26 December 2009

Twas the Day After Christmas

Boxing Day for my friends of the British inclination. I'm working on getting myself motivated to either visit Ala Moana Mall for the post Christmas (insanity)sales or to clean the kitchen. Neither is particularly appetizing. I LOVE to cook, but am not overjoyed by the clean up that always follows.

All that mess not withstanding...

Yesterday, I want to my boss's home for Christmas. I don't know why, but I am constantly amazed by the kindness that some people exhibit. I had a lovely dinner, got to know the man I work with MUCH better. Who would've thought he had a great sense of humor or played a musical instrument. His wife is such a sweet person whom I would like to get to know better. I do believe that I have been invited to become part of the Ohana (family, some related by blood, many not, but all cared for). I've come to believe that I don't work FOR this gentleman, but I work WITH him. Trust me, that's a distinct difference and one that I've rarely experienced.

On the family front, I got a card from my SIL and Bro. Talked to them on the phone, but that was the end of the family thing. Nothing from the rest of my family, but nothing ws expected. I heard nothing at all from my husband's family and that was hurtful. No response from them at all, after the Thanksgiving email, and nothing from them for Christmas. Not that I expected anything "physical" but an email costs nothing but a few minutes of time. Ah, well...I will let them go, sadly, but I do not go where not invited or wanted.

It looks like I will be making my way back to the mainland in February (thought last week it was to be in January, but February is a much lousier time of year, so February it will be). Fortunately, I just acquired a new winter jacket that can be worn 3 ways, and assuming that I don't loose a bunch of weight, the jacket should last me a good long time (and will be useful on trips to the highlands of the Big Island, where it can and does snow). I should apply myself to knitting that I have promised to others and, perhaps get the silly scarf/hat done that I started probably more than a year ago. It will go nicely with the new jacket (which is black with white trim).

WARNING!!! AFC (Actual Fiber Content)

I am really enjoying my introduction to spinning. The drop spindle and I seem, at first blush, to get along quite well. We've had no arguments yet. This may well be beginner's luck, but I've had no urge to throw it across the room as with some of my knitting projects. The spinning seems to quiet my mind and the cat seems to understand this as he watches me "play with string". He has shown ho interest in doing anything but watching the spindle. He's a good cat and evidently easily amused. He doesn't seem to begrudge me time that could be put to better use petting him.

This is probably not much, but it's my FIRST handspun yarn and I lurves it!

I don't know what kind of wool it is, but it's got a long staple and is forgiving and very beginner friendly. My friend Dorothy lent her spindle and shared the fiber with me. I'm pretty sure I'm hooked because I find myself speculating on the spinning merits of all the fiber I see. I'm also exploring various spindles. The occasional thought of a spinning wheel crosses my mind. Just what I need.

Cooking? Yep, I actually cooked something the other day. A batch of Tassies for Christmas Dinner (I feel uncomfortable going to someone's house and not taking at least a LITTLE something. So I made a batch of Tassies. Miniature pecan pies. Since I love pecan pie, I love the little ones. The crust recipe I use is dead simple and lends itself very well to ALL sorts of fillings. I'm already contemplating savory fillings like something with sausage, and not just the traditional breakfasty type of sausage. What about Italian sweet sausage with finely chopped onion and red, green, and yellow peppers? Or, minced mushrooms with onion and a dab of sherry? I might even try Chinese ground pork filling (with ginger, green onion, and "stuff").

29 October 2009

Approaching Holidays

They've started posting notices around work about various holiday "festivities". There's a Thanksgiving thing that's basically a giant potluck. There's also the ubiquitous "Holiday Party" (Christmas). Every time I see one of the notices, it makes me unhappy. I won't say depressed, because I am NOT depressed. I'm sad, I miss my husband. I'm lonely...I miss my husband. I get a little teary.

In case you're new to the blog, my husband died January 2, 2009. He was hospitalized all during the holiday season last year, so it's not something I remember with joy.

I've never been too good with the so called holidays. During my childhood, my father made the season miserable with his drinking. I found it was better for me to mostly disregard them. I had a better time with my husband. His birthday fell just before Christmas and our wedding anniversary was right after New Years, so for a while, at least, the holiday times were good.

Now he's gone and I just had it slammed home to me that there will be no more Thanksgivings where we poured out our love for each other with food, prepared with care and lavished with passion as we tried to out do ourselves. We worked the kitchen as a team and it was so much fun that it should've been against the law. Then his birthday would come and I would create my best dinner for him. I would research ideas in the cooking magazines we both loved to read and I would create my masterpiece for him. Man, it was like Iron Chef time! I would carefully match the meal with the best wine we could afford. Christmas was traditionally Roast Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding, mash and sauteed fresh brussels sprouts with chestnuts. We worked hard to make everything perfect. The prep and plating looked ready for a photo shoot for Gourmet (we had this fantasy of having Julia Child show up for dinner), and again, the best wine we could afford. We thought we were pretty hot stuff in the kitchen!

We shared a gift...usually something for the kitchen. One year it was a honkin big KitchenAid mixer.

New Years was the evening we stayed in while everyone else went out. My sweetie called it "amateur night" and indeed, he was right, as people who don't normally party go out and get loaded. It's safer and more fun to stay in. We would prepare a meat and cheese tray with imported salami and other charcuterie, a selection of "fancy" cheeses, an ounce of caviar (my favorite that I could eat by the jar if I could afford it), various breads and crackers, and of course, a bottle of Champagne that I always had to wake him for. My DH was never one for staying up late, so as it neared midnight, I would wake him and then open the bottle and pour the glasses to share as the year turned and everything was new again.

It's going to be lonely this year. There will be no Thanksgiving. His birthday will be marked with candles and probably tears as I miss him. Christmas will probably spent at the beach, watching the waves and remembering him and all our wonderful Christmas's past. I think I will just ignore New Years, but the first anniversary of his death will be observed with some small bit of ritual. Instead of being our fourteenth Wedding Anniversary, the fourth of January will be the first anniversary of my widowhood. I promised to love him forever and I will reiterate that promise that evening.

It has been suggested that I should go spend the holidays with my family, but that holds no appeal for me. It's not that I don't love them, but they are more stressful than I can handle and I can't risk saying the wrong thing when they start with their religious/political stuff. My family and me, well, we don't share politics or religion. I anticipate that I will be fragile enough without having to deal with them, no matter how well intentioned and I just don't want to risk the fighting and pressure that would result if I forgot myself and really told them what I think. I hope that my home will be my refuge and I will knit a bit, watch some movies, and just deal with the season on my own terms.

I'll be OK, though...honest. It's all part of the process. And who knows, after the first of the year, I may just have a finished piece of knitting to show off on the blog!

17 October 2009

Yet ANOTHER Change

This weekend I'm preparing to move from my little "beach refuge" to a "real life" apartment (actually a townhouse).

The ubiquitous "they" are bringing my household goods Monday morning. It will be interesting to see how much of my stuff makes it here from Korea. I suppose I should be excited about moving into permanent quarters, but I'm kind of ambivalent. I have had so much peace in this little cottage by the sea. Every night I'm lulled to sleep by the waves on the rocks outside my windows. I'm entertained by the Hawaiian geckos who sometimes patrol my walls, looking for a quick meal. The breezes blowing through the pikake trees carrying their perfume all around the house are soft caresses. The birds who sing and squabble in the mornings make me smile.

I have been able to relax a bit here. I have been able to think, to cry, to regret. Every tear becomes a drop in the ocean. The ocean washes the sadness from me for a little while and the waves massage away some of the pain. I miss Michael, dreadfully. I had Kodak print up an enlargement of a nice photo I took in Sydney. Michael and the Opera House. It will hold a special place in the living room.

I wish he was here to see these sunsets and the beautiful mountains here in Oahu. But I have to laugh...he would HATE the kitchen in my new apartment. It's not even a two butt kitchen, and I'm really concerned about the storage. I may have to fit a pantry cabinet behind the dining table (boy, I wish there was IKEA in Hawaii). I'm also having trouble figuring out where to put the litter box. Mu's food and water will go on a placemat near the table.

I may get new furniture, keeping in mind that I don't have to buy 25 year furniture anymore. Pretty dishes, glassware, and flatware would be nice. One thing I really want is a glider and matching ottoman. I like the way they move, better than a rocker. I will slip cover the sofa and loveseat as I don't like the color for Hawaii (coppery). Probably something sandy or blue.

The upshot of all this meandering in that I wish I could stay here at the beach, in spite of the dirty long drive to work. I love the beach, the sound of the waves, the scent of the salt water. There are spinner dolphins here and turtles, too. Where I am going, there are no dolphins or turtles. No sandy beaches and waves gently kissing the shore. No... my place has some ferns and something "palmy" outside the front door, but there's only grass and concrete. No flowering trees or plants. I will have to get with the pots and the plants and get the container garden going. Maybe some hibiscus, but I'm afraid that pikake will be impossible. I'm even wondering if I could grow come orchids on the front porch.

All this is nice, but I need to get my stuff put away or tossed. Would also be nice if I could decorate for Halloween. The hardest thing is to get motivated, but I will prevail.

13 September 2009

Tomorrow normality sets in...

I've been in Hawaii two weeks now. They've been a pleasant two weeks. I have rested and gotten my bearings. done some of the essentials like getting a cellphone and starting my home search. I would love to stay here...on the beach, but it would be better for me to be closer to work. I'm confident that the right place will present itself to me when the time is right, so, while I will actively search, I will not worry.

It's been good to rest these two weeks. I was so run down from all the drama that was Korea for the last year that I had lost touch with myself. All I was doing was living day to day. I've had this time (thank you people that INSISTED that I take two weeks off) to be quiet, to sleep deeply to the soothing sound of the surf, to get the soot and stink that was Seoul out of my lungs, and to just be. The change is astounding. Even the cat, who had always had gunky eyes is better. His eyes are no longer gunky and we both feel better.

So...tomorrow I start my new job. How that will work out remains to be seen, but I have every confidence that it will be much better than where I came from. It will b e good to have motivation again...I can't stay too long in vacation mode, and it's definitely part of "normalcy". Normalcy is what must be. I keep harping on "starting a new life" but that's exactly what this is. New location, new job, new "status" (widowed/single). It's hard to get used to being a solo act, and there things I would like to do that I must figure out how to do singly. I will NOT allow myself to hole up and be a hermit. I will go places and do things and "hang out" with people.

My knitting group is a good start. There are institutional ways to meet people, "church" is probably the most obvious, but since I eschew organized religion, I will not be visiting any churches in the near future. I will, however, see what's available at work. One of the people at knitting the other night had a good idea in that we should organize a knitting group at work. Perhaps I will look into that. Also, there is no EGA chapter in Hawaii, so that might be something else to look into.

There are many opportunities out there, I only have to find them. I embark on this with all optimism and go forward because I certainly can not go backward.

29 August 2009


Yes, finally, in so many ways!

This is my LAST night in Korea. Tomorrow I fly to my new home in Hawaii. I will not miss Korea. The combination of work issues and the loss of my husband has left me with very bad feelings about my last three years. I feel as though I have wasted three years of professional time and lost the most precious thing I have ever had. Whether or not I am correct, that is the way I feel right now.

The giant anthill that is Seoul

I have been fortunate enough to make some very good friends here, and I will miss them dreadfully. They are the best part of where I worked and they are not appreciated nearly enough by the people who run the show over here.

I look at tomorrow as an ending AND a beginning. I feel as though I am standing on the brink of something that has enormous potential. It's not everyday that someone has the opportunity to start their life over (not from scratch, though, thank God). I am an unknown and I have the opportunity to remake my life and not have to deal with any preconceived notions on the part of my co-workers or neighbors. I have the opportunity to be exactly who I am becoming.

I was lucky. I was part of something beautiful. Now I have the opportunity to create new beauty that is wholly mine. Do not mistake me. I miss my darling husband every minute of every day, but the best thing I can do for him (and me) now is to make a beautiful life.

I can not hide myself away. I must seek out and savor new experiences, meet new people, and make more friends. Take delight in everything and be mindful that everything is part of a greater whole. One of my goals is to simplify my life. To eliminate those things that don't serve me, to reduce clutter, and to make a smaller imprint upon my world. I realize that it sounds like I'm planning to go "hippie" and that's not the case. I just want to pay more attention. I will enjoy good, fresh, healthy food. I will respect where that food comes from and the people who's efforts went into making that food. I want to waste less, and save more, and that includes time.

I want to expand myself. I want to learn new things. Perhaps I will learn to spin and dye my own yarns. Perhaps I will learn to dye my own threads for embroidery, or learn new cooking techniques. Perhaps I will complete my Masters...perhaps I will pursue even more education.

These various goals are all things that do not demand immediate answers or solutions. They only demand intention and attention.

02 July 2009

Six Months and Counting...

This is the six month anniversary of the death of my husband. One hundred eighty days. I have missed him every minute of every day.

Strangely enough, today, a friend gave me two pictures of my husband and I that I didn't know existed. Was is coincidence? Was it my husband's way of reminding me that we had a wonderful life together and that we would always share our love for each other even if we were apart? Think what you want, I don't know.

What I DO know is that I have successfully made it through six months without my best friend. It has been hard and I have mostly hated it, but I have faced it and I have DONE it. Done it in a foreign country, thousands of miles from family. I've gotten myself a great follow on job to the current one, in a new location. I have refused to surrender to all the unpleasant things that come after you lose a loved one. But, I have NOT done it alone. I have been supported by many dear, dear friends to whom I will be forever grateful. My journey is not completed, but I am making it, day by day.

Some people expected me to fold my tent and meekly return to what they consider to be a safe place for me. They have asked me why I don't want to return to the security of my family and friends. They can't understand why anyone would not want to be in their "home" (that being somewhere within a 50 mile radius of their birthplace). That may work for some people, but it's not for me. I need to be in a place where I can be me and not my husband's widow. I loved him with everything I had, but he did not define me. I was "me" before we married and I was "me" while we were together, and I insist on being "me" now that he's gone.

It's kind of funny and kind of annoying that people think you must follow some kind of predetermined "process" for grieving. While Elizabeth Kubler-Ross did great things for many people by examining grief, she did many of us a disservice, too. There are a surprisingly large number of people who adhere strictly to her definition of the grieving process and if you are doing it differently, you are doing it wrong. Many of these people are "professionals" and were taught this as part of their training. Pity they weren't taught that this is a generalization, not a prescribed order of "business". In the case of humans and their emotions, one size truly does not fit all.

Darling man, it has been six long, often lonely, months. I miss you every day and I love you every day.

23 June 2009

One Month Closer...

I'm one month closer to leaving Korea. Thank God, I am SO ready to leave this place.

I went today to the Mortuary services office to pick up my dearest husbands ashes. Up to today, I had been doing pretty well. Keeping myself together, fed, sane. I'd stopped (for the most part) crying myself to sleep. I guess it's all going to come back for a while, since I've opened up the "wound" again.

I have been going to work regularly, even being productive, or at least, as productive as a short timer can be. I had started cooking a bit. I never had the knack of cooking for one or two. There were always massive leftovers. Cook for 8,10, 50...NO problem. Now there's only me. I try to keep away from the processed foods, to eat healthier and not "fall back" on that processed stuff. That will be easier when I get to Hawaii. The sanity facet, well, that was always a bit of a question. After all, sanity IS relative ;-) and I've always been a tiny bit crazy.

Anyway, I got his urn back to the apartment with out breaking down. I had put one of his favorite Grateful Dead albums on the cd player for the drive. Once I got him in the house, though, I fell apart. I sat on the floor, clutching that damned urn sobbing and rocking for a good hour. The cat, bless his little feline heart, sat right next to me the whole time I melted down. He understands.

I've put his urn on the table near the front window. He liked that view (it's really the only one we had in the apartment). This weekend, when I don't have to act like I'm together, I will have a bit of ritual for him. Flowers, candles, the hippy incense that he liked. I will use that time to try to let go a little bit more and remember the wonderfulness that was my darling Irishman. Then I will pack his ashes in a safe place so that they will be shipped to my new home.

When I get to my new home, I will find a secure place for his ashes. I don't want to dwell on his death, just to deal. But even though he's gone from "this place" I will truly love him, as I promised, forever. Even if someone shows up in the future that I can care about, I will ALWAYS love my darling Irishman.

23 May 2009

It's been a while...

It's about time I came back here. The trip to Australia was lovely and it will ALWAYS be one of my favorite places on the planet. The country is fabulous and the people are the best. Perhaps some day I will live there for a while.

Bur for the foreseeable future, I will be living in Hawaii. Yes, the question came and I made my decision. I took the offer from Hawaii and will be moving there in the next 100 days or so. I am becoming more and more excited by the prospect of a new job, new environment, new home, new start. The dear husband has been gone now almost five months and while it's still a gaping hole in my heart, it's not quite as bloody as it's been. I guess it's healing. Don't get me wrong, I still break down, sometimes at the most inopportune moments, but it's less frequent and a little less wrenching.

I took a step back a few weeks ago and had a real moment of self realization. I had, quite unconsciously, started doing things, making changes, that seemed to indicate that I was in a period of reinvention. I have changed some personal things that I never would've changed were my husband still alive. I've cut off my once almost waist length hair to a quite short (for me) bob thing. I'm gradually changing my wardrobe. I still am his wife, best friend, partner and will always be, but I'm also becoming "Me after Him". Occasionally, I make computer sketches of what I would like my new home in Hawaii to look like. I'm working with colors that resonate with me...blues, turquoises, greens. Watery colors, sea colors, (for me) life colors. I have an urge to decorate my new spaces. Maybe to decorate my new life, too. We never decorated much. Even in the home we owned, the walls stayed white, we didn't hang pictures on the walls, and not much in the way of gardening or decorating outside. We had quite the spare style. I'm attracted to something more colorful, perhaps with a few collected "things" about to be admired or stimulate memories. I want my home to look like I actually live in it. Bless his heart, but he didn't have much use for "things". I guess that was the "hippie" part of him.

Don't misunderstand, he never controlled me or "molded" me into what he thought I should be. He was always happy with, supported, and loved who and what I was, but I'm changing. I'm still me, but I'm different. I am at an age and stage that I would have been even if he had not died, making the natural transition as the mysterious menopause has come to my doorstep. Physically and mentally I am changing as I grow into the next phase of my life. Sometimes I feel like I'm expanding somehow. It might be my attitude, my consciousness, or my view, I don't rightly know just yet, but it will be interesting to see what I become in the next few years as I build a new life on my own.

I've begun sorting and culling the apartment here in earnest. I will have people to do the actual packing, but I need to sort two separate shipments, a "fast" shipment that should arrive shortly after I do, that will have enough necessities with which to get by, The other shipment that comes later is basically the rest of my stuff. My two suitcases are big enough to handle my clothes and some knitting/embroidery projects, I will have a carry-on, and I will have the cat. Actually quite a bit of "stuff" to wrestle through the various airports/immigration/customs/quarantine. It's a bit intimidating, looking towards mustering all that by my self. I guess I had better bring cash for the "sherpa".

It seems that as we move down our life's path, we spend more time saying good bye. This weekend, Memorial Day weekend in the US, was the weekend three years ago when my previous furbaby, Booger, transitioned to the Rainbow Bridge. He was 17.5 years old. I still miss his furryness and his attitude. In his imperiously catty way, he helped me get through my mother's death. 17 years is a long time to be with anyone. I miss him. I also miss Mom at times. She transitioned some 20 years ago, the 30th of January. I was so wrapped around the husband's transition that I was not able to make my annual remembrance to her, but I'm sure she understood. This weekend as I'm remembering a best furfriend, I will remember Mom and Husband and I will picture them all together, happy, healthy, and waiting for that day when we're all together.

So it's Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember your loved ones who have gone and those who daily give their all, even their very lives to do their jobs in support of our country and its people. They all deserve our thanks and respect.

08 April 2009

Tropical North Queensland

I've been in Palm Cove for a few days now. Surprisingly, I've not connected to the nternet once since I've been here. Laziness, I guess. I've not done much here at all. There's a lovely pool in my back yard and a good thing...The beaches have been mostly closed because of marine stingers. They don't even recommend that you walk barefoot on the beach because the stinging cells are still active in the tentacle bits that get washed up on the sand. The pool is nice. Not big enough to really swim in, but you can get in, float about, cool off. And I have NEEDED to cool off! It's been wicked hot (over 30c every day) and wretchedly humid. This, obviously, was not a good time to come to the southern tropics.

The “inn” is no where near the beach, but there is a grand pay off. We're located much closer to the rainforest. Because of that, we get some of the bolder birds in the neighbourhood. I wish they would show themselves, but the calls are very entertaining.

Yesterday, I had a massage. It was OK if what you're looking for is a general relaxing massage. Lots of New Agey aroma therapy and mystic smudging (I do it better with sweetgrass), and plenty of oil. It was nice to be touched, I find I have a kind of skin hunger since Michael died. We were a very “touchy” couple and I miss that. Massage in Korea is lousy, lots of hitting, slapping, and bruising. Not relaxing or therapeutic at all. They always hurt me. I can't wait to get somewhere (anywhere) where I can engage a real therapist and get my back and stuff straightened out.

We've rain today and it's rain right out of the stories of the tropics. It comes in waves and at times is really heavy. I find it refreshing. It's a bit cooler with the rain, and I know that when it's over and the sun finally comes out for good, it will be unbearable, but I'm enjoying the rain right now (I've always enjoyed rain...it's restful and relaxing for me.

The food here in Palm Cove is mediocre. I wouldn't come here for a food vacation. You'd do much better in one of the big cities. If I'd been more motivated, I could've gotten lovely meals in Melbourne.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about the job situation. Thinking about Hawaii vs. Georgia. I still can't make a decision because I don't have all the details from Hawaii ( I will have after our phone convo when I get back), but I can tell you that the aspect of 82 and breezy EVERY DAY is mighty appealing. I don't need distinct seasons. I like palm trees, don't care for pines. I'm working really hard NOT to prejudge. BUT, I can pretty much say that if everything else is equal, Hawaii wins. Being closer to family just doesn't figure in. They never came to visit when Michael and I lived in Ohio, they never came when we lived in Florida. Why should I arrange my life to accommodate the vain hope that they would condescend to visit me in Georgia. The fact that for some of them, that they can not go the time it would take to fly somewhere (Hawaii) without a cigarette is just stupid. I was a smoker for over 30 years and I quit cold turkey. If they wanted to visit me somewhere that they had to fly to (Hawaii) and couldn't be bothered to put on a patch or something says that the ciggys are more important than I am.

02 April 2009

Friday in Melbourne

It's my last "day" in Melbourne and it's absolutely bucketing down! Complete with thunder and lightning. This is an "American" style thunderstorm with great booming peals of thunder that echo around the CBD and rain so heavy that it forms curtains in the air. Thunderstorms are so pale and anemic in Seoul.

Hopefully, it will rain itself out so I can get out one more time. It looks like the Zoo is a wash, but that's OK. I'll get my friend a picture of an echidna some other way.

Melbourne is a great place. The people are really friendly. I've noticed that women in Melbourne, at least in the CBD rely on the ubiquitous "little black ____". That may be a dress, skirt, slacks, suit. They dress, compared to Seoul, in a most conservative manner. It's quite restful to me. I would be comfortable here with their clothing styles. All quite chic, but restful to the eyes. The men in the CBD wear mostly suits, but they are well tailored.

Food in Melbs has been a dream. I've not eaten a bad meal yet, except for the travesty in the hotel. I think that I would've been more enthusiastic about the food if Michael had been with me. It's hard to always eat alone. Kinda takes some of the flavour away. Thank goodness I have the Kindle (or a book). If I had nothing to read, I think I would just stay in my room to eat.

It's almost 1:00pm and it's still raining. If I have to, I will get out the rain jacket. I didnt bring an umbrella. It's hard enough getting through airports with the cane (which I haven't had to use since I got out of Korea...what does THAT tell you), but dragging a brolly along, too? I'll pass. I'm glad, after the trouble they had here in Victoria earlier this year, that they are getting rain. They certainly need it. When it's been dry, and I've experienced drought conditions in Florida, the land seems to pause, sigh, and kind of relax when it finally gets rain. I sincerely hope that they get the rain they need, softly, gently, and safely.

I have to pack tonight as I have a 9am flight to Cairns (3 hours). As much as I like Melbs, I have to say that I'm glad to be heading off to the tropics. This has been grand, but I'm ready for some beach time. Some quiet, some sun and surf, some meditation time. I found some candles...only tea lights, but they will do for some meditation and witchy work. A side note...the last anti witchcraft laws in Australia were repealed in 2005. Yes, two thousand bloody five! glad they finally "figured" it out!

01 April 2009

Wednesday in Melbourne

Had a relaxing day. Stayed in the CBD today and shopped a bit. I found a Birkenstock outlet in a mall at the other end of the CBD and decided to walk there. It was a lovely day to take a stroll and I saw lots of interesting things.

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image currently has a display of sets from Baz Luhrman's movie AUSTRALIA. I haven't been there, yet, but I hope to before I leave. As I wandered down towards the mall I shopped today, one of the high end department stores had a display of costumes from AUSTRALIA. OMG, Nichole Kidman is TINY! Tall, but TINY! They also had the outfit that Hugh Jackman wore to the "ball" after the cattle drive and the "work" clothes he wore. Unless they had the clothing pinned to shape, he is all shoulders! Her clothes were beautiful! The cream and blue suit with the skirt (front pleats, verrry stylish for 1940's) filed me with want, although I am far too short and round to do that style justice.

Tomorrow, I think I'll go do the zoo and leave Friday for a jaunt to the St. Kilda beaches, the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Holy of Holys for sport crazy Australia) and the Australian Opal Center. If I find anything I like, I may just get it and call it my birthday pressy. The exchange rate is still pretty good.

Saturday, I fly out to Cairns and up to Palm Cove for 6 days of lazing about and swimming and checking out the Daintree again. I'm flying from Cairns to Sydney. I'll just spend one day there, as the place will be rife with memories of our first trip to Australia. I know I will see Michael everywhere, especially as I plan on either taking the ferry to Manley or the 333 bus to Bondi. I just have a real need to see Sydney one more time as it's likely that, since the job may well take me out of the pacific area, (I really hope not, I like the pacific) that I won't be this way again.

30 March 2009

Day 2 in Melbourne

Housekeeping did not make up my room today. I had to call housekeeping and then it was well after 1700 before they came up. The lady from housekeeping claimed that I was in the room all day, but that was incorrect, I was actually “out and about” exploring the lay of the land and having a quite decent lunch of fish (flathead) and chips at a nearby spot called The Cricketer. The fish was nicely fresh. I find that Australian food is generally quite fresh and care is employed in its preparation.

I didn't make it to the zoo today, sticking rather closer to home today. I think I'll go out for Chinese this evening. The hotel is right across the street from Melbourne's China Town. There should be some good eats. I'm also going to try to fine the local IGA as I still don't have any Nice biscuits and Earl Grey.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Things are interesting right now in Sydney...the power has gone off in the CBD, just in time for the afternoon rush-hour, and there seems to be a war between rival biker gangs. In Australia, they call them “bikeys” (as opposed to bikkeys and breakky) actually, this evening, I'm rather glad that I'm not in Sydney.

Right now, I'm going to save this and go off for dinner and the IGA.


I found an interesting Greek restaurant for dinner. The saganaki was excellent, although I prefer mine flamed with ouzo. The lamb kebabs were wonderful as only Australian lamb can be. There are generous in their portions. I also found the IGA again and got my Earl Grey and Nice Bisquits.

I did more walking today than I've done for a long time. I've managed to not need the cane since I've been here. I know that lots of my pain is stress related to the job and the location. I'm looking forward to the day I really leave Korea and get to somewhere else...

Another thing that's a tiny bit disconcerting is that there's a two hour difference between Melbs and Seoul. The body things it's 1950, but it's 2150 here. I really think it's harder to shift the two hours than it is to shift 13-14.

Finally, it appears that the lights were off in Sydney for only two hours.

Going on Holiday

28/29 March 2009

I'm on the way to Melbourne, VIC, AU. I left from the same gate that Michael and I used when we made the Sydney trip in 2007. It was a bit bittersweet. I would've given anything to have had him with me. I honestly wouldn't have made this trip, but I'm sure that he would've been disappointed with me if I had bailed on this. He would've understood that I needed some down time from work and from the whole hospital saga and he would know that Australia, being one of my favorite places in the world would be a good place for me to rest. My ever thrifty darling would have also appreciated the current exchange rate.

The actual trip was surprisingly good. I got a real bargain on business class and since the plane was not full, we all had empties next to us. I actually got some sleep on the plane this time. It was a good thing, too, as the flight from Korea to Australia is an overnight flight. I got to Melbs around 0730 Victoria time. I still had a wait at the hotel, but I wasn't as shattered as I was when Michael and I got into Sydney.

I'm staying at the Rydges-Exhibition St. in the CBD. It's a tired hotel, the rooms need a serious refresh. The curtains are old and puckery, the bathroom is tiny and oddly put together. It's generally clean although there is a bit of mildew in the bath/shower.

I went walkabout for a bit this evening. Was panhandled by a fellow who seemed to think that the $1AU I gave him wasn't quite enough. Ah well, that kind of thing is the same, everywhere. You know, it's a shame that I have to waste the first day of my holiday just trying to unwind and get “Korea” off me. You don't realize how tightly wrapped you get just living there and doing the job. I spent some of the day, just laying around, napping, eating, staring out the window, and watching the cricket on telly.

Tomorrow I think I'll go to the zoo. I also want to find that little nest of alleys where the graffiti art “lives”. There are also museums, an aquarium, and all sorts of other “stuff”. I will have plenty to do in Melbs! I also have another job while I'm on holiday. I need to build a decision matrix to evaluate the tow jobs I have on the hook. I'm all but nominated for an interesting job in Georgia. One that apparently could lead to my succeeding the fellow that's currently the Lead Systems Engineer. This is a real opportunity, the best one I've had since I joined the company. The other job is basically the same only in Hawaii. I will know more about that one when I get back and have my phone meeting. I need to start evaluating now, though...clearly working on what I want so that I can find the job that most closely matches what I want/need.

Damn it, but I miss Michael!

25 March 2009

Hitting it again...

I seem to run into the "wall" at the oddest times. I can be sitting in a meeting and will start getting misty because I find myself thinking of my husband. I seem to be especially vulnerable when I'm tired or in pain and I'm both right now. I know that the stress contributes to the pain, which contributes to the stress. I'm hoping that the upcoming holiday will help to ease the stress. Beach time NEVER hurts!

Adding to all the crap that I'm dealing with, learning to live alone again and missing my DH so much is the fact that I have been here in Korea on a somewhat temporary assignment. My job will be over no later than 1 September. I need to find a new assignment before that date or I will have to return to where I was before we came here. No offense to anyone who's from there or currently lives there, but, frankly, I hate the place. The DH and I hated it before we came out here and I already know that I can not go back there to live yet. I would still hate it, because the problems that made me hate it before have not changed, and I would NOT have the man who was my rock and supported me so that I could do my job successfully even though we both hated living there.

So, the hot ticket is to find a job somewhere else. The strain of needing that new assignment and the current level of uncertainty are just adding to my stress and the circle just spins faster. I currently have two possibles. Both are EXCELLENT opportunities. One is in an "acceptable" location and one is in what I would consider "heaven". Somehow, I have to decide which one. I will be honest with myself and I will exercise the SE in me and do a thorough analysis before I decide.

The timing of these opportunities and the holiday is perfect because I can get away from the pressure cooker that is my current situation and have some relaxing peace and quiet, good food, new friends, a little beach action, some salt water, and new environs to clear my mind and really meditate on these next steps.

Here's a little cuteness to relieve all this "heavy" life stuff...

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

and another because I can't resist and I have all the space in the world ;-)

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

19 March 2009

It's been a while...

I've been just living day to day. I never know when I get up if it will be a good day or a rotten day. I still trigger on little tiny things, but they serve to once again remind me that he's gone and I have to go an alone. It's hard to get much enthusiasm built up to do much. Somehow it's just easier to curl up with a book or knit. I'm forcing myself to cook and eat. You'd think with no appetite, I'd lose weight, but nooo. Oh well.

I'm getting ready to go on a two week vacation. I don't really want to go and it's been really hard to get motivated to make the arrangements. Really, why would I want to go without him? BUT, the driving need to get away from work and Korea is driving me to make the arrangements and "get the hell out of Dodge" as it were. I'm also working on getting my next job assignment. That's one thing I'm really hoping for is that I can find a new assignment in a place that the DH and I never shared together. The memories are why I can't stay here and I can't go back to where we lived in the states BEFORE we came here.

One other thing...I finally got the ring that we had picked out together after I told him that I wanted a wedding ring for our anniversary. I was late ordering it because of all the mess associated with his transition. I'm glad I have it now. Once I get it engraved with our initials and the date we were married, it will never be off my hand again. The particular symbolism of this particular ring is not lost on me, and it actually makes me feel a little bit better seeing it there all the time.

Finally, I want to talk about friends...the true kind. The ones who stand with you no matter what. The kind that offer up little random acts of kindness (like the beautiful gift I found on my work desk today...a bouquet of orchids and a card). The kind of friends that will listen to you whine, or bitch and moan, laugh like an idiot or sob. I, daily discover that I am surrounded by friends and am truly grateful.

07 February 2009

And the Beat Goes On

I returned from almost two weeks in the US just yesterday. We had a funeral mass with his family. I was surprised that my family showed up, even after I had asked them not to. It was nice to see them, I guess. What was hardest to take was the boy he had adopted when he was married to his first wife came. I was glad to see him, although seeing him as a man was a bit of a shock. The last time I saw him, he was about 15 years old.

This young man has had a very hard way to go, but I must say, that I am very proud of the way he has turned his life around. He got his GED after dropping out of High School, he has a respectable job, and he has dreams for his future. I am worried about him, though. He was really devastated. He blames himself for the distance that was between he and his father, even though most of it was engineered by his mother. I really do care deeply about him and I plan on keeping in touch with him. Hopefully, it will be a benefit to him (and to me).

Me and MY family, well we've never been that close. There are grand nephews that I had never seen before the funeral. I don't understand how they think that just because we're family that they can manufacture some kind of intimacy. We just don't have that kind of connection, I guess, and considering I live half a world away and have no plans on moving back to the US any time soon, I don't expect to.

One thing I'd like to talk about here is the concept of "gut punches". Everyone talks about getting through the major "holidays"...Valentines (coming up very soon), Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving, birthdays. Yes, I anticipate that they will be hard days to get through, but no one ever talks about those other little reminders that your mate is gone.

While I was back in the states, I went shopping for a new laptop. I wanted one that was smaller and lighter as the one I have is huge and bloody heavy and really hurts to schlep through airports. I was doing fine till I realized that I really DON'T need a new laptop. There's no reason to have one because there's no one at home to communicate with. I went out to the car and sobbed for quite a while. Likewise, I realized that I didn't need to bother with a phone card as there was no one to call at home. Stupid things like cookware..."Nope, that's too big, I'm only cooking for me now". Little bits like that, coming to grips with the new life that I've been thrown into, really hurt. They hurt like getting a surprise punch in the guts. You're not prepared for it and it can drive you to your knees.

It's tough to have it literally hammered home that you are no longer part of something. Something that was beautiful and strong and safe and warm. It's hard to realize that you are now a solo act.

15 January 2009

Two Weeks Today...

It hit me on the way home from work...I will never hold him, never touch his skin (and he had the softest skin), never run my fingers through his hair or stroke his beard. I will never kiss him again.

I ache to touch him. I ache to the absolute core of me. I never thought ANYTHING could hurt this badly.

13 January 2009

Day by Day...

It's been 11 days since my DH transitioned. You know, I've never cared for the term "passed away". It sounds so manufactured. His body, his physical manifestation, is dead. His spirit/soul/whatever it is that makes us human has transitioned to another form. While I don't profess to know what happens when our spirits transition to another form, I do strongly consider that, as related to the law of conservation of mass and energy, the energy that was my DH is still in the universe. What it's next form will be is anyone's guess. My hope is that, since that energy was shaped by love, gave and received love, that when it assumes a new form it will be one of love.

We had talked about this kind of philosophy many times. We used to have the best discussions, exploring all kinds of topics, both those that were a bit off the wall and those that were as mundane as mud. Politics, religion, art, science, food...we enjoyed all that, exploring new ideas and new foods like kids at one of those interactive museums.

This kind of exploration and sharing is one of the things that I will miss most. The simple pleasure of tasting something new and hurrying to share it..."Hey, sweetheart...taste THIS!!".

On a more practical note...I have started pecking away at our house. As I find his belongings, I am putting them in a box. Later, maybe much later, I will go through those things in detail and make the necessary decisions. Same thing goes with his clothes. There are things that should go to charity, although not here in Korea as they're way to big for the local population. I will probably ship them back to a friend for drop off at Goodwill or Salvation Army. There are a few shirts that I will keep because I will rpobably wear them. Including the last Hawaiian shirt I bought him. He only wore it once and with some slight alterations, I should be able to wear it myself. He really liked that shirt, so I will keep that one.

07 January 2009

Starting Over

You know, I had never intended for this blog to be a journal of my trek into a new life phase. Even when someone is ill, you really never think of what things will be like when they are gone. My DH had been ill for a long time. Actually, he had heart problems when I met him. I remember people questioning why I would want to have a long term relationship with someone who kind of had a "clock" ticking. One so called friend even suggested that I divorce him because of his heart problem.

Think about that for a minute...what kind of love allows you to walk away from someone you love and who loves you UNCONDITIONALLY just because they have a health problem? I had made certain promises to my husband...like, in sickness and health, and I try to ALWAYS keep my promises. He would NEVER have abandoned ME, how could I abandon HIM. Besides, I knew about his illness when we married and up till this year, you could NOT tell there was a thing wrong with him. I never could figure out that woman and, frankly, I'm glad that I no longer have her in my life. Perfect example of a toxic relationship.

It's odd, in a way...This last illness kept my DH away from home for so long that, at least right now, I don't miss having him in my bed. I miss not having him to talk to or touch, but right now, sleeping alone is not causing me difficulty. Oh, I know, it could all change at the drop of a hat, and probably will, but for right now, what I miss most is holding hands and just talking about mundane, ordinary things.

01 January 2009


My darling husband's fight ended this morning at 4:43 am, Korea time, January 2, 2009. He missed our 13th wedding anniversary by two days.

I have now joined the ranks of the widows. My heart is broken. His suffering is over, but, I fear, that mine is just beginning.