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.”
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.
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.
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.
The train horn and slight sound of the wheels on the tracks reverberate this sleepy house in Deer Park. It reminds me of my childhood in Norwood, where a freight train yard was up the street, turn left, run downhill,make a right and run slightly up and down another hill.
I didn’t do that but once. It was not on a route I took and though so close, you left Norwood and entered Cincinnati. Norwood was my small world that was safe. Cincinnati was too big.
The train is quiet now, passing. Probably on those tracks that ran through Norwood. There is a website called, “Everything Runs Through Norwood,” and it is quiet true.
Why am I talking about trains and Norwood when I was going to talk about taking time to look at the ornaments on a Christmas tree?
I am staying. Not in Norwood, but Deer Park is pretty close. So it was that sound of the train that took me back, took me home, to Christmas when I was a child.
I love this sound of silence. Nick is sleeping and so is our youngest daughter. Remember that feeling as a parent, when all of your children were tucked into their beds and home, safe? The world was “out there”, someplace. That feeling, now a memory, is one of the gentle memories of this life I have lived.
My heart is beating, tick-tick, tick-tick, and it is marvelous. It was two weeks ago, today, that the ticker got fixed. This morning, I began some gentle exercises. I plan to be an athlete, yet.
Yesterday, I stopped at Trader Joe’s. It was delightful. My speed of store … not too big. You know me and the vapors. Nick pulled in front of Krogers in Montgomery, because I wanted some distilled water. I said, “Are you kidding? I’m not going in there.” The parking lot was packed and throngs of people were going in and out. I looked at him and said, “That place gives me the vapors.”
So far, I have heard both daughters laugh. We’ve shared a couple of meals. Today, I will see one of my sons and do something we do when we are in town. He and I will meet at Starbucks and sit and chat for a long time. Catch up. And then, tonight, the Christmas festivities begin.
I was so not in a Christmas spirit a month ago. Other things were on my mind. Things began to shift when we celebrated Christmas at our son’s house in South Carolina, on the 16th. It was wonderful. I even sang karaoke with my grandchildren.
And now, after one of our best drives up here, we are and will be in the arms of people we love, people who make fun of us, who know us deeply, and understand the love that we have for them. People we would do anything for, including giving our life.
That is deep love.
I will call both sisters tomorrow and say Merry Christmas. I will think of my friends, here and in South Carolina, and wherever they may be. I know one friend is making a four layer carrot cake, one is having dinner tonight with friends, and another has seen grandchildren and their parents, staying at her house all week. Aye-yi-yi. And she loves it.
I will be thinking of my brother-in-law, for a reason that just is.
Of course, I called Camp K-9 to see how The Boy is doing. He is having a great time. They love him, too.
I was looking at my daughter’s Christmas tree. I mean, really looking. She placed every light and ornament on it.
The spirit of Christmas was awakened in me.
Oh, here is another Christmas sound. The garbage truck picking up trash. Ho, ho, ho.
The fact is. All I have are blessings to be grateful for. Love surrounds me. I actually feel the presence of Jesus, and the purity of his actions. Was he real? Did and does He exist? Is He really God, the father?
I choose to believe som. It gives meaning to my life, and offers a guide to be good to people and, it checks my behavior. I don’t know enough about life and I can surely use the help and guidance. It is through Him, that’s I find my purpose. I am a wobbly human, and the walking partner shows me the way.
Good Lily of the Valley, I am spilling the beans.
So, with that, though I am taking the week off, I am here to wish each of you, whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu Atheist or whatever, Merry Christmas from a wonderful, kind and forgiving man who was born in a manger on Christmas. Peace be with you. May light shine on our troubled world and may all your Christmas dreams come true.
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?
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.
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.
I thought about making up a story about a Finnish Christmas, complete with reindeers and dancing snowflakes and all, but then I started picturing the Flying Monkeys from “The Wizard of Oz,” a movie that scars me to this day, and decided to talk about other things.
This mornng, about 4, soon after Winston came head first onto the bed for his morning moments ot laying with his head on my pillow, I decided to get up and make ssome hot lemon water. I am not doing tea. I am not juge on herbal tea and am staying away from caffeine. I tuened on the hot pot and went through the old bag of lemons … threw out a couple of moldy ones and kept the good ones, then decided to go into the guest room and lie down on the bed.
It is a very quiet room. There was a new blanket that my daughter bought when she was here. I put that over me and thought of her and the kids and grandkids and decided to go into a bit of a relaxation mode. Have good thoughts. Work on it. And enjoy serenity.
There have been so many things that have looked like a scattering of pick-up sticks. Thoughts here, thoughts there, thoughts that didn’t do me any good, which I still think were anesthesia induced, plus fear and unsettledness. Yes, gratitude, too, but that hadn’t been at the forefront.
I was feeling that I was becoming a victim of myself.
I don’t do victim well … or for long.
So, as I lay there, I weeded through the garden in my head. It has gorgeous flowers, spikey weeds and wild flowers that pop up when I least expect them to.
Yes, the reset button was in gear
I figured out what was not working for me in my life, in my thoughts and behavior and habits. And then opened my heart to what could and should take their place. For slots I emptied of residue that just wasn’t cutting it, I fthought of an action or something easy, doable, to replace it.
As I mentioned to my family, of late, I finally know what my breaking point is. In a certain way. The way I have dealt with stress and hard situations , has been to stand strong, get through it, be a warrior.
That is all well and good, but if can also take a toll, if you don’t know how to release it.
So … that is part of my awakening.
It felt good to acknowledge that. The earth didn’t quake. The sun still didn’t come out from the grey. No leopard jumped into our car.
I can’t explain how I will deal with this, but I going to figure it out.
There are some steps I plan to take that will get me where I want to go in terms of health, joy, laughter and engagement. I feel lighter just thinking about it.
This year, I have laid my life into many people’s hands. People have tried to help “fix” me. Through most of it, I didn’t feel broken. I didn’t feel breast cancer. I didn’t get “hurt” in the car wreck. I didn’t have a heart attack. But things were going wrong.
People were there for me. When I think back on how well each of these, plus Nick’s medical problem, went, with people taking our hands and leading us through the medicals system maze, it is very, very life affirming, as far as humands and technology go.
They did their jobs.
And now, it is time for my growth spurt as a human, to begin, again.
It has taken me a while to see that this is a anew beginning. Yes, I see each day as a new beginning, but this is a NEW BEGINING.
It is up to me to write the next chapter of my life … in a new year. Pretty cool, huh?
Here is one for you. I am so into silence. I love peace. I love, love. I love joy. I don’t have time for so much of what is out there and thrown in our faces. I shall choose, more carefully, what I see, hear and read.
I am eso excited about focusing on love, joy, laughter, kindness and good things, that there is nothing but wonder ahead of me.
Oh yes, the shitzu will no doubt fall and I will find myself having to make choices about how will I react. What happens might not be up to me, but my reaction is. And that is what I will work on.
Time, has to be only of this moment. It can’t be projected or controlled or sat upon. I have to keep that in mind.
And frankly, I am glad I don’t have an IV stuck in the back of my hands.
It will be fine. It will all be fine.
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.