Creative Outlets

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I find that whenever I go through something difficult my creative senses are heightened. After my sister died, I wrote probably the best play that I’ve ever written. After my best friend died of breast cancer, I wrote a book. After my father died, I wrote another book. After I went through the year of death when many more people in my life died, I minimalized my life and started this blog.

Now, with this recent major life change, this move to Houston, I am exploring yet another creative outlet – a YouTube channel where I make daily (or almost daily) vlogs about this experience.

So, I’ve been neglecting this blog and that makes me sad. This blog to me is like a cozy, cabin where I can hang out, think, dream and occasionally

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run into some kindly neighbors with kindred spirits. We give each other space to create and process, but it’s nice to say “Howdy” now and then.

I feel like a mad artist at the moment, my attention is drawn to any shiny thing, I’m scattered, I’m smothered, I’m covered like Waffle House hashbrowns. But bear with me as I bounce around, flitting here and there.

If you’re inclined, you can stop by my YouTube channel, just click on the YouTube icon to the right under my Social sidebar or search for Jill Libramento on YouTube. It’s a different vibe. It’s more frenetic. Maybe not your cup of tea.

I just wanted you to know, dear readers, that I didn’t fall off the edge of the world, I’m just exploring.

Peace,

Jill

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When You Ask A Question, Do You Really Want An Answer?

A couple of posts ago I asked, “To move or not to move? That is always the question.”  Well, I got my answer: looks like we’re moving. Where? To Texas, but not in the same place as my kids and grandkids. We’ll be about 4 hours away, and that’s better than 12!

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My answer came in the form of a promotion for my husband. It’s really great! I’m so excited for him – and me.

It’s really one of those God-orchestrated things where you can’t believe how it all works out so nicely. Not to say that there won’t be challenges and difficulties, but you can’t doubt the rightness of it.

All my minimizing, weeding out, and decluttering is so worth it right now! There are things here and there that I’m getting rid of but for the most part, I can say, “This is what is going with us.” And, it’s not much.

I feel like the past two years has been setting me up for this move…

but…

there are still emotions. The untangling of my heart from this place, loosening of my fingers from around memories.

Also, holding my breath to see if my friendships can stand the test of distance. Fearing they won’t, praying that they will.

Change. Yuk!

Adventure. Yay!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that conflicting emotions that battle inside of me won’t kill me and after the dust has settled I usually find that they can live together and both be right at the same time.

On a side note: I’m thinking about starting a vlog in conjunction with this blog. Would you like to see me and hear me and let me show you where I’m going? Let me know!

Thanks for being patient with me dear reader!

Peace,

Jill

Insomnia, Swedes and the #week of lagom

I’ve been posting on Instagram using the hastag #weekoflagom. People are probably getting sick of it by now. But, I’m finding the book and the idea of lagom (the Swedish idea of “not too little, not too much”) to be inline with minimalism and my personal vibe. So, I’ve been throwing up some ideas that I’ve come across on Instagram. And I want to share some ideas here with you.

Swedes are obviously very serious about their sleep. I am finding that sleep eludes me. Some say it’s my age, some say it’s menopause, whatever it is I just can’t get enough sleep. So, I’m reading this book hoping that something will help me. Here are some things according to the book that the Swedes do to help them sleep:

  • Go au naturel – sleep in only underwear or in the nude (Yeah, probably not going to be something I do. I’m a prudish Southerner by birth).
  • Use 2 duvets or comforters instead of one. That way you won’t have to fight if you sleep with a blanket hog. You can be in control of your temperature and comfort. (I kinda like this idea.)
  • Make sure your bedroom is clutter free and clean. Avoid busy patterns. Use calm, comforting colors. (I have already done this in my bedroom and it REALLY helps!)
  • Create darkness – (Not something that I try to do, but probably should.)
  • Prepare yourself for physically and mentally for sleep. Don’t expect to just jump into the bed and fall asleep in seconds. (Well, my husband does that, why can’t I?) Here are some things to do to prepare yourself for bed:
  • Read (Ok, I can do that.)
  • Listen to calm music (Alright, that’s possible.)
  • Knit (Haha! That would make me stress out! It frustrates me that I can’t knit!)
  • Paint (No. I would have to clean up after and I’m trying to relax not create more work for myself.)
  • Cuddle up with family or pets (Yeah, that’s kinda nice.)
  • Take a walk (Maybe, but I find that kinda gets me wound up.)
  • Take a warm bath (Now, that’s my kind of relaxation!)

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Well, no life-changing ideas are jumping out of the pages of the book. Do you have any drug-free cures for insomnia that you can share?

Peace & Sleep,

Jill

To Move Or Not To Move, That Is {always} The Question.

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In my opinion, one of the greatest challenges of being a person of my age & station (i.e. a distance grandparent) is that will we swim in the brackish waters between the past and future – and there is this EXTREME tension between the two.

My husband and I decided to make our home, right here, in this house I’m sitting in as I write this, 22 years ago. We’ve been in this general area for 33 years, 3 years after we got married. So, basically, we’ve been here our whole married life. We’ve raised our kids here, made memories here, established lifelong friends and careers. We’ve forged trails and worn paths. It’s home.

And that is precious and wonderful to me.

I raised my kids to explore and reach out into the world. I fully expected them to leave and go. But I imagined my husband and I and our home as John Donne describes how he felt his wife was to him, his “fixed foot.”

“Our two souls, therefore, which are one, 
   Though I must go, endure not yet 
A breach, but an expansion, 
   Like gold to airy thinness beat. 
If they be two, they are two so 
   As stiff twin compasses are two; 
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show 
   To move, but doth, if the other do. 
And though it in the center sit, 
   Yet when the other far doth roam, 
It leans and hearkens after it, 
   And grows erect, as that comes home. 
Such wilt thou be to me, who must, 
   Like th’ other foot, obliquely run; 
Thy firmness makes my circle just, 
   And makes me end where I begun.” 
Foolishly, I guess I thought my kids would “end where they begun.” I don’t know why I thought that, I mean, left home and never went back. It was silly for me to think my kids whom I raised and was an example for would be different.
So, here I am, having established this kingdom, a castle, a homeland with my kids and grandkids –  my heart – 800 miles away.
It seems daunting to leave all this history and start building a world again. But the tension often gets so unbearable especially when they are struggling or sick, I want to be at their side to be a help and support.
I know there are options, compromises, I guess you’d call them. I have a friend, a grandparent, who sold their house and bought an RV and is traveling the US. That’s a bold move, to so totally let go of the past. Maybe I’ll get to that point one day.
And I know, as I age, my role as the “fixed foot” will inevitably change. My kids will become the anchor and I will depend on them more. I’m just not ready for that.
So, for the time being, I’m weighing my options, living on FaceTime and becoming very familiar with the 800 miles between us.
But the questions still haunt me: “Will I move?” “If so, when?” “Should it be sooner than later?”
Got any advice, suggestions, my blog friends?
Peace,
Jill

 

The Relevant Years Went By So Quickly

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I was at the bank a couple of weeks ago and my daughter went with me. The teller suggested that I use an electronic signature. I paused to consider if that was really the best way to handle what I was doing when she turned to my daughter, laughed and said, “Haha! She doesn’t know what I’m talking about! She’s like, “Electronic signature? What is that? Haha!”

I was insulted and started to defend myself but she just looked at my daughter and rolled her eyes.

I’m considering changing banks.

Seriously, I’m only in my 50’s. I’m not from the Stone Age.

I guess this is where the ageism begins. Taking jabs for being old and a grandma.

Nobody told me about this.

I’m going to pull up my big girl granny panties and get on with my day!

Peace,

Jill

Time Traveling

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I’m still new to this grandparenting gig. I’ve only been at it for a little over a year now.

So, these feelings and experiences, which are probably old hat to you veteran grandparents out there are still fresh to me.

My 2nd grandboy, Manny, sometimes looks just like his dad, my son, so much so that it’s freaky. It’s like I have my little boy back for a few seconds or minutes.

And not only that sort of thing but I find that old feelings I had as a young mother wash over me in a wave.

For example, my son arrived on Thanksgiving Day from a trip to Peru where he hiked the Inca Trail. My son is 30 years old. Not my little boy anymore. But when he got to my house, had eaten a good meal and fell asleep on the sofa, the old feeling of peace and contentment that I had as a young mother after my kids were fed, bathed and asleep washed over me. For a moment, he was that little boy safe, warm and comfortable in my care. Tears in my eyes from a warm heart.

Having these grandkids is making me feel like a time traveler jumping back and forth from being a mom to being a grandmom. So weird sometimes.

Peace,

Jill

JFK Haunts Me

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Just when JFK fades from my memory and I’m not thinking about him, somebody has to pull him back. Now, it’s those hidden files that were supposedly released but then taken back to be released in April. Those files have spawned a flurry of new documentaries and conspiracy theories.

I’m a nervous wreck changing the channels because I never know when I’m going to come across footage of that depressing black limo turning onto the street that led to Dealy Plaza and then the horrifying “crimson burst.”

I was almost one and half years old when JFK was killed. Coming from a family that loves a good conspiracy theory, my home was filled with years of discussion about his assassination. And I can’t help but get sucked into them.

I get the reasons why it was such a tragic event. I get why it impacted America so. I understand how horrible and tragic and sad it was.

I also understand why we can’t leave it alone – because we don’t know.

And it’s for all those reasons why JFK haunts me.

I wish, for goodness sake, we could find out who killed him so he can literally Rest In Peace.

His death is one of those moments that people remember exactly where they were when they got the news. I suppose I was sitting in either my mother or my sister’s lap when I heard the news.

Where were you?

Peace,

Jill