Sunday, February 9, 2014

Living Alone

Recently, a friend shared that she and her husband had separated. Such news always hits me in a couple of ways… most of all I just feel sad for everyone involved, especially when I like the people. On her blog, my friend wrote about feeling alone when her child was at her dad's for the week. Living alone has always been a complicated subject for me. So, to explore my thinking at 60 years old, I wrote a response to my friend:

I live alone. It can be difficult at times, but mostly I like the quiet, solitude, and freedom that alone-time offers. I like living in the thoughts I have and with the activities I choose to undertake. I’ve always struggled with being told and with crowds—not sure why. When being alone gets challenging, I connect with a sibling, a niece/nephew, or a friend and spend time in conversation on the phone, in email/Facebook, in person, or via Skype. In rare instances, I’ll go for a hike with someone :-)… Mostly, however, I like hiking alone.

When the solitude wears me down, I’ve been known to host exchange students to calm that innate need to be a father and to bring absolute chaos into my life… Ha! … hosting means allowing noise, getting pissed off at a teenager, and giving giving giving. Most of all, of course, hosting means parenting, and somehow since 1985, being a host dad has worked for me off and on over the years. (And no, my friend, I’m not suggesting you take in some kid from Ethiopia!)

As you know, I got a dog. We now have established the same schedules and quirks…. It’s such a funny thing to behold: he with his carrot at 10am and me with my second cup of coffee. Then, he goes back to sleep under my office chair and I continue writing in the outward quiet. In the afternoon, the two of us hike or ski. Not surprisingly, we share schedules and temperaments… “Odd ducks,” my father would have said.

When I read your blog entry, I understood deep down why you’d be missing SWIF. It makes total sense. But at the same time, there’s more. I know there’s something valuable about this time for you and my suggestion is to wallow in it… explore it… welcome it. She’ll be back on Sunday… and always.

Take it from someone who lives alone.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, Granny Bozenka!

Back in 2004-05, I had the great joy of hosting Michal Cicala of Slovakia. Since those days ten years ago, his mom has kept in touch on a monthly basis keeping me posted on their kids' successes and life in Slovakia. One of the joys in Michal's and his family's lives is Granny Bozenka, the 82-year-old matriarch of the family. Here, she celebrates her birthday with her daughters and below is a picture from about ten years ago. Bozena is ageless!

c. 2005

Saturday, February 1, 2014