Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Today I am grateful to be a doppelgänger.  For Madonna.  The singer not the saint.  People have been telling me for years that I look exactly like her.  I’m sure you see the resemblance, too.


I don’t mean to brag or sound conceited, but that’s what I’ve heard.  My whole life.  Or hers, because I’m older than her.  I’m sure she’d be very flattered to know that I am comparing myself to her just like I’m sure our poor dead Elvis must be so proud to be compared to. . .well. . .


At least Madonna and I are the same shade of pale.  One isn’t orange.  I’m not orange anyway. I can’t really speak for her because I haven’t seen her today.  Maybe she turned orange.  I doubt it.


But even if she did, we would still be compared as “likies” because of our stellar figures, our luminous skin and our lovely blond hair.  And even our singing because I can BELT, too.  Except when I do, people don’t run into the arena, they run out. I don’t have the toothy-gap, but hey, I have everything else.  I’m perfect.  Just ask me.


Don’t think I’m being conceited because it isn’t me saying these things, it’s what other people have told me from back when I was young.  And I was young.  Once.  And I was full of crap then, too.  And now I’m old and I’m still full of crap.  But I never lie and that’s the truth.  I always tell the truth.  As I see it.  If you don’t, then you are wrong.  The wrongest ever.


And my guts tell me how to see it all the time, because no matter how smart anyone else thinks they are, my guts are a way better measure of what is right or wrong than anything an expert could tell me.  I go by my guts every time, which explains a lot.  My guts are true.  Or is that an intestinal disorder?  Is Madonna going to start tweeting from the porcelain throne?  Am I twisting two stories together here?


I’m getting confused.  I feel like you’re calling me out and you have me scrambling to remember what my truth was when and now I can’t remember which true story I used last time or the time before that.


But I do know one thing for certain.  I’m the only true doppelgänger for Madonna.  People have always told me that.  And I’m not being conceited here because that’s the truth.  Today.


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Shootings Stop

a crime chalk mark

Monday, November 26, 2018

Today I will be grateful when the shootings stop.  I’m all for gun control, but I’m not exactly sure what that looks like today, because the incident I’m referring to this time didn’t involve assault rifles or automatic weapons of any kind.  Look, I know I’m opening a huge can of worms but I’m so mad about another young black man being “mistakenly” shot by police that I can barely see straight.


I believe in my soul that if he was white he’d be alive.  But maybe not.  Why?  Because he was carrying a visible hand gun in a mall where there was an active shooter. How do the police know if he is a concerned citizen trying to stop a crime or the criminal creating havoc?  They don’t.  Because too many people are now empowered to carry handguns and told by irresponsible people in power that they should take matters into their own hands.  This man had all of the legal permits required.  So what!  Does that make him alive?  No it does not!


Before you start calling me a snowflake and sending me hate messages, telling me I’m trying to take away your 2nd Amendment rights, just shut up and listen.  I do not want to take away your rights any more than I want my rights for free speech to disappear.


I grew up in the Midwest.  My grandparents had a farm.  I spent many days in summer shooting tin cans off of fence posts and I’m a pretty good shot.  I’ve always wanted to try skeet shooting.  I love knocking down all of the ducks at the arcade shooting gallery. And I have many cousins who are still avid hunters and responsible gun owners.  It’s a choice they’ve made and I respect that choice.  But I don’t want to carry a gun and I’m pretty sure I don’t want those around me carrying one, either.


What I don’t get is how, after so many brutal shootings, the powers that be can even suggest arming more people, like teachers, business owners, or theater goers.  Is this the middle ages where instead of carrying a bunch of rocks you now carry guns?  Is this the Wild West where rattlers and marauders were around every tree?  And if there are well-meaning, innocent people out there taking this advice, what will distinguish them from a perpetrator in a time of crisis?  Tell me!  What?  If I see someone brandishing a gun how will I know if he is a concerned citizen or a lunatic?  How will the police know?


If you want to get a permit and carry a concealed weapon, do so with caution, but remember that you are not responsible for policing every situation.  Your life could be in jeopardy if you try.  And if you’re black. . .then count on it.


A young man, who maybe thought he could save the day in a mall, is dead.  The officer who shot him probably wishes he/she was, too, because now he/she has to live with this for the rest of their life.  What a waste.  All around.


Would greater gun control help in this case?  Probably not.  But ratcheting down the rhetoric sure would.  Are we civilized or barbarians?  These shootings need to stop.  NOW!

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a embroidered table cloth

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Today I am grateful for reminders.  It seems every day of the year is the anniversary of some disaster, man-made or otherwise.  People blow up buildings and a year later we are saying, “let us never forget”.  A mass murderer slaughters a bunch of children and way too many others slaughter way too many others and we say the same thing.  A horrific flood, brutal fire, horrible tornados and hurricanes cause us to look back and remember.


I confess that my brain cannot keep up with all of the disasters.  I want to remember the people who lost lives, who were brave, who have found a way to move on, but sometimes I get caught up.  Sometimes I can’t take any more reminders from the past because the present is difficult enough to bear.


The one disaster that I will never forget is September 11, 2001, when lunatics attacked our country with flying bombs crashing into the World Trade Center and Washington D.C.  I’m always amazed when the “let us never forget” slogans come out for that one.


But why now, in the middle of decorating for Christmas, am writing about this?  Why? Because 17 years ago, when my mom was still spry, active and had her vision, she embroidered a Christmas table cloth for me and started it on that day in history.


I was checking in on her by phone, like everyone did that day, as she sat in the heat of her mobile home in Apache Junction, Arizona.  We were shocked and horrified and almost unable to speak.  At the time I talked with her only the World Trade had been hit. The others came after we hung up.


“I feel so awful,” she said.  “But you know I was thinking.  I’m going to go against the pattern for your table cloth and use some black in the center of two poinsettias so we will always remember I started it on this day.  What would you think about that?”


Based on a recent conversation, she remembers embroidering the table cloth but not the black centers. Every year when I put that table cloth out, I make sure to have those two reminders right where I can see them.  They help me remember not only a single, horrible date in our countries history, but also who I am, where I come from and what’s really important.

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Tic-Tac-Toe Sky

a contrail tic tac toe sky

Friday, November 23, 2018

Today I am grateful for a tic-tac-toe sky.  Do you think this is a high travel day?  The temperatures were in the teens this morning when I headed to the Y and low twenties when I returned home.  As I rounded a corner this was my view.  I pulled my car onto the wide shoulder and took a picture. (LeAnn will be proud I stopped.)


I realize that Black Friday is a joyous drug for a lot of people but I am not one of them.  I don’t like shopping on a regular day, Black Friday could kill me.  I cyber-browsed a little bit but even got bored with that.  And exhausted, but I sort of started out that way since I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and was up by 5 because I simply couldn’t get back to sleep.  Geeze.


I had a nap in my chair.  When I woke up I got to thinking about that sky and tried to imagine where all of those planes were headed to make the cross-over, tic-tac-toe pattern in the sky? Home from their family home?  Or home to their “other” home?  Or home to a new home?

And while I’ve got you pondering that, too, could someone please explain why it is so easy to fall asleep in a recliner after lunch and impossible to do the same in a cozy bed at 3 a.m.?  Now.  Go.  I’ll wait.


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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Today I am grateful for glitter.  I love sparkly things.  Anything sparkly.  That probably means I have ADHD but I don’t care.  I just do, so Christmas decorating was invented for me.  Each year I swear I’ll scale down. . .but no. . .I never do.  I have come to the conclusion that I don’t decorate for parties, or events.  I decorate for me.  And Himself.


I remember the year my kids and I were going to make all of our ornaments by wrapping gluey string over small balloons, popping them, then painting and decorating them.  That was probably 40 years ago.  I doubt they even remember.  The glue dried out, they got smooshed by toy trucks or a dog destroyed them.  Only two have survived.


It takes a lot of “letting go” to do crafts with small children, especially if you’re using glitter.  At first my little elf was cautious and curious, shaking the stuff like it was real gold and she had to save every sparkle.  Until she wasn’t.  Soon gobs of it were poured on and blown off and we had a serious mess on our hands.  And three very happy, laughing people.


We took the mandatory pictures along the way to text to the parents and at one point my daughter-in-law asked if that was glitter on the floor. . .and if I had lost my mind?  Yup.  Totally gone.  But that glitter floor was on me, not the toddler, because I didn’t know there was a pouch in the plastic table cloth on my lap full of sparkles. Then I stood up.  Oops.


Well. . .as long as it’s there on the floor anyway, I suggested she put her hands on it and look at how sparkly they get!  We had a blast and she even helped vacuum the table, chair, floor. . .room and shake out the table cloth.  Now I have the prettiest front yard in the neighborhood.  Stand back.  Tis the season for glitter!


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Tender Moments

IMG_7063 (640x480)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Today I am grateful for tender moments.  We were blessed to babysit the youngest twerp last Friday night so mommy and daddy could have a date.  What a blast.


We did crafts at the kitchen table and my house looks like the glitter elf blew up.  I don’t care.  I might write about that later, but today it’s all about when the glitter/glue/design debacle was over.


After setting our projects to dry; cleaning up with the vacuum; shaking the glitter table cloth outside; peeling the fun-glue off of our palms; having a bath; getting in jammies and helping grandpa figure out how to get the ancient DVD player to work by holding the flashlight,  we finally tucked in to watch Monsters, Inc.


This little girl has a routine.  Grandma has to sit here.  Grandpa has to sit there.  She has to sit in the middle with the cozy blanket.   She is the perfect filling for us. . .like a double stuffed Oreo.  Nibbling on her popcorn snack and squealing over the movie, I figured she was in a zone and not paying attention to anything but the TV.


Hah!  Silly me. This kid ALWAYS pays attention.  Grandpa’s hand was cold so I was rubbing it.  It’s as though a switch goes off in her little head and says, “Oh, we need to take care of grandpa, now.”  And she starts petting his hand, gentle and genuine.  We just sat like that, three hands and three generations caught up in a tender moment.  BING!  Heartprint!

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Good Judgement

a packy and grandma pic

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Today I am grateful for good judgement.  If you are raising kids you are going to question your judgement and theirs.  Always.  And at some point, trust me on this, you’ll worry and wonder if you’ve done anything at all right in raising them.  That comes with the territory.  But know that you have done way more right than not.  You might not always believe it, but you have done plenty.


We all know providing love and a comfortable and safe home is vital.  Some of us believe that discipline is equally as important.  Many of us have wanted to cave, give in, let them have their way because it would be so much easier.  But we have stayed strong, held firm and become very unpopular in the eyes of our children.  They have hated us.   I maintain that if your children don’t hate you at least a little, at some point in their lives, then you might need to step it up a little.  It goes with the territory of parenting.


I believe there is a master plan explaining why children who are under 12 don’t leave home and go to college.  No one wants to let them go because although they can be a handful, they are still so much fun.  Yes fun.  Then they become teenagers!  What a nasty trick.  It’s the universe’s  way of giving you good reason to wish them on their way.  Fast!  Bye-bye!  Write when you get work.


Then they leave.  And you’re scared to death.  Can you trust that they will make good choices, do the right thing, be happy?  Can you trust that you did enough, gave them the emotional support and resources to not only survive, but thrive?  It’s tough.


If you’ve raised children you know that the most important thing to remember is that one day they will leave. . .have to leave, and you need to be okay with it, need to accept it.   Easy?  Not always.  Okay, never, but remember some of those teenage years and that’ll help.  Don’t be consumed with worry because you have prepared them for 18 years to leave.  You’ve given them the tools to use their own judgement.  While their leaving is more terrifying for you than it is for them, it is necessary.  For both of you.


Time doesn’t stand still, for kids, or for parents.  They’ll probably find a significant other.  Maybe more than one.  They might have their heart broken or break a few hearts.  Count on it.  They might have kids, settle down, get good jobs or at the very least work at something that keeps them living independently.  And they will probably become good citizens, show empathy for others and vote.


I’m happy to say that all of the above applies to each of our children.  We are very proud.  That is not to say there haven’t been tough moments, even estrangements, but we’ve stayed the course, offering guidance when asked and letting them to figure it out independently when not asked.  Talk about hard!  Keeping my mouth shut is the hardest thing I ever have to do.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but at the core I trust our kids.  I trust myself. I don’t want blame for their failures, nor credit for their successes.  I encourage them to fly. . .so they are.


But every now and again, one leaps out of the particular box I have them placed in and does something extraordinary.  When that happens I morph back into the mom of a proud eight-year-old who is handing me the special project he made just for me.


That’s what took place this week when the youngest decided to maneuver his business trip to Wisconsin in a way that would allow him to spend a few hours with his grandmother, my mom.  Blew her away!  Blew me away!  And I can’t take a lick of credit.  This one’s on him.  Good judgement rocks!!!  BING!  Heartprint!

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