Generally Considered Safe

After seven months of living in my new community, yesterday I got friend requests on Facebook from a slew of people I’ve met here. It’s lovely, of course, being connected in myriad ways to people, especially when once has hermit tendencies as I do, but . . . (You knew there was a but coming, didn’t you? With me, there always is.)

But . . . once people I know in offline life start seeing me in online life, I have to be more circumspect in what I blog about lest I inadvertently hurt someone by a thoughtless word, or alienate with an ill-advised observation.

This is especially true in a small community where most of the people have known one another their entire lives. I learned that lesson shortly after I moved here. Someone asked me about an activity I had participated in, and I said it was nice except that one particular person monopolized the conversation. It turns out that the monopolizer was a good friend of the woman I was talking to. Oops.

So I try to be careful even in my thoughts because I am one of those people who, if I’m comfortable, will say whatever comes to mind. And after having opened up about my grief and other private matters the past ten years, I tend to be comfortable almost everywhere and with almost everyone.

The solution, until I get comfortable with my posts being available to new friends as well as old, is to be careful what I write.

Local weather is generally considered safe to write about and in fact is something I’ve been thinking about of late. For weeks, I checked the forecast, and the forecast was always the same — high temperatures until about October 21, followed by weeks of temperatures in the 60s. The first day the temperatures slid down the 60s, I planted my bulbs, and it’s a good thing. I don’t know what happened to all those weeks of 60 degree weather, but somehow they evaporated. The current forecast shows frigid temperatures for a long time to come.

Today was a gorgeous day — deep blue skies and warm temperatures. By Monday we might have snow, and by Wednesday, we’ll be down to a low of 2 degrees. Nope. That’s not a typo. 2 degrees. Almost 0. Brrrrr!

I’d hoped to have my garage foundation finished by now to give me a protected place for my vintage VW, but with this forecast, who knows when the contractor will get to it. I just hope he manages to stop by to insulate my kitchen pipes before the freeze hits.

Thanks to everyone who takes a peek at my blogs. I appreciate all of you, even if I do have to be especially nice on this blog for a while.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Peachy Keen

The tenth anniversary of my birth into the online world, the tenth anniversary of my dipping a toe into the blogging stream, passed by unnoticed. For all those years, the internet was a place of refuge for me, a way of both slipping away from and embracing the traumas of my life. For an entire decade, I had to care for the sick and dying; grieve the deaths of loved ones; handle the loss of homes, friends, hopes, and security; deal with the pulverization of my wrist, arm, and elbow. And I survived it all.

Now, this virtual place of refuge has become less of a haven and more of morass of passions, opinions, issues, and divisiveness, making me feel estranged in this oh, so strange non-land. During the decades I lived with Jeff, I had no fear of delving into the truth and voicing my thoughts no matter how far out of the ordinary because they were always received with his respect and understanding. I have tried to continue the path of truth, but in an indoctrinated world, a world where propaganda rules and reason is trumped by passion, I have been rendered mostly mute, which is okay. It’s better for my sanity if I live in the world in I see before my own eyes rather than the world reflected in the vitriolic eyes of the unsocial media.

It’s also better for me to live with my own emotions, not just online, but offline. When my own wild emotions — grief, anger, fear — began to fade, I still felt as if I were drowning in sorrow. Other people’s sorrows. Staying away from those particular people and their problems (no matter how cold that makes me seem) has brightened my life considerably.

Someday, I am sure, I will take to blogging regularly again. Someday . . . when I have something to say.

Meantime, I am trying to wean myself away from Facebook, trying to empty my mind of extraneous thoughts (though, to be honest, my mind is already mostly empty), and trying to enjoy my unlonely solitude — when I am alone, that is. I still take frequent dance classes, and once in a while I even go on a small adventure, most recently to pick peaches in an orchard less than three miles from where I am staying.

(I had to smile at the discovery of the peach orchard. In my latest book, Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, I called this community Peach Valley and commented, “nope, no peaches, and not much of a valley, either.” I sure was wrong about that!)

I still have no clue where my life will lead me but there is so much of the country I haven’t seen, so much I haven’t experienced, that I am contemplating another long trip after my hand is completely healed. (The fake elbow works fine but the hand and wrist still don’t always behave, and sometimes they are very painful, though for the most part, they do what I need them to do.)

But for now, there is dancing.

And fresh peach cobbler for dessert.


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.