I’m Done Listening

I had a blog in mind this evening, but on my way home I changed my mind. On afternoon break I read a quick online story that really hit me. This is the beginning of it:

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Thai man filmed himself killing his 11-month-old daughter in two video clips posted on Facebook before committing suicide, police said on Tuesday. People could access the videos of the child’s murder on her father’s Facebook page for roughly 24 hours, until they were taken down around 5 p.m. in Bangkok (1000 GMT) on Tuesday, or about a day after being uploaded.

It happened far away. In a world I know nothing about. To a man I know nothing about. To a little girl I know nothing about.

Of course, that’s just on the heels of a story from 3-17: MEDINA Ohio — The man who took his own life after he killed his pregnant girlfriend did not want to have a baby, her father said. Or from February: LaGRANGE  A man accused of abusing and killing the infant of his then-girlfriend pleaded guilty in a Troup County Superior Court last week.

There is nothing that can be said that can shed any light on any of these heinous crimes. There’s nothing I can do to turn the clock back. Nothing I can say to the families, to the situation.

There is nothing I can say to save the children.

I’m going to cut back on my internet wandering. Yahoo, CNET, all those hot spots that broadcast these crimes like they’re a Sunday social. I know everyone hurts, everyone wonders why. Everyone cries and makes promises and moves on with their lives.

But I’m an adult and can make my own choices. I’m older so that’s an even better excuse to tune all of it out. TV is make believe; I can handle that. But the news…

I’m done. My heart can’t take this. I know there are lots out there that say I should do something about it. The sad truth is there is nothing I can do about any of it. I can’t help those in Thailand or in North Carolina or even on the other side of town.

What I can do is interfere and interact with my own circle of friends and family. Encourage those who need to talk to talk. Those who need a break give them a break. Love the children I come in contact and stretch out to love the ones I don’t.

Life’s too short to let the media have their way. To let the world have its way. To let the madness get into my head. You are all my friends in one way or another. I’m here for you — for your highs and lows and losses and misses. But I have to let go of the rest of the world. I’m not willing to let the madness set me into depression and worse. My family still needs me.

I think I’ll call my grandkids now.

 

Be Nice Until The End

Most of us run blindly through life, taking kids to football games or buying groceries or celebrating birthdays or oohing and ahhing about flower beds and great lasagna dinners, never stopping to think that one day all this wonderful madness will end. 

There are those who believe in the ever after: angels and Elysian Fields and all the chocolate you can eat.  Others believe in reincarnation: behaving yourself in this life is a sure bet you won’t come back as a newt or a grasshopper in the next.  Some believe you never wake up; others believe eternity is one big, made-for-TV movie.

But what happens if you don’t want to think about the afterlife, period?  What happens if all you want to do is get  lost in Star War movies or the Food Network or dreams of vacationing in the Bahamas?  Does avoidance equal ignorance?

I sometimes wonder if humans were meant to dwell on the afterlife as much as we do.  After all, whatever is going to happen is going to happen.  When all is said and done, if we are all going have a glorious resurrection, why should we worry about it?  If we believe our destiny is to reappear on another planet in another galaxy, why sweat the small stuff? 

None of us like to think about death.  We pop a few vitamins or walk around the block or stop smoking and think we have it made.  And, for the most part, we do.  We look around us, feel terrible about those our age who have passed on to greener pastures, and hope we can stay out of those same pastures a bit longer.

Yet there is always that heebie geebie feeling we get from that foul reaper that makes us feel we should do a bit more to insure a place in the afterlife.  Whether its prayer, abstinence, volunteering or tithing, we always make an effort to hedge our bets, putting an extra chip on the gambling table just in case.  We give a little extra to the United Way or volunteer to work the concession stand at the high school football game, even if our kid doesn’t play football.

How does that lessen our apprehension of our final moment?  How does contributing to the bake sale or adopting a pet from the shelter make us breathe easy about our last moments on Earth?

The older I get, the more I realize that all the anxiety, all the trauma I go through worrying about what happens at that final moment doesn’t mean a thing except heartburn.  One of the prices we pay for being born into this world is having to leave it at the end.  I’m not sure there is some cosmic string that is destined to be cut at some particular moment; I do believe that the joy we find in this life, and possibly the next, is based on the pleasure we give and receive from others.

Whether you read the Bible or Harry Potter, you cannot escape the fact that good deeds do not go unheeded.  That even if there is no cosmic God or Goddess who pats you on the head for being a good person, you are rewarded anyway.  There is something  about doing something nice for others — and for yourself — that brings its own brand of satisfaction.  Putting a plus in the “good” column just plain feels good.  

 I know my heart always feel better when I label myself “nice” instead of “mean.”  I feel good when I put a smile on another face; I feel bad when I make someone cry. Whether or not those points add up to admission through the pearly gates I don’t know. 

I myself don’t have a clue whether I will meet my mother and father on the other side, or if I will be reincarnated into a litter of cats.  What I do know is that it makes me feel good to do good in this world. All I can hope for is that my good behavior and loving heart will have counted for  something.  

My fear is that my repayment for being such a jolly good soul is that I come back to this world as a circus clown or born into a Green Bay Packer family.  The clown thing isn’t really very popular these days, and being a Chicago Bear’s fan…

That would be hell.

On My Way I Found the Holocaust

red_and_black_rose_by_tianajade-d2zwb9s1On my way to researching something else…

Doesn’t it always happen this way? Earlier today I was searching for events that took place on September 8 for a blog I was writing for work, and I came across this:

1941        Sep 8, The entire Jewish community of Meretsch, Lithuania, was exterminated.

An entire community.

My curiosity took me through pages and pages of Holocaust history. Here is some of what I found: (It’s kinda long..)

1941        Jun 22, Second world war began in Lithuania. Lithuania rebelled against Russian occupation.
1941        Jun 24, Entire Jewish male population of Gorzhdy, Lithuania, was exterminated.
1941        Jun 26, Lithuanian fascists massacred 2,300 Jews in Kovno.
1941        Jul 7, Nazis executed 5,000 Jews in Kovno, Lithuania.
1941        Jul 14, 6,000 Lithuanian Jews were exterminated at Viszalsyan Camp.
1941        Jul 24, Nazis massacred the entire Jewish population of Grodz, Lithuania.
1941        Jul 29, All the Jews at Linkuva were killed.
1941        July, In northwestern Lithuania 9,000 Jews were killed by Lithuanian police. 
1941        Sep 8, The entire Jewish community of Meretsch, Lithuania was exterminated.
1941        Sep 15, Nazis killed 800 Jewish women at Shkudvil, Lithuania.

1941        Oct 28, In Kaunas (Kovno), about 70 miles from Vilna 9,000 Jews were murdered.  900 French Jews died there on 18 May 1944.

1941       Dec 25, In northwestern Lithuania 400 young Jewish women were killed by Lithuanian police. 

1941        At the Rainis Forest in the Telsiai region 74 Lithuanians were killed by Soviet NKVD and KGB troops.
1941        In Lithuania German forces slaughtered some 12,000 Jews in Stoklishki (Alytus).

1941-1944   40,000 Jews are slaughtered in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Almost 55,000 Jews were executed at Paneriai, outside of Vilnius.
1942        May 7, A Nazi decree ordered all Jewish pregnant women of Kovno Ghetto executed.
1944        Mar 27, Some 2,000 Jews were murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania.
1945        Jan 30, Nazi SS guards shot down an estimated 4,000 Jewish prisoners on the Baltic coast at Palmnicken, Kaliningrad

And that is only in Lithuania.

July – August 1941: Dozens thousands of Russian Jews are murdered by the Einzatzgruppen (extermination squads) in the occupied territories. Here are some examples:

    • 5,200 Jews murdered in Byalistok
    • 2,000 Jews murdered in Minsk
    • 5,000 Jews murdered in Vilna
    • 5,000 Jews murdered in Brest-Litovsk
    • 5,000 Jews murdered in Tarnopol
    • 3,500 Jews murdered in Zloczow
    • 11,000 Jews murdered in Pinsk
    • 14,000 Jews murdered in Kamenets Podolsk
    • 12,287 Jews murdered in Kishinev

148,000 Jews are murdered in Bessarabia between July and October 1941.

December 8: Chelmno (Kulmhof) extermination camp begins operations: 340,000 Jews, 20,000 Poles and Czechs murdered by April 1943.

March 17: Extermination begins in Belzec; by end of 1942 600,000 Jews murdered.

May: Extermination by gas begins in Sobibor killing center; by October 1943, 250,000 Jews murdered.

Country              Estimated Murdered

Austria                               50,000

Belgium                             25,000

Bohemia/Moravia           78,000

Denmark                           60

Estonia                              2,000

Finland                              7

France                               77,000

Germany                           142,000

Greece                               65,000

Hungary                           550,000

Italy                                   7,500

Latvia                                70,000

Lithuania                         140,000

Luxembourg                   1,000

Netherlands                    100,000

Norway                            762

Poland                            3,000,000

Romania                        270,000

Slovakia                         71,000

Soviet Union                 1,000,000

Yugoslavia                     60,000

It is estimated that the SS and police deported at least 1.3 million people to the Auschwitz complex between 1940 and 1945. Of these, the camp authorities murdered approximately 1.1 million.

 

My mind cannot begin to wrap around those numbers. Some are as large as a town.  A high school. A football game. One million people is more than the city of San Francisco.

When we say “We Will Never Forget” when 9/11 comes along, let’s not forget the horror that came before.  And let’s vow never to let it happen again. th6

Moments of Reflection

heart-flower03There’s a lot going on these days…a lot of bad things, sad things. So many of my fellow bloggers have covered this topic much better than I could. I am sad, because as of late I’ve seen the American flag flown at half mast more than at full. What does this say about the state of the country? Of the neighborhood?

I’d like to share two different blogs sharing the same world. Two different styles, one same idea.

If you get a chance follow the links and take a look at the world in two different ways. After all…it’s all the same in the end.

First is by my friend David Kanigan.

 

………My Goal: Exceed the 5.38 mile distance in March or run to the Sunrise, whichever comes first.

It’s like riding a bike. You don’t forget how to run. Right. A nerve in the upper left shoulder blade pinches. And this slides down to the lower right back achieving beautiful pain symmetry. Sedentary Suit on the move.  Jesus.

Both groins groan. The pads of the feet cry No! with each footfall. I’m breathing heavy, and this is downhill 0.2 miles in. Jesus Saves.

Running in twilight. Red shoes. Red shorts. Red Shirt. Blood Man. Heart over-pumping, lungs heaving but at least I’m lookin’ fine.

1 mile mark.

Cemetery.

Then, Darien City Police Station.

Baton Rouge. I’m on my back. The bone of his knee is crushing my rib cage.  His pistol is in my face. I need air.  I can’t breathe…

1.5 mile mark.

Church.

Charleston. My eyes pan across the wafer thin page of the Bible – I’m lip synching the reading of the prayer. I hear gunfire. In a split second, the full weight of the explosion lands, shrapnel shreds my chest. Astonished, I fall forward in the pew looking up at Jesus on the cross……

 

And then another from my friend Austin Hodgens.

 

Peace and Love, My Fellow Earthlings

My Fellow Earthlings,

I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the state of our planet, and remind you of one simple thing…

No matter where you’re from, the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your sexual orientation, your political affiliation, or your financial situation, you will always be an Earthling.

I’ve never understood why we don’t think of ourselves as such.  After all, calling this planet home is the one thing that unites us.

My name is Austin, and I’m an Earthling.

Try it.  Listen to how it rolls off your tongue……

 

 

heart-flower03

It Ain’t Me, Babe

Fotolia_17392440_Subscription_Monthly_XXLStrange thoughts have been passing through this middle-age mind lately.

My household is back to “normal” (whatever that is)…I have the evenings and my house back to myself; I am back into writing, walking in the early evening (well…just tonight…but hey…it’s a start); and am letting the sparkles tickle my toes now and then.

But beneath that, deep in the shadows of my heart and psyche, lurks the fiend known as mortality.

When I heard that Patty Duke died today, it stuck yet another eety beety needle into my heart. She was 69 — just 69. She was a part of my childhood. Patty and Cathy, England and America. Dumb, obvious, silly…that is the state of most people’s childhood.

But I can’t help but notice that that icky word is creeping closer and closer to me. And I don’t like it.

The Reaper is starting to pick off my generation. My music idols, my television idols, my friend idols. And they all are not much older than I am. Just in the last few months:

Gary Shandling 66

Patty Duke – 69

Vanity – 57

Glen Frey – 67

Davis Bowie – 69

Alan Rickman – 69

Natalie Cole – 65

Keith Emerson – 71

People that shaped my youth. My music. People whose styles and ideas I didn’t care for, along with styles and ideas I loved. People who were larger than life. People who were my age.

I know the routine — death comes for us all, it’s how you live your life, what you leave behind that counts, blah blah blah. I’m not making fun of it — on the contrary, I’m breathing it every morning, noon, and night.

And all of that positive thinking isn’t doing one thing to stop my train of thought.

I look at those who have gone before. I tell myself maybe it was due to their taking a lot of drugs in their youth or they were alcoholics or they laid in the sun one too many years. Of course, I know that’s making excuses for reality.

And I’m okay with that.

I believe that as long as your deep psyche knows the truth, whatever blabber you tell yourself is okay. It’s like looking for ghosts or unicorns. You can believe in them with gusto, but the little voice in your psyche says only when you see them in 3D will they really be real.

Maybe that’s a lesson for all of us. Make up stories so that you can cope with whatever is going on with you, but always hold onto the truth. For the truth never changes. It’s like I’ve always said. We are all intuitive. We all can sense the future, the path, what’s right and wrong. It’s the mind chatter and self abuse we do to ourselves that makes us lose the thread of truth and make up all kinds of excuses and stories for our mistakes and bad behavior.

Somehow in all of this I find myself making up reasons for people’s deaths so that I don’t have to look at my own eventual demise. People die every day. People of all ages, races, and gender cross that rainbow bridge. The reasons are more chatter. It doesn’t matter. They have gone and we can’t bring them back.

So the next best thing we can do is honor their memory. Talk about them. Tell stories that involve them. Make it as if they were just over in the next town. Love carries farther than any celestial glider.

Back to the Baby Boomer celebrities.

The number of those passing through the golden gates will continue to increase as our generation ages. There was a reason we were called the Boomers — we boomed in abundance into this world. So it’s kinda a fact that we will cease and desist in the same booming manner.

Maybe I should not worry so much about my own demise and start doing something to build my own legacy. Something that will be my truth.

Maybe I’ll start a singing career….

Ahhmmm…too sexy for my shirt…too sexy for my shirt …..

I’m Not Going There

65933_com_201106021652521973.gif1029cFor all of you expecting my usual, cheesy, astral sense of middle-age blog, sorry to let you down this evening.

There was something going around the Internet earlier in the week that had me more than unsettled. As often as not, I just breeze past the headlines I don’t care for, but even in doing so this time the impression still lingers.

And it was only from a headline.

Some parents decided to show a video of their son’s final moments of a high speed crash they were in. I don’t know if the kids died; I refused to read the article. The kids were high, that much I know. But I didn’t, couldn’t, read the article.

My first reaction was: Who would share something like that? Why would they share one of the most painful, horrible, moments of your child’s life?

My politically correct side answered first. The parents shared this video so that others can learn from the tragedy. So that other kids will see what happens when you drink or get high and drive. That through their tragedy other lives may be saved.

Then my mother side chimed in. I am a grandmother. I have been blessed with two sons, a wonderful daughter-in-law, and two adorable grandkids. I weathered many storms with my kids as they were growing up, and we all survived. I love them all more than life, and would be crushed if anything like this happened to me. My life, my love, is my family.

My liberal side popped in. Who are you to say what goes on on the Internet? You are not a monitor. You don’t like what you read? Pass it by! Ignore it! Stop telling others what they can and cannot talk about. Life is not a bowl of cherries for everyone, you know.

Then my mortal side interrupted. This upsets you because you fear death. Death is the normal progressive end of life. The one thing you cannot control. You cannot let go of anyone you love. Your fear of no afterlife taints everything you think. Everything you do. Perhaps the boys are in heaven now, feeling no pain, no confusion, nothing but eternal peace.

Then my smart-ass radical side chimes in. Who in the hell are you to judge if they went to heaven? How do you know there even is a heaven? You are so quick to judge. You didn’t even read the damn story. You have no idea why the parents shared the video. Quit yappin’ about stuff you don’t know anything about.

My practical side offered a rebuttal. This was a tragic event in so many others’ lives. There are different ways of coping, different ways of healing. A moment’s misjudgement has changed thousands of lives in ways no one ever imagined. Instead of reacting, or over-reacting, acknowledge their pain, then go hug your own kids. Your own grandkids. Tell them how much you love them, warn them of the dangers of drinking or getting high and driving.

Things circle back and the mother reappears. Those boys were someone’s baby. Someone’s little guy. Children are not supposed to leave this world before their parents. They are supposed to grow old and have children of their own. They are not supposed to get high and race and crash and die and leave their parents with broken hearts. My own heart hurts. And I don’t even know them.

Which led towards the comment that started this whole conversation.

Who would share something like that?

8 Reasons to Dissect Your Birthday

 

glassDo not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~~Dylan Thomas

 

Yesterday was a day just like any other day. Work, a quickie visit with my husband before he went to work on the second shift, a little dishes, a little TV, then bed.

It also was my birthday.

Not a big deal these days…especially when the digits have long risen above 30. Or 40.

Yet it was such a big deal that I didn’t want to talk much about it. It was a slightly traumatic view of life both before and behind me. I fluctuated between being happy with a good life to panicking that I may not wake up tomorrow morning. Roller-coaster nonsense, to be sure.

But through these emotional states, a stronger, calmer, younger goddess has emerged. And this is what I’ve decided.

  1. I’m not going softly into any dark or light night. By the time I get to be 90 science will have developed an immortality pill that extends one’s life for at least 50 more years. Until then I’m going to kick ass and put myself out there.
  2. I am going to stop thinking of my day of birth as the day John Lennon died. There is some sort of macabre connection between one’s celebration of life and another’s death. It’s just plain creepy. I’d rather think of it as National Brownie Day or Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day. Which it was.
  3. Presents are overrated. Sure, it’s nice if you wake up your birthday morning and there’s a pair of diamond earrings waiting for you at the breakfast table. But just as likely is a hurricane blowing out of the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River, crossing the state of Illinois and hopping to Lake Michigan, having landfall in Milwaukee.
  4. On the same subject, presents come in many ways. The problem is we don’t always see a present as a present. We see it as a symbol. E = mc2  is a symbol too. So are the Golden Arches. And the middle finger. We all know what those symbols mean. I’m not the real thing, but I represent a real thing. A substitute. The real thing couldn’t be here so I’m the stand-in. Looking at it from out here, it’s really pretty hollow.
  5. Face it. No one at my age likes their job. I just turned….(drum roll…heavy breathing…dramatic rolling of eyes…) 62. Too late to start a new job, too old to just quit. Too tired to argue, too slow to be a super star. I have so much on my personal plate that I don’t have time to reinvent myself. I never thought I’d ever want to see retirement through my front window, but it’s a hell of a lot more exciting than looking out the back window, spending 30 more years doing what I’m doing.
  6. Everyone loves birthday cake. I myself enjoy birthday lasagna, birthday cheesecake, and birthday Moscato. I can’t really digest two of those three. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to eat my favorite foods and drink milk out of my favorite wine glass. Don’t let your food limitations limit your fun. Celebrate your birthday every day.
  7. People always tell me age is just a number. Society has limited itself by drawing the line of existence at 60 or 70 or 100. It’s hard to get over a life’s worth of judgment. But it can be done. We have to remember that age – numbers – are limited only by this planet, this galaxy, this reality. So why waste time counting? With all the alternate reality, alternate universe and alternate lives theories floating around out there, I’m sure there’s one where my cosmic clock is really ticking backwards. And I can live with that.
  8. And lastly, the biggest thing I learned is that a day is just a day. Birthday, Christmas, Valentines Day, are all arbitrary darts on the dartboard. You don’t need presents and ceremonies to make your day special. If it’s too cold to celebrate your day of birth in December, celebrate it in June! Christmas in July! What does it matter? Don’t make the “day” more important than any other day you live and breathe and laugh.

I hate getting older. That’s a fact. But until that immortality pill gets invented, I don’t have much of a choice. So instead of letting my hate rule me I’m gonna fight the world with love.

All you need is love. Which reminds me of John Lennon. Who will forever be associated with my birthday.

Here we go again….

A Little More Sprinkles

buddiesI am getting ready for a Celebration of Life this Friday for my younger brother whom I lost to the “big C” recently. The Grim Reaper has always been around us — me — it just seems the older I get the closer his scythe is getting to me. To have a younger brother cut down quickly by something no one knew he had is just one more wake-up call. Not that I’m not awake — I have treaded on thin ice a couple of times the last few years, and I realize that if I don’t pay more attention (well, even if I do), that that scythe can sneak up on me, too.

I wrote this blog a couple of years ago after the “Big C”. I think it’s an appropriate thing to repost this week. Pay attention, my friends. To your body, your mind, and your soul.

A Little More Sprinkles

The past few weeks have been the bottom of the roller coaster ride for me. After a bit of a medical drama, I am well, back into whatever groove middle aged women get into, trying to build my energy back up to see what trouble I can get into. How much trouble can a goddess like me get into? We won’t go into past details, but there have been times in the past that I have stepped over that preverbal line, most times with no consequences, other times being dutifully chastised and set back upon the straight and narrow.

The funny thing about my misadventures is that, in the eyes of the world (especially to those under 40), the things that I’ve gotten in trouble for are powdered sugar compared to what others have done. I have never hung with the “wild” crowd, never gotten arrested, reprimanded by principals, or been asked to leave.  I’ve led a pretty vanilla life and stayed fairly happy and clean cut. I try not to compare my life, my ups and downs, with others. For, as you know, you will always be overblessed in one way and underblessed in another.  My dirty laundry is someone else’s humorous fluff.

Going in and out of the hospital changes your perspective on a lot of things. Suddenly losing those last few pounds doesn’t seem so important. Or finally losing weight to get healthy rises to the top of your list. Your family becomes a priority, along with your health, your pets, and your pastimes. You sit and wonder why you’ve wasted so much time setting unrealistic goals and then were so hard on yourself when you didn’t achieve them. Your desires and your timelines seemed to have gotten crisscrossed, a Celtic design that has no beginning or no end. You will do A as soon as you accomplish B. You will buy outfit C as soon as you lose D pounds. You’ll go visit someone as soon as you (fill in the blank).

I know you’ve heard this story a thousand times a thousand different ways. Don’t wait until trauma and tragedy arrive at your doorstep before you learn to live your life.  Well, what do you do if that dynamic duo arrives at your door and you’ve already been living your life? Are you supposed to go further off the deep end? Are you supposed to  throw away the restraints of society and be a wild and free sprite?

I was lucky, not only to have a good prognosis, but to have wild and fun things to come back to. Our Polish Sausage Making Party has been going on for 14 years, an annual madhouse that seems to be growing every year. I had a laptop, waiting for me to create another fantasy, another out-of-the-box story. I have kids to bug and a grandson to spoil and friends to compare drinking stories with.  I have a room full of second-hand books waiting to be read, sweaters that need sparkles sewn on them, and sushi that  needs to be shared with girlfriends.

I decided long ago that I was tired of being on the outside looking in. I was tired of being vanilla in a rainbow world. I’ve always respected my bosses and the law, always been polite (sometimes to the point of nausea), and given money to charity or to my kids (sometimes the same thing). But I also found out that if you want something in  your life, you need to be the one to go for it. You can’t wait for those things to come to you. That goes for friends, restaurant reservations, and health issues. Sometimes “going for it” makes you a little more aggressive than you usually are. Succeeding at “going for it” makes you feel stronger and smarter.  It makes you raise your own bar a notch or two higher. And you have yourself to thank for it.

Going through a health predicament only reinforced the importance of finding out who I am and what I want in life. That what I wanted in my life is nothing more or less than anyone else wants. I just make sure I made lemonade every time I can. I make a point of getting together with friends often, and family birthdays become family reunions a  dozen times a year. I don’t want life to pass me by and at the end be filled with thoughts of why I didn’t do this or that.

You are never going to be rich enough, thin enough, smart enough, for A to really ever meet B. So take the victories you make along the way and celebrate them. Don’t spend days and months and years waiting for the “payoff.”  The payoff is here and now. If you pass up picnics on the beach with the family because you want to lose weight first, you’ve done nothing but miss a great picnic. If you wait until your kids are in college to go away for the weekend you’ll never get away, for most of the time they come back to haunt you. Turning down an invitation to walk through a festival with family members because you need to clean your house does nothing but toss another fun time into the twilight zone.

There is always room in your life for adventure. To cross some lines. To speak up. To stand up.  There’s always time for you to change your direction, your health, your dreams.  To be proactive. Not inactive. If the jester hat fits you, wear it! If bling is your thing, bling!  Always wanted to try and cook Thai? Go for it ― even if you’re the only  one who will eat it. Don’t wait for someone else to initiate a pizza night or drinks after work ― call, plan, and do it. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to “take their turn.”

This is the only turn you’re going to get. Don’t let anyone else take your turn for you. There’s nothing wrong with vanilla, but just think of how much better it is with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

And me?  I think I’ll try rainbow sherbet with multi-colored sprinkles. Can’t get enough of that color thing…

Between a Rock and a Pretty Place

This has been one of those weeks that I would rather soon forget. I lost a loved family member, anheadd another lost their job. And so life goes twinkling and spinning on. I suppose things like this have always gone on at one time or another in my life; it’s just that it seems so much more common — and real — now that I’m older. As you get older you get less chances to make amends, to find new jobs, to see the world. It’s not that you’ve been bad or good, if you’ve tithed at church or stolen from the Salvation Army bucket. Life is going to tumble on however it will, and you just have to go along for the ride.

I had hoped not to make this blog the recipient of my shadows and blue thoughts. No one can be happy all the time; no one can be sad all the time, either. So to keep my perspective and keep looking towards the horizon, I do what I love. Write. Or, as in this case, share a couple of pictures I’ve kept from my wanderings on the Net. One of my favorite blogs is lead.learn.live.  http://davidkanigan.com/ The reason I smile at this blog is because often he just posts pictures. Pictures that are sweet or sentimental or mystifying or just plain neat. And that is what I need this eve.  So for your pleasure — and mine — have a peek at the unusual.

Love you guys.

water girl

weird cloth

eggs

drops

Take A Picture — It Will Last Longer

cameraI’ve been having a thing for photography lately. I am a writer by heart, but my recently-discovered ADD (my own diagnosis) has opened a number of other doors of possibilities. I had some half-idea of starting a second blog, maybe under my name, maybe not, that would pretzel together faerie hiding places, scenic photography, and sprinkles of poetry, quotations, and philosophy. It’s still a crysalis, waiting to butterfly, but it’s just another road that I want to drive down. Even if it’s a dead end. I don’t have a fancy camera; the camera on my phone is about the best I can do.  I try and capture the magic of the wild, of places where  faeries might hide, and all that.

This photography thing is kinda getting out of hand, though. Last week I did a double-role dance with my SUV (I survived, and am fine). Landed on the tires. My phone, IPod, and various things had flown out the shattered window, leaving me dazed and photoless. Once I came to my wits and found that I was indeed alive, not bleeding, nothing broken or missing, a passerby called 911 and the possey came to the rescue. Someone found my phone and I called hubby who in turn called son, and both personal calvary came to the rescue, along with the county Sheriff and local EMTs. My doors were crushed in, so I had to have one pryed off so I could make a graceful exit to the ambulance.

So what does this have to do with my story? Well, seeing as I was no more off center than usual, as the sheriff and others talked to me, I was handing my phone to my son, saying, “Take pictures! Take pictures!” Of what, praytell? My crooked view of the sky? Of men in yellow jackets? Of a SUV that had seen better days?

The seeds of creativity are planted deep. They sprout helter skelter, like in a wild field. You never know when creativity will rear its sassy head. Sitting in the passenger side, waiting for them to kindly open my crushed-in door, I’m more interested in taking pictures of the moment, than wondering if I’ve got a concussion or a broken leg. I’m surprised I didn’t pull out a spiral notebook from my bag and start writing a poem or something.

I’m sure if I were more seriously injured there would be no room for levity. I’m not making fun of being in an accident; I’m speaking about our survival instinct. When the  immediate danger passes, humans tend to find release in the oddest ways. It must be because we’ve cheated tragedy, and find the closest outlet we can to vent the madness that just passed. Those who have passed the scythe often react in upside down ways. Some take up a dangerous pasttime, some laugh and get dizzy; some swallow the seriousness of it all and become morose and fearful. And the older you get, the more upside your reaction can be.

I don’t think I wanted to take pictures to add to the faerie blog. On the contrary, there was not much to take pictures of — crunched SUV, yellow-jacketed EMTs, worried family members. Maybe it was just that I wanted to remember the moment I cheated death. I mean, no one cheats it in the long run, but I was able to close its door for now. See ya. Don’t want to be ya. Don’t want anything to do with ya.

Adversity rears its ugly head all the time. Cancer, diabetes, estranged children, divorce, all stand at the doorstep, waiting — or more like forcing — their way in. We can vitamin, we can exercise, we can love or hate or not care either way. That doesn’t stop our cars from crashing or our companies downsizing. We can be caught off guard at any time.

So why not let the creative vine wrap around you and become a part of who you are? Don’t ask why a moment calls for a poem or an ink sketch. Don’t worry about the “when” of the muse — just be aware that he/she appears at both opportune and inopportune times.  The close call I had with tomorrowland reminded me just what was important … what was worth living for. Grandchildren. Sunsets. Chilly fall breezes. Birds singing and cats climbing on my lap. Chocolate and sappy movies and rock and roll. Makeup parties and sleepovers and writing contests.

You have your own reasons to fight off that nasty scythe. Fight it off with off with all your might. Fight it with your creativity.

You never know when you’ll be in a photographic moment.

America — and You — Never Forget

There will always be Madness in the world…there will always be dark, crazy things that happen that will forever have no reason, no explanation.

September 11, 2001 will always be one of those dark, crazy things.

But there is a lot of Magic in the world as well. Your lives are full of it. People you know, food you eat, the weather outside. Music, books, painting, computers, football games, all are wonderful experiences in space and time that forever try and encourage you to leave your own world for a while to experience a different one.

For me, one of the most haunting lingerings from 9/11 are the older movies I watch where the Twin Towers stand proud and gleaming in the background. Every single time I catch a flash of them a pang goes through my heart. Funny the things that trigger memories of madness, isn’t it?

So today, take a moment and say, “Hi! How ya doin’? How’s the magic? Miss you (love you, like you, etc.)”  to everyone who has touched your life and passed on to greener pastures (or whatever metaphor makes you feel good). Throw in a “thank you” if you’d like. Or even an extra “love you.” Then move on. They may or may not feel it on the other side, but you will feel it on this side.

And you will be a better person for it.