Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one!’
~ C.S. Lewis
Croning My Way Through Life
I was going through my Gallery last night, showing my hubby some of my favorite galleries, and I realized that they are all my favorites. I seem to connect to the diversity of ideas, talents, directions and mediums found by these creative talents. I think of them more as one big happy family….
I’m an observer of life. I like to watch people, and I like to watch cactus. I like to talk to mountains and communicate with my friends in the other spheres and dimensions.
~ Frederick Lenz
Today I am really overwhelmed with beautiful, fun, magical posts. Color! Poetry! Philosophy! You don’t have to follow them (although you will be glad you did), but go take a peek and see if you don’t come out with a smile on your face!
Each day…..is a little life…..Purplerays
Apple Blossom Breeze — Brenda Davis Harshman
Flows — My Monkey Mind
Dancing Birds – Make Art – Magic Happens
Miracle — All of It… — David Kanigan
Each Leaf In Its Own Time — Leaf and Twig
What Do You Yearn For? — Jan Beek
Not What I wanted to Hear — Walt Page
Driving up north to our 10th (or so) annual Ski weekend has me thinking about family and friends and how important they are in my life.
Do you do any “annual” things with your family or friends?
We have our Polish Sausage Making Party every year — those that participate say we’ve been doing it for 15 years. I look back on my life and remember the girl’s shopping weekends we used to take just so we could stay overnight and drink and eat and gossip and not drive. Further back, I remember fishing trips I used to take with my family; sticking bamboo poles in the muddy bank, playing hide and seek in the woods, and whispering about the strange old hobo man that lived in this nasty little shack down the road.
I wish our minds held more memories, don’t you?
I know I went places, did things, with family and friends. I get glimpses camping with my oldest being only 1-year-old, of taking my in-laws to Las Vegas two weeks before my mother-in-law served divorce papers to my father-in-law. I vaguely remember spending a week out in Seattle visiting a girlfriend when I was younger, and another week visiting a friend in Texas.
But that’s all I remember.
I didn’t take many pictures back then. The cameras were clumsy, and who wanted to bring film to be developed all the time?
These days my phone camera is full. There’s not a get together I don’t try and snap, a sunset I don’t capture. And that includes this ski weekend.
As I get older I find I’m forgetting more and more — not so much a dementia thing, but I’ve got 560,640 hours of experiences in my head. A bit much even for a human computer to recall.
That’s why doing things with family and friends is so important. So many of us hide behind the ego’s judgement of “they should call me” or “they didn’t invite me.” So we therefore skip over thinking or calling or doing something with those who really make our life full.
I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter if I’m the one who’s always calling. So what? Some people have quirks in their personality that stand in the way of their desire to do the same. It’s the same with planning things. I’m always “complaining” that I’m so busy all the time, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Being busy means interacting. Growing. Discovering. You can’t do that locked up in your house behind a computer screen.
I encourage those of you who are on the bring of making plans to MAKE THEM. Don’t let whose turn it is spoil the possibility of a wonderful time. And wonderful memories.
One day your memories will begin to fade, and all that will be left is the smile that was created the day it happened. And if you’re lucky, that’s a hell of a lot of smiles to keep you going.
Don’t you love how daydreams eventually turn to morality plays?
Was thinking this morning. What would I do if I won the lottery?
We had a conversation like this not long ago, when the lottery winnings were in the billions. I knew I had a snowball in hell’s chance of matching even one number, so that was that. But I sometimes wonder what I’d do if I really did come across an incredible amount of cash.
No doubt the first thing everyone would do would be reward yourself. You’d be a fool not to. For what you’ve put up with in your life, a paid-off mortgage or new car is definitely worth the payback.
Then comes pyramid #2. Parents, kids, sisters, brothers, cousins. Well…it depends on how close you are to your cousins. But you know what I mean.
Then comes charity. From cancer to colitis to kidney disease, there is a cause for everything. Perhaps that choice comes from some personal experience. Then again, look around you. How many personal causes are right there next to you?
Just as needy as any national charity are the friends who have stood by you year after year. Maybe your friends are all well and good. But others have seen hard times, too. We have one set of friends who have been in and out of the hospital; one is on disability, one is going to school so she can get a better job. Another couple has both the husband and wife fighting different health care issues and still working full time. A couple of friends are still paying off their “American Dream” that didn’t pan out, plunging them into bankruptcy or eternal second mortgages. Another single friend supporting both her daughter and two elderly parents. Friends who may or may not be suffering from the aftermath of war.
These are the friends I would help out first. The friends who have a hard time walking up stairs. The friends who take medicine so their body stops hurting. The friends who have bought me coffee and talked me out of depression. The friend who texts me out of the blue and asks if I’m really doing okay. The friend that smiles and laughs through every working day.
These are the “charities” I would help if I could. People who are doing things themselves, not asking for help, not asking for charity. People who can’t make ends meet but still manage to come up with pizza money when we all get together. Friends whose children are a little challenged, yet plow through the system with their eye on the prize just like anyone else. Friends who have nothing to offer but a smile and a hug.
Sometimes I think we underestimate the value of friends. We love them, we support them, but often are glad we’re not them. For how would we deal with such disappointment? Such pain? Such confusion? They deal with the world the same way that you and I do it. They complain, they vent, they cry, they laugh, and they move on.
Sometimes I feel so bad that I can’t make their lives easier. Better. I look at my own life. I see what makes my trials easier to bear. And you know what?
It’s the same thing that makes my friends’ lives easier.
If you can’t give them all a half million dollars, give them something even better. Give them YOU. Give them a call. Text them. Buy them a cup of coffee. Invite them over for dinner. Send them a book. Put a funny pic on their Facebook page. Do things to show them how much they mean to you.
Do it now. Don’t wait. You know that old adage….
And besides. It’s 15% off pizzas next Monday…
Well, here it is, December 29th, 2015. Two more days/evenings until New Years Eve, three more days until we roll on over to a new year.
Soon our favorite bloggers will be writing beautiful prose and poetry about letting go of the old, embracing the new, Father Time, memories, love, sentimentality washing over us until we feel bad about feeling so good about feeling so sentimental.
What I want to do now (seeing as New Year’s Eve I’ll probably be playing Gauntlet (video game) with my kids, I’ll play my Tarot cards now.
Two of Pentacles. My two grandsons came to live with me/us this Fall, the pentacles of love and childhood. Soon they will be off in their own house, but, I tell you, as much as I adore them, I understand why childbirth and childrearing is left to women under the age of 50.
Queen of Swords. I admit I’ve gotten sucked into Game of Thrones, including the hype and spoilers (after I’ve watched the episode). I raise my sword in salute of poisoning, White Walkers, the God of Many Faces, Sand Snakes, incest, dragons, wights, High Sparrows, and the Wall. A bit of mania wherever you look.
The Hermit. Can’t tell you how many times I just wanted to burrow into my bed and not come out until a week later. I take the role of Drama Queen seriously, you know.
Nine of Wands. This reflects the number of edits on my novel. The wand is the pen/typewriter, and the nine is the number of times I gave up and went to my Art Gallery instead. Next year is the year.
Wheel of Fortune. Riding the highs and lows of work, I look forward to the days of getting snowed in. Oh darn. Car is stuck in the driveway. Let’s go back inside and write a blog.
Ace of Cups. Got my lack-of-sleep thing under control this year, cut back on some meds, and generally back on the middle-aged road to energy. The Ace of Cups toasts my clean mammogram. Did you get yours??
Two of Dreams. Not a real Tarot card, this card represents the continuation of my two favorite blogs. I love writing, I love unique art, I love magic and I love the shadows between the stars. I love my family, my music, my books, and my followers. And the blogs I follow. And sunrises. And warm summer breezes. And IrishFest in Milwaukee. And cats. and spaghetti. And chocolate.
Wait — that’s more than two dreams.
Hope you are thankful for more than two dreams, too!
Thanksgiving. That time of year when we eat too much, watch too much football, and sleep away the day. It also is the day we give thanks for friends and family and our life, such as it is.
This Thanksgiving I want to put an extra thank-you out there. A thanks to the wonderfully fun, entertaining, and sometimes poignant blogs and bloggers that I follow.
I know there are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there; millions reading, billions thinking about the whole process. Like you, I don’t have a lot of time to read — I, too, have a bizillion other creative paths to walk down. (Think of how tired we all are!)
But I’d like to thank the following bloggers for keeping my dream alive. I know there are some that I have missed, some who have taken a break from blogging, and many that I should be following, but in my heart I love you all.
Check them out, and, if they tickle your fancy, give them a follow!
The Return of the Modern Philosopher. Very funny blog about aliens, vampires, gargoyles, and love and life in Maine. https://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/
Everyone Has a Story. Strong stories about divorce, recovery, and discovering life again. http://everyonehasastory.me/
Maxima. Love poems that cannot help but stoke the flames in your heart. https://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com/
Not Quite Old. Funny, uplifting blog about finding the balance between growing old gracefully and staying as young as possible. https://notquiteold.wordpress.com/
Live & Learn. Uplifting blog dances across all topics, with perfect pictures to match. http://davidkanigan.com/
Leaf and Twig. Gorgeous images accompanied with the perfect haiku. https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/
Catwoods Porch Party. Art, cats, nature, animals, weather, and whatever. catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com
Dawn Whitehand. A wonderful Australian artist, making unique mixed media sculptures from clay, found objects and textured materials which are based on organic natural forms. dawnwhitehand.wordpress.com. (She also has a kickin’ blog of poetry and images at apoemandadrawingaday.wordpress.com.)
gwenniesworld. Marvelous photography with an eye for nature. gwenniesworld.wordpress.com
The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally. Combines personal memories, physical hardships, and a plethora of images reflecting her everyday life. annkoplow.wordpress.com
ImaginePublicity. Motivation and marketing savvy. imaginepublicity.com
The Beauty Along the Road. Discovering Beauty in the small details of our lives through scenery photography and heartfelt words. beautyalongtheroad.wordpress.com
Glorialana’s Blog. An uplifting, sensitive blog that also slices gently into your heart and soul. glorialana.com
Breezy Books. Encouraging advice and personal stories for those who love to write. breezybooksblog.wordpress.com
Victoria K. Gallagher. Flash-Fiction with a cup of Re-Ali-Tea, as she so aptly puts it. victoriakgallagher.wordpress.com
Carol Balawyder. Writing about justice, mid-life dating, grief, inspiring blogs, and awesome writing workshops. carolbalawyder.com
Andra Watkins. Best selling author and traveler who explores family and life relationships. andrawatkins.com
The Write Transition. A medical thriller author, physician, public health advocate, and writer who believes every experience is worthwhile, even if our paths deviate from where we started. carrierubin.com
Jillian Maas Backman. Best selling author and motivational speaker, a creative muse who ties intuition to success on all levels. www.jillianmaasbackman.com
Cats at the Bar. Funny adventures of a boatload of cats. catsatthebar.org
Figments of a DuTchess. Creative thinker and a successful participant in Weekly Photo Challenges. drieskewrites.wordpress.com
Booksphotographsandartwork’s Blog. Great eye for photography, with a book review now and then. booksphotographsandartwork.wordpress.com
gwenniesgarden. Some of the most unique and gorgeous flowers and garden photography I’ve seen. gwenniesgarden.wordpress.com
Friendly Fairy Tales. Fairy tales and poetry celebrating magic and nature for kids of all ages. http://www.friendlyfairytales.com
hugmamma’s MIND, BODY and SOUL. A mother’s love for her daughter and her life is reflected in her heart-warming tales. www.hugmamma.com
Please Pass the Recipe. Original and traditional recipes and the stories that go with them. www.pleasepasstherecipe.com
A Journey Called Life… Everything from poetry to fantastic images to stories about life. www.architar.wordpress.com
The Procrastiwriter. A motivator (and procrastinator) who shows how to be a successful writer around a full-time life. www.theprocrastiwriter.com
Sometimes — no, wait — most of the time — I feel like the machine that keeps track of your heart rate. Up, down. Spiky Up. Spikey Down. Rhythmic, predictable. Up. Down. Spikey Up. Spikey Down.
One minute I think — no, wait — I know — I know what I’m doing. Charge full speed ahead. Do it my way. Oh, do the work, do the research, but since most around me don’t listen to me anyway, just do it.
The next minute — no, wait — the next day — I have no confidence at all. What the heck was I thinking? It was a waste of time/energy/thought process.
This year is my Golden Year. Sssssssssixttty Twooooooo….(you know how hard that is to say). Golden because I finally have found a second wind, a second dream, a second chance. I’ve found a calling, and I don’t want to let go.
But also, being sixty two, I have had my fill of other’s ideas, criticisms, and opinions. I’m tired of listening to opinions that go nowhere, eyes that glaze, and minds that are always closed.
Herein lies the spike up and down.
I find I still do need eyes that glaze and closed minds to open my own. And I still need to reach out to others for help.
After all these years I still find that I still am afraid of putting out my ideas to others. I’m afraid of rejection, closed minds, eyes that glaze — all that negative stuff. And I find that all of that gets in the way of getting what I really want.
I know I’ve said this to you before, but don’t be afraid to share your ideas and directions with those who can really keep you on task. Those who enjoy your work and can give you the boost you need to take it to the next level.
Those who can see what you cannot.
Never take suggestions from those whose opinions you respect as criticism. Don’t take them as daggers to the heart, or balloons bursting in front of you. I know that’s the first place we all go. But it’s a waste of time and heart.
Tonight I broke bread — or rather ice cream — with a friend whose experience and friendship I trust. So I threw out my idea(s) for my Golden Stuff, and got some excellent feedback. Feedback I wasn’t expecting. Feedback that I hadn’t even thought of. Feedback I wouldn’t have gotten had I not “put it out there.” I know now that I have more work to do — and that’s a good thing.
Working on your dreams is a lot of work — whether you’re 25 or 55 or ___ (fill in the blank). Don’t settle for yesterday. Or maybe take yesterday and use it for today, which will be for tomorrow. And ask others. Take their thoughts and see if they fit within your own. If they don’t fit, that’s okay. But you’ll never know if they fit until you try.
Let’s work on this puzzle together.
I love a good book; I love good blogs and good company.
I seemed to have found all three at Breezy Books.
I also love free books, and that’s what Maddie Cochere is offering. And, from the sound of things, that’s just what I’m in need of.
In Maddie’s own words:
I’ve always loved the name Susan, so I chose to use it for my main character. I decided to write about some of my life experiences from working in a weight loss center by day and playing racquetball at night, but I would have everything play out in a much more interesting way in Susan’s life.
… I completed the fourth book in the series. I know! Isn’t that crazy? But I was having fun – sailing along, writing, laughing, and self-publishing. My books are a fun, easy read. There is mystery, a little humor (sometimes madcap), and a little romance. They are pretty squeaky clean with nothing to make you blush.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of blushing and shifting in my seat every other page. Sometimes I just want to read something fun, something real, something that feels more like me than the color grey.
I’ve downloaded my free books — and can’t wait to start reading. And the great thing is that there’s more to come.
Come check out the Susan Hunter Mysteries!
You can teach an old dog new tricks – I’m living proof of that. I can’t tell you how many times this bell has run loudly in my head. And I’d like to think I’m humble enough to admit and learn from each and every experience.
Tonight I learned – re-learned – how important friendship can be.
My friends have always been important to me. That’s why I married my best friend. And my kids are my kids and I love them terribly. But they’re my friends, too. We have a history between us, one that leads to stories and remembrances and reprimands gone crooked.
But there’s something about best friends that aren’t necessarily related to you that can make all the difference in the world between sanity and insanity. Someone you can tell your wickedest deeds and funniest moments to who won’t look at you like you’ve got spinach between your teeth. Best friends listen to your rambling, your dreams, and your fears.
And that’s what I’ve always wanted to be. A friend.
I’m surprised how often we take advantage of our friends. Not in a mean way — more like in a carefree, careless way. How often we don’t call, don’t text, always thinking we’ll get ahold of them tomorrow. We don’t mean to be too busy – half the time I think about my besties but I’m just too tired to do anything about it.
Am I still their friend?
In a perfect world, I am. And in an imperfect world, I am too.
Tonight I proved to myself that I am a good friend. I am a good friend because I care about others – I care about the people who are talking to me. Who are laughing with me. Who are rolling their eyes at me. Over coffee and some overly-priced cupcake I shared my past, my fears, and my excitements, and allowed them to do the same. Sometimes my bffs confess all – other times they don’t share one little secret.
And that’s what best friends do. Listen, talk, say nothing.
This coming up weekend I’m going to get together with women who were my besties 20 years ago. Girls who were girls when I was a girl. Moms who were moms (or rather new moms) when I was a new mom. I haven’t seen most of them for almost 15 years.
Are we still friends? Are we still besties?
Time doesn’t change our past. The bonds we shared are still there 20 years later. Will we still find each other interesting? Fun? Will we talk till dawn or go to sleep at 10?
In the long run, it doesn’t really matter. Reconnecting to the tree that bore our fruit once upon a time is all that matters. There’s a good feeling in that.
In this world, life is short. My family, my friends, all have lost ones they loved way too soon. I miss my mom, my dad, my brother. My friends miss their dads, their moms, and their brothers. I don’t want to pass any more time missing people. A once-in-a-while call or a weekly get together — it doesn’t matter how you stay connected. All that matters is that you stay connected.
Give your bestie a call. Text them a “hello” message. Write on their Facebook page or meet them for coffee. You’ll be glad you did.
And so will they.
1. Be safe tonight (and every night)
2. Don’t drink and drive. (easy one)
3. Don’t eat too many cream cheese appetizers
4. If you can’t forgive, there’s nothing wrong with forgetting
5. Make a to-do list
6. Make a fantasy to-do list
7. Rip up lists and do whatever you want
10. Make a resolution to get better at one thing in 2015
11. Say “hi” to someone you don’t know
12. Watch less TV and read more
13. Say good night every night to the ones you love
14. Know life goes on with or without you — make sure it’s with
15. Happy New Year!
Let’s start this out with the truth. I suck at bowling. Let’s finish this up with the truth. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is the crazy fun you can have with people you don’t fully know.
No one can know any one 100%. Fact of life. Who knows what’s in the minds of your significant other, your great kid, your best friend. Heck, you don’t even know YOU as much as you think. Having said that, think about how many “others” you come in contact with every day. If you work outside the house, if you have kids that go to school, you always find someone you can share small talk with. Sometimes the small talk grows into comfortable talk. Sometimes the comfortable talk tumbles into good friend talk. But no matter where you allow the friendship to go, there is always something good to come from it.
Some people will tell you their life story in 10 minutes. Others will hold secrets as long as you know them. That’s a fact of life, too. As long as you don’t demand more (or less) from these “others” you might find real people that you enjoy being around.
I’ve been blessed in my life with a great husband, great kids, and great friends. It hasn’t always been this way. These days we laugh that wherever there’s an “A” (my last name initial), there is drama. Cancer. Passing On. Water damage from a broken faucet while your house is up for sale. It can be a big thing, it can be a small thing. But it’s always SOMEthing. That’s why you need to find friendship, a good time, whenever you can. A few fun hours can clear your thoughts, move you forward.
Back to sucking at bowling. I went to the company outing Saturday, doing my best to throw a ball down the alley, mostly winding up with gutter balls and single digit pins. To think I met my husband at a bowling alley 35 years ago was a flash down an alley I barely remember (no pun intended).
But what didn’t suck was that I had fun with people that I see in a totally different environment 40 hours a week. A single mother, a married mother of one, and a single would-make-a-great-mother, all made bowling and friendship such an easy thing. During the week we all sit tied to our desks, way over our heads in work, barely sharing tales of what we did yesterday, no less what we did years ago. Yet these are people that I see day in and day out. People who accept me for what they see. People who don’t judge me for past mistakes or slights or wrong turns. There’s no way we could know each other’s upside down lives, yet we are drawn by the common need for friendship and understanding that their “upside down” lives looks hauntingly familiar.
People don’t need to be a full-time member of your personal entourage to be your friend. While you don’t have to share intimate details, you can share the best part of yourself with others who need it. An ear to listen, advice from experience — it doesn’t matter. I learn from those who have walked my path as well as those who are walking across the field somewhere. Laughing over the little things, like bowling, makes the rest of life easier. It won’t cure the disease or a broken heart or unemployment, but it will let you know you’re not alone in the wilderness.
Now…if someone could just teach me how to bowl…
After spending a great weekend with women from both sides of the family, I am a firm believer that family can be friends, and friends can be family. After all is said and done, they are the same.
We all have had our share of pain and loss, of growth and stagnation. But we found a bond over a pedicure and lunch that will keep us connected as long as we breathe.
Get to it! Go out and bring your family and friends together. Just make a date and do it. It doesn’t matter where — bring those hearts and souls together.
Don’t wait. You don’t have as many chances as you think.
What Goes Around Comes Around. As you sow so shall you reap. The pleasant aftermaths of Karma. Put goodness out into the universe and it will return to you tenfold. Be a stinkweed and you’ll wind up in the compost heap.
I like those philosophies. But I am also beginning to like ditties like Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold, and I’m Gonna Get You, Sucka. It’s human nature to want to hurt the other person/parent/group who took advantage of your illness/ineptitude/good nature. There is perverse pleasure in thinking about making “the other guy” pay for whatever indignities they lumped upon you.
The majority of us never act upon the impulse of revenge. Except for movies and TV, extreme violence never gets you where you want to go.
An easier way of releasing our anger is running ten miles or chopping carrots with a meat cleaver. Because the baddies never really “get it”, their egos will always tell them it’s the “other guy’ who’s wrong. The “other guy” started it. The “other guy” is only getting what they deserve. And if you are that “other guy,” you’re sunk.
I swam through some murky waters this week. Pedestal Poser I am not. I often get myself into “situations” that have only one way out. And that way is not the rose-petal-covered-path way. But sometimes I feel the lesson is more like a class in Nuclear Physics rather than Art 101. That no matter what I do the outcome will always be the same. Goliath 1, Weird Woman 0.
Now, this might sound like a plea to the audience for sympathy or empathy. Maybe on some super sub level it is, but it is more about moving past the meat cleavers and voodoo dolls and grabbing hold of the things that mean something to you and keeping hold.
If you only allow yourself to get past the anger and broken hearts and bruised egos, you will find just as many wonderful things ahead of you as before the bump/crack/ravine in the road appeared. They’ve always been there. You’ve just let someone else’s failing ego block the way.
It’s not about who is right and who is wrong. In the mind’s eye we are always right. But true class, true enlightenment, allows the other to be right once in a while, too. We don’t have to belittle or browbeat a situation to try and make it right. Sometimes a clear head, a walk through the woods, a funny movie, or a glass of wine with a friend soothes the most raggedy heart.
If you are beating the brow of someone else because they are not doing it “your way,” stop it. The world will never spin the way you want it. So move on.
If you are walking the edge of right and wrong, stop it. Pick one side or the other and just get on with it. Your payback will come in a form that reflects the choices you’ve made.
If you believe you don’t deserve your fate, stop it. You do. Your future, your fate, has brought you to this moment. Right or wrong, it gives you a chance to make yet another choice. If you want to deal with more confusion and trouble, fall on the weedy side. If sunshine and vanilla ice cream are more your forte, do what’s right.
Don’t know which way to fly? Find a friend. Blow off steam with someone who is there just for that reason. Hate your boyfriend? Your parents? Your job? Tell it to someone who accepts you for you. They love you because of your morals, your ideals. Your quirkiness. And they often know what you need to sweep your sidewalk clean. Their honesty in supporting you comes from the belief that you won’t let them down either. And somewhere in the exchange of thought and feelings and pain, an answer comes.
Back to Karma. I do believe in Karma. I have always been a good person, and I have been rewarded with good people around me all my life. I have survived my ups and downs because I have found it’s much more fun to play in the sunshine than down in the troll hole. For you know what happens to trolls when the sun comes out.
Now THAT would be Karma.