Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I’m not big on Halloween. Does that make me a monster? I’ve just never been one for dressing up in outrageous costumes, although in years gone by, when my sons were old enough to go out on their own or with their friends, I often became a witch on Halloween. (I suppose that a couple of folks in my past life may think that was not just a one-day transformation but that would be another story!)

When dressed as a witch, I donned a long, black dress and cloak, wrapped a spider-laden rope around my waist, and pulled a black, pointed, witch’s hat down over my forehead. My hair was long in those days, almost down to my butt, and I would tease it out into messy tangles. Other than drawing a nasty mole or two on my face, I was good to go. I sat on my porch next to a huge, black pot filled with morsels of candy, and cackled as best I could as children, big and small, hollered, “Trick or treat!” in loud voices, looked at me with trepidation, but inched forward anyway for an offering of sweets. It was fun.

When I was a high school teacher some years back, I dressed a few times as well. Besides the reusable witch’s outfit, I once wore a Roaring 20’s get-up: a very short, red dress complete with fringe and high, spikey heels. On another occasion I borrowed a cheerleading uniform from one of my students and taught all day as a Casa Grande High School cheerleader. No one paid much attention to my lesson that day. The last time I dressed up I attempted to mimic a modern teenager with flip-flops, ripped jeans, and lots of layers under a black hoodie. I spayed my hair blue, wore huge loop earrings, and plastered on tons of mascara. An IPod was plugged into my ears and my cell phone never left my hand all day.

So, in regard to Halloween attire or antics, I can do it, but I’d rather leave it to children, or to high-spirited adults who simply can’t get enough, and that’s perfectly fine with me, too.

My sons, Justin and Alex, more than a few years ago! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A little bit about vacations . . .

My husband and I arrived home late Monday night from a very lovely vacation to Kauai and I am deep in the process of getting over it! That probably sounds a bit negative, but it’s not meant to be so.

I love walking from a stuffy airplane into the air-conditioned terminal at Lihue and then outside where the sweet, Hawaiian air caresses me like velvet. Kauai was beautiful, as always, although this year the warm, silk air was tainted a bit by sticky humidity. Not to worry! It was fun anyway. We snorkeled, hiked, shopped, sailed on a catamaran, and dined on scrumptious fare enough to get us by for another six months or so. We were able to relax too, on Poipu Beach, at the botanical garden, and in our condo. We took tons of photos, read books, and I had time to write, which is something of a must for me.

Now we’re home, and I must admit I’m a wee bit tired. We unpacked at midnight, slept sporadically for seven short hours, and were up for a new day. Such a vacation produces laundry, laundry, and more laundry. It brings folding and stacking and putting away. It means back to work and an overload of patients for my husband. It also gives us sweet gifts: a sleepy, meowing cat who wants nothing more than to be cuddled and cradled, and over-the-moon happy dogs who are given freedom from the “doggie ranch”, no matter how cool it is. The family is together again. What better gift is that!

So, this vacation is over. I am glad we went; I’m equally delighted to be home.

A view from our hike near Kappaa, Kauai. 10/2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Something On Patience . . .

I was thinking about patience in the middle of the night. It was another one of those nights when I didn’t sleep well and rather than relaxing, I began to think . . . not that thinking can’t be relaxing too. Such a concept is a bit of a paradox, I suppose, but it happens. Exchanging thoughts and ideas with my friends, for example, often can be very relaxing, although that is most likely because it is a bonding experience and feels comfortable.

My mother use to quote the old adage, Patience is a virtue. I wonder. I suppose in some instances it is: when waiting for an unborn child to arrive, when hoping for a sick person to feel better, when waiting for the first tomato of the summer season to ripen, or when waiting for the rain to end and give way to sunshine. Yet sometimes we simply don’t have a choice but to put our patience to the test for it can be painfully elusive or conversely can fester inside like a boil. I am reminded of times such as these: being locked in the middle of stop-and-go traffic at the Novato narrows, being left waiting at a doctor’s office for over an hour, receiving poor service at a restaurant, and most recently, observing the ridiculous bickering, defamation, and complete ineptitude of elected officials who are supposed to be the leaders of our country. In the latter instance, I am quite sure I am not alone in expressing my lack of patience. I don’t understand why these people cannot negotiate, exchange ideas, and come to some compromise. My friends and I don’t always agree, but we are respectful of each other; we don’t shred each other’s character; we listen.

I was always taught that communication did not occur unless the speaking entity was heard and, in turn, that the listener made that clear to the initiating party. Is that so difficult? It seems Congress is so locked up in self-righteous egotism that the only voices they hear are the ones spinning around in their heads and that is putting our beloved country in a precarious state. So, recently, as I have been thinking about this, I am confronted with the challenge of exercising patience. Just saying . . .

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Have you ever been asked to describe yourself? In another context, I was asked to do just that. It seemed a bit egocentric to me at first and it has not been an easy task, but I tried. Here’s what I’ve concluded if you're interested, and you might want to try it for yourself!

I am actually an introvert, although most people who know me would not believe that. I have spent a lifetime of teaching, being in front of other people. I have always been vivacious, excited, giving, loving, nurturing, all of that. However, when the days have ended, I have always been happy to go home, pour a glass of wine, unwind, and enjoy the quiet. I have never regretted my decision to become an educator and I know, I know, that I have made a difference in the lives of my students. Conversely, they have made a difference in mine. They friend me on Facebook, some still call me “Mom”, and I rejoice in the fact that so many have become productive adults in this world.

So, to describe me may not be as easy as I would like it to be. I love to laugh. I love to laugh so hard I have to pee. I have a core group of friends, my Champagne Study Group that allows that to happen. Yet, I also love being alone. I love to spend time in my house all by myself listening to music or writing at my computer. I love solitary moments when I can read, pick vegetable from my garden, hike, or simply gaze at the beautiful koi that swim in the pond outside my front door. I like being by myself, and aside from a few incredible days at a San Francisco Giants baseball game among a throng of equally enthusiastic fans, I avoid crowds like the plague.

I am kind and respectful of others. I am a loving person. I have made mistakes. I have had failures and disappointments. I have had joys and success as well, many of them. I also have experienced extreme loss, as when my son, Alex, an Fire Apparatus Engineer with CAL Fire, passed away on May 24, 2013 after a nine-year battle with job-related brain cancer. I know pain.

So here I am: a mature adult woman who has so much more to give, so much more to offer, and a hell of a lot to say. I am fortunate to be able to admit that I feel good about myself. I wish the confidence I have now, I had had when I was much younger, but then, it would have changed my life and I wouldn’t be who I am now. I guess it is simply time to get on with it!

Here I am with my dog, Hallie, at Lake Tahoe on 9/29/2013.