglected to reinstall the viewer that the e-book was on.

Once I got over the shock of the date coincidence (at the time I bought the e-book, hubby was doing reasonably well. I still have no idea why I’d even purchased it, to be honest. But, I had).

As I read through the book, parts of it were, to me, a little “out there”, but other chapters brought me great comfort. The overriding theme was that (stick with me here, gang) we are all here to learn what we need to learn. The chapter that spoke to my heart the most was about one whose lesson to learn before “crossing over” was that they would be loved unconditionally while they were “here”, no matter what. I’d like to think that was the gift I was able to give to my husband especially as his illnesses progressed and as the end of his life drew near. Because, I did love him without condition – in spite of his pain – despite the limitations. And that very strong love is why I anticipated a much sadder anniversary than I experienced.

But as I sit here on the day after what could have been, I’m still tremendously thankful, overwhelmingly grateful, and quite amazingly, at peace.

And that peace, gentle readers, is what I sincerely wish for each and every one of you this day.

 

The August of My Life

August. Here in Colorado, the deep azure blue of May, June and July has been replaced by a lighter, softer blue – as if to prepare the world for cooler weather in the weeks and months to come. As I was out in the yard with my dogs this morning, I felt a coolness to the breeze that hadn’t been there before. The fluffy billowing marshmallow-like clouds that are the hallmark of summer had seemingly overnight turned into the wispy cirrus clouds of autumn.

When I was a little girl, August was always a magical time. The Colorado State Fair is always held in the last week of August and ending around Labor Day. And this was the month that mama would gather us all up and go shopping for school clothes for the upcoming school year. Little did I know that she would max out her Montgomery Wards credit card on those trips – I just saw it as a bounty of beautiful, crisp new dresses that lovingly landed in my closet waiting to be chosen for that exciting first wearing in my new grade. I’d be so eager to meet new teachers and classmates that I could hardly wait for the first day of class – especially when I had “graduated” to an even higher grade in a brand new school.

August also marked the end of our summer freedom to laze in the backyard and watch the clouds, riding our bikes through the hills, engaging in neighborhood water fights, family vacations to far off places – all would much too soon morph into homework, class schedules, Halloween, Thanksgiving.

The leaves that gave us shade to lounge in the cool green grass would soon fall from the trees – indeed the grass itself would turn brown and dormant, waiting to be covered by blanket after blanket of snow.

The gentle warm breezes of summer would be supplanted by the cold north winds of winter. If we were fortunate enough to have an “Indian Summer”, the bone chilling winter winds would wait much later in the year to make their appearance. But the cold winds would inevitably come nonetheless.

Now that I’m (much) older, it has occurred to me that I really am in the August of my life. The deep passions and excited discoveries and “first days” of my younger years have been, well, softened into a somewhat calm acceptance of who I am becoming.

Yet, at the same time, I’m entering yet another kind of school year. One of learning new skills, meeting new people, embarking on a new graduation to a different environment. This blog, my new, still evolving website www.Judifoodi.com indulging my lifelong affection for writing and cooking and sharing are all steps in my matriculation into that different life.

While I feel some pangs of sadness at saying goodbye to some of the people and situations and lifestyles that were part of my life’s spring and summer, at this stage I am once again feeling the excitement of meeting new teachers, sharing with new “classmates”. The thrill of learning is still strong within me as I enter into this August time of life. And oh, the lessons to come fill me with a sense of wonder. The childlike joy of realizing new talents, the exuberance of sharing, and the gratitude for oh so patient teachers – all give me hope for this daring new season.

My wish for you, gentle reader, is that no matter what season of life you are in, is that you too will be trying on “new clothes” as it were – that you will all revel in new pleasures, that you will never stop learning or sharing… and I can’t wait to meet you all.

 

Friends

A while back, I posted a happy little FaceBook status about meeting up with friends who had been “out of pocket” for a while and the lovely lunch I had with the couple.

That, coupled with the recent spate of posts and tweets I’ve seen recently concerning folks who’ve “unfriended” others solely because of their political persuasions led me to pen this blog.

These particular friends of mine are a rare breed of people who live “unfiltered” lives. If something is on their mind, or if they have strong feelings about a subject, political correctness be damned – they’re going to say what they think.

Some would find this honesty off-putting. I frankly find it refreshing. You always know where you stand with them. No sugar coating, no double-speak. Agree or disagree, they are an open book.

As you may well imagine in this day and age, their candor has managed to earn them a fair number of – if not enemies, certainly those who wouldn’t go out of their way to assist them, in both political and judicial circles. Indeed, those unfriendly folk, I’ve sadly discovered, are more than willing to sign on to any negative news without further investigation, to believe the worst and not seek to learn the truth.

For a little backstory, without rehashing and re-litigating the whole mess (and indeed, it was a mess), partly because of some missteps (some explainable, some not), and partly because of some nefarious dealings by a third party, an issue arose that, in my humble opinion, should have been adjudicated far differently. Unfortunately, and because of wholly ineffective legal counsel, evidence that, if not exculpatory should have at least been mitigating in this matter, never came to light.

Instead, not only was my friend branded as a modern day “Cruella DeVille” locally, nationally and internationally, she received death threats and essentially became a pariah. Finally, she was given the bum’s rush in what I perceived to be a sham trial and ended up behind bars. Through a cruel twist of fate, the judicial enemies they had collected years ago were ultimately the difference between freedom and incarceration. Again, in my humble opinion, needlessly.

Even as she was navigating her way through the gawdawful legal morass she’d been thrown into, every single time we communicated, her first thoughts were about my husband’s worsening health, and, after his passing, about my well-being.

Because the case was in litigation, I could not divulge the evidence I’d helped to uncover and watching the spectacle of holier-than-thou vultures circling her was heartbreaking for me. I know it must have been nightmarish for her. And yet, she kept her head high throughout – she never lost the grace and caring that I’d come to admire about her. If anything, seeing her handle all that was being thrown at her made me more certain than ever that I had indeed chosen well when I deemed her and her husband to be my friends.

Here’s my stance, for what it is worth, on friends. I don’t give a rat’s patooty who you voted for;

I could care less about your sexuality, your religious beliefs (or lack thereof);

or even your upbringing or background.

If you treat me with respect, if I find you to be a kind person, a gentle soul, if we have mutual interests, if we have shared experiences, if we like each other – you are a friend.

If you are my friend, I will fight for you, I will support your efforts, I will steadfastly not join in any internet lynch mobs being formed against you, and I will most certainly not walk away from you in your time of need.

And…if you are my friend, you remain my friend until such time as you intentionally set out to hurt me or someone I care about.

Period.

Upon my friend’s release, we met up for lunch and were able to enjoy a fabulous afternoon conversing about myriad topics – just as though nothing had happened.

That is what friends do.

It never ceases to delight me when I discover that I can reconnect with friends I haven’t seen for some time (for whatever reason), and we can pick up right where we left off – never missing a beat in that most treasured gift of friendship.

One of my favorite quotations is “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words”.

I hope to always be able to sing the songs in the hearts of my friends back to them – for I know, I truly know that they will remember mine.

 

Buen Camino

walkA friend of mine is on the second leg of his Camino de Santiago.

The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching hundreds and hundreds of miles across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James (Santiago in Spanish) in Santiago de Compostela in north-west Spain.

Pilgrims walking the Camino do so for many reasons. I’d wager that most of them are on a spiritual journey as much as a physical one. The intent of the “pilgrimage” is the goal of becoming your best self. To live your life by design instead of happenstance.

My friend began his Camino last fall, and ended it about halfway through due to medical issues. A few weeks ago, in his inimitable “press onward” style, he returned, determined to complete it. I’m honored and grateful to be one of the friends that he’s included in a closed group where he has been sharing photos and he recounts each day’s adventures. You might say I’m living vicariously through his pilgrimage. But, more than that, my friend has afforded me the wonderful opportunity to realize that, whether here or in Europe, we are all on our own journey, our own Camino.

A common phrase used by pilgrims greeting one another is “Buen Camino”, (literally “good path”). It is generally used as a shorthand wish of “good fortune and happy traveling”. It is also an acknowledgment that those you encounter are, like you, seeking perfection and attainment of their goals.

Each day presents us with obstacles and goals – gives us new challenges and adventures. Our determination to press onward in spite of the pain, the blisters, the boulders flung onto our path is really our own Camino. Whether we choose to forge our path and live a life that we desire or allow the happenings in life to shape our destiny – it is our unique journey.

But greeting fellow travelers with “Buen Camino” is also offered as a prayer that their day will be blessed with many wonders, that they will have an enjoyable walk and that they might arrive safely at their destination.

My wish for each of you today, my fellow travelers, is that you all come closer to your goals today. May you have an enjoyable walk and arrive at your destination safely.

“Buen Camino”.

 

Mamacita and Captain Cheaty Pants

As I’m continuing the long process of rearranging – my home, my future, my life, I’m coming across stacks of things that have been not buried as much as put out of sight. One of those stacks was dozens and dozens of 5 x 8 notepads. Those were our “score keeping pads” from our nightly bastardized version of gin rummy (mostly because we couldn’t totally remember the rules so, like so much else in life, we made up our own).

Those notepads unearthed another “out of sight” thing and I feel the need to deal with that as well. Every time I blog or post about my late husband, there are always a few comments on the order of “what a beautiful marriage you had”. And reading those, I feel a twinge of guilt. Yes, for the first 15 years, our marriage was what I’d consider pretty much picture perfect. We meshed. Never had an argument. Finished each others’ sentences. Agreed on damn near everything.

But in early 2009, things changed. My husband started spending more time online and less time with me. He and his friend had started a website, and he discovered online games. They consumed him. Looking back on it now, it makes perfect sense, he knew inside that his health was failing and his online time provided him the necessary escape from the pain, from the fear that I could not.

Because I didn’t know that then, I am sorry to say that I grew resentful. I felt shut out. In August, 2009, for the first time ever in our then 15 years together, we took separate vacations. He went out west to meet up with his brothers and his mom; I headed east to visit old friends. On day two of the vacation; I got a call that his stepmother (yes, I was blessed with two wonderful mothers in law) had a particularly vicious form of brain cancer and it was spreading at an exponential rate.

Instant vacation halt. He and I both raced back home and, within a few weeks time, she had passed away. The funeral and the whole situation we were suddenly pulled back into, really crystallized things for me. The vows I had spoken with him 15 years earlier said “Until death do you part”. They didn’t say “Until you get your feels hurt do you part” or “Until the grass on the other side looks greener do you part”.

We talked. We worked out our feelings, our fears. Most importantly, we recommitted to each other then and, I know in my heart that our marriage became stronger that summer.

Which brings me back to the notepads. One of our many good decisions resulting from our reunification and the rebirth of our union was that, at 8:00 pm every night, we would both shut off our computers, turn off the television, and meet at the kitchen table to play our personal private version of gin rummy. The first game he had three or four really good hands in a row. I looked at him and said “I don’t care if we’re up until 4:00 a.m., we are not going to bed until my score catches up with yours”. He threw the next few hands and, somehow, we ended up with a tie score. We both exchanged knowing glances and happily set off for bed.

Game one’s score sheet on the notepad had a line down the center and his initials on the left, mine on the right. Game two, I replaced the initials with “Sweet Little Old Me” and “Cheaty Pants”. I’d come up with another smarty pants version of names for each game for every night thereafter. We laughed at each appellation I came up with and each and every game until he became too sick to play ended up in a tie score – generally either because he or I threw hands and occasionally because I, as the scorekeeper, would fudge the math when the hour grew late or he grew too tired to play.

Over the next seven years, we amassed literally hundreds of notepads, but more important, we had quality “we time” as a sacrosanct part of each and every day.

The very last score sheet was titled “Mamacita and Captain Cheaty Pants” – and although it was only a few hands, the final score was a tie. Not through any sleight of hand or creative mathematics, just an honest to gosh tie.

Not a bad way to end.

 

June 4th

SDC10019For my husband, and for what should have been your birthday this year.

My first time remembering your birthday without you. Wow. There is so much that I miss.

To be sure, I don’t miss the fear in your eyes. I don’t miss the tears that I saw you try not to cry when the pain was too great or the ones you cried when now estranged family members did something so selfishly, hatefully cruel that you could do nothing but say “why?” as you wept.

And I was going to say that I don’t miss the kitchen table looking like a pharmacy with all the bottles of medicine that kept you alive, or the heavy wheelchair that I had to carry up and down the steps and maneuver into the back of the truck to transport you to doctors and dialysis, or the oxygen tube that I swear jumped out to trip me as I walked through the room – but in actuality I do. Those things had become as much a part of you, of us and our marriage the last many months of your life as anything, as everything else.

Slowly, gradually, I had already become accustomed to missing the strong arms that would hold me when I was afraid – those arms had grown weak and frail long ago; and I could no longer be afraid – at least outwardly, because, dammit, somebody had to be strong through all of that.

The booming voice that would greet me with “Hiya, doll, I love you” in the morning had become a faint whisper by the end. The strong hands that once held mine were, at the end of your life, so bruised, so gaunt and weak that I held them in mine as tightly as I tried to hold you… if only to remember your very touch, the feel of your skin and try desperately to etch it into my mind for the time I knew was coming far too soon.

The man who could fix anything had long ago ceded the repairs and the mundane household duties to me – and that was fine. I went from being “the girl” in the relationship who just sat helpless and let the man handle things to actually figuring out how to change that recalcitrant fluorescent light in the kitchen, and I became the runner of the lawn mower, the taker out of the trash. Part and parcel of the partnership we agreed to decades ago in August when we said “I do”.

The mischievous grin, the infectious laugh of yours when something struck you funny, the wink in your steely eyes – indeed the sparkle in your eyes – they were gone the last few weeks I had here on earth with you. And those, dammit, those I miss so much.

Your moustache – oh my, that leonine splendorous ‘stache of yours – the one that made women swoon and I’ve-lost-count-of-the-men-who-ran-up-to-ask-you how long it took you to grow it (no doubt calculating in their minds if they could grow one as well) – and you painstakingly coaxed it into full glory before we’d go anywhere. Honey, you spent as much time in the bathroom getting ready as I did – no small accomplishment to pull off in a one bathroom place. At the end, even that became too much for you to deal with and you shaved it off. That was the day I knew in my heart that you’d neared the end of your years long battle. The fighter in you was ebbing. The multitudes of diseases and conditions and treatments over the years had finally, cumulatively taken their toll. There would be no turning back, no coming back.

Every year, I’d plan a special surprise for your June the 4th birthday and, even though the last few years we couldn’t do much, I miss being able to plot and plan something that would make you smile.

In a conversation with a widowed friend, I mentioned that the “first” anything after you lose a spouse is supposed to be the hardest. She said “The first? More like the first, the second, the fifth….”

Grief, I’ve come to learn, is not like a broken arm that eventually heals. It’s something that is just “there”. There are days that dealing with it are not as gut wrenching as others. And then there are days like today….

As I look out into the cul de sac beyond our kitchen window, I remember that is where we danced our first dance as husband and wife almost 23 years ago. We had our wedding reception at my dad’s and it turned into a giant block party. He’d talked some friends of his who had a band into setting up right there outside his home and they played set after set as we danced.

Most of all, I especially miss the man I danced with, romanced with. My God, how you loved to dance. You masterfully floated me across any dance floor and I felt as graceful as Ginger Rogers when I was in your arms. If there is dancing in heaven, I’d wager that you’re dancing with the best of them – pain free, strong again, handsome as ever, smiling, happy.

We will meet again… and dance again someday.

Until then, dance on, my love.

Dance on.

Dammit, I miss you so much.

Happy Birthday, baby.

Dancing in the Sky

Paying. Forward.

Not too often does reading a blog post change my life – usually, if I’m lucky, it’ll give me a tip or two, provide me with a new way of thinking, but, life changing? Rarely.

That was not the case a few months ago when I read a blog post written by a wonderful woman I’m proud to call friend, Lisa Kay Tate. She related that she (if I remember the story correctly) had borrowed a car belonging to a relative. When she went to pull the sun visor down, she was showered with dollar bills. Upon asking, she learned that this family member made the habit of keeping a few dollar bills in his car so that whenever he’d see one of those homeless people holding a sign on a street corner asking for help, he could pass along a buck or two.

“Wow.” I thought, a bit ashamed of myself. On any given day I’d see at least one person holding a sign asking for “anything – anything helps” and usually, I’d avert my gaze, fumble with my cell phone or possibly think something like “you chose your circumstances” or something less charitable about what my “donation” would actually go to.

But, we’re not supposed to direct where our gift goes, are we? Any more than we have the right to tell the barista at the local coffee shop how he or she should spend their tip that we leave them. We’re called to share. Period.

More than many people on the planet, I know firsthand what it’s like to be at your lowest ebb. I cried out for help almost a year ago and people from around the globe reached out and rushed to my aid. With enough generosity that I was able to spend the last three months of my husband’s life with him 24/7 and not have to worry about medical bills or keeping the lights on and was able to keep a roof over our heads.

So, after reading Lisa’s column, I began what is now my tradition as well – I keep a few dollar bills in my sun visor to hand out. An irregular regular sign-holder at a nearby intersection was the first recipient. I’ve spotted him on a number of occasions, in all sorts of weather. Always there, smiling, with his dog.

His name is Jesse, I learned on one especially long light at the intersection, and his dog is Koko. He’s fallen on hard times and is seeking work. On days when he’s fortunate enough to find day-labor stuff, he’s not there. Over the past several months, I’ve maybe given him enough of my extra dollars to pay for a room at a seedy motel for the night, buy a hot meal and some food for Koko.

But for the goodness of people out there, and for grace, there I would be also.

My hopes are that in some way, I’ve helped ease his burden a bit. But honestly, it’s eased mine too. Paying it forward as I can, when I can is good for my soul.

So, a belated thanks to Lisa Kay for opening my eyes, and my heart. Now, for me, “homeless” has a face, a name, and a dog… as well as a few crumpled dollar bills.

 

Tetelestai

In the Scriptures, “Tetelestai” was the last utterance of Christ on the cross. Loosely translated from the Greek “τετέλεσται”, it means “It is finished”, complete, done.

I’m going to let theologians debate the scriptural significance of Tetelestai – I’m using it here as a metaphor.

On this day after Good Friday (and on the same day as that darned giraffe finally gave birth to her calf), there is an awful lot that seems “finished”. I’m going into this Easter holiday looking around our little house at all of the projects my late husband finished. He painted every wall in our home, every cabinet in the kitchen, laid the concrete block pathway to the driveway, constructed the shed in the backyard, crafted all of the hanging light fixtures and the track lighting in my office, built my computer and the desk that I sit at, and built the fence that surrounds our yard, protecting both the dogs and me.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

It’s almost a time-line, really, of the worsening of his plethora of illnesses – the grandiose projects that he completed when we first moved in – so full of energy, so many dreams. The projects got smaller and simpler as his health waned, and then stopped completely when simply breathing and moving became project enough for him. At first, we’d joke about it. “It’s a two hour project” he’d say, and I’d respond “See you next Thursday then, right?” because simple projects took longer, but they still got done. As the years passed, many of the smaller projects became my domain – with him “supervising” of course. But the unspoken truth was that he’d never again do “the guy things” around the house.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

I have been looking through albums of our fly-fishing trip to the San Juan river – one of our last escapades before his condition rendered us tethered to places that were in easy access of a cell phone signal at first, then later to a hospital.

So much finished – a testament to him as much as to us… Tetelestai. It is finished.

The hard drive in computer he built for me crashed the day before he went into the hospital for what would be his last procedure. He’d replaced it and the power supply countless times before, with an ease that still amazes me when I dare contemplate the mess of wires and parts – but this time, he and I both knew he wouldn’t be able to repair it. “Get a new computer” he said. I agreed. There would be no more repairs, no more tinkering, no more projects. We both knew, but it was somehow a dramatic punctuation mark to his decline.

Tetelestai. It is finished.

And, in many ways – the disease process that sapped him of his strength, ate away at his heart, his eyesight, his kidneys, his liver – is now finished too. He told me candidly about six months before we raced him to the emergency room for the last time, that for the last three years he’d been in nearly excruciating pain every single day.

So, the fear, the anger, the kitchen table that looked like a pharmacy with the dozens of prescriptions he had to take each and every day, and yes – the pain – Tetelestai. It is finished.

And yet, the bathroom is still three-quarters of the way done… (His massive tiling project was halted by his illness before it could be completed), the long hoped for trips to Branson, Missouri and Tombstone, Arizona never happened.

The remainder of my life is still unfinished (possibly three-quarters of the way done at this point, but, unfinished). My plans have been irretrievably altered of course – and the old dreams, I’m sure, will be supplanted by new ones. But, incontrovertibly – my old life….

Tetelestai. It is finished.

The Need For Screed

As I was sipping another cup of coffee in quiet silence, I was doing some serious thinking this morning. You know, all in all, life in JudiLand is pretty good right now. Well, with the exception of the whole “being a widow at too young of an age” sucky part – things are going smoothly.

I’ve been blessed with enough (and at times more than enough) work to keep me occupied, keep the lights on and allow me to continue to whittle down what seemed to be a never-ending stream of final medical bills from hubby’s death almost six months ago. The book is selling well and I’m honored that so many have responded to my BOGO offer (buy one, and I’ll donate one to a women’s shelter). These days, I’m working on a cookbook and one other lengthy tome hopefully for later this year.

The smiles are starting to outweigh the tears, save the increasingly rarer occasions when something shows up out of the blue and catches me off guard. The weather, as is common in Colorado, is getting warmer – the grass is starting to grow and I’m noticing leaves emerging on the trees.

With all of the “Happy-Ness” going on, I’ve also found myself spending less and less time on Twitter.

I started out tweeting as a primarily political response back in 2009. Immodestly, I’d like to say that I was pretty ding dang darn good at it, too. If I wasn’t the Queen of Snark, I was most certainly her heir apparent.

Looking back, I think I hit my apex of peak snarkiness during the height of the primary season. And that period of time coincided precisely with my husband’s worsening health. I’m certain that any psychoanalyst would have a field day matching up my most venom laden tweets with momentous dates in hubby’s illness. In fact, some of my cruelest barbs are directly relatable to my time spent sitting in hospital waiting rooms or the receipt of yet another panic inducing diagnosis. My Internet rage was my outlet for feeling helpless and my way of dealing with the all too certain realization of my fear that the love of my life was not going to grow old with me, but was instead going to abandon me in the most permanent way possible.

So, I retreated to the quasi-anonymity of Twitter, lashing out and dishing out succinct venom filled spitefulness at any poor soul who ran afoul of my political leanings at the moment. Worse, I found myself joining in on “piling on” of whomever became the “target du jour” of roving bands of Twitter-meanies. I took several breaks from tweetdom once I realized that I was getting meaner just to clear my head.

To be sure, I became acquainted with some of my dearest new social media buddies on Twitter. I’m honored to have crossed the paths with some brilliant folks who write stellar political commentary (on both sides of the aisle, I might add). That they’ve continued to hone their passions and their skills, and are no-holds-barred takers on of political discourse is something I greatly admire about each of them.

In the two months prior to his passing, I’d already found myself the beneficiary of the good that social media has to offer – people from far and wide reached out to help, offered prayers, emailed me with advice – and innumerable wonderful people contributed to funds that helped me to spend every moment of the final nearly three months of Sid’s life caring for him full time without having to worry about the work I was losing.

And, on October 21st of 2015, the previously unthinkable happened. That was the night that my husband died. Strangely, in the days and weeks that followed, my rage and my anger died as well.

Some of it was resurrected in January over the shabby treatment of a beloved family member – but because that was a situation that was “fixable”, the fierce intensity of vexation that I held before was gone.

Please don’t get me wrong here. If the current (or future) political climate is your thing, if it is your all consuming raison d’etre – more power to you – and blessings upon you. My passions just happen to lay elsewhere now.

As a result, I’ve retreated to my original social media home – FaceBook – where I long ago decreed that there would be no politics on my page. None. In my FaceBook universe, I’m blessed with close, wonderful longtime buddies on both sides of the aisle – and I refuse to be “put in the position” of having to choose loyalties. No longer “having a dog in the hunt”, I’m more than happy to leave discussions of whatever the current knicker knotting political crisis of the day is to folks who are far more eloquent than I. Plus, I’m relatively certain that my blood pressure is lower now that I no longer have the Need For Screed.

So, in the ultimate “It’s Not You – It’s Me” fashion – my time on Twitter is limited (never fear – the once in a while mild snarkiness will probably still happen). I’ll still check in from time to time, but now that life is calmer and happier – I don’t feel the “pull” to go there, with the notable exception of sharing my blog (like this one) or the latest information on my book. If you want to join me for happy, occasionally uplifting, sometimes funny posts, (and yes – that includes recipes and animal videos), feel free to send me a friend request on FaceBook or just keep following my blog.

See you ‘round the InterWebs!