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Stuck in Paradise

29 Sep

I’ve felt stuck for almost two weeks now. In the 20 months since I’ve retired I have published a book. I’ve downsized and moved twice. And I’ve taken two month-long trips. Busy, busy, busy. Right now I need to be here in Austin, TX to help my son for a while, and this feeling has set in. It’s been a personality challenge my whole life: if I am not going somewhere, or doing something, (or making plans to go somewhere and do something) I feel stuck.

Another downside of that trait, is that when I don’t stay busy, I tend to stall out and have a hard time getting motivated again. Does this ever happen to you?

I was discussing this with my sweetie the other day, and he was flabbergasted. “How can you feel stuck? You have your writing. You’re busy with your son. You have a couple of projects you wanted to do. And, look around, it’s like a resort here… it’s got a nice walking path, there’s great roads to ride the bikes on, a gym, a beautiful pool, a hot tub, horse-shoes, and even a putting green.”

“But yet, I feel stuck, even in the middle Paradise. I realize this is a very nice problem to have in light of all the terrible things going on in the world at the moment.
“Don’t discount or dismiss your problems,” my therapist always told me, so I will follow her advice, stay with my feelings, and find a way to get through this.

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Here are some steps I know I can take to get UNSTUCK whenever I find myself feeling stymied:

DEFINE THE PROBLEM: get a timer and some paper. Across the top write “Problem.” Set a timer for 15, 20, or 30 minutes and just start writing everything that comes to mind about this problem, allowing anything that comes up. It often isn’t what I thought it was, after all.

DEVELOP A PLAN: Next, write “Actions” across the paper. 15, 20, or 30 minutes again, and I brainstorm all of the actions I can take. Let your imagination run wild. You never know what will appear when you are distracted by your ‘race against the clock.’

DO SOMETHING: Review this list for an actionable first step. If none jumps out, go for a walk. Movement usually begets movement. When I come back to the page, I pick a couple of ideas and put them in an order I am willing to do them. Putting a date next to them so I have either a deadline, or a timeline, works to keep me in motion.

Trust that this will benefit our growth… even if you don’t see how yet, and be grateful for the good that will surely follow. All because you took that first step!

XO Donna

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How’s That Sound?

14 Sep

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One of the things I rarely talk about in my blogs is my health… because I think there are more interesting things to talk about: great food, the fascinating people I know and get to meet, and all of the wonderful places there are to see and learn about.

But, without good health, none of this would be possible for me. Or for any of us. Continue reading

This Old Thing

13 Jul

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We are now living in, and loving, our motor-home. The RV resort where we are staying greatly contibutes to our overall enjoyment of this experience with it’s beautifully maintained grounds, the view and privacy we have, and the ability to exercise daily. Continue reading

Almost “Go Time”

29 Jun

 

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There are only a few items left to be given away or picked up. The furniture we’ve chosen to keep; his China and glassware, and my art all go into a small climate controlled storage unit… in case we want a house again later.

We have an agreement that in 6 months we are going to take a day and revisit what’s in storage – especially seasonal clothes – and do more clearing. But, not now.

None of this letting-go has been as much of a challenge as turning-in my leased Mini Cooper tomorrow. This will leave me “without my own wheels” for the first time since I was 17. As a fiercely  independent woman, I’ve struggled with this… what does it mean for me, or about me, if it means anything at all? What do you think?

I have decided that, like so much in life, we GIVE meaning (for better or worse) to the events in our lives. It’s not like I’m stranded –  we’ve still got a truck and a motorcycle.
Being able to have this conversation more than once, and many others like it, are the reason I know we can make this move and enjoy it.

They say that the two happiest days of a boat-owner’s life are the day he buys a boat… and the day he sells it! That was how we felt about owning our house.

It’s taken us 24 months to be ready to move into a motor-home – which we will do on Tuesday, July 4th. This will be a memorable Independence Day for us. The movers come the next day to take our things to storage, as do the people from St. Vincent de Paul Society. Did you know that you can donate mattresses in good condition? Neither did we. They are  sanitized and then donated, or sold affordably.

We’ve bought ourselves a few house-warming presents; a spotted cowhide rug, an ottoman with storage inside, (necessary) and some very soft, very artsy pillows to replace my scratchy kilim pillows. And, of course, getting our bar properly set up for guests is of utmost importance. Sure, we could use plastic cups, but how sexy is that?

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I’ve found the perfect, sturdy, multi-purpose glasses that will serve wine, a salt-rimmed margarita, or a hearty Old Fashioned, fashionably.
Y’all are always welcome to come visit. There will be photos next time, and I hope you will be in one of them.

XO
Donna

Easy, like a Sunday morning…

1 Jun

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I’d been feeling stuck this week. Sad. Resistant. Frustrated. And had even gone so far as to question my long-held belief about wanting to live a gypsy life.

Continue reading

Wide Awake

18 May

Like a Dali painting, things are surreal around here… we’ve made plans to move in (gulp) six weeks. I tell the story of this decision here: bit.ly/2r9vlAz  at 1010ParkPlace in, “It Feels Like Freedom to Me.”

I think I have been handling everything well, I’m excited and even eager for the freedom this next phase will bring. But, I am not sleeping. I keep waking up around 3:30 a.m. Then my brain turns on… and that’s it, I’m wide awake!
I make bargains with “the obsessive part of me,” promising I will pay attention to it later if it lets me go back to sleep now. I try breathing and meditation. After an hour, I get up and go lie on the couch and read another Carl Hiaasen novel. At 6:00, when my sweetie gets up, I just get on with my day.

During the day I am doing the work that needs to be done. But at night my brain is going into overdrive, trying to manage the entire Universe. Serenity Prayer, my ass. My subconscious has it’s own ideas; “Help me change what I cannot accept. And control, well, basically… everything. Amen.”  Has this ever happened to you over a big change? How do you handle obsessing over things?

IMG_1438The other evening I had some alone-time, and I was going through a box of fabric that I couldn’t let go of during our last two moves.  In it is an Indian bedspread given to me years ago by a dear friend. He died of AIDS in ’96 or ’97… and I can’t bear to part with it. Being over-tired, and consequently too hyper-active to read, (we don’t outgrow this stuff) I decided to whip up a summer dress like the ones I’ve been seeing on Pinterest. Yep, I know how to sew. My Mom was great at it – she always made us matching dresses when we were children. Later, she made our skirts and blouses, some maxi-dresses, and even my favorite prom gown in 1968.  A simple, pale pink satin with a vee-neck and ruffle. I spent hours straightening my hair and thanks to Mom making that gown, I felt as chic as Cher. IMG_1434

I used to love sitting beside her sewing machine, talking and watching what she did. She chain-smoked and cursed the whole time, but she managed to made it look effortless. The sewing, I mean!

I really enjoyed how focused I became, how relaxed I felt for the first time in days. I was surprised that I remembered how to fill and thread the bobbin. I was surprised I  got my seams so straight without a guide. I wasn’t surprised by my cursing, or the fact that my math calculations were as bad as ever. While my dress turned out beautifully, it is a good TWO SIZES too large! Rather than looking lithe and of-the-moment in my Boho sundress, I look as if I borrowed a muumuu from Mama Cass!

IMG_1425This weekend, since it’s going to rain, I’m certain I will remember how to take a dress apart and fix my mistakes. I’m going to look lithe, dammit!  Tearing out all of those seams and re-cutting my pattern will make a great escape from packing.

As a waiter recently said to me when I pointed out that he had brought me the wrong order,  “Hey… you can’t win ’em all, right?” I guess not .

XO Donna

Hello, Dali!

5 May

IMG_5336I’ve missed you!  It wasn’t my intention to be offline for a whole month, but we found that there was no wi-fi connection in almost all of the places we went. In case you don’t know where I’ve been, we drove from Austin, TX to Key West, FL and back!

It was a multi-purpose trip: a dream vacation to celebrate our semi-retirement. Our first long-distance “shake-down” cruise to see if the coach was up to snuff. And, more to the point, to see if we were up to snuff since we have been considering living full-time in our RV to travel for a year.

How would we do together for 30 days, going 3,000+ miles, in under 300 sq.ft. of living space? Would we have fun, or would claustrophobia set in, quickly followed by snarkiness ?  The jury is in – we did really well together!

I know I can speak for both of us when I say we didn’t feel claustrophobic. Since the weather was great for most of the trip, we spent the majority of our time outdoors. We stayed in some stunning RV parks, and some not so stunning ones.  We made the best of every  situation, let go of things needing to be a certain way… and things turned out even better than we’d planned!IMG_5335

For example, in Key Largo we didn’t go to  a restaurant we’d planned on, because a neighbor in the RV park told us another was even better. He was wrong… their service and their food were awful. But because of it’s location, on our way back to the RV park we found the absolutely best Key Lime Pie in Florida! Returning a week later, I met the owner and had a nice chat with her as I bought a whole pie to take up to Boca Raton with us! It’s called Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory. It’s in Tavernier, just south of Key Largo.

Another happy accident occurred when on the spur of the moment we decided to go to the Salvadore Dali museum in St. Petersburg. As it turns out, there was a Frida Kahlo exhibit that was in it’s final week, and I just had to go!IMG_0959

Re-entering the main hall, a docent told me to get in line quickly and we could experience a Virtual Reality Tour of a Dali painting. They only take a small group of people to do this a few times a day, so we hurried over to the door she’d pointed out, and in a few minutes we were lead to a private room. Huge goggles were placed on our heads, the process explained, and once started, we were INSIDE a Dali painting! I could move from place to place just by looking at small white dots, and I’d instantly be there, able to see 360 degrees in all directions. At one point, I watched as elephants on stilts approached, and I looked up at their bellies as they stepped above me, and walked on past! This was way better than the 60’s!

After the museum, we stopped to eat lunch at The Columbia in Ybor City, a historic neighborhood in Tampa founded in the 1880’s. It was a bustling cigar manufacturing city up until the depression of 1930. The Columbia is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Florida, and with it’s Spanish architecture, debonair waiters, and delicious food, I can see why. As much as we liked the Rodeo Drive glitz of downtown St. Petersburg, we loved the vibe in Ybor City even more. After eating, we went for a walk to buy some good cigars, then headed back to Tampa.

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To get caught up on everything I have to share, I invite you to visit: 1010ParkPlace.com  and under the Life tab look for my story: “Something’s Changed.”
I also posted “Just Us Chickens,” yesterday on my travel website, Damned Gypsy.  You’ll find that right here: wp.me/p4FfqG-x2

As always, I thank you for reading. I have lots more to share with you in the next few weeks. P.S. –  I love your questions and comments!

XO Donna