Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Second Blog Anniversary

"Along The Way" celebrates a second annual anniversary with a new look. I've written previously about the serendipitous manner in which this blog was started that you can read about here in my initial posts (see Oct. '06 Archives.) The appearance of ATW has recently been altered with some features I prefer and others I don't like as well when compared to my original home page format, so there will likely be more changes over time. I was finally able to add the "Proud Elderblogger" badge to my blog.

This alteration all came about because I had the benefit of my tech guru son to aid me in a quick efficient manner in adopting this new blog look. I still experience internet connectivity problems here at home, but since we were working on his computer during my recent visit to his home we could not trouble shoot further my computer's problems.

My posts have been few for some time, especially this month, and my other blogging limited for a multitude of reasons including the aforementioned internet connectivity problems. Murphy's Law about which I previously have written has continued to be operative, but since last I wrote about the Law, bad juju, bottle trees, evil spirits, hoodoo, voodoo and peacock feathers, effects have been largely restricted to my personal health arena. I guess that's an improvement over household mechanical items breaking down, too.

My health issues that emerge are always unexpected and unusual for me including weeks of dental problems that culminated in my being in a specialists office for a root canal with plenty of roots. Worst of all for me was having to hold my mouth open for two solid hours and being unable to speak. Living alone in my home with no one to whom I could talk when the mood strikes has been an adjustment these two plus years, so guess that has been good preparation for those dental hours. I once longed for more quiet and now I have all I want and then some.

Soon after the dental episode I enjoyed a trip with friends to visit their son and family in Las Vegas. Yes, I donated to the commerce there via their slots though my friends actually won enough to cover the added expense when we had to stay over an extra day because guess who apparently contracted what I'm convinced was the Norovirus. That's the virus that surfaces in large groups as has been reported on cruise ships, in nursing homes, or more recently in the student body of the Univ. of Southern California almost canceling one of their football games.

While my friends spent more time with their grandchildren and later gambling, I devoted a night and the next day and night to staggering between the bed and bath, staying hydrated, before we were able to return home the following morning. The real highlight of that trip before my upset was visiting their family, the guitarist son's music store where we attended a rehearsal of his new up and coming blues group about which I'll write later.

A Sunday following my return home I read a piece in the Los Angeles Times travel section with a colorful picture recalling to me how much I longed to once again visit the New England states during the peak of my favorite fall season when the leaves were changing color. My daughter reminded me during a phone conversation I had a few flight miles to be used and could probably find some colors I wanted at her brothers should I go there, plus they had been wanting me to visit for some time. We learned my travel had to be completed by a certain Oct. date or I would lose the miles. Coincidentally, I would celebrate my Oct. 20th birthday while there. I would need to start this trip within days. I mentioned this to my son and his wife and the next thing I knew they had convinced me I should fly to their new Great Lakes area home.

I knew from my Ohio years the Great Lakes area including their state, too, had lots of fall color with many maple trees which typically offer varying leaf shades of gold and red to contrast against the green and browns much like New England. So, my daughter I've designated as my travel agent hastily made my flight reservations. I was not disappointed and actually was present during the peak of the green leaves changing to those spectacular fall colors I viewed daily from their home's windows and during several driving trips. Yes, I have pictures, but I will likely not acquire the skill of downloading from my digital camera to my computer and then figuring out how to post to my blog until possibly if we find time when my daughter visits in December.

Of course, I had to create a bit of excitement soon after my arrival at my son's by having a huge piece of tooth break off leaving an open nerve exposure sensitive to room air as I was brushing one morning. Their dentist came to my rescue and four hours later I was good to continue enjoying the rest of my trip. This included two more October plus one December birthday celebrations, helping decorate for a Halloween storytelling event conducted by my daughter-in-law and numerous other nature activities. Life was enhanced by entertaining and being entertained by two lively cats, one of whom is clearly neurotic and has a voracious appetite that is requiring retraining.

I'm home now with no additional travel plans this year but have concluded being ready to go anywhere anytime is a wise idea. I've come home rejuvenated and am undertaking some long overdue projects I just hadn't been able to get enthusiastic about starting. I'm finally in the process of getting a new kitchen oven installed after having to replace my washer, and dryer earlier this year. There's still much to do to this house's interior.

These two and one-half years since my husband's death including the two years since starting this blog have been an emotional roller coaster ride. I've alternated between obsessive blogging and emailing to opposite periods of virtual abstinence. I've ricocheted between a sense of obligation to post here daily to resentment I had this self-imposed commitment and I sometimes became determined I would simply delete this blog once and for all.

I always seem to come back to the fact I feel a sense of connection with other bloggers here, some more so than others by virtue of the length of time I've had contact with them and the nature of our interaction. Each of you knows how your words and actions through blog comments, private emails and phone contact contributed to my comfort though you may not have realized the significance to me of your acts at the time. I cannot dismiss the fact that virtual though these relationships may be, since I've never met another blogger in person, I've experienced a special and unique support during this special time in my life. I want to express my appreciation to each of you, confident you know just how much I value you.

This year in mid-April I recall sitting at my computer one afternoon, gazing out the window with my thoughts lost in the greenery of the bushes upon which my eyes were focused. Suddenly I was aware of an inner calm deep inside my being that had previously been absent. Instantly, I knew without question my life had somehow evolved to a different state ready for further forward progression.

The unexpected episodes of a deep gnawing ache centered just below my rib cage seem to have vanished. I always have wondered what those feelings indicated when I first experienced them many years before my husband's death. They sometimes seemed associated with individuals still living but also those long dead, then became acute, sometimes overwhelming and more erratically frequent the past two years. I considered the feeling encompassed an empty hole inside me that can never be filled. I even had realized this feeling could be erroneously perceived as one of hunger, but fortunately never made the mistake of trying to fill that vacuum by excessive eating. I have concluded these feelings are associated with loss or perceived loss, but perhaps I'm wrong.

I truly don't know what this coming third year of blogging will bring. I anticipate more active participation in the blogosphere. I do look forward to whatever that may be and view the future with optimism.


  1. I like your new blog format. I'm on a fast track so I'll have more to say later regarding this post.

  2. It's good to see you writing like this. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nice new format, and good to have you back in the groove again.

  4. Happy Blogoversary, Jo!!!!

    I love your new look and it was GREAT to see you posting and bringing us up to date on your life and times. I always miss your wisdom.

    Our Buckeyes seem to be having problems but I have faith that it will get better.

    I'm glad you got through your health problems. I look forward to your future posts!

    And it snowed in Ohio -- just little but it was still snow and before November it's a nasty surprise.

  5. It was great to see your new format and read your latest blog.

    You have been quite busy with traveling and your dental problems. The traveling part is great but I realize how tough it was to go through all the dental appointments.

    My life has changed so much since the death of my husband in 2002. I understand your feeling of emptiness. I was married 59 years and had to learn to live on my own, taking it one day at a time.

    It seemed writing in my journals, blogging and being able to search the internet helped fill in many of the hours during the long adjustment period.

    I'm fortunate to have many younger friends who still include me in their activities. Also have one son, daughter in law, and 2 grandsons who live near me...and I see them often....and my other two sons and their families...one in Northern California and one in Virginia are in touch often.

    It's good you are blogging again. I seem to be very slow adding to my blog but as the Illinois weather becomes colder, and I'm in more, I will probably blog more.

    I enjoy your blogs.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this post, Jo Ann, and feel like I know you more. We widows all know the empty feeling you experience. I have been widowed so long that it is no longer there and I enjoy living alone.

    Good for you; keep traveling as long as you can. The memories you store will sustain you when you are no longer able to do so.

    Thank you for your comment on my blog.

  7. hi joared, in the last few paragraphs of this post you speak of a place I am familiar with even though I still have my mate. And I immediately knew the place cause I visit there often lately. In that empty, anxietized place you speak of akin to 'hunger'.

    I think it stems from so many characterized memories where the character has moved off-stage. And way too often the characters that are missing are people who way too much loved life, cheered my days, and always brought me a smile. Characters too young, too vital, too alive for such a thing to happen.

    Last week I ran into a long-time casual acquaintance I have known all my life. And for some unexplained reason we did more than the quick nod and small talk acknowledgement. That day, we shook hands when we met, we chatted, and we shook hands when we parted. And then, unexpected as we were walking away from each other, he came back and embraced me and I him and we lingered over the little shoulder pat-a-pats. I heard the next morning that he succumbed from a heart attack, and I found myself, zipped off to that place you so adeptly described. As close to the pain of hunger or searing home-sickness as anything can be.

    It is the "loss or perceived loss" (if I may quote you), that causes the pain and threatens to make a long chain of time and days so dreadfully dreary.

  8. Congratulations on your blog anniversary. I would have thougth it was longer than two years, but I always enjoy reading here. I am sorry to learn of your dental problems; especially the one away from home.

  9. Two years!! Congratulations!!

    Too bad you had those problems while you were traveling. It's bad enough when they happen and you are at home but away from home, it's harder.

    Like your new format.

    Happy blogging!

  10. Happy Birthday (belatedly) and happy 2nd blog anniversary too.
    You have surely combined the bitter with the sweet over the past few weeks with your health and dental problems but also with a glorious trip to visit the fall colors and your son.
    I LOVE your new blog format. I wish I had the courage to change my blog, not the color or background but so many things about my blog are SNAFU'd that I probably should start all over again. And I need a refresher course on linking and also on posting favorite blogs from my site. But I don't know how.
    Oh well, I just struggle along anyway...



  11. Happy 2nd Blog Anniversary Jo Ann....and what a two years it has been....very similar for us really. It will be three years in November that my husband has been gone. You have been a busy lady lately, but I'm glad that you are back and settled in. I love the look of your blog and I love your new font too.

    I look forward to this next year and reading your wonderful posts. It seems like a lifetime ago when you were, 'Joared, that wonderful woman who always makes these great comments on everyone's blog. She should start her own blog.'

    Cheers my friend!! ~Joy

  12. My Heartiest Congratulations to you, my dear....Two Years! I rememner that you used to visit way before you started your own blog....And now, ir is two years!

    I'm coming up on three years in a very few days.....And I find that hard to believe, I must say....!

    I wish you all good luck in the future, (and NO MORE Root Canals....) And long may your blog, wave....!

  13. Wow... big new look here. It makes me think of the truism that the second year after a change is the hardest and it is in the third year that wobbly sea-legs become more stable.

    You wrote, "Suddenly I was aware of an inner calm deep inside my being that had previously been absent. Instantly, I knew without question my life had somehow evolved to a different state ready for further forward progression."

    I think perhaps this new blog look and thase two sentences say it all. Perhaps, even, you should add the tag line, "evolved to a different state ready for forward progression" to your blog title.

    Just a thought...

  14. Much congrats on the Dos anniversary of de Blogg!

    Sorry I am late to the party.

    Baby steps, baby steps, and then suddenly, you realized you have truly progressed much farther up the Mountain.

    Here's hoping your further adventures are happy and satisfying.

    Cheers, my friend!

  15. Wow! It has been two years since Ronni told us that you had succumbed to the blogging bug???? Time flies when we're having fun. Since you've not been having that much fun, perhaps parts of it have dragged, for you.

    Congratulations on 2 years of blogging and xx years of living.
    Hugs & pat-pats--
    Cop Car