Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
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
“When I was younger …”
“I can remember a time ..”
“When I was a kid …”
I’m too young to be starting out a sentence with those phrases. Yet here I am, sharing a tale with you, that starts:
I can remember a time … when you’d go to the eye doctor and sit in front of this huge machine that held a thousand little round lenses, and the doctor would lower these huge, thick sections in front of each eye, and go through a hundred different lenses to test your eyesight.
I say that today because I just got home from an all remote eye test. Well, except for the receptionist/assistant. Filled out a questionnaire on a tablet, went into one room where three different machines took three different images, (they still had the puff-of-air-in-the-eye test), then went into a second room where a nurse/doctor/assistant appeared on a TV monitor and remotely controlled the rest of the eye exam on a fourth piece of equipment. That nurse/doctor/assistant then sent the results electronically to the eye doctor who looked over your results and gave you your prescription.
Fast, clean — no contact with the living.
Welcome to the 21st century.
I have no problem with this new technology, especially with Covin hanging around every corner. But gone are the heavy, clunky machines of yesterday. The “click click” as the eye doctor turned the lens around. “A? (click) or B? (lots of whirling and clicking) A? (click click) or B?”
Of course, there are now virtual doctor visits, virtual job interviews, and virtual grocery shopping. I mean, who doesn’t know what a 5 oz. (142g) can of tuna looks like?
Virtual is all well and good. We need to keep up with it, understand it, use it.
But we also have to physically see other people now and then, too. We need physical hugs and in-person smiles to let us know we’re not alone. We need to pull a leaf off the tree and look at its structure, or play with the levels of petals on a zinnia or a dahlia so we can marvel at the physical world around us.
We need fresh air and friendship and the sunshine on our face. Be sure you are finding it all.
The “I remember a time…” part — I haven’t figured out how to deal with that yet.
I have that instant temper thing; it rarely comes out, but when it does, I want to tell the person — or the world — what I think. I take a lot of baloney from the world, most of which I try to ignore. Let it roll off my proverbial back. Mostly because I can’t do anything about ignorance and ignorant people.
But I’m seeing so many people these days making blanket statements about people and situations that they know nothing about. Hearsay. Second hand information. Guess work. And what they are saying is hurtful.
We all make guesses about everyday things. We’re not there in the front row — guesses are often all we have. Even when we have all the facts.
It’s hard staying optimistic during these trying times. It’s hard staying in a good mood. We do our best, even though the world is falling apart around us.
Sometimes I think the answer is staying away from the media. Social media, print media, broadcast media. For every positive story about people doing their best to help each other out, there are other stories of people being nasty to each other just because they don’t see eye-to-eye.
This world makes me sad, sometimes.
We all have the best intentions, but sometimes, in a crisis like what we’re all going through, those intentions get mashed up with our fears and insecurities until we don’t even recognize ourselves.
I know I hate being cooped up inside. I hate wearing masks. I hate not seeing my family. I hate that some of my friends are unemployed because of this virus. I hate that my friend’s kids won’t have a graduation party or can’t try out for the soccer team because there is no soccer team.
But we can’t break down now.
We can’t start being mean and selfish just because we can.
I know I’ve written about this before. Usually I spout and move on. That’s what you have to do these days. We’re not world leaders; we’re not doctors or lawyers or policy makers. We are regular people with regular fears and loves and dreams.
But I seem to find I’m having a harder time moving on these days.
Maybe it’s being on lock down. Maybe it’s too much Internet and not enough painting or writing or needle-pointing. Maybe it’s too much focus on a virus that may or may not get me.
I know someone who had C-19 and recovered. That should give me hope. It’s almost summer. That should give me hope, too.
Think before you post. Before you speak. Before you call. If not for the other person, for yourself. Turn off, delete, block. Don’t let others control your reactions by their actions. Find your golden rule and stick to it. Be nice to each other.
We’re all we’ve got.
This is my first spring being “retired.” I’ve been teased with a few warm days, but today it’s slipped back into cold and sleety and snowy, as spring always does, here in the Midwest.
These days I notice that there are quite a few things that have changed since my work days.
I dream a lot more about work. Not my last job, particularly, but I’m always “at work.” Sometimes I’m being reprimanded for, I don’t know — misbehaving, I suppose. In other dreams I’m quite successful, pulling off a stunning career at 67.
I often hear that our most private desires come out in our dreams.
I also hear that our biggest fears come out in our dreams.
I think what’s most frustrating with this quarantined retirement is that I’m not getting a chance to make a final stand, so-to-speak. To join clubs or groups I’ve always thought about but never got around to being a part of. To take classes at the nearby university just for fun. To make new friends that are my age who are going through what all of us go through at one time or another.
And with the weather misbehaving at the moment, I can’t even get outside and putz around making gardens like I promised myself I would.
That will all come, I know. I talk to family and friends on a regular basis, keep in touch on Facebook. I keep in motion, I keep busy. If you don’t use it you lose it, and all that.
The biggest difference between quarantine and retirement is that I am lonely in quarantine. I mean I have a great relationship with my hubby. But outside of him. I’m not a big social person to begin with, but I realize how much we all need human contact to continue to grow. Everyone doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it’s nice sometimes to exchange pleasantries in person.
Like when I was working.
I might not have been best friends with my co-workers, but we shared parts of our lives with each other. We brought a different point of view, a different life, into the conversation. We shared ideas, places to visit, birthday parties and new craft projects and all sorts of stuff that stimulated my curiosity. We gossiped and complained about work and it was all quite entertaining.
What I miss is the choice of exposure these days. The choice of meeting for coffee or sitting on my deck by myself. The choice of working together for a common cause or striking it out on my own. The choice of asking how someone’s grandma was or minding my own business. The choice of hanging with my grandkids here or at their house.
Maybe that’s the big difference between retirement and quarantine.
Working all my life just to have this new avenue of choice open up to me, and finding the gate is still locked.
I know that sooner or later the gate will open and opportunity will greet me on the other side. But things will have changed. The world will have changed. And my retirement will be different than what I thought it would be.
But at least it will be. Better later than not at all.
An escape for the weekend with family and friends was just the fresh start I needed. But what good is a blog if there’s not a bit of something to talk about? To contemplate?
On one hand….
I had the best time on my escape ski weekend with family and friends. I don’t ski, but I am out there with my kids and grandkids helping them to learn, sitting around the fire drinking wine and talking and telling stories, playing card games, and competing in our annual cooking competition. All in all it’s lots of love and lots of memories and lots of good feelings.
On the other hand…
Last night I watched the movie “A Bridge Too Far” about Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands during World War II. It wasn’t my choice, as I am not a fan of war movies, but my significant other had never seen it and so it went.
On the one hand….
Over the weekend I helped my grandson learn to ski a little, then watched him go tubing for the first time. The look of joy and anticipation and fear all mingled to make him overly adorable and huggable.
On the other hand…
The movie was about the failed attempt of Allied Forces to secure several bridges in the Netherlands to prevent the Germans from overtaking the country.
On the one hand….
My weekend was filled with laughter, love, and a sense of togetherness we have shared at the same event for over 15 years. It was great.
On the other hand….
I had never heard of this failed attempt to secure these bridges until this movie. Not so great.
On the one hand….
It was a weekend of renewal, of camaraderie, and of watching our children and grandchildren grow closer.
On the other hand….
According to Wikipedia, there were approximately 500 Dutch civilian causalities, 11,800-13,200 Second Army and I Airborne Corps casualties, 3,500-3,900 XVIII Airborne Corps casualties, and 15,000-17,200 German casualties from this siege. 30,000+ to 34,800 lives lost in one attempt.
On the other hand….
The biggest conflict we had this weekend is when “bad grandma Claudia” stopped the two-year-old’s chip supply to make her wait until dinner. Said grandchild flopped on the floor and cried.
On the other hand….
Two groups of human beings shot and bombed and maimed each other so that one person could have extreme power over others.
How do you reconcile one with the other?
I know my dad suffered from PSTD from World War II. He never talked about it to us kids, but you could just see in his reminiscences, in his eyes and his nightmares. There are others who to this day can only say they did what they had to do for their country.
In that one attempt alone thirty thousand people lost their lives, their futures.
How can you compare that to reading a book to a grandchild? To feeding each other chips or a heart-felt hug from your grown up kids?
How can you compare the beauty of life to the tragedy of war and death?
I didn’t write this blog to debate the merits of war and peace, nor the cosmic meaning of life and death.
But like tornadoes, how can such terrible situations hit one family and skip over the next two and land on the fourth? How can people follow mindless – or should I say mindFUL – leaders who insist on the annihilation of entire civilizations? Entire nationalities or religions or classes of people?
After all is said and done, how can the inhabitants of Earth not stop the mindless repetitive destruction of civilizations over and over again for the mere thrill of domination?
Ha… look at me. I should have taken a humanities course or something.
I guess that once in a while I feel guilty being so happy when others were never given that chance.
Some people meet the way the sky meets the earth, inevitably, and there is no stopping or holding back their love. It exists in a finished world, beyond the reach of common sense. ~ Louise Erdrich
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!
My first reaction (after amazement) was a little sadness, for I always want to see the rising moon from the far end of my property. There’s a cornfield on the other side of the back back back gate, which makes the horizon long and flat and dark.
There’s something about a full orange moon that fills me with magic. I become young again. I want to play, I want to do magic, I want to write magic. I want to see faeries in the woods and elves walking along the paths.
My imagination soars when I’m outside with the Lady of the Night.
Yet I missed this one — one I could have easily have watched from the very beginning. But I was out to dinner with a friend.
A friend who has just beaten cancer. Again. She has done chemo and is now going through radiation.
A friend that is full of life, of hope. I love her stories…she has so many of them. After what she’s been through, she is a gift from above. She has children and grandchildren that adore her, a husband that supports her, and everyone she meets becomes a friend of support through this bad time.
Maybe that’s what the moon was telling me last night.
Maybe it glowed with the magic of friendship. Maybe it glowed with pride in my thinking about someone else besides myself. Maybe She knew that if I hadn’t taken my friend to dinner I’d be zoning out on TV or some other wasteful pastime.
What’s the big deal about taking someone out to dinner? An hour and half, twenty-five dollars later. It’s an hour and a half out of your busy, busy, oh-so-important schedule.
Yet it is an hour and a half of strength. Of love. Of friendship.
Two people, both having suffered from the horrid demon C, eating soup and chowing down burgers, laughing about work and boasting about our grandkids and our kids and how lucky we are to be alive. We planned for tomorrow and the next day and the next day.
That’s what you do with friends.
One night go out and gaze upon a full moon. Listen to what it’s saying to you. You will understand what She is saying. Your soul will be better for it.
So for now, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving — give thanks for who you know, how you got where you are, and the lessons you learned along the way. Be thankful that you are able to dream and imagine and create. Give thanks for those who have passed — be thankful that they came into your life and gave you so much of themselves. Give thanks for sunrises and sunsets and Tchaikovsky and Monet and Harry Potter.
Eat some turkey, have extra gravy (it’s only one day!), and know that I’m thankful for all of you. For your writing, for your art, for your stopping by and saying hi. Somehow I feel we’re all friends in here.
And that’s something to be thankful for.
There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there. You may follow three or three hundred. The purpose of this made-up week is to encourage you to interact with those who write/paint/travel/share with you. If you like what you read, click that little LIKE button. REALLY like what you read? Drop a comment! We/you/they love to hear back from you!
I love reading your blogs Leah, Ann, Ray, Jackie, Jan, Crissouli, Blue Settia, Walt, d Marie, Suzanne, Patrcia, Mary J, Nick, Marion, Patty, Dawn, Annette, Denise, Jeremiah, CJ, Joel, Jan R, Marie, Norm, Alan, Waterdove, Glorialana, Tess, Gwen, Craig, Pirate Patty, Doug, Craig, Austin, Peter, Anne, and all those names I’ve left out. You all rock! Keep it going! I look forward to following more bloggers, and you should too.
BE a part of the creative world. Appreciate your creative friends this week — and every week!
My blog the other day was about letting go of the cruelty, the madness of the world. To quote myself, I said, “You are all my friends in one way or another. I’m here for you — for your highs and lows and losses and misses. But I have to let go of the rest of the world.”
Day 2 and I’m still dumping the garbage. But I meant what I said when I said I’m here for you.
I’ve been following the blog Wanton Word Flirt by my now friend Suzanne Wood. I’ve been following her for some time now, but it is only this month that I have found out so much more about her.
Suzanne is dealing with Sjogren’s Syndrome, a long-term auto-immune disease in which the moisture-producing glands of the body are affected. Dry eyes and mouth are only the beginning. Other symptoms include dry skin, a chronic cough, vaginal dryness, numbness in the arms and legs, feeling tired, muscle and joint pains, and thyroid problems.
I never knew much — if anything — about Sjogren’s. I couldn’t even pronounce it. But I really learned reading Suzanne’s blog.
This month is Sjogren’s Syndrome month, and she has shared all her ups and downs with the disease, the doctors, her emotions, and her life.
If you have some spare reading time, I highly encourage you to step over and read Wanton Word Flirt and learn how to help someone in your own world. Just learning about this disease and how it affects people is rewarding in itself.
Sharing knowledge and understanding about someone you know is much more rewarding than tears for someone you don’t.
You know — someone who knows all your secrets, keeps all your secrets, and shares all their secrets. Someone who doesn’t care what you look like, how much money you have, or what you snack on before you go to bed. Someone who loves you, funky wardrobe, personal hangups, and all.
I look back on my life, and see a number that fit that description. A neighborhood girlfriend when I was small. A couple of girls in high school. Another who went with me to the dances at the Navy base in my very early 20s. Different jobs, different besties. 3 or 4 when my children were babies; one or two from my various jobs. I have been blessed to have had their friendship. I don’t talk to but a few these days, and even then a year can go by without a face-to-face meeting.
I have been thinking about all of this since my footing in Bestieland right now is not as solid as it used to be. Different callings often mean different directions. And sometimes the parameters of friendship change.
What does “best friend” really mean?
I am inclined to think the terminology and significance of it changes through your life. When I was younger it was important to have a “best” friend. That buddy that was almost attached to you at the hip. What you bought she bought. Where you went she went.
As you get older, your parameters change. You don’t necessarily need to be attached at the hip, but it’s great to have someone to drink wine with or go to hang at the park with you and your kids.
Different jobs through my life have provided different Best Friends. From grade school to high school to my file clerk job in my late teens to downtown Chicago in my late 20s to my besties when my children were babies — all were gifts in my life at a time when I needed them. These people came into my life for a reason. As I did into theirs. And often, when you have learned and grown from having this person in your life, it’s time to move on.
But does someone always have to move on?
I look back to my grade school years. L was my first real best friend — until she wanted to go play with A, who was older. My Great Lakes Navy Base besties married Navy men and shipped off to who-knows-where. C worked downtown with me, but when the company folded, so did we. D and L and J and I were all besties when we were raising babies. Living near each other they hung together, but because I moved to another state, I didn’t.
Was I better off knowing all of them?
Were they all my “best” friends?
As I grow older I understand why being best friends is a two-way street. You need to give and take. To support and clarify. To be willing to correct and be corrected. Best friends hold onto each other because their souls feel good together. And you don’t need to be attached at the hip, either. Just knowing the other person is a phone call away makes life a little easier.
My besties are at the same point in life that I am. Women who have learned and felt the things I have. Women who take me just the way I am yet encourage me to be much more. We laugh and cry and jabber together just like my friends and I did 40 years ago.
Einstein’s time line doesn’t exist for those whose hearts have connected. Whether that connection was years ago or yesterday. Let go of the ones who let go of you, and hold onto the ones who stay.
It’s not the space where best friends used to exist that matters, but the space in which they will always exist that makes you whole.
When I started this blog back on April 18, 2011, I must have had 20 blogs already written ahead of time. That’s how excited I was. Before I started my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, I probably had 10 or 11 artists on hold. That, too, shows how excited I was to get started.
Now days I am more of a on-the-spot blog writer, sharing the Goddess’s humor as she calls. Which is all the time. And my Art Blog’s collection is doubling all the time as I find more and more unique artists to showcase.
This is what creativity is all about.
Doing what you love. When you want to. Because you want to.
I don’t have an anniversary to celebrate, or moment in time to highlight today. All I wanted to do was thank you all for supporting me, reading me, looking at my art. Telling your friends. Or just checking me out yourself.
I can’t believe there are so many branches to Creativity. I’ve talked to quilters, sculptors, painters, publicists, graphic artists, gardeners, writers, poets, photographers, calligraphers — all sorts of artists with all sorts of stories. Everyone has a different story, background, reason for exploring their creative side.
Think of the things you can create! Dragons, spaceships, murderers, gardens, parentless heroes, ghosts, musical prodigies, statues, symbols. You can change history, travel through history, interpret history. As an artist there is nothing you can’t do.
This is why I encourage all of you to “do your thing.” Know your base is strong and expand from there. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the arts. And the more you do it, the better you get at it.
I just wanted to take time to than you all. For your friendship, for your curiosity. And for your encouragement. I hope we hang together for a dozen more years. I hope you continue to enjoy my art and my pretzel-logic mind. You inspire me, and I hope I do the same for you.
I already hear whispers of “I wouldn’t change a thing” or “I love my life just the way it is” or “my scars have made me who I am today.” All of that is good and well, but there is always something we wish we could have done, changed, said.
There are few things I would change about my life. I love where I am, I love my family. Knowing me, I would have loved a different husband, different children, different grandchildren. Love is love. I was not popular in my younger younger years, but I feel my heart has grown into a beautiful maple tree because of that.
But things I would have changed — there are always a few.
I would have gone to college. Back in my day (what a cliche!) half the girls went to college, half got married. Although I didn’t get married I did fall in the second half. Maybe I didn’t have the money at the time. Or the inspiration. But since I’ve always been a writer and an artist, I should have learned more about both. It most likely would have led me down a different career path, but it would have been more of a career and less of a job.
I would have put more effort into saving my bed and breakfast. It was a gorgeous house, a dream come true. I owned it for 7 years, always moving backwards financially instead of forward. Instead of trying to support my end of the upkeep with paying guests, I should have gotten a full-time job and run the B&B on the weekends.
I would have talked to my parents more. I would have asked them about their childhood. Their teens. Their young married years. Who they loved. Who they hated. The hard times. The family problems. The war. Their illnesses. I would not have let their lives be nothing more than spectres dancing in the sunlight.
Hindsight is such a strange bedfellow at times.
It’s not so much living in the past as re-experiencing it. I would still take the hard knocks, but I would savor the sweetness even more. I would have brought the friends I left behind into the future with me. I would right all wrongs, mend all fences, and keep the love the way it used to be.
I would cherish every moment of every day much more than I did when I was younger. I would not, could not change the deaths of those who have gone before me, but I would have made much more of the time we had when they were alive.
If I could turn back the hands of time, I would never have let go of the things that meant the most to me.
But perhaps that’s what the future is for. Never letting go.
I missed our Sunday Evening Art Gallery post yesterday as I was camping for the weekend with my crazy family. We try and rent side-by-side sites, all the better to have the grandkids run helter skelter between grandparent campers. What one grandparent doesn’t have the other does. Riding vehicles, pokey sticks for the fire, dog treats, juice boxes — grandparents are a cornicopia of things to make the world a better place.
There is a payment for those hidden tokens, though. Marshmallows and flower hunting come at a price.
I haven’t ridden a bicycle in a couple of years. Well, this past weekend changed all that. Bicycle to the bathroom. Bicycle to the beach. Bicycle around the “O”. All with my 6-year-old grandson. First ride in the morning, last ride in the evening. Not to be left behind as a lazy granny, I’m peddling off towards the sunset, blinded by the light, laughing as I’m crying. It wouldn’t be proper to say what part of my body hurts the most, but let’s just say it’s in the middle of the word SassY.
We also play Polish Horseshoes, a game made of string and blocks of wood and dowel rods. I’m sure there’s a professional name and version of this game, but not by us. And the more the participants drink, the harder it is to hit simple blocks of wood. We cook enough food for every meal to feed an army. Sometimes it’s a mishmash of Polish and Mexican and Belgium; other times it’s carefully planned exercises in free-for-all. I suppose that’s to ensure that there’s something on the table everyone likes. And leftovers to make their way to all ends of the state.
That’s why I need more bicycle rides.
Beach time is tella tubby time, but the grandkids don’t notice, so neither do I. It’s a time to build sand castles, endure freezing water temperatures, and wander over to the food stand for an ice cream cone. It doesn’t matter that the ice cream is fattening or the sand is corrosive — all it means is that for a short time GB and I were building castles in the air and drowning the poor sand soldiers made of plopped pillars of sand.
The best times are when family and friends sit around the campfire. Night has descended, the birds and squirrels are asleep, and the park’s raccoon pack hasn’t made it down to our campsite yet. We settle in our chairs, drink our drinks, make sticky, messy, yummy Smores, and talk about our lives. We all become human around the fire — not some speedy office hero, super mom, retired teacher, or trained security guard. We are just family people, sharing family thoughts, dreaming of the best way to retire or clean out our basements or keep in touch with other family members who don’t want to keep in touch. We tell each other what a good job we’ve done as parents and friends and children, how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and how we would fix it if we could. Then we finally make it back home, derierres and leg muscles sore, hearts fixed.
Family Time, Friend Time, is so important to human survival. We don’t have to be best friends with the world to be best friends to one. Find one. Find a dozen. Share yourself. People will accept you, quirks and all.
And who better to share smores with than someone who is as full of sticky sweet sugar as you?
Sagittarius is a fun and exciting sign. The explorer and philosopher of the zodiac, they are typically interested in new experiences, new knowledge and new places.
As it is written, so it shall be.
This weekend I am taking an adventure I’ve not taken before. I am meeting my creative, crazy fun friend in the artsy city of Asheville, North Carolina — home of the Biltmore Estate.
No husband. No kids. No grandkids. No dogs. No cats. Just temporarily, you know.
Already I’m happy.
It has taken me 63 years to be able to go off and take a trip through the creative world with my bestie by my side. I can finally submerge myself in art of all kinds — painting, sculpture, jewelry, textiles. Something my hubby could not (in truthful conscience) enjoy.
It has taken me 63 years to get to this wide-eyed amazement point in my life. 40 years ago I was working downtown Chicago, too busy trying to make my way in the business world. 30 years ago I was busy being a newlywed and first-time mom, losing my downtown job and looking for a part-time one so I could be home with my son. 20 years ago I was busing being a full-time mom, trying to my hand at running a B&B while being a full-time soccer mom and baseball mom. 10 years ago I was busy working full-time again, trying to run from bankruptcy and dealing with one son’s college years and the other son’s high school years.
There wasn’t time for unique art galleries or writing blogs or going to live concerts. Guess I was just busy living.
But now the kids are working and raising their own kids and bankruptcy is nothing more than a bad dream as is the B&B experiment. Now is the time for me to reconnect to who I’ve always been. I’ve always been a painter, a writer, a stenciller. I have always had a love affair with the creative side of the world. From faeries to role-playing, from making my own jewelery to writing poetry. I’ve stuffed it into pockets of time and under the leaves on the wooded paths I’ve walked and in the drawers of dressing tables.
Now it’s my turn to play.
Now I get to discover and explore and dream and live the Bohemian life of an artist with someone who is as Bohemian as I am.
If only for 4 days.
I get to meet all kinds of people, people who heard the calling of the Art Muse and did something about it. I don’t need to live the dream to be a part of it.
If only for 4 days.
Make a point to take a side trip out of your reality too, now and then. It’s good for the soul. It’s good for the heart. It’s good for manifesting your creative future.
And it’s damn good for your friendship, 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
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
Trying to find time to finish my Sunday Evening Art bloggeroonie, along with cleaning, cooking, watering the plants, catch up on Game of Thrones, play fetchie with the dogs, and run around with my grandson. I don’t remember being this busy 30 years ago when my own kids were little. All this running around with lists and markerboards and post-it notes full of things I don’t want to forget make me begin to wonder.
I sometimes wonder if I am at the beginning stages of dementia — I forget names, I forget occasions. I get turned around at the drop of a hankie. I was talking to my bff in the car on the way to the Art Fair Saturday: we were in this big, fun, heavy discussion and I had this great point I wanted to make, and suddenly I drew a great big blank. A white 50 x 50 foot wall couldn’t have been more empty. I KNEW where I was going seconds earlier; it’s just that something (who knows what) distracted me, and before I knew it I was sitting with my mouth open trying to catch flies or something.
The only saving grace was that my friend chuckled, started her own story, and hit that very same 50 x 50 wall. She’s several years younger than me, and maybe it was contagious, but we got a good laugh out of that one.
How would you know if you were losing your mind?
I laugh at that thought, but it’s just as serious as any other disease or accident that may or may not befall you at any time. When does the joking become real? I mean — when does it get serious?
I am able to do my job fairly proficiently still; I am able to write sentences and make my readers smile and collect unique art and talk on the phone and sketch and stencil and read long, windy books with the best of them. I remember how to get to most places, how to balance a check book, and how to do Excel and Word.
But I also forget names, recipes, and directions. I forget how to reprogram the stupid TV/Dish recorder if I hit the wrong button, and I sometimes stare at the computer screen because I’ve forgotten the next step.
I’m sure it happens to all of us. I only hope that I can make a creative moment out of every mistake that takes me in the wrong direction. I’ve already decided that there is no wrong direction (except walking into traffic). Coordinated outfits and hair styles that last the day are more like a crap game to me. If they work, fine. If not, don’t worry about it.
I often get tired of others telling me what to do, and do make strides to “do it myself.” Which I do. Most of the time. The rest of the time I nod and smile and go into my creative world and do things my way anyway. I go off on writing jaunts and unique art jaunts and kinda don’t care anymore if my family goes with me or not. Heck — I’m even singing “My Way” with Frankie now and then.
I don’t know if that’s the beginning of dementia or Alzheimer’s — and it really doesn’t matter, does it? if I get there I get there. In the meantime I want to leave my own little legacy behind. Lots of pictures of whatever on my phone. Unicorn collections and fancy, second-hand-store wine glasses. Sappy novels, blogs, short stories, poetry, love notes, unique artwork. And, by golly, forgetful or not, I’m going to have a great time doing it all.
Someday someone will go through my laptop and smile at what was left behind.
(Oh Good Lord — did you see this?!?!)
I know that, for the most part, showcasing others’ artwork is a step through the thornbushes, to be sure. The reward: fields and fields of fragrant, beautiful flowers. The punishment: thorns that can rip and make you bleed. And that, even with the best, most honest intentions, someone, somewhere, might get upset. Such is the chance I’m willing to take.
I placed a disclaimer on this wandering, unusual blog: not much, I imagine, in the scheme of things. But nonetheless, an attempt at honesty.
Here it is for you all as well.
There are so many unbelievable, fascinating, beautiful works of Art out in the world. The intention of this blog, Sunday Evening Art Gallery, is to share this beauty with the Internet Public.
These are creations that most of us never come across. I know every time I find something new and unusual I can’t wait to share it with you. I am taken aback by the genius behind the art. And I believe their passion should be discovered and appreciated by everyone.
Whenever possible, I have listed the artist and their website for your further exploration. In other situations, the topic is so diverse that often there is no one source for the images.
At no time is it my intention to steal or claim as my own photography any image I put on Sunday Evening Art Gallery.
I make no money from this world; I claim only the photography that is mine. My intention is to share the websites of these gifted people so you may further enjoy the fruits of their labors.
If at any time you discover I have taken your image and not given you proper credit, please let me know. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope my intention of spreading the beauty I come across has lightened your day. There are so many hard-working, creative artists in the world whose creations most of us never see. I hope to make this blog a melting pot of the unusual, the unique, and the awe-inspiring.
I hope you come along for the ride.
No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. John Donne
You can make it, but it’s easier if you don’t have to do it alone. Betty Ford
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller
A lot of us have creative dreams that we dream alone. We dream of being a better painter, ceramics-er, quilter, speaker, writer. But we sit alone, dreaming these pipe dreams, afraid to bring our full potential to the forefront.
Yet when we bring out work outside the silence of our own world, amazing things happen.
Bells ring, adrenalin bubbles, and ideas explode. When we share our oh-so-private dreams with others who also have oh-so-private dreams, we find incentive, hope, and support with another living, breathing, being.
And it’s great.
I know some of the greatest writers seclude themselves, isolate themselves, and write torturous and incredible passages; painters hide in dark rooms and airy studios and create gorgeous imitations of life. But sooner or later these masterpieces need a second opinion. An idea of where to go from here. A conversation of how to get their message out there. Feedback on their thoughts and ideas.
Tonight I had hot chocolate with my bff, an incredibly talented and outgoing muse. We talked about speaking engagements and radio shows and blogs and writing contests and it was exciting. Last week I met with two other wonderfully creative and innovative muses whose creative talents lie in the worlds of animals and graphic arts. Over the weekend, a couple of fantastic scrapbookers. Everyone’s fields are different; everyone is engaged in different parts of their lives. But all of us have the desire to do more, be more, to have fun and discover what’s waiting for us right around the corner.
Some of my best friends are people I met when I was a part of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. Friends that are writers, poets, screenwriters. I miss the camaraderie conferences brought to my life. The natural support that comes from wanting the same things everyone at the table wants. I miss the support of those who are lost in their innovational sphere like I am.
When I get together with other creative spirits, something magical happens. It’s the opposite of what you first envision. Your thoughts clarify. You are free to boast about your accomplishments without feeling self conscious. You share thoughts on how to get your message across. What works, what doesn’t. What’s reasonable and what’s ridiculous.
Blogs are wonderful tools for communication, too. There are thousands of writers out there — thousands of abstract artists and thousands of jewelry makers and thousands of animal whisperers. Sometimes when you see the sheer numbers of those wanting what you want, it can be overwhelming, making you want to throw in the towel.
The numbers don’t matter. All that matters is that somewhere in the Internet world are others who are going through just what you are going through. You can’t be friends with them all. But you can connect with a talented few who are willing to take you along on their ride, and who want to ride along with you. People who laugh and encourage and feel just like you.
Don’t be afraid to dream and to encourage others to dream too. There is always so much room to grow. And nothing is more fun than growing along with others.
Make room on your island!
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!
I’ve been sluggish lately; trying to adjust to my husband’s new job schedule (nights), my job schedule (days), cooking and not cooking, sleeping and not sleeping. All those things post-menopausal women go through.
I was going to try and do something about the sluggish thing. Diets aren’t for me. I love the taste of food too much. But common sense told me I can’t live on Fettuccine Alfredo and lasagna the rest of my life…not if I wanted to live to see 70. Or 80. Or, goddess be on my side, 90.
So I was going to go on that low-carb diet. Lots of meat, veggies, and water. I drink a lot of water at work already, so that’s not a problem. I started walking during my morning and afternoon work breaks. I was being a good doobie.
Then stress comes along. Too much salad too many days in a row kept me in the bathroom. Scrambling around in my frig for something that goes with the meat/veggie/water thing that is ready in 15 minutes more than impossible. Husband cooks dinner that I have to clean up. Can’t catch up with my writing or my friends or my sleep. So the crabbies hit me full force. And what do I do?
Meet my bff at McDonalds for an ice cream sundae. Then have a bowl of cereal (carbs!!) before bed.
What ever happened to MAKING A COMMITMENT? What ever happened to WILL POWER? What ever happened to the whipped cream and nuts that are supposed to come atop the sundae?
I admit my weakness will not cause the moon to slip out of orbit or get Gordon Ramsey to stop yelling at his Hell Kitchenites. But it bugs me that I can’t seem to stay true to trying to lose a few pounds. Oh, I know — tomorrow is another day. I didn’t fall off any wagon. I’m still walking and drinking water and eyeballing salads. I KNOW I have to move it or lose it. Cut proportions. There are already a dozen things I can’t eat any more because they mess me up in one way or ten.
But somehow it just seemed right to share my joys and sorrows with my bff over cheap ice cream. She, too, is swimming in her own pool of drama, but somehow we found comfort and support over a chocolate dipped ice cream cone and a hot fudge sundae. Seeking solace and laughs and camaraderie, I would have willingly followed her to the local Italian restaurant, too. That’s what friends do.
Tomorrow I will be back on the low-carb road. I chopped up some chicken for my salad and will have a burger for breakfast, along with some grapes and broccoli and whatever else my frig gives up. I will not be weak. I will not give up.
But I will be looking for my next excuse for a plate of Shrimp Scampi. With noodles.
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…
Last Friday afternoon I was supposed to go to Chicago to be a part of my good friend’s Soirée … a magical moment where music and art and writing came together in true spirit. That morning the weather scared me off — rain and thunderstorms and ice storms threatened my 2-hour journey. So I didn’t go. And it didn’t rain. Nor thunderstorm. Nor ice storm. And now I feel bad. Maybe it’s a girl thing.
So in honor of miscues and missed moments, I am reposting an oldie but goodie from December of 2011.
Raise your hand if you carry around a bunch of guilt with you every day. I don’t mean the extreme, over-the-top stuff — I mean a good, healthy fistful of remorse for things you should have or should not have done. Now, keep your hands up if you would like to get rid of that guilt. Keep them up if you have tried to rationalize and theorize why you shouldn’t carry said-guilt around with you everywhere you go. Now, keep your hand raised if you have failed in shaking off the afore-mentioned guilt that’s still perched on your shoulder. Is your arm getting tired yet?
Somewhere in a woman’s ancient psyche development a seed was planted that all females should have responsibilities and goals that prove their worth as human beings. Back in cave dwelling days, I can see the logic of some of that reasoning. If Urg goes out hunting buffalo or mastodon and is gone a month or so, someone has to keep the cave clean and make sure a saber tooth tiger doesn’t grab junior and eat him for breakfast. But responsibilities have evolved since Urg brought home a trophy yak for dinner. Men and women have turned the responsibility umbrella upside down, and responsibility is more a nebulous outline than a fact carved in stone.
Most would say that guilt is wasteful and stupid. I would raise my hand to that. When chances are such that you could succumb to pneumonia or be involved in a car crash at any time, dirty dishes in the sink should be the least of your problems. Then why do we feel it? Why is it an effort to tune out the self-reprimands that come with things we didn’t do?
I admit that I feel less guilty about things as I get older. Things that upset me in my 20s are nothing like what upsets me in my 50s. I don’t worry about getting married or getting pregnant or what shoes go with what purse. I used to think that that was some accomplishment. But when I came home from work sick the other day and worried about how much housecleaning I could squeeze in between diarrhea and dinner, I realized I hadn’t accomplished much at all.
I have never really had a day all to myself — for myself — without wiping something, washing something, or fixing something. Even those days when I am home alone, basking in the morning sunshine, reading a great book, listening to enchanting music, there is always something in the back of my mind whispering, “Why not throw a load of laundry in while you sit here? It can be washing itself…and you can keep reading,” or “Why don’t you call and make an appointment for your son’s haircut before you sit down? It will only take a minute…”
When did vacuumed floors and folded laundry take the place of listening to the wind chimes outside my window? When did eating the last piece of cake become such a terrible thing? This isn’t about men vs. women or kids vs. moms — this is about that snickering devil who tries to measure my self worth by how many soccer games I attend and how many sodas I leave in the frig for others. This is about looking around and seeing the beauty of the world without caring if my toenails need polish or if there’s toothpaste in the bathroom sink.
Yet, however easy it sounds, getting rid of guilt dust bunnies is a full time effort. I don’t want to feel too dismissive; after all, there are health and safety issues in dirty sink water and science experiments in the frig. I don’t want to be too carefree and punch in late or miss my dentist appointment. Time is a constraint no matter where you are and what you are doing. Perhaps that is where the guilt monster hides — inside the clock.
I feel guilty if I sleep the morning away instead of cleaning or going for a walk. I feel guilty if I pet the dog and not the cat. I feel bad if I promise chicken parmesan and produce hotdogs and beans. Why do I sabotage myself? Why do I let my emotions get so sidetracked? I mean, it would be one thing if I shredded the electric bill along with credit card applications. But what I’m really talking about are guilt trips about everyday things that don’t really matter in the long run. As if someone is going to care if I stop at the gas station for cappuccino instead of gas or if I keep an extra dollar from the grocery budget for myself.
These days I have a little sign that says “slow down” right on my computer stand in front of me at work. Although this typed message was meant more for multitasking on the job, it should be plastered all over my house. I need to slow down and listen to the birds outside of my window. I need to and stop and watch a favorite movie instead of mow the lawn. I need to sing along with my favorite songs at the top of my lungs, and take a nap on the sunny porch when no one’s around, and throw a candy bar in the shopping cart even though I’m trying to lose weight.
Yet in writing this confession, I see there is another sign I should make to remind me that life doesn’t need to be clean and orderly to be enjoyed. I need to remember that long after I am gone there will still be stacks of laundry and empty soda boxes and overgrown gardens in the world to deal with, and all my guilt about not taking care of them meant diddle in the end. I need a sign that lets me know that the cosmos will evolve the way it will: that dogs will always beget puppies, women will always cry at sappy movie endings, and the sun will always rise another day. I need a sign that says:
The Winter Solstice was the other day…a prelude to Christmas, the New Year, and all holidays (made up or real) in between. I thought about the meaning of this ancient celebration…the length of the night its longest, on its way once again to the shortest, a new beginning, a new year. Another year older, another year wiser, another year wilder. I thought about going outside and dancing naked to greet the new year, but the 9 inches of snow, the below-zero temperatures, and the thought of my naked body made me choose a bubble bath instead.
In the magic bath, I remembered a poem I had written back in 2006. Instead of New Year’s Resolutions (which are never really kept past the first few days), I wrote Solstice Resolutions. Somehow they felt more ethereal, more arbitrary. Easier to read, easier to keep. And it’s funny — the thoughts, the feelings, the resolutions, all resonate the same 7 years later. I share them with you.
Take my vitamins
Eat more fruit
Watch the moonrise
Write a great novel
Open my mind
Leave my shadows behind
Define Gypsy Renaissance Style
Control my finances
Listen to more music
Hug my kids
Make a new friend
Find time for others
Find time for me
Do my job
Tolerate the wild ones
Thank the Goddess
Share my thoughts
Dance in the rain
I believe our lives are divided into tiers. Think of a wedding cake. The more layers, the larger the base has to be. Not too complicated, eh? Well, what I’m finding is that the older I get the more tiers there are on my cake and the chubbier ~I~ get.
Let’s go through this extra-spacey theory.
First is the top layer. Small, spectacular. Room for only one statue. You. It has to be you and you alone – after all, you are the only one in your head and heart, your thoughts and….well, you get it.
The next tier is only a quarter of an inch lower than the head tier. That’s the one you stand on. That is the one for the people closest to your heart. I know – you love everybody. But just run with this one. This second tier contains your life partner, children, parents, and brothers and sisters (if you’re still talking to them). These are the peeps that are there for you 24/7, through life and death and throwing up spells.
The tier beneath that are the people that you love and grown fond of through the years. Sometimes they are closer than family. And sometimes they switch places with the available spaces on the tier above. These are best buddies, in-laws, cousins. These are peeps that are there for you 24/7, but usually after there’s no one available from the upper tier.
The next tier consists of just good friends. Co-workers, classmates, neighbors, church friends. People you really like. People who are fun to be around; who ask what you did over the weekend and are you all right and do you need help with anything. This tier is great for doing things with like bowling or complaining about your employer, or meeting for beer and pizza.
This is where the layers get kind of thin. The next tier is composed of people who you don’t really hang out with, but like them anyway. They are other people that work with you, friends of friends, kids of friends. People you exchange gratuitous comments and complements with. People you wave at when passing them in the store or at work or at the park.
The tiers could go on and on, but let’s let the bottom layers speak for themselves. There could be a number of tiers, depending upon the depth of your don’t cares and dislikes and out-and-out hates. These people only bring us down, so we tend to say good luck and leave them as “character builders” on the bottom.
So what is the point of these tiers, anyway? Is it to bring to the surface how many people you love or should love or can’t love? Is it to show you how big your life’s cake really is? Is it some wonderful philosophy that combines life and love and frosting and chocolate and strawberry filling?
I suppose I could say that I use this metaphor to remind myself about my lower tiers, and how important they are to my desert called life. After all, they are there to support me, too. That’s why they’re in my life.
But I’m not that noble.
I analyze my tiers when I daydream about winning the lottery and how I would share my winnings.Who I’d bring along for the ride. And who I’d leave standing in line.
I know – you love everybody. That is a noble thought. I try and adhere to that most of the time. But there are times when you just have to kick out the weak posts holding up the upper tier and replace them with something — or someone — who really will support you.
Choose those on your tiers carefully. Know it’s not a universal palate. And not everyone is here to help you eat your cake.
Besides, you never know who will make a good tax deduction.
So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.
Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too. Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.
This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb. I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.
That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture. Yet more often I think I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.
How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator; good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.
Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely. I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers. I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off the main character.
There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.
So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.
I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world… email@example.com.
There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.
Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…