but listen…

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Leavin’, on a jet plane…

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This morning someone I love flew home to her family and I miss her already. We said our goodbyes last night, five days after she arrived, and 40 years after we’d last seen each other.

Katie grew up in Michigan while my environment was the western Kansas landscape. She was a city girl, I was a country mouse trying to keep up and to figure out what made her so incredibly cool.

We were together only a handful of times over the years, but there was a bond that made us sisters as well as cousins. Life happened, of course. Katie birthed seven babies in eight years and added an eighth baby just for good measure, so she got a little too busy for letter-writing. I was preoccupied with the details of my own budding existence, so we gradually lost touch.

Enter Facebook: something I posted moved Katie to call me with the news that she was coming to Kansas to see my two sisters and me – and three days later she did. Four decades of involuntary separation melted away within seconds and we were sisters again. The hours flew by, as they do when we’re having fun, and it was over too soon. The memories are for keeps, though, so no crying – just plans for seeing each other again, sooner rather than later.

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Rita, Susan, Judy, and Katie

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What we need…

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Feels like a slow roll toward the weekend, a quiet HumpDay providing the fulcrum point, rain on its way in 4…3…2…maybe. At the moment it’s 80º, 83% humidity, no breeze. We can all say *sauna*, I know we can.

Kim came home from 7am PickleBall in the park a big ol’ sweaty mess, which always heightens our appreciation for a shower with actual running water. Just yesterday we were reflecting on everything we have to be thankful for while celebrating our wedding anniversary – thirteen years of genuine happiness so far, with everything necessary to keep it working. Neither of us expected to live this long, let alone together, so every bit of it is gravy and we’re absolutely grateful.

We threw together a few ground rules for A-Day before it got here:

  1. Nothing fancy
  2. No gifting each other with anything possessing monetary value
  3. Only fun stuff allowed, no stressors
  4. Make it up as we go
  5. Come home when we’re tired

So that’s how that was. Kim played PickleBall and then we went furniture shopping in Kansas City, which turned out to be a nice little thermometer for the relationship we’re celebrating. We don’t always head down the same path when it comes to home decorating, but yesterday’s discussions contained no whining or angst, just a clear-eyed look at what the possibilities were. In that spirit, we bought a ceiling fan we both liked, and came home to further research ideas. Slice o’ pie.

Speaking of which, lunch at Granite City was simple, tasty, and fun, and the Bloody Marys were positively ambrosial. We watched DVR’d stuff in the afternoon and both fell asleep in our respective chairs, are you feeling the pathos here? The thing is, if we’re “old,” we’re happily so – life is SO much less stressful when you’re not in charge anymore. We woke up in time for a vodka toast or two, popcorn, and another KC Royals win. It was a good day, or what we refer to around here as Tuesday.

And now the rain is here and our Wednesday is complete before noon. I hope if you need rain in your week you’ll have rain. I hope if you need the sun to shine there will be nothing but that.

“You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need…”

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Life just changes…

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working through breakdowns

takes truth and recognition

hurts to be accountable

JSmith 06/27/2017

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Thoughts of fears, tears, and ears…

 

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when your fears are not safe in other ears

the sadness is yours and can’t be shared

and it builds and stacks and pools

and spills over

but tears are salt in the wounds

and do not close the cuts

.

go deep into that hollow

where hope hangs on

wrap yourself in it and stand

against what pains and disappoints

the antidote for hurt

may seal the cuts

JSmith 05/08/2017

 

 

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Social media and its sand traps…

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the book of face is

a treacherous place filled with

ugly mugs and myths

but she hangs in spite

for the perks that invite her

to stay in the game ’til

THE END

JSmith 04/25/2017

 

 

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Getting it…

Leadership with education

understanding rocks

hard to come by but precious

explaining sucks chunks

JSmith 03/07/2017

#ShePersisted

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It all fits…somewhere…

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Immersed in my current obsession again this morning, another big jigsaw puzzle on my desktop. It’s one way to kick my brain cells into gear before noon, along with about a gallon of coffee, and the sunshine outside my windows.

Obsessions, like the rest of life, can add to our education if we’re paying attention. For today’s wake-up challenge I chose one with a semi-tough blend of colors and upped the percentage of oddball pieces, as well as the total number, and as I’m working away my stream of consciousness goes something like “Okay, that one might work, just try it. Wow, so close. So many pieces, but it’s one per spot, focus until you see it. Look for one at a time, just one, but if you run across one that goes somewhere else grab it,” which taken together strikes me as a rolling metaphor for life.

I give the pieces names: one that’s concave on all four sides is a squishy, the fun pieces are toys, if there’s a bubble on top with upraised arms and a wide bottom that’s a snow angel, the ones with droopy or proud tabs come with a ‘toon-peen warning, like that. And there’s always an empty spot that doesn’t seem to have a match anywhere on the board, but toward the end, there it is. It doesn’t look like it could be right until you drop it in place…and then it’s a perfect blend. Subtlety is so easily missed…

Guess that was Granny Smith’s little homily for the day, make of it what you will. But do keep your eyes open for opportunities and sweet link-ups that can change the whole picture, and I wish you well with solving the puzzle that’s currently in front of you. MUAH!

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Keep peace in your soul …

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self-care is hard-learned

after all options used up

rest has to happen

JSmith 02/15/2016

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Ignorance is blistering…

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I read a stunning statistic this morning* that blew both Kim and me away – over half of Americans believe it should be illegal for a woman to keep her last name after marriage, WHAAAT??

Of course that represents people who were actually polled, which I’d like to think means half of those surveyed in rural areas, remote hollers, and socially isolated mountain ranges rather than honest-to-goodness 21st Century Americans who know what’s up, because this finding is both laughable and disturbing.

Events until recently seemed to indicate that we were steadily moving toward a better world informed by human equality in every direction, but here we are still fighting the same old shit that first raised our collective consciousness in the 60s. Unbelievable.

A world without women and our influence is not to be contemplated, so why is the focus so rarely on what’s good for us? (Simple question for the Luddites among us, please show your work.) All you pathetic cases of arrested male development endlessly stuck in junior high need a brighter awareness of truth: Women have 100% of the babies. Just the facts, Jack, and your ideal little world starts to go downhill after one generation, so what are you thinking? Oh wait…

This crap is so silly I thought it must be “fake news” but no such luck, so I’m sitting here hoping I don’t know anyone with this attitude and outlook, it would shatter my heart, hyperbolically-speaking.

Prejudices, stereotypes, and backward thinking are buried so deep in our nation’s psyche, how is it we believe we’ll ever dig out, but women are fierce and we don’t quit. That alone should show you what we’re made of, but that’s okay – we’ll keep doing what we do because – what else? Respect is owed, but we’re used to working without it, so don’t give it another thought, you guys all persevere in your empire-building and let us know how that’s workin’ out for ya’. But here’s how it is: Brains are the new tits and you’re falling behind.

 

women

* The Name Game

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From hope to hope…

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chilly damp and gray

life alters and love is all

we cling to the true

JSmith 11/22/2016

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The only safety…

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when someone loves you

your name feels safe in their mouth

your heart is their gem

JSmith 11/19/2016

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Safety that counts…

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being seen and heard

gifts to those we meet in life

gifts of wings and joy

JSmith 11/19/2016

 

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Be not afraid…

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First you cry, that’s what they say…unless you’re stunned into silent disbelief, in which case you walk around still living and breathing in a world that turned strange in an all too familiar direction overnight while you were sleeping…and you keep doing this – living while dead…and then ten days in, you’re spending possibly the last warm evening of the season outside with your husband…and he starts telling you things he’s never told you before about how life changing it was for him to love and care for your former mother-in-law for the last six years of her life, and how important it became to him that she not be afraid…and like that, you find yourself back with your dad in the nursing home while he slides deeper into dementia and can’t find the handholds, and he knows what’s happening, sometimes, and he’s afraid…and you’re there to reassure him and encourage him back to peace…and when he’s dying, and he knows it, and he’s afraid…you’re there to warm his chest with your hands and remind him about love and forgiveness, and to let him go…and to stay right there until the fear of the unknown leaves his eyes and his agonized lungs call it a life and end the struggle.

That might be when you finally cry, because maybe the enormity of what has transpired has funneled down to this one fact: you can’t BE THERE for everyone you love when it’s their turn in the barrel and shit gets real, and they are justifiably afraid. But you’re going to wish you could be…so much.

Now that you’ve kicked DENIAL’s ass, you can slope right on down the road into ANGER, wherein you make it clear to one and all that their opinion is not your reality. In addition, it’s where you figure out who really loves you, because they so have their work cut out for them, by which we mean how long can you watch somebody implode, and still maintain radio silence?

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

There’s no point in BARGAINING, what’s done is done, and you hope to skip the DEPRESSION stage because you have to wonder if you’d come back.

So what about ACCEPTANCE, then, the accepted final stage of grief and loss? Not happening. You can accept that it happened, but not that it’s normal, and you know that means you’ll be at odds with about half your family and acquaintances for the duration, whatever it turns out to be. Your friends will be right where they’ve always been – in your corner and ready to defend you from pain and harm – but some of the relationships in your life will be and already are fraught with tension and division.

Borrowing generously from Amanda Diebert’s moving blog piece called “Dear Trump Supporter who says they love me”

“A man actively promised to dismantle and harm my family. To destabilize the security of my child. To harm relatives and friends and you still voted for him.

“Those other reasons matter more to you than my life and my family. It was on the line and you chose. That is the reality.

“And I know, I know that makes you really angry that I actually said it. That I won’t let you off the hook. We have a long history and you’ve made it clear I’m supposed to apologize for making you feel guilty with all my social media posts about my sadness and my anger. I should get over it already. Your guy won and you are such a nice person and how dare I… 

“First of all, you love me? Stop telling me how to grieve.

“Yeah, I know that’s not WHY you voted for him {his racism, misogyny, homophobia, et.al.}, but again, it didn’t stop you. Actively applauding someone who is doing wrong does make you culpable.

“I’m tired. ……. I do not have to apologize for you hurting me.

“You hurt me and now you are telling me I am not allowed to be sad or scared or angry.

“At the very least you allowed me to be hurt by someone else while you condoned that abuse with a ‘yes’ vote. You gave it your stamp of approval and now you are telling me my pain doesn’t exist.

“That is not love.

“I keep being told (by the people who harmed me) that I need to be a model example of ‘we go high.’

“…this is a long road. It’ll take a while, but you said you love me and you didn’t mean to hurt me.

“So let me heal while you do the work to show that you recognize the pain you caused and are working to minimize its impact.

“If you don’t want to do that work: okay.

“By ‘okay’ I do not mean I forgive you or that we are cool. I mean, you have made a decision and I will react to it accordingly. Notice I didn’t say respect it. A blatant disregard for the well being of others is not worthy of respect. But I will acknowledge this is a choice you made and I will walk away.

“Also, yeah, I do judge you for this. I’m being super honest about that, just in case you thought I might try to gaslight you too.”

You can read Amanda’s blog piece here: You Say You Love Me

I relate to everything she wrote – she’s a woman and she describes the pain of people who are my world. Nothing in the days, weeks, and months ahead will be easy, and much of it won’t be pretty. But I vow never to accept those things as “the new normal.” That kind of acceptance is a bridge too far.

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Missing my bestie…

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My 24/7 buddy, who doesn’t have headaches or backaches or insomnia, and is seldom waylaid by a bug, has been down for two weeks with all of the above plus a cough that won’t give up. Stepped-up inhaler hits and a steroid are improving his color and infusing a skosh of energy, but he isn’t much fun right now, go figure.

And it’s all about moi, of course, you knew that, right? So bless the Rio Olympics!! Two gray days running – making it feel like an early fall here  – and we’re snuggled in with the TV coverage, reading, writing, snacking, talking – whenever The KIMN8R isn’t napping. After two lifetimes of experience with it, we got married to spend all our time together, so it’s good that options exist for making sure that happens. The Big Guy scares me just a little when he turns into a skinny ghost, but his wicked humor is peeking through again and I’m detecting a hint of Guido Mode in his voice. Gonna live – that’s good enough for an overcast Monday in August.

Enjoy yours, boys & girls. ❤️

 

 

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