Experience Is Portable

When we moved to my new beloved South, I threw out big box after big box of newspapers and magazines where my articles appeared. It was a virtual history of my world, my life, in writing. It was also a history of my writing timely pieces. I recall the first one published that had national scope, was about Elian Gonzales, the Cuban child who was sent back to Cuba.

Why did I do it … throw them away?

Because, sometimes, the baggage, even accomplishments of your past, must be let go to make room for future growth.

I do have copies of some of the pieces on a computer, but by no meas, all.

My kids didn’t want them. That was a lot of paper. And it was my take on life and not theirs. They are here to tell and write their own stories.

As I went through to lone box in our garage the other day, along with the Stars and Stripes, I found a newspaper artle written about me, not by me. It was from one of my previous lives, you know, a chapter of this one that was long ago.

There was a time when I sculpted people into puppets. Yep. And I do not like puppets. They are a notch beneath clowns. But I used them as a tool.

The firts year that Winterfest at Kings Islan opened, they put out a call for artists and craftspeople to have booths in the Festhaus, where people ate and a show was presented. To this day, if Nick or I hear the song, “Food glorious food,” we groan.

Weird thing happened, they seemed to like my work and invited me. So I sat in the lower level of our trip-level in Mason, and inhaled clay dust and sewed puppet outfits.

That hwole Chritsmas season, from Thanksgiving until New Years, I was at a booth at the Festhaus, schlepping my puppet people.

Because they were unique, the pr man from Kings Island, took a liking to them and had photographers take photos. We became friends and would have lunch for years. He was a good man.

Somehow, Ohio magazine got wind of them and shot theym and they appeared on their cover for unique gifts. There was a blurb about them in Cincinnati magazine, and that is how The Bob Braun show found me. I was then doing workshops with kids, using making puppets, to teach communication skills.

So, I was asked to bring a couple of the kids, make a puppet of Mr. Braun, and appear on the show.

When I told my mom, here comment was, “It s too bad you gained your weight back. That was a real boost. I was 6 ft. tall and weiged 155.

Oh, to weigh 155, again.

I was also asked to make puppets of Robert Taft’s family. He was governor of Ohio. Carl Lindner was another one I was asked to do and Willard Scott was created as Carmen Miranda. That one, I did for the heck of it, sent it to him, and never heard a word.

I didn’t like doing the workshops with kids. I had to haul a lot of stuff. And frankly, teaching a group of kids isn’t my thing. I just couldn’t let them know that. But I am fessing up. I love teaching workshops with adults, especially women.

I remember at sign0ups for the workshop, one mother, a snoot, said, “My boy doesn’t need communication help. He talks all of the time.”

Uh-huh.

Some people don’t understand that communication is more about listening than talking.

Making the puppets went well with my solitary-isn, personality. No, I am not a total lonaer. I am a leader, too, if I am in a group. But I find that that s more perfomance art for me, an energy expender, where creating alone, and being able to learn at my own speed, quickly, is what I like.

I didn’t know all of this at the time. I was young. I didn’t have a clue as to who I was, which made me sort of lost. My energies were spent having and raising children. That, I loved.

My kids, all small at the time, would be given a hunk of clay and they would sit with me and make a puppet head (or creature). They have always know that I was a clayhead.

Bob Braun was very nice to be with. He knew how to do a show and make his scared guest look good. They people in the audience didn’t bother me, but those cameras and lights were something I hadn’t experienced.

My foray into people puppets only lsted a year or so. For me, life has been about learning and practicing and then moving on and taking that experience with me.

Experience, not boxes of newspapers. It travels much lighter.

Susan

Prom

There you go, Debbie Simpson. You asked for it, I delivered. My junior prom photo. Larry Schneeman was my date.

I believe he had recently broken up with someone, so he invited me. It was a one-out date.

Larry was a very nice guy. I don’t remember much about the night except he had car trouble and I thought he was trying to bail, but I had my hair done, so I wasn’t going for that out.

As for many things I anticipated in high school, and life, the thought of it and getting ready for it was the fun part. And that had nothing to do with Larry, but with me.

What is a “prom” anyway? You didn’t say you were going to “the” prom. You simply said, “I am going to prom.”

For a girl, the getting dressed up part might have been the best part, unless you were in love with your date and it was all our of “True Romance.”

Prom and HOmecoming dances and soroity formals were never my thing. I went because I like to get dressed up, and hoped that something magical would happen, but it never did.

It was so anticlimatic that I didn’t go to my senior prom. It was in the spring, and my head had been out of high school since I had learned that fall that I was going to Ohio University the following year.

I know we went bowling at Madison Bowl afterwards.

So … that is that, about that.

I have a photo of the back of my hair from another formal. I had the best curls. I loved that hairdo.

My first formal, when I was a freshman, was for the sorority I was in … GBA. We even had a song.

We are the girls of GBA

You’ve heard so much about

K-O hides their faces

Whenever we come out

We are the pride of Norwood High

And we aim to please

We always wear our dressshort

In order to show our knees

As we go walking

through the halls of Norwood High

You can hear them saying

the girls from GBA were number one … Cha, cha, cha.

Or something like that

Why do I remember that and can barely remember the years my kids were born?

Oh, I think part of the reason that I didn’t care for dances was that I was so tall and most of the boys werre short. That got me. Made me self-conscious. And I didn’t feel as though I was pretty enough, not little and cute. So there. That is enough of that trip down memory lane. I spilled part of my guts.

Now, I love being tall. I have loved it for years. It is who I am. I can reach tall cabinets. And leap from building to building in a single bound.

Kerplunk.

Here is a question … did anyone feel pretty enough in high school?

Oh, that’s right, I said I was done.

Yesterday I had a hoot at the eye doctor. I am going to a new one and there is a woman on staff, who does the eyeball pre-check, who gets me. I had her rolling on the floor. We thought we were going to get kicked out.

She is in her forties and still finding her way to herself. I am a good teacher of that. I thought she was going to have a conniption when after my phone made a noise and my stomach was grawling, I said, “Wowo, I am a symphony. Just wait until I fart.”

That was after a bunch of other fun things I was teaching her.

We walked down the hall to the photo segment of the program, laughing like we were, well, in high school and a teacher lost his toupee. She asked if I could stay all day.

Okay. I am down 25 pounds and have started doing the stretches and moving more. Yeah, heay, don’t get excited. Whether I win of lose the weight battle won’t be known until I am dead. My nemesis … but I keep trying.

Enough of the rain and gloom here. I ould use a Carolina Blue sky and Southern sun. This isn’t even for the birds.

I finished my clove covered orange. I love those. It is sitting next to me. And … I put flamessl candles on the silver abouve my bathtub. They are on a remote control. Just call me Oprah (or not) with my new favorite thing.

And this is the way it is on Hedge Apple this morning.

Peace, heatlh and a good bladder, be with you.

Susan

A Non Inflammatory Post

Wrapping it up.

The gift bags, boxes, and random wrapped gifts are stationed at the table in the big room. The wrapping paper has been put away. And the gifts I have to deliver, are on the counter.

The Ohio Express is getting ready to join millions of others on journeys near and far.

Yes, it is over to Asheville, turn right and head northwest. Passing through two sets of mountains, and then into Kentucky, we will have a rented minivan full of Christmas cheer.

Since my Subaru bit the bullet, we have been driving Nick’s old Prius. I haven’t wanted to think about replacing my vehicle. And we are seriously thinking about going down to one car. We might scour the Automall, if we get a chance. But shopping for cars is not my idea of a good time.

It is a creepy game. Time consuming. Expensive. It gives me the vapors.

And I love it when they place their attention on Nick … not realizing that I am really in the driver’s seat on this event.

Does anyone else look at the multitudes of expensive cars, trucks and SUVs on the road and wonder where people get that kind of money?

I do.

How did I go down that road?

There is something that has happened since I was involved in my wreck. I am at heightened alert for cars … where they are coming from, how fast, and the uncertainty of driving.

I used to love to drive, but not as much anymore. There are too many people driving, in a hurry, ignoring laws and acting like jack rabbets wearing asshats.

I still love driving in the country, meandering and moseying, but to go into the “zones” of craziness … aye-yi-yi-yi.

I sound so poo-poo, which is funny because I am starting to fee much better. I am down 20 pounds since my wreck and I have health plans and an agenda for the new year.

From what I have been reading, inflammation is a big health problems. Truthfully, I knew that, but last night, I watched a YouTube video by a cardiologist about things to do to get your heart better.

Since I have entered what shall I say, “Heartland”, I have been learning a lot. I have learned how sleep apnea effects the heart, how inflammation from what you eat can trigger other things to go haywire and that there are things that I can do to get my body back on track.

I did a good job of turning things around a couple of years ago, but I had this battle in my head of “Do I want to live this way … denying many of the eating pleasures.

Caution to the wind, I ate too many good things and then bad things.

After the wake-up call and self flagellation and week of anesthesia brain, I am ready to charge on for a better today and tomorrow.

I am still cogitating what I would like to accomplish and figure out where my purpose will lead me, next year. I really don’t know if it will include FB writing. There are times when I think that I should leave before you tell me to. And FB, with its recent BS going on, it brings my love/hate relationship as a writing venue to the surface.

I operate better with a purpose, but there are times when I wonder if I should find a new purpose, of simply just lied days unfold.

Nah, I stink at that.

See, I am working things through. Oh, there are days when I think I should go be a monk and wear a brown robe with a hood. I like hoods. I also can make fudge to sell at the monastery gift shop. But I would need to be in an order of monks that laughed … a lot. I might also get kicked out of chapel for playing tic-tax-toe on the visitor cards.

How do you ponder and figured out what you want to do with your life? Note: there are many of you in the throes of working and child-rearing, so, you are on your march to survive all that goes on with that.

But for those who have the time, how do you determine what you want your life to be? I am curious.

This post feels like driftwood.

Are any of you heading anywhere for Christmas?

I am glad I don’t have to go to Sandringham for Christmas with the queen, although it would be fun to watch Prince Charle and Camilla get it on.

If we had a queen, who do you think would be a good one? Miley Cyrus might be fun.

Well, I am rails off the rails, now.

Off to go to the backyard to graze on some grass. I don’t think it is an inflammatory.

Susan

PS. My lunch yesterday at Jim and NIck’s/ I drove myself there to pick up some biscuit mixes for gifts, and decided that I needed to sit at the bar and have lunch/dinner. That is the tastiest said … and I didn’t eat both dressings.

“Schlemiel! Schlemazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

“Schlemiel! Schlemazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

My granddaughter has a skating costume that has a large, “L” on it. Her synchronized skating team skates to the Laverne and Shirley theme song.

Imagine a group of some 30 or so young girls, in their circle skirts and “L” sweats skating around the rink, in 2018, to the theme song to a show from 1976.

To those of us who were around at that time, you probably sighed and got that oh, no, feeling, when you read that Penny Marshall, Laverne had passed away.

Something is wrong with this system. The system that gives us so much and then swoops in on angel’s wings, and takes life away. It is something I can accept but not get used to.

Penny Marshal fir her names, both Benny and Laverne.

I read that at one point in her career, she was hurt, bummed, because she didn’t get parts because of her look … not your standard Hollywood cutie pie.

She didn’t see how her smile and askewishly real humor, resonated with millions and millions of people.

But she found her fit. She was Laverne, a beer capper in Milwaukee. She was the yin to Shirley’s yang, and they made us laugh. And Squggy and Lenny.

I loved watching them get ready for dates and thinking about dates. I loved their relationship and their apartment. They were real, not some people with unattainable lives.

From what i read, Penny didn’t have a great plan to be a huge actress or director. She just did it. She grew from actress to successful movie director. And she also had her disappointments, things that didn’t turn out as well as she had hoped.

Years ago, I read that she and Carrie Fisher were best of friends and celebrated their birthdays together. I bet they were a hoot together. Both with wry senses of humor,

Carrie is now gone, too. That death also stung.

Isn’t it weird? I didn’t know either of them, but I mourned them. (Good grief, I accidentally typed ‘mounted them’ instead of ‘mourned them.’)

They would have appreciated that typo.

I don’t imagine that any of the young girls on my granddaughter’s synchronized team keen who Penny Marshall was. Maybe they don’t have any idea of what the letter “L” on their sweaters stands for. I don’t know.

As I sit here in my big room, looking out at the grayish silver trees behind my house, glancing at The Boy, sleeping on the couch with his head on a pillow, hearing the heat click on, and knowing I have much to do, today, I have to reset my head from far away mourner, to joyful gift wrapped and Santa helper.

I was glad that Penny lived to be 75, She had had health issues for years, getting lung cancer that had spread to her brain in 2009. The National Enquirer at the checkout counter gave grave warnings about her impending death.

But she showed them.

Ok. I am turning my thoughts around. I am making myself smile to have had the opportunity to laugh along with her and be proud of what she accomplished. She left a formidable legacy, including no a group of young girls who happily skate, wearing Laverne’s signature “L” on their sweaters.

If they only know.

So, for Laverne,let’s give her a rousing …

“Schlemiel! Schlemazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

And have a beer.

Susan

Seeing The Light

Ho, Ho, Ho,
 
No, I wasn’t calling anyone a name.
 
I was saying that the spirit has risen and is shining in one lit candle and thre fake ones.
 
On my desk, as part of my new enlightenment, I have a lavender oil candle lit. I like to stare at the dancing flame. I find it a marver that, though, we can’t really see the movement in the air, we see a bit of life that shows us that life is there. It is all around us. We just don’t pay attention.
 
I also just blew on my left hand. I felt the breeze, the movement of air. And get this, I just took a piece of heavy paper and fanned it by my face and felt air move.
 
Yep, I am back! Looking at life through any avenue I can take. There is alos a plexiglass container on my desk, that holds The Boy’s treats. I just noticed that there is a reflection of the flame shining on it.
 
Simple, maybe magically simple, explained by science. Yet, it amuses me. It is like being n a cavern and yelling and hearing the echo. This is an echo of light.
 
There were some days this week that I wondered if I would ever look at life as I had before. Those aren’t fun times. Recovery isn’t always easy. It can be work, too. You are told to take it easy, relax, let things go.
 
That can be stressful for me, especially if you have anesthesia brain and are not seeing the forest for the tree sap. Illness and not being in control and having to take medicines that help one thing and mess up another, can wreak havoc on your psyche. Is this the new you? The icky new you? Will you return to the old you, that really had its weirdness, too, or will a new and improved version show up at your door like Mary Poppins, and grow your new life?
 
I have a term for this mental confusion. It isn’t a nice term. It is two words and the first word is cluster. The other one, take your choice of a prime four letter word.
 
So, you try to listen when people say that it takes time and you try not to compare yourself to the 35 year-old guy on YouTube who had an ablation and participated in a race the next weekend.
 
It isn’t that it is “poor me,” … for me it is more like, “Oh, Shitzu,” where do I go from here?
 
And you finally, remember to talk to God and pull pback and stop fighting time and energy and phantoms of imaginary futures that are less than your fancy.
 
“Thank you, God. I am sorry it took me this long to say that.”
 
Silence.
 
“Thank you for the blessings and the people who helped me and, say, (this is in the back of your mind because when you pray and talk to God, you really don’t want to wear your asshat), can you please give me a sign, a sign that says life can at least get back to parts of the way it was?”
 
And then I think, Eh, I was not necessarily in a good place. I was playing Russian Roulette with eating and using my brain more than my body and yep, maybe going back to the old me isn’t the best thing, after all.
 
So then, my boundaries came down and instead of being afraid of the future and looking at this as a permanent position, I breathed deep with my new and improved heartbeat, and gave God time to chew on what I said and to give me that sign. Yep, I sometimes use God as my dumping ground … but usually a bit late in the process … after I have churned things up and made a stew and tried to fix things myself.
 
Sometimes, my name shoud be Half-Ass Backwards.
 
Then like I said, yesterday, I finally got myself quiet enough, took moved my orange collapsible fear canisters andopened my mind and heart.
 
That is when the healing began.
 
I was fighting healing. I didn’t want to put the time, thought and energy into healing. I just wanted to be fixed. But that isn’t how life is. At least, rarely.
 
It can be so easy to look at this moment in time and plant yourself on it and forget about life as a whole, a living breathing organism, like my little flame I am looking at as I type.
 
I am sure glad that God has a bigger plan for me and that I am simply his tool do some good on earth. I can say that if “I ruled the world, it would be better.” But the truth is, if I ruled the world, there would be way too many paintings of weird looking women, words, everywhere, a tidy kitchen but a mess of wars and stupid human stuff that I wouldn’t know how to deal with.
 
The light is not only at the end of the tunnel, but it is right near my face, flickering, warm and kind, saying, “Come on, Susan, let’s dance. You are breathing, life is good. And keep the flame alive.”
 
Susan

To Be or To Do? That Is The Question

The word for today is peristalsis. That came to mind about 4:30 this morning. I decided that I like the movement of the word, which is similar to its function.

Rejoice. Hallelujah!

Our internal glory, our place of joy, enlightenment and growth sometimes gets lost in the whiskers of life, changes and problems.

There are times when reassessment is in order … when things shift and what was … now, isn’t.

One of the interesting things about life, that I have found, is that not once in our lives, does time stop. Oh, yes, it seems to stand still, of we wish we could hold a moment in time, but we can’t. Time moves.

Our lives move, too. From birth until death.

Some humans work at planning their lives. One of our earliest forays into conversation is when someone asked us, as a child, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?

Another version of the question is “What do you want to DO when you grow up?

To a young mind, those questions seem the same. As children, I didn’t distinguish the two questions.

But now, I see them as very different. One is occupational and the other is our soul, beliefs, values and, well, who we are.

After having a lifetime of professions and titles for what I “do”, the stage I am in and on, is an extension of the question “What do you want to be?”

It has morphed into who I have become.

Many of the things I have done, occupation-wise, study-wise, experience-wise ,by choice or demand, has evolved into who I have become.

An interesting thought to me is that one of my occupations, took hold so much and gelled so deeply into me, that it actually has braided over to be part of who I have become.

Writer.

There have been times when I have struggled. Just being, and being who I am, I felt, wasn’t enough. Simply being myself, without “doing” wasn’t enough.

I should do this. I should do that. Perpetual motion of the mind, placing more value on the what I do, versus who I am. Maybe it is or was an earning my keep thing. Perhaps it is societal rumblings and expectations. I have often felt that I needed to earn my right to life.

I look at the walls of my house, the art, the things that are around me and I see many things I have done.

In a way, they are me. But in a way, I can separate myself from them and not really recall making them.

When I think back to my occupations, the days I was in the workplace, I was never any of those occupations. They were skills. I did them to the best of my abilities for you I was at the time, but none of the occupations was me. Marketing director, sculptor, real estate broker, software company CEO, workshop teacher, etc … I did them all, but they weren’t me. With each, there came a point when I said, no more.

But in each one, I learned and what I learned, I put through a sieve, and brought onboard the parts that I would build into who I have become.

Why do these thought matter to me, now?

Because once again, the last four months or so, my life has taken unexpected turns.

Years ago, when I was in real estate, a friend who had gotten into the business because I had, dais, in a very distressed and exasperated way, “Why are there always so many problems?”

I laughed, looked at her and said … “That is wat we are paid to do … solve problems.”

She said that from that moment on, she got it.

And then, she quit.

That knowledge, that nugget, that life is often about solving problems, and releasing those you can’t solve, to a higher power, is something that plays out over and over. And I have to remember that when my blueberry basket gets tipped over.

There are times, such as recently, when I have had to dive under water with my eyes open, and do the breast stroke. I might not see clearly, but I must do it.

As humans, we often have to swim through uncharted emotional, fearful, uncertain waters. But in doing so, our muscles get stronger. We become stronger than we knew we could become.

After initial shock and a bit of flailing, I find that I get in a rhythm. The opposing currents subside andI get in a flow of the new and strange. And for a while, I have a new normal.

The new normal rarely lasts. Even life doesn’t last. But the ride, this wonderful ride, with its twists and turns and earthquakes and whirlwinds, when there are days that we wonder how we will get through, and times we wish would last for ever, is a real trip.

And for that, I say, Rejoice! Hallelujah!

Susan

Friendship

Confession … I watch four of the “Real Housewives of … “ shows. I have for years. It has been a guilty pleasure. I think it is funny how ostentatious the shows are, the jewelry, houses, vacations and sick and sour friendships these women have.

The shows have been good for many of the women’s bank accounts. The shows have become platforms for skinny brands, skin care, prepackaged dinners, toaster ovens, and a plethora of clothing lines.

Yes, I know it is edited, set up and who knows about scripting? Although I don’t think that a writer writes the dialogue, I think situations prod the women into combat.

Cutting to the chase … if any of my friends talked to me like these women talk to each other, there is no way in hot dog heaven, that I would be friends with them.

If my recollection serves me, they have called each other whores, bitches, liars,tramps, fakes, phonies, sluts, etc. Feel free to add to the list.

The biggest part of air-time is spent seeing if someone will apologize for a transgression that can be, 1) you didn’t make a casserole for me when I had a face-lift, 2) you didn’t tell me that you went out with a guy you both met at a bar while dancing without you underwear, 3) you were flirting with my son, 4) you left my sleepover and stayed at a hotel, 5) your dog plooped on my rug, 10 times.

And there are degrees of apologies. There is the unapologetic apology. “I am sorry if you felt like I played fiddle-fart with … (the man half of them have fart-fiddle around with. Or I don’t owe HER an apology, she owes ME one. Or the apology that is not SINCERE or not on camera.

And then the hug and promise to never stoppe to said behavior, again, only to repeat the transgressions repeatedly.

My lord of lingerie, who in their right minds would act like these women? And to think, many of them have daughters,who see this stuff.

Made for TV friendships, that is what they are. Cameras roll, checks written, catfights begin. It appears that in U.S. television lands, nice is boring.

Don’t these women know that friendships are precious, difficult to make and hatred to maintain over theme? They, just like a garden, need tending.

How many friends, real friends do you have? How long have you had these friends? Are you open to new friendships or content with the friendships you have? Have you ever let a friendship go? Why?

I have a few long term friends. I love my friends. We have laughed and cried through our tricky lives, marriages, divorces, deaths, children problems, and our own insanity. And when I say laugh, I mean that we crack ourselves up. We have similar sensibilities to laughter.

Though I moved away from them, I still count on talking to them and seeing them when I can.

I have some friends that have come in and out of my life, I might have met them at a workshop or event, and we “clicked”, but they aren’t a constant in my life.

There are friendships that I have where I doubt we will see each other, again. We write to each other. The words are meaningful and insightful. We care very much about how the other is doing.

I have some new friends, like new plants in my garden. They add color into my life and I enjoy spending time with them. Our roots aren’t as deep because we don’t have much time in our histories, but it is delightful to learn about them and share our new lives.

Many of my friends are my age, or near my age, but not all of them. I have some friends who could be my kids.

I would never talk to them like these “Housewives” talk to their supposed friends. Seriously.

I hear the word, “apologize” more that I ever wanted to while dealing with Samsung. I don’t want to deal with that word with my friends. We are all old enough to know what is proper and kind and what would hurt one another. Oh, yes, inadvertently, we step on feelings, but vary, vary rarely. The good and nice and kindness of our relationships absorb an occasional blip.

I have left some people behind … let them go. What I discovered is that appearances might have been friends, but it is easier to say you are friends, than be one. Friendships should make you feel better, not worse. I have been dumped by people that I thought i was friends with. Distance, timing, different roads traveled, and belief systems, sometimes just happen.

Women’s friendships seem to be different than men’s. I am not sure if they talk about the same thing as women friends talk about. I am not sure if they have penis talk or talk about whether they are getting forgetful or that they made a tasty casserole.

Oh, I have an orbit of friends that float around online. Are they friends? Not really. Not in the sense that they would show up at my door to help. But they are a community of people that make life more interesting and fun.

I think one of the hardest things in life is getting so old that most or all of your friends are gone. I have seen it happen.

But I also knew a woman who died nearing her 101st birthday and she had lots of friends. She was smart. She gathered friends 40-years her junior, and made herself loved by all ages. That was a talent and a gift.

The Real Housewives of Timbuktu might have money, fame and travel to exotic places, but are they real friends?

I don’t think so.

And that is where I come out ahead.

Susan

Bonus Time

Yesterday, a week ago, Nick thought he was dying.

I did, too.

But thank God and good doctors and support of his kids and caring neighbors, Nick lives to be quiet and then drop a zinger that makes people laugh.

He lived for another trip to Blowing Rock.

It has been a hot and cranky summer. Little rain, big water bills, and a rain dance or too, that involved a pool. I will not say if it were Nick or I, who did the pole dance. But I bet you could guess.

It was mountain type of day. Nick had rested all week and he was ready to see something different. Mountains. They have always been an elixir in our life. Some people love the beach. We love the mountains.

There was a buoyancy in the car that hadn’t been there for a long time. We played music. Nick didn’t even mind my opera. Pavarotti. Three Tenors. Me, screeching.

We didn’t stay long at Blowing Rock. I think we wanted to see if it was still there.

Oh gosh, there is my woodpecker. I love birds with long peckers.

I think I scared him with that remark. He flew back into the woods.

We walked just a bit in Blowing Rock and had to decide if we wanted to eat lunch in a restaurant or pick up a pizza from Mellow Mushroom and take it to the mountain lake that is covered in places, with water lilies, has a wide walking path, and makes you feel free and healthy.

We got the pizza and drove to the park. We ate by the car and thenNikc got his walking stick out that I bought him a few weeks ago at McDowellNature Preserve. I got out my walking sticks that I haven’t used since last summer.

And we hit the trail.

Nick has not been able to do this for a long time. His walking is mostly in shuffling steps. But since his episode last week, and treatment with strong antibiotics, he walks better. He still isn’t strong and he has to watch his balance, but he can move.

Hallelujah!

We walked toward what had been a fish hatcheries, but now, only has water and some crawdads.

Nick sat on benches or rock walls, to rest. I bopped along with my camera and found things to shoot.

We talked about a neat-o tree and the lilies and I pointed out things that others, without a camera, not see. That is the thing about taking photos … you look for what others might miss.

I played with settings and chatted-up a couple of passers-by.

We didn’t go far in distance, but we went an eternity away from where we were last weekend.

The drive home was delightful. Nick shut his eyes and rested and I drove along in silence. No opera. No lalalalala screeching from my throat.

It was great fun being a wife yesterday. Nick had a delightful time. Bonus time.

And now, I shall go make some scones, tend my diminishing garden, fold clothes and do whatever I have to do to live in gratitude.

Because we just never know.

Susan

La Ploop

It is a mountain morning here in Clover. Cool, clear and chipper.

The backyard and outside are inviting. If I try, I can imagine that I am in Cades Cove, one of my special places. It would be nice to be there, but I am content with being here. Today, I don’t want to run away from myself.

The birds are skirmishing and I want to tell them to settle down, things will be all right. They might not be what you expect or desire, but they will be fine.

Yes, both feet are under me. The darkness of recent events with Nick have passed. Other situations are still in flux, but they will have to figure themselves out without me sorting them out. I have tried, trust me, but it is time to step back and return to my own life and things that I can control.

Good Grumpy Old Men, I can sound like I am picking lint out of navels.

Life involves a certain degree of naval lint plucking, doesn’t it? You feel washed by other people’s problems and forget things like boundaries and the fact that each person makes his or her own decisions.

Living other people’s lives is exhausting. Sometimes, I have to figure out the difference between support and enabling.

Winston was looking for his buddy, Tucker, when I took him out. Tucker’s mom stepped in and took care of The Boy, when Nick decided on joy-riding in an ambulance and partaking of hospital cuisine.

I have wonderful neighbors. Thought I felt alone last Friday, yes, a week ago, today, I found out that that we weren’t. Offers to help day or night, have been givenIt made me feel so much better. Several delicious dinners have been provided. And words of comfort have flowed.

The leaves on the trees have stilled and the birds are quiet. That makes my thoughts go in a different direction.

The Boy has come out to the porch with his tennis ball. Now he is staring at me.

We are just being.

I read Brad Pitt was having a heck of a time with Angelina Jolie and I read that Ben Affleck stopped at Jack in the Box on his way to rehab. Dennis Shield, Bethenny Frankel’s on again off again boyfriend died of a drug overdose a couple of weeks ago.

Messy lives. Money. No money. Fame. No fame. Money. No money. Hearts are broken at all levels. Bad decisions are made. People treat people they love or loved, like shit.

There really is no figuring life out, is there? As soon as we think aha, something happens and we, say, “What the hollandaise?”

OH, there is Mr. Woodpecker. He excites me. And there he goes. Skittish. Must have had an emergency on his branch.

It is a random thought, but I hope I don’t outlive my mind.

I am trying to decide whether to give people who brought us dinner and sent treats, my homemade sals or chili sauce. I know they will get a card with one of my paintings.

Back to my neighbors. As you can imagine, Nick and I miss a lot of parties and things because he doesn’t feel real chipper. I think people understand that. But even though we aren’t able to make a lot of things, they make us feel that our presence is missed, and I think that is lovely.

There are 3 goldfinches at the feeder. Nick just came out to sit. And he left.

You know what got me though the last few days?

The little things. My hot tea. Checking my propagation bins. Figuring out where to move which plant to get better light. Dead-heading some flowers. Talking to my neighbors and seeing their eyes full of concern. Knowing that the kids are back in their own lives. Having lunch with my daughter-in-law and laughing about stupid stuff.

Yesterday, I made myself laugh. I decided, after listening to a French song, that French people don’t poop. The ploop. I must go la ploop. And eat a baguette.

My toes have straightened themselves out. For the time being. Oh, ploop, the ugly birds arrived in a group.

But I clapped and they are gone.

A week ago, I thought that life as I knew it had ended.

I love it whenI am wrong.

Susan

This is what’s on my mind

In the car a couple of days ago, I had this brilliant idea. It also made me laugh.

You know how President Trump really, really wants a wall built along the border between Mexico and the United States? 

Well, I have come up with a great, great, very great, idea. Me, with the low IQ, big hands, big feet and bad hair. This is a uge, uge, uge, idea that will creat billions of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue. 

You know how China (pronounced Gyna) has their Great Wall? I mean, it is really big … uge. It is a Wnder of the world and attracts billions and billions of visitors, tourists with cameras and credit cards. 

Why don’t we build a Great Wall of the United States? Model it after China’s? Turn a negative into a positive. Have concession stands. Souvenirs. Maybe a Broadway show or two.

For those who want to cross borders legally, there will be a uge Golden Door and a Welcoming committee. 

For those who want to come in illegally, there could be an obstacle course, complete with alligator wresting and walking a high wire. They could also have Alex Trebec put them through a few rounds of Jeopardy. If you pass all of that, you, too, would get to go through the Golden Doors. 

If that works out, we can build one between the United States and Canada. That wall would be even more uge. 

I haven’t figured out what style the wall should be, but I know that chain link won’t be involved. What style do you think would look lovely? Contemporary , neoclassical, stucco? 

There is a nifty female cardinal at the bird feeder. Otherwise, it is a pretty quiet morning. 

I have to go. I need to write to The Donald. 

Susan