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

Sisterhood and a Red Tent

I love being busy – even at “my age” (realizing I’m on the 63-side of 62)!  I’m not ready to stop “working” or stop being productive – granted, some of that is financially motivated – but I was never one to be contented bring a stay-at-home mom (with absolutely no disrespect intended to those who choose to be) or a kept woman (oh, that’s right, I never was).  I never had the financial security to do either. Not complaining – it was what it was.

There was little time for girlfriends/sisterhoods while working full time and  raising two kids (including being a brownie/girl scout/cub scout/marching band/pipe band mom). Or three kids if you count the first husband with mental illness issues. That was  followed by the second husband who came with no desire to be a father and his two little ones (every other weekend)  barely older than my grandsons, and parenting aging parents.  That phase of my life has been followed by assisting my single-mom daughter with my (now teenage) grandsons (one of which is special needs), oh, and loving the love of my life – my hubby.

I still work – two and a half part time “jobs” – operating the lovely Villa in the foothills three days a week and helping hubby with his environmental consulting business. The half part time “job” is my dream of building an independent meeting planning/event services consultancy.  I have the joy of being a gramma taxi every other week (not so much in summer) – of poking around in our back yard garden (the strawberries tomatoes and summer squashes are starting to grow), and being a domestic goddess around the house.

So what’s missing here? Time for those girlfriend/sisterhood relationships!  I miss it!

I recently stumbled on a book called “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant – and the little heard-of Red Tent Movement.  While Daimant’s book is about the biblical character Dinah and her history and cultural customs (including the requirement that women enter the “red tent” every new moon for the first three days of their menstrual cycles) – the real or under story is about the sharing of love, support, joys, sadness, births and deaths between the women and their use of the time to rest from their daily lives and obligations, and replenish their minds and souls.  The Red Tent Movement seeks to bring women together (locally) at the New Moon (whether for a few hours, a day, a weekend)for the fostering of sisterhood, friendship, sharing, support, music,  creativity – and honoring our natural cycles that are our woman-ness.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s a small or large group – it’s the coming together in support of each other, whether we are maidens, mothers or crones.  We each have wisdom to share!

I will be inviting my “sisters” to a red tent evening soon – a time away to relax, rejuvenate, share, laugh, cry, sing, celebrate, grieve … be ….. in friendship (new and old), in sisterhood, in womanhood – where all understand the demands of being not just women, but of being partners, wives, mothers, children of aging parents, working women, stay at home women .. a place of trust and safety within each other.

Do you have a “place” to share with your sisters/friends?

Namaste, my sisters – I honor you –

Itty Bitty

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!

Rant Warning … Why can’t these guys keep their zippers up?

I’m not naive enough to say that women never do this, but the fact is that the VAST majority of people charged with sexual abuse (of any kind) against children are men. What is it with these men and their need for gratification at the expense of our children?  Their inability to control their impulses for instant gratification without thought to the effect on the child and their families … following their “little heads” around with total  disregard for the collateral damage forced on THEIR OWN families – their wives, their kids?

Never mind the “big coaches”  and other public figures … there have been at least four if not five or six more men “in the news” over the last week doing simply gross and despicable things to children.  I just don’t get it.  Pedophiles. I get nauseated every time I hear about yet another incident.

During another lifetime in 1983 .. 30 years ago .. my first husband (and my kid’s father) came to me one day in yet another deep depression (I now believe he was bi-polar though it was not something diagnosed in those days) and told me he had done something so bad he couldn’t even admit it to me.  A month later he was put on administrative leave from his position as a police officer for the purpose of an internal investigation of two counts of lewd acts against a child.  Our neighbor’s children. At that moment, when it all became public, our entire lives changed in a multitude of negative ways.

Our children were pulled out of their classes at their elementary school and questioned (without my knowledge or permission) about whether their father had touched them or if they knew anything about, or were a part of, what had transpired in our living room.  The social worker concluded that there was no reason to remove them from our home but was very clear with me that had there been any reason to believe they were involved that, unless I agreed to remove them from living with their father, they would have been removed from our home and put in protective custody.

Our neighbors stopped talking to us and, in fact, shunned us.  They would not let their children play with our children.  The other children taunted our children.  He was ultimately charged with 1 count of felony child abuse.  Part of the “bargain” to drop the other charge was him leaving the state.  When he moved to look for work, I moved with my children to the same apartment building my parents lived in and put our home (townhouse) on the market.  I went on an indefinite stress leave at the urging of my doctor.  What had been our home for 5 years sold quickly and we moved too.  My kids lost again because they were torn away from my parents, the only after school care they had ever known. My parents were devastated by the loss of their grandchildren and by the irreparable breach of trust by this man.

He was ultimately convicted and served one week in prison in a special “white collar/low risk” area – the kids never knew the real reason for his week away nor was “the situation” ever discussed with them because of his shame.  He got a license as a process server before his conviction – otherwise he would never have gotten it.  It was the only “job” he ever had after that.  His own business.  He lost the right to participate with his son in scouts or in any activity involving kids.  He was on unsupervised probation – but we couldn’t leave the state without checking in.  I never had any doubt that for him this was a one-time thing and was assured of this by his psychiatrist but our relationship and his relationship with his children suffered because of his own immense guilt and disappointment in himself.  His already low self esteem plummeted even further.  He had anger management issues … and was borderline physically and verbally abusive.
He died in 1992 of a heart attack. He wasn’t feeling well the day before but refused to go to the doctor.  He, in my mind, took his own life in a way by refusing to get medical attention.

Both of my children (now 36 and 40) have had lifetimes of emotional issues … my daughter got into drugs for a few years in high school, got herself out of it, but has fought addiction problems her whole life.  My son finally about 5 years ago started coming to terms with the questions about his dad and his growing up and has been in intensive therapy since.  Both are on mood stabilizers and antidepressants.

You men – you fathers, husbands, sons out there who think that inappropriate sexual gratification is going to fill that black hole in your soul … it’s not.  You destroy the lives of so many people by your unspeakable and despicable actions.

You ruin lives …. why can’t you just keep your freeking zippers up? Leave our children alone.

Contented – And How Did I Ever Have Time To Work?

I’ve been on unemployment for 10 months now – since February.   I thought, “being forced into a kind ofsemi-retirement” how would I fill all that empty time and space?   As it turned out, it has been an amazingly fulfilling and busy time.  How did I ever have time for work?

The reality of the hotel industry (my life-long passion) is that, though I have 35+ successful years of management experience in operations and sales/marketing, in today’s recession economy, it proved to not be enough.  I “beat myself up” for a while, felt like a failure for not being able to accomplish what ownership wanted – and then decided (partly because I am on unemployment) that after working fulltime, non-stop since July of 1968,  it was OK.

It was O-K-A-Y to take a BREAK and think about what I want to do with the rest of my life.  Reality is that no one is going to hire a 61 year old director of sales … or even a sales manager because hotel sales is mostly young, cutsie women and men … I know, I hired them.  Reality is that I don’t WANT to do the 60 -70 hour weeks the job requires.  Reality is that I am tired in my soul of trying to meet “corporate’s” expectations.

So I decided, with a dose of reality, that it was OKAY to find a direction that I want to go in for a change.

I am slowly building an independent meeting planning business – one client at a time .. and maybe someday I’ll actually earn some money at it!  It takes a year or so to build any new business, and mine is no different.  I enjoy helping “J” with his business – and it helps cover my share of expenses in living with him (he is such an angel to be so generous while I continue paying lease rent on my daughter & my apartment until we can get her moved into a one-bedroom in spring). I enjoy my volunteer time with  my Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America.  I enjoy spending time with my grandsons every other week after school and school vacations while my daughter is at work.

I enjoy the ability to interact more closely with my children and the company of my dear and precious friends.

I enjoy the time I spend with “J” and look forward to us getting married in a few weeks.  I am enjoying helping him change his house from a barren, bland bachelor apartment into a home filled with life and color and his making “his home” “our home”.  I enjoy his embracing of my family and his family.  I watch him grow in trust and vulnerability and love (though he is still afraid to call it that very often).

I could not enjoy these wondrous and joyful things if I was working for someone else those 60-70 hours a week. That is my reality.

My life is not easy (not that it ever has particularly been) – I live unemployment check to unemployment check – I am in the middle of a bankruptcy filing – but my life improves daily because I have someone to walk with me – not to bail me out but to walk with me through the trying times.

It is like watching the seasons changing – watching the trees shapeshifting from summer to fall to winter. In my life, my summer was spent doing nothing more than working – missing my children grow up, missing spending time with my grandchildren, not having the time to tend to my relationships.  My fall is now a time to letting go and shedding the “leaves” of a life I lived for 40 years.  My coming winter is my season of rest and growth and beginning again.

I am contented.