Daily joy …

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messy Sunday bed

singing Sunday birds so loud

sunshine lights the way

JSmith 04/16/2017

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How bad is your OCD?

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Over the years together Kimmers and I have gradually realized that we’re both assorted shades of OCD. His shows up, fortunately, as a desire for neat and clean so we’ve saved serious coin by declining to engage the services of a Professional Domestic Engineer since his Mom-&-U.S.Navy Training rendered him eminently qualified. He also prefers being alone in his kitchen while he works his magic according to nose and feel. It isn’t nice to interfere with the Zen, not to mention that it would be foolish, so staying out of the way and maintaining partial radio silence is no sacrifice on my part. I read yesterday that “he who feeds us is our personal god.” I’ll buy that, especially since Kim’s an entirely benevolent one and those are hard to find.

My OCDness is sort of what it looks like – oddness. Odd Cranial Disarray. That’s me up there with too many things taking up space in my brain, sorting priorities, trying to stockpile enough spoons for whatever’s ahead. When it all gets to be a little much I start asking myself what needs to go, either for a while or for good. This month it was my long-term addiction to Facebook, something that felt unbreakable until now. In a bold effort to rescue myself from the slough of despond over politics, which is to say daily life, I shut the door cold turkey on February 1 and the only thing I miss is comments from my real friends there. If I go back when March blows in it will be with a far less engaged mindset. No rush.

The most obvious clue that I’m at least a little OCD is that whatever toy grabs my interest and attention gets the “You’re my favorite thing in the world” treatment until the shiny wears off. Disclaimer: The preceding statement does not apply to people I love – distractions only.

First obsession I remember was learning embroidery from my grandma, making quilts with her, making my own clothes, and then in my little old lady days falling victim to the counted cross-stitch fever that took the civilized world by storm. It was fun, expensive, and I got good at it, but alas, in the end too much work for the eyes and neck muscles, so bye-bye trunkload of fabric, floss, and patterns, hope your next mistress isn’t so fickle.

Having grown too young at that point for needlework I got my first computer and the world was new again. It turned all that industrial-strength bookkeeping on the farm into a sweet walk in the pasture, and it was chock full of games, including an elaborate DOS setup that taxed all my brain cells even as it entertained. Then…years later, when I was even younger, social media burst onto the scene in all its primal glory and began its scorched-earth march to the sea, incinerating all in its path. And hasn’t it been a barrel of laughs, boys and girls? Still is, some days, and I’ll wander back soon, to touch base if nothing else.

I have fond memories of the adorbs farming app in the early days – I lived that silly game, fretted when my crops failed because I was, incredibly, away from the computer when they ripened, took pride in arranging everything just so. One day it dawned on me that I was exerting a godlike control unavailable to me as an actual farm wife and I quietly left it to the birds and bunnies. Then came Candy Crush, the game that ate my soul.

In my current iteration as an adolescent I’m bouncing from one fill-the-blocks app to another, working an endless selection of online jigsaw puzzles and crosswords, dabbling with Twitter, and still ending up with plenty of focused hours to write. Shocking how time-devouring Facebook alone is if you think you have to see every.single.thing that passes through your feed.

I started out to say something here but it got lost in the spaghetti, so let’s do this – if you have reason to think that you, too, may be eligible for the OCD Club, raise your hand, introduce yourself, and let’s have a meeting.

 

 

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So there…

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There is no point explaining.

There is no point painting word pictures.

There is no point trying to bring two sides together who do not speak the same language.

There is no point attempting a mind-meld with someone who doesn’t see you.

There is no point in expecting that someday, somehow understanding will come, empathy will win, compassion will carry us forward.

There is no point in expecting

There is no point in

There is no point.

 

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Be like a tree…

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Image: Lars van de Goor

Be like a tree, and let the dead leaves drop.

~ Rumi

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Cold skies, warm hearts…

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when it’s cold and gray

the fireplaces of the heart

keep us warm and safe

JSmith 11/27/2016

 

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Sacred Sound of the Universe

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Constant Reader will remember my brutal fall on the ice in January and the mystifying soundtrack that has inhabited my skull ever since. After nine months’ time, during which the music has morphed from one personality to another, and countless days when I’ve found myself astonished that Kim can’t hear it because it’s so overwhelming and all-enveloping, I’ve finally stumbled across an answer that resonates with me.

It’s a passage from THE NIX, by Nathan Hill, in a scene from the tumultuous 1960 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Allen Ginsberg has seated himself cross-legged in the grass, palms raised to the universe, listening, as the hordes of protesting flower children stream past him toward an unseen ambush.

“He wants to soothe them. ‘The way forward is like water.’ But he knows it isn’t good enough, isn’t radical enough to calm the wild appetite of the young. And so Ginsberg strokes his beard, closes his eyes, settles into his body, and answers in the only way he can, with a deep bellow from the bottom of his belly, the great Syllable, the sacred sound of the universe, the perfection of wisdom, the only noise worth making at a time like this: Ommmmm.

“He feels the hot holy breath in his mouth, the lifted-up music breath released from his lungs and his gullet, from his guts and heart, his stomach, his red blood cells and kidneys, from his gallbladder and glands and the long spindly legs he sits on, the Syllable issues from all these things. If you listen quietly and carefully, if you are calm and you slow down your heart, you can hear the Syllable in everything – the walls, the street, the cars, the soul, the sun – and soon you are no long chanting. Soon the sound settles into your skin and you are simply hearing the body make the sound it has always made: Ommmmm.”

The music inside my head is simply the sound my body has always made, and when I’m intentional about calming every cell and listening it sounds like Ommmmm, the sacred sound of the universe. It’s a G-major and I would deeply miss it now if it ever went away…

 

 

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ZEN beats PPT

 

Interesting phenomenon in progress: just as too much of social media is disintegrating into a sticky morass of politics, racism, and religious conflict and I’m wondering who the hell I’ll hang with after the mud dries and the dust settles, a door opens – one of the best kinds, totally unexpected and unanticipated. Said door is an invitation to blog for a site whose aim is to provide new platforms for current voices. Their bonafides having checked out, I’m in.

That’s three weeks ago, and my sticky news feed is increasingly being populated by writing sites, blogging sites, photography sites, publishing sites, helpful friendly contact with writers of every stripe (not the porn dudes, they can’t find the trail), and it’s the best attitude adjustment I’ve happened across in months. Nobody’s been purged, blocked, unfriended, unfollowed, or hidden (recently), I’m just so busy talking with friendlies in the world of words, the spunk is quite organically melting right off my page, who knew?

Venturing further into the writing community is proving timely on a purely personal level as well – in a week when nothing at all seems to be going smoothly (an aberration for us), when there are more questions than answers, when our pitiful attempts to garner information come smack back in our faces RETURN TO SENDER every time, and both of us are entertaining morose thoughts of a worm & gopher-guts diet…whew…new friends to save the day (for me). Not that all my old friends aren’t doing a bang-up job, promise.

So yeah, we’re just over here speaking of books and blogs and …

“… shoes- and ships-
And sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the sae is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.”

“Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
He chortled in his joy.”*

…and just like that, my prickly, peevish, testy news feed is Zen AF and feels all homey and shit. Guess who took it full PPT on everybody in the first place? Should I write that down somewhere?

 

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*Jabberwocky, Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

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A sister I didn’t know I had…

Sally Field, who is approximately my age, struck me as overly adorbs in her Gidgety phase and her Flying Nun embarrassed me – such a dippy premise. She went on, of course, to conquer immensely stronger roles, but I realize now that it was the vulnerability oozing from every pore that made me shy away from her in the beginning – I had plenty of that without reinforcement from someone who was too cute for words.

Now on the cusp of 70, Sally Margaret Field, like so many other women in our generation, has found her voice. For maybe the first time, she is no one’s primary caregiver and doesn’t need help herself. Quoting from Apr/May 2016 AARP, “In so many ways I feel like I’m new to myself. I believe all of us, in every stage of our lives, are coming of age.”

Sally’s most recent character, Doris, one she molded and developed, sounds like someone I’d like. Quoting Field again “Doris {who’s a little eccentric} doesn’t see herself as older,” and she then goes on to laugh at the way she forgets about her own age until she’s brought up short. “You forget because inside you stay the same.” {Been saying.}

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday this week will bring more pool time in sight of those mortified young kids who are charged with our safety – pretty sure this wasn’t what they signed on for. I can’t be certain whether they’re embarrassed for us, for themselves, or simply disgusted at how stupid life is, but I’m going with all of the above. Speaking of age gaps, the AARP piece ends with Sally talking about playing the love interest opposite men who were one to three decades older, a studio decision that always embarrassed the actors. On the set of Absence of Malice, Paul Newman apologized profusely for having to kiss her – at twenty years older he was extremely uncomfortable.

However, author Taffy Brodesser-Akner says this about what Sally Field has learned lately – “…that the embarrassment is beside the point, maybe. The alternative to growing old is dying young, and she has so much left to do. She beams her Sally Field smile at me, that broad grin, her nose becoming even more of a button, her eyes shiny, and while what she says next is about kissing a younger actor, it’s also her most essential statement on this moment in her life:”

“We’re still alive and upright. Pucker up, honey.” ~Sally Margaret Field

Everyone will be relieved to know that no lifeguard personnel are at risk of being kissed or otherwise disrespected by class members. I mean, gack.

 

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For Krista

morning glorious

blue-sky easy-breeze

families farmers mowers runners riders pedalers

dogs kids coffee sprouts

players hangers-on sun-babies

he does so we can

precious spoons accrue

Fat Lady mute

JSmith 4/24/2016

 

{Thoughts while pondering The Meaning of Life on a Saturday, prompted by feelings about the artists who’ve helped us get through the night, know ourselves better, value our existence more, give ourselves tacit permission to be weird. Those friends of the heart are relentlessly leaving us, and not by choice. They got older along with us, and talent can’t necessarily buy extra time – so we have a sacred responsibility to own what they tried to show us, and keep the lights on. Life is a good thing.}

A gift to my niece because she asked. She is a true poet and I love her enough to put some words out, knowing it isn’t a contest. ❤

 

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Has to be spring …

… because they’re telling us it’s time to cut the top off the blanket and sew it onto the bottom, thus allowing DST to wreck us once again.  Found comment I can get behind:  Let’s make Eastern & Central one time zone, and Mountain & Pacific another and be done with it.  

If that sounds like an outstanding plan to you, start a petition or a march or something, please?  I’m going back to bed …

Spring_Forward

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And because it’s apropos in some weird way and made me laugh …

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Sit here by me …

Hey, hi, if you’re new to my blog and wondering how you got here, wondering if you want to stay here, wondering what’s for lunch, I’m here to help.  1.) I have a page called ABOUT that you can take a look at and I hope you will because it has its moments, but it tells you mostly about me, which why wouldn’t you want to know?  However, it probably gives you not much clue as to what my BLOG is about, which may have been what you were wondering.  2.) Nor can I personally give you much clue as to what my blog is about because it ends up being about pretty much everything.  3.)  Lunch is not my problem.  I lied about helping.

If you sort of collect food blogs, this isn’t that, even though I go off the rails and post a recipe once in a while because although I haven’t cooked in close to fifteen years it’s like riding a bicycle and it’s always fun to find recipes I know would be fabulous, hand them to Kim, and sit down and eat them.  That shit never gets old.  Hint:  A respectable food blogger would not share recipes, techniques, ingredients he/she hadn’t personally tested.  I have no such scruples, so cook at your own risk.

Do you love book blogs?  Books are precariously near the top of my list of loves, but this isn’t a book blog, I just hold forth sometimes on things I’ve read that end up making my bravo list.  If you’re looking for erudite literary fellowship and enlightenment I’m not your girl, sorry not sorry, there are plenty of those guys and girls out there to call on.  I read what I like and write what I know.  Chances are good that since you found me we share a few of the same tastes and/or philosophies, and that’s always a rush — that ZOT!! of connection.

Playing for Time isn’t a self-improvement blog, but if growth happens for me in the process of writing — BONUS.  And if in some small way my invaluable insights affect you through osmosis and you benefit, I expect a cut.

This is emphatically not a fitness blog, bwahahahaha!!  If you follow me very long you’ll know why that’s funny.

Not a travel blog, either, although I think I’d be darling at it.  Once we settled into our happy place in our happy town, leaving on a jet plane doesn’t sound like as much fun as it used to be.  THAT’S BECAUSE IT ISN’T.  What a Not-Happy Place for man or beast.  So yeah, I’m not jetting around the globe dashing off travel reports to my publisher that are stream of consciousness and sparkling with wit.  Crap.

Not a self-defense blog.  HA!  (See fitness, lack thereof.)

Not a relationship blog, even though that’s up there above books in my stack of good stuff.  I’m still figuring it all out myself … so no … relationship gets talked about quite a bit here, but not on the advice end of things, so no worries.

There are obviously a lot more things my blog isn’t than things it is, so I’m caught lying to you again because I told you that “it ends up being about pretty much everything.”  By which I meant, of course, everything I want to make it about.  Tomorrow I’ll post links to a few of the pieces I’ve written — it can be frustrating trying to find something that interests you.  And maybe these won’t but they’ll be ones I sort of like.

I’m glad you’re here and I hope you’ll talk to me in comments.

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Dear Diary …

This is one for the record books, my constant confidante — Sunday morning comin’ down, followed by all hell breaking loose.  So what’s new, I hear you thinking.  I guess when you put it that way, not much.

“On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.”

-Kris Kristofferson

Lately there’s nothing half as lonesome as the KIMN8R taking care of a one-armed wife and one sick puppy.  It doesn’t stop, and after this morning’s incredible sunrise and half a cup of coffee the day quickly morphed into a slippery slope to the bottom.  Kim’s like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, but the good news is he’s winning.

So, ya’ got your classic Sunday sunrise, great coffee, things are looking up, and before you can absorb all that artistry ya’ got your classic Colossal Sick-Puppy BM-Blowout on a large portion of the new rug, SHAZBOT! just like that.  Wow, we didn’t know she had it IN her.  Haha, turns out laughing at life is often the only honest response there is.

Maddie and I love and appreciate SuperKim (I understate) not least because we both know we’d be up Shit Creek (haha, right?) without him.  He single-handedly — sometimes I crack myself up — got rid of the evidence, wrestled the rug onto the balcony, hit it with the hose (oh my!), draped it out to dry, came inside and made omelets for breakfast.  I’m assuming he washed his hands between operations, but that’s barely worth caring about at this point.

The sick and walking wounded are once again tucked in clean and warm, the house restored to a semblance of order, and SuperKim is out foraging for Super Bowl noshes and libations because we are, after all, Americans.  There’s sunshine above the clouds and the day is cruising along once again, with the additional bonus of friends coming over later. Life is simple, it’s just not easy.

“But easy’s like, who cares? Easy’s like, how much is easy going to get you?”
Anne Lamott, Crooked Little Heart

easy-like-sunday-morning

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Of bubbles and bibles and Southern Baptists …

A new friend is graciously letting me share a piece he wrote — the mark of a quality person in my world, especially as there was no hesitancy and he doesn’t know me from a ton of coal.  All I know about him so far is that he has a gift for saying things that need to be said — and read — and that’s sufficient for the time being.  And that he’s good people.  I hope my friends will be as struck by the truths he’s delineated as I am …

“I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but we don’t live in a Christian nation founded on Biblical principles. 

We live in a secular nation founded on the U.S. Constitution, which protects your freedom to be a Christian if you so choose, and to live by Biblical principles, whatever you interpret those to be. 

It also protects the freedom of those who choose otherwise. 

It’s kind of a beautiful thing.

If you’re a Muslim, no one can make you eat pork. If you’re a Christian, you can load up on the bacon and ham with a big greasy grin on your face. If you don’t subscribe to any religion at all, the world is your buffet.

It even works well within Christianity.  Southern Baptist? No one can make you say a Hail Mary. Catholic? No one can keep you from wearing your “I love the Pope” hat to the mall.

Do you think gay marriage is a sin? Ok, fine. Check your fiancé’s genitals before the ceremony and everything should be a-ok. Just remember it’s not your place to peek inside the pants of other people’s partners. So you can go your merry way and let others do the same.

See how that works? You get to live YOUR life according to your beliefs. You don’t get to force others to live THEIRS that way. And they don’t get to force you to live their way either.

This is how our funny little government works for everyone. This is why it’s a handy dandy thing to remember that, should you seek an office or a job in government, YOU ALSO WILL BE WORKING FOR EVERYONE when you clock in each day.

It’s also good to remember this is why the courthouse lawn and other taxpayer-funded facilities are not churches or temples or mosques. 

The Ten Commandments may look lovely hanging in your church or on your wall at home, but unless you want to allow symbols of other religions including nine-foot bronze statues of a half-man-half-goat with curly horns from the Temple of Satan to greet you when you go to the DMV to get your plates renewed, it’s really best to leave those things up to the private individual to display. 

Any Pentecostals cool with a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe at your state Capitol building? No? Well, then maybe you get my point.

Your church, however wonderful it may be, has not been appointed to govern those who don’t wish to attend it. Your holy book, however full of wisdom you find it to be, has not been passed into legislation. 

And if you ever study what happens when any religion is given a pass to govern with that kind of power, you’ll thank God it isn’t that way here.”

by Ken Robert

{Follow him on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/writerkenrobert?fref=ts}

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Cinnamon Roll Cake!

Yes, since you’ve all been so good about not making note of little inconsistencies in these trying times … other than that original Bad Girl, Miss Snarky Pants, http://paltrymeanderings.com, who for whatever ungodly excuse has yet to tag me in a new post of her own … we’re running a Sunday Bonus.  Kim made this cake yesterday before the KU/Iowa State game and its gooey buttery brown-sugary goodness gave both of us reason to go on after our team’s unfortunate loss.  You in turn are guaranteed to need this recipe before March Madness ends, and I know you’re thanking me: CinnRollCake Cake: 3 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. butter, melted

Topping:
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Directions: Mix the CAKE ingredients together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. For the TOPPING, mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes.

Glaze:
2 c. powdered sugar
enough milk to make a runny glaze, about 6 or 7 tablespoons
1 tsp. vanilla

Drizzle glaze over cake after letting it cool slightly. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and try not to weep at first bite.

{And although the luscious photo up top looks similar to the Honey-Bun Cake Recipe that’s been enjoying a decent run here … not the same, not the same.  Two cakes, each fabulous in its own right.}

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Today’s drama on As the Eye Turns …

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March — it’s what time DOES.  Snow fell all day yesterday and the ground is white, but spring is, even as we speak, gathering up little robins and crocii and dandelions, wheee, and it will all be showing up here any minute now!

The passage of time is so very relative, and that effect seems to be accentuated when your brain is on the fritz.  The day of the initial biopsy my surgeon said, “If it’s malignant we’ll do an excision, and if necessary a skin graft ….. you’ll come back in five to six weeks, we’ll remove the stitches, and you should be good to go.”  Crap, what did I know from what he actually said, I don’t hear for beans!

The day before my six-week check-up we figured out that I’d misunderstood parts of the process, but it was not yet clear just how delusional I was.  And then the appointment took all of ten minutes, not counting iPad time in the waiting room.  I’m not complaining, let the record show, my doctor and his assistants are lovely people who excel at what they do and I adore them.  But it was quickly apparent that no stitch-release stuff would be happening at that present time.  Ninety-degree turn in the Expectations Hallway.

THE GOOD NEWS:  The graft site is healing beautifully and we’re right on schedule (the correct one). After the next six weeks there’s an appointment to see how much longer the graft needs to cure.  I was indeed self-deluded, but now I know and all is well. Most important, this is neither fatal nor permanent. And life goes on.

So it’s at least a year-long process to reach total healing — I have friends who will deal with health issues for life.  One lost an eye at age two … and I’m whining about stitches holding an eyelid down for a few months.

NOTE TO SELF:  You are not allowed, for the duration, to apologize for looking demented, not to anybody, even if you happen to bump into President Obama on Mass Street next week.  {Sorry, deal’s off for the president.}  But you’ll get to walk away from this at some point, maybe even by summer, and that’s almost not even fair.  Your friends who’ve had to actually give up body parts are hoping nobody notices, too, and they don’t get a pass, so own your I’ve-been-drunk-for-a-week eye and live your life.

So yeah, “March is the month that God designed to show those who don’t drink what a hangover is like.”  –Garrison Keillor

ENJOY!

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