100 Pearls

image152 days have passed since I started writing this blog.  Today marks my 100th blog or “pearl”.  I think about the journey of this blog in just 5 months, and I’ve been caught unaware by its power over my everydays. Inspiration comes at me like I’m riding my bike on the bike path, slow enough to take notice of every little thing — change in season, bird, scent and sound, and at other times like wind-blowing-through-my-helmet-standing-up-cruising-down-the -hill-as-fast-as-I-can exhilaration. It’s thoughtful and risky, it’s all those things in between.

Truly, it’s not what I expected, even though I expected absolutely nothing.  I thought I would be writing like when I was a kid, sharing my deepest, silliest, scariest, and most profound thoughts under the blankets with a flashlight, scrawling with a red pen in a diary with a gold lock and a missing key. The diary vulnerable for anyone to see, judge, decide, if all those things inside me matter even at all.

I thought my twin, hubby, son, daughter and a few random friends and family would take a look-see and then pat my head and say, “Good for you for writing, you have needed to devote time to it for a long while.  I’m proud of you…”  That was the amount of thinking and ruminating and even dreams I spent on the creation of this blog.

Harmony’s Pearls is like the young girl who met her bad boy and everything literally stopped on this planet.  You all had to have felt the world change, too, right?  I mean, it was epic, and yet it came unplanned, oh it was dreamed of, but none of those dreams came true, no this surpassed that, way surpassed simple dreams.

It was like when we were a young couple, I was still taking night classes to get my degree in something, anything at this point, and we’d been married a year and a half, and had hubby’s boss over for chicken dinner.  We sat there chasing Rice-a-roni around our plates and his boss asked if we were going to have children.  We shrugged, I still wanted to get that degree, and he said, almost verbatim (that’s how pivotal his statement was),”You know, Rick is doing a great job in the business, he’s going to move up.  There’s plenty of time to take classes throughout your life, you guys should think about starting a family.”

And that was enough for us to say,”Hey, yah, let’s.” while snuggling in our water bed late that night  (we all had water beds back then, right?)  And four months later our child was conceived with nothing but the mere mention of starting a family, and absolutely no thought or even discussion before that fateful chicken and rice supper. But, boy, did the sweet dreams for that baby come then.

It’s a life we created — a child with his own will, character, gifts and dreams, and later a beautiful daughter with hers.  It’s a mom and dad loving them, guiding them, keeping them safe, getting them inoculated, giving them time to tell their stories even when it was baby babble, soothing sad hearts, watching them roll over, crawl, cruise, walk, run, ride bikes, scooters, drive cars, all of a sudden out of sight, in mere moments, and then onward through college and into adulthood.  Those dreams of that young couple snuggled in the water bed, yah, those dreams were far surpassed by these wonderful human beings, even if we did everything right, with some of it wrong.

While this blog may not seem on the same powerful plane as marriage and parenthood, in some weird way it is, actually.  It is for me.  Something I created. It’s a potent record of my life, and yours maybe, if you see yourself in the arms of a bad boy, in a water bed on a cold night in November 1982, and even though the details are different, you DO see yourself, you remember those dreams of youth and a big happy scary future spread out in front of you.

And what about that big happy scary future?  It’s STILL THERE!  What will me make of it?  That deserves some blogging, too.

If I’d dared to dream about this blog, I wouldn’t have come close as I think about the past 152 days, 100 “pearls”, 5831 views, 233 comments, 348 tags, 83 blogger followers, 274 followers total, 100s of likes, and the readers from 28 countries throughout this amazing world and the journey thus far.  I think about the big happy scary future ahead, and I dream of the pearls that await me, will I see them, feel them, hear them?  Not all pearls are happy, some are sad and carry the weight of the world, at least my world, and maybe yours, too.  And that is life, too, and we don’t know how those precious pearls will shape us or show us who we are.  My dream is that I will find them at all, and like my marriage and children, I hope the pearls far surpass my dreams.

Gold Tone Simulated Pearl Long Necklace from Croft & Barrow®

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toto, we aren’t in…

IMG_1722When I walk the river with my dog, or dogs when someone approaches, I always smile and say, “Mornin’.  And it’s a rare morning on the Fox when someone doesn’t respond in kind.

Yes, many are strangers, most are familiar strangers, people who get up early and run, or walk, with dogs and without dogs, or ride bikes, and we are a special breed who for the most part don’t wear ear buds because we love that our river has the sounds of life in every season, even the very coldest, when, if you’re lucky, as you walk in the snow up to your knees, you’ll hear the flapping wings of the resident Blue Herron as it lifts into the gray sky, gliding to the other side of the frozen river to watch as you struggle on in the deep white snow and silence. Ain’t nothing like a walk like this when the river is almost exclusively your own.

Even in the snowiest times on the river there is a man who everyday for years, rides his bike to work with a little snow scoop on the back, so there is always a narrow cleared-off path that we can walk on when we are tired of struggling in the deep snow.  Every single day without fail, no matter the weather, he rides his bike to work along the river.  I love that man, have never met him proper, just a “Mornin'” and on we go. A familiar stranger.

While on the Jersey Shore last week, twinsie and I took early morning walks on the boardwalk for 3 or 4 magnificent miles along the Atlantic with the waves serenading each step.  As we walked we encountered many walkers, bike riders, runners, many with ear buds, many without.  Their skin as dark as beef jerky, and they came in all shapes and sizes, some even stopping at the Dunkin Donuts on the boardwalk for a donut and coffee.

Each morning we walked, I’d nod and say “Mornin'” to the others on the boardwalk without a single nod or “Mornin'” back.  Not a single one.  Not even a smile.  How strange.  During one of our walks, I caught myself no longer attempting a “Mornin'” anymore, I kept my face toward the ocean or looking down at the boards as they moved quickly under my striding feet, examining the patterns of the newly resurrected boardwalk.

It was sort of like a rejection, never getting a reaction back.  Like a baby who smiles at her momma, and when she’s not responding back to her baby’s attempts at connecting, begins to cry.  It’s innate, it’s in our genetic makeup, the human spirit, to want to connect, but somehow, it got lost to the many people we saw on the boardwalk in Jersey. And I found myself lost in it, too, not even attempting a smile any longer, looking through people, around them, avoiding the rejection of a simple greeting. How easily I fell prey to avoidance.

The culture of the East, boardwalkers aside, is intriguing to us, and we have met many friendly and helpful people, some who have become familiar strangers over the years, who are happy to see us when we visit certain shops.  We love it there.  I just wonder what happened to that need to connect, where did it go?  Here in the midwest we cultivate farmlands and smiles and greetings, even in Chicago, there is a sense of connection to the people around us.

While I loved walking that beautiful wooden stretch along the Atlantic, without the human connection of “Mornin'”, there’s no place like home.IMG_1383

Carrying On…

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Through the past two weeks, twinsie and I carried suitcases to this hotel and that, bags from this antique shop to the car, and carried love in our hearts for everyone we met, except the person who flipped me the bird at mile 2029 for reasons we still don’t understand.

We sang country western music on the hilly streets of Nashville, and carried the hopes of each singer we heard  in our hearts as we walked by the bars they sang in.  We fed the homeless our doggie bag from breakfast, and he noted with his thanks that we weren’t from there, but he was glad to have met us.

We were blessed to carry amazing memories back from our visits with family, and to hear stories that happened long ago, in a magical time when our grandfather was alive in NYC and we were 1000 miles away in a little country town in the midwest. And our cuzzie spent every weekend with him after our grandma died (Nana to her), it’s a part of life in our family we never knew, didn’t know existed, and here these gems now glittered in our hearts, to be carried on and told to others, so that we can all live in the early 60s wearing smart dresses and spending weekends in Ozone Park, in the borough of Queens if only in our dreams.

We kissed the cheeks of our sweet great-nephew and his momma and daddy in North Carolina, and carried home a secret that we will not tell until they do. And we met my friend in a grand hotel in Luray Virginia, and we laughed until our bellies ached and our faces hurt while birds serenaded us on the great porch where men and women have stood since the mid 1800s looking over Shenandoah Valley, and now those images we carry in our hearts.

Two weeks of hunting in every visible antique shop, and moving from one part of the south to another, until we landed at our little condo for a week on the shore in New Jersey to be with our dad.  We drove through three hours of torrential rain in Virginia that still included a stop at a country antique store that is run by a talkative man who lives next door, so when he sees someone drive up, he shuffles over in sandals and black socks, and opens up for us to browse.

By the time we left, the rain swamped around our car, but the bags we carried held items that told  stories of a time long ago, and now told a new story of where we found them, and the rain that poured from the sky until it was up to our ankles.  Old stories carried gingerly in used brown paper bags that would tear in the dampness if not handled with care.

And we spent hours and hours with our father and our sweet Hedy, and we listened to more of who we are from the man who is our dad, and his great faith, who very often quoted Bible verses that deepened our conversations, and especially, about when our time on earth is finished, and what we will find in heaven — his twin brother, our mother, grandpas and grandmas, friends and loved ones.  This is the promise that is made to all of God’s children, that we will meet again. And there is sweet solace in that image, and still a little bit of pain and loss, and yes even fear, that our 90-year-old dad, and his 92-year-old Hedy, will get there before we get to them for another visit, or if Hedy’s precious mind will snare the memory of who we are in the teeth of the trap that is dementia.  And it’s a long time to wait to get to heaven or back to the shore.

And now that I’m home, it’s time to carry on, see to the workings of the chocolate shop, get blogs written, refinish a mid-century piece, take long hikes in the doggie park by the flowing brown river, put away my finds, and look around amazed by the memories carried through 3,279.7 miles on the road, over the mountains, at the sea, through the rain, and home again with the best traveling companion a twin could ask for.  And we will hold tightly to the gems we gathered on this trip that are told in the stories we share with our loved ones and watch as they sparkle anew.

“That Girl’s” got nothing on our Aunt Kay…

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Our Aunt Kay when she was married to Uncle Fred, and obviously slept at night with toilet paper around that awesome beehive do. Soooo gorgeous! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

Today our Aunt Kay called out of the blue on twinsie’s phone.  Of course we thought maybe something was wrong, so got back to her straight away.  All was good, she was just feeling lonely and needing to touch base.

Aunt Kay is such an amazing woman, so amazing that I named my daughter after her, Bethani Kae.  Aunt Kay Kay, which she was called  — something my mom’s family often did, repeated one syllable names so they’d become two syllables, I guess — was the last of 10 children, born 12 years before our big sissy was born, and our big sissy was 12 when we were born, and there you go, with my love once again of numbers and how they work out in an interesting way, two twelves and two syllables.

Aunt Kay  was beloved by all the grandkids, I mean we thought she was like “That Girl.” She was the sexy single sister (and I say sexy but I don’t think that was ever said aloud in the Baptist family my aunt and mom came from), but this is my blog, and it’s true.  She was beautiful, and sexy, not “braless and sexy”, but a feminine, independent, and mysterious beauty that just made all us nieces want to be her and look like her.

Aunt Kay was a teacher and she’ll be reading my blog wishing to correct my grammar, to which I must say, right here on my blog about her, that good writing is knowing grammar, and knowing when to break the rules to establish your own voice.  There, I said it, but she’ll already know it because she is amazing.

My aunt married later in life to the love of her life, a man who broke all the molds.  I had a crush on him IMMEDIATELY, in my 12 (there’s 12 again) year old mind, I just wanted to be married to Uncle Fred, and since I was too little, most certainly I wanted my Aunt Kay to be married to him.  He had a naughty side to him that I found very appealing, because he was also very loving and kind.  I enjoyed the contrast, and I know she did too.  They lived a beautiful life together that was cut short in just four years by a massive heart attack.  Somethings just can’t be explained until we get to heaven and ask God, and to this day I still miss him.  It’s not like we saw him that much, but the essence of Uncle Fred is such a lasting thing, and Uncle Fred together with Aunt Kay?  Well, it was my dream to be like them and them only.  And I did manage to snag a guy like Uncle Fred, and how blessed am I?

I just want to honor my Aunt Kay, I know all of us do.  When our Grandma got older, Aunt Kay changed her whole life to live with her and care for her until she passed.  Now, what does that tell you about her amazing character?  Yup, you’d want to be like her, and name a child after her as well.

 

Bummed…

6147_1362698705_809240To my followers (it sounds cultish to say that, but it’s what it’s called.)  For some time now, I am having trouble getting my blog to post in its entirety, so those of you who get my blog by email are getting partially edited versions.  It’s very odd, and so damned annoying.

I’m working on getting an answer as to why that is happening.  So, if you get a blog that is not complete, perhaps this one, please click on the blog for the completed version, and if you get an error message for that page, it means that I still have not been able to get it published.

Despite all of this, I just love WordPress.com.  It’s free and it’s great on so many levels, I’m not complaining, just need to work out this glitch.

Thank you for reading, and for caring.  I’m amazed by you.

Trippin’

700_pitstops_08We are heading out sometime soon, twinsie and I.  We are planning our road trip on roadtrippers.com.  We have places to stop, most of which we’ve never been before, we will poke around consignment and antique shops in dusty towns and big cities.  We will eat good food, and sip lovely libations, and travel many many miles over five days with a “book on tape” and the best company in the world.

We are going to mozie along, stop a lot, and just soak it all in — the Americana of the south. We will stay in rustic places, and grand places, and get a massage, and we will hug loved ones, some we haven’t seen in years, and hold one sweet baby, and play with at least two pups.

When we finally get to our father’s home, we will be renting a place on the shore for a week, and we will ride the waves and hope our suits stay up or down, whichever piece of cloth the ocean waves choose to try to yank off of us.  We will walk every morning wherever we are, and we will slather lots of 30 SPF on exposed parts of our bodies, and we will bury our feet in the sand, and we will stand looking over the vast beautiful ocean next to people who “tawk funny” whose skin looks like beef jerky, and marvel at the beauty of our earth and be secretly glad for our SPF 30 and the attention we’ve paid to the largest organ of our bodies.

We will sit at the table every day and evening with our dad and our step mom, and we will eat wonderful food (some cooked by me), clink drinks, and remember old times, and listen to stories, and share stories, and  dad will hold each of our hands, and we will laugh, and most certainly we will cry, and when we leave we will sob, because leaving our 90-year-old dad, and our 92-year-old step mom is hard, because we don’t know if this earth will bear enough time for another visit, or if the next time we see our dad or sweet Hedy will be in heaven.

And even if it rains everyday, or snows in July, we will be glad to be there — it’s true, we all know it, we all wish we had it if we don’t anymore, and it’s worth every inch of every mile and every curve in the road, or miles of construction to get to him. It’s even worth the heart wrenching goodbye, the sobs that come from the very middle of our very grateful hearts, that clog our throats with huge lumps that only tears will wash away.

But, getting home into the arms of our husbands, with happy, uncontrollable whines and licks from frolicking ecstatic pups, and our own beds, and our own bedmates, and our favorite chairs and our favorite spaces, and our beautiful river, that is also one of the very best parts of trippin’ — coming home with stories, and treasures, and photos, and most importantly, that special someone to tell the stories to, and share the treasures and photos with.  Home, no matter where you are trippin’, is always the final, and most wonderful destination.

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Four months

Harmony’s Pearls — Four months, 120 days, 91 blogs, 5200 hits.  I am an observer, I think,”I need to blog about that, I need to write about that fashion, I need to write about how that feels.” Just in this morning’s news, I feel as if my mind could explode from what it needs to say. I’m just not writing everyday like in the beginning, which might come as some sort of relief for some of my readers.

I read about a young woman who proudly posts photos on Facebook of African animals she hunted and killed, the conquest and excitement she feels, and I can barely even stay on the page long enough to read it, in fact, I didn’t.  I thought, I need to write about the need to kill.  I have hunters in my family and many friends who hunt, and I love them dearly, but to me, killing is not fun.  It’s not fun driving down from Wisconsin to see bucks strung to the back of trucks.  It’s not fun to see the platforms in the woods as we hike.  It’s disturbing this need to kill.  I guess I wouldn’t be able to work in a meat factory either.  I have to block my eyes when I drive past those trucks with the animals heading to the meat processing factories.  I’ve glimpsed enough of those big brown eyes to feel them in my heart, not that I’d turn down a nice queen cut prime rib, rare, to eat with my salad and Cosmopolitan.  Life is completely ironic.  I don’t want to kill them, but I sure don’t mind eating them.  It’s a conflict if I give it too much thought.

I read about the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for profit corporations to decide if they will cover birth control.  BIRTH CONTROL, PEOPLE!  Why wouldn’t they want to cover that?  As a married woman, we used birth control, do they think sex is only for procreation?  Please!  I’m just shaking my head at Hobby Lobby.  They make this decision at their own peril, women deprived of sex because they cannot get birth control are no fun to work with, folks.

[After further review, I understand that Hobby Lobby did NOT stop birth control, but did stop covering the “Day after pill” and abortion. I stand corrected.]

A huge can of worms, HUGE, GIGANTIC.

Abortion?  Okay, now there’s a reason to withhold coverage.  I believe that a baby is a baby at the moment of conception, yes, it would not be able to sustain life at that point should it be born, but tell me this, when you WANT a child, when do YOU think it’s a baby?  At the moment of conception.  That said, I am an advocate of women’s rights, I’m an advocate of gay marriage.  But, I believe in the separation of church and state.  I believe that anyone who lives in these United States have the same rights as anyone else.  If I were gay, I would want to marry, I know I would, but I respect my church for their beliefs, and would NOT want the government to step in and say, “You need to marry gay people.”  Separation of church and state.  On the same token, I would not expect Religious businesses to pay for abortions they believe is an act of murder.

I’m an advocate of life.  While I believe in a woman’s right to choose,  And it really gets me when people march with “Right to Choose” signs, when, I actually could be right next to them, because, really, isn’t choosing life a choice, too?

I am marching with you because I believe in your right to express your feelings, and that is something we should all be grateful for.

We all would benefit from standing back and looking at our fellow-man/woman by not judging, even if you read the above and feel it is.  I’m writing how I feel, not how I think YOU should feel.  I love and embrace the differences in my culture.  I love my gay friends, I love my friends who had abortions, in both cases these things help define them and who they are, as are all my experiences.  I’m not one to judge, and would like the same of me.

Don’t even get me started on the legalization of marijuana and how it would boost our economy by putting people to work, and bring in revenue and fill up drying up farmland, and more importantly, provide safety in the product.  Or, amnesty, I believe in it, or what do we have?  YAY!  Let’s all gather every Mexican here illegally, and cart them over the border, while their children…what?…what happens to them?  Why not give everyone living in this country, no matter what their status the opportunity to earn a living (note to big businesses) pay taxes, and continue to contribute to the growth of our nation’s culture.

Anyhow, I’m exhausted.  All these nasty little social issues in one blog.  I will watch my number dwindle on both sides of the spectrum, but life isn’t about sticking to just one school of thought, it’s about embracing each other BECAUSE we think differently.  As a woman of faith, I believe that my beliefs and actions will one day be accounted for by God.  Here on Earth, I can only believe in my heart that humanity is larger and more compelling than the issues that separate us.