The String Thing, 1

I feel like I should explain why I am explaining. It’s more now than memories; more toward the end of the story than the middle. Based on past success, it’s a hopeful reminder that I can get there, yet.

So, where were we?

I stayed in Adrian 4 more years before moving to Ann Arbor. During those years, I drove a commuter van from Adrian to Ann Arbor, with one stop in Tecumseh. I started out as rider and by default became a driver. Cost-wise, those 3 years were very helpful to my budget.

As a driver, all I had to do was collect gas money from my riders and deliver the van for regular maintenance. The responsibility kept me going after my loss, and the extra “busy” time meant I spent less time at home; alone.

After I got home, after chores and sometimes dinner, I still had time on my hands. A lot of time. I also had a treadmill, a healthy collection of angry music and International Music Feed.

The more I used it the more addictive it became.  15 minutes became 20. 20 minutes became 30. 30 was always my goal. By then, I usually surpassed that waiting for a song to end or wanting another tenth of a mile to round off the distance. I’d set it on manual so I could control the pace.

Eventually, 30 minutes wasn’t hard, so I challenged myself. I’d use the programmed interval incline. I’d switch it up by using the cardio program. I found myself adjusting the speed down during cardio, but would still follow through with ups and downs.

I also didn’t sleep much. Oh, I’d shower and crash after exercising, but then wake up around 2 AM. I’d wander to the TV and watch whatever happened to be on. A predictable variety of infomercials of questionable integrity aired during these odd hours.  Slicers, dicers, miracle pills, body transformers, pot, pans, and the upside down inversion thing that was so popular, back then.

Cuddling a cup of tea on just another normal after-midnight night, my life changed. A different sort of wee-hour, call-now advert caught my attention. In between sleepy sips and throwing our Jack Russell Terrier Sadie’s favorite red ball down our longest hall, what I was hearing made sense.

I paid a little more attention which left me more awake. It was the opposite of what should have been achieved by watching mindless drivel; boring myself back to sleep. What I was seeing was what I wanted, attainable or not.

The core of the pitch was a “core” building hip-hop dance program regaling the importance of balance and stance.  I stopped playing fetch with Sadie when she plopped down in the middle of the hall, swiveling her cocked head longingly between me and the bedroom, silently suggesting as only dogs do.

It figured; the one night I managed to tire the hyper missy out, I ended up all hyped up .

So, that’s how I learned about the string thing.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Inversion:  Something Like This

That Red Haired Lady: The Infomercial Queen

Know Your Hawker: More Infomercial Faces

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:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Acceptance vs Resignation: Secular Buddhism

Accepting That:  Be Choice Making

When to Accept:  … or Reject

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:

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(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

Pebble

 

Our travels took us to Sault Ste. Marie, where we found ourselves on another misty water experience: sailing through the Soo Locks.  In case you haven’t noticed, Michigan has a way of changing the spelling of a place. Mackinac; Mackinaw. Sault; Soo.

Anyway, we rode the locks, and it was fascinating. Mostly, because Jeff was fascinating. his pride in Michigan was deep. True, he’d lived here all his life, but I’ve been here 18 years and I don’t know the detailed history of towns, cities, parks, farms. He did, and he was happy to share that.

Jeff would fill in little parts that weren’t mentioned over tour radios. Folks who overheard would end up gravitating towards him, asking questions and being questioned in return. By the time we were done with whatever it was we were doing, we’d know a lot about a person. Where they were from, where they were going, what they did for a living, who their favorite NASCAR driver was.

At Tahquamenon Falls, Jeff explained the water’s amber hue, the impact of logging and impressively mentioned Longfellow. On the sunniest day of our journey, we stood overlooking the falls having unintentionally timed this stop a breath past peak fall color. As wonderfully as the cheap camera pictures came out, they don’t do it justice. I was posing at the rail of a scenic pier when a stranger offered to take our picture together. As strange as it seems, this might be the only picture of Jeff and I together on our honeymoon. I haven’t come across any others, yet.

Our second to last stop was Sleeping Bear Dunes. We thought about renting a Jeep to drive ourselves around the dunes, but decided a half-hour of driving time wasn’t that exciting. Instead, we opted for the guided tandem open-car tour. We learned about the environmental and erosion problems facing the area. Coming down from a huge mound of hilly sand, the tour glided to rest beside the lapping shore of Lake Michigan.

I was surprised by the number of tourists in our group who quickly shed their shoes in order to wade in. I didn’t. I did, however, dip my fingers into the chilly water, bringing up a small stone memento. Later, Jeff chided me for that, siting erosion. “It’s just one little pebble,” I argued. ‘Yes,” he said matter-of-factly, “but, if everyone who ever went there took a rock from the beach, that’d be millions of missing rocks!”

Then he launched another Jeff-ism:

“Nothing is ever a just pebble.”

 

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Lock Engineering: animation

Animated Falls:  Tahquamenon

Bonus Photos:

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The Politic of Cows

The honeymoon saga is being interrupted by a side note.

I hope you all voted today.

You know, my Jeff was a patriot. He always removed his ever-present hat for the national anthem. He removed his hat and placed a hand over his heart for any flag passing by. He admired his friends in the service, had great respect for veterans, never missed a Memorial Day or 4th of July parade, and believed America was the greatest country in the world. 

Jeff also had a wisdom to impart when anyone began discussing politics.

“It doesn’t matter who becomes president tonight,” he’d say. “When we all wake up tomorrow, the cows still gotta get milked.”

This self-proclaimed non-politicking was just a bit of Korte bluster mostly to offset his father’s very-politicking Korte bluster. His practical point was that things tend to stay the same and nothing drastic happens overnight after an election.

Jeff truly cared about his country, his state, his home. I’m sure he would have been horrified by this election, disheartened entirely. I’m afraid this election could very well turn our nation into a disaster tomorrow. I’ve been praying it doesn’t.

At this point, though, the only thing I can say for certain is Jeff’s truth still stands.

Cows still gotta get milked tomorrow morning, regardless.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Cast: Not Casted

Bullish: Something Good

Michigan: Voter’s Battleground