Calista Gingrich’s hat, er…hair.

With this post I step outside my comfort zone.  I started this blog by writing about my divorce.  But hey! Wait a minute.  Maybe Calista is right down my alley.  She is after all a poster child for the American OW aka other woman.  When I first heard the news that Newt was going to run for president, I thought,  “Are you kidding?!”  Wasn’t he tarred and feathered a long time ago?  Left the city in shame.  Good luck with that, Newt.  I’m thinking about a snowball’s chance in hell.

As Newt’s publicity increased, I noticed that his third wife Calista was always by his side.  Was she afraid he would cut and run with number four?  So… her ubiquitousness (My spell check doesn’t like that word, but I do.) was the first thing I noticed about her, but once I started to pay attention and realize that The Lizard really would run, I began to notice she was wearing a hat.  Hmmm.  That’s  rather unusual at a political rally.  A baseball cap maybe, but a hat?  It is so unusual that one night during the  newscast I got really close to the TV (I don’t have a giant screen and my eyesight is not what it once was.), and I carefully scrutinized Calista’s hat.  Holy crap!  That little white feather on the left side wasn’t a feather.  It was her hair!  How does she do that?

Now that I know the truth I would like to ask some questions of Calista and/or her hairdresser:  Whose idea was the helmet?  Don’t you know that no one looks good in a helmet, not even football players.  I read somewhere on the internet that your hair must be colored every two weeks so the roots won’t show, and that the cost each time is at least $300.  Is that true?  I also read that your goal is that your hair look exactly the same at every public appearance.  Why?  If it’s ugly today, it will be just as ugly tomorrow.  And in order for it to always look the same, you would have to have a practically full-time hairdresser.  How much exactly is your hair costing you?  And wouldn’t you rather spend it at Tiffany & Co.?  If you didn’t spend so much money on your hair, you wouldn’t have to run up your charge account at that high-dollar store.  This question is for the hairdresser:  What kind of hair glue do you use to make that little hairy feather stay in place?  My bangs keep falling in my face.  And I’m thinking that stuff, whatever it is, would solve my problem.  On second thought, never mind.  I kinda like for my hair to move.

One last thing before I go, I saw a photo of you in a blue suit and you were wearing a very attractive necklace.  It looked like a David Yurman.  Was it?  I don’t think Tiffany carries DY.


My grandmother didn’t like me.

When I was born I had two grandmothers.  That’s true for most children, I suppose.  Unfortunately my mother’s mother (Ma, or as we say in the mountains, Maw) died when I was about six and a half.  Then, my mother’s father died a few months later on my seventh birthday.  I still feel sad for my mom that she lost both parents in less than six months.  I also think it was sad for me that this grandmother died when I was so young because she was the grandmother who liked me.  I would even go so far as to say she loved me.  I can still remember specific sweet gestures from her to me.  She told me stories.  I would put my head on her lap and she would gently smooth my hair off my face and tuck it behind my ear.  She taught me that if you don’t have your toothbrush with you, you can break a small twig off a birch tree and chew on it and it will clean your teeth and freshen your breath. She showed me the leaves and bark of the birch so I could recognize it.  She was a good grandma.

I remember that she had dizzy spells.  I think it may have been an inner ear problem but I don’t really know.  I don’t think there was anything wrong with her heart.  She died of cancer.  I remember her dizzy spells because when I would ask her to play Ring around the Rosie with me, she would say, “Oh, I can’t do that, Honey.  My head’s a-swimmin'”  I’m surprised to this day that I can remember her as well as I do since I was so young when she died.

So what about that other grandmother?  My dad’s mother.  She had six children–three girls and three boys.  I think I have figured out that she didn’t like my dad.  He was a hell-raiser in school.  I’ve heard some wild tales about his escapades.  He and his younger brother got in trouble often and my dad was always blamed, never his brother.  Dad’s perception was that he was a black sheep and Uncle R could do no wrong.  He went to his grave thinking that.  I think it did serious damage to his psyche.

I never have figured out why Mama W. didn’t like me.  I think my dad made her a grandmother before she wanted to be one because she taught us to call her Mama + our last name.  Maybe she was vain.  I don’t know.  I managed for most of my adult life to let it go (or so I thought).  But once I became a grandmother the old questions resurfaced.  Why didn’t she like ME?  She liked my brother and at least some of my sisters.  What was wrong with me?  I wasn’t a hell-raiser; I was quite the opposite.  I made good grades and I looked like a W with my blond hair and blue eyes.

I have nine grandchildren.  Each one is unique and marvelously lovable. Once I realized that my love for ALL my grandchildren was endless and totally unconditional, I became more puzzled than ever.  I know now, of course, that it wasn’t me.  It was something missing in her.  Before she died I came to feel some pity or sympathy or something for her but not enough to establish a relationship with her.  I didn’t see her the last twenty or so years of her life.  She lived to the ripe old age of 98 or 99.  Can’t remember exactly.

My takeaway from this sad grandmother/grandchild disconnect is this:  It is the grandparent’s responsibility to develop the relationship with her grandchild.  It can and should be a rich and rewarding experience.  It’s a natural bond and really doesn’t take much effort when your heart is in the right place.  Grammy is my favorite role so far.

Cell phones and their teenagers.

Parents buy cell phones for their teenagers because they want to be able to reach them at all times.  It makes parents believe that their youngsters will be safe.  If they are threatened in any way they can call a parent or a friend or the police.  And that’s why teenagers have cell phones.  Yeah, right.

Yesterday I took my fourteen-year-old granddaughter to lunch and to shop for her birthday.  I’m amazed that we ever communicated enough to make the date.  The night before I started by texting Ms MM.  As a rule, teenagers will respond to a text much more promptly than to a call.  Not so this time.  I talked with her mom and she told me that MM’s phone had problems and she could not text out.  And I suppose she didn’t bother checking her texts since she couldn’t text back.  My logical brain is telling me she could have called me but teens don’t really like to call.  I will give her this: if she had read the text, she would have called me.  She’s respectful that way toward her grammy.  In fact I would add that she’s generally respectful of others whether it’s her grandmother or not.

I had decided that I would have to talk to her another day and book a date for the weekend.  So I went to bed.  The next day around 11:00 I received a call from the beautiful Ms MM.  I knew immediately who was calling because my phone tells me the call is from Ms MM, my fave granddaughter.  I wonder who programmed that into my phone.  Giggle.  I also have a granddaughter A, my fave granddaughter.  (They’re almost the same age.)  So, back to this little story–MM was calling to ask if I could pick her up at a friend’s house and oh, by the way, could I also take another friend home.  And so I did.

MM and I then went to the mall, had lunch and shopped for her birthday.  She is  never at a loss for words and we had a great conversation while we were eating.  She explained to me  about her phone and all that is wrong with it.  About two years ago her dad bought her a much-begged-for iPhone and she had it only a few days when she left it lying on her dad’s car and forgot about it.  Dad didn’t know it was there.  He took off in the car and the rest is history–a smashed iPhone.  She was then given a discarded phone from some family member and now it’s about to bite the dust.  She can have a new phone when her two-year waiting period has elapsed.  It’s coming up soon.  Meantime she rides along with me and lovingly caresses my phone, and texts people.

I told her, with my tongue in my cheek, why she has a phone in the first place.  See first paragraph above.  It’s for my convenience and her parents’ convenience and texting her friends should be the last thing on her list.  At first she looked at me with those big brown eyes and nodded as if she agreed with me.  But when I told her the next time I couldn’t get an answer I would call the police and report her missing, she caught the twinkle in my eye and started to grin.  She told me, “That wouldn’t be too good.”

She’s a smart girl.  I bet she understood that it concerns her parents and me when we can’t reach her.

The time Momma quit smoking.

Years ago my brother and two of my sisters went to a hypnotist because they thought they wanted to quit smoking.  It was one of those seminars where the hypnotist addressed the entire audience and then sold tapes to reinforce what he taught the would-be, hoping-to-be, future nonsmokers. (Some racket, eh?) They decided they could buy one set of tapes, then take them to Mom’s house.  That way they could go visit their aging mother and listen to encouraging words on tape all at the same time.  Great plan.  A sort of “kill two birds with one stone” proposition.  Taking care of Momma and easing off their addiction to nicotine.  I always thought the whole scenario was funny.  For one thing, Mom smoked like a smokestack.  Weren’t they going to see and smell her smoking and want to smoke themselves?  And the cheapskates–why didn’t they buy their own tapes?!  I guess I would say that they didn’t seem particularly committed to the project.  But what do I know?  I’ve never smoked.

Well, my siblings swore at first that the hypnotic tapes slowed their smoking down a bit.  I think they were fooling themselves.  They wouldn’t smoke while the tape was playing but they wanted to, especially my youngest sister.  I don’t really know, but if I were a betting woman, I would bet that all three of them lit up before they even got out of sight.

I was visiting with Mom after a week or so of the no-smoking pretense when she said to me, “You know, Pat, I have hardly smoked at all the past few days.  I don’t know why, but I really haven’t much wanted a cigarette.”  I laughed and told her it sounded as if the tapes were working for her, that she’d been hypnotized.  I laugh gleefully now as I remember the unsettled look on her face as she said, “Well, they can just play their tapes somewhere else.”

I spent many years, starting when I was three or four years old, begging my mom to stop smoking.  I so wanted to be near her and I hated smoke.  I still do.  When we took her from the hospital to the rehab/nursing facility, she wasn’t allowed to smoke.  I remember driving up to the mountains to visit her one day and she informed me with a big smile on her face that she had quit smoking.  I exclaimed how proud I was of her.  God, how I miss my feisty, sweet momma.

Trying to figure out this award thingy…

My blogger friend Sharon (dointhegratefuldance) has been so kind as to honor me with this award.  Thank you, Sharon.

I have not followed through on awards in the past (not saying there were bunches of them) for a number of reasons.  First, it felt as if I had to turn in homework.  I’m way past doing homework and grateful that I no longer have to grade it.  Then there was the decision process–to whom should I pass this award?  There are numerous possibilities.  Or are there?  Many of them already have said award.  And last, probably the biggest bugaboo of all:  Will I be able to figure out the techno-process?  I may  need help but here goes…

Seven things about myself.  Things I haven’t talked about already in previous posts?  This could be difficult as I’m an open book.  I don’t hold much back.

  1. Now that I don’t miss my ex as I once did, I really miss the housekeeper we could afford together but that I can’t afford on my own.
  2. Obviously I hate cleaning house.
  3. I always pay my bills on time.  Well there was that one time I lost the water bill and forgot about it.  They didn’t turn the water off.  It wasn’t that late.
  4. I’m going the mountains to ride a zip line in the near future.  Can’t wait.
  5. As a child, I was a tomboy.  I spent more time in trees than on the ground and I could jump on the horse’s back from the rear just like cowboys in the movies.
  6. I sometimes suffer bouts of depression.
  7. I tend to keep an optimistic view of life.  Even when I’m depressed I have an underlying knowledge or feeling that the depression will pass and I’ll be okay again.

I would like to pass this award to two bloggers I have recently added to my blog roll.  First to Vickie at Jumping in Mud Puddles.  Vickie is a fourth grade teacher.  Her sense of humor shines through in every post.  She’s a caring yet realistic teacher.  I look forward to her posts.  My second nominee is Catherine at Accidental Autism.  Her adult daughter is autistic.  Catherine writes well.  She’s intelligent.  Her love for her daughter is evident. Worth the read.

Now–would one of you techies please tell me how I can make the Versatile Blogger Award show up at the bottom of all my posts?  Thanks in advance, Caroline.  🙂

We shall overcome…

We are not afraid, we are not afraid,     We are not afraid today;                       Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,       We are not afraid today.  ~ One of many verses from “We Shall Overcome”

For a number of years I have been gathering with a small group of womenfolk on Martin Luther King weekend.  We chose this weekend because we were all teachers and we were looking for an extended weekend when we didn’t have to work.  Only one of us is still teaching and the rest of us have either retired or moved on to better-paying jobs.  Statistically we are in step with the general American population in that three of our six are divorced.  That’s actually the reason the one is still teaching.  What she thought her retirement would be was not to be.  The three of us who are divorced were “let go” in almost identical circumstances–our husbands were in their fifties and thought the grass was greener elsewhere.

This year we went to Carolina Beach where we were wined and dined and gently cared for by our gracious and talented host T.  Some people are naturally generous and giving and T is one of those.  Thank you, T.

There were only five of us this year.  One of us was unable to attend because of a tragic loss in her family.  We missed her and discussed her and tried to send her strength with our thoughts.  It’s what we do with each other and for each other.  We try to overcome together the obstacles life deals us, both large and small.

We shall overcome.

Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr.  And thank you, Joan Baez, for expressing the message so beautifully.

Who’s in charge here?

Take charge of your attitude.  Don’t let someone else choose it for you.

I don’t know who said that.  Probably a lot of people under many circumstances.  It’s simple enough.  And valid for almost any difficult situation one might be trying to maneuver at any given time.  I remember when I was teaching, the school system reassigned our principal and another one came to the school.  The one who left was decisive and in charge and had a vision for the direction we should be taking educationally.  I didn’t particularly like her until she left.  The new guy seemed lost and unsure of himself even though he had some years of experience as a principal.  I remember looking at my friend the French teacher and saying, “I don’t really care who’s in charge, but I certainly feel better when someone is.”  Poor fellow.  The ability to take charge eluded him.

in charge:  having control or custody of something                                                   control:  to have power over

I’ve come to realize these past few years that the notion of being in charge or in control of a situation is usually nothing more than an illusion.  The fact is that we have no control over what happens to us as we live our lives.  The only thing we can control, or take charge of, is our attitude toward life’s gifts, disappointments, and tragedies.  Despite the fact that I start every morning with an eye on my attitude, I still find myself later in the day, and especially in the evening, in desperate need of an attitude adjustment.  It would be nice if I could blame this stubborn attitude on someone or something, so I’m blaming genetics.  🙂  I wish it were that simple.  Bottom line is I have to take the responsibility for it regardless of its origin.

You may be wondering about my introductory picture above.  Those are dust bunnies.  I have been cleaning today in preparation for a long weekend out-of-town with “the girlfriends” and I couldn’t help noticing how seriously outnumbered I am by those little fluff balls.  The way I see it, the dust bunnies are in charge.  I’m sure they’ll hold down the fort  while I’m gone and will greet me with a wicked grin when I return.  (If I kill their leader, will the rest of them retreat?)

Things don’t make me happy.

I don’t need … things to make me happy.  A nice quiet place to unwind at the end of the day, beautiful views, a few good friends.  What else is there? ~ Nicholas Sparks

I chuckle as I look at the beginnings of this post.  First the title approached me all on its own.  Days later I found this quote which seemed to support the title.  Then I remembered Dr. Seuss’s “things” and I couldn’t resist bringing them along.  I think they lend levity to what could be a serious, even heavy, topic.  My love of Dr. Seuss grows day by day.  Who else has consistently encouraged children (and their parents) to make up a word that sounds right when you can’t think of an appropriate, existing word?  Love it!

Back to the topic at hand.  For several months I have been thinking about my years of accumulating “things.”  Why did I ever imagine I needed so much stuff?  And why do I keep things I no longer use? (I can honestly say I’m making progress on this one.)  When I moved here I was aware that one person didn’t need this much space but I  needed room for my stuff.

I spent a great deal of time alone when we lived in the mountains and I often got very lonely.  I would go shopping just to get out of the house.  And the house was so big that I could always find a new rug, a piece of pottery, a painting to enhance its appearance.  I occasionally bought clothing, but more often it was something for my showplace of a house.  It’s as if I were trying to fix a gaping wound with a band-aid.  (I got that last sentence from my oldest daughter.)  There was a hole in my soul and I was trying to fill it in all the wrong ways.

Now as I sift through my belongings I feel sad, embarrassed, greedy, overwhelmed, selfish.  I could go on with the adjectives without even consulting a thesaurus.  Suffice to say I don’t like who I was, but I’m now making positive changes.  I cringe when I think about those years and realize I could have been supporting several third world families on the money I spent on stuff.  What was I thinking?!

So here I sit in a house that is less than half the size of the previous one, yet it’s still big enough for a family of five or six.  (Talk about a carbon footprint!  Egad!)  I’m trying to bide my time until the real estate market rebounds so I can sell this place and find a more appropriate home.  I try not to think about the fact that the money could have been better invested since I truly believe I did the best I could under the circumstances and given the emotional trauma and pain I was in at the time.

I think I’m finally on the right track.  I consider very carefully before I buy anything.  I make better choices than I once did.  I don’t buy things for the house.  The house and I are becoming happier as the clutter decreases.  They say that it sometimes takes a jolt, a shock, even a tragedy to force a needed change on some people, so I guess they’re talking about me.  As I inch toward the person I really am, the person I’m meant to be, the trauma and pain continue to diminish.  One day, maybe I’ll be able to look back and thank D for this divorce.

Writing this caused me to cry a little, but not too much.  And now I feel better.  If you’ve read this far, thank you.

Ego–his, hers, mine.

…I made a conscious effort to think like a person who doesn’t put himself at the head of the universe. ~ Sam, in “Skipped Parts” by Tim Sandlin

I’ve been thinking about this post for quite some time.  I’ve done a little research on “ego vs. healthy self-esteem.”  Little is the key word here. I even listened to a Q&A session with Eckhart Tolle in which he discussed this topic.  I find him rather difficult to listen to even though I do respect his writing and his opinions.  There is a great deal of information “out there” about ego.  So much, in fact, that my mind got boggled by it all.  Alright, I admit it, it doesn’t take a great deal of something to rattle my brain.  I read a little and came to the conclusion that my opinion is just as valid as some of those I read online.  Hehe.  How’s that for ego?  Or is that self-esteem?

  • self-esteem–How much you respect and accept yourself.  Your concept of how worthy, valuable, lovable and capable you are in society.
  • ego–An inflated opinion of yourself often accompanied by a belief that you are superior to others.

I’ve been trying to understand how or whether ego contributes to or causes divorce.  I think it could do both.  (I’m in way over my head here and I’m trying to find a graceful way out.)  The best I can tell, healthy self-esteem is a good thing.  Ego is not.  And if my self-esteem goes too far in either direction, the ego takes over.  Once my ego takes over, I do things that are not good for me.  If what I’m doing is not good for me, then it’s probably not good for my relationships.

So…When D started to have an affair with S, he started avoiding and neglecting me.  Over a period of time his inattention eroded my self-esteem.  Once my self-esteem became wounded (unhealthy), I started acting in a way that further damaged our relationship and our marriage.  That’s one scenario.  Another might be that I was already operating on too much ego and that might have been the reason he strayed.  Or maybe not.  I don’t really like that scenario.  (Ego?)

Bottom line–I can’t analyze, in retrospect, the ego of D, nor of S, nor even my own with any degree of accuracy.  Therefore this exercise in self-esteem/ego is a waste of time.  To quote an elderly priest D and I used to listen to when we were on the road together: “It matters not how the donkey got in the ditch.  Just get him out.”

I hereby promise myself that I will give up the search for what caused it and just get myself out of the ditch.  I mean it!

Hello blue skies; bye-bye depression.

Blue skies                                 Smiling at me                          Nothing but blue skies                     Do I see.  ~ Irving Berlin

A brisk walk in brisk weather is a cure-all.  The sky is blue but I’m not.  I have places to go, things to do and people to see.  Better get busy.

Peace to us all in this fresh new year!