Happy Noise Pollution!

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My husband is away this week so I’ve been taking care of the many things he
is usually in charge of. That includes getting up around 5:30 a.m. to make the
coffee and let our dog out for a run and then feeding her. This morning, I am
keenly aware of the many birds we have on our property that are usually gone
by the time I make my appearance a couple of hours later.

I am amazed by how many different songs there are and just how loud they can
be. Their joy is immense and I suppose all the reforestation we have done over
the years has made our grounds a safe haven for all of them. It is incredible to
observe them flying joyfully from tree branch to tree branch, partaking and
sharing in Nature’s Bounty without ever getting into each other’s way. I feel so
grateful for this Tropical Paradise that never lets me down. I breathe in the
goodness that permits me to forget the chaos of the world as I welcome the
strong sensations of peace deep in my soul.

This week has been an unexpected opportunity to connect with the very fibers
of my being, to delve deep within myself in silence and calm to discern and try
to prioritize the things in  my life that bring me contentment and strength. I
bless everyone and everything in this moment as I begin the daily routine that
I have come to appreciate.

Have a good day.

 

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A hurried childhood

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I had a friend visit me on Saturday afternoon. We enjoyed coffee and pastries
and talked about our respective childhoods. I am not sure why we ventured on
this particular topic but after our visit was over, I noticed that I was feeling a bit
guilty about some of the things I shared. In retrospect, however, it has become
apparent that there are things about my childhood that I hold on to and that are
actually therapeutic to get out of me into the open.

One of my observations to myself this morning is that I really was robbed of my
childhood. At a time when I should have been bored by the long summer days of
gazing into the atmosphere with nothing to do like my classmates, I was instead
doing errands or chores because there was no one at home to take care of those
things, both parents working, older sibling out having fun, younger siblings needing
supervision and snacks. I was too busy to resent it, really, though it did take a toll
on me and my idea of what childhood should be. As a consequence, I grew up to be
a very responsible and serious woman, although I do know how to enjoy myself also.

I am one of those people who can be counted on. I know this is a blessing to many
but it is often a burden to me. Right now, my husband is traveling. Due to that, all
the responsibility for managing our complex household and pet falls on me. I don’t mind
it; it actually makes me very organized because I want to do all the “extra” duties I have
and still have time left over to indulge in the things I want to do like writing my blogs.

Because I grew up mostly without television, I didn’t know who Mister Rogers was
until after I saw the parody Eddie Murphy did on SNL. I suppose I looked him (Fred)
up or was somehow exposed to him by some young mother colleague of mine. I became
an instant fan of Fred Rogers and I credit him with my penchant for having a proper
house wardrobe that I will only change into when I am ready to relax. I actually dress
to shoes every single day even if there is nothing on my agenda but doing laundry. Hey,
you never know when someone is going to come to the door and ask you to go somewhere
exciting but it has to be quickly. I love the transition magic that Fred Rogers employed
when he changed to sneakers and donned his cardigan. When my children were young,
they began to understand and know by what I was wearing (a caftan or duster) whether
I was really home and relaxing. Although my style of housedress has changed over the
years, the comfort they take when they see me via skype or facetime wearing home
clothes is palpable. Who knew Eddie Murphy would have this kind of influence in my
life!

Musings…

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It’s almost five o’clock on Sunday afternoon. It turned into a very busy
weekend with activities early Saturday morning until just an hour ago.

I am a lifelong Yankees fan and while I realize the Yankees have a young
team again and we should feel optimistic about chances of World Series
winnings in the next few years, this year it is not to be. I am torn between
rooting for the American League Astros or the National League Dodgers
even though former Yankee Don Mattingly is no longer their manager. Wow,
these are truly superficial first-world problems and I am embarrassed to even
admit these thoughts to anyone but the anonymous internet!

I was at a birthday party today. My husband is away so I attended alone. It was
the celebration of a first birthday for the child of close friends of mine. I was without
a doubt the only non-family member present. Although I knew a lot of the people,
I still felt a bit odd about being there, yet not going was equally not acceptable.
The theme was Minnie Mouse, the decorations, costumes, piñata, cake, etc. were
wonderful. They even hired a DJ who did his utmost to get the audience to take
part in his many clever and fun games. As a writer, I am almost always comfortable
to observe behaviors but today I was a bit uncomfortable to note that the response
from the audience would have made any party planner quit midway in disgust. My
congratulations to the young man who never gave up, smiling through it all. Perhaps
because I am so used to directing events, I found it hard to just sit quietly and let
the event unfold. In any event, the food was good, the cake outstanding and I had
the chance to take many pictures of the happy family.

Tomorrow begins a new week. I have been reading a book called Diary of a Fat Girl
by Lisa Sargese. I am not sure how I found it, probably some pitch by Amazon or
other Kindle book providers who follow my interest in food/weight related reading.
I am really glad that I purchased the book, Ms. Sargese’s sharing of her story has
given me a desire to renew my commitment to maintaining my health while losing
a few pounds. I have always wondered if really heavy people (+400 lbs.) suffer
constant pain but I have never had the nerve to actually ask anyone. The reason it
is of interest to me is that at my current weight (about 185 lbs./short frame), for the
first time in my life, I find it difficult: to climb stairs, to walk without becoming short
of breath, to bounce in and out of chairs like I once did – even at 150 lbs. Ms. Sargese
is candid with her story and addresses things that have never occurred to me.  She
is very smart and hard working and has managed to lose quite a bit of weight in the
last ten years. I have found myself questioning whether I really want that second cookie,
that extra butter, those few nuts. At the end of the days in the last week, I have been
going to bed with a lovely cup of green tea and just the tiniest hint of hunger. I feel good.

Today, I dressed for the party in clothes that did not feel extremely tight and I ate the
food presented to me slowly, enjoying every morsel. I hope this trend continues, I know
that if I successfully lose just 30 of the 50 extra pounds my small frame carries, I will be
so much freer to continue to enjoy my life. I know that part of the reason I don’t feel so
compelled to lose the weight is because I am not keeping myself from doing things. I go
out, I volunteer, I write, I have my parents and children and a lovely selection of good
friends. Still, I would like to fit into some of the cute outfits I still hang in my closet, not
the size 6s but certainly the 12’s! When I look at pictures of me 30 lbs. ago, I long for
those days.

image: pixabay

Not a quite a month ago!

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While doing something completely unrelated to my writing, I ran across
pixabay, a free image site! What a lovely surprise. I chose these vintage
pocket watches because they are a really great way to remember about time
flying…it seems impossible that almost a month has gone by since my last
blog entry. September seemed to go on forever and now October is beginning
its last third. Unbelievable.

So much has happened this month. I returned from my cruise with much
energy and optimism that the final months of 2017 would be spent doing all
the drudge work I had put off because of various and sundry reasons until
now. It has been a good 4 weeks away, though I do feel that I am writing on
a daily basis in one way or another.

I’ve been reading the diary of a woman who has lost hundreds of pounds. Her
story humbles me. My own weight issues seem silly by comparison, even though
the reality is that whether one has to lose 20 extra pounds or 200, it boils down
to the very same thing. I am inspired by her ability to address the sad episodes of
her childhood; the frank way in which she calls her mother a narcissist, the way
she describes her deep conflicted feelings surrounding her struggles.  I am finding
more inspiration in the compassionate way she has learned to love and accept her
body and wish her the very best going forward. As I sit alone (my husband is away)
with the luxury of alone time, I feel blessed that I can savor many of life’s pleasures
(a small bit of high quality cognac!) without a bit of guilt. May this feeling last for
a while, it’s a good place to be.

 

The surreal world we’re living in…

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I was speaking with my husband this morning and he mentioned that we are
living in surreal times. I stopped to think about what he was saying and wondered
what (of the many different examples he could choose) particular event had triggered
his need to make the statement. He began by mentioning the bizarre words and
behaviours coming from leaders and countries all over the world that were heretofore
unthinkable. Nuclear weapons threats, bullying and immature behaviour by people
who should not only know better but with positions that demand they conduct
themselves with more elegance.

The world events relating to weather might or might not be the effects of climate change.
It is true that hurricanes have been happening for a long time and so have earthquakes;
but what is mysterious is that everything seems to be happening at the same time. We
no sooner minimally recover from one disaster when we are plunged into another.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, landslides, volcanic eruptions, that’s Nature. But what
about genocides, nuclear threats, bullying, corruption, have we lost our minds? Are all
our world leaders so bent on their own creed of greed that they have no empathy at all
or any thought whatsoever that “what goes around really does come around”?

All my life I have sought to be “good”. I know that I am more Pollyana than cynical
and most days, I am grateful because of my ingenuity, I can still be shocked by what
is becoming more and more “normal” behaviour. Even on television and in popular
music, what we say and the words we use to say things are showing exactly the same
lack of creativity and laziness which are replaced by violence and shaming or really
foul language. If my children were toddlers now, I am not sure what kind of schools
or neighborhoods I would be comfortable being part of.

It saddens me for our young people. I, at least, was a child when the world was still
a pretty good place to live and I had plenty of sunshine, fruits and family to make me
feel special and loved. Today’s fast pace (where are we going?) means that children
are left with caregivers who may or may not have what it takes to really nurture a child.
Children are largely left to their own devices but unlike in the past where a child could
venture to a park or a friend’s backyard to play and make discoveries about him/herself
and the world, today their world is indoors and under the dome of a technology they
may not be ready to tackle.

I am a writer. Exploring ideas is how I get my characters to move from one point to
another. Lately, I am not sure what traits my protagonists need in order to navigate
the complicated world I create for them in my mind. Today’s surreal/real world, the
one my husband mentioned is scarier than any Stephen King horror novel I have ever
read. Heck, even he says so!

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An unusual gift

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The most unusual gift I ever received came from a little boy in kindergarten.
At the end of the school term, he brought me a beautiful plant pot with a single
leaf.  Although I recognized it as an African violet leaf, I had no idea what the
gift meant. I had long loved blooming African violets but always felt they were
better off in someone else’s life.

I put the pot in a spot where I could see it every day so that I could water it as
regularly as possible and was wondering on a daily basis if anything was supposed
to be happening. Because I was always so busy (small kids and a job and it was
before google was in my life, I never researched anything, just waited as patiently
as I could for something.

About six weeks into the process, I noticed some leaves were coming and I was
very excited. I kept up the regular watering and the plant did actually continue to
grow healthily but it didn’t produce any flowers until almost a year later. I can
recall how excited I became when I saw the first really deep purple flower and
how in love I was with the whole process. I began to entertain the idea of having
a small collection (once you start, it’s hard to control) and at one point I had about
20 different African violets in my home.  Unfortunately, they do require care and
I have had to limit myself to no more than 10 at a time. But it is a lovely hobby and
very relaxing when I do it properly. My patience was rewarded, something I need
to remind myself of when I impatiently rush other aspects of my life.

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So much devastation

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The past month has been excruciatingly painful worldwide.

Today Mexico suffered two strong earthquakes within minutes of each other; it makes
me wonder what is going on with the world. And of course, we are still dealing with the
aftermath of Hurricanes Irma, Jose and now María is devastating different islands. My
heart goes out to the small island of Puerto Rico, a place that is close to my hear for the
18 months of almost absolute bliss that I experienced when I lived there.

I pray this weather will soon calm down and people can begin the arduous process of
rebuilding their homes and their lives.

 

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Where’s my money?

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I own a tiny small business. Among other things, I do event planning and translations.
My ambitions are not great with this little business so I rarely advertise and don’t get
crazy if I am not busy because other aspects of my life are always full-steam-ahead.

Last month, I did a great deal of work though. I sent out my invoices and one of my
clients told me that the invoice needed to be corrected to reflect a different name. As I
was traveling in Europe, I told my client that I would bill them as soon as I returned home
which I did, promptly on September 8th. Now mind you, the work was completed a month
before so according to my logic, the payment should have been “floating” somewhere and
the instruction to deposit to my account should have been immediate.

I am not depending on that money for anything, it is not even that much but I find myself
really annoyed that more and more people are unwilling to pay quickly after a job has been
completed. Perhaps because I know lots of people who do live from paycheck to paycheck I
am very conscious of meeting my obligations promptly. I guess one word of advice to me
is to add interest rates to my bills or demand an advance; neither of those things did I do
with this new client. My accountant just smiles!

Any thoughts?

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A gorgeous Sunday

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I wake up to one of the most gorgeous sights in the world! Sunshine and layers of
green mountains in the distance. It always makes me feel so centered and focused.

I love my life. The older I get and the younger I feel in comparison to others my age,
the more I confirm to myself that having a positive attitude in the face of life’s
vicissitudes is at least half the battle. My life has not been the fodder of  successful
pulp fiction but it has fed the spiritual needs of my family in ways and for years they
have never been aware of.

I have always believed in God. Maybe not the God that is portrayed by an elderly,
thin, long haired, white-bearded man but rather what Jesus embodied, a gentle
long haired  hippy-type guy. Open, non-judgmental and ready to carry a cross for
one when one is simply too defeated to do so. I am not sure why my faith has always
been unshakeable (well, almost always) and it is something that I discuss with no one,
but there you have it, and my (good) life is a reflection of the bounty of blessings that
I receive on a daily basis. Just when I think I cannot go another step, from somewhere,
a strength materializes that I was unaware I had.

I wish more of us could feel the way I do, but short of becoming an evangelist (and the
world certainly doesn’t need another one of those), there is little I am able to do but
lead by example and let my day-to-day existence reflect the inner joy of knowing that I
am never alone no matter where I find myself.

Have a good day, everyone who stops by today!

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Ghosting? Stashing?

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I was never really into “dating”. I sort of fell into relationships because it seemed like the
logical next step after spending time with someone. My first marriage took place pretty
quickly after “dating” for a bit, lasted 8 years, produced no children and essentially taught
me many things about myself, most importantly my acting abilities. A really horrific one-
time incident of physical abuse ended that relationship and I gave up on the idea of true
love, dating, etc. I thought I would go back and live with my parents and take care of them
for the rest of my life with no plans to ever fall in love or remarry. But I digress from what
I really mean to write about in this blog.

Social media has changed the way we live our lives and dating is an area which has been
affected. Because I am an observer of human nature and a writer, I spend quite a bit of my
spare time reading about social media, dating, aging, etc. There are terms to describe modern
dating, like ghosting which is when someone you think you’ve been getting along with and whose
company you enjoy and vice versa, suddenly disappears from your life without a word. Something
like fugue … another new word for me is “stashing” which seems to be increasing more and more.

I need to get a dictionary of all these modern terms because I realize that my writing ambitions
will need to be updated to include these new ways of having a love life. But to get back to the term
“stashing”, that’s when you are dating someone seriously and they (and you, I guess) do not take
them to meet family or go out on double dates, etc. I think in my time, this did not have a name
but was practiced when one was going out with someone who was either married or engaged or
cheating or playing the field. Or when one was not really serious about the relationship or was
unsure of what one’s status was so it was not addressed. It seems so complicated and now that I
think about it, I was a “stasher” or “stashee” several times in my life after my divorce.

Life is getting more and more complicated. In my opinion, dating, love, marriage, child-bearing, etc. have become less a natural progression of growing relationships and more complicated than ever
before. Any thoughts?

 

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