Sunday, September 24, 2017

Reaching Out to Strangers

It was a funky summer, but I am doing OK

A few years ago a little girl in a town nearby was stricken with cancer.  She was a beautiful, blond haired, blue-eyed child and she became a major story in the papers and on social media.  People wanted to help in any way they could and money and kindness poured in from generous donors to benefit and comfort this family.   There was not much hope that she would get better, but we all wanted for her to have more time.  Unfortunately, that was something that we could not give and she passed away within six months of her diagnosis.  We all mourned.  The family was grief-stricken and the dad, in his misery, yelled against God to the media.  Tables turned.  Some of the people wrote nasty things about him and demanded their money back.  They thought they were giving to a Christian family like themselves, and his words told them that he did not deserve any of it.  Most , though, heard his pain and held him and his family close and forever in their hearts.

This has been a month of many sorrows.  The hurricanes, the fires, and the earthquakes have tested us. We watched as people lost everything, including their lives and the lives of those they loved. It was wrenching to witness and it continues.  However, out of all this destruction and terror, humanity answered.  Thousands walked through waist-deep water to save others, they brought their own equipment from far away to assist those in need, and they carried old people, babies and animals to safety, regardless of their own well being.  They did not notice race, ask their religion or their political affiliation; they just wanted to do the right thing.  Caring about each other is natural and it is instinctive.  Why is there so much noise in this world about your God, my God, your race, my race, your country, my country, and all the other things that divide us.  We are all in this together and we need each other.  Hate and jealousy will always be with us, but we should not let them get the upper hand.

These are tough times and it is sometimes a fight to stay joyful, but I think of that man, in the midst of Harvey, carrying an elderly lady out of her flooded home and her holding tightly to him and staring into his face.  It was such a beautiful picture and gives me optimism that faith, hope, and charity will always be with us. 

Next post will be more upbeat, I just had to let those thoughts out tonight. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

What The World Needs Now Are More Puppies

The world is certifiably crazy but I am doing kind of OK.


Depression is on the rise but perhaps a puppy or kitten in every house would improve our mood. Nothing can make one smile more than looking into the eyes of these lovable creatures. Years ago, when I had stressful days at work, I would go to a local pet store to play with the animals that were allowed to roam around in the store (be careful where you step). Holding and cuddling a dog or cat changed my attitude and worked miracles. In today's frightening, strange, perplexing times, may I suggest that when listening or watching the news, you sit in the middle of a large litter of pooches and/or felines (the more the merrier to counter all the negative feelings), pour yourself a glass of fine wine, and just turn the volume to mute.  We have to carry on some way.



Daisy loving The Retired Man's hair. 


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Friday, June 30, 2017

He Likes Red, She Prefers White

But after 50 years together, she compromised with Rose`and it's all OK.

It has been a busy month.  My oldest granddaughter graduated from high school, my California family came to visit  and, oh yes, we celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary.  That is half a century/600 months/2600 weeks/18,262.5 days (counting leap years).  Our wedding was our 30th date and we hardly knew each other (duh), but we had that racing heart thing (aka, passion) that goes with youth. We thought that was all we needed, and well, it sure helped to have that over the years.  We have had good times, bad times funny times, sad times and have done that sickness and health bit too often but we made a promise, we made a home, we made a family, and we made a life. We never gave up on each other and we never will. We have grown old and our hearing is fading but that has always been selective anyway. He complains a lot about perceived annoyances, and I mutter under my breath.  We say "huh" often and that ends the conversation and that's OK.  I keep a schedule and notes all around.  He does not want to be bothered with details and is glad I do.  My hands have lost their strength but he is always there to open my jars.  We are Yin and Yang and will never agree on some things but we usually do on the important things.  He gets his way more than I do, but I let him.  He knows how to make me smile and sometimes I need that.

A few weeks ago our children, sons'-in-law, daughter-in-law and grandchildren threw us a surprise party for our anniversary.  We had no idea. We went to our daughter's house for what we thought was a graduation party and upon entering the home, a large group of people screamed surprise and almost knocked us off our feet.  There were people who were local and some from far away.  I have never felt surrounded by so much love.  I had been going through some health issues but that day, I felt great.  There was a magnificent cake made by my son-in-law, pictures of us throughout the years decorating every table and even a video of us streaming on the TV. The food was more and better tasting than what we had on our wedding day, and the music and decorations sounded and looked professionally done. There was even a photographer there and a photo booth with costumes to entertain the guests.  I was so happy and I wanted that day to last a week. It was the most beautiful and generous gift that has ever been given to us.









I told them that they can do it all over again on our 75th.  Next time though, no surprises.



50 year later, he still stirs my heart.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

My Manana Life

The sun will come out tomorrow, so I am doing OK.


I need to take a trip to the store, but it's raining. I'll do it tomorrow.  Make an appointment - tomorrow.  Defrost tonight's dinner - tomorrow.  Clean out closets - definitely tomorrow.  Seeds are still in their packages, potting soil bags  are unopened, and layers of fall leaves clutter my gardens.  Plans that are usually made this time of year, aren't.  I might need a dose of Vitameatavegamin or a B12 shot to counteract these dreaded blahs. It started in March, but has its roots in November. Bare trees do that to me.  Then the warm February came and some energy returned.  The trees spouted buds and green was popping out of the soil. I was stoked as I anticipated an early spring. Then the snow, sleet, and ice came and the buds on the Willow disappeared. The beginnings of the spring bulbs lay under the white, thick ice that a sledgehammer couldn't penetrate.  It has gotten warmer now and the season is proceeding as it should, but I am lost in my maƱana-land and am feeling quite comfortable in it. I am sure my mojo will return - maybe tomorrow.

"The window she is broken, and the rain is comin' in
If someone doesn't fix it, I'll be soaking to my skin.
But if we wait a day or two, the rain may go away
And we don't need a window on such a sunny day.
Manana, manana, manana  is soon enough for me.
Peggy Lee

How you doin'

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Coming Out From Under the Covers



Thankfully, we are experiencing an early spring, and I am doing OK.

Winter is not my favorite season and it often plays havoc with my mind.  Believe me, my mind is a delicate thing these days and any disruption to my brain cells can be catastrophic.   However, the gods have looked down kindly on us in the Middle Atlantic states, and said, "Yes, you who live close to Washington, DC deserve some refuge from these distasteful times so we will bestow upon you a  short, mild winter" So spring came early!!



Oh, I know it might not last, but what does?  I am smiling again. I hope you can do the same.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Arleen Goes To Washington

I've done all the reading and planning, and am now set for my big adventure, and I am doing OK.

1/18/17:
This post is being started three days before I depart for the Woman's March on Washington.  One person has told me that I am crazy, others have expressed their concern about such an endeavor at my age, and others just stare because words fail them.  They all have a point.

I have my thermals, I have my clear plastic tote, I have my hand and feet warmers and I have my pocket chair.  I am keeping an eye on the forecast in Washington and, so far, they are showing a clear day in the mid-50s.  I might not need the thermals. They are calling for some rain on inauguration day.  Tears from the heavens!

I am being told that this rally is not political, it is personal.  I can agree with that.

The night before:
There is some nervousness, but I am going to ignore it and let go of my fears.  My daughter, who is also going to march in her city of Santa Cruz, sent me a necklace with the peace sign on it.  She inspires me and she is proud of me, as are my other children. 

4:30 AM, Saturday
Up, dressed and almost out the door.  I was a little tired when I did my signs, and some letters went a little askew, but I only had two placards and figured nobody would really notice.  Besides, it fit my personality well.



Arrived at 5:05 where buses were to depart at 5:30 and found people already boarding. There was no room for my companion and I, but two other buses are supposed to arrive any minute.  The first two took off on time and we were to wait for ours that were expected any minute. This transportation was secured from another transportation company, and somehow things were not coordinated correctly and they did not show up for another 90 minutes.  That meant that we would not arrive until 10:30, which is after the rally is to begin.  200,000 to 300,000 were expected so getting there at that time, would put us at the disadvantage of getting close to anything.  However, we had our Metro cards and thought that if we took the train as soon as we arrived, we would get to see most of the rally.

Looking hopeful


We read on our phones that the crowd was surpassing what was predicted and there would be half a million people at the march  At about this time, the driver asked if anyone knew how to get there.  Apparently, he did not have GPS and this was not his regular route.  As I sunk in my seat near tears, an ambulance and fire engines whizzed by.  An accident had happened down the road but all I could think about was me and how this too was going to affect the trip.  We passed the cars and saw doctors working on some people on stretchers.  That brought me back to reality.  Getting to the rally seemed small in comparison to what was happening there and my heart went out to those poor people.


11:30 AM:
We arrive.  We cannot get on the Metro because it is too crowded and probably a two hour wait so we must walk the 2 1/2 to 3 miles.  No problem.  I am wearing very comfortable boots and I love to walk.  On the way, we meet the friendliest people, including those from the National Guard, who thank us for being there and wish us a great day.  The streets we walked were beautiful, with Victorian homes dotting both sides of the road.  Most of the homes displayed signs in honor of Martin Luther King.  They were inspiring and wonderful to see. 


We continued towards the capital and passed many funny, touching, and motivating signs.  Women's anatomy seemed to be the central theme and I enjoyed reading them.  I was stopped a few times and asked if someone could take a picture of the message that I was wearing.  I chose "dignity" and "human rights" as my topic.  An old woman talking about their vagina seemed a little inappropriate for me.  There were plenty of others who could do that subject more justice.   



Some signs that I liked:






There were many men there also in pink hats.  They were there to support their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters.  I wanted to thank them all.



A message that I saw a few times and was carried by various older women said, "I can't believe that after all these years, I am still protesting this s_ _ t".  How true and how sad.

There were people there of every ethnic background, every color, every religion and sexual orientation. There were babies and teenagers, the young and the old, and the disabled.  I saw quite a few people in wheelchairs and with canes.  Some brought tears to my eyes because you knew how important and hard it was for them to be there.

We never got to see the celebrities talk.  We never got to the mall where people were stuffed in like sardines. We only got to march for a few blocks before it was stopped because the crowd was too large for the streets.  However, none of that mattered.  I was there and experienced a wonderful, exciting and important day.  I was even interviewed by some ladies from an on-line site and the article was posted today.  I am not fond of the picture or the quote they chose (out of my 5 minute conversation), but, heck, someone wanted to listen to me and that is a blessing at my age.  On our long walk back to the bus, we came across local residents who put out tables and poured water and juice and offered apples and other treats to the weary visitors. Some people, I hear, were also invited into their homes to rest. Now that is hospitality!  They wished us well and thanked us for coming.  Washington is a beautiful place with beautiful citizens.

Most of the news today is very positive about our effort which was far more attended than anyone ever imagined.  The world marched also, as there were events in all seven continents, including Antarctica.  No matter our differences, what all of us humans have in common is the quest for human rights and to live in a safe, clean world with respect and dignity.  The work started Saturday, and it shall continue.