Monday, November 28, 2022

30 TRUTHS IN 30 DAYS - DAY TWO

Truth #2: I was browsing through the news this morning online and came across an article where Supermodel Paulina Porizkova stated that dating at 57 sucks. Hey, if it sucks for her, you can only imagine what it's like for us ordinary folk. I hate to break it to her by letting her know that it doesn't get any better with age. In fact I believe the older you get, the worse more difficult dating gets. Perhaps by middle age most people are just burnt-out by the whole process and know their chances of finding that forever love is slim to nil. Why keep doing it then? Truth? Most people would rather have someone than to die alone. Me...I'd rather be alone than be with the wrong person! It's a sad state of affairs when men your own age want women half their age and us cougars, are left to find a worthy 35 year old! If I find one, do I have to talk to him? lol 

BUBBLE ALLEY

Bubble Alley's multi-colored aerial display of large balloons in the heart of downtown Pensacola is getting an encore and contract extension. The more than 3,000, 18-inch diameter balloons suspended over one block of Intendencia Street between Jefferson and Tarragona streets were originally scheduled to be on display Nov. 3-14. But due to the display's growing popularity among downtown visitors, the bubbles will remain in place through the end of the year and perhaps beyond, said Walker Wilson, Downtown Improvement Board executive director according to the article in the Pensacola News Journal.





















I wish I could have gotten on top of one of the buildings to take a few pictures from there.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

30 TRUTHS IN 30 DAYS - DAY ONE

Truth #1 - The elderly have wisdom to share and once they are gone so is their wisdom. I often wish I had written down the stories I was told as a young person by my elderly relatives. Instead of rolling my eyes and thinking that the old fools knew nothing and that I knew everything, I now know that the old fools knew everything and I knew nothing at all. What the old fools tried to give me was something more valuable than gold itself, but I was too blind to see what was right in front of me. All I needed to do was stop and listen, stop and learn and stop and love. It really is such a simple thing to do, but as a young person it was probably one of the most difficult things to do in life.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS AND UNBLESSINGS


I was fortunate enough to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my children and their spouses, one of my nephews and one of my closest friends. We had a beautiful dinner...nothing burnt! Everything was perfect! But not all people were as fortunate as I was.

Of the people I did spend Thanksgiving with the roll call is short by a few people: my grandson couldn't make it in from Massachusetts (but will here for Christmas with his girfriend Sophia) and my friend, Linda's husband, Max (is still working in Maine for a few more weeks.)

During the day my thoughts lingered on other people in other places far and near:

I have a few friends and relatives going through difficult emotional and stressful times (you know who you are.) I have a few friends and relatives going through serious medical issues (you know who you are.) 

Today I found out I have a friend that was basically forgotten about by her adult children. No phonecall! No nothing! That makes me sad and mad that people can be so thoughtless and selfish regarding their parents at times. I encouraged my friend to not keep her feelings bottled up, but to express her feelings to her adult children and let them know how much they had hurt her. After all, she is 1600 miles away from her family and no one called her except her husband. What's up with that? Did they all have broken fingers and laryngitis?

Drumroll please...the biggest blessing-unblessing: the week's worth of leftovers I'll be eating!

Is it spring yet?

BEHIND BROWN EYES

Somedays I have to remind myself that being alone is okay. Others days I know being alone is better than being with the wrong person...or the right person at the wrong time. Sometimes I feel compelled to say out loud that "finding home" or my center of gravity isn’t anything I can discover externally. This quest is all about me and no one else. I've had a void in my life for so long that I’ve come to accept it as being as much a part of me as are my long legs. Every now and then I throw myself into the abyss of relationship uncertainty and drama. Each time I explore it, what I find is the same old thing. That brick wall never gets easier to run into no matter how many times I do it. 

The inner peace and happiness I’m lacking is not in someone else nor is it somewhere else. I know that happiness lives within and radiates outward. The missing factors in my life are factors that left me at an very early age. The void I feel I often times think is simply the childhood I never had and will never have. How do I fill that void? I often wonder who I would have been if I had grown up in a family where love was not a painful thing or if I had never left home as a young teenager. Would I have perished or would I have survived? Could I have thrived? Would I have learned to stand and fight instead of running away? Would I have learned how to ride something out from beginning to end? Would I have ever known the taste of sweet success? And would I have learned how to love myself without this path I chose? Can anyone really answer those questions with absolute certainty? I certainly can't! 

Sometimes nostalgia floods my thoughts along with thoughts of "what if". What if I just stopped running into that brick wall time after time? The last time I made that mistake was several years ago. I allowed myself to once again believe that loving someone could change my life. Silly me! I really did know better than that, but foolishly got caught up in flood of feel good moments. I let how I felt when I was with this person grow into believing that love conquers all obstacles. What I forgot was that unreciprocated love and one-sided relationships conquer nothing. From my track record, one could assume that I’m everything from a glutton for punishment to being just plain stupid where love is concerned. In reality, I’m neither. In reality, my interest in finding that special someone has waned drastically to being almost non-existent. Now finding home has become more of a quest for inner strength as I deal with my declining health. 

 As I've developed several health problems and often times feel as if I'm quite literally falling apart, I find myself less interested in the whole relationship scene. The memory of my last cruise on the Love Boat still haunts me. My entire worth was measured in terms of my physical performance or should I say my lack of physical performance? How could I have been so wrong once again about someone who had captured my heart? I remember feeling crushed, disappointed and unworthy. But unworthy of what? Of not being able to do something I’ve never been exposed to doing before or ever attempted to do before this person came into my life? Would anyone be able to climb a high mountain on first try without climbing the small ones first? I now believe by letting this fish go without a fight, it was I who lost nothing. In my quest of finding home, I found where home isn’t and was reminded that being alone is okay.

*Repost from November 28, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2022

NINE SECRET RULES FOR BEING HUMAN

 


According to an article a friend sent me there are 9 secret rules for being human handed down from ancient Sanskrit literature. These rules are:


1. YOU WILL RECEIVE A BODY.
You may like it or not, but it will be yours for the entire period round.

2. YOU WILL LEARN LESSONS.
You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid.

3. THERE ARE NO MISTAKES, ONLY LESSONS.
Growth is a process of trial and error, experimentation. The ‘failed’ experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately works.

4. A LESSON IS REPEATED UNTIL IT IS LEARNED.
A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it, then you can go to the next lesson.

5. LEARNING LESSONS DOES NOT END.
There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

6.'THERE' IS NO BETTER THAN 'HERE.'
When you're 'there' it has become 'here', you will simply another 'there' that will again look better than 'here'.

7. OTHERS ARE MERELY MIRRORS OF YOU.
You cannot love or hate something about another unless it reflects you something you love or hate yourself.

8.WHAT YOU MAKE OF YOUR LIFE IS UP TO YOU.
You have all thè tools and resources you need, what you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. THE ANSWERS LIE INSIDE YOU.
The answers to life's questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust.

Live Life With A Meaning...


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO THOSE FAR AND NEAR

I don't remember any one particular Thanksgiving while I was growing up.  It's more an accumulation of all of them rolled up into one pleasant memory that makes me smile. The song "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go" definitely was the theme of the day for my family.  Yes, over the Penobscot River and through Brewer to the picturesque countryside of Holden was the route to my grandmother's house where a feast always awaited us.  Sometimes winter had already begun and the landscape was delicately draped with snow.  My brothers and I were always filled with anticipation of the exquisite meal we would eat and the days ahead that led to the grand finale, Christmas. 

My Nana's house was filled with delicious holiday aromas from the pumpkin and apple pies.  My guilty pleasure was the suet pudding soaked with hard sauce.  The dessert was so rich and flavorful, I could only eat a small serving even though I always wanted more.  The hard sauce was spiked with a splash or two of my grandfather's whisky so I felt all grown up eating it. Cinnamon and other spices masked the smell of the turkey roasting in the oven and the medley of garden-grown vegetables on the stove. Native-grown McIntosh apples would fill the apple pies and sweeten the day as their flavor mingled with the vanilla ice cream slowing melting atop the warm pie.  Their aroma is so distinctive that I could always tell if they were being sold in a store and now whenever I smell them, I'm instantly transported back to autumn in Maine when the orchards are bustling with business. 

There with her colorful bib apron on, Nana was the captain of her kitchen and always busy making sure everyone present was thoroughly sated. As she baked the pies, she always baked one pumpkin pie just for herself and she would eat it while preparing the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner. She rarely used a recipe, yet everything she made was baked to perfection. Her culinary expertise was strictly from instinct and the experience she had mastered many years before made her like some legendary figure from a Norman Rockwell illustration in my mind.

My choice from the turkey was always the wings, but when my Great Aunt Leah, one of my grandmother's sisters dined with us, I had to share the wings because they were her favorite as well. I never minded and to this day whenever I eat poultry, I always announce out loud that this one is for Aunt Leah as I eat one wing for me and one wing for her.  I know she'd like it that she's still remembered and included in all our holiday meals. Nana piled our plates beyond capacity, but no matter how much we ate, everyone always had room for a little dessert and then a little nap before going home. Nana always told me that my eyes were bigger than my stomach.  I suppose she was right, but on holidays even a child can have a hollow leg and be a bottomless pit. 

As the table was cleared and the food put away, my brothers and I did the dishes while the adults went into the living room to take a much needed breather. Nana always saved the paper tablecloth so I could cut out the turkeys and other Thanksgiving pictures printed on the tablecloth.  By the time I was done cutting, it was late in the afternoon and time to return home back through the woods and over the river to Walter Street we would go, but each time I went to Nana's house before I would leave, I always made sure I signed her guest book she kept on the desk in the corner of her living room. Doing that always made me feel as special as the others who had been guests in her house.  I'm sure the thought never crossed her mind to tell me not to do that because it was only for guests.  After all, I was her only granddaughter and I'm sure she indulged me in many, many ways.

*Repost from April 4, 2019

Monday, November 21, 2022

IS LOVE JUST ANOTHER FOUR LETTER WORD?

I could probably write a whole dissertation on the unfairness of love, but I won't. I could rant on about how many mistakes we all make in relationships. I'll let that slide, also. What I discovered or should I say rediscovered is that some love doesn't fade. It smolders unnoticed and unattended and then it takes only a word...a thought...a touch to ignite the fire that once was. That realization made me both happy and sad. When something is right, it remains right. It withstands the horrible disappointments and remains honest and open regardless of past scars. There is no fear in letting the person know how you feel even at the risk of those feelings being unreciprocated. Love is brave and foolhardy all in the same moment. 

Imagine a tree reaching upward towards the sky...arms open...strong and ready to embrace any of the sky's unpredictability and to weather any storm. Limbs break, leaves fall, yet the tree still stuggles to live and grow. There's a quiet place deep inside that harbors that special love against the unfairness and mistakes. It sits patiently awaiting... believing in love itself. That place transcends the obstacles and sometimes in a few rare cases where the people are bold enough to take a chance and to make their dreams into reality, they seek the love that safely lives in the shadows. 

They fearlessly bring it out into the sunlight together. Then it no longer exists only in dreams or in the stillness of all the 4 a.m.'s spent alone remembering, hungering for a touch that once made each day filled with passion and laughter. Something inside me awakened as it has in the past. It smiled and my eyes twinkled for a moment before it retreated back into the safety of the darkness within my cave.

*Repost from March 31, 2010

Sunday, November 20, 2022

MILDREDISM FOR BEGINNERS

My lifelong quest for spiritual knowledge has lead me in many directions with each new direction leaving me as empty as the last. When I finally reached the point of realizing that I am what I am and that for me God does not exist it was a point in my life that has come with both the feeling of great liberation and immense sadness. My sadness isn't due to not finding God, but of feeling true empathy for the pain anyone experiences who comes out of their closet. Living in any tightly sealed closet is like living in a coffin, but coming out doesn't always involve love, compassion and the support from those people who claim they love us. Although I do know how it feels to be judged, this time is different. This time I see just how little tolerance there really is in the world and that instead of people viewing each other as brothers and sisters and accepting each other's differences, I see how people want everyone to view life as they do. They want each person to be a cookie cutter version of themselves with no deviation. I want to scream, "I do not share the same desire." I appreciate the differences people have because I know without them life would be a very humdrum experience. Without them there would be no food for thought or choices to make. 

I also can and will continue to respect a person's right to believe or not believe in any higher power or lower power if they so choose. I can't or won't say a person's relationship with any God is a figment of their overactive imagination because I believe reality is what a person perceives it to be. Having a relationship with God simply is not a relationship I have nor one I feel I need as validation of being a good person. I don't believe religion holds exclusivity on bringing out the goodness in mankind. If it did, the world would be a much better place than it is. I think we all believe what we need to believe. I know many find great comfort in their faith and feel a need to worship. Perhaps there is some validity to Karl Marx's claim religion is the "opiate of the masses." 

Again, I have never found that numbing comfort nor the urgent need to worship as others have, but I will stand in support of a person's right to choose to worship or not. I will not stand in judgment nor will I belittle a person when their opinions and beliefs don't match mine. Yes, I will state how I feel, but in doing so I don't NEED anyone else to tell me I'm right...or wrong. Ideally, I'd just like the people journeying through life with me to accept me for who I am and to accept I am a good person without religion being at the core of who I am. And ideally, this is just a WANT and not a NEED! 

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful for the inner strength I have especially at times of great adversity.

*Repost October 4, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2022

EQUALITY HAS MANY FACES

People with disabilities are often times overlooked, kept in the shadows or are the punchline of some sick joke, but this kid is none of those things. He has risen to the status of being a true athlete and has earned the respect of his teammates because he contributes to the team in a real way. His teammates don't look at Josiah as having a disabilty. They see him as an equal because he is an equal. Kudos to Josiah Johnson and anyone like him!

Friday, November 18, 2022

CAN MILDRED COME OUT TO PLAY?

I haven't been feeling well for the last few days and in one of my "spleeny" (it's a Maine word meaning whiny) rants to a friend of mine about an old boyfriend, I had a lightbulb moment. No, it was more like a holy shit moment.  All of a sudden all the stupid, wasted, self-destructive relationships I've had made sense. It didn't make me feel any better, but at least it made me see why I had taken the path I had taken. 

Being sexually abused as a child severely fractured me and distorted my image of what relationships should be like. I grew up pretty clueless. And since my abuse went unchecked and like many sexual abuse victims I kept it hid. I buried it and blamed myself for it happening. I never felt like I deserved to be loved. I truly felt unworthy of having anything good or wholesome in my life. It's sad for any child to grow up feeling like that. At the time I didn't have the foresight to see the direction that was going to take me and no one seemed to want to enlighten me. As I got older, I did drugs to numb me and then I became promiscuous, but strangely enough I never connected the dots. I always gravitated to men who wouldn't love me like I needed to be loved or deserved to be loved. I lived a self-fulfilling prophecy to prove my unworthiness. If any good guys paid me any attention, I passed them by like they had the plague. I just wasn't interested in what they were selling. I found nice guys boring and sedate. What I thought I needed was something that was going to set my hair on fire and make me teeter on the edge of insanity. What a waste of time and energy that was! I should have gone with the dude offering the house and the white picket fence instead!

I have spent a lifetime proving to myself that I'm not worth anything. I'm not worth loving. I'm not worth having a decent relationship with because I believed I'm not a decent human being. That really makes me sad that I have done that to myself, but what makes me sadder is that the people who love me...my family never have questioned why I have done this to myself. Or why no therapist has ever questioned it? Why hasn't anyone simply said STOP IT? Just stop it and try something different because your way isn't working? Now, I'm afraid I don't know how to start over and do things differently. I don't know how to feel differently or be different. I know I should. I know anyone who has put themselves in timeout for 17 years has a HUGE problem, but here I sit. It's safe! No one can hurt me. I'm isolated!

Recently, I started to do the online dating thing, but only to find out that 95% of the people on the site aren't even who they say they are. The other 5% may be the nicest people in the world, but for one reason or another just don't appeal to me. Let's face it! We all have preferences. So for now I put that great idea on hold! I'm not going to say my time has passed because I don't have a crystal ball and I can't see into the future.  But I do know I am a bonafide freak magnet and until I can figure out how to curb that and how to trust my own choices in what appeals to me then I need to stay in time out for a while longer. 

FOR THE LOVE OF NATURE


There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,

There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,

By the deep sea, and music in its roar:

I love not man the less, but Nature more,

From these our interviews, in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the Universe, and feel

What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

~Lord Byron~

Thursday, November 17, 2022

I AM A LIBERAL

This was circulating on Facebook awhile ago and I thought it was worthy of posting and discussion on my blog:

I am a liberal, but that doesn't mean what a lot of people think it does.

Let's break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I'm getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected.

2. I believe we should all have access to healthcare. Somehow that's been interpreted as "I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all." This is not the case. I'm fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it's impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes "let people die because they can't afford healthcare" a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I'm not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen. It also makes economic sense to me that having decent healthcare is cheaper than ER care.

3. I believe education should be affordable and accessible to everyone. It doesn't necessarily have to be free, but there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.

4. I don't believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don't want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can't afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Having these beliefs does not make me a communist.

5. I don't throw around "I'm willing to pay higher taxes" lightly. If I'm suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it's because I'm fine with paying my fair share as long as it's actually going to something besides corporate welfare or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.

6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their heads above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn't have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.

7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer.

8. I don't believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I do believe they should have the same rights as you. I believe that love is love, and that you do not get to decide who I should love, or who my brother loves.

9. I don't believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN'T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they're supposed to be abusing, and if they're "stealing" your job it's because your employer is hiring illegally). I'm not opposed to deporting people who are here illegally, but I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc). The system should not be outsourced to profiteers! Private for-profit jails should be eliminated.

10. I don't believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, safe flights, etc. It's not that I want the government's hands in everything -- I just don't trust people trying to make money will ensure their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. Certainly not right now. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they're harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.

11. I believe our government has fascist aspects. Not because I dislike our government or because I can’t get over an election, but because I've spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.

12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege -- white, straight, male, economic, etc. -- need to start listening, even if you don't like what you're hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that's causing people to be marginalized.

13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government., except no one should have an automatic weapon or high capacity magazines. What I am interested in is sensible policies, including background checks, that just MIGHT save one person’s, perhaps a toddler’s, life by the hand of someone who should not have a gun.

14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you're using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?

15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something with a better profit potential in the future.

16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I'm a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn't mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don't believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.

So, I'm a liberal.

Does anyone care to weigh in on this topic or care to add to it?

*Repost from October 9, 2019

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

ARE YOU A SUNFLOWER?

Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also. He attracts and follows. -Jean Paul Richter-

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

WHEN DOES THE HOLIDAY SEASON OFFICIALLY START?

It probably comes as no surprise that my house is not adorned by the tons of the usual Christmas paraphernalia that most people seem to need to celebrate the holiday season properly. No, I don't decorate a Christmas tree. The exterior of my home isn't ablaze from a gawdy display of Christmas lights. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in other people's homes, but not in mine. I'm sure most people must think I'm as horrible as Scrooge and the Grinch all rolled up into one massive anti-Christmas campaign. But those who really know me, know that still waters run deep. For me, the season is not a lavish affair. I keep it simple. I try to pay it forward by giving money to the less fortunate and by doing small acts of kindness whenever I can. I don't go into debt from overspending, but I do manage to make sure all my loved ones are remembered in some special way. Over the years as my need to participate in the commercial hullabaloo surrounding Christmas has dwindled, I've devoted much thought to the holiday season and what makes it so depressing and unbearable for so many people. 

As children, this season breeds an unbridled anticipation of Santa Claus and wonderful gifts. Then as the years roll by, that anticipation for many people somehow morphs into the dread of overspending and into bittersweet memories of all the things they no longer have and of loved ones who no longer are with them. What may start out as a little self-pity often times turns into depression on steroids. For people celebrating the holidays totally alone or without a significant other, the holiday season always seems geared towards celebrating it with that special someone and with a loving family oozing with holiday spirit. Each time I used to see the commercial that asked, "What would you do for love this Christmas?" it made me want to vomit. Some bright, young advertising hotshot envisioned two people being separated at Christmas with impossible obstacles to overcome. Somehow and of course quite miraculously, they find their way to each other just in time and of course, bearing an armful of great gifts for one another. Does that ever happen in real life? If not, it should, but better yet it should happen all year long! 

I applaud anyone who generously give of themselves, but not necessarily through monetary means at Christmas. I applaud those who see a need to keep the romance and passion alive in a relationship because the person they love is still worth that kind of effort. I applaud those fortunate families who manage to celebrate Christmas together each year not from obligation or duty, but because they love one another. If you really want to get into the spirit of the season and adhere to the philosophy that "it’s better to give than to receive," then do something that might really make a difference in someone’s life. 

If you know someone who is alone or doesn’t appear overflowing with a festive spirit, take the time to be that person's friend. Sometimes all it takes is a kind word or some small deed to make a person believe they too are worthy of love and happiness during the holidays. Extend an invitation, give an anonymous gift or just act like you sincerely understand and care about someone in need. Alienating that "grinch" is the worst thing that can happen to that person. They may appear to want to be left alone, but underneath that gruff exterior lies a person needing a visit from a real Santa Claus. It's really quite simple! Give yourself the best Christmas gift you can ever receive by paying it forward this Christmas season.

*Repost from December 14, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2022

THE FAMINE MEMORIAL - DUBLIN, IRELAND

As I stood gazing at the life-like figures of The Famine Memorial in Dublin, Ireland I was filled with such sadness for all those people who didn't survive the Great Famine (1845-1852) and I felt a deep admiration and gratitude for those who did. The spot on which I stood to take this picture was a spot dedicated to memorializing not only a million people who suffered and perished as a result of the Great Famine, but also another million people who survived and left Ireland during that time to seek a better life elsewhere for themselves and their families.  Let's also pay tribute to all the people who survived and stayed to rebuild and to carry on all the great Irish traditions and lifestyles that country proudly offers.  This spot holds a great significance to me because my ancestors left their homes and the only life they had ever known to immigrate to the United States from County Cork in 1852.   

THE WORLD AT 55

At 55, we are branded "mature" (at least most of us are). At 55, the world no longer is viewed in terms of black and white. Shades of gray drown out the black and white as we find very few absolutes in life. At this crucial point in our lives, many of us decide to rediscover or reinvent ourselves. For many, this is the first major decision as we travel into the autumn of our years. Why can't this segment of our lives be as colorful as the trees in New England as the become ablaze of colors decorating the landscape? Why can't these years be filled with less regret and more urgency to do all the things we wanted, but never did because life kept getting in the way? Why isn't the light at the end of the tunnel a stronger, brighter beacon guiding us along the way? 

At 55, we are no longer invincible and immortal. Many of us are drowning in all the mundane things in which life is filled. We rarely take time to have fun, be happy or treat ourselves to an occasional goodie. At 55, our nest is filled with items of comfort that keep us from venturing outside to explore. Yes, we know we should treat ourselves better, but most of us have spent a lifetime of putting others before our own needs so we are clueless when it comes time to think about ourselves. I often wonder what would happen if I suddenly let that wild hair that was so much a part of my make up in my younger years loose again. Instead of cave-dwelling, what would happen if I squander my time and money and aimlessly wander? 

Isn't going out in a blaze of glory better than slowly fizzling out? Would living on the edge and flying by the seat of my pants feel any different now than it used to feel? As I watch those around me grow old and die, these at the things I wonder at 55. 

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for each age I've been for with each age comes new realizations and truths.

* Reposted from October 13, 2010 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

WHEN KARMA IS KIND

When a person gets to a certain point in their life making new friends and expanding their inner circle usually doesn't happen often. I have a handful of close friends that I've been through the trenches with at various times for various reasons who I would say know me better than anyone else. These people are my soul sisters...the sisters I never had in real life. Have I had close male friends? Of course! I still do, but until recently (within the last year) I've never met anyone who reached the "soul sister" status until this person. 

The connection I have made with this person is quite odd because first it came completely out of the blue for both of us. It's a bit on the serendipitous side. Neither of us sought it out. It just happened! The connection was instant and quite powerful...almost as if we were being drawn together by some unseen force. The funny part about it is that I don't feel a bit uncomfortable telling him personal things about myself because he doesn't judge me. I think he sees me for who I am and he thinks that person is okay. And I feel the same way about him. We both may be damaged people, but the pain we feel is shared pain. Somehow we've found comfort in knowing each other.

I've only had that type of acceptance from so few people in my life that it feels odd and mysterious at times, but I've grown not to question it, but to embrace it for what it is...a true gift. I hate to use this word because I'm not a religious person, but I feel blessed. I know things happen for a reason and sometimes we never find out those reasons...this may be one of those times where I'm just supposed to sit back and enjoy the ride and not over analyze it and pick it apart (that's a Virgo thing to do, by the way) If something jumps we have to know how far it jumped and why it jumped and if it'll jump again.

Years ago when I was in so much emotional pain, my ego had been completely destroyed when I left Texas as an empty shell. That's all I was. I was no more than one of the walking dead when I returned to Pensacola. Now 17 years later the universe seems to want to right itself by sending a kind, gentle voice from Texas to touch those painful places in me and help fade the scars that have held me prisoner and made me believe I'm not worth very much as a human being. How do you thank someone other than just by giving them a heartfelt thank you and by being there for them when they need you?  I often wonder if he has any idea what impact he has had on my overall psyche this past year. If not, I'm sure he'll get an inkling when he reads this blog post.

Friday, November 11, 2022

JAMES F MILLER OCTOBER 15, 2020

Perhaps I'm just being petty, but a few weeks ago I came across a Facebook post that rattled me. My ex-husband passed away October 15, 2020, but I never read his obituary. To be honest I never felt the need to read it and then a few weeks ago I was alerted to his obituary that someone had posted on his Facebook page. Stupidly, I went and read it. It wasn't the contents of the obituary that upset me but the photo that was used. 

Whoever was responsible for the obituary selected our wedding photo to use for his obituary picture. We divorced in the late 1990's and he had been with someone else for the last twenty+ years, but never married her. I just can't imagine that woman being okay with his wedding picture with me being used for his obituary picture. Of course, along with looking at the picture came me wanting to kick myself for looking at it. It brought back the full array of the avalanche my life underwent during that period. It used to be easy to blame him for all the pain I experienced, but I was there willingly. I may not have known initially what I was up against but when I did find out I had the option of leaving and I didn't...I stayed. I stayed through the shock treatments when he had a breakdown. I stayed even though he slept with a hatchet under the bed. I stayed even though he would disappear for days at a time with no explanation. I stayed until he left me and cleaned out our savings and took everything we owned and went to someone who had money and could keep him in a lifestyle he wanted. 

While he was disabled and couldn't work, I worked full time and went to school full time. Things were pretty stressful. My father's health was declining. He had two heart attacks. I felt like I was trying to be three or four people with little to no help. Jim was pretty zoned out on psychiatric drugs 24/7 so he couldn't be relied upon for anything (making a meal, doing laundry, etc.) As he got "better" he got paranoid and started thinking all sorts of crazy stuff. That's when he decided leave. Yes, he did me a favor, even though at the time it didn't feel that way because I had nothing left. He took everything I owned even the pictures on the walls. One day I came home from work to an empty house. I honestly don't know how I got through the first few months after that but I did. If it weren't for my children, I don't think I would have been able to get back on my feet. 

I know beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and I definitely know I am no beauty queen, but whenever I need to feel somewhat better about my old fugly ass I just look at what I got dumped for and know that Jim Miller really did do me a HUGE favor all those years ago. Yes, I've been alone a long time, but I've been here waiting for the right person to find me and sweep me off my feet. I used to laugh whenever he would call me and ask me to take him back. He made the mistake of telling me once he went to see The Rolling Stones with this woman and all I could think about was all the places he never took me. He didn't know it, but he really did me a favor by being honest then. Thank you, Jim! I really do hope you rest in the peace you never had in life!

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

SILENT FIGHT

Everywhere I look I see angry or depressed faces. It seems that over the years the child-like joy that accompanies Christmas gradually turns into frustration and despair. I think everyone knows Murphy's Laws are always on steroids during the month of December. We learn to expect the unexpected as our major appliances and cars have nervous breakdowns during the holiday season or some other major unforeseen expense rears its ugly head. Then add the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to an already crappy mood and what do you have? A grinch in training, of course! Does growing up and seeing Christmas no longer through the eyes of a child, but through the eyes of a frustrated shopper with limited funds turn the spirit of the season into dread? Does past memories of perhaps a death in the family or a break up taint the holiday season forever? Outwardly, we decorate and act festive, but what do we really feel on the inside? Is Christmas just a well disguised glittery nightmare or a merchant’s dream come true? Where does the true spirit of Christmas reside? In the church? In the home? In the heart? And when it’s found or if it's found, why doesn't it last all year long?

*Repost December 5, 2011