...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature... and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2015. Hootie~

Sunday, November 27, 2016

For the love of siblings....

Siblings = longest family relationships
Thanksgiving 2016
With my Sister and Brother
This recent holiday, I shared my home with my siblings, and our children. There were 11 of us in and out of my house over Thanksgiving.  
*******
I spent 16 years growing up with just my brother in my life.  Our baby sister arrived as a surprise blessing long after my brother and I had ironed out our hierarchy.  She was, of course a band camp baby.  Have I told this story?  I was 15 and my brother 13 when our parents sat us down.  "Do you remember that baby you always prayed for, Lisa?"  Yes, of course I do.  "Well, next summer we are going to have a job for you." Really?  But I all ready have a job, at Hannon's.  "Next summer you will be babysitting too."  I was slow on processing what was being said.  My brother, on the other hand, made the connection faster than I.  "What? That's means you did it. Gross. When did it happen?" "We don't know exactly when it happened." "Ugh, that means you did it more than once?"  My brother and I decided it MUST have happened while we were at summer band camp, never mind that the timing didn't work out.  

Our sister missed out on puddle playing, sandlot war games, tree climbing, cousin navigating, family camping/vacations, l-o-n-g car rides, after school latch key-ness, summer babysitter training(we had to train them to deal with us), several months of farm living, new house construction, new schools, boy/girl friends being tortured, car radio dial controlling, calling shotgun, dish washing rituals, Friday night euchre games, weekend chores, becoming invisible when dad paid bills, Sunday dinner at grandma and grandpa's combined with the lack of Sunday night Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color watching when grandpa was sleeping in front of the TV with 60 Minutes on instead of our favorite, and the birth of a sibling.  

A few years after her birth, our sister did experience our father's death with us, but she was 5 and we were 19 and 21.  We felt our roles shift from siblings to caretakers of our mom and little sister.  I know my brother felt a weight on his shoulders as the man of the family after dad died.  Our mother struggled with the loss of her love, and I know I felt responsible for helping life remain normal for my sister. I was set to stay home from college, I had three years completed.  I thought I should stay at home, go to the extension maybe, and help, as did my brother.  Our paternal grandfather wouldn't hear of it.  He said the best way we could honor our father would be to go back to campus and finish college.  Grandma and Grandpa said they would be there for mom and our sister.  And they were.  Still, there was so much my mom needed to go through and they couldn't help her emotionally.  Hindsight is 20/20, and my recent life experience has made me understand that mom needed time to grieve.  Which was exactly what she was doing. 

My brother and I spent many hours during the summer of our dad's death sitting by his grave and talking.  We were supposed to be at church...but we weren't.  We'd take turns running into church to pick up a bulletin as proof that we went, then we'd go buy donuts and sit with dad.  We reminisced about our past and pondered our future. Mom didn't question us when we returned from church.  Christmas was her favorite time of the year.  That first Christmas, both my brother and I were at IU and working retail.  We worked Christmas eve, then headed home to attend midnight mass with mom and our sister.  After church I discovered that mom was still mourning...what did I expect: her loss was just six months old.  Mom had bought Christmas gifts, but she couldn't bring herself to wrap them.  After church, I went to the basement and wrapped all the gifts.  The next morning was our first Christmas without dad.  Mom was so depressed, she struggled to get out of bed.  My brother and I pleaded with her to get up.  She had a five-year old and Santa HAD to come.  Somehow we made it through that Christmas, together.  After that, each Christmas was easier.  I was home for the two summers after dad died.  I watched my sister by day then worked nights so my mom could work days, and my sister didn't have to go to summer daycare.  

Being together as a family has always been easy.  In our early years, my brother and I had spent a significant amount of time pounding on one another, "He's touching me!" "She started it!" "He's in my airspace!" "She coughed on me, on purpose!!!" "He ate the bigger half of the...!" "She took the last...!" "He's looking at me!" "She laughed!" It was how we worked out our hierarchy and it was what bonded us together. I was good at punching my brother, then timing it where mom or dad would see him retaliating.  I think it was a gift I had.  We were experts at driving Mom and Dad a little bonkers.  But in times of crisis, I do know I can count on my brother for anything.  All the experiences we have shared, have made us a strong family unit...even as we have grown and now have our own families.  My sister and I have shared experiences too, but mostly they started as the ones surrounding the seven months of our mom's battle with cancer. We walked that walk together with our brother, but it was mostly my sister and I who took the reins of that beast.  Since then, my sister has helped me celebrate points in my life.  She traveled with me to Disney World where I turned the big 5-0, she helped celebrate my receiving my Masters, and she's been my rock through my divorce.  

My sister and her husband grew up as only children.  These past few days together, I watched their children be normal siblings.  They argued, they socked one another, they played together, they laughed, they negotiated, they snuck around, they mothered/fathered one another, and they shared, always having the others in mind.  My sister worried that her kids were being too loud, too rambunctious, talked too much, were too messy, etc.  They were being kids.  What I saw was family bonding in progress: love building.  They were away from their home base and yet they had one another.  I am a little sad for my sister and BIL that they didn't grown up with siblings close to their age or at all. They stress out when their kids are being normal kids.  It's a kids job to stress their parents out a little!

I wouldn't trade my life experience of having siblings for anything.  My sister, my brother and I were all lucky, and brave enough, to give our children siblings close to their own age.  I trust all our kids will know they have someone they can truly count on when times get tough.  Hopefully they can look at their parent and Aunt or Uncle as good examples of how one should love, respect and stand by their siblings as they age.

After our mom died, I felt even more responsible for the family.  I'm the patriarch now.  I hope I am doing things correctly.  If I don't hand down family traditions, how will our legacy go on? New traditions happen, but I don't want my parents to be forgotten.  What a huge weight of responsibility.  


~Lisa Kroll
          sister, mother, aunt (spelled ant at times), friend, and family member

Tonight's blogging music had me thinking of my mom mostly as she loved Christmas.    Straight No Chaser: all their Christmas music...but my favorite, Indiana Christmas.  

















Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Expectations....

From an early age, I heard...'when you finish high school, you will go to college'.  What was implied:  People who had an education were better than the people to whom I belonged.  I know my parents just wanted the best for me, but somehow they made me feel I wasn't enough as I was. As I read what I have written, I know they were really saying I could achieve so much more than they had.  A child's perspective can be skewed in the wrong way.  Sometimes children think they have more world experience than they really do.  Life is meant to take a long time.  We need time to work through all the challenges that come with the ride.  

Through our life, we play different roles.  We take our cues from those around us. I knew what was expected of me.  I grew up in a gated community.  My parents were blue collar workers.  I remember thinking, how are we allowed to live here?  We were not anyone important.  In fact, we were nobodies.  Rich people lived in gated communities.  I grew up feeling someone was going to find out I wasn't the same as everyone else.  I wasn't elite.  I didn't fit in with the members of this gated community.  True, my parents were hard working individuals as were many of the other parents.  But these people played golf.  They played tennis.  They swam. The evidence was in the golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and the tags needed to do these activities.  I had these tags.  Yes, I played golf.  Yes, I played tennis.  Yes, I swam.  However, both my mom and dad had to work in order for us to live in the house we lived.  Money was tight.  The budget didn't have much wiggle room.  When I needed dental work, and I needed a lot, I felt incredibly guilty.  I felt I owed my hard working parents for all they sacrificed for me.  There were fights over money spending.  I don't recall there ever being a fight over money spent on my issues, but I was a sensitive kid.  I took things personally.  I'm a sensitive grown woman.  I still take things personally.  I knew growing up that rich people were popular. I was cute, and I was smart, but I was not popular. At school, time and again I'd watch boys go for the pretty girls.  No one really wants a cute girl and when you add smart to the mix, they definitely don't want you.  Cute and smart are not part of the popular group.  So, I spent my growing up years feeling like I was going to be found out.  Someone had let my family into this gated community and we really weren't supposed to be here. Rich people were the popular group and that wasn't me.  I didn't feel that was my family either.  I sighed an audible sigh when I was able to escape the social expectations of growing up, daughter of blue collar parents, carefully living to not be discovered in a gated community. I made it through high school and no one found out.  

I went away to college.  It was my way to repay my parents, and I was still looking for a way to not be found out.  I wasn't that rich girl some thought.  Maybe through my education I could prove that I was capable.  I could take care of my parents, or at least not be a burden to them.  I could take care of myself.  Relief filled my soul when I met people who didn't know where I came from.  I met boys from all over the state, country and world.   They seemed to like cute, smart girls.  Maybe they were just being boys away from home...no social norms to follow.  They didn't know they weren't supposed to be looking at some imposter, non-rich, not popular girl.  I was scared I still couldn't measure up. College was an interesting playground for me. I struck pay dirt when I was asked to marry a boy who had parents that were BOTH college graduates.  My M.R.S.  

Educated people were better than the people I belonged with, right?  This thought constantly went through my brain.  I know I felt I had finally been welcomed into the popular group of life.  Yes!  Success!!!  I made it to the elite group.  To the big kids table.  I was finally worthy to live in the gated community. Academia leads to aristocracy...right?   

It took me over 25 years to learn the lesson: just because someone appears smarter, doesn't make them so.  Nor does smart make one better than another.  See, my whole lifetime I've felt that even though I was smart, I really wasn't as smart as __blank__, some-undefined-one else.  You can randomly fill in the space for that someone, it just depended on the situation or the circumstance.  The truth I know today is that I am not like anyone else.  I am still cute and smart.  My smarts are not the same as yours, and that's a really good thing.  

I once thought there was a perfect family; my fairytale.  This family was educated, and I was allowed to join their "team".  I thought they could do no wrong.  It turns out their story wasn't what I thought.  From the outside, one can only see a fraction of whatever someone else allows to be seen.  That perfect family...turns out they were human.  They are just as dysfunctional as the rest of us.  Being educated just meant they learned their life lessons a different way.  It didn't mean they were better. 

Reflecting on my youth, I had grown up in the perfect family and I realized it much too late.  My own parents had hearts bigger than anyone I may ever know in my lifetime.  My parents may not have had degrees signed from an academic facility, but they were smarter, happier, more loving, more honest, more community minded, and more respected than anyone who has yet to cross my life path. Those are wonderfully big attributes to have and to live up too.  

My mom passed away 10 years ago today from Glioblastoma Multiforme.  I was blessed to be by her side for the seven months we knew about the cancer.  When roles reverse and you need to take care of your parents in the ways you did your infant children and beyond, a part of your soul awakens that you didn't even know existed.  You become a much stronger version of yourself.  Version 2.1.  You realize truths that may have always been around.  Previously acceptable ways no longer become acceptable.  Subconsciously you do change.  You realize that life truly is short.  You start living that thought:  Life. Is. Short.  That means that you start to speak up for what you want in the time you might have remaining on this wonderful Earth.  You realize unfinished dreams, and you reach for them.  You realize how precious the time you have left really is with those you love.  If you are lucky, the person you married as young twenty-somethings is also changing in these ways and your lives will align so you may share the rest of the journey.  Unfortunately for me, I had a different path of challenges yet to face.  In addition to today being the anniversary of my mom's passing, it also would have been my 30th wedding anniversary.  My divorce was official 17 months ago.  Bittersweet day.  Yet life moves forward.  

No regrets.  I do realize I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.  I am thankful to no longer be confined, nor limited. 

Love, my friends.  
Be thankful.  

~Lisa Kroll, definitely eating, praying and loving these days
Feeling thankful for my family and especially for how I was raised.  

Tonight's blogging music:  
The Lumineers, Cleopatra

"Things I knew when I was young.  Some were true and some were wrong."   - the Gun Song, The Lumineers, Cleopatra Album

dedicated to Patricia T. Scubelek-O'Conner
written on 11/19/16 and edited and published on 11/22/16




  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

This Mustang chases Porsches....

The highway was straight and flat.  The black Camaro entered the highway and pulled up alongside a red Mustang, both young male drivers, were doing over the posted speed limit.  IROC-Z vs. 5.0 GT. Testosterone kicked in and the battle heated up.  The needle in the Mustang had reached over 100 mph, when the red and blue candy bar lights were noticed approaching from behind.  The Z took the next exit.  The GT was from out-of-state and the state line was just 12 miles away.  Rolling the dice, the driver of the GT stupidly thought he could outrun his fate.  Several miles later, he pulled over.  The car that pulled behind him was a nondescript black police car.  

"Where're ya headed, Hoss?" The southern draw was clear.  Pause.  Driver response noted.  "See here's the difference between your car and mine.  Yours is all show, and no go, while mine is no show, and all go. I'm gonna need to see your registration and drivers license, and you're gonna have ta step out of the car." 
Not the Porsche chaser...all show and no go

..."all show and no go"...  

An imitation.  
A wanna be.  
Needing to make an impression. 

Hindsight is 20/20. We cannot out run our fate.  

In the late 80's, the California State Highway Patrol teamed up with Ford to produce a different car to meet their needs.  Formerly used were heavier Ford sedans.  The new design for the highway patrol was the Mustang SSP, Special Service Package. They were all go and no show, and highly effective.  

Their tag line was...This Mustang chases Porsches for a living.  

~Lisa Kroll, story teller, amateur historian, student of life.  
Oh, and former Mustang owner.  


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fall Break...

During Fall Break this past week, I had a little visitor outside my house...




He kept flitting back and forth, flying around the yard then back to my house.  I happened to be sitting out in the sunshine for a few minutes when our paths crossed.  Later in the day I decided I needed a little more of the old me around.  It used to be that I would walk in the woods and absorb all the positive energy nature had to share.  

I grabbed my camera, and the dog leash, then set out.  



I saw my bat near the neighbors....


...ears popping out of a hole in a tree...


 ...was watched by a doe....


 ...drank in the beauty of the green tulip tree leaves over head in the fall sunshine...


...and made Winston a very happy dog.  

~Lisa Kroll, Nature Enthusiast.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

What if???

I have been thinking a single thought lately...what if...

I have spent the past few years feeling responsible for all the crap I have gone through.  I realize that each of us IS responsible for what they allow into their lives.  So technically, I am.  I'm meaning I took the blame for everything that happened that lead to my marriage ending.  If I had seen the end coming I should have done something to stop the train.  Right???  I hadn't fallen out of love, so I didn't think that train was on the right tracks.  I didn't know where that engine was located.  I didn't see it, and therefore I felt I must have done something wrong.  Being the person that I am, I felt responsible for how everything played out.  I felt responsible for all the problems.  As if I, alone, was to blame for the my marriage failing and then ending.  But what if...

What if... I am responsible.  

Responsible for being a capable individual.
Responsible for being a smart human being.
Responsible for holding the family together. 
Responsible for being a kind soul, who actually loves life, and finds joy all around.
Responsible for my own loving and being loved in return. 
Responsible for my own voice.  

What if I'm actually not the damage goods I was made to believe I was?

No finger pointing, but I was born and raised in a society that was in flux.  For awhile I believed that men were to be cherished, to be put on a pedestal and to be treated like the king of the castle.  At the same time, I believed women were to insist on equal rights and could do everything men could.  I put my dad up on a pedestal while I deeply admired my mom.  I followed suit in my own home.  Yet, some part of me felt I couldn't speak my mind in my household.  I am not a fighter.  Maybe that was the problem.


Last week I read a book called Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.  The story is a memoir and incredibly personal.  Glennon's story is of her learning to love again.  She grew up thinking she wasn't enough according to society's standards.  Instead of thinking society was flawed, she took the blame.  She says she 'checked out' and sent her 'representative' instead of her true self to live life.  I can certainly relate to her thinking.  So many times I felt maybe I was the problem...but what if I wasn't.  What if I was just with the wrong person who couldn't appreciate all the details that make up me?  

As I read Love Warrior, there were times I felt Glennon had actually been inside my head while she was writing..as if she snatched some of my thoughts and claimed them as her own.  Her writing validated me and suddenly I didn't feel so isolated in my thoughts. When I finished reading, I wondered, what if there has never been anything wrong with me?  Again, I know we aren't perfect, but what if I chose to believe someone else's story about me over my own truths?  What if that story was flawed because they were flawed themselves, and there for they couldn't see me in the proper light?    

Today I am still healing.  I am a stronger person than I used to be. That's not really a true statement.  I have always been a strong person, I just know it now and show it more. I still struggle, and have challenges, but I know I can handle anything that comes my way.  As I become more self-assured, I am feeling ready to get back out into society and have a real relationship.  I want to share my life and all I have with another.  I want to be someone's favorite hello and his hardest goodbye.  I want to love again.  I am discovering that I do have a lot to offer.  I know I am not yet fully healed, and will always be a work in progress...as are we all. Time helps me to gain confidence in knowing my own truths. This mindset...it's pretty cool.  Thanks Glennon, for helping push me over the fence to see the grass on the other side.  I feel I've been teetering for sometime and you made me realize we all have flaws, along with strengths.  

Friends keep telling me, 'you're fine/normal', 'this is natural', 'in time...', etc., but Friends, when you tell me that, and I look at you, I know you have no idea what hell I have truly been going through.  How can you know I'm going to be okay?  I don't wish tragedy on anyone, and I do know that behind closed doors things aren't always what they appear to be to outsiders.  Reading Glennon's story made me feel like a Love Warrior.  It was the push I think I've been needing. I felt a seed of peace and acceptance being planted in my soul as I closed that book.  

What if ... my seed blooms into a flower, with tendrils so long, and so beautiful, they touch others too?  No limits with this love-warrior-woman now.  

Warrior On, 

Lisa Kroll
~Shooting for the stars, while working on eating, always praying and giving thanks for what life shares with me, and being my own Love Warrior.

NOTES: 
Blogging music tonight:  Bon Iver, 22, A Million the album on Spotify,
then my latest playlist creation that includes We are One, by Angelique Kidjo, Addicted to You by Avicii, Counting Backwards to 1 by Beautiful Small Machines, Bittersweet Faith (Thievery Corporation Remix) by Bitter Sweet, #1 Night by Cobra Starship, Paradise, Clocks, and Viva La Vida by Coldplay, Titanium by  David Guetta, and then Ed...Tenerife Sea, Shirtsleeves, Let It Out, Where We Land and Firefly.  

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
My sister saw this book online months ago and said, "We need this!"
She sent me the link to pre-order. Which I did.
Sisters Forever.

“you will always be my favorite hello and hardest goodbye.
P.S. i will always love you”...by Ceclia Ahern




Sunday, September 11, 2016

Road Block. Where is Reverse?

Last night....

My brain is in a fog.  It might be the lack of nourishment in my body.  I realized as I ordered my cup of tea tonight, that I've only had liquid caffeine today: two cups of coffee, a coke zero, and then a bag of chips.  Totally unhealthy.  But I'm not hungry. I just wanted the chips because they were Bugles.  My fingers have grown.  They don't fit on them as they once did.  

I have my headset on, but I can't get my music to play loud enough.  I feel if I can just flood my ears, maybe my brain will stop trying to think.  Last year was so much easier.  School was totally consuming.  I continually felt 20 steps behind where I needed to be.  Honestly, I don't even know how I made it through my first year as a teacher, except I know I had a supportive team who made sure I had what I needed to survive.  

This week, one of the few remaining tether lines to my past was cut loose.  Lily, our fourteen year old, diabetic cat died with me close to her side.  I thought about calling my daughter.  Lily came into our household as a reward for my daughter being able to stop sucking her thumb.  Lily was six weeks old when we got her.  My daughter had been 7.  My daughter lives in town, but I couldn't call her.  I didn't want her to witness the death of her beloved pet.  As soon as Lily passed, I did call her and my son, to share the news.  In the divorce, I "won" full custody of the family pets.  Mostly that was by default, he moved out and left all the responsibilities from his past life.  It really didn't matter though, Lily was exactly where she needed to be...with me, the animal lover.  For ten years, I made sure that she received insulin shots twice a day.  Every vacation, every weekend away, I arranged for someone to come and care for Lily.  I taught many friends how to give her shots.  My kids knew how, and could do it if they needed to.  

The next night I dug a grave in the backyard.  I said a few prayers over Lily.  I know she lived a good life and is at peace.  

Today I took two years of used needles, safely tucked into self-locking containers, to the hazardous waste site in town.  Then I drove the unused bottle of insulin to my vet.  It felt right to make that donation.  Pet insulin, needles, and special diabetic food are very expensive.  

I went into my classroom and worked for six hours.  I tried to numb my brain with work.  It helped for a bit. But I needed to go home.   

As I pulled up to my house...I had a very dark thought.  If I was gone...no one would care. I called my sister and cried.  My sister is my life line.  I'm not suicidal, but I am at such a dark place in life once again.  I thought I was through this stage.  My sister tells me I need to be patient.  I need to give it time. I need to heal. Love will happen again. My response is, I'm scared, I'm angry, I'm alone, and how can it happen? I'm so busy just trying to manage doing all those little tasks, and those big ones when they get shuffled into the mix, that I need to do.  I don't really have time for anything extra, and I feel unlovable. Besides, I don't know how to love any more. I don't know how to let someone get close enough to me to even let a spark ignite.  At times like these, I don't think I even believe people can love one another.  Have I become jaded? My outer shell has become tough and I don't think people like to work that hard to break other's shells.  Tears, and tears, and tears flow.  Tears for Lily.  Tears for my marriage ending.  Tears for the responsibilities I have in my life.  Tears for being alone.  How can a person have so many tears?  

I realize the road in front of me is just blocked right now.  I need to stop.  Breathe.  Put my life into reverse, and try another path.  

My life line advised I go do something just for me, so I did.  I went and had my nails done, and then I went to write.  I think a massage is in order tomorrow.  I need to feel human contact.  Maybe it will bring me back to life.  

********

This morning...

I went home last night after writing, and reheated some food in my refrigerator. Berlioz and Winston were so happy to be near me as I ate my very late dinner. Exhaustion has become a partner I live with, and I am more exhausted than I even realize.  I have learned that exhaustion messes with my brain and my moods.  Looking down at my fingers...my nails are cute this morning.  Looking at my 'to do' list, I realize I don't have time for that massage.  A massage is a good thought, but it didn't make the short list.  

I don't think I'm on a different path yet.  Maybe I need to cut those last two cords before I can take the alternate route.  In time...

~Lisa Kroll, a superwoman who cries but is still working on eating, praying and loving

RIP Lily Olé
                             





Thursday, September 08, 2016

lily

letting go

tonight

i sat

and stroked the head of our old, diabetic cat

i knew

her end was near

i cried

alone

i prayed

alone

i ran interference for my daughter
she didn't need to see this

so i did it

alone

the heavens above

released with me

phone calls made

daughter is in shock, but on her way over

she needs to say goodbye too

what do my daughter and i have to share now?

another tethering cord has been cut

i am numb

i can only listen to the rain

ten years

twice a day insulin shots

no more

lily is finally at rest