Finding Dorothy’s Shoes

Ruby-slippers-wizard-of-ozI absolutely love when comments on one blog flow into thoughts and inspiration on another. That’s why I love following the writers I do.

In her blog, A Journey Called Life, (https://architar.wordpress.com), my friend Archita wrote a story called “A note from the evening” (https://architar.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/a-note-from-the-evening/). It is a first-person narrative to someone  — a friend, it seems — to that friend’s ego. To that friend’s mind. It has to be to their unconscious mind, for the conscious mind was not listening.

Her short tale explains all the motions and routines the narrator will do for the friend who never stops complaining. For the complaining is nothing new. The friend cannot see past her stubbornness to change her direction in life; the friend who insists the narrator has the banquet and the friend barely the leftovers.

It made me think and then think again. First I wondered if the friend was (figuartively) me…me in other situations. We all have the tendency to whine — life is never the bed of roses we dream of. But I hoped — still hope — that I have found a way out of that tedious state of blaming the world for some of my own bad decisions.

The more I thought, the more I realized that I have friends like that, too. I think we all do. People who just can’t get out of the whirlpool. People who don’t really want to get out of the whirlpool. That it’s easier to complain and point fingers than to do something about the situation.

Many situations are hard. There is no denying this. Life is hard. But life is also good. There is proof of that all around us.

You will continue your story- about children, about how busy you really are, about how you never had any help, about how only death can bring you your peace. Then you will ask me if I watched your favorite show on TV.

I often wonder how people get out of the whirlpools they swim in. It takes determination. It takes work. My dad and father-in-law both gave up smoking after 50 years of two packs a day. That wasn’t a walk through the roses, believe me. My friend is going back to school to get her childhood education degree, and she is in her mid-50s. Another friend has had multiple operations on knees and shoulders and had cancer in his pancreas and still manages to go camping with us a couple times a year.

Who is to decide what is too heavy a burden to bear? Who is to decide what is enough help?

Let me tell you, death looks terrible on poems. Death looks more terrible when it’s just news. Death never gives peace. Life is peace. In living, in grief, in celebrating, in friendships- you find what death lacks- a life.

Archita and I bantered back and forth in the comment section about when it’s time to listen, when it’s time to intervene, when it’s time to walk away.  It’s not easy to know the difference between being a friend, a sounding board, and an enabler. From drinking to being unemployed to being divorced, the path out of the darkness isn’t an easy one to find. But I believe we all have that inner knowledge that lets us know where to draw the line between all of the above.

I suggested she suggest the magic release of Creativity to her friend. I  know so many who have turned to the Arts to save their souls, to release their souls, to find their souls. That’s why I encourage it so much. It doesn’t matter if you crochet or make scrapbooks or write poetry. Your love for artistic freedom makes you better and better. A better artist, a better person, a better friend. Archita found her own soul again through creativity — she only hoped her friend could, too.

But that’s another story.

Do go and read Archita’s blog if you find time. You might find yourself in her shoes. Which, in the end,  just might be Dorothy’s shoes.

Singing Cats

tumblr_lmndk2YwcA1qfoh4tI think of myself as an (pretty much) independent person; loving, kind, funny, quirky, smart (in different ways). Self confidence was a long time in coming, but now that I’m a wee bit older, it is finally beginning to be a way of life.

Imagine my chagrin, then, when my husband told me that my cats are training ME!

For all you cat lovers out there (and I know there’s alot), cats are independent, affectionate, and vocal. Vocal to the point of nagging, sometimes.

Such is the case of my two darlings…Tom and Mysty.

Mysty is one of those squirrel-furred types who is as big as Dick Butkus. Tom is a gray and white tuxedo with a smaller girth but solid as a punching bag.

My hubby feeds them when he comes home from work (4 a.m.) and before I get home from work (4 p.m.) It obviously is not often enough, though, according to my dears, because they follow me and meow and scream and needle me from the time hubby leaves the house until I go to bed.

I once suggested hubby didn’t feed them enough at mealtime. His response was an incredulous eyeball popper. He, indeed, fed them plenty at both meals.

Well, not according to Tom and Mysty.

That’s when he told me that the cats are conditioning me. Training me to give them tidbits all night long.

Not me, I assured him. He MUST not be feeding them enough!

Hubby showed me how much food each should be getting each day, and how he slips a tad bit more into their bowls. It’s their eating habits that are out of hand when I’m around.

Well, when you are home alone evening after evening, putzing with laundry and dishes and working on your computer, and every time you stand up, they come meowing, and follow you into the kitchen and bathroom still meowing, well, it sounds like they are starving to me.

So I give them itsy bitsy extras just to shut them up.

I suppose it’s my fault that Mysty is Tanky and Tom is Wide Buff. They chase each other around the house at night all the time, so I figured they were burning off some of those calories.

Tom gets kidney problems now and then, so the vet has me change to canned food now and then. This change turns him into a cannibal and Mysty into a scavenger. Tom’s habit is eating three or four bites, then play, sleep, then come back for the rest.

Mysty’s habit is devour everything in sight.

Hubby says I should ignore them when they meow at me. That they know what gets to me and are controlling me.

I say pfffish…no one controls me. I am my own person.

Of course, it’s always easy to boast my bravado when I’m sitting at a computer miles away from the choir…and I hear n.u.t.i.n…..

Bombardment Central

October-18-2011-20-12-49-DoubleFacePalmEven when I am well-intentioned, I tend to screw up. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t think things through, or I don’t know how things work so I don’t know what the outcome will really be — it could be a thousand things. But I always wind up having egg on my face.

I had waited a long time to relaunch my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. I’d added images, found the right theme, cropped the images so they were all pretty much the same size — it was going to be a GO. And it was.

But I didn’t realize that every time I re-posted a blog, or actually posted it for the first time, it would hit the airwaves like a newborn child. Every new blog blew away the one previous, acting like it was the only flash in the pan.

It overtook my Humoring the Goddess Sunday Evening gig with new artist John Lemke; readers didn’t know whether to read A or B or Z. My zealousness almost caused me readers.

I suppose I could blame it on adult-onset A.D.D. I know I’ve been antsy all my life, but only in the last few years have I found a name for it. Not being able to sit still has caused me all kinds of problems, the least of which was almost my job. Now that I’m older it causes me loss of sleep, anxiety, restless leg syndrome — the whole gamut.

It also tends to put my cart waaayyyy before the horse. I have so many projects, so many ideas, so many things in my head that I sometimes think I have hail pounding me on the head. I tell myself to slow down 10 times a day. But most of the time it’s too late.

So to you that were bombarded with Sunday Evening Galleries, forgive me. I more want you to enjoy John and his work, then move along to the next collection, and the next. I put 4-5 images in my HtG blog, then three times as many on the Sunday Evening site. That was the whole purpose behind the SEAG. I’m catching on…it just will take a while.

I hope you will visit both sites more often, and if you have any suggestions for slowing down my pretzelly condition, I’ll take those too.

name1

Unclogging the Soul

handsThe news has been pretty overwhelming for my middle aged mind to wrap around lately. The aftermath in Ferguson doesn’t make sense to me, even if you whole-heartedly have an opinion on the decision. The people whose businesses were set on fire and destroyed or sacked did nothing to the victim; the broken communication between sides has done nothing but destroy lives of innocent people who have worked hard for a living, hard for their money, hard for their very survival.

But I stray, because I don’t want my blogging world to be one of destruction. I want this world to be one of hope. Of laughs and rolling of the eye and a tear now and then because you “get it.”

Yet there are more stories. More horrors. More wtf’s going on in this world. And this is nothing new. I follow a couple of bloggers whose lives have been turned upside down by abusers; mental, physical. Their stories are told their way, in a their blog, in their world. And my heart hurts for them, what they’ve endured. Fortunately, my heart soars for the salvation they’ve found, for the fresh start they have made for themselves.

A handful of my close friends have been through hell and back in their lives. Like one, continuous soap opera, you can’t think it can get any worse, and yet it does.  Yet their love of life, of family and friends, has brought them across the burning coals and onto the soft, cool grass of today. And tomorrow.  Their strength has become my inspiration.

And in my naive, white-bread way, I wonder: How did it ever get that way? How were abusers and mind melters and bullies allowed to run rampant through my friends and bloggers lives and get away with what they did? What ever happened to being a decent human being?

I wonder how we can ever keep our head above all this muck. How we can keep our souls from being tainted by all the madness that permeates the world. After all, one’s goodness can only so far. I can understand, I can empathize, I can share my experience and my support and my strength, even if it’s from an armchair quarterback’s position. But all the positive vibes I can share with those I love doesn’t change the way the world is today. And my inability to do anything to change and/or stop the rampage makes it worse. Being an overworked (and overtired) granny doesn’t give me much time to raise the flag and march. Nor would my competency make me much of a leader. I can honestly understand those who don’t turn the TV on anymore.

But I don’t want to be one of those guys. I don’t want to be ignorant of the pain and confusion and absurdity of what happens in our world every day. I want to be there for my friends and for those I don’t really know. I want to find a way to translate the horrors that go on every day, even though I can’t bear to think about most of them. How do I do that? How can I help and run at the same time?

Maybe the best thing I can do on this day before Thanksgiving Eve is stand by what I believe, and to keep it simple.

Stop being a bully when the world doesn’t go your way. Stop abusing those who don’t see things the way you do. Get over yourself. You’ll never change things by violence. Grow up.  Learn to adapt.  Take your complaints and your problems to those who can do something about it. Not to the innocent guy who just opened a snack shop with the last of his savings.

On the gentler side, take one step at a time. One breath at a time. Every day the sun rises is another chance to change your life. Don’t judge your situation by the way others handle theirs. Listen to your friends, to those you can trust. Change your attitude. Change your routine. Live to make others happy. Listen to others. Offer support, a hand. And don’t be afraid to share your own darkness. There is light in friendship.

It’s so easy to say, so hard to do.

But it can’t be any harder than setting a car on fire and flipping it on its side.

Look Through Any Window

CAM00209I keep saying over and over again that I’m not getting older, that technology isn’t getting the best of me. After all, I do work in an office; I do code copy for the Web; I do work with spreadsheets and word documents, and do design a website here and there. So it’s not like I’m a rookie here.

But I recently bought a new laptop with Windows 8, and I can’t tell you how lost I am.

There are boxes on the startup screen that mean nothing to me. Boxes I want nothing to do with. Yet it is nearly impossible to figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve been looking for how to open the DVD drive (besides pushing the button on the side), or how to put an icon on the desktop. Every corner is a link to another universe. Is this supposed to be the new wave of enlightenment? The “world” at my “fingertips”?

I am beginning to understand why my father wanted to cocoon himself in his apartment in his later years. I can see why seasoned veterans would rather make phone calls with a flip phone or turn on the telly and have only 5 stations to choose from. Every time I turn around I have to learn something “new” which, to most of us, means “complicated.”

I am all for growing and learning something new. Or reinforcing what we already know. You’re never too young or too old to develop or refine your skills. I know a lady who is learning to speak a new language, a girlfriend who is going to cooking school, and a couple of guys who are building a car practically from scratch. What’s not to learn? So it takes some of us a little longer to put piece 1a3 into 2f6; sooner or later we figure it out, and are (hopefully) wiser for the fact.

But back to Windows 8. Who really needs all this stuff? Who needs three different browsers and two photo saving programs and clouds and Skypes and skies and a dozen game icons? I know – they all have their special place in others’  lives. My girlfriend used Skype to talk to her husband who was in Thailand, and many people would never know what their nieces or nephews or their kid’s friends’ kids look like if it weren’t for downloading their photos into one of the galleries. Listening to your own music from your laptop is really nice, too.

But what I don’t need is to click on four different corners to change screens, or a plethora of icons that will take me weeks to figure out. Am I just lazy? I don’t like that word. Stupefied? No…not that word either. Mystified? Well, I do like that word, but I hate to use it on such a three-dimensional object as a laptop. Maybe it’s more like being … distracted. I am such a sensitive, awakened, seasoned, middle-aged persona (like you) that I don’t have time to waste learning things that aren’t important to me (kinda like the subjects in college).

I already have a hard enough time coordinating jewelry and outfits. Or keeping my laptop files in some semblance of order. I’m not up for figuring out squares and corners. I just want simple word documents and chat boxes and an easy way to get to WordPress. For me and my limited play time, all I really need is a laptop with a smooth keyboard, a bit of Photoshop to play with images, and, okay, I-Tunes. And that mahjong game. And the link to Yahoo TV.  And, okay. The link to my horoscope. You get my drift.

My head’s already in the clouds enough the way it is. I’m not sure I need my laptop there, too….

Don’t Worry About It!

          th_Cheshire_Cat_KHREC  They say routines get easier as you get older. That’s why adults have an easier time dealing with telephone solicitors, making grocery lists, and analyzing football games.  Why is it, then, that getting ready for work in the morning is often more confusing than a “Where’s Waldo?” puzzle?

            Let’s take this morning, for example. Woke up more than an hour before I needed to leave for work. Now, mind you, I have no children to get ready for school, my animals were already fed, and I didn’t have to dig through the basket for clean underwear.  I took a quick shower, made my lunch, grabbed a banana, and ran out the door.  I didn’t do the makeup thing or the curl-my-hair thing. And I still was almost late. Checking out my main campground (where I work), others looked so smooth and…mmm…together.  The guys were groomed, the gals were fresh.  Few (if any) look as frazzled and windblown as me.

            Time Management, you say.  I swear I am proactive.  It’s just that my time is lost somewhere in Einstein’s Relativity Time Dilation Theory. This morning I managed to slice, salt and paper towel eggplant for dinner; throw an excess of grapefruits in a bag for company distribution; and even took time to select jewelry to match my top. But somehow I still managed to look like a bag lady schlepping bundles in the back door of work.

            Get Up Earlier, you say.  I don’t know about most of you, but 5:20 a.m. is already pushing the sanity button.  Seeing as I woke up at 4 a.m. anyway (when various cats and dogs chose to share my side of the bed), you’d think I’d have the stamina to get up and get going.  Right. My husband showers, shaves, dresses, feeds the dogs and cats and fish, makes himself a breakfast sandwich, lets the dogs out again, brushes his teeth, checks the weather, and leaves for work all in 35 minutes.  What’s up with that?

            Be More Organized, you say. Pick out your clothes the night before. Make your lunch the night before. Take a shorter shower so you don’t have to put your makeup on in the warehouse bathroom. Color-coordinate your jewelry (gold together, silver together, rhinestones together) so the choices are quicker. Now you’re getting to the edge of implausible. How would I know what I’d be hungry for at 12:30 p.m. the next day? What if the shirt I wanted to wear suddenly sported a ketchup stain? What jewelry would go with that?

            Enlist Help, you say. That he-man who flies through his (or her) morning chores can pick up a few more tasks along the way, too. Knowing my tendency to move slow (so I don’t forget anything), I should have him double check the stove and curling iron before he leaves to make sure they’re turned off, have him make me a sandwich while he make himself one, and since he’s  superman and out to his car long before I take my vitamins, maybe I’ll have him start my car as well. That way I don’t have to drive the first couple of miles peering through a strip one scraper width wide.

            Accept It, you say.  The more you fight your routine, the more messed up things get.  What is the purpose of a routine if you don’t stick to it? Realize that you do stick to it ― you just interpret the parameters of these things your own way. So you don’t always remember to bring the bills to drop in the mailbox. So you don’t remember to pack bottled water or the book you read until one in the morning.  So what?  Has anyone ever mentioned your non-ironed shirt or your pants that occasionally ride up your calf because of static?  Not really. Accept that, even though the field has been filled with obstacles, you have managed to stay within the safety of the goal posts.

            Look ― the things your friends worry about have nothing to do with what you brought for lunch or if your hair was cut too short.  Friends are more worried about what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling. How your family is doing. What you’re doing Saturday night. If you’re feeling okay and if they can do anything to help you feel better. Those who judge you by your rigid adhesion to schedules don’t understand who you really are. So they don’t matter. Respect the rules, abide by the ones that can get you in trouble, and strive to keep the rest.

            Don’t Worry About It, you say.  Now, that’s about the most sensible advice you’ve given me today.

 

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are…

I am lost. Utterly, depressingly, spastically lost. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I find myself retracing my steps, my thoughts, my habits over the past 3-4 days. And yet I am helplessly clueless. I can’t blog, I can’t enter contests — I feel like I’m constantly grasping at the great void.

I’ve lost my flash disk.

Now, for the population in general, that’s not a traumatic thing. After all, unless there’s porn or the secret to immortality on the disk (which there isn’t), everything that’s on it is someplace else as well. Say, on my laptop. Or backed up on my portable hard drive. No problemo. But of course, you already know it goes deeper than that. 

Practically everything that’s on my computer is on my flash disk: short stories, resumes, novels, photography, research. I suppose you could pick it up and learn all about me from the nonsense I save. And it’s not so much I’m concerned that someone will read my “inner thoughts” and “financial fiascos.”  It’s kinda like going for my yearly girly check up — seen one, seem them all. At this point in my life, nothing to get embarassed about. Yes, there are private things saved in files such as “girly things” and “Art’s House.” But nothing that would wind up on Entertainment Tonight.

No, the bigger, cosmic ramification from this game of hide-and-seek is that I’ve MISPLACED MY FLASH DRIVE.  That I didn’t put it BACK IN MY PURSE where it always goes. That I got distracted — again — ran off and climbed the Eiffel Tower or went running with the bulls in Spain and forgot to PUT IT AWAY.  That I’m senile, forgetful, and just this side of dementia.  I have retraced all steps that I can remember; dug around and into the sofa, my purse, my carry bag, my pockets, three tables, two dressers, the dog toy box, and even the dreaded junk drawer.  I’ve dug around in my drawers at work and under the seats of my two beater cars. And it’s not there. Nowhere. Nada.

How could I be so careless with something so important?  That means I can’t download something on the run…I can’t type a ditty at lunch time and bring it home to work on in the evening. I can’t bring great pictures to work to use as screen savers, and can’t find the family recipes my daughter-in-law’s dad let me download from his computer. I can’t stop at the library and do a little research, nor can I share some of my great music with my pals at work.  I can’t do any of the creative airy fairy things I’m used to doing because I’ve MISPLACED MY FLASH DRIVE.

What does that say about my state of mind? Am I in such a hurry to get to tomorrow that I forget to enjoy today? What’s next? Leaving for work late, forgetting to turn off the stove that made my grilled cheese breakfast sandwich? Filling a grocery cart full of groceries, just to get to the checkout and realize I’ve left my checkbook on the kitchen table? Going to the dentist’s office when really I’ve got an appointment at the eye doctor?  I feel like the girl who cried wolf.  Not me, I boast. I’ll never lose my flash disk. It’s always in one of two or three places. Tops. I’m always telling my husband, “Stop treating me like a kid! Quit ragging me!”  And yet here I am, ragging myself. Another notch in the “dummy” belt. Another slip on the ice.

All this berating just for a little thing that probably ended up as a cat toy somewhere, lying with saintly patience for me to stumble across it. It has unfinished stories waiting, summer pictures to be used as computer wallpaper, and recipes waiting to be cooked. It’s waving to me, it’s little lanyard quivering in devoted anticipation, knowing that sooner or later I will stumble upon it, and rejoice that the cosmos has once again stepped in to help. Perhaps then I will realize that it truly is the journey that has been what it’s all about, not the final destination.

Until then, if any of you have a little winjy you can send my way to help me find my little flash disk, I’d appreciate it. In return I’ll send you the great Artichoke Dip recipe that I know is filed away on it…