Facets of Lucy

Looking at the various side of a life


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Smooches: Love that Lasts

Making a life-long commitment to another is not for chickens.  The good times can be marvelous.  A new job, a raise, a promotion, a new baby, new house- all are reasons to celebrate and its wonderful to have a partner to share it with.  But life isn’t always like that we know.  Jobs are lost, money can be tight, children come with issues or don’t come at all, a spouse is deployed to a combat zone – there are so many challenges that you can face in a lifetime.  I’ve truly found that, for me, having my partner beside me has made the bad times easier to face even if not easier overall.  When good things happen, he’s still the first person I want to tell or share it with.  We made a commitment and because we both were sure of it, we’ve held strong even when it was the hardest thing to do.

But we’ve been together a little over 30 years.  This couple has been together for over 60 years.  Life has given them the sweet but also the bitter.  They remind  me of a quote I once heard.  An older man was asked what the secret of his marriage was.  He replied, ” I never considered divorce.  Not once.  Murder a few times but never divorce.” After the photo was taken, they enjoyed a shared laugh.   Who wouldn’t be envious for a life led together like that?

M and M Kiss

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Before the Catastrophe, Not After!

How do you bounce back from bad news, a lost job,  a broken heart or other of life’s crises?  Well, obviously it can be difficult.  And you can’t prepare for something you don’t know is coming, right?  There are some things we can all do: save money for an emergency, be sure we use security measures in our daily life,  watch our diets and exercise.  But these aren’t guarantees.

I found myself in this kind of situation.  I received news that wasn’t good.  After processing the news and facing my new reality, I looked for a path or plan to move forward. Unexpectedly It was unexpected when it appeared.  My two daughters had both read a book they really enjoyed and they shared it with me. One day when I was on the exercise bike reading the book, I found this quote which moved me.

The book was The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Ms. Rubin’s book was based on a blog she still maintains which shares the name.  The quote, actually from a reader’s comment on her blog as I recall was as follows:

I had no life of my own, I didn’t have the first clue as to who I was or what I wanted.  It really never occurred to me in all those years of marriage that I needed to have a little tiny place for me to have my own things going on in life.  Before the catastrophe, not after!  After was too late.  I was waiting to die, but I didn’t die, God isn’t ready for what little there is of me yet.  w I see that it’s like saving money, you can’t save for when you get laid off, after you get laid off; rather, you have to save while you have a job and the money is still coming in.    Life is like that, you have to DO while you are able to think of what you want, what you like, what needs it will fill, how it will enhance your life, how it will help you to maintain you, so that you have some reserves when crunch time comes.

The writer was obviously dealing with a broken marriage.  But  the rest of the quote provided me with inspiration for my  direction.  While the writer was looking at the more practical preparations, I took away the value of doing now things that I might regret missing later.  I love the line, “Before the catastrophe, not after!” I want to spend time now with the people I love,  I want to send little notes to my children so that they have hand-written proof of how they were valued.  I want to make sure my husband has no regrets and that we build a life that is strong enough to stand against the storm.  I’m trying new activities.  I laugh with joy as much as possible. I’ve quizzed God on the why and then quickly balanced it against what he’s else he’s given me and continue to pray in grateful thanksgiving.  These are the reserves I want when crunch time comes. Thanks, Ms. Rubin, for including this message which has helped me build a path forward that will be uniquely mine.


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Roll Over, Beethoven!

1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5  Secret Code….or Something Else?

 

I’ve been running these numbers through my head off and on all day.  It’s because of something  I may have in common with your seven year old daughter or son – I’m taking piano lessons!

Piano Lessons

I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano.  My parents acknowledged that but never ran out to buy a piano for me.  My brother wanted to play the guitar and poof! – a guitar appeared.  But this was not a sibling rivalry or bad parenting issue.  My father was in the military and we moved quite frequently.  Not only were pianos expensive but moving one often just didn’t seem rational.

“Honey, Listen to me play ‘Old McDonald’.  Oops, let me start again.”

I envy musicians. The ability to make beautiful music for yourself and/or others, to have a creative outlet for expressing yourself must be wonderful.  I remember hearing my next door neighbor when we lived in a townhouse, playing for her own amusement.  Once, later, I mentioned how I had Ioved to hear it and she was greatly embarrassed. She shouldn’t have been; I was in awe of her skill.  I heard some really talented musicians last weekend and allowed myself to fantasize what it would be like to be able to create new music, to play favorite pieces, even to sing so beautifully.

Am I supposed to put both thumbs on middle C?

But I digress.  When my seven year old son wanted to learn to play the piano, we were able to buy a used piano from another family who’d “outgrown” it.  Son turned out to be fairly gifted and still plays when he’s home from college. He has a keyboard at school; an easier alternative to move back and forth.  It shares space with his guitar and ukulele.  He’s said over and over, “You should take lessons, Mom.”  I’ve toyed with the idea for a long time but didn’t want to go to someone who would want me to do recitals and other standard programs (and yes, I asked teachers and they did expect that.)

I can play scales!

Then last week, a friend of mine who is a technical consultant (and talented pianist) mentioned that work had slowed down quite a bit.  A light bulb went off and I asked her if she’d be willing to teach me to play.  She’s only taught her children but we have the books from her children and mine. She has a lovely baby Grand which outshines my upright and makes (almost) anything sound better.

What do you mean my right hand plays different notes from the left at the same time?

I had my first class this week.  We can progress a little faster because I can read music and because I’ve watched others and used the books around the house to peck at the piano for fun.   I told her my goal is to be able to play “Happy Birthday” and at least one Christmas carol with two hands.  Small goals, but it’s a start. My teacher showed me how to practice scales so I’ve been at the piano, doing it every time I walk by. I’m also working through the beginner books, to make sure we cover all the details.  I’m more driven than your average seven year old starting out, I guess, but I don’t have as much time to enjoy the result.

Come listen to me play Old McDonald now!

I wrote a post a couple of months ago about surprising my children with my willingness to try new things.  Maybe it’s my Parkinson’s disease to blame.  I know I have to stay mentally nimble and physically fit to fight this beast.  Learning new things is a great way to stay sharp until my Parkinson’s wins control of my brain cells. The tai chi class I take is both physical and mental practice.  Other activities support one or the other. The piano lessons will definitely help.  Truly, having a degenerative disease does give you a sense of the limit of time.  I hope to squeeze all I can into what time there is.  I want my children to see that I fought hard and long and kept learning.  Meanwhile I can’t wait to play “Happy Birthday” at the next birthday dinner!  Wish me luck!

Psst…12312345 is some of the right-hand fingering I was told to use while practicing scales.


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In Time for the New Year

When I first composed this post, it was because of my children.  But I re-read it today and think its great advice for all of us as we get older.  And as the new year takes over, maybe this is the perfect time to shake things up a little and get out of our ruts. Too many New Year resolutions are plans to stop old habits.  Why not, instead, enrich your life by putting yourself out there and trying something new?

When you are a parent of a baby, even a short game of Peek-a-Boo has them look at you with stars in their eyes.  In all the stages, at all the ages, parents have the ability to bring on a look of wonderment or a sense of pride.  As they reach the adult stage, its not so easy.

Lately, I have stumbled upon a couple of opportunities to impress my children.  It isn’t the reason I chose my actions but I did learn to predict what they would find to be a source of amazement or pride.  Now, maybe this isn’t such a big deal to you.  After all, we aren’t supposed to be motivated by such pleasing our children, right?  Well, I’d agree if they were six and I was pleasing them by buying them their second milkshake in a row.  But my children are adults and actually, pretty awesome ones.  And what impresses them is something which I think we would benefit from.

So here is the secret:

Do the unexpected and try something new.

What is unexpected and/or new for you obviously might not be the same as someone else.  For me, the things that impressed my children lately include:

Started a blog.  I’d never tried it, didn’t know if there’d be anything of interest to anyone else or if I’d be able to pull it off.  So, I had expressed a desire to do something and followed through.  Score Mom.

Began taking Tai Chi classes.  This was really out of left field as far as my children knew, so I think I scored extra points not only for trying something new but sticking with it.  Points to Mom, plus the bonus.

Took art classes.    In the interest of honesty, I’ve not really taken the classes but have signed up.  But there’s not an artistic bone in my body, and according to my oldest child, its a healthy effort when ageing to do something right-brain if that’s not your strength or left-brain if it is.  Points to Mom for trying.

Made a bold purchase.   No, I won’t say what but some may think its controversial.  Its something I’ve wanted for a very long time and still a very surprising purchase.  No one else will probably ever know, but my son said I could be the “coolest” mom ever.   Score points, then double them for the “cool” comment.

So here’s the challenge.  Is there something you’d like to try but haven’t?  Make a call, check the web, and make an effort to try something new. For myself, I want to try one of the new boxing gyms that have sprung up around here and learn reiki massage techniques. Bring on 2013!  Happy New Year to all!