Thursday, September 19, 2019

“Out of the strain of the doing, into the peace of done” – Julia Louise Woodruff.

A few years ago, I was attending a seminar.  I don’t remember what it was about or anything except we were asked by the moderator to list five things that described who we were.  I recall that my number one answer was “human being”.  I was totally shocked that of all the people in the room, I was the only one who thought of myself first, as a human being.

I remember pondering the situation later and decided that this was one of things wrong with society today—the fact that we don’t look into the face of each person we meet and see them as a human being first.  The fact that we don’t think of ourselves first as a human being still baffles me.

If we did think of ourselves in this manner, all bigotry could end.  There would be no racial problems, no religious problems, no gender problems.

I think we should start a new movement and it be a movement to become human beings.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Asked what my favorite possessions are, I have to admit that my living room furniture is one of my beloved possessions.  It took me months to talk the hubster into purchasing furniture.  Our living room had stood empty for over a year before I got him to go shopping.  All that was there were Boris’ dog toys and bones.  We called it Borrie, borrie land.

We made our way to the Ethan Allen furniture store in Dayton, Ohio.  I wanted to look around and determine what our style was.

I knew I wanted an oriental rug and he wanted Queen Anne style chairs and furniture.  We got a pretty good idea of what we wanted and ventured to a store that specialized in making furniture to your requests.

We settled on the chairs and couch.  The couch is low and a lovely green shade.  My favorite color is green.  The chairs were covered in this oriental style pattern that the woman I was working with warned me that the material “wouldn’t last.”

Next we got a rug in my next favorite color—teal blue.  I found a couple of oriental prints that had bamboo and birds and a bamboo frame.  I also found a couch table with glass in the top and the legs were bamboo style.

I went back to that Ethan Allen store and found this most wonderful metal dragon.  I got it for the hubster’s birthday because he was born in the year of the dragon.  That began his collection of dragon figurines.

About twenty-two years later I talked the hubster into recovering our beautiful chairs as the front was becoming bare.  They were covered in a strong celery material.  I was pleased.  I purchased three maroon oriental rugs and changed the look of the room.

My girls have kidded me over the years about my furniture staying things like, “we sold your green couch on E-bay.”  This while we were away on vacation.

And so, this furniture will have to make it until I die.  I just hope my girls can get good money out of the beautiful set of furniture.

My other favorite possession is my wok.  I purchased it one year when I decided I needed to learn to cook some oriental dishes.  Fried rice is a specialty of mine and helped us make it through some not too wealthy years.  I also had Mu Shu Pork at a restaurant and do make it well, if I say so myself.  I even fixed Mu Shu Pork for the school administration and teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week.  In fact, I made it two years in a row.

That wok has had as many miles as my furniture and I am grateful that I spent the money on it.

Another favorite possession of mine is my garden and houseplants.  However, turning 68, I seem to be falling apart.  I may have my garden tilled up and grass planted this fall.  I just can’t seem to keep up with it anymore.  And my houseplants have suffered also.

Now my favorite possession is my health.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

What is my ideal of perfect happiness?

One of my favorite cartoons as a child was Peanuts.  I felt so sorry for poor pathetic Charlie Brown.  My favorite cartoon of him was when he was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered, “Outrageously happy.”  I answered with that for years.  Now that I am older, I realize that happiness, outrageous or perfect, either one is not attainable.  Contentment and serenity are much more reasonable attainments.

My closest I ever come to perfect happiness is when I am in my garden and listening to my music.  The world travels very far away from me.  I am in my thoughts or singing along to a favorite song.  My hands are dirty, my body is sweating bullets and I am so very content.

Another time when I am very happy, or content is when I am at a gathering of my friends, family or my book club.  Just the closeness of those that I love the best around me gives me peace of mind.  I’m smiling now just thinking about it.

My most recent bout of happiness has come through a grandson.  Seeing my baby with her baby gives me an ecstatic feeling of joy and peace.  I never thought I would become a grandmother and am still just flabbergasted each time I see them together.

Meditation also gives me a lot of peace.  Just sitting and being quiet with my thoughts of breathing in the positive and breathing out the negative in my life.  My newest meditation is to breathe in health and breathe out pain and sickness.  I’m working on myself since medicine and physical therapy isn’t seeming to be working well for me.

I guess I have learned in my old age that perfect happiness is not a realistic endeavor.  Realistic is being content with what you have in the here and now.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Favorite Books

My very favorite book is Catcher in the Rye.  We studied it in my first year of college.  I laughed so hard reading this book the first time.  The second time I read it, after we had dissected it class, I cried my eyes out.  I have read this book so many times and have gone through three different copies.  I can pick this book up and turn to any page and enjoy the memory of reading this book the first time.

I have also read the Clan of the Cave Bear series several times.  I just love Ayla living in nature and discovering new things.  I watched the movie once, but it didn’t do it for me.  A book is so much more in-depth than a movie.  The last one in the series wasn’t a favorite for me.  Valley of the Horses is my very favorite in the series.

Janet Evanovich is another writer that I enjoy and can read over.  Stephanie Plum is a scream and her grandmother is a double scream.

I have a collection of thirty-eight Rex Stout novels.  Detective, Nero Wolfe, is an eccentric who has a boy Friday named, Archie Goodwin.  Archie writes the story from his perspective and he is a joy!  Some of these books have 35 cents as their price-tag.  That is how old these books are.  I have read them numerous times also.

I read one of the best books ever recently.  It is A Dangerous Road by Kris Nelscott.  It is about the Civil Rights movement, MLK Jr.’s death, and the Kennedy deaths.  Beautifully written, wonderful characters and such interesting history.
I highly recommend all of the above.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Peace of Mind

I have been asked what gives me peace of mind.  I used to find it daily when I was practicing my yoga every morning.  I had to give that up because I was waking the hubster and he would be so irritable. I need to move my yoga room downstairs, but I have been lazy.

When I meditate, I always pray for peace of mind, peace within and peace on Earth.

As I was in the garden yesterday, planting potatoes and onions, I realized that this is where I find peace of mind.  My back wasn’t hurting, and I was listening to my favorite Pandora station, a Steely Dan station.  I hummed along and even sang some of the songs as I gently placed each piece of potato seed---and onion into the soil.

Writing this, I had to check out Loggins and Messina’s song “Peace of Mind.”  If you haven’t seen the video check it out here.

The dolphins swimming and the clouds and the ocean are very peace giving.  He also mentions taking off your shoes.  That can really bring peace of mind as well as peace of the dawgs!

I believe the best peace of mind I have ever had was at the beach.  Any beach.  Shoes off, water lapping, refreshing beverage in hand.  I’ll take that any day.

One thing that really gives me peace of mind is knowing that my girls and their families are healthy, happy, working and have insurance.  My greatest pleasure in life was raising my girls.  They are responsible adults and I am so very proud of both of them.

Peace be with you.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What is one of the most beautiful places you have seen?

Being a pantheist, almost every place I have been is beautiful to me.  I love the mountains, the desert, the oceans and my home.

I have to admit that when I first stepped into the Grand Canyon, I cried like a baby.  It was so overwhelmingly beautiful that I was beside myself.  I finally quit crying and took a good look through clear eyes. We went to a special meeting at night in a niche overlooking the canyon.  The tour guide had us sit in a circle and be quiet for quite some time.  It was almost like hearing the canyon breathing.  He told us a lot of history of the canyon and it was very interesting.

The first time I went to Jamaica I fell in love.  The water is so beautiful, the people are so lovely, the food is wonderful, and you can drink the water.  The land is not so lovely but the beaches are stupendous.

Niagara Falls is another place that is stunningly beautiful.  The sound of the water rushing over the cliffs is so enticing.  If you stand close enough you can feel the spray from the water.

I also love a Japanese garden.  Anderson Gardens in Rockford is so beautiful.  Just every corner you turn is another lovely scene.  I also enjoyed the Japanese garden that I visited in Arizona.

I had hoped to visit Japan sometime in my life, but I don’t think I could stand being on a plane for that long.  I also want to see Stonehenge someday and I think I could do that flight.  I would really love to visit the Netherlands and see the island where my ancestors came from.

The desert is a mystery to me.  I don’t understand why anyone would want to live where there is a lack of water.  It is very pretty and I love the cacti.

The most beautiful place I have ever seen is my home.  I love the view of the lake.  I love my garden and my herb garden.  There is no place like home.

Photo is Washington Island, Wisconsin.

Peace be with you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Who have been my best friends throughout the years?

My first best friend was Emma.  We met in Kindergarten and were very best friends until Junior High.  Emma was a beautiful little girl.  Blonde with Shirley Temple curls.  She was an only child and her momma spoiled her to death.  She was very sweet though.  We had a lot of fabulous times together.  I especially loved going roller skating and to the library with her.  Her mom always took us.

In my freshman year at high school a new girl came to Carlisle.  Her name was Barb and we became fast friends.  She loved to dance as much as I did, and we went to all the dances.  She embarrassed me the worst in my life.  As I was singing a solo in choir, she snuck behind me and pulled my half slip to my ankles.  I could have died.  She moved away the next year.

Jeanie became my next best friend throughout high school.  She was a red head and very popular.  We witnessed a UFO together one evening when we were driving home from a football game.  She was my matron of honor and I was her maid of honor.

When I got to college, I met Pat in my speech class.  We were supposed to pick a partner and we looked at each other and just laughed.  We had so many adventures, it was unbelievable.  Still to this day when we meet, it is like we were never apart.

Dave, Dave and Fuzzer were our best friends for many years.  Dave and Fuzzer (brothers) even lived with us for a while.  Dave and Dave and Ferb and I played cards almost every weekend.  I swore that Dave L and Ferb cheated but they swore they never did.

When we moved to Illinois, I became friends with Ellie.  The hubsters got along as well.  I just wish the children had gotten along better but they grew up to act like brother and sisters.  Ellie and I walked a lot together.  A group of us would get together and boat out on the lake.  We’d tie up the boats and the kids would jump and play in the water as we adults had refreshing beverages and snacks.  Ellie and her hubster were travel agents and they talked us into a Jamaican vacation for our anniversary.  We took the kids and had one of many happy Jamaican vacations.  We also got together for Summerfest and put together a lunch stand called, Da Grille.  We made Italian beef and Italian sausage sandwiches.  We made enough money to take all the workers to Florida for a three-day weekend.  One of the saddest days of my life was the day I bid Ellie farewell as they moved to Arizona.

Nancy, across the street, became a best friend.  We had many walks when we would “solve the many problems of the world.”  We eventually became the “Women who bake and drink, and the men who love them.”  And on occasion we were, “Women who can and drink, etc…”

Naomi and I were friends for many years.  She played guitar and sang, and I sang harmony.  We had many walks also.  I adopted her dog, Dot, and if Naomi wasn’t available to walk, I walked Dot.  We were in Front Porch Jam together and it was a long strange trip but one I will never forget.  I still enjoy going to see her live band, Decades.

My friend, Lauri, asked me if I’d be interested in helping her paint.  She painted and wallpapered for folks in the area.  I joined in and we had so much fun working together.  We once painted a tavern and I remember standing on the bar to get the ceiling.  Lauri and I enjoy trips to the Goodwill store in Delavan (if you haven’t been, you need to go), outlet stores around Madison, and lunch at Daddy Maxwell’s in Williams Bay, WI.  Go on Friday and have the fish tacos.  Lauri and I plan to take a trip to Texas someday.  That is where she originated, and she wants me to see it.

Suzy was my housekeeper for a couple of years.  She cleaned my house like I cleaned my house.  She became a reflexologist and wrote a textbook on the subject.  Suzy and I did several girl trips.  We went to Chicago once when she was speaking at a book store.  I was kind of her secretary.  We also took a long journey to Washington Island in northern Wisconsin.  We laughed so hard we hurt.  I was sad to see her retire to Arizona but was happy for her to retire.

My neighbor, Garnett, was my friend off and on for several years.  She was kind of a hermit and a homebody.  She never wanted to do anything but sit at home and watch soap operas and drink beer.  She was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and I was determined to get her up and moving.  I just wanted to spend time with her and make her do things she had never thought of doing.  I got her to eat Chinese, Indian, Thai, Greek and Italian.  She was part Mexican and only ate Mexican food all her life.  After radiation and chemo the first time, she lost her sense of taste and couldn’t eat meat which she had been a big meat eater all her life.

She and I went on garden tours, went kayaking, went on a tour of the Rock River as well as our culinary adventures.  We also tried out for Rock Valley College movie department and acted in three short movies together.  We went to see live bands perform and even got in a few dances.

The hubster, me and Charyl (Garnett’s best friend for life) took Garnett to Colorado as she had never seen the mountains before.  When we left, she called them “her mountains”.

Garnett passed last year, and I am just so empty.  Since then I have been attacked by this stupid pinched nerve in my neck.  And now my best friend is Pain.

Photo is Suzy, Nancy, me and Lauri.

Peace be with us all.