Strange viewpoint from a 50something

Posts tagged ‘life’

No matter how old… always my baby

Kyle did not come into the world in the usual way… in fact, he didn’t want to come at all. He breeched and a C-section happened. When his doctor reached in to retrieve him, he slipped from her grip! A laughing gasp and I heard her little foreign voice… “oops! trying to get away??” She dove back in and grasped him tightly and gave a good yank! And that is how he made his entrance!!

kyle 2

This little guy, all blonde curls and green/grey eyes, became my little protector from the word go! It came into true play when he was about seven or so. I had been “almost mugged” one night at the grocery store. A man approached me with a gun and demanded my car keys!!?! It didn’t work out for the mugger and I was told by countless people how lucky I was. I didn’t realize the impact of this act of crime on those around me until a few days later I had said I wanted to go out to the store. My little guy said that he wanted to go with me wherever I went because he had learned in school that muggers don’t attack women with children!! I will never forget the look of love on his face, and his intent to save me!!

kyle 3

On this day, 30 years ago, my son was born. He has since become a man who has faced many obstacles in his life. Over the years there have been many good memories and some not so good. That’s what happens when you live life. I am very proud of the man he is becoming. And that little boy love I felt all those years ago, I see again in his grown man eyes.

 

kyle 4

Happy Birthday Squirt! I love you!

If only she could answer…

Hello?

Hi ya Ma,

Hi Sweetie,

I miss you! How is it there?

It’s wonderful! I’m with your Dad, he looks so good!! =]

You doing ok?

Oh yes! I’m off the oxygen and I can breathe again! I’ve even lost some weight!

That’s great Ma..

Dad and I have been doing a lot of dancing since I’ve been here…

I’m so happy for you.. you got a few minutes to talk?

 

 

3 years since I’ve heard her voice. I’ve dialed her number countless times. As it rings, I imagine words that will be said. All the things I want to tell her, those small victories to have her cheer about.. all the hurts I want to cry to her about.. all the love I felt no matter what I did or said.. all those encouraging words to lead me in the right direction..

If only she could answer..

 

 

 

 

 

One question after another, conclusion.

25 questions concluded….

21. The saddest time that shook your world. The death of my Mom. A year ago this past Sunday. By far, one of the hardest years I’ve endured. I’ve wondered many times why her death has hit me so hard… I’ve lost many other important people in my lifetime. She was my Mom. She was my anchor. It’s true I am older but she always kept me grounded and she inspired me with her spunkyness. She was so many things to me. The void is very huge. And I still hurt.

22. The unfulfilled ambition that still haunts you. Throughout my childhood and into my teens, I was going to be a singer. And back then I could sing. Maybe if I hadn’t felt so insecure I might have taken a different path with it. But at that time, my sorry self-esteem did not go well with my teen years. I did a lot of things I shouldn’t have and ran with the wrong people, trying to find some sort of validation. Eventually delving into the world of drugs and mischief, and I didn’t look back for many, many years. The fact that I came out on the other side of the drug use is a wonder, but I did. And that I am fairly undamaged from the abuse to my body, has me perplexed! Unfortunately, the loss of my innocence and the loss of my voice changed that long ago dream.

23. 23 was actually a question I didn’t like. And because I am so mentally challenged at this time, I can’t even make one up.

24. Describe your funeral. I would like for there to be a gathering, just as we did for my Mom. We called it a Celebration of Life Party. Remembering the good times. Yes, there was a lot of crying. Remembering the good times. There was also much laughter. Remembering the good times. Just the way she wanted it. Always remembering the good times, that is how I want it. Simple as that.

25. The way you want to be remembered. That I helped other people realize just how wonderful it is to have life by the ass. Until that last breath… you’re in charge! No matter what the circumstances being alive is awesome. Keep making those good times. =]

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Dear Reader, I will apologize for the lengthy gaps in between posts. Hit a couple of personal road blocks that I had to figure my way around. The detours were plenty. Living the life, I am. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

One question after another, part 2

25 Questions continued…….

 

 

6. What one thing would you do if you were invisible for a day. I would spend the entire day walking the halls of the Smithsonian Museums. Being invisible would afford me the freedom to get up close to history – past the velvet ropes and those rundown old security guards. I would love to breathe in the aura of some the our worlds greatest treasures. To see those inventions that inspired someone to make a better world, or some fantastic artifacts brought back from every corner of our world and galaxy. Would I touch the hem of one of the dresses worn in the movie Gone With the Wind?? Yes, I would, but ever so gently. To see wonderous works of art, beautiful paintings and sculptures, made by the hands of other humans no better than I am. I would be a sponge absorbing as much of all this wonder that I could. But I’d need a map… I’ve been told I couldn’t see everything in a day!!

7. The pet peeve that makes your hackles rise. Stupid drivers who drive against the arrows in parking lots while giving you the evil eye because you are in their way. Arrghh!! #$@%*!! Don’t get me started…..

8. The film you can watch time and time again. The Shawshank Redemption. It stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. (Before this became a movie I had already read the book, which was written by Stephan King! It was so out of genre for him, as it’s about humans and how they react to pressure, instead of spooks or aliens.) A story of great courage and faith in a world of complacency, greed and hopelessness. Where some gave up, our main character held on. Wrongfully convicted of killing his wife, he goes to prison where he is violated and abused beyond what normal people can take. The lesson? Hope. Never give up hope. Best line of the movie… Tim Robbin’s character ‘Andy’ is talking to Morgan Freeman’s character ‘Red’, after explaining all the money laundering he is doing for the warden, Andy states, “I had to come to prison to become a criminal!”

9. The person who influenced you most. Ruth Lewis. Ruth and I worked together as PBX operators for Ramada Inn. This was indeed the old phone switchboards like on Green Acres that you pulled cords and pushed into holes to connect calls. (Wow. That in itself is quite a memory….) At that time I was just 18 and Ruth was in her late 60’s. She was a happy lively gal who always had a smile on her face. If you asked how she was doing she would remark, “Just Peachy!” Her upbeat philosophy was so contagious that just being close to her you felt better. I was lucky enough to get to know Ruth. Always with a joke or some funny tidbit that happened in her daily travels. She had a worn deck of tarot cards that she kept her her purse. She’s get those cards out and shuffling away, with a little glint in her eye she’d say…. “Are ya ready?” Hahaaha! She told my fortune everyday I saw her…. with a few differences most of them said the same thing…. I would live a long life, I would find a wonderful man. I would travel. I would… I would…  I would. The laughter that she and those cards provoked were epic!! After I left that job I stayed in touch with her for a few years. Sadly, I lost track of her. I would guess she may have died by now. But then again, she might still be kicking somewhere! My understanding of this friendship is becoming clear. She was the precursor to what kind of person I would like to become. She used to tell me that in the end… nothing matters more than continuing to breathe. I get it now. Live while you’re alive. Laugh and laugh some more. Enjoy your life and remember that the only thing you cannot recover from is…. death.

10. The figure from history that you’d most like to share a meal and a drink. Audie Murphy and Alice Huyler Ramsey. I couldn’t choose just one.

Audie Murphy (1925-1971) I first came to know about him because he was an actor. I saw him in a lot of westerns that played on television all day long on Saturdays when I was a kid. But the film that I loved him in the most was a war movie called “To Hell and Back”. It was years later that I found out that the movie was about him and he was playing himself! This man is one of the most Decorated Veterans of our history! He died at age 45 in a plane crash. And in his short life, not only is his service to our country incredible, but he was a early champion of PTSD which was then known as battle fatigue or shell shock. As he himself was a sufferer. I thought then, and still think today, that he was one of the most attractive men I have ever seen. Yes, let me clink glasses with this man and Thank him for his service. *sigh*

Audie L Murphy

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“Good driving has nothing to do with sex. It’s all above the collar.”

Alice Huyler Ramsey (1886-1983) Thank you Mrs. Ramsey!! She was the first woman to drive from New York to California in 1909. 3,600 miles and only 152 of those miles were paved! The trip took 59 days. It was the first real road trip for girls! (She was joined by 2 of her sister-in-laws and a girl friend, and not one of them could drive!) One thing to remember here is, not only was a woman driver frowned upon at that time, but this was waaaaay before roads became the interstate system we are spoiled with today! She changed her own tires and cleaned her own spark plugs! I’ve read a couple of stories about this adventure… sounds like something I would have loved to do! She was honored as “Woman Motorist of the Century” in 1960 by AAA. I think her and I would have been buddies. Go Alice!

Alice Huyler Ramsey

Aside

One question after another…

For the past few months I have wanted to do more blogging, but the words… I just can’t get them to paper without sounding like I’m drowning in misery! I have a few great posts left in me but just can’t hook on the thoughts and bring them to the surface. So instead of forcing it, I am going to try jump-starting in a different direction.

I came across an edition of a TV Guide from a European Sunday newspaper on one of my planes. Since I love to read, I browsed through it. Endless stories about the tv shows that are currently showing. It also included a piece called “The Definite Article”. Where they ask a celebrity (in this case it was Scottish actor Tom Conti) a set “of devilishly probing questions – and will only accept THE definitive answer”. They were 25 very interesting questions, that really had me wondering how I would answer each one. So I am swiping the idea and will answer those same 25 questions myself.

1. The prized possession you value above all others. My car. It represents my freedom. I can get in it at any time and find myself on a new path to anywhere I wish to go. I’ve had many cars over the years… and to each one, belong memories of my life’s adventures. Many of my greatest moments revolve around my travels. Driving has been a passion since I was 18 and I cannot live without that mobility. Whether I was running to, or running away from, something ~ my car has always been my one solid.

2. The unqualified regret you wish you could amend. My first tattoo. I was 13, and I had a crush on a kid who had a tattoo (with me it was always the bad boy… sheesh!). 13 years old and all I heard was – a needle, a pencil and a bottle of indian ink. I’ve covered all of them since then, but the irony here is – that kid with the tattoo that I had the crush on..  he never knew the influence he had on me and he never saw the tattoos I scratched onto my own skin, for him. (**)

3. The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions. Up with the sun, I’d start with a full breakfast at a street cafe, somewhere on the east coast, maybe Savannah, Georgia, so I can watch the sun rise on the water. I would then spend the afternoon on a clear beach, near the equator, say the Galapagos Islands, with a margarita in each hand, and some of my girl peeps, just laughing and giggling!! Dinner time would find me in Italy, at the table awaiting a huge plate of spaghetti and never-ending supplies of bread and wine. I would wind down the day, behind the wheel of a badass V8 5 speed, with a full tank of gas, windows wide open, music blaring.. zipping along the Autobahn, in Germany. (No speed limits…. ahh what a dream!!) Then to end my fantasy day, I would have a 2 hour massage in a comfortable bed under the stars, somewhere right here in these beautiful United States of America.

4. The temptation you wish you could resist.  Oreo cookies and a glass of ice cold milk. ‘Nuff said…..

5. The book that holds an everlasting resonance. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Published in July 1960. One of a few books I have read more than 20 times. With each read, I find another nuance that I didn’t catch before. The characters, the time and places portrayed here were touchable to me… the southern charm and quality. The heat and humidity. The racism, always wondering about the black/white issues that still prevail, even today. But the low key heroism of Atticus Finch, that is what captured my attention most. His honesty in raising his children. (For that time in history he was a very unconventional single parent.) His humility about life and his backbone. These are the things that drew me to him. The strongest of any other character that I’ve come across, he stood up for what was right, not what was popular. He treated everyone with great respect and gracious honor. His morals about human beings taught me to be open and fair to all I meet. And to remember that we all walk a road that no one else will ever understand. Funny, I’ve just this moment realized I have looked for Atticus Finch in every man I have ever met. wow…  I’m going to have to let my brain chew on that one for a bit…..                 (I’ve often wondered if, because of this book, it’s the reason I find myself so comfortable living in the south…. hmmm  more food for thought! (**) )

It took me a couple days to answer just these first 5… and I still have 20 to go!! So this will be a multiple segment post!! I am discovering a little about myself that even I didn’t realize! Enjoy… it may take a while for me to answer the next 5, try to stay tuned!

The grey reign is over.

Seems a lot changed in my world since my last birthday. I became the speed limit in Sept. (sorry, but I don’t drive 55…ugh) Up to that point last year…  things ROCKed!! Did a lot of wonderful fun things, took a few trips, (5 to St. Louis, 2 to Bristol(!!) and 2 to Florida.), made some new friends.  Life in general was happy and upbeat! Floatin’ along ~~~

Then, bam!..  my birthday.

Then, double bam!! .. my Momma.

Life suddenly grabbed the road, like hot tread on sticky pavement, and I was screaming in the wrong direction. I was so blindsided all I could do was jam on the brakes. Stopped dead. Just like that. Everything. For 5 months I lost all joy. And just as spring is about to bud I find my spirit looking up. I am coming back to who I am. Things are different – yes. It’s still me, with new bunch of mental scars added.

During this time frame, I stopped dye-ing my hair, Not because of any forethought. Simply… I didn’t think about it. After the holidays, I noticed how grey I was under the coloring. So talking to my stylist, one more hair cut and my hair would be all natural… no leftover dye residue. Another month went by. Last week was the cut. Even she said she didn’t realize how grey I was…. ouch! The cut was great as it always is! But I was so washed out. O. M. Really?? Went out that night and the mirror in the ladies room (under that brightass light!) showed a very grey old girl looking back at me.

Let’s just say I got my mojo back, complete with my special lick of color! Now, looking back at me is still an old girl, but damn she lookin’ hot!!! Haha!! Great things do come in small boxes. Thank you Revlon!

It takes only a second…

He was on the bench, just inside the grocery store. Sitting there in slacks and dress shoes, wearing a freshly ironed plaid shirt, with his Retired Air Force cap straight on his balding head, he was just some old man waiting for his wife to finish shopping. The vacant look on his face makes most people think he isn’t all there… maybe alzheimers, maybe dementia, but he watched as each person passed him. I, too, watched as each person passed him, not giving him a thought.

I walked up to him, “Excuse me Sir”. I reached out my right hand and finished, “I’d like to Thank You for your service to our country”. He looked up at me, I saw as the tears began to well in his old eyes, he struggled to get up, once on his feet he squared himself, and reached out and took my hand in his. His grip was light but purposeful, gently squeezing my hand, his gratitude was like electricity running up my arm. “It was my honor to serve.” It was then that I saw the fire in his eyes… I took him back to another time, another place. Somewhere only he knows. I asked if I could sit with him a minute, I wanted to hear about his service. After a few minutes of hearing his personal story I realize all of his military history was lived before I was even born. But that matters not, to me. He served in one of the bloodiest wars of our time… and he returned. Many did not, and it’s for them that he represents.

A frail woman pushing a grocery cart, walks up to us. She eyed me with some suspicion, I stood up and reached my hand out to him one more time. “Again, let me thank you, Sir” I began, but this time he interrupted. “I’d like you to meet my wife, Mrs. Johnson, she is also retired.” I swing my open hand towards Mrs. Johnson, I say “Thank You, Mrs. Johnson, for your service to our country.”  She reached out, I cupped her tiny hand in both of mine and looked her right in the eye. “I am so proud of you both” I say. The frightened look gave way and this little woman grew a smile that warmed my soul.

I don’t know how I affected their day… but I am forever changed. And forever grateful for the freedoms that they were willing to give their lives for.

 

Thank You to all who currently serve, for those who have served, and for each soul whose fate was the ultimate sacrifice. You are not forgotten in my world.

(#singingoutloud) “I am a-live….. with the sound of mu-sic”..

Since fighting my way out of that standstill funk, I have been on the run!! I am excited again about the prospect of each day… I am back to wanting to meet life with full force. And part of my getting back to life was music. That which swirls through my veins in complete unison with my blood. I’ve discovered that it is as important to the running of my body, as any other function that keeps me going.

When I was going back and forth to St Louis, during my Mom’s issues, I didn’t pay much attention to the music. It was on… but only as background noise. With each drive, the same tunes… the same feelings… the same nothing. With all that was happening to my Mom, I felt I would be betraying her in some way if I were feeling too good. After she died, I temporarily lost interest. The music played but I wasn’t involved.

Last week, I spent a couple hours erasing and loading my ipod. As I added song after song, I felt the excitement growing. (There is something very powerful about anticipation!) Music is magical to me. No matter what my mood may be… I have a song to match it. Let me add, too, that it is such a personal thing… matching mood to music. Some of the saddest songs I favor make me feel the best!

This particular list was comprised of some of the best sing-along-mood-lifting-gear-shifting-head-bopping-steeringwheel-banging music I own. Getting myself in my little blue car… hooking up the ipod, adjusting my tail in the drivers seat, easing the clutch pedal out….. and I am on my way! I turn the volume up and the shifting and singing begin!! I can not and do not sing for anyone but me. I don’t kareoke. I don’t break out in song at random in front of people. At home alone, or in my car…. I can belt ’em out! The physical act of singing.. gosh, I don’t know if I can explain it, but it feels so good!! The euphoria that comes over me! The pulse of the music is thumping from the trunk and it awakens my body- making my skin tingle! I sing along with the words ~ and I feel awake and alive!! 

Nothing compares to the sizzling of all my senses when I am flying down the road, singing songs that create these fabulous endorphins!! The sight of me must be something! I just hope the one thing people think to themselves, when they see me in this state, is that I must be having fun. Because being alive… it does feel so good!! 

 

Snap out of it already!!!

Finally!

I thought I was going to drown in that wet paper bag I’ve been stuck in. Riding on a merry-go-round of misery of my own making. I have had a life full of great and wonderful times and some low moments I would rather forget. The hardest moment just occurred with the loss of my Mom. I knew her death was eminent, but the shock of it was more than I could bear. There have been many people in my world who have died. With each life that I knew, I grieved in a different way when their end came. With my Mom is has been different. I still fight with the sadness of her passing. It may last for the rest of my days… after all, she was my Momma!! My little girl heart hurts so much. Her soothing voice in my ear was something I relied on, I counted on. And the funny thing is, as wise as I thought she was, she never gave me advice! She didn’t tell me what I should be doing. She just asked the right questions and kept me talking until I could figure it out myself. I didn’t realize that until she was gone. I have had many moments since her death that I picked up the phone and dialed her number. The reality that she is not there is devastating.

Well, it took a little doing, but I feel as if I am shaking off some sort of hibernation, like I’ve been out of the loop. I spent a month going through and dividing all of Mom’s pictures. She had a trunk filled with envelope after envelope, all marked with date and occasion, and in order. Everyday a few more envelopes are gone through and divided. I watched my family regress in time, my grandkids and my kids, the sibs and their families all became younger! It was very cool to see all these events with my Mom’s camera’s eye. Most every picture told her story. I loved it. But it consumed me. Wanting the past… gosh I couldn’t let it go!

The thing is… as I was reliving my life backwards, I wasn’t living life forward. It wasn’t until I finished the picture division and put it all away that I realized I had checked out of life for a time. I was miserable. I went to work miserable, at home I was miserable. I didn’t want to do anything. I was on autopilot. I even saw it in my face. I lost my joy. I don’t know how it overtook me, I guess like all things in life… you let it go a couple days… soon it becomes the norm.

It hasn’t been just the loss of my Mom… I’ve had a couple of other setbacks, too. But enough happened all at once to keep me feeling as if I were failing, at everything. I wore failure all over me… like I was dipped in it. I was letting setbacks define my life… instead of using them as the stepping stones I’ve always used them for. Me and setbacks are true friends from long ago. Thinking back I know the minute I snapped out of this funk. I am so grateful for the eyes of a friend. All I needed was a spark. One powerful sentence from her and the furnace fire was lit. I spent the next day breaking out of the sadness I had been content to live in. Suddenly it’s not that damn dark anymore! I hope the world is ready for my return because I am back among the living! Hello Life!

How fast was that again?

Dear Reader,

I have one more repost from my original blog home. My daughter’s birthday is just around the corner and I wrote the following in honor of her 30th birthday, last year.

Saturday Feb 4, 2012 

30 years.

That block of time went by in the ‘blink of an eye’. Stupid saying, but so true. Defined by my daughter Shelby, my ‘Booboo’, as I loving refer to her, who was born Feb 11, 1982. As her 30th birthday approaches I am so overwhelmed by thoughts of her. Her actual birth day was such a surprise! I had returned to Minneapolis just a few days earlier from a trip to St.Louis. A St.Louis baby shower!! It had been stressful not because I had flown, but because the day I was to board my plane and leave St.Louis, there was a blizzard and I couldn’t even get off my Mom’s street to make it to the airport!! The entire midwest was covered with record snowfalls.. most types of transportation were near stand still conditions! But it was just a one day inconvenience as St.Louis plowed through the mess and got the city going again the following day.

Not due until March 21st, my little sweetie decided she was ready to make her entrance… (so like her mother, with that unfortunate personality flaw – does not like waiting!!) And the next thing I knew I was holding this tiny little creature, all 5 pounds and 1/2 ounce of her.

If you had asked me, (well you didn’t even have to ask me as I voiced my opinion quite loudly on the subject!!) I would have told you that I didn’t want to have children. I was a very selfish entity that could only think about the immediate needs of ME. In fact, at 25, I still had growing up issues! My mind never wrapped itself around the idea of being a parent. I had even said many times that if I were to get pregnant, then I would take means necessary to change that status.

One day, after a few days of not feeling well, my best friend brought me a pregnancy test! No! Not possible!! But the damn thing said yes. Ok. Here I am. After all the bragging of what I would do if…. I now find myself at that crossroad. But, something inside… something inside..   I agonized over it, I changed my outlook on things and I stepped into a different world. The world of Motherhood. ugh. Even the sound of it. This is going to be so hard. What was I thinking??

As any woman can tell you having a first child is extremely frightening and extremely exciting!! There is nothing like it to explain the mixed emotions. The body changes… the belly… the mood swings… it was wonderfully distressing! I don’t know if I would have been more prepared mentally for her arrival if it had been closer to the ‘supposed’ due date. The fact she busted out early was soooo my life!! When they placed this so very small bundle in my arms…  my heart screamed bring it on!! I have so many stories about my little sweetie. So many cool things that only her and I share. The unconventional upbringing she has had shaped her into the loving, caring mother of three she has become. She is someone who taught me about myself in her innocence and teaches me to this day.

30 years.

It went by in a blink of an eye…