New Normal Nonsense

Over the past few years I have heard a phrase used often that, when deconstructed, makes no sense at all. The phrase is, “the new normal.” How can something “new” be normal? It isn’t remotely normal, and although, over time, it might become part of your lifestyle, it isn’t normal when it first begins.

The situation might be considered a new beginning, a new type, a new way of doing something, a new event, a new expectancy, a new thought, a new passion, and new meaning, but it isn’t anything near normal when it is NEW.

Normal. What does that mean? Normal to whom or what? My normal isn’t your normal, and we don’t really have a normal. We have a routine, a way of managing our day and life. Not one day is exactly the same as another, so how can you judge something to be normal? Lets say we have an hour long commute every single day, going to the same part of town, to the same building or workplace, the same position or office, five days a week. Most of us, will not have the same exact experience on any of those five days. The only normal part of that commute is the direction and destination in which we are going. Something different will happen, a random event, an accident, a slow down, something weird in the car next to you or on the train near to you will happen. You might miss your train, the exit, or someone may cut you off causing an accident. Maybe you will have a flat or your car won’t start. On the train or bus, a conversation might start up that you join, or most likely, you over hear and that will set your thoughts off in an original direction. Sure we get to work, but it wasn’t a standard, exactly the same, normal every day thing. It was a day. different, strange, boring, amazing, but it was A DAY,

No job is ever normal either. So you stand in the same spot, doing the same job, but the assembly line fails, someone doesn’t turn up, or is late. Gossip goes up and down the grapevine, someone is having a bad day and takes it out on someone else, everything goes to hell in a manner of seconds when someone throws a spanner in the works. It is a day, but it isn’t exactly the same ever single work day. It isn’t the Old Normal, therefore, how can there be a new normal?

What you have is a change in your life. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. You learn to adapt to or overcome that change in your life. Because if life was always normal, it would be static. A static life is a stagnant life, and that is not normal, in fact, it is harmful, debilitating, depressing, and demoralizing. Human beings are meant to change, sometimes on a daily basis. Those that can’t get left behind as everyone around them moves forward with their lives. The only people who can’t or don’t naturally change daily are those with disabilities, and they do change only more slowly. It isn’t in us to always remain the same. If it was, we would always be children, never maturing beyond being totally dependent on parents and caregivers. It is within our DNA to try to grow up and away from our parents into adults who can take care of ourselves. That growth, while in one way is normal, it is also individual and therefore there is no correct or normal way to reach maturity. It is simply an individual effort that changes daily.

Stop already with the New Normal nonsense. No one is normal, we are all unique with unique moments and events in our lives. Our singular way of coping with those events makes us different from one another, and it also makes us interesting to others around us. There is no Old Normal, there is no New Normal, there is only change and how we cope with those changes in our lives.


A Short Holiday

We went on a brief holiday over the past four days. The more I am around people, the less I like them. Maybe it is because I am old, and I was raised with manners, expectations of certain social behaviors when in public, and on threat of perpetual grounding, expected the same from my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Things I witnessed this past week makes me wonder about the safety, sanity, and abilities of future generations.

Story One:

We were in the resort restaurant for the dinner buffet. The place was packed, as they usually are. After getting our Addie settled with her meal, I wandered off to check out the grown up menu. A woman pushed past me, and as she did I noticed she was wearing a bikini top and a pair of pajama bottoms with a pair of mukluk boots. Now, granted, we were at a place where the main attractions were the pools and slides, but at first glance she looked like she had jumped out of bed in her bra and pajamas to grab a meal. First of all, she was everything I hate in people. Loud, pushy, obnoxious, and demanding. Secondly, she was downright tacky. It is one thing to grab a snack in your swimsuit at the snack bar, but it is far different to turn up to dinner dressed like that. And don’t get me started on just how tacky it is for a grown woman to be running around in public in pajamas. How hard is it to throw on a pair of trousers or jeans, descent shoes and a top? I don’t even care if you need a bra and don’t wear one, but really, put some damned clothes on.

Story Two:

Same restaurant second day there. We were at the Breakfast buffet. (It’s cheaper and there are more choices.) I get in line behind a family of a mom with her two boys of about seven and nine. She is on her phone. The older boy grabs a plate and starts filling it with eggs. Four large serving spoons of scrambled eggs. Mom says nothing. He hits the bacon next. He scooped up no less than twelve pieces of bacon. Mom says, “Honey let me have some of that bacon.” She takes one piece off his plate. He dives back in and puts four or five more pieces on his plate and heads for the hash browns. By now the first plate is full. He gets a second plate, mind you he can come back for more. He fills the second plate with hash brown potatoes and covers them with gravy. Then hands the plates to his Mom, who takes them, and he heads to the cereal dispenser. He fills a bowl with Fruit Loops and milk and heads back to the table, where the server is setting down his hot chocolate and orange juice. Their table is right across from ours. Because I had never seen a skinny kid that age eat so much, I wanted to see what he would do. His mom nibbled her bacon and sipped on her coffee while she stayed on the phone. The boy ate a few bites of cereal, had a few sips of hot chocolate, and didn’t touch anything else. His mother never noticed. They got up and left and she was still on the phone. Someone needs a lesson on wasting food and greed. Oh, and on parenting.

Story Three:

We decided to take a drive up into the mountains to see the National Park. We went to a very cool place that has a drive through living history thing. That takes everyone to see the old settlement in the valley. It is about eleven miles round trip and there are loads of places to stop and take photos and go into the old buildings. We ended up behind a car with a family of five. Two parents, three kids. Like everyone, they had their windows down. Two of the kids, one on each side, were sitting on the window sill of the doors, hanging outside the car, leaning back as far as they could go. Granted, the speed limit was about ten miles an hour, but there were a lot of sudden stops as people would decide to leave the road and park to take photos etc. We followed them for about two miles, and ever single minute, I expected one or both of those kids to fall out of the car. I kept falling back as far as I could, terrified I would run one of them over after they hit the ground. Finally, they stopped and we got past them. About half a hour later they turned up at the ranger station. Someone called out to the woman in the car and asked her why she was allowing her kids to do something so dangerous. Her response had a lot of F words in it, and basically said it was no one’s business what she let her kids do. The first woman said it would be everyone’s business if one of those kids got hurt. More than a few folks agreed. The woman was on her phone and smoking her cigarette, the kids were running wild, trying to climb on everything they weren’t supposed to climb on, and she basically told everyone to go do something anatomically impossible. The dad never got out of the car or engaged with anyone. The rangers made the kids leave the exhibit after the two girls started fighting over stuff. Unbelievable.

Story Three:

Back at the restaurant the next day at lunch. Vastly busy. We were seated next to a table full of pre-teen boys between ten and twelve. There wasn’t a single parent near them. The tables were next to windows that looked out over the wave pool and water slides. Two of the boys turned around and were kneeling in their chairs backward. Then they started rocking them back on the legs and banging the backs of the chairs on the windows. I asked the wait staff if that was a good idea, the guy shrugged and said, “The windows are supposed to be break proof.” At my surprised look he said, “They’re being kids.” Then walked off. I called him back and asked to see a manager. I explained that all glass has a breaking point, all it takes is for the right amount of pressure to be applied at the right point. Even if it is shatter proof, it will crack, and sometimes it will fall from its frame causing the window to come crashing down and the kids could fall out of the window. She said she understood, but that they were not allowed to correct other people’s kids. So my husband got up and went over to the boys and said, “You know, banging into the windows might not be a good idea. If they break and you fall two stories to the walkway below, you could hurt yourselves. That would make the rest of your vacation suck.” They stopped, turned around and finished their meal and left. How hard was that? If you don’t say anything, kids will just keep on doing what they do until someone gets hurt. Especially boys that age who still haven’t learned to fear getting hurt.

Story Four:

Parents and phones. If you are going to spend upwards of three hundred dollars a day for a family to go on a holiday, why are you on your phone? It is supposed to be a FAMILY adventure. We saw kids from the age of three up doing their best to get their parents attention. The parents never put their damned phones down for a second. Two little girls about Addie’s age, somewhere between four and six were playing in the water right in front of their mommy. They were thrilled to get up the courage to go into the water up to their knees. They were having a great time, squealing and jumping around. “Mommy look! Mommy watch me! Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!!!” She had a phone in her hand, face buried in it. Not once did she look up, take a photo, or interact with them. It was no wonder that in minutes they were whining and crying. All they wanted was five seconds of Mommy’s time. That enraged me. Those poor kids. And it was like that everywhere we went at the resort. Parents on their phones, at the pool bar, ignoring their kids. Why the hell bother to take them anywhere if you aren’t going to enjoy time with them? I never took my phone out of the room while we were there. Neither did my husband. And Addie got every bit of attention she deserved.

Story Five:

I was waiting for the elevator to go to our room. Waiting with me was a mother and three teenage girls. The girls were surly and snarly. All of them complaining of different things. One in particular that I pegged around the age of fourteen was really snarky. The elevator comes and the doors open. Instead of allow the people on it to get off first, the mother and all three girls shoved their way on. The other family with four little children almost ended up with one child left behind. I got on just as the doors closed. The hateful girl sighed and rolled her eyes at me. When I asked if she could press the floor button for me since she was standing in front of the controls, she moved and snarled, “What am I, your slave?” I looked at her mother, she had her face buried in her phone. I pushed the button for my floor, then the brat stood back in front of the control panel and pushed down on her floor button. Her sister asked what she was doing and she said, “I don’t want to have to wait for anyone else to get on. Its and old fireman trick.” I said, “I don’t think that works on these new elevators, most of them require a key to make them stop working.” At that time we stopped. The people waiting were going down so didn’t get on. I didn’t say anything. We got to my floor. The girls piled off, I waited for the mother. She was still on her phone so I got off. I heard her say something, but didn’t understand her. I asked her what she said. She told me I was rude for not letting her get off with her daughters. I pointed out that the doors were getting ready to close so I kept them open so I could get off. She gave me a nasty look. So I said, “While your learning some manners of your own, why not teach some to your daughters as well. You aren’t the only people who are paying to stay here and we have just as much of a right to use the elevators as you and your daughters. If you don’t like people sharing the elevator, take the stairs.” I got the expected F word response. It wasn’t worth my time to deal with her idiocy. I figured she would get her karma response in dealing with those hateful girls of hers.

Story Six:

We had a great time. Addie loved everything from the swimming and wave pools and slides, to painting ceramics with me, and doing sand art with her Papa. She loved the ranger station where they helped her learn the life cycle of moths and butterflies, and she got a Junior Ranger Award for answering all the questions correctly afterwards. She got to have Old Time photographs with fancy costumes along with her Papa, and she ate at a real diner for the first time. We all stayed up too late, ate too much, and wore ourselves to a frazzle. It was too bad so many other kids weren’t having fun with their parents or grandparents, and so many parents were acting annoyed to be there. Addie was in her element as the center of our attention, and the one melt down she had was quickly under control because a time out sitting in the middle of Nana’s bed with nothing to do is no fun. Next holiday, I think we need to go somewhere that has a lot fewer people and a lot more nature.

I Am Take A Side

I find it deeply disturbing that everyone wants to start screaming hatred at each other when discussing this horrific act of violence against innocent human beings. It becomes political from the moment it happens, and it just keeps getting more and more vicious as everyone takes a side.
Well, I am taking a side.
I am taking the side of the parents who will bury a child, be it one of the students, or their son or daughter who was a teacher.
I am taking the side of the community that will now bury 17 of their neighbors.
I am taking the side of the first responders, police officers, and adults who had to face the horror inside the school in the aftermath of the shootings, who will face the nightmares that will come from those hours.
I am taking the side of the students who lost friends, and who will have to go back to school and remember the fear.
I am taking the side of the mothers who will mourn for the rest of their lives.
I am taking the side of the fathers who will forever feel as if they didn’t protect their lost child.
I am taking the side of the victims, each one whose life was cut off without warning, though no fault of their own.
I am taking a side that condemns the media, pundits, and hate filled rhetoric of the people who think their opinion about guns is more important that taking time to pray for, with, and about the deep sorrow of the families of those who died.
I am taking a side. It isn’t about us, it is about them. I hope you will join me.

You Must Think You Are So Smart.

Someone posted on social media a foul mouthed rant filled with profanity by some immature teenager about President Trump. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about today, since the world is filled with horrific things, not the least of which was the latest news of the death of children and adults at a high school in Florida. My deepest sympathy to those who lost a loved one. In all of the horror, a silly, under educated child ranted about how much she hated President Trump. How, may I ask is that going to make a difference to those who are suffering today? It won’t. But maybe she feels better and thinks she is something special for knowing how to use naughty words in front of the entire world. Too bad all she did was let the world know just how uneducated she really is. I responded on social media that people would take her more seriously if she understood civil discourse and had the vocabulary and ability to form a cogent argument for her rant. One person responded to my comment by saying this, “You must think you are so smart.” Several responses occurred to me immediately.

First, what did my intellectual ability have to do with the topic at hand? The comment was a non-sequiter. So, I shrugged at that behavior.

Second, I figured he didn’t like the fact that I used words like cogent. Maybe it was too intellectual for him to comprehend without use of a dictionary. So, I shrugged at that thought.

Third, I decided he deserved a response, after all, it must have taken him a whole minute of his valuable time to come up with that brilliant analysis of my comment. So, I wrote back and thanked him for noticing that I am, indeed, quite smart.

Then I started to deconstruct his sentence, as I often do when I am a bit bored. It is the ingrained English teacher buried deep in my soul that causes the need to take apart idiotic comments. Generally they are in what is commonly referred to as “memes,” but you find them in comments made by people who have hubris issues, or who are simply unable to think things through to a logical conclusion.

“You must think you are so smart.”

Actually, sir, I don’t. There is no “must” about how I think, or what I think. I simply think, something I am sure that is uncommon in your circle of life. I don’t “think” I am smart, I know I am. Assuming, of course, you are referring to the common use of the word “smart” to mean that I am intelligent. If so, then I agree with your assessment of my intellectual capability. I am indeed smart.

According to all the exams I took at various ages throughout my life, I am considered to be somewhere in the genius level of the scale. However, when one adds in life experience, and common sense, I am even brighter than the exams tout. So, of course I am smart. Most people are, if they simply allow themselves to think, read, learn, ponder, study, and use their brains rather than their emotions to contemplate reality and life. Even if one tends to use emotion as the litmus test for intellectual ability, at some point reality must make an appearance so said person might be able to walk and talk at the same time. So yes, I am indeed smart. I don’t think I am, I know I am, and that sir is the difference between us.

Yes, I realize that you were trying in your own way to insult me. Sorry, you failed. I found it amusing, if somewhat confusing, that you would stop the flow of the discussion to throw in an insult based on your dislike of my comment. Then, it occurred to me that you probably didn’t have the ability to respond with an argument that would reply to my questions about civil discourse without the use of profanity. Because, sir, you simply do not have the ability to use a vocabulary that isn’t beyond the common vernacular of what passes for an education today. In short, sir, you cannot form a response that isn’t profanity laden or insulting, lacking in any form of debate or sense. It would be emotionally laden and strident with hysteria and anger instead. How dare someone ask you, or expect you, to speak without using foul, substandard language when trying to debate a topic. Well, I did, and I do. Because, I simply refuse to believe that humanity has fallen so far that they cannot carry on a civil conversation with those who may think, or believe, differently.

However, let us return to the profoundly inept sentence you worked so hard to display. The word “smart” has more than one meaning. So, if you meant to use it in another manner, such as in how well dressed I tend to be, then again, you are quite wrong. I don’t think I dress smartly. Although, according other people I do clean up quite well, I prefer to dress comfortably. That generally means jeans and shirts of various styles and fabric. I wear them with either sandals, boots, or shoes, depending on where and what I am doing and the time of year in which I am wearing them. So, generally, I am dressed neatly, with clean clothes, but not of the highest fashion or newest styles. So, in that I am not smart when I leave the house. Because, sir, I am smart enough to know what I like to wear.

So, I thank you for noticing that I am smart. And though you wanted to insult me, you amused me on a gloomy winter day. All the while I was writing this, I was smiling to myself. Why? Because I knew it would baffle you, annoy you, and you would take ages to understand that you made a complete fool of yourself. Oops.


A Blank Page

There is something about a blank page that bugs me. It doesn’t matter if it is on my computer screen or a real piece of paper, it screams out for something, anything, to be written or drawn on it to make it unique.

When my kids were little, paper was a way to keep them entertained for all of two minutes while I made a bathroom stop. A notebook and pencil in my purse or diaper bag was a must to hold off boredom in places like restaurants and church. As they got older, we used paper and pencils to write words, and draw pictures to go with them. Sometimes, if we were in an appropriate, and sometimes not appropriate, place we would make paper airplanes, or fans, or anything we could by folding paper. It was a useful tool.

Then, when my kids were teenagers, before we all had text messaging, they left me notes on the fridge, the front door, in my car, and sometimes, on me, to remind me of things they needed or places they needed to be. I did the same for them and for my husband. Notes became an every day way of communicating in a busy teenage household.

But always, through the years, writing down my life was a part of my daily routine. I filled pages of paper in journals telling my story. Then I started writing down imaginary stories, always trying to write something that would teach, lead, or entertain others. I wrote letters, by hand, and notes saying Thank You, or You Are Invited To An Event, to others. I wrote love letters to my husband, and letters of appreciation and admonition to my children and grandchildren. I wrote the histories of my ancestors, and reams of papers for college courses.

Today, I still write every day. Sometimes it is just a blog, sometimes I work on a book or a short story, sometimes I just write an email, a response on social media, or to my elected officials. Like reading every day, writing is as much a part of my life as breathing. I can’t imagine being unable to do either.

So, today, when I was faced with a blank page, I thought about how important it is to write things down. Because once you are gone, and your children are gone, who will remember what you said, how you though, or the feelings that filled your life? This is your chance to put down the words that mean something to you. This is your time to tell your own story, opine on your ideas and dreams, and your time to say what you really think about any and every subject that comes to mind.

Every personal story is important. Without personal accounts of events, real history will be lost to the ages. All that will be left is what the professional politicians had to say, or the media of the day had to say, not what every day people had to say about a moment in time. Daily grind events are just as important as life changing events. And in the future, some many times great grandchild will sit in wonder reading what you really thought, did, or felt in your life. It will amaze, thrill, and surprise them with the turn of every page. Write it down. Inquiring minds will want to know.

A blank page is an opportunity. Don’t waste it.


Where Is The Joy?

Recently, I sat in a room full of people waiting for an appointment. I joined the people around me and sat with them for nearly an hour. In all that time not one person started up a conversation. Now these people weren’t sick with the flu or any sort of illness that would have them feeling miserable. And though there could have been some anxiety among them due to upcoming tests, it wasn’t something that would be catastrophic news if it were negative. So, why, I wondered, was the room filled with miserable, grumpy, unhappy people?

When I sat down, I greeted the lady next to me by asking if the seat was available. She nodded, and humphed at me, like I was bothering her by asking. I was being polite, I could have just plopped myself down and ignored her. I smiled and thanked her. She shrugged and muttered, “Whatever.” Okay, so she was in a sour mood. Happens to all of us. But she wasn’t the only person with that sour attitude.

Okay, no one likes to wait at a doctor’s office. I get that. I don’t either, but instead of sitting there being put out, I plan for the wait. I have my Kindle, or a book, or something to work on. I hate just sitting with nothing to do, unless I am talking to someone. So I got my Kindle out, to continue reading a very funny story. I try, when reading in public, not to laugh out loud since it can bother others, and it makes me look slightly, um, off. But, the book was really funny, and I got caught off guard and laughed out loud at the story.

Holy Cats! The looks I got would make you think I had passed gas or something. Ten or more sets of eyes turned toward me as I laughed. They were glaring, and faces looked angry or annoyed, brows drawn, mouths frowning, and not one word was said. Nothing. Just glares. It was freaky, like they were all connected by a puppet master. For a heartbeat I almost apologized. However, something rebellious in me wouldn’t let me. Holding up my Kindle, I said, “This is a great story. The writer really has a way with humor.” Normally, someone would ask the name of the book, or comment about humor. Not that day. Nope. The grumpy woman next to me actually got up and moved one seat over. Really! “Huh!” I thought, “Excuse me for having a sense of humor.” I went back to reading.

This whole event got me to thinking about people in public. The question that kept jumping out was, “Where is the joy?” Is it now forbidden to be happy in public? Are we not supposed to laugh at things? When did it become rude to be polite? The people in that room were all about my age, some older, a few younger, but we were all pretty much of the same generation. We were raised to be polite, respectful, and to know how to casually chat in a public setting. As a people, have we forgotten how to communicate with one another unless it is by typing on a computer or phone? Or is it just no longer socially acceptable to acknowledge those around you?

Even when people are talking to each other, they have their eyes constantly moving toward their device of choice, just in case a remote being contacts them. Most of the time, people in public aren’t laughing together, everyone seems so serious, like happiness is forbidden. So, I ask you, Where is the JOY? Why is there a pervasive feeling of negativity around people most of the time.

Last time I went to the grocery, I was greeted by a lady that has worked there for as long as I can remember. When she started, she worked in the Pharmacy. When I was desperately ill for a year, she handled most of my prescriptions. Since my husband was in there several times a week for nearly a year, she got to know him well. When I was finally healthy enough to leave the house, we went to the store and she walked right up to me and hugged me. “Mrs. Combs, I have been praying for you every day. I am so happy to see you are well enough to get out of the house. Your husband sure does love you.” We chatted for a few minutes. Fast forward to now. The lady who greeted me was laughing and telling everyone hello. She greeted many by name, and when she saw me she walked up and hugged me, practically dancing me around in her joy to see me. “Mrs. Combs! I am so glad to see you today, you feeling well?” Her JOY was amazing. Everyone who met her smiled, everyone was glad to see her too, and the few who just walked by in their grumpy world, she simply let go. It didn’t bother her, and she didn’t let it infect her joy. I hate shopping, but I look forward to her greeting every time I go, because she makes me happy no matter how busy, inattentive, frustrated, or hectic my life is. At that moment, I am distracted from the nonsense and engulfed in her JOY!

So, people, Where Is YOUR Joy? Why do we plod through the day, when we can dance through it? How have we allowed ourselves to be afraid to be happy in public. You know, my Grannie used to say, “Smile, honey. It makes people wonder what you have been up to.” She was right. Smiling has a very strong response from everyone. Some smile back, some nod, some people ignore your smile, but most just act like you have insulted them by being rude enough to be happy or polite.

Everyone is angry, in fact the younger generation seems to make angry the “go to” emotion of their daily life. Being offended is an art among a lot of people. And, if you dare to be happy, or even content, you will be condemned, either overtly or covertly by people around you. I don’t get it. I was raised to be polite, to smile in greeting people, and to conduct simple chats with strangers in a public setting. I want to be happy, but for years let myself be shamed into being mute.

The rebel in me refuses to allow that from now on. I am going to be like the lady at the grocery. I am going to smile and greet everyone with a sense of Joy. And if they ignore it or dislike it, I will let them go on their grumpy, angry way. But I will have done my part in being Joyful. It is up to them to pass it on. I ask you again, Where Is The Joy in your life?


Husband at the Nail Salon

Today I made a memory, well actually, we made a memory, my man and I.

The weather has been horrid for the past several days, well below freezing and there is still ice everywhere on the roads. I managed, some how, to break one of my fingernails. I am not a vain woman for the most part, but I do like to have pretty nails. Since the nail salon was still open, but he didn’t want me driving on slippery roads, my husband drove me to the salon, and to keep from freezing to death, went inside with me.

Like most Saturday afternoons, it was pretty busy. But not as packed as usual since the roads were bad. We had to wait for about twenty minutes before they got to me. He came prepared with his Kindle and his tablet to kill time while waiting for me to get finished. It always take about an hour to get my nails back to perfection. He patiently sat and waited, no fidgeting, no complaining, no deep sighs or any of his other signs of dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, the shop slowly filled up.

The woman doing my nails asked if my husband wanted a manicure, I explained he was just waiting for me since he didn’t want me to drive on the bad roads. She, and the two women on either side of me thought he was pretty special to do that. I don’t think he noticed all of us glancing at him as we discussed why he would do such a thing. The lady on my right sighed, “He must really love you. How long have you been together?” I told them I met him when I was 15 and married him when I was sixteen. Neither family thought we would last, but here we are 46 years later. The lady on my left, did the “isn’t that adorable” coo women make when something touches their heart. The woman working on my nails smiled, “You so lucky, Ma’am.”

Apparently, she told her co workers in their language what was going on. All the women looked at me and smiled. Then all looked at my totally oblivious husband who was lost in his book. Then all of us did the woman’s coo thing. A round robin of chatting took place with women commenting on how long they were married, and how they didn’t have a man who would treat them with such sweetness. After a few minutes, everyone went back to their business. But glances were cast at my husband and myself every so often as the news filtered around the room.

When I was nearly done, I asked my husband to come take a look at the color I had chosen. They were the color of a stormy winter sky with sparkles. He loved them. Said they looked like I had stars on my nails. Everyone around me giggled. The lady on my right winked at me, the lady on my left sighed, “He is a keeper, honey.” I agreed.

When he went to pay for my nails, a lady who was waiting looked at me with shock. “That man your husband?” I said he was. “And he payin’ for your nail without getting mad?” I said he was. “Girl, you all gotta be newlyweds.” I laughed, “No, we’ve been married for 46 years, and he is almost house trained.” She laughed out loud.

My husband always helps me on with my coat. Always. Just like he always opens doors for me, and helps me up and down stairs. He is, quite frankly, a real gentleman. I know, quaint. But it is one of the things I love the most about him. When he helped me on with my coat, every single woman in the place was watching. When he hugged me, and then opened the door for me and offered me his arm, like he always does, every woman in that room collectively sighed and did the woman coo thing. I smiled to myself, feeling, a bit smug. But also, grateful for the man I love and the gentleman he is. And he never once noticed he was the center of attention of at least thirty women. It is a good memory. It will still make me smile years from now.


Living in Her World

She lives in a world of princess dolls, tea sets, and toy horses, each enhanced with her imagination into a fantasy world of unending play and drama. She has deep conversations and interaction between her dolls and horses, and a tea party will include every toy she can find and her grandfather. She dances, prances, twirls, all in her tutu of the day – without an ounce of self conscious behavior.

In her world, everyone is expected to understand the rules that she sets forth and changes from moment to moment. It is her world after all. Her princesses posture, argue, share, and talk for hours, just like people in the grown up world. However, it is all driven by the imagination, intelligence, and curiosity of a four year old girl. When I over hear her say something that sound remarkably like something I have said to her, or her Mommy has said, it makes me smile. There are time she sounds amazingly mature, and other times it is clear she is fully engrossed in some magical moment of discovery.

In her world, her teddy bear, toy cat, and prized princess horse can have an intense conversation over pretend tea and cookies, while her imaginary sisters squabble in the background. I don’t know how she keeps the story lines straight. Maybe it doesn’t matter, because it is her world and subject to change without notice. And, like it or not, those of us on the peripheral are involved when we are needed to further the narrative.

Living in her world includes frequent costume changes, and requires a fashion show for each change. Sometimes it requires a new way of doing up her hair, different shoes, and a full change from the skin out. She dances her way through the day, fully aware of her beauty, and proud of her ability to be a princess one moment and a baby the next.

In her world, where she displays supreme self confidence and control, she has no fear, except a fear of the dark. She faces monsters, outrageous characters, stubborn dolls, and the occasional grumpy horse that needs a talking to. She laughs and dances through the story, the moment, the magic. And, at the end of her day, she crawls into her Papa’s lap, asking for a story to go to sleep by. Then, the next day, that story finds its way into her world, continuing on in her imagination.

Living in her world is a delight, a blessing, and an unending adventure. Her favorite living companion is her Papa, who willingly joins her world, and deeply misses her when she is away. We are old, she is young, but with her in our lives, in our hearts, we have learned to play again. Time to go see what is next, a tea party or a pretend trip to the barn. Either way, we will be in her world, and it will be an adventure worth remembering.


Where Are The Feminists? I’m Waiting.

With all the news of ‘famous’ Hollyweird people and politicians being slammed by “sexual misconduct” claims over the past few weeks, I have to wonder if the leftist chickens have finally come home to roost. For years the women of the left have been screaming about any perceived misconduct from anyone on the right, giving men on the left a pass, no pun intended, on their behavior. Anything from saying someone looks nice to asking then out on a date was seen as a sexual attack of some sort. And boy did they scream and wail about it to the talking heads of the opinion channels. (They used to report the news, now they just rant opinions.) The feminists ranted, railed, pointed fingers, demanded that the men involved be hung in effigy, and ruined more than one career just by uttering innuendos based on rumors. It was ugly, like most of the women.

Now, their secrets of how things are behind the scenes of the leftest bastions of entertainment and half of the politicians are out for everyone to see. At first, everyone rallied to support the men who were accused, then, as woman after woman came forward, it got very, very quiet on the leftest feminist front. Women came forward, some famous, some unknown, and made their claims, one after another. And the power wielders started to fall like dominoes. Still, the feminists stayed quiet. No ranting, no rallies, no hangings, nothing. Why is that? These are men, they are the ENEMY! Why aren’t the “nasty women” who wear nasty hats and dress like female genitalia marching on Hollyweird and Washington D.C.?

I’m waiting.

Personally, I think that it is horrific for a person, man or woman, to use their position of power to sexually harass anyone. Period. And women are just as guilty of doing that as men, don’t pretend it isn’t true. Anyone with power will be tempted to use that power in ways that are inappropriate. The person who doesn’t shows integrity and strength. However, being a person with power over others also leaves them vulnerable to lies being told about them by those who don’t like them having power. The smart person is like Vice President Pence, they avoid being alone with the opposite sex to avoid any hint of scandal or wrong doing. But the leftists feminists had a hissy fit about that, saying he was being all sorts of prudish. Now, that it has been proven being alone with anyone is a reason for sex scandals, not a word is coming from the leftist feminists screamers. Why not? Oh, sorry, that would mean admitting the Vice President was correct in his behavior.

So now, the man hater feminists of the academia are shouting that ALL men are predators and, therefore, evil. We must, as a nation and as a culture, demand that all mothers train their little boys to behave like little girls, or something that will keep them from growing up to be, well, men. We must make them sensitive, emotional, metrosexual males who are unsure of their sexual identity and who are not masculine in any way. In short, they can’t behave like men. They can’t be logical, they can’t shoot guns, they can’t drink beer, and they certainly can’t sit with their legs apart in public, or swear. Women can, but men can’t. What a load of bull. Every woman I know who is a real woman wants a real man, not some girlie/boy wanna be, who can’t decide if they are male or not.

According to the talking heads of the liberal opinion stations, ALL MEN ARE TOXIC. It doesn’t matter if they have never done anything inappropriate in their entire lives, we all know they thought about it. So that makes them evil and a threat to all women. Wait, what? So that makes all women victims of sexual assault because a guy thought they were attractive? Then why do women go around dressed so men notice them? Isn’t that baiting them into a reaction? Doesn’t that make women just as bad? What exactly does Toxic mean in this context? Or does the phrase just sound good to the leftists?

The loud, ugly, obnoxious women who screamed for equality in all things are now presenting themselves and helpless little women who are victims of the big bad men around them. You can’t have it both ways. Either you are a strong, independent, competent woman who can stand her ground and fight her own battles, or you are a whimpering victim who needs to be protected and taken care of by others. If you are going to shout that you are a “nasty woman” who hates all toxic males just because of their genitalia and DNA, then you are not a victim of anything but your own hatred.

Those who are sexually assulted or harassed in any way must stand up and tell their stories, when it happens! Do it immediately to stop the perpetrator from continuing his or her behavior toward others. Don’t be a silent victim, be proactive.

Unless, of course, you are willing to do anything for your career and bow down to sexual predators to climb that ladder of success. If you do that, you have no right to complain and whine now. You are just as guilty as the perpetrators.

Where are you feminists? Where is your outrage about this?

I’m waiting.


I Am A Writer?

I wrote a book. Me. I like the book I wrote, but so do other people, and that surprises me. Now I am writing another story. And that surprises me even more. It’s scary to write a book, it is even scarier to let people read it. Because I am putting myself on the line, and I don’t do rejection well. Never have, probably never will. So why bother to do this?

I am 62 years old. I have led a varied and amazing life. And like everyone, I have stories to tell. Not about me, really, but about people I’ve met, things I’ve seen, places I’ve been, and the miracles that bind people together in the most amazing ways. I want to tell those stories without being specific about those people.

So like most writers, I want to tell the stories in a way that is fiction, based on facts and experiences. It is a fine line to walk, because someone might recognize themselves, or think they do, if they know me. Or maybe not. Depends on who it is and when the story takes place. Writers tend to write what they know, and some of us, (Wow, I said US!) write what we know in very different times and places. Science Fiction stories are still based on known quantities in an imaginary place. Humans are always going to act like humans. Vampires act like humans with extra abilities and sharp teeth; monsters act like humans with terrifying abilities and attitudes. Even stories about dogs and cats have situations where humans place their human behavior on the cats and dogs. I find that interesting, with varying degrees of horrified. What I don’t usually like are writers who have a formula for their stories. They tend to all have pretty much the same storyline, the same characters, and no real surprises. Boring.

I figure I have read hundreds of thousands of books over my lifetime. I started reading when I was four years old, I taught myself. The first thing I remember reading was Jack Be Nimble. I loved nursery rhymes. I’ved read every genre at one time or another, everything from earliest written books to the most modern books. Learning along the way that I hate creepy books, and the people who write them must have some deeply disturbing issues to be able to write things like that. Mr. King, you need serious therapy. I also dislike predictability in a story, and if you are going to write historically based books, please, get the facts straight about the minutia. It drives readers nuts to know you have it all wrong when it comes to things like the use of guns, martial arts, and magic. Really, speak to a modern day witch before assuming you have it right Fantasy writers.

I admire writers who have the courage to toot their own horns, doing what it takes to get their books read, even in this age of massive self publishing. I haven’t decided if I want to publish, well I do, but I don’t know if I have the courage to publish. I am really worried I will make an ass of myself, like I often do when I get in front of a crowd. Yep, me, cowardly lion here. Unless it comes to politics, family, friends, or my country then I can be brave and speak my mind.

So, I’m a writer, sort of. The stories really write themselves. I just go along and type it up for the characters. I’m having fun, and if I get rejected, I get rejected. The stories have got to be told. I’m a writer, who would have thought that would ever happen?