On my mind…

Tiptoe through the window,             By the window, that’s where I’ll be,  Come tiptoe through the tulips with me. ~ Al Dubin & Joe Burke

I don’t know why this song was on my mind as I walked this morning.  I must have wanted someone to walk with me, but I didn’t see a single tulip.  The eye-catching beauty of the day was the ubiquitous azalea in all its glorious shades and hues and not one blooming at the same pace as another, rather like people, no?

I ponder as I walk.  Whatever pops in gets a bit of my time.  Today it was a bizarre incident from yesterday when I went shopping to pick up a couple of things I  needed.  As I was entering the doors of the store a sixty-ish white male walked briskly past me and tossed out, “What’s a liberal doing at the Wal-Mart?”  He didn’t slow down for an answer which is just as well since I stood there like a deer in the headlights wondering what the hell he meant.  Oh, yeah.  I have an Obama sticker on my car so he felt free to comment as if it were any of his business.  I decided I should come up with a retort for future reference in case there are others who feel inclined to challenge my views in public.  I thought of quite a few but most would not be appropriate as they would lower me to his level.  I decided on–“I find that question rather strange.  Why would you ask me that?”  I wonder what he would have done if I’d yelled, “Help! Police!”  After all I did feel somewhat accosted, threatened by him.

The fact that I felt threatened makes me a little sad, I think.  It speaks to the notion that I can still be intimidated by the physically stronger male in society.  Why is that?  I don’t really think I was physically in any danger.  If I were to take him on verbally and intellectually I would smash him like a bug.

Okay.  I’ve worked through the sadness.  Don’t have time for that.  Now I’m damned angry and I’m putting on my armor.  As soon as I finish this post I’m going to order t-shirts and yard signs and visors and everyone I meet will know I’m voting for Barack Obama.  I’m prepared to discuss it sanely with those who care to talk.  Those who simply want to stir it up are going to know I’ve been stirred.  (BTW, there’s nothing passive about that last sentence!)  Bring’em on!

Note:  This last photo is obviously not an azalea.  It’s a Lady Banks Rose and it blooms profusely every spring.  Then I whack it off and wait for it to come back next year.  I love it anew every spring.  It  makes my heart sing.


Watching Reba reruns.

Reruns are wonderful because it usually indicates that they had something going for them to begin with and that’s why you’re still looking at them.      ~ Mary Tyler Moore

My ex and I used to watch Reba reruns together.  The show is set in Houston, Texas, and stars Reba McEntire as a wisecracking single mother whose dentist ex-husband Brock has left her to marry young, ditzy Barbra Jean after an affair with her.  (Source: Wikipedia)  In the early shows, Brock’s pet name for Barbra Jean is BJ.  Now isn’t that subtle and original?

I’m not a big fan of country music but I do think that Reba’s better than most.  I never watched her show when it originally aired.  I had heard it was funny but I didn’t know which channel it was on and never bothered to find out.  Later, when I started watching the reruns I was blown away by her sense of humor.  Well, that could have been her writers, but her comedic timing wasn’t.  When I started watching I remember thinking that maybe she had missed her calling and should have been doing comedy all along.  She’s that good.  She delivers her one-line zingers like a pro and to this day I laugh gleefully and unreservedly even though I already know what she’s going to say.  In fact, I probably find them even funnier today than I did back when I first heard them because they are usually directed at Barbra Jean–or should I say BJ?  She also aims a fair share of her clever insults at the narcissistic Brock who sometimes “gets it” and sometimes doesn’t.  He may be a blade, but he’s not the sharpest one in the drawer.

Okay, back to my original statement:  D and I used to watch Reba reruns together.  I looked for the show, found the channel, started laughing, and you know what they say about laughter.  It’s contagious.  And so D joined my “Reba fests.”  I think I speak for him when I say that he, too, found the show entertaining and funny.  Sometimes I wonder if it was this show that gave him the idea that divorce would be fun.  Reba and her cast made it look like fun.

After our separation and divorce I continued to watch Reba and still do to this day but I acknowledge that I see it from a slightly different perspective now than when I watched with D.  Sometimes I tear up for Reba, the character, because I know how she feels despite the fact that she makes jokes.  So often humor is born of hardship and sadness.  Right or wrong, that’s how I see her character now.

At the beginning of the end, when D was leaving, he told me he would like to remain friends.  I think that would be nice, too, but it would take a great deal of kindness and forgiveness and love and desire on the part of all parties.  Maybe one day.  Right now I don’t see D having the freedom he thought he would have, and he has to feel free to be my friend.  It seems a shame to allow thirty plus years of friendship to be flushed down the toilet.  Maybe.  One day.  We’ll talk again.

Feeling lucky.

Luck is believing you’re lucky.                              ~ Tennessee Williams

As I was walking yesterday morning, this four-leaf clover jumped right off the ground and into my line of vision.  Of course I had to pick it and bring it home.  This four-leaf version of the three-leaf shamrock is considered by many cultures to be a sign of good luck.  And so for most of the day, the idea of it added a bit of a spring to my step.  Usually, if it’s the real thing, one leaf will be somewhat smaller than the other three.  I’m not typically a superstitious person, but isn’t it fun sometimes to take it and run with it?

Speaking of running with it, I ran with my precious five-year-old yesterday afternoon.  I picked her up from school and off we went.  One of her favorite things to do is to visit the best toy store in town.  It’s set up for children to come and play.  Little S knows she can’t always buy something so she’s almost always happy to play with whatever the establishment has set out for her and the many little visitors who bring their parents or grandparents along for moral (and sometimes financial) support.  At one point S asked me, “Can we buy something today?”  And so we did.  If you could have heard her sweet inquiry, you would have, too.  Here she is with her massive blond curls scrunched into a pony tail, holding her new baby with bunny ears (Rosie), and licking whipped cream off her Dairy Queen mini-blizzard.  Yum.  Next we headed for Gramma’s house, S’s choice, and Gramma still has a spring in her step, though maybe not quite as springy as it was earlier.  Need I say that the spring was mostly gone by 7:00 pm?  Physically, that is.  Mentally and emotionally,  it’s always strong and quite springy whenever there’s a grandchild involved. 🙂

I am now going to try to transition from grandchildren to blog awards.  It may not be as weird as it sounds because, in part, I blame the grandchildren for my not acting on blog awards.  Nine grandchildren require a great deal of thought and time and shopping, etc. Most recently, Sevenleggedexpressjourney nominated me for The Versatile Blog Award.  This is not the same award that has been around for a while.  This one is unique and adorable with its two kitty cats, one black and one white.  (See it here.)  Most of you, when you accept awards, zip through it very quickly, I imagine.  You are computer savvy and the amount of time it takes you to follow through and post the award on your blog is minimal.  For un-savvy me, by the time I would figure out how to display it, I could have written two or three posts.  So…I would like to thank SLEJ for the vote of confidence, and I encourage readers to check out their clever, and often profound, cartoons.

My life…a project?

It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project. ~ Napoleon Hill

My response to the above quote:  For some of us, it takes more than half.

My life is a series of projects but I don’t know that I have ever thought of my life as one of them.  I don’t know why not as I can make a project of almost anything–mowing the lawn (front yard today, back yard tomorrow), painting the bathroom (This one has been in the planning stages for about four years now.), running errands (I have a specific order so that I make the best use of my time, gas, etc.)  You name it, I can usually create a project around it.

Sometimes my self-confidence is greater than my ability, especially artistic projects such as the one pictured here, which is now underway.  I’m reading a book called The Scent of God: A Memoir by Beryl Singleton Bissell.  As I was reading today, I highlighted the following passage: …I possessed an outsized sense of my abilities and set to work with gusto.  There is so much me in that statement that I laughed aloud when I read it.  I start out with grand ideas of a masterpiece and usually end up with “adequate.”  I seldom, if ever, meet my own expectations, but I do get compliments, and even praise, from others.
Of course many of my projects are for church and church folks are usually nice, and grateful for my effort.  Knowing that maybe they are just being nice helps me to keep a perspective, but it doesn’t slow me down at all because I must create and play with color.  It’s intrinsic; it’s who I am.  I don’t have a choice.

What about the project that is my life?  I’m not a list maker.  Well, I make mental lists all the time but I seldom write them out.  Maybe I should.  I don’t know.  I think making lists, mental or otherwise, is a way of stating goals.  Over the years I’ve made and achieved numerous goals.  I have to admit to you and to myself, though, that my retirement has not always been goal-specific.  In other words, I haven’t made a project of it.  I consider that a mistake and I’m working to change it.  Take heed, you readers who are younger than I.  That would be most of you. 🙂

This paragraph would go under the heading of “thinking out loud.”  Thank you for indulging me.  I think it has taken me longer than average to get beyond the fairy tale aspect of my marriage and life in general.  I always thought of my ex as “the love of my life.”  That sounds absurd to me now.  It’s as if I made him my project.  Does that make sense?  That must have put a hell of a lot of pressure on him and our marriage.  My goal/project should have been our goal–our marriage, our life together.  When it turned out that we no longer had that common goal, it would have been nice if we could have talked about it.  We didn’t.  It is done.  Now I must remind myself that I would not have learned all these  lessons by staying in what had become a stagnant relationship.

Note:  My blogger friend Kim has a list of her favorite books on her blog.  That’s where I found the memoir I mentioned above.  Check it out.

One step at a time.

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Yesterday I drove to Daughter # 1’s house to pick up my granddaughter.  We had a dinner date.  I got there a little early so I got out of the car and walked around the yard snapping photos while I waited for her to get home.  My daughter and her family have a most marvelous yard–a Garden of Eden, if you will.  Except there’s no apple tree as far as I know.  Of course that apple notion we’ve been fed all these years is probably wrong.  I read somewhere that it would more likely have been a pomegranate in that part of the world.  I tell you all this in order to say that the photos in this post were all taken in the aforementioned beautiful yard.  There are all manner of little treasures peeking through the leaves.

As I drove to get my granddaughter A, I passed a man walking up the sidewalk.  He walked at a snail’s pace because he required a walker with wheels.  Needless to say the going was slow.  I remember thinking how much I admired his grit–the busy street must have been a bit daunting.  As I was retracing my route and heading toward our favorite restaurant, I saw the same man still walking.  I said to A, “Holy cow!  Look at that guy!  He’s walked a couple of miles or more since I last saw him.”  Then we talked about what might have incapacitated him– a stroke, a heart attack ???–and how brave he was to keep going, determined to get strong again.

I have thought about that gentleman a great deal in the past twenty-four hours.  He reminds me of the many wounded people (including me) who are trying, one step at a time, to heal.  Some wounds are physical, some are emotional.  All are serious to the one who is suffering.  Some heal quickly, some not so much; all of us heal a step at a time, a day at a time.

Sometimes my little cell phone camera seems to have a mind of its own.  I inadvertently took this picture of my foot stepping firmly toward the next colorful exhibit that caught my eye.  I started to delete it and thought better of it.  I shall keep it to remind me to keep on stepping.  It also reminds me of how far I’ve come since D-Day.  (I read a  number of blogs by people, male and female, who are recovering from separation, divorce, infidelity, etc., and many of them refer to it as D-Day.  It’s appropriate, I guess.)  We’re all recovering at different rates, but the good news is that we’re all recovering.  Each day gets a little better.

Tagged, part two.

As I mentioned in my last post, Lady E, aka Laughing Cow in France,tagged me with some questions she was curious about.  She lives in the French Alps and I enjoy her blog.  I find her honest and real, qualities I consider very important.  Here goes:

1.  Why is the sky blue?  Because all Carolina Tar Heel fans go to heaven wearing their blue t-shirts.  Explanation for those who aren’t ACC basketball fans:  Basketball is big in this part of the country.  North Carolina’s color is a sky blue.  Duke’s (NC’s arch rival) is royal blue.  Some days the sky is so blue I could swear there are some Dukies up there, too.

2.  What time did you get up this morning?  8:15.  Today is the second day of Daylight Savings Time so it was really only 7:15.  I play this game with myself for about two weeks every year.

3.  Shower gel or soap bar?  Soap bar.  I’m a tub person.  I haven’t taken a shower since I saw Janet Leigh in “Psycho.”  That movie scared the bejeebies out of me.  Incidentally, Janet Leigh didn’t take showers after she played that role.  I heard her say that once in an interview.

4.  Favourite cheese?  I like’em all.  Some days I favor the salty taste of feta.  I love all those little “laughing cow” cheeses. 🙂  Just the right size.

5.  Do you vote?  (I really hope you do.  No pressure.)  Yes, ma’am, I do.  Every time they open the polls.  I think of it as a privilege, but also a responsibility.  (That sounds high and mighty, doesn’t it?)

6.  Have you ever tried to limit your carbon footprint?  Indeed I have.  Let me count the ways.  I could write a book about this one.  I call myself a tree hugger and an environmentalist.  I’ve been one for many years.  I used to write environmental tips on my chalk board hoping to plant seeds (pun intended) in the young minds of my high school students.

7.  What did you wear on your wedding day?  Which one?

8.  Favourite cocktail?  I drink an occasional glass of wine.  Not a cocktail person.  But boy you should see my girlfriends when we all get together for one of our long weekends!  They know how to put away some cocktails. 🙂  I’m the designated driver.

9.  What’s the capital of Burma (Myanmar)?  No cheating.  I have no idea.  Well, that’s not exactly true now because I looked it up.  I couldn’t even come up with a city in Myanmar.  Geography is not my best subject.

10.  What was the highlight of your day?  That’s easy.  Today I spent time in the car with my seventeen-year-old granddaughter.  She’s a gymnast.  I was the one available to pick her up from school and take her to the gym today.  An unexpected treat since she’s so busy and I don’t get enough time with her.  I grinned for an hour or so afterward.

11.  Do you wear pyjamas to bed?  I do now.  I wrote a post about this.  It’s entitled “Baby you don’t thrill me but you put off body heat…”

Thanks for the questions, E.  I had fun.  And now to bed in my jammies.  The clock says it’s almost 11:00, which means it’s really only 10:00.  Why am I so tired?

I’ve been tagged, part one.

Who in the world am I?  Ah, that’s the great question.  ~ Lewis Carroll

I’ve been tagged in cyberspace.  Vickie tagged me first.  Then, some days later, Lady E tagged me with a different set of questions.  Vickie calls “being tagged” a diversion, not an award.  Since it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m home alone and I desperately need to entertain myself, I think I’ll give it a go.  Following are Vickie’s questions and my answers:

1.  What movie could you watch every day?  The movie that I could watch every day has not been made.  I doubt it ever will be.  If it were, it would have to be short.  The older I get the more ADD I get.  A movie I continue to like, though, is “A League of their Own.”

2.  If you had to change your first name, what name would you fancy?  I like my first name okay.  I like that the nickname version is androgynous.  My middle name is Anne.   I think I would like that–or maybe Annie.  Yeah, Annie.

3.  You just got kicked out of your country.  You aren’t allowed back in.  What country would you move to?  If I were playing it safe and staying near family, I would choose Canada. I’ve always liked our northern neighbors.  And, yes, family is that important to me.  They could come visit and I could learn French.  Win-win.

4.  You are only allowed to eat one vegetable for the rest of your life.  Discuss.  Make mine broccoli.  I already eat it several times a week.  Love it.  And it’s good for me.  Those little trees are so cute.  It can be prepared many ways–sautéed, steamed, roasted, with cheese, with lemon and butter, in a casserole.  Yum.  I should take a break and eat now.  I also like asparagus but I’d hate for my pee to smell funny all the time. 🙂

5.  You get to bring home a celebrity.  Do with them what you want.  Whom would you bring home?  This is tough.  One of my favorite singers?  Nah.  I can just listen to a CD or iPod.  Hillary Clinton?  Maybe.  What an interesting life she’s lead.  And we could compare notes.  Michelle Obama?  I really like her.  She would get my rear in gear with her “Move It” campaign.   George Clooney?  For virile good looks, he’d be hard to beat.  Bill Clinton?  I can’t imagine more engaging and interesting conversation.  Definitely a front-runner.  But the winner is–Barack Obama.  Engaging conversation, we can shoot some hoops and he sings like a pro.

6.  Name three adjectives that describe you best.  Friendly, hopeful, pragmatic.

7.  You have to pick one…cat or dog.  Why?  If I were going to have a pet again, I would get a dog.  Dogs love their owners and they poop outside.

8.  You have been chosen to be in the Olympics.  You get to pick any sport you want.  What sporting event will you choose?  For what country?  I am not an ice skater but I’ve always wanted to be one.  I would choose speed skating à la Bonnie Blair.  For the USA of course.

9.  Pick an idiom that you would like my fourth graders to draw this Friday for “Idiom Friday.”  Oh, there are so many.  I pick “Van Gogh’s ear for music.”  I can only imagine all that you can accomplish with this one.  There’s art and science and music and history and writing and psychology and on and on.  Hehehe.  Let me know how it goesone educator to another.

10.  My favorite cartoon character was Foghorn Leghorn.  And yours?  I like your choice but I guess my favorite was Huckleberry Hound with his outrageous southern drawl.  He always comes to mind when I think of my dad.  Daddy loved that “dawg.”  Especially when he sang “Oh My Darlin’ Clementine.”

11.  A two-part question:  What is your favorite smell?  Your favorite sound?  Cooking smells–chocolate chip cookies, onions, anything with cinnamon.  Hard to pick just one.  Favorite sound–children laughing, hands down.

Stay tuned for part two.  Questions are from Laughing Cow in the French Alps–my favorite cocktail?  do I wear pajamas (pyjamas) to bed?

Random thoughts and silly questions.

A man has every season while a woman only has the right to spring.   ~ Jane Fonda

I took this picture this morning from my front porch.  The sky looks like April.  It’s an early spring for sure.  See the Bradford pear tree in full bloom on the left.  If this is early spring can late winter be far behind?  Suffice to say that our heaviest, deepest snows have fallen in March in this part of the country.  Beautiful, hard-to-navigate snows.  Time will tell.

I don’t like American football for a number of reasons, the biggest one being the damage it does to the bodies of the players.  But sometimes a football story catches my eye and my heart.  The Colts have dumped Peyton Manning after years of dedication to the team and the extended team family in Indianapolis.  He cried as he met the press.  Bless you Peyton.  I know exactly how you feel.

Andy Borowitz is an American political satirist.  I love this quote about the Republican primary:  “The only thing that is scarier than Mitt Romney not believing anything he says is Rick Santorum believing everything he says.”  All I can say is “amen,” Andy, and is this the best they can do?

Chely Wright is the first openly gay country music star.  I saw a clip of her appearance on the Ellen show.  She’s a charming young woman.  She has written a book called Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer.  She also has a recording entitled “Like Me” which is a love song to another woman, her partner I think.  You can listen to it here.  The decidedly not silly question, then, is:  Won’t it be nice when gays can be who they are and will no longer have to feel different and ashamed and think there’s something wrong with them?

Somewhere in the New Testament it says we must forgive someone seven times seventy.  (Forgive me if this is not correct. 🙂  I’m relying on memory.)  I’m wondering what that means.  Do we have to forgive one incident that many times?  Or do we have to forgive that many incidents?  Do you forgive easily or is it like pulling teeth?

One last question–What does the Jane Fonda quote at the top of this piece mean?

Birthdays are not for sissies.

I had a birthday recently.  I’ve also been a little sad of late.  Are the two connected?  I don’t really know.  Maybe.  My mom did not age gracefully.  She fought it like a tiger.  I asked her once if she had thought of having a “friend” or another husband.  Her answer was classic Mom:  “I’ve thought of it but the way I see it I’m too old to get a younger man and I don’t want an older one.  I DON’T LIKE OLD MEN!”  I decided to rib her a little and told her that she was, in fact, an old woman.  She stood her ground as she told me she knew that but “I STILL DON’T LIKE OLD MEN!”  I conceded and I don’t think I ever mentioned it again.

I’m not sure why I brought this up or where I’m going with it but I will tell you that I don’t dislike old men as long as they don’t act old.  I think that order gets taller the more birthdays I have.  Now I shall return to this most recent birthday celebration.

Through and throughout the malaise of depression sadness I never lose sight of the fact that I’m very fortunate to have family and friends who are kind and giving and supportive.  Witness the beautiful rose bouquet pictured above or the chocolate-covered strawberries (right) which were delivered to my front door.  Yum!  Equally important are the thoughts and wishes that aren’t or can’t be pictured here.  Lunch out AND dinner cooked in by my best buddy who loves me no matter what dumb thing I might say or do.  All-girl family dinner with two daughters and two granddaughters where we named the worst and best things about our day and some of us couldn’t think of a worst.  How great is that!  A Barnes and Noble gift card to cover my nook-book purchases for quite some time.  Hugs and kisses from my Latino friends and a loud “Happy Birthday to You” sung in Spanish.  The Face Book greetings, the phone calls and the snail mail printed cards.  The handmade cards made by the grandchildren.  My favorite birthday quote comes from a card my grandson F made:  “I hope you have a great birthday but I know that it will be great because you are with the people who love you.”  My second favorite comes from a card his little sister S made:  “On your birthday, can you take me to the toy store?”

Life is good.  As I wind down this little essay I leave you with what I consider to be my funniest card.