Good news, bad news.

photo(56)The bad news is time flies.  The good news is you’re the pilot.  ~ Baseball Pitcher Justin Verlander

The good news is that the recent cold weather has given me some beautiful sunsets to photograph.  (See left.) The bad news is it’s cold outside.

The bad news is that I fell yesterday and hurt my wrist.  photo(54)The good news is that it isn’t broken.  The bad news is that it’s sprained and painful.  The good news is that I don’t need a cast.  The bad news is that I do need a carpal tunnel splint.  The good news is that I didn’t hurt anything else.  The bad news is that I feel like a clumsy oaf!

photo(53)The bad news is that my glasses fell apart in my hands on Thursday night.  The good news is that I now have new ones with no scratches.  The bad news is that they weren’t in my budget.  The good news is that they were having a sale on Friday so I got a good deal.  The bad news is that I’m feeling somewhat unlucky lately.  The good news is that I’m an optimist; I’ll cast those negative thoughts out of my head.

The good news is that Lulu likes to lie on my lap and sleep.  The bad news is that Lulu wants to sleep on my lap all the time.  The good news is that I’m happy she likes me so much. photo(55)The bad news is that I can’t get anything done.  The bad news is that if I don’t let her sit on me she gets into mischief.  She climbs among the electric wires behind the television.  She climbs on the bookshelf and deliberately knocks things off.  She gets under the end table and reaches up and tries to scratch my arm.  The good news is she has finally settled down and is sitting as close to me as she can get with her head resting on the side of my laptop.  Good cat, bad cat.

The bad news is that fifty people died in a hotel fire; the good  news is that we got exclusive footage. ~ News Anchor Jessica Savitch  (I can’t believe she actually said that on the air.)

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The miracle of friendship.

photo(51)A friend is the only person in the world who understands exactly what you’re saying even though you may not be talking. ~ Anonymous

I have written before about my gaggle of girlfriends.  We have a tradition of gathering at one of our homes two (or more) times a year and sharing space and joys and woes.  We’ve been through hard times together, but what stands out is how much we are able to laugh together.

We are fortunate that one of us has a home at Carolina Beach, NC, and that’s where we were for the long Martin Luther King, Jr., weekend.  I prefer the beach in the off season.  I generally don’t head for the shore when it’s hot and sticky and there are nine million people elbowing and shouting and hoping to get in whatever space I’m trying to occupy.  That’s not my idea of fun.  Sorry for the digression.  Back to friends.photo(47)

Sometimes we play games.  Sometimes we watch movies, or an ACC basketball game.  We might eat out all weekend, or we might eat in the entire time.  There are no rules.  Well, there is the unwritten rule that we are a support system for whichever one(s) may need a sympathetic ear and/or a shoulder.

One of our group has suffered a great deal of loss in the past couple of years.  She lost her mother and her father in a very short span of time.  Unfortunately, she is also dealing with a number of other personal losses.  Still she’s our comedian.  And through all her hard times she is able to make us laugh…and cry.  I think that’s a small miracle.

photo(48)I can’t talk about this group without telling you a little about S.  She, too, makes us laugh.  When she and her husband were building their house, she wanted to know why she couldn’t omit the kitchen as she had no plans to cook.  And the miracle is that she baked cheese biscuits for our breakfast the last morning we were there.  Who knew she could cook!?

Often we give in to silliness such as these little flamingo-pink rubber duckies.  We have long had a pink flamingo thing going on, and this trip L brought each of us a small flock of ducks in that tacky color.  We had to provide a pond so they could swim.  Some of them wouldn’t sit straight in the water.  They looked like they were diving for something.  One of our group, of course, said those were the ones that had too much to drink.  (I say like some of us.)  And we giggled some more.photo(52)

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.  ~ Albert Schweitzer

Rebuilding a life.

photo(44)There’s really no shortcut to forgetting someone.  You have to endure missing them every day until you don’t anymore. ~ Anon

Whenever a spouse is lost, whether to death or divorce, the partner left behind must build a new life.  The longer the relationship, the more difficult the rebuilding can be.

At the beginning of our separation and divorce journey, I read numerous articles and books about divorce.  It gave me something to do.  Some sources were excellent while others were a waste of time.  I devoured all of them trying to make sense of what was happening to me.  I read somewhere (I’ve no idea where.) that it takes one year of recovery for every five years of togetherness.  “Hmmmm,” I remember thinking.  “Surely they jest.  I don’t have that kind of time.  I’m in my sixties already.  I’m sure I can do it faster.”  Little did I know how ingrained my way of life and my reliance on my husband had become.

It wasn’t long before reality came calling.  Despite all my research, I could not for the life of me move it along any faster.  The fact that I am still writing about it is a small hint that I haven’t been able to expedite the process.  This past December 29 was the sixth anniversary of the D-Day announcement.  We were married for thirty years.  If I include the time we were together before the marriage, it’s a few years more than thirty.

How do I rebuild a life?  How do I go from being one of a pair of perfect (OK, not so perfect) yellow dandelions to a globe of fluff and still be sane and vital?photo(45)  I’ve asked myself these questions many times.  They are not rhetorical questions.  They are not philosophical per se.  Certainly I can and do philosophize about them, but I have truly sought practical answers and solutions these past six years.  In the grand scheme of life I don’t seem to have been very successful.

I’ve tried to do all the things the so-called experts have suggested.  I go to church, I volunteer, I have membership at a gym, I meet regularly with friends, I spend time with family — and then I go home alone.  Certainly there are worse things than being alone.  My sister and I were discussing last night the fact that we prefer no company to bad company.  D and I had become bad company for each other.

What is missing in my life, deep in my core, I think, is trust.  I can recognize now that it may have been time, under the circumstances, for the dissolution of the marriage.  But the trust issue still looms over me like a festering ominous storm cloud.  After so many years together, I had come to trust my spouse.  That was a giant leap for me, the child of an alcoholic.  I had learned early on that the only one I could trust to do for me what needed to be done was me.  If you want something done you must do it yourself rang through my head as regularly as the chiming of Big Ben.  Moving away from that notion to one of acceptance that there are people I can trust was huge.  I’m not sure I can do it again.

I have come a long way in the past six years.  I am no longer miserable, though I am often  lonely.  I am a people person and I would not have chosen this solitary life.  As I look out my window at the blue sky and sunshine after several days of gloomy weather, I find myself grinning like the Cheshire Cat. photo(46) Today, as the temperature warms the ground, dandelions will appear, and I will be reminded that a dandelion alone is a beautiful thing.  I shall stand tall today and remind myself that this dandelion has not gone to seed just yet.

Angry birds, angry people?

Angry_Birds_SeasonsModeration is a fatal thing.  Nothing succeeds like excess. ~ Oscar Wilde

Moderation has never been my strong suit.  I can obsess over almost anything. When I read that Oscar Wilde, author of the quote above, died at the young age of 46,  I wondered if it might have been excesses rather than moderation that contributed to his early demise.

My latest obsession is Angry Birds.  I didn’t intend it to be an obsession.  It’s just that I had heard so many people mention playing the inane electronic game that I wondered if I were missing out on something really exciting and marvelous.  I can now say unequivocally that I wasn’t.  Will it contribute to my demise?  Not likely.  But possibly, in an indirect way.  If I sit on my duff and play too much I probably won’t clean my house or go for a walk as often as I would if I had not put those silly birds on my Nook.  As if I need more excuses for not doing those important things.

Actually, I don’t really think the lack of adequate exercise would be as much of a factor as would the stress the game creates in me.  Stress, you say.  It’s a game!  Games are fun, entertaining.  Aren’t they?

I have often wondered and worried about our children and the effect violent games might have on them.  Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook, I have heard several times that there are no studies to prove a correlation between violent television programs and/or video games, and violence in children or adults.  I’m still wondering.

I would imagine that some of you are thinking Angry Birds?  Violent?  I’ll try to explain.

In case you don’t know, the goal of this seemingly harmless game is to fire your angry bird(s) from a slingshot in an effort to detonate/explode/kill little round green pigs, or other birds who are placid and not angry, or monkeys.  Did I say KILL?  I don’t kill things.  Why am I killing birds and pigs and monkeys — even in a game?

When I started playing I thought it was fun.  As I progressed through the easier levels and started to find it difficult to “kill” all the creatures I was supposed to kill, I got very antsy and unsettled and yes, angry.  My eyebrows started to look like those on the bird in the picture above and I would find myself saying, “Damn you, monkey, I’ll get you next time around!”  My muscles tensed.

A few nights ago I made the mistake of playing a kill-the-monkeys game shortly before going to bed.  Not smart for one who suffers from insomnia once or twice a week.  I went to bed and, of course, could not sleep.  Not only could I not sleep but I kept seeing buildings and cages and critters detonating into thousands of pieces.  And the worst image of all was the evil monkey with its Groucho Marx eyebrows taunting me.  Nightmares without the sleep.  What a stupid thing to do to myself.

I’m happy to announce that I’m finished with those Angry Birds.  It’s about self-defense.  I’m afraid they will finish me.

I would be interested in your comments.  Do you play video games?  Which ones?  Have you had an experience like mine?

2013 — Happy New Year.

2013-new-year-celebration-thumb26735068The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection for many.  Here’s the deal, though, for me.  Now that I live alone I have way too much time for thinking and self-examination.  It never ceases to get me into hot water.  I always fall short of my own expectations.  This year I am simply going to reflect less and laugh more.

And that’s as close as I’ve ever come to making a New Year’s resolution.

Happy New Year, dear reader, wherever you are!

Your success and happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. ~ Helen Keller