Aug 31 2015 | I’m an upbeat kind of gal, full of life and hope. A wall in my house boasts an oversized-letter montage that reads “Live Large.” If you won’t contribute, stay home, don’t even get outta bed. I wake every day with this disposition. Until chaos crimps my passionate style. Then I’m Hypocrite Royale. With 3 kids, 4 grand-kids, self-employed husband, dying Grandmother and cancer-stricken mother, commotion clamors at least once if not several times a day. Negativity rings optimism with routine fire but I keep a glass half full to douse its flame. Most of the time.
Raised in various middle-to-upper-middle class family settings, I’ve experienced some of life’s grander privileges. Good thing. Along the way I endured duplicitous dysfunctionalities of divorce, mental illness and alcoholism. I work hard. I play harder. I love deep and value family deeper. I’ve learned cheating never antes; long-term loyalty takes the house.
I’m a human being struggling to accept humanity—the unjustness of our race and its imperfect imbalances. Reflecting and analyzing, I over think, over commit and over tip. Though I scored an average 49 on Charles Murray’s “How Thick is Your Bubble,” I often feel guilty for my WASP life. I’m on a mission to thin the bubble by reading opposing perspectives, listening to Millenials’ music, researching first then gifting to worthy charities. It’s grossly insufficient; if I ever make serious money I plan to start a retreat for abused and neglected kids. Something like Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang camp.
A natural left-handed creative, I’m pissed when a day passes without gratifying right-brained accomplishment; whether ordinary—journaling and blogging, or outlandish—faux painting eight coats of yellow hued glaze to my living room walls. Results are what matter; if I can’t deliciously check off to-do lists or replay creative achievements at bedtime, nasty internal chastising overtakes counting sheep: for not exercising, for eating too many M&M’s, for resenting my mother’s choice to fight cancer. I stay extraordinarily busy to shutter the noise.
Gratification comes fastest with writing and I’m driven to find time chunks for it; but life’s interruptions drive faster. I’m gear-switching averse; rather than write for 10 minutes and accept chronic disturbances, most days I don’t write at all. As a result I sidetrack my publishing goals and label myself charlatan.
Today I’m ignoring the chirping cell phone, dirty dishes and dust balls. The unpaid bills and unfinished painting project can wait another day. I’m writing. I’m going to finish my blog’s basics and get on with actual writing. Applause, whoops, back-pats. Onward.
So what keeps me too busy to do what I really want: to write? Depends on the hat I’m wearing.
My livelihood consists of several jobs:
- provide client services for my boutique business development firm, Benedict Creative Developmemt
- create graphic designed print ads and marketing collateral
- manage hubby’s mechanical engineering business [mostly back-end stuff like bookkeeping and tax filings but sometimes I work on-site as his laborer – yes, I literally labor at it]
- oversee maintenance, repairs and renovations to our c1870 home in rural Pennsylvania
- manage investments [gotta generate a reasonable retirement portfolio – this bear market is trashing my otherwise solid returns]
On the personal side, I stay busy with:
- doing whatever it takes to maintain solid footing in my 10-year marriage to a quiet, gentle man whose personality waivers between ‘Eeyore’ and ‘The Dude’ [though fortunately hubby is solidly employed and dresses with panache]
- staying in regular contact with my children | getting together every few weeks
- playing and laughing with my grand-children [hope to become as treasured to them as they are to me]
- helping my cancer-riddled mother as best I can from 600 miles distance [I’ve got several flights booked over the next 6 months but chemo isn’t helping; watching my father die was ghastly, now my mother!? W T F ! ? !]
- tending my 103-year old grandmother [I drive twice a month over the mountain and through the PA turnpike tunnel to visit and do whatever she needs as her Power of Attorney]
For fun and sustenance I like to:
- soak up all the joy and wonder found around my tiny Maine island oasis [I don’t know what’s more heavenly, spending time alone just hubby and me, or having the kids and grands with us . . .more on that to come in Journal, category Maine]
- spend cherished time with a quartet of true friends
- watch movies and/or occasional TV shows [no more cable! love Netflix/Hulu/Vudu where I watch drama/mystery flicks, and special series – recent fav movies: St. Vincent; Cake; Boyhood; Inside Out; Brooklyn; Spotlight; and series: Madame Secretary; The Good Wife; Downton Abbey; Game of Thrones; Netflix House of Cards, River, Happy Valley, The Fall; plus a few addictive reality shows: The Voice, X Factor, and Master Chef]
- play backgammon with hubby
- travel to Maine, Europe and the Caribbean
- devour chocolate in any and all forms [especially peanut butter M&M’s and moose tracks ice cream]
- scrupulously develop my autobiographical memoir [Frances is a trip. . . ]
- and of course, write and blog, blog and write, write some more
I also enjoy:
- reading [the latest couldn’t-put-it-down book, Eeny Meeny – think “Gone Girl” suspense meets “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” tension; other favs: The Lake House, Pop Goes the Weasel, Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures ]
- interior decorating and painting
- museums and historic properties
- gardening and sewing
music [new find: Sawyer Fredericks, brilliant 16-year old]
- cards [Hearts! Whose got the queen of spades?]
- cooking [especially when it isn’t expected of me]
- yoga and dancing