Monkey Business Update

The Ranting Monkey wrote this post in response to my previous one, and it's a good post... go read it.  He had some valid points to make, as he always does.  I wrote a response there, but I'm going to post it here as well, and then we'll call this subject closed. :-)

Dearest Monkey, obivously my rebuttal post caused the same jarring reaction with you that your original post did with me. As I admitted, I've had a terrible week, one of the hardest at work in a long time, and I woke up dreading Wednesday morning only to learn that "Old People Suck" when every muscle in my body was hurting from fibro and fatigue. I couldn't have felt more old if there were 90 candles on my birthday cake. So all I can say is that you touched a nerve and I fired back 'cuz I don't wanna "suck", especially not in the eyes of friends I cherish, like you. And I don't wanna suck in the eyes of my children, or my coworkers, or my neighbors either.  Your words made me wonder "Gosh, am I really that person now?"

I am an Aquarian, as we all know, defender of wrongs and warrior against society's ills, and my entire life has been about combating stereotypes and the damage they do. ANY and ALL stereotypes, which is what I was trying to say in my far too long and heated speech. If you would have added just one word to your title... SOME Old People Suck, I would have been fine with it, really. Cuz I know as well as you point out in this post and the previous one, some old people do indeed suck. I run into them in my life as well. I worked for one once that about drove me crazy. I wanted to hit the old bat! SOME of all people suck, and your wonderful rants are great at pointing that out. You are so right about SOME socieities, allegedly civilized and otherwise that treat their women worse than their dogs and cattle, and sell their children into slavery. I bow to that point.

Without going on for ten more paragraphs, I will just say that when I was your age I looked at it much like you do now, and even got annoyed at those slow-moving folks with the walkers or carts that were blocking my pathway in the stores when I was in a hurry. Once you get past the 55 zone you start realizing how close your life is that point, and instead I feel nothing but compassion for the difficulties they must endure every day. I watched the quality of my mother and then my father's life slip away to nearly nothing before they died. It broke my heart. Now, when I see a doddering old person being a nuisance or even a bit crochety and hard to get along with, I try to remind myself that "there but for the grace of God go I.

I'm going to try not to be a pain in the ass to live with as get older - well, anymore than I already am anyway, but I hope if I lose my sense of humor at times, or grumble about the younger generation, or complain about petty annoyances and the price of bread, that you will cut me a little slack and still be my friend.

I apologize for firing off so strongly yesterday, the original post in my mind the previous morning was even worse, that's why I waited. I realize you qualified the title of your post further into it, and did at one point go on to state that you treat people with respect. I know you do, you have always treated me that way, always. Do we have to treat assholes of ANY age with respect, simply because of how old they are or what role they fill, no - certainly we don't. A good example would be the revered priests who molest children. Respectable? Hardly, they should be scorned and stoned!

So anyway, I'm sorry Monkey, I didn't mean to start a word war with you, just wanted to put out some things for younger folks to think about when they consider old ones, we do need to value what older people STILL have to contribute to our world, self included, cuz some days I feel like I am incapable of being useful anymore, and I assure you it's a pretty sucky feeling.

Love ya Monkey, please never stop being who or what you are!

Monkey Business

This post started out as a comment on this rant over at my friend The Ranting Monkey's blog.  As it grew into a rebuttal speech I realized that it more appropriately belonged here.  Warning, Josie is fired up and climbing on her soap box now...

As the years pass, the times when I take issue with your blog posts have become more and more rare Dearest Monkey, but this one raised my ire and I'm here to tell you about it.  I know you can handle a little dissension now and then.  :-)

When I first saw your post yesterday morning, the title flew all over me, 'cuz as you know I'm 58 closing in on 60, and that makes me pretty damn old, or at least I feel that way most days - especially working with people who are 25 years younger than me, and dealing with more of them most places I go. I'm pretty sure you weren't referring to me, or at least I hope not, but... Old People Suck? Really? Do young people suck? Short people? Fat people? Green People? Gay People? Hairy People? Bi-polar People? Get my drift? Where does it stop? GENERALIZATIONS SUCK! So do stereotypes and the discrimination that generates from them. 

Let me tell you about "young people"... some of them, not ALL of them - they are rude, spoiled, foul-mouthed, self-centered, demand immediate gratification, have a sense of entitlement, and have not been taught that they have a role and place in our society.  Need I go on?

Societies from the most primitive to the most highly civilized hold respect for elders as an important part of their culture. So you have a much better take on old people than all of them, huh?  The ever growing belief in our country that "old people suck" is what leads to their disenfranchisement, being devalued in the family, in the workforce, and in the community, and being shuttled off to a home somewhere to wither and die, often without the care or visitation of family members.  Gone are the days when learning about life from grandpa or grandpa was considered a rite of growing up.

But then again, old people don't know much, right? Not any smarter than anyone else, just a bunch of dumb asses. I agree with you that assholes can be found in ANY age group, including old people. The number of years lived has  nothing to do with it. Some people assholes truly their entire lives, while some nice people turn into assholes as they get older, and some assholes mellow into nice people as they get older. It's the generalizations that bother the hell out of me, because BLANKET STATEMENTS LEAD TO BLANKET TREATMENT!

I've lived long and hard and there isn't much I haven't done, 90% of which falls into the dumb ass category, but do you know what does come with being old?  EXPERIENCE!!!  Yes, sometimes some of us actually do learn a little along the way... and have a few words of wisdom (if I dare call it that) to share with the headstrong, "fingers in ears...lalalala" generation! I know full well that young people don't really want to hear what their parents, other adults, and elders have to say, and that's their prerogative - I didn't way back then either.  But Lordy would my life have been easier if just now and then I'd considered their input for a moment or two!  I don't have to tell you what would have happened if I had tried that fingers in the ears routine with my father!

I agree with your point that trust must be earned. Additionally, trust is extremely fragile and can be very quickly and easily destroyed by careless words or actions, or just plain stupidity (it's that being an asshole thing again).  BUT - and this is the most important point I want to make -  you are looking at the whole thing backwards!  In your way of thinking, everyone should be treated with suspicion until they prove they can be trusted. That's much like the concept of guilty until proven innocent, and it's a very negative way of looking at people and life!  It is my belief (maybe only mine?), that people should be given the benefit of the doubt... respect first, trust first, love first, help first. THEN, if they do something repeatedly that proves that such treatment is unearned, maybe it is time to revisit how you think, feel and act toward them.

Yes, you were taught to address adults by Mr. or Mrs.______. So was I. Was that so bad, really? So terribly cumbersome?  The purpose it served was to establish boundaries for our familiarity and behavior. We grew up knowing that adults were in charge of the situation (or were at least supposed to be), and we were expected to do as they said in school, in church, in the community, and in our homes.  Now we have children in school who make teaching damn near impossible because of the in-your-face attitudes/show no respect conduct they've been allowed at home. If you have a young person living next door, chances are they have little concern about driving you crazy with the volume of their music and friends coming and going at all hours of the night, and you don't want to even get me started about young people in the workplace! It all boils down to that one simple word that is no longer taught in most homes... RESPECT!  

On this issue we clearly stand a good distance apart and will have to agree to disagree, Mr. Monkey. Treating others with respect is a way of life, and a good one; it's the Golden Rule concept and, when it comes to old people show twice as much respect, because buddy, hopefully they've earned it! 

I ask you to do one thing, Monkey Dearest - please print a copy of your post and put it away someplace safe.  Pull it out and re-read it on your 60th birthday, and see how you feel about it then. I strongly suspect your perspective will be somewhat changed.  Yes, respect must be earned, but before it can be earned it must be taught, and practiced, and lived! 

Ok, I'm done fussin' n' fumin' - stepping down from my soap box now :-)

Questions and Answers - #3

Here they are folks, my answers to your One Question Wednesday questions, and wow, did I get some good ones!  I really appreciate all of you stopping by to play along!  As much as I love sending and receiving questions, reading your answers is even more fun, so after I post this I'll be starting around to see what you've all had to say. (Haven't had a chance to play yet? It's not too late, leave a question in the comments section and I'll answer it and update this post.) New readers here?  Be sure to check out each of the blog links below, I guarantee you won't be disappointed!
    1. From Bozo  - What was the most incredible/powerful moment during your pregnancies and/or births of your children?  With both of my children, the most powerful moment is the first time you touch them and hold them in your arms after loving them "under wraps" for nine long months! Just as powerful is their movement within you as they grow and develop. I can't tell you how incredible those little kicks and turns feel, and you actually miss them once your child is born!

    Another powerful moment in pregancy - the loss of a child early in my pregnancy. He/she would have been between my two children in age.  Tiny as it was, and so very new, I had already fallen in love with my baby.  As I wept inconsolably, my far too pragmatic father said "well you couldn't afford another child anyway."  Wow, compassion at it's finest.  Needless to say, it didn't help  me feel any better.  Someday I'll get to meet that child though, I believe that!

    2. From The Ranting Monkey - In your opinion, what is the greatest invention of your lifetime?  Without a second thought, I'd have to say personal computers and the Internet... together they have brought the world to our doorstep, the library to our fingertips, and friends from around the world to our blogs! I would love to see computers and Internet available to everyone, everywhere. The more we communicate and understand each other, the better we can get along! (Yes, it's that hippie philosophy again, don't groan Monkey! :-)

    3. From L - During times of stress, I use guided imagery to calm myself - my "go to" place is the beach - what would your calm "go to" place be and why? Growing up as a "flatlander" without access to oceans or mountains, I found my solace and comfort among the trees.  In fact I had a special tree at the park, a huge old tree with a massive trunk, that I would go to and seat against and talk, cry, write, and reason out my life. Trees do have spirit, as do all created things, and I always felt safe and comforted there. If life gets too stressful, more than I can handle with a little bitching, distraction, or fukid cuddling, I can close my eyes and return to the land of lakes and trees. 

    I also found walking on the beach at sunset with my husband to be one of the most peaceful feelings I've ever experienced in my life. I wish it was far closer so I could escape there often to let my spirit float free!

    4. From Maria - Are you as content as you sound? Or, is marriage a bit harder than you bargained for?  I have to answer this question with a resounding YES, Maria!  John is probably the easiest person to live with one could imagine.  (And Lord knows it's not easy for him to live with me!!) He is as comfortable as an old pair of blue jeans.  He makes me feel safe and secure, he is compassionate and understanding, doesn't force me to be or do things that I'm not comfortable with, humors me beyond belief, and makes me laugh!

    Is he perfect - oh heck no, no one is.  His worst character fault?  He is grumpy in the mornings before he's had his first cup of caffeine.  But I am only with him when he wakes on Sunday mornings, and I make sure the coffee is in his mug and waiting! :-)  He is also an excellent planner/packer and if you aren't ready you'd best just get out of his way, 'cuz he will do it for you! I learned that quickly! :-)  I would marry him again in a minute, there's not a single day I've second-guessed that decision or regretted it, and I find that pretty amazing after three really horrible marriages that I spent more days crying over than feeling loved.

    Before I met John I really thought that living alone would be the life for me, that I would relish all that freedom, but you know it soon got old and lonely, and I found that having someone to share your life with (whether you choose to live together or not) makes all the difference.  I am blessed that John allows me to retain my independent spirit so I don't have to be a nice little domesticated wife. I don't do well with that role at all! :-)

    5. From Chele - There are many things that comfort us in life. What would you say is the one thing in life that you find the most comforting?  First and foremost - John comforts me. No matter what doesn't feel right about my life, cuddling next to him makes it all better. He seems to know just the right things to say and do and not say or do. Second in line would be my furkids who are or so telepathic in knowing when I need some extra lovin and my lap will soon be full of purring furballs.  A close third would be chocolate... nothing cures all ills, at least temporarily, like a piece of awesome fudge! :-)

    6. From Kristi - Do you still keep in touch with the kids on the reservation? I know you developed some very close relationships.  Indeed I do, Kristi, though the nature of our communication has changed over the years from written letters and visits to the wonderful advent of the Internet which they are able to access at school, often at home, and some on their cellphones.  Someday soon when I am feeling strong I will write the story of how their lives have changed since I first met up with them now ten  years ago.  I love these kids as if they were my own children/grandchildren. I rejoice for their victories and weep at their defeats.

    Life is very hard on the rez, it is not kind to children or any living thing. One committed suicide at 14 years old, several others have tried and thankfully not succeeded. It rips holes in my heart.  But they know without a doubt that I love them ,and always will. I am certain we will remain friends when they are grown, and until the day I die!  John wants to go to Dakota to meet them when we have the time and can afford the journey.  I so miss seeing those beautiful faces!

    7. From Domestic Recluse - What's one thing you've either wanted to try, you wished you could do, or you wish you had the talent for -- and what's stopping you from pursuing/attempting it?  When it comes to naughty things, DR, there isn't much I haven't tried. Let's just say I've been around the block a few times in 58 years of living. You'd have to ask specifics on that. ;-)  I regret very little of it and call it learning experiences - or I plead temporary insanity!

    The one thing I wish I could do... run a no-kill cat sanctuary. Keeping me from doing that is obviously the lack of financial backing and the need to have an income.  But if I ever win the lottery, you can bet that's just what my daughter and I would do.  And, as is true in my house as well... most of the cats would likely prefer John's company.  For some reason cats are really drawn to him. I like to think they can sense the loving, gentle spirit inside this big furry man!

    8. From Lily - There is the belief that one has a choice after they die, whether to come back and live life again, or to spend the rest of eternity in Nirvana. Which would you choose?  I believe that it is entirely possible we might have the opportunity to live more than one lifetime, to reincarnate so to speak. Because I have a tendency to do everything the hard way, I  would most likely choose to forgo the relative ease of living in Nirvana for another go at the challenges of life to see what I could learn the next time around and what folks I could meet! :-) I also believe that we intereact with some of same people in different lives, just assuming different roles and relationships.  That would explain the sense of familiarity with someone you just met.  

    9. From Jo-Anne - Do you prefer to wear shoes at home or go barefoot? I have a strong dislike for shoes, Jo-Anne!  They make my feet feel cramped and confined.  I have wide feet and as a child my shoes often felt tight and restrictive so maybe that's why I now abandon shoes the minute I am in the door at home. We never wear shoes in our house, only putting them on as we go to leave.

    Outside I much prefer to wear sandals all year round (except when it actually snows) so my toes can wiggle and my feet can enjoy the fresh air!  Sadly, at my current job sandals of any kind are banned, so I'm forced to opt for fairly comfortable shoes, but they still make me grumpy!  I don't own high heels, and never will.  Why would I do that to my feet??  In fact I wear the same shoes over and over 'til they are worn and and then replaced.  I'm definitely not a high-fashion girl and I don't collect high dollar shoes. 

     Barefoot is my first love, though it wasn't allowed in our house as children because my mom said it left footprints on her nicely waxed kitchen floor!  Put me in a soft patch of green grass in my bare feet (no stickers please) and I am in hog-heaven!  How I miss green grass lawns! (There are manicured lawns in town but with ever-increasing water restrictions those are not faring well in our drought. God didn't really intend for folks to grow grass or much of anything else in the desert southwest! :-)

    10. From Cheryl - I'm curious about the drilling operation being erected by your house. What kind of an impact has it had on you?  It turned out to be not as bad of an  experience as we anticipated Cheryl.  We had a drilling rig about 100 feet from our house for about 3 months, and it ran 24 hours a day/night with lights, motors, crews and all.  At first we were hesitant to use the hot tub on our deck, then said to hell with it, wrapping in our towels for the run to and fro. Two ol' fat folks in the tub don't really make for great viewing, and they never seemed to notice. John said he could hear the drilling motors running at night, but I am pretty deaf when I take out my hearing aids so they didn't bother me at all.  Our bedroom window does not face that direction thankfully, so the lights weren't really a problem either. 

    I also have to say that the company followed thru on their promise to return the mudpits which occupied the full width of the north end of back yard, to their original state, carefully filling and packing and apparently re-planting ground cover 'cuz something green is coming up back there, though we had to wait several months for them to get out here and get it done. The pumpjack itself was mercifully located just across our property line on the vacant land to the West, and we are so grateful we didn't end up with it in our yard as many folks in this area have. It is painted desert colors and not that much of an eyesore.  Everyone around here is so used to seeing them that we take them for natural landscaping. :-) Oil drilling is big business in this area, at night I can stand outside and see maybe 20 drilling drigs running in the surrounding distance, property owners have no say of where they will be put in, we own surface rights only. You can't fight big oil and win, trust me, many have tried. 

    I think that's a wrap on my One Question Wednesday Q&A session for this week, I swear my posts are so long it amazes me anyone takes the time to read this stuff!!  If any late questions come  in, I'll add the answers to them below.  Again, thank you all for playing, for reading, and most of all for sharing your own lives, words, and friendship with me here in the blogsphere, you expand my world and add so much pleasure to my days!  Adios amigos!

One Question Wednesday... Got Questions?

How time flies when you're having fun! It's time for another round of One Question Wednesday.  Do you have a question you'd like to ask me? Any topic is fair game!  Leave your question in the comments below anytime between now and Wednesday evening. I'll answer them in a post on Wednesday night. Of course that means I get to ask you a question too! :-)  You can answer your question in a post on your own blog, or in the comments section below, whichever you prefer.

Want to know more about One Question Wednesday?  Check out this handy OQW FAQ guide on The Ranting Monkey's blog. He's my co-host for One Question Wednesday, and he'd love more questions to answer too!

Feel free to send a question to any other friend on your blog roll and see if you can get them to play along. If they do, please leave a link here so we can read what you've had to say. One Question Wednesday is a fun way to get to know a little bit more about your fellow bloggers! 

Putting on my thinking cap... what questions should I ask folks this week? Hmmm! :-)

Memories of Spring

I awake to sunshine streaming thru my window in the upstairs bedroom of my childhood. I have left the window slightly open to catch the cool night breeze; now it plays softly across tinkling glass windchimes, a treasured gift from my father.

The windows, facing to the East and North, are framed by long sheer white curtains with scalloped edges and are adorned with hand-painted pastel roses, looking as much like graceful swirls as they do flowers. I fell in love with them when I first saw them! 

The walls of my room have been painted light aqua at my choosing, aqua was my favorite color in those years - though I have no idea why or where I first saw it.  The room has an odd L-shape with sections of the ceiling angling up gracefully like a slanted canopy over my head. I lay in bed smiling as I listen to the sound of squirrels scampering across the roof above me as they leap from nearby tree branches.

I rise slowly, standing by the window to take in the fresh springtime air, trees forming new bright green leaves compliment the carpet of new grass growing beneath them. Glancing down, I see my mother's narrow garden of tulips beneath my window, their lovely lavender and yellow cupped blossoms reaching open to the sun.

It's a good day to be alive in my childhood - no stress, no worries, no job to be done... how I wish grown-up life remained always that simple and sweet!

Roadside Reminder

Each day as I  travel down the highway to my job in the nearby city, I pass by this touching reminder that someone lost their life on this very spot, someone that obviously was loved.  Such roadside memorials are quite common in New Mexico and here in Texas, and perhaps other states as well, though I do not recall seeing them as I grew up. This one is a bit larger and more elaborate than most, which are often simple crosses and perhaps a spray of flowers. 

While I haven't stopped to read this particular memorial, nor the smaller one just a few miles further on where I know a motorcyclist lost his life, I can't help but think that this person belonged to someone... was important in someone's life, maybe a father or a son, or a mother or a daughter.  Someone somewhere mourned their loss, and judging by the frequently replaced flowers, still grieves for them today. 

Such memorials serve a valid purpose, along with commemorating a life that has come and gone, that being a sobering reminder that life can be lost in one brief moment... slow down... drive with care... and always, always say "I love you" before you go.

Putting Up With Crap

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "The Rest of the Story". Here is what I have to say...

First - a disclaimer may be in order: The content of this post is solely my opinion, based on my experience. Ultimately, we should all listen to the small voice within us that guides us on our way. No one knows all the right answers for another. The point of this piece is to initiate thought and discussion - please feel free to comment and to agree or disagree as you like!

Last night found me involved in an in-depth discussion with my favorite Monkey regarding monogamy, infidelity, and the choices we make about our partners and marriages. Needless to say, it got pretty interesting, with points we agree on, and points on which we agree to disagree. It can be safely said that as an Aquarian I tend to look at life a little differently than most, to be more willing to see both sides of situations, and to be more accepting of ways of doing things other than the accepted social norms. I am also aware that the way I view the world is not a common one, and most folks are likely to disagree with me more often than not. I'm ok with that, I am secure enough in my beliefs to have them contradicted, and I am always open to new ways of looking at the issues. As it is said, "Often solid, concrete people are mixed up and set in their ways." While I know I am becoming a bit more set in my thinking as I get older, I never want to reach the point where I am unable to see the light pouring in thru the window because my eyes are squeezed too tightly shut!

On to the topic of last night's debate - How much crap should one put up with from a partner before they say enough is enough and call it quits?  The simple answer has always been, "If the good outweighs the bad, stay and if the bad outweighs the good, go." But in reality it's so much more complicated than this!  We also have to take into consideration that people in situations that they are re-evaluating are often receiving so much outside input that their own inner-voice has been drowned out by the noise. Truly well-meaning friends and family see the elephant in the living room and are quick to point it out, and maybe you know he's standing there too, but are not ready to deal with his presence, or maybe you are embarrassed and humiliated and hoping no one knows.

How much is too much isn't really as simple as making a numbered list of pros and cons and seeing which list is longer, because items are weighted differently. How many of us have known, in own lives or someone else's, what appears to be a picture-perfect family in the community, or a wonderful neighbor - and then when the news hits with some horrific event or crime that has occurred, everyone shakes their head and says "But they seemed so nice and normal!"  My point exactly!  We don't know what is going on inside someone's mind, and what events are taking place behind their closed doors. 

How often with my ex-husband I had people tell me what a cool, funny guy he was... charming, endearing... outrageous.  Oh yes, he was all of those things when I first knew him, and remained that way in public... that being the key - in public and when around his friends... his private persona at home was something else far darker. Filled with anger and stubbornness, haunted by untold miseries of his growing up year, self-medicated, and knowing no better way to deal with things than take them out on his ever-faithful and devoted wife.

Abuse takes many forms, we all know that now. It's not just a black eye or a bruises, it's also about mental, and emotional abuse, manipulation - broken hearts and broken spirits. Cruel attacks and words spoken intended to subdue the one thing in the world they can control - the person who loves them. The one person who probably won't leave despite how much crap is dumped on them.

Many are the partners, both female and male, who could tell you just how far it goes. How much they actually put up with, swallowing their pride, their dignity, and their belief in themselves... after all, there must be something wrong with them that they can't keep their partner happy and content.  They must be the reason he/she strays, right? Not man enough or woman enough to keep them?  They must be the reason he/she is always angry - the house not clean enough, the food not good enough, the bills not paid? Abusers always find ways to turn it around so the victim is at fault, and just like the proverbial drop of water constantly dripping, one's self-esteem gets eroded away to the point of being nothing. You began to believe that you are the problem, the failing relationship is all because of you.  You just can't do relationships right, can you? You are hopeless. Have you ever felt that way? I have.

I had a friend once who told me point blank that my life was so screwed up, and I had put up with it for so long, that I didn't even know what "normal" was anymore. Those words hit me hard, because deep down I sensed it was most likely true.  I had began to believe that marriage was like this, or more importantly, that this was the best I could do, since surely I wasn't worth very much more.  This line of thinking ends either when you find your own inner strength to break out of prison and leave, or you end up dead - either by your own hand or theirs.  The far more common alternative is to put up with it for years and years, to accept it as good enough, to live a life of misery and pain, like a silent tortured saint, believing somehow this martyrdom will get you into heaven, when in reality you are already living in hell. 

I should know, I lived that way for years - long after friends said "Why do you put up with it, when are you going to leave?" I stayed, because I loved him, or maybe it is more true to say I loved the person he once was.  I stayed because I believed in commitment for better or worse, and because I believed that maybe one day I could find the magic way to do everything just right to make him happy and loving. I stayed because I was embarrassed to admit how bad it had become, I stayed because in financial reality I had nowhere else to go.  I stayed because I was too broken to believe a better life existed out there for me. I stayed, hoping one day I would just die and it would be over. That's why I stayed. 

I had a minister, a man of God, tell me that it takes two people to make a marriage, that no marriage can survive if just one is committed to it. Marriage is hard work! If one is working for it and the other is working against it by thinking only of themselves - such as is the case with repeated infidelity, abuse, unemployment, etc. - then the bonds of marriage are in effect already broken, and nothing one person can do will repair them. It takes two.

So tell me all the good things about your partner, and I'll tell you all the good things about mine. There are almost always good things to share, and on the surface everything might look pretty darn good. "He is caring, he is kind, he is helpful..." Yes, when he's home and not screaming at you or hitting you, or not out with someone else.  We do not have the power, to change anyone but ourselves, so if you are hoping that will happen, you are kidding yourself!

I am told we are responsible for our own feelings, how we let things effect us, that we allow ourselves to be hurt by what society perceives are wrongs.  I don't really agree with that. We all have feelings, and we can be hurt by someone who is uncaring and purposefully cruel.  The power we do have over such feelings, is the power to say... enough! I will not tolerate this to be the reality of my life any longer. I won't live this way, I deserve to be treated with respect!  That's the key word, respect - mutual respect is an eessential ingredient in a working relationship. Respect prevents us from intentionally doing and saying things that we know will hurt the person we love.

It takes two to tango, and certainly most relationships are not fully one-sided, good or bad. There are ups and downs and ocassional bumps in the road. But if the dynamics between you are such that you are fussin' and fightin' more than you are lovin' and laughin' something is terribly wrong. Ask yourself if you are truly happy, do you feel good about yourself and your life, or deep down are you miserable more often than not?  Is your partner willing to work with you to make changes for the better?  If not, dig deep, find your inner courage and say, ENOUGH... I WANT A BETTER LIFE THAN THIS, I DESERVE A BETTER LIFE THAN THIS!  If you are determined to break free, there is always a way.  I wish I had known that far sooner instead of much later.  I wish I had swallowed my pride and asked for help. I wish I had been more honest with myself, and walked away years sooner.

And now, the rest of the story... As most of you know, I finally after 13 years said ENOUGH.  Leaving him and the home we had shared was the hardest, scariest move in my life. I didn't even know how to live my own life anymore. Everything I once believed to be good about myself had been stripped away in his emotional grinder; all I knew was that my choices were to leave or die.  If I am anything I am a survivor, and in order to survive I had to leave. It wasn't easy, and it didn't get easier right way, it took months, a year and more, and there are some scars that will probably remain with me for a lifetime, but the truth is that freedom was worth the price.

Just a little more than one year after packing my belongings and moving out of his life, I met the man who would become my new husband...  a man more kind, loving, and caring, than anything I ever could have imagined possible in my wildest dreams. A man who loves me for who I am,  believes in me, encourages me, takes care of me, laughs with  me, cries with me, and above all - respects and cherishes me.  He would never do or say anything intentionally to hurt me, nor would I to him. That's what love is, not like what I thought it was before.

The moral of this story is that life doesn't have to hurt; if yours is hurting do something to change that, take the first step toward finding your own way - you are worth it!

Fresh Air for the Furkids


I promised I'd come back to show you  my latest purchase. This is crazy catlady gear at it's finest!  My five furkids are strictly inside cats, since two of them are declawed and we live out in a rural area where housecats are a delicacy on the menu at the coyote cafe.  They love to watch what's happening outside from the cat trees and perches in our windows, and I know they love the smells of Spring as much as I do!  So I invested in this pet stroller to take them out on the deck and for walks at the park in town.  I got it from and was amazed at how many models they had available. It must a popular idea for city folks too! This one is light, yet very well made and sturdy and folds up for easy transport and storage.  The soft cushion in the bottom comes out for easy washing too. 

This is Sophie in the picture above, she loves catbeds and boxes and settled right in. Each of the furkids has had a little time outside last night and today, and they are loving it. Well, except for Stormy, who just turned 16. He's always been a scaredy cat and he's not so sure. He didn't cry to get out or come back in the house, he just had a lot to say about this newfangled box, in very definite meow tones! :-) 

In the picture below he is checking out the rear window. He doesn't look exactly thrilled, does he? But I think he'll grow to like it as he gets used to it. He has walked out onto the deck once or twice in the past, so I know he's curious about what's out there!

Gracie and Tiggy were born in our house last Spring (their Mama was a rescued alley cat), and this was their first trip outside... it was fun to watch them so alert and checking out everything! 

Chloe was previously my daughter's cat and loved roaming outside the apartment complex where she lived. She'd probably rather be free to go hunting, but enjoyed the night air just the same. I think I'll be in good  company from now on when I'm blogging from the deck!

So yes, call me a crazy catlady, but this keeps my furkids safe from getting lost or hurt, and from picking up fleas or diseases.  I really think it's pretty cute, and so does the Papa Bear, who even agreed to accompany on trips to the park (though he didn't specify how far behind me he intended to walk)!  I can't wait to see the faces of people who peek into my stroller expecting to see a cute baby... hey, they are cute! :-)


In the comments on my last post Bozzo wanted to know what I purchased on my Spring shopping trip today. Well, as you can see, I found something I just couldn't resist! As I wrote on Facebook, you can take the girl out of the 60's but you can't take the 60's out of the girl! This dashiki style top was calling my name!  The colors are actually even prettier than it looks here. 

We wear pants and  tops to work, semi-casual I guess you'd call it, so this will be perfect and I will smile everytime I put it on. I also found a pretty chocolate and white print and a beautiful blue floral, and a couple pairs of new pants, and everything was on sale - my kind of pricing. Sure was a good thing they didn't have any tie-dyed t-shirts, wasn't it?! :-))

My Mom always wore the subdued earth-tone colors that my Dad much preferred, while I chose the opposite - bright and beautiful! Both of my children are far more reserved in their clothing tastes, so I guess it's true that genes jump a generation.

At one time I got into a purple kick and before I realized it there was a dozen purple pieces of clothing in my closet! During the dark years I ended up with a nearly black wardrobe without even realizing I was doing it.  These days I'm back to bright and cheerful, and always loose and lightweight, I'm all about comfort, and I hate, hate to see fat people stuff themselves in tight clothing that clings to every bump and bulge. It doesn't feel good to be constricted either. 

I still think we should all just wear kaftans and forego two-piece dressing altogether.  If I wasn't working, I'd be back in the long loose hippie dresses of the 60's. My friend K used to call it my "farmwoman" look! :-)  For now, this will have to do!

Home Alone

Hi Folks! I'm up and awake, and loving the weekend! It's time for Six Word Saturday, and here's what I have to say about my day...

Papa Bear Gone Fishin' - Home Alone!

My beloved Papa Bear has taken some of well-earned and much-needed vacation time, and as soon as he gets off work at 3 o'clock today he'll be headed down the road for a week of fishing at a lake that's about 250 miles away.  He's staying in a big camper with one of his lodge brothers who lost his wife suddenly just a few months back. This is an experience Papa Bear knows first-hand, having lost his 2nd wife of 26 years suddenly to an aneurysm. It is hard to get over the shock and back into the business of living, so I know the time they spend trying to catch the big ones will be fun and great therapy too!

Papa Bear loves to fish, and hasn't had a chance to do that hardly at all in the past four years, since we don't have a lake or river in close proximity - we live in the dry, dry Southwest, remember?  He has been so excited planning this trip, and happily packed everything into his truck last night so that he could leave straight away after work today. It was hard telling him goodbye this morning, I will miss him so very much, especially at nights. I don't sleep well when he isn't beside me, he makes me feel safe and secure. I am so thankful for the magic of cellphones, we will be in touch often and hopefully he'll have some wonderful pictures of scenery and fishies to share!

So now comes the burning question... what will I do while he's away? Well, that's really no problem for me, I honestly enjoy my time alone - the daytime and evenings that is, anyway. I have many housecleaning, arranging projects that I should do - that need to be done - and maybe I'll tackle a couple of those this weekend.  But first on tap is a quick shower, a trip to the post office, and then off to the nearby city for a bit of shopping, I need a few new things to wear for Spring. Don't worry, not at Papa Bear's expense - I have that wonderful gift card my son gave my for my birthday, remember?!

With no real cooking or other major outings planned, you can bet I'll be doing a bit more blogging (sorry, bear with me - it's an addiction), and I have a wonderful new item I purchased and want to try out today - it's for my cats, I'll be back later to tell you all about that, it's going to make you smile (and probably roll your eyes), I promise!

Wishing everyone a great weekend, I wish everyday could be Saturday! I wonder what it would be like to be the master of your days.  Pray for Papa Bear's week, that he has  a wonderful time, and returns home safely. The house is going to be far too quiet with him away.  Oh darn, I already  miss him and he hasn't even left town yet... that's love!

Five Things I Like About Me

Hey folks, it's Five on Friday time, and might I say Thank God It's Friday! Whew, it's been a long week! Now if weekends were also five days long, that would be awesome! At any rate, it's time for a little list-making exercise to wrap up the week...

One of the things I've noticed about myself and fellow-bloggers, well maybe with the exception of The Ranting Monkey, is a great hesitance to say anything good about ourselves, to talk about what we do right and what we are that's good. I'm not talking about obnoxious arrogance, just an awareness of things we can rightly take pride in. For some unknown reason self-esteem is perceived as a character flaw when really it should be taught in school and at home from the earliest years on. On that note, my theme for this week is...

The five traits I most like about my best friend:   (who in my case is also my husband :-)
  1. He is trustworthy - a new experience for me - a husband who can be trusted, imagine that!
  2. He is responsible - has been employed by the same business for 31 years, he keeps the bills paid, the house repaired, and takes care of whatever else needs to be taken care of
  3. He is loving - VERY! Also compassionate and a great caretaker!
  4. He has a wonderful sense of humor - he makes me laugh all the time, he hasn't lost his childhood sense of playfulness
  5. He stands up for his beliefs - he is not afraid to say what he thinks and to address issues when needed.  (It was really hard for me to choose just five - I could easily name ten more, if I could clone him I could sell copies and retire wealthy!  I feel very blessed, and sometimes unworthy.)
The five traits I most like about me:
  1. I am caring and compassionate, I can relate to people who have struggled in their lives because I've been there too. I try to think about how I would feel if I was in their situation, rather than judging them. Often we don't know the whole story, we haven't walked that mile in their shoes.
  2. I am reasonably intelligent and can understand most things. I am not afraid to ask questions if I don't understand or if I desire more information. I am not afraid to learn new things, or have my beliefs challenged.
  3. I enjoy finding little ways to encourage others and to brighten their day, even if it's just a smile or a friendly word. Little things can make a big difference!
  4. I am fairly good at expressing myself thru writing, or at least I like to think I am. I'm certainly good at stringing lots and lots of rambling words together! :-) Brevity is not my strong point.
  5. I stand up for my beliefs and am not afraid to state my opinions. I speak out when I feel that someone is being treated wrong.   (In addition to these five, I also like that I love bright, cheerful colors, and that I tend to be a bit "unconventional" - being labeled crazy can be very freeing!)
That's enough about me and my life... at least for today! Feel free to join me in making lists for your own best friend and yourself, or in posting any five-item list that suits your mood today!  If you do, please a link in the comments below so we can see what you've had to say!

Slacker Rant

Every place I've ever worked seems to have one... the person who has getting paid for doing very little while remaining in the good graces of management down to a science.  I know it isn't totally age related, and perhaps it has more to do with employer fears about the legal implications of firing people and the difficulty of finding replacements, but it seems that some young employees have this strange belief that all they have to do is show up and be counted present to get paid. They don't have to be on time, they don't have to produce, they don't have to be team players... hell, they don't even have to put down their cellphones or shut down the computer games... just have to be witty, and clever enough to look semi-busy if the boss walks in, and talk convincingly of how busy and overloaded they are, while the folks around them are working their tails off from the beginning to the end of the day.

One person I know recently confided in me that she did most of her college homework at the office during business hours. Hmmm... and you get paid for that? I've seen that more than one place I've worked.  I'm the first to agree that if your assigned work is ALL DONE and there is nothing you can help someone else with, then it's ok to fill your time productively rather than sit there folding paper airplanes.  But how often is that really the case, and why is it that these folks have no qualms about sliding some of their duties over to an unsuspecting coworker, because they have so much more than they can handle... between talking, texting and Twitter that is?!

Also among the slacker bunch are the folks who regularly show up for work late, anywhere from 5-20 minutes late, and feel no need to offer explanation or apology. It seems to be the assumption that to show up at all is what counts. Then, once they do arrive, another 20 minutes or more is spent applying make-up, socializing, eating breakfast, etc. before actually settling in to complete some work tasks. WTH!

Ok, yeah, I'm a little miffed today. It's been a ball-buster week, phone calls have been non-stop, the paperwork is stacked three-feet high, and all the crazies have come out to  play. So we buckle down and keep plowing thru it, right?  Well... MOST of us do. One or two opt for kicking back and moaning about how tired they are, while one wonders exactly what they did that resulted in weariness.  By five o'clock today I was pretty close to biting heads off... good that it was going home time!  I put on my fake friendly smile and joined the mass elevator exodus. Inside I was seething, and I'm far too new an employee to begin making waves... yet! But oh boy and I waiting for my 90 day eval!!  I'm willing to work hard and no task is beneath me, but I'm not willing to run myself ragged while someone else is permanently attached to their cellphone and online games.  I cry fowl!  

Before anyone feels the need to say it... yes I know that life is not fair, and I should be content in the satisfaction that I am putting forth my best effort, but please allow me a little righteous indignation here... I'll be over this temper tantrum shortly, and will back in good form to give it another go come morning. TGIF indeed!

Questions and Answers - #2

    Without further ado, I present my Questions and Answers to this week's round of One Question Wednesday!  (Haven't had a chance to play yet? It's not too late, leave a question in the comments section and I'll answer it and update this post.)  
    From Bozo  - You mentioned that you are hypersensitive to lights, sounds and smells. It just made me wonder how you and your Papa Bear work things out? I mean, even without being hypersensitive to certain things, sharing a home with someone else can be daunting... so I can't help but wonder how you manage with this added challenge?
    - When I'm home alone the house is quiet, I rarely have on any noise at all to give my ears a rest. I listen to ringing phones all day long, sometimes I even dream I hear phones ringing!  If Papa Bear is home the tv  is usually on, but he is good about reducing the volume if it's something loud, or I just take out my hearing aids! :-) The biggest problems I encounter is if watching action/adventure/sci-fi movies that he loves. If they have a lot of flashing light and sound with rapid motion it can make me queasy and give me a really bad headache, so I try to avoid those.  Thankfully, he also enjoys romance comedies and drama movies, so we see more of that kind. 

    Smell is hard, I am so sensitive that he is unable to wear his the expensive cologne that he  loves, unless I am not around. Even the scent of hairspray or anything aerosol is enough to give me headaches, so he is very careful to use those things in another room, and we buy non-scented products as much as possible.  Papa Bear is such a loving, giving, caring person that if he knows something bothers me like this, he just won't do it, which is so sweet. Sadly, I am becoming more and more allergic to flowers as well, but every now and then he still gives me some because I love them so much... I just set them across the room rather than close by so I can breathe!  Thankfully, I am not allergic to cats, that would make me too sad for words!

    From The Ranting Monkey - If you were given the ability to change one thing about the human race, and only one thing, what would you change and why?
     - Just one? Geesh, I have a whole list of suggestions for God on how He could improve upon the human race! :-)  Ok, seriously, I think the thing most lacking in mankind is the awareness of our place and purpose on this planet (is that two things?).  By that I mean that we are all members of one large family, the family of mankind, divisions between us are all created by man and serve no purpose other than to cause problems between us. I am no different than any woman anywhere in the world, we love the same, we fear the same, we hurt the same, and we laugh the same!  Our purpose is undeniably to help each other along the path on this sacred journey we call life, it is not about acquiring possessions or power. Self-centered ambition is the root of all evil.  Short answer - that we would have an inborn drive to love and care for each other above everything else!

    From L - Of the seven tattoos you have is there one that you regret getting and why?
    I love my tattoos, L - all of them! The only one I would not have done in retrospect was an early one that is an artist representation of a silver and turquoise cross I was given as a gift. The tattoo artist didn't place it exactly where it would have looked best on my upper arm. However, I solved that by having a beautiful angel done next  to it and the entire piece framed by a ribbon running from the cross around the angel. I like it now. Each tattoo I have done has meaning and beauty and I don't regret any of them.  I want to have one more done before I die, something in tribute to my beloved soulmate Papa Bear. 

    From McGuffy Ann - Who is your (non-related) personal hero, and why?
    - That's easy! The person I admire above all others is Mother Teresa. Not only did she dedicate herself to service of her Lord and the most pitiful among His people, but she understood the true meaning of love, and that it should not be limited to only those who believed as she did. She had tremendous wisdom and humility and admitted to the human frailties and doubts that we all have. She was a tiny, unimposing figure whose spirit towered over the great people who stood in her presence. I wish I could have known her!

    From Chele - You are planning a trip to a gorgeous island where you will spend the most relaxing week all by yourself with nobody around. You are allowed to take only three items, aside from clothing, what would you take with you and why?
    - Another easy one! A laptop for writing, a good book for reading, and gourmet chocolate for eating!  I suppose an attractive young native to serve me drinks would be out of the question?? :-) I love my time alone, and there is nothing more peaceful than warm ocean breezes on wide stretches of sand. I would read, write, meditate, sleep, and come back nicer to live with... for at least a little while!

    From Kristi - If you could go back and change something regarding being a parent, what would you change?
    - There are so many things I wish I would have done or handled differently as a parent, Kristi. I am ever-amazed that my son and daughter grew up to be the wonderful, caring, successful adults that they are! While they were most certainly loved beyond all measure and knew it, too often the requirements of earning a living to feed them took priority over spending quality time together. We have good memories, but I wish that I had spent less time worrying about a clean house, and more time having fun! 

    Another answer that comes to mind... I wish I would have shortened my daughter's father's life by about twelve years. But that's a story for another day.

    From  - Pen - Of all the places you've lived in your life, which was your favorite and why?
    - I had to give this question some thought. I have lived in seven states and a foreign country (Germany) and have moved over 30 times in my life. Each place had things I loved and things I didn't love much. For me, home is pretty much where  you make it, and my home is wherever I am with Papa Bear. I miss South Dakota because my heart is connected to the land there, but if I could live anywhere (besides a tropical island of course), I would choose Tennessee. Though I've never lived there my children both do - it is so green and beautiful... a little slice of heaven! 

    From Soul - Do you have resentments as deep as I do about New Mexico? Would you ever live there again?
    - This one kind of ties in to the above question, Soul Sis. Your feelings about New Mexico have a lot to do with the experiences you had there. I've had some pretty grim experiences there too, though more directly related to who I was living with than anything else. The job I held for 19 years there gave me the means to break free of my second husband and support myself and my children reasonably well as they were growing up, so I am thankful for that, though I grew to hate the job in the end, again because of one person's ability to make life miserable for others.  New Mexico, has beautiful scenery in some places, but it is also ranks among the worst states when it comes to education, crime, teen pregnancy, unemployment, efficient government, etc, etc, etc. At times it felt like I was living in a third-world country!  I would live there again if that's where I had to be, I can make my home anywhere, but it wouldn't be my preference, and most certainly not in the town I lived for all that time. I left that one in the rear view mirror with tremendous relief. I used to tell my ex-husband that the biggest problem there was inbreeding! :-)

    Well, that's it for this week's OQW Questions and Answers, unless someone pops in with another one before the night is over... there's still time, and all questions are fair game! To everyone who contributed a question, THANK YOU so much for playing!! I love the things I learn about each of you as you answer my questions and I hope you're getting to know me a little more (for better or worse) too!  It is interacting with  my fellow bloggers that makes blogging so enjoyable!

One Question Wednesday Time Again!

Ok everybody, let's get ready to play another round of One Question Wednesday! Get your thinking caps on and come up with one question to ask me, or any other blogger that is willing to play along.  You send me a question (you can post it in the comments below anytime today or tomorrow), and I'll answer it in a Q&A post on Wednesday evening. There's a catch though... if I answer your question I get to ask you one to answer on your blog as well! :-)   Still not sure what this is all about?  Check out the OQW Q&A page on The Ranting Monkey's blog. He's my partner in crime in co-sponsoring this game and his blog is a very entertaining read! By all means leave a question on his page too if you're so inclined... he loves questions as much as I do!  Get your fellow-bloggers involved in One Question Wednesday... send them a question and ask them to answer it and send one back. If they do, leave a link here so we can all enjoy your responses!

If Only You Knew

In last week's round of One Question Wednesday, Pen asked "If  you could go back in time five years, what would you tell yourself?"  I promised to expand my answer into a post of it's own.  Five years ago I was the final stages of my marriage falling apart, it was by far the hardest thing I've ever gone thru. This is what my Guardian Angel wished she could have whispered in my ear back then...

Dearest Josie,

I was with you tonight when he was screaming and yelling and smashing things around you because he was so angry once again, and I know you felt so lost and confused because you didn't even know what it was that had set him off this time.  It's hard for you to know what to do or not do anymore, everything seems to displease him. It is obvious that something is very wrong in his life and he is taking his anger out on you.

Deep down you know that the problem isn't you, it's something else that you can't quite put your finger on, because you don't really want to know the answer even though it's been staring you in the face for a long time now. Think about it Josie... why is his behavior so erratic? He's on edge all the time, and where is his money disappearing to? Why does he get so defensive when you ask? 

You're afraid of him when he is angry, it's getting worse instead of better.  What if he goes too far and you get hurt... or worse?  I know you think you'd be better off dead anyway, that what you have now can't even be called a life.  You're barely existing, putting on a front at work to get thru the days without them asking questions, and enduring hell on the nights and weekends when he's home... if he's home, when he gets around to coming home after the never-ending band gigs. 

There is more that you know, or at least you have your suspicions... the cellphone bill shows countless texts to numbers that don't belong to anyone you know, and there's that picture he has on the visor of his truck. What's up with that Josie? You argued with him about it, and told him exactly how you feel, but he didn't take it down did he, even though he said it was no one important. He made it clear that your feelings don't really matter to him anymore, and I know how deeply that hurts you. 

It's time Dearest Josie, long past time. You need to draw the line here girl, it's gone far enough, and it needs to stop, he's draining your life away drop by drop. It's time to start thinking up a plan, and time to let a few people that you trust know what's going on. You need some help here, as hard as that is for you to admit to anyone, you can't do this on your own. You don't have the means, or the strength anymore, he's stolen all of that away.  Your daughter saw what was going on the last time she was home, she told you then that he was controlling every move in your life. You hadn't really realized that until she stated it so bluntly.  You know she's right, and you know that it isn't supposed to be that way.  She and her husband will help you, you know they will, all you have to do is ask. It's time to swallow your pride.

I want you to promise me that you will start making arrangements, hide away the things that are precious to you where he can't find and destroy them, have an escape plan when the time comes that you need it, because very soon you will.

What I want you to know most of all, is that you are never alone, I am always near you and God is always with you. He loves you more than you could ever know, and he sees what's been going on here, he sees your tears and feels your broken heart. When the time comes, he will give you the direction and the courage to do what must be done, to flee in the middle of the night and to make a new home of your own.  There is nothing left for you with him now Josie, it's over and what is done can't be undone. We love you and we want you to choose to live again. We want to see you smile and hear you laugh, and have you find your way back to the person that you once were... and you will, I promise you that you will!

There's a special secret that I want you to know Josie, and I am going to place this secret in your heart so you'll be aware of it... though you'll soon be moving out on your own, leaving everything of that life behind, you will only be living in your new home for a very short while, maybe a year or so at most, don't bother getting too settled in. You aren't going to be alone and lonely for very long. 

I know it feels right now like your life is ending, that there is nothing left to lose anymore, and nothing good to come.  But the truth is that God has an amazing gift waiting for you just down the road! I can't tell you what it is, but I can promise you that your life from that point on  is going to be more wonderful than anything you could ever imagine... and you will be loved Josie... really loved!

Hang on tight Josie, it's going to be a bumpy ride out of hell. Take it one day and one hour at a time, just as you have learned to do.  He is making your life terribly difficult right now, but in truth he has no power over you... you have within you and around you the power to set yourself free... choose the path of freedom Josie... choose the path of life!  We are going to be here to help you pick up the pieces and rebuilt your life better and stronger than it ever was before. Wait and see Josie, wait and see!

Love always and forever,

Your Guardian Angel

Sweet Memories

My father loved fishing.  He fished as a young farmboy, catching "bullheads" to help feed their depression-era family, he fished in the 84th year of his life just months before he passed to the spirit world, and he fished every year in between. 

When I was growing up he would often come home weary from a long day of work at the farm implement business he owned, eat a quick supper, and then toss his fishing tackle in the back of the truck and head to one of the nearby lakes for a little fishing before the sun went down. He didn't have any sons, so I was his ever eager and willing fishing buddy, going along more for the ride and to spend time with him than to participate in fishing itself.  We didn't have deep conversations, for the most part we sat quietly on the shore waiting for the bobbers to jiggle and signal fish on our lines. We didn't catch a lot of fish, and were happy if we caught any, but I think he went more for the relaxation than the fish.  On the way to the lake we always stopped at a little bait store for minnows, and he always bought each of us a candy bar, him choosing a Salted Nut Roll (which is now called a Payday) everytime.  Every now and then I buy one, think of him, and smile.

Dad loved going on fishing trips with his friends,  both on the Missouri River that divided our state, and in the wilds of Canada up north. We have old home movies of some his Canada fishing trips - precious keepsakes now.

When I was in high school Dad bought a little cabin on one of the lakes, and a boat we could keep in the boathouse for weekend fishing. I remember one evening he and I went up to the cabin for an overnight and he cooked the walleyes we'd caught as soon as we got back to shore, some of the best fish I've ever eaten.

When John and I flew home for my Dad's funeral two years ago, my sisters and I were going thru a few of his things, talking about what we would do with them. No one showed any interest in the fishing gear, so John asked if he could have it, and Dad's tackle box returned home with us on the airplane. 

John is headed out on a fishing trip for a few days the week after next and is getting his fishing gear together.  Today he sat with Dad's tacklebox, going thru the many old and new lures, line, and an assortment of handtied flies that I remember Dad showing me proudly in later years. It brought back memories of how fascinated I was when young by all those beautifully colored and designed lures.  Looking thru the box, I realized the last hands sorting thru the various compartments had been my father's, and it brought tears to my eyes. I chose one lure from the box to keep for my own, and some of them will go along with John on his fishing trip. I know my Dad will be smiling from heaven, and I'm thinking those lures just might bring John good luck.  I think I'm going to send a couple of them off to my son in Tennessee too, he mentioned just last week that he was planning to go fishing soon.

Following my Dad's funeral on a bitterly cold day in January, we drove past the lake where he most loved to fish, knowing I would likely never pass this way again in my lifetime.  Stopping briefly alongside the deep layer of ice covering the lake, I placed a rose from the spray on Dad's casket on the wind blown snow in his memory and in acknowledgement of how special this place was to him.

Thank you Dad for those good memories... I miss you!


The Honest Truth

Today's writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings is "honest". This is my story...

In the beginning he was honest with her. He told her that music was number one in his life, marijuana was two, and she would be  number three in the hierarchy of his love. She laughed, unconcerned, believing that before too much time passed she would find a way to move up on the list, someday becoming number one, the thing he most loved.  She had no idea back then how deadly accurate his pronouncement was, and that thirteen years later she would find herself not his highest priority and most cherished possession, but rather having slipped to number four, behind the women who adored him for his charming ways, just as she once had.  But they didn't live with him 24/7, they had no idea who he really was, and what he could be like. She knew, after thirteen years she knew, and finally after one screaming outburst when he pushed her too far, she made a plan that would end his reign of terror and tears, and if lucky, it would save her life.

Flash forward five years... she is on the phone texting with the one who replaced her when she left him. They had become good friends quickly, being far more alike than different.  She wondered to herself why that was, why her ex's always seemed to choose for their next partner someone who was very  much like herself, maybe with a few enhancements such as youth or beauty, but deep down much the same. She always ended up friends with her successors, odd as that seemed.  To her it was a natural result of loving and knowing the same man, of shared awareness of what that experience was like.

The new woman, now his on again/off again partner for several years was despondant. Long since he had lost the house the once lived in due to the continued bouts of unemployment which had plagued her marriage to him.  At that point her replacement had no choice but to return to her mother's home, a situation that did not work well and caused much unhappiness. He returned to live with his own parents, content to have a spare room in the garage, since no rent was expected, and meals were free.

She longed for the life they had shared together, and lived for his continued promises that he would get a good paying job, save money, and buy them a new home. The dreams never materialized, the home never happened, and the years keept passing.

Finally she thought her luck was turning, he cleaned up his act enough to secure a regular job with decent pay and began putting aside money that would eventually give them a home.  Funds multiplied and she grew  hopeful.  Then something totally unforseen happened -  long-lost relatives resurfaced in his life and brought with them financial woes which tugged at his heart.  An easy mark, he pulled out his savings and handed it over, without  question, with requiring repayment, and without asking her. In an instant her dream of a home together vanished into thin air.  Adding insult to injury, he failed to tell his new found family that she even existed, that she had been more or less by his side since his wife had left him years ago. He told them about his ex, obviously still missing her in some ways, but he didn't tell them about her, the one who continued to hope and to wait for a life shared.

Last night she broke down, the texts came fast and furious... "I can't take it anymore" she said, "the hoping, the waiting, the believing... only to find out once again that I don't matter, that I don't even rate an introduction much less being welcome to share in the family reunion. His family doesn't accept me, they never will."

The ex-wife nodded silently in agreement. She wanted to say "I told you so, I warned you" but in her kindness, and in her sadness for her friend's heart that was breaking, she could only say that some things never change, some leopards will have the same spots till the day they die.  She knew now that he would likely never get his priorities straight, though they'd discussed that many times both in the past and in recent years.  Number one in his life was not music or marijuana.  Number one was and always would be only himself, and himself alone... and in the end all alone is what he would most likely be. It saddened her really, it made her too sad for words.

Commenting on the Comments

Many thanks to my good friend Ranting Monkey for helping this technology-challenged old lady learn how to convert my commenting format so that it is now possible to reply directly below each comment, rather than at the end of them all.  This is a relatively new option and I like it so much better because it allows for interaction and further dialog between the blogger and commenter.

For those of you who use Blogger, it's really very simple... go to settings and change the commenting option from "pop-up" to "embedded".   I'd noticed that option before, but assumed embedded meant that all the comments would show up on the home page of my blog along with their respective posts. They don't, it still just shows a total comment count, but when you go to the page for a specific post, the comments/responses all show up nicely. Loving it!! 

(And you all thought this was going to be something profoud, didn't you?! :-))