The Year You Did Not Crack.

 

This is for You. For everyone.

For those in my real social life, and those who are just as real in my social media life.

For those who may have entered my orbit yet remain unknown.

For those I do know who occasionally irk me, this one’s for you, too.

 

Turn the camera on yourself, right now. Take a selfie no one else will ever see.

 

Then, consider this:

2020 is going to go down as The Year You Did Not Crack.

 

There’ve been a lot of attitude adjustments. Mostly for the better.

But some of you have faced multiple moments of: I’m too old for this. I don’t have to put up with that. I’m done for good – and for my own good.

Even as you solidly define your new limits, I’m still hearing apologetic self-belittlement for taking a stand, narrated as shame: “I cracked.”

No. No, you did not. You did not crack.

You un-cracked.

You filled fissures that have been worn deep for years with self-saving cement; not to harden yourself, but to protect yourself.

You’ve broken down who you are and decided not to be broken, anymore. You stunted the cracks.

Bravo.

Think about that. How kind you’ve been to yourself. How you’ve decided you love yourself instead of focusing on those who don’t.

Filling your voids has made you stronger. On behalf of every soul in your universe, I thank you.

This gift of self-favor has freed you. The most precious part? Affording others your priceless presence when your strength is needed to shore them.

Smoothing over the surface doesn’t mean you are hiding anything.

It means you have layered purposeful protective boundaries. Swathed the hurt in pristine swatches of emotionally sterile gauze. Taped down so hard, the underneath can’t help but heal from the inside out.

The process never needed to be pretty, you just thought it did. Blisters heal ugly, and you probably call them so. But, knowing you the way I do, I think they’re absolutely gorgeous.

 

Choose your poison – doesn’t matter to me which way you say it. Just say it aloud.

Alone, if you are. Or, alone, if it makes you feel better.

“2020 is going down as The Year I Did Not Crack.”

“2020 is going down as The (explicatives can be empowering) Year I Did Not Crack.”

 

Turn the camera back on. Take another selfie.

Do you see the difference? Believe what you see.

No apologies needed; none accepted.

Now, show the world what you got.

 

Quote for the Week: 2020 05 12 Stop thinking soon ill be free jakorte

Song for the Week: Fall Out Boy, Save Rock And Roll.

You are what you love

Not who loves you

Bystanding; Beside You

Little moments change us every day.

Mostly, we hardly notice; adjusting with a four-second, second-thought: next time I’ll…

It’s the tremendous moments that throw us. Moments so life altering, we clutch our chest, gasping it in. Release comes way too slowly; a barely audible woosh, because there are no words and there never will be.

Just as misleading as “A Year of Memories,” losses pile on.

a daughter, a father and husband, a brother, a mother and friend. pls, a closed head injury, stage 4 lymphoma, melanoma, and some sort of vague, obviously understated, emergency surgery I still don’t know enough about.

This is your year of firsts.

The first day, the first week, the first month. The first winter, spring, summer and fall. The first birthday, the first holiday, the first missed ritual. The first of many commonly ordinary, unspecial wishing days.

It’s ok. It marks time. It gives us a measured outline, a flowing structure. 

It’s ok to have an honest day;  especially, an honest holiday. 

Holes lives leave cannot be filled, cannot be fixed, and are not meant to be, anyway.

They’re yours – to have or to hold or to heal.

I just want you to know: you’re not alone.

I’m walking beside you, because, that’s what love leads to.

Quote for the Week:

2018 12 04 It's ok to have an honest day jakorte

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broth – no ‘el’

Nannee went back and forth a few times, but eventually settled into an extended stay with us.

That was precipitated by a very bad flu. She had terrible coughing fits, trouble keeping anything down, and was reluctant to eat. Through badgering, I finally got Nannee to agree to try some beef broth and crackers.

When I brought them to her, she looked up at me tiredly and apologized ‘for being such a burden.’ “You shouldn’t be taking care of me,” she said. “You should be doing what young people do…”

“What do young people do?” I laughed, as I set down the tray. “Nannee,” I told her. “We want you here with us. The only time we feel you’re safe is when you’re here.”

What I meant was if she was with us, we weren’t worrying about her at home alone. It didn’t come out that way, of course. She distastefully screwed up her face, looked at me sidewise, and said she was going to rest.

“Ok,” I replied, backing out, well aware I’d managed to insult her again. This time by inferring she was incompetent and couldn’t take care of herself.

I didn’t get a chance to explain it all to Jeff when he came home because he stopped in Nannee’s room first.

After a while, he came into the kitchen and gave me a look of complete unfathomableness.

“Why,” he asked, extending his arm and thrusting out his pointer finger, “did you tell Nannee the only time we have sex is when she’s here?”

“That’s not what I said!” I protested.  “What I said was – the only time we feel you’re safe is when you’re here!”

Jeff let out an uproarious laugh. Then, the doorbell rang. Pastor David had come to give Nannee communion at her request. Jeff ushered him into the guest room and within 30 seconds, I heard more uproarious laughter coming from that end of the house.

Of course, I was mortified. First, because I would have never said what she thought I said. Second, because now the pastor was in on this situation. Third, because Jeff’s brother Eric was also in on it, as well.

After communion, and after Pastor and Eric left, I slid by Jeff. “Nannee,” I sat on the edge of the bed, “I didn’t say that!” “Jeff told me,” she smiled widely, patting my hand with hers.  Jeff started laughing, again, which made me laugh. That set Nannee off into a combo laughing/coughing fit.

When we all calmed down a bit, I noticed she hadn’t eaten anything. I took the tray off the nightstand and told her I was going to warm up the broth, again.

On my way to the kitchen, I heard Jeff laughing again. Although I saw the amusement in the situation, it just wasn’t funny enough to keep carrying on like that. It didn’t last long, so I guessed it was finally over.

I came back in with the reheated cup. Jeff took one look at me and doubled over. He was laughing and sweating and slapping his knee and trying to breathe. “Nannee thought,” he wheezed out.

“Oh, Jeff – don’t… ’” Nannee interrupted him.

“Nannee thought,” he continued after a deep breath.

“Jeeehhhff!” Nannee squawked.

Jeff was determined. “Nannee said…” He straightened up a bit and another deep breath.

“She said,” he hiccupped like a broken record. “She said – ‘Did she say something about a brothel?!’”

Quote for the week:

 

2017 05 30 Speak softly jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

For: softly

Against:  softly

Musically:  killing me softly

10, Not 15

A Year of Memories is almost up. Officially, on October 6th.

So far, we’ve only been through dating and a wedding.

There is so much more.

I really thought this would be a cathartic year.

At the moment, I think I’m going in the opposite direction.

I really believed it would only take a year to recap our limited lives.

At times, I even worried I’d have nothing more to write about, that I would run out of stories too soon.

The thing is, we all know how this story ends.

15 Years Ago, a wedding; 10 Years Ago, a funeral.

Maybe that’s where I’ll go next: the ending. And work backwards.

Quote for The Week:

2016-09-27-sometime-what-you-want-wont-ever-change-what-is-jakorte

2016-09-27-in-memory-of-jeffrey-scott-korte-jakorte

 

 

Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise (con’t)

I mentioned the surprise. It really was a surprise. Never saw it coming.

But before the surprise was cake. Cakes, I should say

Our wedding cake was beautiful. And delicious. And demolished. And someone took a picture of that. Or, more accurately, someone took a picture of Jeff’s sister, Sally’s friend and I dealing with the aftermath and creating more laughter.

Towards the end of the wedding, I learned that the smallest layer of cake, on top, was traditionally saved for the first anniversary. It successfully went home with Jeff’s mom, and carefully made it into the freezer.

A year later, it was as flat as a pancake. Somehow, it had migrated to the bottom of the chest and was subjected to the weight of anything that might have required freezing. Jeff’s mom was greatly disappointed and apologetic when she discovered it.

It was Jeff’s idea to go the grocer and purchase a small round with yellow icing roses, which was as close as they had to orange roses. We requested “1st Anniversary’” be added in orange, which turned out to be red because there was no orange.

When we showed up with it, Sally laughed delightedly, teared-up, and then giggled when Jeff royally announced, “It’s time to eat cake!”

Cake was distributed – and, as now was J & J tradition, my plate had an extra-large dollop of icing scraped from Jeff’s piece.

A Groom’s cake was another thing I knew nothing about. But, I was assured it was a thing way back when we purchased the race car cake pan. The cake turned out spectacularly. The fondant “stickers” and the accessories were perfect.

Not nearly as perfect as the enthusiasm shared by Jeff and his best man, as they cut the cake together and proceeded to the feeding. That’s another one of my favorite pictures, because it reminds me of how easy it was and how much fun it was to get drawn into Jeff’s enthusiasm.

The last surprise was a wonderful one. Jeff and I were led to folding chairs in the middle of the dance floor. As we sat, our families and friends began to gather around us. Most everyone had a small piece of paper with them. Those who didn’t, shared.

We were still baffled… until the singing started. We sat there amazed and touched; smiling and crying, surrounded by a not-so-impromptu choir organized by my family.

There were only 3 pictures in the stash of developed disposables. One is a barely distinguishable crowd of crooners, one is fairly clear picture of us being confused; one is clearly full of love.

I still feel the joy of that picture. The boisterous singing is what I recall every time I hear that song. What a wonderful uninhibited gift to wrap things up.

Going to the Chapel. Yes, we did.

Quote for the Week:

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This song: Going to the Chapel

Bonus: Cakes and C

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2016-09-20-wedding-going-to-the-chapel-jakorte

Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise

Things went pretty smoothly after that.

There was the delish dinner, more dancing, cake cutting, traditional garter and bouquet tosses, customary ball & chain and an adorable surprise.

I guess I didn’t realize that the term ‘ball and chain,’ can hold a really a negative connotation. For this particular group of friends and family, it was actually a playful right-of-marriage-passage.

The groom knew it would be coming, and so did most the brides. So, when the groomsmen and friends corralled Jeff to chain the real bowling ball to his leg, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think anyone was surprised, at least not on Jeff’s side of the family.

You see, the heavy ball, light-weight but sturdy plastic chain and real lock and key came as a set, passed down from each married couple, who’d save it for the next. In some of the photos you can see the names written on the legacy.

The beauty of it was, that the bride was immediately given the key and the task of symbolic loving release. How long she let her beloved tote that thing around wasn’t really indicative of anything but fun.

I only let Jeff tote it around long enough to be sure he had his fun with it.

I don’t know who has the ball now. I hope someone is saving it for their children’s wedding.

The bouquet toss was a little bit of a scramble when we realized that the toss bouquet was embedded in the top of the cake. I ended up grabbing a smaller and very pointy attendant’s, nobody got their eye poked out so, that was good.

The garter was the most normal thing about our wedding. Except, I don’t know the young lady who caught the bouquet and was subsequently gartered.

Anyone have a clue? I’d love to know….

Quote for the Week:

2016-09-13ball-and-chain-dont-get-married-because-you-want-to-be-jakorte

Bonus Photos:

Nannee noticed the ritual beginning, the putting on, the carrying,t he assist from Sally and the unlocking. One thing though, where’d that extra hand on Jeff’s waist come from?

2016-09-13-ball-and-chain-bonus-jakorte

Who’s that girl?

wedding-garter

 

 

Not Quite The Dance

If it seems like I have a lot of ‘Dad’ stories, it’s because I do. Most resulted from his stubbornness, but some resulted from mine. Inherited, it seems.

Please, understand I’m not implying that my father ruined my wedding in any sort of way. Yes, at the time he frustrated me, but there ended up being so many golden memorable moments.  These moments still make me shake my head. But, also make me smile. That is what is important.

Thank goodness we had a photographer that knew what she was doing. Again, I’d never done this before; hadn’t even been a bridesmaid, so I was clueless.

Before the wedding, Jeff and I went with her to a park to capture the fall colors. Then, back at the venue, (bar sounds so icky, now,) the pre-wedding shots continued: families, bridesmaids, groomsmen, groups and individual, first dances, and portraits.

By the end of our wedding festivities, I understood why we’d needed to take these close-up photos at the peak of appearances, and of course, what sort of things could go wrong at weddings.

I also am grateful I have dance pictures with my father, because, well… that didn’t go as planned, either.

Oxygen related, again, when it came time for the Son and Mother and Daughter and Father dance, I went to collect him. He made a request, which I denied. He wanted to dance right where we were. I did not want to dance beside the dinner table where he sat.

The song was not an unusual choice, which is why we chose it. It’s the kind of song most everyone associates with happy occasions. Neither of us realized that, after a while, life would change our happiness into bittersweet memories.

So, my Dad followed me to the dance floor without his portable. Akin to holding his breath, he lasted less than a minute then hurriedly scurried back to his chair, leaving me standing alone on the parquet. This was not quite the dance I’d envisioned.

I’m only guesstimating on the 60 seconds, but that seems about right based on what happened next.

I glanced toward Jeff. With his back to me, he and Sally were more talking than dancing. I realized without her wheelchair, she was struggling, too.

My now Father-in-Law (whom I wasn’t sure was truly my father-in-law, yet, because I wasn’t sure we were truly married, yet,) had been watching from the side. I was still processing that I had been necessarily abandoned, when he stepped forward, opening his arms. Suddenly, I was dancing again.

At about another 30 second mark, my Uncle Sheldon tapped Roger’s shoulder, requesting to cut-in.  I was handed off, and continued the dance with the man who had managed to speed to the hospital faster than my father was able to get there from his job when it was clear I was about to be born.

These are precious memories, and sad ones, as well. I realize now, that it probably wouldn’t have mattered where we danced, because we already had professional shots. I just stubbornly wanted to dance on the dance floor with my father, next to my husband and his mother.

I can’t imagine what my father was feeling watching me finish the dance from the sidelines. I wish he hadn’t had to. I wish I’d have had as much of a dance with him as possible.

Quote for the Week:

2016-09-06-its-impossible-to-consider-every-scenario-jakorte

Follow this Week’s discovery Links:

It is: Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Bio

They are: Precious Memories   (I don’t know why my parents had a gospel compilation record, but I played it often. I’m not at all sure who sang this song on that record. Might have been Tennessee Ernie Ford, but Jim Reeves’ version sounds most like my memory.)

If I could do it again: Dance With My Father

Bonus:  PS – I don’t believe Nannee was wearing her oxygen for her dance with Jeff, either.

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