Beauty is its own reward…

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An exquisite gift from The Root Connection that mirrors the month of May – the rain that makes the flowers, and the steaming cup of tea for appreciating it all. 

We’re two weeks into the month already, so burrow down into the good, the true, the right, and the lovesome, and let it heal you. All this other stuff is gonna keep happening, so go ahead and let the outstanding in the world make you dance again and take you completely away from the things that give you the blues.

More about spring and happiness and for lord’s sake not crying so much, later. For right now, if it’s as nice outside where you are as it is where I am we both should be out there. I started with rain and ended with sunshine and 87º (implied), and I’m sure there’s a tie-in but I lack the discipline to nail it right now, so that’s your mission should you choose to accept it. No, forget that – go outside and get some sun – spring/summer has finally arrived.

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Catharsis is not pretty…

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Dammit, life in the end is a cruel mysterious bitch because it’s so beautiful and so brief. I stand in the shower and cry wracking sobs that leave my ribs sore because we’re getting into our 70’s now and some of my most brilliant friends are falling to Alzheimer’s and I can’t make it stop and IT’S NOT FAIR. And I’m wrapped in a towel with my hair dripping water and running down with the tears and I’m trying to find words that mean anything at all when the world is ending and I’m mad as hell and nothing’s right anywhere except… a precious beautiful man loves my son and maybe I can stop crying in a little while… maybe… because when life seems like it has to end right this minute so we won’t die from the ache… there’s something so good we’d be really… pissed if we missed it.

And then we’re crying… softly now… from the grace and the sweetness and the peace and the yin and the yang.

The balance is always there if we can let the quiet find us…

… so pain is such a mixed bag that we don’t really dare wish it to be gone forever. That’s a much-needed revelation this morning and I’m glad for it.

Have a beautiful spring Sunday, friends. Because life is good. So good.

 

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Such nonsense…

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It’s Saturday again, best day of the week except for Sunday. Cool, sunny, messy bed, everything the way we left it last night. In a word perfect. After an early breakfast Kim rode his bike to PickleBall, came back to get his truck, went to the nursery in NoLaw for bedding plants, now he’s home playing guitar.

In case you’re curious as to the whereabouts of our narrator while all this was going on, she’s been at her computer trying to figure out where sadness comes from. I mean, with life staying basically beautiful day after day, why sadz?

I saw a picture a friend posted today of a gorgeous ginger biddy hen on the porch of a weathered old house and the tears started. What’s up with that? Maybe partly the memories of a one-time farm-girl-farm-wife, turning maudlin old biddy hen herself, but I’m curious about what else tripped the melancholy since it happens fairly often lately.

There are days when the smallest trigger reduces me to ruins, and others when everything, no matter how heavy, leaves me cold. Should I seek counseling yet? Disclaimer: It might be a waste – I just might not do a thing they told me, out of stubbornness.

I could sit here all day on a truly perfect April Saturday with tears running down my cheeks and no real idea why they’re there. But being a sensible person at heart (is that an oxymoron, I wonder?) the thing to do … since it’s after 1pm … is probably … to get in the shower and clean up my act.

Because … a totally not-sad part of the day is still out there, guaranteed, and I know that she who snoozes … loozes. Crying itself can be a form of losing and it isn’t a good look for maudlin old biddies, at any rate.

Have a sweet weekend, boys and girls, and if the tears fall, don’t ask too many hard questions of them. Let them do their work, sit still in whatever quiet is available to you, enjoy the sunshine if it blesses you, it’s a pretty good world if we stay willing to connect with it. 💋

Photo Belongs to The Root Connection

 

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The joys of fiscal restraint…

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We celebrated a milestone last month with the sale of our townhouse that had been on the market for almost five years – a little too much house for the location but it served us well for twice that long, so no regrets. Now that the Beloved Albatross is no longer our baby, the Wish List is a thing again, topped by MATTRESS – the 15-yr-old king-size pillow-top behemoth with the crime scene outlines where the bodies were. The one with three possible places to stretch out – left, right, or the crest in the middle, provided you weren’t a restless sleeper.

Armed with a recommendation from friends, we walked all innocent-like, our actual faces hanging out, into a mattress store, assuming we knew what we were doing – how hard is it to buy a mattress, right? You know how you think your friends’ kids that you never see are still wee toddlers? Same with the realm of the boudoir, who knew? A mattress is not just a mattress anymore. They still consist of a horizontal surface that fits into some sort of frame if you so desire, but that’s where the similarity to the familiar ends. The operative word now is foam and lots of it. Remember Serta? They’re still in the biz, but now you also see names like Casper, Puffy, Purple, Leesa, Ghost Bed, Nectar, Helix, and such.

After a quick education and an aha moment or two, the indented version was on its way to that great mattress paradise in the sky and we now have a new iteration that looks basically like a serene slab of cement but which welcomes my screaming bundle of cells after dark and puts me out of my misery without a struggle. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such a gift, but experience has shown me that Karma is a meticulous bookkeeper so I don’t ask too many questions. Even with the swanky always-cool pillows, we came in grossly under budget and my girl-type readers know what THAT means. Riiiight – we get to add to the list.

So far we’ve checked off three biggish-ticket items that have been hanging fire for the past five years or so, all at an unexpected discount, so maybe we’re kinda good at this. Bodes well for more fun in the future when we most need it. And we KNOW we’re going to need it.

 

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Spring and its whims…

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Feels like a Windsday – already 70º at 8am and too breezy for comfort on my 4th-floor balcony. It’s overcast again too, for the whateverth day in a row. There’s talk of rain by late afternoon, in which case all would be forgiven, otherwise I’m in the mood for sunshine.

Our East Lawrence neighborhood is leafing out, bit by bit, once again obscuring the houses and buildings from view. I should know what these two little trees are, on the corner of our parking – I just know their pink delicacy makes me happy every spring.

And now it’s nearly noon, Kim is home from the PickleBall wars, it’s time for sustenance, and the sun is shining. Since there’s nothing left to whine about I’ll take my leave, wishing you a beautiful spring day. Make it count – it could snow tomorrow.

P.S. It did.

 

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The nature of things…

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Random reflections while I watch huge snowflakes swirl outside my windows on April 8th, twenty days into spring:

  • Cold feels colder after ten days in tropical warmth.
  • There’s something deeply satisfying about opening WordPress after a break, finding sixty spam messages trapped by Akismet, and dumping them en masse. {shiver of delight}
  • After several days in the metro Atlanta area, one of America’s supreme melting pots, the Central Florida Gulf Coast was striking in its lack of diversity. Must find out why. It was disconcerting to see only white faces everywhere.
  • Vacations are about food, but my appetite took a hike the day we left here and I ended up losing 2 lbs. Now that we’re home it’s back with a bullet, of course. Isn’t life hilarious.
  • Today is for recuperating from all that fun – tomorrow is for hitting the list and becoming productive again. It has to happen.
  • The weather will eventually get warm and stay that way. Right?
  • That’s enough thinking – it’s taken me all day to get this far…

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A tipping point…

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Sitting around the corner from the TV, hearing the impassioned young voices, letting myself time-travel back to the ’60s when the issues were different but the same – my generation and theirs were/are tired of dying in the name of deeply-questionable causes.

After one of the more massive recent shootings, someone said “These young people are our future voters.” True, but short of the mark. These young people are our future EVERYTHING. These young people are our future.

They make me proud. By all rights they could have grown up tone-deaf to the things that ail American society, bent on getting theirs and never looking back. Instead, the world they’ve known since birth has built into them a sense of justice like we haven’t seen since…maybe the ’60s.

The on-the-cusp-of-adulthood people who are in the streets today have the energy, knowledge, and motivation to change the world and I believe they’re going to do it. It’s their time and I want to be found on the right side of history with them. They have my heart.

 

 

 

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Happy B’day to the KIMN8R…

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You know those days when everything that can go wrong does? When you just can’t catch a break? When everything crumbles to dust at your touch? Yeah, there are plenty of those but today wasn’t one of them, not at all.

First, it’s Kim’s birthday and we walked over to Jefferson’s for a fish & chips lunch. We’ll go to Limestone tomorrow for a fitting celebration – his age finally has a 7 in it like mine, but in a different spot.

Second, the great condo we put on the market almost five years ago sold. Today. Funds are in the bank.

Third, the University of Kansas Jayhawks are playing Clemson in the Sweet Sixteen this evening and we’ll be stuck like glue to the game.

Fourth, we saw again today what wonderful friends we have and how sweet life is because of that.

Fifth, we have terrific family. That’s everything.

Milestones are a good opportunity to look around and see what’s changed since the last one. All the good stuff is still here and so are we – that’ll work.

 

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A Paean to Spring Fever

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Favorite kind of morning: waking up to rain hitting the windows (again/still/some more) while I watch the house get darker instead of lighter in the usual order of things. Sometimes I amaze myself – I got out of bed even though it was still raining.

Aaannnd, that was yesterday. Didn’t do diddly. Rain – 1, Judy – 0.

This morning dawned overcast and dry, or so I’m told. Wonder if “hazy and nondescript” will be the magic that moves me. That would be delightful – I have a long list.

However…I’m not through procrastinating yet and I’m fully engaged in what’s lately being referred to as “executive time.” Reading, drinking tea, writing, annoying people on Facebook, paying a bill – just one, wondering what’s for lunch…

And oh look, now we’re going shopping – that’s productive, right? It was even on the list. Wow, when you’re this much of a whiz at life you can’t even stop yourself from achieving goals right and left.

Guess what. Now it’s Wednesday. But it’s okay because I figured out what my problem is: Spring Fever like gangbusters. I’ve wallpapered my desktop and all my apps in electrifying flowers, which you’d think would zing me into my most productive frame of mind, but you’d be wrong.

Clearly you would, because now it’s Thursday. Pitiful situation with no remedy in sight other than a blistering summer capable of melting Spring Fever in its tracks. Knowing the odds, my plan is to soak up all the spring there is and deal with lists when it’s too hot to do anything else.

Not my house up there but it looks like a perfect spot for greeting the season and nurturing the Fever…

 

 

 

 

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Let the good rain down…

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What’s a dark rainy morning good for besides almost everything…

…good for listening to the drops against the windows…watching the neighborhood dissolve into a distorted river…sitting in the dim quiet of my house and thinking Zen (as opposed to anguished) thoughts…warming my hands on my favorite tea mug…writing words and bantering with friends…and maybe, possibly, crying just a little.

 

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Grief – a most peculiar thing…

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“The world breaks everyone, then some become strong

at the broken places.”

– Ernest Hemingway

So many kinds of grief for humans to deal with. So many humans dealing with so much hurt. Be kind. Let the candles speak.

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We’ll keep a light on for ya’…

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“Energy is wasted when you try to influence people who have already decided they’re not going to be happy or nice. Let them be as they are, and spend energy on the people who love and accept you, where you are and as you are. You’ll always attract more of the kind of people you focus your energy and attention on.”

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This ^^^ popped up today as a memory from 2012. I posted it originally sans quotation marks or accreditation, which isn’t how I do things unless they’re my own words, but I somehow don’t think I wrote it. Six years of wear and tear can take a toll on the memories, though, so who knows, and regardless, I agree with the sentiment despite the fact that it’s a hard lesson to own and remember. Thus…

…it took the current state of the union to finally show me that we genuinely are two very different countries here in these (loosely) United States. What turned the light on was seeing the news I get from The Guardian, Reuters, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal and a handful of others, contrasted head-to-head with news delivered by Fox Entertainment in the same time frames, and in no way did the two resemble each other. Different topics, different emphasis, different atmospheres entirely. I consider myself hard to shock these days, but that did it – the contrast couldn’t have been more stark, and I can’t even be cute or coy about it. Because…

…it told me that people in the world I occupy, and people who live in Fox World, don’t hear the same updates, see the same stories, know the same facts, embrace the same concepts – so how could we possibly hope to ever understand each other? No exaggeration on my part, it was a revelation, I don’t care how naive that makes me sound. I’ve held out hope that honest conversation and a give and take of ideas will someday heal the divide, without understanding how deep and wide it really is. I can’t imagine what it would take to bring us together as humans, which makes me very sad. And…

…it’s hard to bottle up the blues long term, so thank you to everyone out there who’s helping to keep the flame lit until it’s your turn in the barrel. I’m pretty sure the brokenness of the world is going to require everything we’ve got and then some, so a team effort is all that really matters right now and none of us can get through this without friends.

“Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” ~Amiel

 

 

 

 

 

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Thinking is harder than it looks…

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Hard-Core Reader knows by now that I spend a sizable amount of time observing –  pondering pretty much everything, really, and watching for the sparks that tell me something needs a closer review. It’s good exercise for the brain and so far it’s helped me sidestep (most) wacko mindsets and exploits. I like that my thoughts still belong to me and can’t be easily swiped, although technology could well change that in my lifetime.

We watched the Oscars Sunday night without falling asleep until almost the end and we were struck by how low-key it all felt compared to other years (some are calling it boring). There were snippets that didn’t work, a joke or two that fell flat, along with a handful of other predictable elements, but the room didn’t seem as angst-laden and fueled by savage competition as past shows. This time, glitz and glam took a bit of a back seat to camaraderie and genuineness, if I dare say that about Hollywood, and the whole thing felt, to us…comfortable. I have a few theories as to why that was, but I need to ponder awhile before I try to name them.

As Andy Rooney would say, “And another thing… ” – I dislike websites that promise an interesting story about someone you remember and then take you to pages full of ads and 50 or more photos to scroll through in order to get to the one you wanted to see. I rarely stick with a site like that – what are they thinking? Who has that kind of time? And while I’m here…I detest autoplay videos that pop up and startle the bejesus out of me about once a day, and ads that flash while I’m trying to read. I zap them and wonder if maybe life’s other little annoyances could be dealt with in a similar way – “I don’t like what you’re doing – please get out of my sight.”

Which brings us to ocular migraines, heinous little beasts that flare up with the least provocation – including flashing images and bright lights – and threaten to end the day before it gets started. Luckily this morning there was a cup of 2-day-old brown liquid left in the coffee pot, having somehow escaped the notice of the cook, and its caffeine content is at work on the cranial vessels as we speak. It tastes okay, too, so it’s a win-win.

Random weather lately, and there are light snow flurries going on outside my windows at the moment. Not a word was said about that in the forecast I saw before I was awake, which signifies nothing – forecasts here tend to be more of a guideline or a multiple choice survey. As Kansans we’re inordinately proud of our weather – not every state has the sheer range we do, often resulting in four or five kinds of weather in a single day.

Thanks for listening to another batch of ponderings – I hope the sun’s shining in your world today and that any surprises will be pleasant ones.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday wins…

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Second day of the weekend dawned overcast and hazy, but warmish – 50s for a high and chances of rain into Monday. We made ourselves over-tired yesterday with the stress of our beloved Jayhawks losing their last regular season game – the trauma, you have no idea. So today will be flake-out day in order to recover. Except that the 5th Rule of Sunday says ranch omelets WILL be consumed, and we’re out of eggbeaters, ranch beans, and the right cheese, so the Big Guy is in street clothes before his time, prowling Stabby Dillons while atoning for our mutual sin of sloth in the preceding 24 hours. Think carefully before retiring, kids – it isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds. There are hazards.

And now the sun’s shining and I see blue sky out the windows. The hunter/gatherer is home and performing the ol’ breakfast magic, so the day is shaping up – I still plan to spend the bulk of it semi-comatose, but I’m guessing the KIMN8R, having tasted fresh air before he was even awake, will be back out there on his bicycle, or afoot, or on a PickleBall court. SoCal Man thrives in the sunshine.

While he was out slaying this morning’s dragon, I had an unexpected conversation with a Facebook friend that was equal parts sorrow and joy, and I feel infinitely richer for it. I hope that before you go to sleep tonight you will have found a new happy thing, experienced a serendipity, resolved a pain, seen things that made you smile. Keep your eyes and your heart open, life is too good to miss and there are people counting on you.

P.S. I’m thinking the pink-on-green looks either springish or bilious, what say you?

 

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In like a…

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March arrived here yesterday in lamby-pie fashion and it’s bringing us sunshine and soft temps again today. I’ve been absorbing some of that and hoping it wipes out the blue mood that’s stalked me all week.

March is an odd duck – it holds no major holidays unless you’re Irish (everybody’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day), the weather forecast is up for grabs, and the whole thing seems neither here nor there, this nor that. But my two favorite men celebrate birthdays this month, four days apart, so it isn’t all slush and gray days.

This seems like a perfect time to tell you that I get high on knowing people actually take the time to read what I write. I’m always happy to know you’ve been here, and some of you read every post without fail. That’s amazing. I’m hit and miss and I don’t write on a schedule, so I’m always surprised when you figure out I’m still here doing whatever this is. I suspect it’s cheap therapy.

Keep a good thought – we’re all still above ground and spring is just around the corner.

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