Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

Leave a comment

Just curl up in a ball at the airport already

There are certain times in life when we realize we have a purpose – it may not be the one we like or want, and rarely is it matched to what we hoped for, but it is a purpose nevertheless.  From this I take to heart “Rollie Pollies” or the female child version “Pollie Pollies.” These little bugs with a name bigger than they ever will be Armadillidium vulgare, may not be thrilled about being a childhood toy, science project or suicide runner, but they have to find comfort (not the suicide ones sadly) in the fact they are a memory of pure happiness, almost as good as birthday parties, ice cream or a bedtime story for almost every child that has ever grown up.    Also known as the pill bug, I wonder if they are just what the doctor ordered to help along most ailments of boredom, inspiration, or imagination.  Heaven’s pharmacy was on the ball for this one – literally.

Between the human need to have a good purpose there is also that need for happiness, destiny and a wonderful life.  In such moments we have been known to dream, “When will my ship come in?”  But sadly when it does most of us are the airport and miss it.  Destiny, like purpose is really something we have no control over no matter how we try – it just happens and when we are beaten down, we roll up into a little ball and look for a safe place to decide our next move.  And that bugs us to no end!

All I ever wanted to do as an adult was to be the mom and later grandma, who had the craft projects and recipes, laughter and secret missions to make life special.  If this meant going on no sleep, losing out on something more personal for me there was no question.  I recall once losing a very high level promotion as a single parent when I explained, “I am a mom who works” – I am NOT a working mother.”  Don’t get me wrong, those working mom’s out there are the Rosie the Rivters of a bullet proof generation that will succeed, because of their drive and ambition.  I however, preferred to be the one who in between running a board meeting also brought in cupcakes on Fridays.  Sure, I would have liked a Prince Charming as well, and someday before I leave this life I hope I can sing at the top of my lungs (badly albeit) to “My Guy” with some Motown motion and mean it!  It must be a wonderful feeling to love someone that much as a partner and friend.

Somehow however, my yellow brick road went under construction, and the flagmen who motioned me along the detours were less than helpful.  I ended up lost behind a lot of shut doors, misunderstandings, misconceptions and mistakes, all of which made me less than necessary to those I love more than life itself.  It does get easier over time to roll up into that little ball, and let the hard shell do the talking – or lack thereof  wishing for the destiny that stays soft and hopeful in my heart.  I guess some of us are just destined to hope more than others.

Nevertheless, regardless of where life has put you or where you crawled yourself, make today that one day when you stretch out from your shell, take a chance and roll with the punches.  It’s just a day after all,  and odds are you’ll get another one tomorrow to try again, but in most cases you never  get to make that same first impression or catch the moment that will never  be repeated.  So forget the airport, look for a child or a lonely heart and find a smile, realizing the greatest journey your soul will ever have has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with someone else.




How MUCH is that doggie in the window?

Okay before you flip your cable channel and go all Sarah Mclachlan on me, there is an angel with plain wings involved here, but other than that, it doesn’t have anything to do with a Pet Store or a Puppy Mill.  Although it does lean heavily on the impulse buy of humanity, where we spend too much hoping to store it away.  So yes, being left alone and unwanted in the end is a similar theme.

Growing up there were always “ladies” in my life (purse, nice dress, gloves – if you get the picture save it, because it won’t happen again) that I would look at longingly, and hope someday it would be me too.  There were of course those days of youth, when I also wondered “why” that wasn’t my mother.  The typical better looking green grass, or even Greener Acres, because Lisa Douglas was one such lady, and it applies here very well.

Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing bad about the era my mother brought to our family table.  She was always nicely dressed, hair clean and fixed, a touch of lipstick and maybe some powder, and always a hint of perfume or lotion.  But if she had been a painting, it would have been a still life, one of those nice basic bowls of fruit everyone enjoys, but  don’t get overly excited about, like an impressionist painting, tomato soup cans or even some wayward glitter.

As I grew up, the special ladies in my life were always larger than my life, with their make-up and fancy clothes, sparkling jewelry which was always real, and hair that was styled, not put up on rollers at home and sprayed with Aqua Net.  They had families too, but somehow the whole picture for them was just in a better frame and better canvas, and they colored my life more green than black and white.  Then I grew up.

One day when you awake and realize it isn’t your alarm clock shaking you, but reality and God,  it truly is time to get up and look around.  About the time of my wake-up call, my daughters were young women and my mother was elderly.  First thing  I noticed was that she was a lady.  I would take her to church where she mingled with those about her age, and I noticed how nice she dressed, taking care in her appearance, when others had passed 80 and gone into the HOV lane of if it fits I’ll wear it (jogging suits DO have an expiration date and a place), her perfume still as sweet, lipstick in place and a laugh in her heart, as she would chat and reminisce.  Nobody guessed she was over 90, especially the wrinkles that never caught up to her.  She especially stood out next to the women who were trying to squeeze 80 into a youthful 40, losing the battle of the bulge. They were almost cartoons with make-up too bright, nails too long, jewelry to fussy and hair teasing to runaway.  My mom was a lady – plain and simple.

Once we reach that acceptance in life when we no longer want or wish for rose colored glasses, and see that life is a journey and not a fashion or talent show, time seems less complicated.  Our memories aren’t as hard to keep and we remember to look for the good in each other, and not just look good for each other.  The cute little doggie in the window we see  is a facade, just a doggie in a manger, and the cost becomes higher as we become older if we don’t.

We need to accept that what life has in store for us, is simply a learning experience  hopefully we share with others before we are gone.  Side by side, we are really nothing more and nothing less, despite the window dressing that appeals to us all one time or another.

Recently speaking to an old friend, he remarked how his mother was in a group home now, politically correct for nursing home, and how she was doing the best they could expect.  His mother had been one of my “ladies” as a young girl, larger than life, almost a Queen looking over all the Cinderella wanna be’s like me.  Money for her was never a problem; she seemed to have had the best of everything in life (even though she suffered the same pitfalls we all did), looked like the proverbial million dollars every time I saw her, and even had that pedigreed European background, accent and name, which caused a sigh before she ever entered the room.  However simply put, she was just a woman in the end like my mother, no more and no less.

As I drove home after that conversation I remembered mom in her last days.  She also had been in a group home setting before coming to live with me.  I remembered her dressed casually, but very tasteful, her hair fixed, reading a book or talking with the staff so intelligently she could have been one of them, and not a 91 year old resident.  What glittered in that memory wasn’t gold, or style, it was love plain as the nose on my face, as daddy liked to say.  Mom stood out without a pedigree, a window sign or a price tag because she simply saw the beauty in every day, raised us proudly with morals, and truly loved everyone she met.   Thinking of my friend and how hard it probably was for his mother to step down from the world where she had lived, where she was a somebody, admired and recognized, to become just another elderly woman seeing the end of her life, made me sad.  I know she did it with class because her heart was so good, and I am sure she found a way to fit in.  However, for her family the memories of her will never be the same, the lady in the great home was now in a group home.

So the next time I head out of the house, making sure my clothes are clean, and my hair is combed and maybe a touch of lipstick, I will channel mom and smile.  Being a lady is what makes you a lady, and I thank her for that lesson.  It will be one I take with me to the next plane of my existence proudly.  Paintings may eventually end up admired in a museum, but ladies with only decorations sadly fade in group homes.  Mom left this life, here in a house that was our home, her things all in place, and a family who loved her everyday of her life because of who she was, and not who she appeared to be.

And that Ladies and Gentlemen is how it should be done, and why most homes have a still life painting somewhere on their wall, because it looks nice, fills the space, accents the room and for some odd reason just makes them happy.  It also doesn’t take as much explaining as the fancy art, that costs more than it should, and does far less than it could.

1 Comment

Down by the old mill stream…..

Sometimes just a lyric can make you smile, in my case it takes me back to simpler time and a record player with a glass of lemonade.  Indeed – the words we wore….

Recently I found myself at an odd juxtaposition – I was in a judicial building.  Eighteen years before I had met a man who courted me with roses and cookies, and now I was looking at divorce court alone, because he hadn’t rose to the occasion to be there – maybe he forgot to refresh his cookies for the right date or just didn’t want to face the music.  As I looked out the window, a little sad at how life turned out, many hopes and dreams that never made it.  I also had to laugh at the court and court, because generations today, know only one definition of that word.  What about the old Mill stream? The lazy, spring time barbershop imagery, that has nothing to do with hair,  is now a way to see movies on a computer or get computerized packets of information.  Indeed, a stream by any other name…

Signing the documents needed, I was asked to put my information in the correct field – curious I only saw paper, where was that grass and rolling hills?  Maybe by the stream I surmised, and someone was being courted there as well, with lemonade and cookies.   I know that nothing ever stays the same, as the frog is delighted to tell you, have you seen a tadpole recently? Humor aside – seriously, have you seen a tadpole recently?    The simple pleasures, notes of music we once watched spinning before us, nature celebrating life with her creatures and landscapes, and being together, holding hands or putting playing cards in bike spokes to make the air a celebration  are gone – so is the Harmony, but since  no one takes a part  who needs the music (maybe take note here).

My granddaughter is not yet 3 but taps the screen of my phone to watch movies, and my grandson who is 5 believes if you see it on the computer screen the mailman delivers it the next day.  If you want it, it shall come….  It just won’t come back.

The way we talk, words that have meanings they never did, and just how we live, have in so many ways redefined the human race from its meek potato sack run of forty years ago  into an iron man triathlon of epic proportions.  I have packets of information now instead of ketchup from the Tasty Freeze, Carpel Tunnel from too much keyboard, instead of darkened car tunnels while listening to a keyboard medley cruising along on a week-end afternoon.  We can’t drive by to see someone anymore, because it would be gang related, and the only time we see one another get up from behind the computer is when the Internet is down.  The plasma we once depended on to see life, now lets life see us,  in a pixel resolutions from everything we are in contact with.  The world I will leave someday to my children has already left me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve acclimated well, and love technology, computers giving me knowledge at my fingertips and people and friends I would never have run into without facebook, where they are able to like me, even though some never did in person before.  There really is some good in all of this advancement,  but there was also good in red rover and dodge ball, skate keys and record players and listening to one another on the front steps.  Just because Life is a game, doesn’t mean we all need to play (it is a bored game after all for a reason).  Standing back now and then out of the picture (literally, without Photoshop), I see family just under the surface, almost waiting to be welcomed back on a commercial free Sunday evening with dinner – and just for the record, the gingerbread for dessert has nothing to do with an odd android device, just a plate some whipped cream and a sigh.     give yourself a gift and go listen to life, there is a lot hear when you really make the effort

   I miss you buddy – my favorite critic who saw more with eyes going blind, heard life before it happened with hearing aids, and there will never be an “APP” to compare with the heart you loved with, before it just stopped beating.  You were the best I give you a 10 and know you would dance to it.