Family – It Truly Does Take A Village (we can’t escape that… and shouldn’t)


Family, there are many families.  Those we are born with and those we pick up along the way.  I’ve managed to have a wonderful family, both Me4Sue14Kathy9.jphimmediate and extended.  I just got back from seeing my cousins in Rapid City, SD – to many of my friends they ask; why South Dakota?  Well, it is wonderful country, if you want to know the truth and my family happens to be some of the best people anyone could be related to – I’m proud to be part of them – ALL of them.

With my trips to that wonderful country and those fabulous people comes my thoughts of ‘what if’; what if my father had never left the area?  What if, as a family, we had stayed and we kids were raised right along side my cousins?  Each time I return I’m left with a bit of emptiness in my heart.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love each of my siblings, my niece and nephew.  And, yes, I know that the grass can always appear greener; but they are so warm and loving, very welcoming.  So much so that it makes me ‘covet’ them.  I long to be a sibling…  (is it even possible to covet people?)

There is so much history to be learned each time I go back.  Our family is EVERYWHERE in the history books (we came over in 1634).  It’s quite fascinating.  And my cousin Ann is engrossed in the genealogy and slowly pulling me in with her.  It does make me wonder about this wonderful history of ours and all of us who were born from it.  It’s amazing when you consider what is genetic – personality for instance.  I’ve noticed that there is a certain personality traits on one side of our family that is much more gregarious than the other side.  It’s not like one person has this “personality trait”, most of them – if not all of them – have it.  It would be more of an abnormality to not be gregarious or charismatic (incredible!).  I’m a bit of an ‘oddity’ as I’m not sure I carry this gene.Daddy2

I mean, when I am asked to play a role I can do it in gangbusters… But for some reason I’m unable to show that ‘genetic’ side of myself one on one,  in a crowd or at a party.  Did I lose out on these genes when my father decided that California was ‘the place’ to live and raise his family?  I don’t know… my “North Hollywood” cousins seem to have the “genes” and they seem to have the life in spades.  They know EVERYONE!  They know the ‘whose who’, went to school with all the ‘whose who’ on the “list’.  So what does that make us?  The Pomona MacGregors?  What are we?  The misfits?  Is this really a matter of circumstance?  Or is it simply choice?

Families are funny.  I spent most of my life wanting - no wishing – for that mother… the mother that was my Aunt.  She spoke to me like I was an Adult.  She was always interested in what it was that I was doing with my life.  I was never too dumb, too stupid, too ugly; no matter what I was doing I was magnificent!  To understand my love for this woman you would have to understand the trials of the girl – me… No matter what I did, no matte how fabulous I sang in choir, or in a musical, no matter how well I succeeded in the arts, it was never good enough. That little girl known as Ann, would never be good enough to gain the approval of her mother.  But, when the family went to North Hollywood, she would ALWAYS, always gain the approval of her aunt.  For it was her aunt who would make sure that there was a place at her breakfast table to sip Coca-Cola and talk and to tell her all about her accomplishments.

Family; they come in so many shapes and sizes.  Today, I have many friends that are there – none that I could say were there like my Aunt Louise.  But, they are there as close as possible.  They still build me up and they believe in me even when I can’t belive in myself.  These were people that pulled me out of what I refer to as my five year coma… I have a couple of friends – Kat and Den – who literally pulled me out of my grief and torment.  I was surviving what Kat referred to as a war.  I lost everything.  I lost my sister, I lost my bother (to alcoholism) and I lost everything I owned to a fire.  I was literally surviving.  I was surviving a tragedy.  I never thought of it that way; yet she’s right.

DontWorryLittleFishies AuntEthelnUncleCap

I just saw the doctor for some abrasions that I had on my back.  The pain was severe, I felt like I had the flu and I just could not get it together.  My diagnosis?  Shingles!  Of all things!  I was on my way out of town to my favorite town to see my favorite people… and I have shingles!!!!  My doctor indicated that this virus only comes out under a great deal of stress.  “Have you been under stress?”   To which I replied, “Me?  No… psha  Only for the past DECADE!”  She smirked and proceeded to lecture me that this was my body’s way of telling me that it was now the time to listen to it.

I now had this virus and nothing - NO, nothing was going to keep it from me.  The only way to keep myself from this was to keep myself ‘stress-free’.  In a way I laughed.  I thought to myself, “does she know who she is talking with?”  I AM the caretaker of this family.  ‘I’ am the one that the family depends on to care for our siblings.  And by all bets, our brother is the next to die.  He has chosen Alcoholism and is currently in what one might call “wet brain”.  It’s only a matter of time.

You see, this is what I was talking about early on.  We all come from a branch of the “Family” and we come from the James David’s branch.  And I can’t help but feel ashamed.  My sister Elizabeth has really made a wonderful name for herself… she is someone who Daddy will, is, should be proud.  But I look at David… and myself.  And I wonder what went wrong?

David was a prodigy,  he was brilliant!  He had EVERYTHING going for him and I just don’t understand what it was or why it is that he has chosen to lose his life in alcohol.  Such a gift!  So many gifts!  He could’ve taught at the University, for crying out loud!  He had a way with young people and he had a way of explaining the impossible of mathematics in terms that anyone could understand.  I can understand his not wanting to pursue Concert Piano; but there were so many other gifts.  (i.e writing, film making, composing… )  So many talents.

So, my question continues… what if?  Would life have been different had we stayed (or gone back to) Rapid City, SD?  I look at my brother and, at first, I blamed him for not being stronger.  I now look at his life and admire him for all the struggles that he battled through.  He was nine years old when our father died and ALL of the worlds problems (all of our mother’s problems) were placed on his shoulders.  He was never allowed to be a boy.

We talk so much these days about how it takes a village to raise a child… it truly does.  For you never know that child might have lost a parent due to divorce, or desertion, or death; at any rate, they lost!  In the long run, they lost not just one  parent, they lost both.  Regardless of the loss, the remaining parent is left dealing with not just the loss and picking up the pieces of their own heart; their left filling in for that amputated limb that constituted the co-head of the family.  So, why can’t we – as a community – be a family?  Why is it so difficult that we can’t show compassion for those boys and girls and give them something to keep them busy after school – even if it’s in our own yards?

Family…it comes in many forms.  I think that through the years it has evolved.  Gone are the days where we have simply a Mom and Dad with Children… who go to church on Sunday and possibly mid-week dinner/service each week.  Family has now evolved to each and every one of us.  I used to feel so sorry for myself because I was not given the blessing of having a child of my own.  But then I realized that I can give those same blessings that I would’ve given to my own children onto those in the community who need it.

It takes a village…  it truly does.  Family comes in all shapes and sizes.  I’m so very proud of my family.  I’m a bit perplexed at the path that some have taken and can only pray that they find their way back… but, I can move forward and continue on… helping those that want and need it.  Our Family is made up of not just those who are born to us… it is of those wonderful souls who enrich our lives each and every day and who we – if we are so blessed – enrich their lives as well…  Family is life and lifts us up.  It truly does take a village and this is a theory none should try to escape or ignore.

 

InMusulaMT

 

 

 

 

 

“The One” – Does this mean “One” is all we get?


Lovers

Love…  Some say we only get one true love in a lifetime – then there are others that say it is open to all, so long as we open our hearts and minds.  I’ve been reminded of a lost love these last few weeks, which must have prompted my subconscious mind to spark dreams of him, which birthed thoughts of “what if” – poisonous if taken in large doses, especially to those of us already riddled with regret.  No… I know what you’re thinking, the dreams were CLEAN.  Just him and me in different ‘life’ scenarios; actually they were dreams of our life – present day – as if we were together.  Some were with him as he’s aged and some were with him as he was back in high school; either way, they were pleasant, as if we were “us” again.  Two peas in a pod.  And we were, you know - two peas in a pod.  There were many who thought of us as an unusual couple – especially for high school students.  There was so much love – it was as if we were One.  When at a party, I could be out back visiting with guests, while he was in the house and anyone who didn’t know us would know; no, feel our feelings for one another.

I had the opportunity to marry him, twice.  And, twice I turned him down; only after accepting his proposal.  I don’t know why necessarily.  I think that I wanted to be sure I was able to stand on my own two feet.  Also, I came from a family where education was very important.  My mother was educated, her mother was educated and so on.  I, on the other hand, dropped out of college and didn’t finish until I was thirty-eight/thirty-nine.  But most importantly, no woman in my family married at eighteen; nobody!

I found a job as an Underwriter in what is known as a Wholesale House (in the Insurance Industry) and was doing really well. Craig and I were dating again and were very happy.  Craig was working as a waiter in a restaurant and we would see each other as often as we could; well with him now two counties over.  We had grown up and I was pregnant.  Yes, pregnant!  I just didn’t know what to do!  So I waited, saw a doctor and it was confirmed.  I paced and worked and did just about anything to get my mind off of it.  But  I knew somehow, I had to deal with this and figure out what I/we were going to do.

Finally, about a couple of weeks or so passed, Craig had been busy, I tried to call and our conversations were short ending with him saying he’d have to call me back.  But I wasn’t able to see much of him; so I felt it was time to ‘drop in’ and spring the news.  He loved me, this I knew.  Would he “LOVE” the idea of a baby?  Well, this, not so sure…  But, I had to do this sooner or later, so after work I made the drive and dropped in.

Craig was living with his mother and she had a special liking to me (thank Goodness).  I asked if he was in, she said, “no, no he isn’t; but won’t you come in and visit for a bit?”  So we chatted as laughed – I did like her a great deal.  And she told me something that made me feel oh so uncomfortable; she said, “You know, you are just glowing; you really must be enjoying your life.”  I was bursting to tell her, but couldn’t.  After about an hour or so, I left for home.

Later that same night I got a call from Craig asking that we meet in ‘our park’ at the usual place – young people… so dramatic with the meeting places and the counting the stars, talking, making out… – so I got in my car and drove over and met him.  He apologized for not calling me in a while, I told him that I understood and that I had something to tell him; he had something to tell me as well.  So, being ‘me’ I let him go first… He had to break things off with me.

It was as if a bullet went off inside me – tearing every organ apart.  My heart felt as if it was tearing in two as he continued; “I’ve been seeing a woman I met at work.  We were actually in the back of the house when you were by the other day and she gave me an ultimatum to break it off with you or she will break it off with me.”  My eyes were welling up with tears as he continued, “I will always love you, but I have to see where this leads.  She has been so wonderful to me.”

I could hear his words, but nothing was really sinking in – I was pregnant; over the past several years it was I who was the center of his love and affection; I who gave my virtue to him as he gave himself to me and it was beautiful.  He was always there for me, always there to snuggle with, to wipe my tears away, to laugh with, to talk with.  I imagined that we would, eventually, get married.  When I imagined having children, they were his children.  Now what?  How will life look for me now without him in it?

We talked and cried well into the night.  I did tell him about my pregnancy and told him that I was going to raise this child on my own – I never expected anything from him.  We both cried buckets of tears (I can remember that night like it was last week) and he just didn’t seem like a man who wanted nothing to do with me.  But he made up his mind and we said “Good-bye.”  There was nothing more I could do.

Then again, maybe I should have fought for him more.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could go back in time?  Just to see.  And then again, it’s a great thing we can’t.  There are no “do-overs”; there’s no going back.  And what’s worse, we can never know the infamous ‘what would have been?’  I don’t quite understand why I’m being plagued with dreams now of all times.  Perhaps it’s because I’m on the dating scene (which sucks by the way) and I’m feeling a bit lonely.  I had a great marriage with Doug, truly – aside from the drinking – he was/is a wonderful man.  But, Craig was the One – I’ve never felt that way about anybody before or since.

So,  do we get a second chance at love?  Is there more than one “soul-mate” for us out there?  Or are ‘soul-mates’ just a made up term by the ‘self-help’ gurus to sell more books?  Is there Love after fifty?  What about sex, does that exist or is it extinct?

Obviously, I’ve since come to some resolution with Craig; in fact we are still friends – wonderful friends, best friends (platonic friends).  And I do think the dreams are my sub-consciences way of reminding me what I’m missing – no, not Craig – a life partner.  I’m not sure I want to get married again – maybe – but I do know that I’m a woman who prefers to have a male partner… someone who is kind, loves me for me and makes me laugh (laughter is a must).  I’m not sure, but the question plagues me; by being young and stupid, why did I throw all that away.  What I mean is that it was for no other reason that the fact that I didn’t marry him for fear of ‘displeasing’ my mother.

Which leads me to today.  I found out I have Shingles.  Shingles are usually brought on by increased stress.  My doctor this a.m. said that this is my body’s way of telling me “hey, take care of me for a change!”  And, as I’ve written in past posts, most of my life has been spent doing what I thought others wanted from me, not what I wanted to do with my life.  Understand, I’m not blaming the world for my shingles or my decisions.  But, I’ve made some life altering decisions because of what I feared my mother or sisters would think.  And I’m finally in a place where I want to ‘live’ my own desires – and I am.  But if there was anything I could teach youngsters (of if only that were possible) would be that there are no ‘do-overs’; your life is yours.

When we are young we have this fantasy that life is going to go on forever – sort of like that feeling when you go on vacation?  You know that feeling?  “Oh, we have a whole seven days – wow!  Nothing but time to relax in the sun…”  Only to find yourself at the end of vacation looking back thinking, “where did the time go?”  I can’t say I have so much regret as I do questions of “what now?”

These dreams have stirred in me some new drives, the making of new goals.  Reopening some old projects and looking at them in a different light.  They’ve taken the veil off, giving me a clearer vision of what I want.  They have also reminded me that I was loved, very much by not just one man, but at least two.  Which brings me back to the question – Is there still love out there?  I believe so, as long as we are open to the possibilities.  And the possibilities are endless.

WomansLiveAfter50

Truth – It Always Makes Its Curtain Call In The End


ReflectionInMirror05-05-12The Buddhist say that there are three truths – yours, theirs, and the Truth – I believe this whole heartedly.  I’ve always had the faith (albeit sometimes a bit later in the game) that  “Truth will prevail.”  I’ve kept to this because my whole life I’ve been the victim of accusation (false accusation) and “shunning” – I could never really understand this  as a child.  Now does this mean I was always innocent?  Of course not – I was a child… I was human and Humans make mistakes.  I would, however, talk with my mother and, though she would do her best to comfort me, I mean we all face our ‘judgments’; but even she could never really make sense of it herself (how can you rationalize such actions to a child if you can’t make sense of them as an adult?).  Everyone spilling out their ‘arm-chair’ indictments.  Then again, “He who is without sin…”

So much has happened since my last entry – many would say that I have been “healing” – Yet, I think I’ve fallen inward; too afraid of diving into the world for fear of rejection.  The fear of people getting to know me, our liking each other, becoming friend and then their rejection.  The rejections that I’ve faced these past couple of years have been harsh, to say the least.  At one point I thought I found love, was told he would never leave me, that he loved me – hell he even cried at the ‘idea’ of my leaving or growing ill (a story for another time); only to flat-out leave me, with no explanation just poof!  Gone.

Another was a childhood friend who I thought was my best friend; I thought of her like a sister.  We knew EVERYTHING about each other.  Only, there was something off.  She never came to my wedding, she and her family would be in the area and something would always come up that would divert their plans and allow them to avoid our home.  This was no coincidence.  I came to find out that she was holding onto a grudge.  A grudge over something I supposedly said to her in High School – High School!!!   We are now in our Fifties…  I couldn’t believe it.

I lost a couple of other friends this last year and, to be honest, I don’t really understand.  I’m sure that with the one, it was something I said or did.  But one friend sent me an email accusing me of something I did – to which I denied; because I would never say such a thing!  But what hurt, what truly hurt, was with all of these situation is none of these people took the time to fight for our relationship and talk with me.  It is no secret that I was going through a great deal of grief; am I using this as an excuse?  No… in fact, if I could I would personally apologize to each and every person I hurt during this - or any time and ask them for forgiveness.  In fact, I did so with my ex-boyfriend and, to his elation I’m sure, he certainly put me in my place – there is nothing more humbling.  However, I’ve made other mistakes with other friends and most have ‘turned the other cheek’ – forgiven me – giving it not a second thought.

No, I’m afraid I have fallen ‘inward’ – afraid to go out into the world.  I’ve had an interest in the ‘dating scene’ and have been too afraid to go forward.  Fearing “what if they get to know the real me and leave, grow to hate me?”  Even thoughts of “I’m not good enough, I’m better off alone”, often go through my head.  I battle these off, but I’ve had a good deal of time to think (perhaps too much).  What if that monster that was dating my ex is the ‘real’ me?

One of the things I’ve come to realize is that in time, Truth comes out.  I had a situation recently where I thought I’d lost all credibility due to this one friend and I was made aware of the fact that her true personality is coming to the surface; and it’s not a pretty face.  I don’t mean seem as if I’m gloating, I’m not.  I’m writing this as a “wake up call” that Truth always has a way of coming forward.  And as a reminder to me to keep that faith.  There are plenty of Judges our there, but stay true to myself and to also stand by those who have stood by me.

Many people wonder why I write this; I write so that I can answer my own questions, I write so that I can look inward and heal.  We can’t begin to heal until we can see our own involvement in our life’s mistakes and in our relationships.  None of us are perfect in what we do.  Would I take back all the crazy stuff I said and did to both my friend and my ex-boyfriend?  Certainly!  The problem is, we don’t always have that second chance or third chance; another reason being,  sometimes a grudge is much harder to break through than the toughest of rock walls.

My point is this; whether you are the ‘Trespasser’ or the ‘trespassed’ you both have a choice in how you deal with that wrong and it is called “Forgiveness”.  Forgiveness of the Trespasser and Forgiveness of Self for Trespassing.  I’m probably never going to be able to make things right with these people for many reasons; the most important being that they aren’t in a place of hearing what I have to say.  But, I can forgive myself for my part in what was done, take responsibility for what I’ve done and to remind myself of the kindness that resides in my heart; AND, to not let my heart continue to darken as a result of these unfortunate circumstances.  Forgiveness is the only way to lighten the heart and soul for all concerned.  It truly is a shellfish act as it allows you to let go.  Let go of the anger, the hurt, the blame.  Someone said that anger, rage, blame (all of those feelings) are like holding a burning coal only to fling it at your enemy.  There is only one problem with that, the only one getting burned is you.

 

*Resentment and bitterness
is the poison drank
in hopes the other will perish.

Forgiveness is a moment of
peaceful release
not forgetting
or unknowing
but a shifting
in mind
and emotions
a switch on
a switch off
a deep sigh of acceptance
A moving on.

But what does it really mean
and how to get there
from here?

Resentment
Bitterness
Hurtfulness
Forgiveness
How to get from here
to there?

These questions plague
my day
Dance through my night.

In a moment of light
I wonder
if self forgiveness
makes it all right
I realize then
I have no magic sentence
to make it all okay.

This unfathomable
human moment
perhaps there are no words to say.

But
Being loving
is that the answer?
Kindness
is that the cure?
Self-acceptance
comes in waves
peace in moments found.
Perhaps
in these emotions
forgiveness comes around.

When I get
there from here
I will tell you
what I found.

Meanwhile
Lightning and thunder
color the horizon
and flash towards the ground…

What A Difference A Year Makes


Ah! Finally, I’m moved into my new place and have that wonderful feeling of relief that comes when all is cleared My New Placeand done. Already I’m meeting people, and they are so very wonderful! My apologies for not writing in such a long while, it has been a whirl wind of changes and things to do. I must say, I truly am a ‘small town girl’ at heart. I just love it here! My little terrier was having a bit of a stubborn streak when it came time for doing her ‘business’; but she finally came around. Now she, my bird – Frank Sinatra – and I are all nestled in our new home and are quite comfy.

Looking back, it is amazing the difference a year can make. This time last year I was still in shock over my fire and still drowning in the grief of Kimball’s death. Since then I’ve taken the time to heal, grow and allow myself to find ‘me’ again. That sassy girl who loves to laugh, loves a political fight and is filled with spit and vinegar. She’s finally back, I can safely say. All with the help of dear friends and an eight pound Westie Terrier mix named Tula. The best thing I did was adopt that little girl and can safely say that my life is complete! (Almost…)

Tula Waking Up

Still, there is something missing and I believe I’m finally ready to date again. I’ve always known that there are two types of women, those who prefer to be single and those who prefer to be in a relationship. As independent as I am, I’ve always found myself in the latter of those two groupings. My sister Elizabeth, however, now she is in the first group… Independent, single, never married and straight. So many like to label women like her by saying, “she must be gay…” What, pray tell, is so wrong with a woman (or man for that matter) choosing to stay single, living alone and happy? It just so happens that, although I find nothing wrong with being single (rather like it at times), it’s just not the lifestyle of choice for me.

No, if I had my choice, it would be with a partner. Someone who could finish my sentences, knows my likes and dislikes. Someone to share my bed and to share my coffee with me in the morning; and just ‘be’ with in our off hours. Someone with whom I could laugh with over the most absurd things. And someone with whom I could be in the same room and be still, silent; knowing that simply being in our own company was ‘enough’. I miss that. I miss having that companionship; that ‘special someone’ that I could spend the rest of my life with. Someone I could be with the rest of my life (or at least the better part of my life)…

Companionship; what does that mean? I sit here and watch my dog as she chases her tail on my new corduroy white couch and wonder “What is she thinking?” Or, perhaps this show is for me? (will that couch truly withstand her rants?) She truly is a wonder as she runs from the couch to the chair ottoman, to the window, back to the ottoman and to the couch; and, at these moment I realize, I truly am blessed to have her. But, companionship is more than that of the ‘ownership’ of a dog or cat; it is the dual friendship or a ‘lovership’ (if you will) with another person. Somebody who can like/love you for you. Someone who can appreciate you for your humor/ your jokes. I must say (if you would forgive me for repeating myself) I miss that.
I have joined a local group – a Ukulele group; and am learning to play. And you know something? I LOVE it! I do believe that in time, I’ll be able to accompany myself. Never would I have thought I’d have the talent to play an instrument. It is funny how the Universe works; I’ve been sent to these Foothills and have finally found peace. I’ve found wonderful new friends and an easy life. You know the kind? The kind of life that can only come from a small town. It is glorious. I met someone the other night in my Uke group who asked “why in the world would you move here?” To which I responded, “I LOVE it!” It is something I’ve always wanted and have been given the privilege to make the move. It is glorious to be among such history and such glorious people.
Everything is falling in order and I’ve found my best friend (myself)… Now, onto the next step in my journey – my new love… All in good time. God (or the Universe) will provide. And all in good time. For now, I thank all of you who continue to follow me and to read my writings… I appreciate you and getting to know you… I encourage you to write me (email below…) I’m finally back and will keep up my writings. It’s wonderful to be in such a place as this – I’m grateful for it all and for the past struggles… without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

 

Adventure On! How Wonderful!


My adventures continue as I start clearing my things out in trying to get ready for my move in March.  Yes, you read that right, My New PlaceI’m moving in a bit over a few days and I will be moving to a quaint little small town that is just what the Doctor ordered (I think).  I just signed the papers on my new place a few weeks ago and how wonderful it feels.  When I arrived “up-country” to stay with my dear friends  where we went to dinner, I pigged out on my favorite mac and cheese (God that place makes the BEST Mac n Cheese anywhere!), and proceeded to drink the first of many drinks.  This was unfortunate – because I apparently took a phone call (one I didn’t remember until this a.m. boy was I loaded)… and made an ASS out of myself (don’t you hate that?).  There should be Breathalyzers for phones before you speak, text, or do anything that isn’t 911 related.  At any rate, needless to say it has been quite some time since I’ve been that plottoed.  To my friends, my apologies…  to whomever I was talking with (I do remember who it was… but for the sake of discretion will leave his name out of it), my apologies… I was totally blowing smoke up your back-end…  at least I own it… and you really do have to be able to laugh at yourself (no sense in crying over spilled milk).

Anyway, back to more pressing matters, me – it is all about me is it not?  I’m moving and am truly excited about this move.  The town is a historic, lovely little town and is a mere 45 minutes from the big city…  We are surrounded by culture, the people are wonderful and my real-estate broker is like a new-found friend…  I just love it up there!  Now onto the drudgery of the packing (ugh!) and finding a good moving company; of which I’ve found a great one – Yelp is a wonderful helper, and I found some ‘Packers’ to help with my packing needs.   This new adventure is very exciting and carries with it some fears (strangely).  I’ve lived in this area that I currently live in for twenty-nine years.  My sister Kimball was always my ‘touchstone’ as she was family.  Come to think of it, I’ve never really lived anywhere where I’ve not had family close by.

But there are still many days where I find myself saddened at the idea that she is no longer available to visit, to just to go to her home and hang out with her over some dinner or a martini.  Super Bowl has come and gone and reminded me how much she would love to sit and watch the game (she was an avid football fan).  While we watched she would teach me how they game went, what all the ’1st downs’ and ’4th downs’ meant (I was lucky if I knew what color jersey our team was wearing).

These days grief seems to be around many of us.  I’m just getting out of a long spell while two of my dear friends are just entering.  It is hard to see those you love face tough times such as these (such a helpless feeling).  I know that as each day passes the pain will lessen, as they do have each other to lighten the load – still, the passing of their dear, dear friend must weigh heavy indeed.  Just a few weeks ago, another friend of theirs passed; the one and only Pete Seeger.  Known by many for his wonderful music such as, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, If I Had A Hammer (to only name a couple); but also for his courage in standing up against the House of Un-American Activities in 1955. PeteSeegertotheHouseUnAmerican

Pete blessed many with his music and the generosity of his talent.  My friends are so very grateful to have had their lives influenced by him and I’m so very grateful to have my life influenced by them (life truly is six degrees of separation).

I think of when we all met and started singing together, I had no idea of the path my life would be taking.  Never would I have thought – nor would I have thought I’d have the courage to move up to a wonderful little small town; so far away from what I know and am comfortable with.  Embarking on a completely new life.  Still holding those that I’ve known and loved for all this time, close and near to my heart – while meeting new people and making new friends.

I have been influenced greatly by, not just these two (who I will lovingly refer to as George and Gracie), but all those I’ve met these last few years – musicians/artists who are so very talented and have given generously to others (people like myself) their knowledge and time.  Who knows where I would be?  I think back to that woman in August 2011; so broken and hopeless.  This feeling of failure everywhere she turned.  Only to look in the mirror and see that same woman, a bit wiser, a bit more confident and looking forward to the unknown – feeling more assured in her future.  Relaxed and able to ‘go with the current’ as she embarks on this wonderful new branch in this river we call life.

Right to Life – How about the right to a FULL Life? Not just first 40 weeks… In Uteral!


Nora L Pratt:

In recognition of the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, I thought I would re-post my thoughts on the subject and ask, why is it that they seem to care so much about the life of a fetus and so little about the lives of our children? Education? Who needs to place money there. After school programs, arts, sports? We don’t need that. Child care? Psha!

Originally posted on Finding Ann MacGregor:

We hear this debate, argument rather, between Right to Life and Pro-Choice.  I try to stay out of the politics/religious end of everything; however, those that know me know that I do have opinions that can only be squelched for so long.  On the Pro-Life side of it, I hear people talking about these women as though they have made their decision with the flip of a coin. This is an extremely emotional issue and a decision of which I’m certain was not made without a great deal of thought, pain, fear and tears.  That said, not ONE of these individuals in the Pro-Life movement seem to be willing to pay their fair share of taxes so that these birthed fetuses will have a proper education or a roof over their head; or how about just food in their belly and parents that will love them and nurture them?

Pro Choice is just…

View original 428 more words

Every Seven Years = A New You!


We have now embarked into the New Year of 2014 and it is at this time when I, personally,  like to take inventory.  Never having ever been one to make Start2014resolutions; instead, I find that looking at the positives and learning from the problems of the past is much more helpful.  As time passes, did you know that every seven years our body goes through its own renewal (like a new you)?  Well, sort of – according to notes by the  New York Public Library’s Science Desk Reference (Stonesong Press, 1995), “There are between 50 and 75 trillion cells in the body…. Each type of cell has its own life span, and when a human body dies it may take hours or days before all the cells in the body die”, pretty cool, huh?  And according to LiveScience.com, being that each of those trillion cells have a life span, when they die they are replaced (see? a new you!).

So, thinking about this has caused me to look back over the past seven years and really look at the girl (Woman) of 2007 to that same (or different) Woman, now, in 2014.  Oh my!  What a difference!  Let’s see… the milestones.  For starters, I had just lost my mother in November of 2006.  A huge loss to us all, but not unexpected.  My husband at the time was still healing from two strokes he suffered in July and August 2006 – this changed our marriage immensely as I had no idea who I was coming home to.  His mood and personality changed completely.  With many stroke victims, the signs are on the outside (e.g. paralysis, slurred speech), but with him it was deep in his personality; so when I came home in the evening I had no idea if I was coming home to Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde or their twin cousins.  The more I tried to help, the more he turned away.  And his drinking that he believed he could still do just aggravated the whole situation (as you can well imagine).

By summer I suffered a melt-down, left work and tried to go back in the early fall.  By this time, I realized my husband’s drinking and his medical condition was all wrong for each other, so by October, I left him.  This was not my initial plan; I wanted to merely move into the next room.  But he said, “if you can’t share my bed, you can’t share my home.”  So, I moved in with my sister, Kimball until I could figure everything out.  He eventually made the commitment to go back to rehab (round #4) and I returned to give it one more go-round.

During this time I was struggling between what I should do with myself.  I was still in Insurance and was feeling the pull of wanting to get out.  I’ve never been a person who worked best under the condition of being ‘micro-managed’ and I was definitely being micro-managed at this new agency.  My life in 2007/2008 was met with constant turmoil – I was a square peg in a world of round holes – there was no place for me to fit in.  Life was as unpredictable at home (I knew something was up… but he was not letting on; was he drinking again?  I wasn’t sure, I mean where was the evidence?)  as it was at work, I was a fish out of water. For the first time in a very long time I felt judged at ever turn.  And I was exhausted.

The difference between that woman then and the woman typing this now is I’m not as fearful as I was.  I was clutching hold of my life as if I were trying to hold onto water.  I remember talking with an attorney back then, and was so uncontrollably crying – because the idea of leaving Doug was too much for me.  I just couldn’t see myself as a “quitter” and quitting on him that way.

By Fall of 2008 I would find that I would be let go from the agency and our business (Doug’s and mine) would come to a halt.   Life couldn’t be any worse recession-cartoon-792502(financially).  I did what I could in my “in-home” business and we sold every single piece of jewelry I had – the recession had this our house and it hit hard.  Still we had the holidays and moved forward as best we could.  I still found myself with suspicions of his drinking again, at which point he would deny.  So, unless I actually caught him there was nothing I could do.

At this point in my life I still felt like I was holding on by my nails – there was really nowhere to turn and nothing I could do to make myself truly happy.  I was truly at bottom.  (ah!  But remember, just when you think it can’t get any worse… it can!)  I would be challenged in ways I never imagined and be asked  for great endurance in the near future (more than I knew).  By June 2009 Kimball’s cancer had returned and I discovered Doug’s little secret – I found his bottles.  I’m done and will move in with Kimball to care for her – her cancer is Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer and she will need me for at least six weeks.  And this would be the start of a roller coaster ride that I never thought I’d be able to handle – but, I did and I survived.

I look at my life now, the way I see things, what I want to do with my life and I’ve discovered talents I never thought I had.  I’ve met people I never, ever would have met.  There have been self discoveries I’ve made that – perhaps I would still have made them – but, I’m willing to wager, I’d still be banging my head against many of the same doors.  Yes, I’ve met great loss; but, I’ve also grown through that loss and discovered many miracles along the way that enlightened and helped to guide me through those hard times.  Friends who, by way of their talent with the piano, showed me my singer’s voice and solo interpretation again.  Friends, who in their own right are wonderfully talented singers and musicians, took me in and harmonized with me and showed me another genre called ‘folk’.  Then there is the blog that allowed me the voice to share; and all of whom I met through it, who gave me support.

I’ve finally found my “square hole” and now know where I want to be (or at least the direction).  It is a completely different direction than I ever thought possible before; but at least I now know where I’ll end up.  They say to get where you are going, you must first know where you’ve been.  I’ve taken a long hard look at myself over these past three years, and I’ve made some incredible self discoveries.  I’ll continue with my journaling as I find it helpful; however I’m so very grateful for all that has been given to me thus far, I like this ‘New Me’; I’ve come a long way Baby…  Happy 2014!

Santa Outdid Himself This Christmas – Most of The Time The Best Presents Come From The Heart (not the store)


As children so often we were planning Christmas morning by August (yes August!); driving our mother mad at the idea when she had so many other things

Illustration from book The Goblins' Christmas ...

Illustration from book The Goblins’ Christmas by Elizabeth Anderson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

to do.  I can remember discussing the “schedule” with Elizabeth on when we going to get up Christmas morning and who was to start when.  Elizabeth and I are five years apart and in the early years we shared a room.  Time would pass, school would start, the County Fair would begin, which would distract us from our Christmas game plan.  Then of course, would come Halloween and Thanksgiving and then; dundadadum!  The actual count down begins and Santa will arrive!

Christmas was always a wonderful Winter Wonderland in our home, mother made sure of that.  We weren’t very rich, monetarily, but we were in so many other ways.   Many would say we were poor as church mice, only we children never knew it.  Some how mother made sure that Christmas was alive in our home.  I can remember going to sleep at the sound of the sewing machine almost every night between Thanksgiving and December 23rd.  Come Christmas morning, Elizabeth and I were usually the first up; however the rule of the house was: NO one is to ENTER the living room until ALL are up (especially MOTHER).  Now we were allowed to go in to the kitchen, but you had to walk by the living room and, even so, we were NEVER to even LOOK in the living room.

Now Elizabeth usually would deputize me as her spy and give me the assignment of going into the kitchen.  Walking to the kitchen was on the ‘ok’ list, but while walking to the kitchen all I could remember is the rule “Never to even LOOK in the living room.”  Tell a child that and you’re asking for trouble…. So, I tiptoed out across family room and just peeked a quick peek as I went into the kitchen; then another quick peek on my way back (perhaps I could get a better view), Santa came!  There were gifts all over the place.  I had to go quick to report back to mission control (Elizabeth).

What wonderful memories we four have of our childhood, especially our Christmas’.  With the death of our father at such a young age (only 39) his brothers were very generous as well.  So, although they never let on to us children, I’m sure they played a large role in our Christmas treasures.  As I wrote in my last post, Christmas packages come in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes it’s not the dollars spent, mostly it is the thought behind the gift.

This year I was unable to go to Santa Fé to be with my sister, Elizabeth, due to back problems.  I was alone, and she ended up shipping the gifts to me.  Now, we were only to be sending each other ‘stocking stuffers’, but I received three or four packages!  I called Elizabeth to thank her and to let her know that hers was on its way and to nicely scold her.  This was too much!  But she assured me that I would understand once I opened them.

I also received a surprise package from my cousin Clair on Christmas Eve.  I was truly spoiled, and felt overwhelmed with love.  As was tradition, I opened one gift  on Christmas Eve, it was a beach towel; hilarious!  A pink flamingo beach towel!  Then on Christmas morning, Tula and I went out for our morning walk, she gave me her usual ‘gift’ that I bagged and dumped in the doggy poo bin and made some tea and started unwrapping stocking stuffers.  How wonderful.  Some of the gifts that were from Clair were hand-made ornaments, some were of the Wise Men and Camels and the Star (like what my mother had made) made by my Aunt (Clair’s mother).  Another of her gifts were ornaments that my mother made; I cried such tears.  What treasures… The fire in February had taken all those ornaments away from me and I never thought I’d see them again.

Elizabeth found an old piece of stitchery that our mother had done back in 1953 called the History Of Transportation, I remembered it as in this old frame and looking a bit shabby… this was reframed and looked so beautiful!  Among her other packages was a framed picture of Kimball, her Senior High picture and a picture of the four of us (our mother and we three daughters) that was taken at our brothers wedding; I simply Love that picture.  Another was a picture that Kimball purchased during one of her trips to China; there were three and she gave one to David and me and kept one for herself.  Again, I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and the generosity of my sister.  Her heart is huge indeed.

As children we were taught that life was precious.  It was unfortunate to have lost our father at such a young age, but, when you really look at it, it was a great gift for it taught us that we were family and, as such, we were all we had and must always make the most of it.  Mother would constantly lecture us on the importance of family and the importance of taking care of each other and being there for one another.  I think she would be proud for we have continued to fulfill that responsibility.

Yes, Santa outdid himself this year so very much.  As children we look forward to the bikes, the dolls, the latest trinket on the market.  But as we grow older and life has sanded away the rough edges, we start to realize just how precious memories are.  The ornaments that mother made, framed pictures of lost loved ones, cookie cutters made from patterns used by our mother when we were children.  Those are the things that really touch our hearts and truly bring back the meaning of this wonderful season.  Also, there are friends that bring over homemade chicken soup and drop it by your door; completely unexpected and so endearing.  I am truly loved and this Christmas was proof of that.  Happy Holidays Everyone; my wish for you is that you can find your joy in the moments and see the treasure in the little things.

Christmas Presents – Not All Come Wrapped In Fancy Paper With Ribbons And Bows


Christmas, a time for family, friends; it’s a time for loved ones to come together and rejoice.  Rejoice in their own company and in each other’s love.  Most of XmasPresentsmy life I’ve had the pleasure of such gatherings.  Even when it was simply my ex-husband and myself, Doug would make sure that our time together was extra special (well, it could be argued that we each did).  I lavished in the decorating of our home, making our presents (or purchasing)… But, quite honestly, making the gifts was the best part.  And then the holiday would come and we would all be together.

Being married requires compromise.  One year would be with my family and the other year would be with his (and so on).  But with each year, it was a joy to know that I belonged.  I was part of something, something bigger.  Never had I thought that I would be in a position where I no longer had a family to celebrate with or a group of friends to invite or to be invited by.  As you get older, life certainly has a way of changing (and not necessarily for the better).

Last week I was gearing up for a fantastic holiday – was to fly to Santa Fé and spend Christmas with my sister Elizabeth – I was thrown a curve ball as I realized life had different plans for me this Christmas.  This past weekend, I was decorating and  getting ready for guests that were coming for the weekend – a  splendid excuse to bring out the cheer to an otherwise dreary apartment – there were a great many boxes that had to be brought down/out, opened and put away and by Saturday I woke up to some back pain that got increasingly worse by days end.  Come Sunday morning, I awoke to walk my lil pup for our morning stroll and found that, not only could I only walk her a quarter of the way we usually walk, I was in tears by the time we were returning to our apartment from the pain that was generated from my back.  Now I’ve had back problems before, but nothing to the degree that would bring me to tears (not even my migraines… and anyone who has had a migraine knows the severity).

So, I’ve been ‘out of commission’ for all of this week and I must say I’ve had a large dose of reality and this post was originally to be about my ‘friendless’ life and how ignored I feel (unloved, blah, blah, blah).  Self-pity is not a good look for me – or anyone.  But self-pity was a place I was soaring to.  Until one day I heard a wrap on my door it was a police officer with a dear friend of mine who had brought over homemade chicken soup.  And he was not too happy with me (my friend not the officer).  There I was buck naked, standing behind the door… The officer kindly asked “are you ok, ma’am?. ” “Yes officer, I’m not dressed,” I answered.  “We were WORRIED!”  My friend yelled, and continued to ask that I go on Facebook to let everyone know.  “I will”, I answered.

As I’ve written before, I’ve been ‘defriended’ on FB by people who I thought were close friends.  One, I have no idea why and the other was over a rumor!  Never being given the benefit of the doubt.  And for these very people, I’ve sent cards, flowers, driven to the doctor.  It’s not that I’m saying “tit for tat”; no, not by a long shot.  I’m merely doing some personal inventory.  This seems to be the center core of my life.  I put myself out there for ‘friendships’ only to be disappointed when in need of them.  I’ve always been a person to overlook their ‘short-comings’.  So why is it that they seem so quick to judge my short-comings, or so quick to ignore my needs?  Now, this was how I was feeling, I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was.  I was having myself a genuine Pity Party – “Nobody Loves me, everybody hates me; I guess I go eat worms”, do you remember that song?  That was what I was singing to myself.  Before yesterday.   I’ve realized that I’m very rich indeed.  However, rich or not, I still can’t seem to shake my fears.  As much as I forgive, not so sure others do the same.  They will tell me everything is fine; but I can see there is something behind the mask the hide their feelings with.

Case in point, I had what I thought was a best friend from childhood who I will refer to as Scotty.  She and I had much in common and we hung out a lot in high school.  Her father had given her a car for her sixteenth birthday and she and I would sneak out at night as her dad was an alcoholic as was my mother and both of our parents were exceptionally cruel to their teen-age children (us).  It was wonderful to be able to escape if only for a couple of hours.  We would call each other on the phone, she would come by and pick me up and we’d go down to the local Bob’s Big Boy and talk over a plate of fries and a shake.  She was my BFF (or so I thought).  When we graduated, she went off to San Diego State and I went to Cal Poly.  I would leave on weekends to visit her in San Diego.  By the end of our first year I received a call from her telling me about this guy she met (her new boyfriend).  He was a “born again Christian” who advised her that she could no longer see me.  We could no longer be friends (What!?).  My heart was broken and I cried for weeks over the loss of my dear friend (you might as well have said she died).

Flash forward six years,  by this time I had moved to the Bay Area and just happened to be at my mother’s when I received a phone call from Scotty.  She (not realizing that I’d moved) wanted meet for lunch.  From that point I felt that our friendship had picked up right where it left off.  But after a time, I was feeling something was off.  She would never come to visit, never met my husband and even if in the area, would never stop by.  It took a post I wrote about my grief and my disappointment in her around the death of my sister to finally expose her truth.  She told me that we never were friends; she was never able to trust me after something I supposedly said in High School!  So, by this time we were in our late forties, all this ‘friendly’ behavior on her part was just a lie?  No chance to explain, no chance for forgiveness?  The bottom line in all of this is that she was never there for me, not really.  Even when we were supposedly BFF’s.  In hindsight she was only close to me to be close to my brother (who she was dating at the time).  Was I so unworthy of forgiveness?  The same forgiveness I’d given her?  Or others?  Am I truly that pathetic that I don’t deserve lifelong friendships?  Friends to be with you through thick and thin; friends who accept you warts and all?

This ignites a very big fear of mine while I live alone.  I could be here laying on the bathroom floor, in pain, and die and no one will notice for months!  Well, maybe only weeks, but still, a REALLY LONG time.  I understand that this is the life I’ve created for myself and that it is up to me to change this… It’s not too late.  But this reality check has been a big one.  I have friends in my home town who I barely see (maybe twice a year) and yet, when I speak of moving out of the state or county, they get their panties in a wad!  Asking, “how can you think of leaving me?”  Leaving you?!  Where the hell have you been all this time?  Phone calls go two ways.  We both have one of those funny objects with numbers on it.  It’s an incredible device, you punch a series of numbers and viola you have me!

BFFSo, my question remains: Am I destined to be alone?  Friendless?  With nobody to share my life with?  It sure feels that way.  Especially when I try and try.  And maybe there in lies the problem.  I try too hard and perhaps, unknowingly, I’ve tried to buy my friendships.  Not necessarily through monetary means, but with my actions.  Maybe, without being conscious of it, I have been playing a game of ‘tit for tat’.  That realization makes me feel awful!  These things I do know about myself: my love is unconditional, my forgiveness is poured over my friends and strangers; for I truly believe that he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

I’ve since seen the doctor and chiropractor and found that I slipped two discs (one in my lower back and one in my upper mid back).  So, no travel and I’ll be out of commission for at least two weeks (what the hell?).  There won’t be any Christmas spent with family and – most likely – not spent with friends.  Those that haven’t judged and abandoned me, are absent.  My Christmas wish for myself is that I’m able to build new friendships that are true and reciprocal.  Don’t get me wrong, I love those that are in my life and count my blessings, for I am truly blessed.  But, I must become that much better of a friend – one with boundaries, while at the same time, one with an open heart.  Somewhere along the line I’ve hurt people, all in the name of trying to help.  Whether or not my intentions were good, their feelings were hurt.  But unless I can make it right with them, I can only let them go and move forward.

Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes… we wish for so many things.  For me?  I wished for photos that were lost in the fire (received some from a dear friend of mine), or Christmas ornaments (received some special ones that mother made from my dear cousin), or Santa’s for my collection.  But the most important gift of all doesn’t come wrapped in fancy paper, ribbons and bows; the most important of all comes in friendships and our health, for without those our lives are pretty empty.  The key?  Unconditional love.  My hope is that I’m forgiven for all my trespasses and that I can continue to have a forgiving heart (unconditionally).    Happy Holidays everyone!

Birthdays – Old Friendships (keep or go)


There always comes a time when we have those mile stones (birthdays, for example) when we realize how important we are to the individuals around us. PinkyswearPeople come in and out of our lives as if in a rotating door.  Some friendships are for a lifetime, while others are with us for  a  season or two, most certainly, if for no other reason than a very important lesson.  I often think of these relationships and compare them to that of the gardener and the spectator.  Some friends, like the gardener, are nurturing,  giving back to the tillage with care and nutrition, while other’s simply stand by as the ‘on-looker’.  Almost as if merely putting on a facade, giving the ‘talk’ of tilling their fields, but never truly working it with the care it needs.  This is true with the our varying friendships.  There is this one particular friendship that I’ve held on to for so long, and I find myself forced to ask the question of keeping this friendship or letting it go.  It pains me to be at this point  (most likely why I’ve held on so long); but the fact I’m faced with is that I’ve wanted this friendship far more than she has.

I can’t say that any of this has come to me as a huge surprise.  It has dwindled over the last few years; but I did do the final ‘letter’ and she and I have been in contact.  With her reply, I can now assume that there is something in her that is saying that she does want the friendship.  Now, in her defense, she has had quite a bit of life hitting her in the face.  Is this an excuse?  Well, quite frankly, yes.  Friendship is understanding that we all go through trials in our lives and not all of us handle those trials the same way.  When something goes wrong in my life, I would have been on the phone to her first thing.  But my friend isn’t that same type of person.  No.  She is a person who prefers to keep her troubles close to her vest.  She would rather let on that all is fine with the world while all around her is going hay wire.  I happen to admire this personality type.  Not to say that I don’t admire my own, I just think that we all have ways of dealing with our own troubles and should not be judged by how we handle them or our friendships and how we reach out.  I’ve been guilty of that – judging – and am ashamed of myself.  It’s a fault I continue to work on.

change-coming

With this birthday, it is not only my friends faces that I see changing; I’m faced with yet another (or different) life changing moment – moving.  Yes, that wonderful task packing one’s things and driving or flying off to new cities, neighborhoods and possibly a new state altogether (maybe I’ll move out of the country – could happen).  At this time, however I realize just how much I will miss the friendships I’ve made.  But I must come to face the fact that these aren’t necessarily friends that I ‘hang’ with on a daily (or even weekly) basis.  Living alone makes you realize, “If I died in my bathroom shower, would I be missed?  Would I be one of those many cases, like my Uncle, who are found only after a couple of weeks?”  It can be an awful feeling to not have those daily phone calls, or contacts.

I realize that by my being such a recluse I’ve made my bed and must lie in it (as it were); but I don’t want to be one of those who stay as a shut in either.  Making new friends has always been difficult for me.  I know, it takes great effort; but, it is a character flaw of mine that I do intend to nip in the bud.  I’ve been through so many changes these past few years (especially these last two), that goes without saying; but somewhere along the line I must think about what is important to me and not worry so much about the ‘what ifs’ about the future.  It could very well be the one thing that takes me to a whole other level – a new level – allowing me to truly live my authentic self.

More and more, I’m finding that many of my friends have been (or are) fair weather friends.  They are there to say hi, answer the phone when you call; while the true blue friend that will believe in ME, regardless of the rumors that might roam around are very few.  I’ve further realize that this happens to be truer for most than not, so it is nice to know that I’m not alone in that at least.  With all the changing going on in my life, I’ve lost a few friends (no explanation, no word just “poof” gone).   I’m not sure if this “Internet” stage of our society is such a great idea.  It allows people to hide behind their Smartphones and their computers/tablets.  We’ve somehow lost (or drained) our “Heart Chakra”; so much to the point, we no longer ‘talk’ to each other.   We dismiss friendships as if they grow on trees and are so quick to judge as opposed to stand by a person; talking things out and making amends.  This has been possibly the hardest part of life for me to come to grips with.  That not everyone is ‘true-blue’ and most will believe just about any type of slimy gossip that makes its way into their ear.  There is nothing I can do about that, all I can do is accept it and I believe I have.

Changes are definitely in my future – the move for one – just where is not yet confirmed.  This move is my choice as the area I live in is far too expensive and crowded for my taste.  I long for a simpler life and would love nothing better than to live in the country.  As for the fickleness of some of my friends, I’ve come to that ‘grown-up’ realization that that too is “LIFE” and all we can do is live our life with integrity and with the knowledge that we are doing the best we can.  Nobody knows what a person is going through in this life unless they’ve walked a mile (heck even a block) in their shoes.  It matters not what I do, how I look; people will come up with their own perspective and judgement.  I can only hope that if they are my dear friends, they will stand by me.

Life is but a dream, and mine is coming true… finally… (whew!)