Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bonnie and Clyde still seem familiar (Wikipedia if you never heard of them)

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Do you share your cookies with your dog? If you are diabetic and the cookie is a sugar-free cookie with no chocolate, read the contents. It may contain a sweetener, xylitol, which I had never heard of until last night on the news.
This substance is safe for humans. It kills dogs. It is used particularly in chewing gum and some cookies.

Best gift of all? A positive attitude

Throughout my life, times occur over and over again where people link elbows and march like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz" and chant fearfully, "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" The cacophony is becoming a deafening scream as the possibility of real monsters  around us becomes more and more a real possibility.

Being read, a real goal of mine most of the time, has gone by the wayside for six weeks.
It hasn't been because of a paucity of things to write about; on the contrary, too much has been happening for me to settle on one topic.

I am appalled by the ugliness I am witnessing not only by ISIS, but fellow Americans.  It just happens that this is the time in MY lifetime when fear has been greatest. And fear leads to anger leads to mob mentality. It isn't pretty. I reflect that since I have more than seven decades of life, I've done a lot of living. I don't necessarily have a lot of time I would lose. I figure I may as well go on living as I always have. I have always found being embedded "with my own kind" to be rather boring. I like the richness of cultural diversity. At base, if both persons are open to it, we have common ground. And the wonderful foods provide such a rich, varied banquet.

No, I'm not afraid for my kith and kin. Frankly, living in a gargantuan Metroplex with sparse public transportation, we all are at risk any time we drive anywhere. And frankly, I continue to be more concerned about environmental issues because they will have a greater effect on my-great grandchildren some day. Enough clean water to survive comes to mind.  And yes, I've done a lot of research.  In that regard, people drive me nuts.

It is Christmas time. This has been a difficult time for me throughout my adulthood.  In the past year, I have been in counseling with a talented young woman who has helped me review my life realistically. I have failed significantly at several goals, you see, and was having difficulty seeing the worth of what I have accomplished. Oh, yeah. There's more to come. I'm still starting new projects. I am still working to lead my life, not just manage it. And yeah. It's a lot more fun than giving up.

Any way, Christmas. I'm smiling--apparently quite warmly--at everyone I meet. I intuit this because I am getting really warm smiles in return. I didn't frown at Christmas music in the stores after Halloween--though it did not encourage me to start shopping. I started shopping this week. Last year I discovered the wonder of online shopping one afternoon and having it all delivered to my door. I had better get busy.

I have given myself the gift of deciding that, warts and all, I would rather be me  than anyone else, no matter how successful. I coulda been a contender! Well, I'm not. Warts and all? A LOT of warts.But I'm a pretty good me, and knowing that allows me to laugh, to smile, hug when I can, help when I notice the need, and in all ways, share as much as I possibly can. And sometimes what I share is the chance to be silent, and peaceful.

This really is how I feel. It sounds saccharine. It's not. Getting  here for me has taken determination, sweat and tears. I'm proud of that. I know some optimists who are happy effortlessly. I know, too, that being human, they have their own problems, and yes, I still choose mine.

So much of it comes down to attitude. I was thinking recently, as I wrote one of the occasional checks I still write now and then, that my payment is a way of saying thank you for the goods, the services. I remember when I was fearfully trying to get my budget and the month to come out even. With fear, I wasn't grateful. Sometimes I begrudged.  Maybe understanding this is what we call the "wisdom" that can sometimes come with getting older.

I remember the cocky confidence of youth, so certain I had an immeasurably huge bank account of time to live and do what I intended to do.  I have absolutely no idea today of the time left. I am unusually healthy for my years, my doctor tells me.  Nevertheless, the uncertainty has made each day a gift, and yes, I still squander some of the days.

I needed to sit down and write today. I might even truly get on a regular schedule. I used to want to write with my individual, unique insights. Now I want to write about the common ground we all have in there somewhere.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, and yes, I do have two friends who send me winter solstice cards, I hope it works well for you.









Sunday, October 25, 2015

The one time I got slapped by my mom

The only time my mother ever slapped me, I was 16, we were on the front lawn, and she was holding a Bible. Which was a little weird. She was a preacher's daughter with a sense of humor, but looking back,  I think she thought I was about to become One of Those Wild Girls who smoked, maybe finished high school,  fooled around, got pregnant, and lived a much more restricted life than she wanted for me.
After all, she was a banker's wife, the only one any of us knew who insisted on getting her Master's and continuing to teach school. She loved teaching. All the other bankers' wives we knew played bridge and lunched at nice places. And I am proud of her for that.
There must have been an argument preceding the slap. Probably over my curfew. I wasn't allowed to date until I WAS 16, excellent decision unto today, but my curfew was 10 p.m. No dates during the week. 10 p.m. on Friday, even with a football game, 10 p.m. on Saturday. I had to sing in the choir at 8 a.m.
Dad would loosen it a little, but they were a team. And there were times he was the strict one and she sympathized. They agreed to go together on whoever was more strict. (sigh).
When I was 15, neither of them know I was at a street dance in a new subdivision, streets in, no houses, and several cars of us kids drove up, put the radios up high on the same station, and we danced.  And some of us were Good Girls, and some of us were more daring. So a group of kids dared Ted, a gangly boy with clear skin, glasses, a reputation for scholarship and a smart aleck attitude, to French kiss me. I had no idea what that was, and I had a tiny crush, and all of a sudden, in front of everyone, ewwweew! his tongue was in my mouth and I did what any surprised, sensible girl would do.
"She bit me!" he said with a hand over his mouth that came away covered with blood. Ummm. We never dated later, you understand?
I was paralyzed with fear as the laughter started. Then I relaxed. They were laughing at HIM!

When I was 16, I began dating a boy I liked, and he taught me that this particular kiss could be enjoyable. Given my curfew allowed only 5-10 minutes at the most to experience it, the kiss wasn't particularly dangerous, but my mother thought it was.
So dangerous that for the first time in my life, she pulled out a Bible and told me to swear on it that I would never, ever till I married, French kiss a boy.
She included the information that such kissing had never occurred until the GIs came back from WWII. They learned from Wicked Women overseas, she said. I realized (heavily expurgated understanding) that my parents, who adored each other, might have tried this and she may have found it ....moving.(Cringe. journalistic mind stored deep for much later retrieval.)

So anyway, I not only laughed and refused, I laughed defiantly and disrespectfully. I did. I remember doing it on purpose.
And she slapped me. We looked at each other, and then we both cried. And apologized. And hugged.
It never came up again.
She saw me graduate from college, get the job I loved, marry the man I loved.
It all worked out.

I've wondered whether we always kissed with our tongues in America, or if, indeed, the wars abroad brought new elements into American courting. SHE thought so. She was there at the time. And I find a lot of stuff in history aren't quite the same as personal chronicles.

Kind of a verbal diary referrant.
This would be late 1950s.
God, I'm old.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

We're Native Texans and Proud of It

I am tickled pink that my 8th grade granddaughter is adept in writing and writing logical arguments. She likes it, which is a relief. She can outrun probably most of the kids her age, but while she enjoys it, she hates competition. Asserting her own thought, however, may be different.

Words, reading, thinking, some proclaiming, logical wrestling. These are valued skill sets in my family. I am the big disappointment in computer skills, but most of the family agrees I do try pretty hard, and I don't interrupt my sons TOO often to fix stuff I can tell from subtle eye rolls--they are too respectful for lip curls--when they give in and come over to fix. {I have benefited from their attitudes by trying until I can't think of anything else before I call, and this has driven me to many solutions. They have benefitted (see preceding).}

Fitness, stamina, we admire those too. Cooking from scratch, growing our own, fresh herbs, a world menu. We value those, too.

Every last one of us is a Native Texan. Not a one of us follows sports. Particularly football, basketball or baseball. We can enjoy a game. We don't make plans to watch one. Give any one of us a Cowboys ticket and if we can pander it in a trade for something we want more, we probably will. And we will try hard.

All of us, even the teenagers, read. We love water parks. After all, Texas has Schlitterbahn. We will walk a long way to see a waterfall, the view from a mountaintop, and enjoy the trails in Big Bend.

A couple of us hunt dove, quail and deer on occasion, which is delicious. Others of us know how to cook these really well. I grew up on horses and not only rode, but fed, curried and saddled my own.

Because I like to two-step, I occasionally like country. Head shakes from the rest. Family agrees on some classical, some classic jazz and esoteric music. My daughter-in-law, with a grandmother from Louisiana, not only makes a mean roux and consequent gumbo, she smiles at zydeco. The music has led to marching band and French horn for eldest granddaughter. We suspect she will continue to play.

Everyone but me loves movies, plots, and is knowledgeable on who, what, when before and what comes next. Several of us like live stage.

Art, history, natural science? I don't think most of us have ever met a museum we didn't like. Don't know about the granddaughters, but they have been dragged to them all.

Most of us have at least one college degree.

None of us is making big bucks, but none of us are in big debt, either.

I guess I didn't mention it. We take it for granted but we shouldn't. We all like and love each other, and when we get together, we laugh a lot. Hugs are exchanged. We number well less than 20 on this side of the family. Maybe that's why we can always get along. We do. Different segments of us get together on holidays. Seeing everyone can take planning for two, even three get-togethers. I didn't mention several of us work holidays. We have  been in different professions when this has happened and roll with the ongoing accommodations.  One more thing. We almost always say I love you on phone or in person when we close or leave.  What we have is treasured. By every one of us. Arguments, so to speak, are in the bylaws.

I imagine one of my granddaughters knows by now that her Christmas Eve when she was four was Christmas Night for the rest of the world. And our Christmas Day that year was unique in the neighborhood.

This is my family culture. What's yours like?

Friday, October 16, 2015

For the Future--too often, Waiting for the Rain

If I hate my own species, I have gone rogue, never a good thing.
And I haven't.
Too many people are on the earth, and this is impacting the world as I know it rapidly.
Animals, plant life are dying. We sort of see that.
We are killing the oceans, too. We dump our trash, our cremains, have oil spills, get all  excited about one or two shark attacks and start eradicating, and, huh?
I doubt my great-grandchildren will ever eat much seafood that was ever wild.  Weird, but that means it won't be as healthy, either.
With climate change, wildfires are taking out more homes, businesses, even communities. No way around it.
Time was, Syrian refugees could have been resettled in vacant land somewhere, some continent. Doesn't exist today, so we all have to move over. I don't blame them for leaving. Common sense applies. But we are still surprised and caught offguard when the street people move into our mansions, so to speak. We understand they are desperate, but they make us uncomfortable.

In my lifetime half the wildlife that existed when I was born will become extinct, except in zoos and refuges. Well, through the century they will continue to die.
For Southwesterners, it is so personal. No one my age didn't play with horned toads. Scratch 'em between the eyes, watch their bliss. Texas has a football team, the Horned Frogs.
No one thought they would die. Even my oldest son played with some. But they were gone when my younger son grew up.
I look at the world, at the universe, which my specie has given me an eye to, and it is exciting. I don't know what will happen in the future, even if we don't blow ourselves up.
But as so-called "stewards of the earth", mankind is pretty poor. We have littered for millennium.
The world will survive. Maybe people will, too.
I know in the past, each generation has thought they were making a better world for the next generation. I am so proud of my sons and granddaughters, and I think the world ahead for them, screw the economy, is going to be so much harder.
What I do know is that problems sometimes are easier to see than solutions we never dreamed of.
It got us here. I hope it gets us out.
This is a scary world to live in. It is not unhopeful.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Is Anyone There?

FYI--I do not know if  anyone reads what I have written. The counting mechanism has been deactivated.
I will continue to write.
If you enjoy or take issue enough to comment, please do.

For years I was a journalist, writing for thousands.
Actually, this is pretty hard. Harder would be to stop writing.