Dog days of summer.

Washington fiddles while the world economy burns.  ~  Pat

Today was another 100 degree day with humidity to  match.  There are no children on the streets riding bikes or scooters.  I assume they’re inside trying to stay cool.  My grass is brown but the weeds are nice and green.  A neighbor teenager mowed them for me early yesterday before the thermometer climbed too high.  And he took a break midway to hydrate and rest.  (I have a small yard.)

Despite the oppressive heat, the neighborhood is a beehive of activity, mostly Latinos doing repairs to the homes that were damaged in the hail storm back in April.  Latinos replaced my roof and many others in the area.  They are putting in a pool for the neighbors.  Soon they will be cleaning, sanding, and painting my deck and pergola.  I spoke with a man from Mexico while he was here to fix my roof.  He told me he had been here for one week.  He knew no English yet.  He commented on how much work we have here.  (It’s all in your perspective, isn’t it?)  We can’t get our lawmakers to pass fair guidelines for our immigrants, yet we can’t do without them.  Who else would work 12 and 14 hours a day in this heat to restore our houses?  The Peruvians, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Hondurans, etc., will.  And they do it with smiles on their faces, so grateful to be here in the land of opportunity.  We allow them to join our military, fight and die in our wars, but we won’t grant them citizenship.  Well, on occasion, after one dies in Afghanistan or Iraq, we sometimes grant it posthumouslyThat’s a little late, no?

I recognize that the dog days of summer are starting to get to me.  But our legislators in Washington are behaving like a**holes and I have zero patience.  They are playing games not only with the US economy but that of the entire world and apparently don’t have enough intelligence to see what they’re doing.  Or worse, they don’t care.

If this weather doesn’t break soon, I’m heading for the hills.  Meantime I’m hoping for rain in DC to cool off all those hot heads up there.  And that’s the end of this tirade for now.  Sorry.


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When the balance of power shifts…

Money doesn’t talk, it swears.  ~ Bob Dylan

North Carolina is a fifty-fifty state.  When a couple divorces all property is equally divided.

Something came up recently that gave me pause and made me think back on my 30  years of marriage to D.  He indicated that he had given me a particular amount of money in our settlement.  Really, D.  You gave me that?  According to the law, it was mine.  You didn’t give it to me.

I have come to understand that our attitude about my money, his money and our money became a sticking point in our marriage quite a few years ago.  Once I stopped working full-time I was apparently not pulling my weight any longer.  That wasn’t just his attitude, it was mine too.  I think that our spouses treat us the way we allow them to treat us.  When it came to money I allowed him to belittle me once he became the only wage earner.

My intention here is not to kick a dead dog.  I simply think this little epiphany was begging me to comment.  And I comment not to take anything away from D’s generosity.  He was generous to a fault throughout our marriage and I appreciate that very much.  But the fact that as recently as a month or so ago, he thought he gave me what was rightfully mine explains a great deal about what went wrong in our marriage.

There are many shifts of power in a relationship.  Most of them have nothing to do with  money.  I think they’re about respect more than anything.  And where there’s respect the two can balance and re-balance the power.  I think in this case I didn’t insist on the respect I deserved and I didn’t get it.  Neither did he.

Life goes on…and I’m so sad.

A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand.  Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than those who inhabit the mountain? ~ Kahlil Gibran

It’s very, very hot today.  As I was driving home this afternoon at 5:30 my car thermometer read 100 degrees.  Two hours later and it’s still 95.  I drove out to Lake Norman today to bid farewell to my precious friends R and S and their three daughters J, S and A.  On Monday the movers will pack their belongings in a van and haul them off to the Midwestern US.  I’m sad because I hate thinking of them so far away.

I have written about them before in terms of their wonderful care and support during my divorce.  Not just R and S but the girls, too.  D and I met them when we started attending the church in the mountains where R was pastor.  And we soon discovered S’s Sunday School class.  The class name was The Seekers because most of the people in it were trying to find their way; to figure out just what they (we) did believe.  Both R and S were accepting and non-judgmental and patient about our “spiritual journeys.”  If they hadn’t been, neither D nor I would have lasted long in the church or the class.  They were very clear about what they believed but they never forced it on anyone else.  How could we not love them?  And we knew from the beginning that they loved us too.

So…even though I’m sad, I’m also very happy for them.  They are beginning a grand new adventure with many opportunities to do what they do best–take care of others and guide them along and help them to grow in wisdom and faith.  I pray that they will find the new congregation as loving and giving as they are and that they will receive all the support they could ever hope for as they take on this new and important challenge.  A win-win for all concerned.

To the girls: J–I hope you have the best freshman year any college student can have.  I’m pulling for you.  S and A–Enjoy your new high school.  It sounds wonderful.  Like a place I would have loved to teach back in my teaching days.  And S, xoxoxo to you since you weren’t home today.

Happy, safe journey to all of you.  Lots of love!

Life goes on…and I’m so damn happy.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on, brah!…      La la, how the life goes on.  ~  The Beatles

I love music, especially happy songs.  I can bring myself out of the depths of despair by listening to joyful music.

This song by The Beatles reminds me that life is a gift.  That it keeps on going whether or not I choose to ante up and play along.  I can wallow or I can dance.

I was in the throes of pain and despair after D left when I stumbled upon a song by Loudon Wainwright, III, called So Damn Happy.  I don’t really know his story but I assume he had just broken up with a woman when he wrote this song.  I giggled with glee when I heard the words and the catchy tune.  Here’s a little of it:

It’s crucial that it doesn’t matter.  Vows of love are idle chatter.  To feel this good has to be bad, I’m so damn happy that it’s sad.  Dear listener (reader) would you like to slap me?  And the sad thing is I’m so damn happy.

I find it refreshing that some of our best singers/musicians/entertainers show a sense of humor in their work.  I can only guess, but I suspect that Mr. Wainwright was entertaining himself more than anything when he penned this one.  He’s a very funny guy.  This song helped me to understand that I would get past the pain and get happy again.  And I have.

Lest you’re starting to worry about my taste in music, let me assure you that I love all the good stuff too.  I often go to sleep at night to classical music.  The point I’m trying to make, I suppose, is that music is a huge part of my life.  It inspires me.  It soothes.  It makes me laugh and cry.  It makes me dance.  It makes me happy when nothing else will.  (Excepting a grandchild, of course.)

Life is good.  And even better when the music is on!

Living well…

Living well is the best revenge.                        ~ George Herbert

When D and I first separated, a good friend of mine said this to me a number of times.  It sounded right then.  My gut instinct was to want some kind of revenge.  Now that I have passed that stage I wonder if that’s really what George Herbert meant.

revenge:  The action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for a wrong suffered at their hands.

I think that the desire or need for revenge comes from anger or hatred.  I’m happy to say that I feel neither toward my ex and his significant other.  In fact, I never hated them.  Life is too short or too long depending on your point of view.  I readily admit, though, that I was terribly hurt–and angrier than I had ever been before.  I’m happy to say that I now have a rather gentle acceptance of all that has taken place in my life and I think I am, for the most part, living well.  And I have no need for revenge.  But I’m left wondering how my living well should have anything at all to do with revenge.  Or whether or not D and S are living well.  I hope they are.  I have no ill will.  It’s gone, dissipated.

And life is good.

No place like home.

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.                             ~ Maya Angelou

It’s good to be home.  I returned yesterday from a week-long trip to Litchfield Beach, SC.  It’s about a four-hour drive from here.  I went with my dear friend L and her family.  (We call each other BFF.)  It was a family reunion for the family of L’s husband DR.  I love the Maya Angelou quote above because it sums up my relationship with L’s family.  Wherever I find myself, if I’m with them, I feel at home.  I cannot imagine going on a family vacation with a family other than my own, except for this one.  Wherever they are, they make room for me and they love me and take great care to make me welcome.  I have known L for more than 30 years and she has always treated me this way.  Now her whole family does, even her in-laws.  I think they have redoubled their efforts in this regard since I’ve been alone.  I wish there were words to express how much I appreciate them and their concern and caring for me.  I love y’all.  Y’all is southern for you, plural, just in case you don’t know.

The significance of home has changed dramatically for me in my divorced state.  I’ve discovered that if I’m comfortable in my skin, I’m at home.  It has taken a while to feel this way.  I guess I have learned that it’s not about me; yet it is entirely about me.  That sounds contradictory, I’m sure.  I know that when I was younger I thought people were watching me and what I did and what I wore.  I realize now that my ego was getting in the way.  Most people are not doing that at all.  They might be worrying about who’s looking at them.  I don’t know.  But I seriously doubt that they’re paying attention to me.  And that’s what I mean when I say it is entirely about me.  It has everything to do with my attitude and my self-confidence.  I’m trying to be honest and self-effacing here not self-critical.  I have spent too much of my life worrying that I didn’t measure up.  I’m not sure I can explain it even to myself but now that there’s no man in my life I’m much more comfortable with me.  I don’t think I have ever had a significant man in my life who affirmed me and helped me to feel good about myself.  I’m not blaming it on them.  I’m simply saying that I wanted some sort of affirmation from my dad, then my first husband, then D.  They didn’t give me that.  I assume they didn’t have it to give.  I’m okay with it now but I wasn’t back when I lived with them.  I’m wiser now.  I am the one who has to make me feel good about myself.

I wish I could have moved this wisdom from my head to my heart a long time ago but I guess I wasn’t ready for the information.  I’m glad I know it now.  It’s better than never knowing.

I’m happy to be back.  Thank you for reading.

Peace.

I’m concentrating on staying healthy, having peace, being happy, remembering what is important, taking in nature and animals, spending time reading, trying to understand the universe where science and the spiritual meet.  ~  Joan Jett

Good morning.  I will be without computer access for a few days so I will be missing all of you.  I leave you with my favorite word:  PEACE.