pawspauseprose

Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen


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Stumped at the bridge are we?

I love overly dramatic and wordily painted quotes that act as silent mentors in our lives.  “Don’t burn your bridges” and ‘Can’t see the forest for the trees” offer up such drama, color and immediate imagery, that no living person can escape feeling them.  However, once felt, most people walk past, live their life and ignore the warning.

Yes, I have burned a couple bridges, none over the river Kwia, but the drama haunts my soul, and in my own “could have had a V-8 moment” – the televised metaphor of the forest and the trees, I have looked back and seen the obvious and hit my forehead.  That being said, I have moved forward, prayed that my transgressions and stupidity will be forgiven, not repeated and I will make it up as I live along.  I worry however, for those who never reach that moment and continue repeating emotional failure, especially those near to my heart.

Why do intelligent and loving people look across the once lush forest of their life, and unlike the Lorax don’t realize the trees are gone and all that is left are stumps?  What does it take to wake them up to the time that is left, to make a change and walk across a bridge of understanding, plant some new ideas and start a growing a lush journey?  Yes, it is one of life’s mysteries that just stumps me – especially, as we face this new year when everyone is entertaining resolutions with a toast, to avoid from becoming toast.

I suppose it boils down to human nature, and some of us are more frame than painting to the illustration of humanity.  Yes, it takes effort to be a frame, eternally steadfast to the imagination and quality of the canvas – but not all paintings need a frame to shine, some do very well stretched in their own right,  and we see more details, or “the whole picture” as they say. I laugh when I say that, thinking of many a guilty person who claims they have “been framed” – another example of seeing past the trees I guess.

              The best thing about a new year is how it appears mentally in our life, like a fresh canvas or a field of unmarked snow. I hope those in my life see this as I do, a time to make a mark in the right direction and illustrate a journey of beauty, shared and enjoyed with others.  What I fear however, it they will see the unmarked virgin field of snow, sigh at its beauty and walk away content.  They won’t be around for spring when the glittering snow is gone, and only stumps from once strong and beautiful trees appear and litter the landscape of dirt and rock – much like the life they have become a slave to.


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Oh Dexter, I know the pattern

Being born into a law enforcement family, it wasn’t surprising I cut my teeth on Perry Mason and Ellery Queen.  I delighted to evening shows of Dragnet, Mannix, Canon and the original Hawaii 5-0, and as an additional palate cleanser, there was Matt Dillon and his spurs walking the streets and his brother Peter on a gravely designed reel-to-reel Mission Impossible.  Yes, the life and times of my life held a solid pattern, one of protection, comfort and security.  When I grew up and became a mother and later a grandmother, I knew no other way to live.  It was logical, and just like solving the crime, each piece went into place comfortably as I loved my family and all was as it should be – most of the time….

The patterns life follows as we grow into adults and later parenthood, remind me of the presentation of plasma Dexter views each week, only he is determining the demise of life and not the living of life.  In reality, missing cookies and a moved kitchen chair, a trembling lip before the tears come, tracks of mud to a bathroom sink, no mail on a day report cards are due, hidden candy wrappers in the couch or eyes refusing contact when you already know the situation at hand are presentation enough.  These patterns of life repeat many times as we age; reaching for knowledge, not knowing if something is really wrong and of course the infamous cookie jar we have our hand in at some time or another.  In the past few years however,  It was  to sad realize a new pattern,  as I  watched the unavoidable  Charly Gordon occurrences while caring for elderly and dying family, especially while they lived at home in hospice.

Those familiar patterns we repeat but leave behind in our lives as lessons learned, are some of the first to reappear in fragments when we begin to leave this life, becoming images Dexter would indeed appreciate.  Shaking and weak hands again like a child spill, forgetful minds leave items lying about or moved, trembling lips again accompany eyes of embarrassment, and yes, lack of eye contact is the same, but now a different emotion, as we both  already know the situation at hand.   Sometimes a pattern no matter how comforting, can also be the saddest thing in the word to find.

Walking through my front room, I pause daily at a glass cabinet with more than a few objects de it cost what, and across the front are smudged hand prints from my grand daughter who is almost two.  The French doors to the left have similar smudges from my grandson at that age; he is now approaching five, and woe to the person who ever washes that pane of glass.  Sometimes patterns of life are there for us as a gift to the heart, as we age along with other items showing marks of having been glued or mended, having been dropped and leaving yet another predictable pattern.

Yes, there are a lot of patterns in my life.  Predictably, when I get up in the morning, comb my hair, grab my glasses and head for that first cup of hot black tea.  I also walk past a splatter stain on the unfinished hallway floor just before reaching my office.  It is in front of the bedroom where my daughters grew up, my mother lived and later died, and where my grand children now laugh and play with toys.  The last day mom was truly active and mentally alive;  she spilled her coffee from trembling hands, and the liquid landed down the wall and onto the floor in an unpredictable puddle.  That stain is a true splatter pattern; it reaches in several directions, as if it wasn’t sure where to go, just like mom had felt inside.  Outside that room, like my child, and like my mother, it couldn’t be defined any better, saying: “Why can’t I do it my way?”

My husband also has a familiar pattern, one most men seem to develop at one time or another, and I think his case is terminal.  It is the unfinished project pattern, leaving gaps in my house and life with things he is always going to get around to doing.  I have reached a point now, after close to twenty years that I remark only when something is finished.  I’ve lost my breath and patience in any type of anticipation – that is my own pattern I guess.    However, in this particular case, should the day come when after almost nine long years he decides to actually finish the upstairs floor, I may have to take more than a morning moment  to ponder if I want that certain splatter pattern to disappear under oak panels.  Will I be ready to change that pattern in my life?

No matter how many arms reach out to us, the pattern will always be the same, a need for comfort, consoling, celebration or care.  Looking at the words in print makes alliteration, but it takes more than that to see what it means.  Anticipating need, as we see the evidence of actions, and looking at others without saying a word, still seeing and feeling the moment with them, is humanity and the only reason any of us walk this earth.  Putting one foot in front of the other, is a pattern we learned as children, but putting one hand out for another is a pattern of behavior we must commit to, and feel everyday.   If we fail our children and those who look to us for guidance, the only pattern will be isolation and condemnation spilling into the future, thus leaving us all no more than a wasted splatter, leaving a mark somewhere where eventually if we are lucky, someone might end up asking why.


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Do you want some CNN on your mashed potatoes?

Comfort – knowing you are aware of your surroundings, and also solid warm filling food, like hot mashed potatoes made with butter and milk.  Seriously, is there anything else we really need?  Well, apparently there is, and we have too much of it at that.

Last night I was transferring an old VHS television show to DVD, as a humorous accompaniment to our family Christmas card.  As I scanned through it, I stopped in shock and awe, and no, Arthur Kent wasn’t there, but it was news related.  1978 jumped off my computer screen in the form of a CBS evening newsbreak with Lesley Stahl (big hair and all).  She sat behind a desk, which resembled a stage prop from something in summer stock north of Ohio.  Her delivery was matter of fact and really no more than thesis statements for 5 top stories.  There was no Diamond Vision, green screen, audio feed or political snide comment, which of course never represents the views of the station.  In other words, Don Henley would hang the decapitated head in shame.  I have to admit, her 45 second spot left me stunned – which was news.

It appears we have become so accustom to Pomme Frites, that when we are given French Fries it is a shock.  Akin to newscasters delivering news only, and not mentioning their personal lives, as they sit in multi-million dollar sets, in wardrobe and makeup exceeding the annual income of 40% of their viewing audience.  Ironic really – the only time I can remember a broadcaster and his accoutrements, was Walter Cronkite removing his black plastic frame glasses, while he solemnly announced the death of President Kennedy.  Do we find comfort in all of this?  It’s not news to realize where our innocence went, and how our once soft edges became honed knife sharp towards life – it is just sad.

A friend of mine commented this week she was reading a 1996 book about the Charles Starkweather and Caril Fugate murder spree of 1957.  I remember this well, and not just because my mother was from Lincoln, Nebraska and it was a mental comfort zone where grandma had German Chocolate cake waiting for us, along with mashed potatoes.  The stark mental visual of killing a family in unlocked door USA, and the panic wondering where they might be along the landscape of our minds and the Midwest,  was more vivid than any HD screen.  I would be willing to bet that this along with my father being a policeman was the catalyst for my love of writing and the criminal mind.

The daily show is news is on every channel of television, some 24/7, Twitter alerts, Face Book, and Internet updates that Drudge up reports, stories and pictures hourly, with reporters who literally get into bed with the victims!  Seriously, sitting thisclosetoavictim asking how they are feeling after their life has been destroyed, is so common that not to see it would be – well, Lesley Stahl in her white cowl neck sweater, something uncomfortable for the masses.

How different life would have developed, if this state of affairs and style of news reporting had always been available during the lowest moments of our lives.  Would the Holocaust have been reported and been as passed over easily as ethnic cleansing in Bosnia?  Would we have watched Pearl Harbor between commercials for sitcoms and music award shows?  Would someone have set up an occupy style protest?  The sacrilegious quick glimpses of Viet Nam that did peek into the changing world of my youth, still haunt me, and that was nothing compared to what later generations have grown accustom to seeing.   I still see in my adult mind the day Desert Storm started, alone in my office, looking at the television, while bombs exploded in a country thousands of people away.  Bright white and yellow flashes that normally would have been warm comforting colors punctuated humanity.  I knew my daughters lives as well as my own were changed forever.

Our lives have morphed from sitcom situations to reality TV revelations, making sure our families will never be satisfied with what they have, and creature comforts are only recognized as commercials where cats eat from lalique and GPS takes over a car, sending the driver to Jared for diamonds.  So as we look objectively at a normal day in the life of ourselves, it isn’t news to see how jaded we have become and how the over saturation of knowledge has left us stupid.

Theme music doesn’t deliver news to me, and those reporting should do it for fact and not Emmy nominations, and needing to broadcast moments such as the funeral of a child, are a blasphemy that will never have a decent explanation.  Dorothea Lange made the first foot print in this direction, with her photos during the depression, but in our humble innocence we reacted from compassion and an honest realization that there but for the grace of God……..    Life does bring news – but news is not always life.

My rose colored glasses disappeared some place along with Janis and Bobby McGee, a few Doors from The Ed Sullivan Show a long time ago.  So I’ll put on the thick black plastic ones I tucked away, to make sure I always remember how to see the news of life clearly, as well as  those in my life who might be out of my reach, but never out of my sight.

 


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Speaking Homonymically

Remember the first time you realized not all words were created equal? The fun knowing how some words were tricky, because they sounded the same, spelled different and meant something else all together?  Most children have this epiphany when they learn about beavers (don’t go there– THAT is slang) who make mud fences in water called “dams.”  Voices of innocence laugh saying dam-dam-dam a victory,  because it sounds exactly like what caused a punishment for repeating an overheard swearing a week before.  Ah the innocence of life.  Damn it had its moments.

Then the innocence wore off.

Words hurt, and in this day and age they kill too, as swiftly and silently as any weapon. Bullies, insecure, jealous and empty individuals, NOT just children who don’t know better, thrive on the power they have over those they feel are less fortunate, unworthy or many times assumed better than themselves.

When we walked a school yard in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s  it was a lunch money shake down, a nerd getting wedgies or a set up by a popular kid to emotionally destroy someone not in their non-athletic competition “league.”  Yes, we all knew the score back then.  Some acted like “Carrie,” the sad embodiment of a victim, who took a bloody and nasty revenge, through the pen of King when she was made Queen as a joke.   But others were like Cinderella, who held her tongue and ended up with a silent smiling revenge on those who hurt her, when their deeds were uncovered in time.    Indeed, not all who are picked upon take the revenge route, but some do take the mortuary route and it is no fairytale!

Taking the homonym exit on the Internet Super Highway we commute on daily, I turned off  into a Chat Board, where people with similar interests go to meet and communicate, much like a rest area.  In this world, such boards have become the community centers, kitchen tables and neighbors we all once enjoyed in person.  Only today, I saw more “Bored” and “Meat,” than I expected.  The jabs and pokes at invisible faces with real emotions and lives behind their screen names, made me sick.  Do you know, if you Google the phrase Troll,” one of the definitions is a person or cyber bully who attacks others on a whim to satisfy their need for attention.  Yes, just like the trolls who lived in a dark existence, under the bridge in many fairy tales.  Difference now is they have unabridged access to lie, accuse and mock from the kingdom of their keyboard, leaving their subjects in shock.

Bored, pathetic individuals who troll for victims, that are then verbally gutted like fresh meat in a public forum need to be stopped.  Is this behavior because they lost a dispute with a friend or acquaintance and can now vilify the other person publicly, wining in a sick default?   Do they turn off their computers and feel proud at their evilness, especially if it was silently supported behavior and has now hurt someone they don’t know or even worse know very well.   Question is how do we really ever stop something invisible?

Words, once spoken disappear into the air leaving their wounds to fester, scar over or heal.  Now, in font filled fury, they can dance forever on computer screens, recorded for revenge and review as long as it is supported – not unlike the wicked gossip passed along in school and groups  “just too good not to share or join in” or worse “if I don’t follow what they will do to me?”  Right?

Truly mind bending is that the majority of the boards, collector groups and blogs we freely visit, are run and commented upon by people just like us, who want a voice, either due to being gay, abused, addicted, lonely or just tired of being a once silent minority, with something good to say.   What these good intended individuals miss however, is in getting their voice; many allow “bored” behavior to continue at the same time.  Why?  Is it their chance to finally feel the popular crowd crown, even if no one knows but them?

Sunday Go To Meeting, is a phrase that ran it’s course,  as I am sure, Just My Humble Opinion will also fade in time, as the catch all unwritten release to say whatever a troll wants to, as they live on the bottom of chat boards. I fear though what will replace them, fear who will use them and fear who will be victim of them.

Just because we can read and write, doesn’t mean all we read is right.  But it is a good bet, what we write is usually read.  So take a moment now, look at words in front of you and give a “damn!”  Sure, no one is probably going to see your actions at stopping a troll, unlike if you visually rally with them in a response to their postings.  In fact, you might even get a chat board following, cheering you both on in your cyber and fiendish friendship.  However, the question is no different than it would be face-to-face, do you want to be right or do you want to hide behind a write?  Because when the computer is off, the only “power” any of us can wield, is invisible and inside, knowing we said no and made it right.

 

JMHO

 

 

 

Photo of the U.S. Today print issue

Teasing Online


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Being heard IS being seen

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, and no, I do not mean in a stupid insurance commercial, although I am sure you “saw” that image right away.  What am pointing out, is  you have no doubt seen and used the “I Heart U” phrase towards someone you care about.  What started as simple homage to New York City or NYC, snowballed into a shorthand of linguistic expression for everyone and everything, from gerbils to tractors – yes we “Heart” everything.  Question is how much of it do we really see?

Take a moment to really see the true hidden shorthand in those offbeat expressions.  It isn’t the “heart” which is usually artistically drawn, large and red between the words, which makes the point – it is the simple “I”, the keeper of love, passion, devotion, delight and intensity for mankind.  Biblically we are introduced it immediately, as the spiritual force of life when God says, “I am your God”  and if you choose a less spiritual path, you can relate just as much to “Luke I am your father”, from another galaxy just not as far away.  Either way you “see” it, those are not just words, but life itself, and the two “eyes” we were born with confirm it.  We may view from a physical “eye” but we feel, become and experience with the being of ourselves which is through the  “I” see you, “I” love you, “I” believe in you, and together they confirm to someone that yes, “I” am here.

Never has this become truer to me, than recently as I found myself thinking of a dear family member loosing his sight through macular degeneration.   This man is the true embodiment of God’s intention for mankind.  He has “seen” life as a son, brother, father, husband, teacher, mentor and friend through his eyes, his heart, his hands and his soul.  To describe him to someone, they would just have to accept the smile on my face and the sparkle in my “eye”, because so much value is impossible to explain verbally.  Yes, I heart this man, and yes, I see him in my heart and through the memories we have shared over the years.

The way we ignore something this obvious,  is a one act comedy in itself, because First-person narratives are the way most of us live anymore.  We do for ourselves, maintain our existence and interact with people via smart phones and laptop computers, emails featuring ourselves, or blogs of our personal adventures proclaiming “I” did this.  Emotions such as “I” said “I” would do it! Or “I” will be there, are a mockery of why “I” was placed in this life in the first place, which was to experience and to see.  How very sad we have evolved into the silent Soylent, Harrison Bergeron, Truman Show theaters of selfish minds.  We have become our own blinders to the needs of others and how our physical and emotional involvement could make a difference anyone could see.

As we loose our sight in life, figuratively we no longer see what is important, and physically we find a darkness only our heart can see through.  The silence both possibilities offer is sad, but only one is truly frightening.  When we loose sight of the things important in our life, like the people and events which challenge and change us, what is the reason for living at all?

Some of my best ideas and moments come at night lying in bed with my eyes shut.  In that silent clarity, I am able to see the day’s events, remember memories and combine them to generate a path for the day yet to dawn.  When I am alone, I see clearly those in my heart who love me and those who shared and have passed on, and I hear laughter from the children in my life, who love and depend on me to help them see new and important moments. What I see from the windows of my heart and through the shades of my soul have made me who I am and gifted me with the journey of brilliance in this life.  Indeed, to quote “Amazing Grace,” one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world, “Was blind, but now I see” and oh what I have seen.

I do wish that visual blindness was something mankind did not face, wishing faces remained in view for those who love and cherish them.  However, for those like the man in my family who will see an eventual darkness, I know the lights in their soul will never dim and neither will the light they provided to countless others, who had been unable to see the direction life intended for them to take.  To know people like this is to understand the expression “I have been blessed.”

So the next time you “heart” someone, keep your “I” on the prize as they say, and know it is with your soul and very being you are offering that “I” to them.  Visually hold the moment a second longer and insure it is stored in your soul, so when darkness comes you will find a sense of inspiration and peace as you truly “see” the light.


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Oh God, I mean Gawd, where did it go?

It’s almost Christmas Winter Celebration! Can you believe how fast life changes anymore? It seems like we just got done with Thanksgiving Feast of the Turkey, and put away the leftovers.  I guess it must be a sign of age when the days and nights blend together so fast.  As a child the excitement of summer vacation and the long days of sunshine and lazy unrestricted activity seemed to last forever.  Now, we just pray hope for an extra Monday, holiday or snow day to give us a break.  Life isn’t the same as you age.

As I watch life through adult eyes now, I tend to see the blueprint before the finished product, and it changes the way things happen, like it or not.  The carefree, unknowing it will just happen attitude I once had, is more cautious now, as I watch the excitement of the holidays unfold.  Knowing the final cost behind those plates of cookies, filled stockings and wrapped boxes, and the decisions and planning it took to make them happen does dim the magic a little.  However, what is lost in that innocence is replaced with a deeper happiness seeing and feeling the joy you were able to share with family and friends.  Santa a holiday character may get the credit at first, but as time passes the characters in your life that matter, mature and realize how hard you tried to make their prayers hopes and dreams come true in their childhood years.  This circle of life and knowledge is what keeps us grounded, secure and has to be the evolution of the journey God life intended.

I have to admit; at times I like knowing my adult children realize all the effort made on their behalf, for happiness and comfort all year long, not just at Christmas  Winter Festival of the Tree – selfish I know.  What I don’t like though,  is how the seasoning is being taken out of most seasons, because someone is unhappy or can’t be emotionally or spiritually comfortable.  I don’t want a Winter Festival to end my year and I am done with “hopes” for a better world.  I have beautiful grandchildren that deserve to delight and love the same Christmas  Holiday Gift Share their parents and grandparents did, with or without a lump of coal, and a school pageant would be a dream come true!

Not a day goes by the news does not report murdered and missing mothers and children, war is a fact of life for more than an entire generation, jobs are gone because of corporate greed and living an American Dream is more of a nightmare than ever before.  I don’t believe there is really any one direct source for all this darkness and despair, but as with anything it has a core that brought it life and it was nursed along towards consequences , which were inevitable.

So in the final days and weeks of this year, I am going to hold tight to the roots my parents gave me, and that their parents gave to them, and that is touching over a hundred years of tradition.   I am praying things get better for those I love and hold near and dear in my heart.  I am going to thank God for the joys that come with Christmas, and be thankful for the blessings in my life.  I will light more than one candle knowing the comfort of a spiritual presence in my home and be thankful I can do so without persecution.  When the nativity is placed under my Christmas tree this year, there will be both a vintage chalkware Mary and Joseph handed down for years, as well as Charlie Brown,  Lucy and Linus, who will be holding his Shepard staff protecting  his lone beagle flock.  I hope my grandson asks me when he points to baby Jesus in the manger, so we can talk about the core of human happiness and also laugh at Charlie Brown’s tree, the love in human kindness, understanding and friendship and the hope behind the first star.

Words get a grammatical strike through if they are politically incorrect, wrong or just not right.  The life we now live and give to our children and grandchildren, is accepting the same strike through only towards people, emotions and reactions are uncontrollable, unacceptable or unwanted.  Sadly, if you have ever tried to control sand in your grasp you know it is impossible and eventually you are left empty.  Control is that sand, a selfish emotion  leaving everyone involved empty in some capacity.  So give someone if not yourself,  the best Christmas gift there is this year, and allow those around you  experience, love and live life as they see fit, and help them along in their journey if you are able.  Because the road we are on now doesn’t have a prayer of success for A men or A women.