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.

floral[1]

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

Gratitude Sunday: Energy Conservation

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
Overcast clouds keep
days cool and refreshed from heat,
warm enough to play.

Sunday Musings
Recently my abundance included an energy conservation class. Same old stuff about turning things off when not in use, and carefully choosing what is the right way to use energy for your family. Some new stuff such as the comparison between the new light bulb options and what technology to turn off or unplug when not in use.

I loved it. Man, if I could get paid to go to class and learn, I’d be one happy camper. Reviewing this kind of information once a year can’t hurt. Put a couple other classes on the list like first aid, and emergency preparedness, no longer than two hours, make them citizen required at no charge to the citizen, and give the student a box full of goodies on the way out the door. I bet in a year or two we could even teach everybody to sew on a button.

I have a small collection of home health and hygiene books from the 1920s and 1930s. Doctors, nurses, nutritionists, farm wives, and home ec teachers all had something to say about keeping a healthy, efficiently run home.

Fascinating how these authors recommend re-using water. We used to share bathwater when we were kids. Did you? They also recommend throwing your soapy dishwater out on your vegetable garden, the theory being the detergent would kill bug type critters and not wasting the water they had to haul in from the pump. Who does dishes by hand these days? For that matter how many of us haul water in from an outdoor pump? And the detergent is so different I’m not sure you’d still be doing your garden a favor. If you think about it most Americans have magic in their homes: hot or cold water at the twist of a tap. Though we know the “magic” takes all kinds of work behind the scenes.

Electricity back then was still a new item. Because there was little known experience with it, many feared fire from the new fangled light bulbs and wiring, and these old authors caution to turn electrical appliances and lights off when not in use or when you are not in the room. The more things change the more things stay the same. We knew back then how to conserve. We know now. Sometimes we just need a reminder.

For example, my family has mostly natural air conditioning and heating in our home. At certain times during the day the doors and windows get opened or closed, corresponding curtains as well, and we take maximum advantage of the east/west orientation of our home for breezes and ventilation. We have one room with a window air conditioner that we turn on only on the hottest of days. Ceiling fans and strategically placed box fans move the cooled air to different rooms of the house. Alternatively I choose to wash some of my clothes with hot water when cold is recommended. So I pay less for heating and cooling and a little more for heating water. And another case of magical homes, flip a switch or push a button on the remote and the light goes on, the house warms up or cools down, the TV blinks on to your favorite show.

I’m sure I can find other ways to conserve like training my guys to turn off lights or TVs when they aren’t in the room. I’d like to put up a clothes line in the back yard, but I haven’t figured out a way to make everybody happy. It has to be between a secure fence post and the house, low enough so I can reach it, and high enough so the hubster can mow the lawn with his fancy 10 year old riding lawn mower. If I choose to use the neighbor’s fence post I have to make sure it doesn’t compromise the fence post in any way, like pulling it over. Many elements have to work perfectly together or it won’t work. I’m motivated by sun dried bed sheets. Divine feeling and fragrance to sleep with. Anything to help make sleeping better equals good. I do lots of figuring before I make something happen, trying to do it the right way the first time so I don’t have to re-do it. Thinking is conserving energy.

And financially isn’t it better to conserve your energy, pay less to the utility company, and spend that money elsewhere? I’m tired of paying my utility company for electricity. I want to help the son go to college. He needs to take physics.

He has been doing his own research and according to a source he is reading, he, we, somebody in the science and engineering world, should be able to build a quantum energy generator, which he explains as a sort of perpetual motion device. He says anybody can understand it and build it. He has explained it to me many times and I only sort of grasp what he says. So I don’t believe the “anybody can” part. My brain doesn’t go there. But some people can and boy, I could sure benefit from their/his knowledge. And so could so many other people. We could break the hold utility companies have over us.

Until I read stories about people being jailed or worse for producing their own energy. Or collecting their own rainwater. Now, come on. The universe gives us some things for free like the sun and the rain and the wind. If the almighty capitalist dollar is the only sacred thing we are lost. There will come a day when the powers that be will collapse and we will need the old knowledge again. Better to start practicing now, and sharing what we re-learn than to let the money grubbers win. Let’s turn some tables over, keep our money in our own pockets, and consciously use what the universe gives us in a truly sustainable manner. Turn off your lights. Don’t let the tap water run. Create heat by snuggling. Let love and knowledge be our guides.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Gladiolas in so many colors including this dark blue-purple. DSCN5528 Red orange canna lilies standing six feet tall. perennials-10-canna-lily-seeds-tropical-bronze-scarlet-canna-flower-wonderful-foliage-3_large[1]Fragrant creamy white star jasmine. Jasminum-Multiflorum[1]

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!} Room (2015, rated R) with Brie Larson, from the novel by Emma Donoghue. I read the book last year. I don’t remember if I’d read the blurb or if I just saw it circulating a lot but I checked it out. Engaging, creatively presented, heartbreakingly twisted mystery (no spoilers!) based on a true story, it was one of my top reads for the year because of how well written I thought it was. Ms Donoghue contributed to the screenplay as well, and the movie did not disappoint. Casting was excellent, acting just right for the roles, mostly true to the original novel within the constraints of film, and aligned well with what I had envisioned when I read the novel. The novel has a bit more room for psychology, but the visuals of the movie and the acting of the players make this movie a worthwhile view. The difficult subject of a kidnapped girl, not for the tender hearted, but excellently done. * The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2016, rated R), in which a 15 year old girl loses her virginity. Meh. * Finished the last available episode of Hell on Wheels (2011-2016, not rated), a period TV series about the construction of the cross-country railroad in 1872. One of those series where the minute you become invested in a character they are killed off. The way of the West. I hope this was not the last episode ever; if so, it is incomplete.

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Currently ReadingTry Not to Breathe (2016, fiction) by Holly Seddon. Another mystery, but so far no one gets killed (yay!), though one of the main characters is “speaking” from within a vegetative state, which gives an interesting twist to the plot. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life (2013, self-actualization) by Jen Sincero. All the same tips: meditation, fake it till you make it, like attracts like, clear intention plus action equals manifestation, changing your vibration, forgiveness, and gratitude, etc. Never hurts to refresh; if I learn anything new in the last half, I’ll share. I think some people have self-confidence (either that or they are arrogant asshats) and other people agonize about every move they make and thought they have.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • Electrical energy.
  • Lunch out with a friend. Man, we tear up the world with our words.
  • A couple hours spent with a gal pal. We tore up the other half of the world with our words.
  • Sweet fresh green beans from the farmers market. Cooked my grandma’s way, with bacon, until they fell apart. Yum.
  • A juicy peach from the farmers market that dripped down my arms as I ate it over the sink.
  • The vendors at my farmers market all live in my community.
  • Just right for me weather, not too warm, not too cold, not raining right now. Though with this temperature I wouldn’t mind the rain either. Actually I kinda love the rain.
  • Watching the moon move across the sky, a white ghost on a blue backdrop in the afternoon east of the house to a shining yellow half disc on a black velvet matte on the west side before I went to bed as I drank my before-bed-glass-of-water looking out the kitchen window.
  • The vast amount of choices and the decisions and consequences (some unintended) that follow.
  • Listening to the neighbor kids playing and yelling outside at 9:00 PM on mild summer nights and remembering how much my siblings and I enjoyed being allowed the special treat of staying outside to play on mild summer nights until dark came.
  • Every year my little semi-rural college town hosts a classic car show, and though nothing takes place within a half mile of my home I’m fascinated by the change of frequency and vibration that happens in the whole surrounding community. About 6:00 PM, by the time everyone has cleared out, and all the classic cars are taken home to bed, the frequency will change again this evening. Such an interesting feeling.
  • 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, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Photography, Poetry, Politics, Science, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gratitude Sunday: The Prude And The Wuss: or The Proud And The Wise

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
Stop little drizzle.
Rain fully at night, awake,
Camelot refreshed.

Sunday Musings
Earlier this month I talked about labels. I have a couple labels of my own. I don’t necessarily own the labels, but they are a starting place for, oh, let’s call them personality traits.

I am a prude. You may remember me talking about this as well. It’s not that sex isn’t interesting, it’s just that sex is private. I don’t like to view public displays of affection. What other people do together just isn’t fascinating; it belongs to them, not to the public. I don’t care to view sex in public at the movie theater. Because of necessary limitations, sex scenes in live theater are usually limited. Fine by me. Even in the privacy of my own home, sex scenes in novels don’t add much interest to the plot. Fast forward is my friend when I am watching a DVD as it can make the sex scene a bit entertaining when speeded up.

I’m changing the label. I’m a discerning viewer. I do not find sex scenes to be entertaining. I know what I like, what pleases me, and what bores me. You may differ and that’s just fine. We don’t have to agree on what we like, and we don’t have to talk about it either. Unless we choose to. Sometimes I’m flexible.

By the same token, I am a wuss. I’m not sure the correct spelling of that word has been defined, but you know what I mean. I abhor violence; I can barely stand a raised voice. I don’t tolerate violence in my home, among friends or family, and put distance between neighbors or friends who have demonstrated violent penchants. I don’t like taking risks; my adventure threshold goes about as far as sleeping without a sheet and inviting the mosquitoes in. Most days I cannot tolerate watching the news or reading a newspaper or newsfeed on social media. So many people hurting in so many places. Way too much gun violence: shooting citizens stopped for traffic violations, shooting cops for retaliation, shooting schoolrooms and theaters full of people, shooting your own children for minor disagreements. How could you shoot your own children? How could you shoot somebody else’s children? What would make you that angry? In theory we have evolved away from the beginning of American society, where every man, and many women were armed, and you could be shot for anything from cheating at cards to drunken foolishness to revenge to looking or talking different. Reading the news I’m not so sure any more. Don’t forget to turn on your blinker before you change lanes. I’m like the little girl who puts her hands over her ears and sings “la-la-la-la-la” when she has to listen to something she doesn’t want to hear.

I was raised around guns. My dad worked on guns as part of his job as a Deputy Sheriff. Dad left guns lying around the house. Read that sentence again. Dad left guns lying around the house next to his bed, next to the chair he watched TV from, lying on his workbench. He knew, because of the way he taught us, none of us would touch the guns and we’d make sure any visitor would not either. Part of that safety net included ammunition locked away from the guns. The ammunition was locked inside a box which was locked inside a cabinet in the parents’ room. Entry into the parents’ room was not allowed. For anybody. Forbidden. We respected the sanctity of private space. Under the threat of God and Dad. Dad didn’t believe in gun accidents and he claimed there are no gun accidents, just poor handling procedures.

I don’t think everybody should own a gun despite our constitutional rights. Not everybody knows or honors safe gun handling; mental health and drug use have huge impacts on the ability to use a gun safely. Heck, not even professional police or military training seems to make it suitable for some people to own and use a gun even in their line of work. One must have a cool head and discerning mind to own and use a gun. If you use the gun as a threat, you eventually have to make the choice to use the gun with force, deadly or otherwise.

I own a gun. I’m a good shot with either hand. I would be long dead before I would be able to use the gun in self defense. I cannot imagine any event where I might want to dig out the gun case, unlock the case, find the ammunition case, unlock that case, load the gun, and hold it out toward someone. Really. I might be able to shoot, but there is so much to deal with after that choice, a mess to clean up and living with that event on replay in your brain for the rest of your life. If chaos and anarchy prevail in the near future, come on down, shoot me quick and fast so I don’t have to choose to defend what’s mine. Congratulations, the bit of stuff I have is all yours now. If you take the time to ask, I’d likely give you most of what I have anyway.

Sex should be private and violence shouldn’t happen at all, yet it seems we can hardly have art without them. In every story there is conflict. Real life stories, and fiction stories, novel and film, all rely on strife of some sort to get us to the resolution. Perhaps all these years of yearning for peace have been a waste of time. There is no such thing as peace. We always seem to want what we do not have. Ah, there it is. Art is about desire, about the body. Whatever the body is art echoes.

Until we are satisfied within our bodies we will always be wanting more. Until we are satisfied with what we own, the abundance already in our lives, we will always want more. Until our faith is enough we will want more.

Change your labels. You are not a prude, you are discerning. You are not a wuss, you are rational. You are not poor, as wealth does not come from material goods, and if you have material goods in addition to health and family, you are doubly wealthy. Any other label in your life, even your most deeply hidden weaknesses, can be re-labeled. You do not have to choose to live in violence. And you know what? Violence never solves anything. Nothing. Violence is only conquered with non-violence. Perhaps if we change enough labels we can change the world, resolve into peace, and write a different kind of story.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – What can be more fanciful than a whole tree of pink and gold mimosa blossoms. 9941cd56459deb4361c271c18af02e0b[1] Black-eyed susans. DSCN5854 Suddenly sunny yellow sunflowers. DSCN6044

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!} Carol (2015, rated R) with Cate Blanchett, a period film set in 1952 about the love that develops between two people. The clothing, the props, the old cars, recreating the time and setting were all beautifully filmed to capture the intensity of the affair. I don’t need sex scenes to convince me of love no matter how short or delicately handled the scenes are. * The King’s Speech (2010, rated R) with Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush. More of the story of how the abdication of King Edward VIII to marry Wallace Simpson, a twice divorced American, affects his brother who has to take over the throne as King George VI. George (Bertie to his family) stutters and spends many years with experts to improve his speaking. This was my second viewing, and I remembered liking it the first time. With this viewing, this movie is now on my favorites list for multiple viewings. * Blackfish (2013, rated PG-13) a documentary about orcas in captivity and some theories about why their captivity habitat contributes to the orcas killing their trainers. Movie came highly recommended from a friend who loves animal documentaries. For the record, I’ve never and won’t ever go see a marine animal show. I cannot see how animals who are used to the freedom of the oceans can benefit from captivity in any way. * Brooklyn (2015, rated PG – 13), a young Irish woman comes to America in the early 1950s, falls in love, then returns to Ireland because of the death of her sister. Another love story between two people, but the wistful quality of Brooklyn was more my comfort zone than the glamorous quality achieved in Carol reviewed above. Both movies were period pieces about the 1950s, with great opportunities to recreate locales and atmosphere. I enjoyed both movies but Brooklyn seemed the more authentic story than Carol. Perhaps that observation is partly the effect of comparing two different social classes, as well. The serendipity of seeing both these movies this week interests me. I’ll watch Brooklyn again.

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Currently ReadingWhat Remains of Me (2016, fiction) by Alison Gaylin. A murder mystery set near Hollywood, California, this story weaves a past crime in 1980 and a current event in 2010. So far so good, despite some editing/proofreading errors. I know; I’m picky. Back to How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life (2016, neuropsychology) by Caroline Webb, a popular title I am borrowing from my local lending library with limited circulating copies. This is one of those books you could own as a reference item. Reading a few chapters at a time makes it hard for me to remember the good information it presents.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • The son fixing his truck after a month without wheels.
  • Kohlrabi and tomatoes at my local farmers market.
  • An acquaintance whom I served in my previous employment who shared some kind words with me when we saw each other at the farmers market. I so appreciate kindness.
  • My house did not burn down on the 4th of July despite finding evidence of the neighbor’s explosive entertainment on my wooden porch deck.
  • A mild week in the 70s with refreshing breezes and a handful of showers for the gardens.
  • The soft comforting sound of breezes through the leaves of the neighbor’s trees in my backyard.
  • Finding some muscles and remembering how they feel when they haven’t been used in a while.
  • My insatiable curiosity.
  • The ability to turn the news off when I’ve had too much of the crazy world. I like my little quiet piece of the world.
  • Learning. Learning. Learning.
  • The hubster understanding what plugs into what and where to make all the electronics and technology run in this household. We recently had to install cameras and monitors to beef up security after suffering a property loss, small loss, wealthy with learning.
  • Empathy. For families who are residual victims of violence as they live with the grief of loss.
  • 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, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gratitude Sunday: Voice of Independence

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
Relief from heat comes
When sun lies low upon a
Distant horizon.

Sunday Musings
We live in interesting times here in the United States of America.

We are facing a presidential election between an inexperienced misogynistic racist businessman who’s had many business failures and an experienced politician whom voters are afraid of because she is a woman. As if what is between your legs affects your ability to lead.

In the wealthiest country in the world millions, that’s right MILLIONS, of people live in poverty, including elders, children, and disabled people who have no way of working their way out of poverty.

More than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, people of color are still treated with suspicion and as second class citizens.

After many generations of one step forward and two steps back, women are still fighting for the right to say what happens to their own bodies.

Some people are more concerned about whom you love and have sex with than whether you are a contributing member of society.

Despite our bloody history of war fighting for the rights of freedom, people feel free to pick up a gun and kill their neighboring citizens and even their own children over minor disagreements.

Veterans who served to fight for our freedom rights come home to live on the streets, abandoned, without homes, income, or health care.

Bullies are rampant from the highest echelons to the smallest schoolyard, even though we give lip service to bullying not being tolerated.

The people who govern us vote themselves raises on six figure salaries they receive for life even after they leave office, yet claim those of us who serve up their coffee and prepare and grow their food don’t deserve a living wage or Social Security to retire on.

That same government, all of whom have fully paid health care, decides the way to fix the health care system for citizens is to create a malfunctioning health insurance package (which is not affordable), which covers little in the way of actual health care, and to charge us a penalty if we can’t afford the exorbitant costs of worthless insurance.

Somehow these same government officials cannot figure out how to create jobs repairing the aging crumbling infrastructure in our communities, but they certainly send our children to their deaths in an overly inflated military industrial complex.

And those politicians shuffle our tax dollars off to “agricultural” mega-companies while stuffing non-nutritious GM foods down our throats, and then blame us because we are fat, instead of supporting the small local family farm.

Okay. That’s enough. It’s too depressing to continue the list of issues Americans face. I could go on but we all know it’s bad. We know how bad it is and it isn’t getting any better. And it seems like when the politicians get their hands on an issue it only gets worse.

Just one example is the raising of the minimum wage. Yes, it’s good the wage is going to be raised but why in the world does it need to take 5 years to gradually raise it? By then inflation will have raised the cost of everything else we pay for, such as food, housing, utilities, transportation, and health care, and the “raise” won’t go any further than what we earn right now. Just make the change and be done with it. Now. What’s wrong with now? Then make the annual Cost of Living raises commensurate with the actual rate of inflation. Earning an additional 20 dollars a year doesn’t even pay for a lunch out to celebrate the raise, nor does an additional 20 dollars a month cover the utility rate raise.

I am fortunate. I do not personally know many citizens who are part of the problem, though I admit I know a few. Living in a small semi-rural town I make an effort to attend my local city council meetings, and speak face to face to those councilors about my opinions or write letters so my voice can be heard. It is disconcerting to know the voice of most citizens is discounted because we are considered to be lesser than the people who serve in office. How could we possibly understand the nuances of running a community or a state or a nation? Of course, that is patently wrong, as we “lesser thans” elect the representatives to be our voice and we most certainly do understand. We must be personally involved in change if there is to be change; we cannot leave change to the hands of others who may not have our best interests at heart, who may even be governing for the sake of profit, rather than for the good of the constituency. Most of the people I know are so busy living their lives making an income to put roofs over their heads and feeding their children that finding the time to help run their communities in the way they should be run is problematic. Our voices may need to be raucous, strident, even caustic to get our elected officials to listen to us and represent us to our satisfaction. We need to keep writing and speaking and expressing our opinions until our citizens are treated in the same manner as our elected officials treat themselves. We may need to throw the babies and the bathwater out and start over again with new water and new babies running our country.

Tomorrow is July 4th, Independence Day. I hope you get to spend the day with people you love because that is what we are supposed to be about. Love and community. While we are independent we are all connected, and we can care for each other, for all of us, as if we are all connected. Instead of celebrating by blowing up explosive fireworks, write a passionate incendiary letter to your government, local, state, or national, and tell them your opinion. Give them suggestions, offer resolutions, freely share your best ideas for making change to help make life better in this United States of America. Get involved instead of merely complaining. Use your voice and right actions to let freedom ring.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Vibrantly yellow day lilies. DSCN4560 Brilliant orange day lilies. DSCN4900 Bright striped and spotted orange tiger day lilies. DSCN4351 Burgundy (wait for it…) day lilies. DSCN8526

Current View – {These are 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!} A Little Chaos (2014, rated R) with Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet about Sabine de Barra and Louis the 14th, after Sabine was employed to help design the gardens at Versailles. Directed by Alan Rickman as well, this one is on my list to watch again, even though the ending was a bit odd. * Truth (2015, rated R) with Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett, about Dan Rather and an incident of news reported before all the facts were determined with devastating repercussions. * Grandma (2015, rated R) with Lily Tomlin. A young woman in need of an abortion reaches out to her grandma for help. * For a Good Time Call (2012, rated R). Two young women who don’t like each other create an adult telephone sex business in an attempt to pay the rent on their apartment and find friendship along the way. * The Love Letter (1999, rated PG-13) with Kate Capshaw, Ellen Degeneres, and Tom Selleck. A bookstore owner finds a letter between the cushions of the sofa in her store and it affects the entire town. I found myself laughing out loud while watching this movie. Definitely on the watch again list. * Ellen Degeneres Here and Now: Modern Life and Other Inconveniences (2003, not rated) with (obviously) Ellen Degeneres. One of her stage shows, another fun foray into everyday humor.

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Currently Reading – Dolci di Love: or The Sweetheart Cantucci (2011, fiction) by Sarah-Kate Lynch. Ms Lynch never fails me. Her love stories are not romances, but complex and complicated tightly woven tales of love set in exotic locales and with lots of yummy food references. Dolci is set in Tuscany and even though I’m not a good traveler the author makes the site enticing. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman (2016, autobiography, humor) by Lindy West. Funny until it wasn’t, I understand her rant about rape culture but this chapter was disconcerting. The last half of the book was indeed shrill without the relief of the humor Ms West employed in the first half. Yes, concurrently.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • That moment when the sun has gone down enough for the air to change from the heat of the day to the cool of the evening and all the doors and windows can be opened to let in the cool refreshing air.
  • Finally receiving unemployment insurance after 4 months with zero income. And the judge who believed me.
  • A few good people in my life who are willing to listen to my whining and who believe in me.
  • Still having enough wits to drive safely.
  • The hubster finally succeeding with fixing his riding lawn mower after nearly 2 months of frustration.
  • Keeping my personal integrity intact.
  • Understanding some of my issues with low self confidence.
  • Understanding some people get their kicks from hurting people they consider to be lesser than them.
  • Knowing I don’t treat anybody lesser than me, or better than for that matter. We are all one.
  • The ability to think and having a voice.
  • Me time at the swimming pool.
  • Being invited to play “London Bridge” with the baby swim class. I was part of the Bridge.
  • Completing some paperwork.
  • Making some progress on corner cleaning. Slow and steady.
  • Fresh garden-raised eggs and knowing the woman I get them from.
  • Looking forward to a quiet 4th tomorrow after many years of personal kid sized fireworks with the son and other family in the past.
  • 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, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gratitude Sunday: That Big Hole In Your Heart

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
Oh glorious sun!
How you warm my skin and take
the chill from my bones.

Sunday Musings
Today marks year three of the grief hole in my heart getting ripped wider. Yes, it’s the 3rd anniversary of my mother’s death. “They” say with time it gets easier, the hurt heals, the hole grows smaller, but I am not so sure. I think each new grief just piles upon the older griefs and they multiply. How any of us functions at all is a wonder to me when we all carry the burden and sadness of loss in our lives. It’s just that many more years beyond one grief and another.

Grief is not like forgiveness. You can forgive a hurt someone has done to you and actually begin to feel better. You can forgive yourself and your mistakes and move forward. Grief is forever, a longing or desire for what never will be again. You can talk about how you will be united with your loved ones in heaven, but that is a belief, and we have no proof. We must function on faith for that.

I see my loved ones who have passed in my dreams. They are not usually doing things I remember in my waking memory; they are participating in different behavior or speech. That doesn’t mean I remember everything or that the dream action isn’t already in my neural net of brain cells. We don’t have a scientific understanding of dreams any more than we have a scientific understanding of heaven or the concept of God (in whatever form that takes for your system of belief). We don’t even have a scientific understanding of grief and the sadness it brings.

I see my loved ones who have passed in my memory. Maybe the memories are defective, or glamourized, or embellished. Maybe not, but they are my memories, nonetheless. I can cherish them or not as I choose.

For several months after my mother passed I had the feeling of being haunted, as if she was constantly looking over my shoulder, as if she could finally look into my soul and see all my secrets and lies to her. It was such an awful feeling of dread, of how I’d failed her, as a daughter and as a human.

On my birthday the year Mom died, my aunt sent me several photographs she had of my mom. One of them was a picture of Mom, my sister, and me. I had my first pair of pink framed glasses on so I was about 9, my sister about 7. I always thought my mother was so beautiful and I could never compare with her. The picture shows a handsome woman with the barest hint of a smile on her lips and two girls with beaming happy faces. Mom had dentures and maybe she thought her smile wasn’t pretty, but I remember how her face would light up when she smiled, dentures or no. She’d spent her 5 years of pregnancy and 4 children having her teeth pulled out because back then dentists put little value in saving the teeth you had. She was adamant all our growing years about taking care of our teeth. The dentures were nothing but trouble all her adult life. What a travesty modern medicine is sometimes.

I love the photograph and got a lucite frame for it. I placed the frame next to the little altar I have of the rosewood box that contained her ashes, which still have a trace of the ash inside. On top of the box is the velvet cover it came with and a tasseled angel from her memorial service, and a hand sewn angel Mom made that my sister gave me for Christmas, and a picture of Mom with her mother and dad and five siblings as adults. She faces me as I sit here and write. My little sister and the child I was smile at me as I struggle to put on paper the thoughts burning in my soul.

When I put the picture in its place the haunted feeling went away. Now it is like we are having the conversations of old, sharing information, and knowledge, and opinions, finding the places where we agree and disagree, but satisfied that even if we didn’t agree we could honor each other’s opinions.

Time passes. Grief abides. More loved ones die. More grief avails. Time passes. One day at a time we put one foot in front of the other and move forward. Perhaps one day we will discover time is non-linear and we can be with those loved ones whenever we want, perhaps not creating new memories but re-living the old, perhaps creating alternative time lines with new memories, perhaps gaining a new scientific perspective on time and grief, maybe learning grief is one of the required experiences of embodiment. Perhaps one day we will discover heaven and have our beliefs confirmed whether in this life or the next.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I love wildflowers. I have loved them since my sophomore year in high school when all the biology classes were assigned to make a wildflower notebook. We had to gather the flowers from fields and parks and our own yards, press them flat, and mount them on pages in the notebook with an identification paragraph. I still have mine tucked away somewhere in the abundance of stuff in my home. What do I love about wildflowers? They are tenacious; they grow everywhere and anywhere, clinging to the tiniest bit of earth, in between the domesticated plants we purposely set into the ground, giving their luxurious color and vibrant blossomings to all who care to pay attention. Love in the form of creamy white Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms. DSCN4682 Pink edged creamy morning glories acknowledging another dawn. DSCN8552 White bindweed blossoms hosting busy bees. DSCN4684 Then there is the bright firecracker colors of domesticated coreopsis. DSCN4577 The scarlet red of exotic crocosmia. DSCN8519 The brilliance of red gladiolas. DSCN4689

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 Martian (2015, rated PG-13) with Matt Damon from the novel by Andy Weir. I waited more than 6 months for this movie through my local lending library as my frugality does not let me spend money on renting movies. I stopped reading science fiction many years ago but I had read the book last year when it came out and enjoyed the story with its happy ending (no spoilers!) and its more sciencey than fiction story. The author was quite focused on the science and I read every word hoping to understand it, and while I understood the gist of the story some of the math and technical science escaped me. It was still an enjoyable read. I was hoping the movie would give me the visuals of the science and it did not fail. The movie also captured the smart-aleck characterization of the protagonist with superb casting all around. Watched it twice. * Wallis and Edward (2005, rated R), another version of the Wallis Simpson story with Joely Richardson whose acting I really like. Sweet, concise, tragic. * Ellen Degeneres The Beginning (2000, not rated) with (obviously) Ellen Degeneres. I was looking for some real comedy. This woman makes shampoo instructions funny. Much needed laughter ensued. * Price Check (2013, not rated) with Parker Posey and Amy Schumer. This was listed as a comedy and I don’t know in whose world a story about a manipulative bully boss who throws tantrums on the floor and who tries to entrap a married male employee into impregnating her is a comedy, but not in my world. This was not amusing or funny in any way, and the story was lame as well. Not recommended. * Lucky Them (2014, not rated) with Toni Collette as a music critic searching for her musician boyfriend who disappeared 10 years ago in a suspected suicide. I find Toni Collette to be an interesting and unusual actress and she did not disappoint. Not listed as a comedy, but this was a fun little movie with a poignant ending (no spoilers!). Surprising producer was Joanne Woodward, whom I’ve always admired, and Johnny Depp appeared in a minor role. * Trainwreck (2016, rated R) with Amy Schumer. A little funny, a lot raunchy, the girl gets the guy. Meh. Wow, watched a lot of movies this week!

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Currently ReadingWhite Rabbit (1996, fiction) by Kate Phillips. I had to read this title because I have collected rabbits (not alive) since I was 15 years old and love the Alice in Wonderland stories, with which this story had nothing to do. Instead the story is about the last day in the life of an 88 year old woman, the memories and eccentricities elders have, and the absurdity of age and aging. A quiet, almost mundane story, about the love of self and other people. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman (2016, autobiography, humor) by Lindy West. My expectations of this book were far different than what the author writes. I had expected information about being that shrill opinionated voice in the world and how to deal. Instead I found personal stories of this author’s experiences as an introvert who learns to live in the crazy judgmental world on her path to becoming an accomplished journalist. The bonus is the finely tuned humor Ms West employs. She has a unique way of making the oppressive awfulness of everyday life sound terrifically amusing if you just squint up your eyes in the right way. Yes, concurrently.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • The fresh apricots I buy once a year to remind me I like fresh apricots just once a year. I don’t like them green and I don’t like them mushy and these were just about perfect.
  • Sweet refreshing rain relief from the heat.
  • Finally getting through to the local Social Security Office (after trying all afternoon to get through on the phone) and their advice on best times to come in and wait for service after finding out the first available appointment would be six weeks away and experiencing a waiting room full with about 50 people.
  • Little joys: birds at a bird feeder, the smell of wet bark dust, the colors of gray and silver clouds in the sky, making googly eyes at the babies in the baby swim class and seeing their expressions.
  • Seeing the half moon high in the sky in full daylight.
  • Keeping the house relatively cool during hot weather.
  • Memories of the past and living in the present.
  • Learning and re-learning to be in the moment.
  • Appreciating how the mind can wander and create new projects.
  • Busy days and quiet evenings.
  • 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, Family, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment