Where does time go?

I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I wrote.  I miss it.

Katy finished her student teaching in late January.  She did very well even though it was a tough stressful time.  The three classes were hers from the beginning and she learned by doing.  High school teaching never appealed to me but oddly enough I loved middle school kids with their terrible reputations and their tentative hold on maturity.    They seemed in tune with me for some reason.

She looks for work now but it is a hard time to be a teacher here in California. She is working for Sylvan and also at UCLB.  She will put it all together and when the jobs are open she will have a ton of experience.

I only taught kids in fifth grade and above.  I knew I couldn’t do so well with the little ones.  When I was a principal it was fun to play with them, teach them a song, but otherwise leave them with their wonderful teachers.

I continue to read, read, read.  I have a Kindle Fire and I enjoy Words with Friends.  I’m not very good at it but I’m learning.  I almost beat Don, my son-in-law last week but missed by a letter or two.  He is almost unstoppable.

I read a lot of spirit lifting books, especially the ones by Max Lucado.  I also like Guidepost magazine and some of their books.  I still watch what I call mindless TV.  There are days when that’s the answer to the still unbelievable loss of Russell.

I make a monthly visit to Bagel Mania to keep my bagel supply on hand.  This is a grand little shop with the best bagels in town.  On the day I go I get a dozen or two with freezer bags, an egg McBagel and the biggest latte they make.  I like sesame and poppy seed the best.  The Mania bagel has everything on it.

Steven is running a lot and is in training for a marathon.  He is on the right with Kevin and Alyssa at the Huntington Beach Half Marathon.  He is faithful to the schedule and on occasion he runs here which is about 7-8 miles from his home.  He doesn’t eat fast food and is following good health eating. 

I will       make a good spectator.

I have been hearing from St. Joseph’s Foundation.  I have the courtesy of being designated as a Presidential Partner.  Not sure entirely what that means but some events do interest me.  In May there is a dinner and a report on breast cancer advances at the cancer center.

I go to the gym about twice a week.  I work in strength and balance.  Those two things are the most important to me.  I have a half hour to do prescribed exercises.  Then I go to the pool and swim (slowly) for a half hour.  Then I soak for a half hour.  Good time to pray, think, and ponder the future.  The time I go usually allows me to have the pool or at least a lane all to myself.

All the classes are free at the gym for members and I’m considering yoga groups.  There is no doubt some moves would be beyond me but if I do what I can it should be good.  I just don’t want to spend hours in the health club.  Some people practically live there.

I had lunch with a former student last week.  We went to the beach and ate at Scotty’s Beach Cafe.  I had really good tomato and artichoke soup. I really enjoy my time with Laura.  She is a teacher and is fun to be with.  Most of my former students of Laura’s class are in their early 50’s.  I thank Facebook for keeping me up to date.  We even met for brunch one morning.  That was a memorable year for me and for them as well.  They were a class of identified gifted fifth grade kids who made my days, just by being who they were …..and now who they are.

I love soups.  This week I am making a vegetable soup to take to my group.  I’ll even use vegetable broth….no meat.  Our leader is a strict vegetarian.  I’ll do it in the crock pot, add barley  and serve with some gold fish crackers perhaps.  All I need to do is figure out how to get it to the meeting, up the elevator and down the hall.  I’ll think of something.

The group is still a part of my life.  Just when I think, maybe I don’t need it anymore, I realize I do.  Its only two weeks from the one year anniversary of Russell’s passing.  I can’t quite believe he is gone, let alone a year later.  The social worker from hospice said the initial emotion I would feel upon his death would be shock.  I didn’t believe her.  I knew he was very ill and would leave me sooner than later.  But shock was and is my companion even today.  Mornings are very hard.  It seems in the night I forget that I’m alone here.

I’ve been attending too many funerals.  In a short two weeks four of my colleagues and friends passed away.  All were men leaving a wife behind.  Three were in their 80’s but one was only 66.  Each service or funeral renewed the sadness and the emotions.  I know May 2 will be hard but so will be May 3, May 4, and so on.

On our 53rd anniversary I had a journey.  I wanted to be alone except when Russell joined me and he did.

First I went to the Long Beach Baptist church where we met, were baptized together and married.  The church property had expanded.  There is a K-8 school now.  I asked permission to sit for a while in the chapel where Russ and I exchanged vows.  Two side walls are all stained glass, ceiling to floor.  It seemed smaller to me than it had so long ago.  I cried for some time and then felt a calm I can contribute to Russell being there with me.  I talked and I listened.  I couldn’t believe I was there so long.  I went to the big sanctuary which also seemed smaller.

I then went to see our old apartment where we first lived.  The old house was gone and condos were there instead.  I hadn’t planned on getting out but I drove around the block and recognized nothing familiar.

I then went to an art museum on Ocean Blvd that we both liked.  Art and chamber music and it was all free….good news for a young couple with not much entertainment budget.

I went to Lucille’s and had fried green tomatoes for lunch, Russell’s favorites.  I played in a poker tournament he would have enjoyed.  Didn’t win!!!  That night I had Japanese food for dinner.  Another Russell favorite.  All in all it was an ok day.  The best part was in the chapel with him near me.

Andre’ is back to work after his horrible motorcycle accident.  He will be full-time next week.   It is amazing that he has come back in such a short time.  Seems short to me at any rate.

Mary put together a bus trip for her North Georgia Patriots group to go to Washington DC.  They went to rally and to help persuade the supreme Court to throw out the Obama Health Care law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional in part. 

People love to go and Andre’ and Zach are a big help.  Mary arranges busses, hotels, games and raffles and just having a good and productive time. They are very active in the Georgia political scene and are hoping that Mary can attend the GOP convention in Tampa later this year.

Amanda and Travis are keeping busy with school and work.  Amanda is looking at adding classes in the fall to prepare for radiology certification along with other nursing classes.  It seems to be the way medicine is going.  We sure depended on it with Russell to keep close watch on his pancreas.

Zach is busy with archery team and working on his car.  This was taken at a Cracker Barrel on their way to a match.  Zach is on the left.  Now that is a restaurant I’d love to see come to California.  Not going to happen.  Taxes are just too high here Cracker Barrel management says.

Sandy, Marge and I went to the ballet a few weeks ago.  An ABT production and it was wonderful.  I’m not really a ballet person, knowing next to nothing about it, but I did enjoy the music, the dancing and the images engendered in my mind.  The time with my friends was wonderful as well.

I am keeping busy, sometimes too busy.  I am a mystery even to myself.  I want to go somewhere for a day or two but I am then overly eager to come home.  The five days in New Orleans last November was quite long for me.  Four days with Chuck and Lorraine to Nevada was ok, but still seemed long.

The house is safe and I’m not worried about it.  I have a good alarm system, vigilant neighbors who watch out for everything.  Nothing I miss at home is monumental.  I certainly don’t think Russell will come home and find me gone.

I am going for four days to San Jose for CAG, to Georgia for 10 days or so in September and to Denver in November.  Hope I can settle these mixed emotions a bit by then.

Time is my friend most days.  Sometimes it betrays me and I am right back where I started a year ago.  I know I’m doing well and when I say I will be all right, Michael the chaplain says   “You ARE all right.”  It just takes time.  I’m pretty sure it will take the rest of my life.