a second look, changing times, childhood, connections, coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, growing old, healing, home, memories, perseverance, photography

Connections…

An uncle came to stay with me once, I’m not even going to try to think of how long ago that was.  He was an academic all his life, a college guidance department head, which is probably why he phrased it as wanting to see my ‘nest’.  That that thought came to mind seems like a natural progression during this nesting season here in Florida, when birds are on my mind a lot of the time.  And somehow that phrase further brought to mind something my closest friend’s husband said to me once after visiting with them.  While I had always felt the closeness between this friend and myself, communication was not so easy in the days when we both had little kids, businesses to run, and lived 3000 miles apart.  So I invited myself to visit them after many years, and when he drove me to the airport to leave he said that we were ‘two peas in a pod’, and that it was a crying shame that we hadn’t been able to be part of each other’s daily lives all along.  On my way to see them on that visit I had said to myself that knowing myself I ought to be nervous, after all I was going to see people that I honestly didn’t know, but I wasn’t at all worried.  And from that first moment that I stepped back into my friend’s life, and home, I felt completely at ease.  More than that though, I felt like myself.  My true self, the ‘real’ me.  Silly, huh?  Who’s life was I leading all those years, living all over the country and raising my kids with only occasional visits to the place I continued to think of as home?  Those were happy years that I treasure, but there was a little part of me that felt alone.  No, apart.  Disconnected.  But not any more, not since I’ve made connections to the past, connections that are mine alone.  Little children that we once were, and who have lived such different lives, are now knowing and cherishing each other in this last part of life.  How we got here hardly matters, it’s just so wonderful to be here.

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coping, courage, death, faith, family, finding my way, friends, grief, healing, life, life goes on, loneliness, marriage, memories, perseverance, photography, sunrise

Time…

It was a gloomy morning, which matched my gloomy mood.  Today we were saying goodbye to yet another friend.  Yet again I would see a dear friend taking her first steps down the slippery slope of widowhood.  I’m five years in at this point, and I now know just how long this process is, this adjusting to life on your own.  At first I found myself astounded that a week had passed, then two weeks, and then a month.  Time, it seemed was relentless.  Impossible as it seemed the days kept passing, and it all became a blur.  Something I recently heard on TV struck me, it made me look online for a quote so I could repeat it correctly.

 

Time is free, but it’s priceless.

You can’t own it, but you can use it.

You can spend it, but you can’t keep it.

Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.

by Harvey MacKay

A silly poem from a friend warmed my heart and brightened this gloomy day for me.  I hope everyone takes time to let the people they care about know that they are loved.  Don’t waste your time, it’s precious…

'scene' along the way, a second look, changing times, Christmas on the brain, home, life goes on, live and learn, memories, perseverance, photography

Back to basics…

I bought a piece of artwork once, from a catalog I think it was.  This was years ago when I was young.  It was a distant landscape in mostly browns and golds, in the foreground was wheat or hay, and the horizon line was broken by a small cabin with a TV antenna on the roof.  Images like that appeal to me still.

Years later we took back roads for the last part of our trips to visit my daughter in upstate New York, and I’ve never forgotten an image from one trip at Christmas time.  It was after dark and we were traveling rural roads with nothing much to see, when off in the distance there was a small house with a string of lights hanging crookedly from an equally crooked porch.  It brought me to tears when I saw it, and it has stayed in my mind like a photo I could take out and look at over and over.

For some reason these images are back in my mind right now.  It started when I walked yesterday and I noticed all the Christmas lights in this modest mobile home park.  I have admired how much pride people have taken in their homes here.  Many, not mine, are spit-polished and look very inviting.  I decided to walk again last night to see those displays after dark.  If there is a point to all this then it has escaped me.  Unless it’s that yes, I’ve spent time in my life wishing for more, trying to keep up, but back to the basics is where I was meant to be all along.12-21lights212-21lights312-21lightsfeature12-21lightsangel12-21lights912-21lights612-21lights512-21lights412-21lightsreindeer12-21manger

changing times, Christmas on the brain, life goes on, live and learn, memories, simple things

The way it is…

If you are my age, and female, then when you were young you also may have been excited to read the latest Women’s Day or Family Circle magazine as soon as they came out.  They were cheap, and if I remember correctly they had short stories, and recipes, many things of interest to me at the time.  But they also had craft projects, and I’m not sure which magazine this one came from but the feature photo is my version of just one of the projects presented one year.  It must have been at Christmas time, and once completed I pinned each piece to a length of ribbon and hung it like a clothesline from a shelf in my dining room.  The only reason it still exists is because it got put away with the Christmas decorations, and though I have purged and purged again I still have this silly thing.

But it strikes me just how involved this project was, and yet it was presented to the masses as just a nice little craft project their readers might enjoy.  You see, how you began this project was to get yourself some graph paper, or rule a one inch grid for yourself.  Then you carefully copied the pattern by hand, coping the drawing in each little square onto your grid, thereby enlarging it.  Then tracing it onto fabric. Then you used fabric crayons to color each element of the project according to the pattern.  But you weren’t done.  No, there is embroidery on each piece.  Tiny French knots and cross stitch, again, following the pattern.  Plus buttons, and bows, and pom moms.  Then you added batting and stitched around the outside of each piece, turned them, and then, finally, you were done.  I think this was intended to be something a granddaughter might play with at Christmas.  A paper doll of sorts, hanging on the tree.  Except I couldn’t bring myself to add velcro to the front of the doll so that her various outfits would stick to her.  And after all the time and effort I put into it I loved it too much to let it go the way of most toys.  So no, this little girl and her teddy bear have only seen the light of day for a few weeks at Christmas for many, many years now.

But my point, if there is a point, is to imagine this project being presented for someone to do in this day and age.  We are force fed by the media.  We demand instant gratification.  When the older bakers at work used to make their special rolls and pastries I’d ask why all the bakers didn’t make them, and the answer would be that ‘you can’t teach them.’   Is it that young people don’t approach a job like that as a skill, a career?  Or is it not worth it to the company to spend time teaching those skills when mass production is available?  I’m tempted to complain about young people today, but would I see this project in a magazine and attempt it today?  I thought that was terrible, even when I was seeing it as only a baking issue, but now I see that it applies across the board.  And that it applies to me too.  And no, I can’t see myself attempting this project if I saw it presented today.  It makes me sad to recognize and admit that to myself.  It’s just the way it is…12-18Christmasdoll12-18Christmasdoll212-18Christmasdoll3

a second look, adventure, childhood, family, fun, memories, moments, perseverance, photography, road trip, second chances, technology, travel

I’m thankful for the memories…

I doubt that any amount of editing would have been able to improve the quality of these photos.  The movies they are taken from have been collecting dust for about 64 or so years.  The person behind the camera had his/her own thumb featured prominently in some shots, and each stop to record only lasted a second or two.  Trying to pause the film and take a picture with the phone at just the right moment was a challenge, and I would miss that split second opportunity time and time again.

But I hope you’ll indulge me this trip down memory lane because these pictures represent a favorite memory, and the only real vacation trip my family ever took.  We drove in a caravan with several other families, and I remember it so fondly.  I remember rafting in Ausable Chasm, seeing the colors of the rock walls rising up on each side of the river.  I remember going to Fort Ticonderoga, and the ferry ride on Lake Champlain.  But the memory I remember most is the pony ride at Frontier Town, and how mad as a hatter I was that they didn’t let me just ride that pony by myself.  I was sure I knew all there was to know about horses.  No, not only did they not let me just take off on my own, but they had my sister leading the pony.  If a cowboy had been leading the horse I might have taken it better, or maybe not.  I’m happy to say that it looked like I was having fun so I must have kept my annoyance to myself.  Seeing a movie of exactly the memory I remember best was pretty amazing.  What also stood out as I watched the movie was that I was amazed to see the actors galloping into town during the re-enactment of a bank robbery.  The visitors were right there, milling around, and they just galloped those horses through the town.  I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t fly these days!  And apparently water boarding was a thing too. 11-25train11-25rafting11-25lake11-25cowboyscoming11-25galloping211-25ponyride11-25ponyride211-25waterboarding

I’ve talked quite a few times about how much I cherish the memories I have from exactly this age.  From the neighborhood I lived in then, and the people who made a lasting impression enough on me that I never actually let them go.  And I’ve been so lucky to reconnect with them and to have them in my life again.  And now to actually see that little kid that I was., the me before I let the world beat me into submission, so to speak.  I liked that me, I’m glad to have her back…11-25cowgirlme2Thanks for indulging me this trip down memory lane.

a second look, connections, family, finding my way, learning, life, life goes on, live and learn, memories, moments, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, silliness

It’s a puzzle…

I bought this puzzle as a prop for a blog post.  It was a while ago and I can’t remember what I called it or what my point actually was at the time.  Something about life falling into place.  Ha!  I’m sure I was convinced at that moment that happily ever after was just around the corner.  When will I learn that ‘ever after’ is an illusion and right this minute is about all you can count on?

I dumped the puzzle pieces out onto the table and took a picture, and then put them back into the box and forgot all about it.  But while on a trip recently there was a puzzle out on the table and we all attempted to put it together, and failed, but it was fun.  I used to buy a Christmas puzzle every year and we’d all work on it, I loved that family activity.  Consequently I bought a table just for that purpose, one with sides that fold down, and it sat up against the wall ignored most of the year.  Not any more though.  That table is now my do-everything table.  All sewing and crafts, plus it’s where I stick things that I can’t figure out what else to do with but also feel like it would be a sin to just throw them away.  After they sit there long enough they do get tossed, but it’s like the left-overs in the refrigerator, I have to let them age a while before I can feel saintly about getting rid of them.

And so when I got home from that trip I got the irresistible urge to ‘do’ that puzzle, and even though I told myself that I shouldn’t, that I’d wind up mad at myself with a puzzle half-done and some other use for the table in mind, but I dumped it out anyhow.  And sure enough, it has taken over my life ever since.  This is exactly the reason I shouldn’t bake, because no matter how I tell myself I’ll put those cookies in the freezer for ‘company’, I eat them.  I don’t buy candy, bread, and ice cream for exactly the same reason.  I really should listen to that voice in my head once in a while, but I hardly ever do.

Then this long, cold, rainy/overcast, weekend arrived, and I was determined to get that puzzle over-with.  So I could get my sewing machine out.  And by last night I was convinced that the puzzle-maker had screwed up.  I had several puzzle pieces that both belonged in the exact same spot, and there was supposed to be a skinny yellow window in one of the doors of the puzzle, and those pieces were simply not there.  I was composing a scathing letter to Big Ben Puzzles in my head, and there may have been a cuss word or two spoken.  Enter my uncle, who picked up the problem section of puzzle pieces and moved everything one space to the left, and like a miracle everything fell into place!  From now on when I reach an impass in life, and am ready to tear my hair out, I hope I remember to move one space to the left and see how things look from there…11-17puzzleimage211-17puzzleimage

I brilliantly took a picture of the puzzle box, which was small and it was impossible to see the details of the puzzle on the image.  Then I put the picture onto the computer screen and zoomed in and I could roll over the image and see the details.  See the feature photo.  And even that didn’t help.  I’ll never know if I’d have figured it out on my own.  This determination to do everything by myself isn’t always the best idea.