Strange viewpoint from a 50something

Posts tagged ‘love’

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!

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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!

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…

Repost of… An Unexpected Afternoon Escape

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21, 2012

As I grow older I realize I envy the young. Oh how I long for those lost lazy days of being a kid with nothing to do and not much to worry about. Except how I look, does that boy I like even know I’m alive, will I ever be ungrounded (!!), will I get a good grade on that paper I wrote… you know – the important stuff!! Haha!! Those were the days when I dreamed of being older! How could I know that at the same time most adults were dreaming of being younger?? What a cruel twist of fate!!

I was recently transported back in time. Complete with all the adolescent feelings I had long forgotten. When I was in grade school, there was a reading program that once every so often the teacher would pass out an order sheet for easy read books. I have always had a love for horses. I would do extra chores at home, or go on a hunt for bottles to return to the store for deposit money, just to make that little bit to buy every one that involved a horse. I gobbled up those books like a hungry animal and would read those that grabbed my heart over and over. Gentle Like a Cyclone, The Blind Colt, The Red Pony, Black Beauty and of course National Velvet. Books were my escapism from a childhood that I was not very happy in. To be involved in the storyline was easy and away I would go, on one adventure after another.

I found myself in town recently with an unexpected couple of hours on my hands. I was angry at first, as now I am stuck, what to do?? Drive home only to turn around and drive back to town? (For those of you who don’t know – I live 35 miles from my job, and that’s driving through town!! Which means at least 45 to 50 minutes one way!) It’s the middle of the day, everyone I know is at work.. ugh now what?? So on a whim I thought, ‘go to a movie!’ Well I checked a couple of theaters and not too many movies starting at that time except one… War Horse. I had seen the trailers for this movie, it looked interesting but not something I thought I just had to see. What the hell. It was now 2:10 pm, movie starts at 2:30 pm across town… could I make it? I could miss the first few minutes I suppose, although I HATE that, because you might miss an important moment that effects the rest of the movie. Whatever… I got in the hoopty and away I flew!

I paid for my ticket, stopped at the concession stand, (after all what’s a movie without buttered popcorn and a handful of napkins!?!?) then proceeded to the door marked War Horse. I opened the door to total darkness… ever so slowly made my way to a seat and sat down. To my surprise another preview began and I realize I made it in time to catch the entire movie!! Awesome!

Within minutes of the movie beginning I was caught up! As it progressed I became the young girl I use to be, transported back to my room, laying on my bed with my nose buried deep in a book. In my mind I am in the story, living the life that’s printed on the pages in my hands. The beauty of the horse appealed to me like no other animal. Each horse as individual as the story written about it. Back in the theater, as the story unfolded on that big screen, all those old emotions were as vivid to me as they were back then … anger at this, joy at that, and (thankful for that handful of napkins) crying at the sadness of another part.

The movie ended, the lights slowly returning and I just sat there. Surprised to find myself at a crossroads such as this. Elated that I enjoyed such a great movie. But at the same time a sad sense of melancholy, at lost youth and at lost innocence.

Home now is just a house.

 

Very low key, this drive to St Louis was. I sat in my car outside her house a few minutes.. a little hestitant to go in. I might have sat there longer but little brother was inside waiting for me to arrive. He must have heard me pull up because he was coming out to meet me as I got out of my car. The sadness and relief felt by us both as we stood there and hugged.
After a couple hours of talking and crying and laughing, he asked if I was sure I was ok to stay here – you know – by myself. And I was. I hadn’t felt uncomfortable being in the house… except looking at the empty bed sitting in the dining room. Stripped and lowered, it was now just a piece of equipment. The first thing on my list is to call and have all of this stuff picked up. I want to get the dining room table back in there, so it’s more home than ‘Mom’s last stand’.
I went to bed in a very, very quiet house. Her air machines were noisy but once you were used to the sound it became soothing. So there I layed… in the quiet… going crazy!! I turned the television on and went right to sleep.

The guy came early, picked up the bed and things the following day. Now that the table and chairs are back in their spots, things ‘feel’ almost normal. This has been home for 35 years.. but there remains a vacancy. Her presence is missing. Strange, but when she was in the hospital and we came into this house, she was here, you could feel her. Walking around today I still feel little wiffs of her but there is such an emptiness now. ugh.
Tomorrow will be even stranger as Kenny and I will go speak to someone about her arrangements. She was very clear about what she wanted done and we are determined to honor all that she asked.
I’ve mostly been my adult self the last few days. Whenever the little girl in me shows herself that’s when her death is the hardest. The child in me cries. The child in me doesn’t want to let go… Momma…