Category Archives: Randomocity

Happiness Challenge: What I Love About Me

Taking a moment to step outside the typical post here.

Most of my followers know I often post about Team Snoopervisors, sideways views on funny life happenings, or other random things. At work (the “nine to fiver”) the Wellness lady has initiated a Happiness Challenge for the month of June. She posted a bingo sheet, of sorts, of things to do for the month of June. Yes, there is an incentive, but that is not the important part. The learning that has to happen from this challenge is to do things to bring the happiness and stave off the depression bugs. It is also, I think, meant to teach us all there are things we can do, outside of our daily habits, to make happiness worthwhile. Also, they are things that are not terribly difficult.

I have found quite a few are outside of typical comfort zones for most people. While I started a few days late on this challenge, I am picking the activities that I find hard to do. This being one of them. Ah, but I digress…here goes.

Five things I love about me.

  1. I am all about my husband, family, and work. In that order. Yes, I know I should always put my kids over my other half, but you know what? Without him, there would be no kids and I would not be who I am. Cal completes my circle and he will still be there after the kids have grown up and chasing their own happiness. This is a lifetime and he is my world. The kids are next. I am who I am not only because of Cal but because of the kids. I have a lot of stories about them and oh the many things they have taught me. As parents, we often forget that our children teach us the most valuable things. Some of them being: Always view the world with awe, because it is amazing. Being an adult just numbs our senses to that. Also, they teach us that hate is not genetic that it is learned and love is exactly the same. This and a myriad of other things. Finally work. I love what I do! Yes, I have an education that far exceeds what I am doing right now but this works for me. I look forward to clocking in every day and that is not something many people can say. Collectively, these three most important things have taught me about loyalty and that is what I am. Loyal to my husband as my life partner. Loyal to my children as my family. Loyal to my job because well, I like what I do!
  2. My eyeballs. Well, that may be a stretch but it is hard to think about things you like about yourself! (Especially when there have always been self esteem issues!) I am not content with the fact that I am Thelma-like (reference: Scooby Doo) without my glasses. That is another thing all to itself. I like the color. They are blue. Not just blue but, like, different. I don’t know. I just like them. Secretly, I will stare at them in the mirror just because I like them so much!
  3. I am organized. That is one thing I have always been. While some of it may look like a mess to others, I have a “talent” for reaching into a pile of things and pulling out exactly what you are asking for without having to sort/dig through the entire lot. Ever since I was about 12 or so, I have carried a calendar or organizer book. This is where I got into the habit of planning out things up to a year in advance.
  4. I am mechanically inclined, sort of. As a kid, I would always follow Daddy out to the cars and berate him with questions. “Whatcha dooin?” “What is that for?” “What does this do?” “Why does it need that?” “Can I try?” There was even one time, Daddy told me I could sit in the car but to not touch the gear stick. Um, telling a 7 year old not to touch the gear stick is basically telling her “Go ahead. Try this. See what it does.” I nearly rolled the car off a 8 foot drop into the back yard before I got it back into park. I can fix things if I have to fix them when Cal is at work. I can hang a picture. I can change a tire. If I had to, I could probably fix the car. I always tell our kids. Boys: Get you a woman who can fend for herself. If she can’t, teach her. If she don’t wanna learn, you don’t need her. Girls: Learn how to be self-sufficient. Relationships are team work and nothing should be one sided. Especially working on the cars or fixing something.
  5. That I took the time to do this. I find it difficult to do self-reflection because I tend to go down the road of rattling off all the things that I loathe about me. I have always been like this. The fact that I can step in a different direction and do something like this shows that I can do something for me and appreciate, at least a little, something about myself. I don’t do things for me often as I would prefer to do for my family. (See number 1, the first two mentions.)

So, there you have it. A few things I like about me. That was more difficult than you think! Take the time to do the same for yourself. Warning: It may take a while and it may  prove to be difficult. But, it is something we all should do.

As always, What do YOU think?

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Small, Edible Victories

I spent most of my life finding solace in the bottom of a plate of my favorite things. Pizza, creamy Mac and cheese, cake, cookies, ribs, other things that just make you feel better when the world is picking in you. After I had my last baby, I paid for that kind of thinking. I got my feelings hurt one year and I lost over 65 pounds with motivation. What I didn’t count on was that, despite getting down to 148, I would go all the way back up to 180 and hate myself again. Since then, I have started this second journey and found that there is such things as eating disorders and all those years of stress eating have wired my brain incorrectly. You have no idea what it’s like to think about what you are going to have for dinner from the time you open your eyes in the morning. To have every waking moment of thought nearly dedicated to the awesome amount of calories you plan to consume at your next meal. To be honest, it’s quite tiring and just makes you consume even more.

Because I am older and my metabolism has slowed, I know I have to count everything I put in my mouth, for the rest of my life unless I want to be knocking on 200’s door and beyond. I am saying this because, I had a victory today that was no small feat.

One cup of Velveeta Mac and Cheese is 360 calories all by itself. My son can eat it with abandon because he is a growing kid. What’s hard for me is that, no one makes it quite like Mom, and, as badly as I wanted some, I settled for a broccoli/Brussels sprout salad with tangy French dressing.

For someone like me, that was an amazing feat. I felt like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps. The struggle is not over, however. It’s five pm and thus, the start of the hardest part of the day for me. You see, I can do great all day! Eat well, exercise, drink water…but then I normally cave and snack mindlessly until bedtime. Also, there is still part of that mac and cheese in the kitchen. From where I sit, I can see it…calling to me.

I’m gonna fight and smile at the sunrise tomorrow instead of being riddled with guilt about overeating. This is but one victory for me. The small ones all count. Hopefully, they add up to bigger ones.

Wish me luck.

***Defiantly flips the middle finger at the pot in the kitchen in a kiss off gesture!**. Today, I win.

What do YOU think?

Office Chair

My office chair is quite comfy. I love it. Just as I have loved all the ones before it. I spend many hours in my office chair. It comes to me already broke it and lovingly selected just for me by the love of my life. I have a back up chair too. Further, my previous chair is sitting at our son’s desk. Another thing that makes me me love all my chairs is that little man is the one who dictates the rotation.

Little man will wear out a chair relatively quickly. Once the one he has is if no more use, from what ever acrobatics he was doing to break it, his goes to office chair heaven and he inherits a new one from me. What happens to mine? Well, there is already another new to me one waiting to take the place of honor behind my desk in the home office.

This makes Cal quite happy because he now gets to partake in the fun that is looking around the local office buildings and attorney ties to find my next chair. This works out because Cal loves to drive and he is always looking for some cool discard to bring home.

“One man’s trash is another’s treasure.”

You see, there are quite a few office buildings and attorneys in this city and they are always moving offices or getting new furniture. They put their unwanted furniture to the side of the road. Cal always happens upon a nice one that is a perfect fit. What is even better is I will look up some of these chairs on the Internet and they are almost always $200+ chairs.

The exact type of chair I could only dream of buying because I would never spend that kind of money on myself. It’s a Mother thing. The ever frugal Cal takes care of Mother though.

**Leans back in her reclining comfy office chair**

What do YOU think?

The Opposite of Writer’s Block?

All weekend I have had a feeling that I absolutely must write. The only problem is that I did not know what it was. I did get a couple of good posts out of it but the satisfaction one gets after forking out a blurb did not last. I almost felt like it was a drug and it had ceased to work its magic for me. It reminded me of that little “Nugget” cartoon that is going around social media that shows what drugs will do to someone. (Here it is in case you need a memory jog…  see below. ) Mind you, I am normally satisfied to do 2 posts a week and then  wait until the next weekend. However, with this posting on a Monday, you must know that the need for that satisfied feeling has yet to come. I have also felt the need to read something and everything I pick up, with the exception of one book was simply not good enough. I don’t know what it is. I have never felt this way before and like most things that interfere with my rut, it sucks. It sucks a big old fat one and I don’t know what to do.

I have tried all my outlets. From my idea and personal journals, to my book, to my next non-fiction work to my blogs. NOTHING seems right! What is a girl to do? I even thought that if I did this small post that it would satisfy that. Oh no. Like so many other things in my life recently, that was a good idea as it bounced around in my brain but not very fruitful once it came out. Ah, but I digress.

Such it is that we are….

What do YOU think?

 

 

 

A Little Bird Told Me

One of the things that makes DH furious about people is that they tend to walk around with blinders on and tune out everything that goes on around them. I admire my better half for his skill in tuning into the details even when they are irrelevant. Apparently, I was walking around like a people (hereafter called sheeple) today and failed to remember that the world was supposed to end today. I got up, went to the cleaning store to buy cleaning supplies and even took the boys grocery shopping. All the while there was supposed to be mass chaos and doomsday going on all around me. BUT….It was just an ordinary day.

Until I came out of the cleaning store….

I hopped on my bike with my thoughtfully balanced bags and mop pointed out in front of me and proceeded to roll down the sidewalk. About halfway to the end of the strip mall, I noted something in the middle of the sidewalk. I always avoid anything I happen to see in the path of my tires because we all know I am the one to hit it and one of two things will happen. I will either pop the tire AND the tube or, the tire will shoot out from under me and I will find a way to become seriously injured and I fall gracefully to the ground. Bottom line? I just avoid things like that. It was a good thing I did this time too. Why?

There was a tiny little bird just sitting there. He was in the middle of the sidewalk and did not budge when I rushed past him on my bike. I happened to look down as I went by and seen him regard me with a calm regard that made me stop and come back. If he curled in his tail feathers, he would be no larger than a golf ball. He continued to sit there and look up at me as if he was trying to tell me something. I parked my bike and lightly stepped over to him and he was watching me just as I was him. There was zero fear in his tiny eyes. I felt compelled to stand there. Not knowing what to do, I took out my phone and snapped a picture. I always share my “adventures” with my family. Thanks to technology, proof is in the peanuts when telling someone something that could be considered a fish story.

After I returned my phone to my pocket, I was unable to leave him there. It was almost as if my feet were glued to that spot in the sidewalk until I was able to make a coherent decision. As I stood there, I looked around to find something I could use to try and pick him up and move him to safety. It has been my experience that when a bird is un-moving when you are towering over them, they are likely injured. Also, if he was diseased in some way, I didn’t want to become a statistic. I had my DH and the kids depending on me. For the first time in what seems like a millennia, I had nothing in my cleaning supplies I could open or use to pick him up as I had all cleaning chemicals. The mop was a cotton mop but it was a tiny one and not nearly long enough to use to wrap around this little guy. Besides, it might have freaked him out. I took inventory of my surroundings and still found nothing. What was I going to do? If I were to leave him here on the sidewalk, he would surely be killed, eaten by a stray or stepped on. I felt helpless. Further, even if I was able to get him to the safety of the bushes in the parking lot, I felt he would die of the heat. Here, on the sidewalk, it was under the roof of the building and it was cooler in the shade. With it being 8 am and 87 degrees already, it was set up to be a hot day.

While I was trying to think of something to do, and still under the spell of having to stay in this spot, I pulled out my phone and started a video. I didn’t expect anything YouTube worthy but it gave some perspective at just how little this guy was. He listened to me talk to him and just watched me. There was obvious trust in his gaze upon me and he did not flinch when I reached out to him. There were busy city sounds going on all around us and every time he startled, it was due to that and nothing I was doing. He trusted me 100% and, for a fleeting moment, I felt like Snow White. Only, I wasn’t singing to the bird. I was talking to it. Here is my proof:

(Kind of ironic that I said it wasn’t YouTube worthy, and here it is….Ah, but I digress.)

After I recorded that video, again, I returned my phone to my pocket and just stood there talking at the bird. I don’t know if I expected it to chirp, talk back to me, or what but I still felt the need to stay right there. Some lady walked by and looked at it like…oh, well…and kept right on going. Sheeple….I swear. I decided that the best course of action, due to lack of other options, was to push him up to the wall of the building gently with my foot. This way, if he angrily pecked at me, it would be my shoe and not a finger. Slowly, carefully, and easily, he let me gently push him to the building wall where it met the sidewalk. He didn’t freak out or anything. He just let it happen. Satisfied, I turned around to my bike and was preparing to leave. Lo and behold, the little guy started hopping in one spot and fluttering his wings a bit. Quickly, I pulled out my phone and this happened:

I was in the middle of wishing the little guy well when, out of the blue, he flew away. You can tell from my expression in the second video, I was shocked. In that moment, I felt a wave of “everything is gonna be alright” come over me. It was almost joy that I felt as I stood there and watched him fly over the building at the other end of the strip mall. I am not sure why that happened or for what reason. However, when it comes to things like that, I do feel there are forces at work that cause people to go through things like this. Most people shrug it off and move on. However, for me, this was out of the ordinary in my ordinary life. It was special. There were forces at work that I could not comprehend and I won’t stress myself out worrying about them. It was a magical moment one in the same. Treat the world right and the rewards will be bountiful. THAT right there is something I believe.

So, the next time you hear me fuss at DH or one of the kiddos about respecting the planet and loving Mother Nature, you will understand. Even in the middle of the city, Mother Nature finds a way. That bird was there for me. No doubt about it. I may not even understand why. Eventually, I will come to understand. For now, I will revel in the magic that it was and appreciate that something happened out of the ordinary to show me that my life is more than just ordinary. It is special.

What do YOU think?

Through Daddy’s Eyes

More often than not, I will wake up remarkably sad. For absolutely no reason at all. I mean, my life is great. I have my family surrounding me. I have a good job. The bills are paid. This house is ours. We have transportation. Sometimes we even have extra. I just wake up and look at my sleeping husband, (This makes me smile because I love him so much!) and I am just so flucking sad! Ugh. I hate this so much. Don’t get me wrong, as I get up and go about my day, the feeling wears off. However, some mornings it is near unbearable.

Let me back up a bit. I used to not understand why people could be sad all the time and not shake it off. I could not grasp the idea that someone could be so happy and sad all in the same breath. It made no sense. Alternatively, I also become offended when people go on social media and run their mouth about people who commit suicide and say that was the coward’s way out. To that I say this: The next time you are in a car accident or you fall and break your back, don’t be a hypocrite and opt for those fancy pain meds that your doctor gives you for pain. That is the flucking coward’s way out. No, it is not comparing apples to oranges. Their pain is just as unbearable as yours. Sometimes, there is no amount of medication that can fix it so buzz off.

Now. I bet you are wondering why I titled this post as I did. I am getting there. Everything has a back story, yes? Yes. In my Daddy’s last decade on this planet, it was hard for me to be around him. No, it was not because he was old. Nor that he would rather not bathe. Hell, he spent 70 plus years on this planet and if it bothered his back to take a bath then he earned that right to marinate in his own stink. Honestly, the only one it bothered to a great degree was my mother. After all, it wasn’t THAT bad. Jeez. That is not the point though. It was his face. There was always something empty there. It hurt me to see it. He would smile, chatter, and carry on. You would see a small glimmer of sparkle when the kids would do something cute or talk to him. But it would fade just as fast as it would appear. He had it pretty OK. He wasn’t hurting for anything. Despite the fact that it appeared that my mother and he had a love/hate thing going on, he was alive and taken care of. He was able to get around for the most part and was never alone. He just had a hauntingly sad look in his eyes. He even had an official diagnosis from the VA doctors. He had dementia and was depressed. Even had medication for it. Sometimes pills are just not enough.

This morning was an especially difficult one for me when I woke up. Good thing it was my blogging day. On blogging days, I don’t work. I don’t clean house if I don’t feel like it. I just basically read, write, and sleep. I also make this the one day that I give my body a break from chugging my daily gallon of coffee. Yea, I sleep. So what?  **Picks up favorite mug with coffee and takes a marvelous sip because today is different** Ah, but I digress… As I said before, I woke up this morning sad. It sucked. It sucked bad. I have good coping mechanisms right now and am able to function after a little talking to myself so seeing a therapist or getting some sort of diagnosis is not necessary. It just took me a few hours only because I had no reason to get up and motivate other than I wanted to. As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready to face the day, I took a moment and looked at the face that was staring back at me in the mirror.

I had never had a ghost look me in the eye before this morning. (I believe in ghosts. They never look at me. They are always far form arms reach. Just sayin…)

My father was in the mirror. Looking at me. With those hauntingly sad eyes. I froze. I swear I stood there for nearly a minute. Now, there is no clock in the bathroom but I know it was close to that because the song my phone was half over and it was about a 3 minute song. So, yea, about a full minute. It is hard to convey in words what I felt in that sixty seconds. Happiness, fear, recognition, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, joy, shock……all in one breath. Yes, it is possible folks. (Insert empathy statement here, please!) After I came back to the present, something happened. Every. Single. Thing. that had ever caused me sadness, fear, isolation, depression, failure, etc., came rushing into my brain and was like a roar of a crowd that starts out quiet then comes rushing loud in a crescendo of a million voices. In that instant, I knew how it felt to have depression so bad that the only way to make it stop was to walk off the top of a 40 story skyscraper and not look back. Just to want to embrace the darkness and make it all stop. It was the most horrible feeling I had ever had in my life. I seen my Daddy in the mirror this morning. Not that you can see it because I wear glasses but I have inherited my Daddy’s under the eye bags. I swear you could fit a monthly grocery run in them suckers. Gotta love genes for that huh? Anywho…. It sucked.

I had to sit on the side of the bathtub and collect my thoughts because it hit me like an atomic bomb and it even took my breath away. As I gathered my scruples, I had a premonition. I fully understood what Robin Williams must have felt like for the majority of his life. Or anyone who decided that suicide was the best answer. I just could not imagine feeling like that all day, every day, and still be able to function. I also thought of my co-workers who fight with anxiety every day. How hard it must be for them to be crippled by something that not many people understand. It was very, very clear and my heart goes out to people who deal with crippling anxiety and depression every day. The are true soldiers if they are able to live through another day. I had anxiety attacks a lot in high school and early 20’s. They only lasted a few minutes and I had developed my own coping mechanisms. But, to have that as a constant tap on the shoulder day in and day out must really suck. Seriously.

Not that I am bragging. I have my own coping mechanisms. They work for me. As time goes on, they have to evolve. I can only hope that they will last me. I hate doctors and therapists. I feel its nosey and if I am vertical and not contagious, I should be fine, right? Yea, I have seen two instances this year alone where that line of thinking can end badly but hey, that is not everyone right?

My Daddy visited me this morning. He gave me a message. Things (feelings) could be a lot worse than what they are when I wake up to sadness in the morning. I seen that uncut, vivid and, extraordinarily clear. In the words of the infamous Stephen King:

“We all float.”

What do YOU think?

The Most Amazing Flower Girl

My sister was 12 years my senior. It only made sense that she married her first husband when I was a young kid. I was about 6 or 7 years old. She invited me to be the flower girl. I was honored to be such an important part of one of the biggest days of her life. She was my favorite sister and it was an exciting time for me. Elaine lived with us in the basement apartment of our house. She and her husband. I loved that house, ah but that is a story for another time.

This wedding was nothing to sneeze at. There were colors picked, a lacy wedding dress, everyone in the wedding party had to have “fitting appointments for their dresses and such. There were flowers to be ordered, a fancy cake, I mean everything a wedding could be. My other sister was part of the wedding party too and my mom was even fitted for a fancy dress. Now, I imagine that it was her husband’s family who paid for everything because our family could never afford such an affair. It was still everything a princess wedding would be in the imagination of a 7 year old girl. Being the flower girl, I was to lightly drop flower petals as I did the wedding walk down the aisle for the bride to walk upon as she made her grande entrance.

I remember being nervous. I didn’t want to trip and fall (surprisingly, I did not have my klutz card at that point in my life,) nor did I want to mess up. I was terrified of messing up and making my sister mad or just making a fool of myself. I assume these fears were one of the first times I ever imagined a “worst case scenario.” To my delight it was nothing of any of the disasters that my little brain had imagined. However, I did do something that my sisters still talk about to this day. Some 35 plus years later, my oldest sister is still talking about what I did walking down that aisle as Elaine’s’ flower girl. Remember that I said I was nervous? Those nerves were about to make me a laughing stock among the members of the wedding party. You see, I was so nervous about doing a good job and everyone was watching me as I alone walked down the aisle supposedly to sprinkle cream colored rose petals all over the carpet. However, sprinkle was not what I did.

In all of the movies I ever watched up to that point, the flower girl skipped gaily down the aisle happily flinging rose petals into the air with careless abandon. However, this was a stuffy, rich persons wedding and I was told to keep my composure and walk a certain way, keep my head up and calmly drop tiny handfuls of petals to be walked upon in my non existent wake. Obviously this is not what I had envisioned doing and it was not fitting in the image of the flower girl I had intended to uphold. However, I did do as I was told. Literally the march down the aisle was step…pause…step…pause…step…pause. After each pause, I was to sprinkle/drop the petals out of my basket.

I did the walk. I kept my composure. Step…pause…drop….step…pause…drop…etc. Everyone was watching me. It was all eyes on the flower girl. To me it was a vast audience of people, most of whom I didn’t know, waiting for me to mess up. As I neared the front of the room, I seen that everyone in the wedding party (all of whom I DID know) were grinning at me. Almost if they were stifling laughter. Off to the right, where the bridesmaids were, I seen my oldest sister move. She made a motion as if she were dropping a softball on to the floor from her bridesmaid’s bouquet. It wasn’t until after the wedding was over, I overheard adults talking about how I was dropping clumps of flowers instead of spreading them everywhere. I heard someone say it was like I was handling rocks or a softball. What confused me was that everyone thought it was funny. Over the years, I would often wonder how such an important job could be so darn funny.

In hindsight, I guess it was because if you think about it. It was more like connect the dots when I was done instead of a field of petals for the bride to gracefully waltz down. In my own 7 year old defense, I did the best job I could without practice. I mean, we had plenty of flowers growing in our yard I could have practiced with or even with grass clippings. However, I had important imaginary friend stuffs to do in the club house (just a wooden pallet under a tree in the corner of the yard) as well as slugs to collect. Practicing my role as a flower girl was not on my mind at all. I was just to busy! I guess I just thought I would be amazing without having to practice. I guess that set the stage for me to write my college papers the night before without an edit.

Ah, but I (nearly) digressed. The bottom line is, I was a flower girl in a princess wedding. I did the best I could. I was amazing. I HAD to have been. They are still talking about it aren’t they?

Death is not a tragedy for the surviving but a gift.

Back in March, I lost my sister to cancer. While she and I had not spoken in a years, a few months before her untimely death, we did make our peace. I even shared a few pictures of our trip to New Years Eve in Times Square. I later heard that it made her so happy that I included her in my travels. Her death was still a shock no matter how much I mentally prepared myself. Fast forward to June. My brother is diagnosed with cancer. He must have been keeping it from his family, I imagine it was a pretty easy thing because he lived in another state with his son being the closest relative. Not long after the diagnosis, he moved in with our mother and passed away just a few weeks ago. In all my life, I have always had the opportunity to either make my peace or say goodbye. This time, I didn’t. His son set up a service to be held tomorrow.

It is when we experience the death of a loved one that we find ourselves in frequent moments of reflection. If you are fortunate enough to sit and do so without becoming a slobbering, drooling mess, you can appreciate what those moments of clarity can provide for you. My Daddy has been gone for nearly 8 years and I still find myself in moments of reflection at my mind whispering one of his “Dougisms” into my ear.

BET ME!!! He was so fond of saying.

You see we always feel so wronged when someone close to us has come to their time. When they leave this world and move on to the next life, it is the survivors that feel left behind, saddened, forgotten. However we need to look outside the box. We need to seek it out as a gift. We can witness someone a horrible, painful death. Others will simply go quietly in their sleep. Still, others will be walking along and simply just fall away. It all seems so sad to us but think about it. In the days and weeks after someone has died, they enable you to remember. They have touched your life in some way that make you stop and think. In the midst of our busy lives, we pause and reflect. Maybe we even have a shadow of a smile on our face. By remembering some distant memory, we have been effected in a positive way by the imprint of the loved one’s memory. They were a part of our lives for a moment and we are so impressed with the way they touched us that we are able to never forget. It is in these moments that the gift of the dead shine in our hearts.

Death teaches us a lesson that time with friends and family is precious. That every moment we share with another human being is special and should be treasured. After all, tomorrow is never promised. Don’t let the absence of their presence slow you down. They will be waiting for you in the afterlife. I often like to think that my Daddy is sitting on a cloud somewhere sharing a drink with Pepper (a beloved family pet) and my Sister. That they have just welcomed my brother Tom to their fluffy table and that the four of them are watching us flounder around in this life trying to make sense of everything that seems to be real. Of course they are watching over us. They are forever burned in our memories not as the empty carcass of a body they carried in their final days but of some wonderful memory many years ago.

My father has on his jeans that are rolled up 2 inches thick, his slip on canvas shoes, and a white T-shirt and smells strongly of Right guard with his hair combed back. He has that amazing smile only he can have with his teeth in. Of course he has a Pepsi can and one of those thick glasses filled with ice, Jim Beam, and Pepsi. My Sister is up there with her shoulder length wavy hair, a pair of jeans, cute top, and makeup done to perfection. She has a glass filled to the brim with ice and a coke on the table. She loved her ice. Of course she has Mitzie with her. My brother is sitting in some sort of work garb. Looking like he just got off work at a garage or mill somewhere and of course he has a beer with him. My sweet Pepper is next to Dad, waiting for him to put his glass down so he can sneak a lap or two. His fur is shiny and clean, near white, with that funky little flip of hair that used to be between his eyes that drove me crazy.

They are all sitting there, once again enjoying each others company and looking down at us and our follies. Yes, the individual and collective memories of them brings a tear to my eye. However, were it not for each of them, my life would not be what it is now. They were a part of my life and that is the gift they leave me. The legacy they left for me personally.

We all deal with death and grief differently. Once the sadness stops, do your loved one a solid and remember the happy times. It is certain they would love for you to think of them fondly. I know I would.

What do YOU think?

 

 

Daily Prompt: Pungent (The Light Fixture [Fiction])

via Daily Prompt: Pungent

“George, I told you never to remove the cover for that light. You don’t know what is up there.” Jasmine nagged. She was always nagging him about something. Whether it was touching the kitchen door knob with greasy fingers or not wearing his shirt right, it was always the same: NAG! NAG! NAG! Ah, but his life would be dull without that hen always clucking about something int he background. Am I right?  Any-who, it was dark in the bedroom and while things that went on in the bedroom were best done in the dark, sometimes you still needed to see. Remember what Mamma always said. “You are going to ruin your eyes reading in the dark like that!” Enough was enough, the light bulb had to be changed.

The house should be mentioned here. It was built around the turn of the 20th century and was suitably registered in the city’s record of historical places. They sure didn’t make houses like this anymore. The only sucky thing was that I had to file an application to paint a damn wall. I own this house, why should I ask permission to do something as simple as change the color of the wall? The world may never know. Now, the changing of a light bulb was something on the ‘have at it’ list and this was exactly what I was going to do. Nagged or not, I am going to do this!

The fixture was an oblong, oval thing that was quite the stinker to get off the ceiling. It was held in place by several screws and was almost a two man job. One was needed to hold it in place while the other was removing the screws. However, if you held you lip right, you could do it yourself. I knew that Jasmine was not going to help me so I did the thing myself. I nearly dropped it. As it was made of glass, it would likely have not survived the fall. However, with luck on my side, I was able to get the thing down unscathed. As I laid the dusty cover on the bed, Jasmine snorted at me something about having to was the bed clothes now that that filthy thing had touched it. NAG! NAG! NAG! Upon successfully putting the light cover on the bed I looked up. It was almost like looking back in time. The part of the ceiling which was protected by the fixture had withstood the test of time and must have been the same antique yellowish color that the house was originally painted in. There was a hole where the light had come down out of the ceiling and was hanging there, as if held in time. It didn’t even swing with the new air surrounding it. It could have swayed ever so slightly as some of the hot air escaped from the ceiling into our bedroom below it. It had a pungent smell that those of us with attics can only know. While I had only stuck my face up into the attic to see if there were any treasures up there, I found only that wonderful pungent attic smell.

After marveling at the time machine that I had found, I noted that the light fixture inside the cover was just as much as an antique as the rest of the house itself and this two-prong light that I was holding was not going to work. I had to purchase a standard light bulb. With the rest of the house pushed in on the wave of the future, a standard light bulb was not something that I had laying around. “Off to the store wench!” I said in my Scottish voice as I poked Jasmine in the ribs. She giggled and hugged me in only the way my Jasmine can do. She grabbed her keys and off to the store we went. Now, a trip to the store was always for more than what is intended. Those marketing freaks to a helluva job when it comes to enticing you to buy something more than what you went there for in the first place. So, it was going to be a while before we got back. I knew leaving the cover off would stir up some dust but figured it would be alright. I was gonna wrap this project up the minute we got back anyway.

Upon our return, I unlocked the front door. When I opened it a rather LARGE wasp floated out as the door swung into the house. Now, wasps are not small in their own sense but this thing was almost the size of a tennis ball. With concern, I told Jasmine to stay on the porch as I went in to investigate. Another thing that was out of the ordinary was that the dogs were going bezerk. They were put in their cage in the master bathroom just off our bedroom before we left. As per our custom. Thinking about that wasp, I grabbed the broom out of the foyer closet and cautiously made my way to the bedroom. What I seen when I pushed open the door could only be described in a dream…no…a nightmare.

From the light fixture were several of those same wasps hanging on the light bulb as if it were their nest. There were several others meandering around the room in a sleepy, flying gait, which only wasps do when it is this time of year. There were other things falling, no nearly pouring out of the hole in the ceiling. Leeches, bugs and…..turtles? Yes. I am sure of it. They looked like those sea turtles that were all laid back and hippie like in that movie with the blue fish. Funny, in this moment, that movie name escapes me. Weird how we forget things when faced with…things.

These things were all over the room. Upon taking inventory of what I was looking at, all the sound in the world came back to me. However, I could not figure out why. NAG! NAG! NAG! The primal scream which emanated from the hallway behind me snapped me back into reality. Jasmine! I turned to look and found her with inordinate fear written across her face. As if to make it more real, she had her hands up to her cheeks as if they were meant o put that scream in quotation marks. She was screaming “THE DOGS GEORGE! WHAT ABOUT THE DOGS!!??” Immediately I turned and made a vee line for the bathroom. Two of them were barking at the smallest one. She was covered in those leech things. I tried to open the cage and then heard a whisper in my head.

“They’re poison.” I paused for a moment. Where did that come from? Why was I not being touched by the things falling out of the ceiling? I knew I could not touch this dog. I was sad that it was lifeless and unmoving. However, these animals were like our family and saving 2 of 3 was what I had to do. I opened the cage and while one snapped at my fingers, I was able to snatch the other one out of the cage. The one whom I was unable to catch shot out of the cage and into the bedroom. A moment later, I heard Jasmine squee in delight as she made it to our Jasmine. I knew I had to get out of there. I still considered the third dog and grabbed a towel. It wrapped around my arm as I yanked it off the towel rack on the wall beside the shower. Again, I heard that voice in my head…whisperingly…”Nooo….They’re poison.” In that instant, a leech which had found itself on that towel landed on my arm. It sizzled and burned like acid! I scream and stumbled back. Falling into the tub, I grabbed the shower curtain and again, leaches landed on me with their sizzling, burning,. slimy skin. I swiped at them and got them off me. It was instinct. I faintly remember the dog still barking in my arms and she took off like a bolt when I fell into the tub. I remember hearing Jasmine outside call for her. It was likely that Jasmine was outside and seen that the one I had in my arms had made it outside. My turn to flee had arrived.

As strange as it may sound, the idea came to me that it was the house speaking to me. Why was it taking up for me but unleashing this horror into my home? And why turtles?  No time for that now, I had to leave. I got out of the tub, nearly falling 2 or 3 more times before gaining my footing and went for the bathroom door. The room had become covered. It was a living, breathing, MOVING room. I guess this house wanted the bedroom to be in the dark. Bugs give me the willies but in my adrenaline-induced state, I didn’t think about that. However, the brief pause at the bathroom door was likely to be my demise. The more I thought about my fear of the creepy crawlies, the more fear replaced the adrenaline. At this realization, the turtles began to speak to me in that creepy children’s voice…”Come on George! Let’s Play!” (Yea, I now know why I never liked children. Creepy little things.”

It was as if my feet were glued to the floor. I was paralyzed. Unable to move and feeling my throat closing in, I couldn’t even scream. All I could do was watch with horror as the things moving and churning in the bedroom where I spent many wonderful nights with the love of my life seemed to consume first my shoes, then my legs. They were making their way up my lower extremities with that sizzling, acidic touch. The brighter the pain and fear became, the more I swirled into blackness. In a fear induced high, I passed out fully believing I was drunk and was going to bed…for the last time. Funny how things work out when you have your last thoughts. My brain’s last transmission? Well, as the things in the room covered me and left only an impression of their body under their business, you can say it was:

“I was consumed with fear.”

Outside, in the front yard of our back-country home, miles from any neighbors, you could hear Jasmine in that nagging voice….”George? Georrrge?  GEORGE!”  Unbeknownst to her, George was unavailable at the moment. Suddenly, she could smell the pungent odor of the attic. Then, she noted turtles flapping their way out the front door. “Hi Jasmine! Let’s Play!”

What do YOU think?

 

Walking Down a Different Road…Poorly.

This title may not be what you think. I have found that I have grown tired of “just making it.” It weighs upon my mind a lot. I have also found that when you do finally start heading toward a point where you can do slightly more than “just make it.” The higher powers tend to see an opportunity to squeeze you for whatever extra it is that you have and put you right back to where you were to begin with. Yes, I tend to not write about things like this on my public blogs. However, writing is a form of release for me and today, I will, walk down a different road.

My family is not your typical american family when it comes to paying bills and debt. We are not drowning under credit card debt or a crushing mortgage. We have abstained from refinancing or taking out additional lines of credit against our house. While that may be the thing to do, I simply don’t feel it to be the right thing to get our bills paid when we can do it just fine without that. Borrowing from one source just to reduce the payments on another or to combing a bunch of nickle and dime things just does not seem like the thing to do. (Oh, Daddy, you should be so proud!) In hindsight, no credit card debt and the fact that we can pay our necessities without worry is great. We have TWO extra things that we have been working on to pay off over time but it is not so much that we have to struggle to make bills. These things are just to improve our credit score. Now that I think about it. I am only feeding into the corporate monster and living the Sheeple life by doing that. However, it seems to be necessary if we want to get ahead in any area of life like to purchase a new car. (Example only, walking is so much better for the environment.) Well, that will be over soon and we will only have to foot the bill for “necessaries” like power, water, mortgage, and internet. Yea, internet is a necessary. Well, at least until the world goes to heck in a hand basket. Then we can do away with THAT bill. Yay?

Still, none of the above is what weighs heavily on me. I think a lot about the vacations my parents took me on as a kid. Those were vivid memories which stood out against the bland backdrop of watching my previous year of school become a fading memory on the highways of this country. Remember, every ending school year meant that Daddy was going to sign a new contract with his company and they would ship up off to yet another state to live for the year while he straightened out the mess of a kitchen they sent him to. He provided for us and we had our vacations. I just never had any roots to grow until I became older. My roots are spread all over this country from coast to coast. Dry, brittle, and long forgotten, the things that stand out the most were the vacations. Maybe that was what they did to make up for uprooting me from potential friends and opportunities which could have been afforded to me growing up. Still, I would not have changed anything.

It’s not that our brood prevents us from taking a vacation. We have a support system and family who can watch the kids while we pick and choose or even watch the dogs while we are away. It’s the fact that, while this country tells you to make memories with your children, they put the financial portion out of the reach of the average person. The nuclear family has to make nearly $50, 000 a year to be able to put away something into savings and even then, you need nearly $5,000 to even think about a 3 day trip for a couple. Everything is taxed and everything is overpriced. When Reagan was president (yes, I know, cost of living, etc. BS to that,) purchasing a brand new car did not mean that you were taking out a note that was near the equivalent of the market value of your home. It didn’t cost $50 to PARK at a resort area only to again pay near the same PER PERSON to get in. Never mind the fact that you then have to pay just to breathe inside the park. Corporate greed, my friends. They try to make smiles only attainable for the extraordinarily rich and, frankly, I am tired of it.

On a different note, do you know why this country has become so fanatically engrossed in the fact that they love to watch the prepping shows and extreme couponing?  It is this: the poor are tired of being sucked dry and being pushed around by the rich. They remember the Great Depression and they know what it will take to hurt the rich. Not to assassinate or rob them. Let the stock market drop. Let the zombie apocalypse happen. Let there be some fantastic computer glitch that takes out the internet. Who is going to survive? Those of us who know what it is like to live without. Those of us who can survive on skill alone and not believe it to be the end of the world simply because your investments took a wrong turn. Snatch those comfy pillow out from under the stuffy rich who sit upon them and what do you have? Sniveling, snarling, rich bastards who believe they have just lost their entire world. Oh, sure, there will be a few who will move on and think that they can do it all over again. However, when the world goes to shit, their money is going to be nothing more than fuel for the fire. With their clean, unscarred hands and the inability to know how to do a hard day’s work, they will not last long. I can assure you of that.

OK. I feel better now. I put a foot on my soapbox and chewed the gum for a few minutes. Thanks for listening peeps. Oh, yea….

What do YOU think?

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