Innocence, Lost

Lately, I feel that the world is a very scary place. I KNOW you can’t live your life with utter fear, every second, but it feels overwhelming at times. Actually, you probably could live your life that way but I’m sure it

would be a miserable life with no joy at all. Sometimes, it feels like you just want to stay home in bed, huddled under your blankets, safe and warm. However, you can’t appreciate joy and happiness if you don’t know what fear or sadness feels like.

I have to talk myself out of thinking about worrying and taking chances every once in a while, sometimes I have to force myself to brave the world but I do it.  I go out into the world, at first tentatively, treading carefully, trying to be cautious of mine fields.

Now, it feels like there are mine fields everywhere. I’m sure there are millions of people who are more scared than I am that don’t even have the ability to leave their homes or rooms or beds to put one foot on the ground after another. I feel bad for them but I also can relate.

I am not joking, believe me. I think it takes a lot of courage and strength to live in today’s society.. I can only judge what I know. I know that in the beginning “baby boomer” years I felt peaceful, it was all about “love and peace and songs filled with that message.”

Now? I can’t /won’t watch the news or read the newspaper, it’s all too overwhelming especially when my daughter was traveling abroad. I felt happier when she landed and I could see her face than the entire two weeks before.

There seemed to be a bit more control way back then when I was growing up but maybe it was because I was a child instead of an adult? Maybe my parents protected me, but of course there was violence. The killings of JFK and MLK were terrible acts of violence but they weren’t so often and unpredictable like the school shootings that have happened here multiple times, or the killings of police officers etc. Why?


I miss those days in the seventies, the days of simplicity. I am grateful to have grown up in those days where peace was the motivation and simple music was mainstream, in concerts with regular guitars not high-tech with sound effects. Where people actually talked to each other instead of texting, where the phone was attached to the wall and not in our children’s hands.
The one thing I insisted on when my kids were growing up was that we all ate dinner together, no phones, no television, every single night. It gave us a chance to talk about our days.We played the “What was the high, low, funny of your day?” and everyone had to take part. I learned from my asking “How was school, what did you do” to which they both answered: “Good, Nothin.”
I knew parents who were never home to see their children, parents whose children were more attached to their nannies and had so much more money than we did. We had very little money but our family ate dinner together every single night and we talked about our days.
I knew a mom who sat her children in front of the television with”tv” trays and that was dinner, every single night, the children’s father worked very late hours and didn’t see his children much at all. Our kids once complained that they were not allowed to watch television during dinner and I drew the line right then and there.
It was less complicated back then where the gourmet ice cream was just Hagen Daas not thirty other brands where choices were unlimited and not wildly scattered like
English: Dandelions in the Tuira district of t...dandelions in the wind.
Sometimes having too many choices is harder than having limited choices, it’s more anxiety provoking for some people, more frustrating.
When I go shopping, I stand in front of the toothpaste or the shampoo aisle and just stare. How many choices can there be? Apparently too many as I stare with glazed over eyes not even focusing on which one I want. Does it really make a difference? Aren’t they all pretty much alike? Of course they are but today there seems to be a need for more and more and big, bigger, biggest and 50 varieties on one product.
I would love to go back to easier times, nicer times when the theme was Random Acts Of Kindness, how about we get that started again? Some have never stopped but many have stopped because of no income or just focusing on their busy lives. Let’s try to get on track, again. If nothing else, it will take away the fear and replace it with appreciation, it also doesn’t need to cost one cent.
 The sandwich generation, we are taking care of both our parents and our children, say “Peace Out” and “Keep On Trucking.” After all we need to keep our boomer sense of humor. It’s pretty much all we have left.
Picture of John Lennon's Strawberry Fields For...

Picture of John Lennon’s Strawberry Fields Forever Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Kindness Of Little Things

We read, all the time, about the kindness of strangers, about gratitude and blessings and I am for all of them and more. I did random acts of kindness even before people knew that expression. I started when my little boy was four years old, He is now 22, and has just been accepted into medical school, he still never wants to miss anything.

 

I took my little “farmer”

 

 

who always woke up at five am to a diner where we ate blueberry pancakes and drank tinny flavored orange juice. We noticed a very cranky, “mean looking” old woman sitting at the next table. He said she looked “mean.”  I explained to him “maybe she was just having a very bad day or was unhappy.” I asked him what we thought we should do, to cheer her up? We decided to pay her check and not tell her. We gave an extra twenty-dollar bill to the waitress

 

 

 

to pay for her bill and the next customer’s.

 

No way did we start this trend but I’m sure my son and I were way ahead of the crowd. Now, I decided to take another approach to kindness and gratitude.

I am appreciating those things I have or own that I take for granted. Like my pillow, not the saggy old one that is basically flat, but the newer one that has some bounce to it like the hop of a bunny on a lazy green lawn.

 

 

More importantly, I am thankful for my white comforter because it keeps me warm at night perched on top of three, sometimes four, other blankets. I get cold easily either from Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or a combination of maladies.

 

 

 

No, “she” is not a down-filled comforter, I tried that. I ordered a queen sized comforter from a very well-known and expensive store, put it into a duvet cover and within three days there were feathers flying everywhere both in and out of the duvet. About 2,000 flying feathers.

 

 

I started sneezing and I couldn’t stop. I have had down comforters before with no problem but THIS company/store was quite arrogant about the problem and turned me off so much I decided not to get a replacement for it. It was horrible, it looked like the down comforter had exploded. Not a good experience with THAT company! Be nicer to your clients please. I would have stayed with you if your service people had been kinder.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, it could be a piece (or two) of milk chocolate or rainbow sprinkles on vanilla ice cream, it could be a new book or a gift card to Amazon. Most of all it could be an appreciative grin or the blink of an eye or my husband’s loud laughter when he thinks something I’ve said is silly and funny.

Appreciate all the small stuff, because you know what? It’s all small stuff and in the end, if you start noticing more and more of the good stuff? It will make your day-to-day life a lot happier.

Focus on the good and not on the bad. Hold the door for someone, smile at a stranger, always say “Thank you” and “You are welcome”, if someone was kind to you, thank them.  It really IS the little things that count. Life is scary, it’s unpredictable and it is short. Families can be stressful and hard and filled with tension BUT, they are still family. Appreciate the good people in your life. Get rid of the negative people who influence you.

We ALL need reminders once in a while, that’s okay. Just come back to it.

WISHING ALL OF MY FACEBOOK FRIENDS A HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR.

 

Haiku Horizons, #45 Just

Just, Right, Fair, Peace, Trust

World upside down, bloody mess

No senseless killings.

***********************************************************************************************************************

Measure, Love and Hope

Just in time, align with God

We give gratitude

**************************************************************************************************************

Sun, honey dripping

Vacation, just for me, you

Cleanse our inner souls.

How To Raise A Flower

 

Life is tumultuous and as you age, the days turn into months, months turn into years and decades.  Take a look over your shoulder for just a minute, let your eyes gaze lovingly and the memories will swell from your brain straight up into your soul, reflecting many emotions into your misty, knowing eyes.

Love is a flower that you plant, gingerly, as a seed. You caress it, you whisper encouragement to it, place it with a couple of brother and sisters, gently into the little opening you have made for it, prepare it for it in the warm, raw, earthy ground.

You feel the warmth of the soil through your fingers, meditation, for your mind and your body, you gently cover the mound with loving fingers, with sensitivity and quiet blessings.

You learn patience, consistency, respect, work ethic. You must nurture every day yet give these flowers the opportunity to blossom on their own.

Allow them every chance to help grow with some assistance from Nature’s wily forces. You are a caretaker now.

The sun chuckles and smiles brightly, water is given to quench the Earth’s soil, keeping in mind, the right amount of water, not too much, not too little. Life, as you are learning, is about balance.

You talk to the buds starting to flourish with gratitude, thanking them for their presence in your life, for their gift to you, as they murmur their silent thanks to be alive.

Everybody brightens, the flowers flourish and your soul is filled with happiness and gratitude. Every day you say hello and good-night. Take a photograph, show your loved ones, perhaps sit next to your flower with your favorite book. You already know that it will only last a short time so enjoy every second it is alive. Their lives, like ours, live for only a short time. Embrace that time with gratitude.

Soon, when the buds dry up, we understand things don’t last forever, in your heart you will carry a picture of your journey.

Loving the process all the way through, knowing you helped nourish it, all along, having a friend.

Thank you, dear flowers for your place in our lives, in many people’s lives, for the absolute joy of watching you grow, for the perfumed smell of sweet ecstasy that slips into our hearts and whose memory lasts forever.

Happy Yellow Friday #4 Daffodils

Near where I live there is a field of daffodils that bloom every year. I wait months for these beautiful flowers to bloom, I drive by, even if it is out of my way, to watch them pop up, fully bloom, slowly fade away.

I look forward to seeing them every year, the time that they are alive and fresh, as if they are smiling, is only a matter of a few days but I stop the car each day and I smile back every time I see them. The are on a hill with bright green, manicured grass and it looks like a perfect photograph. I tried once to photograph them but it was unsuccessful, you must need a wide-angle lens.

Yellow daffodils - floriade canberra

That’s okay, I have loved them for so many years that the picture I have of them lives in my heart. I am grateful for having been able to see this for the last 15 years. I look forward to seeing them again in the  Spring.

Yellow daffodils

 

 

 

 

Happy

Mother and three children, oil on wood, 38.5 x...

Our family’s circumstances stay the same, unemployment, unwell but managing,regular stuff, nothing has changed. There’s been no formal job offer or no magnificent leap in good health.

My husband had skin cancer removed from his eye brow that required several layers scraped off until there no cancer cells were detected.Yes, it was another bump in the road. We both handled that in stride, well done!

 

I guess we are so used to the ups and downs of life that they don’t quite startle us as much as they used to, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s the lesson that we are supposed to be learning. If it is, it has taught us well. I know we can handle anything thrown our way, I’m not asking to be tested again and again but we have been tested and we haven’t fallen apart or broken down. We have stuck together, even stronger in our bond. It’s comforting to know.

 

Which means, parenthetically, that on the very (very) rare occasion we hear good, actually GREAT news, it feels FANTASTIC yet very, very new and foreign. A feeling that we both haven’t felt in such a long time that it feels brand new. And, yes, we certainly appreciate it more, now more than ever.

 

So, when our son called me, breathless, to tell me he got into medical school,

 

 

I was at first, speechless. “What?” I said because I wasn’t sure of what he said. He said it again, slowly, my voice rose two octaves ” WHAT?” I squealed and started shrieking, and felt for the first time that all was good with the world and that I now knew what happiness felt like.

 

 

It was brand new and intense and it was a feeling I was not used to. I remember in my mind thinking ‘  so this is happiness’ like bubbles floating inside my head.

But, it was a feeling that you can’t even imagine or dream about because you can’t wrap your head around that feeling and you certainly don’t remember when you felt like that before.

 

When you are a parent, the size of your joy or sorrow doubles when you have kids. If they hurt, you hurt twice as much. But, hearing the joy in their voice, that is better than anything in the world because you are so much happier for yourself because they are happy. I kept reminding myself of this feeling and still do to remember what happiness felt like. It’s so fleeting like a butterfly dancing by you, a wisp of a thing but if you concentrate, really concentrate you will remember, at least part of the feeling.  HIS joy and your own are inseparable. It’s the mommy quotient.

 

Nothing else has changed; it’s all perspective. I’m trying to remember that. Look at your situation in a different way. Express gratitude. Be happy for all the good things in your life, smile as much as you can even if you don’t feel like it. It makes a difference, I know.

 

 

 

The Family Of Foodies

When our kids come home from college for a visit, suddenly our kitchen is bursting with the smell of my freshly baked banana bread with raisins and chocolate chips, soon afterwards dark chocolate brownies are left to cool waiting for me to slather on the thick, creamy dark chocolate frosting.

Their dad and I have both gone to the supermarket to stock up on their favorite foods, they could stay four weeks, even though they are only here for four days or is it one day? It doesn’t matter. We pack the leftovers so the kids can take them to share with their friends.

 

I stood in the freezer section getting frost bite while choosing six quarts of ice cream, all different flavors.  We have Ben and Jerry’s Coffee, Coffee Buzz, Graeter’s Black Cherry Chip,

 

Graeter's

Graeter’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Black Raspberry Chip, and Chocolate, Chocolate Chip. We also have Mango Sorbet, Blood Orange Sorbet and Haagen Daas’ Pistachio ice cream (which to me, is a great disappointment, vanilla with a couple of shelled pistachio nuts in it. I won’t buy it again.) Any suggestions of another brand of pistachio ice cream?

 

 

 

 

 

We have rainbow cookies, molasses cookies.

 

 

amaretto cookies, and of course, Double Stuffed “Oreos.”(Thank you, Nabisco)

 

We don’t live like this all the time, believe me, we only stock up when our college kids come home to visit. Our daughter’s description of the ideal break is: “watching, (streaming episodes) of her favorite television shows on her computer and eating her home-cooked favorite foods and I quote.” Isn’t that what coming home is all about?”

My husband made a delicious eggplant parmegian/ parmesan, I made guacamole, and a tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil salad, we had

 

English: Guacamole in a bowl. Photograph taken...

 

chips, pizza, huge salads, creative salads with lettuce and arugula, cranberries, goat cheese, string beans, grapes, and cucumbers (and anything else I found) with no meat (for our daughter “the vegetarian.”) Yes, she DOES get plenty of protein, she never liked meat and never ate it as a baby. I’m anticipating the questions that will follow…

BOTH of my grown-up children came home a day early as a surprise and I consider myself deeply blessed. I am truly grateful to be able to have one night together with my whole family, where we eat will be up to them, with our approval, and bound by price range and affordability.

Tonight, we will eat leftovers with no complaints and if there are complaints, that’s okay, the only other option is…no other option. I do regret how lenient we were with our children when they were small. I felt like a short order cook, a grilled cheese for one, spaghetti with meatballs for the other….the things you learn in hindsight.


We all make mistakes as parents but if that’s the worst mistake we made then I think we did pretty well. We have super nice, polite kind, kids, independent, loving, street smart and compassionate. What more could a mother and a father want? NOTHING.

Are they perfect?  No.  Are we? Heck no. Do we wish they would change certain things?  Sometimes. No, I am NOT going to argue with you about this!! (you- know -who) I know that they wish the same for us. We’re a family, we all need to work together. Every single one of us needs to learn how to compromise and accept not always being right. Accepting someone’s difference is harder than deciding to disagree. Respect another person’s position without judgment. Try.

What would you rather be, a very old friend asked me thirty years ago, right or at peace?

My answer thirty years ago was” right,” I changed my answer in the years to come. The kids will learn that, in time. Or, they won’t. That is entirely up to them. It took me a long time to see it, peace wins for me now, every single time.

We all grow-up, we make mistakes, we fall down, we get up and we fall down again. Children, like adults, learn, from their mistakes. Let them make them.

When our kids went back to school a few days ago my husband and I went right back to eating very simple meals. Scrambled eggs with cheese and toast, pasta with meat sauce, home-made pea soup, chunky with carrots, ham, spices and a salad and french bread. A roasted chicken, rice and freshly cut vegetables with a yogurt dill sauce. After dinner, we often go upstairs, lie on our bed, watch our television set with a small (ok, medium) bowl of ice cream in our hands (with rainbow-colored sprinkles for me) to watch the Jimmy Fallon show from the night before. A simpler life, quieter, we accept what we have, what we can’t change and that’s okay. Love what you have today, understand and accept that you will see your children less, yesterday is gone and we don’t know what the future will bring.

Enjoy the moment. Be Thankful. Breathe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Feel Silence

Across the boundaries of time and space

words hang in the air, stuck, like frosty icicles on trees.


They attach themselves, blinding our vision,

showing our vulnerability.

Snow accumulates with sorrow

Dark skies, no stars, silent birds, no color

Gray is the white.

People are lonely, they are by themselves

bitter cold,

seems never-ending,

feels like the end of time.

Patience, yes, but I have no more.

The snow, the cold, the blustery winds

will come and go,

the icicles will take new forms but they will be there for months on end.

English: The icicles

English: The icicles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Breaking them off with force is not an option, it breaks off all communication where little existed before.

Let them melt, naturally, slowly, let the sun heal their gaping wounds.

We can’t change time nor can we drag it out.

Some things are out of our control.

As hard as it is to accept, do what you have to do to

respect Life.

There will be many sorrows and sometimes,

lovely surprises.

Appreciate every, little, thing.

Learn Patience.

It’s Really Okay

Nothing could console me the other day. I was heart-broken about life in general and dear family friends whose demise was absolutely shattering. There didn’t seem to be much happiness in our lives (with the exception of our kids) and not one blessed thing could cheer me up.

I initially thought I should try to shake myself out of this mood but the world was an evil place, life was not fair. I thought things were supposed to work out in the end, I had believed that all my life, not anymore. Things don’t work out many times and even though I may root for the underdog, they don’t always win. There was is way too much random sadness, unhappiness and sickness, things, often, don’t work out.

First, I tried to justify things, to try to explain them to myself. That didn’t work, there were no answers.  There was also no need for me to try to cheer myself up. So, I stopped.

I realized it was perfectly okay not to try to make myself feel better. It is really okay to feel bad.  What’s wrong in feeling crummy once in a while? I never got dressed, I wore my long black V neck T-shirt that falls to my knees and didn’t even take a shower. I stayed in bed not that I felt particularly sick or winded, I just felt blah. No one ever said  life was perfect so I decided to have a mental health day and be alone with my crankiness and cuddle with my sweet dog, Lexi.

Lexi didn’t care if I was in bad mood, she still jumped up on the bed right next to me.  She always keeps me company. I can count on her to be there for me, that’s the wonderful thing about dogs. Unconditional love. She doesn’t have to give me pep talks or call me on the phone like a friend would have to do, she knew I needed her and she put her head on my stomach, even our breathing was in sync.

I’ve noticed lately that my friends don’t even call anymore. They text. I find this horrifying. When did my generation start doing this? I make my kids call so I can hear their voices but my friends now text? Insulting.  They can’t be bothered, either? What’s next? I’m sure I won’t like it.

It’s a very hard world out there and I used to be such an optimistic person but I’m not anymore. Life, as we know it now, has changed me. Part of me feels like bursting into tears this very second and the other part won’t let myself. I’m not sure if I could stop if I let myself cry….. I keep trying to hold it in and hope it goes away. I know that won’t last. Life is tough, really tough and the older I get, the more difficult it becomes.

I have no more expectations that things will get better. Why should they? They haven’t been good for a really long time and yet still I try to be grateful for the good things I do have.

It doesn’t change the world but I don’t want to become a bitter, cold person. I know it won’t change my circumstances or any one else’s but it keeps me focused on the good not the evil, most of the time, it’s hard work.

When I was young, my mother used to sing this song:

She never did promise me a rose garden, but I always thought there was one anyway.

How To Debone A FISH


Imagine taking a serrated knife and slicing the length of a body right down to the soul. Picture a piece of that fresh fish, covered in the juice of two fresh lemons that you need to debone, carefully and delicately. That slow slicing is, in itself, is a work of art. It is also a technique that happens in your mind. Your mind is calm and steady.

I have tried so hard to get rid of pretension, most of the defense mechanisms, all the external comments, the noise, the insensitive remarks. I don’t need them in my life, nor do you. We need balance, clear thoughts, not the mean chatter of other “so-called friends.” They do more harm than good. Stay away from people who do not serve you well, sever relationships with false people, those that tempt you to behave badly.

Don’t go down to anyone else’s level. Raise yourself up. Have high standards for yourself, try not to judge others but accept them. All of us need to take a break in our hurried lives. You don’t have to go anywhere to do that, not an expensive gym or retreat, you don’t need an airplane ticket or a ride on a white, bulbous sailboat.

Center yourself, wherever you feel most comfortable.

Pick a place where you won’t be disturbed. It can be on your bed or your favorite chair, someplace that speaks silence to you. If you want soft background music, fine. More importantly, this can be in your mind. Simply close your eyes. Concentrate.

 

Feel your breath going in, going out. Maybe it won’t feel natural in the beginning, that is perfectly okay. What is perfect on the first try? Try to get in a pattern of breathing slowly, inhaling and exhaling. If external thoughts race in, accept them, don’t try to push them away, they are part of you. Let them appear, and let them go away while you go back to your steady breathing, your rhythmic breathing..

Once I feel that I am completely relaxed sometimes I find myself  rocking in that place, sometimes I feel so tired that I want to sleep, I have nodded off when practicing this in a class.   Spend time outdoors, watching nature, listening to sounds, bird songs, children laughing, notice the color of the bunny’s tail you see on your green grass, the noisy seagull on the beach hovering over your leftover cheese sandwich.

 

Focus on beauty and not disaster. Be grateful for what you do have and do not focus on what you don’t have. Believe me, I know that sometimes that it is difficult. Do it anyway. Go out of your way to be kind to a stranger, or wave to a baby that is fussing in front of you. Be aware of how your face looks, does it match how you feel?

Live a simple life, every day. Stay in the present. Relish your age, get old gracefully, stop worrying about what anyone else thinks. Your happiness will glow and shine through you. Look deep inside you. Love what you see? Tell people you are grateful for them being in your life. Dance with joy.