Tag Archives: WPlongreads

Now

bathroomWhile the sickness healed in my throat… What? Okay, now that the pressure’s mostly in my inner ears, I’ve had more time to reflect on life.

I recently recalled the time a beautiful, water resistant shower curtain and rugs display grabbed my attention and held it, I liked them so much. They were pricey for my budget. Still, they inspired a need for change in my house. Usually a spend-thrift, knock offs would not do that time. I cut corners and saved for months until I had enough to buy them.

Lending the illusion of a life I once dreamed of, the bath/spa room is important to me. Having purchased my curtain and rugs I could hardly wait to get home to stage the new look I’d imagined for months. While saving I’d run through every detail in my head and my vision was clear.

old bottlesWhile buying my treasures I remembered I was nearly out of supplies. I have always been careful about cleaning products, but without a spare dollar for the rest of the month, I took a bottom-shelf product and hurried home.

My usual routine was to start with a clean slate, but I’d scoured the entire house the day before. I pressed and then hung the curtain. Taking in the finished scene, I noticed a fresh smear on the wall next to the new curtain. Glad I got the spray cleaner, I pulled the curtain back just a bit, aimed, sprayed and then wiped away the offending smudge. I was delighted with my new decor and how well it blended with my towels and wall color the way I’d imagined. I took a photo to send to friends and flex my bragging rights.

After pasting the photo into the email I couldn’t believe my eyes. There on my new curtain was unmistakable bleaching in the beautiful color! I dashed to the bathroom hoping my eyes deceived me. But no… My wailing brought neighbors running.

In my hurry to make my vision reality and then get back to work, I’d inadvertently grabbed a bottle containing mostly bleach that had been misplaced in the non-bleach section. I’d been so preoccupied with my happy thoughts I didn’t notice the caustic smell. Arrrrgh!cleaner

I wasn’t quick enough to arrest the damage. After sulking a while and, of course bemoaning the unfairness of it all, I began brainstorming ideas to recover some of the original beauty of the curtain. Eventually my imagination kicked in.

What my situation meant for defeat, God used for good. I creatively sprayed more of the the cleaner all over the curtain and then some Ritz dye remnants consistent with my color palette. Eventually I created a poor-man’s Monet, very slightly reminiscent of his Rose Walk.

Even after several washings, the curtain performed it’s primary purpose very well. With every wash the pattern took on new characteristics. Now it’s more like a Wildflower Walk. Yeah, Ritz still bleeds and fades.

I do not recommend intentionally ruining a lovely curtain or settling for less than what we can achieve either. But I can share the worthwhile lesson from that whole process:

Life takes us through lots of twists and turns and we adjust our original plans. In high school I imagined my life in showcase homes. Over the years, with each relocation I told myself, “this will do for now.” I usually settled on the best location, the nicest home with the most space I could afford. While I’m thankful for a great imagination, I graduated magna cum laude from the school of hard knocks, but I’m not the most creative person around. Fortunately, home and garden magazines are always freely available and I regularly thank God for HGTV and DIY network. With that I got by – for now.

Now that I’m used to a healthy over-all lifestyle on a tight budget, it’s all I can do to stay focused on my set priorities. I’ve minimized dramatically while still hoping to become a piano virtuoso. Hey, I can play either one or the other part of Heart and Soul. While I admire friends’ beautiful homes and still aspire to own something similar someday, for now I’m content with a roof that doesn’t leak, food, electricity, and especially good company. Is it just me or is that actually funny now?

Compared to my dramatic, dynamic early years I’ve developed a very ordinary life from extreme conditions. While my long Bucket List continually grows, I have what I need and I’m confident I am exactly who and what God created me to be now.

I believe all the tragedies, hardships, the bad times of my life worked together to bring me right where I am now – I’m good. When we question why God allows so much trouble, sadness and evil in the world, we can too easily lose sight of the joy in life.

victorian house

I won’t lose sight of my ideal house, complete with writing room, and neither will Voithos. Today I’m glad for a modest, comfortable home. While modest, it has been my status quo for more years than I want to admit, with a good, old friend it’s quite good enough for me now. While I keep my focus upon God’s will, He always takes care of the details. I have experienced time and again how He guides me through the necessary clutter with more colorful variations I could never have imagined.

Like the rest of my life, that’s my story – and I’m sticking to it.

 

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment…” Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

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Walk

Today again I appreciate more and more how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. First, who knew how changing my post days to Monday and Thursday would go like this?

Today’s revelation began two nights ago – I was actually cold beneath my wool blanket and goose down throw. In case I haven’t mentioned it before I never feel cold, so in the gorgeous spring weather of the Western Slope, that was the first clue that I have been running overloaded for too long. I just checked: The temps were 46 degrees to 78 degrees here that day – around 70 degrees when I retired.

This morning confirmed my suspicion when I awoke with what I generally call hamburger throat, imagining what my insides might look like with that sore, raspy feeling.

Josey tea Carli JeanWith no fever it’s all good. I arose only slightly slower than usual and was sipping my Black Silk amaretto latte by the time Erin arose. I marvel at how, in only four weeks we’ve achieved very close to perfect sync with each other. It’s almost as though the past thirty-five years had been mere weeks.

thumb driveRight on course, by then I’d already checked my drafts for today’s post and had dismissed all of the ideas I found there. By Erin’s second cup of Black Silk Vanilla ambition, she suggested I consider her idea from a few days before, the things we miss while driving.

Before I prepared my second latte Erin invited me to walk downtown with her to City Hall to pay a bill and get some fresh air. Because my second latte was super low fat, low caffeine with evaporated cane juice, (and my body’s fighting off an infection 😉 ) I considered her suggestion longer than I usually would.

Despite having volumes of words and photos to consider, I immediately prepared to walk anyway. Walking simply seemed right.

Though I felt tired before we wrapped up the 1.6 miles, I’m glad I went. Walking alone and had I not been feeling slightly puny, I would have logged in 3 miles in that time. However I would not have met the neighbors.

Two blocks from home a Mini-Schnauzer, a Shih Tzu, and a Great Pyrenees/German shepherd pup rushed into the road, barking happily to greet us. The pup, already bigger than her mature dog companions, but clearly a baby, loped along. Their people, Guy and Barbie were right on their heels.

Without Erin I wouldn’t have stopped to chat. We wouldn’t have learned Guy and Barbie also have property just a stretch of the legs from Keira and Newlyn’s property (Erin’s mom and her late father) where we go for Sunday dinner every week. And yet, we paused a good ten minutes, met our neighbors briefly and their fur kids – well enough that 3-month-old Big Baby began walking with us as we departed. We’ll consider doing that another day.

pit bull leashHow delightful that Guy knows Keira and Newlyn’s place by the spayed Amstaf terrier that lives in the next lot on the road just before Keira’s. Though Guy doesn’t recall knowing Erin’s two brothers, everyone in town knows Nancy the pit bull, who initially seems ferocious, but locals all stop to greet her – usually with a treat. I adore the friendly, small-town atmosphere despite the wide geographical span.
coeds

Ordinarily under other circumstances I wouldn’t have stopped to chat up our two young, co-ed neighbors taking a break from their studies either. I wouldn’t have told them they remind me of mornings on our porch back home where Roan, Opal and I would sit, wrapped in our blankets, mugs of coffee in hand to see the day in.

What’s more, the girls wouldn’t otherwise have extended an invitation to join their occasional parties any time, and they wouldn’t have welcomed us to visit them for food and grog where they both work at the local chain establishment. We wouldn’t have chatted about the advantages of the new Fitbits and the knock-offs that are out there.

GJ Law ofcI also noticed the amazing array of flora, from blooming cactus to peonies, vivid iris and the many varieties of columbine, and how they differ in full sun and from beneath the immense shade trees. Nor seemingly everywhere the vintage, refashioned architecture styles and landscaping seen on the Western Slope.

 

 

cactus flower1 flora fence Iris GJ iris maybe yellow cactus flower

 

I noticed how the many other pedestrians nodded, saying, “hi” and how one in particular paused to ask us about the shell casing we’d found in the grass a few feet in front of him. “Weird,” he said. We agreed. I wouldn’t have noticed the bird calls, especially the dove that called to us, seeming to follow us from tree top to tree top going from our block and then welcoming us back to it.

What I didn’t notice is vehicle traffic. Aside from a rare, occasional car passing (below the speed limit), the driver waving or nodding politely as they passed, there are very few cars moving through the neighborhood mid-to-late weekday mornings. The breeze and bird calls aren’t drowned out by more obnoxious sounds. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I might have heard some dandelions groaning as they struggled for root room in the thick grass of one sunny lawn.

Then there’s the view of the Book Cliffs, Sleeping Ute, Mount Garfield, The Mesa and the National Monument towering around us. If they don’t take your breath away you need new glasses – or perhaps a check up from the neck up.

Sleep Butte  Mt Garfield

Whether I’m actually sick or simply run-hard-and-put-away-wet, I’m delighted to have experienced some of the beauty we miss when we drive ourselves to our various errands. Clearly it’s good therapy. I feel extravagantly blessed that whatever we need in our household is walking distance from our front door, even when we need a break more than anything else. The reorganization project will be waiting for us whenever we return.

God knows this deep sense of belonging to family and community is exactly what I’d hoped and prayed for. Clearly He held it all together here just for me :D.

Thanks God!

 

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

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Image

In this new phase of my life I often hear weekday television talk shows from my room. One conversation recently caught my interest so I joined Erin in front of the television for a while.

The co-hosts were talking about Refinery 29, the Take Back the Beach initiative and overall body positivity. I could go on all day on this, but I’ll try to stick to the program:

Logans runThe co-hosts talked about how people seem to be more obsessive than ever with morphing themselves into their ideal self-images. Is it just me or do images of Logan’s Run come to anyone else’s mind?

 

As a co-host I would have pointed out renown art through the ages. We consider even those now in pieces beautifully inspiring. Take Venus Di Milo and Michelangelo’s David for instance.

venus di milo 'David'_by_Michelangelo

Art inspires us, and while the inspiration remains in moderation it’s great. Yet it seems to me much of our global society has taken cosmetic procedures to a whole new level – too close to obsession for my thinking.

While not new on the scene, figureheads like Veruschka von Lehndorff, Dianne Carroll and Christi Brinkley continue to stand out in my mind among the haunting new images of Pia Trivedi, Aneta Pajak and Alisa Ahmann.
All. Painfully. Thin.

More than ever we seem to be morphing humans. Back to the the show again, they also talked about the increase in men having cosmetic procedures including hair implants to be more attractive to a prospective mate.

One host commented that with all this cosmetic manipulating (my paraphrase), When they start having children, they don’t really know what they’re getting; all they know is there’s a new baby. But the baby’s features will be a real surprise! Like, where did that come from?!

Personally speaking, when I was young I did not consider myself comely. I could not see beyond how people treated me; the people who loved me, provided for me, and cared for me. I saw myself as unattractive and fat mostly because that’s mostly what I heard. What’s more I had that hideous red hair people talked about. UGH!

Ultimately I came to understand that my family and loved ones regarded me the same way they saw themselves (not necessarily as they actually are/were). Naturally, they passed on to me what they had – distorted and sad as much of that was. Thanks to God, I am fortunate to have extended family and good friends, so I survived and went on to learn about a better, happier perception of life.

I understand the attitude toward body image and self-esteem. A poor self-perception, over-indulgences and genetics aren’t such a mystery anymore. Personally I experienced how for a season, my self-perception made me somewhat insensitive to others’ feelings and opinions. It happens.

What’s more, like many younger people today, I once took my appearance very seriously – making myself attractive to the opposite sex for sex’s sake. And consistently, the inevitable disappointment, emptiness and loneliness consistently signaled the end to nearly every intimate relationship. I eventually learned I couldn’t hide behind pop culture, fashion, make up and others’ opinions of me . I had to get to know, accept myself and then love ME.

We do well to focus upon

what the Bible says about our image:

“Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…. So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.”*

“This is the written account of the descendants of Adam. When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.””**

This says nothing about fashion or outward appearance. It’s about a process – knowing The Great I Am, so we know who He says we all are.

Scan_20160517

In photos of much younger me I look fit, stylish and for the most part attractive – until I spoke. It’s funny how a few decades can change things.

 

2016jan30copyToday I don’t think long about clothes (aside from not embarrassing my companions in public) or makeup – since I rarely wear much. The person in the mirror today resembles that younger girl mostly, only with many more wrinkles and utter resignation to gravity. This not only proves the adage, we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but that nothing lasts forever.

 

Now I daily recite the fact that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” “And how well I know it.”# In that truth I tend to focus more upon self-respect, self-perception and health consciousness – the inner me.

I don’t wish my history or my excess baggage upon any other human, and yet I am not that unique. When we feel good about ourselves, we feel better about the world around us. By understanding and accepting that we are formed in God’s image the burden of responsibility for ourselves is as much on God as it is on each individual. To date, I’m very okay with that.

As I age I understand better that we are all accountable for what we do with our image. Now I understand better that God sees past our perceived flaws, through all our faults and some slightly embarrassing secrets, right to our need. As we practice relationship with God, we begin to see ourselves as He sees us – lovely and perfect in His design for our lives. I’m thankful for that.

Our relationships with Him makes us all we can be.

That’s as much as I stick with talk shows  😀

“I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Psalm 139:14 (King James Version)

* Genesis 1:26, 27 (NLT)
** Genesis 5:1,2 (NLT)
# Psalm 139:14 (NLT)

Logan’s Run image courtesy IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3529873408/tt0074812?ref_=ttmd_md_nxt#

Venus Di Milo image courtesy Wikimedia.org: By Unknown – Jastrow (2007), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1999049

Michelangelo’s David image courtesy By Jörg Bittner Unna – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=38304758

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Roo Unplugged; Month in Review

vega rig

After the grueling weeks of sorting, liquidating, packing and hours on the phone planning, departure day finally arrived. This was no small feat for three women, each with physical restrictions, and my dear Roan who did what she does best, overseeing and helping we weary movers load the trailer.

The first day of our trek from Arlington, Texas to Colorado was actually the third day. The girls had departed Grand Junction early Sunday morning. It was already Wednesday.

Having followed their GPS instructions explicitly from western Colorado (not checking for alternate routes), the girls went due east to Wichita, Kansas and then due south. Compound the additional 238 miles, 3.5 driving hours with a fierce electrical storm and then softball-sized hail. We did not anticipate the storm or the layover in Blackwell, OK.

thunderstorm Iren Petrova

To quote a recent acquaintance, “It got worse…”

Trailer fully loaded, protecting everything possible with construction bags and tarps, checking the vehicles and the load, we noticed a problem with the trailer tail lights. After finding and employing a mechanic, we were finally prepared to depart – after resting up at the local Wyndham.

Following their experiences during the first half of our adventure, I entirely understood my girls’ fatigue by that time. My concerns and sense of weariness seemed trite by comparison. And yet, refreshed and smiling, the next morning we sprang to our tasks and set out on our merry way.

Minutes after leaving, I quickly became reacquainted with a world most of us have forgotten – the world outside of cyber space. {Audible screams as the scene fades to darkness.}

Our driver Electra Bolt (we call her Ellie) asked me to confirm our route. It was a fair question.

We then learned we were already out of range of my new cell carrier, so a Hot Spot also failed to connect my trusty, old backup S3. We tepidly proceeded as Ellie’s GPS directed.

a map

At Amarillo, TX, our first stop for the night, misinformation from the desk clerk disabled me from logging onto the Wifi. Fortunately the cell Hot Spot quickly enabled a connection. I investigated the route and alternates noting them on an app this time. The words “GPS signal lost” on previous excursions still haunt me now and then.

a compass

US-287 (specifying 4 linking turns) to US-50. Check. Approximately 15 hours of driving the Toyota FJ Cruiser and 12′ x 8′ trailer – no view out the back window.

We experienced new visuals on the road without old-school travel guides or printed maps.

buffalo1

Unable to interrupt the unstable GPS on Ellie’s cell we also discovered:

– We could not determine the next fueling station. But we now know the fuel needle drops below Empty before it’s actually empty.
– We did not anticipate the windy, excessively bumpy back roads – but Ellie developed some impressive new grooves on her steering wheel. Erin and I became more limber.
– We could not enlist OK Google to identify the landmarks on the way.
– Unable to explore other food options we settled for what we could see a couple of blocks ahead of us.
– In hindsight we would have done well to research hotels before leaving. We were fortunate to spot a 3-star in Walsenberg, CO. No, we didn’t recall having heard of the town either. Then again, my girls had been five days on the road.

Day Six: Once more unto the breach*, our battle that day was to make it over the Rockies to the Western Slope before nightfall.

Shakespeare might have put our adventure:

If we were mark’d to arrive, we are enow
To do our journey loss; and if to awander,
The fewer women, the greater share of honour.
We few, we happy few, we band of sisters.
For she to-day that shares mileage with me
Shall be my sister; be she ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle her condition…

Forgive me, William.

“For you shall not go out with haste, Nor go by flight; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12 (NKJV)

*Paraphrased from William Shakespeare‘s King Henry the Fifth

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From One Latte

Today’s encouraging Meme from a friend read:

“Sometimes I just want someone to hug me and say, I know it’s hard. You’re going to be okay. Here’s a latte. And 5 million dollars.”*

Gazing at the meme, what my generation used to call a poster, got me seriously thinking today – I know, scary, right? Five. Million. Dollars.

I’m not bemoaning my life in the least, but for the past two years my accountant gave me his fee rather than charging me to do my taxes. He mumbled something about needing another charitable contribution.

I have wondered how so many people can’t imagine my lifestyle. True, some would consider me impoverished. I don’t, but I certainly toe the line.

I’ve made some extreme adjustments to keep hope alive for that 38 foot Catalina with a center cockpit and aft cabin.

When I started out on my own I planned to be financially independent with solid trust funds established for my sons before I turned 40.

Decades after my target goal, with much living and some published work in between, my sons have been on their own for longer than I want to say and I’m sharing a rental with Erin and two cats. I’m a cliche!

Honestly, I’m absolutely serious, with the newscasts constantly reminding me how harsh and unpredictable the world is I won’t complain.

Still, I’m pondering what I would do with that latte and 5 million dollars. Okay, no question about the latte, but I started a new list:

– I’d be entirely debt-free, pay off the credit accounts and Health Care bills. But that would likely ding my credit score that already looks like hammered pewter. I’ll think about that tomorrow…

– I’d buy real estate, a home for myself with cottages for family stays and for guests. No more moving around. I’d need a large parcel to raise my own food and livestock. Then I’d recruit forces to lobby against the likes of Monsanto, and begin reversing the damage they began on the environment. But then Bigg Business would lobby to stop me and my family (they always go after your loved ones, right?) They’d waste more tax dollars trying to stop my league. Or I’d have some unexplainable, deadly accident and my guys would be devastated… (Just kidding, Monsanto). (Sort of). Maybe I should rethink this…

– I’d invest half and stash the other half for the time being. I’ll start a list of American organizations I can support with good conscience, ones that don’t violate my personal values. This is profoundly complicated! I’ll come back to that.

– Oh, I can finish my degree, it’s only been 20+ years since I last enrolled in college. I’d start with finding my transcripts… Annnd on with the list…

– I would pay off the kids’ mortgages, freeing them to pump up the grandkids’ college funds. On second thought, my heart would break if one of my Grands adopted the attitude of the  Entitled Generation. I’d actually be contributing to their hardships by depriving them the joy of working their way through college… I’ll come back to that too.

– I’d have my teeth whitened. Maybe get a nip or tuck here or there. Looking younger than ever, I’d attract all kinds of attention. But then I’d have money and would impose rejection upon prospective Beaus. I’d be stalked! Or my grandkids would feel neglected when a social life cuts into their time with me. They’d start seeing psychologists, taking antidepressants, write bad poetry… who needs that when I look fine now?

– I have it! I’d toss the dozen or so pairs of readers from all over the house and vehicles and have my eyes lasered. Hmm… Then nobody would recognize me without at least one pair of glasses holding my hair back on top of my head. I’d be forgotten, passed over for committees and outings. I’d be devastated and withdraw to the woods, never to be seen by mankind again. {Scene fades to black as Sasquatch drags me away without a fight}…

– Or… I could take Erin, my offspring and all my siblings on a luxurious vacation. Who couldn’t use a break today? But then, somebody would disagree with somebody else about something, it would start a row. And it would be all my fault. I would probably have forgotten to invite somebody else just as dear and deserving along, so that when I return I would be alienated from family and all polite society as well. That would certainly end me. I would stop writing… Forget that idea!

I’m exhausted just thinking about it all. Who knew money could so easily ruin a wonderful life?

“For the Love of Money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” 1 Tim 6:14 (NLT )

* Meme/poster reference sweatpantsandcoffee.com

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