25Aug/16
Me with my arms out in public..

Are You Ashamed Of Your Body?

Are you afraid to show your flab?

Me with my arms out in public..

Me with my arms out in public..well, I am in a cave…

I have been thinking about this for awhile now. I had lunch recently with a few friends and it was a very hot day. I mean extremely hot and also humid. I couldn’t decide what to wear to go to lunch. I usually wear a sweater of some sort to cover my flabby upper arms. But instead, I decided to wear a short sleeve top…the one I have on in this photo above. Yes, I chose this picture and yes, it is dark, you don’t need to see the ugly details. But this made me think, do we really worry so much about body image that it forces us to wear something we feel uncomfortable in?

We of a certain age, are not young anymore but that doesn’t mean we still can’t be fashionable and also comfortable at the same time. Every time I wear this top I get compliments. Not sure if the compliments are for me or the top? But it feels good to wear it and not be sweating and uncomfortable.The first time I wore it at lunch with my friends they all commented on it and it started a conversation about how all of us were trying to hide those body parts that just weren’t how we wanted them to be anymore. I was happy I wore the top to lunch. And also I was happy about how freeing it was to do so.

What does this say about us? Has the fashion world made us all into someone who is so afraid of showing a little flab that we drive ourselves crazy and deny who and what we really look like? I was always in shape, I ran, I exercised and ate somewhat healthy. I wanted to be what I thought I was “supposed” to look like. I really don’t think that this was the case in our parents and grandparents day. They were all different sizes and shapes and I don’t remember anyone ever making a comment on how they looked. I also don’t remember any of them saying, “oh, I hate my arms” or “look at this muffin top I have.”

“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” ~ Dr Gail Dines

I think the younger generation is even more aware of their body image than we are. Kids in elementary school are asking each other if they are fat. What does this say about our priorities? How do we go about changing this and can we? Yes, we need to be healthy and I am not saying we should just all be what we are and not work towards being a better version of ourselves, but it shouldn’t be to the extreme. And there shouldn’t be shame if that doesn’t happen. We don’t need to be made to feel bad about how we look. We have enough other things in our lives that make us feel bad, we shouldn’t have to deal with that too.

I have recently seen celebrities and athletes being shamed on social media for adding a few pounds or posts stating they must be pregnant because they have a little bit of a stomach. Looking at the pictures makes me angry, because these pics are not at all of someone who looks pregnant, it is someone who is healthy and not a skeleton. I hope we can get to a point where we stop shaming each other and learn to embrace our bodies, flaws and all. I hope we can help the younger generation see it is ok to not be a size 0.

We don’t have much time here on this planet so we all need to try to be as healthy and happy as we can and enjoy our lives. Most of all we don’t need to spend our time worrying about whether of not to wear something we love or if it shows a little flab.  I recently read an article that said, “you will never look like the girl in the magazine, the girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine.” Embrace your flab and enJoy your life. Let’s let it all hang out! Well maybe not all of it…

“I love my body. I’m very much ok with it. I don’t think artists are ever the ones who have the problem with their weight, it is the other people.” ~ Kelly Clarkson

My question for you today is this, do you hesitate to wear something if it shows some flab or shows a little bit more tummy than you want to show? Please comment below and let me know your thoughts…

And thanks for your support!

 

 

 

16Aug/16
ah, the sweet smell of days gone by

Smells That Remind Me Of My Childhood…

How does a certain smell bring back a memory of days gone by?

ah, the sweet smell of days gone by

ah, the sweet smell of youth

Why do certain smells bring up a memory of a time long ago? I smell something and I am immediately taken back to a time in my childhood. How does this happen? It isn’t a bad thing, most of these memories are good ones and I enjoy reliving them over and over again. But this made me wonder if I am in the minority here or if other people have this same thing happen. And what smells bring up memories for you?

Here are 10 of my most memory evoking smells.

  1. The smell of fresh cut grass – I loved the smell of our yard after my Dad cut the grass. People cut grass all the time, I know we do here, but it doesn’t smell like it did when my Dad cut our grass. Still when I smell freshly cut grass I can see my father out back mowing our yard.
  2. Freshly washed clothing that was hung outside to dry – as my Mom and I folded the wash or put the clean sheets on the bed, the smell was overwhelmingly crisp and it made me feel so fresh, clean and renewed. Even if you put something out to dry these days, and most places it isn’t even allowed, it doesn’t quite smell the same as it did back then.
  3. Gasoline –  Ok, I know I may be alone in this one, but I absolutely loved the smell of gasoline being put into the car. I would open the window no matter how cold it was when Dad was getting gas pumped at the gas station just so I could smell it. On second thought…maybe that’s what is wrong with me!
  4. Our freshly cut Christmas tree – I loved the smell of the tree when we brought it home and how it made the house smell the whole way through the Christmas season. This was of course until Mom decided we needed to have a white flocked tree and then after that the dreaded aluminum tree with the color wheel. Christmas just wasn’t the same after we stopped having the fresh cut trees. But I still think of ours when I smell the scent of pine.
  5. A cornfield – we had a huge cornfield in back of my house growing up. We played in that cornfield from morning till night. We played hide and seek and lots of childhood games in that field. However, sometimes we just plopped ourselves down in the field and stared up at the sky. I loved the smell of that cornfield and smelling corn now reminds me of those lazy summer days of long ago.
  6. My grandmothers – each one had a certain smell. My Grandma G smelled like food and baking because she did that all the time. And most of the time I spent with her was spent baking something, so in my mind she smelled like pie.  My Grandma F smelled of lavender. Her clothes and bed linens smelled of it too. I loved that smell back then and still do now.
  7. A book – There is nothing to compare to the smell of a book. A real book with pages and words on the pages. I have tried the Ebook thing but it doesn’t do it for me. I want to hold a book in my hands and smell the pages. I loved this smell growing up and still do all these years later.
  8. The musty smell of late summer – We used to go to my fathers work picnic every year when I was growing up. The place we went to was out in the country. It was late in August and everything had that musty smell. I loved going to that picnic. We spent the entire day there and had so much fun. So when I smell this musty odor now it brings back all those happy times I spent with my family at that picnic.
  9. My skin after a day in the pool – we always had a pool when I was growing up, they weren’t huge or real deep but they provided me and my sister and the neighborhood kids with hours of fun. After a full day in the pool my skin would smell so fresh and clean. I don’t think we used any chemicals back then or if we used sun tan lotion. I do know we used baby oil, so maybe that is where the wonderful fresh scent came from. I just know I loved that smell. And sometimes now after my grandkids go to the pool for the day I catch a whiff of that scent and it takes me back.
  10. Burgers and hot dogs grilling on a charcoal grill – Dad was the griller in the family. He could never get the charcoal to light and we would be nearly starving to death until it was ready to go. Or everything was burnt to a crisp and he couldn’t get the flames to calm down. But miraculously every now and then it all worked just right and he made us some amazing burgers and hot dogs. I have yet to taste the likes of the ones he made back then. And when I go to a park and smell the odor of charcoal I am immediately back in our yard with Dad at the grill.

Smells can evoke memories both good and bad. I remember the smell of the coal fire  burning in my grandparents basement. My grandmother changing from her house dress into her nightgown in front of it. I remember how the peach pie smell would waft throughout the entire house as my grandma and I were baking it together. Waiting for that oven timer to go off seemed like an eternity. The smell of the beach takes me back to when my parents took me there as a young child. The sea air, the smell of suntan lotion, the fries cooking on the boardwalk. I loved that smell even as a little girl and I guess that is where my love of the beach originated. Maybe that smell and the way it makes me feel is why I love it so much now.

There is one thing I don’t like. I don’t like the smell of fire. My grandfather took me to a fire when I was around 4 or 5. There was a fire the day before down the street from their house and he thought I would like to go down there with him. I always liked going on walks with him so of course I went. The whole block had burned to the ground. Every house was destroyed, everything. It was all still smoldering and you could see the kids toys and beds just laying there out in the open, charred from the fire. I was devastated. I couldn’t sleep that night and cried until Mom came up and asked me what was wrong. I told her I was afraid our house would burn down. She spent most of the night consoling me and holding me until I finally drifted off. I never liked the smell of fire after that night. I still don’t.

As you can see smells stir up a lot of memories for me. Do certain smells bring up any memories for you? Are they good ones or bad? How do they make you feel? I love hearing your stories so please share them with me.

“Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark hour of reason grows.” ~ John Betjeman

08Aug/16
Me and my kids in the late 70's

When You Lose A Child…

you lose a part of your heart 

Me and my kids in the late 70's

Me and my kids in the late 70’s

Shortly after this picture, I got a divorce and for the most part raised the kids on my own. They were my everything. My life. I loved my kids and wanted to see them grow up and become adults and have kids of their own some day. If you have never had kids you can’t understand how something so small grows inside you and becomes this human being so full of life and love. And so begins the heartache it can also bring.

I have had many people in my life who I’ve loved and many I have lost. My Dad passed away when I was in my 40’s. My Mom died 2 years ago and my sister Rhonda 6 months after her. All of these losses were devastating at the time and I am still dealing with the pain from them. After my sister passed I was lost. I had no immediate core family. I was an orphan. But I did have family. I had my 3 kids and my  5 grandkids. And I had my sister’s two girls who I think of as my own. It was a little surreal going from having a parent or parents to being the head of your family. But it was enough.

A little over 2 weeks ago that changed. My son died. He was 46 and had 2 beautiful children. He was a wonderful, loving man and even more a wonderful father. He loved his kids more than life itself. They were his everything. He never had a good role model in his own father, who chose not to play a part in his life, so he vowed to be the father he never had. And he was. He was a very loving person who would do anything for anyone, sometimes to his own demise.

This loss is still not registering in my heart. My brain knows it is true but my heart is having a hard time coming to terms with it. I expect him to burst in the room at any minute with his latest stories. But he doesn’t. I just can’t process that he is gone and I will miss him every second of every day until I take my last breath.

Dave was forever telling me he loved me and showed me in so many ways. He was never afraid of showing his feelings. I remember back when he was a kid and was going off to Y Camp, he hugged me and kissed me in front of all his friends. I thanked him and said I was proud of him for doing that and he couldn’t understand why. He was always doing things like that.

He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved kids and animals. He always had a love of little kids and they were somehow drawn to him. But he loved it and never tired of playing with them. He was in many ways a big kid himself. He loved becoming an uncle and loved his nephews so much. He was always tumbling around on the floor with them or chasing them around the yard. But the day he became a father was the best time of his life. His daughter and son meant the world to him. He was so very proud of them and how they loved and treated each other. But also evident was their love of him. Their eyes sparkled and their entire little personalities changed when he would walk in the room. They idolized him.

Dave and his 2 kids

Dave and his 2 kids

Our family’s lives changed forever that day 2 weeks ago. It altered the very core of us. Who are we now without Dave? How do we go on as a family without him? I love my family and I am so blessed to have my 2 awesome daughters and my 5 equally awesome grandkids. I know I am lucky to have them all. But there will forever be a hole in my heart. And I don’t think I can fix that. I do plan to honor him by keeping his memory alive in his kids and will spend the rest of my life doing that. It is the one thing I “can” do. His kids are young and I don’t want them to forget what a wonderful father he was or how much he loved them. I promise to keep your memory alive Dave, it is the last thing I can do for you, my son.

I know I will go through many emotions in the next weeks and months ahead. Right now it is one of disbelief. I hope I can just get to a place where I remember the good times we shared and feel at peace.

I leave you with a question and a quote.

Have you ever lost a child? How did you manage to go on?

“You son will hold your hand only for a little while. But he will hold your heart for a lifetime.” ~ Unknown

 

28Jul/16
angel watching over us

10 Things To Do For Someone When They Lose A Loved One

And I am speaking from recent experience here…

angel watching over us

angel watching over us

In the first couple of days after you lose someone you love, you can’t think or make even the smallest decisions. It helps to have people around you that can do these simple tasks for you. Friends and family call and ask what they can do to help but we don’t know what to say, we don’t know what will help. Our minds are numb, filled with so many things and thoughts that sometimes we can’t even do the simplest task. We don’t know where the checkbook is or where we put the pen to write the check or thank you cards. I have lost many people and I know many people who have lost someone close. I will never again think a card is enough.

Here are some things that someone did for us and it made all the difference.

  1. Just do something. Anything. Don’t ask what needs to be done. Look around, think about what your friend or family member may need done and do it.
  2. Prepare food or buy a meal or just bring a bunch of food by. People have freezers. Don’t worry they may have too many people dropping food by. Don’t just do it for the first couple days, keep doing it. Call them up and invite them to go out for lunch, coffee, brunch. They may not go but they will be grateful you asked. Ask again in a few weeks.
  3. Make calls for them. Think about people they may have wanted to let know and they may not have, you can do it for them so they don’t have to. It is hard for them to make these calls, you can help so much by doing it.
  4. Do small things for them so they don’t have to worry about it. Mow the grass, weed the garden, take the dog for a walk, do their wash, shop for groceries. All of these things are such small things but will mean a lot to the person, believe me.
  5. Be there in the weeks and months following the service. Everyone calls at first and stops by and then..nothing. Grief doesn’t just stop overnight. You shouldn’t stop either.
  6. If you have some area of expertise offer your assistance. If you are an electrician and they need wiring done, do it for them. If you are a lawyer and they need some advice, give it to them…for free. Whatever your specialty is, I’m sure you can help in some way to make their life less stressful at this time.
  7. When you talk to the person, tell them a story about their loved one that is special to you. Something they did or said that you remember that has really stuck in your mind or how their loved one has affected your life. I have heard so many wonderful stories the past week that have truly made this time much easier. If you send a card, write something in the card, make it personal.
  8. Don’t ask us to make a decision. About anything, even something as simple as what to make for dinner. We can’t.
  9. Listen. Just listen. Sometimes that is better than any advice or words of condolence. We just need to talk.
  10. Call, stop by, email, text..often. Just let them know you are there for them.

I would add one thing that really helped me and that is to make us laugh. Something so simple yet so healing. I didn’t think I could laugh at this terrible time in my life, but my friends and family made me laugh. And give lots of hugs..hugs really are the best medicine for a broken heart. People have hugged me so hard I thought they would break my ribs. But it didn’t hurt, it helped.

At some point I will write about this loss. I can’t do it yet, it is too fresh, and the wound is still open.

“Grief is like the ocean, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ~ Vicki Harrison

 

15Jul/16
I give up, no really, I'm done

I Just Give Up!

Some things that help me when I feel like giving up

I give up, no really, I'm done

I give up, no really… I’m done!

We all have times in our lives when we feel like giving up. And for some reason it seems like the older we get the more life piles on our plate. Sometimes it just gets to be too much to bear and we feel like giving up. Recently I have had a bunch of things happen in my life and it really does seem like it is all too much. And I started doing the “why me” and “what did I do to deserve this” thing. How do I go on from here? How do I move forward? I remember my mom saying many times that she just wanted to run away. I never understood why she said that..I do now.

So this morning when I woke up I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and look at what was really going on. I resolved to have a different way of looking at my life and all that was happening around me. I have chosen to not let my circumstances define me any longer or how I was going to react to the situations affecting my life. Because really that is all we can do sometimes. We can’t change what is happening but we can change the way “we” react to it.

When life keeps handing us lemons, do we make lemonade out of them or just let them sit there and rot? I decided to make some lemonade. I know, it is so cliche but it really works. Here are some of the things I came up with to keep moving forward and not give up.

“Never, never, never give up” ~ Winston Churchill

  1. Help someone else who is going through hard time. Volunteer or join a group working for the good of your town. It truly makes you feel better to take the focus off yourself and put it on someone else.
  2. Turn off social media. It doesn’t do us any good when we are feeling sorry for ourselves to see all the ranting and raving going on in the world. Some one is going to say something that makes you feel even worse. So take the day off. Unplug!
  3. Smile – I have heard this so many times, but it really does work. force it if you need to but do it!
  4.  Laugh…watch a funny old movie or call someone that always makes you laugh. Laughter is always the best medicine.
  5. Do something just for the fun of it. You remember that right? We used to have fun. Think of what you once enjoyed doing and do it again.
  6. Exercise. I know you don’t think this would make you feel better but it really does. It boosts your mood by releasing endorphins. And it makes you feel good just because you did it. Admit it, you feel good about yourself when you exercise.
  7. Spend time with happy people. People that lift you up and bring you JOY! If you can’t spend time with them at least talk to them on the phone, through email or a text.
  8. Get outside and enjoy nature. Go for a walk. Look around at the trees and the the plants growing. Really look at them. Hike to the top of a mountain and scream as loud as you can(make sure no one else is around first).
  9. Spend time with little children. If you have small kids of your own or grandchildren they are the best thing to perk you up. They always look at life a little differently and make us see the good in the world.
  10. And finally, believe there is good in the world and search it out. If you can’t find any that day, then be the good yourself!

These are just some ways I try to beat the blahs and come out on the other side. Shopping is another thing I love to do and it always makes me happy, especially if I find a bargain. And living in the present moment helps, it is really all we have. When we live in the future we are fearful and don’t know what it will bring. When we live in the past, it is sometimes too painful or we wish for happier times with someone who isn’t with us anymore. We have to learn not to beat ourselves up when we feel down and are at the point of giving up. No one ever feels happy all the time. There are some people that always seem to have this smile plastered on their face and I wonder what is really going on there.

We all have times when we just want to sit in our pajamas all day, eat ice cream, watch sad movies and cry.(I may or may not have done this a time or two). But we just can’t let it become a habit. Don’t hide away from everyone and everything that could make you happy again. Let people help, you never know who will be the one that steps up and makes your day. But people can’t help unless you let them know you need them. People are always amazing me… in good ways and bad. But more often than not, it is good.

I have to tell you, I didn’t even feel like writing today. Last night I was supposed to write my weekly post and I just didn’t have it in me. I asked myself, what can I write about? I felt like I had nothing left in me that I wanted to share. So I just went to bed. Then I woke up today determined to not let all I am going through define me and my life. I decided to write about how I was feeling because that is what I do. I share my feelings in my writing and I feel so much JOY when I hit the publish button. So that is what I did. Thank you for always being here to listen and for telling me how much my writing affects you. Find the good!

As always I leave you with a question and a quote.

Do you ever feel like giving up? What do you do to keep going?

“I am going to keep having fun every day I have left, because there is no other way of life. You just have to decide whether you are a Tigger or an Eeyore.” ~ Randy Pausch  (I love this quote!)

 

07Jul/16
fear...

What Are You Afraid Of?

My Top Ten Biggest Fears…

fear...

fear…

If we are honest with ourselves, we all have a fear of something. When I was a child I didn’t have many because I knew my parents were there to protect me. As I grew older my fears changed along with my age. As a teenager my biggest fear was how I would get to the local dance joint and then how I would get home afterward. Oh, to be young and that is the only thing you have to fear. Life seemed so simple then and most of our fears at the time were simple as well.

As we age the fears are bigger and many of them can’t just be brushed aside. They are too real. We are getting older. We have lost people we cared about. We all are facing our fears every day and the best we can do is to try and enjoy our lives every single day and not have any regrets when we take our last breath. Ok, I don’t want to get too mauldlin, so lets get to it, below are my top ten fears…

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” ~ Marianne Williamson

  1. Not having done everything on my bucket list. I have so many things I want to do yet in my life and I hope I have the time to do them all. I really need to start ticking more of them off the list. I have a lot left to do.
  2. I fear my hearing will get so bad I won’t be able to hear the sound of my kids and grandkids laughter. I know I would survive not being able to hear. I have problems already that cause me to miss many things people say. My hope is that I don’t lose my hearing totally and can’t hear the sound of laughter. There is nothing like that sound, especially when someone you love is the one laughing.
  3. Living too long and being a burden on my kids. I have seen this happen time and time again and don’t want it to happen to me. I want to be able to make my own decisions on my life and not have to rely on my kids to make them.
  4. I worry I will get dementia like my mother. I try to keep my brain active and constantly do new things. I am hoping that this will help. I saw what she went through and I don’t want my kids to see me go through that. I always wondered if she was really still in there and was trying very hard to tell us she was. It makes me sad to think that was the case. I always tried to let her know I understood how she felt.
  5. My fear I will die alone. I am not afraid of dying. I just hope I am not alone. As we age we lose so many friends and family members. It seems like at least once a week or more someone I know dies. I have already lost my immediate family.. my parents and my sister. So my wish is that I will continue to have the people I love around me as long as I’m here.
  6. Another huge fear of mine is that I will run out of money. What happens if I live till I’m 90, Will I have enough money? Will Social Security run out? Will I have to get a job when I am 80? It’s a very real concern.
  7. I fear I will never fall in love again. I really like being single. In fact I love it. I truly enjoy my independence and being able to do what I want, when I want. But I loved falling in love. The excitement of a new love is one of the all time great experiences in life. I fear I will never feel that way again.
  8. Losing my ability to drive. If I want to go somewhere I don’t want to have to rely on someone else to take me. I want to drive myself(my daughter would beg to differ, because she drives us a LOT, but I know I can if I want to) I think this is one of the biggest fears of most aging adults. And one of the hardest things for us to give up.
  9. Not being able to live in my own home. This home doesn’t have to be my present home, but I want it to be MY home. It could be an assisted living place of residence. I really would like it to be my own home. I know my mother didn’t want to leave her home but she had dementia and we were constantly worried about her safety. She told us constantly she wanted to be in her own home. And now I understand that.
  10. And finally I fear that the monster that resides under my bed will really truly eat my leg off once and for all if I forget and allow my leg to hang over the side of the bed. (I had to lighten things up a bit)

I don’t dwell on these fears but sometimes as I start to fall asleep they do creep into my mind. I know I am extremely blessed with good health, a loving family and many wonderful friends. I know people my age that have many of these fears and others. Some people fear losing their looks or their once slim body. I gave up on worrying about that quite a while ago. I exercise and try to take care of myself. But I can’t be worried about what I used to look like and why I don’t anymore.

Life goes by so fast. We shouldn’t spend our days being fearful. Yes, we do need to acknowledge our fears, we can’t just ignore them. But then we must try to move past the fear and find joy in every single day. Our fears are going to be there, but maybe  we can learn how to keep them from sabotaging our happiness.

What are your biggest fears?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

01Jul/16
My Grandparents 50th anniversary

I’m Not My Mother’s Grandmother…

I’m not even “my” grandmother…

My Grandparents 50th anniversary

My grandparents 50th anniversary

My Grandma is in the middle of the picture above and she is basically the same age as I am right now. Seriously…I know times have changed but I can’t believe looking at this picture that she is the same age as me.

Are we, the Baby Boomers really looking and acting younger than our grandparents or is it just our imagination? Why did they seem so old back then? And why do we seem so much younger now? When I was growing up I can’t remember my grandparents, any of them, ever running and playing ball with us or hiking up a mountain in the summer heat. They did things with us but it was things like baking and reading and watching tv. I do remember Grandpa G telling some awesome stories about his days on the railroad. And I remember my Grandpa F taking me on some very long walks down to the park in their neighborhood.

As for they way they dressed or acted I can’t imagine what they would say if they could see us now. They acted “old”. When we visited with them and they were talking to my parents or other adults I couldn’t relate to anything they were talking about. Most of the time if we were even in the room during these conversations we were told to leave, that they were having an adult conversation, and for us to go play with the other kids. My grandchildren and I do lots of fun things when we are together and we have some great conversations on all kinds of topics, even politics. During one of these conversations they told me, “you sure don’t act or look like a grandma.” I’m hoping that is a compliment. You never know with them, but I’m going to take it as one.

 me...

me…same age as Grandma above

What’s changed? What’s different these days? Why did they seem so old and we look so much younger?  I think we take better care of ourselves now. We exercise. I never saw my grandparents exercise…ever. My oldest grandson and I have plank tournaments…who can hold one the longest. I beat him. The last time I asked if he wanted to have one he said no. When I asked him why he said because you will just beat me again. I am up to a two and a half minute plank. Could you see your grandparents doing a plank? I sure can’t.

Fashion has certainly changed along with the years. These days there are no rules about what you can or can’t wear as a “grandparent”. Thank goodness! My Grandma always wore a dress…always. And usually she had an apron on over it. She was almost always in the kitchen whipping up something wonderful for us kids to eat. My Dad’s mom did if I recall wear a pants suit now and then. I know I was shocked to see this and I’m sure it shocked her friends and neighbors. I remember when she moved to Florida I actually saw her in shorts. Unheard of in those days…she was such a trendsetter.

“Love is the greatest gift one generation can leave another.” ~ Richard Garnett

I often wonder when I look at their photos if I styled my hair the way they did, let it go grey( it may or may not be grey since I haven’t seen my real hair color in years) and wore the same dress if maybe I would look that way too. However it wouldn’t change who I am. I would still be the Grammie hiking up the trails and running around playing ball and jumping on the trampoline with my grands. I can’t even imagine seeing either of my grandmas jumping on a trampoline…just the thought of Grandma in her dress and oh, yes, her nylons — rolled at the knee–and the big thick shoes, which she never took off(I actually thought she wore them to bed) jumping on the trampoline cracks me up.

We are a different generation of grandparent. We are on Facebook and Instagram. We Tweet and Stumble and Tumble. We have lots of interests and hobbies. I have a blog. My grandson told me he was proud of me for starting this blog. It truly warmed my heart to have him say that to me. And that is one thing that doesn’t change from one generation to the next. We want our grandchildren to be proud of us. We want them to remember us when we aren’t here anymore. It doesn’t matter what we look like or how we dress, what matters is what they have learned from us, the times we shared and how they felt when we were together.

What do you remember about your grandparents? What do you hope your grandchildren will remember about you?

“Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories and love.” ~ Unknown

24Jun/16
Yay for 1st...

Do You Remember Your First Time?

10 firsts you may remember fondly — or not so fondly

Yay for 1st...

Yay for 1st…

Over the course of our lives we all have many firsts…some good, some bad and some we remember the rest of our lives.

Here is a list of my top ten firsts:

    1. First Friend – Mine was my friend Sue from first grade. We stayed friends for a very long time until we somehow lost touch. We did reconnect but sadly she has passed away now. I had many neighborhood friends growing up and we played from first thing in the morning until dark every day. I miss those kids and I miss those times. I also had great friends in high school and have recently reconnected with them which has been the most amazing thing ever. Then there were the special friends that I met through jobs I had. There is nothing better than friends that “get” you. But you always remember your first friend.
    2. First time you shaved – for girls it was our legs and I guess boys/young men their face. I remember it being such a big deal. My Mom would not let me do it. Every time I asked, she would tell me not yet. I was embarrassed around my friends who were already shaving theirs and also a bit envious. Somehow a simple thing like shaving your legs was a very “huge” thing to a teenager. When I finally was allowed to do it I cut my leg so bad right on the shin bone that I have a scar there until this very day.
    3. First time you drove a car – I couldn’t wait to get my permit and take my test and have my drivers license. I took my test in Dad’s brand new Chevy Nova. I think it made me feel so empowered to be behind the wheel and be doing something on my own at the young age of 16. I loved that car so much and when Dad finally decided to get a new one he gave me the Nova. I was in heaven.
    4. First job – My first job was at a local department store downtown in the cosmetics department. I was 16 and worked I think 4 hours a week. I was making 50 cents an hour if that, but it sure did make me feel good to get that pay check. I have had many jobs in my life but I don’t think any compare to that first one.
    5. First time traveling out of your city or state – I remember going to the beach in Atlantic City, NJ when I was very young. My parents took me every year and it felt like it took forever to get there from PA where I lived. As a child, everything in our young lives was more extreme. Sitting in the car waiting to reach the beach and the fun seemed like an eternity. But it was definitely worth the wait and so exciting. Especially the very first time we went.
    6. First time you bought something with your own money – I remember this one like it was yesterday. I wanted a pair of Capezio shoes. My Mom wouldn’t let me have them because they were too expensive. She finally said if I could get the money I could have a pair. So I babysat and earned the money to pay for them. Best money I ever spent and on my favorite pair of shoes that I ever owned.
    7. First place of your own – Whether the first place you had was an apartment or a house, it really didn’t matter, it was yours. There is something about having your own place that truly makes you feel like an adult. Its your place, no one is going to walk in unless you want them to be there. You can dance in the nude to your favorite songs and play the music as loud as you want. Disclaimer: I may or may not have done this at one time.
    8. First kiss – I had my very first kiss in first grade. His name was Richard, he was my “boyfriend” from 1st thru 5th grade. The very first kiss is different from all the others. I was young and innocent and it was very sweet. My first real “grownup” kiss was by mistake, at least on my part. I had practiced kissing the mirror for months and thought I was ready but didn’t have a boyfriend at the time. An older neighborhood boy, he was maybe 3 years older than me, offered to take me home from school, for some reason unknown to me at the time he made a detour and took me on a back road. I was confused and asked him why we were there and he said for this. He then planted a big kiss on my lips. I was surprised, excited and scared all at the same time. He told me I was a good kisser. I asked him to take me home immediately and never road in the car alone with him again. After that I did secretly feel like I was ready to really kiss someone I cared about and didn’t worry that I wouldn’t be doing it wrong anymore. So there was that. The first kiss with my boyfriend who would become my husband was truly the best one of all. When you kiss someone you love for the first time, it is really the “first” kiss. And no mater what happens after that, it is the one you remember.
    9. Which brings me to this one, First love – is the love of the boy in 1st grade any different than the love of the boy who would become the father of my children? I don’t know. I have had several men who I have loved in my life and each one was special in their own way and I remember each one of the times I first fell in love with them. It may be different for me also since I am not with any of them now. They are etched in my heart and memories and I love them all. I love them, the person they were when we fell in love.
    10. And finally this one. Sex – My first time was in the back seat of my boyfriend’s — eventual husband’s father’s 1950 Plymouth. It was not something I really wanted to do at that time, but I kept getting the “if you really loved me” thing. And so I caved. It was of course, less than wonderful and I thought to myself, “this is what all the fuss is about?” I didn’t think I wanted to do THAT again. But of course once you do, there is no going back. At least in my case.

Doing something for the “first time” fills us with a sense of empowerment and an equal excitement. Holding your newborn child in your arms for the first time, seeing one of your kids graduate from college and watching your first grandchild being born are some others that have brought me these same feelings of excitement and joy. I have had a few new “first times” lately and I am definitely planning on a few more. In my opinion, you are never to old to have a “first time.”  I leave you as always with a question and a quote.

When was the last time you had a “first time?” Or tell me what your favorite “first time” was.

“There’s a first time for everything.” ~ Greg Owen

 

 

16Jun/16
Love

Are We All Too Busy?

Can we all stop for a minute and maybe just listen…

Love is the answer...

Love is the answer…

 

Love is the answer but what is the question? The question is, why are we all so busy rushing here and there and “doing” that we don’t take time to just “be”? And all this rushing around we’re doing makes us cranky and stressed out and so we just tune everything and everyone out.

We don’t take time to stop and smile at people anymore. If you happen to pass someone while walking on the street or in the grocery store and catch their eye(if for some reason they aren’t looking down at their phone) and smile, 9 times out of 10 they won’t smile back and they look the other way or they look at you like you are crazy. Heaven forbid if you say hello. They quite possibly may call the cops. “There is a crazy woman walking through town today and….she just said “hello” to me.”

I think everyone is just so focused on the next moment or getting to where they need to be that they lose track of what truly matters in life. People matter and if we were more kind to each other, stopped rushing and actually talked to each other, then maybe just maybe we would all be better for it.

“Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed how much more life she had time for.” ~ Unknown

A few things happened lately that caused me to stop and think about this. In the course of a week I had two encounters that literally forced me to look at my life and also look at the way I treat others. I myself until recently was one of the people that were always rushing here and there, so I know of what I speak. I was out walking one day a few weeks ago and happened to glance down and see some beautiful flowers in pots on the porch of a house down the street from mine. They were really pretty flowers and I stopped for a minute to look closer when a small white haired woman walked out from the side of the house. I quickly told her I was admiring her flowers. I didn’t want her to think I was going to steal them or something. She looked a little leery at first and then her face changed and she just beamed.

And so my walk was delayed for about 45 minutes while she told me all about her life. She told me that her husband had just recently passed and that she lived in the house for 62 years. She loves gardening and does it as often as she can but her daughter-in-law helps her now. She showed me around the back yard to see her garden there too. She was quite proud of her flowers and wanted me to see them and also wanted to tell me all about her life. Her name was Dotty and she invited me to stop by more often and have a cup of tea with her. I felt good as I left her, and I was also filled with the thought that I was supposed to meet her, that maybe she just really needed someone to talk to at that moment. And I was that one.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Plato

Then last week while shopping with my daughter we passed an older woman in an aisle we were in and we both remarked after passing her, how much we loved her top. It had mermaids on it and it was just beautiful. I had regretted not saying something to her and was a little mad at myself. A little while later I ran into her again in another aisle and didn’t want to miss my chance again, so I looked right at her and told her that my daughter and I were just saying how much we loved her blouse. She was taken aback for a minute and then lightly blushed and said thank you so much. She said you don’t know how much I needed that. As she spoke I knew she must have lived recently or grew up in Paris. I absolutely love a French accent and since going there is on my bucket list I wanted to chat with her awhile longer just to hear her voice.

As we stood there staring at each other she almost looked like she was going to cry and then began telling me her story. Her husband of 40 years had just left her because he just didn’t have anything in common with her anymore and of course there is another woman involved and also of course she is younger and more beautiful. I told her she was very beautiful and that she would survive this and go on to see this was all meant to be. She asked me if I was sure that would happen and I told her I was since I had gone through the same thing. She said she felt unimportant and dowdy(her words). I told her I thought she was beautiful and intelligent and that her husband was an ass. She laughed then and we talked about many other things. We had quite a long conversation.

My daughter finally found me in the aisle with this beautiful woman and I wanted to introduce her. I asked the woman what her name was and she said Colette. I said are you from France and she said yes. And then went on to say she had just the past week returned from burying her Mother there. That is when her “ass” of a husband decided to tell her he no longer thought she had any worth to him. She asked our names and I said Renee and my daughter said Michelle. She laughed and said we were destined to meet. I gave her a hug and we went on our way. I think all of us were better for the conversation we had that day in the middle of an aisle in a store.

“Everyone has a story that will stop your heart.” ~ Claudia Shear

So my message to you is, listen to your heart, stop and talk to that person you walk by every day. Smile at the neighbor you have never spoken to in the seven years you lived in your house. Say hello to the grocery store clerk and ask them how their day is going. They all may have a story to tell. Sharing their story could truly make their day and it could make your day a whole lot better just by the simple act of listening. So I will leave you as always with a question and another quote.

Have you ever had this happen? Would you stop to chat with a total stranger and stay to listen to their story?

“Ask people how they’re doing, how’s life? Everyone has a story and you may be the one they want to tell it to.” ~ Unknown

 

 

10Jun/16
My "fix"

The Ocean Fixes Me

I have seen quotes that “the ocean fixes everything”, all I know is it sure fixes me..

My "fix"

My “fix”…

Spending time at the beach brings me so much joy. It is really my happy place and I love nothing more in life than sitting on a beach relaxing and reading a book. But it also has a way of “fixing” me.

I have had a bit of stress in my life recently and while I know things always have a way of working out sometimes it just gets overwhelming. I get so mad at myself for not being able to just rise above it all and move on but it truly seems harder and harder to do that. I think when we are young we think we are invincible and that we have all the time in the world. We expect good things to happen and they do. As we age we are dealing with so many things we didn’t know we would be facing at this point in our lives so it just makes it a little harder to keep coming back time and time again. I am not one to feel sorry for myself and I always look at the glass as half full but sometimes it is hard to do that. So then on top of not coping with things the way I should, I feel guilty for feeling the way I do.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.” ~ E.E.Cummings

Spending time at the beach last week reaffirmed just how much the ocean brings me back and soothes my soul. I have always loved the beach ever since my parents took me to Atlantic City, NJ when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. And I have never missed a single year since that very first time. I need that ocean fix, I crave it and can always tell when it is time for me to go again. I just need to sit on a beach somewhere and just “be”.

Why does the ocean make me feel this way? What is it that comes over me and takes me out of myself, fills me with a sense of calm and gets me ready to face the world again? I have never figured it out. I am a fire sign, so it makes sense that the ocean would cool me down and soothe the fire so to speak. I don’t know how or why, I just know it does.

Having just left the quiet, quaint beach town of Chincoteague, VA. I am once again reminded of how much I enjoy the peace and calmness of that kind of place. What a difference from years ago when I had to have the glitz, glamour, stores and bars to enjoy the beach. I craved all the excitement. I loved going to the beach during the day, and even then felt the connection but afterwards I wanted to hang out in all the loud music, filled to the max with people places. No more. The beach and all it has to offer me is quite enough.

Even the sunsets are better

Even the sunsets are better there…

I don’t think I am imagining how much of an effect the ocean has on me. I can sit on the beach for hours just watching wave after wave crashing to the shore. I can be quite happy watching sea gulls flying around and maybe seeing an occasional dolphin swimming by. All of that is awesome and I enjoy seeing it, but it is the calmness and feeling of total peace that keeps bringing me back again and again. I feel like I am somehow cleansed and released from all the stresses and things that were bothering me at home. I can almost(yes, almost) forget them and feel like I am me again. The young me that believed that anything was possible and that everything would be ok. I never used to doubt that. But now it gets harder and harder to believe these things I once knew to be true.

Lately, I have had a few set backs trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I love fashion and jewelry and love being a part of that industry. I am not one to just sit and not do anything. Yes, I am retired, and I love it..but I’m not dead. I love people and being around them. However in the period of a year I have been laid off by one company, the second one dropped my hours to zero and the third one is closing the end of July. It is frustrating at my age to start over so many times. And to have the company you really loved working for to just close. I have started over so many times in my life I have lost count. And what was easy and fun to do at 30 isn’t as easy and sure isn’t fun when you are in your 60’s. So as I sat on the beach last week I pondered all of this. Then I silently asked, “what’s next?” As I looked straight ahead the clouds in front of me formed a little “U”. I guess I got my answer.

the little "u" in the clouds...

the little “u” in the clouds…(look straight in the middle, it’s very small)

On the way home in the car I was feeling an increasing sense of dread that I was leaving my happy place and would be returning to reality. The stressful things will all still be there and I will have to deal with them again. So I wondered, if I lived at the beach would all these stresses magically just go away or would I still have the same ones I do now but I could walk on the beach every day and sort them out. I plan on being at the beach as much as I can to find out. And it’s way cheaper than therapy!

And so in closing I once again leave you with a question and a quote…Would you live at the beach if you could?

“We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or watch – we are going back from whence we came.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy