Gratitude Sunday: Winds Of Change

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Autumn comes on warm
winds and cool evenings, fresh air
caressing old skin.

Sunday Musings
Aahhh. The winds of change. Autumn blew in this week. The sun shines with less heat. The evening cools faster before the sun goes down. The wind is chillier on the skin. Winter is coming. Shawls and blankets feel sooo good.

I talk a lot about money, financial situations, the haves vs the have-nots, and poverty in America. I do not live in grinding poverty, let me say that right up front. I still have a house, I have a working car, I have an abundance of stuff, working appliances, heat and running water, and I have a bit of health left to me. That’s about three times more than most of the civilized or semi-civilized world. By American standards however, my treasures would be considered trash. As in poor white.

Now, you can pull out all kinds of labels and all kinds of reasons and all kinds of platitudes, but the truth is people in America don’t like talking about money. We’d rather pretend we have it all together, rave over those who have less than us, and rant against those who have more. If we talked about it we might realize some of us don’t have it as good as we think they do. Some of us put on a good show and some of us don’t care. Those of us who have enough don’t want those with less to see how much we have. Those of us with less want to appear as if we have more. Those of us who have more than plenty hide it so they aren’t pressured to share.

Most of us don’t need a lot. We just need enough. Enough to experience that feeling of security, of knowing where the rent or mortgage is coming from and no eviction notice is imminent, of being able to be clean and get to work on time, of knowing food will be on the table at mealtimes, and your family is comfortable, safe, and maybe even happy. I think these are reasonable expectations for all people.

Success at these meager goals happens for some of us and not for others, no matter the work put in by the individual. I wonder why some are successful and some are not. I don’t think there is a formula. Especially when so many voices who have tried and failed and tried again aren’t even heard. We do know it is hard to work your way out of poverty and poverty begats poverty.

We all have voices. We are all connected. We are one voice. We are all voices.

The Gathering of the Tribes of 2016 in North Dakota is part of the winds of change. For so many people to come together to stop the profit making oil machine is divinely awesome. Many voices coming together, many other voices all over the world joining their prayers for a healed planet.

Moving toward semi-retirement is in my wind and my voice is moving in a direction the wind has pushed me toward, one I’ve been drifting toward for many years. My winds tend to be watery, to have an ebb and flow, to move forward, then back, then forward again. Rather than call myself wishy-washy I prefer to think of it as taking an appropriate amount of time for a well-researched and educated decision. And I reserve the right to make mistakes and start over again. To move forward. To move back. And again. And again. As many times as the winds push waves against the shore.

I don’t have a gathering of the tribes taking place in my home, but in my heart the winds of change have moved me toward a new pathway. This little dirt path has my bare feet upon it and I move forward in creativity one step at a time, grounded, skin to earth, one connection here, another connection there. You never walk the pathway alone.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Autumn is the time of year when every leaf is flower colored. Yellow and red in a single leaf, with the company of a greyed bit of lichen and a tiny rose-gold twirly-gig. dscn1149 Red berries ready for the holiday season. dscn0878 An array of red, yellow, and green in a bushy border. dscn1069 The colors of light over a city street. dscn1077

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} I’m always a season behind on most TV shows because I abhor commercials. I wait until the series comes out on DVD or Netflix, then I binge. Because I can. I spent most of the week in season 5 of Game of Thrones. No spoiler alerts in case you aren’t there yet. (I know, I know, season 6 is starting, but I don’t pay for TV other than Netflix. And then commercials, eww.) But just FYI, wow. The plot does twist, and twist again. * Eye in the Sky (2015, rated R) one of the last films with Alan Rickman, and starring Helen Mirren. The story is all over the planet about a military operation involving the chance of hurting innocent citizens and the decision making process the military, legal, and political people go through. The militarists were very aggressive toward using their technology and the technology was fascinating. Nonetheless it was frightening and eye opening about the many pass-the-buck techniques, and who would just push forward and pull the trigger vs those who would wait. * Needed to watch a couple episodes of the old Carol Burnett Show to get the taste of militarism out of my mouth. Lily Tomlin guest starred; I’m still looking for a scene I saw her in previously. I’ll find the scene someday.

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Currently Reading – Politics is not my forte so my not totally grasping Why the Right Went Wrong: From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (2016, politics) by E. J. Dionne J is not a big deal to me. I often read things I don’t entirely “get” because I’ve put it into the neural net and somewhere down the line it clicks or starts to make sense. I complicated matters by starting Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016, politics) by Jane Mayer, which came recommended by a city councilwoman for our little burg. I could be on political overload with the election around the corner, but if we don’t know the history how do we prevent it happening again? * Eileen (2015, fiction) by Ottessa Moshfegh. Listed as a thriller, the novel starts quietly until you realize things aren’t what they seem. Eventually you suspect something awful is going to happen from the tone of the narrator, but when it does there is also no complete revelation so the story leaves you wondering the true depth of the misdeed and whether or not the sub-story of the present is true as well. Creepy psychology of humans and the best kind of horror story: it leaves you wondering. * The Woman in Cabin 10 (2016, fiction) by Ruth Ware. A nice old-fashioned who-dun-it in the classic British style so far. Expecting plot twists soon. Half way through and haven’t figured out who-dun-it yet. Best thing you can say about any novel: I can hardly put it down. “Don’t bother me. I’m reading.”

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • The busy squirrel outside my aquatic center who has a lovely nest of dried leaves s/he’s made and watching him harvest the acorns from the tips of the branches and returning to fill his nest. At first I though he was practicing jumping until I saw each time he had something in his mouth. Quite an entertaining hour.
  • Visiting with a friend I haven’t seen since spring, who has a new grand-baby. Their whole family is thrilled with the new arrival, as far as I can tell. Who wouldn’t be, I mean, new baby!
  • The obliquely angular light that happens this time of year.
  • The hubster vacuuming my room when he did the rest of the house.
  • Looking toward a new career adventure.
  • Being able to bump up the font on my computer when my eyes get tired of reading small print.
  • A sprig of lilac I left by my work desk that, while dried and crispy, still smells every bit like spring.
  • Watching all the little birds getting ready for winter.
  • The variety of the harvest showing up at the farmers market.
  • Layering up in the morning and stripping off layers during the day. Owning the layers that make this possible.
  • My new blankie. Last spring I was suddenly unable to tolerate fuzzy materials on my skin (likely a prescription drug reaction). I hunted at Goodwill until I found a comforter that was large enough and smooth (probably a cotton sort of muslin) enough at a price I was willing to pay. Mister Kitty thinks I got it for him and is forced to share.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: Desire And Reality

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Gray hastens over
the sky, blue peeks through silver
clouds, briefly, blinking.

Sunday Musings
Last week I talked about philosophy and knowledge. I asked the question my former philosophy professor asked: what do you know? Knowledge is a slippery thing, reality even more ephemeral.

Let’s randomly ramble around a different question this week: what do you want?

There’s a difference between what you want and what you need. My needs are simple: a solid roof and secure home, a little food, clean clothes, a comfy bed and clean linens, some heat in the winter, some air in the summer, new slippers when I wear out the old ones, a working car or access to transportation. I could do without (and I have done so) a few of these items on the list, albeit with less comfort. In my aging I find I am in greater need of comfort, smaller comforts. Most of us need some variation of this list.

Oh, but I have a rich fantasy life full of so many things I think I want. Notice the operative phrase: I think. Since I’ve never had any money, and mostly limited in available choices, I don’t really know I want what I think I want because I’ve never had it and very unlikely to obtain it in the future. Would I know how to take care of it all? Having more means taking care of more. And there we are back to what do I know. See how circular and difficult fantasy is when you think about it too much? And how much of wanting is tied up with reality? Does wanting equal deserving? Just so you know, I think everybody deserves all good things to keep them comfortable and happy. Just because you are. And do not mistake this thought for entitlement.

The Gamble House in Pasadena, California

The Gamble House in Pasadena, California

OK, I’m ready to play. I want a large Craftsman style house full of rich polished wood and stained glass, with a covered swimming pool out back, and acres of land with a farm to produce my own food. I want a staff to take care of it all, including a cook, housekeeper, maid, cabana boy, gardener, and mechanic. I want a classic Jaguar to drive. I want a fabulous job I don’t have to work at because I own the business and can pay other people to do the work. And another house at the beach, with a similar staff, with a driver to get me there any time I want.

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There. Now you know how greedy I am. Where did I get the idea I should have, or want these things? I’m gonna blame the media and my wild imagination. TV shows, movies, magazines, news shows, and those street of dreams shows. And books. Where you can create whatever you want in words and imagination. You don’t even need pictures.

I don’t need those things. I want them. I desire them. The desire burns me. The desire frightens me. To not be satisfied with the small needed abundances I have and continue to desire other things that cannot and will not be obtained is a futile waste of time and brain space. Or is it? Could the fantasy be a useful tool to soothe myself? I have what I need. The creation of a space with fantastical comforts may just be a way to stop thinking about every day concerns. A simple, or elaborate, ethereal escape. Maybe not even desire at all. Perhaps even delusional.

Hwell, now. Wasn’t that fun? All kinds of interesting thoughts about wanting, desire, reality, and delusion. I revealed one of my escape fantasies. Another fantasy is far simpler, the one where I’m walking on a beach, a warm breeze blowing my loose-fitting dress around my legs. Walking, walking, simply walking on the sand, no worries or concerns, absorbing the sun, feeling my legs and arms move, squishing sand between my toes, the sound of the surf in my ears, the moist salt air in my nose and lungs and caressing my skin. Just walking.

Henry Margetson's "Poseidon's Mistress by the Shore"

Henry Margetson’s “Poseidon’s Mistress by the Shore”

See how easy that is? From frivolous to simple. I won’t tell you all my fantasies. I might bore you. It’s your turn to play. Take a few minutes in a comfortable place, and dream. If you could dream your perfect home, your most fabulous ride, your dream vacation, without regard to cost or how or why, what would you desire? Can you come up with more than one? Can you create a simple one? Can you use it as an escape and not become entangled in the real wanting, the suffering of feeling like you don’t have enough?

More than 50 percent of Americans live below the poverty level, most on a fixed income. Many of us have a wealth of abundance we do not even see, because our cash flow may be low. Consumerism is such a part of our lives we often don’t see what we have because we are so busy wanting and buying more.

Wealth is so much more than desire and the stuff in your life. Wealth includes things you can’t touch like the love and support of family and friends (long distance or short distance), the giggles of babies, the movement of your body, fresh air to walk in, clean water to drink. Wealth includes the ability to grieve those we’ve lost, the sharing of time together with loved ones, opening your heart to the universe and your god. Wealth includes wanting and forgiveness and passion and silence.

What do you want? Be fanciful.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – A patch of all-colored zinnias in the public area that welcomes people to our little burg.

Zinnias

Zinnias

A border of cheerful marigolds in autumn colors still blooming. marigold-sparky1 My favorite autumn plant, the orange globes of the Chinese lantern plant. dscn9492

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Your Sister’s Sister (2012, rated R) a little love story with an ambiguous ending. * Season three of The Blacklist (2015, not rated) because James Spader. * Giant (1956, not rated), the classic with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. Took me two nights to watch this almost 4 hour epic movie based on an Edna Ferber novel. So many young stars, Carole Baker, Rod Taylor, Dennis Hopper, Sal Mineo, Mercedes McCambridge. If you don’t know these names I recommend a course in classic film. Not only is Texas oil profits in question, but this movie also takes a stand on racism while the civil rights movement is still nascent. I recommend watching classic movies just so one can connect with the cultural references. * Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, rated PG-13), and finally we are back to a Star wars that makes sense. I did not understand the last three movies, but then I’m not immersed in the culture of the games and the books. So for me, an average viewer, it was nice to enjoy a movie I could understand, and not just be impressed by the special effects.

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Currently ReadingWhy the Right Went Wrong: From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (2016, politics) by E. J. Dionne Jr. I tried keeping a score card. I still can’t keep up with who’s who and who did what and why. That still doesn’t justify taking advantage of your constituency just because we can’t keep up with all the shenanigans. Eileen (2015, fiction) by Ottessa Moshfegh. I’m not far into this novel listed as a thriller. The plot has not yet revealed itself, and I suspect an unreliable narrator, but we are in the interesting necessarily self-involved world of a lonely neglected woman.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Honoring the opinions of other people even when we differ.
  • Pondering some different pathways for my future and starting to get some plans in place.
  • My imagination.
  • Moving toward retirement and figuring out what I want.
  • The ability in America to keep fighting to rise above poverty level. Whether I make it or not.
  • Finding an old family friend I’d been thinking about for the last year. Not that he’s old, just that I’ve known him many years.
  • My cousin’s wife, the mother of an eight year old son, who, while in the hospital, had a stroke that went unobserved by the doctors and nurses who tended her until it was too late and they had to scramble to remove the bottom half of her leg because of no circulation for 40 hours. Their misfortune is not what I would wish upon anyone but I am grateful she is alive, and home, and their family is adjusting to their new reality.
  • Today marking 17 years in my house. Nearly as long as I spent growing up in my family home.
  • How fresh the air is after rain.
  • This week the switch flipped a few days ahead of the movement of the sun’s autumnal equinox. Gray showery days with glimpses of the sun, rain, cooler air, and beautiful autumn colors are upon us.
  • Shawls, sweaters, quilts, and blankets.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Art, Careers, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: Knowledge and Reality

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Ripening grapes scent
the arbor, golden purple
globes of earth’s sweetness.

Sunday Musings
When I went back to college I was 20 years older than the traditional students in my classes. I’d had that much more experience than them but yet I had experienced so much less than them being a generation beyond the university pathway they were taking right out of high school.

One of my first classes, required for graduation, was Philosophy 101. I had no idea what philosophy even was as I’d spent the past years of my life trying to make a living and rise above the low income existence I’d carved out for my family as the bread-winning mom with a disabled hubster (who has never received disability benefits. Ever). I was working to get off welfare because Clinton and his administration decided we welfare recipients needed to get off our lazy butts and get to work, although I’d worked all my life except for a short period after the Cesarean birth of the son.

To introduce the class “Knowledge and Reality, Philosophy 101”, the professor (bless you, Dave, I’ll never forget you) asked us all this question: What do you know?

Most of the students at the private university I was privileged to attend were from affluent families who could afford to pay for their child’s education. I was a working woman long past college age who just wanted to learn and dig my way out of the poverty hole so I could establish some form of housing security for myself before I died. The traditional aged students with whole futures ahead of them had so many entertaining answers and for each one good old Dave had a response that made their answers look like gobbledegook. At that point I was pretty sure this was a trick question and I didn’t know what I thought I knew. It turned out I did know something.

So what do I know?

Simple.

I know nothing.

I don’t know anything.

This was not my response in class. I thought I knew something then. I thought because I couldn’t turn my brain off, I knew I thought. I thought constantly. I thought too much. I didn’t think enough. Or about the right things. Or in the right way. Dave made us question whether or not we even existed despite the fact we thought we knew we breathed and thought.

But, I know nothing. I don’t know anything.

Nothing is an interesting concept. I see it as a sort of black hole affair. A place, almost, of no light, no sound, no taste or feel, no gravity, no things, a space which sucks you in because it is really all light, all sound, all tastes and feeling, heavy gravity, and an abundance of everything.

Alternatively, anything encompasses all things as the word pertains to, well, you know, any thing. So many things.

I am so grateful for the ability to learn because every time I think I know something. It usually turns out I know nothing and have to increase my learning curve. I am grateful for being able to understand most of what I learn and to retain some of it. I am grateful for the brief interlude of university that encouraged critical thinking. I would like to be better at applying my critical thinking than I am now.

There’s the caveat. I am intelligent. I can research and learn. I can think critically. I am empathetic. I am practical. But I’m not always sensible. I have poor social skills. I am naïve to the manipulations and games of others, including everything clear up to global economics and politics.

So while I may know a few things about myself, I know nothing about other people. Oh, wait, that’s kind of tied up with trust issues, isn’t it? As the person who has been dropped in those stupid trust games where you fall back into other people’s arms, let me tell you I will never participate in those games again. The last time I was asked to do this game, I declined. I tried to explain it to the other participants as a form of bullying, not a true trust game, and true trust from them would honor my dissent. They scoffed and sincerely tried to persuade me. I continued to decline. They caught each other around the circle trying to prove to me no one would be dropped. I continued to decline. They were strangers. I’d been through the laughing and ridicule when everyone else was caught, but I was dropped. More than once. Once burned, twice shy, right?

Would I have developed trust in them had I trusted them enough to catch me? Or would I have been dropped once again? It was easier (read: emotionally safer) to risk alienation than a possible repeat of the physical and emotional damage of the past.

And you know what? The other students didn’t forget me or brush me off. Some of them avoided me, considering me aloof and uncooperative, but they did not forget me. And some of them talked with me. Perhaps it helped I am so nosy/curious about people and information; I loved to listen to the students and hear their stories. Most traditional college aged kids aren’t used to being listened to. They didn’t have much use for my opinions and information but I didn’t care much as I enjoyed learning from them.

So what do I know? I am a learning machine. I live to learn. Does that knowledge acknowledge reality? I’m not sure about that, because every day when I turn on the news, I’m sure the world is a completely different reality than mine. When I go out in public and see the expanding homeless population on our streets, I question reality. Can I change reality? When you are part of a society one person cannot change reality. Realistically I cannot offer sanctuary to every homeless stranger I see.

I can change my reality. I can pursue different work, trade earned income for volunteerism in retirement, move my bed or my sofa and my reality changes. In a society one person can merely be the persistent voice for change. It takes many voices to make social reality change. Even people who live off the grid are affected by people who don’t. We are all connected.

Here’s what I know about nothing.

I know people need homes to be a productive, healthy work force. I know people need refreshing sleep and healthful foods and a bit of hygienic privacy. I know people need to be able to clean their bodies and have clean clothes free from insect pests. I know people need a sense of belonging, of feeling trusted and important to the function of the unit so they are not so lonely they seek relief from loneliness with distractions such as addictions.

My knowledge is simple and basic. My knowledge is nothing, anything, something, everything. My voice when joined with other voices can change reality.

What do you know?

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – One of my favorite color combinations, hot pink and purple fuchsias. dscn6006 Interesting pink and salmon colored begonia blossoms. dscn6856-2 Burgundy leaves and white oxalis flowers. dscn6738 Purple tipped green sedum hens refreshed after the rain. dscn6698 Hardy pink roses still blooming through the summer. dscn6056-2

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring (2003, rated R) in Korean with subtiles, the story of a Buddhist monk from childhood through old age. Lovely photography. * Adaptation (2003, rated R) Merle Streep, Tilda Swinton, Nicolas Cage, a different twisted story about orchids. * East Side Sushi (2016, rate PG), one of those fun movies all about cooking. A Latina chef accomplished in Mexican cuisine becomes an accomplished Sushi chef overcoming the gender and racial barrier. The love story element is delightfully low key, more about trust and friendship than sex. * Seasons two and three of Scott and Bailey (2014 and 2015, not rated) a BBC production with female investigators. Interesting little mysteries.

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Currently Reading – Finished A Tale for the Time Being (2013, fiction) by Ruth Ozeki. Oh, my universe. I will read this again. Recommended. Especially for anyone who thinks too much about time. The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life (2016, social policy) by Anu Partanen. Had to return this shared item to my local lending library as it has a long waiting queue. I’m back on the list. I’m more convinced than ever American government does not represent its constituents in the manner in which we deserve. Maybe I’ll understand more after I read Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism From Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond (2016, politics) by E. J. Dionne Jr. I don’t usually read politics but this came highly recommended by somebody I respect and admire. Macdeath (2015, fiction) by Cindy Brown. A formulaic detective fiction, not terribly well written or inspiring, from a condescending author who assumes her readership knows nothing about live theater. A quick fluff read.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • The son, who is 24 today. He was 9 on 9-11-2001. He is empathetic, intelligent, and passionate. He anguishes over social injustice (wonder where he got that?).
  • Walking in the perfect late summer air with just right sun and just right breeze.
  • Many neighbors who love flowers in their yards close enough to the sidewalk so I can enjoy.
  • A refreshing rain that blew through.
  • The fragrance of resinous pines on a late summer day.
  • The fragrance of hot juniper trees.
  • Being old enough that caffeine doesn’t work any more.
  • Still warm enough to open doors and windows to let the breezes freshen the house.
  • Still in my own home. The privacy feels luxurious.
  • 50 years of Star Trek.
  • Getting back into the pool after their annual maintenance closure.
  • Watching an intricate crow dance outside the freshly cleaned huge windows at the pool. For more than an hour I watched about 30 of them pair off and separate, swooping and soaring, landing on the patio area and prancing on the concrete together. What a treat to watch them with their glistening shades-of-obsidian feathers. Crows are so smart and so beautiful.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Housing, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gratitude Sunday: Starting Fires

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Air cools, rain refreshed,
autumn is not far away.
Chrysanthemum blooms.

Sunday Musings
Chapter done. The situation I’ve been dealing with since last January is complete. I had all these (immature) thoughts about when it was over of how I’d finally be able to tell the whole story. But, you know what? The precipitating incident is likely no longer important. I had a 16 year learning experience in a non-optimal environment. I survived. Dwelling on the past gives no momentum to moving forward. The details now are history, and the less said the better. Telling this story of misfortune will not prevent it from happening to others as it is pervasive to our society. Maybe one day, when there is enough distance from the whole mess, I’ll decide to tell the story. For now I need to let the fire die, rather than adding fuel.

Instead, I’m going to treat this like a commencement celebration. I get to move on. I will survive. I will do other things. I have to keep repeating this to myself so I don’t completely dissolve into depression, anger, and bitterness, those, you know, non-productive emotions. Choice is true in some things; I choose how I’m reacting and dealing with this. Day by day. Sometimes hour by hour.

Yes. I get to make choices now that feel forced or premature. Then again, it must be the right time to make those choices because they are presenting themselves now. Which road not taken will be the better road?

I am putting new habits on the calendar. Right now I have the flexible time to take care of my body, and take care of my home finding plenty of corners to clean, to take advantage of the farmers market and cook from scratch. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as I can find something concrete to keep me busy while I am living this meaningless life. (The previous sentence is paraphrased slightly from A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.)

I’m not truly convinced my life is meaningless, but as I age I find I care less about what the meaning is. I had a path. I did some stuff; I have a legacy. I’ll get my new pathway under my feet soon. I’m looking at so many possibilities it is hard to choose. It’s hard to change. It’s hard to plan and set a goal. I need to selfishly take time to heal so I can finish the legacy creation.

I need the time to walk after breakfast, the time to do yoga before lunch, and swim before supper. I need the time to sleep and nap as the body says. I need the time to prepare fresh foods and eat them in a calm environment. I need the time to connect with a few people, to chat and share time. I need to prepare myself to be able to work again, whatever that work is.

It’s never easy to admit to being damaged goods, to not be as able as you once were. Most people I know, including me, just keep on going, working in spite of a body or mind that is no longer cooperating. You know; always do your best. Once you are damaged, however, it’s harder to do your best. You can no longer do what you once did, but you must persevere, right? So it works until it doesn’t, when the body or the brain finally fails to work. When you are finally not able. Then you have a new best. Not the same as the old best.

Then the surprise. There might still be something you are able to do and it probably won’t be what you used to do. You might have to be enterprising. You might have to be flexible. You might have to learn new stuff. You might have to work hard again. You might have to wait or you might find it right away.

You learn things when you think in new ways. For example, I started wondering why there wasn’t any financially wealthy people out there who helped disadvantaged people pay their mortgages to help create more housing security. Well, I started learning about ethics law. That almost seems like an oxymoron. I mean ethics are pretty self-explanatory. Why should there be laws about how ethics work if ethics are ethics? I started thinking too much. Anyway, ethics law says financially wealthy people who want to give away their money to help other not so wealthy people cannot give it to individuals. They must instead give it to foundations or charities who distribute that money.

So after learning this I can tell you my tired old brain started dreaming about what kind of foundation I would like to design. I’d like to help people retire and die in their homes without having to worry about the security of their home. I don’t care how capitalism works. I don’t care about profit. Obviously I would be re-distributing other people’s money, because I don’t have any. I have no idea of how to go about this so if you know how to start a foundation or how to get financially wealthy people interested in such a project, I’d love to hear your ideas. For now, my research continues.

What an entertaining thought for me! So many thoughts about how to get access to other people’s money to help other people become more housing secure. I’m dreaming, but one has to dream to create anything new, don’t they? Science fictions writers dream and years later the objects or capability they describe becomes reality. Think cell phones and electric cars. A novelist dreams and readers take their ideas to heart, and because of those ideas even social policy can change.

I talk so much about myself. It’s my only perspective. I’m grateful I have the wit to also think beyond myself. And don’t get me wrong about wealth. I live with great abundance, but after 50 years of working and paying taxes in this United States of America I have no security in my home nor do I have a secure cash flow. And if this is what I need for a feeling of security, I know there are multitudes out there who need the same.

I keep learning. I’ll never stop learning, which in itself is a kind of wealth. Art and information come in; my wild and crazy (or informed and intuitive) thoughts come out. Time for a new chapter and time to start a different fire.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I love rocks; somebody gathered these whitish beauties at my local labyrinth. DSCN9022 These burgundy leaves and gray-burgundy plumes. DSCN9512 Bright harvest colors of rainbow chard. DSCN9535 Love the bright pinkness of this blossom. DSCN8846 And critters! Miss Ladybug on a dying thistle head. DSCN9545 (2) Bumbledee bee on sweet lavender. DSCN9536

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Self/Less (2015, rated PG-13) a sci-fi story about moving an old man’s mind into a young man’s body. * Seven Wonders of the Buddhist World (2012, not rated) a BBC documentary about Buddhist buildings around the world. * The Original Kings of Comedy (2001, rated R) 4 comedians film their stage show, funny truths one doesn’t usually say aloud, and with some colorful language. * Tried to watch a couple different comediennes on Netflix, but shut them off when they just used vulgarity and body fluids as “humor”, may as well listen to 8 year old boys. * Season one of Scott and Bailey (2012, not rated) a BBC TV series with women detectives, women bosses, and women administrators.

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Currently ReadingA Tale for the Time Being (2013, fiction) by Ruth Ozeki. Oh, my universe. I am in love with novels that make me want them to be my world, as if I could somehow move into the words, like a dream reality. When the words make me sweat and my head spin. This. The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life (2016, social policy) by Anu Partanen. I may have to start a letter writing campaign to my legislators; moving where the policies fit a forward moving society is not likely in my budget.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Sweet earth ripe fragrance of wet blackberries still on the vine.
  • Cucumbers from the farmers market made into farmer’s pickles the way my mom used to make them, with thinly sliced sweet onions, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. Chill an hour or two before eating. I add a dab of sour cream to the mix just before serving. Oh, how fresh it is!
  • Misty Kitty seeming perkier since his visit to the kitty doctor.
  • Autumn in every breath and breeze.
  • Getting some autumn clothing ready to wear. That means I washed a couple sweatshirts and some flannel pants.
  • Helping the hubster have a successful experiment at our local aquatic center.
  • Extra reading time this summer.
  • How just the right fiction novel comes to you at just the right time.
  • The amazing ability of authors to be novel in their words.
  • Enjoying a lovely mild summer.
  • Hearing cheers and joy of the season’s first university football game from my house. Listening to the game on the internet at the same time.
  • Visiting a friend and yakking till our mouths were dry.
  • Embracing my 6th decade immaturity.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Education, Entertainment, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: The Sound Of Silence

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Shorter days, lower
sun at yon horizon, bright
orange yellow orb.

Sunday Musings
We live in a noisy world. Hard as I try I find no silence, no relief from a constant onslaught of noises. I stay up late at night, so I’m the only person awake, the only noise maker, and yet no silence.

The son has turned off his growler metal or swashbuckling video game or Star Trek/Wars show; the hubster’s rocking blues or football game or cop show is shut off; the neighbor’s country music is finally off; and the fiesta up the street shut down at 10:00. It’s middle of the night now and the air conditioner or furnace has stopped its quiet hum. The whiz of the box fan chugs to a stop and I open the doors to let in fresh air. The hum of the overhead fluorescent light and the stove hood fan are off because the kitchen is closed. The dishwasher cycle, clothes washer and dryer are done for the night. The discordant ceiling fans slow to a stop, why can they not at least be synchronized to spin in the same cycle, just one noise? But no. Each fan has a unique sound, whirring in dissonance against the others.

The neighbor’s kids have been put to bed, their shrieks of joy at being out after dark mere echoes down the driveway. The screaming and hooting partiers on the corner have finally passed out, all quiet on the drunken front. The car lovers behind the fence are done revving the engines they are currently working on, and have slammed the garage door closed.

Birds have finished their evening song, frogs have stopped their twilight croak, and crickets are finally done cricking about the night’s darkness around us. Possums, raccoons, and skunks have completed their nocturnal shuffle and sniff hunting around my yard. The area light has snapped on filling the area with light and a soft buzz.

I turn my TV off, surround sound silenced. Are we quiet yet? The refrigerator motor clicks, hums, and whirs. The automatic ice maker dumps a load of ice, clink, clink, clink. The cat snores in his bed. One of the partiers on the corner has awakened and found his car, including the ignition, and roars off down the street. Foreboding sirens resonate from some distant neighborhood.

I lie in bed trying to find silence to sleep. I hear the highway a couple miles away where the 24/7 world is constantly driving, big-wheeled trucks working round the clock to keep stores and gas tanks filled for our convenience. A lonesome train whistle blows and blows as it travels east toward the city crossing many local roads, announcing every rural road, the sound bouncing around the low hills and resounding between the dozen or so big buildings in town. The house creaks in the wind, and the front door makes a popping sound with temperature changes. The next door neighbor’s newborn wakes and demands his needs with his tiny new lungs, the sound thin like a screeching cat through the windows of our houses.

I find no silence in the woods when I try to camp. The trees scrape against each other, the wind rustles through the leaves of bushes. Chipmunks scritch-run across my tent, a new element in their natural obstacle course. Owls hoot, and coyotes or wolves howl at the moon. Shrews, mice, and other tiny woodsy creatures creep and crawl over the forest floor tunneling through layers of mouldering leaves and broken twigs with teeny tiny crickles and crackles as they move. Visiting the ocean is no quieter as the never-ending waves crash and crash and crash, and the winds whip around cliffs and rocks, the sand making whistling tunes in the wind, and the seagulls caw, begging for attention.

Even when I lull myself away from these external sounds, my body never shuts up. I hear my heart beat; I hear the blood flow in my ears. My eyelids make tiny little whacks when I blink trying to keep them closed. I hear every intake and outtake of my breath and a competing noise in each nostril as the air whistles in and out. I hear the muscles in my throat constrict when I swallow. I hear my hair slide against the pillow. The bones in my shoulders, vertebrae, and hips pop as I stretch out as long as I can along the mattress, as do my ankles when I move them in circles to relive the stress in my legs. I carry my own tunes, tinnitus in both ears, a different tone in each ear.

And then there’s the voice. The narrator. A commentary only I can hear that goes on and on, never shutting up, neurally writing stories and essays, contemplating concepts, mapping situations and driving, re-watching whatever was just viewed on the screen, going over and over past interactions or memories, creating fantasy reactions or dialogues, calling up a commercial jingle or a riff from a tune just before sleep descends so dreams are crazily looped with the tune. The voice of the worrier, the explainer, the memory keeper full of re-plays and distortions, the fantasy future maker. I long for an off switch just for a few hours so I can sleep. I sleep and the narrator dreams strange and wild dreams.

Silence surrounds me. Silence makes its own noise. Silence is connection to other noise makers, family, pets, neighbors, woodland creatures, nature, the wild world out there; it’s a good thing, an embrace. Silence in not quiet; silence is quite loud. Listen. What do you hear?

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Colors are changing. I love the colors of harvest, red tomatoes, orange as they ripen to full color, rainbow chard, green peppers, blue green cabbage leaves, emerald vines with golden blossoms. DSCN6037 Brilliant yellow summer squash blossom. DSCN5876 Smooth creamy ivory gourd. DSCN5974 Sunny flower faces with seeds starting in the center for future flowers. DSCN6041

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} 45 Years (2016, rated R) with Charlotte Rampling. A couple is celebrating their 45th anniversary, when they discover something disturbing about the husband’s life before they met. Ambiguous ending. Meh. * Season two of Saturday Night Live (1976-1977, not rated) mostly on fast forward, viewing selective scenes, I’m looking for a certain scene I remember Lily Tomlin doing. I suspect I’m in the wrong place, but the scenes are still funny and maybe even more so with all the convening years. You can’t beat the Not Ready For Prime Time Players for humor. Classics. * The Remains of the Day (1993, rated PG) with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins. An odd unrequited love story. * Tig (2015, not rated) with Tig Notaro, a documentary about a comedienne who shares her experiences with breast cancer.

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Currently Reading Finished Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant To Do (2015, psychology) by Chris Guillebeau. One nugget, some ideas. Always looking for inspiration. Finished This is the Part Where You Laugh (2016, fiction) by Peter Brown Hoffmeister. Travis lives with his grandparents, grandma has cancer, grandpa uses her pain drugs, his mother is a missing-in-action junkie and nearly dead when found, unknown father, his best friend is stabbed and dies, and he breaks four ribs jumping off a bridge showing off for a new girlfriend. Yet he loves basketball, he works hard at his own landscaping business and saves money to give to his mother when he finds her, he keeps his grandfather from overusing grandma’s drugs, and makes sure grandma is comfortable. Like most lives that feel crazy and out of control you can only laugh to get through all the hard times. A Tale for the Time Being (2013, fiction) by Ruth Ozeki. Change the article. What is a time being? The story of a lonely teenage girl, wrapped up in Buddhist philosophy. I love novels that make me think in a novel way. Fascinating. The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life (2016, social policy) by Anu Partanen, an easily understandable non-fiction regarding what and why the social policies of national health care, free education, inexpensive child care, and senior care, among others are working so well in the Scandinavian countries vs the “welfare” policies in the United States that are working so poorly.

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This week I have been grateful for:

    • That bright green smell when you cut the ends off green beans.
    • Fat, juicy, tangy-sweet blackberries.
    • Sweet summery figs.
    • Bacon. Everything’s better with bacon.
    • Lunch out with a teacher friend. I love teachers. All kinds.
    • Having a limited schedule on the hottest days this week.
    • Cool evenings after warm days.
    • Tank tops. And shorts.
    • The oblique angle of the sun on late summer evenings and how it dapples as it passes through the leaves on the neighbor’s trees and the slats of the blinds on my French doors. The shiny shimmery way the light looks on my walls and furniture.
    • The wind blowing the fragrance of the neighbor’s sweet ripe apples on their tree into my back yard.
    • Late summer on the wind.
    • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: The Best Of Me

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Heated air makes sweat
rivers down my spine; quiet,
under the oak tree.

Sunday Musings
Sometimes when we start things they don’t go as planned. I started a post for today but when I looked at it again, I didn’t like the way it was going. I saved it elsewhere as it might be a good piece later. For now we are doing a re-start. The story of my life.

You’d think by now I’d listen to myself, you know, that phrase I keep coming back to about change being the only constant. I should know better than to get comfortable or complacent as change happens on the edge. At the blink of an eye, on the turn of a dime, on one breath of wind, one crashing wave. Change is more constant for people who are marginal, who don’t have enough, despite education, intelligence, the best laid plans, or the best choices. When the transition is upon you, the only path is forward.

All the career change books I’ve been reading lately suggest you make a list of what you do best and what your passions are as an exercise when you are in transition. I’m going to do that exercise here, but I’m going to have a little fun with it. Bear with me.

The best thing I do is complaining. That’s right, world class. No jobs available in complaining, though I find complaints are the best way to define problems.

I’m good at being snarky. I have little patience with inanity. Or liars. Or duplicity. Or inefficiency. Or incompetence. I’m getting old enough not to care. Just call me Maxine. See? But nobody likes a smart ass either.

I’m the best buttinski. I’m nosy as hell, curious too, and not afraid to ask you to tell me more. And I can fix all the problems you tell me about with my words, while my own life feels like a trainwreck.

I excel in foot-to-mouth-ratio comments. I’ve even managed a few foot twists in my time. Stuff just brain pukes out of my mouth. The filter between mouth and brain must get loose or takes some kind of weird vacation. Thus the engagement of the foot.

I’m really good at procrastination. I take my inspiration from Ellen Degeneres who says in one of her routines: “Let’s say we could save up a bunch of time and set it aside. You know what we’d do with it? Nothing. Nothing at all. Isn’t that the point? To be able to do nothing at all? But we’re not guaranteed that later-on chunk of time. All we have is here. And now. And that’s why procrastination feels so right. Procrastination is not the problem. It’s the solution. It’s the universe’s way of saying stop. Stop. Slow down. Procrastinate now. Don’t put it off.” I laughed so hard when I heard this bit, yet it seemed so spot on.

Alternatively there are some projects I am able to prioritize and get ‘er done without delay. It feels so good to check things off the list and the free time after feels like a gift.

I’m a critical etiquette queen. I like the old fashioned please, thank you, and you’re welcome. The correct response to “thank you” is “you’re welcome”, not: OK; yep or yup; sure or sure thing; you bet or you betcha; yeah or yeah, right; right; just so; uh huh; and absolutely not no problem/no problemo. And people who serve you over a counter or a table are not slaves or underlings to be abused at your whim. They are doing a job which deserves your respectful behavior even if they are government employees paid with our tax dollars.

I believe fervently in customer service. I’m good at it. You are helping the person you are serving have the experience they want or need. People want to be happy and they want to be respected. They can come in wanting to throw a fit because whatever you or your business did was wrong, and they leave me with a smile, happy to pay whatever they owed after understanding why they might not be right. Not that they knew that’s what I was explaining to them. They thought I was telling them they were right. This ability is a gift. It’s hard to explain.

I’m the best proofreader, and woe the book, news article, or blog that has more than two errors. I moan and groan and bewail the godawful editors and proofreaders who let the errors slip by. Beware the dangling participle, the misplaced modifier, and incorrect usage like its and it’s. I have a whole list of grammar pet peeves. Social media and memes make me crazy if there is an incorrect word or punctuation. Are people lazy? What in the world are spell checkers and grammar checkers for? I don’t want to use the “s” word, as most people have at least half a wit. We make mistakes, but grammar still matters. Words matter. Words matter.

The crossing of the full moon has taken place these past two days as I write this post. August full moon is the Sturgeon Moon or the Corn Moon, a moon signaling the harvest season. Seasons of change, seasons constantly changing. Never the same river twice. Change is the only constant. Om. Each day a gift: the same and different. Here. And now. Oh, and I’m good at letting my mind wander too. Squirrel. Re-start.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Then we have the delight of so many things we have to learn still. I don’t know the names for any of these flowering plants. The brilliant hot pink of this. DSCN5901 The interesting texture and range of color on this, a seed head? DSCN5925 The velvety texture, deep burgundy color, and finger-like shape of this. DSCN5988 The creamy white star-ness of this, with its internal golden array. DSCN5948

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Viewing on hiatus for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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Currently ReadingHomegoing (2016, fiction) by Yaa Gyasi. A novel of a family history going back to the slave trade in the 1700s. Should be required reading. Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant To Do (2015, psychology) by Chris Guillebeau. From the follow your bliss and the money will follow genre. Mind Your Manors: Tried and True British Household Cleaning Tips (2016, housecleaning) by Lucy Lethbridge. Same as American women wrote about during the late 1800s and early 1900s before modern commercial chemical cleansers, the basics: vinegar, lemon juice, beeswax, bicarbonate of soda, borax, hot water, and elbow grease. [This wasn’t in the book but ponder the thought of boycotting all commercial cleansers and reverting to these earth friendly unquestionably biodegradable cleaners.] This is the Part Where You Laugh (2016, fiction) by Peter Brown Hoffmeister. So far not much to laugh at in this coming of age young adult book, but an interesting approach to the struggles of teens living with drug abuse, poverty, and cancer. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation (2016, women’s studies) by Rebecca Traister, so far a very interesting discussion on the dis-empowerment of the institution of marriage and the emerging power of women, who for whatever reason do not marry or re-marry, to shape our nation. Not the typical dry non-fiction, Ms Traister is an engaging writer.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • My pool pal with whom I share a truly open and non-judgmental dialogue.
  • My childhood friend who listens to whatever I say and loves me anyway.
  • The hubster. He’s there.
  • The son. A brilliant mind.
  • My youngest brother, who helps me with my car. He has a birthday today, getting older like me.
  • The flow, which requires an ebb.
  • Fans, window air conditioners, curtains, and Mister Wake Up Kitty who gets me up early to open the doors for a few minutes of cool air before the heat starts.
  • Ice packs to sleep with.
  • Paper hand fans for personal wind on my face.
  • Not having to go out in the heat much, and without a complete meltdown when I did.
  • Birdsong at twilight. Cricketsong after dusk.
  • Every day.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Nature, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: 2016 Yogalympics

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Body pushes through
heat, humidity grasps skin,
slows movement and breath.

Sunday Musings
I love the Olympics. I do. Summer or winter, no matter. After a lifetime of an uncooperative body, I enjoy and admire watching other people who are physically strong and able to move with grace and efficiency. I love it all: swimming, diving, gymnastics, running, javelin throw, every event, no matter the gender. I don’t pay much attention to sports otherwise. I don’t even care who wins; I just love watching their bodies work.

I’m not an athlete, never had a body that cooperated with my intentions. I’m fat, now, and arthritic. I have my water work-out routines to keep some range of motion three times a week. I’ve never had much dedication to daily workouts; it’s hard to maintain, though I’ve done it in the past. Excuses, excuses. If you set your mind to it, you’ll find time to do it. That’s the theory anyway.

I learned early on when I was a child how clumsy I am. My ankles would turn under when I ran, I couldn’t see the ball in whatever ball game we were playing and it was worse after I got prescription lenses, jumping often resulted in face-plants. But I remember the joy of how it felt when something worked. When the somersault went all the way around and I came up sitting. When those opposite working arms and legs actually got me to the other side of the pool. When the ball finally connected and was knocked out of the yard. Running safely to base and not falling. Returning the ball over the net. Feeling the music and letting it move me. When, and how weird, I did well on the high jump, loving the feeling of flying – no pole! – through the air for those few micro-seconds. When I hit 4 miles per hour walking on my own two legs.

Then there are the other less fun memories. Falling when the ankles turn. Not being able to coordinate breathing with arms and legs to be strong enough to be a lifeguard. Falling off the rope two knots up. Falling off the pommel horse on the first try, and the second try, and the third try until the PE teacher refused to test me again. Tripping up the stairs. Falling down the stairs. Being chosen last for any team sport. The dance teacher who told my mother not to waste her money.

When I was 20 I took a yoga class. I loved yoga. You didn’t have to be coordinated. You didn’t have to be fast or agile. You didn’t have to worry about falling. You could go at your own pace. You could move your body. You could stretch as far as you could and it didn’t matter if you stretched as far as the person on the next mat. You could compete with yourself getting better and stronger every day if you wanted.

I loved yoga so much I did it twice a day. I had a whole room devoted to it, never having to move my mat, positioned just right so the breeze from open windows could float over my skin. Soft cotton Indian print cloth hung from the ceiling and walls fluttered lightly in the breezes giving the room a calming aura. Essential oils and subtle fragrances soothed me as I moved into each position. I burned incense in there only when I wasn’t doing yoga; yoga is about breathing so no smoke while practicing.

I did yoga daily for several years. Each time I had to move households, I would recreate my yoga space and retreat there before breakfast and after work. It gave me a modicum of control over my often uncooperative body.

Until the day the hubster said “Why do you do it? It takes time away from us being together and it doesn’t do you any good.” So I stopped. Worst decision ever listening to him on this particular issue. We still found plenty of time to be together.

Yoga did, in fact, do me a world of good. When I did yoga I maintained a “normal, average” weight (for these definitions of standards at five feet almost five inches I weighed 130 pounds). I was round, I had large breasts, a soft belly pooch, and curvy hips. Even at this size and weight I was called fat because of the big boobs and curvy rest of me, but I was flexible, had strong muscles, joints that did not hurt, and a straight back. When I stopped, within three months I gained 30 pounds and kept on gaining, despite no change in eating habits. I lost flexibility, strength, and endurance.

Please don’t suggest I should have kept the yoga habit and gotten rid of the hubster. I took a vow.

I have tried several times to re-create that twice a day routine. I come at it now from a hundred pounds over “normal, average” weight for my height. The fat gets in the way of mastering the positions. All manner of stuff has made the fat. It is what it is. Bodies cannot always be manipulated into having a certain appearance.

Here’s the thing about yoga. Anybody can do it. Anywhere. Any time. Any age. Any shape. You put it into your schedule and make it non-negotiable, like I did with swimming. Swim times are non-negotiable and if the city council meeting takes place during swim time, I am at the pool. My health is too important and I can write a letter to city council if I am impassioned about an issue.

You won’t have flexibility and strength and endurance to start, but it is like every one of those Olympic athletes says. You work at it every day. You skip some of the other stuff and you go to the gym or the pool or the yoga mat and you do it. You don’t try; you do it. Fat or no. The best you can at the moment. One day you surprise yourself when that position you couldn’t do a year ago is now comfortable and you need to move on to the next level. Practicing yoga probably will not make you look like you did when you were 20, but it will help you feel good about your body. And don’t make yoga practice about weight loss, because it’s about flexibility, strength, and endurance.

Millions of dollars are spent every year trying to convince women to feel poorly about their bodies, which results in body image issues. What’s really weird is when I think of myself I see that body I had, the one with strong toned muscles, I don’t see the one I have. When I look in the mirror I am startled at my body; there is this cognitive dissonance – yeah, I know, psych 101 – between what I see I my mind (and how I think of myself) and what I see in the mirror. Everywhere a woman looks these days it seems the goal is to make us feel like we women are worthless if we do not fit a defined standard of beauty; we can take comfort in the strength we create for ourselves, each in our own way. This is one of those things nobody can do for us; we do it for ourselves.

So like those Olympian athletes, do it for yourself. Walk those 3 miles at night after work no matter how tired you are. Go for that bike ride with the kids and pretend you are racing in a bicycling Grand Prix. Sing the Olympic theme song as you jump into the comfort of warm refreshing pool water and do your workout one more time. Take up yoga again, or tai chi, or dancing. Just keep moving in a way that makes you feel good and call it Olympic if you want. Do it for you, for your own good, and don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t do any good.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Cosmos, so many shades of purple. Cosmos-Sensation-Mix[1] Roses still coming on, some until frost, this peachy orange harbinger of autumn. DSCN5825A fire striped lily, note the critter in the one on the left. DSCN5894

Current View – Viewing on hiatus for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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Currently Reading – Homegoing (2016, fiction) by Yaa Gyasi. A novel of a family history going back to the slave trade in the 1700s. I like family stories, stories about multiple generations, family histories, the struggles and challenges that make us what we are. Though this story is a work of fiction, the family is overt, yet hidden in death and the loss of the family stories is a re-telling of the American Negro experience. I feel slightly uncomfortable stating this is a story of the “black experience” because in our modern society we should be done with race differences now; there should be no “story” based on the difference of race, but, it is as if, especially in America, we have never gotten over ourselves enough to erase the non-differences of race. As disgusting as it is that racism should still be a contentious element in modern American culture, knowledge, even in fiction form, helps us fight against discrimination in any form. Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant To Do (2015, psychology) by Chris Guillebeau. I usually find a nugget I can use somewhere in self-help books. I often wish the authors would use fewer words to get there.

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This week I have been grateful for:

    • My aquatic center’s staff clapping at my rendition of the Olympics theme song as I climbed into the pool.
    • Working on healing and moving forward.
    • Garden tomatoes, French bread, mayonnaise, drool.
    • Oregon berries. Lemon blue berry anything.
    • Those dedicated farmers and gardeners who bring their fresh produce to the market every week.
    • Second round of chive growth in my little patio pot. Such a nice touch on a baked potato.
    • Warm summer evenings and refreshing soft breezes.
    • Natural air conditioning.
    • Our human body and all the things it does for us. Like seeing and hearing and breathing and blinking and thinking and typing and moving and hugging and communicating and making babies.
    • Getting my 4th of July tablecloth put away and a late summer cloth on the table. Rather liked having the red, white, and blue on the table for the first week of Summer Olympics.
    • Art, creativity, and imagination.
    • In honor of the 2016 Summer Olympics: All of you. My readers, who have read me in 43 countries around the world. The magic of the internet! Maybe you are just one reader who reads me wherever you travel to. Perhaps you are many readers in many places. Either way thank you for reading me. For listening to me rant and rave, for aging with me, for sharing me with your friends and family. Thank you wherever you are!
    • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Entertainment, Exercise, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gratitude Sunday: Keep The Faith

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

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Sunday Haiku
Perfect summer don’t
leave too soon, stay another
couple months or more.

Sunday Musings
Do you know faith? Do you know what faith is? Is faith a thing or just hope dressed up in a different name? I’m thinking too much again.

When one embarks on a new chapter in a life at the age of 62, especially when the chapter change is a surprise and not planned, faith can come into question. Especially if you are one of those many millions of us who are paycheck-to-paycheck people. You cannot do nothing. You must forge ahead. One needs money to live in this society and I am so spoiled it’s silly. I mean, I love my roof, and my bed, and my private hygiene facilities, and my hot and cold water at the turn of a switch, and electricity to let me publish what I write and provide me an additional form of entertainment, and a bite to eat a couple times a day.

This transition has been difficult, involving things beyond my control. It does no good to list or dwell on the negative parts of this situation. Reflection on improvement and recovery is the only way forward or the elephant in the room (depression + anxiety) becomes inflated.

So the faith in question is that the past is the past, and every day is a new day, and something good or better will happen, or you can make something good or better happen rather than dissolving further into poverty. Can the re-imagining happen? Can the re-definition become the new reality? Can the new job or work or earned income show up sooner rather than later? Can the golden internal light shine through the resting bitch face and the opinionated voice of age? It can be done. I read about it happening for other people and I’m grateful for their success. Can that change happen for me? Additionally for me, faith is challenged by physical and mental limitations that, surprise, surprise, accelerate as one ages.

Faith can be inspired by creativity and enterprise. One can open the mind to create jobs and work that never existed before. Creativity is never an easy path. Life is not easy for most of us. And for most of us it never gets easier. There must be a grieving/healing process for what was before the re-imagining and creativity can be effective. Healing can even be an integral part of the creativity. So many possibilities.

Long ago a friend advised me on the dangers of wanting an easy life. Easy doesn’t exist for some people. If you are going to pray for ease, best change to praying for strength to deal with the struggle. The struggle might be our most important learning curve. Funny thing is, by the time you figure out how to deal with whatever the issue is, it’s in the past. Good thing every new day is another opportunity.

One can only move forward. The past is, indeed, the past. No re-dos. There are new days and this moment and intelligence and enterprise and tenacity. Change is the only constant and there is only now.

I move forward in faith beginning to define the next chapter. It might not even be my last chapter and that’s interesting, to think there may be way more to come than ever imagined. I have many sources of inspiration, yet in the meantime I rely on simple platitudes like one can only hope. And keep the faith.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Hot pink and purple star burst fuchsia. DSCN6727Creamy white star jasmine. tthmb[1] Deeply maroon gladiolus. DSCN5663 Bee critter on pale pink mallow. DSCN5795 A different bee critter on a white shell pink old baby rose. DSCN5812

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ. Viva la différence!} Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016, rated G); sometimes you just need juvenile humor. I like this series because of the inspirational bit of wisdom delivered by diverse characters with delightful comedic tones. * Victor Frankenstein (2016, rated PG – 13), a unique re-telling of the old story. Daniel Radcliffe is decidedly un-Harry-Potter-like as Igor. A fascinating production with the violence kept to a minimum, I loved the sets and settings, the prop details, and the costumes. If you like this genre, this movie is worth a view, and could serve as a Halloween favorite. The Choice (2016, rated PG – 13), a romance from the novel by Nicholas Sparks, whose works seem to standardize the happy ending. This was an easy sweet story until the major conflict happened. So, spoiler alert, the wife has a car accident and experiences an extended coma. In desperation and longing, the husband re-creates a rustic gazebo reflecting the wife’s favorite memory, the wind chimes tinkle, lightning shoots across the sky, thunder rumbles, and suddenly the husband is running toward the hospital as the wife is having a miraculous recovery. That part of the story is all fine, really, but the wife never exhibits any kind of weakness, fatigue, or any other after-effect of months in a coma, which I thought was strange. Missed a beat here, but an easy little film otherwise.

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Currently Reading – Homegoing (2016, fiction) by Yaa Gyasi. A novel of a family history going back to the slave trade in the 1700s. I know little of the African culture, the slave trade and British exploitation. I’m fascinated with the way the author is weaving the family stories with important pieces of history. Fiction can be the best learning. The Best Home Businesses for people 50 +: Opportunities for People Who Believe the Best is Yet to Be! (2007, self-employment) by Paul Edwards. Always learning, here I am looking at every avenue for resources and resource creation.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Getting closer to a resolution on a long-time stressful situation.
  • Looking forward to that closure, so I can commence the next chapter.
  • Still having a wit, as tired and wilted as it is.
  • A couple people who seem to understand me and support me no matter what.
  • Understanding “victim status” and working against its effects, within, despite, and because.
  • Not being a morning person but loving the outdoor smell of mornings.
  • Soft evening breezes through my screen door passing over my skin as I write.
  • Farmers market turning into social hour.
  • Fresh Oregon berries.
  • Watching Spanish TV shows trying to “intuitively” learn Spanish. Haha. I always wanted command of all languages as one of my super-powers. I need to invest in one of those new universal translator units.
  • Enjoying the Summer Olympics.
  • Being able to perform every sport in the Olympics, perfectly executed, in physical beauty and grace, in my entertaining dreams, not in competition, but in pain free mastery of my body. And dreams feel so good, when they are good.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch
Floral paragraph dividers by Susan Branch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Careers, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gratitude Sunday: The Ocean Knows My Name

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Trees outside my screen
show silver undersides, soothe
with susurrus sound.

Sunday Musings
Oh, mid-summer days! When food is ripe and the air is fresh. When days are warm and nights are cool. The beach calls me, I have no need to hold a shell to my ear, I hear it calling in the push of the blood through my veins. The water calls me as each wave slaps the shore. The ocean knows my name.

August in Oregon is the month when the ocean might not be freezing cold, the sand might be warmish, and the coastal winds might be mild. Might being the operative word here. Oregon beaches are not tropical, and always dicey. You are just as likely to have rain as sun no matter the day. You can still have fun, just be prepared. Gear makes all the difference.

If, for example, you are a die hard beach walker, invest in a durable rain jacket and boots. I’ve never been a good camper, so these day I save up the money to get a motel room. I’m looking at the new “luxury” camping trend, with real beds under huge heavy-duty tents already set up for you, basically hotel service in the woods. May have to put that on my bucket list. And I might want to take a buddy.

The hubster and I stopped vacationing together many years ago, especially road trips. We have opposing styles that show no signs of being reconciled. He likes to decide right now, throw the tent, sleeping bag, and fishing equipment into the car and go, taking chances at getting any sort of campsite.

I’m the freak who likes everything written down, reservations made, schematic of the packing so I can find stuff, and a check list to make sure whatever went into the car comes home as well. I pack water and a little food, in case it takes us longer to get there than planned, make sure the car has been serviced, and check on my car insurance and road towing plan.

I know. I’ve had so many interesting challenges while on the road, I want to be over prepared. He’s experienced many of those same challenges, but he prefers to wing it, and figure out solutions as he goes along, rather than planning for contingencies. It’s OK to have different styles and it’s OK to have separate vacations.

We are able to do a day beach run together still. We live close enough to the coast within an hour or so we can be at the beach. For those day runs you truly can throw in a couple towels, bags for wet things, a dry set of clothes just in case, and go. These mid-summer days give enough time for a leisurely drive over the coast range, a nice lunch, a walk on the beach, maybe explore a store or two, and head back through the mountains late afternoon so we can be home before dark. By then the cat wants his dinner and needs to be let out as well. A very full refreshing day.

I like to go to the beach at least once a year. I need to make sure the ocean is still there. I need to breathe salt air. I need to feel the sea mist on my skin. I need to walk barefoot on the sand and connect electrically with the charge of the earth and water. In between visits to the beach it remains in my mind, the sea water waits for me, calling me, come back. The ocean knows my name. Come back, it says. Come. Back.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – A purple butterfly flower (I don’t know its real name) looking so much like, well, a butterfly. DSCN5706 Dahlias coming on, this pretty yellow orange version. DSCN5580
Pink dahlias feeling so fibonacci. DSCN5913

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ. Viva la différence!} Burnt (2015, rated R) with Bradley Cooper, another cooking fiction featuring a chef with issues. * Some Kind of Beautiful (2014, rated R) with Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, and Jessica Alba, an older professor connects with a student, then falls in love with her sister. Mayhem ensues. * Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015, rated R) action/adventure with Michael Caine and Colin Firth. Spy plot with humorous undertones, and lots of fast action violence. Second viewing for me, plot and violence drags a bit, subtle humor saves it. * A few episodes of season three of Vikings (2015, not rated) a TV series with period settings, interesting adult presentation, plenty of drama, conflict, and swashbuckling Viking resolutions.

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Currently Reading – The Turner House (2015, fiction) by Angela Flournoy, the story of a family and their house in Detroit where the couple raised 13 children and now the house is worth less than its second mortgage. The family must decide what to do with the house. The plot thickens as family secrets are revealed and the matriarch is dying of cancer. Your Complete Retirement Planning Road Map (2007, personal finance) by Ed Slott. Out-dated material; ordered newer version, on waiting list.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Trees and grass and flowers and weeds and wildflowers, and all growing things.
  • Having a little more time to cook, because cooking takes me a little more time these days.
  • A friend who waited a long time to marry the love of her life who recently added a son to their family, bless his little new-born heart, and how blessed they are with the family they are creating.
  • Waiting for my niece to have her first son in the next week or so. Praying all goes well.
  • Summer fiction.
  • The fresh smell of summer mornings.
  • Sweet air wafting through my open doors and windows.
  • The sound of the leaves in the wind outside my door reminding me of beach sounds.
  • Happy sounding birdsong in the morning.
  • Connecting with the woman who tends the chickens who grow the eggs I use after two or three mis-hits. Mmmmm. Fresh eggs.
  • Sucking on ice cubes when I am having a hard time with the weather.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch
Floral paragraph dividers by Susan Branch

Posted in abundance, Entertainment, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Vacations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gratitude Sunday: Baby Rattlers

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

floral[1]

Sunday Haiku
Tall yellow heads up
above mine, fat with seeds, treats
for little brown birds.

Sunday Musings
Do you remember when you were growing up how special it was to be the oldest child in your sibling group? The oldest got to do everything first. Well, that’s not exactly true if you go by exact age. The oldest may have done it first before anybody else, but the other got to do it at a younger age. You had more privileges, like staying up later at night when the others went to bed. Well, that’s not exactly true either when the littles knew how to whine their way out of bed, but you have to stay because you are older and know better by now. You had more responsibilities, like taking care of the dog, the one that didn’t belong to you, and didn’t like you much.

The one thing you had was your own name. Single children know about this. There is no competition; no other name might pop up in most circumstances. As the first child you are always your first name. The second child has two names. Yours and his. The third child has three names: yours, the second child’s, and his. You see the pattern here? You get to own your first singular name, but you are always in trouble for anything any of the siblings do as your name comes first.

And do not let the mama pull out both your own names. When you become Sally Jane instead of just Sally, look out. You’re in deep yogurt now.

As the oldest you might get to be the director or the leader. You might get to boss the littles a bit or at least until you get caught. You might get them to cooperate in making a play, but you never know what they are going to actually do on stage. Or not do. You might teach them a song, but they change the words into something embarrassing because the words sound funny, yet they are too little to have any idea what the funny bad words mean. And you don’t want to be the one to explain the bad words. You never truly win. And you have to be alert and keep learning and make sure the littles learn too so you are not at the beginning of every name.

In the 1960s, before seat belts, iPhones, iPads, DVDs in your car, and np3s, I remember a family road trip on our way to go camping. The family station wagon was loaded down, all four kids stowed in the back. I don’t remember who started it but we were bored, goofing off, making faces to other cars, acting like our bodies were spastic, laughing, and generally having a silly time entertaining ourselves while being cooped up in the car.

This was way before the idea of politically correct behavior. We were little kids, we were bored being trapped in the car for too many hours, we didn’t know any different, and I don’t think the parents gave it one bit of thought. Well. Maybe. We didn’t know imitating the behavior of handicapped people was not kind. We weren’t being mean to anyone. We were goofing off between ourselves.

In the middle of the desert we stopped to fill the gas tank. As Dad checked the boat trailer, we trooped through the office to get the rest room key. On the floor sat a box labeled “baby rattlers”, immediately distracting to 4 wiggly energetic kids. Keeping our distance from the box we asked if they were real. The office clerk said of course they were real. We had to look. REAL SNAKES. SCARY. SHIVERS. Hopefully they were real small, being babies. Oh, the fear. Can you look? No, you look first!

One of us was finally brave and looked. All of us looked. We felt both cheated and hilariously happy that it was all a joke and the box was full of toy rattles one would give to a baby. We told Dad as Mom herded us into the car.

Dad took a few minutes looking at the box of baby rattlers and fussed a bit with the back of the boat trailer before getting back into the car. We continued our journey to the campsite, acting goofy, with other cars whizzing by us, the passengers pointing, waving, and laughing at us. All the attention spurred us on to greater antics until Dad yelled at us to settle down.

At campsite it was a race as usual to see who could get out of the car first. We piled out and ran around to the back of the boat because it would have to be unloaded. We discovered a sign attached to the back of the boat. Dad must have put it on when we were at the gas station and suddenly it was very clear why we’d gotten so much attention from other carloads of people on the last leg of our trip. The sign said OREGON STATE HOSPITAL ANNUAL PICNIC. We knew the State Hospital was for handicapped people.

It was Dad’s handwriting, distinctively his, no mistaking, in large block letters, obviously not an “official” sign. He must have asked the gas station clerk for the paper and marker and tape to attach the sign to the back of the boat. But we had no clue he had any sense of humor. We thought he worked, and fished, and gardened, and took care of the cars, and took us camping, and could lecture you until your ears bled; that was Dad. Humor? No. But here, here was solid evidence he had a sense of humor.

He’d taught us a lesson in his own way. Like I’m saying we didn’t know politically correct behavior back then. We knew from the sign if you make fun of others, expect the same done to you. The golden rule. It dawned on us the people in the other cars were laughing at us not with us, as if we truly were handicapped people with maybe little or no control over our physical movements. And you never know who is going to see you. All those cars full of people we passed? Some of them could be in this same campground. Dad didn’t have so many words to tell us we shouldn’t behave like that, but a small sign attached to the back of a boat changed our behavior. We didn’t act so goofy in the car after the sign. Being goofy wasn’t as much fun and didn’t feel right when we realized we were imitating people who couldn’t help the way they moved. And the people weren’t really laughing at us as if we were handicapped, they were laughing with a family whose parent would take the time to create something funny to share with the world out of a pile of silly kids.

Sure, we were young, but it was the perfect time to learn. Like the baby rattlers, things aren’t always what they seem. Dad didn’t shame us, or spank us, or lecture us (the worst because of the duration); he taught us with humor, revealing one of his better moments to us. He showed us correct behavior in a gentle humorous manner and for once I wasn’t the first name of the four who were trouble.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Buddleia, how I love those purple spears covered with tiny clusters of miniature blossoms and so sweet to breathe. DSCN5817 The neighbor who plants gladiolas in a wide variety of colors every year. Gladiolus-pastel-mix[1] Purple mallow hosting a fat bumbleybee. DSCN5409 Red and gold invitation of the trumpet flower. DSCN0630 - Copy

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ. Viva la différence!} The Intern (2016, rated PG-13) with Robert De Niro, Renee Russo, and Anne Hathaway. An interesting twist on the newbie-in-the-office story, funny yet poignant as the current office staff learns elders often have much to add to the workplace. * Spotlight (2016, rated R) with Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, the true story of the Catholic church covering up child sexual abuse in Boston over many decades, and the process of journalistic investigation by The Boston Globe. As much as I’d heard about this movie I thought it would be a little more powerful, but perhaps it was just my mood the night I watched it or maybe it reflects how jaded (desensitized?) we’ve become about abuse. The movie was well done: the story had good flow and cohesiveness, the actors were well cast and acted just fine, the settings seemed accurate, and the story as presented was believable. Sometimes expectations get in the way of appreciating a good thing for what it is. Good movie but somehow lacked a small parcel of passion (for me). * The complete series of The Ellen Show (2006, not rated), Ellen Degeneres’s first TV sitcom with Martin Mull and Cloris Leachman. Ellen tickles my funny bone. She has this way of saying things with a straight face and a twinkle in her eye that cracks me up. * Bertie and Elizabeth: The Story of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (2002, not rated) originally produced for TV for Masterpiece Theater, this re-creation documentary was a little bland. Now that I am more familiar with the history, I was fascinated to see Wallis Simpson portrayed in a darker light in this version, almost to the point of calling her a gold-digger. It was a pleasant change to have the Simpson debacle and the abdication not be the focus of the entire movie. * The Danish Girl (2015, rated R) with Eddie Redmayne, who played Steven Hawking in The Theory of Everything, and Alicia Vikander, is the fictionalized biography of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to experience sexual reassignment surgery. Beautifully filmed and sensitively presented, Redmayne has mastered the batting of eyelashes and the coy submissive smile.

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Currently Reading – The Turner House (2015, fiction) by Angela Flournoy, the story of a family and their house in Detroit where the couple raised 13 children and now the house is worth less than its second mortgage. The family must decide what to do with the house. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life (2013, self-actualization) by Jen Sincero. Nothing new in the self-help news, but the author is funny and easy to read. Never hurts to refresh.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Summer evening’s breeze smelling freshly coastal though the beach is more than 50 miles away.
  • The off button on the TV. And a speedy scroller skipping past unwanted info on my FB feed.
  • Giving myself permission to avoid political negativity. I don’t need that in my neural net. I know in my heart it’s bad out there.
  • Trying to maintain my small island of mostly peace and some sanity.
  • Comfortable summer days.
  • Cleaning another corner.
  • How fresh the whole house feels after I mop the kitchen floor.
  • The way the angled sun lit a kitchen table as the mid-evening light came in the open French door. It lasted only a few minutes but gave such a beautiful golden color to the kitsch on the table.
  • Feeling a small win when the son requested I buy broccoli and cauliflower on the next grocery run, and some way to make a cheese sauce. YAY. Because vegetables.
  • The smell of blooming jasmine and buddleias in so many of the neighborhoods near me.
  • Living in a community where neighbors plant fragrant flowers and the air is fresh enough I can smell them.
  • Enjoying the variety of entertainment we pay our local lending libraries to provide for anyone/everyone to use. I get books, both kinds: fiction and non-fiction; first run DVDs including popular TV series such as Downton Abbey; vintage TV series and classic movies; music CDs; cookbooks.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

floral[1]

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch
Floral paragraph dividers by Susan Branch

Posted in abundance, Aging, Education, Entertainment, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment