this or something better

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Well hello there!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted so, as an excuse to keep sitting in this gorgeous cool breeze, I thought I would share some updates of what’s happening over here in beautiful Pennsylvania.

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we found THE BEST amusement park, Knoebel’s, just a half hour from our home, truly the best!

I’m not gonna lie, this life and our home here has turned out to be so much more.everything.…than we ever dreamed.  I have successfully adjusted my lifestyle to be here for about 3 weeks out of each month and in AZ the rest. Right now, at this moment, feeling this cool-enough-to-be-under-a-blanket breeze through the window, I am so grateful to be out of the scorching desert heat.
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I made this little vertical succulent garden–can’t believe it’s doing so well!

My family is adjusting well to this routine back in AZ also. My Dad is currently investigating a hip replacement (yes, at 86!) and my brother is very involved in activities from art therapy, where he is painting and drawing,  to two centers where he attends groups and of course, the chorus. He has a new friend, Jodi who he spends lots of time with. He even drove her up to Sedona to our home there for a long weekend. That, my friends, is a bonafide miracle and those who have been on the journey with us will get that.

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We have only been in our home just over 4 months, but have accomplished so much! I’ve painted nearly the entire downstairs, as well as Lillian’s pink bedroom and, most recently, our cozy guest room.

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We also, as of one week, have our…..KING SIZE BED! We waited a while to get it, and it is absolutely perfect. We found this gorgeous modern storage bed and filled it with an incredibly comfortable Casper mattress. We are in Heaven, sprawling all over the place and sleeping so much better.

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We wake up in the morning and push open the room-darkening drapes (which work!) to an expansive view of grass and forest. We’ve been hosting a family of foxes and two deer, which play and stroll in the back. I picked up a couple of chairs and small table at, of all places, the grocery store the other day, so we can sit out and enjoy the sunset every night. We’ve also been dining outside quite a bit, especially when we have Lillian, which is just so ahhhhhh.

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Speaking of dining, I actually signed on today to share a little life lesson story I experienced recently, related to our dining room table. It was kind of a big aha moment for me and I hope to share things like this on here vs. simple updates so all of us can be fed with a little bit of inspiration. God knows we need that.

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So….we have most everything set in the house right now except for one kinda major thing. We have no place to sit and dine (except outside). We have a nice dining area, right in front of the large sliding doors leading to the patio, but no table. I’ve kind of loved all of that open space, but still, it’s time we have a situation to eat beyond sitting at the small rolling island or on the floor around our coffee table. I think we will still use those places, as we kind of love them, BUT I need a place to sit up straight with my laptop and finish my dang book. Right now I’m at my cozy chaise writing, but it’s not really a place to be serious.

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ANYway, we started imagining what kind of table we wanted in that space, which will also be shared with John’s upright piano. It’s a perfect spot for the piano but does cut in to size for a table, so a wee bit tricky. We landed on wanting a farmhouse style table, with some industrial vibe, at 5 1/2 feet to accomodate 6 people but not be cramped.

We live in an area where there are lots of woodworkers and lots of reclaimed wood. So, I started with Craiglist to see who was out there that we could hire to fashion us our perfect table. And I found him! I went back and forth with this gentleman, discussing dimensions, table bases, wood stain, etc. We determined a timing to begin, deposits, delivery etc. We told him we would get back when we were ready financially to pull the trigger and send him his deposit, which happened in early May.

Then, homeboy carpenter just dropped off the face of the Earth.

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I sent him several messages in various forms from email to Facebook and…nothing. I was trying to toss money his way and...nothing.

I finally reached a point when I said to John “if he is this uncommunicative before he has our $300 deposit, then how will we feel about him after?” and that was that. I closed that door and went searching again.

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I found another guy, a little further away, who would make our table as we wanted and deliver it for about $900 total. A little higher than the first guy, but whatever, he did great work and was available.

Right up until the moment that he, also, completely fell off the map. I was actually texting with this one, and telling him we were ready to place the order, etc. and, AGAIN, no response.

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“What is wrong with these woodworkers?” I asked my husband. “I am trying to throw money at them and they disappear!”.

“Something better must be coming,” he said, alleviating me taking this weird behavior personally.

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I just let it go for a few weeks. It didn’t feel urgent and I AM ambivalent about filling up this spacious view of our backyard paradise….but the urge to start working on the book rose up last week, so I decided I needed to go a-looking again.

The tricky part is that the size we need is not very standard–66 inches–so having it custom made seemed the only way to go. Until…..

Lillian was playing on the floor next to me as I sat in “The Snugglette” (my chaise lounge area) and I just decided to throw out a random wild card google search for 66 in. farm table.

<<<<<insert choirs of angels singing>>>>

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Lo and behold, what appeared to mine eyes was this:table1

 

A 66 in. all wood and metal, vintage inspired, rustic, industrial farm table.

For 264 dollars!!!! Whaaaaaaaa????

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Now, granted, we had to forego the custom made and reclaimed wood part of our original idea.

But, yes, Universe, you can relieve me of that over $600 difference and provide something just about identical–even with the gray stain that we were seeking…with FREE SHIPPING. Yes, I will accept your offer.

Thank you!

I couldn’t wait to tell John as he was coming home shortly. I basically yanked him with both hands out of the car, saying “you have to look at this NOW”, as I drug him to my laptop, fearing this table, too, might pass before my very eyes before materializing. It was on sale, after all.

He was on board and….today is the day for delivery!

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Yesterday, we did kind of a post-game on this whole deal. John told me how he observed that I’ve come a long way from my usual dog-with-a-bone style of going after something I want.  Once it became clear that the woodworkers were not working for us, I was able to let go with minimal angst. I did notice a fleeting am I doing something to push these people off? thought float through, then laughed it off. I really did think something better might be on the way.

like this fireworks display that showed up out of nowhere from our backyard last weekend over a field of fireflies

This is such a big metaphor for me, and one I continuously need reminders on. In fact, I suffered two decades of traumatic and demoralizing dating before my BEST came along. You’d think I have this down.

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Yet, it’s a biggie. The letting go, the trusting, the realizing there be other choreography happening, the not pushing, the acknowledging, accepting then….receiving.

“This, or something better,” is a good phrase that works in my brain.

I’ll come back and post when I get the table all set up. But for now, I have some placemat shopping to accomplish.

Hope you all are staying cool or warm or….simply comfortable out there!

Happy Summer!

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it’s here!

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our view last night at Happy Hour at Mariposa restaurant

Greetings from Sedona where I sit on my bar stool perch, the same perch I sat on when I had the very first chat with my husband over Thanksgiving weekend 2014. It was late, my family had gone to bed and I was up distracting myself with Facebook.

I had recently been invited to join a small, private writing group via a friend who knew I was getting ready to head out soon on a writing sabbatical to start my book. I’d noticed this cute, younger than me (or so I thought), Psychologist in the group who had kind of the roll of “group cheerleader”. No matter what anyone wrote, he was quick with positive feedback and a word of encouragement. It was no different with me.

(yes, that’s him–his dance born from a typo where “congo” came out vs. “condo”)

It also came as no surprise that after a few exchanges, he sent me a friend request there.

One evening he made a comment on a poem I’d posted which turned in to a 70-something long comment exchange in the group that garnered a private message from my friend Renie, also in the group, “you were flirting with that Psychologist last night!”. I was.

He asked if we could chat privately on Facebook the next day, so we started. It went late in to the night, covering everything from spirituality to dream cars to past traumas. He shared he had been on a dating hiatus for 18 months, “celibate” he described himself.

“Are you a monk?” I asked, having noted his bald head.

“No, I just realized I’m kind of messed up in the woman department so I stopped for awhile.” Now this I could relate to. All of it. I’d had the same realization and done the same thing.

I had decided to let go of relationships and get a dog. In fact, I had my whole next few months mapped out, preparing for that next introduction to my life.

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We chatted again the next night, this time more intimate and personal. We realized that something was happening here, between us. There was something about this man that was so familiar, so easy to relate to. We laughed and cried and both had a feeling.

“Where did you come from?” I asked.

“I don’t know, all I know is I was sent to you,” he replied.

I changed the subject fast.

For the last couple of years, dealing with my brother and my aging father and looking out at the landscape of my future handling this all alone, I would often speak to my sister in various ways asking her to send me some help.

“Cindy, you have to find me someone, someone to love who can handle all of this with me,” I begged. I had begged similarly to my mother as a child for help. Help dealing with the difficult family situation we’d found ourselves in after she’d passed.

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During that late night chat with my new friend John, the Earth moved. I mean literally the Earth moved. I was downstairs in the quiet as my father and brother were fast asleep upstairs. A loud sound preceded a rippling feeling across the ceiling. I thought a tornado had swept by and did what any stupid person would do in that moment–I ran outside to check. There was a stillness in the air I’d never heard or felt before.

I couldn’t figure it out. I ran upstairs thinking perhaps my very large brother had fallen out of bed. No, but he was awake.

“I think that was an earthquake, Kathy.”

I was still chatting with John who quickly consulted the Gods of Google and confirmed, in fact, there had been an earthquake in Sedona. A 4.3 level one in fact.

“If I were you, I’d be meditating right now,” he said.

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The conversation continued late in to the night.

“Would you mind if I did a Tarot card reading on this encounter?” he asked. I already knew he played with Tarot cards pretty regularly so I consented. I felt easy and safe with him and noted the respect he offered just with his question.

We spoke the next day, both of us having gotten little sleep the night before.

“I did the reading and I know where this relationship is going,” he said. “Do you want to know?”.

“No” I answered. And I didn’t. This was kind of freaking me out honestly.

But he told me anyway, either that day or the next.

He’s an oversharer. So am I. I get it.

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That would likely turn many people off. But me, coming from way too many situations and dynamics involving secrets and lies, it was the perfect constellation of personality traits to allow me to trust him, and I did. Then, and now. I have never had a moment of distrust over this man and that was/is a first for me. I’ve distrusted men, with good reason, my entire life. I’d been plagued with an inability to trust men, while simultaneously choosing untrustworthy men as a matter of course. It was basically the only game I knew for decades.

This was completely different, and I didn’t quite know how to maneuver in it, but I kept going anyway.

He told me that he’d done readings on every woman who had crossed his path who he had even a remote interest in and they had, every time, steered him away from getting involved.

Until this one.

“The final outcome card was The Lovers,” he said. “I know what this is going to be for us.”

I basically shut him down on that track, but kept talking to him.

Things led to things and, at the urging of my friend Rob who was already headed that direction in a few weeks, I traveled to the East to meet him. Rob later said when he walked me out of the airplane that day that he felt like he was walking me down the aisle.

John and I were engaged on that trip. He got down on one knee in front of the Christmas tree at his rural Pennsylvania home, and proposed with his father’s wedding band on a gold chain. It was perfect.

We were married just about 6 months later in Niagara Falls and I’m still pinching myself. What started off fascinating and exciting has just become both more comfortable and deep and expanded in all ways since.

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“I never thought I would find a love like this,” he said last night over a bottle of red wine.

We talked late in to the night on the couch, facing each other–the same couch I’d felt that earthquake on–about our good fortune. How easily compatible we are, the level of trust we share that has only deepened, the almost completely lack of power struggles, the sense of equality and respect we share, the love and passion and fun we have.

And, of course, his little daughter Lillian which has fulfilled a long abandoned dream in me.

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Friday was Cindy’s birthday. She would have been 58 this year and she was born in 1958. It felt momentous. On arriving to Sedona, we went to the store and picked up all of the ingredients for her Chicken Cacciatore. I brought her hand written recipe card up with me.

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You can read about this ritual here.

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We opened a bottle of wine we’d brought back from Niagara Falls which we also used in the recipe and sipped it as we cooked, and dined, together. We listened to jazz and looked at car-porn, one of John’s favorite guilty pleasures.

“I never thought I’d have a woman who would look at car-porn with me,” he laughed showing me the Bentley he’d always dreamed of. I loved it too.

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We served the perfect chicken over zucchini noodles. Cindy would have liked that.

We raised our glasses and toasted to her and my husband looked up to the Heavens, tears in his eyes, and quietly said “thank you for sending me.”

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Happy Birthday Cindy.

Thank you for sending me the perfect man.  You nailed it.

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