Step Away From the Alarm Clock and No One Gets Hurt

 

Morning People

You know who you are.  You’re the ones that in a scant few hours will be bounding happily from bed, a smile on your collective delusional faces, ready to face the new day with unbridled enthusiasm. You actually look forward to what the morning hours will bring.  You delight in the dawning of a new day and in watching the sun rise..of hearing the birds begin to chirp as they herald in the new morn.  You greet everyone you meet, without any regard for some of our suffering, with a cheery hello and say things like “Isn’t it a beautiful morning?”  or “Did you SEE that sunrise this morning?”. NO, we didn’t see it, we were too busy trying to pry our eyelids open so we could go out and play in traffic while still trying to wake up.

You people are the scourge of my existence.

I’m a night owl living in a morning person‘s world.  Trust me, even with the rising popularity of all things vampire themed, it’s still not easy to function in a society that is still selfishly geared to people who spring out of bed, eager to greet the day each new morning.  We all know the ones.  They actually smile when their feet hit the floor.  They grab a cup of coffee and appreciate the sunrise with enthusiasm as they ready themselves to effortlessly slide into the ebb and flow of another day. They even look FORWARD to it!  I have it on good authority, that some of them actually hum their way through the dawn hours and greet a new day with a spring in their step. It’s HORRIFYING!!! I didn’t believe it for years either, but trust me..these people are everywhere!

Then there’s me and my kind.

While the above mentioned anomalies emerge eagerly from their warm beds, I’m still blindly swatting toward the offensively obnoxious sound squawking at me from the direction of my alarm clock, in a desperate effort to hit the snooze alarm button for the first time.  Somewhere in my sleep fogged brain, I delude myself into believing that if I can just go back to dreamland for another 9 minutes, I’ll be more ready to face the coming dawn.  Alas, therein lies the problem.  Whether I’ve had 2 hours of sleep or 10, I am never a happy camper when forced to wake up in the morning.

Try as it might, my brain just refuses to function at full capacity when a new day is dawning.  It’s as if a switch has been thrown and the mind that was so active and productive from midnight to 3 am is now a totally different creature.  To say I drag myself out of bed is probably being generous. It’s not pretty.  I do a slow slide out of bed (or off the couch where I fell asleep around 3am) and then stumble toward the bathroom, usually stepping on a bone my dog has so thoughtfully left for me to find.  As I start to hop on one foot and utter things that would make my Mama wash my mouth out with soap, I manage to stub the toe on my other foot against the door frame.  Now that I’m limping, whimpering, and still bleary eyed, I somehow manage to navigate my way toward yet another morning in paradise to begin my day.

In an ever-increasing politically correct world where it’s considered rude to say or do anything that might offend anyone, I want to know where is the concern and compassion for those of us that hate mornings.  Where is the justice and equality??  Where is the outrage for a good half of the population that is suffering?? Why are we, ones that thrive when the sun goes down, being discriminated against in such a cruel, cruel manner?  I think I have an excellent case if I wanted to make the argument for discrimination against night owls.

Trust me, I know.  All you chipper morning people are shaking your heads and thinking..”Why don’t all the non-morning people just get jobs that require working at night?”  Problem solved! Right??  Wrong!  Since the entire world basically functions on the insane scheduling of daytime hours, that just wouldn’t work.  When we’re up and ready to go, you’re asleep and visa versa.  Chaos would ensue, hell would surely freeze over if all the people who prefer the night and do their best work then tried to adjust their working hours around the time when they are most productive.

I’ve done a lot of thinking when I’m up and lucid in the middle of the night.  I could be persuaded not to raise a ruckus and keep things civil if we all had a little more equity. So, I have a proposal to make.

Let’s split the difference.

Every six months, just like daylight savings time (and we know how well THAT works out), society switches schedules.  Instead of everyone working 9-5, for half the year, everyone will work 9 PM until 5 AM.  It’s only fair.  Actually it’s more than fair.  Think about it.  Not only would the people who thrive at night be able to make up for their lack of sweetness and light when forced to get up early with enhanced productivity, but the morning people would STILL get to see their sunrise, it would just be at the END of the workday rather than at the beginning!! 

I know, I know..I’m brilliant! You’re asking yourself why I didn’t come with this idea sooner. 

We’ll blame it on the mornings.  Just imagine what I could up with when I’m actually awake!!

To Resolve NOT To Resolve, It’s Not a Question At All

The dawning of a new year and this year, a new decade, is once again upon us. I could swear it was just yesterday we were all anxiously anticipating with trepidation the arrival of the dreaded Y2K virus that would accompany the new millennium. A new century full of potential and pitfalls at our doorsteps was a daunting, yet exciting, prospect. Now here we are knocking on the door of the next decade with the first 10 years already written. Those years have been ones of immense change that no one could have predicted with a crystal ball, not even the famed Ms. Cleo.

No matter how long the previous year seems as we navigate our way through it, looking back, it seems to have passed by in the blink of an eye, good times and challenging ones alike. Perhaps that perception is accelerated when viewed through the prism of age. I can’t swear by this theory, although in my case, it seems to be true. Time does indeed seem to fly when looking back on it.

I don’t usually tend to wax nostalgic, but the past year has been one of immense change, both for myself personally and for the world at large. Change, while sometimes welcome, is not always something that I embrace willingly. I’ve found though, that it comes along whether we are ready for it or not and you better be willing and able to hold on and roll with all that comes with it. The phrase coined by Thomas Paine “Lead, follow or get out of the way”, springs to mind when dealing with life’s twists and turns. Life marches on and you can either find a way to cope and enjoy it, or you’ll be left behind. It’s a powerful force that will not be stopped in favor our of inability to keep up.

In my life, I have the opportunity to interact with a broad spectrum of people. From the very young to those that have weathered many decades, one thing is clear. The world is definitely a very different place with very different mindsets from the one I grew up in. I know that this revelation isn’t something that is new amongst the generations that have come before mine. One thing that has changed drastically however, is the way the world views the future and the potential contained in it. Our willingness and eagerness to succeed and the coping skills that used to be fostered into our childhood lessons aren’t there anymore. I see faces with eyes that seem angry or worried or resigned to life rather than excited by it. The eyes are sometimes in the faces of those that are too young to have so much worry or no hope and drive for the future. So many divert those weary eyes and don’t know how to interact with everyone around them anymore. More and more people don’t look others in the eye anymore for fear of what they might see or give away in themselves.

I don’t mean to sound full of gloom and doom. Like it or not, and I don’t at times, I have never been able to fully extinguish that light at the end of the tunnel belief in my thoughts or in my own life. I’ve always known that every day is different and full of new possibilities. Some of those days will be worse than the one that came before it, and some will be so much better, you feel as if you are floating on air. That is the wonder of living itself. I will confess to wishing at times that life was not quite so colorful or full of the all the things that make me grow, while at the same time making me squirm from the lessons they try to teach me along the way.

The past year and particularly the last 5 months, have seen great changes in my life, some positive and some things that I would not have picked if given the choice. I lost a parent, moved to a new home from one that had been a refuge for the past 21 years and have faced a betrayal that I didn’t see until it rose up out of the blue. The past year has also seen the deepening of friendships that I didn’t know I needed, the memories made with children that are no longer small and constantly surprise and make me proud as they continue to grow into adults and precious times spent with my Dad that are priceless. I’ve learned to bend, learned to adapt. I had no choice and in doing so, have as always, learned about myself, my inner strengths and my resolve. Some things I handled well, others I’d probably do over and in a better manner, but that just isn’t something that we are afforded in life. You live and learn if you’re smart and use those lessons for the rest of your days.

Thomas Paine also said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” I believe he was right in this assertion. We all have within us the ability to make the best of whatever crosses our particular life path. We can make a difference in the lives of those around us if we put the effort into it, but at the same time, the sooner we realize that there are some things that are simply out of our control, the happier we will be. It’s a hard lesson to learn, particularly for me. I’m a nurturer by nature and at times a controller. It’s hard to let go and realize that you can only control your own path and hope that by example and deeds, your life will positively affect those whose paths you cross. I tend to want the best for those around me and to lessen the unnecessary pain of lessons that test the resolve of those I care for when it’s possible or when they will let me.

There’s that word again, resolve.

To me, it’s not something that can be done on the first day of a brand new year. It’s not something to pledge to blindly and stubbornly adhere to when you have no idea what the future may hold. Resolve, to me, is the backbone and strength to weather whatever storms and rainbows that appear along our journey on the road less traveled when they occur. In order to do that, you can’t lock yourself into a particular path or behavior in anticipation of things and events unknown.

This new year of 2011, as usual, instead of making resolutions, I intend to be resolute. To not just proclaim loudly or even privately to myself on a day that is meant to be full of hope and promise and without the constraints of a year yet lived, things that in a few weeks will be left by the wayside. Instead, I want to be resolute in the decisions I make throughout the year and see them through. To be firm and unwavering, yet not inflexible, and to make things happen that will benefit my life and the lives I touch daily. To do and follow through on the things I can actually accomplish right along with the occasional reaching for the stars and to not spin my wheels endlessly on lost causes. I’m resolute in my determination to screw up as little as humanly possible (screw-ups will occur) and to instead progress in positive ways, great and small.

So, once again, on the eve of the brand new year and brand new decade facing us, I resolve not to resolve anything. I’ll take things as they come and adapt, learn and hopefully grow from them as I enjoy all the nuances of life, both the good and the challenging.

To paraphrase the faux-wisdom that I not only have to say on airplanes, but also from a famous movie..fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night, ride and year. They all are, that is the only guarantee in life that we receive. Such is life, it is here to be lived and not observed.

The alternative is simply unacceptable.

Happy New Year!

To Whatever Liberals, Progressives, & Obama Supporters It May Apply, I Want a Divorce

 

Dear American liberals, leftists, social progressives, socialists, Marxists and Obama supporters, et al: 

We have stuck together since the late 1950′s, but the whole of this latest election process has made me realize that I want a divorce. I know we tolerated each other for many years for the sake of future generations, but sadly, this relationship has run its course. Our two ideological sides of  America cannot and will not ever agree on what is right so let’s just end it on friendly terms. We can smile and chalk it up to irreconcilable differences and each go our own way.

 

In anticipation of such an action, here is a model separation agreement: 

 

Our two groups can equitably divide up this country by landmass each taking a portion. That will be the difficult part, but I am sure our two sides can come to a friendly agreement. After that, it should be relatively easy! Our respective representatives can effortlessly divide other assets since both sides have such distinct and disparate tastes. 

 

We don’t like redistributive taxes so you can keep them. You are welcome to the liberal judges and the ACLU. Since you hate guns and war, we’ll take our firearms, the cops, the NRA and the military. You can keep Oprah, Michael Moore and Rosie O’Donnell (You are, however, responsible for finding a bio-diesel vehicle big enough to move all three of them).

 

We’ll keep the capitalism, greedy corporations, pharmaceutical companies, Wal-Mart and Wall Street…. You can have your beloved  homeboys, hippies and illegal aliens. We’ll keep the hot Alaskan hockey moms, greedy CEO’s and rednecks. We’ll keep the Bibles and give you NBC and  Hollywood .  

 

You can make nice with  Iran and  Palestine and we’ll retain the right to invade and hammer places that threaten us. You can have the peaceniks and war protesters.

 

When our allies or our way of life are under assault, we’ll help provide them security.

 

We’ll keep our Judeo-Christian values.. You are welcome to Islam, Scientology, Humanism and Shirley McClain. You can also have the U.N.. but we will no longer be paying the bill. 

 

We’ll keep the SUVs, pickup trucks and oversized luxury cars. You can take every  Volkswagen you can find.  

 

We’ll keep The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the National Anthem. I’m sure you’ll be happy to substitute Imagine, I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing, Kum Ba Ya or We Are the World.  

 

We’ll practice trickle down economics and you can give trickle up poverty your best shot. Since it often so offends you, we’ll keep our history, our name and our flag.

 

Would you agree to this? If so, please pass it along to other like-minded liberal and conservative patriots and if you do not agree, just hit delete. In the spirit of friendly parting, I’ll bet you  which one of us will need the others help in 15 years.   

 

 Sincerely,  

 John J. WallLaw Student and an American  

 

P.S. Also, please take Barbara Streisand & Jane Fonda with you.

 

Expressions That Make You Fit to be Tied & Other Southern-isms to Ponder

Some of you are aware that I have a certain affection for a damned Yankee and regularly immerse myself in travels to the great north for an infusion of ummm..Northern hospitality (yeah, we’ll go with that for now). I realize that male/female interactions in and of themselves can be a bit of a challenge under the best of circumstances..throw in a few regional and cultural differences and it’s not only like we are from Mars and Venus, but from different galaxies altogether. (mine, of COURSE, being the totally normal, sane universe and his being full of nuts, but I digress)

Now, while I can be and often am, an intellectual snot in regard to grammar or in my manner of speech, there are times..albeit few and far between..when my Southern roots and upbringing take over. (I know, it’s a great shock…stick with me on this) It seems that when I get excited, agitated or irritated, I can become a tiny bit regional in the way I express myself. Apparently during these times, I might have an itty bitty tendency to utter a phrase or two that those living above the Mason Dixon line do not employ in their day-to-day communications.

I know, I know!! It’s hard to imagine, but amazingly true. Different areas of the country have trouble understanding the true meaning behind some of our more beloved Southern phrases. Personally, I think we are simply a descriptive, imaginative group of people who just choose to use particularly apt colorful words to express ourselves on occasion. I just don’t see where the confusion comes from. In my eyes, we’re very easy to understand! Fiddle-dee-dee!

I always know that I’ve managed to befuddle the poor man and crossed the communication great divide when I hear a silence on the other end of the phone line, or when I’ve sent a text message and finally get a reply questioning my sanity. Of course, to be fair, he tends to question my sanity with frequent regularity even when I’m making perfect sense. If I’m being totally honest, I will admit that at times (not often, mind you), when I’m visiting New York and Connecticut..I “might” turn on my Southerness a bit more, just for effect. I can’t help it, Yankees are so much fun to play with. It becomes almost a challenge to take some of the stoic out of those that need a stick-ectomy (for those of you that can’t figure that one out, it encompasses taking the stick out of one’s butt and learning to laugh at one’s self rather than being so serious all the time). Besides, I’m constantly fielding requests when there to just “say something” so they can hear my “cute little accent”. So, being the polite compliant belle I am..I oblige them in my own sweet little innocent way!  Bless their hearts.

So, I send a perfectly innocent little text message to the Connecticut Yankee..something along the lines of..

” I swanny (and yes that actually IS a word, albeit a Southern one, you Yankee smartass..she says with great affection) I am going to have to kill you yet..wink”

Okay, that isn’t along the lines of, that IS the actual text message. There is silence for about 5 minutes, then I get this in return from said Yankee..

What the HELL kind of word is that??” 

I then had to send the definition of the word “swanny”, using it in what I thought was a great sentence that entailed describing a certain body part that can be truthfully declared as something I find VERY appealing. For those of you that don’t know, the definition of swanny is to declare, affirm or swear something. I’ll let y’all use your massive imaginations to fill in the blanks about the actual content of my text or to construct your own sentences…I don’t text and tell.

It must take very little to amuse me, because I was literally laughing out loud (and not in an emoticon type of way), but rather in a manner that made everyone on the train from the airport look at me like I had lost my mind. I hate to tell them, but I misplaced any sanity I had a long, LONG time ago and have found I don’t miss my mind at all anymore. I’m better off without it and fixin’ to get even more outrageous with age. I want to be a “character” when I grow up. (i.e.-”She’s a real character, isn’t she?”)

Now I ask you…if you heard these phrases, wouldn’t they bring to mind a picture that is MUCH more descriptive and easy to understand than conventional speech?  Here is just a small sampling of a few things you might hear come from a Southerners mouth…

“she was as ugly as the backside of a barn”… or

“you look like you’ve been ridden hard and put up wet”…

“It smells like something done crawled up here and died!” or

“that girl needs some meat on her bones, bless her heart”…

“we’re smack dab in the middle of something good”

“That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe!”

“You look about as happy as a tick on a fat dog.”

“He’s busier than a one-legged man at a butt kickin’ contest!”

“Don’t you piss on my leg and tell me it’s rainin’!”

“Excuses are like backsides. Everybody’s got one and they all stink.”

“You could start an argument in an empty house.”

“That boy’s more slippery than snot on a glass doorknob” 

“If his brains were dynamite, he couldn’t blow his nose”

“You could start an argument in an empty house.”

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I know, by now you’re all fit to be tied and bless your hearts, probably in a tizzy..but butter my buns and call me a biscuit..I just don’t think this is such a conundrum. Dang, most of you are as wild as all get out and this ain’t your first rodeo..so go with the flow and get yourself all gussied up. Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, tomorrow is another day.

Don’t go throwing a hissy fit, it’s not worth getting in a pickle over! Daggumit, Lawd have mercy! Goodness gracious and shoot fire, it ain’t nothing that can’t be fixed with a glass of sweet tea…join me on the porch and we’ll mull it over. Butter would melt in my mouth when I set my mind to somethin’!

Have a good ‘un and y’all come back to see us, you hear?

Now I ask you…HOW simple is that?? It’s JUST plain boring English after all!  Feel free to use any of the above “Southern-isms”.  Don’t mind the occasional strange looks that might follow, they’re just jealous they aren’t so inventive and descriptive!

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Tongue in cheek Disclaimer:  No one living above the Mason Dixon line was targeted or harmed in the writing of this bit of fluff andit is all in fun.  I happen to absolutely adore and delight in the differences of personality that all the regions in our country produce.  It’s a small part of what makes life an interesting adventure.

(For the record, this particular bit of writing seemed to send spell check into a tizzy of its own, apparently IT doesn’t speak plain, simple English either!!)

Is There Ever a Perfect Way to Say Goodbye?

I said my final formal public goodbye to my Mom today. I’ve too soon joined the ranks of those that have lost a parent, a day I had long dreaded coming. I find there is an empty space in my life that I knew would be there when the inevitable occurred, but I had miscalculated just how sharp the loss of her grace and wit and feistiness would be.  You believe you know all the feelings that will hit you, but until you experience them, you just don’t.

Mom had been sick for quite a long time. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 35. She lived exactly half her life battling this devastating disease. Over the years, there were numerous surgeries as her body betrayed her and attacked itself, yet she went on and found ways to adjust her course to accommodate her ever-increasing limitations.  We watched and helped as we could as she struggled to accept that she couldn’t do all she wanted to get done without asking for help.  As the years went by, my dad became her caretaker and made sure she was always able to do the things that were most important to her.  He would move mountains and with the help of my sister and myself, we usually found ways to give aid to her schemes and plans and wishes to remain as independent and active as she could be.  So she did, right up until a few weeks ago when her body finally started to wear out.

 We should have lost her two years ago.  Her body was increasingly less cooperative and she was becoming more limited in her abilities to do even the most simple tasks by herself.  On my middle child’s birthday on a clear September day in 2008, I received a call from my Dad that had us all running to the hospital to be by his side.  Mom’s colon had burst and her weak body was being rushed into emergency surgery.  In the years proceeding this event, she needed surgery for other problems before this that had been vetoed because the doctors didn’t think she could have a good outcome or recovery.  This time there was no choice, poison was pouring into her body.  The surgeon, a man I went to high school with, came out after repairing what he could of the damage and told her prognosis was grim.  For four full weeks, we sat beside her bed in the ICU with little hope but much faith and slowly, against all odds, she started the long road back to recovery.  The battle took its toll on her already weak body, but watching her resolve and determination to recover and not leave us yet was an amazing thing to watch.  She struggled back and not only came out of the hospital, but managed to do it and not lose her spark or sense of humor.  She was still the boss..or as she liked to jokingly refer to herself, the Queen Bee.

 Many things happened over the next two years.  Yes, she struggled.  There were many challenges that I don’t know how Dad and Mom weathered at times.  There were doctor visits by the boatload and falls that had to be recovered from.  When she couldn’t walk unassisted or feed herself, my Dad would step in and make sure she continued to keep faith and keep moving.  Through her strong will, even though she was so tired of fighting a life that she never expected, she continued to live a life with grace and we built more memories and got to mend bridges or share stories that would have been lost if not for those extra years.

Great things happened during those two years.  My sister had only just found out in 2008 when Mom underwent her emergency surgery that she was pregnant with twins.  Mom lived not only to see them born, but for the first 17 months of their lives.  She saw them christened and their first birthday.  She also got to instill so many more memories and mischief with my sister’s four-year old as well.  My children, while approaching adulthood, weren’t ready to let their favorite person in the world go two years ago either.  She had many more words of wisdom and humor to pass along to them as well.  They adored their Grandmama and I told them that this time we had been gifted was to make memories with each and every encounter.  We had two more Christmases at her house that were always fun and loud and unpredictably special, full of family and love. She and my Dad got to celebrate their 50th anniversary.  Two years ago she still had things to do and wasn’t ready to leave us all yet.

This year she started to prepare us for her leaving, although at the time we didn’t really realize it..but she knew.  For Mother’s Day, my sister and I both received cards that she had made (with Dad’s help) complete with all the things in original poems that she wanted us to keep in our heart from hers and for us to know and remember.  She said it was her “swan song” and we, as always, told her she’d be around for a while yet…but she knew.  She hadn’t been able to write for a long time due to the twisted fingers her disease had wrought, but she still managed to find a way to do what she needed to do.  I believe she was working through her list and finishing up what was important to her.  She was weak, yet managed to travel down to my sister’s house and deliver a HUGE water slide for a last special surprise from Meme.  She bought my 15-year-old daughter a last special birthday present and during the summer made sure to convey her pride and confidence to Abby, priceless for a teenage girl.  She spent special time with my boys and played with my sister’s young twins, watching them learn to walk and giving advice when they went through a biting stage (and at the same time, delighting in the fact that they were going to be handfuls).  She knew…we just didn’t catch on quite yet that this time she wasn’t just kidding us.

A few weeks ago, we knew something was wrong.  She was weak and tired, as she frequently was, but this felt different.  Although we all tried to tell ourselves that this was just one more crisis that she always pulled out of time and time again, somehow I think we all knew that it might be more.  On July 20th I went down to my parents house and told Dad it was finally time to take her to the hospital to have things checked out.  They admitted her straight to the ICU that night and she never left.  This time her body just proved too frail and she had no more reserve to fight the fight she had been struggling with for so many years.

For a few days, it seemed as if she might rally, but then she started having more severe problems.  Six days after being admitted, she was placed on a ventilator.  We as her family knew that we didn’t want her to suffer and linger if there was no chance that she could recover to the point where she would have some independence and quality of life, she had been through so much and fought for so long, a nursing home was not an option.  After a few days, we made the painful decision to remove all the artificial means keeping her stable and let her go.  My Dad told me that it was the hardest thing we’d ever do in our lives and he was right.  Even knowing it was the absolute right thing to do, the final decision was heartrending.  We removed the respirator at 3:30 on July30th and seven hours later, she peacefully passed away with those that loved her surrounding her.

 I’ve imagined this moment coming for most of my life.  Mom had so many struggles and always came out the other end, perhaps weaker, but still with her will and humor intact.  This time it was not to be.  It was time to let her go.

The past few weeks have been a blur..first with the long hours spent talking and then attending her bedside, then the tough days of arranging for a goodbye she would have approved of, yet you always hope you’ll never have to say.  I’m a bit numb.  The emotions run the gambit from sorrow to joy at happy memories, to the pain of loss.  The sorrow I feel is for myself, I know she’s in a better place and it was time.  I’m selfishly missing her council and wisdom and even her more stern advice if she thought I needed it.  I have her tucked away safely in my heart and have even caught myself talking to her these past few days, but miss her voice answering mine.  I see her influence everywhere I look.  In the faces of my children, in an antique we searched for together when I was younger and in the rock solid foundation and belief system both of my parents instilled in me.  I know I’ll be okay.  I also know that something precious is now missing from my life in the form I was accustomed to having it.

As I greeted friends and family today at her memorial service, I was once again reminded (not that I had forgotten) just how special and caring both my parents are.  The outpouring of friends of several decades and the loyalty felt eased my heart.  I managed just a few tears as we celebrated her life and the fact that she feels for the first time in decades, no more pain and is with other long-lost family in heaven.  I felt the love and support of the people who I grew up with and my parents friends seep in and warm my spirit.

My Mom was a special woman and will be missed by so many, but her family feels her loss most of all.  She was the heart of our family and my sister and I will find ways to keep her traditions alive.  They may adapt over time, but they will be purely inspired by Mama.  She was full of life and humor and at times, anger at her condition.  None of this stopped her from living and getting as much of her “to do” list done before she felt as if she could leave us.  It was too soon…but it would have always been too soon. 

She would have turned 70 the end of August.  We shared a birthday..well, almost, we were a day apart.  I will keenly feel this year her loss as it approaches.  I have always joked that she spent her 21st birthday in labor with me.  She would retort that I was too stubborn and missed “our” birthday by an hour.  I would have liked for her to have seen 70.  Next year when I turn 50 will be especially tough.  She would have loved to make sure I was properly treated to an endless supply of reminders that I’m no longer a spring chicken and I would have loved every minute of it. 

It will be hard to carry on without her, but we will.  She instilled a strong spirit and so many traditions in those that she loved.  I have her personality and that brings me happiness.  We’ll find ways to include her spirit in all that we do.  I’ll watch my children continue to grow into their adult years with pride and I’ll give voice to her wisdom and common sense when I feel they need it.  I’ll watch my sister’s children grow and take joy in making sure I continue the mischief and fun that Mom would be proud of.  I do have a lot of payback to give my sister anyway over things that she gave my children when they were young that were either breathing or massively messy and/or noisy..so this gives me an excuse to make Mama proud.

So today I’m lonely and find that it’s the small things that are making me sad and a bit lonely even though I’m surrounded by my family.  The sadness will pass, but there will always be something missing.  I’ll miss her voice, her smile and her pure spunk that kept us all going.  It’s amazing that no matter what our age we, the loss of a parent makes us feel like a scared child again for a while that has a piece missing and isn’t sure quite where our center is.  It’s an unsettling feeling, a feeling of not having a rudder.  You know that you’ll carry on, but also realize that it won’t be easy to assume the role your parent had filled.

I was raised with a strong sense of faith.  I have a foundation of strength that comes from an unwavering belief in God.  Mom needed a new body, she had earned it, but she couldn’t get it here.  She’s in a better place and I’m sure is redecorating and getting to do lists ready for those of us that will one day follow.  Until then, my sister and I will take care of Dad (not that he needs it, he put a “no hovering” rule in place that we will ignore) and make sure his loneliness is eased in ways that we can.  We’ll make more memories and cherish the ones that we already have.

I love you Mom and miss you.  Keep talking to me in little ways, I’ll be paying attention and keeping you with me.

Is there ever a perfect way to say goodbye to someone who gave you life?  No.  We did what she would have wanted today though.  We were strong and supportive and celebrated her life in several special ways and added the homemade touches that were legendary amongst her friends…continuing a tradition and starting a few new ones.

Mama would have been proud today I believe..and in the end, that’s perfect.  That’s all that matters.  The rest I’ll deal with day-to-day as it comes and cherish each moment.

Today I said goodbye, but not farewell forever.  I’ll see her again when it’s time.  Until then we’ll all carry on and keep her memory and legends of her antics alive and well.  Gone too soon, but never forgotten.  She left us a LOT of material to work with and remember..and remember we will.

Predict This!

I don’t mind getting wrinkles. The way I see it, wrinkles are just a natural part of going through life. I’ve earned the smile lines on my face from seeing the world through a slightly sarcastic wit and with humor. I’ve even earned a worry line or two as I’ve raised my children or navigated my way through any pitfalls and challenges I’ve encountered. I wear my wrinkles with pride.

I don’t even mind too much the fact that on some days my “get up and go” seems to have done “gone up and went” and left in its wake a sore muscle or two where previously I would have been none the worse for wear. I’ve found ways to work around sore backs or the occasional lack of energy when I’ve been overly ambitious and forgotten the day before that even though my mind still THINKS like a 20-year-old, my body works like a 40 something and will loudly let me know when I’ve done more than I should. I just plan for recovery time and keep the Tylenol handy as needed.

For the most part, I enjoy this stage of life very much.

What DOES bug the holy heck out of me, is not being able to SEE anymore!

I’ve never had great eyesight. I’ve been very nearsighted since 5th grade, a legacy from my Mom. I started wearing contacts in 6th grade and have never looked back (so to speak). The fact that I don’t have and will never have 20/20 vision has always just been a constant in my life and not such a big deal. I have slowly come to the growing realization over the past few years however, that I can no longer see anything right in front of my nose without wearing my Dollar Tree readers. I am officially now blind as a bat, without the benefit of sonar. It turns out that aging is not indeed for wimps.

Plainly put, if I manage to somehow wander out into the world without one of my several dozen pair of reading glasses close at hand, I’m a menace to society. At the very least, I’m prone to severe fubars when it comes to deciphering details on packages or when reading menus in restaurants. My grown children have many stories of horror where they have had to read menu selections to Mom in full view of the public.

Now, finally to my problem de jour. Texting.

I’m hip..I really REALLY am. (quit laughing) I was geeky when geeky wasn’t cool and have maintained my stellar dork status throughout my life by staying current with new technology. I twitter. I blog. I instant message with a favorite Yankee frequently. I get it. While I still enjoy reading an actual book over owning a Kindle or iPad, and on occasion still would rather compose an old-fashioned snail-mail letter or send a handwritten card vs. an e-card, I for the most part, love the convenience of all things electronic. I will admit that I do have my own way of doing things and might put my own twist on how I use all these “timesavers”. Nonetheless, I stay well versed in most of the newest and at times silliest trends and innovations that come down the proverbial pike.

Texting, however, has become quite a challenge at times. I sit and watch my kids as they text. The blur of their fingers as they massacre the English language in 160 characters or less, yet can still manage to broker world peace, carry on a verbal conversation AND order pizza at the same time, astounds me. Without a single thought or even a glance most of the time, they can fly on tiny keyboards of varying designs and most of the time, I can even make out the real meaning of what they meant to convey as pertinent information in their texts to me.

Here’s where my individuality (you do remember that dying trait, don’t you?) comes in. My phone has dual keyboards. I love the versatility and many possibilities of it. Not only do I have an actual numerical keyboard to make calls with, I also have a full QWERTY keyboard at the ready for texting or composing my version of War and Peace should I so choose to do so on the flea sized keys. Instead of using the itty bitty “full” size keyboard though, I prefer to use the wonders of “predictive text” instead when I send my pearls of wisdom, edicts from Mom, sarcastic thoughts or purely flagrant flirting out to the world.

This is where the problem begins.

It turns out to my absolute amazement, that predictive text, ISN’T really all that predictive when it comes to putting together words that actually make sense when composing a text message. Who knew?? Apparently everyone but me.

Obviously whomever predicted how most people speak was from Mars (or a man). They also were obviously in severe need of a Magic 8 ball if this is their version of prediction.

Call me crazy, but when I want the word “it” in a sentence, for some reason, I find no rhyme or reason as to why, my phone insists on putting “ht” in as what it THINKS I mean to say. HT isn’t a word in any language I’ve ever encountered, yet my SMARTphone, insists on putting it into everything I write. My shortcoming in not always having reading glasses around when I might need them (insert, all the time) means that anyone receiving my texts has to learn to decipher what I meant to say rather than the cryptic mess of characters they might actually receive. I choose to think of it as creating my own language. Heck, that’s what the kids do with LOL and LMAO and TTFN, so why can’t I invent “senior moment texting”?

Other common words that are likely to be inserted by mistake include, but are not limited to…”nope” for “more”, “of” rather than “me”, “tie” instead of “the” and the ever popular “duck” rather than, well you get the idea. Suffice it to say that I’ve discovered the HARD way that predictive text was not really designed with sexting in mind either.

Most of the time, the people I’m texting are either related to me or are as “mature” in years as I am and have known me a long time, so they are used to whatever might cross their screens and knows what I meant to say and interpret it pretty well. They already know that I use correct grammar and spelling in my texts because the teacher in me will not allow me to use “text-speak” with a clear conscious. Well, I TRY to use correct spelling and punctuation, when I can see what I’m doing and the crack predictive text will let me. On top of it all I think I must type with a Southern accent, so that might lead to a tad more confusion at times when colorful, apparently obscure (for Yankees anyway) phrases emerge from my brain.

Anyway, life goes on and I’m adapting in my own special way. I just simply pretend I MEANT to send whatever gibberish I convey and keep texting. After all, if I can’t dazzle ‘em with brilliance, I’ll just baffle them with BS instead, as the saying goes.

One of these days they’ll invent a keyboard that isn’t meant for fingers the size of gnats and a TV sized screen for we baby boomers that might be becoming a bit challenged with our eyesight. That way we can see what we’re doing and keep up with each other and all these young whippersnappers that are coming along behind us.

To paraphrase a movie quote from Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes, “I’m older and I spend more money”!! I may also be a tad meaner, but that’s an issue for another day. There HAS to be a growing market for those of us that are slightly sight challenged by our years of experience. (we’ll go with that. See, I CAN be politically correct at times!)

As for the attempts at marketing a phone meant for MY parents, the Jitterbug is a dance, not a phone. Please don’t insult our intelligence, however fleeting it may be. I refuse to be uncool, even it if means I keep sending my own unique brand of communications via text. Perhaps my new way of text-speak will become an overnight sensation.

Anyway BOT, IDK much but I’ll BBL and TTYL. CYA!!!

Sweeping Out the Proverbial Cobwebs


I don’t know what happened.

My entire life, I’ve been known as someone who, while at times shy or reticent, has also been very wordy.

I talk a lot.

I have a lot of opinions on a myriad of subjects. I’m never without some abstract or even ironically stupid thoughts popping into my head as I travel through life. I’ve always put my thoughts, strange and not so strange, down into the written form. I enjoy turning words into pictures in someone else’s head. I love debate. I love the clever turn of a phrase in order to get a point or humor across. I’ve always held the strong opinion that the written word is quickly becoming a lost art.

In short, I love to play with my words.

Then, a year or so ago, I just stopped. No, I didn’t stop thinking or having opinions, but the desire or fire to put it all down for posterity’s sake (read: for my own sake) came to a screeching halt. I’d think of something that would spark my imagination and even compose an opening paragraph that would make Shakespeare proud in my head, then would never get around to composing even a single sentence in written form.

Instead, I’ve been wadding my ideas, opinions, hopes and dreams into a virtual paper ball and throwing them in the figurative trash can of my mind.

I let the weight of the world and chaos of day-to-day life intrude on the creative side of my personality. Nothing earth shattering really happened, although if you heard my hissy fits at times, you might assume differently. I AM a Southern female and a perhaps a tad feisty at times. After all, we can be prone to a having a canniption or two along the way as part of the Southern belle persona. With the changes in the world the past two years, the uncertainty we’ve all been touched by, it’s no wonder that we all have felt some sort of pressure or lack of inspiration. Some days are dominated merely by the oppressive feel of the atmosphere and other attitudes that surround us as we travel through our life.

I’ve come to realize that just when I start to think I’m finally reaching a point in my life where I’m more settled in my own skin, that’s when life throws us another curve as if to say, “oh no, don’t you get too comfortable..you’re not even close to what you’re going to end up as”. When life decided to throw me back into humility, did I decide to take full advantage of the extra, rich opportunities for fresh inspiration being tossed my way? Of course not. I simply stopped and spun my wheels in neutral as far as my writing went. I let my outlet for expressing myself in an unfettered way come to a halt.

I’m under no illusion that anything I put into words is likely to change the world. I write for myself, then if anything I manage to put in coherent form makes someone else stop and think, all the better. One thing I’ve realized is, as life’s journey continues, it’s essential to continue to move forward, adapt and keep your options open.

So, I’m dipping my toe back into the proverbial water…slowly. For me.

Heaven help us all!

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