Sunday, January 31, 2016

Nothing Lasts Forever

Besides people – obviously – do you know what is the most disappointing thing to talk about that doesn’t last forever? The things that you hate to admit, that although yes, you could live without them, but no, you just dang sure don’t want to – washers, dryers, air conditioning/heating units, and televisions.

Now let’s take that first couple of items and talk about them – I’m fully capable and it’s absolutely doable, and I do wash my delicate’s in the sink by hand, but I have NO desire to wash all of our clothes by hand; besides, I also don’t have a running stream behind my house to wash them in.

I did the whole clothesline deal two different times in my life. And I love the smell of fresh dried sheets off-the-line; I work, and hanging them up in the early-morning-dark and taking them off after a long day of work is not anything I desire again at this time in my life.

Side-note: my washer is on its last leg and when the spin cycle begins – it sounds as if a tornado is rumbling through the house. But we’re hang on until it spins it’s last breath or the floor falls through, so this story is not complete.  

I think by now, we ALL know where I stand on the subject of the heating/air unit and what it provides – which is nothing short of sanity and pro-longed life for all my friends and family. This morning my men were watching an old western and as I sat in my chair, I caught glimpses of those women in all their dress-garb.

I truly mean this when I say: how in the literal hell did those women survive menopause, hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings? How is it that women were not the most murderous human beings back in that time of history? Because I can picture it clearly – I had trekked down to the pond to scrub clothes with a rock, hung them all out, took them all down, milked the cows, hayed the horses, rung three chicken’s necks for dinner and I’m standing in five layers of clothing, sweating like one of the pigs that are outside wallowing in the mud to cool-off, cooking over a fire stove, when my man storms in the door bellowing at me “Woman, bring me a whiskey!” Yeah – I’d bring him a whiskey alright – cause he’d get one last shot of whiskey to make that bullet less painful.

And last, but certainly not least, television. Ours has been dying a slow death since the first of December, and this weekend it died. We had MANY discussions about “we’re not spending that kind of money on a TV” – and let me be clear – that was not my point of view.  Because let’s face it – work, television, and eating are our life now that our kids are grown. And by golly, I want Heinz (not Great Value) ketchup, a job I like going to everyday and a television that fits my description of perfect.

And guess what? That’s what we bought. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

I have A Dream

I know everybody talks about it, dreams about it, and wishes about it; but what would you REALLY do with it? Would you really be as whimsical about how you used it, or would your intelligent senses kick-in, which would cause you do right by the miracle of it all?

$900+ million dollars is more money than any of us could possibly spend in a lifetime. Even after taxes, the amount of money left is a ridiculous figure, and to just sit-around and make-up things to spend it on would not be my style.

I have always known exactly what I would do with that kind of money, because for me it’s all about my family and helping people – that may sound corny – but I’m a pretty simple person with simple dreams.  

First I would buy about 500 acres of land, have it all cobbled out into sections, far enough apart for people to live their own private lives, but still connected enough by roadways and trails, that ALL of our family’s from both sides could live on the same “compound”.  All the homes would be custom-built to each family’s liking, decorated as they saw fit, and set-up with enough land for farms, horses, cows, or anything else they wanted to complete their home life and make them comfortable.

And the most important must-have: right in the dead center, there would be a man-made lake that each home would dump-into by a dock, stocked with fish. A place that would fill hours of time with joy and laughter for children and help adults re-live memories of their childhood summers spent doing the same thing.  Grandparents teaching grandchildren how to bait a hook as they spun tales of fishing adventures of days gone by.

Then, on the town square, I would open my dream book store for adults/children alike.  It would be
warm and inviting, smelling of coffee, hot chocolate and warm sugar cookies, with circle-times for little boys and girls, and guest readers for both adults and children. White Christmas lights adorning the shelving and casings, giving the year-round’ feeling of magic and warmth - the same magic and warmth that would line the shelves with stories to take you to faraway places of feel-good and love.

That would be my last job in life; enjoying every single minute of watching little faces light-up with laughter, doing Uncle Remus voice-overs as I read aloud stories of rabbits and brier patches, Dr. Suess’s Hop on Pop, and The Magic Hockey Skates book that my first-born still has on his own bookshelf today. The smiles and joy from those little faces would bring me a happiness unmatched by any profit the bookstore might or might not earn.

The rest of the money, I would of course help who I could, in whatever way I could, including proper charities and organizations that stand for the rights of all treated unfairly or forgotten.  There are enough people hurting, hungry, homeless, and needing help, that I would never have to venture outside the United States.  

Still dreaming. No winning numbers here. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Clear as a Bell

Every day of her life, she wakes-up, and follows the same routine. Her feet hit the floor, she stumbles to the shower, half-sleep / half-awake she bathes, and washes/conditions her hair. 

Next, she begins to apply the base of her make-up, foundation first and lipstick next. She looks back in the mirror out of habit, and suddenly realizes what a smeared-up job she did. Her lips are crazily crooked, and the lipstick is the same; crooked. She swipes at it with a tissue and moves on.

She’s about to depart for work, standing at the kitchen counter, swallowing the vitamins that she always hopes “makes her a new woman”. Water dribbles down her chin and onto her shirt, causing her to talk to herself about her clumsiness, dabbing her shirt with a dry paper towel and wondering if this is the way the rest of her day would go.

It would be several hours before the true events would completely unfold. A co-worker would notice her drooping mouth, non-blinking left eye, and that only one-side of her face would react in a smile. She would spend several of her own hours in quiet panic, pounding-away at the keys on her computer, googling symptoms, signs, and what if’s – and worrying the worst – that she may have had a mini-stroke.

It was too late in the day for a doctor appointment – but through her own personal connections, she would see her own doctor the very next day. Intelligently, she felt like she knew she was not the victim of a stroke, but she also wondered if she had convinced herself of a better outcome, simply because every other outcome was too terrifying.

By Wednesday, December 23rd at 2:30 pm she would learn she had experienced a Bell's palsy "occurrence". 
The medical definition is this: "Bell's palsy is a form of facial paralysis resulting from a dysfunction of the cranial nerve VII (the facial nerve) causing an inability to control facial muscles on the affected side. It is thought that an inflammatory condition leads to swelling of the facial nerve. The nerve travels through the skull in a narrow bone canal beneath the ear. Nerve swelling and compression in the narrow bone canal are thought to lead to nerve inhibition or damage. Typically, the condition gets better on its own with most achieving normal or near-normal function. Corticosteroids have been found to improve outcomes, when used early, while anti-viral medications are of questionable benefit. Many show signs of improvement as early as 10 days after the onset, even without treatment."

Her face is slowly coming back to life, and her smile is creeping back-into the left side of her face. She has appreciated all the first-hand shares of experiences for something she never even knew existed before now. That people put their hearts and stories as open accounts of their own pain and fear, has meant the world to her as she walked the same path with fear of the unknown herself. 

Pay attention to the changes in your body. A wake-up call? Maybe. A kick in the keister? Absolute.