Showing posts with label Divorce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Divorce. Show all posts

Friday, April 15, 2016

Girlfriend Pride

When life fell apart, December 1999, I got the memo.  Every dime earned/invested, home, everything, toast.  Oh dear, cliche lived, 'wife is the last to know'.  Whatever.  Did the bible thing, yet 13 years later, still drinking, his car wrecks arrived.  This time, do whatever, leave.  After all I'd had a decade to sow my field.  As the Cherokee say, 'we reap in one decade what we sow in another.'
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Two months after receiving the memo, above, sinking, badly, I got my deer-in-headlight self to a meeting Lois hosted at a local church, focused on helping friends/family of alcoholics.
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A few meetings in, a woman walked thru the door, sat down, and I had instant girl crush.  That night she/I began.  A couple of years passed before I told her my instant girl crush.  She told me, walking into the room, she saw me & knew she had to know me, girl crush for her too.  A couple of years into the meetings a woman I hadn't met shared her story to the group, before she began, I knew, girl crush again, and that nite we started our friendship.  This 'girl crush' thing, about the best thing ever.
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For a decade these 2 women, local Atlantans too, have been my rocks, we share everything.  Mostly, laughter.  Their alcoholic spouses flamed faster than mine, and they divorced before me.  When I asked one how she 'knew' it was time to get her divorce, she paused slightly, and said, "You know the first time you fall in love and you ask someone how-do-you-know-you're-in-love, well, you will know."  Best answer, ever.  I quit obsessing my choices, actions, the bible, and trusted, you-will-know.
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All 3 of us worked hard, got ourselves out of the financial hole the alcoholic threw us in.  Each of us paid for our divorces, none of us got a dime of alimony, we paid bills owed by the alcoholic, yet there is something bigger we each did.  During divorce, each of us bought our own home.  Help from no one.  Family, nor whining in court for the alcoholic to pony up, for a dime.  Freeing the anchor & its chain, leaving them behind, our boats sailed, under our own steam.  No bitterness in this, instead, a rich journey.  I would marry my alcoholic again, just to get so many lessons learned, and having my girlfriends.  Hilarious story, yes?  G*d gave my wasband alcoholism to get me where I am, happy with my life.
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Something unexpected happened to each of us, after divorce, after buying our homes, without planning, something not imagined.  Who knew our stories would get better?  Within a year of each other, we moved from Atlanta.



First girl crush bought a home off the coast of Georgia on a barrier island.  Visited her last month for the first time.  Ironically, she mentioned having let G*d know she was ready to have a man in her life, to share the daily mundane of living.  G*d provided, her father bought a boat, and is now living at a pier near her.  G*d has a huge sense of humor.



My other girlfriend bought a home on the Gulf coast.



I live between my girlfriends, at a large lake, on a small historic farm.



Miss Gulf Coast called the other day, I was in the grocery store, we caught up a bit.  I have not been to her new home yet.  She bought the land, chose the blue prints, hired the general contractor, and built her home herself.  Have seen pics along the way.  Don't know when but I will be in her home before summer's end.



All pics from The Style Saloniste.

These women are my team, my family.  We did it.  Without trying.  It has been, always, one-day-at-a-time.  Everyday with laughter.  It's odd, in my new farm house, ca. 1900, it feels like living someone else's life.  Miss Barrier Island said the same thing.  We are floating.  Alas, 'father' is literally floating at the pier.  We didn't see that coming.  Beloved thinks he's the coolest man EVER.
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Jeff, at one of Lois's meetings, said, "I can't think myself into better actions, but I can take actions to make my life better."
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Garden & Be Well,  XO T
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Since it's tax day a bit of tax advice if you're married to an alcoholic flaming out.  Do not sign a joint return.  You will be liable for everything, past/present, if alcoholic walks away.  IRS can legally come after you, and will, for all their unpaid taxes and penalties.  When I got my memo I never signed another joint return.  Would not have been able to buy my home, and would have lost all my savings, again, if I had.
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Credit card experience immediately after the memo.  Blessedly I had no credit cards with my alcoholic spouse.  However, my name was on one of his maxed cards, but I was not an 'obligor'.  Saved money for a year to hire an attorney.  I had designed her garden years ago, and liked her demeanor.  It took months to get my name off the card.  She called monthly with updates.  My fear grew at the expense.  But I had to get off that card.  Finally, I was legally off.  If I had not done this, I could not have bought my home, debt on that card, entirely his, would have wiped me out.  Back to my attorney.  Told her, when she called of her winning news, to send the invoice.  Without hesitation she said, "I'm not charging you anything, this was a pleasure for me."  Then her story poured out.  When I designed her garden, she had just divorced her alcoholic spouse.  Much later, she remarried and moved out-of-state.  I designed that garden too.  Alas, last year, her beloved husband died.....
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Little did I know the sisterhood of help that would cleave to me, in great love, and joy, consistently arriving, consistently.
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When a girlfriend, a couple of years ago, had alcoholic spouse issues, I was able to offer her a home to live in, her own space, no charge.  She didn't take the offer, but it felt awesome to offer.  Years before this, I had a girlfriend offer me a home to live in, no rent.  I know what that offer feels like on the receiving end.
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Here I am, with Beloved, in our new home.  We've, mostly Beloved, been working the back acres, and finally this summer, I can begin my acre, nearest the house.  I can begin my acre, nearest the house.  I'm gardening.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lunch: A Great Divorce Story

A client from years ago recently hired me again.  A Southern matriarch forever stretching the bounds of goodness, she made the decision, after widowhood, to downsize and move closer to children/grandchildren.
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There is a template of living in her realm, in addition to goodness.  Hospitality and courtesy.  Elegance & comfort too, she's an interior decorator.  Unpleasantness is not ignored, merely hit head on with clear eyes, thinking, action, moving forward to joy.
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Community activist, one charitable group she formed, decades ago, has raised significant funds, all plowed back into her community.  Book club, bible study group, & more......she's active

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Of course our Garden Design work begins with lunch in the sunroom overlooking the garden.  Homemade chicken salad over lettuce, designer chips, crisp saltines marinated overnite in Tabasco/red pepper flakes/powdered ranch dressing, and iced tea.
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Conversation.
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Life lessons arrive to each, I've been fortunate, having many arrive in exactly this manner.
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With a wicked smile she said, "Hope you don't mind I shared your divorce story with a friend."  She knew I wouldn't mind.  My story needs to be shared.  Victim of alcoholic excesses with 30 year spouse, blah-ti-boring-blah, it is the pivot from victim to survivor, which is a terrible location to be stuck too, to thriver, and how it was achieved that must be told.  But not here today.  I have a new story from her.
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Her friend, long married, had finally reached a court date for divorce.  Wealthy, her husband was armed with Atlanta's best lawyer, and she was about to tank financially.  An amazing choice was made, from the bible.  She chose 10 of her closest friends who knew she, and her soon to be divorced husband, long and well.  She wanted her best girlfriends to stand with her, in court, to give her strength & love, and more importantly, bear witness.
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As all of these ladies, matriarchs all, filed into the court room, to sit with their friend, and look her husband in the eyes, he was vanquished.  He became flushed, and fidgety.  A jury of his peers, indeed.  Hushed words with his lawyer.
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The divorce settled equitably that day.  No one was taken advantage of, no one harmed financially.
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This woman used precepts of her longtime bible study, her only ammunition, and Providence smiled.  She chose not to be afraid, and put her faith in G*d.      

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If this were a tv movie of the week, the script would be stupid.
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Instead, passing along the story, is strength.  Victim hood is a choice.  Hope is not foolish.  Bearing witness is a tool.  Do not be afraid to ask for help.
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After lunch we had desert, vanilla ice cream with Hershey's chocolate, 2 little cubes of homemade brownies, and a large red ripe strawberry with dollop of chocolate on top.
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Then I designed her backyard, and left with a check.
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Love my job.
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Top pic, Bassett Furniture, bottom pic Ralph Lauren.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Design: Intentions more Powerful than Money

Where you put your attentions you will create your life.
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Yesterday, below, in my bower.
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With no money in a blue-collar working class neighborhood squarely within the prototypical demographics of today's suburbia near a major USA city.
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AKA my starter home, 3 decades later, with the alcoholic spouse during those decades gone.
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Where I put my attentions I created my life.
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Beautiful garden, beautiful life.  A thought, now my truth.
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Gratitude for that long marriage.  Forced into creating a life that was dream, until the plodding-plodding-plodding made it real.
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No regrets about any of my choices. 


Flowers falling on flowers yesterday, below.  Foetid & exhilarating.


My brain is repulsed by the foetidness of these composting flowers, yet the DNA thrives on its highest plain in the foetidness of my garden.  Life itself.
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Bower- Mirriam-Webster:     1:  an attractive dwelling or retreat



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:  a lady's private apartment in a medieval hall or castle
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:  a shelter (as in a garden) made with tree boughs or vines twined together
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Odd, but the foetidness of yesterday's flowers made me want to take off my clothes and roll-baby-roll !  Laughing & shouting of course.
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Now, tell me about street/prescription happy drugs?  Poor unfortunate souls needing those.  
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Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
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For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
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Award winning speaker, hire me for your group, local/out-of-state.
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Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
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Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
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Construction by Award Winning:
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.

Monday, December 31, 2012

How to Laugh at Fear

Decades ago, a great idea, and he (his house too) would say, "You can't do that." Garden plans would be diminished or stopped altogether.


Several years of this circus, I got off the merry-go-round.  No fear.  Began going to Europe, studying historic landscapes, received another degree, horticulture.  Opened a Garden Design business, new decades of family disapproval, "Use your engineering degree, don't be a bag lady."  Thanks for that refrain, dad.
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Many lean years.  To the bone.  I didn't care.
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Went to a career coaching weekend a decade ago & had an epiphany, "What would I do tomorrow if I were not afraid?"  Fear is a sure thing, it will keep coming back with new expertise/costume guaranteed.
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Jumping forward to the last 3 years, worst economy since the Great Depression, I've had the top earning years of my career.  Moved 'him' out, bought my own home & another home nearby to use as an office/guest cottage.
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Ironically, getting rid of fear taught me how to know if I'm doing the right thing in my career.  Choices are tough but once made, the choice is FUN.  And the choices aren't in my head, I ask my heart.  My head is a lizard brain.
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Are you afraid?  What would you do tomorrow if you were not afraid?
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Garden & Be Well,      XO Tara
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Pic via Habitually Chic
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"Wherever our most primal fears reside--our fears of the dark, of death, of being devoured, of meaninglessness, of lovelessness, or of loss--changes are good that beneath them lie gems of wisdom and maybe a vision or a calling. Wherever you stumble--on a tree root, on a rock, on fear or shame, or vulnerability, on someone else's words, on the truth--dig there." Gregg Levoy




Monday, December 17, 2012

Choosing Chairs


A small flagstone terrace is almost complete at my new French doors in the kitchen.  Need to order the Phantom screen doors this week.  


All this for a pair of garden chairs to USE.  Adirondack's, above, are too big.  French chairs, below, have no support for leaning my head back.


The new chairs must be easy to move and a lot of the time I'll be working wireless with my feet up in the opposite chair.
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On the hunt for MY perfect pair of garden chairs.  Life is good.
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Does anyone know how to keep cats from climbing retractable screen doors?
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara
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Project began December 2011 when my dad was diagnosed with cancer & died 22 days later.  During those 22 days my 30 year marriage was finalized in divorce.  'Planned' for last Christmas was installation of new heart of pine flooring in several rooms to match the rest of my home.  Existing flooring was refinished, all furniture, including office, was put into the garage.  To the ceiling.  I bought my own home late this fall.    That was the fear of divorcing, losing home/garden.  FEAR.  Instead, Providence deflated the housing market!  Did I mention I was afraid of losing my home of 28 years?  He, college sweetheart, began having car wrecks, most drunks do, in 2010.  One nite late, reading in bed, days after I discovered the 1st car wreck via my insurance company, I felt & knew something quite clear.  Fear had left.  After a decade+ of pure, daily, second to second fear, it was gone.  Time to divorce.  His alcoholism took me to poverty in 1999, I barely kept the roof over our heads.  Been a victim?  It stinks.  Took less than a month to figure that out.  Discovered Lois in a group meeting for friends/family of alcoholics.  Victimhood over.  Survivor.  But that wasn't enough.  Thriver.  Yes.  In a delightful twist my divorce attorney hired me recently.  Handing me a check she stopped in mid-air & began to cry.  She said it was not often she was able to see the results of her work & described my demeanor of fear/sadness when we 1st met in her office to what she had seen of me in her garden.  Teary eyed myself  & hugging each other, I thanked her for helping me divorce a 300 pound drinking problem!  We were laughing thru tears at this point, and aren't those the best?  Proudest achievements?  Financially doing all of this myself, no help, none.  Divorce was amicable.  Making the choice to be happy everyday.  'Damaged people are dangerous, they know they can survive.'  I'm super dangerous, I can thrive.            
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Top pic taken in my garden!  Proof, happiness/joy can be created, and more, a zone of grace around home & life.