Family Reunion


Last weekend, I took my mother to a family reunion down in Texas. I hadn’t been to an event like that as an adult. I knew three people in the entire room, one was my mother. I felt odd, awkward, out of place, and strange. As a mature female of over 60, it was like being back in junior high where everyone else had gone to school together forever and I was the new kid. Awkward.

So, I sucked up my shyness and talked about genealogy, family history, and said hello a lot. I also smiled a lot and I ate far too much good food. It is no wonder all of my family tends toward the round shape, the good cooking gene runs in the family line.

As a child, I grew up away from my parent’s home town. We lived all over the place with the military, and as an adult my husband and I both wanted to be on the move. So I don’t really understand knowing all about one’s cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended family. I know my dead relatives better than the living because I am a family history addict. I am a bit like the odd duck in the family.

They grew up together, or at least with knowledge of one another. And that was a great thing to see. My memories of my grandparents are strong, and real, but these cousins are from different places than my branch of the tree. Still, you could see the solidarity, love, and strength in knowing their family was there in any time of need.

My mother loved every minute, she had looked forward to the event for months and could hardly wait to get there and meet everyone. She kept telling me that she couldn’t belove we were blood relatives to so many people. Of all of her generation, in her family line, she is the only one left. Her parents had two daughters, and my aunt passed away long ago.

Another interesting thing was how the faces looked like faces I knew as a child. The same nose, eyes, mouth, laugh, hairline, walk, and even the way they stood reminded me of other long gone family. Funny how DNA directs how one looks and moves. Strong blood lines tend to breed true. This one certainly does.

I am thankful I went. It was good to see my cousins, two of the few, from my youth that I actually remember. I am thankful that family is so important to our extended family of cousins that they have this reunion every year. I am thankful that I was able to visit the graves of my great great grandfather and grandmother who started our family lines in Texas and Oklahoma.

Maybe next time, I won’t feel so disconnected and awkward. And, perhaps, I will know more than three people in the room.

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I Miss My Friends


I miss my friends. Some have gone on past the veil into the hereafter, some have drifted away and are lost in the history of our world. Some I have left behind as our paths diverged and our interests changed. Along the way new friends have merged into my life, and then, as time goes on, drift away leaving memories, good and bad, that live in the recesses of my heart and mind. All of this is normal in the way we live our lives today. Most of us live in one place growing up and never leave, some leave, and return. Some leave and never come back, and even more of us grew up living the vagabond life of moving often due to our parent’s assignments or jobs. It is what it is. And it made each of us who we are.

Still, I miss my friends.

Lately, the friends I think of most are those who came into my life when I was a newly married girl of 16 who moved to a place called California with my 19 year old husband. All of those friends were young, in high school, crazy fun, and as different from me as any people could get and still be American kids. I envied their carefree, happiness. I also didn’t understand their laid back attitude about nearly everything. Oh, I know, teenagers are filled with angst and stress, hormone imbalances, and worries about everything from test scores to love. But, these kids, always laughing, always avoiding the serious issues and discussions, at least with me, seemed to be so gifted, beautiful, happy. I didn’t understand how they could plan for the future without thinking ahead.

I was raised to understand that working hard, was the priority we faced if we wanted to make something of ourselves. Focus on scholastics, focus on reputation, focus on learning skills, and not to worry about dating, silliness. Life was too serious not to worry. Oh, I rebelled against that. I ran away and married the love of my life at the tender age of 16. Not so much to escape as to hold on to the one man I would ever love.

And I equally rebelled, albeit quietly, against the friends who had it so easy and took everything for granted. I knew they would be in for a very difficult transition from carefree teenager to adult. Whereas I had been training for adulthood my whole life, and knew how hard it was to be responsible, to plan for the future, to prepare for life, they were kids. The gap between us was large, but something I could bridge. Envy or not, I knew deep inside they would never really understand me. Not really.

Now here we are, most of us into our sixth decade, or close enough to shake hands with it, and the gap between us is vast, so vast that I often wonder if they live on a different planet rather than still in the same places in California.

During the ensuing years, we gave life to two boys, and laid one of them to eternal rest, raised one granddaughter, welcomed and love five more plus two great grandchildren. We literally lived all over the world, and the United States. The 16 year old from Oklahoma learned a lot about how truly strange the people of the world are compared to even those in California. I embraced it, taking all I could learn and bringing it into my world. As I went from place to place, culture to culture, I learned to love people of all kinds. I may not always agree with them, especially when it comes to governments, but I loved the people and more than one became more like family than friends.

Meanwhile, my friends stayed in California for the most part. And after all these years, most of them are still like they were as teenagers, only more responsible adults and less carefree. They do many of the same things, and most of all, they think just like they always did. As brilliant as they are, -and they are all talented, intelligent, amazing people – they still think just like they always did about things that are important. And, other than two I can think of, they have all become hard core leftists. Not as far as ANTIFA and their idiocy, but liberal in the most liberal meaning. They all say the same things, think the same things, and believe the same things. It is maddening, because I can’t have a conversation of any sort of importance with them without being blasted with anger, frustration, and downright hatred. So, I miss my friends.

Once, the Mr. and I had a party at our house. It was filled to the brim with all of our friends and their friends, laughing, dancing, talking, and, yes drinking. (Although no one went home drunk, house rules. Drink too much, stay the night.) I have a photo of a crowd of us piled on our bed, everyone smiling into the camera. I love that photograph. Arms looped over shoulders, leaning close to one another, it is easy to see the caring, the love between them. As I look at it today, I only feel sad, and distant from that group of kids. I miss them. But they simply aren’t interested in accepting someone as different as I am into that circle. I guess some of them never really did.

Today, of all of those friends in that photo, only one has minimal contact with me. And it is minimal because, as I have grown, changed, and become confident in myself and abilities, I have also become fearless in stating my thoughts and ideas, and beliefs. And my perception of the world is the polar opposite of my friends. Where I used to allow them to run over me and intimidate me with their ideals, I now stand my ground and challenge them. And it infuriates them. In some way they feel I am a threat or a challenge to their way of life or purpose. I honestly do not understand.

I do not understand why a difference of opinions or ideas means people can’t still love each other. I do not see how using facts, logic, history, makes someone a horrid person. I equally do not see how emotion and anger can make a point that is identifiable beyond that one person. When I argue an issue, I don’t get angry, I am truly trying to understand and to learn while still standing up for myself and my point of view. I guess self control is seen as lack of passion.

But, I still miss those friends who were so much a part of my life when I was in the midst of a life changing time. I look at that photograph and have memories, good and bad, that live in the recesses of my mind and heart. So here is to all of you, where ever you may be, what ever you are doing. Thanks for the memories, Blessings Be to one and all, and may you find peace within, and joy in life. With love, as always.

I Think Your Moral Compass is Stuck on Half-Assed.


Recently, I was discussing a moral issue with some friends. I tend to see such issues as a straight forward thing. Either it is right, or it is wrong. There is not a vague gray area for wiggle room, just in case the winds of social media and group think change in your area. It is either/or, not maybe/if period.

My friends started throwing out the “what if.” and “but maybe.” waffling that is so much a part of today’s decision making protocol. This isn’t whether we have to decide to serve beef or pork for dinner because someone might be allergic or vegan, it is a moral issue. A decision that clearly helps define who you are, and where you stand in issues of great important.

For instance, one person was saying that they didn’t think it was right to hold Bill Clinton accountable for what he did with a white house intern, because she was of the age of consent. (Picture me some what gobsmacked when a feminist said that.) I guess the look on my face caught her off guard because she immediately started to gabble excuses why it isn’t important, now. Moral compass moment: If it was wrong for a man of power to behave that way back then, it is just as wrong now. Just because years have gone by, it does not mean it is any less of a morally corrupt behavior.

It seems there are excuses to exonerate bad behavior just because it happened a long time ago – relatively speaking. I must be way out of step, because I was always taught that if you do something wrong, even if you make up for it, the act was still wrong. Period.

If you can’t make a solid, un-moving decision on right and wrong, then you are consistent on one thing, indecision. Your moral compass is stuck on half-assed. I know, today, it seems that everyone has a right to believe what they wish and live as they like. Fair enough, but in society of any sort, there are morals that must be met or the society falls apart. Is it morally right to lie to each other? Is it morally right to cheat on your significant other? Is it right to steal, or to hurt others just because you think it is acceptable. After all, you hate what that person may say, think, believe, or stand for. Is it morally acceptable to deny the laws of the land and make your own just because you think you should be able to do something illegal? And those are simply laws against man made morals. Get into religious morality and it gets an even stickier situation.

Either/or is making a decision between two things. Most of us have a moral compass that will lean one way or the other based on our inner beliefs. But, the maybe/if crowd are well and truly confused, because they are being led by outside forces like social media, peer pressure, and deep feelings of indecision. They have no moral compass, they just have a need to fit in, no matter what.

I follow the basic ten commandments, and the seven deadly sins are a solid list of things to avoid with all my soul. So that makes me a pretty straight forward, this is right, this is wrong kind of person. Does that make me judgmental? Sure. But no more so than those who stand exactly opposite of me on any given issue. Humans are always judgmental on several levels at any given time. My friends who are opposite me will never admit it. Because they, with all their half-assed morality, simply cannot bear to be seen as anything but perfect. Remember that their moral compass is broken beyond repair, and as such they are skewed in all their inner directions. Part of me pities them, part of me is vastly annoyed, and part of me simply cannot fathom being that stressed all the time.

If you are living in the moment, and if you do not see how the past effects your future, then you might want to check your moral compass. It might need a good clean, it might need some repair, and you just might need to get a new one. At least your compass would be in working order, not half-assed.

Boys To Men


One of my pet peeves is seeing people be upset when boys are being, well, boys. I was a Cub Scout Leader for 13 years. I ran day camps for up to 300 eight, nine, and ten year old boys every summer for eight of those years. I loved every minute of it, even when I heard the same silly or gross joke for the umptheenth time, or had to separate to boys who were having their version of a pissing contest for dominance over the group. That was back when boys were in training to be men. Back before the marginalization of boys by the matriarchal society led by the progressive liberals and the out of step feminists, and it was no longer politically correct for boys to be boys.

My husband ran across this from PJTV. http://www.pjtv.com/series/war-on-men-how-masculinity-is-under-attack-in-america-832/boyhood-under-attack-why-boys-cant-just-be-boys-anymore-10924/

He pointed out that,” Today, Tom Sawyer would be in ADHD therapy, and Huck Finn would be in Juvenile Prison.” Today, boys aren’t allowed to ride bikes without helmets and protective gear. Had I tried to force that on my boys, they would have been outraged because I obviously thought they were too inept to ride a bike without hurting themselves. We, as a nation, have made it nearly impossible for boys to become men, living and growing from their natural inclinations and behavior that is embedded in their DNA.

Because boys are loud, dirty, smelly, and politically incorrect; because they run, make noise, climb, pick up gross things like worms, and they fight with each other our society of fearful mothers and fathers are trying to force boys to be something they are not. All of that is genetically part of being male and teaches them how to be hunters, fearless, curious, and innovative thinkers. It also establishes a pecking order that is vital in a hunter/gatherer community. Of which, we are still very much a part. We just hunt and gather different things today. (And the chief is your boss.) BUT all of that natural male inclination is politically incorrect in today’s matriarchal society in modern western countries.

So, to fit in, to keep from embarrassing their community or family, their NATURAL male instincts are cut from their lives, and they are forced into more feminine behavior, along with brain washing that being male is a bad thing. Enslaving the minds and bodies into unnatural behavior makes them act out more. The easiest way to control them is to label them with some sort of disability and drug it away. Along with being unable to just be kids, they ‘lesson and sport’ kids from the time they are five or less. No kid needs to be in ballet at three, no kid needs to be on a team at five. They first need to learn how to play and work together on their own, to create their own social group without helicopter mommy and daddy making sure their darling child is treated fairly. (That means better than others in PC lingo.) We do them no favors by removing them from the natural rhythm of play and forcing them into the unnatural world of competitive passive aggressive sports or lessons. All it does is place more stress in their already submerged and trampled maleness.

Playgrounds are no longer mayhem. No kids running around playing and yelling, no foot races, or natural male competition is allowed. Instead, everything is organized and ‘fair’ (gag) and no one learns to be a leader, problem solver, or how to create relationships. Everything is a passive aggressive competition since out right competition is forbidden as someone has to lose. Yep, we are making our boys weak, immature, and incapable of being men with all their natural abilities. That is how we end up with confused metrosexual guys who aren’t sure what they are, male/female/straight/gay or human.

By labeling everyone with a disability, the kids who really are having problems and really need help are pretty much marginalized and shoved to the back of the line. Besides, don’t you know it is the IN thing to have a kid with a disability? Everyone is trying to get that diagnosis so they have an excuse for why their kids, male or female, is out of control. Personally, I believe that most of those kids just need attention at home, and the occasional kick in the pants for bad behavior, oh, and taught some manners. Parents need to parent and stop being afraid of what the social group they hang out with will think.

And another thing, since I am already on a rant. We need to stop forcing our children to play together when they don’t like each other. If they don’t want to share their toys, especially with a kid they don’t like, stop making them. All it does is to teach them to be confused about their feelings, and to see themselves as the ‘mean or bad’ kid since they are being politically incorrect. I loathe hearing parents to tell their children to ‘play nice’ when they need to be telling them to have fun. As adults it is hard to deal with social situations with people we can’t stand, to force that on a child is beyond cruel.

Another reason so many boys are labeled disabled and on drugs is because it makes easier to control an over crowded classroom of 35 kids. If the kids are drugged, they aren’t a problem for the teachers who are free to teach regurgitative education for the purpose of state tests. There is no need to expect the kids to think, theorize, innovate, or invent, because they are too drugged up to care. Some teachers love that because that means they can meet the goals set out for them with less pressure from the powers that be.

So where does that leave us when they become teenagers who have been given powerful behavior altering medication for years? What happens when they become young men with the natural behavior of males totally squashed and unrealistic social behavior forced on them? It leaves many of them unable to cope with anything.

Aggression is frowned upon, although there is a constant need to prove themselves. Boys turning into men aren’t supposed to be gross and rowdy, they are supposed to be caring and emotional, you know, like girls. That isn’t to say they aren’t caring, but they do not go about it the same as a female. They think differently, and no amount of constant belittling of their maleness will make them think like a woman – they have hardwired DNA.

Where does that leave us? With kids who are used to being drugged up, and incapable of understanding how to cope with feelings and needs. So they self medicate with alcohol or other drugs. They act out in rage that they don’t understand because they have been told from birth that they cannot be angry. It is bad to be angry. To give into anger makes them a bad kid. Instead of having their entire childhood to learn how to cope with emotions and anger, they are taught to deny their feelings. Men, boys, males of all sorts need to have that challenge of other males. They need to have that opportunity to learn how to build a social group that works for them within the boundaries of being a guy among a bunch of other guys. They need that chance to be gross, smelly, dirty, and loud. They need to learn to be men by being boys first.

OK, off my soap box

Pity Me, Pity Us


I read this article from Salon by Julia Bount.

http://www.salon.com/2015/04/29/dear_white_facebook_friends_i_need_you_to_respect_what_black_america_is_feeling_right_now/?upw

This is my response:

What a load of pity me, pity us. Because you allow, ALLOW yourselves to be victims, and once you are, you wallow in the whining and refuse to take responsibility for your actions and for the lack of parenting and fathers who stick around to BE fathers.
This is NOT a black and white issue, one of the officers charged is a black Female!! This is a flat out, rabble rousing issue by the likes of the pot head in chief and the likes of Sharpie Sharpton.

Every thing on that pity me list screams victim.

I hear hopelessness

Not just a black issue. Poor people all over the world feel this way. Think you have it bad? What about the women in the middle east who suffer just because they are women? Beaten, raped, murdered, just because they are women. Compared to them, the worse off black American is living in luxury and freedom.

I hear oppression

The only people oppressing black people, are the democratic/progressive party and black people. Sharpie Sharpton WANTS you to be oppressed. That’s how he makes his living. So do the political left, that’s how they make their money. The more the government interferes with your life, the more dependent you are on them, the more they get to keep you as mental and emotional slaves. Oppressed? Really? Then break out and refuse to be. Not by riots and following the propaganda and brain washing, but by being a human being instead of a victim.

I hear pain

So do I. But not because of racism on the part of the white people. I hear pain because the black community destroys its own community. Violence, drugs, riots, burning down business owned by black people who live in their community. Two or three generations who have lived within the welfare system, but have every opportunity to get free of the grinding down of their dignity because they are afraid, or lazy, or it is easier to make money selling drugs and ruining even more people in their community. Self defeating behavior causes pain. Along with the fact that they have allowed themselves to become mentally enslaved by the system. All the opportunities given to anyone else are also available to black Americans, and probably more so than other folks.

I hear internalized oppression

Now there is a phrase: Internalized Oppression. That means that they SELF oppress. No one is doing it to them, they do it to themselves. Where did they learn that? Not from white people. Over my life span, I have seen proud, hardworking, business owning, educated, and wealthy black communities become ghettos of drunken, drugged, drop outs who spend their time on street corners doing nothing but encouraging each other to feel oppressed. Gangs are one of the most oppressive things in most communities, fostering fear and violence against their own, and if the police intervene, they whole community goes against them. Even if the gangs are committing horrific crimes. And then there are the professional riot folks hired by folks like Sharpie Sharpton and his pals telling everyone they are being brutalized by the white people. Again, it is easier to let someone tell you that you are a victim and believe it than it is to stand up and refuse to allow the government to tell you that you are unable to care for yourselves. Internalized Oppression – SELF defeat, SELF fulfilling prophecy.

I hear despair
I hear it too. From the people whose lives were destroyed by the riots. Those who will have no jobs from the fires. Those who will have no way to make a living now that their business is gone. I hear despair from white people who have done everything they can to prove that they are not racist toward black people. I live in the South, I don’t see it here. The only people in despair are those who feel they are being labeled as a racist just because of their skin color. The majority of Americans, by far, simply ignore skin color. WE DON’T CARE what color you are. We CARE about how you behave, treat others, and contribute to the community.

I hear anger

For what? Not getting every thing you want? Because you get arrested more than other folks? Have you ever considered the fact that the majority of crimes are committed by young black males? Don’t do the crime, don’t do the time. People of all colors get arrested and go to jail for many things. Get you kids off the street, make them go to school, make them understand that if they go to jail, then they will pay for the crime they committed. You think you are profiled? Well, duh, stop being the most criminal group out there. You blame it on white supremacy? Really? It isn’t just because you are black that you are watched closely by cops, it is because of the amount of crime the black people commit in certain communities. Preventing crime is the responsibility of the police. It is their job. And black people aren’t the only people to get hurt while being arrested. That’s what happens when you fight, argue, and taunt the police officers.

I hear poverty

Really? So do I. The poorest people in the US are the working poor. Blue collar workers who have to support their families on low income wages do without a lot more than those who can use their EBT card to buy everything from cigarettes to steaks. The hardest working people, the middle class, small business owners, those that keep the city and country functioning – including police, firemen and women, nurses, technicians, store owners, those that work hard to provide for their families so their kids will have more and do better than them – they also are taxed the most so that the EBT crowd can stay home and choose not to better themselves.

Poverty is not a black issue. There are people of all color who struggle to survive on a minimum amount of money. EBT people get free medical, free food, free lunches, free childcare, free education, free transportation in most cities, a place to live, and know where and how to get free food and clothing too. Black or white or brown or green with yellow dots, poverty is a real issue for many. And folks of every color are EBT people – sometimes for generations. By refusing to stay in school, having babies without daddies around to raise them, refusing to work menial jobs rather than accept welfare, anyone will find their community over burdened with poverty.

You say you have to worry all the time about your brother, cousins, friends, etc. being stopped by the police. EVERY person has that same worry. Because if you are breaking the law, then you get stopped. If you refuse to follow directions from the police, they you are arrested. If your community is known for violence, crime, and law breaking, then your community is watched more carefully to protect others from your violence, crime, and law breaking. Profiling only happens when it is merited. A lot of Hispanic and white communities bear the same burden.

Take responsibility for your actions. Black, white, rich, poor, behavior matters. There are always consequences for poor behavior.

Black lives matter. Of course they do. No one I know of who is white, has ever said differently. That mantra is from the likes of Sharpie Sharpton.

As the mother of an American Indian son, murdered by a white person, I could scream racism too. It wasn’t about race, it wasn’t even about the gun that was used, it was about a crazy man who decided to see how it felt to murder someone. Skin color had nothing to do with my son’s death. Someone’s evil decision and action killed him. And thank goodness the police and justice system were there to find the killer and lock him up so he could never harm another.
All Lives Matter.

It isn’t just a black thing.

It Isn’t A Tragedy


I over heard a conversation this morning between two women. It left me a bit gobsmacked and annoyed. It seems these two women have a mutual friend who had a kidney transplant via a relative. One woman said it was such a tragedy that their friend had to have a transplant. They went on to talk about how everyone needed to make allowances for her erratic behavior, and that she should be treated carefully as she recovered. After all, with someone else’s kidney in her she would never be normal.

I thought, “Tragedy?’ Not to me, it isn’t. That woman will live a long healthy life, she is not an invalid, she is not helpless, she is the product of the miracle of medicine and blessings. How can that be a tragedy? They acted as if having any transplant was something no one would ever want. What?

Tragedy is something that cannot be controlled, stopped, or overcome resulting in either an end of a life or constituting a complete change in circumstances for a survivor. Tragedy is losing a new mom to childbirth. Tragedy is a child with incurable cancer. Tragedy is a wounded warrior who has lost limbs, sight, ability to walk, or suffers brain damage or mental illness from serving in the war. Tragedy is a teenager committing suicide. Tragedy is a plane crash that kills 300 people. Tragedy is an old person freezing to death. Tragedy is the mentally ill on the streets of the country when they belong in a safe institution where they can be cared for, instead of suffering the effects of cold and heat, and the lack of food. Tragedy is losing someone to addiction to drugs or alcohol. Tragedy is having a funeral for a twenty year old girl whose death was sudden and unexpected. Surviving a kidney transplant is not a tragedy! It is, instead, an opportunity to celebrate a new and continued life!

What those well meaning women are doing is placing their friend in a box labeled perpetual victim. In pandering to her, giving her excuses for bad behavior, and creating a tragic attitude around her, they are making her weak, mentally, physically, and emotionally. In refusing to celebrate the miracle that her life is, they want to demean it. That isn’t friendship, that is an attitude of superiority. “Poor little thing, she will never reach her full potential,” one of them stated. The other agreeing and doing the Southern thing when faced with perceived tragedy, shaking her head, and murmuring, “Bless her heart.”

I don’t get it. I really don’t understand their attitude, especially treating her as if she is fragile and unable to cope with surviving. She isn’t one bit more special than anyone who has survived a horrific illness. Instead of encouraging her to be helpless, they need to stand behind and beside her as she moves forward into a strong, healthy life. Instead of lowering their expectations for her life, they should be the best of cheerleaders, celebrating each and every milestone in her recovery. And, the last thing they need to be doing is enabling helplessness. I repeat, she is not an invalid. The only tragedy in her life is that her friends see her as a victim who will never be normal instead of a survivor.

The Fat Lady Needs To Exit Stage Right, Now!


 

Over the past four years, I have lost 168 pounds and change. Yes, I feel better, have more energy, look better, and enjoy my grandchildren more. However there are a few drawbacks that never occurred to me before hand.

Skin. Losing weight, even as slowly as I have, leaves a lot of saggy, ugly, rumply skin. Bat wings for upper arms, skin that sags down from thighs to knees, and it just keeps on going long after I stop moving. Totally gross, totally embarrassing. And wrinkles are much more prominent too. I always had a smooth face, now I have wrinkles that I never had before. The upside is I look a lot thinner, the down side is learning a whole new way to apply makeup – when I bother that is.

Clothes. For years, like most fat women, I tried to hide my weight in baggy clothes, ugly dresses, and lots of jeans and t-shirts. Underwear was pretty much limited to grannie panties, and because I am rather well endowed up top, very boring super strong support white bras. Now, I nearly have a panic attack when I go into a store to buy clothes. I have gone from a size 28-30 in Women’s (that means fat lady clothes in girl code) to a size 14-16. But because I still have the well endowed parts to contend with, I get a larger size top. I don’t like tight clothing, it generally shows every lump and bump, cellulite, and muffin top on a fat lady. But, I find if I get looser clothes, they fall off me, which can be horribly humiliating if it happens in public. Oh, and shoes. Did you know that when you lose a lot of weight your shoe size gets smaller? Neither did I, but I have had to replace a large portion of my shoes lately. I’ve gone from a 8.5 Wide to a size 7 average. How freaky is that?

Temperature. I have long passed menopause, but temperature change really causes me issues. If it is cold, I freeze when the same temperature in my fat lady stage didn’t bother me at all, because I was always too warm. I forget about that and pay for it by shivering constantly. Wind also has an effect on me. I used to relish the cool wind, not so much now. Besides, I actually got pushed hard enough to almost fall the other day. I am so used to being sturdy enough to stand up to anything up to about 40 miles an hour winds. Now I just feel cold and like a wimp. Heat still makes me miserable. I hate hot and humid climates, but I don’t get miserable as fast as I used to, and can actually stand hotter weather than before.

Hair. I have always had rather thin hair. Now, because I am healthier, stronger, and I actually take my meds and vitamins every day, my hair is thicker. So I have had to learn to change my whole regime while washing my hair. It is hard to break a habit of over 30 years. I keep heading for my old shampoo and conditioner when I simply do not need that brand any longer. It is, well, annoying to have a routine totally changed.

Food. I didn’t have surgery to lose weight. I became very, very ill. Even the doctors didn’t think I would pull through. Fooled them. Wasn’t my time yet. Anyway, I used to crave sweets, sodas, carbohydrates, and fatty foods. I could eat a full meal at any restaurant in America. I was always hungry, and I used food as my drug of choice to cope with life. Now, food – eh – whatever. I don’t often eat every day, and I rarely have more than one meal a day. I make it a policy to eat only half of what is on my plate when we go out to dinner. Because half of a serving is a bit more than a serving for one person should be. The standard meal is FAR too much. At least it is using American sized servings.

Attitude and Mood Swings. I have never been so easily angered as I am now. Part of that is hormonal because everything is still out of whack. But a lot of it has to do with my attitude. While I have never been one to be a door mat, I would often allow my feelings about being fat make me want to stay in the background and unnoticed. Today, I am pretty much one of those old ladies who says what she thinks and devil take the hindmost. Whereas, I used to stay quiet, I am now more than willing to debate and do verbal battle with those who oppose my stance on everything from politics to dealing with bratty kids. So, on one hand, I am dealing with moodiness, and on the other I am dealing with trying to shut the hell up and stay out of trouble. Not doing too well on either issue.

The up side to weight loss is better health, the downside is that my entire lifestyle had to change and catch up with my body changes. I sometimes don’t recognize myself in the mirror. I sometimes think that I am fooling no one, and the fat lady still resides in my mirror and every one knows it but me. I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the way everything changed and continues to change as I keep losing weight.

I guess, because I can spot a phony a mile away, and because I don’t suffer fools gladly, that I tend to step back from every compliment. Like most fat ladies, people would compliment me on my eyes, color of my clothes, hair, but never say I was pretty. Now, folks do say I am pretty, but the fat lady hasn’t sung and exited stage right just yet. I really wish she would shut the hell up so I can get on with who I am becoming. Hateful cow.

“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”


“Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive.”

I’ve noticed lately that a lot of people my age tend to simply stop. They stop doing fun things, they stop being involved, they stop thinking and growing intellectually. They just stop. Then they sit about and complain about how boring life is, how hard it is to do things they used to do, how much they wish they had done such and such before they got too old. They are failing to thrive in the late years of their lives. And there is no excuse for that- period.

I know, things are a bit harder to do when knees hurt,backs don’t want to bend, and the body gets tired much easier than it did at the age of forty. We all have to slow down,but that doesn’t mean we have to stop. It may take longer, but there is no reason not to at least try.

Years ago there was a movie entitled Cocoon followed by another, Cocoon Returns. If you haven’t seen them, I suggest watching them at least once. It starred a lot of “stars” who were getting quite elderly. All stuck in a nursing home, waiting to die, fussing at one another, etc. Until things change due to a visit from the aliens. Look, I know it is really a sappy story, but what I loved about it was the willingness of almost all of the elderly folks to embrace that which was different. If their youth didn’t return, their joy for life certainly did. And, at the end of the day, their inaction became action, and their lives infinitely better.

Another movie I loved was Driving Miss Daisy, a stellar performance by one and all. Again, another character that defies the tendency to just sit down and stop. Fried Green Tomatoes is a fantastic film. Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy were great together and the flashback between Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson is equally dynamic. At the end of the day, we are still not sure which woman Jessica Tandy was as the elderly friend of Kathy Bates. Ambiguity saturates the film, while turning Katy Bates’ character from a meek doormat into a woman filled with confidence. And, of course, the character played by Shirley Mclaine in Steel Magnolias is just like I want to be when I get old.

I see many older folks off and doing things all over the world. They travel, explore, serve missions of compassion – regardless of sore knees and aching backs. They move, act, and they live every minute of every day. That is what I want to do too.

When our youngest son went off to college, my husband and I decided to work our way around the world. Eight years later, we finally returned to the US. As we were raising our granddaughter, she went right along with us. We lived in London, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, and only came back to the US due to health issues and the awful Socialized Medical care in NZ. We traveled all over each region and were enriched many times over by our experiences.

But I was in my forty’s when we did that. Now I am sixty, and it is going to become more difficult to do some of the things we did. So, we chose other things to do so we could travel. A cruise or four, a road trip across the US, and our big adventure this year is to travel across country by train. I don’t hike for miles any longer, but I sure can sit and enjoy the view from the train.

So there is no excuse not to thrive, people. Just get up, take a few steps, find a hobby that fulfills you, volunteer as a surrogate grandmother to rock babies at the hospital. Volunteer at the schools or libraries to help kids with their reading skills. Go help out a nursing home if you have a talent like playing the piano. There are a multitude of things you can do to overcome the lack of inertia and sedentary inaction. For me, being with my grandchildren is one of my greatest motivators. I write, I hang out on social media sites, I keep up with friends and work on my family history, and I am planning on taking art lessons. I have always wanted to learn how to paint. That will be so much fun!

So, you are old, so what? Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. Just because your body is starting to creak and moan, it doesn’t mean your brain isn’t functioning. (Unless you have a serious condition, of course.) With all the medical miracles out today, most of us will live well into our eighties or nineties.

I have a friend who is ninety-eight. For the several decades, she has traveled the world following the performances of the operas of Wagner. All on her own, she would jump on a plane and off she would go to Italy, France, Germany, or any place in the world that the operas were being performed. What an amazing lady

who just kept on going like an Eveready Battery. She is running down now, but she is still in control of her life and decided to go home until the end of her days. It is heartbreaking, but at the same time, what a life she has had! Even now, she keeps busy with doing her family history and chatting with her friends and family.

Even if you are homebound, unable to walk, unable to drive, so what? There are a million things you can do to keep your brain healthy and busy. Never just stop and wait to die. We all have a finite amount of time here in this life. I could spend it worrying about death, or I can just get on with living while I am still here.

The more we let inaction rule our lives, the less likely we are to live a long life. Not just because our bodies need to move to function well, but because our brains atrophy at an alarming rate. Inaction is not an excuse for failure to thrive. But it is only you that can take that first step. I can’t wait to become a feisty old woman who says exactly what she wants to say about everything.

Come on people, get up, find a cause, reason, purpose, or passion to fill your life. Go on!

 

Forever Young


On September 11, 2014, my first born will be 40 years old. For many people that requires a birthday party with black balloons and silly “Over The Hill” banners. It has been almost 19 years since he moved on, and still we miss him every day. But my son, you see, is forever young. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9E6-AYce-_M

If he were here, physically, he would be a proud father of his baby girl, and an even more proud grandfather to her baby girl. He would hug his girl, and spoil her girl, and still be a strong man to lean on when they needed him the most.

I don’t know what he would be doing as a profession, but I know it would be something outdoors. He hated being cooped up inside, no matter the weather. If it was hot, he would be off somewhere playing or fishing in the water. If it was cold, he would get up to all manner of things that required slipping, sliding, and general mayhem, with a bit of danger mixed in for spice.

I don’t know what his political bent would be, but I expect it would be about as conservative and his parents and brother tend to be. I don’t know if he would be religious, but I know he would be spiritual. I don’t know if he would like all the modern gizmos and technology, but I know he could master all of them quickly. I don’t know what kind of vehicle he would drive, but I know he would own a Harley.

But, I don’t need to know, because my son, you see, is forever young.

He would still like boxing, and loud music. Music that ranged from classical to heavy metal met his approval. He would still like reading and learning on his own, in his own way. He would still love to sit and talk with the elderly and people who captured his interest. He would still love to tinker with motors, even if they frustrated him every time he worked on one. He would still love his family, his friends, and impress strangers with his knowledge about all sorts of things. He would still give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, and make sure that you had something to eat if you were hungry. He would still support the Viet Nam Veterans, and give them all the honor they deserve. He would still want to hang out with his brother, and probably torment him as only a big brother can. He would still be our Arron. Because he knew that growing up didn’t mean becoming someone else, it just meant being more who you are. He was philosophical that way.

He would still get into fist fights, but maybe not as much. He would still stand up for the underdog, but he might not lose his temper over misjustice so easily. He would still protect his mother, wife, daughter, niece, or any other female in his life, but he wouldn’t put up with drama trauma from any female. Like most guys, it either made him uncomfortable, annoyed, or confused. He would still love his beer on a hot day, and his whisky on a cold night, and he would still sneak bites of dinner as it is being cooked.

He would still like to go shirtless while working outdoors, and he would still wear those motorcycle boots, no matter how hot it was. He would still wear 501 button down Levi jeans, Harley shirts, and the occasional button down with the sleeves torn out of it. He would still have his silver front teeth instead of changing the caps out for something like everyone else. And he would still have long hair, a beard, and wear an ear ring, even though he knows it bugs me.

He would still have his cheeky, wicked grin that told me he was up to something he shouldn’t be. He would still make me laugh at his irreverent humor, tell me that I looked like a dumpling, and tease me about everything I do, just to get me riled. He would still walk to the beat of his own drummer, follow his dreams, and fly his kite just the way he wanted to.

Yes, he would do those things, and he probably is doing just that where he is. Because, you see, my son is forever twenty-one.

Happy Birthday Arron. Welcome to the old fart club. I love you. Mom.

Forever Young.  Arron Glen Combs  September 1974 - Jan 1996.
Forever Young. Arron Glen Combs September 1974 – Jan 1996.

 

Why Is It Number Four


Why is it, as soon as I put the hard top back on my car, the sun comes out?

Why is it, that having the top down makes me want to play my music really loud and drive really fast?

Why is it, that every time a young person sees me driving a sports car, they seemed shocked?

Why is it, when an old person sees me driving a sports car, they all look confused?

Why is it, when a person gets past 50, everyone expects them to slow down and be stodgy?

Why is it, that when a person gets past 50, every single working part of the body decides to retool and redefine their working order?

Why is it, that some women freak out and spend thousands on plastic surgery and products to look younger, when time will catch up eventually and they will look like freaks AND look old?

Why is it, that everyone is scared to death to be round? Round is a good shape. Comfy, and easy to maintain.

Why is it, women under 60 freak out about being a grandmother?

Why is it, that women under 60 come up with stupid names for their grandchildren to call them so they won’t be known as a grandmother? I mean, really, MoMo?

Why is it, getting old is a sinful thing instead of something we have earned?

Why is it, that the young never appreciate what we know and the wisdom we have to share until it is too late to make a difference in their lives?

Why is it, if a couple is out dancing and having fun, and they aren’t young, people think it is either sweet, cute, or disgusting?

Why is it, people stare if I hold my husband’s hand in public? It isn’t as if we are doing anything gross, like snogging.

Why is it, all little babies and toddlers know that I am a Nana? Hormones?

Why is it physically impossible to stop myself from cooing over little babies, snarling at kids between 8 and obnoxious, and loathing kids between oh, teenage and forever if they are impolite, gross, or disrespectful?

Why is it, no one offers to help mom’s who are struggling with kids in public instead of complaining and making rude remarks?

Why is it, the older I get, the more I love the old guy I married so many years ago?

Just asking.