Posts Tagged With: time

 
 

Light and Dark

Friday Letter to my Kids – March 27, 2015 –

*****

Dear J, J, L and L,

I wish I could dispense amazing tidbits of wisdom and peace in these letters to you.

Although, that’d probably just come off as advice, which I really don’t want these turning into. And I’m not really all that wise, just old. Older.

Think about it. In twenty years a couple of you will practically be my age and I’ll be my mom’s age, give or take few. That ought to blow you away a little.

Here’s the thing. Time doesn’t always equal wisdom.

Time amounts to experience, which some people confuse with wisdom.

Compared to some people’s stable, lived-in-the-same-town-forever lives, I’ve had a bunch of experience. But compared to other lives, I live a sheltered existence. The closest I get to some things comes across a flickering screen. And that’s fine with me. I don’t want those kinds of experiences.

A couple of weeks ago I read this thought that hit me full on in the face with how simply profound it felt.

Don't know who to attribute this wisdom to.

Don’t know who to attribute this wisdom to.

Wish I’d had that a year or two ago. Wish I’d known and believed it twenty years ago. I’m certain I’ll need a reminder of it in the future as well, dang it.

We all need reminders of certain things. This one now serves as my big reminder about who am I, where I’ve been, what I want, what I’d like to overcome. Hopefully this reminder will help me.

Maybe it’ll help you sometime, too.

By the way, you’re each part of the light I learned in. Thanks for that.

***

All my love,

Mom

~~~~~

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been.” ~ Mark Twain 

Categories: Friday Letter to My Kids, Friday Letters | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Stories I Tell Myself

“Two old friends met by chance on the street. After chatting for some time, one said to the other, “I’m terribly sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name. You’ll need to tell me.” The other stared at him thoughtfully for a long time, then replied, “How soon do you need to know?”

It’s Gratituesday! Today’s gratitude is brought to you courtesy of the word “Memories.”

Memory morphs. It changes. It softens and fades. Certain aspects take on larger dimensions while other seemingly significant details diminish.

I love how I can close my eyes and be in a moment that occurred weeks or months or years ago. I also love how I don’t even have to close my eyes for a memory to play itself out in my head, tiny detail by tiny detail.

Sometimes I don’t love it so much. Not all memories carry pleasant and soothing gift wrapped packages. Nope, some carry regret, sorrow, heartache, stupidity, shame. The potential hazards of a ride down memory lane can trip a person up and send them reeling.

Who I Am

Either way, happy or sad, delightful or melancholy, ridiculous or sublime, memory feels like part of who I am. Memory makes up the marrow in my bones. It keeps my heart beating. It gives meaning to every single thing I do, every choice I make.

I can’t imagine losing memories, like a person with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Huntington’s, or any number of other disorders or diseases.  I’d be no one anymore. I’d not be me at least, without my memories. So much of my joy in life comes from my ability at will to conjure visions of holding my babies, or remembered dances in the moonlight, or crazy things I’ve done like belting out an early morning wakeup song in the middle of nowhere.

"While we live, let us live."

“While we live, let us live.”

As life can often weigh me down with gradually sneaking age and circumstance, having a memory to recall an adventurous few years of climbing cliffs as the world falls away below me reminds me I am not just this aching back, this tired woman, this struggling human. Recalling my years as a young mother when I feel all a bit lost among those with vibrant families remind me I’m more than I appear to others. Chance encounters with my past in fleeting thoughts often brighten a day heavy with worry. Memories remind me that I consist of all that I’ve done and experienced. I’m so much more than what I see in the mirror.

The ratio of good to bad memories isn’t balanced. I’m not sure where the ratio falls. My answer depends on what day you ask me. Today the scale tips heaviest on the abrasive side of things, the hard roads, the thorns, the losses, the mistakes. But give me a few days with a few night’s full sleep and I may say just the opposite. I try not to whitewash things, but I also don’t want to muck about in negativity and regret. Maybe that’s where fiction first found its birth. Hmmm.

Maybe That’s Why

I suppose that’s part of what drives me to write. I write my memories, both good stuff and bad, along with my changing view of those memories, as a way to re-acquaint myself with me. It would be a shame to let all those years of work and learning and experience just slip away as I inevitably fade away.

Hopefully, writing the memories down in various forms will let me live a little longer, but not just as a legacy or in a personal history.

As I write my memories, I relive them and in that living, love again and laugh again.

 

~~~~~

The title for today’s post grew out of this quote: “How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.” ~Julian Barnes

 

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Still Crazy After All These Months

Seven months today.

I thought by now I’d feel better, be on the upswing.

But no. If anything the cycle of grief leaves me reeling from an upside down outside loop (is that even possible?) and rockets into this cavernous roiling flame-filled pit of wild emotion I don’t even recognize. Anger, tears, blame, sorrow, regret; those words only skim the surface some days.

Sounds stupidly dramatic.

Kathy would say, “Oh, get over yourself woman.” Then we’d drive over to Freddie’s for their super skinny fries and epic fry sauce and a concrete mixer with caramel and nuts and fudge and two days worth of calories in one sitdown whine fest.

What an awesome listener. The world needs more listeners like her. What an honest, straightforward tell it like it really is talker. We need more of that, too.

If I were to follow her example when someone asks how I’m doing I would NOT say, “Oh, I’m fine!” Instead I’d say, “I’m a wreck!”

I miss her like crazy. I miss us. Our friendship. Our uniquely bizarre mix of humor, life’s experience and often wordless communication created five years of something beyond special.

Now, months later, there’s still this gaping hole of her absence. And I keep tripping and falling into it. Hurts every time. I just can’t seem to navigate away from the edge, yet.

Maybe someday. Maybe at the one year point. Y’think? I don’t know.

She’d be mad at me if I left this post hanging on a negative note. She’d be mad at me for the whole post, honestly. Oh well, she’ll have to come haunt me to shut me up. So there.

Here’s where I insert the jokes.

But just to be safe, (I don’t really want her haunting me) here’s a few fairly good, clean George Carlin one liners. (Hint: it helps to say them out loud in your best comedian voice, with a nice pause at the end for a rim shot, pa da, pum! )

  • If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is he homeless or naked?
  • Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
  • Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?
  • How do they get the deer to cross at that yellow road sign?
  • Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?
  • Is it true that cannibals don’t eat clowns because they taste funny?
  • If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?

Alright already, I’ll stop now.

Laughter? Really?

I’ve found salvation and solace in laughter the past few months. It’s cathartic. It’s healing. It’s like medicine, without the weird side effects.

I’m fine. Really. Most of the time I am. I just have these moments that last a day or two or three. It helps to write it out loud, kinda gets it out of my system.

I’ll sign off today the same way I used to tell her goodbye. The same way I said goodbye for the last time.

“Love ya, Kathy. See ya later.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The title for today’s post is a take off on a song by Paul Simon, “Still Crazy After All These Years.” It speaks to me on so many different levels. You can listen to it here.

 

 

Categories: Cancer, Death, Friendship, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My latest attempts at achieving organizational nirvana involve the computer, colors and willpower. After two days using this self-created self-help tool I’ve recognized a few fatal flaws.

  • I shouldn’t rely on a computer for something so critical
  • The color coding doesn’t make much sense except in an advertising kind of mentality (oo, oo, pick me, pick me)
  • My willpower varies widely with the time of day, how much sleep I got, if I remembered to take my medications and how much caffeine is in my system.

I might have to resort to stronger measures. Like a sheet of paper and a pencil.

Someone one December suggested abandoning the lists altogether.

It was a man.

You know, those creatures with the one track mind. Aim them toward something and nothing will distract them. No multitasking there. Do Item A. Ignore everything else until Item A ends successfully. In fact, no other items even exist until Item A reaches completion.

Oh, to be a man.

Abandon all lists.

As if.

Ha!

Here’s a sample list of things to do between now, Friday afternoon, and Monday, three days away.

photo-18 copy 27

I hope your list doesn’t look this long or this silly.

If I cloned myself and hired someone to help it might begin to make a dent. And this doesn’t include the seven or eight things at the top of the list. Nor does it involve the unwritten mental list I carry around all the time. And it certainly doesn’t have anything written down that might suddenly come up and take total precedence over the entire list. Even the red, or blue or highlighted or underlined or bolded items. Nope. There’s always that kind of stuff hovering nearby.

If you’re like MSH, or almost any other man, you’d suggest the ABC123 approach of prioritizing.

That’s all well and good.

But, honestly, I’m just venting. Your job is to read and commiserate or shake your head and think I’m a nut case. Whatever.

If you also have a list that looks like this, or worse (bless you) then you understand. My list is just here to make you feel better about your list.

Nothing more.

What gets done will get done. What doesn’t, doesn’t.

Oh well.

Life goes on.

Except when it doesn’t.

Categories: Family, Holiday, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Six to Eight, Give or Take a Little

Blink

Blink (Photo credit: ballookey)

What would you do with six to eight weeks to live?

Six weeks equal forty-two days.

Forty-two days!

That’s 1008 hours. That’s all!

Eight weeks equal fifty-six days. Which amounts to 1344 hours. Sounds like a lot put that way, sort of.

Blink.

Blink again and it’s gone.

What did you just do in the past six weeks? In the past two months? Did you do anything noteworthy? Impact someone’s life for the better? Make a change in your life that felt good? Spend time with family? Apologize? Make amends? Let go of a grudge? Let go of the past?

What plans for your future are you going to miss if you’re gone in two months? Who will you miss? Who will miss you?

Have you laughed much in the past six weeks? How about tears, how much have you cried in the past eight weeks? Did you read anything life-changing, interesting or worthwhile? Did you learn something new in the past eight weeks?

Has anything caught your breath in the past one thousand hours? Been surprised by something? Have you just sat quietly with someone and felt comfortable in the silence?

Have you thanked someone in the past two months? Have you taken some time to think about all the hard things you’ve overcome to get you to where you are now? How about thinking through the good, glorious, hilarious, fun, astounding and amazing things you’ve had in your life so far?

Could you let go of it all?

Who would you say goodbye to? How would you say goodbye?

Is there someone who’d need to hear that you love them before you left, or are you sure they know? Are you really sure?

I can hardly breathe for thinking about such things.

Maybe the six to eight weeks will really turn into twelve weeks or more. That’d be good, that’d be great!  But still, it wouldn’t be enough. Not nearly. What I want is six to eight more years, twelve more years, a thousand years.

I don’t want to have to say goodbye. I don’t want to let go of a friendship. I don’t know how to permanently let go of a best friend.

I’ve never had to do that. I don’t ever want to do it.

And yet.

Blink.

Categories: Death | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Clocking the Calendar

It’s Friday! Yay!

Or

Oomph, it’s Monday…

Or

Only 3 more hours…

Or

Forty five minutes more is way too long!

20131004-153249.jpg

Is it just me or does time have this fluid quality to it that makes little sense? How does an hour race by, yet another hour drag?

And wasn’t January just last week? But wasn’t January ages ago?

What makes the difference in the perspective at which time appears to move?

Like the tree in the forest falling and making or not making a sound, if no one sees the clock ticking or cares what the calendar says does time still move?

I suppose even ancient civilizations tried to corral time and seasons by charting the sun’s movement across the sky. We too attempt to rein in the days and years with meaningful markers that assign structure to the uncontainable force of time.

20131004-154607.jpg

People dream of traveling through time as if it’s a vacation destination or a malleable clay waiting passively for reshaping.

Then those déjà vu moments throw our thinking off kilter, making us wonder if time does bend and flex and fold. I’ve never cared for that sensation. One “time” in particular still sticks with me even after nearly forty years.

I’ve wondered, awkwardly, if I’ve experienced that crucial moment multiple times as a chance to finally get it right. But I don’t believe in stuff like that!

Waiting. Hurrying. Wasting. Losing. Looking back and looking forward. Reminiscing. Regretting. Wanting more. All things we do with time or wish we could do with time.

I think time does the doing and we ride its crest or tumble uncontrollably through its wake or float along in its gentle waves. But we and it are, apparently, always moving.

Or are we?

20131004-155724.jpg

 

Categories: Wondering | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Before I Kick the Bucket

Bucket List, Schmucket List.

I’m probably one of three people on the planet who doesn’t have a bucket list.

So shoot me.

I’ve tried to make a list. I’ve started one. There’s one thing on it. I look at it and smirk. The smirk morphs into a self-deprecating laugh, which then mutates into a sinister shoulder devil.

The shoulder devil proceeds to tell me what a loser I am. The little dude whispers that I am what my life hands me. He murmurs things about obligations, commitments, real life and being self-less. I know, not your usual shoulder devil by any stretch. This one comes from the ranks of the Discouragement Platoon. He uses whatever he can get his hot little hands on.

He’s been quite effective so far in keeping me from even considering possibilities. Everything I can think of sounds unrealistic, undoable, pie-in-the-sky silly to me.

I don’t even start the list, I think of it in terms of questions and this shoulder devil smacks them down.

  • Write a novel? Right…that’s funny. When would you have time for that and who would read it anyway?
  • Hike the Grand Canyon? Are you kidding me? You’re seriously considering hauling this body down and back out of the biggest hole on the planet? Don’t you get out of breath going up a couple of flights of stairs?
  • Explore Alaska? Sure, right after you scrape together the rent money and sweep up what’s left over.
  • Build a cabin in the mountains? Silly girl, perks like that are for the beautiful, smart, adventurous people.
  • Eat at a five-star restaurant? Um, aren’t you the meatloaf and pot roast queen?
  • See the Statue of Liberty in person? Remember you don’t like crowds, big cities, the east coast?
  • Go on a week-long mountain bike trip? That’s really funny, have you seen what you look like on a bike? 

Sand bucket on the beach of Punta del Este, Ur...

Okay. So maybe I shouldn’t aim so high. Maybe my bucket list could take on a more realistic, more achievable, more down-to-earth feel.

For instance?

Like, oh, I don’t know.

A bucket list by definition is usually big important stuff, right?

So I’m stumped.

I could try looking at it a different way. What if I had less than a year to live? Then what would be on my list. My shoulder devil growls a low deep gurgle of aggravation and simmers himself into a poof of steam, disappearing for a while.

Phew.

  • See my other two daughters get married. Enjoy that look of bliss on their faces. Throw a big party for each of them.
  • See my granddaughter whose arrival is due in 3 months.
  • Tell my kids that I love them more than life itself.
  • Spend time with the other two Grands. Lights in my life!
  • Make sure MSH knows I cherish him. Thank him for the wild ride we’ve been on together. It would have been horrific without him.
  • Hug my Mom and Dad and try to infuse eternal gratitude into the hug.
  • Hang out with my siblings, chatting, laughing, reliving the good old days.
  • Apologize. Mend fences.
  • Write down everything I can get out of my head and on to paper about who I was, who I am, what I learned.
  • Laugh a bunch.

That would do it. It’s what’s really the big stuff. The big stuff that matters in the long run, in the short run, and while running out of breath.

Maybe I should get started.

That other stuff, may or may not happen. Whatever.

But the big, important stuff, I need to get ‘er done.

Categories: Death, Family, Humor, Relationships, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Do You Know the Time?

I took this photo while exploring the Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Surprise, Arizona a few months ago. It was time well spent. Then I ran across this quote yesterday and knew I needed to share it.

sundail

“Years are only garments and you either wear them with style all your life, or you go dowdy to the grave.”

                                                                                     – Dorothy Parker

Not sure how stylish I am in how I wear my years.  I think I lean toward the dowdy side.  Not what I’d prefer.  I’ll have to think about what it means to be stylish in years and get back to you.

In case you were wondering, the quote on the sundial says: “Grow old with me, the best is yet to be.”  Not sure how I feel about that one either. Hmmm.

Categories: Gardening, Wondering | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Thirty Three Words Sandwiched In

Crushed

The Passage of Time

The Passage of Time (Photo credit: ToniVC)

Finally

Mercifully

A brevity of

Breathing in

Cherished

Rare moments together

Sandwiched in

Between

Forty hours

Bread of demands

Spice of dreaming

Crunch of wants, musts

Spilled words

Crumbs of

Time

Wasted.

This post is in response to a Trifecta Writing Challenge.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

My All Time Favorite Quote From a Book or Movie

English: Ngong Hills, Kenya

Ngong Hills, Kenya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”
― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

I often wonder in similar tones, if who I am makes any difference in the world.  Is there lastingness to my daily efforts in living, sharing, being?

I’ve always found this quote a haunting query of the value of a life. I think, perhaps, she asks the wrong question, but I’m not certain what the correct question is.

Categories: Uncategorized, Wondering | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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