The Daily Grind


Most of us get out of bed, go to work doing what we must, or if we are fortunate, what we want for a living. At the end of the day we go home, out to dinner, indulge in our hobby or spend time with family and friends, then we go to bed and do it all over again the next day. Our weekends, or days off, differ only in that we have a different routine for those days. We march or shuffle along in our individual brain cloud, day after day, until we are old. People call it the daily grind.

But, sometimes, we trip or stumble and fall out of step with our routine. The majority of us will jump right back into our normal shuffled march quickly forgetting that we were, for a brief moment, out of time, and that we had a moment to see the world from a different perspective. However, some of us see the opportunity being out of step gives us. We see the world, the grind, as a limiting agent and take that stumble or trip up as a chance to explore our world and change our daily grind into something more interesting. A person might discover an unknown truth about themselves, or idea that enriches their lives. They might meet someone they would never have known if they hadn’t stumbled or tripped. They could, if they wanted, find a new direction to travel, even if they still have a daily grind.

For some, however, a trip or stumble sends them wandering, lost and confused, across a barren world, filled with obstacles that baffle and discombobulate them, creating stress and strife. It takes them longer than most to get back into the daily routine, or to find another purpose, but they eventually do, or they stay lost and confused.

Many people, and this is sad to me, will turn their backs on change, preferring to live in their same old boring world, day in and day out, until all they have to look forward to is old age, illness, and death. I don’t understand not taking the road less traveled, or taking the opportunity to climb a new mountain to discover what is on the other side. Life is an adventure. Even the daily grind can be disrupted and interesting in itself, if you bother to look up instead of down at your feet.

Stumbles and trip ups may make us fall down, and getting up might be harder than expected. The struggle makes us stronger, so we are less likely to fall down again, at least not for the same reason. Our perspective is changed from being so far down we have to work hard to stand on an even keel again. Lying there can give one a different idea of how people in that position live and see their world, but at the end of the day one can stew in their misery or find a way to crawl out of it and move forward toward a better place in life.

I stumble regularly. One thing I have learned is that I need to grab the opportunity to change myself, my world, my direction, or my ideas. I think we all need to look at the obstacles in our lives as something to overcome, or at least climb on, to see the better world ahead. I want to die having a grand adventure, even if it is only managing to get from my rocking chair to the mail box and back every day. There might be something really interesting in that box, or not, but I won’t know unless I take a chance on stumbling.

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Thank You Mr. Barry, Somewhere In Time


Have you ever heard a piece of music that fills your soul, your heart? One that, when the first notes play, you slip into a memory, a moment in time, a feeling that envelopes your entire being? The music from the movie, Somewhere In Time, does that to me.

I don’t know why. The movie wasn’t all that great, but the music speaks to me in a deeply, wonderfully personal way. The smooth, gliding notes make my eyes want to drift shut, and a soft smile comes to my lips as I let the music lead me away from stress, sorrow, and worry. I can sit for hours listening to the same music over and over as my thoughts wander, and day dreams drift like clouds in my mind. I feel tears gather, and when I least expect it, love fills me.

It is a piece of music, meant as a background for a sad love story. I have heard thousands of soundtracks over the years, few stay in my heart and mind like Somewhere In Time. I stopped trying to figure out why it touches me so deeply and simply allow it to happen. It is a blessing.

I suppose it is silly, maybe overly dramatic, to allow music to deeply effect my life. Music is always with me, every moment of every day. Sometimes it is a reflection of my day or emotions, like listening to loud rock and roll when I drive my car on a sunny day, top down, music blaring. Sometimes music helps me create a story or a character in a story, and sometimes it lifts me out of sadness or loneliness. Music helps me say what I feel when words fail me. It makes me sing, dance, and rock my babies to sleep. It makes me want to be in the arms of the love of my life, and sometimes, it makes me cry.

It is rare that one piece of music can invoke all those feelings and thoughts. This soundtrack does all of that and more. I don’t know anything about the composer, John Barry, but he found his way to this music that has taken root in my soul. Thank you Mr. Barry, from the bottom of my heart.

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 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.

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 Love My Car!


I have the MOST serendipitous moments happen to me. I was driving my little car, top down, playing Manhattan Transfer’s song Operator (look it up) and got stopped at the stop light from hell in Southaven. (a three minute wait, every single time.) A car filled with teenage boys pulled up next to me. they had their windows down. When they got even, they all started singing along with the song. I was surprised 1. that they knew the song, and 2. that they had such great harmony. As the song ended the boy in the back seat leaned out and yelled, “call me!” I laughed and said, Honey, you just want me for my car! He fell over laughing and said, Dang, you got me! The light changed and they turned left while I went on my way. I LOVE MY CAR! I also LOVE MY MUSIC! Nothing like having worries taken away when I cruise in my lovely Posh!

Kindness Is NOT A Muscle!


Since we have had a four year old with us all summer, I have had the television on a channel she loves called Sprout during rest time after lunch. (We no longer call it nap time… melt down will ensue.) They have a theme going this summer about kindness.

Basically a good idea to teach about kindness. But they have the jingle they keep using that drives me nuts. “Kindness is a muscle.” Now, anyone who has raised young children know that between the ages of two to about six, everything they hear is taken literally. Sprout is designed for that age group. It didn’t take long for Addie to ask me which muscle on her body was her kindness muscle. (Picture me banging my head on the keyboard.)

So, I had to sit down with her and explain that there isn’t a muscle that makes you kind. Kindness is an act or a behavior that is brought on by compassion, love, and the way you are taught to treat others. It is something that is in your brain and emotions. Some people say from the heart, but that is even more confusing, so we left that for later. She got the concept, after several attempts to explain the kindness muscle.

Then the oddest thing happened, she decided that Sprout was lying to her, and that really ticked her off because she knows that lying is a VERY bad thing. It is unkind, and mean. (Okay, we are really strong about honesty in our house, deal with it.) It was good that she was able to grab the concept of kindness, and it was good that she was able to have an out let for her anger. When she hears that jingle, she gets in front of the television and shouts, “Kindness is NOT a muscles. You nitwit, Kindness is an ACTION!” (Nitwit is an acceptable word in our home too.)

Why an organization like Sprout, who is supposed to understand children who see the world literally would promote an out right lie is beyond me. That means parents who give a flip have to undo the confusion and help kids understand that to some people it isn’t a lie because they see an action as using some sort of muscle. Then explaining that you don’t know why they would say something so wrong, but that people are different and see the world differently. Not two to six year old kids, the world is literal, black and white, and straight forward.

Sprout shows are now recorded, after all, what would life be without Topsy and Time, Sarah and Duck, and Noddy? At least we can fast forward past the inane commercials and PSA nonsense. Back in the dark ages of television, we had Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans to explain our complicated world (rabbit is still a carrot stealing rascal). Life was so much easier then. No complex issues past learning to share and being good to others. I am so glad our little Addie Rose would rather read a book, paint a picture, or just play tea party, than sit in front of the television.

We only have her for one more week before we go back to seeing her every other weekend. I think we will just play all week long, to heck with television and nap… ahem… REST time!

 

No Tech Christmas


It occurred to me, oh, several months ago, as I was organizing my Christmas list, that I wanted to give my grandchildren vintage toys. Well, remakes of vintage toys, the originals are far too pricey. I wanted them to have a Christmas where nothing they received from my husband and I needed a battery, cable, or plug in. It seems that we have overwhelmed our kids with things that beep, flash, talk, and require constant attention. It was time to get back to basics.

For my nine year old grandson, there were a set of stilts, modern and better made, but stilts, nonetheless. A honest to goodness wooden yoyo along with a trick book just like they had in the 1950’s, along with crazy straws, paddle balls, a board game, several joke books, and the Dangerous Book for Boys. I added a science project about gross things, and treats. Not one thing required any sort of power except boy power. He loved everything, and was working to master the yoyo when they went home.

For my six year old granddaughter, we got an art set. A real, honest to goodness set with everything from paints to pencils and everything to go with it. She is really into drawing and such. Several coloring books joined the set, along with lots and lots of paper. She also go the crazy straws and paddle balls, but girl stuff too, like a pair of shoes and an out fit. She got the Daring Book for Girls, that matched Nick’s for boys. And hair pretties along with a grooming kit. Nothing needed power other than the power of a girl. She was over the moon, and spent hours drawing.

And our little Addie? Her favorite toys is a small felt dolly I picked up for a buck at the dollar store. Who would have though!? We also got her a tent to play in, and to help corral her when we need to have our hands free for something. She loves that too, along with the drum, and soft toys she got. She was really having more fun with with the paper and boxes than anything.

It is easy to go on line and pick out things that beep and buzz for kids. It is much harder to think of the way their minds work and come up with innovative ways to entertain them. It is easy to let a machine entertain them, but it is, in my opinion, to encourage them to explore, invent, create, and study the world around them. Making them the center of the play, not the machine, will stretch their minds, help them create, and encourage exploration in all manners of topics.

Next year is going to be a challenge, but I am already doing research, and I expect something will come to mind. Like Jax and a jump rope for Bella, and some sort of cool science experiment for Nick. I’m thinking mad scientist, cool stuff. Addie will be easy, everything from toys to clothes . . . and boxes and paper.

I love being a Nana.

Cinema Passion


Some people go to the movies because they are bored. Some people go because the kids are driving them crazy and it is too hot to send them outside, or they refuse to go outside. Some people, especially teenagers, go to hang out with friends and to see the hottest, new movie. Not that they actually watch the movie with all the socialization going on between them. Some people go to the cinema out of habit, and some because it is a particular genre they enjoy. There are some people who actually go just to be entertained. There is, however, a breed of cinema goers who are in a class all their own.

These are the people who have a true passion for movies. Some of them are passionate about certain actors, making it their business to know all the statistics about each and every one in every movie they see. They can recite chapter and verse about all their favorite actor’s parts and quote, line for line, the dialogue from their favorite scenes. They are fanatic about every detail of the character, and will argue endlessly about what scene in what movie was the best scene for the actor they adore.

Another group passionate about the movies is the technical fanatics. They love to go to the movies and pick apart the special effects, point out the obvious continuity flaws, pour over the scenes and pick out tiny mistakes on the set, or, in some cases, huge flaws. In this group is the sub groups of Sci/Fi technical fanatics who have read every book in a series, like Lord of the Rings, and love to note what scenes have been left out, combined, or changed beyond all recognition. They are passionate about the story, but also the way in which technology was used to create the movie. They will sit and watch the credits to the bitter end to see who did what in the movie.

There are people who are passionate about the whole movie experience, regardless of the genre or the technology. These are people, of which I am one, who have grown up in the cinema all their lives. Going to the movies is as much a part of who we are as anything else in our lives. Some of us can quote favorite lines from movies, know every word to every song from the musicals of our youth, and have favorite actors, but aren’t fanatic about them. Children of the cinema love the ambiance of a large screen, dark auditorium, and the expectation of the movie bursting on to the screen with sound and color. We are the people who get annoyed at the whisperers, bag rattlers, ice crunchers, and crying kids because it ruins the show for us.

The children of the cinema have certain rituals that must be observed. Buying the ticket, the popcorn, the soda, and sometimes candy are an important part of the process. We can hardly wait for the previews of coming attractions so we can plan for future cinema experiences. We wait with excitement for a new movie to come out so we can find ourselves involved in a new story that will make us laugh, cry, jump in fear, or feel romantic. The cinema is an escape, a place where we can leave our worries of real life behind and live in a fantasy world for a few hours. Knowing, however, that soon we will be back to dealing with life as usual.

Even leaving the theatre is something of a ritual. Waiting for the final credits to roll, the last note of music to fade, we gather our detritus, and depart as the lights come up in the room, are all part of the encounter. Children of the cinema blink in the bright lights of the lobby as we make our way out into the real world, already dissecting the movie, and comparing it to others that we have seen as we plan the next sojourn into the magic that is our passion.