Freeze Warning

Fall is here and the first sign of winter around the corner is a Freeze Warning. Cover your plants, unhook your hoses and get out your sweaters. I have just returned from a Mediterranean cruise with warm, almost hot weather for the entire sail. ( Incredible experience!) And now home again I get this “freeze warning”. Tired beyond tired, jet lagged and trying to fit myself back into my Fort Collins world, I don’t need to hear about minus 32 degrees Fahrenheit. A first freeze seems to be the fulcrum on a teeter totter between summer and fall-and the weight has shifted. My best friend and traveling companion, Susan, and I had some aha moments on our trip. Something has shifted, we are experiencing a change in our balance point.

Frost: a covering of minute ice crystals on a cold surface; also : ice particles formed from gas .

Stop. Reconsider, refigure, reboot, re-think, re-examine and renew. Change is in the crisp Fall air.  Who am I and how do I want my life to be? My birthday is the end of this month and Tyler’s birthday is this week. I am Tyler’s Mom today, but I am certainly not the Mom who gave birth to Tyler. Judith Viorst wrote a book called Necessary Losses in which she talks about the losses we all face in the course of our lives. Loss of dreams, loss of roles, and loss of youth are necessary losses as we age. Denying that we have experienced a loss means we also deny ourselves the opportunity to grow into a new reality. 

So back to “The Old Women and the Sea” —apologies to Mr Hemingway! We took many shore excursions in Greece and Italy and I saw many places and sites and monuments that I have dreamed about seeing my whole life. Pompeii, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Rome, Athens and the Acropolis were just some of the places we visited. We came, we saw and were almost conquered by crowds, lines and whispers (malfunctioning listening devices). Our days were full and our nights were filled with wonderful shows in the ship theater. I felt very frustrated trying to order coffee in Greece and Italy and finally figured out that the problem was mine—Starbucks be damned!  When in Rome….  Resistance is futile.  I became very aware of my lost youth as I was physically challenged by fatigue and lack of stamina. Living the dream of this once in a lifetime trip meant that new dreams would need to be dreamed.

Facing losses is all about letting go of what we have so that we may be open to receiving what is new. Holding on to old roles and beliefs about ourselves is like dragging a bag full of stinky trash behind us. Being between what was and what will be requires patience and guts. I don’t want to do anymore vacations that are more hectic than my daily life and I am coming to accept I am “older” and have less stamina. What I can’t do or what I don’t want to do is not my focus going forward. Possibilities are not endless, but there are possibilities waiting for me. 


Alphabetical Order

There are 26 letters in our alphabet. How many combinations can be made with these 26 letters. 403,291,461,100,000,000,000,000,000 different combinations. That’s way past Billions into the Quadrillion range.  To write out each combination would take far longer than the age of the universe. Overwhelming if you think of all the possibilities, luckily we only need a few.

Sing along with me abcd-efg-hijk-lmnop-qrs-tuv-wxy and z.

I can still see the letters of the alphabet presented in capital letters and lower case running along the top of the blackboards and bulletin boards. The teacher using a pointer to draw our attention to each letter. We learned our alphabet song and then moved on to two letter words: i.e. at, in. Eventually most of us learned to read and write. It was all very orderly, step by step and building on what came before. We learned our vowels and letter sounds and off we went to literacy.

Why don’t life’s lessons come in alphabetical order? Wouldn’t it be nice to know the order of each lesson, and know there were no surprises?  Many times I  haven’t been ready for the lesson/painful experience facing me. I had the “abc” covered only to be confronted with “hijk”. There are some life events which have to be faced on their own timeline. There is no order, no reason why, no escaping the timing of things. Life gave me the death of my husband before I had fully grasped how to live my own life. I was at “z” and had skipped over lots of letters in the middle of life. I had to go back and learn who I was and how I wanted to live. Being loved by Roger gave me the courage to return to the lesson plans written by my higher power. It was the”lmnop I needed to learn. My sister’s death this summer has again scrambled my alphabet. I’m not sure where I am at.

I use alphabetical order to organize my files at work. Without this kind of order, I wouldn’t be able to locate the information I need. “ Line up alphabetically for lunch.” was a frequent directive from my elementary teachers. Those poor souls with last names that began with w,x,y or z were always at the end of the line. Probably this caused some inferiority complexes, but there is no flexibility in alphabetical order.

I will end here because I am starting to worry I may be too wordy!