Monday, September 11, 2017

September

It is September 11,  2017.  I'm fairly certain that any adult in the country knows the significance of that date.  We will never forget.  What is the legacy of that date?  Well, I'm not really sure.

We exist in a country that has seemingly turned in on itself rather than standing united.  Its sad really but,  I blame politics in general and our current President specifically for the 'divide and conquer' mentality that is prevailing at the moment.

So, this September we are looking at major devastation in our country as a result of hurricanes Harvey, in Texas, and Irma through the islands and into Florida.  Adding to that, major fires are burning in Montana, California and here in Oregon.  I do not believe that our government can handle all of these in their entireties.  We, as a nation, have got to come together and help each other help ourselves.  The current government has done very little to build any kind of confidence that these things are in good hands.  However, people at state and local levels have shown otherwise.  People are showing up and helping.  As Mr. Rogers used to say, 'Look for the helpers.'  One doesn't need to look far to find them.  They are showing up to fight fire, to help people to safety after the hurricanes and to volunteer to clean up and/or donate to the cause.  This is who we really are in America.  We are not our government and we are certainly not represented by this President.  We are a people, by and large, who help each other stand up after a fall.  This was proven on September 11, 2001 and it is still true today.

I used to love September.  It was back to school time, the air got crisper and Fall was around the corner.  Lately, September has been cruel ... particularly this year.  I hope we don't see another one like this one in a very long time.  I also hope that all of this will help us pull together and see the things that really matter and really unite us in this country.  I, for one, would like to approach Thanksgiving and Christmas with far less political vitriol and far more brotherhood this year.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Blogging Pains

Sooooo,

I woke up this morning with a thought to composing a blog post on one topic but, due to the inability to initially access my blog and the ensuing cluster of finally making that happen, the original thought went out the window.

I was really frustrated with the inability to access my blog and as I sought to navigate the 'HELP' section, I found that I was not the only one.  Here's a thought ... I would think that since most bloggers are writers and not tech people, that it would be more helpful not to talk about myriad issues of caches, cookies, etc. and just simply realize that people are running up against your new blogger page who have existing blogs.  Figure out how to let them access their own material without jumping through mind numbing hoops.  Since I don't write my blog for money nor do I have tons of followers, this is simply an exercise in venting.  But seriously, why does EVERY.SINGLE.LITTLE.THING have to become so infuriating when dealing with technology?

And don't even get me started on the topic of it taking two weeks to get cable only to have my t.v. fritz out a week later.  AAAARRRRGGGGG!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

So I Live in Texas Now

Well, I'm here.  I've actually been here, in Texas, almost two months ... one third of the time I'm committed to being here.  And well, I don't really know too much more about this state than I did the day I first arrived.  The reason for that is that taking care of someone who is recovering from surgery and a toddler has consumed most of the time.  And then, I collapse, sleep and reboot to do it again for another week.

I do have a space of my own now.  Its a nice little apartment with a surprisingly great view and I cherish my time just being here and breathing ... or sleeping.  Its not home though.  I don't have very many of my familiar belongings and I purposely departed a bit from my preferred decor style ... just because I could and six months isn't long to live with something.

I have discovered, on my rare wanderings, that this little town of Waxahachie, Texas has a hidden treasure.  While this town has been booming and bursting at its seams with growth, sprawl, strip malls and traffic, the heart of the town is still here.  The old and impressively large courthouse still stands on the square and is surrounded by all of the little brick and gingerbread store fronts.  And, best of all, it is coming back to life with a restoration project.  There are great little shops full of everything from clothing to antiques.  There is a yoga studio, a coffee shop, a bakery and the county art center.  Coming soon is an old fashion soda shop.  I peeked through the window and it is just the cutest most authentic looking place.  I can't wait to check it out.  This little bit of history surely will be my salvation (along with my way too cute grandson).

But, there are some things I simply hate about Texas ... the weather and the bugs (and the traffic is pretty atrocious too).  I miss the seasons.  It has been consistently in the 80's or 90's for so long that I've forgotten what a real Fall day feels like.  So much for scarves, boots and sweaters.  When it finally rains here, it is not your gentle cleansing rain ... noooo.  It is rain of epic proportions accompanied by thunder and lightening and all to frequent tornado watches.  I'm over the heat and I'm definitely over the excitement of a good storm.  Nothing snaps you out of that stance like an announcement over your phone or the television that you are to 'shelter in place.'   And then, there are the bugs.  Ugh!  They are big, they are nasty and they are everywhere.  A good hard freeze would be welcome to send those demons right back to hell.  That leaves traffic ... growth that is too fast, people pouring into the area and an infrastructure that can't keep up.  People either drive way too fast for the conditions ... or way too slow because its confusing (this crazy freeway under construction thing).  Anyway, its a little intimidating for this 65 year old, small town Oregonian.  But then again, what isn't?

So, here I am ... having this 'adventure' and the thing I am learning the most is what I don't want.  I don't want to live here forever (no aspersion to the State of Texas) but, in my book, Oregon is a hard act to follow ... for its beauty and for its moderate weather and for not having terribly scary bugs.  Still, its been worth it so far just to be able to bond with and spoil my grandson and watch him grow and thrive.  I wouldn't have missed that part for anything.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Long Goodbye

I'm writing this post with severe reservations.  There are just so many emotions involved and, also, a sense that I don't really know exactly what is ahead but, here goes.

My mother turns 88 years old in a couple of days.  She has always been the best mom, just a great person.  She has been my rock but, not anymore.  You see, this has been a tough year for mom and for all of our family.  We lost my little brother (little being a euphemism because, he wasn't so little but, he was the youngest).  This seems to have totally taken the wind out of mom's sails.  I can't say that I know what it is like to lose a child and so I don't know exactly how she feels.  I mean we all are sad but, her level of grief has swept right into anger and we are all caught up in the tidal wave.  She just is not herself and I have had to face the reality that I can no longer turn to her when I am struggling.

But wait, it gets worse.  Right in the midst of all of this grief and anger, I am called to move out of state for six months to assist my own child with health issues.  Mom won't say it as it wouldn't be politically correct but, she doesn't want me to go.  I have to go.  I'm trusting that she'll still be here when I return but, maybe she won't.  I have to get on with my plans in spite of these doubts.  Its a hard place to be.  This seems to be the battle cry of middle aged women everywhere ... caught between two generations.

It is hard watching a loved parent growing older and changing due to old age, illness and grief.  No one enjoys this process.  Least of all the person going through it.  How much are we supposed to sacrifice of our own peace of mind to tend to them?  Who do we choose, our parent or our child?  It certainly doesn't even come into the mix that we choose ourselves.  We jump under those buses and we do the best we can ... and now I can say, when I am very old, its entirely possible that my kids won't be there for me because some other duty calls.  I hope I remember how this feels so that I don't make them feel bad for whatever choice they make.

In the meantime, it is a series of little goodbyes when dealing with an aging parent.  It is goodbye to the strong, independent parent, even as they are still here.  It is saying goodbye to a more frail parent when we have to walk away for a little while.  And, ultimately, there is the final goodbye when they depart this earth.  When the goodbye happens in stages like this, it is long.  I now understand why mom always said she hoped she went quickly with all of her wits about her.  She is not enjoying this long goodbye anymore than the rest of us.  I hope she does know that in spite of the difficulties that I love her very much because loving her is all that I've got right now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

SURPRISE

     "We can never be prepared for everything.  No one person can anticipate all of life.  In fact, over preparation is yet another way to wall ourselves in from life.  Rather, we can only prepare for how we might respond to the gift of surprise that often moves in on us faster than our reflex to resist.  

     "Life is surprising, thank God, and God, the chance to know Oneness, lives in surprise.  For God is seldom in our plans, but always in the unexpected."  -  Mark Nepo

      YES!

      I ran across these paragraphs in my morning reading.  These words perfectly sum up the way my life has unfolded of late.  My plan is that there is no real plan because everything I used to think my life would look like at this point has been turned on its head.  The details aren't really the important part.  The story really is in the process of letting go and being open to the elements of surprise in life.  

     I find myself packing up, putting my things into storage and heading to Texas for six months.  And, even as I say this I have to chuckle about my experiences in Texas.  My daughter moved there.  I visited her shortly thereafter ... a normal, fun and reasonably short trip.  Then, she and her husband adopted a baby.  Things changed ... boy, did things change.  My trip down when he came home from the hospital was much longer because the NICU kept delaying his release.  I ended up spending a couple of months with them.  More recently, I went back for a two week visit.  That trip turned into a month when my daughter's back went out and she needed help.  Now, she needs back surgery and there is recuperation and childcare to think about.  Here I go again.  I've decided to go for six months, get my own little place and see what life there is like.   It has been a whirlwind of rearranging my life but, I still feel it is what I truly want to do.  I'm tired but hopeful.

     So, my short term plan is set in motion but, if I've learned anything at all it is that there could be a surprise or two along the way.  I have started letting go of any set agenda.  It is very freeing in one way.  I find myself opening more to random opportunities and new experiences.  I have been shaken loose from a very stable foundation and, while my mood swings from optimism to abject terror, I feel like this is the journey I'm supposed to be on.  And it is amazing how a change of perspective from fear and tentativeness to looking for and appreciating the surprises life offers up can reframe things.
I'm really excited for the next chapter, the next surprise.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Drinking the Poison


"Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

Who hasn't heard this one?  And, while its true enough, I would venture to guess that many people hold on to anger way too long.  I, myself, ... work in progress.  I mean, just when I'm feeling all kinds of Zen with my life, along comes a person/situation that just blows up the peace.  This may be why I tend to spend a lot of time hanging out alone ... but, that is a whole other topic.  I mean, what is it about certain people or topics that causes me to mentally go from zero to sixty in a second?

I really, really try to respect others and their opinions.  I also really, really try not to force my own opinions onto others and I would dearly love to be treated in the same manner.  I have enough friends at this stage in life who I truly love and respect that it matters not one whit if they believe differently than I do about things.  And, if they feel the same way, we are good.  Don't get me wrong, we can have friendly discussions and even agree to disagree but, if you are going to blow a gasket because I won't change my mind ... well, you are crossing all sorts of boundaries.  Leave out polite discourse.  No one has a right to tell me what to think, believe or feel.  Nor do I want the responsibility of making those decisions for others.  If something I say or hear resonates that is great but, that is all that needs to happen.

So, the gist of this is that I don't get mad if you don't agree with me but, if you are going to get mad at me for disagreeing with you ... well, we are going to have a problem.  This brings me back around to anger.  I know well enough that people are going to push my boundaries in all kinds of ways.  They will push my buttons.  So, when they finally go all the way with angry outbursts, that's when I reach my limit and I get mad.  Well, this isn't the way I want to react and I think it is a perfectly useless response so, why do I do it?  Its knee jerk, its a gut reaction and I am trying so very hard to not feel that way.  I mean, I can remain outwardly calm but, my insides are experiencing anger at the highest level.  I hold it in, I fret, I think of all of the things I could have/should have said.  I dislike this about myself.  I dislike this 'for' myself.  I don't feel good about it.  So, I need to find a way to 'let it go' quickly ... or just not let it get there in the first place because anger is an insidious, destructive thing ... mainly for the person holding on to it.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

RECALCULATING

I ran across a humorous quote on Facebook today.  It said, "If my life were on GPS, I would constantly hear RECALCULATING."  I literally LOL'd.   Humor is never more funny than when it is true.  And lately, this is definitely true in my life.

I have bounced around more, both emotionally and physically, in the past five or six years than I did in the previous 25.  Some of that was by choice and quite a bit was not.  I am a firm believer in 'looking for the lesson' in the things that happen to me.  I make conscious decisions to find the take away from negative experiences.  If not, then I feel I'm destined to keep repeating that type of thing until I 'get it.'  And yet, I'm more a creature of habit than I am an adventurer.  So, why does life keep tossing me these challenges?  What is the lesson or lessons?

I believed for a huge part of my life that one should choose a path, work hard and go responsibly down that path.  And then .... life skidded off the path ... RECALCULATING.  I had to make peace with the realization that what I had thought and believed might not actually be the path I was intended to walk.  I made changes.  I made a new plan.  I got stuck in a rut.  RECALCULATING.  So what now?  Do I turn off that inner GPS and explore new paths?   I'm inclined to think that my plan is to have no definitive plan, which is not to say that I won't have goals.  But, if my short term plans and long term goals don't feel right anymore ... well then, I'm okay with RECALCULATING.  Maybe that was the lesson.