Whimsy…who doesn’t need some?

A psych-out when I start feeling weighed down by nonsense is to “brighten the corner where I are.” It’s the equivalent of Spring Cleaning without the lifting, bending, and sundry other exercise I like to refer to as work. My desk and I are good friends, so of course I ignore it and treat it like crap most of the time, but there always comes a day when the windows have to be flung open and the detritus swept away. Today is that day – AGAIN – in my world, and lucky you, I love to (over)share.

We start with our big honkin’ desktop because EYEBALL FEAST EVERY TIME WE SIT DOWN HERE. You can immediately see what a crucial first step this is, besides which everything from this point hinges on it. (Gah, I always hope my readers are note takers.) Nobody else’s desktop will suffice – it must speak to me, personally, in some way, and most tell me “You are freakin’ nuts, lady” which is when I know I’ve found THE ONE.

Today’s springboard, our dominant image:

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That’s merely the start, although admittedly an auspicious one. Now that we have an arresting vista in front of us at all times, we must upload that same image as our Facebook cover picture. Done. And, since we use a sweet add-on called Facebook Purity, we get to upload a background image for all of Facebook. Furthermore, since the name of today’s game is *cheer,* we’re using this one:

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Is that not an enjoyable little kick in the shorts over and over? When you spend a lot of time somewhere it’s powerful to make it yours.

Next up is our Facebook blog page, which obviously has to coordinate with the overall theme we’re developing here, and this will do quite nicely as our cover photo:

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All of our Facebook pages share a background, which is working out swimmingly, as you can see. We are ON A ROLL, boys and girls. Add this same image as the header for our blog page, tweak the background, and violas!! Moving on…

What shall we do next? We have choices:

  1. Two Gmail accounts whose non-coordinating backgrounds are piteously crying “Pick me, pick me!”
  2. The big loud Twitter header, or is that just my monitor? But yeah, there’s that.
  3. And we have to go get a new Chrome Theme.

Oh, haha, I forgot, this is my page, I choose! We’re doing the Twitter header next and there’s an outstanding reason for that – IT’S GONNA BE IMAGE #1 UP THERE AGAIN! See how simple this is? See a pattern here? Give a shit?

So now we’ll tackle the whiny Gmail accounts. Okay, pay attention because this is where this stuff gets tricky.

WE’RE GOING TO USE TWO OF THE SAME BACKGROUNDS WE’VE ALREADY UPLOADED. If I didn’t crack myself up I’d have no fun whatsoever. And I did try to warn you up top via words like whimsy and psych – which is like a twin or something to psycho, right?

And here’s where you get in on the fun – you get to decide which two of the three backgrounds above you want to use for your mail! You know, when you redesign it all according to what speaks to you.

Okay, all we have to do is find a new Chrome Theme and we’re set – there are a million of ’em and it’s fun. This one’s perfect and I’m happy. Cheery, even. For all the reasons.

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Hope you are, too.

 

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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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Summer Love as always…

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the hubby of me

saves my life by riveting

the little heart holes

JSmith 6/24/2016

 

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I’m okay with real.

Summer water classes started on Tuesday so this chicky is in the swim again. It’s great exercise and a lot less dance-y than my initial plunge at another facility – this could work out. The instructor is easy to love and it’s all friendly funny women plus one cute shy husband. Other than a few younger women we’re all approximately from the same era, including our badass sweetheart of a teacher, so there are lots of Judys, Susans, Paulas, Lindas, Nancys, et.al.

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Other commonalities – surprise, surprise – would include hearing loss, bad backs, arthritis, sucky balance, and a laundry list of other choices. There’s a certain comfort in knowing I’m not the only person my age who’s falling apart, but it’s even sweeter to know that everyone in the class, including Token Man, cares about her/himself or they wouldn’t bother showing up. I see it on all the faces – “I matter. This part of my life counts big-time. Let’s keep it evolving upward.”

Humor is how Baby-Boomers roll, because DUH, without it you stop rolling. I advise you, boys and girls, to maintain a healthy personal space between yourself and humor-challenged beings – close interaction rarely ends well. And if you happen to be a libtard “feeler” like someone I know well, you’ll haul the sand from every encounter until it all finally sifts out through your sandals. Our happy lil’ class is populated by people who love laughing at themselves in the good ways – how does anybody keep putting one foot in front of the other without that? Yikes.

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Their sweet little downcast faces ^^^ would break your heart.

**********

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June…haikuing out all over

June arrives on time

skies still hold sun rain sleet snow

fancy bull-shitsu

JSmith 6/01/2016

 

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A day in the life…

The sun’s shining, the air’s warming, and my competent young orthopedic surgeon shook my hand twice this morning before officially kicking me out. Celebrating will happen later with Kimmers, and tomorrow I’ll start working on my own rehab follow-up at Rock Chalk Park while he’s playing PickleBall. A heinous winter has come to an end far less painfully than we’d envisioned on our way to the ER, and two of us lived through it. Thank you, universe, your encouragement was highly appreciated, but throwing Maddie’s trek across the Rainbow Bridge into the mix was a nasty twist and you owe us for that.

During one of our final therapy sessions, the assisting tech asked me about retirement – and moaned when I described it as feeling like we have all the time in the world. “Oh, I SO want to be retired!” She hasn’t made it past 25 yet, pretty sure, so I feel for her because time and health are the most valuable currencies in human existence and she has a long way to travel before time is truly her friend. However, I say that knowing she’d be bored, frustrated, and guilt-laden over retirement right now. Having “all the time in the world” also means we’re personally responsible for filling those hours with things that matter in some way – things that add to our usefulness in our immediate world and inspire us to get out of bed every morning. Kim has never had a problem with that – he’s Rise & Shine Guy all the way. The retired girl has worked her way up to that status, in body at least, and is now disappointed if she misses a sunrise. I might not be awake until 10am, but I’m up, dammit, and the world is mine.

Life has gradually taken on a sweet rhythm, the pace has settled into the doable, if not always the desired, and we’re uniquely suited to the lifestyle because continued accomplishment is fun and happens of its own volition, but we’re basically lazy AF and our consciences are easily assuaged by small victories.

Breakfast is an event at least four mornings a week – biggest meal of the day – and for the remaining three we bow to the reality of late-life weight gain and decreased mobility. Mostly speaking for myself – Kim is far more capable and disciplined, bless his manly self. I’m working on it – never doubt what you can do when life goes right every once in a while.

Kim does the things I can’t do anymore, and I do the rest – it’s a division of labor that’s worked for us for almost a dozen years now, and every new day confirms that the naysayers were not only mistaken, but misguided, bless their hearts. If you know something, don’t let anyone rain on your parade – you’ll be scooping up any horseshit that falls, not them, but better than that, you’ll be reaping all the benefits. Unless the rain gods are paying your bills, their opinions aren’t worth the breath it took to blow them all over you, so walk away.

We spend hours every day writing at our computers – I spellcheck him and he edits my stuff for awkward syntax. On weekends our spa soaks are full of conversations we wish we could recreate later, on a full range of topics including politics, religion, sex, marriage, friendship, theatre, all the biggies. We’re hilarious and wise, and anyone else would find us insufferable but they’ll never have that opportunity because it’s all done entirely naked; therefore, it’s snobbishly exclusive, sorry.

After trying out a lot of the restaurants here we eat at home 99% of the time – it’s easier to the budget, and there is no better place anywhere than Chez Kim – at least not within said budget. Best food in town, and kinder portion sizes.

Evenings from 5pm on are balcony time on nice days, and from 5 to 6 no phones are allowed. The more friends out there with us the better, though, so if you’re on that list and within driving distance, get here – open invitation! Text first in case we’re naked.

Bedtime comes when we can’t keep our eyes open any longer…and the next morning we start the game fresh again. Any anger or mini-grudge has a 24-hr. statute of limitations – say what’s on your mind and get the f*ck over it because life is ridiculously short and we started late, so there’s zero time to waste on selfishness.

Sorry so long this time, but our days end up full one way or another. I hope you’re taking notes because unless we step in front of a bus we all end up at this stage of life and it helps to know some stuff going in. You’re welcome.

 

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I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date!!!

 

 

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First post on my Facebook feed this morning was a Happy Anniversary wish from our son John.  It’s our 11th … and both of us spaced it off completely, a first in that number of years.  We are, joyfully and officially, The Old Married Couple.  We’ve been cutting Hallmark short since about year five, our favorite flowers ever were the ones at our wedding, and neither of us needs chocolates, so nothing lost — it rained a bit ago and cooled off the oven that’s been raging outside our door, so we’ll probably walk the half-block to Cielito’s, our home away from home, and celebrate on their big patio with the best margaritas in town. 

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Eleven years ago today, we got married after the close of the morning church service, and then our pastor and friends served lunch to about 300 people.  Simple, beautiful, memorable, sweet, and fun.

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Happy.  So happy.

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Our glamour photo shoot — a gift from Kim for my birthday not long after our wedding.

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Yeah.  This guy.

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The newlyweds today.  A lot of changes can happen in eleven years’ time, but the basics stay the same, and that’s so cool.

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Feels like a HumpDay …

4:00pm.  Good news and bad news so far today.  Rewind to …

10:45am.  Kim returns from his annual cardiology exam/report full of great news — the sonogram shows no sign of muscle damage, his blood pressure read 116/63 in the office, and he is, in clinical terms, healthy as a horse.  Everybody hugs and does the happy dance and the house feels warm, and safer than it did at 9:45 before his doctor said to him “You should be around for a very long time.”

11:45am.  My surgeon’s assistant calls to remind me about tomorrow morning’s appointment, which I think is for finishing the graft and freeing my eyelid again but is simply a check-up, at which time Dr. Khan will determine how much longer the graft has to “bake.” I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

11:46am.  A meltdown may or may not take place, after which Kim takes me to Hog Wild BBQ for a loaded baked potato bigger than my head.  Carb therapy.

2:00pm to present.  Lying prone in a darkened room does wonders for temporary insanity, and by darkened room I mean Facebook and WordPress.  By *lying prone* I mean I’ve intentionally flat-lined for a while, and by *temporary insanity* I mean batshit crazy.

4:15pm.  It’s all good news, of course.  A delay in ditching an irritant does not a tragedy make, the graft looks like it’s healing perfectly, and my well-worn face has not been further marred — the scar is going to fade beautifully and who really cares!

Staying cozy tonight with Kim and Madison and feeling grateful.  Another HumpDay conquered.

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Yes. Most emphatically still here.

Anyone between 40 and 65+ gets this — once it starts you’ll do everything cheap and painless to make it stop.  And by it of course I mean aging.  I squandered at least 25 years’-worth of primo brain cells cursing every line, gray hair, and extra pound — “STOP!  STOP IT!!  STOP THIS RIGHT NOW!!!  GIVE ME SOME TIME TO MENTALLY PREPARE!!  {Interweave creative language of your choosing.}”

Over the years it’s inexplicably gotten more challenging to match up the two realities:  I don’t feel any older in my psyche, I’m in fact regressing and there are those who own evidence to prove it, but my exterior road map is relentlessly becoming more detailed, my once-blonde/brown/henna-ish hair has at long last come out of the closet as its own true amazing silver, and my late-life-acquired supplemental mass is stubborn and sneaky so I’ve decided to own it for warmth, comfort, and familiarity.

The rush in all of this is that it doesn’t feel like I’m giving up.  I only have to adapt to the kindergartener around my waist until winter’s over — it’s cruelly cold outside — and then I’m thinking I’ll work on it again.  Or … you know ….. just possibly not, really, not in any stressed-out sort of way.  Because even though my lines and veins are more visible now, I’ve survived to a point where this body’s pretty freaking okay for its years and experiences.  And I’m in love with my shiny silver hair that Shelby at the barbershop cuts for $10+tip and gives it a life of its own so that I might have 99 problems but my hair isn’t ever one of them.  (If I wanted to pull senior rank on her she’d cut it for $5 and probably say about her tip “Oh honey, that’s fine, go buy a coffee or something.”  But WTF, are you kidding?!  Baby Jesus, don’t ever let me get THAT kind of old!)  So anyway how truly awful could it be to haul around more pounds than my body was designed for?  Oh, wait … right … wasn’t taking the whole Life & Death thing into account.  So … you know … erroneous THERE, but …

Well, so I’m going with two out of three unless or until I can change, but meanwhile that tiresome head-voice has gone strangely silent.  After all those years of fighting my body … okay, it was a half-hearted effort at best … she and I are starting to feel like real friends.  Not like, hey I forgive you for being such a biotch and embarrassing me … just … hey … no forgivey-stuff required, I’m you and you’re me and we like each other fine and this feels good.  And wow, hey, look at all the options that just opened up!

“Having work done” was never part of my bucket list, and after having my face sliced and stitched up last month I can tell you that there’s no way I’d do it voluntarily just because things weren’t close enough to perfect.  The twelve women in the slideshow linked here are some of my best role models — I hope you’ll revel in their happy stories!

http://www.purpleclover.com/entertainment/3543-12-stars-say-no-to-plastic-surgery/

I love this woman like Kanye loves Kanye!

JamieLee

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The Monday (anti)rant …

There is no rant in me today, because the sun is shining and the doors are open and life is good.  I could find something to bitch about if I wanted to, but I haven’t found the want to.  I hope you don’t want to either, because look at this tiny green beast that reminds me of my little dog.  If you happen to have either one, you know exactly what I mean!

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Sweet winter peace to all …

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My girl Marilyn knew …

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Throwing it back to love …

The night Kim and I found ourselves engaged …

Engagement Frame

 

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This is life, not a dress rehearsal …

After comments from Facebook friends like “I’m so jealous,” and “I want to MOVE,” I’m thinking I should add a disclaimer to yesterday’s post:

Lawrence is obviously not heaven on earth. All of life is what we make it, and we came here with a goal of making it amazing, to make of this part of our lives all the good we possibly can, and to overlook the negative. That colors our approach to what we see every day when we wake up, what we do, where we go. Someone else could come here and have an entirely different experience and wonder why they feel let down in view of all the “hype.”

1.) Life is what you make it, and 2.) no matter where you go, there you are — two clichés that are truth just because they are. Kim and I are making up for lost time — we met late in life, we’ve both lived places we weren’t wild about, we’ve both felt stuck in routine and longing for more “soul” food. We don’t have the luxury of waiting and hoping at this point, so we get up every day and make fun things happen, whether we step outside our own walls or not. Some may see my ramblings as bragging, but they’re my way of being thankful. I don’t want to wake up later and wish I’d appreciated life more when I had the chance.

Young people think they’ll always be that way — young.  And some people just need to be told it’s okay to be happy — to give themselves permission to live, from the inside out.  Just do it — regret is a killer.

HAPPY FALL!

 

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A Tuesday FULL of thankfulness …

On a perfect fall day, temps in the 60s, sun shining through a light haze, leaves turning every shade from gold to purple, Kim noodling on guitar and finding melodies and chord changes that bring tears to my eyes, the house in just enough disarray to feel comfy, and our tiny white terror (nope, not a misspelling) running back and forth from balcony to everywhere else, I’m thankful for my town.  Also all of the above, none of which would have happened without this town, except the guitar man.

We’ve been here a little over a year now, and it’s home in a way no other place has ever been.  From the University of Kansas on Mt. Oread to the tiniest neighborhood we love it all.  Lawrence is marinated in history, and as much of it as possible has been lovingly preserved — there are still rock houses standing since before the Civil War, and several businesses on Mass St. have original interior rock walls.  Following Harper’s Ferry and other John Brown exploits in opposition to slavery (don’t get nervous, there won’t be a test), Quantrill and his raiders came through town in 1863, killing 150 men but no women and children, torching every house and business they could, robbing all the banks, and looting what was left.  Lawrence immediately started rebuilding and the pro-slavery forces lost, end of story.  The town is founded on that legacy and hasn’t wavered.  Here people cheekily ask, “WWJBD?”  (What Would John Brown Do?)  The town’s beginnings were the roots of the open-hearted approach to personal liberty that permeates everything here and resonates so deeply with us.

We love the tree-lined streets full of dignified 3-story homes and whimsical “Painted Ladies.”  We’re equally in love with the more haphazard neighborhoods, where every block is home to at least one artist’s studio, gallery, or workshop.  A few more things we’re hooked on — Mass Street, with its blocks of stores and restaurants, housed in carefully preserved old buildings, all of it walkable and friendly.  Live music all over town, plays, art shows, nice weather, rain, trees, great food, beautiful lakes, and the wide Kaw River, which is endlessly fascinating to us after living with a dry dusty riverbed for the past few decades.  And KU Basketball, need I say more?

Here’s a small photographic sampling of what makes us so happy to be living here …

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