It’s Just a Car

For a year now, my brother’s car has been sitting in the driveway of the home he shared with his partner of 24 years. Their house is 3 miles from mine. I used to think how weird it was that Phil’s car was sitting there, but Phil wouldn’t be sitting in his house. Why did we have the car but not him?

But now, the car is gone. It was time. I understand that. I know it was hard for my brother-in-law to keep the car as long as he did, and also how hard it was for him to have the car removed. Yet as odd as it was to have Phil’s car sitting there, reminding us all of what was missing, not seeing his car today broke me.

I knew the car wouldn’t be there, my brother-in-law told me. I drove to his house to drop off some veggies and to pick up a possible replacement hammock for our stand and I parked beside the empty spot where the car used to be. I couldn’t park in the same spot, that would be wrong. Larry and I chatted for a few minutes, then he put the rolled up hammock, my brother’s hammock, in the back seat of my car. As I drove home, I started to cry. I was sobbing by the time I reached my house, so I sat in my car in my driveway and let it all out. I think I missed my brother more in that moment than I have in over a year.

It’s silly, I know. It’s just a damn car. A car that didn’t even run anymore. But it was Phil’s car and he sat in it and drove it and drove me around and drove my son around. We laughed in that car and he forced me to listen to whatever music he liked at the time in that car. And although I didn’t want the car and am glad that it gave my brother-in-law some peace, it made me feel like I lost Phil all over again. And as I sobbed in my car, I just wanted to feel close to my brother again.

You hear people say that they would do just about anything to talk to their loved one again. I thought I understood what people meant.

But I really didn’t. Until now.

So through my sobs and sniffling, I talked to my brother out loud and told him that I missed him and that I loved him and how I wished he was still here. Then I scrounged through my glove box and found a napkin to blow my nose on (always classy, right Phil?).

When I was finally ready to go inside, I dragged the hammock from my back seat. I placed it on my porch, where it still is, waiting for a little clean up. I am hoping it will fit our stand so I can lay in it and read and enjoy a few good moments.

Just like my big brother once did.

hammock

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The Three R’s of My New Year’s Eve

Reflection

2013 was not a bad year for me.  I ran my very own half-marathon, ran/walked my first “family” 5k, ran/walked a very fun Color Me Rad race with a lovely friend with absolutely no time goal in mind, and ran more miles in a  year than ever before–664 miles.  Admittedly, I am 76 miles short of my goal mileage for the year, but I’m really ok with that.  It’s still 24 more miles than last year, and that’s with over 2 1/2 months off.  Woo-hoo!  Ok, I’m pretty proud of that. I haven’t seen all of the numbers in print before, and now that I have, I’m quite happy with it.

Health-wise it hasn’t been the best year.  Two surgeries on my legs for varicose veins and ended the year with a herniated disc in my back. Not sure what will happen next. I do wonder if this blog will need to be renamed.  What else will you “see Holly” do?  Only time will tell, but I do have hope that my running will continue.

My weight fluctuated more than I wanted it to this year. I was up too far in September, but gambled my way to a weight I was happy with.  Then I lost too much weight this fall, which for me, is a weird thing to experience or even talk about.  Seeing “159” on my scale was a surreal yet scary thing to happen.  I was afraid to eat yet even more afraid I would become weaker and more frail than I already felt.  For now, though, things are better. I’m at a pretty comfortable 163 pounds and haven’t gotten a “you’re too skinny” comment in over a week, so my public must think I look ok. 😉

Professionally, I think it’s been a really good year.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of the Maine Library Leadership Institute, where I’ve met some amazing librarians here in Maine and throughout New England.  We’ve created this pretty spectacular support network and because of these folks, I feel more confident in my work and more competent in what I do.  I’m also participating in groups I want to be a part of, like being a judge for the Maine Readers’ Choice Award.  Do you know what I have to do for this committee?  READ!  Seriously.  This is the *best* committee I’ve ever been a part of.

Fortunately, my family has had a pretty good year, too.  My husband lost a few pounds and my son is on his way to becoming a giant.  My sister started hunting, partially inspired by our weekend together; my brother published several stories; my parents’ health is as good as it can get right now.   All in all, things are good and we are well aware of it.  We try to appreciate these good times and not worry about the future.

Resolutions

You know what? Typically I love this time of year.  There is so much promise…so much hope that good changes will happen.   I’m just not feeling it this year.  I’ve been good about only having goals that I think I can actually achieve–like my mileage goals.  But due to my back, there will be no mileage goal for 2014, unless I get the go-ahead from the neurosurgeon. And since I won’t see him for another week, then I’m passing on that goal for now.  I want to say that I’ll be good to myself next year and stop berating myself for gaining a pound or missing a workout but….I hate to fail.   For a day or two, I thought I’d throw out my scale for 2014.  But I just can’t do that.  Part of what keeps me sane is knowing that I’m not gaining weight. Of course it’s also a part of what makes me insane.  Go figure.

How about this? I often feel like a weakling. I can’t lift much of anything and I really find that annoying.  So, I resolve to be stronger in 2014. I hope strength will be represented not only with my body, but with my mind.  Perhaps I’ll learn to love myself like I’m loved by others.

I think I like that.  This is good.

Reading

Ok. Obviously this isn’t the “usual” thing to talk about or is related to New Year’s.  Maybe the “r” should be reinvention or rules or some such thing. But for me?  *Everything* can be associated with reading.  I recommend books to people for a living. I typically only give books as gifts.  Every person that is close to me is an avid reader (with my parents being the exceptions—weird, right?).  I love to talk about what I’m reading. I love to talk about and listen to *you* talk about what you’re reading.  Ideas and stories from books can change lives.  They can influence you, make you feel less alone. They can justify your beliefs, your worries and your loves.  Books rule my world in one way or another.

And yet…I never have a goal of how many books I want to read in a year.  So many of my friends do. I think it might be because reading is such a big part of my life that I don’t want (or need) to have a goal associated with it.  I may love running, but I still need a goal to get me out that door on a wet cold February (or March or November) morning.  But it’s a rare day that I don’t want to read.  In this sense, I feel like my life is so very rich and full and good.  Books and reading and conversations about what we read is what makes this woman happy.  Possibly even more than not having to suck in my gut when putting on my new size 10 pants. 🙂

And what have I read this year?  It seems like I’ve read anything I can get my hands on.  I’ve read only about 92 books but it included biographies, graphic novels, erotica, short stories, lots of literary fiction, teen fiction, mysteries, non-fiction, poetry and books about body image.  What isn’t counted are the hundreds of picture books and children’s graphic novels my son and I read together, as well as the large amount of magazine articles and blogs I’ve enjoyed reading all year.  (I’m a huge fan of goodreads.com, so if you’d like to see what I’ve read and want to read, you can become my “friend” there.)

Next year, maybe I’ll read 100 books, or actually count all of the books my son & I read, too.  We’ll see. I’m not making any promises.

I think 2014 should just be the year where we all just enjoy life.  Doesn’t that sound good?  If this year has taught me anything, it’s taught me that life is so very short.  Let’s all do what we can to make this next year be a good one, in whatever ways we choose.

May the new year be filled with peace, happiness, and love for us all!

(And possibly running and reading, too.)

🙂