Posts Tagged With: reality

 
 

A List to Remind Me That the Sun Shines

Aspens. My favorites.

Aspens. My favorites.

MSH reminds me when I start ranting about something and threaten to write about it on my blog, that I always intended for this project to lean toward the positive and optimistic.

Then I remind him that I’m also “keeping it real” which might not always come across as roses and sunshine.

Keeping It Real

How real do I feel comfortable with here on the blog? How real am I comfy with in person? All last month I’ve debated this with myself. And I didn’t write much during that debate. Lost my groove, I guess.

A path of shadow and sunlight.

A path of shadow and sunlight.

I felt braver a couple of years ago. Bolder. Speaking my mind came easier. Opening up about my life happened naturally and with less reserve.

This past year, in many ways, I’ve caved in on myself. I’ve tucked in the frayed edges. I keep the strained or raveled seams covered. I’ve inched toward a more hermit-like life. I used to do that during the month of January every year. I saw it as a naturally occurring regrouping and recovery from the two or three-month holiday season.

My January recovery session during the past year stretched into eleven other months. Maybe longer.

An online friend of mine wrote a (somewhat annoying) glowing top ten account of his past year for the following reason:

“Things can get difficult, and you never know when I might need to remind myself that these things happened, and how and what I felt like when they did.” ~ Brad McBride

Good reason to write up a top ten, you gotta admit. Even if it annoys semi-irritable people like me.

I’ve just survived a year (2014) where I needed to remind myself of happier times to get myself through the day or the week.

I’ve also just been through a year (2014, yes, same year) with some amazingly wondrous good things happening. I mean A-MAZ-ING! Happiness like nothing I’ve ever known.

Talk about a paradox.

I’ve felt lost and found, abandoned and loved, forlorn and supported, ready to give up and anticipating greatness, numb and electrified. At times hope eluded me and then there it shone like a stunning sunrise nearly blinding me.

So what would be my top ten good things for 2014?

  1. My oldest daughter’s new baby girl
  2. The volunteer work I get to do
  3. Hanging out with my favorite teenager while driving her to and from tutoring
  4. Spending time with a certain three-year old
  5. Snuggling from a fun-loving one year old
  6. Almost the entire family together for a weekend in November
  7. A Christmas concert extraordinaire
  8. Summer sunrise walks
  9. My family reunion – time with Mom and Dad
  10. Sitting in a high mountain meadow for hours with MSH

See, my life’s filled with wonder and joy. I just forget sometimes. The difficulties can cast such deep long shadows that block out the sunlight in such a way it almost feels like night. I just need to step out of the shade and let the sun warm me from time to time.

Am I Right? Or am I Write?

This blog has been a source of light for me as well. It’s like a conversation I have with myself to sort through things and make sense of the world. So I add a number eleven to my list.

11. This writing thing.

So I’ll keep things real. The good, the ugly, the stunning, the what-the-heck. Life as I see it written down right here just for me.

If you want to follow along, you’re welcome to join me. Just don’t make too much noise. It is morning, after all.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Hope, Mental Health, Sanity, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lost in the Translation or Perfectly Rendered?

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Yesterday my favorite three-year old gifted me some drawings from pages of her “books.” These books of hers consist simply of a nine by twelve sheet of paper folded in half, then folded again, creating a four page book. Not bad work for a budding artist. I admit to some partiality.

I didn’t take the time to ask her about each drawing, which I should have done. I suspect one is a ghost and another a pumpkin since she’s been into Halloween stuff recently. I like that her people are smiling. That’s a good sign.

photo 3-4 copy 16Do people really look like that when she sees them through her young eyes? I doubt it. Round orbs with sticks for legs and arms. No. I’m sure she sees what you and I see, a fully fleshed out body with nuances and structure and complexity. But with her raw young skills with crayon and pencil the translation of what she sees into what ends up on paper captures only the barest essentials. Eyes, a smile, stick limbs, a scratched scruff of hair convert successfully, for her anyway, into a person.

It struck me this morning as I looked over her drawings, that we all lose something in the translation of what we see and think and feel as we try to communicate it. We also stumble in translating and converting desires and dreams into reality.

I often have ideas I want to convey but try as I might the words fall short in giving skin, bones and muscles to an idea sufficiently so that anyone else can understand. Or I might get the gist of it, but not the whole as I thought of it. That can frustrate an artist, a writer, a musician, a human.

If as an adult I struggle with this translating process, imagine how frustrating it is for young children to try to convey thoughts and feelings into understandable ideas and words.

The secret, I would guess, lies in not giving up too soon. Not giving up in conveying the ideas, as well as not giving up in trying to understand them.

Her momma, perhaps, since she has long flowing hair.

Her momma maybe, who has long flowing hair.

In fifteen years my favorite three-year old will look at these drawings of hers and scoff at their simplicity, and that’s a shame. She’ll compare it to her artistic abilities after years of practice and lessons and laugh at her young self. I would hope she’d also see the purity in her efforts.

We all struggle to translate what’s inside our heads and hearts into understandable terms that forge relationships and communicate ideas. We’re all at different ages and stages of skill at making sense of the world. We wrestle making tangible the visions of who we are or want to be.

A secret life-decoder ring would come in handy wouldn’t it? Dial a few codes in, and read an outcome, carry out the instructions and voilà. But, that’s not how it works. Ever.

We explain, puzzle out, infer, deduce, interpret all the time. And so often, so very often, the messages end up lost in translation.

My take on all this?

1. We’re all drawing the best we can, with what we have, where we are.

If that isn’t true, if we aren’t putting our best efforts into being and doing what’s before us then we sharpen our colored pencils, or peel back some paper on our crayons. Then we pull out a sheet of paper, and see what sort of drawing we can come up with when we try a little harder.

2. Everyone else’s drawing means something to them and probably something slightly different to us. Maybe I ought to ask what their drawing, words, music or actions mean so I can understand better.

It shouldn’t hurt to ask. It only takes a second. “So tell me about this,” you could say. Or maybe, “I like your color choice, any particular reason you picked that color?” A thousand other questions could clarify, untangle and help us understand better.

That’s all.

Maybe I’ve overthought this whole thing. That’s certainly a strong possibility.

Sometimes a stick person is just a stick person.

~~~~~

“Art is as natural as sunshine and as vital as nourishment.”

-MaryAnn F. Kohl

Categories: Books, Communication, Family | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dream, Dream, Dream

When I have a dream that I’m sleeping and dreaming, then I invariably wake up disoriented and discombobulated.

I visit a recurring place in some of my dreams; a distinct and definite building and architecture that molds itself to what the dream wants to show me. I recognize hallways, passages, doors, exterior landscapes. Although new rooms and wings appear frequently, it’s all the same place. Whatever goes on there I find myself thinking through it for the entire day, sometimes two days. It’s a shadow of a real place I once belonged in, a place of unfinished business and unresolved issues. I wake knowing my brain wants desperately to make sense of something. What that something is, often remains a mystery, no matter how much pondering I engage in.

Trying to go two directions as once. Like trying to be in two places at the same time?

Trying to go two directions at once. Like trying to be in two places at the same time?

Waking from those particular dreams takes more time than usual. The gauzy strings of a cobweb have draped themselves around me. I pull and peel layers away for an hour or two until I’m fully conscious, fully me again.

Traveling feels a bit like that. I’ve lived in and inhabited a place, a world, a new daily paradigm. I’ve settled in, somehow brought and left the old me and routines behind. A few days, a week, or longer, being somewhere else changes things, changes the chemistry of me. Then a long drive or the processing from one airport to another, like a dream, lands me waking and dazed in my same old world.

I’m hesitant to take up normal. Reluctant to engage in the daily usual. I no longer fit in neatly because something interior and exterior has changed and no longer quite belongs.

I spend a day in limbo. Between where I’ve been and where I am lies reality. Neither There nor Here feels right.

I need a way station. A temporary place to process the changes, the newness, the experiences of the past week.

Perhaps that’s what my dreams are.

A debriefing, is that the term they use? Yes, that sounds right.

Maybe a whole day of debriefing, of writing and thinking, then more writing, will help me process, file, assimilate, settle in. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll continue to hover between two worlds, with a third world calling to me.

For now, I think I’ll just go back to sleep. After all, a little nap couldn’t hurt anything.

The hands of this "timepiece" move both directions, forward and backward. Hmmm, could be handy.

The hands of this “timepiece” move both directions, forward and backward. Hmmm, could be handy.

 

 

Categories: Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Denial, Arizona, USA – Not Exactly A Travel Brochure

Greater Roadrunner, Phoenix, Arizona, USA Fran...

A Roadrunner! I’ve seen these occasionally here! haven’t heard them go “beep, beep” though. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people think I live in Phoenix, Arizona. That’s not exactly true. I live in one of the suburbs of Phoenix.

But where I really live most of the time is in the State of Denial.

Most people spend some time here once in a while. Some spend more time in Denial than others. It’s not exactly a vacation destination, but it’s a nice break from Reality.

And as we all know, Reality can bite.

Living in Denial helps me ignore these funky spots I have that probably should be seen by a dermatologist. Skin cancer happens to everyone else after all. Not fair-skinned light-haired teen year sun broiling with baby oil before the invention of sunscreen people like me. Besides it’s not urgent. It can wait til after Christmas, Valentines, Labor Day or Thanksgiving. I’ll get to it.

See how that works? Handy isn’t it?

Living in Denial saves me worry about so many things:

  • Unpaid debt
  • The future
  • Retirement
  • Getting older
  • Planning in general
  • How I fritter away my time, especially when it’s past bedtime

Hanging out here in Denial also allows a kind of all’s right with the world point of view:

  • Those elected officials surely are looking out for my best interests.
  • That smooth tread on my two front tires needs some attention, but really, it hardly ever rains here.
A couple in a Hammock.

Reminds me of my days spent in Denial. Looks comfortable, doesn’t it?(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living in Denial helps me maintain my sanity. It’s very basic a way to cope with the stresses of life. Imagine my neuroticism if I actually thought about all the hazards out there. I’d probably never get out of bed. There’s a long list of things I just don’t let cross my mind while I’m lounging about here in Denial:

  • Our financial instability
  • The unknown
  • Relationships that need my attention
  • Not having a college degree and my utter lack of employable skills
  • My spiritual insensitivity
  • Pending death of my best friend
  • My children’s and their children’s future

And that doesn’t even touch on the big Capital Letter topics like War, Starvation, Disease, Genocide, Global Warming, National Debt, Pollution, Violence, Crime, Safety, or Corruption. It’s enough to make your heart stop and your tear ducts run uncontrollably.

Two American Alligators (Alligator mississippi...

Look how cuddly! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Can you blame me for wanting to vacation here in Denial? I’d take up a permanent address except there’s a strict temporary residency only policy. I can’t even get a Post Office Box here. Go figure.

Denial is a strange but comfortable and balmy environment, not unlike Florida, I hear, minus the alligators. There are some harsh reality checks when you have to leave Denial and return to Real Life.

If you can’t find me at home in Reality, at least now you’ll know where I’m hiding.

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Categories: Humor, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Self-Explanatory Vacation Humor

Airport-Spa-Massage

vacak cartoon 2

vaca cartoon 1

chickenvacation2

Summer-Vacation-cartoon

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happymess is…

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Yes, that’s how I meant to spell it. It’s what home life with children can evolve into. A Big Happymess.

Life with kids is messy. And it’s often happy. Sometimes both things at the same time. Sometimes it’s just messy. Rarely does blissful, unadulterated happiness occur. But it does happen. Often when the children are asleep. But awake time happiness happens, too. Admit it.

Read the following quotations, then you tell me. Does the word Happymess fit when describing family life?

“We spend the first twelve months of our children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next twelve telling them to sit down and shut up.” ~ Phyllis Diller

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“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.” – Lane Olinhouse

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“What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.” – Nicolas Sparks

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“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.” – Dorothy Parker

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“Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own.” ~ Doug Larson

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“I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.”– Anne Lamott

“Parents are not interested in justice, they’re interested in peace and quiet.” – Bill Cosby

So what do you think? Am I right? Life’s a happymess, if you take the chaos with a grain of salt. A dose of laughter every day helps, as well.

Remember, If you don’t laugh a bit, you’re gonna cry a lot.

Enjoy the mess.

Categories: Family, parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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