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.

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.

Doggy Duty

I took Shadow to the dog park today.  We usually go at the same time so he hangs out with the same group of dogs.  They have their own little pack now.  Today we had a special visitor named Sheena.  Shadow and Sheena have met before.  They are both around the same age, 10 or 11 months old.  They play perfectly together and run like the wind.  It is glorious to watch them run the entire length of the park with the wind in their hair.  They don’t have any worries.  The only thing that matters is the joy they are feeling in that very moment.

I have never really paid attention to dogs at play before.  I am becoming fascinated with their interactions.  They share a language that only the dogs know.  If you watch closely you start to pick up on their conversations.  For instance, there is one dog at the park that does not like Shadow.  He has never liked him.  I don’t know why,  but Shadow is young and still learning to pick up cues from other dogs.  He doesn’t always understand that they are not in the mood to play.  Most of the other dogs are tolerant and are teaching him what their behavior means.  He’s starting to get it.  The one dog that doesn’t like him, certainly makes it known that he is not a fan of Shadow but for some reason Shadow refuses to believe him and then a riot ensues.  I am noticing now that Shadow is starting to step back when that particular dog growls at him, but he doesn’t always back away.  He better figure it out soon, though.

As I watch the dogs play, I notice that they like to spar.  They both jump up on their two back legs and come at each other in a way that may look threatening but they are careful not to hurt one another.  They mouth each other and nip at each others’ ears.  But there is no intent to injure when they are in full play mode.  They automatically know not to bite down too hard.  Of course, there are occasions when that happens and there will be a loud yelp but no harm ,no foul.

When a dog means harm, there is no doubt what is happening.  You cannot misinterpret their cues.  Not from the human standpoint.  When they are agitated, they will make their intentions known immediately.  Shadow, on the other hand, will learn one way or another.  When I notice a problem arising, I immediately leash Shadow and walk him away from the ruckus.  All of the other dog owners do the same.  We have a little community at the dog park and we realize that some personalities just won’t mesh.

While watching the dogs interact, I realized that if humans interacted like the dogs, there would never be misunderstandings.  Dogs don’t talk about each other and spread rumors.  They do what they do and if they don’t like what is happening, they share that very loudly and clearly.  It would be great if humans could just say what’s on their mind, have it out and move on.  It would only take a second for the situation to be solved.  But, there’s the whole, getting feelings hurt stuff.  Yes, I guess humans have it a little bit more complicated.  It would feel so good if you got in a situation with someone and you didn’t like what they did or said, so you just spurted out what you thought, true to your deepest feelings ,and then both parties would just walk away with no hard feelings.  Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works.  Every now and then, I would love to just shout out what I am really thinking.

There is a lot of joy in watching the dogs run free and wild.  There are also lessons we can learn while watching.  But, humans are not dogs and we do get our feelings hurt.  We have a right to have different opinions but we do not have a right to hurt each other. Eventually, I think we will also figure it out, one way or another.  Hopefully, peace and harmony will be the outcome.  Meanwhile, I will continue to admire the strength, and willingness to have fun as I watch my four legged friends frolick in the park.

 

It’s Time to Play

I decided to sit down at the computer and write at this moment.  I have a craving to write something.  I just don’t know what it is yet.  I have to let it simmer for a bit.  “It”, being my writing subject.  Sometimes, I don’t need a subject at all.  Maybe some of you remember the show “Seinfeld”.  It was called the show about nothing.  The show about nothing became a cultural icon.  It seemed that everyone related to the normal daily thoughts and feelings of everyday people.  We were able to laugh out loud because the subjects covered were so familiar to us.  It’s a great feeling to know that so many others are thinking and feeling the same way we are.  It’s comforting  that we are not alone in our madness.

It’s snowing this morning here in New Jersey, United States.  It looks pretty,  but honestly, I don’t know too many people that are happy to see the snow.  It causes disruption for commuters.  Everyone gets in a frenzy when it snows.  They rush to the grocery store to buy milk, bread and eggs.  Lest we starve!  It’s 2 inches of snow, not the end of the world.  Snow silently and peacefully enters our reality, all the while, glittering and sparkling it’s freshness upon the earth’s surface.  The beauty it bestows is celestial.  Adult humans seem to have a tendency to skew reality.  Our perceptions change the actuality of everything.   A small child, on the other hand, can look out the window and see wondrous potential in the falling snow.  Bountiful creations whirl around in their mind of how they can pick up this fluffy white stuff and make anything out of it.

I will call my mother this afternoon, as I do every day.  We will talk about our day and complain about the snow.  Neither one of us has to go outside and trudge through it to get to a designated place of employment but, nonetheless, we will complain that we don’t like the snow.  Doesn’t that sound like madness to you?  I’m shaking my head at my own self.  Where has that child in me gone?  Why can’t I see the beauty that has laid itself before me?

I realize that I have allowed grown up life to skew my perceptions of pure joy.  I can’t see the purity of the falling snow anymore.  It’s time for me to shake it off and get in touch with this beautiful endowment from the heavens.  There is so much beauty here and I have allowed myself to be blinded by past conditioning, pain and suffering.  I have consensually given away my sight so that I might live in fear and anguish.

Today, this moment, I must realign myself with the universe and forget about the past.  I must get myself up and show up with full spirit.  Today, I will play in the snow and enjoy all that it has to offer and I will come out triumphant, if only for a few moments, and feel alive again with the sight of a child.

I find it amazing that I sat down to write with no thought of any subject to write about.  So, I decided to talk about the weather and look where it took me.  I think that’s pretty cool.  I love how things unfold out of our minds if we are able to sit still for a little bit and let it flow.  I’m totally loving this process.

 

 

We Actually Like Each Other

 

 

I live with my boyfriend and his 19 year old daughter.  We have a nice, small, cohesive family unit.  We are not an exciting bunch but we do know how to laugh and have fun together.  Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to the diner for dinner.  It’s a local diner that we often go to and everybody knows everybody.  We had an early dinner, as we usually do, so the diner was empty.  We sat and ate our dinner ,as my boyfriend began to tell me stories of his first job, when he was fresh out of high school.  He described the crazy shenanigans that went on.  He worked with his father, uncle,  brother and cousin.  The young ones would torment their boss and anybody that crossed their paths just for a laugh.  As he told me story after story, I laughed my head off.  We were carrying on at the table and having a great old time.  As we were leaving the diner, we stopped at the counter to pay and the owner was asking about my step-daughter.  You know, the typical, “How is she doing?, Is she working”, and surprisingly, “Would she like a waitressing job?”

I began to give all the details of what she’s doing in her life and how proud of her we are.  After a few minutes of my bragging, I said to them, “Look at me going on about my step-daughter.”  They laughed and said that they thought it was great.  They have often seen us together and commented on their admiration of how good we get along.  As the conversation continued, they both mentioned to me that they thought that my boyfriend and I were a cute couple.  I have never considered us a “cute” couple.  We are 64 and 58 years old.  How “cute” could we be?  They went on to say that,  they observed how we laughed together and that we actually seem to like each other.  That just cracked me up.

Their statement made me think about when I was married to my first husband.  We would sit in a restaurant and I would observe other couples eating and conversing and laughing.  I always wondered what they were talking about because we never did such a thing.  I didn’t realize then that, that was the way it was supposed to be.  It’s sad to think,  at that time in my life, that I didn’t know that couples were supposed to have fun together.  Unfortunately, that marriage ended after nine years.  On the upside,  it was an educational period for me.  I am grateful for the lessons learned from that marriage.

As I left the diner last night, I was smiling.  I got in the car and told my boyfriend what our friends had to say.  It is a treasured endowment to realize that my life has changed and evolved into a healthy and satisfying experience.  Gone are the days of constant struggle and strife in a relationship.  We have been together for 14 years and have learned to communicate with one another through good and bad.  That’s why we have so much fun.  We feel free to divulge our thoughts and feelings without judgement from each other.  We’ve learned to work through the distressing times and to respect each other throughout the process.

As a family unit, we engage in silliness and laughter.  We enjoy each others’ company within the home and when the three of us go out together we always have a great time.  Life is good when a person can finally grow and learn to laugh at themselves.  Laughter is the best medicine and although it’s not always time to laugh, it’s always time to enjoy and respect each others’ presence.