How Can “No” Mean Anything Else?


'Gee, I didn't know there was a casting couch just to sell POPCORN in the theater...'

In the English language there are several words that have numerous synonyms and even more synonyms on those synonyms.  For example the word “perchance” – this is an adverb that can also mean:  conceivably, feasible, obtainable, available, there for the taking, maybe…  Yes means: by all means, definitely, agreed, affirmative – clearly, no mixed message.  Now let us take a look at that two letter word that people seem to want to mistake – the word “No”; means (take a close look):  negative, nix, absolutely not, by no means, never, no way, not at all, not by any means – again, clearly no mixed message here.  So why is it that people have a difficult time accepting that “no” means “no?”  Is it ‘wishful thinking’?  The thrill of the pursuit?   Not sure, but it can get ugly and dangerous.

I had a friend, a male friend that I would chat with back and forth on Facebook.  He would occasionally get flirty, but I would keep it on the straight and narrow.  It was never anything serious, and we would always get back to talking about his life or mine…  One day as we were ‘IMing’ (is that a word?) he offered to meet with me and look over my résumé and help me find a position in his company.  Said we could meet up yesterday or today.  Well, yesterday I got quite pissed as I  understood that he was going to help me with my job search, but, as the day came and went, when asked, he advised that his calendar got mixed up and couldn’t make it [whatever!]…  Anyway, one thing led to another and he seemed put off that I was more interested in the job and not the “meet up” with him.  I was flabbergasted!  I’d been warned of his shenanigans and, truth be told, I should have followed my gut, but I quite honestly thought he understood where I stood on the issue.  He’s a married man and first, I don’t date married men; second, I am not interested…  It felt like the “casting couch” all over again.  Yep, been there done that too – and ran out like a scared kitten as I was only 17 years of age.

So, what is it?  I believe that by standing up for myself I’ve finally wiped the imaginary sign off my forehead; but who knows?  I’ve since cut off all contact and am truly disappointed – I’m not so sure who disappointed me more, him or me.  I mean people don’t usually lie about ‘who they really are’ so I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised.  I was just so touched (pardon the pun) that he would go out on a limb like that for me.  He even went so far as to say how much he owed me for all I’d done for him [blah, blah, blah] – and I had gone out on a limb… not necessarily for him, but I wanted to make sure that the ‘process’ would be followed and fair.  It’s a long story, but briefly; I was President (if you will) of an organization that was in the search of a director.  We had two candidates – one of which was pulling no punches with their gossip and bullying.  At the time when they were looking for a President, I was approached as they knew there would be nobody else to stand strong against this other person.  So I stood up.  Anyway, I did and this man won by a landslide… for his talent, his audition, his interview… no other reason.  I felt satisfied.

As with all decisions, there are always times of doubt; and I soon came to that bridge about the time of our contest.  I found that our organization was taking a HUGE leap backwards as opposed to forwards.  I also received a very demanding job  found myself making a decision.  So, I made my leave.  Bottom line is that I did/do know the character of this man and should have known better.  So, I guess this means “shame on me!”  I just can’t help but feel that a leopard CAN change their spots.  I feel for his wife… the lies they must be living.

Anyway, I have some great leads on a couple of jobs and have faith that I will find something soon.  My lesson?  Trust my gut, from now ON!

 

Counting My Blessings (instead of sheep)


There are times in our lives when we realize it really does pay off to live with a partner, or to at the very least, CountingSheephave an ‘emergency partner’.  Someone we can rely upon for heavy lifting, help with heavy yard work, or trips to the hospital.  The other day I suffered from one of the worst migraines in many, many months; I probably should have gone to emergency… but, how do I get there?  I’m no longer in a community that has ‘taxi-cab’ service, and really am not justified to call an ambulance…  So, here I am with my dog Tula, who seemed very worried as she didn’t leave my side all day, and my cockatiel Frank Sinatra whose singing, by the way, I could have lived without.

Then I got to thinking, why of all the wonderful times in my life am I getting this doozy of a migraine NOW?  I’m happy, truly happy!  Sleep has been a bit hard and I’ve taken the advice of our wonderful Bing Crosby who sang:

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings
When my bankroll is getting small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep counting my blessings”

There is something very soothingly true in those lyrics.  I find that when I count all that I have as opposed to all that I don’t, I wake up with a far better view of my life.  True, there is still so much that I want to fulfill in my life and so many dreams I wish to come true.  Many of my dreams have; I’m singing and performing, I’ve connected with the local theatre and can’t wait to audition or even work on their productions.  I’m writing and researching a series of new novels to work on that will be about my family (believe it or not I have a rich and luscious history dating back to 1634!).  So why these sick head-aches?  Perhaps it is the relief I feel as I’m embarking on this new life.  They say that we can be so tense for a time that once we relax, the blood vessels release and the migraine hits – POW!

As I continue to count my blessings I’m reminded that today marks Kimball’s birthday – another milestone and as I start this day, instead of the heavy feeling of grief, I feel love and joy over having had this wonderful spirit in my life.  It warms me to know that that long winter of grief – those cold, foggy, sometimes icy or sleety days/months are now a season of the past.  I’ve passed through that winter, into spring and am now into the lovely warmth of summer, with the wonderful memory of my dear sister warming my face.  I will be celebrating her life as I make her favorite birthday food this weekend and open her favorite bottle of champagne.   Possibly an odd tradition to many of you, but one that I find peace in as I do this to celebrate my mother as well…

With all the ‘ugly’ in the world – I love to be able to focus on all that is beautiful in life – especially my life.  That is what is important after all.  I mean, the way we can change the world is one thought at  a time, focusing on our blessings – focusing on what we want; as opposed to what we don’t want.  The migraines will continue, unfortunately – however, hopefully not quite as severe in future as I continue down this wonderful path of “summer” and content with the grass on this side of my fence.

Happy Birthday Kimball – I will forever Love and remember you with all my heart…

 

Through those old Grounds of memory, by Emily Dickinson
Through those old Grounds of memory,
The sauntering alone
Is a divine intemperance
A prudent man would shun.
Of liquors that are vended
‘Tis easy to beware
But statutes do not meddle
With the internal bar.
Pernicious as the sunset
Permitting to pursue
But impotent to gather,
The tranquil perfidy
Alloys our firmer moments
With that severest gold
Convenient to the longing
But otherwise withheld.

 

 

Full Circle – Some People ARE Full of Surprises (wonderful surprises)


As I sit here on this fine Fall day, I’m elated with the recent event of reuniting with an old dear friend.  We had a falling out of sorts some time ago (it was stupid really and I lost my temper… ).  These past few GenuineFriendsweeks I’ve reached out to old lost friends; call it age, but I’m finding that life is too short to hold onto grudges or past hurts.  And, I’ve been told by these old friends, in no uncertain terms to F… Off, We don’t want you here.  Well, I guess I can’t blame them.  Then again, it left me feeling a bit sorry for these individuals – I sort of pitied them.  I mean, if I was receiving an email or call from an old friend (especially someone I’d known since childhood or for over three decades, let’s say) with heartfelt apology, asking if we can get past this… I would call them and talk.  Forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones (that is unless they sexually assaulted me or killed my mother…); however this was not how these individuals decided to treat the situation.  They chose to clutch their pain/grudge and proudly wear it like an armor, thereby warding off anyone (mostly me); like garlic to a vampire.

Being the tenacious person that I am, I recently reached to this friend that I heard from today… Giving her my apologies and asking if there was anyway we could move forward – realizing that it had been three years – I fully expected the same reaction as with the other lost friends.  I was working on my computer and sipping my coffee when my cell rang (I was actually expecting a male friend who said he would be calling sometime this weekend… though I thought it was a bit early as he was to be taking his student for an ocean swim), so I answered this unknown number and to my surprise it was her.  “Thank you for reaching out”, she said.  “Well, thank you for calling; usually I just get a ‘f..k off’ and get defriended”, I replied and the tears started to flow.  We talked for close to two hours as if no time passed.

I’ve spent a great deal of time dealing with those voices in my head that told me, “you’re a bad person, Ann.  You don’t deserve to have friends like them.”  “You expect them to forgive you?  You aren’t worthy.”  But some strange things came out this week as I’ve said ‘good-bye’ so some toxic people who really, not only recently decided I was not ‘good enough’ for whatever reason, NEVER felt the love I felt for them for three decades or more!  I felt cleansed, and felt those ‘voices’ flushed away.  It was as if, suddenly, I could see my worth.  Because, I DO forgive, I do keep my word and don’t spread gossip – hurtful, horrid gossip.  I used to think to never do that which you don’t want done to you (or…on the positive slant – treat others as you would like to be treated).  It doesn’t always work that way as people are going to talk no matter what… But this I do know and I’ve said this before – TRUTH always wins out.  People will show you who they are.  And these individuals have shown me who they really were, I just didn’t have enough faith in myself to trust it.  I knew they didn’t love me… I could feel it in the way they treat me and the way they treated those ‘friends’ around them. I knew they were ashamed of me and that I didn’t ‘make the cut’ with their other friends who had more money and owned cabins, boats, vacation homes… but again, I couldn’t allow myself to see the shallowness in them.

Those people are my past… They don’t define me and no longer have any hold on me.  From now on I only care for and look forward to all that are in my life now.  Those individuals that lift me up, make me laugh and truly care for ME as I do them.  Friends and acquaintances will always come and go – this is true, but it is a certain blessed person that will realize that life is too short; people get older (we all do) and sometimes you just need to let bygones be bygones and realize that there was love and deep friendship there.  To my friend today – if you read this (you know who you are) I’m so very grateful for you and Love you with all my heart… This is my best Birthday present.

TheOnlyWayToHaveAFriend

 

Three’s Company (or is it?)


LovetriangleIt is October and there is finally a sense of Fall in the air (I actually turned off the AC…); so sorry, I haven’t written since July!  My apologies.  Life has been wonderful and full!  My grief has lessened to the point I’m smiling, happy and have that wonderful, peppy, bounce back in my step.  Even so, however I’ve found myself in a precarious place.  Just a few months ago (you might remember) I was asking myself the question “did I make the correct decision of divorcing my husband Douglas?”  I so longed for that man who I dated for over a year, that man who was so genuinely kind and loved to cook.  Was a champion fisherman and abalone diver.  There were so many things I LOVED about that man; so many things that I wonder, what happened?  What happened in our marriage that made me, this woman, his wife, say “enough!”

I ask this because life has brought me back to this same man.  Well, not the same man; an older man (as I’m an older woman).  We are not those same two youngsters saying their vows in the Spring of 1988.  We have had over 20 years of life, of hurt, of arguments, of heart-ache, of LOVE.  Yes; I said it… LOVE.  There were many times that I should have said “adios!”  But I couldn’t.  By the act of simply kissing his lips, I knew I loved  him and that everything was going to be ok.

My problem is that now that we have been divorced I thought we could make a go of it.  And I’ve found – You can’t go back.  People rarely are NOT  what they tell you they are.  In LoveTrangleother words… the ARE who THEY SHOW YOU THEY ARE!!!  Basically, in a nutshell, he’s not going to change.  Actually, I’m not going to change (not with him and not in the same scenario).  So, I choose to change my life.  I choose to NOT marry him.  I choose to live my life the way I WANT to live it.  Not sure exactly how that is; but at least I’m going to be the captain of my destiny.

Now the plot thickens as I’ve met this other chap… I like him… I like him a lot!  And, he likes me… ooh the problematic “Love Triangle”; or is it?  Problem is he is a friend of my ex.  So, I’m in a pickle.  Other problem?  He might have found out just how dumb I really am (that or how dull I really am).  He’s very worldly – I’m not.  I’m still learning so many wonderful things.  My biggest fear is that people realize just how stupid I truly am.  Originally he was very boisterous, “can’t wait to hear from you”, “count down to see you”, “what about a rendezvous”  and all that… Now, he’s been very distant, very proper… so, he might be gone and  there may not be anything to worry about.  Oh, well… as my dear friends tell me, should that be the case, then he/they just don’t know what they got.  Ah… I guess that’s true.  Perhaps I should tell the voices in my head to go to the Devil and hush!

Really, why do we waste our time worrying about such nonsense still?  It’s truly nothing but a huge pain in the Puss!  I’m done… for now…  My question:  Should I be?  What do you think?

 

 

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…

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