Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

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Just Beet it

Over the years, compliments and advertisers have promoted the gold star standard of what we need to look for when something is good, especially if “you can’t beat it.” I have a recipe I call Better than Sex Pound Cake, which gets that same message across even if the name sent disgust through my ex-husband, he still inhaled the decadent dessert. Regardless, the one beat we all can dance to, is the satisfaction in our soul when we find a single element, which shakes up our senses completing us – regardless if we see it, smell it, taste it or feel it.

When my daughters were young, I needed to leave for work before they got up for school, as a single parent, it sucked but they rocked it for me. Years later, I discovered my leaving for work in the morning had three unique sensations of satisfaction they explained. One couldn’t forget the kiss I left on her cheek before she woke up. A peaceful gift in a slight smudge of Hollywood pink lipstick, which was a hug waiting for her when she got up. Another kept the scent of Channel #5, my signature since I was seven years-old (thanks Dad!), and the last loved the sound of my high heels across the kitchen floor, echoing up into her bedroom before I left. Each memory so different, but from their childhood space they could not be beat, because they knew they were trusted, cared for and loved.

I have always been partial to Brut aftershave and German Chocolate cake myself. There are so many others, but those two hit my heart with arrow precision like a William, telling me love is right where I left it. My father wore Brut when he was either fresh from a hot bath, or going somewhere special smiling ear to ear. When he passed, I made sure there was a little splashed on during his viewing as well; he was after all going to the best place of all. And as for the cake? Well, aside from just being cake – the manna from my own personal heaven, it was  the personal touch of love grandma always had waiting when we arrived in Lincoln, for our summer week in Nebraska. I never knew her well because of the distance from Colorado but that cake, which I would find waiting on the downstairs washer for our arrival, was wonderful and the taste could not be beat!

As I aged, I  found other triggers which time passage me back to where I have been, and where happiness lived. Some more odd than others  like bus exhaust, which takes me back to police conventions across the country with my parents, a world away from home, and a window where I watched a temporary world pass by, and always  music, which has more than anything else sound tracked my existence.

Recently, my oldest daughter expressed a craving for my mother’s pickled eggs, which were a loved family treasure, one she had never liked, until the age three, when she found the last one I had hidden away. I had watched in selfish horror, as she ate it saying, I DO like purple eggs! Now  that her grandmother is gone, they are more than just tasty; they are eggs that can’t be beat, and no longer whipped up for holiday meals and fought over. After making them, she told me how it dawned on her that one grandma had the beets and eggs, and the other had red beet salad; both were a communion for her soul and heart. A simple vegetable, but yet so much more, channeling all the goodness of these two women, and in more ways than one, nourished her young life. How proud those two grandmothers would be to see her now, a successful strong woman, accomplished and soon to have her master’s degree making a difference in so many lives as a nurse.

We all know the meaning and spiritual implications behind the last supper, with bread rising past the simple value of nourishment, into a life-giving source from a higher being. However, since we are mere mortals unable to attain such a union, isn’t is a blessing when we can experience something almost as vital with those we love, from a simple inanimate connection, which will forever recharge our mind, body and soul.

It is unfortunate when we find ourselves on the beaten path of life rushed, unable to realize these small gifts until it is too late, and we suddenly need to grasp them tightly in bleak afterthoughts, wishing for one more conversation, touch, laugh or moment, hoping in vain something was left for us. I know as I celebrate my days, this is a regret I personally will never have, and I am thankful.

When school starts each year, and I walk down the store aisles, I find the new crayon smell waiting, and instantly see my daughters running home, with endless art projects, and now those my grand children are just now learning to make. The click of ice in a cool glass of tea, finds my father only a glace away in my heart, sitting in his worn chair, and Aqua Net hair spray brings my mother from a room where she no longer lives, smiling as a reminder she always believed in me, and I should as well. These are the priceless moments of life which freely change us forever, keeping us grounded when times are rough, and we do not think we can make one more day.

Some of the best gifts are sent by love in this road rage crazed going postal world we live in. They are given freely through scent and nourishment, to souls starving in the absence of those that have gone, struggling to figure out who they are, and they are always right where we last saw them. We just need to make the time to take a deep breath, and look again.   Please look for my new novel the end of this month – a serial killing behind the rock and roll of a beating heart.



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Sorry I’m in the bathroom and my arms won’t stretch that far

I like hugs.

If you are blessed, you have someone in your life who is a real “hugger,” and that can be around a tree too – even though the best ones are warm and up close. I have known several people in my life who knew how to hug, and was it great! They put all their love, warmth and acceptance into one great squeeze, which left you feeling as invigorated as a good nap. Amazing what recharging the body and soul can accomplish.

I realize that many of us are not “in relationships” due to divorce, death or just not yet finding the right person, but that doesn’t mean we need to be left out.  Don’t get me wrong here, intimacy with the right person can be insane, and give you an outlook on life that rivals any reality show, or perky little bird singing at the top of his lungs on a summer day.  However, just true unconditional acceptance from another person, in the form of a hug is a gift in itself, and can come from anywhere at any time and make all the difference.

As a mother and grandmother, I do find such little golden nuggets around the corner now and then with a giggle, or as an unexpected ninja attack, and they are wonderful.  Sometimes catching that same look in a photo is almost as good, holding the hug forever –  a type of break in case of emotional emergency. Looking at such photos over the years, and remembering the laughter and spontaneity, as well as the love behind them is this type of treasure.  It reminds us where we have gone, what we have accomplished, loved and most of all what we hold in our heart. Thank you Mr. Eastman, wherever your spirit may be,  for perfecting what we take for granted in facebook to notebook to upload.

As each day passes and things change, and “improve” albeit not always in the right direction, I have seen not just a “lack” of hugging and/or emotional expressions of acceptance, but also the significance of them even when photographed. We are evolving into such a single minded, selfish and withdrawn society, that has no need to be with  another.  All we need anymore is  just a computer or phone screen to make contact, and as we lose time and age,  evolving into  a form of morlock or eloi i.e. a machine driven emotional imbalance that will eventually grind to a halt, leaving us with blank stares on un-photographed faces.

Probably a good third of all recent photos I have from family and friends are taken with a digital camera or cell phone. Too many of them however, are taken as they hold out an arm,  lengths away from themselves, smiling (usually in the bathroom? I have no clue on this aspect, God help me) or quickly positioned into a group, with an intense close up cheek-to-cheek (party on Garth!). As I look at these photos I usually chuckle, enjoying the spontaneous moment, but I am also sad at what is missing and lost. The personal eye contact, looking into the lens, saying without a word emotional feelings and sincere love, which later becomes a quiet hug, when the person is gone.

When do we get off the Jetson treadmill, bring Astro inside, get the appropriate unconditional lick on the face while scratching his tummy, and then hug each other? We move so fast through the day anymore that taking a picture is just a quick outstretched arm in front of the shower, and a goofy smile and I for one do not want it to develop any further, if I can help it!  Likewise, the emoticon 🙂 affection we offer to each other in lieu of holding hands, hugging or a peck on the cheek is no better.

Today, shower the people you love with true emotion, pose for a picture, take a candid moment and laugh over it, and then when it is all said and done, hug one another as if it really matters – because trust me it does!


In A Good Place

It would be awesome if we all could say that is where we were.  I know after the past few months, and indeed, the past two weeks, after losing my faithful, unconditionally loving soul mate and companion “Fritzie” I would like to say that.  I miss his little face after 16 years, but I know he is now in a good place, where it does not hurt and his body is no longer failing him. I hope that he is again the young pup, taking his place running through fields of grass, as he chases after his brothers in a loud barking delight.

Oddly though I realized one night after he died,  when I sleep my legs never go to the far left edge of the bed now – because that is “his place.”  When I caught this, I smiled and then realized, I also don’t sleep on the left side of the bed at all, even though I have the bed all to myself now. That you see, was where my husband slept.  It made me think, and I went back to coffee with my mom at her home, before she passed away.  Even though dad had been gone for over 10 years, we still referred to that one kitchen chair as ‘Dad’s place”  just like the one living room chair with the small table beside it for his coffee, and we rarely sat there. Funny, how the imprint of life really does become a part of us, even after death, divorce or time has made their change.  Life is our  journey where we can only see the “feet” before us, and not the miles ahead of us, as we continue along hoping things will turn out as we dream or pray.  These good places I believe have been given to us for comfort, like a rest stop for our soul.

Too often though we forget our place, and judge those around us who don’t seem to be in the right place,  not  living up to our expectations, or  if we disagree with their choices.  Easy to forget how those same feet could end up in our mouths, just as easily as on our path.  Who are we to judge anyone’s  unseen path, why they were placed here or their yet unfolded map of directions,  necessary  for a journey  not yet discovered?  There is a time and place for everything in life – and we will all get there,  just like the end of the road.

I like knowing  even in the silence of my house, there is an edge on my bed, and a place on the floor which will always be “Fritzie’s Place,” and a rock in my yard which will always be my daughters “Magic Dreaming Place.” Also, should I venture to a special mountain lake, my father’s “Fishing Spot” will be waiting for me as well, even after almost 50 years. These reassuring souvenirs  I have taken on my journey in this life help me through some dark places, and give me the light I need so I don’t stumble over my feet as I inch along.

Knowing your place in life is a good thing, but having a place in this life means you did it right.

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Just a little touched – is good

As  parents, we have all raised children with that infamous phrase “Good touch and Bad touch,” making them aware of the evil in this world. When I grew up, the politically incorrect phrase directed at people not on the same intellectual level as others was, “they’re a little touched,” and we looked at them sadly. Amazing what one little word can say – and even more, what it can do. Moreover, looking back, I wonder if it was us that was out of touch, and those people we pitied, actually had and inside track to life  touched by a power we will never know. Gee, who was really out of touch there?

Recent medical journals have chronicled at risk newborns fighting for life that respond when their mother or siblings are around, talking and touching them. Makes sense to me, along with Diana Ross who made us all feel good by being touched in the morning. After all, reaffirmation is what we all hope to find in this life isn’t it? And without touch me, touch me, touch me you are left with just a rocky horror.

Watching life from a more cynical albeit realistic eye lately,  as I live my life alone without daily emotional touches from another person, I have confirmed the one thing missing more than money and jobs in our current world, is “touch.”   I had help there though, from my 16 year old dog whom I call my “air fern” who has pointed it out – indeed, man’s best friend he is. I know I will lose my beloved pup this year, so everyday he is with me I am thankful. He is gray, almost blind, deaf, “sundowns,” and just about nothing goes in or out. However, he loves.  When I see him, he knows it is me and without teeth, his tongue waving freely,  he will lick my cheek and all is well in the world. The connection not only confirms the past 16 years, but each of us as well.  Love may keep us together, but it the simple touch that makes us want to be together.

In this world of too many “me” generation X-Y-Z’ers, the reality is simple, we have all lost touch. So much has been made of personal boundaries, and relationships, that  the main focus of our existence has been shelved – the simple action of reaching out to one another, offering compassion, help, love and most of all a touch. We are no different from the struggling newborn, which is between life and death, unsure if they will stay in this world or not. All it takes is an honest heart to open that all too often closed door.

I guess I always took touching for granted, since I was raised in an affection home, in a time when you did hug friends, hold hands and for no particular reason just embraced one another. Go to a church, nursing home, bingo parlor, whatever your flavor and see what happens to the older people there.  They will motion you over like a child and offer of all things, a hug! They will take your hand as they talk, look you in the eye and smile and more likely than not, kiss you good-bye.  And guess what? When you leave, you’ll feel better emotionally, but maybe worse mentally realizing what is missing in your life and the world. A Touch.

My granddaughter looks at me with an innocent smile and says “hug you me,” and will extend her pudgy little hand saying “come grandma, come” wanting me to share a moment with her.  How sad the day when this world successful deprograms her, I hope she is strong and refuses to let it happen and continues to make a difference each day.

It is no wonder we have a world of sexting, scandals and constant killings of children, women and men, not to mention what happens to animals! When you take honest compassion and emotion out of the equation, all you have left are cold hard actions, which can be interchanged with any situation.  In case you never heard it, there is a fine line between love and hate, and the only way to direct it positively is with a touch. If you need it illustrated listen to people talk when a person upwards of 60 passes away now, they will say, “Just don’t make ‘em like that anymore” and they are right! Those generations knew a simple handshake was a secure business deal, a pat on the back was as good as a contract and a hug confirmed no matter what you would never be alone.

I wonder how fast the cynical dog kill dog world we live in would change, if everyone woke up with a smile and offered a hug and a positive thought. The chain reaction of liking one another, on something other than an invisible computer screen social network would be shocking!  Maybe someone can make an App for it – If however, you are one of the lucky ones, who happily still go through life with that outlook, wanting to make a difference, good for you, you must know a child or an elderly person. However, for the rest of the world, that only see’s the glass half empty, wondering why they are also empty inside, look around your life,  and find a way to bring compassion back and you’ll put your finger on it in no time