Influential Friend

Gentle breezes softly kissing my cheek

My hair flowing across my face

Turning my head to allow my vision to become clear

The breath of her whisper filling me with reckless abandon

Her capacity to satisfy a longing in my soul

Invisible to the eye

Perceived only by the development of movement around us

She flows freely in and out of the moment

Cannot be caught or contained

Refreshing, authoritative, and, influential all at the same time

She comforts me with her placidity

She frightens me with her calamitous power

Yet, she gives me wings to fly

 

 

What’s Under the Cover?

Recently, I’ve been hanging around with some awesome ladies.  Some that I have known a while and some new friends.   There are the elderly ones, those of my own age and some younger.  Once again, I become an observer of people who are not what you see visually.  You can look at a person and see an old woman and leave it at that.  But, after taking the time to listen, you find that you can never judge a book by its cover.

For example, I’ve met this wonderful woman, who I have seen before and known her only as a friend’s mother.  I assumed she’s mother material just like all mothers.  Now she’s older and that’s that.  After spending an evening with her, I found her to be spunky, strong, independent and hilarious to be around.  She has lived a hard life of sorts, raising three daughters as a single mother.  She’s worked her whole life in a time when women were considered lesser than men in the workplace.  Now wait a minute, I should say in a time when it was even worse for women in the workplace than it is now.  It still isn’t equal in my opinion. She recounted stories of her working days of how men tried to undermine her because they didn’t want a woman in her particular position.  She’s a soft-spoken woman so you would never think that she would stand up for herself.  But in her soft-spoken way, she handled these men with the might of a warrior.  She put them in their place and would not accept being looked down upon because she was female.  She’s had to be the strong one her whole life and she knows that there are times when men will take advantage of the unassuming old woman who just walked in the door of a car dealership.  They are eventually sorry for their mistaken assumptions when she tells them exactly the way it’s going to be.  They never saw that coming.  The treasures that she has lived need to be shared.  Younger people need to hear her stories because they don’t have a clue about how good they have it now.  It’s so refreshing to see the elderly and realize that were young once, they have lived a life and yes, they know about all the stuff that we think we should shelter them from.

I have a friend who just became a grandmother for the first time.  Her daughter is a hard-working young woman and is just returning to work after being out on maternity leave.  My friend shares the ‘goings on’ of the new young family.  Her son-in-law is not as prepared as he thought he was to be a parent.   The baby was born premature so it has been even more difficult these first few months than with having a full term pregnancy.  With that being said, the mamma has to go back to work and schedules have to be rearranged.  The daddy will need to take a more active role with the baby.  But, as my friend relays to me:  “I think he’s got a screw loose.  He doesn’t have a clue.”  My friend is the easiest going person with a great sense of humor.  The young family is preparing to go on a ‘vacation’ to visit daddy’s family.  As they prepare and begin packing the car, the son-in-law seems not quite up to the task and states, “I am on vacation.”  I had to laugh when my friend told me this story because her eyes got so big as she was telling me this.  Both of us were shaking our heads and almost simultaneously said, “Doesn’t he know there is no vacationing from being a parent?”  Oh My, mister, mister has a rude awakening coming.

A new friend of mine who is around my age, in her fifties, has a remarkable sense of humor and a glorious soul filled with love.  She is the true example of, “When life gives you lemons…”.  When situations get difficult and stress is riding high, her mind just grabs out of thin air the funniest responses.  She told me a story of when her mother was in the hospital after an accident.  She and her sister were in the waiting area of the hospital for several hours.  They both would go in and out of her mother’s room and check on her.  As they were sitting there, someone came out to let them know how their mother was doing and out of the blue, she said, “What are you talking about, our mother is in the room down the hall.  She’s been sleeping this whole time.  We have been checking on this woman because we heard of her troubles and thought we would just wait here and keep an eye on her.”  Of course, she was joking but the attendant didn’t understand and noted how wonderful these two women were for waiting and attending to a complete stranger. This woman makes everything fun and she makes everyone that comes in contact with her feel like family.  She is the most hilarious person to be around.  When I am around her we laugh and giggle and share off-color silliness throughout the day.  This is how she is every day.  I just love being around her.  It’s funny to watch younger women around her respond to her humor.  There’s a younger woman in her 20’s that works with her.  A young person at first doesn’t know how to react to a woman in her 50’s with such a sense of humor.  The younger ones think the 50’s crowd is old and stuffy and that we don’t know what’s what in the world because they are young and they have created everything new.  Hahaha, the joke’s on them because we are the ones who really know how to have fun.  The 20-year-old is now getting used to the silliness and is enjoying every bit of it.  Hopefully, she will realize that us old folks do know a thing or two or three.

I have friends of all different ages and each age group and individual friend has so much to offer this world.  Sometimes I think we should put blinders on when we meet people so that we can’t make a judgment by what we see.  Too many people are missing out on real, meaningful relationships because their vision is so short-sighted.  There are treasures out there but I think we have to close our eyes, open our ears and our hearts so that we can feel the abundance of love that everyone has to offer.  Love comes in all different forms.  The story of a person’s life is a gift of love, knowledge and a new way of envisioning this life.  Grab the jewels and keep them with you forever.  They will enrich your life to the fullest.

 

This Morning’s Ponderings

My family woke up to a beautiful, calm and sunny morning.  We live near the bay so we decided to grab McDonald’s and go sit down at the dock and eat our breakfast. Sitting by the water can be contemplative.  We sat in silence for a bit as we ate and then we chit chatted.

Between my observations and light conversation these are the things that came to mind:

We were talking about the tide.  Today it was high but we discussed how last week when we came it was a moon tide and at high tide, the water was exceptionally high.  This took my mind to ponder the power of the moon.  I began to ramble the following; “Don’t you think it is amazing how powerful the moon is?  The moon has power over all of the water on the earth.  The moon has power over the big water that seems so uncontrollable.  You laugh at me every time I get excited about the full moon but look how cool she is?  Family looked at me and just shook their heads because I get so emphatic about such things.

There is a large diving bird with a long neck that was floating out on the water.  These birds are known as Cormorants.  They float on the water and then they dive deep into the water looking for food.  The amazing part is how long they can stay under the water.  We were watching him dive under and speculating where he would come back up at.  Once again, I rambled.  That’s what I do.  I can’t help but find wonderment in the little miracles of life.  I mean, here is a bird that flies but he can also dive deep into the bay.  I think that is really cool.

We sat and soaked up the morning sunlight and the very slight breeze.  The morning salt air was so refreshing.  I always look around and see who’s coming and going and this morning was no exception.  The first thing I noticed was all the old men lined up on the dock with their fishing poles.  I love listening to the old men discourse about using the right bait and tell silly stories back and forth.  Somehow I find it gratifying to hear them banter.  There seems to be treasure in their conversations.

Step-daughter and I walked along the dock, peeking over to look at the water.  It’s intriguing to watch the water move.  You never know what you might see swimming by.  I always try to envision what’s going on down below.  Are the crabs swimming beneath, what kind of fish are coming in with the tide?  Today it seemed that the old men were fishing for blowfish, a kind of fish that inflates it’s body when alarmed.  And of course, that leads to another mesmerizing observation for me.  I could go on all day about how fascinating nature can be.

We joined step-daughter’s father to observe and soak up some more delight on this fine morning.  A mother came walking with her three young sons, probably around the age of 8 or 9, as she pushed a stroller with a little girl of about 3 years of age.  The three little boys each had a fishing pole and a net.  They were all barefooted.  When I saw this vision of a family come to the dock, a huge smile grew across my face.  In the world we live in today, it’s an unusual sight to see children enjoying kid stuff.  The three boys immediately cast out their fishing poles into the water.  They weren’t worried about having the right bait or what kind of fish were biting this time of year.  They were simply living in their moment of glory, doing the things that memories are made of.  I watched the little girl climb out of her stroller and walk from one boy to the other while her mamma just sat back and watched.  It was truly a magnificent sight to behold.  Immediately, my rambling began;  ” I just love watching kids be kids.  I remember when I was little, I never wore shoes in the summer.  I was always barefoot.  We used to climb trees and play in the dirt with our hot wheels cars, my sister and I.  It gives me great satisfaction to know that there are still the little pleasures of life being enjoyed by these kids.”

A simple but beautiful morning at the dock digs deep into my soul and gives me the satisfaction of a spiritual revival.  I feel invigorated after our visit this morning.  My soul feels at peace and satisfied.  I love watching life being lived in the simplest ways.  My heart is so full I think it could burst.

Enjoy your day, your family, and find peace in all that you do.  It feels amazing.

Happy Mother’s Day to Me

Watching the little child play is heartwarming.  This time around, I am allowing a child to be a child for as long as he wants. That was my mindset back in those days. The first-born child wasn’t given that luxury.  I was young and rigid and only knew what I knew as a new parent.  I expected so much out of him.  I loved him more than life itself but I placed responsibility on him that far exceeded what a child should have to do.

The second-born child lived free and easy.  He still had responsibilities, but more appropriate for his age.  I was in a better place too, in my life.  Happier than I had been when the first-born came along.  A bad marriage can do that to a person.

A second marriage came along when my second-born child was three.  We had a new family and happier times.  We had more of a family atmosphere.  We did things as a family and it was so refreshing to realize a new life with new possibilities.

Along came my third child.  This child was more challenging than the first two.  Very strong-willed, smart and stubborn.  This one was also given responsibilities but she would decide, at her discretion, whether she would comply or not.  Whatever mood hit her at the time.

All three children were very different from each other.  It only makes sense.  I was a different person each time I gave birth.  There was 5 years difference between each of them.  Three children born and raised together with three very different personalities.

Today, they are all grown and each has moved in their own direction.  The first-born has a wife and four children.  He’s a very quiet and contemplative person. They live in the neighborhood that he grew up in.  It makes my heart smile to know that there was something special about his childhood that he wanted to stay in the same place and raise his children there.  The second-born has a wife and two children.  His path has been a bit more complicated.  After serving our country for many years, he now lives in the southern part of the United States.  He’s got such a great sense of humor and although he doesn’t live close by, he holds onto family traditions very dearly. He wants things to be the same for his kids as they were for him as a child. My third child is recently married and currently serving our country in the armed forces.  She is the most independent of the three.  She moved south also.  She built a life of her own, on her own terms and is set on a path of determination to reach a career goal within the time frame she planned very carefully.  As independent as she is, she likes to create traditional holidays.  She likes to make all the traditional foods that she grew up with.

I am very proud of my three children.  All so different and yet in some ways, very much the same.  All three cling to family traditions more than I thought they would.  All three are friends now that they are adults.  That is something I wasn’t sure would come to fruition but it’s true.  I love all three with every fiber of my being.

Raising children is not for the faint of heart because they don’t stay children.  They become pre-adolescent and behave in more difficult ways to handle.  Then, they become teenagers, which is not my favorite life stage at all.  Those days are stress riddled with all kinds of grown-up situations, yet still children in adult bodies.  Finally, adulthood where they strike out on their own and make their mark in the world.  Sometimes, their mark isn’t easy for a mother to watch.  They all have their own bumps and rollercoasters to deal with in their lives.  But, as a mother,  I’m still riding those rollercoasters with them even though they are not my lessons to learn.  We are tied together forever and every situation in my children’s lives will always affect me.  That’s just how mothers are.

I am thankful to have become a mother.  Throughout struggles, trials, tribulations, celebrations, graduations, grandchildren and everything in between, I have grown because of my children.  I thank each and every one of you for the gifts that you are in my life.

Hide and Seek

Tired body. Tired mind.

What makes these changes happen?

New season, new beginnings

Where did inspiration run and hide?

Drowning in exhaustive, soul-sucking flutterings of the mind.

No specific logic brings me to this berth.

My distaste for these spells cannot be construed in plausible terms.

I must ride the waves and calmly await the arrival of the moment I seek.

The moment where hidden mysteries of my body and brain become receptive to the musings of creativity and joy.

I sit here underneath the brightly blooming tree and listen for her wisdom and guidance to appear.  She has the answers that I seek and the vitality that I crave.

I know the enthusiasm will return. It will revive my soul as soon as I play hide and seek.

If one seeks, one will find.

 

Timing is Everything

 

 

Timing is a funny thing.  There’s bad timing which creates chaos and good timing which creates opportunities.  Then there is the perfect timing which can easily change the outcome of a situation from disastrous to excellent.

I’ve always taught my kids that if they are with the wrong crowd they can be guilty by association.  When friends make bad choices and you find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time, you may end up dealing with consequences that weren’t yours to own.  I remember a young teenager who got into a schoolyard fight.  The fight began between two other kids and this teenager didn’t need to get involved.  But, he chose to take the fight to another level and turned the whole thing into a drastic mess.  He chose to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and then he chose to become a part of something that was way bigger than he was.  The fight between the first two kids was over but he created and escalated a new fight.  The victim was seriously hurt and the teenager found himself in jail.

I gave a gift certificate to a young woman for Christmas.  It was for a ceramics studio.  I thought it would be fun to do something together.  After Christmas, we finally went to the studio to enjoy the day and make our ceramics.  We had so much fun that day.  I was trying to decide what piece I wanted to paint, I have a hard time making up my mind, so the young woman was very patient and helped me.  She is very knowledgeable with ceramics and she patiently guided me through the process of picking paint colors and explained to me how the colors must be laid down in a certain order to achieve the correct result.  As we sat and painted, we were conversing with the owner of the establishment.  She took notice of the knowledge and patience that the young woman had given me.  After many hours of painting, the owner came over and handed the young woman an application for employment.  At that time, the young woman was having some struggles at her place of employment.  This opportunity showed itself to her at the right time.  The young woman was open to a new adventure and so she was hired to do a job in a field that she loves.  Surely, this is an example of very good timing.

A woman I know recently had to have surgery.  Everything was in place.  The date was set on the calendar, the pre-testing was finished and the surgery was set to occur.  The night before the surgery, her doctor called her and stated that he was reviewing her pre-testing results and he was not comfortable doing the surgery because there was a greater risk than they had first thought.  He didn’t want to jump into the surgery without further investigation.  The woman went through some additional testing and she and the doctor came up with a new game plan.  Although very serious, the surgery was done in a more non-invasive way, which led to quicker healing time.  Other unplanned things occurred in this process and led to a life-saving intervention. My friend was definitely at the right place at the right time for this situation to happen.  If she had been anywhere else when the complication occurred, she would have died.   If the doctor had not initially reviewed her case, the risk to my friend would have been catastrophic.  All of these steps placed this woman at the right place at the right time.  She had faith and everything turned out better than if she had planned it herself.  Sometimes we don’t know what’s in our best interest and things change suddenly and unexpectedly.  For my friend, this gave her a new lease on life.

When plans change suddenly, it’s best to go with the flow and see where the path takes us.  Timing is everything.

Dog Parks are not for Humans

 

 

For the past few months, I have been taking my dog Shadow to the dog park.  I’m a newbie at the dog park.  I’m still learning about how the dogs interact.  Besides being fascinated by dog behavior, I am becoming ever more fascinated by the semblance of characters that are human.

People are very serious about their pets, as they should be.  I love my dog and he’s part of my family.  The dog park is great stimulation for a one-year-old puppy who needs to get rid of stored up energy.  Shadow has no attention span when it comes to the park.  He starts chasing after one dog and his head goes back and forth, searching for what else is happening along the way.  He darts from one end of the park to the other.  I cannot keep up with him.

When you mix different dog personalities it becomes very interesting.  Certain dogs don’t have tolerance for specific dogs.  I’m learning that they all have unique personalities, the same as humans do.

Speaking of humans, my fascination with their interactions at the dog park piques my interest even more.  One lady brought her young dog into our off-leash dog park and Shadow wanted to play with him right away.  The owner was very nervous as she shouted, “Now, don’t you use your mouth.”  My question was, “What else are they going to use?” Dogs play by mouthing each other along with using their paws to spar.  That’s what dogs do.  This particular owner was extremely over the top because the dogs were playing nicely.  Did I mention that she brought an air horn with her in case there was a boxing match between the dogs?  I was astonished at the level of fear she brought into the park with her.

I came across a different owner the other day.  Her dog looked like a Doberman but he was small and fat. I thought maybe he was a mixed breed but she was sticking by her story.  I thought Dobermans were a taller, sleeker breed.  Once again, he wanted to play but she didn’t want him to use his mouth either.  I found her to be a bit eccentric. I commented on how shiny her dog’s coat was and she went on about how people give their dogs raw eggs to make the coat shiny.  But, she explained that if eggs are clogging the arteries of people, it certainly cannot be good for the dogs so she used cod liver oil instead.  That’s what her mother gave her when she was little.  Hmm,  I wondered if it made her skin shiny.  I don’t know.

Moving along to the characters that I have met, there’s a little dog, kind of scruffy, who doesn’t like Shadow at all.  I don’t know why but he has never liked him.  Whenever Shadow approaches, the dog snarls at him and Shadow retreats.  There has never been an altercation and I stay close to Shadow so as to be able to break up a situation if need be.  The owner of this dog continues to yell at Shadow.  I was allowing the two dogs to interact because I felt this was a teaching moment for Shadow to learn boundaries and cues from other dogs.  As I stated before, I stay close to avoid conflict.  The other owner clearly stated to me that his dog is not very social but he continued to yell at Shadow.  I subsequently put Shadow on the leash and escorted him to the other end of the park.  I shared this interaction with another woman.  I was aggravated because I was at an off-leash dog park and I had to put my dog on a leash because Mr. scruffy isn’t very social.  I was ranting and raving about why a person would bring a dog to the dog park who isn’t very social.  The owner of Mr. Scruffy happens to be an attendant at the dog park and he should know better than to bring his anti-social dog to the park.

Another owner came in with who I believed to be his mother.  This man did not want any dog near his dog.  His dog just wanted to play.  I approached the man, trying to be kind and ease his fearfulness.  I asked him about his dog and he wouldn’t answer me.  His mother, who was cloaked in a long fur coat with a hood to the point that you couldn’t see her face, barely responded with the dog’s name but I couldn’t understand what she said.  I continued to try to speak kindly to the man and he kept shooing Shadow away.  He was a mean type of person and eventually, I gave up and put Shadow on the leash and led him away, muttering out loud that the other dog apparently isn’t allowed to play.  I was so irritated and went to the other end of the park and told my friends why Shadow was once again being ‘punished’ by being put on the leash at the off-leash dog park.

Most people that I encounter here are very friendly and cohesive.  Our dogs get along very well and we have all become our own little pack.  But, you never know who is going to come through that gate and what baggage they are going to bring with them.

We are talking about a dog park.  You know, a dog park for dogs to run free and play.  Sometimes I wonder if it’s not a place for the mentally deranged, over the top, off-kilter types of people.  Dogs feel the energy of their owners and that spreads to the other dogs.  Most times, the dogs come in happy and ready to be free but I wonder if some of the dog altercations are coming from the negative energy that the owners bring with them.  I’m going out on a limb here and blaming the humans.  And, that’s all I have to say about that.