Itty Bitty’s Moving

Hello my friends, I am in the process of transfering my blog to my new website – please check out the new website, and register there to continue following me while I’m in this strange time of transition!

With any luck within a week everything here will be there …

Thank you!

The Itty Bitty Boomer

Planting and Tending My Gardens …

PLANTING MY GARDEN … The Vegetable Kind

I’m so excited! Spring Equinox is only 10 days away – Daylight savings has sprung forward, and we are fast approaching that day of equal day and night before racing towards the Summer Solstice. My fingers are itchy to get back in the soil and I would say that Spring has been teasing forever, but I think we just plain skipped Winter this year.   Even as I look out my office window, what is termed by the national weather service a “winter storm warning”  is more an early spring rain in spite of snow in the mountains above 5000 feet.

Being in Brooklyn with my son and daughter in law last summer from mid June into August set aside the notion of summer vegetables but this year, especially with my daughter and grandsons moving 3 doors down, the promise of a fruitful garden has me rarin’ to go!  This week’s rain should soften the composted soil just enough to facilitate planting preparation.  What shall we plant?

Tomatoes of course – Sacramento veggie gardens are not complete without tomatoes!  Cherry or grape along with more substantial, bigger ones.  The boys love popping those little ones for snacks. And a zucchini plant .. maybe two … and a pumpkin for fall.

And we have to plant lemon cucumbers, bell peppers, string beans and eggplant!

We have a small raised bed planting box, and some really neat deep pots.  I think the grandsons and I will have fun tending the veggies and sharing them this year.  Our harvest may not look like these lovelies … but that’s ok – we’ll do the best we can!

We also want to plant a dwarf Meyer lemon tree.  YUM!  And since the fabric of our gazebo’s cover gave up at the end of last fall, we have decided to trellis the frame and grow star jasmine and passion vines for a year-round green canopy for shade and summer fragrance, and for enticing the bees and humming birds.

PLANTING A GARDEN … Nurturing Our Mind and Soul  

I am in an emotional space where I know there is much I should be doing – and can’t seem to get it done.  And it occurs to me that I am not tending to my own needs as well as I should be.  The seedlings are there and planted, but the nurturing is not.

For instance – I have gained 30 pounds over the last four and a half years – and like weeds in my other garden, the only way I am going to successfully achieve my harvest is to eradicate the weeds – one at a time.  It takes effort and focus.

For instance – the success of my business depends on my actively soliciting new accounts.  This is not a new skill for me and I know that my garden will not be fruitful unless I plant those new seeds and tend to them!  It takes effort and focus.

I know my issue is motivation … but I seem to have misplaced my mojo somewhere – have you seen it? It is, after all, having the right tools to cultivate our gardens, isn’t it?

I have this amazing and wonderful opportunity to reinvent myself – to not have to worry about returning to the corporate world (though who will hire a 60+ year old who has not worked in a year and a half?  Not equitable but real.)  And yet I cannot quite put my finger on what it is that has me stuck … that keeps me from attaining that little bit of success that I so want.  I’m not talkin’ huge, I’m just talkin’ comfortable to supplement social security that is rapidly becoming closer as the year goes on. To carry my weight and not depend on someone else (even if it is hubby) to support me.   What is it that I need to get planted in my garden to nurture in order to harvest the results I want?

What are you planting this year in your gardens this spring?  The one in the ground or the one in your soul .. or both?

Namaste … I honor you!

Reflections And Starting Over

My birthday is coming up again in a few weeks – 3 to be exact… Number 61 to be exact … the numbers scare me sometimes … but on the other hand, I have difficulty in visualizing what 61 is suppose to look like.  We are who we are …. age is just a number.
And I have no freeking idea where the hell the last year went.
I did realize just recently that over the last 3 1/2 months, I have had my toes in the Atlantic (Fire Island in July) and the Pacific (Monterrey in August and Maui in September) .. and again at Pismo Beach this week.  What peace this brings to me in a time of uncertainty and new beginnings.
Upon returning from spending necessary and amazing time in Brooklyn this summer with my son and daughter in law,  I moved in with J, my heart friend of over three years now.  We tried it before for a year and realized we both had some issues to work on.  We have been talking about marriage recently but ….  the truth is that I have challenging financial issues to resolve before I can comfortably do that.  After two years of playing ostrich (you know, the head in the sand routine), I decided to file bankruptcy for some unsecured debt that I know will not go away given my current circumstances.
After a lifetime of working (since I graduated from high school in 1968), always being financially responsible despite supporting two husbands in my past life, I found myself about three years ago single, helping support an adult child (single mom of 2, limited income, laid off from a union job in a seniority push) and struggling to make ends meet.  Like many, many others (not right or ok, but real …) I incurred credit card debt.  Through a new job and substantially increased income at the time, I was able to start cleaning up my situation by making double payments.  I was so pleased at where my credit score was headed! 
But, alas, sudden and unexpected unemployment, credit card companies doubling minimum payments, interest rates escalating …. and I found myself surviving month to month again and, honestly, a roof over our head and food on the table takes priority.
A new job at substantially less kept the roof over heads and food on the table – but there was still no discretionary income to tackle the debt.  In 2010 I looked into bankruptcy only to learn that I earned $2k too much a year to file Chapter 7, and Chapter 13 would cost me about $5k …. I found that slightly ironic.  Where was I to get $5k to file? And last November I found myself again on unemployment (after 35+ years in senior management in my industry, the psychological effects of this is another whole blog …).
In many ways, as an unemployed boomer, I know I am not alone in this struggle.  It saves me giving entirely up.  I now qualify for Chapter 7 – and, embarrassed and humiliated to find myself in this situation anyway, I finally filed this week.    My attorney reassured me that my circumstances are the very reason that the laws were written.  I need the clean start … I need to rebuild my credit … I need to begin again … even at 60+ years old and a lifetime of “doing right”.   My biggest fault?  Taking care of my family … being the primary breadwinner for 20 years and everything going to the day-to-day rather than to 401K’s or IRA’s. 
Is that wrong? Or is that real? 
I know you are out there … dealing with the same issues … how do you cope?   How do you not give up? 
I cope by knowing once my “mistakes” are discharged (and if I ever do become truly financially successful my creditors are on my “karma list” to repay …) I will marry the man I love with no encumbrances. 
I just never thought I’d be in this position …. by this time we were suppose to be enjoying the white picket fence and the ability to enjoy all that stuff we put aside while we were working our asses off and supporting our families. 
But here I am … and the bottom line is that I am healthy, DO have a roof over my head and food on the table, AM able to help my daughter recover emotionally and financially from a 2-year marriage to someone who turned out to be a physical, emotional and verbal abuser.  Yes, it would be nice if she were independent – but she, too, has her challenges – chronic and sometimes debilitating health issues (including epilepsy and fibromyalgia as well as an auto-immune blood condition), a special-needs child (though he is hopefully starting to mainstream this year in 6th grade), and has just been laid off from her job as well. 
Life isn’t always fair, but it is life … and I have love, and family … and friends … all the simple and basic things in life that REALLY count. 
Namaste … I honor you …

Returning To My Real Life

It’s 6 am, Brooklyn time, and I already know it’s going to be a hellaciously long day.  The day started dawning about half an hour ago – it’s warm enough to be humid – my son’s apartment and neighborhood is quite for the moment – a little time for reflection before the alarms start the ring to wake him up for work.

I’ve been here in Brooklyn now for six weeks –  I arrived on June 23.  The reason for my extended visit not a pleasant one – my sweet daughter in law was struck by a speeding bicyclist in a park near their house and sustained 3 brain fractures, 2 shoulder fractures and some broken ribs.  The spectrum of Traumatic Brain Injury terrified the whole damned family.  Her mother had arrived the day after the accident, and her brother a week later.   Once DIL was stabilized a bit I came out to join the “team” so that her brother and mom could go home (back to work and other obligations). I, being currently technically unemployed, was in a position to stay as long as needed to assist with her recovery.

DIL’s recovery has been amazing – and considering her injuries, she has come through with no apparent long-term issues other than bones healing and some minor cognitive issues, which we are assured that time will heal.

Though not a pleasant reason to have traveled across country to visit my kids, the last six weeks with son and daughter in law have been amazing.  They have lived here for the last thirteen years.  Our visits have always been brief, mostly them coming back home for a week or less at a time.  My son remembered last night as we talked that this is the longest amount of daily time we’ve spent together since he was seventeen years old.  It’s been grand to simply “be” mom again – fix their meals, help with laundry and housework, walk the granddoggy on prozac, accompany DIL to specialist and therapy appointments …

But it is now time to go home.  As much as staying here is tempting, I do have a life to go back to – or perhaps more clearly, a life to go back and sort out .. a life in transition.  A real life with some big questions to be asked and big answers to be sorted through and outcomes to be revealed.

I also miss my daughter, my two grandsons, my puppy on speed (well, if you’ve ever been around a Yorkie, you know what I mean), the person who wants to love me but doesn’t quite know how, and all of my familiar surroundings.  And yet in these familiar people and things, I have no idea what direction my life at sixty is going.

That being said, today is, as they say, the first day of the rest of my life and I know that …

  • I will cry when I leave my son and daughter in law at the airport and board my plane today …
  • I will hopefully sleep on my five-hour flight home
  • I will be hugged and loved by he who wants to love me and, hopefully, he will have a glass of wine with my name on it when we get to his place
  • Tomorrow morning I will drive my tired ass home to where I live with my daughter, grandsons and puppy and rejoice in the familiarity of my life and spend the weekend doing the mundane in my life and then
  • Monday morning I will begin to sort out this life of mine

And Tuesday, September 6, I get on a plane to Maui for a week and plan on doing not much else than lounging by the pool, staring at the ocean, marveling at the natural beauty and wonder that is Maui .. and wonder at what is in store for me next …

But for now, I feel coffee calling my name – and see a suitcase waiting to be sorted and packed … and need to begin this day …

namaste …