Do It Today!

Working till noon today, then off we go to the North woods with the grand kids for a couple of days. Grandpa already has plans for the four of us to camp out in the living room and  play games and eat popcorn and watch dumb movies and stay up past 10:00 pm and sleep on whatever couch we find. There is fishing to do, grilled cheese to make, take the dog fetching in the lake — a full schedule before the parents get there.

It’s great life… One that is moving way too fast for me. I’m trying to take life one day at a time, But as you get older, one day feels like 12 hours, Not 24.

I try not to let that part get to me. But it always does.

I day dream a lot of things when I get away from my responsibilities. My day writing job has not turned out like I thought, some family and friends around me are not doing well, and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before a shoe drops on my head.

I have great plans for once I retire which is only a 112 days away. But you know Sagittarians…  we plan big and carry out average and end up small.

I still have the dream of Paris or Ireland. But that dreams on hold until I get this writing thing together. And as I work on starting a proof reading/editor business, my grand kids are starting soccer. One is 4, the other is 9, so that works out to 2 games every Saturday.

These games bring me back to when my own kids played soccer. Was it really so long ago? 10-15 years ago I sat on the sidelines watching the loves of my life run up-and-down the field. No matter what the weather, we were there. There was really no time to write back  then. Life was too busy being a mom.

But I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

Now their kids are starting out running across those same fields and no matter what the weather, there I am, sitting on the sideline, watching the loves of my life run up-and-down the field.

There’s not much time for writing these days either.

So what you must do — what we all must do — is take each day as it comes. Period. Plan if you can, laugh if you can’t.

For everything you do can bring you joy.

Get out of your mindset that it has to be this or that that makes your full heart beat. Do what you need to do, find time to do what you love to do, and hope that everything eventually comes out stuck together in one big happy giant ball.

I probably won’t see you till Sunday night in the gallery. But do me a favor.

Do something fun this weekend. Do something magical this weekend. Just reach out and grab that magic that’s right in front of you and make it yours.

Always drive home down A, B, C, D? Try driving home A, B, K, R, D. Take a view of your world you don’t often see. Always look at that same tree driving somewhere? Stop for a minute an take its picture. Write about it. Paint it. Pretend there’s a swing on it. Connect with it. Always eyeball that ice cream stand in the next town? Stop there! Get some ice cream! Big deal!

Do it alone, do it with someone. Put your face in the sunlight or the wind or the rain and just be there. Let go of self repercussions and self hated or frustrations and just go wherever the moment takes you. Forget about housework, looking for a new job, loosing those extra pounds.

Just take the moment and see what you see.

I know I’m going to.

Pillow fight in the living room!

Christmas is Coming?

As of this Tuesday night, there are 13 days, 5 hours, 42 minutes until Christmas.

Are you ready for Christmas?  I can say that I am not. It’s not that big a deal for me.

Now before you hold me as a scrooge or anti-sentiment protester, let me explain. Which you knew I would.

I celebrate Christmas every day.

Sounds ludicrous, I suppose, but I really do.

The lights. I love Christmas lights. I have a strand of white under my counter and a strand of blue over my window.  If I had my way I’d have Christmas lights in every room all year around!

The gifts. Heck, I give gifts all year long. I came across a champagne glass with a dolphin stem at Goodwill, and bought it for my bestie, as she loves dolphins. I buy my friends lunch, take my grandkids to the movies, give gifts to family and friends for no reason. I don’t have to have a special day to give gifts from my heart to those I love.

Christmas dinner. I eat like it’s Christmas day every weekend. I share meals with friends, family, and even bring treats to work for all to share. I give to food banks and food drives throughout the year. That’s the spirit year round.

Christmas carols. There’s nothing more beautiful than listening to the choir sing Christmas carols. Their voices are magical, spiritual, a path to the supreme and mystical. And Christmas songs are fun to sing all year long. During the summer my grandson and hubby were singing “Jingle Bells” while I retorted with “Summer Breeze.” We both had our way and it was fun.

Santa Claus.  I sometimes shudder at the thought of a little boy or girl being forced to sit on an old fat man’s lap who has a big bushy beard and hair and a deep voice going “Ho Ho Ho!” I don’t know you! Santa is a jolly ol’ fellow, but he’s not on my top 10 list of year-round celebrations.

The Christmas Tree. I have lots of plants in my house, and lots of trees on my property. I hang windchimes and oversized ornaments on the trees along the trails so I can enjoy them all year around.

The Baby Jesus. This is what Christmas is really all about. A baby who was born poor and died poor, but lived a full life, teaching us the way to live. He talked about friendship, patience, and compassion. Love and understanding. He taught us to love our neighbor, our family, our children. Not to beat them, frighten them, bully them. He showed us how to be a good person.

I try and live that life every day. I don’t need a special day to be nice to someone, to share with someone.

Neither do you.

Christmas is just another day of being alive, another chance to be kind to someone. To listen to someone. To accept someone for who they are, for what they want to be.

Celebrate Christmas today and everyday!

 

Life is Love and Love is Life

I am going to be away for a few days…running away with my hubby and my grandkids. So sorry, but there will be little time to post or read or think about this world I have created.

I will be busy fishing, throwing rocks into the lake, picking out t-shirts, and watching Spaceballs. I will be eating corn dogs, french fries, and watermelon. I will be hugging and kissing and laughing.

I will be living like never before.

Ruth Goode said it best:

Grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends — and hardly ever our own grown children. ~Ruth Goode

Find someone and love them to death. Someone who totally accepts you for YOU. Children are preferable, but they can also be family members, dogs and cats, or good friends.

Hope you find as much love as I will this weekend….

 

My Melty Smelty Heart

Good Evening My Good Friends!

I have been silent these past four days. I know…me…silent?  I have about 50 blogs to read tonight because I have spent the last four days up nort’ in Michigan at our annual family Ski Trip. 

Now, I don’t ski. Telle Tubbies don’t ski.

My hubby and I, our kids, our grandkids, my kids friends, their kids, my daughter-on-law’s parents, their kid — it’s a grand ‘ol trip we have taken every year for at least 12 years. I  cook, sit around, talk, drink, sleep, walk around in the snow — all the things you’re supposed to do on vacation.

The great thing is that I did most of those activities this year with my grandkids.

Funny how life turns around and around.

I used to love doing that with my kids. Making snow angels,  pulling them on the sled, watching them snowball each other. My boys started skiing around high school. I remember picking up my youngest from the closest ski hill 25 miles one way every week for 8 weeks. My oldest became a skiing whiz when he met his wife-to-be.

Then there was that big gap in time. You know — that dramatic pause in life where one life fades out and another fades in. My oldest fell in love with his skier, whose parents skied, so here we went again. They taught my oldest grandson to ski at three; the two-year-old wasn’t interested this year, but next year, watch out.

So here I am again, walking around the snow-bound block (really a country block) with my little guy, striving to remember those walks of 26 years ago.

I’ll take my memories however I can get them. And if someday I mix up a grandkid with my kid, who cares — there was love bursting out all over with both of them. My life has been one big, melty heart.

Only one lesson learned on my ski weekend, though — don’t try matching shots with your oldest. You’ll do a fourth as much in half the time and still fall asleep at 6…

Where In the World Are You?


Today I want to show you a couple of pictures. I’d like to know what you think of them — where they’re from, what kind of people live there. Houses just down the block from you and me.

How about this one?

And a third.

Are these the homes of terrorists? Hostile Politicians?

Is the mother divorced? The father cheating on his wife? Are they Democrats? Republicans? Independents?

You see — you know nothing about the people who live in these houses. You have no idea of their problems, their dreams, their struggles. You have no idea if they’re African American or German or American Indian.

And you know what?

It shouldn’t matter.

I may be naive, but I tend to believe that most of the people in the world are good. They work, they love, they cry. They buy groceries, they take their kids to soccer, and stay awake at night.

We’ve got to get rid of this hatred of other people … hatred towards people we don’t know, never knew, or will never know. We have to fight the prejudices our parents and grandparents passed along to us. We don’t have to LOVE each other, but we certainly don’t need to HATE each other either.

Let them plant their flowers, mow their lawns, and wish upon a star at night. They deserve that chance free of hatred. So do we.

As for the pictures…?

The first one is from Poland, the second Greece, and the last Australia. All done with Google Earth.

Right down the road….

 

A Small Reminder

This was written by one of my blogging friends…it rings so true in my heart…it will ring true in yours too. Please take a minute to read her post.

 

 

As I wrapped presents yesterday, my first thought was “Did I buy my daughter enough?” Seriously. Pile of boxes and gift bags, and I thought, is it enough? My Mom left me a voicemail the other day. Christmas is at my house this year, which means I’ll be cooking. You know- cooking a meal, like […]

via Everybody Matters — Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Christmas is Every Day

How are you handling the holidays?

I myself am not yet “into” them. I feel like Ebeneezer Scrouge bah-humbuging everything. Not that I don’t make the birth of Christ a big deal — it’s just that his birthday has become so commercialized. You wind up feeling like a loser if you don’t buy kids the hottest and most expensive things TV can offer. Ok, I’m really not that bad — but I do think the pressure to perform over the holidays is too much.

You see, I would give my grandson that Nerf gun next week. I’d give my cousin that movie tomorrow. I don’t need a reason or time frame to give gifts.

I guess that’s built up on my ramjam belief that Christmas is every day to me. I see my youngest grandson smile up at me and feel that is a gift. I watch my deskmate conquer a tough project and that’s tinsel on my tree. I go to the doctor and get a good checkup and that is every gift anyone could put under my tree.

I don’t like that there is a special day set aside for eating together as a family or singing songs together or wrapping and opening presents. Christmas is a celebration of new life. Of new hope. It’s about a baby and a mother who had a hard time finding a place to stay and an ethereal figure who made her with child.

The problem with celebrating this or that religious holiday is that none of them match. Was He Jewish? Muslim? Anglo-Saxon?

Celebrate Christmas every day. Thank God, the Goddess, Allah, anyone you want that you have been given another day to make someone smile.  Give the gift of yourself. Help those who need your help. If you have the means, buy gifts for your loved ones on December 25 and August 14 and February 2 and July 23.  Don’t save your love and family dinners and presents for one day a year.

Because that “day” is every day.

What is a Soulmate?

A little philosophy this Monday evening….do you mind?

I was wondering…what is a soulmate?

According to the Urban Dictionary, a soulmate is: “A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet — a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior.”

Okay. I see how that fits a couple. The love of your life and all. But can friends be soulmates? Grandkids? Cousins? Aunts and Uncles?

I always hear people saying that they “found their soulmate.” That their connection is so intimate, so strong, that nothing else can compare. That the two of them are synchronic in every way.

Well.

I’ve been married 36 years and hope to be married 36 more. I love my hubby. I enjoy hanging with my hubby. He knows me and I know him. He doesn’t get my need to write, my desire to walk the streets of Paris or my love of science fiction and time travel. I don’t care about his hunting escapades, his golf score, or his football pool. 

Are we soulmates?

I love my kids more than I love life. Double that for my grandkids. When I’m playing on the floor with the 2-year-old we bond over Hot Wheels and the contents of my purse. The 7-year-old and I share the magic of looking for elves and rhinos in the woods and read Pete the Cat books with fervor.

Are we no less soulmates?

My best girlfriends have gone to hell and back. My girls and I share pain and laughter, confusion and daydreams. We cry together, we dream of going to Ireland together, we share our love of writing and crocheting and scrapbooking on levels mere mortals dream of.

Are we no less soulmates?

I have had friends in my life who shared the secrets of my alter ego, the mad writer. They have come to me in their darkest moments, and opened their hearts to me in mine. We shared magic and coffee and secrets and encouraged each other’s wild and crazy dreams..

Are we no less soulmates?

I think the definition of soulmate is way too narrow. There is not just  one soul for you — there are dozens. Because it’s more than great sex, dancing till dawn or making babies. A soulmate loves you for who you are, for your mistakes and your triumphs. They make you feel like a million bucks and you make them feel like two. 

Soulmates meet in that sacred space where emotion and thought wrap around and through each other like a Celtic knot until you can’t tell who is who and what is what. You both meet and part and meet again in the most wonderful ways.

When I look for rhinos in the woods I am in that sacred space. When I rub hand lotion from my purse on tiny hands I am in that sacred space. And when I say good night to the man I love I am in that sacred space.

And when you come across those moments, remember — they are your soulmates, too. 

 

 

Make the Love

I had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated both grandkids’ birthdays. We laughed, spoiled, loved, gossiped, and enjoyed the company of parents, grandparents, great grandparents (grandpa is 90 next month!) my grandkids, friends with their kids and grandkids, plus a couple of dogs thrown in.

Today I read the following column at Ask Amy (http://tiny.cc/za2wmy)….

DEAR AMY: I have four adult children and three grandchildren. They all live 2.5 hours away and have very successful, fulfilling lives. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder. They usually call every week or so and I send an occasional text or email. The problem is our daughter-in-law, who wants nothing to do with us. She is the mother of our only grandchildren. She refuses to visit, especially on the holidays. When we visit, she is pleasant but seems to barely tolerate us.

We want to see more of our grandsons but we are not permitted to babysit, and if I ask to take them to the park, etc., she ignores me, hoping I will let it go (which I do to keep the peace).

I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I have done to her and cannot think of a thing. Honestly, in the 10 years they have been married I have never said a mean word or offered advice, even with new babies.

I say nothing to my son. I know he sees her treatment of us and feels guilty, but fighting about it isn’t worth it to him. The boys love to see us and I have heard the oldest asking if he can go home with Grandma and Grandpa and Mom always says no!

This made me very sad.

I don’t know the daughter’s side, I don’t know the grandparents’ side. But to keep grandparents from enjoying the best time of their entire lives —

What happens to families?

I know I take for granted the love and affection I share with my two sons and their kids. Love, friendship, all come naturally for us. We’re not all like two peas in a pod all the time, mind you, but we enjoy each other’s company and get together whenever we can.

Grandparents are the old souls, the old angels, leading the innocent young angels through the mess we call life. We try and lighten their burdens, play their games, listen to their secrets. We give them a safe space their parents can’t, just because they’re parents.

It’s a parent’s job to protect, guide, and teach their precious packages to ensure they make it through life with a good head on their shoulders.

It’s a grandparent’s job to spoil, cuddle, play and dream with those same packages, ensuring they make it through life with good dreams in their heads.

I look at Dear Amy’s question and my heart breaks for everyone involved. The grandkids will never have that close relationship with two people who love them so much; the mother will never find peace with the mother and father of her husband; and the grandparents will have to deal with empty arms and empty dreams.

Like I said. I don’t know the whole story — I never will. There is nothing I can do to change that family and their sorrows.

But what I can do is share this story so that you will go home tonight and hug your kids and grandkids and when you see your friends or your sister hug their kids and grandkids. Play catch or Chinese checkers with them. Tell them a story of when you were a kid.

Don’t just take the love — MAKE the love.

 

 

 

Be A Good Grandparent

There’s so much of the world I don’t understand. A lot of it I don’t want to understand. A lot more than I should understand but I don’t.

I started this blog earlier, but it got so preachy and moralistic I couldn’t tell who really wrote it. So I wanted to try one more time.

I went to a Grandparents Day at my grandson’s school last Friday. It was a blast — there were soooo many grandparents there! We all were great moral support for the K through 5 group. Being on two different ends of the age spectrum, I couldn’t help but be invigorated by the enthusiasm and innocence and goofiness of those 50 years younger.

And I wondered.

Where does all this innocence and enthusiasm go?

We all are inundated with the madness of the world: politics, gangs, superstars, billionaires, mass murderers. The list goes on.

And I wondered.

Were these people ever innocent? Were they ever caring, giving, loving?

When did they take the wrong turn in the road?

I look at my own sons. They are different from each other yet they are the same. One is a controller, one works for a restaurant. One is single, one is married. They both have pasts I’m not 100% ready to know (as -I- have one they don’t want to know).  But they made it through high school and college, not much worse for the wear, and we still communicate.

I look at my grandsons. Will they buckle under the pressure? There are a lot of mean kids out there. All sizes, colors, ages and classes. It doesn’t take much to be mean; you can be merely spoiled or off center or just picked on yourself. Everyone goes through the ups and downs of puberty, but some get turned around so much that they never come out the same.

Women have unrealistic expectations thrust at them when it comes to looks and families and men are pressured by salaries and careers and showing up for their kid’s baseball games. We don’t make the rules — we just hear them from other people. We all are pressured to be more, do more, make more, live more.

What happens when more is not enough?

I looked at the innocence of the kids at school and envied them for the moment. For their moment would soon change. It has to change in order to deal with the madness grownups have created.

There are rewards to being older, of course. We know our way through the world, more-or-less know what we want from life, and eventually realize that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. Some of us get there at 30…some at 60. Some never get there, always worried about what others will think or say.

I hope my grandkids are spared most of that mind chatter. I hope all of the grandkids on Grandparents Day are raised in a stronger, more accepting world. Help when you can, don’t make bad choices, forgive and move on.

I never had a Grandparents Day — I never knew my grandparents, period.

I wonder if that would have made all the difference in the world. It did with my husband. His grandparents were heroes in his eyes. And no doubt they adored him back.

I hope I have the same effect on my grandkids.

 

Get Together Now!

mihai-criste-tuttart-2Driving 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?

You should.

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day

thIn going through my PPL (Past Post Library), I noticed I’ve never once written on Valentine’s Day about Valentine’s Day.

Why do you think that is?

I do have a husband that I’ve Valentined in my heart for over 35 years. I have two great sons that also deserve my Valentine, along with a sweet daughter-in-law, her great parents, two sets of great best friends, and my two Valentine grandkids.

But somewhere along the line I never connected my love for them with Valentine’s Day.

I know it’s a holiday created by Hallmark, another way to cash in on human emotions. Nothing wrong with that. Candy, flowers, heart-shaped cakes, all fall into the going-the-extra-mile for your sweetie. There are online articles about 10 Valentine’s Day Flowers and their Meanings, Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a Box of Chocolates, and other romantic inklings to set the mood.

The love of my life has never really given me anything for Valentine’s Day. And that’s been over 35 years. Am I insulted? No, not really. I knew 35+ years ago that he was not the roses and chocolates type. And that was alright. It still is. For most of my life there was so much more we could have done with the $50 he would spend on flowers or wine. My Valentine’s Day gift would be an extra pizza in the grocery cart or rent a movie from Redbox.

Times have changed. We are in a better financial place than we were 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Our Valentine’s Day money went to taking my grandson to see the Lego Batman Movie. That was fun — that was love.

Yet…

Three girls at work today had flowers delivered to them. Does that bother me?

Well, a little.

I could say that my hubby shows his love for me in other ways…

…he gives me money to go out and buy my own flowers.

I guess that’s Valentine’s enough for me.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

shamrock-heart_designTo my Mom, who was Irish.  Miss you, Mom. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

*

*

Irish Regret

Bittersweet memories

Blur my perception of the past

Connection with my roots

Happened long after

My Irish mother

Went wandering

Into the Eternal Green

I always heard the song

Of the creative muse

In my head, my heart

My very soul

Yet my ignorance

Veiled the possibilities

Of today, tomorrow

And all that had been

My dearest Irish Rose

A perfume I rarely inhaled

Is your memory enough

To make the garden bloom again?

My mother’s secret shadows

Haunt me to this day

Leaving so many strings untied

If only I had paid attention

I should have asked about

Her blood so green

And history so ripe

Tales of the clan of Cullen

Too late came to light

Only to become part of

Yesterday’s sunrise

I’m sorry I didn’t feel

Your Celtic heart

Pounding inside of mine

I hold onto the strands

Of Irish dreams and songs

One last attempt to thread the tapestry

Of an ancestry so bright and real

I shine within my mother’s glow

And scream it from top to hill

My melancholy regret

Is that she’s not here

To dance the jig

And toast the shamrock

With her daughter so true

And so Irish

Thanks for the Blogging

Thanks

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 PhilosopherVery 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 BarFunny 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

And last, but not least, Sunday Evening Art Gallery.  An online art gallery featuring unique, fantastic art and artists.  www.sundayeveningartgallery.com

HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

Ahhhhhhhhh….

baby-flash-games9How quickly we forget — how quickly we remember.

I live in a small town in Wisconsin; a town filled with college students, farmers, business people, teachers — and kids.

Lots of kids.

Last night was a fund raiser at Culvers (Yeah Culvers!) for one of the grade schools. So like a good granny, I trudged along with my kids and grandkids to have a Butter Burger and some cheese curds. Oh — and some overly-sweet custard. As you can imagine, the place was packed with kids. Lots and lots of giggly, loud-talking, visiting-friends-at-other-tables kids. Pity the older couples who picked last night to eat out.

Years ago I would have been quite taken with all the rumpus. BG (before grandkids), the world was quiet. Quiet job. Quiet house. Quiet hobbies. But then life reanimated itself in guise of a grandkid. And it hasn’t been the same since.

Waiting for our food to be delivered by one of several guest gradeschool servers, I just sat and watched the dynamics around me. Mothers in ponytails and sweatshirts, dads in ball caps. Kids sharing food, laughing, talking to siblings and friends at other tables, junior servers walking around and around looking for number 50 or 37, some with trays bigger than they were. I was “introduced” to Hayden (who didn’t have a clue what to say…even to my grandson), and other kids who told me their life story of the day.

Some college kids took the corner table; they were as polite to the little servers as they took their cold burgers and chicken strips. Moms toddled behind those too small to serve alone; we all laughed and smiled and helped out when we could.

It was loud and chaotic and it didn’t bother me a bit.  I realized I’d rather be a part of the madness than stand outside looking in at it. That the point of life is to get involved in circles bigger than my own now and then. And not to care. To go with the flow.

As we get older we tend to spend too much time by ourselves. Now, sometimes that’s good. An evening, a weekend alone, brings peace and quiet and does wonders for the psyche. But isolation as a substitute for personal time, even with a full time job, is dangerous. The more time you spend alone, the more time you want to be alone. The more segregated you get. From society, from friends, from family. You have no one to bounce ideas of off, to complain to, to dream with. No one else to complain to.

And pretty soon you are left with only your own thoughts, your own opinions, which slowly whither into shadows, as you care less and less about what’s going on around you.

Going out to the madness of Culvers wasn’t necessary what my psyche needed after a long, tiring day at work. But going out to eat, watching families do family things and couples do couple things lightened up my spirit. The madness didn’t bother me because I didn’t have to take it home with me. Like a voyeur, I could participate for a little bit, then leave the kindergartners and their siblings behind.

I’m not encouraging you to spend hours in the middle of a group of kids or shoppers or football fans. Find a way to weasel your way into the party, get your chaos fix, then move on. Maybe it’s shopping the day after Thanksgiving. A live concert. A high school or college football game. Even a bowling tournament. Watch the people. Laugh at the people. Be one with the people. Just enough to get your adrenaline going and your reactions moving. Then go home to your quiet abode and feel good about being a part of something bigger than you.

Life is too short not to take part in the madness. For that too shall pass, along with the chance of getting one more song in, one more school play, one more tailgate party.

And nothing is better after spending a few hours with children than going home, sitting in your favorite comfy chair, taking your shoes off, and going, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Silence.”

Another Chance

Hot Flashes and Cold FeetAs I’m always saying, the clock ticks eternally forward. While we all notice the seconds, no one feels it as much as one who has already spent a good deal of their life counting.

I’m not going to lie. I want to live forever. I don’t have a strong, religious faith in place, so I have no idea what’s in store once I close my eyes for good. I haven’t left a whole lot behind for posterity, except maybe a refinanced mortgage and a unicorn collection. I’ve made a few people smile with my writing through the years, but standing on the beach or walking through the woods or watching a funny TV show leaves a smile on their lips, too.

And sooner or later my name will blow away in the dust of time, as billions have before me. But I will have had an accomplishment that will keep its mark in me through the Great Barrier and beyond.

I’m a grandmother for the second time.

This time my grandbaby’s entrance was a little shaky. It’s amazing how something that seems so simple on the outside can be so complicated inside. Life is a miracle. There is no doubt. How we get from a spermy and eggy into a president or opera singer I will leave to the biology majors. But so many things can go wrong on the familiar path we all walk that you have to stop and think — and thank — something, someone, else for getting all parties through.

Second grandbaby is a boy, and he and mom are doing just fine now. It brought back memories of one of my past pregnancies — one where the outcome wasn’t so positive. But that was 35 years ago, and this is now, and fate has smiled on our family and friends and brought another soccer player into the family. His older sibling is starting kindergarten tomorrow, so what a better off-to-school treat than a baby brother.

How appropriate his arrival came after my last post about Getting On Track. About sometimes feeling like a loser because I go up to the cabin to write but I often do anything BUT write.  Half way through my retreat the Goddess and Buddha and whomever else had other plans for my idle time. And it wasn’t writing. Nor was it windchimes in the breeze or naps in the afternoon.

It was welcoming another being into the world.

It was being there for mom and dad and CJ and Papa and Nana and Great Grandpa Lyle and Great Grandma Katie as the new baby came wrinkled and breathless into this world.

It was preparing the world for a new chance to get it right. It was dreams of baseball and homework and trick-or-treating with yet another child of the world. Another chance to get it right. To make the world right.

You can’t ask for a better chance for an afterlife than that.

Growing Corn

“Granny…one day this corn will be bigger than me.”
“Yes, Bay Bay…one day it will be bigger than you. Bigger than your dad. Bigger than Grandpa.”
“Then what, Granny?”
“We cut it down, feed people and cows and deer and start all over again.”
“Oh. That’s okay. We can come back here again.”

Yes, my little man, we can do this again.

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Sunday Morning Art Gallery — Mother

For my Sunday  Evening Morning Art Gallery today, I’m going to do something  a little different. I am going to honor the most  famous — and probably underrated — mother in the world.

mary-baby-jesus



Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the best known female character in the Bible, yet very little is known about her. I mean, she doesn’t even have a last name!

mary india

Imagine her life. She was a peasant woman, simple, honest. She becomes engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. And while she’s planning her wedding — BAM! An angel appears and tells her she is going to keep her virginity yet be the mother of the son of God.

ballenger-black-madonna-and-child
She is a religious person, so she believes the angel. I can just imagine what her betrothed thought. It takes a lot of commitment to explain the unexplainable. There are varying theories as to if the two were or were not married when she delivered her son. Either way, there was a lot of shame and explaining to do before they reached Bethlehem.

Chinese Jesus

Yet this wonderful woman perseveres. Her and Joseph’s marriage date is lost in the dust of the past. But she delivers little baby Jesus in a barn somewhere, in a stable or a cave or a quiet building in the dark. And so Mary takes her first step into motherhood.

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Raising the Messiah couldn’t have been a cake walk. I’m sure he had his terrible twos/threes/fours too. She was poor, Joseph was poor. I imagine Mary made the best of things, though,  and loved her little boy with her whole heart. She changed his diapers, played stones-in-the-bucket and washed his cuts. She fed him and hugged him and sang him lullabies. And as baby Jesus grew, so did his mother’s fears.

icon_mother

To have been given the blessing of having a child, and also knowing that he would be crucified for the sins of the world, must have been a burden almost too much to bear. Jesus knew of his calling from an early age; I imagine that brought about a bit of arrogance (in a holy sort of way) too, so his teenage years were probably a little testy between mom and son.

15th-of-august-indian-madonna

Eventually Jesus left the nest and went out to the world, leaving his mother behind. Some say she had other children. But she was, after all, the mother of the son of God, and sensed the tragedy yet to come. It’s not known when Mary realized her oldest was destined for a horrible death. Nonetheless, I can’t imagine living through those last few months of her son’s life. No mother can.

Mary

It is assumed Joseph died before their son started his fateful journey, so she was alone when her baby, her child, died on the cross. Like other women, she worked through her pain and loss and used her strength and faith to spread the message Jesus left behind. It is not clear when she died, and many religions profess she ascended into heaven full and whole.

madonna-of-the-rosary(1)

So on this day when we celebrate Mothers everywhere, let’s celebrate the Mother of them all. Mary. And let her normal, unusual, spiritual, female spirit guide us all. Let’s celebrate mothers who suffer and mothers who laugh. Mothers who cry and mothers who love. And mothers who love their children with every beat of their heart.

holy-theotokos-icon

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms Everywhere.

BFFs

heartYou 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.

 

And Another One Bites The Dust!

What-are-you-looking-at-animal-humor-9994815-320-294

YOU!!  YES, YOU!!

 

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

8. Breathe

9. Smile

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!

Go Granny Go Granny Go Granny Go!

thOn my way to other things —

A happy post over at Retirement and Good Living about being a Granny. I love it. You will too!

 

I always thought I was a good mom. I attended every teacher/parent conference; endured freezing cold, blistering hot, and life-threatening thunderstorms just to watch soccer/baseball games; stayed up all hours of the night finishing last-minute (they said) homework projects; and did all other ups and downs a parent is supposed to do.  I adored my kids (still do), and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for them. But I find that is nothing compared to what I wouldn’t do for my grandson……

Read the rest….

http://retirementandgoodliving.com/go-granny-go/

 

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.

Dogs are just Dogs and Cats are just Cats…Right?

rennieAlright. Sad news first. My yellow labrador Renaissance Faire passed away yesterday. She was 11; a great huntress who was sweet and quirky and always knew when it was 7 p.m. and time for her 7 o’clock B(bonie). I was by her side to help her transition to the land of open fields and T-bone steaks; a daunting task, unnerving to say the least. We buried her under a tree next to my favorite cat Jasmine and my father-in-law’s dog Indy.

(Thanks for the good thoughts, btw)

Now the humorous part.

Here I am, 60 years old, walking through tick-infested grass and doggie mines not yet picked up with bare feet to give Rennie her final, eternal 7 o’clock B. Crying, wiping my snotty nose on my shirt, my mind taking over and remembering all slights and hurts real and imaginary, piling them together on top of my loss, fueling the fire that burned out of control. I was whispering baby doggie talk to the grave, babbling nonsense that only a dog would understand.

To the dog.

Not a child, a family member, friend or distant relative. A dog. Dogs and cats are dogs and cats — lower rungs on the food chain that do such innocuous things as lick their butt or eat other animal’s…well…you get my drift.

How many of you have done this?

I’m not sorry for my over reaction — I can stand back and chuckle at myself. For what is life but knowing who we are? Yet I ask…How do dogs and cats become our 1st or 2nd or 3rd child? And where do they get these…personalities?

I know one person whose cat looks at him and poops right in front of him every time he comes home from a long vacation. Another person’s dog won’t go outside to do her duty when the grass is wet. Another person’s cat talks on the phone along with its owner. My own Rennie had the uncanny ability to know when it was 7 pm no matter where we were and what we were doing. Where do they get these quirks? And why is it us that has to do the adjusting?

I know humans tend to anthropomorphize (give animals human traits). We give them personalities and assume they understand what we are saying. Why else would we talk to them so much? Many stand firm on their belief that animals think and feel and react as humans do. And on many levels that is true. I am not here to debate the validity of such things. What I will say, however, is that it is amazing how one little canine or feline can change your life.  They listen without complaining; they don’t hold a grudge when they come to sleep with you at night, and want to be with you all the time. They listen while you go on and on about your crummy day at work or your overbearing mother-in-law or the barking dog down the street.

I’m also not saying that pets are for everyone. Cleaning out kitty litter boxes and scooping up lincoln logs are not for everyone. Often it’s easier to spoil someone else’s dog or cat. Why not? Their love is universal.  Their devotion and energy should say something about how the world should work. They don’t care about the color of your skin or how fat you are or what religion tickles your fancy. Their needs are basic — love, food, and pets.  Something the world should take note of.

The moral of this little ditty is to just love your pets, or your family’s pets, or the pets at the shelter. Treat your fellow humans that way too, and you’ll never be sorry.

Just make sure you always make time for your 7 o’clock B.