Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Brain is having an Eclipse

randomtuesday
I'm feeling kind of random.  My head is so full of stuff that I can't think straight.  There's about five lists floating around in there and they're all getting mixed up.  Instead of progress, I wander around trying to figure out what to do next.  Too much data.  Does not compute. Overload.  Overload.
Obviously, I need more coffee.

Weather - Seven days of Caribbean breezes, lovely cool bright mornings, perfect warm afternoons, and never ending blue skies. The feeling is still inside of me and I'm holding on to that feeling for dear life. Because the day I came back to Michigan it was 22-25 degrees for a high, and has stayed that way since December 7. The sky, the ground, the snow, the cars covered in salt are all cold and grey.  Grey, grey, grey.

Wait until I meditate,  Oooom, Ooom.  Ah, blue skies, warm breezes.  Still got it.  Okay.


Christmas Menu - How can I make a list, when Sister After Me still hasn't decided on the menu yet.  Times a tickin', which means I'll be at some grocery store in the middle of the night or worst yet on Christmas Eve.  Please. No. More. Stores.


Lil' Dragons and Kid's Christmas Party - Baking away and wrapping forty little trinkets for my kung fu students.  Luckily a sub-par wrap job is okay because how else can you wrap yo-yos, poppers, sling shots with parachute skateboard guys, princess wands, jean stickers, and flip cars?  Any way you can.


Wrapping Christmas Gifts for the family like a Crazy Woman - Till three in the morning.  Feet hurt, back is poking me in the back, and my state of mind isn't getting any better.  I'm hoping a little snooze will help.  Decided at 2:22am that I should take a gander at the total lunar eclipse.  Queenmaker jumped out of bed when he heard the front door open. "Crazy Woman, what are you doing out there!"  Nothing, just spinning in place trying to find the moon's position in the sky.  Took me a few moments to realize that it was cloudy. (Notice that Crazy Woman is capitalized. My new moniker as of late. QueenMaker added it to his list of pet names for me.  How sweet.)


"Been shopping?  Nooooo, I've been shopping." -  Done as of yesterday.  Yahoo.  That's all I have to say on the matter.

Using Credit or Banks - Wait! Yes, there is more to say on the matter.   I refused to give those skinflint, disreputable, racketeering, predatory, svengali vultures, the satisfaction of pulling me into their maniacal financial scheme.   Why should I use my credit card, when they won't lend credit to anyone without making them jump through hoops, stand on their heads, give up their first child, and then still won't extend any credit?  Hellz no.

Disclaimer (in very itty, bitty, small print):
Okay, I did use one credit card, but in my defense, they kept sending me 30 percent off coupons on my total, already heavily discounted, purchase price. Plus they gave me bonus bucks on top of it. How is a consumer supposed to resist? I tell you. 

But bwahaaaahhaaahhaaa!   I fooled them.   Every time I used my credit card, I walked back to the service desk and made a payment.  So I owe them  NOTHING!   Nothing I say!


Miss My Mommy - I sent her a box full of stuff she forgot when she went to Puerto Rico.  Before I taped up the box and took it to the post office, I ran upstairs and got my santa hat and put it into the box. I know she'll wear it, until they celebrate Three Kings Day in January.  She said it rained hard all day, the day after I left.  She said the island was sad to see me go and was crying.  Me too island, me too.

My brain is running a mile a minute, so I could go on and on, and obviously be less coherent as time goes on. So it's best that I  send you over to Keely at UnMom for Random Tuesday Thoughts.  Because I need that snooze now.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Puerto Rico. Do I Have To Go To Paradise?

Panoramic Views of lush valleys at every turn.  

I haven't been to Puerto Rico since I was thirteen years old. I wasn't interested in going back because of that teenage attitude, "Been there. Done that." But Papi and Mami are getting up there in age.  Papi will be 82 years old and Mami will be 80 in April.

The last few years my sisters have been taking turns going with them to Puerto Rico.  We were feeling a little anxious letting them go alone the last few years, so we decided that one of us should fly in with them to help get them settled.  Another sister went a week before they were to return home and help close the house and travel back with them.

I have been avoiding it, but it was my turn to take them. Sister in the Middle,  Sister After Me, and Only Brother have been there twice already.  Finally the inevitable had to happen. It was my turn.

So I went with much apprehension in leaving my business (especially my little dragons), my husband (it's hard to leave your solace and life-force), my home (not too much time left before Christmas), and my comfort zone (change is not necessarily a good thing.)

I dreaded the plane rides. (Delays, cancelled flights. It's happened so often. I also pray a lot during takeoffs, landings, any time between 11,000 to 42,000 feet and during turbulence.)
I dreaded the drive from San Juan to AƱasco. (Rush hour. Wow, I didn't need to experience that.)
I didn't want to think about the drive up the steep, winding roads to my parents' home at the top of a ridge. (Horror stories from Only Brother, constantly telling me his driving mantra, "Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!)
I especially didn't want to drive it in the dark. (Damn, I had to drive it in the dark.)
I worried about the state of the house and their car. (Last year there was no running water for a week. The stove was broken, the toilet was broken, and the car wouldn't start.)

But I kept my perspective and my fears in check and decided that "no expectations" was the best expectation.  Sister After Me said, "You have to decide to be in the moment."  Because in the end, when you can't change or have control of what's going on, you have to go with it. You have to be in the moment.

I'm back, exhausted. I feel like I've been on high alert, jittery for seven days. But my sisters and brother were right. I didn't believe them, or I didn't care to listen.

But by the second day, I fell in love with Puerto Rico.  Yes because of its infinite beauty, but more, because it was the land of my forefathers. My mother was raised in these hills.  Almost every home my mother pointed was a relative, a cousin, an uncle, or an aunt. She pointed to businesses owned or once owned by relatives.  She pointed to miles of valley and hill sides that belonged to her father and uncles.  I was amazed how hard and beautiful the terrain was. I was amazed on how much family history was still here.

My father was raised in a much dryer and hotter area called Sabana Grande, lower in elevation, but just as beautiful. The terrain was flat, the flora more cactus like.  We spent an afternoon and evening there, but the breezes of the cooler hills were calling us back home.

So the next few posts will be about my days in Puerto Rico with my parents.  Time with them I would not have traded in the world.  I'm so glad I'm home, but I am equally as glad that I went.

The hardest part of the trip was leaving them behind.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanks is a Two Way Street

Giving Thanks is the Spin Cycle topic this week.  Alas, the Spin Cycle will be on hiatus for a while, but I'm thankful to have participated while it was around.  Thanks, Jen.



See there.  See what I just did?  I gave Jen thanks.



I feel we should think about turning "Thanks" around.   I want to GET thanks.  I want to hear a lot of thanks.

Thanks is a two way street.

My "Get Thanks" project has been implemented for quite some time now.  My goal: to hear thanks more than I say it.

My mission is to do or give to another human being.  To uplift the human condition ever so slightly throughout my day, at every opportunity that presents itself.  If you can get someone to say thank you then you are giving to the world instead of taking.... except for the thanks.  You have to take that.

No matter how great or small the deed, I want to create a situation where there is a thanks involved.  If I say it, I always follow up with how that person made my day, or how lovely they look, or how grateful I am of their good service, or how nice it was to meet them. I want to cultivate this ability in getting a thanks into an art form.  Better yet, maybe a super power.  


I'm not seeking acknowledgment of my goodness or to have anyone beholden to me.  I don't need to be there when the thanks is given.  It's not that type of ego trip.   I'm seeking to bring thankfulness into someone else's heart.

When the heart is trained to love, to welcome, and to thank even a wee bit, it's equivalent to getting a small jolt of positive electricity. It jump starts the heart.  It brings a smile to a face and health to the body.

Thanks is a two way street. so get more thank yous instead of saying them. Find someone and do something really nice, or tell them something nice, or just be the super sweet person that you are because you'll get a thank you and a smile.

So do both, give thanks and help create it.  Drive back and forth on that graceful road called Thanks.

You're welcome.  Ah, my work here is done.



Now go visit the Spin Cycle for more of the thankful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mid Day Malaise - Get this Earth Off Me

I've decided to blog during my mid day malaise.

In the throws of it right now.  Mind wondering, eyes drooping, my knees notice more the weight of the Earth's gravity as it pulls my upper body downward.

Get this Earth's pull off me.    Please.

But it's only one o'clock.  Grab the keys. Go.

I'm walking aimlessly around to and fro, my thoughts flitting here and there.  

I should stay up and be productive, not meaning it, can't mean it.

My will is ebbing.  Undisciplined and under exercised body wilting looking for a place to sink into for a just twenty minutes.

But first....

I must write this blog.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whistler's Mother

Let me start out by saying, I will be 52 years old in a couple of months.  I've been told that I look younger.  I chose to believe people when they say that because I'm always grasping for straws of hope that age hasn't caught up with me yet.   But actually it's probably because I don't have that "put together look" that most women learn by now.   Anyways, I dress for comfort and warmth.  And I'm feeling and looking old.   I'm tired of it.   I'm tired of wearing clothes that don't flatter.  I look at my dismal wardrobe and think, "What was I thinking?"

So after watching a mountain of episodes of the program, "What Not to Wear" and several marathons of "Say Yes to the Dress" and rushing home every Thursday to watch my favorite program "Project Runway," I've come to learn the magical powers of the empire waist.  I've learned what an A-line skirt can do for the legs.  I learned that wearing baggy clothing to hide your body backfires. I learned that any size woman can find clothes that make her look terrific. I learned the meaning of the flattering silhouette, proportion, styling, and couture.

So after a few months of experimentation, I'm buying things I never would have even looked at before.   I went sleeveless for the first time this summer.  I bought my first sandals. Sandals that show my feet and toes. Egads!  I try everything on and if it doesn't look absolutely fabulous on me, I won't buy it.  Not even if it is 60% off!

I straightened my curly hair.  It's actually pretty long. My stomach got flatter when I figured out what foods made me feel inflamed and got rid of them. I still need to start an exercise program, but girl, I've been saying that for three decades.

Compliments are nice to hear again.  People ask me if I have lost weight.   Not an ounce.   But miracle upon miracles, I got whistled at and not by the 70-year-old, old dude down the street.  I haven't been whistled at in 25 years.   I got whooped at too.   Hells Bells!

Men, again, look me over instead of look over me.   It's a nice nod to my ego, but since I've been working on reaching an ego-less state, the effect was negligible.  Plus for some inexplicable reason, I found I didn't really miss or even want it.  I forgot what it felt like to be given a USDA meat grade upon inspection. It's disconcerting. I'm definitely not Prime nor Choice. Hoping for the Select cut.  But now, I only want to be selected by my one and only man.

I never thought I would get noticed in that way again.  I knew my whistling days were way, way over.  Apparently, the key here is flattering clothes and - great distance.  At a distance (at least a half a block) I look effin' hot!

But it's hard to keep it all up.  Lately, I've been sick, twisted my back, and hurt my shoulder when reaching too far to get something, so there are plenty of reminders of my age to keep me humble.  It's easy to go back to the comfort of my sweats or baggy jeans.  Been in them again for about a month. But I plan to keep it up and have my eye on revamping my winter wardrobe.

The last guy that drove by and whistled was rather young. He stuck his body out of the car waving his hands.  I just shook my head, perturbed that he couldn't tell the difference and yelled for him to get a pair of glasses.

I was old enough to be that whistler's mother.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Perfection, Where Are You?



The Spin Cycle has given us our mission should we accept it and that was to write about Perfection.  I having just met her may not be the right person to expound on her incredible attributes and undeniable style.  But I can say what she has meant to me and my life.


Perfection where are you?  I'd look for Perfection all the time, but she was hiding somewhere.   I looked everywhere but just couldn't find her.   I looked for her in my closet, in my mirror, in other people, but Perfection was highly elusive and great at hiding.   Maybe she was hiding in situations like in a perfect dinner, the perfect romantic date, or the perfect wedding proposal.   It seemed the harder I looked, the harder she was to find.  Where was she?  Didn't she know how much I needed her?  Chasing Perfection just made her run faster away from me.

How come everyone else seemed to have Perfection within their grasp?    That woman's relationship looks perfect.    His exciting career seems perfect.    She has the perfect kitchen.    That neighbor's landscaping is perfection.    What a perfect couple.   That woman has a perfect body.    That man is living large.   Her home is perfectly clean and decorated.    Everyone else's situation seemed to be touched by Perfection.

Damn Perfection, where you hiding, girl?

Then I tried to become her creator.  Maybe I could create Perfection.   I could set up perfect situations or make perfect children or maybe I could assume Perfection's identity.  But after many attempts, although a few were successful, I found that Perfection couldn't be created with any regularity, especially if my requirement was that everything, every point, every moment be perfect.   It took a lot of hard, hard work to create Perfection.

Finally I let the idea of Perfection go.   I understood the futility of seeking Perfection.   No more expectations of finding her at my house, or at the party, or in my relationship, or in other people.   Since she would have nothing to do with me,  ha!,  I'd forget all about her ass.

It was exactly when I stopped looking for her that Perfection started to visit me.   Sometimes she visited for just a moment, opening my eyes to something marvelous.   Perfection had a spontaneity about her.  Sometimes she would stick around for a whole evening and on a rare occasion, she'd visit all day.

I met her in the oddest places sometimes.   I could be sitting in my car waiting for my son to come out of school.  My eyes closed, resting.  The sun warming my face, melodic chirping of birds in the tree next to me.  Then a wave of sound coming from children bursting forth from the building, and a sweet little boy saying, "Hi Mommy."   Perfection.

I could be driving by a park and recognize Perfection standing at the top of a sledding hill.   Or she would give me a newborn to hold.    Sometimes she's hitchhiking and rides with us a while.    Or she'll show up in my bed transforming into the loving arms of my husband.    Perfection is an angel, a muse.   Her visits are to be cherished as gifts, not as mandates.

So when I stopped searching for Perfection, Perfection comes looking for me.   I like the arrangement much better this way.   As a matter of fact,  Perfection is with me right now.   More often than not, I find her at the bottom of my coffee cup.


Sip.  Ahhhhh....



So off to Jen at Sprite's Keeper for more topics on Perfection, because she is one busy girl.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Planning a Surprise Party Takes Over Your Life

Well hello there, Random Tuesday Thoughts.  I have so much random stuff to tell you, especially after the weeks of adrenalin rushes, trials and tribulations, and random stuff that happens to you when you are trying to put together a surprise birthday party.

randomtuesday

Surprise parties are hard to give, especially when you live with the person who is supposed to be the surprisee.  The idea popped in my head about a month ago.  Once I got the go ahead from my sister, she's letting me use her home for the party, I made a time chart.  I made lists and lists.  I planned and strategized.  Timing was everything.

Then you start lying, and lying, and lying.  Damn. I didn't bargain for this part of the plan.  I needed to make up stories as to why I was going to my sister's so much.  Why was I making so much food?  Why was I doing all the work?  Why did he have to go anyways?  Who was going to be there? Why was my sister throwing this event?   This lying part was getting to me.

The universe can be very helpful during times like this.  One, QueenMaker really pissed me off about a month ago.  So we weren't too communicative for a couple of weeks.  Sometimes, it takes me that much time to cool down.  But I'm working on that part of my personality.  Two, the day before the party, he was called away to a late afternoon meeting.  Then the universe somehow gave him a second meeting to go to right after the first one and he wasn't expected home until midnight.

Yahoo! I finished cooking, did some last minute shopping, and took everything to my sister's.  He didn't suspect a thing and the party was a great success.

Then the universe does random stuff that can hinder you when you are trying to keep a secret.  The week of the party, when I'm doing the final push to get everything ready, QueenMaker decides to take one of our cars into the shop for repairs.  "But I NEED a car this week."  "Why, we can drive together." Mayday! Mayday! I might need to borrow a car!

Luckily it was done the same day.

Then we had to give a presentation to a local elementary girl scout troop called Stranger Smart, which took much longer than I thought it would.  I have to say it was a blast, the girls were terrific, artistic, and super fun. But time was a tickin' and I needed to get out of there.

Then all week, I was deflecting our four to eight year old students that kept running up to QueenMaker to ask about his party. I'd cover with, "Isn't that cute? They want to give you a party at the school."

By Friday, my head was swirling, running lists in my head, running around with last minute errands.  I had a premonition the day before, when I thought, I better keep focused because I'm driving. It's not good to be so scattered.  It's the perfect time to get a ticket.

Then my mother called me to ask if I would pick up her prescription.  Dear me! So I added that to the list and hurried to pharmacy.

I was so distracted I thought, I shouldn't be driving right now.  I REALLY SHOULD NOT be driving right now. And the police officer driving behind me felt the same way.  Leaving the pharmacy, I even said to myself, "Remember the stop sign at the end of the entrance ramp."  But my head was full of distractions and two seconds later, I rolled slowly past it, merging in front of a police cruiser.

I wholeheartedly agreed and admitted to him that I had just rolled past a stop sign. He took pity on me and thanked me for my honesty and instead of the 3 points and $500 fine for going through a stop sign, he gave me a ticket for impeding traffic, only $135 fine, no points. I have to thank the man.  He probably saved my life.

Damn this party is costing me more and more.  Not only do I get to add another $135 to the tab, but my brain cells are fried, my body is working on fumes, and I've lied more in one week than in my whole life.

The adrenalin drop was profound.  I've been in high gear for two weeks, trying to keep twenty balls in the air at the same time. Every spare second was used to its fullest.  I planned, strategized, worked, cooked, lied, covered every contingency, then when it was all over, I crashed.  I slept for two days.

The only thing is that the party was over so quickly. I didn't get to visit as much as I wanted. I was in the kitchen for an hour or so.  Everyone got there at 6:30pm and three hours later, they were gone.  Where did they all go?  Where's the party 'til you drop mentality I was hoping for?  Are we all getting that old? Sigh.


Go visit Keely at UnMom.  The party is still going on strong and not a fuddy-duddy in the whole group.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Distracting Minutia - Replacing Thought with Matter

RTT: Random Tuesday Thoughts -

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts. thoughts.... 


randomtuesday


I just read that the mind is so powerful that it can affect matter.  The theory is that if you think or want or look for something hard enough and long enough, it will manifest itself.  Matter is created. That's why when an astronomer is looking for that elusive new point of light in the sky, he will eventually find it, because his mind will place it there for him.

But it's the looking, the searching, the mind focused intently on the task at hand, sometimes focused for years - to find that new star.  The astronomer's thoughts can create matter.

This blows my mind.  I'm scared that it means it's all in our heads.  If I look and think hard enough for something, it might just materialize.  "Don't think zombies, don't think zombies."

Maybe I can use it to find my keys.

Or maybe if we think hard enough we can turn the government into rational thinking, reasonably responsible people that have our best interest at heart.  THINK HARD People!


It is amazing when a crisis hits the family, how diverse the perceptions.  Some are very accepting of the trials and tribulations and don't seemed phased a bit.  Strife like everything else in life is natural. It's just the circle of life.

Others are go getters that jump on a problem, wrestle it to the ground, give it a couple of well placed hits and walk away with hands pumping triumphantly in the air.

Others imagine worst case scenarios, some to be prepared, others to be fearful.  The fearful bemoan and complain how horrible everything is, putting themselves through so much distress and pain.

See, some are half full people and some are half empty people. Let's hope the "thought to matter" theory doesn't really work.  Because if it does, the half empty people better watch out!



I remember a friend saying when her boyfriend dumped her, "I thought I mattered."

Imagine that.  He never thought of her, so of course she never materialized as matter.  Wow, does this stuff work in reverse?  If no one has thoughts of you ever, do you dematerialize?  You don't matter?     Heady stuff, indeed.

Can you see why I feel so distracted sometimes?


For more heady reading stroll on over to Keely's UnMom and get a dose of random thoughts.  They might just materialize.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You know what Ms. Liz?

Ms. Liz, you know what a fish would say if he could talk?

Oh.

Oh.

Oooooooooh.

Oh.

See, that's because his lips can only say a circle.

Oh.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Leaving His Heartbroken Parents Behind




He's in bed right now.  In his own bed, in his old bedroom.  His lease was up on his apartment so he moved home for his last two weeks in Michigan.  QueenMaker and I get a few more days with our boy before he moves to Chi-town.

This means we will see him less.  Visits will be farther apart.  Luckily Chicago is not that far away, just a four hour drive. QueenMaker and I are already planning our trips.

He is about to embark in a new adventure.  He loves adventure.  He loves new experiences.  So the move will be a welcomed change from life in Ann Arbor.  He will explore his new city with gusto and call us with his discoveries.

We get to discover it too.  Looking forward to Chicago deep dish pizza, the museums, the aquarium, and whatever else Chicago has to offer.

His dad has voiced it more than I have of late.  I think he'll miss his son more than any of us know. So when Beloved packs his belongings into his car and drives away, our hearts will be breaking a little.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oh Canada, There Some Random Loveliness Happening Up There

It's Random Tuesday Thoughts, yeah!  Go visit.

randomtuesday


Randomness happens all the time, particularly when you go out of town.  Because nothing is the norm, nothing is familiar, so everything is a random happening.  Especially if someone else makes out the itinerary for you. Great fun, but effin' exhausting!

I went to Canada!
Winnipeg, Manitoba to be exact, the heart of the Canadian Midwest.  For some reasons there are comparisons made between Detroit and Winnipeg so they tell me, but for the life of me, I don't see the similarities.

Winnipeg is a beautiful city, rich history, clean, great architecture, great fishing, beautiful rivers, and great restaurants.  After our guided tour with a friend that obviously loves his city, I fell in love with the "Peg" too.

Every time we said we were from Detroit, the Canadian response was overwhelmingly positive.  Usually when traveling in the states or even in my own home state of Michigan, I don't tell people we are from Detroit.  The response is negative and about stereotypes.  But instead in Winnipeg, I heard how they love Detroit, Motown, the Detroit sports teams, and the car industry.  That was a nice surprise.

Our trip began with a drive under the Detroit River to get to Windsor.  We have two choices in Detroit for border crossings, one is the bridge and the other is the tunnel.  The last time I went through using the tunnel was back in 1979 and there was water running down the walls. Yikes!  Happily in 2010,  I can report not a sign of water.

As an American citizen, I'm used to hearing a lot of fear mongering on my side of the border.  Border problems, a grueling customs search, ready to show "my papers", the illegal alien problems, immigration problems, bad people trying to sneak over and plotting to do harm to our country problems.  So with passport, birth certificate, driver's license and even my voter's registration card in hand, and feeling every bit like an intruder trying to sneak into another country, I approached the Canadian border with apprehension and was ready for anything.


You know what I got?  Welcome to Canada! Have a great trip and a really nice day.      Oh, Canada.


Windsor airport - small and petite, no fluff, no muss, one small terminal.  What, no wait at the counter?  No long lines at security?  No color coded alerts.  Oh, Canada.   Are you trying to lull me into a false sense of security or something?

The airline we flew touted their slogan, we never over or double book - be confident that you'll always have your seat.  What?  Are they treating me like a valued customer, with respect for me and the money I spent with their airline? Are they honoring our implied contractual agreement and putting me on a plane, that is well maintained, on time, and has a seat for everyone?  Oh yeah, and each person gets two check in two pieces of luggage and can take two overheads and best of all at no extra charge.

"Memories, light the corner of my mind...."  Sorry, got distracted.


With a lay-over in our flight itinerary, we had to take off twice, Windsor to Calgary, then Calgary to Winnipeg.  We flew right over Winnipeg on our way to Calgary and waved to it from high above.  I know, I know.  We flew a three and a half hour flight to Calgary just to get on another plane to fly back an hour to Winnipeg.    Next time, we're getting a direct flight.

The amazing thing was when we got onto our planes, no one was pushing or shoving.  No one was more important than anyone else.  Everyone waited with patience and courtesy.  And when the plane stopped and passengers made ready to disembark, each row was allowed to empty before the next row.
How orderly, how courteous.

Those Canadians waited their turn and didn't fill the aisle to be the first one out.  They thanked each other, helped each other with the overhead luggage and waited patiently for their turn.  What was this?  Courtesy begot courtesy. Patience begot patience.  I felt like a sentient, logical, common sense human being.

Oh, Canada - can I move here?  What?  Temperatures can get to be -26 Celsius in the winter.  On second thought, never mind. I will admire you from afar.

So when I got home, on the last leg of our journey, and the plane landed in Windsor, everyone promptly jumped from their seats and herded into the aisle, pushing and shoving to be the first out the plane door. Queenmaker was trapped standing patiently, awaiting his turn to exit.  But he was blocked time and time again until all the important cattle herded out the door.  He looked at me in surprise.  "What happened to all the manners?"

"Honey, those were US citizens, not Canadians."

"Oooooh."

Memories light the corner of my mind.
Misty water color memories
Of the way we were.

Scattered picture of the smiles we left behind, 
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were.

Can it be that it was all so simple then,
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had a chance to do it all again, 
Tell me? would we? could we?

Please.



Visit Keely for more great Canadian hospitality and friendly, down home blogging.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quiet

It's quiet.

I haven't felt this way in many a moon.

No need to be anywhere.  No obligations to fulfill.   No guilt, no need to strive, no needs at all.

Time to relax, to read, to bathe, to sit in the shade.

A tall cool glass of ice tea and lemonade at my fingertips.

My eyes half closed, listening.

My mind quiet.  My body is quiet.

Quiet. It's so blissfully quiet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day - The Emotional Roller-coaster Ride of Manhood

Go over to the Spin Cycle. Topic is Father's Day.  Enjoy all the great reads.


Father's Day was a hoot.  I know of five arguments that broke out that day. Some serious, some not so serious, but it made for a really weird weekend.  It emphasized how stressed out everyone is, especially the men in the family.

I feel sorry for guys sometimes.  I was brought up in the knight in shining armor era, a fantasy held by many young women. While my man was courting me, I fell in love with him because he was funny, brilliant, and talented.  He did so many things well.  Maybe that's why I thought he could fix anything and everything.  Geez, wasn't he a husband and dad, a man ready to take on all problems and solve them.

Men come home to the news that a pipe busted, the refrigerator stopped working, the car broke down, or the sewer backed up.  Then all eyes look to him to fix it.  What do you mean you don't know what you are doing? You're A Man. And if you don't have the extra cash to pay for large repairs, men will get down and dirty and learn by doing, bitching and swearing all the way.

I feel for them, but at the same time, no way would I slosh through three inches of waste water, not as long as there was a man around to do it for me.

We learn that they are as vulnerable and as fallible as we are. When reality pushed my fantasy aside, I felt gypped. He was supposed to take care of me like my daddy wasn't he?   I soon realized that we were in it together.  Together sounded good, fair and empowering.  How fair was it for me to think he could fix everything that went wrong in my life, just because he was the man in the family.

I realized that most men are really just the boys their mama and daddy raised.  Men need their women just as much as women need their men. In the beginning, we are all just inexperienced grown up kids before we become wise old folks.

Father's Day is usually a very nice day with events celebrating all the dads in our family.  This weekend was an exception. It was a very weird weekend.

My brother in law picked a fight with my sister because, well, it was Father's Day.

My other brother in law picked a fight with my other sister, because, it was Father's Day.

My mother in law and husband exchanged a few heated words. It was about to become a full emotional blow out but luckily cooler heads prevailed when the subject was changed abruptly and they let it go.

I thought I was going to have an argument with my hubby, when I told him he should apologize to his mum.  But he would have nothing to do with it.  He refused to budge on his position and I really couldn't argue with him, because he was basically right.  Argument averted.  Yeah.

My brother in law above decided to pick a fight with the rest of his extended family via email accusing us of not doing enough. We are not taking the bait.

There are things happening in their lives that are bringing the men in my family down.  But they are reverting to boys kicking and screaming because it is becoming too hard to deal with the hardships.  And who could blame them. It's natural to want out.  They are in the denial stage and the anger stage.  Hopefully they will reach the acceptance stage some time soon.

For two of them, this is the first year without their dads.

For three of them, they have mothers with latter stages of depression, Alzheimer's, and lung disease.  They all wished they had sisters or women in their families to dump their mothers on take up the slack and help takeover their mother's care.  They are stuck and want to escape, but can't.

One broke his leg in the middle of working on getting his family in a new home. But I think there is a lot of guilt involved as well, because my sister does EVERYTHING anyways and now he has to sit there and be witness to it.

Two of them have brothers that have embezzled funds from their ailing mothers making one mom practically destitute.

So Father's Day, a day celebrating men, was a day full of problems with the women in their lives. They don't want the title of being patriarch of the family, that belonged to their dear departed fathers.  There is a lot of guilt, stress and melancholy when dealing with their moms.  They have to step in and take over the roles of their fathers, becoming their mothers' advocates, care-giver, financial advisor, and for one, her companion.

Stressed out fathers. Yes.  Feeling like celebrating Father's Day.  No.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Travel Companions

I have found over the years that I love traveling with my husband.  Whether that be running around doing our weekly errands or a weekend road trip.

The two of us tooling down the road ready for high adventure, even if the adventure is just driving to the local fruit market. Always prepared, Queen Maker packs cold water, coffee, and cream for me. On longer excursions there are oranges, apples and sometimes trail mix and jerky.  We love the snacks when we travel.  We bring our own coffee bean and coffee maker just to make sure we have an amble supply of the luscious brew.


The car is a comfortable traveling sanctuary.  We talk and talk.  We listen to great music.  We munch and crunch all the way down the highway.  Rarely does either one of us sleep on long road trips.  We take turns pulling out our notebooks writing down our thoughts and ideas.  We are quiet together too.


A car meant adventure.  We're on the road and who knows what the road will bring. Adventure was possible.  Yes there were flat tires.   I cried when I locked the keys in the car at a Kentucky rest stop.  Almost running out of gas.  Bad hotels and even worse restaurants.

We once found the only restaurant in the Western Hemisphere that could make a breakfast taste awful.   Seriously, breakfast.   Before we went in, I made the mistake of saying, "How can you ruin breakfast? It's just two eggs, potatoes, and toast."  Well, it can be done.

But there were also the unexpected little restaurants with atmosphere and great food.  Lovely evenings in our hotel room.  The crowd that gathered at the rest stop to help sooth me and help retrieve my keys.  The Michigan State Trooper who changed our tire for us. The massive brown eagle we saw on the road.  The surprising rest stop with a path to two gorgeous waterfalls and a small box canyon.


A car meant freedom.  Maybe it's because we were together before either one of us had a driver's license.  When we borrowed our parents' car, we felt freedom for a few hours.  And when we could afford our own, freedom was complete.


A car is a time machine. Only Brother described the car as a time machine and I understood what he meant immediately. Queen Maker and I used to ride our bikes or walk everywhere.  Distance didn't matter much to us, we rode miles and miles.  We rode two hours to the zoo one day, against the wind, then back again.  We walked four miles a day to each other's house.  Make that eight for Queen Maker.  The time machine cut down travel time and allowed us to go farther with the time allotted.


So a rode trip is in our future.  We haven't been on one for a long time.  We were thinking about flying to our destination.  An airplane might be the ultimate time machine but right now, it doesn't sound attractive at all.

So we will pack up our car with all the comforts of home, with the things we love to eat and hear and drink.  We will listen to each other carefully.  We'll marvel at the landscape.  And the coffee will be flowing.  We will enjoy each other's company and hold hands for miles and miles and miles.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Technological Wonder - Will The Wonder Ever Cease?

Technology is the topic over at the Spin Cycle.  Do you love it, hate it?  Could you do without it?  Take the button, this technological wonder, and it will transport you to more Spins on technology.  Wow! It's an actual transporter.  Beam me up, Scottie!



An adventure finding nature's technology - Three of my aunts were walking a narrow path and we were following them.  The path went through beautiful tropical forest and a lush valley until after twenty minutes we finally reached our destination.  Excitement rose because we could hear and smell the water ahead of us, and relief because we were near the end.

The spot was a tropical beauty, picture postcard perfect.  A small water fall fell into a pool about 20 feet below.  Large flat rocks lined the edges of the pool.  The pool shaded on one side by trees, the other in full sunlight. The water was crystal clear and cold.  It was the most inviting place on the planet.

We children were there to take a bath.  We plunged into the icy water, screaming with both shock and delight.  We passed a bar of soap and washed our hair.  Shivering with cold, we laid on the flat rocks to warm ourselves.

When it was time to go, my aunts climbed to the edge of the waterfall and filled the jugs they brought with water.  We were filled with awe and admiration when they placed the tall, heavy jugs on their heads and without using their arms to balance the jugs, walked back the way we came.


To get fresh water, they made this walk everyday.  It was a novelty for us, four children ages 7-12, visiting from a very modern life in Michigan. We experienced a walk back in time.  We were walking a path that our mother had taken many times when she was a child.  It was thrilling.

Until one year, they wrote my mother that they were finally able to dig a well and install a pump.  My aunts were delighted.  But the memory of that day made me realize that when we gain something, we also lose something too.



Technology - the ripples are endless.  Technology begets technology.

It's amazing to me that the invention on the cotton gin allowed a boon to the textile industry and that production of textiles using automated looms, with its punch card technology would be the predecessor to the computer.

Whether good or bad I sometimes think that it will take two generations or so to really determine the ripple effects of certain technologies. An example is television.  When first introduced it was a wonder. Instant information, education, and entertainment. A symbol of prosperity.  I thought it helped to expand the mind.

A few channels are worth viewing but right now,  I see it mostly as a medium that dulls and numbs the mind, a type of addiction or smokescreen. Material messages bombard, minimum standards and the overly dramatic exalted, and is more bizarre entertainment than informational or educational.  The screen is a feast for the eyes, but starving the mind.


Remember this?  We were washing clothes by hand when my mother got this older version of a modern convenience.


When I was seven, I got my arm stuck in one while helping my mother with the laundry.  I impulsively put my hand between the rollers and it took my arm through up to my shoulder.  Traumatized but okay,  I didn't want to go near it.  But Mami said it was either that or wash our clothes by hand.  No way, not fun at all, hand numbing work.  I was so thankful when we got a modern washing machine.

Dishwasher - No.  My mother had four daughters, why would she need a dishwasher.  Since I can't stand the thought of putting even the slightest remnant of food stuck on a plate into anyone's dishwasher, I must wash the plate first.  So it's usually clean when I put the dish in anyways.  So why bother with the redundancy.  My girlfriends and sisters say, you don't have to do that.  Umm.  Yes I do.

Internet - Really fun and information at your fingertips, but addictive and a real time sucker.

Cell phones - At first I was against them.  But I changed my mind when 9/11 happened.  Cell phones allowed loved ones to say I love you and good bye one last time. I discovered they were a lifeline.

Indoor lights and plumbing - good.  Refrigerators, washing machines, and stoves. - good.  Cars vs. Horses - good.  But with every innovation, there had to be something lost.  Maybe those losses will be missed or not. Maybe the losses were unwarranted.  Maybe there were many wonderful things lost. But the next generation will never know of them.

When I look at technology's journey during my grandmother's lifetime, then my mother's lifetime, and now mine, it seems amazing.  If you say land line, dial telephone, television tubes, eight tracks, cassette player, or walkman, kids today will look at you as though you've talking klingon-ese or something.

I am excited to see what the next fifty years will bring.  During my son's lifetime, or his son's after him, what wonders or of technology will be in place.  How much will be gained and how much will be lost and forgotten?  Will technology gains offset the negatives?  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

RTT: Household Workouts

Random Tuesday Thoughts is here.


Picking a room today and spending an hour in it.  Clean it, purge it, reorganize it.  I promise to stay in ONE room.

My cleaning style has been go to one room.  Find something that needs to go into the linen closet.  Linen closet could use some work.  Start working on linen closet.  I notice towels are missing.  Hit the laundry room to get towels, laundry room needs tidying up.  Notice floor needs mopping.  Start to mop.  And on and on and on.  All rooms always have that work in progress feel.  Today, ONE ROOM.


Speaking about cleaning.  I've taken a job cleaning a loft apartment in one of the trendier downtown districts.  I usually go every other week. Unfortunately for me, all the surfaces are either glass, stainless steel, stone countertops, slate floors, stone and marble floors.  Altogether a bitch to make it all shine.  It takes me four hours minimum.  I call it my workout.  My body screams at me for days after it.


Speaking of body ache.  I mentioned to Queen Maker that my body really ached from all that "exercise" cleaning that loft.  He says his body aches everyday because of his training and exercise regime.  You mean that this is how you WANT to feel, all the time?  No wonder no one sticks with exercise.


Speaking about getting exercise.  Sister After Me asked me what my free time looked like.  She has access to a lake and wants to buy a raft. She's looking for a partner to paddle around the lake for exercise and fun.  Random thoughts popped into my head.

Panic, life preserver, holes, leaks, shrinking raft, feet not touching bottom, a yellow flotilla of death, shifting uncomfortably to one side then the other trying to maneuver an oar, wet butt.  The usual.

I think I'll pass.



Speaking about passing.  I think it's time to pass the baton to the next blog at UnMom. So visit and read a while.  It's be a workout.
randomtuesday

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good Sleep Better Than ...

Yahoo!  I SLEPT ALL NIGHT last night.  Didn't get up once.  So, so awesome.

Been a full seven days when sleep has been good and last night was the icing on the cake.

I haven't been here in a few years it seems.  I'm going to guess that there is a "Pause in the Meno."

Yuk, yuk.  I'm making bad puns.  That's how giddy I am.

Yessssss!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Life in the Slow Lane or I'm a Thriftiholic

Jen at the Spin Cycle is looking for tips and cost cutting measures that we could all use in these tough economic times.  So check out the Spins. It's one of the best freebies you will find. 


My thrifty ways comes from watching my mother stretch my dad's meager paycheck for fifty years.  She hoarded her pennies, made tough decisions, was a master of robbing Peter to pay Paul, and always prayed for forgiveness when she did it.

When I left my job some nine years ago, we had to manage on one income. So I returned to budgeting techniques I used when QueenMaker and I were first married.


1.  No car payments.  We buy only used cars.  Used cars that need only basic car insurance to cover.  No collision or replacement costs.


2. Money envelopes. I am amazed how well this works.  The insurance envelope, the credit card envelope, the taxes envelope, the luxury envelope.  I put a small amount of money in each envelope whenever I can.  In the luxury envelope I deposit only two or three dollars every once in a while. Even if I don't have the whole amount when the bill comes in, but I usually do, this method has been a tried and true friend to me.


3.  Stop going to restaurants.  QueenMaker and I love cuisine and went out to eat at least two or three times a week, plus a breakfast on the weekends.  Now we limit ourselves to once on Saturday because we both work until 1pm.  We are both starving and cranky so Saturday we go for a big lunch.   If a restaurants offers lunch specials on Saturdays, we're there.


4.  A cooperative and trusting partner.  When you are both on the same page it helps immensely.  QueenMaker and I came from the same background, impoverished. We didn't have a thirst for materials things.  Although this might backfire and has for many a couple, QueenMaker used to hand me his paycheck and I handed him an allowance.  In our early years he used to ask, "Can we afford this?"
I admit that he didn't really want to know about finances.  Lucky for him, I was a saver.

One time his mother admonished him for not knowing what I was doing with our money, the little busy body. So finally after six years together, he asked how much money do we have in the bank.  His eyes popped when I said ten thousand.  Well, I was saving for a down payment for a house.  His trust in me was vindicated and he never asked again.


5. Hand me down furniture.  My mother in law and several of my friends feel the need to change out their furniture more often than I think is practical.  Sometimes it doesn't fit right, or what they really wanted was a leather couch, or what was I thinking buying blue when I wanted black.  So I reap the benefits.  I haven't bought furniture in years.


6.  Never buy a cereal unless its on sale.  I never buy a grocery item unless its on sale. Occasionally I may give in and buy something at full price, but it always makes me feel better when I calculate the hundreds of times I've bought the item on sale.


7.  This is a recent one.  I now only take cash when I go to Sam's or Costco's.  I used to spend way too much in these stores.  Bulk buying is a trap.  Going with cash only has saved me hundreds of dollars.


8. No house payments.  I know this is a tough one.  But for the last twelve years, no house payments.  When we bought our house we were disciplined enough to know what we could afford as a monthly mortgage payment, not what the realtor or bank said we could afford. I didn't want the house to own me.  With my aversion to debt and by tightening our belts, I paid the fifteen year loan off in ten.

We never fell for the hype of making our home a commodity, to refinance for extra cash, to use my home as some kind of hidden savings account.  I do have an equity line on the house, but that is for emergencies only.  The bank kept pushing me to take a large home equity line, but I took a line half the value of my home.  Since I don't use it, no house payments.  But it has pulled me out of some tough situations in the past.


9. Driving.  No more multiple trips to the same area.  Shopping trips are planned with multiple stops to cut down mileage.  If I need to go to the cleaners, I hold off until I can hit the bank, post office, and my favorite fruit market.  My husband and I work in the same building.  We used to drive separately because he started an hour or so before me or let an hour after me.  Now I go in with him and utilize the extra time to read or work on a project or take a walk with a dear friend.



So there you have it.  Even without a car and house payment I get stressed about our cash flow which lets you know we are living on very little income as it is.  What's next?  Get rid of my health insurance. We're paying for that ourselves at $500 a month.  Just got word that our health insurance company has just been taken over by the state and may fold.  Yikes, an increase to $700 a month is the cheapest I can find. Got my house insurance bill as well.  It's gone up so that it matches my property taxes.  This just doesn't seem right.

It just doesn't stop, people.  Oh well, belts will be worn tighter this year.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lots of Love There - Mother's Day Number 22

A sublime day.  The day came together in a lovely, almost poetic way.

Maybe it was the fact that I was able to pull off four days straight of uninterrupted sleep.  If this streak keeps up, mental agility and fortitude may return full force.  Always enjoy mental, chemical, joint, and muscular harmony.

Mother's Day.

The sun shined all day.  A mood enhancer for sure.

Took my mother to church. Every pew filled to bursting. Because my hearing is highly attuned today,  my mind is concentrating on the sounds of church. I close my eyes and listen.  There are so many layers of sounds and I listen to the undercurrent.  The sounds of children, the pre-schoolers, the toddlers, and babies hum throughout the mass.  And many times rise above the mass.

I open my eyes and search for them.  I don't have far to look because the pews are filled with them.  Some churches sequester their children to other parts of the church lest they disturb.  But in this church every child is held high by their parents.  Lots of love there. The children's small heads rest on their parent's shoulder. I try to discern boy toddler to girl toddler ratio, but give that up right away.  I'm glad that they are there.  Without them the place is stoic.

After church, Beloved and QueenMaker come by to visit with my mom.  Lots of love as grandmother hugs a grandson she's missed so much.   It makes me so happy to witness the massive amounts of love my child receives and better yet how much he gives in return.  

Beloved is here and now my Mother's Day begins anew.  He will be with us the rest of the day, no matter how long the day.  My heart is filling up.

The three of us together again.  Dad, Mom, Son.  A quiet peaceful comfort descends upon us.  On the ride to my mother in law's house, we reconnect as a family.  The two-wheeler becomes the tricycle again.  

QueenMaker is making dinner for his mom and I am helping him in the kitchen.  Beloved is visiting with his grandparents in the next room.  Lots of love there.

Breaded pork country ribs, salad, baked potatoes, a sauteed vegetable medley that included onions, asparagus, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, carrots, and lacinato kale.  Dessert was homemade pecan pie.  It was awesome.  Lots of love there.  Okay mostly in one direction as we devour it all.

We end the evening by watching Jeremy Brett in Sherlock Holmes.  I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this series.

On the ride home we talk about martial arts, chinese philosophy, and the western mindset.  The college student actually had an interesting conversation with his parents.  

The best gift my son gave me today and every time we get to spend time together as a family, is when he says, "Today was a good day." or   "I always feel so relaxed when I'm with you guys." or  "I miss our time together so much sometimes."  

A Mother's Day that fills the soul.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother #3 - Just Doesn't Count

This week's Spin Cycle is all about Mother's Day.  A day I have coveted from afar.

I've been a mother for 23 years come September. And I can tell you that it hasn't been enough.  I've been bemoaning my rather "dormant" status for a few years now. Beloved, a grown person, has grand plans for the future, and they unfortunately have very little to do with his parents.  **sigh.**

Mother's Day - My vision.

The sun streams through the window and illuminates the ivory satin sheets on my bed.  The smell of coffee and bacon wafts under the bedroom door which serves to rouse me further.  The sounds of breakfast are coming from the kitchen.  I hear my husband's voice kidding with the kids (I wanted three) as they make breakfast makes me smile.

Soon everyone is in the room showering me with kisses and lots of "I love you mommy" hugs.  After breakfast we laze in bed together talking and deciding what we will do to commemorate this wonderful day.  I look forward to a Sunday where I get to do and enjoy whatever I want.

I'm running through a field of wildflowers with my children. A picnic lunch is set up ahead in a clearing under a tree.  Ice cream will be involved at one point.......

Screeeeeeeech!  Snap!  Flip, flip, flip.  Stop the film.  Editing!  **sigh**



Ladies and gentleman I am what you would call a third mother.  In a family dominated by strong women and a few weak ones, a mater hierarchy has been established.

Numero Uno - My Mom.

Deux - My Mother In Law

Third - Me.

Mother's Day is a Sunday like any other.  Take my Mom to church.  Run home pick up hubby and child and return to my Mom's for loving big family get together to honor our mother, then off to my mother in law's (an hour drive) to honor her motherhood.  A very long day.

In the past, I have warned both these women that one Mother's Day, I will stay home all day to celebrate my motherhood.  But it was a bluff.  I never did it.  I no longer care about my position on the mother totem pole.

Numero Uno and Deux are getting up there in age and the Mother's Days with both of them are becoming more and more dear to me. So off I go to buy a corsage for mom to wear for church and a miniature rose plant for my MIL.  Have a great day you mothers.


So go to Sprite's Keeper for more spins about the whole Mother's Day experience.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Witness To Spring and The End of Smokes

I've been waiting for Spring for such a long time.  But with every Random Tuesday Thoughts rolling by so quickly,  I feel like time is running out.

randomtuesday

I need to make every effort to watch the season carefully.  I need to be outdoors, to notice the ever changing landscape which seems to change hourly.  The baby greens burst out quickly this year.  The contrast from just a few weeks ago is striking.  It went from bare to lush.  The flowering trees are blooming and the spring flowers have made their appearance.  I drive past the park everyday and everyday brings something new. This week a blanket of yellow dandelions dots the landscape.

I sometimes look out the window from my desk and feel like I'm missing it.  It's as though I'm allowing another opportunity to slip by and unfortunately, that means another year before spring is here again. Even though I am fully aware of the spring, it's seem like I am admiring it from afar.   I've got to go out there and feel it, to be a witness to it.  

Because before you know it, six Tuesdays will go by and it will be gone. 



Computer or outside.  

Technology or Nature.

Small screen or panoramic view.        

Scattering distracting minutia or tranquil reflective centering.

Choices, choices.  




I wish I had a laptop, then I can take my technology with me and sit under a quiet shady tree feeling the spring breezes.  That would be so pleasant.  But that would be making spring background scenery, just a backdrop to my day.  It's not really an interaction.  And I'm looking for interaction.  

I feel it. A NATURE SAFARI is about to commence. 

I would highly recommend you take one in the near future. Go on an adventure. Take another human with you, one that would appreciate it.  Take binoculars, a camera, a sketch pad. Take a walk in nearby woods or county park. Put on your boots, cross a stream, turn over rocks, look for new growth, get down and dirty. 



Speaking about interacting with nature, Smokey, the most zen dog in the universe, will be leaving our care and going back home.  Seven weeks are up and my parents will be home on Friday.  QueenMaker finds the dog comical and has laughed non-stop for seven weeks.  I can't tell if he's laughing at the dog or just laughing because the dog makes him happy. 

For sure, one day, when we are old, and starved for affection, or craving for someone or something to accept our love one last time, we will get a dog.  Just like Smokey.  


So I looked him up. He is a tibetan terrier, which is not a terrier at all.  His doggie ancestors were raised by tibetan monks 2000 years ago. No wonder he's so zen. They were temple dogs and considered good luck charms. The monks would never sell the dogs but would often give them as gifts.  

It makes me happy.  You know the seven degrees of separation?   Smokey somehow connects me to the high altitudes of the Tibetan Himalayas, to the yellow and red robes of the monks, and to 2000 year old Buddhist temples.   Thanks, dog.


Now when I go visit my parents, will I go to see them or to visit Smokey, the Zen Dog.   

"Oh, I'm not here to see you, Mom. Just the dog."  

Oh she would love that.   First she would give me that look to see if I was serious.   Then she would pretend to be hurt.  I can hear her now.  Then every time I came over after that she would direct me to the dog, because of course, her daughter is not here to see her. I don't care about her, just the dog.  She would announce to the dog, "your mother's here."  Hey!    Oh, it would go on for weeks and weeks. 


Although I will miss the dog for about a minute, rest assured, my heart will not suffer any "Smoke Damage" when he leaves. 
(Yes, I said it.  Been trying to work that in for weeks.)



So if I haven't damaged you with my rather lengthy random post, work your way over to Keely at UnMom for more Random Tuesday Thoughts.

   

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Quotable Impulse

Damn it.  If it wasn't for UnMom with her RTT's (could be contagious) and Jen at Sprite's Keeper, keeping us going with the whirly, swirly Spin Cycle, where would I be?

Today's Spin Cycle is about words that move you, quotes that soothe you, and phrases that make you smile.

Words, quotable words, I love them.  Some of the best come from Twain and Franklin.  But great lines come from every genre.  And I'm picking a few that have stuck to me the moment I heard them. They are with me forever.

When the right moment presents itself, these quotes bubble up. I've said them aloud many times and sometimes get the confused doggy head tilt from many a folk. But every once in a while, someone gets the reference and a small laugh is heard in the back of the room.  And I know I have found a kindred spirit.

Ah, the coveted mind meld.   Priceless.



"Pretty. Handsome. Pretty, Handsome. Dr. Smith."

"Those beautiful beautiful sound of nickels, nickels, nickels."

"And your little dog too!"

"Oh what a world. What a world!"

"What a maroon!"

"Cats and Dogs! Living together!"

"That chick is toast!"

"Seven-Eleven, Ha!"  "Number please."  "Seven-Eleven, Ha!"

"Damn it Jim! I'm a doctor not a ..."

"I'm sooo tired...of playing the game."

"It says here.   ... A person can develop a cold."

"Fasten your seat-belts.  It's gonna be a bumpy night."

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

"Come at me with that banana!"


One of many great Mark Twain quotes, "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority. It is time to pause and reflect."

My hero, Benjamin Franklin's quote, "If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the Philosopher's stone."

My fifteen year old son complaining, "Why can't they let a song die with dignity?"

My niece when she was three years old, walked around my mother's house picking up various trinkets, figurines, whatever was in her reach and placing the treasures in a plastic grocery bag she carried on her shoulder.  I asked her what she was doing and told her she needed to put everything back.  She put up her hands, shrugged her shoulders, and said, "Sorry, nothing I can do.  It's in the bag."


It's in the bag folks, so head over to Jen's Spin Cycle for more of the quotable. I'll bring the potables.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

RTT: The Pendulum Won't Stop Swinging

Tuesdays mean Random Tuesday Thoughts.  So head over to Keely's for more of the same.


Okie Dokie, here's the deal.   I'm feeling rather yin and yang this week. The pendulum won't stop swinging.

My kid is all grown up and doesn't need me anymore.  Ha!   It's liberating and very, very disturbing at the same time.    Bitter Sweet.

Our business is picking up lately but still on life support. The cart keeps coming around, but the business keeps picking up its head and proclaiming, "I'm not dead yet."    Optimistic Realist.

My mom and dad are away for two months.  I miss them but at the same time I'm feeling "guilty happy" because I've got more free time on my hands.   Guilty Comfort.

My house needs a good cleaning, but I don't feel like doing it.  But that little pan in the sink needs a good scouring.  I think I'll spend 20 minutes brillo-ing all the dark spots off until it shines.   Lazy Ambition.

I was all ready to participate in Earth Hour. The staunch conservationist and avid recycler in me was ready to turn off the lights. Then I got all militant on my ass and thought to hell with it.  I'm not a joiner.  I don't do causes.  I stood there arguing with myself.  What's up with that?  Oh yeah.  Menopause.   Crystallized Moments of Confusion.

The gray at my temples is becoming too prominent. My sisters keep telling me to color my hair.  But I don't want to bend to peer pressure or vanity.  But I guess I'll do it anyways, because I do want to look a few years younger.  Better to Look Good than to Feel Good.

It's been a weird week.


randomtuesday

Friday, March 26, 2010

Will the Real Me, Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up

It's supposed to be about ME.  Jen at Sprite"s Keeper assignment was to write something about myself.



Well after years of living with me, I've finally realized a few things.  I can tell you who I was.  I guess I'm pretty much the same person, expect a little wiser, a little more retrospect, a lot less angst.

ME, ME, Me, Me, Me, me, me.  


See that little me there at the end of the line.  That's the me I like to be.  Hopefully no one will notice me.  At least not too much.  It rare to be the middle me, but that is who I play most of the day. The big me, no way, no how. Okay, maybe when I'm really mad, then big Scary ME comes out.  But is there a big vivacious ME? No.  I like the middle, balance you know.

I'm a lazy woman but only when it comes to housework.  Give me a project, work assignment, a job doing for others, cleaning someone else's home and I'm a dynamo. I'm an overachiever. I'll go beyond  the call of duty. I'll think of every contingency, complete the task in lightening speed, stay until its done or obliterate every speck of dust.

Apparently I am in need of a lot of approval.  I guess I do need to be noticed, and I get it through the work I do.  It seems I need people to say good job, great presentation, the house never looked better. See that, I redirected your gaze at my work, not at me.  Good job.

Here is one example of things I won't do for myself but will for someone else.

Like most women my age, I should lose weight.  I should get more exercise.  I want to be a healthier, a stealthier me. But will I do that for myself?  No, it's not convenient right now.  I don't feel it right now. I don't have the motivation the drive. All the excuses or permissions I give myself not to work out.

Well now I am dog-sitting Smokey.  And guess what?  Smokey usually lives with my 80 year old parents, so I know he doesn't get the exercise he needs to burn off  extra energy or to keep healthy.  So in my quest to do a great job, to do for someone or something else, to prove that I am the best dog-sitter in the world, Smokey walks every day for a mile and a half and we walk fast.

Every. Single. Effin. Day.  And we both reap the benefits.

So me apparently needs to be needed to be the best me I can.

Now give yourself a hug and go to Sprite's Keeper to read more wonderful ME stories

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Sis


Sister After Me is having a birthday today.  She is now officially 50 years old.

And a mother of a five-year-old.

She is also the mother of a 31 year-old daughter and a 29 year-old son.

And a grandmother of four, ages 14, 4, 2, and six months.

My memories of her go all the way back to the crib we shared, when exchanging or stealing her bottle was a favorite past time of mine.   When she was little, whenever she got mad, her hands became tightly clenched fists, her arms stiff by her sides. She loved mischief.  She loved fun.  She was always up for the challenge.

Boys adored her from the moment they saw her, five "boyfriends" in kindergarten was just the start.

Since she was a small child, she was always saving animals in distress. That crazy woman chasing a dog around on the freeway trying to grab it before it got hit by a car, that was probably her.

Although I was older, by one year, she was always the one I looked to for comfort, for confidence, for allegiance, and more often than not getting it.  I sometimes wished that she needed me as much as I needed her.

She is a person that believes that you get out of life what you put into it.  Karma is big on her list.  She is very health conscious, always reading and learning how to be healthier in body, mind, and the spirit.  She wants everyone around her to feel fulfilled, to feel balanced, to take things in stride, to be happy. And if you can't be happy, to find solace.  She makes the effort to plant that seed.

At her younger daughter's preschool graduation, she turned to me and said, "I am so thankful because I am here.  I get to do a re-do.  I wasn't able to appreciate as fully as I do now my role as a mom.  Being a single mom, I always felt sorry that I wasn't there as often for my older two.  I was too young.  My work took me away. But this time I get a re-do.  I can give my youngest the home, the attention, a family that has a mom and dad, some stability in her life. I get another chance, a re-do.  I'm very blessed."

Her life has been filled with many highs and lows. And I'm not sure she will ever know the stability that she strives for in her life.  I know she is a "master juggler." No matter how often life gives her another ball to juggle, she will be able to do it.

As a 50th birthday present, she is giving herself this year. This year is for her, for her health, for her happiness, for her indomitable spirit.  My wish is to  help her celebrate this Year of Me.

Happy Birthday, Evie.   I love you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Seven Weeks of Smokey

Seven more weeks. Smokey is staying with us while Mom and Dad are sunning themselves in the Caribbean, really going back to their childhood homes.  This is Smokey, the most chill dog ever.  I don't believe in endowing animal with human traits, but he is...



the most patient, loving, comically endearing dog, such a character.  Perfect for my parents who are in their 80's.

QueenMaker and I had dogs when we were children, but we never owned one during our married life.  The whole family decided that we were just too busy to give a dog the quality of life it deserved.  So its been 40 years since a dog has graced our lives.

I would never volunteer to take care of a dog, but for some reason, Smoky loves me.  He adores me.  Maybe it's because every time I visit, Smokey gets a complete doggy massage.  I look at that fur and I immediately feel the itch.  So I figure he must too.  That is why he loves me.  I'm way too empathetic.

So I mentioned that I may, possibly, give some thought, ask hubby first, not sure, but thinking about it, on the fence about taking him. That means its a done deal to my Mom.

Every maybe hints at possibility.  Possibility means a potential positive outcome.  So every maybe means a positive and even enthusiastic Yes! to my mom.  She will always say, "But you said..."  I didn't want to disappoint her.

So we have Smokey for seven weeks.  You never know what to expect from a dog that doesn't belong to you.  But he is true to character.  With a big sigh of relief for me and especially to hubby, the dog shows great self control.  It's as though he has always been here.

Today, I swear he did a seven take.  We confused him, momentarily.  First I saw the double take, then the quad, then a seven take!  It was simply awesome.

So I'm beginning to feel like a "mommy blogger,"  okay more like a beloved auntie with a nephew visiting for a month or so. He's becoming our little bundle of joy, waiting for us, greeting us with so much love and enthusiasm, reveling in our affection, wanting to play.



And he can stand on his hind legs forever too.



 

Monday, March 1, 2010

Aging - One Lemon, One Lemonade

One Lemonade:

I've worn glasses since the first grade. I'm very nearsighted and my eyesight has progressively gotten worse over the years. My range of vision has gotten shorter and shorter that I feel more comfortable taking off my glasses and bringing whatever I'm working on right up to my nose.

But aging also means that now I need bifocals. Stupid aging. I hate you. I can't bring things right up to my nose anymore. I loathe the whole bifocal experience. But when I remove my glasses, my range of clear vision is now at a range of only 5 inches to 10 inches from my face.

QueenMaker is farsighted and also needs reading glasses. But because of that stupid aging thing, his range has diminished quite a bit as well. His range of clear vision is from 24 to 30 inches.

After hugging me the other day, he extended his arms and held me far enough away so he could see me clearly.


Me: You mean you can't see me clearly?

QM: Nope, can't see you at all. I mean I can see you, but not clearly.

Me: You mean that you can't see my face. It's blurry?

QM: Right. You have to be at least two feet away before I can see your face clearly.

Me: You mean no matter how old I look, you can't see the wrinkles or lines on my face?

QM: Right. Not up close at least. And really, not far away either because at 24 o 30 inches your facial features aren't as prominent at that distance. It's like you have a soft filter on your face.

Me: You mean like in the movies? That means you will always see me in your mind's eye as I was, not as I am. I will always be youthful and beautiful, with a soft glow. 


QM: I guess that's true. 

Me: Yahoo! What a perk. That makes me so happy. I could be an old hag, with a giant pimple or wart on my nose and you wouldn't know the difference would you?

QM: No. But I'm sure someone would warn me or something.

Me: Yahoo! Just think of it. You can't see me aging and I can't really see you aging either. That takes a load of my mind. I will from this time forward be timeless.


I danced merrily out of the room to look for a mirror.



One Lemon - When lemonade gets turned back into sour lemons, the flip-side.

My 49 year old sister who SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER, decided to go sledding with her 11 year old daughter. Everything went well the first five runs down the hill until on the sixth, when her sled hit a giant bump. She landed on her tailbone and compressed three of her disks. She is in agony.

Apparently it is a common injury that could have been very serious, in some cases causing paralysis. After some research on the internet, she said, "I should have checked the internet first before I went sledding."

Shouldn't we all check with the internet before we do anything?

Seriously. As a middle aged woman, shouldn't she know that speeding uncontrollably down a hill is never a good idea? Doesn't she remember that summer when her rollerblades caught the edge of a driveway and sent her hurdling forward, cracking both elbows? She had to wear casts that rendered her helpless. She walked around with her arms in a perpetual, "This is a hold up! Hands in the air!" kind of position. She couldn't feed, dress, or wipe herself for weeks.


Remember people. The body hates impact. It will make you pay.



So if you’re into high impact or prefer softer speed bumps, sled on over to Keely’s, oh sorry, I mean Bitchin' Wives Clubfor some high speed and invigorating Random Tuesday Thoughts, but put your glasses on first.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Spontaneous Northern Day aka Snow Day

Every once in a while, the planets align and unexpected bliss rains upon the hopeful.


The snow comes just at the right time.  Time enough to close school for the full day.


The snow stops just at the right time.  Early morning hours, giving you plenty of time to play out there.


The snow is the right type.  Not too wet, not too powdery, but the proper weight and consistency.


The snow pile is just high enough.  Plenty of powder, but not enough to give anyone a heart attack.


And the best thing of all, because the timing is just right,  Mom or Dad gets to stay home too.


And finally, it happens.  The day is here!  


And when we drove by the park, I made QueenMaker stop the car to watch.  We both were filled with happiness because we knew that perfection had arrived. We remember fondly the feeling of it.  

A spontaneous day had arrived, when there are no other plans than to play in the snow.




I didn't want to let it go and quickly got out to take a picture.  The wide hill was full of people, more than I had ever seen.  My picture does not reflect the multitude, or the joyful noise, or the smiling kids and parents.

But of course, it's hard to capture perfection.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Day I Became a Queen

I walked into the choir room excited because today the choir would be rehearsing with a live band.  Just as I sat down I spied the guy on the drums and caught my breath.  I couldn't take my eyes off of him. Who was he?  I needed to know.  I never experienced such a "hit" before.  Why was my heart racing?  I figured he must be a college student, I knew I would never see him again.  Oh, well.

A few weeks later,  the school had to rearrange classes and homerooms.  I walked into my new class and there he was, blond, blue-eyed, long hair, and ready smile. And he was smiling at me.  His seat was behind mine.  He kept talking aloud to himself "really to me" so I could turn around and ask him to be quiet.  Over and over again.

One day, I heard the words, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse."  So I looked through my book and found a picture of a great bronze horse, turned and said, "Here, my lord.  A bronze horse.  Now be quiet, would you please."

As I turned back to my book, he said, "Now my lady, I give you all I have. My kingdom is yours. You are now my queen."

Thrilled to my toes at such a proclamation, I wondered what the kingdom of a fifteen year old boy would look like.

37 Valentine's Days later, the thrill is still there, the passion is still there, and when we look into each other's eyes, we are still fifteen.  He has been true to those words he spoke so many years ago. He took a shy, self-deprecating young girl and made her feel like a beautiful queen. Over and over.

Thus his name, I knighted this angel of mine, QueenMaker.

Now onto more Valentine's Day Spin Cycles that will  make your heart sing.
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