Monday, November 24, 2014

Whiny Blog #2

            Today I had an “exciting” adventure, driving our dependable, Ford 150 pickup truck to the Rivertown Feed Store to buy my dogs and cat some food and treats. My cars are a bit small to hold all I was buying, but the truck was perfect. From the feed store, I ventured on to Whole Foods to purchase a few additional items needed for Thanksgiving. I feel the need to say first that I’ve driven the truck, as well as my son’s truck, a huge, Toyota Tundra long bed, many times with no problems. I’m not a huge person but I can handle a flippin’ truck!
All was going well today. The folks at Rivertown were friendly and helpful as always. The same was true for the checker and bagger at Whole Foods. The place was packed, yet the employees were smiling and upbeat. We had a polite and friendly interchange at the checkout stand before I pushed my little, green cart out into the completely packed, parking lot to unload my groceries. I did just that and respectfully pushed the cart to its assigned holding place before jumping back in the truck for the ride home.
Once in my vehicle, I started the engine, put it in reverse, and sat for a few minutes while car after car passed behind me. Finally, an opening . . . I backed up very slowly, checking for cars and pedestrians behind me and looking in front to make sure I cleared the cars beside me. Perfect! All was well. I put the truck in drive and pulled forward to leave the lot. It was then that I heard him!
A guy in a tiny, silver, sports car of some kind yelled at me. “Hey, Lady. You need a smaller car. Get a smaller car!”
Was he angry because he had to wait half a minute for me to back out before he could move forward? Was he irritated that I was being careful? Was he bothered by indigestion? Had he picked a fight with his wife that morning? Would he be spending the holiday alone? WTH?
 I just have to wonder, so I’m writing about it to eradicate the incident from my mind. Of course, I came home and reported the event to my husband and we, in hindsight, thought of a few choice retorts I could have made. Had I thought quickly enough, I would have jumped out of my truck, walked to his window and said, “Happy Thanksgiving, sir. Have a nice day.”
And, then, a more negative reply was considered, “What you need dude, is to get a life!” or “I have a Jaguar XKR and a BMW 435i, buddy, but if I had driven one of those into this lot, you probably would have slammed your car door into the side and chuckled about it!” Whatever! If I had said anything, polite or otherwise, this angry fellow probably would have decked me so simply driving away and keeping my considerations to myself was probably best.
I have to wonder though. What is wrong with people? God knows we have enough negativity and sadness in life. Why can’t folks just be nice? Is that so difficult? I reposted a quote on Facebook the other day. I wish more people would take it to heart. Kindness – It doesn’t cost a damn thing. Sprinkle that shit everywhere.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Railing about Driving!

Driving these days is making me crazy. Everywhere I go the highways are lined right up to the edge, and I DO mean the edge, with K-rail. It’s nerve-racking and dangerous scooting by those concrete buttresses with only inches to spare. On top of that, what’s with all the walls? How many beautiful trees, especially northern California’s very own redwoods have bit the dust to clear way for more asphalt? The beautiful vegetation has been replaced with twenty-foot tall walls on each side of every freeway making me feel as if I’m driving through a tunnel! The only way to look is up, not that that’s a bad thing!
I truly wish I had the “big picture” of how all this mess will look in the end. For now, every time I leave town it’s a crapshoot as to which turn I will be instructed to take, how many stop signs will lie in my path, or if, indeed, my road actually has come to a dead end!
The town I live in is famous for its potholes and nothing is getting better. Driving around and through a series of cones must be easier than manipulating around deep, huge holes that grow in diameter with every rain, not that there’s been much of that, but that’s another story!
Finally, is every driver out on the highway on speed? Aggressive driving by folks in ancient Chevys, high-tech Priuses, or beat-up, Ford pickup trucks seems to be the norm. Those poor vehicles must be groaning under the pressure of the driver who simply has to be in front. It truly is a “me, me, my, my, I” world, I guess. What ever happened to slow down, check out the scenery, and give the old arteries a break? And what about parking lots? Am I imagining that the parking spaces are getting narrower and that I am being required to limp over one too many speed bumps to find an empty one? Folks in parking lots aren’t very thoughtful either. They rush into a space, screech to a halt, thrown open the car door as wide as they can, before even shutting off the engine, thinking ahead, I suppose, to what purchases must be made. I have a brand new, luxury car that already sports its first car-door ding and I’m not too happy about it! A little consideration would be nice. Am I the only person who is bugged by that?
I don’t usually write whiney blogs, but a fifteen-mile trip to Costco and back yesterday in traffic that is revving up for the holidays got me going! I walked my dogs three miles this morning, avoided being run down crossing the street, and am home now ready to watch a little football! My car and I are playing it safe!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Stuck In The Middle

Being blindsided by a situation that causes me to be stuck in the middle doesn’t feel good, and I’m wondering why. Does it mean I am weak and can’t stand up to someone who feels differently than I do? Does it mean I am diplomatic and simply don’t want to ruffle feathers more than perhaps they already are ruffled? Does it mean I am a peacemaker, a wimp, a patsy, or an appeaser? Maybe it comes down to perception on my part and perhaps it says more about the person who placed me here than it does about me. I have been here before and I don’t like it. I’m not angry, but I am saddened. My emotions have become tangled together in a tight knot. I want to cry. I’ve cried enough over the past few years to fill an ocean, though, for a reason much more significant than this, so shedding a tear is out of the question.

Sometimes I believe one can be struck unexpectedly by an incident that although unlike past events is closely enough aligned to pull up the past as though it never went away in the first place. The specific memory may not be as important as the emotion that is flamed by it. And that’s where I am now . . . feeling a bit disheartened and sad. I’ll sit with it, acknowledge it, hold it, and then let it go. I want to move on with my day creating positive ripples along the way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Some Random Thoughts On Veterans Day

Random Thought #1: Today is Veterans Day, a day to remember all those who have served and sacrificed for our country. Most all of us have a parent, uncle, aunt, cousin, brother, sister, child, or friend who is a veteran, so when this day arrives, particular faces come to our minds. This day offers us a chance to say thank you. We have parades, speeches, and other activities to honor our veterans and then, for some folks, it’s done. Tomorrow arrives and people are apt to go about their lives ignoring the fact that freedom, indeed, is not free. Instead, big business is bombarding us with Christmas and holiday specials before we even get through Thanksgiving. It is a bit odd where priorities lie, isn’t it?

            Random Thought #2: I take the good things in my life for granted too sometimes, but I do think about our veterans more often than one day in November. I donate to several causes throughout the year. Usually I give to organizations and hospitals that are involved in cancer research. However, I also send contributions to Paralyzed Veterans of America. I have been sending them money for years. I’m not sure why I glommed on to that group to support, but I have, and I always feel good about sending a check their way several times a year.

Random Thought #3: Veterans Day makes me think of my father, my cousin, and a few friends who served in Vietnam. My dad was a veteran, serving first as an Army officer and then later re-enlisting for a career in the Air Force. Yes, I’m a military “brat”, and as such endured some painful partings when my dad was sent overseas for long periods of time. Even today, when I see soldiers departing or conversely returning into the arms of their children, I am filled with emotion that comes right back to me and lodges in my throat! I am so clear about the sorrow and distress involved in saying good-bye. Thankfully I also can appreciate the joy a child feels when he or she falls into the arms of one who has been away for much too long. So, today, I think too about the families of veterans, especially the children, who also have had to give and moreover, at times, to lose. 

To all veterans -- a heartfelt Thank you.

Friday, November 7, 2014

How Did I Get Here?
Perhaps all of us should think about it . . .

I am here at 6:30 a.m. writing as I often do about whatever comes to mind. Often a word or two, a quotation, a post, or simply a lingering statement inspires me. This morning I read this: Today I give thanks to everyone who has been a part of my life’s journey. That is a pretty powerful and altruistic assertion actually and it made me think, and of course, write.

Thinking back, I suppose I would thank my parents first for allowing me to happen in the first place. Whether I was planned or not, I have no idea, but I like to think my birth was a happy occasion. Parents influence us a great deal and mine were no exception. My mother was goodness itself: loving, selfless, kind, and understanding. My father, on the other hand, was far less tolerant, much too angry, judgmental, away too often, and yet painfully sentimental. I loved them both. I have one brother. He and I sparred and argued as many siblings do, but we adored each other nonetheless. I had only one grandparent in my life: Addie. She taught me the importance of laughter, forgiveness, and, along with my mother, to see the beauty in this world. Both of these women taught me to look at my environment closely. In regard to personal relationships, however, their advice flew right out the window. 

Because of the relationship with the father of my two sons I learned that I don’t have to settle for less and that intellect is important. A second man encouraged me to continue my education, thus the master’s degree and credentials. From him I also learned that not everyone should be trusted, to rely on my gut instincts, and to find my voice. That was invaluable. My husband today has helped me understand the complexities of life, that friendship can lead to love, and that giving in many forms is its own reward.

My sons have taught me the power of unconditional love, how to maneuver through our world more cautiously, that our control in the face of life’s hurdles and sorrows is limited, and that despite consummate loss and grief, we must move forward. I thank my sons for being incredible individuals.

I appreciate my students who have taught me much more than I ever taught them, I feel sure. From them I learned patience, tolerance, acceptance, gratitude, understanding, and love.

Finally, I thank my friends, my true friends, who have not let me down and who have seen me through the darkest hours of my life.

I am here now -- a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a teacher, an author, a writer, and more. I am not young, but not old yet either. Life truly is a journey. Mine has had more twists and turns than I had anticipated but it has brought me to where I am today and with that, I am satisfied.