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Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

I have to tell you that hunkering down around here is almost a joke compared to other places I’ve lived: Montana, Alaska, even Kansas and Oklahoma. More than anything else, a local storm warning around here makes me feel more grateful that I have been “delivered” to this mild climate for my golden years.

Our worst weather would be a winter rain storm, those only in the winter, and the worst of them would mean being without power for a few days. Three days without a shower does test your sense of humor. But it never gets too hot or too cold for comfort on the coast. Of course, there is wind. We’re right next to the Pacific Ocean.

For the most part though, we just hear of horrendous weather elsewhere and feel a little guilty that we have it so good. Today was a perfect example. Heavy storm warnings, so great that friends offered to pick me up and take me to their generator equipped home, I filled vessels with extra water (toilets don’t flush without power) and I’ve even known the stores to run out of bottled water.

This warning, once again, turned out to be the kind of rainfall you’d call a soaking rain. Gentle, occasional, not asking any more of us than to wait a few minutes to “take out the trash” or “make a dash for the post office.” Strange as it sounds, I swear that it usually rains at night on the coast. In fifteen years here, I have yet to get soaking wet … well, there was an exception.

I still practice real estate because I love it and I can’t quit. One day I showed property, two units in town, in a pouring rain. Both my client and I got soaked. That particular day did not offer the “breather” between downpours. No, no sale came out of that one. Very, very few property showings result in a sale. So you gotta love it. And I do.

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This is all so completely new to me and so out of my “territory,” I can’t believe that I’ve actually missed blogging for the last few days. But I have. And that’s that. I’ve been unreasonably busy at other things, mostly fun things, but also accomplishing a great deal.

For several years of my life, I came home to somebody to talk to, to share the day’s events with. That’s been missing in my life for decades now and somehow, crazy as it seems, being connected to the rest of humanity with this blog sort of replaces “someone to come home to.”

It’s OK to laugh or to think I’m weird. This is NOT what I expected from the  internet a few years ago when I toyed with the possibilities of this new “gadget” in my living room and where it might lead. It was quite evident to me, from the very beginning, that the internet held the possibility of bringing about “the brotherhood of man”, a method of connecting so easily that we would accidentally stumble upon the fact that we’re all more alike than we are different.

That it should happen this quickly and this easily comes as a complete surprise to me. It gives me one more reason, possible the best reason of all, to be grateful that I have been allowed to live this long and still be independent, resourceful and comfortable.

I hope the day will come when all of my fellow human beings will know what I mean by that.

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A REAL BUMMER WEEK

Seldom do I ever complain. That’s because I’ve never had it so good and I never for a moment forget that. But this week has been a bummer–a real bummer.

My kindred-soul grandson, who’s serving in the Air Force, returned just a year ago from Iraq. He’s married and has two children. They have just closed escrow on their first home near his new base in New Mexico, and he’s being deployed.

He has already been to every continent on the globe since joining the Air Force fresh out of high school to follow in his father’s footsteps. He’s thirty.

Now, they’ve decided that he is needed in Afghanistan; this time apparently they need thousands more foot soldiers. I guess you’d have to be in my shoes to imagine how much I resent their making a foot soldier out of a patriotic, high-achiever like S.Sgt. Dustin Lawrence. Every parent must be sickened at the thought of their son or daughter being considered just another number among countless thousands being sent to this God-forsaken place. Just the sight of it on TV brings tears to my eyes. What are we doing there?

As much as I love Dustin and want good for his precious little family, I was unable to call to say good-bye. It was just too much to ask of me. Trying to think of one single thing to say that might help either of us in any way, knowing that my being opposed to this war could not be concealed, I could not call. Of course I am proud of him; of all of them. Still, it’s been the worst week I can remember.

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Every Tuesday evening the local bridge club meets for a friendly competition. It is competitive because duplicate bridge just is. It’s also a pretty good measure of your skill because other tables of players play the exact same hands that you play. A record is kept. My partner is one of those younger men in my life and we play to have fun, not to win. We’re always pretty much in the middle as to scores. I feel so lucky to have Gary for my partner. He’s really special.

Because I got there a little late last Tuesday night, I had to park all the way across the paved parking lot from the entrance.  When the game was over, it was dark and having to walk that expanse of black under-footing to get back to my car was a bit daunting.  I jokingly stood at the curb and called to my Sebring to come to me.

It got a couple of chuckles, but no car.  And then this lovely woman offered to go get my car and bring it to me.  She actually meant it and believe me, I didn’t hesitate for one moment to take her up on her offer.

For an independent ole girl like me who spent most of her life unable to ask for help, I always have to smile at how welcome help can be.  It’s one of the little treats that comes with being over eighty.  You can no longer deny that you could use a little help.  Sometimes more than a little help.

People like to help other people. How come I didn’t know that? How selfish of me to deny others the satisfaction of helping me all those years.

I don’t know about this karma thing, but I do have to ask myself,  “How come”? For example, do you think it’s possible that for every mile I walked faster than anybody else on the street, I now get to walk a mile at a snail’s pace–lagging behind everybody else? My mind is still way out front there, putting everybody else to shame, but my body rebels in such a way that I really can’t argue with it.

I’m sure that if they hadn’t slowed me down, I’d be dead by now.

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FLYING DOWN 101

When I was a kid getting to ride in a car was a pretty special treat. Whatever it is that’s special about it has never gone away. And like a lot of other things, my appreciation for the automobile is not only still there but seems to intensify as the years go by.

During some of the tough years, I would sometimes get through the tough times by thinking about  hopping into my car and just driving and driving and driving. Many times I would wish that I would never have to come back, but, of course, I did; I was a mother.

Last weekend I invited a friend to join me and we met my younger daughter, Erin, half way for an overnight in Eureka. These meetings are practically harmless except that we’re shopping freaks and have excellent taste in food.  We had two memorable meals together, found great bargains, and Michelle and I laughed about having another Thelma and Louise experience.

But the best part of all was the drive home. If you’ve never been to northern California, you can’t know how much beauty there is to be taken in when you hit the road to go somewhere–anywhere. Highway 101 from Eureka south to Leggett is no exception, especially now that they’ve opened up that new four-lane cut off where there used to be an on-going rock slide threat.

I swear it felt like flying. My little Sebring is a fun car to drive at worst and on this trip home it seemed to take wings. The cruise control was set, there was no  sound, and not a bleep in the pavement that I could feel. What a joy. What a blessing to be able to feel so much joy, to be sharing it with a friend, to have a home to go to, to be a spoiled brat American and over eighty. Thank you, God.

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DEMONSTRATIONS ARE FUTILE

After pulling on my warm gloves and taking one last look into the mirror to make sure my wool cap was covering both ears, I reached for the door.

Although the calendar says that it’s early fall, it will be cold out there. My eyes met their reflection in the mirror and those eyes asked me to take a long, deep look into the motivation behind what I was about to do? I was leaving the warmth and comfort of my peaceful home to participate in an attempt to “demand” settlement of the conflict in the Middle East, to stop a war, to rid the world of terrorism.

I had never actually seen a public demonstration before leave alone been a part of one. But I know this is something people do when they want desperately to change something that seems beyond their capacity to change, when they feel utterly helpless as to what to do about it.

And that describes what I am feeling. I have never for a moment questioned the sincerity or the intentions behind a public demonstration. But my reflection in the mirror was questioning me now.

It wanted to know, if  hidden behind my longing for peace, there may be some anger within my own heart? If my ego is, in some way, seeking gratification by publicly pronouncing my objection to what is nothing more and nothing less than group anger—people warring against other people?

Am I subjecting myself this night to anger magnification by participating in the emotion of a group? We all know that anger feeds upon anger and that both war and terrorism are consequences. Is there a more effective way?

If we believe that gathering together for a common cause, publicly demonstrating our objection, and bearing banners can actually have a positive effect on a situation, can we take a look at the larger picture as well? Are we aware of the message that the demonstration itself sends forth? Are we perpetuating separation rather than the very peace and unity we proclaim?

Aren’t we saying, “We’re over here and you’re over there”; “We’re right so you must be wrong”? It seems to me that nothing is ever so black or white as all that; that we can agree with a principle while disagreeing with what needs to be done about it.

It was a wise person who said, “Of course, love is the answer. What’s the question?”

Maybe love can overcome the anger, the fear, and especially the ignorance that drives people to rise up against other people. Maybe if there were enough love, neither war nor terrorism could exist.

I closed the door, removed my protective gloves and my wool cap.  I built a fire in my fireplace and sat down in my favorite chair.  After taking some deep breaths and growing very still, I summoned up my capacity to feel love and gratitude.  And then I imaged a hate-filled terrorist kneeling before me, pleading for understanding, and I embraced him in this beautiful feeling that was consuming me.  I was at peace and was reminded once again that peace has to begin with me.

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My friend who called recently, see MY YOUNGER MEN, will be turning sixty tomorrow. That happens to be 9/9/09, a date which in itself, seems to suggest significence. Happy Birthday, Craig. 

For me, sixty was a life-directing birthday back in 1986. I gave myself a wonderful gift and it’s saved me a lot of stress. I vowed that from that day on, I would preface every decision I had to make with these words, “If I knew for certain that I had only one more year to live, would I do this?”

I’m sure that nothing works for everybody, but I highly recommend that you consider pausing a moment before making a decision to ask yourself that question – no matter how old you are. I’ve found that it never takes more than a moment, and it always feels so right.

 

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