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Goddesses in Older WomenGoddesses in Older Women by Jean Shinoda Bolen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually wasn’t sure I would like this book when I first started it but once I was into it, I did really enjoy it. It was interesting reading about the different mythical goddesses and their strengths. It was actually inspiring to think about how they are in all of us to some extent. It wasn’t a quick read but it was an interesting one. I definitely could relate to some of the ideas about the power of women after fifty. I am embracing my third stage of life and am going to live it to the fullest.

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Life has been a bit busy and crazy for the past few weeks. I thought about blogging many times and about many things BUT just have not been taking the time. I have 24 more hours with my son home and I have been enjoying every moment we have had together. I also have been doing a lot of reading and self reflection. One of the first guys I dated after my divorce was the most positive person that I have ever met. I asked him how he could always be so positive and he told me that it was because of this book by Tony Robbins that he read.

I have finally been reading this book after almost four years. I will go into it a bit in a later blog but I wanted to share one major thing that I have realized. I am GLAD that I have been alone mostly for the past five years. It has enabled me to grow. It has enabled me to learn who I really am. Time (and this book) have given me the ambition to set goals again. My life had been, for so long, all about our kids, our marriage, his career. Our kids are grown, our marriage is over and his career doesn’t affect me anymore. I have not been focusing on goals for years now. If I had stayed in the relationship with BFF or gotten serious with someone else, my focus would have become on them, their wishes, their lives, etc. This has been a great time of growth for ME and maybe, eventually, I will be able to let someone back in that fits into MY GOALS. I truly love myself and enjoy my own company. I am setting my own goals and have my own dreams now all because I have taken the time to get to know me- post marriage.

Before I was married, my mother used to host a party on Christmas Eve. She didn’t do it very long but I enjoyed it and when I got married, I continued the tradition. When the kids got to school age, we changed the date so it was a Saturday before Christmas. For many years, it has been the highlight of the holiday. I have baked for a month prior to the party. Cookies and breads galore.  A few main dishes, side dishes, chocolate fountain. For many years, we had a pool table (the ex got rid of it two months before he filed for divorce- I gave in to make him happy) We have  dart board, air hockey table. When the kids were younger, we let them have one friend spend the night every year. One young man has only missed a couple of these parties since he was about five. He is twenty now. We have had as few as ten people come and as many as sixty come and go. We have had clear skies and almost blizzards but it has happened every year. Every so often, during my bad years, I would threaten to cancel the party due to stress but was always glad that I didn’t. The event was always one of my favorite nights of the year. After the divorce, I almost stopped but the kids still really wanted it to happen. Some of the best ones have been the past few years. We pulled out the karaoke machine, board games, and just enjoyed the time BUT it has been more and more difficult for all the kids to be here. The middle one has been late or missed due to work for years. She won’t be able to be here at all tomorrow. My son has to work  and miss the first few hours. The eldest is driving down tomorrow and has no idea when she will be here. I have been working so much as have the kids so hardly anything is ready for tomorrow night.

I made a decision today. This is the last one. I basically cancelled it today. I told a few people to still come. Tomorrow I will clean house and make cookies. We only have a few old time guests coming, including that young man. Next year, my kids and I will not be hosting this party. Our lives are so different now. They have jobs, boyfriends or girlfriends. I am trying to date. I love our party but no longer want to make this a have to event every year. We may choose to do something smaller from time to time but no longer will we have a date set in stone for a year. No longer will  I spend a ton of money and time on this party. The kids will be free to go hang with friends during the holiday time when they are in town and their friends are home, too.I will have the freedom to go with a boyfriend (if I have one) to other events.

It has been a good long run. I have hosted this party 25 times in 27 years. There are many things that I will miss but it sometimes is good to change traditions. I wonder how I will feel next December when I do not have a party to plan and prepare for. Only time will tell but I imagine that I will be more free with money and time and that will be good.

Over the past ten years or so, I have been working real hard to try and look at things differently. I have never been an optimistic person by nature. I think it is part of my depressive nature. My mother used to tell me all the time to not be so negative. Since my last depressive episode, this has been a goal of mine. I knew that I had to try and make changes to save my life. I have gotten pretty good at this recently and today was a good example of it. Today, it was snowing. It is our first snow of the season. I love snow and was so excited. On my way to work, when I got to the highway, I never was able to get any traction and slid off the road almost immediately. I went straight off an embankment and slid into the bushes. I was sure that I was going to flip the car but luckily, that did not occur. When I came to a stop, I immediately called USAA to get my roadside assistance. I sat there for a while  waiting to hear when the tow truck would be there. I had many people stop to check on me but I was fine. I was told that there were several cars off the road in the next couple of miles so I knew that it might be a while.When the USAA gal called, she let me know that it would be about two hours before the tow truck driver got there. Instead of getting upset, I planned on walking home (about 1.5 miles) and thanked her. The driver called and told me it wouldn’t be that long so I decided to hang out in the car and read. Several years ago, I would have been sobbing by now. I would have been stressing about work, my car, money, everything. Today, I sat there and read and enjoyed watching the snow fall.

I had so many people stop by- a few that I knew but many that I did not. I had one guy stop and ask me if I needed anything, I told him (jokingly) that I wanted more tea. He actually went home and brought me a travel mug full of hot water, a thermos with more, several teas, sugar, a blanket. I had never seen this man before. He told me to call if I needed a ride home or anything else. When he left, that is when I cried. I couldn’t believe the kindness of strangers. Eventually, the tow truck got there. He had a hard time getting my car out safely but managed and I drove to work. The rest of the drive was uneventful. An event that would have stressed me out years ago instead made me look at life in a good way. I was glad it was snowing. I was glad my car and I were fine. I was happy with where I have chosen to call home. I was loving seeing random acts of kindness from so many. I was smiling like a fool all day., so happy about the snow. Nothing could shake that happiness, not even sitting in a car, in a ditch, for three hours. Actually, the worst part of the day was needing to pee after drinking all the tea. I had to climb through the other side of my car to pee in the bushes. It really upset the cows on the other side of the fence but it was worth it.

How to reduce shootings

I don’t go into politics very often here though it really is a big part of my life. The older I get, the more I am into politics and the effects of the decisions of Washington DC. The massive shootings are one that just get harder and harder to accept. We have got to make changes. In the past couple of weeks, we had a shooting at a school in my area. A 21 year old white man went into the school acting like a student. His plan was to go into a classroom and kill everyone in it. He went to a bathroom to get geared up and a boy walked in. He shot that boy and then went into the hall and ran into a girl. He killed her. The teachers locked down all the classrooms so he was unable to just walk into one. He wandered the hallway shooting doors and then finally shot himself.  A year ago, the FBI questioned him because he was posting on web sites things that were flagged, including discussing obtaining guns for a school shooting. They didn’t find any reason to charge him with anything and a month before he did this, he LEGALLY bought the gun he used to kill the kids. This one hit way too close to home. I knew kids that went to that school. I know a teacher at that school. I have known her most of her life. I was a mess until I found out that she was okay. Our entire community was stressed as numbers and stories circulated. My co-workers son in law is SWAT and was on the scene. Our schools all had added security. Two (yes, only two) innocent kids were killed.

Why can’t we be sensible about guns in this country? Why can’t we get help for people that need it? If someone posts on the web about shooting up a school, they should NOT be able to legally buy a gun. Yes, I know he may have been able to get one anyway but why make it easy? The week before this happened, a boy was caught in the town I work in with a a gun and a list of names. Luckily, someone knew what he was planning and called Safe2Tell. Who knows how many lives were saved. I knew a kid in Vegas and know many people that had loved ones there.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I am tired of this. I am not anti-gun but I am ready for us to get sane about them. I do not want to go back to our “normal”, I am ready for us to make a change to help prevent these things from happening so often in our country

A Woman on the Edge of Time: a son's search for his motherA Woman on the Edge of Time: a son’s search for his mother by Jeremy Gavron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up at a book rescue not knowing much about it but it definitely drew me to it. The speed in which I read it says something. I did not want to put this book down. Hannah was such a strong woman and so ahead of her time. It made me think of being a woman before now. My grandmother was also ahead of her time. I often thought about my mother who was in the same age group as Hannah. Women were expected to be a certain way and women who chose not to had a difficult road. Unfortunately, Hannah ultimately couldn’t handle it and took her life. She left two young boys and a family that never spoke of her again. This is written by the younger of the boys as he tries to understand his mother and her choice. This book also made me proud of my daughters who are in no hurry to marry and have babies. They are living their lives before they go down this path, if they choose that path I sure wish that I had done so. Hannah’s thesis that was later published is The Captive Wife. I wonder how many of us feel the way this book implies. I think Ii will have to find it and read it. I know I can probably relate. I gave up my life for the “dream” and it was a mistake. Now I am alone, poor, and fifty, trying to figure out how to live my dreams. I will make it as I have made it this far. This book is worth the read. It is not anti-man. It is not anti-marriage. It is more about having the strength to follow your dreams. The women back then had so many more obstacles than we do now. It has improved but many are still there due to our gender. We need to continue to change things for our daughters and granddaughter.

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This morning on the way to work, the traffic was stop and go. I was stopped right past an intersection. When I looked in my rear-view mirror, I thought the gal coming up behind me was going to hit me but she stopped in time. I was relieved. Just a moment later, I  heard a loud crash. I looked up again and saw car parts flying. I saw the car behind me get hit. The car behind her went up pretty high. I thought she was going to be pushed into me. While this was happening, the cars in front of me moved so for a brief split second, I considered going on to work but I just couldn’t do that. If  there had been injuries, I never would have been able to live with myself so instead, I picked up my phone. I called 911 and got out of my car. There were three cars in the accident. Two of the drivers got out of their cars immediately so I checked on the other one, the gal behind me. She was not injured but she was very shaken up. She had her sixteen month old baby in the back seat. He was perfectly fine. He was very happy and playing in his car seat. I quickly checked on everyone else then went back to her. I tried to calm her down and stayed until the police and fire department showed up.

Things could have been much worse. I am sure two of the cars were totaled. The driver that caused the accident was driving  a dealer car from her work. The other was a young man that had never been in an accident before. The gal’s car behind me was the only one that was drive-able after the accident. I am so glad that I didn’t have to use any of my first aid training besides calming them down and making sure the scene was secured and safe. We were lucky that there was a tow truck driver right behind them. He blocked the traffic with his truck so none of us had to direct traffic. I did let the one gal know how to reach me in case she needs to.

All this reminded me that we need to never take things for granted and how things can change in an instant. I was very lucky that she wasn’t pushed into me. Everyone was lucky that they weren’t hurt.

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