It's All About the Journey

Today is your future. Live in the moment!

Reflection and Love

So wrote Thomas Merton in The Way of Chuang Tzu:

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them, we only love the reflection of ourselves that we find in them.

Lessons from My Cat

Live in the moment. Don’t anticipate.

Speak up. If they don’t understand, or don’t get it, say it again. If you don’t repeat yourself, they may think you are happy, or content with the way things are.

Bring gifts. Even if they don’t appreciate them and throw them out when you aren’t looking. Even if you have to go around looking to replace the gift that got tossed. Bring the gift back. Show them how good your gift is (even if it is a half-eaten mouse).

Make someone happy by letting them pet you. The right way. Purr in appreciation. They may pet you more.

If you don’t like the fake mouse, ignore it. It will go away. Or hide it. It will go away faster.

Give in a little. So they know you are still on their side, even when you do speak out. Allow love to enter your heart. After all, you need them.

Go ahead and find the best places to sharpen your claws, you are just showing how happy you are to be there in the spot(s) you have claimed are yours. “I am a part of your world.” Mark your territory. Kilroy did. You want to be remembered. Do not cave and scratch the provided post. It shows your willingness to conformity.

Leave when you need to. Hide, if you have to, do what you have to do to be safe. Instinct is sometimes better than reason.

Regaining Control

There are 5 human basic needs, according to Choice Theory. The five basic needs built into our genetic structure have been identified as survival, belonging, powerfreedom, and fun (Glasser, 1998). (Borrowed from Wikipedia)

This is a testimonial to Power.

We have all been almost powerless over the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have lost their lives, many sit at home, waiting by the door, waiting for the lockdown to end.

In the midst of all this, I retired from the workplace. Retirement isn’t as easy as it seems, there is a great deal of homework to do. I had to figure out Medicare, Social Security, and what to do with all the time I now have at home, simply because I cannot go anywhere, or do much of anything. I spend my days on the (new) computer. I have been able to do a little extra for my former boss, and that helps, even though, for a moment, I feel tied back down (some days it’s a pretty good feeling).

More recently, in the area of medicine and physical conditions, I was able to become brave enough to transfer all of my medical needs to one system. That system allows me to view all of my charts, all of the interactions, and it allows my medical community to see what has been accomplished all in one chart, shared by that community and me.

A timid person at this stage of my life, I finally worked up the courage to contact a previous provider to obtain a medication they had for me. It had been a long ordeal, and I am finally moving on. I called to see if I could just “pick it up.” They said, “sure.” I got there, they handed it to me, they gave me the packing slip. I can move onto the other specialist now.

I went back to the car and sat for a few minutes before starting the car. Suddenly the old me was back. Independence, decision making, power. I can be in control again. Glasser’s words came back to me. I know that, when one of the five basic needs is not being met, we weaken, we feel crippled. This one action, brought me back to the swing set, I had power once more. This gives me a fresh sense of freedom.

Suddenly the cold, pouring rain did not matter anymore, the sun shone in my heart. I moved on. I went to the fuel pump, got my gas. I went to the doctor’s office, that was over in a few minutes. I passed onto a young woman a cat toy my cats rejected (so much for entertainment–her little cat loves it, by the way). I did my grocery shopping for dinner–in and out really fast. We enjoyed at home. I announced to my partner: “I had a really good day. I regained my power.”

It takes only one decision to regain your power. One thing. You will feel better.

Rural Dirt

We were heading up to the next town yesterday. It was bright, it was sunny. It wasn’t quite as warm as the day before, or the day before that. The wind had that spring crispiness attached to it! I contemplated this two word statement “rural dirt” and decided it would make a good title for what I am about to say.

We have dirt here. We have mud here. You can’t go down the road without that little cloud following you. If someone is ahead of you, welcome to a world with dust. If you don’t have the quarters in your pocket ($3.00 says a lot when you have to drive up and down the road a lot, as opposed to the credit card and a $10 quick automatic wash), you just get through it! The good news is, you are not alone. Everyone else shares your plight. Oh, once in awhile you can say “Wow! Look at that car! Not a drop of dirt! See how shiny it is?” and then you hold your hand up to shield your eyes, you hope that the dirt doesn’t come off on your pant leg as you get out of your own vehicle in the parking lot.

There are worse things. For this rural gal, my list is: we don’t have (much) traffic! Our 5 o’clock rush hour isn’t nearly what urbanites experience anytime after 3 p.m. We have cows. We smell the farm. They spread manure. But, it isn’t exhaust from automobiles and trucks. Oh I know the findings: cows emit gas. They’ve done it throughout history. But they also provide us with essentials: our dairy products, our beef. Their excrement provides the earth with fertilizer for those fields that yield gardens and crops. And yes, we can argue that it’s better to eat plant based burgers. But, man was a carnivore for many years. He will continue that, despite what the civilized world wants, which it appears, basically, to shut out the meat eaters and make everyone eat vegetarian style. (There goes the animal world.) I digress. This is not what this essay should be about. It’s about dirt. And the freedom it brings. The happiness of a child, playing in her mud pies. The cat, who appreciates the warmer weather, and celebrates by bringing in at least one mouse a day. Some of them are still alive, we took one back down to the old church building and let it go. “Hope the poor little guy makes it,” my (retired) farmer said. I had to laugh. “Listen to us! We tell others that mice are dirty, their feces contain parasites, they can chew through wires and cause fires, and we hope ‘the poor little fellow’ makes it.”

Spring is upon us, the grass is slowly starting to green up. My one succulent is popping up above the ground, seeking sun. I trimmed back the mums and others that died in the autumn of 2020, so new growth can occur. That is the nice thing about spring. Along with the niceties of spring come everything else, but I keep reading that you take the good with the bad, you control what you can, accept even what you don’t want (I did see one yellow jacket–or was it a wasp–whizz by as I was wiping down my porch).

Let us welcome it all.

Brave New World

As the world turns…how do we relate? We are stifled physically by a pandemic. We are stifled emotionally by a government that leads by a double standard. We receive our next stimulus check via debit card. Oh my…the reward for staying at home. Oh wait, those that don’t comply get it too…I have to rethink that one.

The most recent topic is that of Governor Cuomo and his inappropriate behavior. I totally agree, he was completely out of line. If he’s that lonely, and is attracted to someone, don’t ask your employee for her opinion on sex or it’s behavior, take the woman out on a date, woo her, marry her, give her a life of respect, or respect her for being who she is. Don’t just sit there and creep her out by repeating over and over again words out of her mouth of a struggle she has to live with her entire life. That’s just wrong! Let’s take this one step further though. Joe Biden. He has had his hands all over a lot of women, when he was Vice President, he was avoided by many, his hands and lips couldn’t be contained (the victim literally had to run away). My point? If you are the Golden Child of the Democrats (aka the one they have chosen for the next president), you get away with it. “Oh My! I didn’t know I was offensive!” Really? Or, you did not care? You assumed your position kept you safe? And now you are safe. Old Joe is President. Back to today though. Governor Cuomo. You were everyone’s hero, until they found you out. You scared your employee. You scared her to death, almost. Shame on you. You need to go to her, with witnesses, and apologize profusely for your illicit behavior. A lesson here–no one wants their history, especially a painful history, brought up over and over and over again. You lied about the numbers that have died from COVID. That’s not nice. We aren’t going to condemn you for honesty, but we will for lying to make yourself look better. Okay, everyone stretches the truth, we all want to look good, me included. But not when you are a public servant. Yes, that’s what you are. A Servant. Double standard though, look at all the characters that have gotten away with it: Clinton, Kennedy, Johnson, etc. Too many and we whine about Kennedy’s Camelot and why can’t things be back as he wanted them. Do some reading. I have been mindful because I totally related to Caroline, only a year younger than me, and I still fiercely want to protect her. But facts are facts, sad to say. Corruption well hidden by a promise a magazine made to a grieving widow, in her effort to keep the fairy tale alive. (It worked.)

They have silenced Dr. Seuss. Even Gayle King thinks it was wrong. While I haven’t read all of Dr. Seuss’ books, Dr. Seuss was all about rhyme, poetry, children’s style. He wasn’t teaching prejudice, he was enhancing our imaginations. But, along with banned books, throw these books on the funeral pyre, burn it, bury history once more. Yes, he is a part of our history. See The Lopsided Poet for the most recent “Silencing Seuss.” This author’s attempt at bad poetry.

As a part of our Second Winter of Discontent (aka isolated by COVID), we have started jigsaw puzzles. Our first was the human body, second and third were houses and yards, the fourth is The Civil War. This was a particularly interesting puzzle. Around the border are all the museums we have had, then it is surrounded by the generals, the presidents of both nations, and battlegrounds. I thought we’d give up, but it only took us two and a half days. I want to see some of these. It is history. A culture gone down.

Sitting is the new smoking, I read. Oh my. Here we are, cramped inside, and we aren’t supposed to be sitting (as I sit in front of my computer here). The need to write, the need to record. The need to exist.

One final thought. My goal was to become an author. I have had many books, written in my mind. I generally struggle beyond chapter two, which is why I sit here, blogging away, instead. People don’t read that much, they want the instant, so I try to give it to them. So they will want more of me.

Okay, I’ve woven enough today.

Welcome 2021

It’s a challenge, this year.

This is my year. My year of retirement. I am on Day 16. The last 16 days have been very interesting…..maybe. By Day 14 I’d forgotten exactly what day it was! My spouse spouted that “you need a routine,” and I thought “gee, I thought I had one!” Guess not.

Slipping information in here, rather than in today’s title. Book Review! Author Review! I have taken up John Irving! What a great writer! Since August, I have read “A Prayer for Owen Meany” and now “Cider House Rules.” Oh the gleanings! If you know me at all, or if you do not, let me say that I take my reading to heart. I am a traveler, I love armchair travel, it’s definitely the cheapest way to fly!

I fell in love with the characters in Owen Meany. The guy ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPS LOCK. You know you’re involved when you start dreaming about the characters. While the entire book is worth reading, and all the characters are truly worth getting to know intimately (yes, see, I do get INVOLVED), my takeaway was Hester and her insistence in one scene, singing “Four Strong Winds.” Never heard of it! I YouTubed it. Oh my! I fell in love the the Neil Young version. And, watching Pegi Young sing. And it led me to more Neil Young. It lead to documentaries. It lead to reading about Pegi’s pain of divorce, and her passing, and I cry when I think of her. It also led me to the neilyoungchannel on YouTube.

Then there is Cider House Rules. An abortionist. An orphanage. Characters who slowly come into your life, and into your heart. Surprises. Backtrack for a moment, I found a documentary on YouTube regarding the writings of John Irving and how he does it. He writes the last chapter first, and then begins. I have a great deal of respect for him, and other writers. You don’t just simply sit down and write a story. There is research, if you are going to do it right. John Irving does it right. I plan to watch the movie Cider House Rules, but I know it is different than the book. But John Irving had his hand and stamp of approval on it. My takeaway quote is a thought from the minor, but important, character, Melony, on page 453: What is hardest to accept about the passage of time is that the people who once mattered the most to us are wrapped up in parentheses. The page is forever dog-eared in my copy of this book.

Now my goal needs to be continued preparation for my own life, my own way. I am prepared with Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, and still working on it. I read a chapter, I get inspired, then domestication takes over and the wild writer within has to take the background while I feed cats, take care of laundry, look at the books, worry about Medicare and the choices that need to be made (to quote my girlfriend “Getting old is not for the weak of heart,” but it sure beats the other saying “don’t get old,” because that doesn’t give us good odds on the alternative (or does it?).

Now, if we can survive until the pandemic has run it’s course, hopefully the vaccine will work out okay, and I sure hope there aren’t side effects! They are saying “I feel fine! I feel okay!” But that’s today. You just got the shot. It is an affirmation that things will be okay. For now. Like talcum powder, asbestos, or Round-Up, they worked until we realized, down the line, that there were consequences. But, that’s for down the line. Right?

I’m a grandma to grandchild #8. It’s a boy. His arrival to the outside world is scheduled tentatively for end of February. That’s 5 boys (1 in heaven), and 3 girls. Life is good, but it does get a little confusing sometimes. I enjoy the different personalities so very very much. My children are all good parents. They all work at enhancing their children’s lives and they all strive to make sure they have good character development. Their dad and I were much more liberal in getting them to make correct decisions, whereas I see that they take a different stance: oh no! Don’t even think it! Attitude with their own. Which is pretty healthy! I chose not to shelter, they chose to. Their dad and I had very sheltered childhoods. I wonder if this is cyclical.

And there you have my take on life, on this cold day in mid-January, here on the farm in upstate New York. Hopefully you will see more of me. I do have two other blogs here on WordPress: One is for photography (Photography by Kathleen) and the other is poetry (The Lopsided Poet). This is my most active blog, since it is more about the musings of Kathleen, which occur 24/7.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for Liking. Thank you for following. See you soon!

My Friend, PokaDot

PokaDot is the self imposed name my friend gave her email, her Pinterest, and other things.

PokaDot became my friend when we were nursing our babies behind the white sheet, in the corner of the church nursery, 35 years ago.

PokaDot and I got together quite often, our children played together, we attended 1980’s fashion “the progressive dinner” series for a few years, eventually we joined their Sunday night Bible study.

PokaDot is creative, she became my wedding photography assistant and grew into a great black and white photojournalist! She knew what I was thinking and where I was and when she was needed. She caught amazing images of the brides.

PokaDot and I went our separate ways after I left town. A few years ago we got back together and stepped up our time. Phone calls, emails, Facebook accounts. We visited her and her husband 2 years ago and had a marvelous time: she prepared a great lunch and laughter and conversation ensued.

I found out yesterday that my dear friend, PokaDot, passed away the day before, from complications of stomach cancer, a cancer which happened so quickly that life was gone almost in the instant.

I will miss PokaDot. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye. But she lives in my heart, and I will always consider myself her dear friend.

I love you, PokaDot!