Friday, December 28, 2018

Growing Pains of a New Blogger - 2018

***I thought I'd end my blogging year with the way I started it -- with a long ass post. *** 

My experiences for 2018 do not run in a nice little linear path:  my written words intertwine with friendships old and new, twist with redefined familial relationships, and run alongside a renewed discovery of self.

I have met some terrific people this year here, first on your blogs and then on mine.  I appreciate all the bloggers and readers who have taken the time to read and/or reach out to me.  That is all I ever hoped for as a newbie.  I love  the engaging aspect of the comment sections because it feels kind of like mini conversations.  I learn from you all.  I look forward to getting to know you better through our blogs and whatever else comes our way.

What surprised me the most is the people here.  I expected to write and remain completely anonymous on the blog and behind it with EVERYONE.  Boy, did that turn out differently than anything I could have ever imagined!   Because of my naivety, when Meredith suggested the picture exchange behind the blog, I pretty much went into spontaneous labor and that's saying a lot because I was not pregnant!  Gah!  She managed to back track pretty quickly and as she reassured me of my safety, I got a hold of myself and figured if I let myself be skittish with Meredith that I would never do more than dip my toes into blog land here and there.  We all know how that turned out, and how Meredith got me hook, line, and sinker!  That was a very fun and exciting time and I don't regret a second of any of it!

Throughout the mechanics of online friendship making and blogging this year,  I have shared intimate details about my husband and me that we have never before told anyone.  We have matured into a steadier ttwd couple which continues to enhance our marriage.  On the flip side of the 2018 coin of friendship,  I wouldn't say I lost any friends, but since trust to me is paramount in every relationship that truly means anything, it is safe to say that I don't maintain even the most casual relationships without it, online or otherwise.  That's how I "met" PK, during a scare that almost had me hanging up my blogging hat and Storm was right there with me in agreement!  Twelve years of blogging experience gave her the wisdom, kindness, and reassurance that I needed to hear as she hung onto one of my legs and Meredith had a death grip on the other one.  They double teamed me.  Laughing!  Soon after, PK almost immediately started bossing me around with my writing, I laughed, but listened and responded to her push.  A lovely new friendship has been happily on its way between us ever since.

I believe when a woman surrounds herself with very close friends that it makes her a better friend overall.   I also believe when we have friends with healthy marriages, it makes us better wives to our husbands.  Friends are good for our self esteem, they point out our strengths, and they even gently redirect us when our thinking or behavior goes a little awry.  We lift and hold each other high as worthy women to be loved by others and to remind us to love ourselves.

I don't know how all of you arrived here, but new bloggers like Nora Jean and I have benefited from the  careful webbing from one ttwd blog to another.  We found one another not long after my launching and it was helpful to be new together.  Obviously, we felt our connection right away and got comfortable with one another fairly quick.  It was sometimes overwhelming to us as we found ourselves trying to guess what blog etiquette was, what could we really share on our blogs, and what we were scared of and intimidated by. (And, no, we're not telling!)  It was wonderful to share that with one another and take small steps together in our attempts to write our blogs, be honest, and remain true to ourselves.  We'd be on the look out for one another's new posts where we had confided in one another ahead of time that we felt we were about to take some sort of risk because we never read one another's drafts.  We would wonder, "Where does this post fit?  Vaniila? French Vanilla? Or is it the Rocky Road  territory and do we want to go there?"   Most of the time this ended in a ton of laughter!  There are blogs out there that I want to read, but sometimes they scare me.  <<grin>>  NJ is not easily spooked so if she sees a questionable post before I do, she gives me what we call "The Canadian Service Announcement Rocky Road Alert, eh?"   She's been a great partner in crime here in blog land and a true blue friend who is very much worth her salt behind the blog as well.

If I am talking about my blogging experiences for 2018, then of course I am going to talk about the influence that Meredith has had on me first as a reader and then an e-mailer that she quickly converted into a blogger.  But, what we were doing in the midst of all of that was becoming wonderful friends.  She has been the single most positive influence on my writing.  She is wrapped up very tightly within the twists and turns of my redefining some things in my life and the new growth that I mentioned in the first paragraph of this post .  Yes, she alone is privy to my experiments in writing that have nothing to do with ttwd, but have everything to do with me as an individual who is expanding her horizons, reaching beyond the fear, being humble enough to admit what I do not know, and identifying the areas of my life that need enrichment.  Meredith has either been the source or has generously shared her resources with me because I asked and I am genuinely interested because her life experience differs so much from mine.  I so appreciate that she lets me be me.  When I am Very Serious Contemplative Windy, she responds with the sincerity and determination to offer experience and guidance as she listens to me even though it is probably much more entertaining and easier to have dialogue with Every Day Windy and Let's Just Have Fun With This Windy. I have found that it is rare to find a friend who gives you the space you need to grow and sticks with you through it even when it's difficult.  She has helped me immensely through my growing pains of 2018.

Do you think it is possible to have a growth spurt when you're already past middle age? Ever feel things so immensely that it physically hurts?  Did you know that sometimes when a person makes positive changes in her life that not everybody views it is positive?

Some changes  .......

save your life

save your sanity

seem small to me but huge to others

seem huge to me but insignificant to others

I have barely made it through 

 are way behind me

 are permanently part of me now

are a renovation of my soul.

Some changes I have yet to make and I have some difficult work to do, but that's what 2019 is for.  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being an important part of my blogging experience and of my life in 2018.  -- Windy

Saturday, December 22, 2018

When your HOH hurts your feelings

The nature of our ttwd relationship is that I get in trouble for things that I say, my tone, and my attitude.  I am in the hot seat (or I will be) because of a couple of things I said within a charged atmosphere last night. 

I failed to take into account that Storm was exhausted after working the first half of the day and then spending until almost 8 o'clock at night on a very important family errand.   He was not having much luck and had to run from place to place until he finally accomplished what he needed to do.  He was starving by the time he got home.  We had dinner together and I tried to give him a quick run down of what has happened with our government all day -- BLAH -- and then we settled in to watch our favorite news anchor work her magic and enlighten us.  Afterwards, boy, was I ready to discuss!  He wasn't.  I was upset.  He was worn out.

I get my feelings hurt when Storm doesn't respond to something that I am trying to share with him that I feel is important.  It seems to me that unless I say those exact words and point it out to him, he sometimes misses it.  This frustrates me.  As a result, it isn't what Storm says that upsets me -- that has hardly ever happened within our marriage.  It's what he doesn't say that hurts my feelings.  It makes me feel unimportant and small.  So I got angry.  And now I am in trouble, but it isn't for the anger...... it is for the manner in which I expressed it.  Ugh.

We did go to bed on good terms because we talked it out, but it was dicey for a while.  Storm came to me again this morning to discuss my feelings and to apologize for his lack of responding due to his frustration and fatigue.  He said he understands why I was upset.  Then I asked him if I was in trouble for anything and he said yes ...... I was kind of surprised, but kind of not, I guess.

I had expressed to him the night before that it puzzles me that I get spanked when I screw up, but when he makes mistakes, he simply apologizes.  Sometimes I do stop and think, "Why do I want this?"  He reminded me that this is what we had agreed upon.  He was making sure I was still with him on all this.  I told him that I am because the purpose of our ttwd is to help me be more respectful to him, to help me with some calming down of my emotions, and to bring us closer ...... and I still want all of those things whether the spanking is first, last, or somewhere in the middle of us trying to successfully make our way down the road to all good things with ttwd.

Monday, December 17, 2018

What Calms You?

Despite the dark and intense background theme here on my blog, it is actually the gentle side of Mother Nature that calms me.

I enjoy taking walks in the rain as long as I am sporting my rain gear so that I can stay mostly dry. (And, yes, I LOVE to fish in the rain -- need you even wonder?!)  I don't desire to be a wet rat, but I don't mind being a slightly wet dog that can shake herself dry in the mudroom upon returning home after her brisk walk.

In the super funky decade of the 1970's, I remember several family vacations right at the moment where we pulled into the KOA.  Why those in charge used a K for Campgrounds of America, I didn't know or care.  My top concern was did they have an in-ground pool or would we swim at the beach? ( I was rooting for the pool because of the whole sand-in-the-crotch of the bathing suit thing. Blah!)  After hours of driving, I couldn't wait for the sound of the slow quiet roll of the white gravel road beneath our big blue van tires and hitched camper.  That crunchy pop!.... pop!.....pop! meant we would soon pull into our numbered camping spot as I could then get out of the vehicle, shed the last remnants of carsickness, run around and meet our fellow campers, and find out what states they were from. We'd "help" our parents with the transformation of the pop up camper as it changed from a rectangular form to more of an isosceles trapezoid shaped insect trying to spread its wings.  Although my mother kept it so clean we could practically lick the floors if we wanted to, it still had that hot plastic smell and that unique scent of heavy canvas.  Wow, isn't it amazing what memories the senses can trigger?

Being very careful lest we bang our knees on that stupid trailer hitch that hurt like the devil, we'd carefully walk around it as we disengaged our bikes from the rack on the van.  Leg muscles burning, we had to pedal harder yet ride slower on that gravel, but we could skid a lot and for kids, that was awesome.  The loose rock fragments under our feet had more of a wobbly feel when we would wear our flip flops to and from the community showers.  I can still smell the air 45 years later  --  a mixture of dirt, grass, and the sharp metallic bite of well water that pinched my nose as the cool morning air crept up my bathrobe that I had bundled myself in just before the early morning walk to wash and brush my teeth.

Back home, when my dad was wearing his uniform after work, he smelled like diesel fuel, a fact that I am sure Mother Nature did not appreciate in the least. I wanted to talk to him anyway and I would sometimes crawl on his lap despite the smell because I loved him and he loved me, too.  Besides, I probably smelled like little kid sweat, but he never complained either.

Decades later, when I am at the creek, I love to watch the rapids and yes, I am looking for fish, but that is not my point.  I love the sound of the rushing water as it swirls, plops, and licks at the rocks.  But, my favorite sound of all is the steady rhythm of the current.  The constant kkkhhhhhhwwwrrrrrrrrr  is as comforting as sitting on my dad's lap way back when. I stand in the current, and as the water rushes around  and away from me downstream, it gently calls me to give up my burdens.  Wordlessly, I accept its invitation and watch as the current goes on its natural way....... and somehow I feel a bit lighter.

I am at a place in my life where I can just sit here in my writing spot at home, think about being at the creek, and I find myself taking these deep calming breaths without consciously doing it.  This must  be my body's natural response to one of Mother Nature's gifts and I couldn't be more at peace with this.  It calms me.  What calms you?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Taking TTWD Outside of Us

For Storm and me, all the components of our relationship are on the ttwd table.  This includes our communication, our roles of dominant husband and submissive wife, spanking, and all the ins and outs of our sex life, pun intended.  However, I am hesitant about inviting in certain issues that are outside of us.  Specifically, I absolutely do not want to be corrected in my role as a parent and this really wasn't an issue during the formative years of our children's development as Storm and I tackled things together.   However, as some of you probably know, being the parents of adult children brings a whole different set of rewards and challenges.  So we're kind of inviting ttwd into that realm.......

There is a lot of listening involved in parenting:  detailed stories, feelings, emotions, and impossible-to-make decisions such as the blue dress or the whatever dress.  Me: PANTS!  There is also the retelling of the things that every single character of The Office has said and although they are quite good impressions, I hate Michael Scott, especially at 2 in the morning. The more serious discussions often do not take place during the day when I am most alert and available for all things Mom. Somehow, things light up right when I am ready to go to bed.  Let's start a controversial phone call or painful discussion after midnight, please, yes, I love that.  NOT!   Storm is asleep already, as he should be, but he misses a lot of the tumultuous times that just exhaust me.

I need to keep a level head as a mom and as a daughter myself.  While I do for the most part or it starts off that way, emotions and frustration run high, and the stress of not saying everything at the perfect level (and, yes, I am expected to) are often difficult.  Storm knows how to soothe me and calm me without involving our ttwd dynamic, but I am finding that it's creeping in.  And I want it to.

I love when he comes to me and puts his hand on the back of my neck, reminds me to drink water, and to eat because I forget these things.  Don't worry, I make up for it later with ice cream. He also approaches me and puts his hands on both of my shoulders so that I have to look at him and listen to him.  I need this.  I love that he does this on his own and I did not ask him to.  More often now, I see him take charge, stand his ground,  and follow through.  I cannot explain why this makes me respect him more, but it does.  I also cannot explain why this turns me on, but it so does!

Basically what this boils down to is that I privately tell him when I am getting stressed with other family members.  Throughout the day, he will encourage me, be physical with me as in hold me, grab me when I walk by, and just guide me with his kind words specifically in my roles as a mom and daughter and I am now comfortable with it.  That's what I mean by taking it outside of us...........

What does "taking it outside of us" mean to you?

Monday, December 10, 2018

Out the Back Door

Stale bread, burned bagels, leftover tortilla shells, and Christmas lights.  What do these things have in common?  You can probably guess the first three, but the fourth item?  I will help you out by telling you that these are all things that I have thrown out my back door for the birds!

The Christmas light incident happened because I am in charge of putting the tree together every year after Storm brings it up in 3 big pieces from the basement.  (I'm allergic to the dust, but I am more allergic to pine trees, so we do the whole fake thing....  trees, not you-know! )   I straighten out all the malleable branches and make it look fairly symmetrical........ and then it is also my job to put on the lights.

If you've never put a fake tree together, I will tell you it's like having exactly 7 dusty cats living in there and every time I reach in to straighten a poky branch, my entire arm is their new scratching post.  Each time I retrieve it, I find it covered in itchy red stripes. (My tools of the trade are my asthma inhaler, wearing long sleeves, and keeping our home extra catless.)    Having done this for almost 30 years now, I know to plug in all the lights first, keep them plugged into one another as I wrap round about and in and out.  I did a great job this one particular year, some are better than others, what can I say?  Our daughter has always been in charge of putting on all the ornaments after the lights are in place. Interestingly, she unplugs all the tree lights as she is adorning it with ornaments and truly does a near professional job of placement.  When she is all done, she turns the lights back on and WOW -- we have a beautiful tree!  Oh, Storm does put the angel on top at the end..... he shoves that last need-my-man-to-reach tree branch up her rear and we're all ready for Jesus and Santa!  (Santa brings the gifts, and we sing Away in a Manger and sit around and wonder what frankincense and myrrh are exactly and what a baby would want with those particular things anyway. Maybe they were more for Mary and she used them to make some sort of biblical bath bomb. Who knew the mother of Jesus was into essential oils?  She deserved a nice long hot bath after her long trip!)

Well, on the day after the tree received all of our time and attention, a big section of the lights went OUT.  I had to carefully unwind that large part, being careful not to knock off the specially placed ornaments.  I was so angry that when I finally got them all off, I rolled them up into one giant Cobble's Knot, opened the back door to reveal the cold white ground of winter and flung them out into the yard!  I left them there until things thawed in the spring!

The taco shells are the white flour ones...... those are the most fun to throw out from the back porch.  It is somewhat like throwing a paper plate like a Frisbee, but not those really cheap plates where you have to pile on 3 of them to make them stronger so you may as well have bought the more durable ones in the first place. Tossing these is hilarious fun for me.  I think we had about 8 left over.   Wow, can you zing those things pretty far!  It's almost better than skipping rocks at the lake or creek .....almost.   It is a little stress reliever being able to zing 8 "Screw-its" in 1 minute's time.  Ahh!.  Screw it, screw that, screw this, screw you (not you, dear readers/bloggers), screw her, screw him, screw me.  (I know that is only 7, but I ran out of screws.)

There are times when I have wanted to throw my laptop out the backdoor.  Windy, are you a violent person?   Are there holes in your walls at home?  No and No.  I just get irritated easily.  By the internet, by the internet speed, etc.  Me, "IS ANYONE ELSE HAVING A HARD TIME GETTING PAGES TO LOAD?"  Or, "Storm can you please come help me?"  He better not ask me if I rebooted because I know that already after 800 years........ Did you reboot?  Grrrrrrr.   And then when websites take too long because it is their internet connection and not mine........ UGH !!!!!   I won't ever throw a working device out the back door, but if one breaks down completely, so help me I am totally taking a hammer to it.  But, first I will let our pet cockatiel  painfully pluck out all the keys one at a time like he wants to do every time he gets near my keyboard anyway.  And, yes, he has done it before to Storm's laptop and that made it funny because it wasn't mine.

I am sure there are times when Storm has wanted to throw ME out the back door.  But, because of the ttwd, he just has to make me bend over and pay for whatever I said instead.

How about you, ever thrown something or someone out the door?  Ever want to?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Taking it all In

I experienced a couple of particular events this summer and fall where I could have taken a negative view of what I was seeing and criticized others for lack of talent or mistakes they made that were obvious, but things just hit me in a completely different way.  I realized that no way in heck would I get up on a stage and even attempt what they were doing in front of a crowd, some for the first time in their lives.  The level of talent went from very high to very low and those things don't often mix, but the general attitude of the people and the place couldn't have been more positive and genuinely heartfelt.  So I sat there as a community member and practiced the new technique of mindfulness without really realizing it.  I enjoyed the people for who they were and the effort they were putting forth.  The people in the audience weren't high brow either...... like some of them would be if we went to see something in the big city.  Who cares?  This was about the more gifted helping and performing right alongside the less gifted and the-not-found-their-gift-yet type of people.  We see this in schools with sharp and compassionate teachers and their eager students.  We see it at home with loving parents and their excited children.  But, we don't see it in the community.  We don't see the very young, the young, the aging, the well aged, and all the in-betweeners coming together as one to share life experiences on a meaningful level.  There was no sense of competition.  I witnessed camaraderie and pure joy from one to another.  It was a celebration of the human spirit.

Life is a lot of "trying to keep up."  We're always comparing ourselves and seeing how we measure up, when we just need to simply enjoy one another at whatever level we're presently living.