Is it too late?

554439_3291533930413_752662864_nDon’t you ever wonder?  Is it too late for some things?  Too late to finish your degree, too late to buy that old house you wanted to rehab, have that third child, jump from an airplane, climb Mt Everest?  I mean, there comes a time when we realize that we aren’t going to finish that degree, or skydive, even if George Bush Sr did it at 80.

I’ve been in this mode the past few days, and in some ways it makes my heart ache, because I didn’t finish my degree, or buy that old house to rehab.  Don’t get me wrong, I live my life with gratitude, it’s just in the fabric of who I am.  I will work hard and love my work, I will annoyingly look for the good in everything, I just have a hopeful disposition.  Let’s call it faith, but even the faithful can wonder, and I would suggest should wonder.  It’s okay to take stock.

As I reevaluate my life, and think about that old house with a deep, beautiful claw foot tub, stained glass windows, and two fire places with an English garden in the back, and oh yah, a pool.  I realize, that we are probably not going to go that route, though, as other posts would attest, we have done quite a bit of rehabbing this 70s house and we love it.  So much living and loving, fighting and even dying has taken place here, that it’s a living and breathing thing, this house.  It’s true.  Think about when you go back to your grandma’s house?  Even though she’s gone it’s like the house still pulses with her being.  At least for me, and I will immediately begin crying, and now of course, when I go there, I will miss my mom, and my aunts and uncles and…  Well, they are there, and the pulse of life continues in the scents and the scenes and the feelings they evoke in my heart. So, how can I leave this place?

As for the degree in psychology, I mourn that, but in its place is a marriage and a family, and years taking care of the terminally ill and working in the medical field, and now in chocolate, and I can’t see that anything went awry, even though the “plan” didn’t work out as, well, planned.

I found a card from all my friends at Sherman Hospital when I left to work full-time at the chocolate shop.  I was surprised to see sentiments like, “What will we do now that our therapist is leaving?”  “You always listened and gave such wonderful advice, we will miss that.”  “I will miss your smile and your energy, and how you make us feel…”  At the time I read that, I didn’t think much of it, but now almost two decades later I see that maybe I didn’t finish my degree, but I had an impact in a way I hadn’t anticipated that I would on those around me.  I’m so glad I saved that card with the familiar handwriting and good friends’ signatures.  It reminds me that no education is wasted, and every passion we have will work for the greater good.

Yes, I may not have finished my degree, and I truly don’t want to start again now.  I want to start something else.  Maybe, I’ll start planning my first trip abroad with hubby, and find a mountain to climb or a ruin to explore, and stay in a place with a beautiful, deep claw foot tub and an English garden in back.

 

Spring’s Promise…

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It’s incredibly easy to start a garden in the spring after a hard winter, and we had a long, hard winter.  Winter is my favorite season because of the time to rest and reflect.  I emerge from winter renewed and strengthened and ready for the warm sun on my face slathered in 30 spf, and this year is no exception.

The gardening is something I love to look forward to.  I love to see the little plants inching their way through the hard earth, little fingers of green and red that will turn into hydrangea bushes as high as my thigh, with purple blooms bigger than my head.  I love to see the flowers and plants that I have lovingly planted through the 21 years that we’ve lived here.

Making a space to care for and to nurture and nourish is so satisfying.  Mine was not a green thumb, I killed everything pretty much — over watered, didn’t water enough…  I learned starting with a flower-pot, to a flower plot, to bushes and then designing our landscaping, to standing swatting mosquitos in the dog days as I water at dusk and the fat Robin flies through the spray from my hose.

I love making a place for garden things and pots, like the photo above.  We actually do not spend a lot of time out on our deck, the south sun drenching it all day long, it’s only early morning or late evening that we can sit there, and usually at night we sit in the comfy living area in our garage and watch the world go by.  But, my neighbors can see this area of our house, so I make a pretty little porch for them to gaze upon, and use it as another opportunity to nourish and nurture and show my personality with pretty little garden things.

Spring holds so much promise, I hope one day to move on to veggies, but truth be told, by August, I’m ready for autumn and less care of my gardens and that’s just about when the veggies need to be harvested and canned and well, I’m pretty much over it.  I want to cut down the summer growth, and plant mums everywhere, pop a pumpkin in that garden, and some mums and pumpkins on the porch, and head out to the pumpkin farm for their fresh produce all stacked and ready for my thumping and sniffing and my autumn dishes.

I’m fickle, I know, I have only so much garden nurturing in me I need the cycle of the earth, spring, summer, autumn, winter for my psyche — to rest, renew, bloom, and anticipate rest.

For now, I’m in full spring garden mode, and thankfully, God rained down on it last night drenching it with all that is good and the new plants are stretching deeply into the freshly watered soil, while the perennials reach for the warming sun.

Oh Say Can you See…

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As a child, Memorial Day meant school was out on Friday, and Monday was the beginning of summer and started with a parade, and our friends’ dads would dress up in their slightly mothball-scented military garb with buttons strained on proud chests.  They would march through the streets to the cemetery where a lone bugle would play the Taps and then the gun salute would crack, three guns at a time, and slice through the morning air with casings raining down on tomb stones. Our Dad would say a prayer, and we kids would kick off our shoes for three months.

As a friend noted on Facebook, her dad was the one to carry the flag, and the significance of that act and the pride of these men was somewhat lost on us kids as we fidgeted through this ceremony just wanting summer to begin in earnest, but now, the sacrifice for the freedom we have does not escape us.  These men and the soldiers who protect us today are true American heroes, and we honor them. May God’s protection be over them.

Typically, in these parts, Memorial Day weekend can be a bust.  The northern midwestern weather is often unpredictable this time of year, so when folks plan a Memorial Day picnic, most of us make sure that the party can be moved into the garage or house if it’s rainy or too cold.  This Memorial Day weekend was one of the most beautiful that we can remember.  The weather was solidly in the seventies and even high eighties, with a bright sun heralding over all.

We enjoyed a Doodle Romp (goldendoodle) with lots of these happy dogs and their owners meeting for a day in the sun at an off leash park.  Driving with a dog is a challenge if you have to stop for a pee break or something, especially in this weather, so I was sure to stop at a covered gas station and make quick use of the facilities so it would not get too warm in the car for Eugene.

Unfortunately, not all people are as mindful.  Yesterday, as we ran to pick up a couple of things at the hardware store, we saw a beautiful golden retriever in a locked car, with windows cracked and sunroof open.  By this time in the afternoon the thermometer read 87 degrees, and we could only imagine how hot it was inside that car.  The dog was wagging its tail and panting, but began to look more distressed.  So, after inquiring inside the store, and with no one of any help, we dialed 911.  Within 3 minutes the police were there with lights flashing.  After another five minutes two men emerged from the store, and immediately saw to the dog as the officer watched over them.  We could no longer see the pooch, as it had laid down and did not get up when his owners returned and we can only hope and pray that he survived.

I don’t think people mean to put their dogs in harm’s way, they think “It’s only 87 degrees, or we’ll only be a moment in the store.”  It takes just minutes, even with the windows open to heat the car from 87 degrees to around 140 degrees!  We were there five minutes before we called 911, and if they had not responded, we would not have hesitated to break the window to free that poor dog.

We all love our pets, they want to go for a ride, but whenever it’s 70 degrees or higher, even minutes left in the car can make it unbearable and even kill your dog.  Keep our pets happy and healthy, yah, they’ll be bummed when you leave without them, but they’ll be happy and healthy when you come home.  Check out the photo below.  Have a great summer, I look forward to spending time with you here.

And God bless America, our soldiers, and the police officers who protect even the furry residents of our city.

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Safe under the stars…

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If you must know, and I do believe that some people are wondering after reading my blog from last night, I did miss the meteor shower.  I fell fast asleep with Eugene stretched across my lap in my chair, and woke up after the show.  Isn’t that how it always is?

This morning, I rose with the sound of the baby birds, and watched as a fat, rusty bellied robin pulled a worm from the damp earth and fled to his nest.  I headed downtown, which during business hours is a bustling hamlet of people walking to and from the different mom and pop shops, taking a break in the Adirondack chairs in front of our shop, licking a cone and watching their children play.  Or grabbing a cocktail down the street on the patio, tired feet propped up on the opposite chair, the bounty of colorful bags with all their goodies at their side.

But in the dawn of the day, there are only the squirrels to watch as they cross the street in front of me, and the dog walkers with heavy bags of poop swinging from their fists, their pooches happily trotting beside them.

With the business of the day finished by 7:30,  Eugene and I are going to a Doodle Romp nearby, where other goldendoodles from his breeder will be romping and we owners who feel like family, will chat in the lovely sunny day.  Temps due to be just right for a romp.

Hubby will begin checking off the 27 items on his list, and I will come home and we will go to Lowe’s Garden Center because they simply have the hardiest plants, and we will choose some to put in our gardens, and we’ll buy mushroom mulch, and it will get under my finger nails and fill my nostrils with that musky scent as I spread it over the earth.  My knees will be imprinted by the grass, and my shoulders and nose will get pink, and just as the dampness of dusk falls, we’ll be watering our new flowers and shrubs (while that fat robin from the morning takes a shower in the spray) and wishing for them to grow and be strong enough to survive another winter three seasons ahead.

I hope for you on this Memorial Day weekend a long bike ride in the setting sun with someone you love, a cool drink on the patio, worship in a church with its windows flung open and the music and prayers floating out into the sky up to the heavens, the chance to fight a fat, shiny fish on the lake, and a fire at night with the stars staying put in the sky.

But mostly, I hope that you will remember our service men and women past and present who by their sacrifice we live in freedom.  I hope you will remember them in prayer, with pride, and remember those who love them as we all sleep under the same stars knowing because of them we are safe.

Star light, star bright, very first falling star I see tonight

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I’m gonna stay up for the meteor shower expected tonight.  The sky is crystal clear, like twinkling onyx.  It’s 12 midnight, and I have to be up at 6 to open the shops and get them ready for a beautiful holiday weekend, but I want to see the falling stars.  I want to make wishes on them, I want to see them to make sure they are real and what I remember from August 1980 is real, too.

August 1980, the summer I was sowing my wild (well actually not so wild, but I like the phrase) oats.  I was single for the first time in over 3 years, and I was lonely in a way I hadn’t been before, it was an odd time, with much to fill my days, working at the hospital, making the transition to oncology, early mornings there, late nights with my thoughts, lazy weekends off, lots of dates with great men, but not a single one that I felt anything for.

Many of my friends were getting married, and I was wondering at the ripe old age of 21 if I would end up a spinster psychologist that ironically offered marital counseling.

I just wanted to find the guy.  You know, the one. I did like this one guy, he drove a great car, worked at the airport, said all the right things, looked good, and then stood me up for a line of cocaine somewhere, and I missed my friend’s wedding.  He got his just desserts in the end, to fall back on a sadly overused idiom to describe an idiot.  Anyhow, how desirable do you think I felt to be stood up for a line of cocaine?  Not so much.

The shock of being stood up still clanks in me all these years later.  I just didn’t know people would do something like that on the day of a friend’s wedding.  I felt so ashamed and unwanted and lost and truly pissed off.

That August, a friend and I were sitting on the side porch of the old Victorian house I rented in the little town I lived in watching my little toy poodle in the yard.  All of a sudden, a star just fell from the sky.  My buddy asked, “Did you make a wish?”  And I said, “Did that really happen?”  I hadn’t seen anything like it.  Then another fell, and I made a wish quickly — I’d long stopped praying, so I figured a wish was as good as a prayer.

Several other stars fell, and we decided to move to the roof with Angel for a better view.  At the top of the stairs, there was a trap door that led to a flat spot on the roof, we laid down a blanket on the tar, and the heat of the day’s sun still warmed our backs as we watched star after star fall from the sky. We were quiet, my friend and I.  We had a great friendship, but it wasn’t a love thing, at least not for me, yet I was warned by many not to hurt him, but I was never one to hurt someone, so why would I start with someone I cared so much about?

I didn’t ask what he wished for, and he didn’t ask what I was wishing for.  We just laid there feeling the warm sun on our backs and the cool air of the night on our faces. That night, my friend stooped down for a kiss, but it really was like kissing my brother, and I remembered wishing it didn’t feel that way, and I kidded him and said, “When you kiss me, it’s as if I’m your sister.”  And I knew what everyone had thought would happen happened in that minute, and then he grabbed me, kissed me hard again, lifted me up in a huge bear hug and I breathed in the scent of dill pickles that still clung to him after a long day as an accountant at a pickle plant, and then he dropped me on my feet and walked away and we never talked about it again.

But, I never forgot the want in me to love someone like my friend, and the want not being enough to make it so.

The next month, something amazing happened, I met the guy, the one.  And I thought about that night on the roof and wondered if wishes on falling stars really do come true, and I thought for a moment to ask my friend if his wish had come true, but somehow, I knew it hadn’t, so I thought about how the stars got there, and Who might have made them fall that night, and I started to think about God and prayer, but not so much that I would jump into the deep end with religion again. At least not for a while.

I Can’t See the Future Yet

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My good friend will lay to rest her 2-year-old granddaughter today after losing her to Alper’s Syndrome which stole her health but not her smile.  And while I know the inspiration that this little girl brought to so many just from her smile, I ache for my friend and for this baby’s momma and daddy and sissies and for all who loved her, it’s just not the right order, you know?  Losing a child or a grandchild, especially one so young.   My heart despairs for the sorrow they (are) will experience, and I know that losses like this reveal some very powerful things about our strength and spiritual life and God, but I simply can’t see the future for them yet, so I mourn for them from afar.

One of my favorite stores closed the other week without even the sound of a click of a door.  I stopped by to pick up an air plant or two, maybe a succulent to put in my kitchen window, and found the store’s windows covered with white paper.  Not even a note on the door saying, WE ARE CLOSED, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE.  I was so shocked because this truly had become one of my favorite stores on 3rd Street.  I could walk down there and for a few bucks find something to give to a friend or to bring into my house for light and air and earth and inspiration.

This store was a plant store of sorts, but not really just that.  It was a store where whimsy, plant life and art all collided.  I’m still bummed.  I immediately called the Chamber of our town, and the place indeed had closed and the Chamber lady (who never identifies herself when answering the phone which really bugs me, because as a Chamber lady, aren’t you supposed to welcome folks to your town, and wouldn’t it be so much more personal if you just mentioned your name when you answered the phone?) informed me that the owner was still operating from her home, but that is not what I want.  I want to go and I want to spend a few minutes in the muggy-ish, dirt and clay and earth aroma-d atmosphere and be inspired and see life and visualize it in surprising places like an old bed spring or a glass globe with trinkets glistening on the bottom — the plant reaching for the sun while the light spires from the trinkets and fills the room with magic.

Dreams closed for another business. I see a lot of businesses’ dreams closed down, and I don’t see the future yet.

I have an impatience to me right now, I’m not right in my own skin.  I’ve felt this before, I bet you have to0, if you’ve thought about it, but for many they don’t think about it, they just move along and sit at the same desk or at the same machine, and wake up in the same bed on the same side, and eat the same breakfast every morning and they don’t let it get to them, because they can’t see the future yet, or maybe because they do?  The future is what it is right now, the same desk, bed, side, breakfast, with a variation on what they eat for lunch maybe, or if they stub their toe on that day or not.

Then there are the folks who feel this way and embark on an affair, find God, or chuck it all and move to the Caribbean.

I personally think it’s good to feel this way, even though it’s incredibly uncomfortable. If you think about it, anxiety and excitement mimic the same feelings inside our bodies, it’s the mind that discerns the two and decides what actions to take, fight, or flee, or make a simple change.

As doors close forever, and a pretty pink casket is lowered into the ground, I realize that it’s not for me to know the future, it’s just for me to know about the present, and to express my love and my concern, and to make a change or two or three, get my feet dirty in the spring soil, take a new route on my walk, make sure to patronize those small businesses I want to thrive, vote for like-minded people, have a little faith, and maybe pray a different prayer.

 

80,300 Kisses and Counting…

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It all started with a picture of me kissing my sweet great-nephew, his mouth open, his saliva dripping off my bottom lip.  PURE kissing heaven. Then, I started to think about kissing, hugging, holding, loving.  How innate it is, a natural instinct.  Babies are infectious lovers of kissing and hugging.  And who doesn’t love kissing and hugging them? A little formula tainted spittle never hurt anyone.

Think of the thousands of kisses we’ve all had,  I’m 55 years old, and with at least 4 kisses a day, conservatively speaking, that’s 80,300 kisses in my lifetime alone.  Feels good to think of my life in terms of kisses, let alone hugs, which would triple that number, I kid you not.

Then, I started thinking about how many photos I have here and on my computer, old and newer, of people hugging and kissing and that’s just me and my extended family. There’s a lot of kissing and hugging and loving going on, my friends.  Think about all that loving going on in your life.  If you’re falling short, why not make a pact to kiss someone everyday, or two, or three.  Hug your friends when you see them, kiss your spouse in the morning.  Kissing, hugging, loving, snuggling…  Practice love.

So, here we all are, practicing the most loving art there is.   Even pooches get in the act!  Oh, and one 1Phone.  Kiss on, my friends!

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