Veterans & Families

a army pic of my dad

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Today I am grateful for veterans. . .but not only the veterans who serve in uniforms, also their families who serve in a self-sacrificing way, too.

 

It’s not easy to be away from your family when you are in the military, but it’s not easy for the family to have you gone, either.  The husbands and wives left behind have to be all things for their children, trying to juggle their schedules to meet everyone’s needs.  That’s not easy for anyone.

 

Extended families, the moms and dads of those in the military have the added responsibility to keep a positive attitude for the family and the soldier.  And they have to do this while they are scared to death that they’ll get the call or see someone walking up their steps with horrible news.  Living under that kind of stress takes its toll on everyone.

 

The stress often doesn’t end upon the return of those enlisted.  Sometimes it goes on for years.  They see things, hear things, experience things differently because of what they witnessed while deployed.  Coping mechanisms need tweaking and they continue to need our support for long after they return home.  So do their families.

 

So when you are out and about and see someone in uniform or with a military hat on, don’t just thank him/her. . .thank their family, too.  (The picture is of my dad, Willie Jens, in the army. . .with hair!)

 

 

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Consequences

a consequences slogan

Friday, November 10, 2017

Today I am grateful for consequences.  What an interesting twelve letter word.  Yet it seems that there are many, many people in this world who feel it does not apply to them because they are rich, or famous, or a powerful elected official.  Surprise!

 

Guess what abusers.  Wrong is wrong.  You knew it was wrong at the time, but you thought you could get away with it.  Prisons are full of people who have seen the light and are sorry for their deeds.  Or are they sorry they got caught?  Did you molest women or young girls, or young boys thinking you were immune to the consequences?  Probably.  How is that working out for you now?

 

Believe those who are coming forward, even if you think that there have been too many to believe.  Understand that admitting that you were assaulted in this way feels shameful to those experiencing it and many just want those feelings to go away and think they will succeed if they never talk about it.  But it doesn’t go away.  Ever!  Those feelings eat at you.  You want to tell someone, yet the more days, weeks or years that pass, you know your credibility is in jeopardy.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.  It just means you are terrified to have your life upset, yet again, by this horrible assault.  Hasn’t it taken enough of your brain, your heart, your life?  But until you come forward it will not leave you alone. Ever! That’s why there are so many coming forth at one time.  One gives another courage, who gives another courage and empowers another and so on.

 

When my kids were very little and wanted to do something that I objected to, they argued, “But why can’t I?”  My pat answer was, “You can.  You can do anything you want.  Just remember there are consequences to everything you do.”  Jails are full of people who didn’t get that message.

 

So I don’t care what political party you are affiliated with; or if you are an elected official or how many people voted for you; I don’t care if you are a hilarious famous comedian or sports figure; I don’t care if you are a preacher or priest; I don’t care if you are a dog catcher or a bank president; I don’t care if you are a famous actor, singer or celebrity of any kind; I don’t care if you’re poor as me or rich as the damned Koch brothers.

 

If you have in any way, shape or form assaulted, abused, raped or done anything inappropriate to another human being, thinking you could get away with it because of WHO you are, then shame on you.  Shame on you!  Did you forget there are always consequences?  Well guess what?  There are!  Time is up!

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Unfulfilled Dreams

a broadway stage

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Today I am grateful for unfulfilled dreams.  And I have a boat load of them, with some noisier than others.  Here is the conversation of Himself and me at dinner the other night.

 

Me:  I’m helping my friend at the “Y” learn his lines.  They seem to have worked a lot on the beginning of the play he is in, but not so much on the last scenes, so he’s struggling.

Himself:  When are you going to be in a play again?

Me:  Who knows?  I’m a little terrified to try.

Himself:  Why?  You always loved being in shows.  And you’re good.

Me:  That was a long time ago.   I’m not sure I could memorize lines anymore.

Himself:  You never had any trouble before.

Me:  I wasn’t this old before.  Look at my friend, he’s younger than me and he’s having trouble.

Himself:  What play is he in?

Me:  I don’t remember.

 

Case made, right?  And he’s right, too.  I did love being in plays.  Back in the day, in the Sheboygan days, I was in a wonderful play called “Ladies at the Alamo.”  We were five women running a theater.  I played the larger-than-life, closet lesbian who dressed in silver lame pantsuits, which is how she got here name, Suits.  My character was abused, bullied and shamed, especially by one of the other characters, throughout most of the play.

 

Then near the end, Suits explodes with the most amazing two-page monologue.  “You’re pathetic!  You’re ALL pathetic!”  I felt the air suck out of the theater when I spat those words.  Gotcha!  I knew I had them.  “Ever since I came here everyone has been looking right through me!  Everyone has always looked right through me.  Well you’re looking at me now, aren’t Didi?   Aren’t you!!!”   Mouths dropped!    Fantastic!  It’s something I’ll never forget.  Just like, for the most part, I’ve never forgotten that monologue.  I could probably write the whole thing now, although I’d be paraphrasing a little.  You get the picture.  We took that play to a state competition and placed second.  It was a blast.

 

When you are a performer you know, really know when you’ve captured the audience. . . when you have them in the palm of your hand. . .when they care about you. . .or hate you. . .so much that you could be reading the phone book and they will remain riveted and stick with you.  You get a little of that feeling performing in films but not much.  The intensity is far greater on stage during a live performance.  I believe it’s why so many actors go back to the stage and singers still tour well in to their twilight years.  Tony Bennet is 91 and still getting the buzz.

 

That feeling, that power, that synergy between performer and audience is what causes people to quit their day jobs to pursue their dreams on stage.  And it is why I still have the dream of being on Broadway.  I will always have the dream of Broadway.  It’s been an unfulfilled dream since I was a little kid making up plays at family gatherings, long before I even knew what Broadway was.

 

I’m not at all sad about it because I like unfulfilled dreams.  They give me something to look forward to.  My final chapter hasn’t been written.  It is still out there, even though I haven’t performed on Broadway.  YET!  I only hope when I get there I don’t flub my lines!

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Vintage Stuff

a dresser stuffed

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Today I am grateful for vintage stuff.  And I’m getting rid of 5 bags.  Okay, “vintage” might be a bit of an exaggeration.  Let’s call it old crap that I have been moving seasonally from under the bed bins to my drawers for 10 years without wearing half of it.  See, vintage.

 

I don’t know why I am hanging onto turtlenecks that have gotten shorter and wider in the dryer because now they barely come to my waist, even though I’ve gotten shorter and wider, too.  Maybe I should toss myself in the dryer.  Why have I kept them?  They’re ribbed and I like the colors, pink and green.  But I never wear them.  I haven’t worn them since tunic tops came out, which work a whole lot better and hide a whole lot more sins.   Out they go.

 

Himself was not happy “doing” dresser drawers today.  So what?  Was I thrilled?  Nope.  Did I have any intention of being the only one to have the joy of cleaning out drawers?  Nope.  Suck it up, big guy!  You’re in for it, now.  I set him to work pulling bins out from under the bed.  Sarongs I’m keeping.  T-shirts from Arizona.  Out.  “Hey, I didn’t know I had this warm fleece jacket,” he says.  I tell him to put it with the 300 other ones hanging in his closet.  A man can never have enough warm jackets.  Just ask him.

 

We found an entire bin with my old professional headshots from when I was seriously going to be a famous actress.  Fifteen years ago.  The pictures are gorgeous.  But if I walked into an audition with one under my arm and handed it to the casting director, they’d say, “Nice to meet you, but who in the hell is this?”  I kept a small box of pics and postcards for nostalgia sake and to throw out when we clean out the room I’m storing them in.  Baby-steps.  The rest are getting recycled, unless someone trash pics for target practice.  Out they go!

 

Himself got rid of a bazillion size medium T-shirts and cleared out an entire sock drawer.  Yes, he now has an empty drawer.  It isn’t big, but it’s empty.  Show off.  I don’t have an empty drawer and I did NOT get rid of my thinner-Mary sweats and shirts.  I kept them.  Hope springs eternal that I will one day get back into those puppies and not have to buy everything new.  With any luck I won’t be too old and lame-brained to remember I saved them.  If I start bitching about needing skinny clothes, one of you can remind me.  FYI-The boxes (yes, plural) are in the storage room upstairs. . . in case I ask.

 

We have two empty bins that we’ll use when we continue cleaning in the basement, which is what started this entire nightmare.  Six bags of odd cloths are going to the thrift store.  Two bags got thrown out.  And one bag. . .the Faces-of-Mary one. . .goes in the recycling bin.  Talk about vintage stuff!

 

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One Clear Thought

Monday, November 06, 2017

Today I am grateful for one clear thought.  But I don’t have a clear thought today.  My thoughts are all over the map.  I want to be positive and cheerful and offer sound advice on many topics, but I’ve got nothing sticking in my head long enough to make any sense.   It’s as though there is a language barrier in my brain.  We, all of those voices in my head, speak English, but it’s like gobble-de-gook.  None of it makes any sense.

 

We vote tomorrow.  I’m trying to focus on that.  Voting.  Because in my jumbled mind it seems like the absolute only thing left of our democracy, and what with the Russian interference, even that is in jeopardy.  But I’m voting anyway because I doubt Putin gives two-shits what happens in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.  And I’m voting because I always vote.  I’m voting because I want to exercise my right to bitch.  I’m voting because it’s the only thought that makes any sense at all.  It is the only way to combat the powerless feeling I’ve had for months.  Voting.

 

When shootings happen with more frequency than holidays; and so many men are being outed for molesting women; and so many women are saying “me too”; and cars are driving into crowds; and Russia is thumbing its nose at us, laughing at how incredibly stupid we were to elect a buffoon as the president of our great country; when that same buffoon embarrasses me and any person with a true conscience whether they voted for him or not. . .well, when all of those things are flitting around in my head like frantic guppies in a murky pond, voting seems like a gift.  It is a gift.

 

My thoughts are muddy, bogged down by rhetoric, cheap shots, stupid ideas and more and more dead children. How many dead children do we need?  I’m really asking.  How many?  Can this be my America?  How?

 

Yet among all of that muck and mire I have one clear thought.  It is not only my right, or my privilege.  It is my responsibility.  I will vote!  VOTE!  Please vote.

 

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Comics – Pickles

A Pickles couple dancing

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Today I am grateful for comics.  I used to read more of the comics in the newspaper but there are some that got so odd I just didn’t bother.  I like the Family Circus, but related more when my kids were little.  I’ve tried to understand Hi & Lois and failed miserably.  My mom won’t miss Garfield, especially when he’s having lasagna.

 

Himself was a huge Prince Valliant fan but I could never get past the hair.  He still reads the Sunday funnies from cover to cover, sometimes making me read Doonesbury but always making sure I see Pickles, written by Brian Crane.  Brilliant!

 

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen Pickles, but check it out.  Back in the day I thought the old man and lady were just like my parents.  Not anymore.  Earl is forever having trouble hearing.  Opal knits like a fool.  They have found a way to co-exist in a very real way.  Just like us.

 

So yesterday, every single thing we touched either fell on the floor or broke or spilled or, well, you get the picture.  Then the rental dog, Emma, needed to go out.  I hooked her up and was standing in the back yard saying, “Hurry, hurry, hurry” so she could find the blade of grass that would merit her poop.

 

Himself rushes to the door, slides it open and is soon at my side asking, “What?  What is it?”  Of course, I look at him like he’s nuts and ask what in the world he’s talking about.  He says, “I thought you were calling me.”  Nope.  I was trying to hurry up the dog.

 

He starts to laugh and says, “We ARE Pickles!  I’m Earl and you’re Opal!  No doubt about it.”  Sometimes the truth is hysterical.  Even with a dog flopping around the yard wondering why her poop is so damned funny!

 

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Art Openings

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Today I am grateful for art shows.  What a lovely evening we had visiting Shang Hai Gallery, 4136 Creamery Road, Creamery, Pennsylvania (610-454-0504) to see Summer Sojourn, the new watercolors of our friend, David Page.

 

If you are involved in the creative arts in any way you know what a boat-load of work it is to get an art show up.  It’s the same with a book, or quilt, or any creative project.  I have so many people saying to me, “You should have a book!”  I know.  I should.  But am I up to the enormous task?  Writing the blog almost every day is fun and oh so easy, especially when I can use my own photographs and its chucked full of instant gratification.  But a whole book is WORK.  Trust me!  I shy away from the “S” word. . .structure.  The process takes years. . .years to find out if anyone likes your work. Yikes.

 

It’s the same with an art show.  So many people told David he should have an art show of the watercolor paintings he did while spending a couple of months in the Tuscany region of Italy.  Great idea.  Until you realize that each painting, from the tiniest to the largest needs to be matted perfectly, the glass must be washed without a fleck of dust left behind, and only then is it framed, with appropriate brackets added for hanging.

 

Doing the painting is the easy part, I’m sure, because painting is so much fun.  David would trot out each day (from the apartment that he and Terry shared so that she could attend classes in Florence), with his paints and brushes in hand, walk around until the muse struck him, cop-a-squat and do a painting.  What could be more fun than that?

 

But just like words that no one ever reads, a painting no one ever sees becomes a sad reminder of what might have been.  It has to get out there. . .into a gallery. . .then into someone’s home or business, so that others can enjoy it, comment on it, appreciate it.

 

Choosing matting, washing the glass, framing are the necessary bull-work that must be done in order to have a successful art show, but oh yeah. . .fantastic paintings, too!  David Page succeeds on all counts.  Big time!   Summer Sojourn runs until November 25, 2017.  Stop in and check it out!

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