Friday, June 27, 2014

TIME OUT IN THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS

I'm off to North Carolina for a week to check in on my favorite auntie.  Be back next weekend with new tales to tell. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

ODE TO SEETHING SAINTS AND SINGING SINNERS

Delores from Under The Porch Light  threw everyone for a loop with Words For Wednesday this week.  Instead of the usual format which includes using a list of words or a phrase or both if you're a glutton for punishment, she omitted the list of words and gave the participants three phrases to get their creative juices flowing.  After participating  for several weeks, I finally get it.  It really isn't about what a person posts or the amount of talent they exude.  It's all about the camaraderie.  Those of you who follow Mildred and read excerpts from her rather twisted life, know that flowery poetry isn't really Mildred's thing.  Well folks!  Guess what?  Mildred likes flowery poetry, just like she likes painting.  She may not be Robert Frost or van Gogh, but I think creativity isn't so much about the finished product as it is about the journey/process.  It's more about letting out what's buried deep inside.  If that surfaces in a cute poem or a landscape then I say, "let it flow...let those juices seep out and carry you to where you're supposed to go!"

If you'd like to participate, hop over to her Delores' blog and check it out!  You just might surprise yourself as much as I've surprised myself.  Plus the group is a comprised of people from all walks of life.  They are so creatively diverse and supportive of what everyone posts.  What a wonderful gift Delores created by bringing together people to share their worlds via written words.  Thank you  so much, Delores!

The prompt I used this week was the phrase, "giggles and fairy wings".  

Not only did I use this phrase in the poem I composed, but if you notice the first letter of the first word in each line also spells g-i-g-g-l-e-s-a-n-d-f-a-i-r-y-w-i-n-g-s.

Giggles and fairy wings
imagination sweetly sings
giggles and fairy wings
golden clouds and jeweled rings.

Lovestruck moments, lovestruck eyes
End with passion, end with strive
singing love songs so contrive
a kingdom withers, a kingdom thrives.

No iron maiden from above
dancing cherubs bring us love
floating lightly hand in glove
angels soaring like a dove.

Inscription reading, wordless gain
ride the lightning like a train
young at heart will remain
with each other no disdain.

Instant karma, instant winner
No food for love or for dinner
Gain in love or grow much thinner
Seething saints and singing sinners.
 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BANG! BANG! SHOOT! SHOOT!

WARNING:  WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ COMES DIRECTLY FROM THE IRRATIONAL BRAIN OF A BLEEDING HEART LIBERAL! 

It's been ages since I've written a blog post regarding religion or politics.  I've purposely done that because those issues tend to ruffle too many feathers and quite frankly, I haven't felt like reading a lot of other people's bitching and moaning lately.  What a selfish wench I am!  Although we all like to believe we're 100% correct regarding our political ideology and spiritual beliefs, I'm intelligent enough to know that rarely is one side completely right about anything. The exception to that rule is the dogma surrounding Mildredism. Mildred, after all, is right about everything! 

Today is the day I'm going to break my dry spell and jump back into the insanity of public opinion.  One issue I'd like to weigh in on is the increased gun violence in the United States. Without stepping on anyone's toes or Second Amendment rights, I really believe something concrete needs to be done to curb the violence.  Too many innocent people are being slaughtered daily.  I listen closely to all the rhetoric surrounding this hotbed issue, but all I really hear appears to be are confirmations of an irrational need to be heavily armed and a quite twisted relationship between weapons and their owners.  Instead of people focusing on a very real problem and having a rational discussion about it so a consensus can be reached, all I hear are people wailing about their guns being taken away from them.  To that I say BOO FUCKING HOO!

Perhaps when the Constitution was first written a need to be armed was a truly legitimate need, but it's an entirely different world now than it was then.  At that time people had to hunt to provide food to feed their families.  Veganism wasn't the going rage back then. People were meat and potato connoisseurs not bean sprout and tofu gurus.  Back then guns were a person's only defense in the savage environment they were settling. Today fewer people hunt to feed their families and those who do hunt, do it more for sport than for dietary need.  Those who chose to hunt and it is a choice because meat is readily available for sale at any store near where they live certainly can do so without doing it with a semi-automatic firearm.  Wouldn't hunting be more like hunting if it were done with bows instead of guns?   Just a thought! 

Having a fully equipped arsenal of weapons seems a little bizarre to me and just a wee bit on the paranoid side.  Maybe I feel this way because I've never felt a need to own a gun.  As many times as I have attempted to discuss this issue no one has ever adequately explained to me any rational reasons why people have a need for weapons in this day and age.  What I generally get are loud tirades that come off sounding more like something an emotionally unstable person might rant. And oh boy, that's the kind of person I want armed and ready for anything! Today's savage environment doesn't include marauding bands of Native Americans or outlaws who rape, plunder and pillage.  The savage situations of today are school shootings and crimes of passion.  Could the answer be as simple as taking all weapons away except those used by law enforcement and the military? Perhaps if that was done, the violence might vanish.  Just a thought! 

So what's it going to take to turn the violence around?  Any thoughts on the subject? Other industrialized countries don't seem have the amount of gun violence we have here.  Are we not doing something right?  What's their formula for a relatively peaceful co-existence? Are we just a nation of spoiled children who want what we want when we want it regardless of the consequences of our actions?  Have people become incapable of compromise? Has our gun violence gotten so out of hand that it can't be fixed and why does the NRA seem to wield so much power?   Who made them Grand Poobah of Gunslingers?  These are just some of the questions floating around in my bleeding heart liberal brain. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MATTERS OF THE HEART

Often times little girls are misdirected into believing love is supposed to be some once upon a time fairytale just waiting to happen.  They read about love, dream about love and expect love to happen just as it's written. So what happens when those little girls get disillusioned and suffer from a broken heart? Some of them learn how to cope with real life while others become maniacal bitches who nag, manipulate and feel like they have to beg a man for his attention. They become willing to do anything just to be loved.  Yes, sometimes their lives become a scene right out of the movie, Fatal Attraction and when confronted with reality, they get insulted that anyone might think our behavior is erratic, illogical and just down right mean at times. A snake has more warmth than a spurned woman and its bite is a lot less venomous. Doesn't the old saying go something like, "hell has no fury like a woman's scorn?"

What happened the first time you had mind-blowing sex with someone and they never called again? Hopefully, everyone is saying to themselves, "I don't have an answer to that question because I've never had a one night stand."  Hopefully, each one of you has had mind-blowing sex followed by years of unadulterated bliss with the same person or you haven't suffered the slings and arrows of unrequited love.  Unfortunately, for some of us that doesn't happen.  Unfortunately, some of us have mind blowing sex and if anything follows at best, it might be a mind-blowing abusive relationship. Yep! Some of us allow ourselves to believe that we can conquer or fix anything and everything and each time we allow ourselves to remain oblivious to the writing on the wall, we get repeatedly hurt  Being blinded by false love only gives the green light for more abuse to occur.  Sure, we're afraid to walk away because we have a fear of the unknown.  Because of that fear we allow our self-worth to be so badly beaten down that sometimes it becomes non-existent.  For the lucky ones when enough abuse occurs, our survival instinct finally kicks in and we get the hell out of Dodge quickly with our suitcase in hand! But a crucial lesson we all have to learn is not to piss and moan continually about the Neanderthal we live with unless we're ready to stand up and do something about our situation.  Until we have the strength to help ourselves, we really can't expect people to support our decisions and to give us the empathy we need. 

Yep, I've been through it myself...looked down the barrel of a loaded gun more than once. Been tied up for a sessions of sexual fun and games only to end up having my breast used as an ashtray. The scar makes me shake my head and wonder what I was thinking then...obviously I wasn't thinking and didn't have much self-respect or self-worth.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly with the expectation of a different result. Well, quite a long time ago I decided to get off that roller coaster ride and walk on flat ground again.  It was then I decided that the insanity I was living really wasn't appealing and I deserved a better life even if that better life meant being alone and as I always say being alone is a much better place to be than being with the wrong person.  Finding the courage to admit that and then actually removing myself from the game long enough for me to reevaluate my priorities and needs wasn't easy to do, but I did it because I knew I was long overdue for a change.  The insanity, the drama, the turmoil and the negativity had to stop!  Now, after 9 long years of being out of the relationship/dating game, I'm slowly getting to know someone again that I knew when I was a young girl before all the madness began.  Time will tell what happens, but until then at least now I know what I do and don't want and need and I have the courage to walk away if I see any red flags.  The hardest thing for me right now isn't telling myself that I'm worthy of getting to know.  It's believing it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

MY TOP 25 LIGHTBULB MOMENTS

When I started blogging again in 2010 after a rather long absence from it, I did it to fulfill a therapy requirement given to me by my "yoyo inspector" (a term of endearment I had given my therapist).  One of the tools of therapy she wanted me to implement was to explore my inner self by keeping a daily journal.  The topic of each entry could be of my own choosing, but each entry had to end with a gratitude statement.  At times, I had to dig deep to find something that could be seen as gratitude on my part, but in doing so, I found an ingenious way to take negativity and gift wrap it with a big colorful bow.   Suddenly even the most negative aspects of my life had a glimmer of light cast upon them. 

We all have moments when things just seem to click and suddenly make sense.  Here are a few things Mildred has learned about her relationship with herself, friends, family and lovers as she has stumbled down a rather bumpy garden path:

1) Someone who loves you will make time to be with you even when their schedule is so hectic and chaotic that they barely have time to take a shower.  

2) Someone who loves you will never treat you like you're an afterthought and will always attempt to include you in their plans whenever possible.

3) If you leave a voicemail or send an email or an occasional smoke signal, a considerate person responds. Silence can be interpreted in many ways, but in my book, silence is rude and neglectful. 


4) Plain and simple...any relationship does NOT thrive on neglect.

5) Intimacy starts to happen when two people open up and nurture each other. 

6) Relationships tend to grow and thrive as long as the relationship is a two way street! 

7) Relationships quickly dissipate and die as a result of constant drama, negativity and turmoil. 

8) Don't be a door mat! Hanging in there will only make you feel demeaned and used. Your feelings are worth more than that, so find someone who can and will love you as much as you love them. 

9) If gift giving occasions always come and go without even a simple acknowledgement (remember cards are relatively inexpensive) from the people who are most important to you, then they aren't deserving of your time, effort and hard-earned money. Why worry about finding "the perfect gift" for someone who always has some lame excuse as to why they can't reciprocate? As we've always been told, it really is the thought that counts! Obviously that jerk didn't get the same memo! Stop wasting your time and money!  Go buy yourself a gift for being smart!

10) Everyone has preferences!  If someone likes a tall partner and you're short unless you know how to get leg extensions, you should bow out gracefully.


11) Sometimes people stay in relationships with the wrong person for a lifetime because they're afraid of being alone. 

12) Being alone is much better than being with the wrong person. 

13) Actions speak louder than words and words can be pretty cheap at times. 


14) Some people are great at blowing smoke up people's backsides and weaving captivating dreams, but when it comes right down to it, those people are clueless when it comes to anything real and meaningful.   

15) People who love us will make our dreams come true...or at least they'll try to!

16) Open your eyes, read the signs and don’t overlook any red flags.


17) Trust your instincts and intuition.  

18) If you spend all your time wondering and questioning everything in a relationship, it's time to move on. 

19) Always accept people for who they are and not for who you want them to be.  

20) A real person will start the race and finish it being the same person. 

21) Remember a real person has flaws and imperfections!  Perfection might be alluring, but it doesn't exist. 

22) Shutting the door and turning off the light might be a safe thing to do, but it's only going to hurt you in the long run. 

23) No one should live in a dark cave! 

24) The time to shut the door and turn off the light is when we die.  Until then, be brave and be willing to change the lightbulb occasionally.

25) All relationships are a work in progress and communication is one of the key ingredients to having a successful one.


Gratitude statement: Even though I may learn everything in life the hard way, I'm thankful that eventually even I see the light.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

SOCIETY'S CHILD

So many things factor into forming who we are and how we view the world around us.  As a child I was never taught to judge people by their economic status or by the color of their skin.  Racial tensions ran high during my younger years, but those tensions just didn't seem to personally touch my life.  Sure, it was something I saw on TV and read about in books and magazines, but I didn't have to live it firsthand.  I simply grew up not understanding why some people hated others for what seemed to me like no valid reason and to this day, I still have problems understanding racism and bigotry. 

Maybe I was fortunate to grow up in a place where those horrible things didn't happen very often or if they did, I never had to witness them.  Maybe I was fortunate to be able to turn off listening whenever my grandfather loudly ranted and raved about Catholics and Jews instead of taking it to heart.  I always wondered what bug had crawled up his butt when he decided the Beatles were the cause of all the world's problems and no one from New Jersey should be able to drive a car.  Okay, maybe he got that one right!  [LOL] Archie Bunker had nothing on my grandfather. Put toe to toe, I think my grandfather could have taken Archie down.  And maybe most of all, I was fortunate to develop insulation to some things I saw as being immoral, unjust and just plain crazy.  I wanted to be free to develop my own brand of crazy and to think for myself. 


As a young teenager, I saw an interracial relationship develop within the group of people I hung around.  People couldn't be in Billie (Buz as we called him then) and Debbie's presence without noticing that they truly loved each other.  Because of them, I discovered love really is blind.  The heart doesn't see the color of a person's skin no more than the heart sees the color or length of a person's hair, their height or their weight and the size of their bank account. I secretly rooted for their relationship to not only withstand the normal relationship woes, but to continue to grow and develop into lasting relationship.  What I didn't see or understand were the problems they faced behind the scenes.  Sure, their friends were able to accept their relationship, but that wasn't the case with all the people in their lives.  I don't know the details of how or why they split up, but I witnessed a certain veil of sadness as a result of it.  They both moved on, got married and lived a life without each other. 

Now, flash forward many years later to a time after Debbie's husband died from complications due to diabetes and Billie's marriage ended around the same time.  Several years ago, they both exchanged wedding vows again, but this time it was with each other and they started living a life that was all, but a faded memory from years ago.  It just goes to show you that when two people belong together, fate will make it happen.  There's a greeting card that has always stuck with me. Each time true love prevails, I think of that card.  It simply says: Somehow...Someway...Somewhere...Someday...



 

WHAT IS LIFE?

Delores from Under The Porch Light created Words For Wednesday.  If you'd like to participate, hop over to her blog and check it out!

This week's prompt were:

essence, flippant, mercury, speeding, nonchalant, shadowed
or
"life smells like coffee and baby poop, fresh cut grass and gasoline"

 

What is life?
Life looks like noodles and cesspools, wild flowers and trampolines.
Life sounds like landslides and toilets, baby coos and tambourines.
Life smells like coffee and baby poop, fresh cut grass and gasoline.
Life tastes like water and bourbon, vegetables and jelly beans.
Life feels like laughter and crying, zip lining and quarantine.
But actually life is just another unforeseen guillotine!
Evergreen, never seen
Fresh cut grass and gasoline…

Monday, June 16, 2014

A BELATED FATHER'S DAY TRIBUTE TO WILLIAM

My biological father was simply the man who lived in the same house with me. He was a great example of a non-participating parent. Don't get me wrong! I forgave him long ago for his non-existent role in my childhood and the pain he caused. I think he did the best he knew how to do, but he came from many generations of well-seasoned Irish alcoholics. His parenting skills were slim to nil at best. I truly believe there are some people on Earth that should never be parents and he was one of them! Unfortunately, the union he formed with my mother produced 4 children. I was the youngest. I'm sure someone who knows a lot about birth order could read much into my personality based on that alone! Now, throw the fact I'm the only female into the mix and that might keep an astute psychologist busy for at least a few minutes.
 
My parents divorced when I was 14. I've got to say that event contributed little to the emotional suicide I was hell bent to commit. I actually felt relieved that the turmoil I grew up with was finally over, but the damage had already been done and the effects from a traumatic childhood had manifested themselves into drug abuse among other very self-destructive behaviors. At barely 16, I found myself in jail being offered a chance to be used as a guinea pig by the State of Maine in a substance abuse rehab program. I was probated there until I was 18. For anyone not familiar with the rehab programs of those days, all I will say today is what a long strange trip it was and that jail definitely would have been the easier path to take. Hindsight is always 20/20!
 
During my long stay in rehab (I finally left 3 months after my 18th birthday), I was not allowed any contact with the outside world with the exception of seeing my mother once for a few hours before she married a man who lived in Florida. At that time, I felt totally abandoned and wondered what my fate would be upon turning 18 and leaving the safety of the isolated world I had come to call home. I had two options. Go back to my hometown (not a wise choice) or to make a fresh start in Florida with my mother and her new husband.
 
Upon leaving Maine, I flew to NW Florida and immediately suffered severe culture shock. Moving from New England to the South was like moving to another planet. I adjusted, but I credit that adjustment largely to the man who stepped in and became the father I never had. I can't begin to express the gratitude I have felt over the years as he hung in there with me through all my rough spots and there were many! He never judged me nor criticized me. He stood strong and helped me through each time never giving up hope that I would finally find my groove and stop being so lost and clueless.
 

Any man like my biological father can be a sperm donor, but it takes a special man to be a "Dad" and it takes a saint to take on the responsibility and become a "Dad" to children who aren't his own especially when they are troubled and rebellious like I was. My mother married a saint! He did everything from teaching me how to drive to instilling an unshakable work ethic in me to showing me how to be a good parent. He taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and I feel truly blessed to have had someone like him in my life. Although it's been several since he died, I still miss him in so many ways. Each time I want to give up hope, the thought of him makes me realize that good men do exist.  I'm thankful that in the end when it mattered most, I was strong enough to uphold his final wishes.

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS CAROL?

Seldomly do we meet people in life that can give their friendship without a price tag. I was fortunate to have found a friend in no man's land who not only loved unconditionally, but also withheld making judgment calls as well. Carol was a true free spirit. Yes, she had faults and it was one of those faults that heightened the danger factor of our friendship and made our time together an adventure.

I’ve always tended to gravitate towards the edge. It’s where I feel most comfortable. Maybe it’s the suspense, the thrill, the uncertainty of the outcome that makes teetering on the edge so appealing to me. Whatever it was, that certain something was a definite factor in what kept a smile on our faces in those days. The day I met Carol, we headed to Panama City to have some fun. The guy Carol was with had a friend, so the pairing off was a given. I usually don’t do prearranged dating set up by a friend, but I was bored and in need of some male attention, so WTF? It wasn’t until the next day that I found out that the guy Carol was with was not only married, but was married to a legendary bitch in those parts. Rumor had it that Peggy would just as soon shoot you as look at you. Yes, birds of a feather flock together and just as free spirits (aka "saucy tarts") tend to seek each other out and form alliances, the psycho bitches of the world do the same.

I saw the writing on the wall soon after our association began. Although I was not guilty of the whole married man thing, in the eyes of many I was just as guilty as Carol because I knew what was going on. That type of thinking seemed to escape my way of viewing things and I decided early into my Vernon experience that I’d have some fun with my guilt by association. Peggy sent her minions out to do some feather ruffling one day. Carol and I had stopped at the local generic hamburger joint to grab some lunch. While Carol was inside, a fiery spitfire about 8 inches shorter than me approached me while I was sitting in Carol’s car finishing my lunch.  When she announced that she needed to talk to me, I looked up at her and smiled sweetly. I told her that I don’t like being disturbed while I was doing 3 things. For future reference so she would know my list of do’s and don’ts, I was courteous enough to list them for her. I explained the "don’t disturb me sign is up while I’m sleeping, eating and fucking" and let her know if she had something to say to me she was going to have to wait until I was done eating and then we’d talk. She left in a huff! Later, I got mixed revues on what many thought was a foolhardy action on my part, but I can say I didn’t get my head blown off for my little power play that day. Risky? Maybe! But it was definitely satisfying, too.  By the time Carol returned to the car, harmony was restored and the potential volatile situation was diffused for the moment…

One of my most memorable moments with Carol was when she introduced me to The Cat’s Eye one evening. The Cat’s Eye was a typical honky tonk. It was the only place adults could go locally for entertainment, but in doing so one stepped into the arena of barroom fights and many other things. What I didn’t know when we entered the bar, Carol had an agenda.  Carol always had an agenda!  She scanned the bar and then quickly introduced me to a pleasant Southern hippie with long curly blonde hair and a gorgeous smile, then announced she had to go meet someone, but would be back before closing. She assured me that I was in good hands and asked Ricky if he minded babysitting me. He made some cute remark about how hanging out with a Yankee might ruin his reputation, but he agreed to make an exception this one time. Carol mysteriously disappeared after enlisting Ricky's help for the evening, but didn’t return as promised.

Ricky and I hunted for Carol after closing. We found her car, but naturally it was locked. I left a note on her windshield telling her to pick me up at Lucas Pond where Ricky lived, but I didn’t expect to see her until the next day. During the course of the evening, Ricky and I had discussed a wide array of topics and he seemed pleasantly surprised that a long-legged 18-year-old hottie had a brain. He confessed that he had a preconceived notion about me before he met me and that he had been wrong. I was equally surprised by his confession. Rarely do men reveal things like that especially when they’re hoping to get laid. You see, I had a preconceived notion also…I thought getting in my pants was his motive for being nice to me and was even more convinced of that when we arrived at his cabin on the pond.

Kindred spirits inhibited all the cabins on the pond. The only late night sounds on the pond were the low melodic hums that came from the music within each cabin. Ricky’s cabin was silent…dark, mysterious, yet inviting all the same. I tried to imagine what lurked within and was immediately amused by his "conversation pieces" hanging on his bedroom wall. Before me was a collection of women’s panties arranged into a huge collage. He noted my amusement as he asked me to select what music I wanted to hear. It wasn’t long after I had arrived, when Carol showed up with the cavalry (the guy she had gone to meet earlier) to "rescue" me. She seemed surprised that Ricky and I were totally engrossed discussing music when she arrived and not in the throes of passion. Eventually, the four of us fell asleep on the floor with Goats Head Soup playing in the background. That was just one of many nights spent in the peaceful solitude on the pond but only after telling Ricky my panties would never be on his wall because I didn't wear any. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

THE FISHBOWL

It's extremely difficult fitting in when the fishbowl in which you live is an unfamiliar rural territory that could have been taken right out of the movie, Deliverance.  Everywhere there were faces of strangers waiting and watching, but what they were watching and waiting for made me a little uneasy. Vernon was dubbed "Nub City" because so many residents there make limb loss insurance claims to supplement their income. In 1981 Vernon was featured in a documentary highlighting the eccentricities of the people who lived there. The movie angered many residents who felt the documentary portrayed the area in a negative light. Negative light?  How could blowing off your arm or foot with a shotgun for insurance money be considered negative?  Shouldn't it be considered creative and ingenious instead? Oops! There goes my good old Maine sarcasm acting up again!

I was only eighteen when I became the new kid on the block in this small Southern town with a population of less than one thousand.  My new position wasn't exactly the position I wanted; yet this position definitely had its comical advantages. I could tell by the inquisitive looks people gave us as they drove by my brother, Brian's place that they hadn't quite figured out who belonged with whom and what was going on onside. This was something I was used to by now and always liked the initial reactions I got when the truth finally came out. And the truth always did come out...eventually! But for the time being I was going to savor the looks I was getting and just sit back and let people wonder. Being the object of speculation sometimes can have very interesting outcomes and in this case, the outcome was not only interesting, but a lasting one as well.

My brother, Brian liked the game. He liked being admired. I laughed when he set up his weight lifting equipment outside in the front yard. Not long after he started his daily workouts, the drive-bys increased. The brave ones did walk-bys and even waved hello occasionally. We'd been there several days, when early one evening Brian decided it was time to take a walk "uptown". We strolled through the center of what seemed to be a one-horse town...a post office, a grocery store named the Dixie Dandy, a small hamburger joint, a gas station and of course, a real live honky tonk on the outskirts of town called The Cat's Eye. 

A group of locals were clustered around a bench placed outside the post office. The area was considered the town square. As we approached, the noise from the small crowd died down in anticipation. When we reached the group, Brian stopped and we introduced ourselves to the handful of people who seemed quite mesmerized by our presence. We chatted long enough to show them that Yankees could be friendly. As we left we knew we had given them plenty to talk about for days to come. 

The ice had been broken and now I was anxious to see what would follow. In the next few days I met another female who became my first friend. Carol was from Miami and like me, she had found her way to Vernon under unusual circumstances. Maybe the fact that we were outsiders was what gave us an immediate common bond. From the moment we met, it seemed like we had been friends forever and at our age that title came with the subtitle of "partners in crime". We were two new females in a very small town.  That dubious distinction earned us the title of being new meat...me, a thinly sliced medium rare evenly spiced roast beef and Carol, a slightly thicker sliced brown sugar cured ham.  From the moment I met Carol I had a hunch that our time in Vernon was going to be a learning experience for both of us.  Looking back now all I can proclaim is how right I was!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

FOR EVERYTHING ELSE THERE'S DUCK TAPE

merijane muses is written by a "salty Maine chick" and encompasses her "musings on life's joys, heartbreaks & curveballs."  Her latest post, Forgive Yourself, Mama covers motherhood's trials and tribulations.  Merijane's outlook on life and subject matter is refreshingly honest and aimed at things most of us can relate to in our own lives.

The following is the comment I left in response to her heartfelt post and after rereading it,  I realized that my words to her is my own philosophy about life summed up in one short paragraph:
Too many of us never learn how to forgive ourselves for anything. It's as though we never hold ourselves to the same standards we have for everyone else. We don't expect perfection from anyone but the person staring back at us in the mirror. It's really sad we do that to ourselves...life would be so much easier and way more pleasant if we just exhaled and relaxed. It's okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from the mistakes we make. What I've found in life is that most things can be fixed with love and for everything else there's duck tape!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

JAZZ SWEETLY PLAYED

This week's prompt from Under The Porch Light are: insulted, blacktop, mortician, jazz, dynamic, interfere



What’s that sound? My ears were insulted
But what resulted
At a quaint café where the blacktop ended
I was befriended
Not by the bartender or the cool cat musician
A friendly mortician
The dynamic sound of jazz sweetly played
The room gently swayed
Who knew that sound could interfere so deeply
Be a love given cheaply
But the music and I became man and wife
A love song for life
A love song for life.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

SUGAR IS NOT MY FRIEND

The following comment is one I left as a response on Spo-Reflections blog.  He laments that although he's not a sugarholic, he does occasionally have "unnatural cravings."   As we all know when you get an itch, you have to scratch it.  I wish my itches weren't such bitches! They all seem to go way beyond being harmless unnatural cravings.  For me, that sweet sugar itch is a real blood sucking demon!

I’ve tried desperately to weed sugar from the mix of what I consume. So far I’ve been fairly successful…my A1C smiles, but damn it, sometimes I want a King size Snickers and a Coke and raspberry pie with vanilla ice cream and mountains of warm, homemade oatmeal cookies and a HUGE glass of ice cold milk (not 1%)…just to name a few. I guess after feeling like I’ve rammed my head into the proverbial wall enough, I decided to be more compliant and accept that sugar and any simple carb in mass quantities …oh hell, who am I kidding? even in small quantities it’s like committing suicide slowly. My mantra needs to be “SUGAR IS NOT MY FRIEND!"

The truth of the matter is anything, but comical.  Diabetes is a horrible disease to have and difficult to manage successfully.  I know it's not impossible...just difficult!  It requires making informed choices: sugar or feet?  sugar or eyesight?  sugar or liver?  I could go on and on because let's face it, uncontrolled  diabetes effects everything in your body and uncontrolled diabetes is a sure death sentence. Yes, we're all going to die, but why hasten the process?  Why add to the list of  things that  go wrong as our body naturally ages? 

My last A1C was 10.3.  My endocrinologist wants it to be under 7.5 in 3 months when I'm tested again.  Do you know what your A1C is?  If not, maybe you should have it tested the next time you have to have blood work done.

According to the Mayo Clinic:
For someone who doesn't have diabetes, a normal A1C level can range from 4.5 to 6 percent. Someone who's had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time might have an A1C level above 8 percent.
When the A1C test is used to diagnose diabetes, an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes.
For most people who have previously diagnosed diabetes, an A1C level of 7 percent or less is a common treatment target. Higher targets may be chosen in some individuals. If your A1C level is above your target, your doctor may recommend a change in your diabetes treatment plan. Remember, the higher your A1C level, the higher your risk of diabetes complications.
 
A1C level
Estimated average blood sugar level
5 percent 97 mg/dL (5.4 mmol/L)
6 percent 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L)
7 percent 154 mg/dL (8.5 mmol/L)
8 percent 183 mg/dL (10.2 mmol/L)
9 percent 212 mg/dL (11.8 mmol/L)
10 percent 240 mg/dL (13.3 mmol/L)
11 percent 269 mg/dL (14.9 mmol/L)
12 percent 298 mg/dL (16.5 mmol/L)
13 percent 326 mg/dL (18.1 mmol/L)
14 percent 355 mg/dL (19.7 mmol/L)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

WHEN MILDRED TOOK THE BULL BY THE HORNS

Because nothing is constant but change I decided it was time Mildred had a facelift.  I saw the term "déjà moo" somewhere out here in no man's land and fell in love.  The rest is history!

Friday, June 06, 2014

A LIFE WITHOUT WHITE PICKET FENCES

They say hindsight is 20/20, but I have to admit I often wonder who "they" are and why aren't "they" out actively trying to educate dumb asses like me.  "They" seem to be the ones that always jump in first to tell me "I told you so"  whenever I make a huge boo-boo even when "they" never really gave me any warnings in the first place. I can't say that my mother telling me things like "it's as easy to love a rich man as it is a poor man" are the lessons in love I needed as a young girl.  What I needed most was to be told I was beautiful, intelligent and capable to doing anything I wanted to do. 

At the ripe old age of 58 I had an epiphany the other day.  I've spent my whole live thinking I actually preferred 'bad boys" to the nice guys of the world.  I thought living dangerously and on the edge chasing after men with commitment issues and little respect or regard for any female was what got and kept my juices flowing.  Yes, I've questioned my preferences many times and have wondered why I've always equated nice guys as being boring.  My choices throughout life have deeply frustrated me because none of them have led to lasting happiness or a stable relationship.  So at 58, after being totally celibate and without any sort of relationship with a man for 9 years I've come to a rather startling conclusion.  I've always joking told people that sex causes brain damage.  Okay, maybe it wasn't totally a joke because it seems when two people throw sex into a relationship all clarity and common sense leaps out the window...or at least it does in my case.  Nine years ago I finally had enough of the rollercoaster ride and put myself in time out. 

When the light bulb finally turned on, it made the situation look entirely different to me.  I never really connected the dots so I could look at a complete picture.  Now, looking back I can say that my twisted view of what intimate relationships should be like and the kind of man in which I could enjoy lasting happiness with makes total sense to me.  I've spent my entire life chasing after anything and everything that would validate my powerful sense of not being worthy of love and happiness.  It's was always easy for me to believe I didn't deserve a good life and finding people willing and able to prove that point was always a very easy thing to do.  Many people might wonder why anyone would feel unworthy of love and happiness or why anyone would spend a lifetime doing anything that resembles a dog chasing its tail.  It's a complicated issue that dates back as far as I can remember.  For me, maybe it would have been more evident and easier to see if my "break" happened later in life.  For me, that destructive feeling was incorporated into my being at a very young age.  It's just the way it was.  It's just who I grew up being. It's not something I ever questioned because I grew up with the attitude "if the people who love me will hurt me then what's the rest of the world going to do to me?"  With that attitude it's easy to see why I always felt like I was continually swimming upstream against the current. 

I grew up with little self worth.  I held all my pain very close and rarely showed it to anyone.  When I did, it was just a glimpse.  I grew up with no expectations of the future or visions of that house with a white picket fence.  I grew up feeling that fleeting mind blowing sex was a good trade off for a stable life with someone who loved me.  I never knew anyone could have both, so I stuck with the bad boys who seemed more than happy to scratch my insatiable itch. I grew up numbing my pain with drugs and thinking promiscuity was okay. Many times I would say, 'it's a hard job and someone has to do it."  It's sad that I cared so little for myself, but what's sadder is that I believed no one else cared what happened to me either. The giving of myself to another person never held the same value to me as it did to others.  I didn't feel anything about me was really worth anyone's time or effort, so for me, intimacy was a twisted maze in which I became deliriously lost.  

I know now nice guys aren't boring.  Nice guys are just that and being nice isn't the kiss of death everyone always claimed it was.  The problem is that at 58 I'm way behind the curve and I don't know if I'm really interested in jumping back in the pond in search of the right frog to kiss.  I'm definitely not afraid of making mistakes because I've spent a lifetime being well-acquainted with doing just that.  I can't say exactly what the problem is...maybe just fear of the unknown or maybe it's as simple as I've run out of steam.  I can say this...I am open to the possibilities if one ever presents itself to me, but I doubt I'll ever actively go out looking for love.   Being alone isn't the worst thing in life and it's much easier to deal with than always being with the wrong person in a relationship filled with nothing, but fruitless drama. 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A SNAPSHOT IN TIME

This week's prompt from Under the Porch Light are:

grizzled, peaks, solitude, fire, delicate, yearning or the phrase, "a snapshot in time".    Obviously, I used both! 


Once long delicate locks

Turn to harsh, grizzled peaks

Vibrant eyes now a smoldering fire

Where solitude leaks

A yearning for a snapshot in time

When birth and death meet.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT

Doing the right thing is rarely an easy feat.  Now multiply the difficulty factor exponentially when the person trying to accomplish doing the right thing is a scared, confused teenager faced with a life altering decision.  When I first found out my daughter-in-law had given birth when she was only fifteen years old, I truly admired her for having the courage to put her child up for adoption.  That decision is never an easy one to make and I know she's always wondered whether or not she did the right thing.  Knowing she had a child out there somewhere has always eaten at her.  With each birthday, she remembered the beautiful moment that had touched her life and with each birthday she reiterated a promise she had made to both herself and her baby.  They say time heals all wounds, but in her case all time seemed to do was to widen the empty spot in her heart she tried desperately to conceal from people. Each time she passed a little girl roughly her daughter's age she would wonder if she was looking at the bundle of joy she once held. 

Many years later she met and married my son. As my daughter-in-law grew older and attempted to start a family with my son, what she had feared for so long seemed to come true.  Getting pregnant a second time wasn't an easy task.  They tried numerous fertility treatments until their funds ran out.  Then it happened!  She beamed as she told everyone that she and my son were pregnant.  She finally felt she could exhale and look towards the future once again.  She really hadn't been damned!  Shortly after finding out she was pregnant, she had an ultrasound done which revealed an ectopic pregnancy, a dangerous complication that can be life-threatening for the mother.  She was immediately admitted to the hospital where the procedure to end the pregnancy was performed.  Not only was the pregnancy terminated, but she had to have one of her fallopian tubes removed as well.  Needless to say, my heart ached for both her and my son.  With a heavy heart, they moved forward not knowing what the future had in store for them.

About a year after the ectopic pregnancy more tragedy struck when my daughter-in-law lost her mother to a sudden unforeseen illness.  It seemed her whole world was crashing in around her and she fell into a deep despair not knowing where to turn or who to turn towards because she didn't know who she would lose next.  It had been three years earlier when she lost her father to long illness that slowly erased the "larger than life" man he was always seen as being.  Both her parents were considered young by today's standards where it's not uncommon for people to live well into their 90's.  Long terminal illnesses are hard on a family because they have to watch a once vibrant loved one wither away, but unlike a sudden death, a long illness does allow a family time to say good-bye and to accept an end will eventually come.  For my daughter-in-law being a nurse has been such a blessing in many ways, but at times especially when accepting that some things are out of her control and nothing can be done to change the outcome being a nurse has been a curse.  Now parentless, her desire to find her daughter grew stronger.  She set the ball in motion not knowing what was awaiting her at the end of her journey.  As she put one foot in front of the other pushing herself towards finding out what fate had in store for her, the overpowering need to know steered her every move.

Not many people can truly validate a decision like the one she made when she was fifteen.  Not many people can actually see that they did the right thing.  Most people spend a lifetime hoping and wanting, but most people never know for sure.  Most people spend that lifetime wondering and always having an empty spot in their heart.  This isn't the case for my daughter-in-law.  Not only did she find her daughter, but her daughter wanted to find her as well.  Their reunion has been one in which a real life fairytale can be written.  Not only have they reunited, but they are presently working towards building a good relationship.  As they get to know each other, both of them is amazed at how many things they have in common and how many personality traits they share.  My daughter-in-law now knows that she did the right thing many years ago because the life her daughter grew up having is a life she would have never been able to give her.  She is grateful to the people who became her daughter's mother and father.  They adopted, loved and raised a baby girl who grew into being a truly beautiful woman both inside and out.  They nurtured and taught her how to be a strong, determined woman who can and will do great things with her life. My daughter-in-law's aim isn't to try to take anyone's place, but to merely have a place, however small in her daughter's life.  Her recent journey and the place that she has found in her daughter's life is one that has filled her heart with a much needed joy...a joy she has waited 24 years to have.  Since all good fairytales end the same way, I'll end this one with a heartfelt "and they lived happily ever after..."

Sunday, June 01, 2014

A TIME TO LET GO

The past few months have made me feel as if I've been on the lowest rung of some ghastly emotional food chain.  About the time I had my battle with UPS over a painting that had gotten damaged in shipping, the bottom seemed to fall out.  I definitely believe in moving past negative relationships or circumstances that create drama and angst, so when it became apparent that I needed to end my 40+year association with a group of people, I did it without any regrets.  My only battle scar from it has been that I haven't been able to paint since then.  Even though I know certain things that were said to me were said with the sole purpose of hurting me, my confidence in my artistic ability is shot.  My ego took a huge hit and I feel somewhat empty now.  Even though I may never be what some would consider a true artist, I had fun with what I did.  It relaxed me and gave me an outlet to express what's lurking on the inside.  My next step needs to be finding a path back to the things I once enjoyed doing.


A couple months ago a close friend of mine lost her middle child. I don't know what losing a child feels like and I hope I never do, but Daniel's death is about as close to it as I ever want to get.  Even though waves of grief still hit me at unexpected times and I truly want them to subside, my main concern since this tragedy happened isn't with myself and my own feelings, my heart is with his mother, my friend and with her battle.  I want so desperately to help her, but I know there isn't anything concrete that I can do to ease her pain and suffering.  It's difficult when every fiber of my being wants to make a difference in her life and to lighten her load, yet the reality of the situation is in the harsh knowledge that no difference can be made by anyone.  Time is the only thing that can help her now.

As many of you know, I battle with several serious health problems.  Recently, tests have revealed that some of my illnesses are getting worse.  On an intellectual level I've always known that would happen eventually, but on a feeling level when it has happened, I'm at a loss for how to handle it because I've always been Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman doesn't get ill and she doesn't age.  I'm one of those people who tend to isolate themselves when things aren't going well and isolating myself has gotten extremely easy over the last few years for a variety of reasons.  In many ways, it gives me a strange sense of comfort.  Does that make sense to anyone?  I've always referred to myself as a hermit or a troglodyte, but the truth is that's exactly what I am now.  A once vibrant woman is now nothing more than a sophisticated cave-dweller.  Perhaps, I should cash in on my current status and develop a line of clothing and furnishings for trendy troglodyte.