Turning Pages

book-page turning
Thursday, July 02, 2015
Today I am grateful for turning pages. I’m a slow reader. I have not been sleeping very well at night so I’m also a sleepy reader, who nods off a hundred times, often reading the same page again and again. But I love to read, no matter how slow it goes. Often I can write faster than I can read so you figure that nonsense out.

I’ve been carrying the camera with me everywhere these days for the blog. . .just in case. Yesterday when I went outside to “read”, of course, I nodded off. When I came to, the wind was trying to turn a page, but it wasn’t quite there. It flipped forward, then back, then forward, again and again, which is probably what tore me out of my stupor.

Being the esoteric, somewhat eccentric nut case that I am, I got to thinking about turning pages. It seems we go through life just fine and then a page turns and it throws us off. Maybe we lose a parent, spouse, child or even a pet and that rattles us, keeping us stuck on the same sad page for longer than we want. Maybe it’s not anything that drastic, but we still have “off” days and can’t figure out why.

I am sick to death of “You Can Do It” slogans telling me how all I need to do to get fit, healthy, lose weight, conquer Mt. Everest. . .is a “willingness” to do it. I don’t need a slogan shaming me into believing I just simply don’t try hard enough. To Hell with that! If it were that simple I’d be a ballet dancer at the Met. Or a famous figure skater. Or on Broadway. But some of those pages have already turned and they’re not flipping back any time soon. Reality isn’t always a bite-in-the-butt. Sometimes it’s comforting. . .even freeing to know you don’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. Contentment.

It’s okay. Because just when I think I might be stuck, there is a page out there waiting for me to flip it over. Maybe there is something very exciting on that new page. Maybe it’s something peaceful. Either way, it’s my page and my page alone. If I don’t like the new page, I can always flip it back or turn another one. That’s way more realistic. . .for me. What about you?

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Outdoor Water Aerobics

Pool - me & Joy
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Today I am grateful for outdoor water aerobics. It is a true sign of summer when I can do water aerobics under the gorgeous sky. It invigorates me. So does the colder water at the Towamencin Township Pool, only a few blocks from my house.

Today’s picture is of me and a very good friend of mine, who I first met at a water aerobics class at the high school, more years ago than either of us can remember. I’m thinking maybe 15-18 years, but it could be more. . .or less. . .or it doesn’t matter.

I wanted a picture of us both in the water with our arms up. What was I thinking? Not! She looks fantastic, but I look like I forgot to take my floaties off. I tried using every tool I have to pare down those bat-wings, but then I just looked like I was a victim of a shark attack, so it is what it is. I love doing water aerobics outside so much that I don’t even care. Much.

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Stupid, Mindless Facebook Quizzes

Quiz-Abe Lincoln
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Today I am grateful for stupid, mindless, Facebook Quizzes. What a complete waste of time. What a great suck-you-in-tool. . .even while being an abysmal misuse of energy.

Each time one pops onto my screen I swear I will not bite. . . and yet. . .how old will it say I look? If it’s older than I am I’m deleting it. . .from my screen and my mind! Maybe I need to know what color is best for me. That way I will have one more thing to be frustrated about when I shop and can’t find anything in that color anywhere.

How many state capitals can I name? (Not many.) Which song describes me? (You make me feel like dancing!) Which Disney character looks like me? (Goofy, except for the ears) Who looks the least like me? (Sophia Loren) Which famous person am I most like? (Kathy Bates?) Who is my opposite? (Donald Trump – bad hair and a worse attitude) How long should my hair be? (Short! And I don’t care what the quiz says.) How is my grammar? (Not too shabby, except for an overuse of . . . and exclamation points!. . .and absolutely no concept for correct apostrophes’.) What color should my car be? (Really? Do I have time for this nonsense?) Can you find the common spelling mistakes? (Sumtimes) What do the things I hate say about me? (What things I hate? I don’t hate much! The only things I hated on the entire list were Kim Kardashian (no one should have fame and fortune without actually earning it! And fruitcake, which can’t possibly be described as food on this planet!)

Then I got asked what “age” I should live in? (Medieval – Yeah, right! I’m longing to live during a time period without air conditioning, microwaves, indoor plumbing and toilet paper! ERRRRR-BUZZZZZ! You don’t KNOW me at ALL! ) Got that sucker wronger than wrong can be! Missed the boat, the train and almost the spelling of medieval!

That’s it! I’m done! No more. I have books to read and stories to write and places to go and people to see and way better nonsense than this to occupy my time. Wait? What? “Will you be wealthy?” What? Of course I’m already wealthy because I have friends. . . Blah-Blah-Boring! I’m not taking it. Go away. Wealthy? Do you mean REAL wealth? Like the wealth from actual cash dollars that give you an opportunity to go REAL places and do REALLY good things for other people? Oh crap! Now I gotta go take this stupid, mindless Facebook quiz. . .but this is the LAST one!

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Fireworks

fireworks
Monday, June 29, 2015
Today I am grateful for fireworks. But not just any fireworks. . .the display put on by the Souderton, PA community last night. Wow! It was fantastic!

Sometimes I get caught up in a pity-party because we are not able to go on an exotic vacation and then I have an experience like last night and realize how wonderful life is very close to home. Good lesson. I bet a lot of us have free events going on in our communities that we rarely take advantage of. We should go to as many as possible.

There are sponsors, of course, or I’m sure this small community of under 7, 000 residents couldn’t pull this extravaganza off, but someone still has to do the work. It starts with a concert in the band-shell, with hotdogs, hamburgers and other real food available for purchase from a service organization. Also ice cream. Chocolate, vanilla and many other flavors. . . including chocolate chip raspberry and butter pecan. Guess what I had? And toppings. Caramel, chocolate and nuts. As much topping as you want. What’s not to love?

After the concert they made an announcement that the fireworks would not begin until after full dark. We were all set, with our chairs turned and only inches from the yellow tape cordoning off the ground display area. Clouds started rolling in, but a man near me had a huge umbrella so I knew it wouldn’t rain. Wrong. Bam! They sent up some test shots, allowing a few kids to push the button. Cool. Bam! The rain was loosened and down it came, sending my husband running to the car like it was raining acid. I closed his chair up, threw the plastic grocery bag over my head and held the fort.

“We’re going to start the fireworks a little early,” someone announced, to great cheers, just as my husband was heading back with our umbrella. We were close enough to feel the heat and see the intricacies of the ground displays, all set to music. I think the James Bond themes might have been my favorite section, although I bawled during the Green Beret part, too. It was small-town-Americana at its best.

We were parked nearby so I turned the lights of my car on so others could see to exit the park, waiting until the crowd cleared out to put her in reverse and head for home. A third of the way home I realized I had forgotten the umbrella. “We don’t need the umbrella, do we?” my husband asked. Ha-ha! “Yes, we do,” I answered. “We have to go back because it’s the umbrella Harti gave me when I worked for her at the Ciputra Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia!” We haven’t lost it or killed it in almost twenty years. It’s a member of the family! “Surely they won’t be cleaning that up already.” I was convinced. He wasn’t thrilled.

Zip-zip and we were back there with me entering in a do-not-enter section, ready to buzz around the waiting fire engine on the soggy lawn and search the barricade where I had leaned the brelly. Never got that far. A policeman walked towards our car, swinging our umbrella. “Hey! That’s the exact thing we just came back for,” I said, before he could chastise me for going the wrong way. Then I told him the story of how I got it and what it meant to me.

He politely listened, then said, “Okay, $29 bucks and it’s yours!” Ha-ha. I love people who play. I threw it in the back seat and as I backed out said, “These fireworks were great! Just fantastic! Thank you so much!” He laughed and told me to tell my friends. The fireworks in Souderton, Pennsylvania are absolutely wonderful. Mark your calendars for next year. Consider yourself told. Your welcome, officer.

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Buy-One, Get-One

Buy one, get one
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Today I am grateful for buy-one, get-one sales. I love when the flyers from grocery stores I frequent show up in the mail. It helps me plan my week, gathering all of the BO-GO I can manage!

This week I’m going to get lettuce, spinach, green beans, chicken boobs, pork loins and bacon. If it isn’t buy-one, get-one, I’m not buying it. Is this the best deal available? I have no clue. I just know it works for me. Something for nothing. Great marketing ploy!

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Agree to Disagree

Rainbow cake

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Today I am grateful the people of my nation can agree to disagree. I was busy gadding about town with friends, then reading my evil book all day yesterday, so I missed seeing the news and did not go on Facebook until after 8 p.m.. Wow!

When I saw that social media was on fire with news and opinions about the Supreme Court’s ruling that individual states cannot ban same sex marriages. . .by law, I was elated! The faces of my many friends who have struggled with this issue flashed through my consciousness like a film on fast forward. I considered for one second not rendering my opinion. But that’s not my style. A long time ago I was a chameleon, changing my beliefs to suit whomever I was speaking with. No more. I am an open book and I have a right to my opinion as much as every other person in the world.

Wow! Again! Wow! I never thought I would see this day in my lifetime. My gay friends, some of whom have been in committed relationships for over 35 years never thought they would see this day. I am gob-smacked with joy and I know I’m not alone because many, many people are celebrating.

But not all of them. Some people believe that this decision is unconstitutional. . . and that it is the beginning of the fall of our society. . .that we are entering into a period of chaos and loose morals. Really? Where have you been? Do you watch the news? One argument is that, according to the Bible, a marriage is to be between a man and a woman and should remain so. That type of marriage is a religious teaching, not a law.

In by-gone eras, marriage was not a contractual agreement. Governments created the necessity for licenses to marry, not the church. People jumped over a broom or said, “I marry you” three times and it was a done deal. Now there are tax breaks and insurance breaks and division of property issues if you’re married, that gay people were never allowed to share in before. As my gay friends age, they know that although they are the one cleaning up the messes of their ill partner and holding them when they cry, legally they have no rights if their significant other becomes incapacitated or dies. They are not considered next-of-kin because they don’t have a piece of paper. That’s wrong.

I understand the arguments on both sides. Discussions are heated. There seems to be no gray area on this issue. It’s black or white. For or against. There is very little fence sitting.

But so were the issues of slavery and women’s rights to vote. Many people were against change about these issues for religious, social and moral reasons, too. The fight for rights goes way, way back. Not so long ago, there were powerful people who succeeded in burning in barbaric ovens anyone who did not look exactly like they did, or believe in the same religion that they did. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now. Any sane person knows it was wrong. Yet there are those among us who still feel that way on the inside, even if they are not verbalizing it outwardly. I feel sorry for them. I cannot live with hate in my bones. It’s too exhausting and sad.

Our society is not a straight line from point A to point Z, nor should it be. If it remains flexible we will not break. We need the bends and turns to be able to morph into a community where ALL people feel accepted and respected. . .and share the same inalienable rights for the pursuit of happiness. If that means equal voting rights, the end of racism and gay marriage, then I am on board! Love is love. It knows no boundaries.

People who oppose the Supreme Court ruling are angry. Those who support it are happy. We are magnetically polarized by our differing opinions. That’s okay. That’s called being alive! I have no desire to get into an argument with anyone to try and change their minds. I expect the same in return and don’t want them to try and change my mind, either.

I am firm in my JOY and no amount of rhetoric or dogma will make me cave. On this issue, like many others, we might have to respectfully agree to disagree. As for me? I’m pulling a Marie Antoinette. . .”Let ‘em eat cake!”

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Veranda Travel

gargoyl, plant and chair

Friday, June 26, 2015
Today I am grateful for veranda travel. Okay, I know I’m late today. My own husband just “reminded” me that I hadn’t yet posted. Geeze, the pressure. Blame the “Y” and water aerobics; or the after-class breakfast; or the lunch right after that; or the fixed umbrella we did when I got home; or. . .

Okay, blame Greg Iles! I can’t put his book, “The Bone Tree” down. I’m not cleaning one thing or going anywhere until I finish this missive! I swear!

It’s a really good thing that from the reading perch on my exotic veranda I can see the gargoyles of Paris. And while the birds are chirping, I can picture the Aegean Sea lapping at the shore, the Greek Islands visible in the distance. And when the hummingbird flutters a foot in front of my face, gathering slurps of dinner from my hanging fuchsia plant, I can imagine I am sitting on my palatial veranda in Italy, overlooking the Mediterranean. As I think about the fish I hope to make for supper, I can search the horizon for John to buzz up in the boat from his long fishing excursion on the lake in Vermont, where we are staying for three months.

Greg’s book might be taking me to the deep-south, but when I’m reading on my veranda I am actually traveling far and wide.

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