Tag Archives: Family

Life

The only thing you can count on in life, is change.

I’ve been fortunate in life to have a large family. Six aunts and an uncle on my mom’s side of the family. Despite life’s ups and downs, they’ve been the one constant. So, it’s tough to be reminded that they are human, vulnerable.

Two of my aunt’s are in the hospital.

My Aunt A who has been kind and loving to me –despite our polar opposite politics– has late stage cancer. Nobody deserves to suffer from cancer… At any stage of life. We’re prepared for the worst… ☹️

My Aunt M fell, and needs live in support. Something else is up, and we hope it isn’t serious. I hope she recovers, and is okay. There is too much unknown. It’s hard to see this happen to her, as we’ve been so close in my life. I’m so grateful I got to visit her last year. ☹️

It’s so hard to see people I love age. Especially right now during the pandemic. I haven’t even had a funeral for my grandfather, who passed last October.

This too will pass, until we all do. Despite being sad, I’m grateful for these tears. Back to “one day at a time”.

Song of the post: Blowin’ in the wind by Bob Dylan.


Uninspired

Grey Christmas

Lately I’ve been feeling: Why do anything? Christmas was okay, and ended early with a fight between my mom and brother. Basically the same problem both have had my entire life… The need to be right. Made worse by unskillful communication and insecurity. On the positive side, I was able to step back and observe, and be the neutral party. What the argument was about isn’t the issue. The problem like it’s been for years, is how things were said, not giving time for others to speak, and ineffective communication behaviors. It’s a continual learning process. I too have been guilty of these things.

Examples of ineffective communication behaviors are: sarcasm, guilt tripping, name calling, using fallacies, dominating conversation, or changing the subject when questioned. This is just a sample of ways that communication breaks down.

In previous conflicts I might have tried to clarify a point, or step in, but this time I didn’t. I helped my brother gather his presents and leave because it wasn’t worth getting involved. It wasn’t worth sacrificing my own peace of mind. It wasn’t worth trying to resolve the fight because I don’t have the skills to do so. Not worth it because both are stubborn. I’ve tried being middleman before, and been burned. You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. My mom was really upset. I’ve been in her shoes before in this situation.


One good thing is that my mom accepted my feedback on how to improve this type of situation in the future. I suggested she by read Non violent communication by Marshall B Rosenberg, PHD. I was suggested this helpful book by my therapist earlier this year.

What is nonviolent communication? (Or NVC)

“NVC is based on the assumption that all human beings have capacity for compassion and empathy and that people only resort to violence or behavior harmful to others when they do not recognize more effective strategies for meeting needs.

NVC theory supposes that all human behavior stems from attempts to meet universal human needs, and that these needs are never in conflict; rather, conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that people should identify shared needs, which are revealed by the thoughts and feelings surrounding these needs, and then they should collaborate to develop strategies and make requests of each other to meet each other’s needs. The goal is interpersonal harmony and learning for future cooperation.

Wikipedia

The great thing about non violent communication is that only one person has to use it to be effective. It’s another tool to have in your own therapy toolbox.

At it’s simplest, What’s alive in you right now? What are you feeling?

I find the first question really helpful for writing.

Maybe its all great leftovers from Christmas dinner, but today I’ve felt like being a couch potato.


In other news, I spoke to my girlfriend on the phone last night for the first time! That was lovely!


Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!

Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance (6 feet) from others to fight Covid-19!


© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays!

Covid Christmas

It’s Christmas, but it doesn’t feel like it. I just couldn’t get into the spirit this year.

Life is going well, but I’m exhausted from 2020.

I’m fortunate that I had savings to get presents this year, despite being unemployed.

It’s a slim year for presents.

Even though I got everything my family asked for, today feels like an ordinary Friday.

I’m fortunate to visit with my family today.

I feel like I haven’t given my best for this Christmas.

I’ve already gotten everything I wished for this year. Friends, reconnected with family, therapy I’ve needed for years, being able to love a kitty again, being able to love again, to move forward in life, and a girlfriend!

I’m at the point in this long distance relationship where I’m wondering if my girlfriend is a catfish. We haven’t met in person yet because of coronavirus. The good news is that we have plans to meet.

Trust but verify.

I’m staying hopeful, but careful.

Damnit don’t be a catfish. No catfish will fool me. Never give a creative person inspiration. I certainly didn’t feel like I’d be this mature about this potential difficult situation a year ago.

Trust but verify. Take no shit, do no harm. Trust yourself, trust patterns. I’m prepared for any result.

Guess I’ll know when her present to me is delivered.


Take no shit, do no harm.

Also known as: “2020 in a nutshell.”

Shopping this year felt like I was the covid Grinch. Behind my masked face was a scowl at every person not masked, or not distanced. Each time out my heart shrunk in size.

;

I felt like George Bailey in my own wonderful life. I had to be my own angel on the bridge this year. I chose to continue on, and try one more time to get help. My breakdown and suicide attempt led to rebirth. I chose to say: Fuck you depression, no more!

What a wonderful world…

I’m so grateful for my sweet kitty.

This is the best I can do today. Happy holidays to all. Be safe!

Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!


Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance (6 feet) from others to fight Covid-19!

© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.


Xmas, South Park, and Texting. These are a few of my favorite things…

A batch of candy cane cookies I made in 2016. These are so delicious, yet I can’t have this recipe of this cookie because it requires butter. And are high in carbs, sugar, and calories. I need to find a low carb, sugar free, and dairy free recipe of these cookies. …I need to work on mastering low carb sweets. I’m looking forward to this project!
This is our family recipe my mom got from cooks.com years ago. Delicious gluten, carbs, sugar, and dairy. Sugar is a hell of a drug, lol.

Pandemic Xmas, 2020:

I’m dreaming of a regular Christmas this year.

A regular Xmas with no threat of a virus. When I don’t have to worry about Covid-19, just because I want to visit with people. I’m frustrated because I’ve been following the rules since March. It’s nice to to know im not alone in feeling this way. One day the pandemic will be over. Don’t forget to be mindful and appreciate what is going well in your life.

It’s hit me that Xmas is coming up. And I really love Christmas. I like to show my appreciation for people in presents. Giving and quality time are how I express affection. I’m not sure how I like to receive affection yet. Gary Chapman’s 5 love languages is on my audible wishlist to read.

This is normally the time when I get my Christmas shopping done. This year isn’t my first lean Xmas either. So that means being a clever shopper and getting my Mom and Brother what they want on a budget! While all of us are on lean budgets for presents, that doesn’t mean we can’t get exactly what each of us wants.

I wonder what I want for xmas… That I couldn’t buy later for myself, that others can give me. Sometimes asking for presents feels weird because I don’t need much, and usually buy what I need. Patron Liberal Saint, Senator Bernie Sanders, please forgive me. Avoiding products that support the 1% is hard, and I’m only human.

I miss the joy of waking up on christmas day as a child. Only wanting a few things, and still feel utter joy from the presents I did receive. Like you had won the lottery because I got the newest Optiumus Prime or Power Rangers Zord toy as a present. Xmas as an adult is quite different from the experience of it as a child. It felt like you could ask for the world… I want to rediscover that feeling of wonder from childhood.

A dream Xmas present list

  • World peace.
  • Equality.
  • Nobody would be rich or poor.
  • Happiness for everyone.
  • A world free of suffering, free of disease, and starvation.
  • Universal understanding. Is this enlightenment?
  • A cure for coronavirus.
  • A a satisfying life where I meet my needs and give back to the world.

Sometimes text communication is hard.

“It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.” Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation Imdb source

At times, I find the above quote helpful, said by Captain Picard from Star Trek: TNG.

“Geek wisdom: Life isn’t fair all the time. Sometimes you will given lucky breaks and sometimes unlucky ones. There are also going to be times when, even if you think you’ve thought of every possible bad thing that could happen and prepare contingencies for them, things may still not swing your way. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try things anymore. The important thing is that you try.Source

Sometimes things don’t work out, and that’s okay. Keep on trying. I’m grateful that I learned this lesson this year. Life goes on. (Man therapy, and self care are awesome!)

I was going through the situation described in the link below this weekend with this new relation I’ve had entirely over text on Whatsapp with a new person:

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-texting-and-dating-ma_b_7153950

While the target audience for this article is for women, this part spoke to me as an anxious man:

“In a new relationship, texting can be both exciting and filled with anxiety. Before you over analyze his texts, read this to find out how to text in style.

On the opposite end of the digital spectrum, the absence of a daily text or a change in routine can send many in new relationships and the lovelorn into an unnecessary panic attack. Let’s face it. Women often tend to over-analyze the word count and sentence structure of every text they receive from men.”

Turns out, what I thought was a red flag was easily fixed by communicating, and the situation is good. Guess this success at communication shows my growth in relationship skills this year. It wasn’t a disaster, it was my anxiety! And I handled both skillfully! Yay!

I’m grateful for this budding relationship, that’s life!


Understanding the pandemic through South Park episodes.

Lately life feels like the episode “Gluten free Ebola” from South Park season 18. And I feel like the lead characters Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman. In the episode, they return to school after trying to get 10 million dollars from a startup. They failed, and try to make up their arrogant failure by doing something good to make up for it. The Gluten-Ebola outbreak in the episode is solved by turning the established thinking upside down and taking a new approach to a problem the world faces. They learn and adapt to the new reality.

Spoilers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten_Free_Ebola?wprov=sfla1


Song of the post is not Christmas music. That is reserved only for December 25, not the entirety of November and December this posts song is: Imagine By John Lennon.

Thank you for reading this, if you enjoyed it, please give it a like, tell me what you think in the comments, and share on Facebook. Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for updates!

Please wear a mask outside that covers your mouth and nose, wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance (6 feet) from others to fight Covid-19!

© Reilly Anderson. 2020. All rights reserved.

Rest in peace Gumpa

My dear grandfather, Don, who I called Gumpa passed away this week. A few days ago. Despite my best efforts from this profound loss, this is the best I can do for today. I’m in the hurricane grief. There is so much more to say. I’m not able to today. I need time to process. Grief sucks every time. It has its own schedule. Because of the pandemic, more so. Gumpa lived a long full life of 92 years. Though my family knew this would happen one day… I can’t believe he’s gone. 😥🙁

I’ll edit this later. (Man the mobile WordPress block options suck compared to the desktop version).

Tell your loved ones and the people in your life that care about how you feel. You never know when it will be the last time.

I love you Gumpa. I’m so grateful to have known you for so long. You will be dearly missed. I’ll remember you for the rest of my life. Oof.

Not a eulogy, a letter of hope.

There was no way I could understand why I was having so much trouble writing yesterday until I found out my grandfather is in the hospital from a fall, breaking his hip. Sometimes inspiration is from something nobody wants. Pain…

The man, the foundation of the Anderson family.
Gumpa, 91 years old!

        “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” -John Lennon.

    Dear Gumpa, Please let this be well wishes and not a eulogy!

    I sincerely hope this isn’t the last time I can write to you. You are in the hospital with a broken hip. From a fall. It’s quarantine, so this means you are in the hospital in a room alone. No visitors allowed. No zoom. I believe you are unconscious. I don’t know. My mom, Therese, found out about 40 minutes ago. –A text from Uncle Paul. Something like… “Don fell last night, and broke his hip. He’s in the hospital at Cherry Hill in the emergency room. Pray.”

As I’m sitting here on the back porch, smoking pot like I now do, (It’s okay, it’s not an addiction. I have tight control of my consumption!) I realize just how awful I’ve been to you by rarely visiting you as an adult, period. I’m ashamed of myself for not driving to visit you on a regular basis. My poor excuse is that I haven’t because I’ve been deeply depressed for the last 12 years. I deeply regret not visiting. Your last letter you sent us, broke my heart too.

I’m sad you didn’t respond back to my letter I wrote. I assumed that meant you were done with us. I’m an idiot. I’ll ask you in person. I’m praying for your life. I’m not a religious person. I’m doing all I can from afar to wish you life. I pray this fall is merely a hip injury. That you live so we can fix all this. I don’t want the end to come.

The connection between my phone and the speaker was interrupted for a few seconds just now, cutting off Miles Davis, So what? From playing. I love jazz thanks to you. I hope this wasn’t a grim sign regarding you. Please let it be a technical failure. Please let these tears soaking my face only be to my agony I feel because you are in pain. In pain, but alive. I’m begging because it’s all I can do while the family and I wait. Wait for the unknown future when we find out the results of the fall. “It’s gonna come sometime…” I croak, barely able to speak to the shock to my mom as we take this in on this amazing May afternoon.

Tragedy has always struck on gorgeous days in my life. Please let this be an aberration. I need to thank you. I don’t know if it’s possible in words or any human expression to tell you how much I appreciate you, how much I care for you, and love you. I’ve made so much life progress the past year that I need to show you how much better as a person I’ve become!

I’m working on fixing the mess I’ve made in my relationships. I don’t mind if you think I’m Dad, or if you don’t recognize me. I deeply regret not visiting you. I’m ashamed of myself for this. I’d understand if you were angry. I’ve been isolated for long periods of the past 6 years because of my depression. To be lonely, to feel lonely and alone, is truly an agony beyond comparison. I know how it feels. I’m sorry.

For the rest of my life, I’ll always be reminded of you every time jazz plays. My love of jazz is an eternal gift from you. I cannot imagine a life without you. You are the Rock solid foundation of our family. The gentle Trombone Jazz musician.

I call you “Gumpa” because you were reading a Wizard of Oz book you read to me as a child. There is a character in that book, named “The Gump”, and I guess it reminded me of you. I shortened “grandpa” to “Gumpa” because I love you so much to give you a nickname… And because young me couldn’t say “grandpa”. From then on, that’s what all of us call you.

You and I didn’t talk too much, being mirror images of each other… Classic introverts, barely saying much, but never had to. Because we understand each other without saying a word. We’re both in the moment, quietly observing. Sitting in joy at the rowdy large family thanksgivings and Christmases with everyone there. “Two peas in a pod!” Someone said about us. We both shrugged indifferently, in unison.

I don’t want to stop writing. I feel if I do, that means… the worst. In tribute, I’m still listening to jazz. Maybe it’ll reach you wherever you are, and bring you back in health to us. Hang in there… Please live so we can reconnect. I do want to visit. Quarantine or Covid-19 be damned. I’ll still be safe, be wise, and do all the right things like you taught me.

You are a good man, and deserve far better from me. I am going to fix this when you get out and are feeling healthy again. I’m so sorry for breaking your heart. Because I couldn’t give you a minimum 10 lousy minutes every so often. I am deeply sorry I haven’t been a better grandson. I regret not visiting… Please be well. Please live! Please let this not be a eulogy! 

One last thing: I was going to make Gumbo for dinner tomorrow, but I’m doing it tonight, now. Cooking it, and eating it will remind me of you and grandma Julie at the dining room table in your house. It’s in the evening and the sun is shining in. It’s dinnertime, all is right in the world. I don’t want this dream to end.

Your Grandson, Reilly.


Album of the week: Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

If you enjoyed reading this, give it a like, comment, follow and share on Facebook, and subscribe to my email list! Don’t forget to wash your hands, clean your cell phone, and keep your physical distance from others to fight Covid-19! Don’t make my mistake and call or video chat your elder family members. You may never see them by the time Quarantine expires! If you do, be safe because they are the most vulnerable to this virus. That is love. Yes you can stay 6 feet away, and wear a damn mask. Not wearing a mask and not maintaining physical distance around the vulnerable such as the elderly, children, and the sick means you are selfish and don’t give a crap about life or family values. Show me, not tell me who you are and what you value.

The Gumbo I mentioned. It’s my own recipe.

Edits: Added Gumbo picture, made it on Saturday. I made a mistake with Gumpa’s age. He is 91 instead of 95. Sorry!