Sunday, November 23, 2008


It's very quiet around here.

Arielle had five friends come out from Allentown for a visit. It was a bit chaotic having all those extra kids around, but I really loved it. This group has been friends for years, and it was wonderful seeing Arielle reconnect with them all. Next year, they will all be away at college. It will be harder than ever for them all to be together. I'm happy she could have this time with them now.

Aaron gets really stressed out when we have a house full. The noise and the chaos gets to him. But I remember how my parents always let us have kids to the house...and especially out to our cabin. We had such a good time together in a safe and supervised environment. My friends were always welcome however, I just took that for granted at the time. Now I can appreciate how important it is for parents to open their homes to their childrens friends. I feel even more strongly about it now that we've moved and the opportunities for my kids to see old buddies are few and far between. I want them to feel comfortable bringing others here. It's important to building new relationships as well as keeping the old ones solid.

No matter how loud it got around here, all I could think about was how soon Aaron and I would be alone in the house. Next year, both the girls will be off at school and we'll only have Joel here with us. Four years later and he'll be on his way. Four short years. I'm thrown off guard by the thought that the bulk of the child rearing will soon be behind us. I know they say you never stop worrying about your kids...but it won't be long before we have the day to day interaction with them. It happened way to quickly. I don't feel any older than I was when they were babies. How did they get to be 14, 18, and 21 years old?

I've never been one to wish time away. I've never been particularly anxious for the "next phase." I want to do more than stop time, I want to turn it back. I see young moms cooing at little ones in shopping carts or holding a child's hand as they hurry through a parking lot and I miss those times. They were demanding times, but precious none the less.

I enjoy peace and quiet as much as anyone else. But today, it leaves me feeling quite unsettled. All I hear is the ticking of a clock, reminding me that soon this "peace" will be the norm. I'm pretty sure that's not all it's cracked up to be. In fact, I'm sure of it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Disturbing Dreams

I had a disturbing dream last night. I don't usually remember dreams but I remember enough of this one that it's bothering me. I actually woke up once during the dream, realized I was having a terrible dream, but returned to it when I dropped back off to sleep.

It's a slasher dream.

I was in a house that I didn't recognize with people I didn't know...except I knew Aaron was there somewhere. A big angry man stormed in with a wielding a big knife and threatened to kill us, then started to slash people around me dead. I was sitting on a bench, sort of like a the far left end, and the person next to me was killed and slumped against me. The killer moved on around the room, and at one point, I saw an opportunity to make a run for it...which I did, and I got out of the house.

That's when I woke up.

But when I fell back asleep, I was back in the house and trying to avoid the killer. I could hear him terrorizing others. At one point, I saw Aaron and he told me to hide in a closet, which I did. But I became afraid that I'd get cornered in there so I snuck out and ran looking for somewhere safe.

Then I was in another room and Amelia was there. We climbed up into a loft area over a fireplace with some other people and were huddled way in the back. The killer and an accomplice found us. First we saw the accomplice, and (this is really weird) he was wearing what looked like a black crinoline dress with a white veil. The killer was right behind him and he was wearing an identical dress with a black veil. We couldn't see either face. He lunged toward me and I grabbed a chair and raised it over my head. My intention was to smash it over his head if he came any closer. I was hoping that one of the other people would grab another chair and smash him from behind. In that moment of hesitation, the alarm rang and I woke up.

I wish I didn't remember. I hate being scared or feeling panic. I won't watch a movie that I expect to be disturbing. They upset me too much. I feel like this imagery is going to be with me for awhile and I'd like to shake it. But I can't help wondering what it all means.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My primary reason for going to Allentown last weekend was to attend a workshop put on by the Aquatic Exercise Association. I recently did the retest for my certification and this came along at a perfect time for a practical refresher.

I had two full days of class and pool time. Saturday, I did an all day seminar on personal pool programming. This workshop was geared to meeting the fitness goals of clients who would prefer one on one or small group (2 to 3 people) training as opposed to a standard aquatic fitness class. It did not go into the exercise science portion of personal training, but focused primarily on helping the client identify their goals, screening and program design. It was a "lite" day as we only spent two hours in the water...but it was 2 hours of workout. A great workout!

I had considered studying for personal training certification, and then all the complications of the last few years came tumbling down on me. I'm starting to revisit the idea. However, at this point I do feel like I have the resources and experience to put together a personal workout program for someone without major health issues or who is not recovering from a serious injury. We shall see where this goes. At the moment, I don't have a facility to teach at. But I think I'm ready to start looking.

The second day involved 4 short workshops, each with an hour of pool time. They thoughtfully grouped the pool sessions so that there were two back to back and we didn't have to CHANGE four times (actually 8 times). Two sessions focused on deep water workouts, and the other two were geared to the shallow end of the pool. All four introduced some great equipment I hadn't used before. I got exactly what I was looking for in the weekend...ideas...lots of them! I'm ready to go...I just need a class!

I was kind of expecting to see a couple of the other instructors from the pool where I worked in Allentown. I was really surprised on Saturday when I recognized no one. But on Sunday, there were three women there who I'd taught with in the past. Two were on the staff at the pool when I left, but the other I hadn't seen in many years. The ironic thing is...of all the people I've worked with there, she was the one I was closest to. I was tickled to death to see her and catch up

The only down side to all this exercise was that it seemed to exacerbate the issue I'm having with my back/neck/shoulder. It felt great in the water and I had no problem with range of motion. But once I was out, my shoulder and arm were throbbing and my fingers were tingling. By the end of the second day, I was hurting pretty bad during the last hour of lecture. I have to watch my posture, sitting certain ways really hurts. I couldn't wait to get back to Janet's and get some heat on my shoulder. Thankfully, heat does give me some relief.

I'm at my wits end about this back/neck/shoulder thing, so yesterday I started with a chiropractor. He thinks that it's all starting in my neck and causing muscles in my back to contract and then press on a nerve. He wants to see me three days a week for four weeks! I've only had one session with a chiropractor....a jillion years ago. It's kind of distressing when they adjust you suddenly and you hear all that popping noise. I did feel a little better yesterday when I was finished there, but this morning when I got up, I hurt like the devil. During my appointment yesterday, I asked him specifically about the pool exercise and he said he was all for it. So, I don't think I need to worry that I worsened it over the weekend. I think, if anything aggravated it, it was the uncomfortable chairs in the conference room.

So the next step is to try and identify facilities that have a pool and offer classes. I wouldn't mind linking up with more than one facility but it's going to take a little research. When we were shopping for a gym, I made a pool a priority and I didn't find much. If I was to do some individual training, it could be worth my while to drive a little further. I don't want to spend more on gas getting to the clients than I make teaching. If I'm not careful, that's exactly what will happen. Hopefully I'll get lucky and find the perfect (or near perfect) place close by.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I returned from my Allentown weekend midafternoon yesterday. It was a weekend of many emotions and I'm glad that I went even though some moments were difficult.

I saw four people I intended to see, three of my closest friends in the area and my old therapist. I am bouyed to be able to spend time with these people and find our relationships are holding strong. Tears were shed, but they were tears of love. Those are tears that should not be denied.

Maureen and I have known each other for 16 years. Arielle and her daughter Cat have been friends since they were toddlers. We had a wonderful time catching up on each other's lives. Maureen is the type who will not sidestep difficult topics. She really DOES want to know what I'm thinking and feeling. I appreciate that. I have had so many experiences with friends who are afraid to touch what is most painful...the things I need to express most. But Maureen is not afraid of a friend's tears and will share them. We cried in each other's arms as we said goodbye.

Janet was my weekend hostess. She made me feel so welcome in her home. It's very surreal to spend a weekend there. As my across the street neighbor, it's completely normal to spend time with her at her house. But, it's very bizarre to gaze across the street at the house that was my home and then retreat to her guest room. We agreed that our relationship is changing in the wake of my move. Now we talk late into the night over a glass (or two or three) of wine and share coffee in the morning. You feel a new level in a friendship when you can be a guest for days and never feel like an imposition. We have to cram a lot into a small amount of time. It's nice to linger with her in a way that I didn't before.

Sweet home is now hers. I so appreciate her patience and understanding and love. She's so happy in the house and is enjoying making it into her home. I know she wants to share her excitement in how she's settling in. But selfishly, I'm unable to let her take me on a tour and show off all she's done. I haven't let go to the extent that I can go in the house yet. My desire to go home is still much to strong and the loss still stings. She loves me enough to accept that and understand my inability to visit the house. I would feel this same terrible homesickness regardless of who was living there. My reluctance is not about her. I am SO happy that she is happy, and I love her for her respect of my feelings. She visited me at Janet's and never allowed me to feel guilty about my reluctance to venture across the street. I treasure her like a sister.

After much deliberation, I decided to contact my old therapist, John. I saw him for about 4 years and have missed him a great deal since I moved. He was someone that I had poured my heart out to when things were at their worst between Aaron and me and as a was forced to deal with losing Meg and Schuyler. He was who heard all the fear and pain and anxiety as Aaron lost his job and we faced the uncertainty of where we were going to land. There were no "cures" for these situations, but I have no doubt that I got through them as well as I did because I could go and freely dump my feelings on a regular basis and have his support. And laugh...OMG did the two of us laugh! That was the therapy he provided. I teased that I paid him to be my friend.

But, the truth is....we couldn't be friends. We were therapist/client. I have missed him so much and talked about him often with the therapist I see now. She encouraged me to contact him about this visit and see if he would see me. I called his office on a Sunday a couple of weeks ago to let him know I would be in town. I wanted him to have time to decide how he wanted to respond and not have to answer me in an unexpected spur of the moment phone call. He called me back the next day and said, of course he'd see me. Then, as much as I was looking forward to it...I was very concerned about a set back.

I arrived at his office and was received with a hug. We talked and laughed for about an hour and a half. And I sensed a shift in our relationship because he was more candid about details of his life than he'd been in the past. He talked of his partner by name. He shared some information about a long term medical issue. We talked about his music. I gave him the short version of everything that had happened with me since I saw him last. We just talked like friends.

As I was about to leave, I thanked him and told him how good it was to see him. He told me that I should never hesitate to call if I'm going to be in town...that he'd be happy to see me any time. His opinion was that I had a new therapist now and that was no longer his role. He also told me for the first time that his partner's extended family is on Long Island. They haven't been out here for a couple of years but when they next come out here, he will let me know. So in a way...I have a new friend.

So. it's all good....bittersweet...but good. I'm typing with tears right now. But, I'm also smiling.

The workshop was great! But, I'll save that for the next entry.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I appreciate everyone who stopped by and left a note. It doesn't feel quite so lonely here now. I've been feeling a bit guilty over the last few days that I haven't posted after rattling at the gate like that.

I continue to be busy doing....who knows. I can't believe it's November. I'm delighted it's finally election day!!! I took Arielle with me for her first time voting. It's Adrienne's first time too and she's registered and set to vote in Pittsburgh. The lines here were not long at all. I guess that's an advantage to living in a "village". Population density is not an issue.

So now.....we wait. I hope all the polls are not misleading us.

I've been spending a lot of time with my sewing machine recently. I signed up for a short online class on mixed media collage. The primary media is fabric...something I'm comfortable working with. I've posted a couple of my pieces on my photo/art blog. I've got something in the works now and I'm tickled with how it's working out. It's going to be a gift for my sister. I'm never sure how handmade gifts are going to be met, so I don't do a lot of them. But I'm pretty confident about this one. I will post it when it's all done.

I'm going back to Allentown this weekend. The Aquatic Exercise Association is holding a weekend workshop there and I'm all signed up. It is the last step I wanted to take before I started to go out and look for a teaching gig. I've got my certification re-upped, but I wanted to get to a workshop and get some fresh ideas. I worked a lot with specific equipment when I was teaching in Allentown and I can't depend on any equipment being available anywhere I can get a class. I think I'll get up to speed a little quicker with some new ideas.

It will make for a long weekend. The sessions go from 8 - 5:30 both Saturday and Sunday. I'm not returning to NY until Monday....I was concerned I'd be too exhausted to make the drive after a day at the pool.

I'm approaching this trip with a bit of angst. I'm going to be staying with my across the street neighbor while I'm there. It's going to be hard to be that close to home, but not home. I am still wrestling with homesickness that overwhelms me at times. I want to be a big girl and get over this, but I'm very scared of how the trip will affect me. I intend to see a few people, including Kate who owns my house now. I want to see them...I want them in my life. But I am concerned I'll have an emotional backslide and the associated stress when it's time to come back here.

Speaking of stress, I've been having pain in my upper back for about 3 weeks now. It's right across my right shoulder blade and it feels tight. I'm constantly moving my shoulders around trying to get it to relax. But instead, it's spreading. Now I feel it around in front of my shoulder, and down my side, and sometimes even my arm is aching. I was scheduled for a doctor visit yesterday and had her assess it. She said she could feel a knot near my shoulder blade and that it was so tight, it was probably compressing a nerve. Then she asked me...."are you under any stress?" Gee...there's shocker.

We're on the tail end of autumn here. The leaves are all turned and most of the brilliant color is gone. It's going to take one good storm and they'll all be down. I hope that I have something going with the teaching soon. It will help me get through the dark gray months. I've got to be proactive and fight the doldrums that come with winter. I'm doing all that I know to do.