Saturday, July 22, 2017

Change is Good

I spent the first part of my life learning how to be a good person. Listening to endless discussions/lectures on how to be responsible, but most importantly, a humble and respectable person. And above all, I was taught to take care of myself, to be strong, to follow my instincts and to learn to create my own diversions when the wrong paths were calling my name.

The second part of my life was spent teaching my children these same values. And I have to tell you, if you thought the listening part was hard, irritating and even boring; geez Louise, the teaching it / preaching it part is so much worse. You have the behind-your-back eye-rolling, the wondering if it’s really sinking in, and of course, the part where they won’t speak to you for a week; or until they really need something or they’re hungry, whichever comes first.

But every so often in your lifetime you will also be faced with the job of being not only the teacher, but the student. You will find yourself having some serious Come to Jesus conversations that no one is participating in but yourself and hopefully the mightiest guiding light that exists.  You will fight within, you will weigh-out the pro’s and con’s and you will slowly and carefully come to a conclusion that will hopefully be a better one for you and what makes life work right for you.

And at some point you will probably have to make some changes. Now I don’t know about you, but I tend to find my comfy spot and I let myself get rooted there and I’m not real fond of changing that. 
But I go back to my raising's and I remember what my Daddy tried to teach me for years and years, and paraphrasing, that was basically this: ‘only you can be the change, only you have the strength to make it happen, we are solely responsible for our destiny’s, try to make the best choice the first time’.

And that’s how I am coming to you today as you read this – I decided to make a change. I love talking to Gadsden County folk about my life here, my family, my thoughts, the things that make me happy and the things that disappoint me from time to time. I like knowing that something I have to say can make someone not feel so alone or isolated in their thoughts or their struggles.

Life is hard folks, it just really is and all we can do is the best we can, from one day to the next, to make it as easy on ourselves and the ones that we love, the best that way we know how. Make the best choices in the moments we are given, stand strong in our beliefs, and steadfast in our hearts and souls. I truly appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself and I’ll see you all next week!






Friday, July 14, 2017

Still Going Strong

By the time ya’ll are reading this, my husband and I will have celebrated our 11th year of marriage and our 19th year as a couple. It’s of course, not the first marriage for either of us, but we both promise it’s the last.

There’s a lot of lesson-learning that goes on in a 19 year span; I cannot even accurately express just how many lessons have really been learned. We have both expanded our level of patience, him probably quite a bit more than me, and we’ve both learned that neither one of us is always right, me probably more than him.

I came in riding a wave of a red hot temper, combined with a head as hard as stone. He came to me with a habit of driving off when things got tough, and pretty much being only concerned with what worked in his favor/his way, because that’s the way he was used to living.

With both of us being Type A personalities, we learned pretty quickly, that neither one of us was going to put up with the foolishness of the other. It was figuring out how to make everything else work along with our own special brands of behavior that would be the real job at hand.

But we did, and we’re still here, stronger than ever. He helped me grow as a person and I like to think I did the same for him. He helped me raise my two children who are now both intelligent, and very successful adults.

We’ve come a long way from our first date, our first fight, and our first break-up. We’ve crammed a lot of real life into those 19 years. We made it through a cancer scare with my husband – barely two years into our marriage. He’s been cancer-free for 7 years now and we count our blessings every day.

We were both a part of a somewhat traumatic job transformation just about 4 years ago this month of July. We were 20+ year employees for a company that closed down. To have to find yourself all over again at 50 and 61 years of age respectively, well, I can’t begin to tell you what a life transformation that was for us both.

But we both found our footing, got back on the horse, and we’ve continued to move in a positive forward motion, because that’s just what you do in life when you get knocked down. You get back-up and figure it out.

I find myself thanking all the stars above that I found such a strong man to finish out the second part of my life with; a kind and gentle soul to walk beside me on the rest of my journey here on earth. We know one another inside and out; there are few surprises and even fewer disappointments.


We still say I love you before we hang-up the phone and every night before we go to sleep, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

And The Rain Came Down......

And so the disagreement begins with - the dreaded water bill. The water bill reflects a doubled number and of course, so does the septic. Because what comes out of that hose, most go down somewhere. But honestly, that’s something I’ve never understood. The sink in my home, yes. The toilet in my home, yes. But not the water hose in my yard that disperses water OUTSIDE, not down a drain.

But I digress, the water bill comes in with our electric bill since we are within the city limits. I can always tell what day that bills arrives, because upon entering my house from work, on whatever afternoon that happens to be, I can see my husband slouched down in his recliner, the color in his face drawn and pale, and he looks like his last friend as left him.

But then he sees me and suddenly he comes to life. It’s like a bolt of lightning has entered his body as he approaches me clutching that wretched sheet of paper that portrays LIES, LIES I TELL YOU, about how MUCH I have been running that outside water. We stand nose to nose, he tells me the amount, I deny, deny, deny, and the circle of stories that begins then is for someone smarter than me to untangle.

But the bottom line for me is always this: we bought all these pretty flowers, plants and bushes to make our outward home as attractive as the inside and I refuse to let it all die, just because we are currently in the middle of a drought.  So YES BY GOLLY, I’m going to run that water hose as much as it takes to keep it all alive; and then I feel defeated and promise to cut-back to every other day.

However, this promise is made with my fingers crossed behind my back – because the first time he goes out of town, you know that water house is going to be set on high until he returns! I have to get in all the “extra” I can while he’s gone because I’ll be back on water-distribution-restriction when he gets back!

But FINALLY, we find ourselves right smack in the middle of a recreation of 40 days and 40 nights. Well, not literally, but it feels like it. Everyone’s moods have shifted and we are all about to believe the sun will never shine again. But you can bet your sweet bippy our lawns and gardens are as green as they have been in months!

Now if it will just hold off another few days for the Fourth of July! The local kids have potato sack races to win, watermelon-eating contests to fill-up on, pies to cram in their mouths, and bike races around the square.


Come nightfall, everyone will stand with their hands over their hearts and sing loud and clear, the song that unites us all and we’ll watch a beautiful display of colors bursting into the sky, representing the best of what it feels like to be a proud American.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dreamwork = Teamwork

I swear to Suwannee, when I get something stuck in my craw, I’m like a dog with a bone ( I know that’s like a double metaphor), I can’t let it go until the problem, the contemplation, or the idea/plan has come to fruition.  And sometimes, it’s not just a matter of days or weeks before everything gets decided and comes to a head, sometimes it can be a year or so. And that my friends is where the misperception can come in – that is where other folks (like my husband) can get confused and act like they don’t really understand what is happening when it all comes slamming down to the final moment of action.

I guess I tend to think that if I’m still thinking about it, planning it, etc., then everybody else is just going to be on board when it gets time to get down to it – whatever IT is. Well let me tell you my sister planner’s – everybody is NOT always on board. Not at first anyway.

For quite some time I’ve had in my mind to expand my Canna Lily bed. And by expanding it I mean, making the bed quite a bit bigger and finding the right color/fit of bulb to blend with the bulb colors that I have now.

Now I know perfectly well that all of my “ideas” are going to require muscle/help. I’m not able to operate a tiller anymore, and hole diggers and shovels don’t like my lower back very much either. So I also have to put into my configuration of plans, “leading” my sweet husband down the same idea-path as myself. Explaining to him with heightened enthusiasm and imaginative/descriptive words just how beautiful it’s all going to look once “we” have it done. 

So Operation Canna Lily Bed Expansion started last weekend with a Face Book post asking if  any of my friends wouldn’t mind sharing canna bulbs with me – and let me say this – what a success that was! I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people who were willing to help me out, but unfortunately only one or two had the strain/color I was looking for. But after some back and forth, it was agreed they would send them to me and the idea was now moving along at full speed.

Last weekend we cleared/cleaned out the expansion of the bed, tilled up all the grass, and there it sat waiting on the bulb shipments to arrive. The shipments arrived toward the end of last week, and today, my husband and I put them in the ground and finally saw the project to the finish line.


The outside of the bed is flanked with Liriope grass to pull the finished-look altogether and while the bulbs/plants themselves look a little pitiful and droopy right now, I’ll give them plenty of TLC for the next couple of weeks. Then when the soil/bulb acclimation takes place, they’ll grab ahold on their own and all that will be left is to wait for the beautiful blooms to blossom. Dreams really do come true.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Front Porch Swinging and Sweet Tea Drinking

I’m a firm believer that front porches are made for plenty of rocking chairs, gliders, swings, and people. Decorated with clay pots full of flowers, beams that support beautiful green ferns, a hummingbird feeder or two, and some wind chimes making music that would challenge the finest of symphony orchestra’s.

The right front porch is also made for sitting undercover while watching the pouring rain and talking about how all that rain is turning everything so green and sending the grass and flowers into a growing frenzy. For telling tall tales and drinking even taller glasses of sweet tea.

And the front porch is the perfect place for aching backs after working in the yard, away from the sun that has been scorching your skin, and causing you to break sweat like a waterfall as it travels down your face. All of which brings the kind of tired and weariness that can only be satisfied with some ice cold water, or for some folks, an ice cold adult beverage.

It’s also made for quiet, serious talks that require darkness to create anonymity and a silent listener who gives the unspoken promise of keeping a confidence and passing no judgement, and only contributing when prompted from the other side of the swing.

But mostly, it’s a wide open space, inviting any and all, with the high expectations of lots of laughter and smiles, family and friends alike, and the subjects that change as fast as the folks swatting the gnats that seem to take over the South in the summers with a vengeance strong enough that I swear to sugar somebody should have long been rich from creating something to prevent them!   

This past Friday night was little pieces of all of the above as my husband and I made our way out to have a seat on the porch, sometime between 7 and 8pm, and settling down to about an hour of nothing but me and him, giggling neighborhood children in the distance, and the lightening bugs.

When I first met my husband he smoked those big, fat smelly cigars, and I didn’t mind them so much because they reminded me of my Pa Pa Josh who left for heaven when I was just a little girl.  My husband quit smoking them years ago, but he also used to occasionally smoke a little, skinny cigar with a plastic tip on it called Black & Mild. Now that cigar, and that sweet smell, would send me into sensory wonderland. 

A couple of weeks ago when were in South Carolina visiting family, I had bought him one, but we never got still anywhere long enough for him to smoke it. So Friday night, when he walked out onto the porch with that little cigar, and between that old, sweet familiar smell and the conversation/memories it brought back, well it was a wonderful hour on our old porch for sure.


Here’s to hoping all you fellas get to share your family-time on a love-filled front porch somewhere, and that you all have a very Happy Father’s Day.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Whirlwind of a Week!

Who would think in a weeks’ time, one could pack in so much?! Well let me tell you folks something, it can be done. Starting with last weekend which was Memorial Day weekend, when my husband and I headed out for Turbeville SC, back to my husband’s home, the place where he grew-up.

And again this year, as well as trying to make sure our schedule of events and stops included everyone within 3 counties, we had another grandchild graduating from high school, which makes two years in a row and that meant we had another graduation party to attend!

So we actually got to see almost one whole side of the family at once – in one place – which was not only convenient but loads of fun! And BONUS! We were able to see our grandson who lives in Miami and is in the Coast Guard – along with his new wife, and be witness to the announcement about their new baby that will make its entrance into our family come this November! Along with the news that their station point is about to change from Miami Florida to a nice, small town in Oregon – a town with a population of 6,000 or so folks. Talk about downsizing!

But my adventures didn’t stop there; Wednesday evening after work I drove to Marianna, Florida to have dinner with an old friend Tammy Carr, from our previous work place. About 8 years ago now, she and her husband moved to Neosho Missouri, and it had been about 3 years or so ago, since I had seen her last. A couple of hours later, after dinner, some selfies, and lots of laughter, we felt caught-up enough to last us until our next visit.

Then yesterday which was Saturday, I struck out to celebrate one of my closest friends’ birthday. Actually her day of birth was several days prior, but I was out of town, and you know, you HAVE to celebrate or didn’t happen!

We spent the afternoon shopping and strolling through nurseries, taking pictures, and having lunch. It hadn’t been but a month or so since I had seen her last, but regardless, there is always catching-up to do which for us, always brings hilarious laughter and stories.

Proof: I told Kathy while flower-looking about me telling Darla, another friend of ours, that I was confused about how those strawberry planters work. I mean after you put all the dirt in there, and then the bulbs/flowers, how do they know how to find their way to those holes and grow outside the pot? Do they follow the light? I was quickly and hilariously “schooled” on how it works, and yes, I felt pretty DUMB.  Even funnier, did I buy one? No. Because I’m still not completely convinced they’re right!

And finally today, June 4th, my parents are celebrating 57 years of forever-together. That’s a long time of compromises, tender-feelings, different sides, and love. But I think it’s safe to say, they’ve got it wrapped-up from here on out!


Sunday, June 4, 2017

GOALS

I have had to “work at” my weight most all of my life. I was a chubby little girl and I was a semi-chubby teenager. It wasn’t until my late teens that I learned how to keep my weight under control. And by “learned” I mean, by just not eating, by starving myself.

I can remember getting headaches, the horrible kind of headaches that make you sick – from not eating. All for the sake of being attractive to some boy, or to feel like I fit in.

I’ve always been a picky-eater, and still am to this day. There are so many “healthy” things to eat that I just do not like. I have tried them again even as an adult, and unfortunately, though many have said their appetites and taste sensory’s changed with age – mine did not.

I WANT to like salad, I really do. I see them all decked out with chunks of meats and cheeses, but it’s all the other stuff that gets in the way. You know, the healthy stuff like lettuce, kale, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, and onions etc.

And so, as is glaringly obvious, I still have a huge problem with my weight because I like foods that don’t like me, or that aren’t good for me. And starving yourself doesn’t work as you grow older. It only makes you “hangry” and difficult to work with and live with.

I was having a group text conversation the other night with some friends of mine who suffer from the same disease of loving to eat. One of them was saying it only took her two weeks to overcome her addiction of bread, pasta, potatoes and chocolate. Once she got past that two weeks – she no longer even thought about it.

To the first friend I said this: I will NEVER not love bread. I will NEVER not want bread. And that while I am sure that I would feel better if I could shed myself of that addiction, I probably never will – so much so that even from my grave, I would snatch a sandwich right out of your hands should you have a picnic around me one day when I’m gone.

Another friend told me in that same conversation, that you could eat bread on the weight watcher’s food plan. And to my second friend I said this: “Not three baskets of Texas Roadhouse yeast rolls you can’t”. And she said, “Well not all at one time.” And I replied, “And there within lies the problem”.

In case you’re wondering what prompted these latest conversations and my conversation with you now; I saw a picture that was taken of me the other day, and it was not flattering in the least. It made me want to cry, but mostly it made me want to have my eyes checked because I must be blind not to be able to see myself like that in the mirror every day. So my new goal is to take it one day at the time, do my best to do better, so that I can live longer.