Unresigned

To be quite honest, what absolutely attracted me to Jeff later irked me.

No matter what, he continued to believe in the best, in the future.

He cooked, he cleaned and I was happy just to come home to him. It was true on our wedding day, the days leading up to our wedding and for our shared life, always. The lyrics of our first dance said it best: You are my best friend, and you are where my heart is, and I know at the day’s end, I get to come home to you.

So, the part I couldn’t deal with was his acceptance of his situation. I was angry. I was hurt. I was terrified.

Jeff was not. He’d shrug and say, “There’s no point in worrying about what you can’t change.”

It’s taken me an awfully long time to figure out that I have not accepted that or much of anything, ever. My stance has always been, “If you don’t worry, you don’t care.”

To some extent we must be accepting of situations that are out of our control, and when appropriate, we must be averse to acceptance, as well.  Acceptance is an action, not an emotion. It need not be unhappy.

I am, however, currently admittedly resigned.

That happens when I find myself in a situation I do not like but am self-required to balance the spreadsheet that is my life. I really shouldn’t shuffle formulas or apply new variables. I can’t afford radical change, anymore.

That sort of change won out a few times in favor of fresh starts, great experiences. NYC, Nashville, MI – all the moving around and job changing would gently push me into a surface type of hope. After a while, a new unpleasantness would rise from my utopian vision, dragging me back into complacencies.

The latest unknown looming on the horizon, a river’s uproar, has sucked me back in. I am holding  just above eye level. 90% submerged, taking in big gulps of air on a down swell.

It’s good to know yourself. I know I tend to head toward the negative connotations of complacency. I over buy into the acceptance of this isn’t what I want (or like or need) but it’s too scary, too much effort too alienating to change.

Not wanting to go through the cycle again, I slide into resignation.

My New Year’s resolution isn’t tangible. It’s not measurable, calculable or quantitative.

It won’t change where I’m floating in life. There won’t be a “new year, new me.”

I plan to properly remove my emotion from my acceptance.

My resolution is to be unresigned.

Quote for the Week:

2016-12-27-my-news-years-resolution-unresigned-jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Acceptance vs Resignation: Secular Buddhism

Accepting That:  Be Choice Making

When to Accept:  … or Reject

Stealth & Pink Purses

Jeff’s father’s side step-family is tremendous, based on the size of my family. It only took me a few events to remember all of the children’s names. The names of the seven plus parents and all of their spouses calling out to them, took me a little longer. What a bunch of wonderful, fun and funny people.

Not a white-elephant or a Yankee-swap since we’re in Michigan, this group’s Christmas gifting tradition included a set budget, and an indication on the gender of the intended recipient or not.  Order picking was determined by drawing of numbers, and some rules designed to make the exchange only an hour or two long. The free range made for lots of laughter and gift stealing.

My second year of participation, I was a nervous wreck. Jeff had solely taken care of my first, but gave me the duty of picking out a women’s gift the following year. We went shopping together, of course. I don’t remember what he purchased, but I decided on an adorable pink purse. I was terrified no one would like it, no one would want it, and it would become the unintentional joke gift of the year.

I promised, myself I would watch carefully and if the hands it ended up showed any reluctance, I would make a point to steal it back. By the time the gathering came around, I had pretty much convinced myself it wasn’t a good fit for the exchange, even though I loved it. I fully expected to be going home with the pink purse. I did have it in my hands for one round, but it was stolen away from me! I ended up with some beautiful Christmas towels. We didn’t own any fancy guest towels. It was a good fit for us.

But, still, I wished I’d ended up with that purse, because, truly, it was just that cute. On the way home, Jeff commented that the purse had been well-received. “I know,” I said. “I kinda wish it hadn’t. I got sorta attached to it.”

Jeff chuckled, shook his head a little and gave me that “you’re adorable,  but crazy” look.

A few weeks later, I was unwrapping Jeff’s Christmas gift for me. I truly expected some sort of cute chicken/rooster thing. I was amazed and astounded when I parted tissue paper to find a pink purse! No, it wasn’t the same as the one that went to a good home. It was actually more awesome and I absolutely loved it.

Of course, it came with a story. Jeff had managed to run through JC Penney on his way home from work. He’d had to wait until we weren’t together to do it. He spent quite a bit of time searching the accessories section and was about to give up when he saw one on display. He related how he’d stealthily slipped the purse off of the mannequin’s arm and then run (briskly walked) across the entire store to pay for it.

He thought if he spent too much time, was later getting home that I thought he would be, I’d probably worry and ask him where he’d been. He didn’t want to have to tell me. “You’re impossible to surprise,” Jeff pointed out, mid-story. “You’re always looking at statements!”

He said felt weird carrying it. So, to make sure it was clear that it was not his personal purse and that he had no intention of stealing it, he held it at arm’s length stuck straight out in front of him, moving as quickly as possible. Jeff reached down and picked up my newly unwrapped purse to demonstrate his technique.

My big burly, bearded guy in his work uniform, duck boots along with a plaid jacket, big M ball cap and suspenders; swaggering and trying not to swing a pink purse.

That image crinkles the corners of my eyes and makes me giggle every time.  Sometimes silently; sometimes aloud.

I wore out that purse. Used it every day for years. Finally had to let it go due to serious non-repairable deterioration. I suppose I could have kept it for some crafty reason, but at the time I had no idea I would miss it or the man.

It still ranks up there as one of my all-time favorites gifts, and has given me yet another, more-laughing-than-crying story to share.

God Bless.

Quote for the Week:

2016-12-20-stealth-purse-jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Purses: Ew, that’s gross

Purses:  sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t

Purses:  J Geils Band, First I Look at the Purse

 

Tree First

After that news arrived, I began calling friends to see if someone could take me to the hospital. Jeff told me not to go to the hospital but go straight to Nannee’s because she was going to need me there. So, that’s what I did.

Shortly after I arrived at the house on Union Street, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a clergyman on the doorstep, and invited him in, offering him a seat on the couch. I was about to step away to give them privacy, when he turned to me and said, “You look familiar…” “Oh, no.” Nannee shook her head. “You wouldn’t know Jodi… she’s Jewish.”

It was then quite obvious where he knew me from, as he was the pastor who declined to marry Jeff and I.

Many hours had gone by when the decision to remove Sally from life support was made. The hospital was kind and let us wait for one of Jeff’s step-brothers to return to Michigan, so all her kids could all be together in one place. To say goodbye.

I don’t remember Christmas that year. We must have gathered at Nannee’s.

I do remember the next Christmas. We’d lucked-out at Meijer, finding an artificial tree in the markdown/discontinued section and having a $20 off coupon we could use, too. We bought indoor and outdoor lights, garland and a few bulbs to supplement our Bronner’s collection.

Jeff was sitting on the floor of our new home in Adrian, piecing together the tree first. As he secured one artificial limb, another would fall off. In frustration, the man almost incapable of  temper, viciously wadded up the instructions and threw them aside.

“Let me help,” I offered. “You can’t help me,” he sniffed, as a tear ran down his cheek.

“This isn’t fair” he stated bleakly. “She should be here. My mom should be here to see this.” Jeff was struggling to not only keep the tree together, but himself, as well.

I sat down on the floor with him, leaned in and held him close. We shared our tears for a while, then stepped away for a lunch break.

With his sandwich in between the plate and his mouth, Jeff suddenly stopped and looked up at me. “I’m sorry,” he said. “You don’t have to be sorry,” I immediately answered.

“I’m sorry for what I said… that I thought you’d be over it… after your Dad died.”

“You just didn’t know,” I replied. “And I’m sorry you do, now.”

Jeff’s mouth lifted in a small smile. “You’re the best wife. I don’t know how I got so lucky.”

“You didn’t get lucky,” I reminded him with a grin. “I had to use a rolling pin…”

It took all four hands, some wrangling and a bit of good-natured bickering, but we did get the tree up and decorated, and it was beautiful.

We hosted two Christmases that year, both of which meant a great deal to Jeff and I.  We welcomed families and friends, shared wonderful meals, laughed a lot and soaked up christening love; all gathered around our first tree.

Quote for the Week:

2016-12-13-ive-come-to-love-these-grainy-memories-first-tree-2003-jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Christmas:  why trees and tinsel?

Holidays: and grief

Grinch Song: just because

Between the Two

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t easy.

Thanksgiving was my father’s favorite holiday. My Dad passed in July 2002. He didn’t made it to our first anniversary.

Christmas was my mother-in-law’s favorite holiday. Sally passed in December 2002. She didn’t make it to our first married Christmas.

I got to speak to my dad two days before he passed. He expressed regret that he’d never seen the Grand Canyon. Jeff told him we were heading up to Traverse City for the Cherry Festival. Dad said he guessed he’d never get to see that, either.  I got to speak at my dad, the day before he died. I described the festival as best I could through impending tears. He couldn’t talk to me or answer, but my mother told me he smiled widely when he heard our voices.

When Thanksgiving came around, I was sad, mopey and weepy. Jeff didn’t understand. He’d lost grandparents and he’d say, “They were old. They had a good life.” To me, he said, “I thought you’d be over this by now.” I burst into tears and cried, “You don’t understand!” He didn’t, but he did hold me until I’d cried myself out.

I didn’t get to speak to Sally. I know not everyone is as lucky as I was to have a friend in their mother-in-law. She truly was a gentle guide, although I didn’t realize that, at the time.

In August of 2002, Jeff and I were trying to find ways to make extra income. We’d heard about an indoor holiday market at the Adrian Mall, and decided to take a booth. Jeff began making painted ornaments using a technique he had seen in magazine. I had been given a booklet of Mason jar cookie recipes ideal for gift giving, so I decided to sell those, as well.

A few evenings before the show, Sally called with her usual enthusiasm and invited us to her house. I told Jeff, “We can’t go. I’m not done with the jars and we’re not ready for this show.” Jeff relayed my message and then relayed her message back to me. “She said to bring the jars and she’ll help.” Then told me aside, that she was so excited because her stepsons were visiting and she felt she could have all of her children in one place.

“How about we go tomorrow night, after the show?” I asked. “They might not be there, then.” He replied. But, I shook my head and said, “I really don’t think we should.”

We sold a few things on the quiet first half-day. Two ornaments, two cookie jars, 1 sunflower garden stake. The second day, we were setting up to open, when Jeff received a call saying he had to get home to Tecumseh. His mom had been taken to Herrick Hospital.

The serious condition turned out to be a diabetic coma she never woke up from.

Quote for the Week:

2016-12-06-sometimes-i-laugh-when-i-tell-stories-jakorte

(Yes, these are some of the ornaments Jeff made. 🙂

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Ornamental:  DIY – Marbled Paint Ornaments

Cookie Jars: DIY – Cookies in a Jar

Healing Power: Story Telling