Saturday, December 30

On Holiday

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change... "

We realize this more during the holiday season--especially during the aftermath of the wild rush that is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Interaction with in-laws and out-laws and relatives can wear you out. Everyone sleeps hard during the holidays... when they finally sleep.

The sleeping patterns of 5 individuals were made abundantly clear this season. Someone was up all the time, I think. Middle of the night trips to the kitchen or bathroom usually involved running into someone else who was either already up, getting up or going back to bed. It made for hot topics of conversation over coffee the next morning. We survived.

Adaptability is a virtue, indeed. My children have been blessed with this. They arrived suitcases in tow, to spend the holidays with their mother and this man she married 5 years ago. The house was quickly transformed into a "girly" house complete with the smells of scented lotions and the giggles and guffaws of two young women enthused over no work or school for a few days. Both pointed out that they were "on holiday."

I like the sound of that. The girls get but a small amount of time off and I am so proud they chose to spend it here. I think I'm most pleased by the comfort level they express in their day to day actions... here in an old house we have made home.

There's a level of respect we all have for one another and for the tight quarters we share over Christmas. An eyebrow may occasionally be raised, looks may pass between one or two--but no harsh words or opinions. I think we all realize we are what we are and we've got what we've got. This is family. What are you going to do with family?

You bend for family. You maintain a certain level of discretion. You let things slide and look at the bigger picture.

But most of all you love them unconditionally.

Sunday, December 24

They're Back

Time to practice all those daily meditations... the holidays are here.

We've shopped and cleaned, wrapped gifts and cooked, and cleaned again. But are really ready? On the outside maybe, but not mentally where it counts. We've kept ourselves really busy so we wouldn't have to think how well families blend, or how well blended families blend.

Just remember your manners. They'll save you every time. Its seems there is very little grief for people with manners. It may be because folks with manners realize there is a different type of behavior more appropriate for use in public places. My Jessica pointed this out last night at dinner.

"Why are you pointing?" she said over and over to me and my other half. I never realized how much I pointed... or how much my other half pointed. My eldest explained that pointing is an aggressive gesture and actually is quite rude. My, My! I certainly hadn't anticipated rudeness or aggression in my hand gestures.

I guess I had better work on that.

Saturday, December 16

I am the Moon

I am The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, December 14

My Camera Died... and other suprises

I was beginning to think I had it all together... until yesterday.

Yesterday I took my mother Christmas shopping again. I don't remember if we went last week. But I did go shopping with my father last week.

Shopping with Pop is much quicker... almost manic. That's a man thing and he's a 72 year old man that's used to a regime... his.

I think his main intent on taking me was to pick out something for my mother. I bravely stood on the sidelines, encouraging him to make the final decision his own. I hope he understood this and will eventually be confident enough to admit he picked out the gift.

Which brings up an interesting point--when did buying gifts become such a problem? What happenend to the "thought" part? Granted, the best gifts are those that utterly delight the recipient, but we have all done that at some point in our lives... hopefully, many many times.

But now, all of a sudden, we second-guess ourselves to the point that we can't even make a damn decision. Often times, once we do, we still second-guess the decision, after the fact!

First off, a gift is just that--something one gives to another. How marvelous! Isn't it nice that someone thought enough of us to share? To go to the trouble of presenting us with something, expecting nothing in return but our gratitude? (Okay, I added the gratitude. That's a "me" thing.)

The bottom line is, the giver wants to make us smile. A gift is a token of appreciation and is not always a tangible item, either.

I try to follow one rule of thumb--to always give something I would genuinely appreciate myself.

Sunday, December 10

Happily Ever After

My childhood was filled with marvelous fairy tales... tales of wonderful romantic meetings, trials and tribulations which ultimately led to "happily ever after." I've been accused of believing too much in the good, pristine side of things--so much so, that I fall pretty hard when reality presents itself. Perhaps.

But what I have found, is that we are all responsible for our own version of "happily ever after." There is no storyline to follow. We have to create our story and maneuver around all the dragons to get to that happy place. No shortcuts, no fairy godmothers. But sometimes a few magical things can happen.

If you stand up to the dragons, most often they will not devour you. If you have faith in you, if you continue to be you--as if by magic, the dragons will become smaller and smaller, until they are pretty much nonexistent.

Thursday, December 7

How Clean Is Your Floor?

I've had two old friends resurface within the past 48 hours. The holidays are known for that. People get that "holiday cheer and good feeling" thing going and begin to try and figure out how to keep it going the whole year. Can't blame them for that.

It's tough to be nice all the time, though.

I blame a lot of my crankiness on hormones. Hell, I'm 3 or 4 years into menopause now. I understand it generally takes 5, so I'm optimistic--I think I can hang on. But I think the whole menopause thing is wearing on the fam...

I try to channel all those racing thoughts into positive energy, like scrubbing the kitchen floor.

So, a word to the wise: If my kitchen floor is clean, it's safe to come in.

Sunday, December 3

Erma Saves the Day

Everything is fine... really fine.

I finally got the dreaded freezer defrosted... and partially restocked in anticipation of the holiday traffic. House still needs a good thorough cleaning, but I have been moving in 50 different directions with the sewing and the shopping and the partially done remodeling. (sigh)

I always say that life is a tradeoff. Why do I always forget it, too??

I know everything does not have to be perfect, but I strive for perfection anyway. Insanity, pure insanity.

After a rushed day Friday, my other half calls to say he's taking off early. I get home just 15 minutes or so ahead of him and put away the groceries. When he arrives he announces he'd like to have company for dinner. Of course, I totally flip out, because after all--the house is a wreck! We all know the bathroom should sparkle and the kitchen floor should be smooth as glass before you have company over. That's when I thought of Erma Bombeck.

One of the things she regretted during her last days was her lack of spontaneity. She said she wished she had worried less about grass stains and spent more time sitting in the grass.

"If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television . . . and more while watching real life. But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it . . . look at it and really see it . . . try it on . . . live it . . . exhaust it . . . and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it. . . . "

Old Erma was pretty wise... I've decided I'm taking a cue from her this entire holiday season.

Friday, December 1

Merry, Ho Ho

Time for the mad rush which is Christmas.

My mother and I have started the weekly shopping trips. At 70 years old, she boasts of 14 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren and shops for every single one... along with their significant others. She's definitely "showing the love."

I'm still learning to love. I have a wonderful book of meditations I read every morning with the intention of getting my day off to the appropriate start. It reminds me of things I should already know, but find myself forgetting.

My Jessica made mention of one such point yesterday... Fear creates anger. Fussiness, being a grump, crankiness... whatever form it takes, often stems from something much deeper. Human nature often makes us reactive to anger, rather than taking the time to understand the source or the real problem. Being reactive, of course, just adds "fuel to the fire."

But, if we take the time to try and understand the fear associated with the anger, there won't be any brushfires to put out.

Thursday, November 23

Don't Be A Turkey

Another Thanksgiving soon to be neatly tucked away for reference. By that, I mean the giggles, guffaws and war stories that accompany a day with the relatives.

This year I am sans my girls. I'll be spending Thanksgiving with the in-laws, just as I have for the past five years since I returned to Virginia. I should be tickled that I have not had to cook since I moved back--other than a side dish and my West Texas Fair prize-winning crescent rolls--but I like to cook and I miss the family time. But that's a different memory.

I've read that you can't fully enjoy the present, if you dwell on the past. The present is staring me in the face, so I've put the butter on the counter to soften in preparation for making crescent rolls before going to my mother-in-law's for breakfast.

I've had to really push to be able to bring anything. I think she still views me as that 15 year old girl that dated her youngest son... How could I possibly know how to cook anything?? Never mind the fact, that I spent 20 some odd years out of her view, raised two children and such! Funny how our perceptions are clouded sometimes. We see what we want to see.

Being fully aware of this little human flaw, I vow to make this dinner a genuine pleasure by taking the time to drop all preconceived notions of everyone and look at them all with a fresh perspective. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20

Traditional Threads

The days are running together at a much faster rate with the holidays staring me right in the face. Nonetheless, I'm proud to say, a large portion of my holiday shopping is done. All that is left is my Christmas sewing. (Okay... and a few packages to wrap. A few more to buy. And the baking.) But I'm focusing on the sewing this week.

I've been collecting fabric all year so that each person on my sewing list will have the most appropriately wild pajamas.

I started making pajamas for the girls several years ago. In fact, when they were little, I made most of what they wore. As time went by, they'd accompany me to the fabric store and pick out their own patterns and fabric. Once they hit high school, however, about the only thing I sewed for them was pajamas and the occasional bathrobe.

But I think they'll have to agree that their "homemade" items were always one of a kind. I'd also like to think these unique fashions helped build their individualism... and encouraged them to not be like everyone else.

These days, I'm noticing they are a lot more like me. I told my Jenifer just the other day, that I hear my words coming out of her mouth (and her sister's) more often as of late. She thought it funny when I admitted sometimes I am proud, other times horrified.

It makes me think of something my other half often says: "Throw enough shit out there and something's bound to stick."

Tuesday, November 14

Almost Five

We're 48 hours or so "post apple butter" and my other half is still playing catch-up on his rest. Yes, the weekend was tiring and after all, he did spend more than his share of 15-plus hours stirring the kettle, as well as over-seeing the entire operation. I'm really pretty moved by his sense of commitment and respect for the "the old ways" of doing things. But then again, he is a country boy.

Spending time--so much time-- with two other couples this weekend, has afforded me the opportunity to realize, and really count my blessings.

My house is far from being remodeled, but its come a very long way. Judging from the reaction from my visitors this weekend, it must be looking a great deal better than I realize. I'm lucky that the other half is a quite accomplished finish carpenter and does--upon occasion--have the time to put in a few finishing touches.

When a few married women get together and start discussing all the quirky little details of daily living, one either agrees or is totally shocked. In some instances, I was surprised--but overall, very thankful that my other half and I communicate. We talk. Hell, we usually don't agree--except on the fact that we are in this together and the other person's feelings DO matter.
I'll share the story of how we ended up together sometime... I understand from those who have heard it that it is a classic tale of romance spanning some 30 years--and we'll be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this December. This is my third marriage (yes, third) and I might be getting better at this...

My oldest sister says "her picker is broke." She's married and divorced three times now. I feel sad for her. Not only because things haven't worked out for her... but because she has no one close, to share the good and the bad.

When I divorced my husband of 18 years, I was so sure I was through... No want, need or desire for another man in my life. I am thankful now that husband number 3 was persistent... that he convinced me that most things worth anything, are worth much more if you have someone to willing to share them with you.

Monday, November 13

109 Quarts Later...

The last jar was sealed and tucked under the thickest towels I could find at just before 10pm last night.

The "morning after" in this particular instance is all about rings, lids and sticky stuff. Although I must admit, the men were much neater that I had originally feared. And much more willing to do whatever was necessary to guarantee the success of this venture.

Actually, everyone was very even-tempered and helpful. Almost like they were all on valium or something. Okay, there was an occasional glass of wine... but really no more than a glass or two. And that was only after the work was done.

I was very impressed with the clean up efforts by the men. When I looked out into the backyard this morning, I wasn't horrified as I expected to be. The kettle had been rinsed and there weren't 85 million coffee cups or a hundred plates on the table under the awning.

The weekend went well. We re-connected with old friends, made some new ones, and have a lot of apple butter.

Friday, November 10

Apple Butter Anxiety

Tomorrow is the big day. Four eager workers and 12 bushels of apples will make war stories and 27 gallons of apple butter at my house this weekend.

My other half had made apple butter with his father over 25 years ago. His fond memories are what sparked this two-day event... that, and the fact that he inherited the old copper kettle and a "still in the box" peeler.

Seems making apple butter was an annual event at the church he attended as a child as well. He phoned several of the older women from the church this week to compare the recipe, as well as to gather some additional tips and techniques. Needless to say, he was more than a bit disappointed when he learned that nowadays they used apple sauce rather than go to the trouble of peeling apples. Wonder how many years they peeled before that decision was made?

I understand canning and making jelly. I remember shelling endless bags of peas with my mother and Granny. We'd all set up on the screen porch at Granny's and snap or shell until our thumps were sore. Pretty soon, the adults would become so engrossed in their conversation, they'd forget the children were even there. That's when the conversation would get interesting and my sisters and I would become quieter and more attentive. Ah, the gossip... I heard a lot on that porch that I didn't fully understand until much later in my life.

When I was living in Texas, I planted two pear trees when the girls were toddlers so I could make my own pear honey.
Once the tress began to bear fruit, my two daughters were drafted for the canning experience, as well as any unsuspecting friends. The first few years, everyone eagerly anticipated the event... eventually, helping with the pear honey was used as a bargaining tool for teenage girls. Soon thereafter, even neigborhood friends became suspiciously nonexistent the weekends we peeled pears and made pear honey.

One of the couples involved in our apple butter project actually hosted the last event over 25 years ago at their home. It's good to have some seasoned veterans.

Saturday, November 4

And the Wheels Go "Round...

It's almost 8 pm and the other half is snoozing on the couch. I have had my second shower of the day-- having sanded myself into drywall hell. I did manage to get the second--and final!--coat on the ceiling in the hall.

I've finished the second round on three walls in the living room. I love this spackling--I think I've mentioned it before--it goes on bubblegum pink and dries white. Great for a menopausal woman such as I--prone to forgetfulness.

I fell into bed yesterday with a book and the phone woke me up at just about midnight. I 'm so damn lazy, I have programmed rings for certain callers so I don't have to get up--I just listen to see if the phone call is worth my while. I have "no place like home" for my eldest and "fur elise" for my youngest. My stepson is "let me call you sweetheart" but that's a whole other can of worms...

Well, Miss Jessica called and we talked for about an hour and a half. Iwent to sleep with wonderful thoughts, but had the weirdest dreams. I dreamt my purse was stolen and I was really upset at having to replace all the important stuff--you know, social security card, credit cards and driver's license. I was a bit dismayed since I have goten pretty good at keeping a "stash" of money hidden in my wallet and it was gone too. I'm not sure what that all means and it bothered me for sometime this morning...

I jumped right into my remodeling... I have three walls done in the living room and the final wall I have left has one hole I have to patch. I think my other half is feeling a bit neglected... seems to me he would jump in and help to make it go faster, but hey, what do I know, right?

I will be so tickled when it is done and I can rest. But that's just a silly thought. When this project is done, there will be another...

Friday, November 3

A Multitasking Wiz?

I really meant to post yesterday, but my day ended wrapped in a polar fleece blanket on the sofa. I didn't sleep there--it's my other half's favorite place to snooze--I was awakened close to midnight and went on to bed. Just before I nodded off again, I thought of my blog.

I've been working to find a balance bewteen my website and my blog. I got this tip via email from Realage:
Think you're a multitasking wiz? That may be why your memory's "slipping."

The more things you do at once, the less likely you are to remember any of them. Sometimes that's no biggie -- if you're flipping through a catalog and watching a sitcom, who cares? But if you're hunting for flights on the Internet while talking on the phone and listening to the radio, well, good luck -- both the flight info and the conversation will probably be a blur. The solution's obvious: When something is important, be single-minded.
Hmmm... that might just be my problem.

I spent the better part of the day comparing flight times and prices for my daughters' Christmas flight. I searched the internet for the most inexpensive (of course!) fares and ended up with my old standby, Travelocity.
I looked at the other sites that advertised the guaranteed lowest fares, but after much research, found that their low price was before adding up to $96 in taxes and fees per ticket!!
I know many of you will be traveling or securing tickets for someone else, so pay attention to those low fares that aren't really lower after the fact. The sites I am referencing are travelation, ultimatefares, smartfares and cheapoair. The only site I found that lists the actual price with taxes and fees is Travelocity. It really is a what-you-see-is-what-you-get price.

Wednesday, November 1

Having A Plan Can Be Dangerous

I read an interesting quote: "Plans are useless, but planning is invaluable."- Winston Churchill

During one of the lowest points in my life, I remember Kim Basinger saying something along the same lines during an interview on "Inside the Actor's Studio." When asked if she had any final thoughts for the audience, she mentioned something her father had told her when she was very young: "When you want to make God laugh, tell him you have plans".

Essentially, we have no control over the outcome of so many things. But nonetheless, we constantly--on a daily basis--fail to realize this simple truth. So much time and effort is spent in the worry of people and events which are going to play out the way they are going to play out.

I'm not a Bible thumper, by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I finally understand "Let go and let God." It's really kind of freeing. God (or your higher power) has much more expertise in the lives of others than you or I will ever hope to possess.

I flip out occasionally, worrying over this family member or the other. I fret, overeat, nibble at my fingernails--and in spite of all that effort--can't seem to do a damn thing to change the outcome of events.

Doctors aren't the only ones who seem to think they can play God. Looks like us common folks make a fine attempt at times.

I don't know about you, but I am really very tired from all this worry. (I also understand from TV commercials, that worry causes stubborn belly fat.) I am planning on worrying less. And to quote Martha, "it's a good thing."

Tuesday, October 31

I like the color.

After all that sanding and patching, the entire wall looks like concrete. But its supposed to be textured. It has little flecks of granite than sometimes catch the light of the morning sun and sparkle just a bit. I love sparkles!

My other half calls it "definitely different" and says the walls "look pretty wild."

At any rate, I finished the first coat about 5pm and left the plastic dropcloths down, because I will be painting again. Those walls sucked up that paint and I have scraped the bottom of the bucket.

I'm off for more supplies!

Sunday, October 29

Color me "Hooked"

My favorite place to shop is becoming Lowe's. I can spend a couple of hours quite easily and lose myself in daydreams of our home "with just a little work."

I have putty knives, sanding blocks and this really neat spackling that goes on bubblegum pink and then dries very smooth and white. I think I may be just a bit addicted to the tools and gadgets!

Three days in the hall of puttying and sanding has put me almost there. My other half removed the last door trim yesterday for me--the hallway has five doors! I plan on doing the last touch-up of sanding today and then I get to paint!

It's really beautiful to see white walls transformed by color!

Friday, October 27

Just Unplug It

I haven't always been a hermit.

In my previous life, I scarcely had time to think! Honest to God, I'd get half-dressed--run one kid to school--then finish dressing , fix my hair and make-up-- run the other kid to school. After that I could go to my 8+ hour a day job. Busy, busy, busy.

Lunch was an event. Happy hour was a social among friends at least twice a week. Most evenings were eaten up by school and extracirricular activities---as well as most weekends. How did I keep the house clean, laundry done and groceries in the house? I really have no idea... but it was done.

I've been in this area not quite 5 years now. There is no delivery I am aware of other than Fed Ex and UPS. Kids are gone. Just me and my other half, the four dogs... and the big ass cat.

There are days I can't seem to get anything done because of the phone ringing. I honestly have relatives that call 3 to 4 times a day--or more!

I've solved that problem (thanks to a suggestion from my other half). I unplug the phones and let voicemail catch it. Works great!

Maybe I should cut off the Nextel as well...

Thursday, October 26

Life is a Trade-Off

I am constantly amazed at the number of offers from service providers that require a contract or service commitment. What ever happened to earning a customer's loyalty? Seems to me if you were doing things right, there wouldn't be a need for a contract or commitment from the customer. Call me old-fashioned, but back in the day, you had customers because they were treated fairly and you offered a good product and/or service. I challenge you to find that today!

I mentioned many times how I live way off the beaten path... but have you any idea what it is like to just have internet connectivity in my neck of the woods? I have satellite internet. My monthly rate is twice of most cable providers (no cable here!) and my bandwidth is less than half. But... I have no choice... absolutely NO CHOICE. The old phone lines have probably been here a hundred years and they hum upon occasion. No DSL either.

Consider this a "count your blessings" moment: Those of you out there who enjoy the modern conveniences that are foreign in my area-- how close is your closest neighbor? Do you hear sirens and boomboxes?

I hear the beagle next door in hot pursuit and need binoculars to see my mailbox. Peace and quiet.

And I bet my neighbors don't even hear me scream when I have to reset my satellite transmitter.

Tuesday, October 24

My Slice of Heaven

God knows I love a challenge... I think that's why I am where I am.

Each hurdle is greater than the last. The sense of accomplishment is wonderful, but I just need some breathing room between hurdles.

Is that too much to ask???

This week, I am a wallpaper stripper, hole-patcher and painter.

I promise, I'll share pictures...

Thursday, October 19

Granny's Pear Honey

Seems the men folk have been visiting in my neighborhood about my Pear Honey. I recently shared it with a neighbor who has two big beautiful pear trees... this recipe will make very good of them!

This is my Granny's recipe. I have such wonderful, fond memories of making this with her and my mother, so I made it a tradition at my home in Texas with my two daughters.

We planted two pear trees when the girls were very young. Once the trees began to bear fruit, we'd draft the neighborhood girls to help with the chopping.

As years passed, friends became conveniently indisposed when the pears began to ripen! My Kitchenaid mixer--with the proper attachments--has made this a manageable task alone.

I must admit, I do miss the visiting that accompanies any group project

Granny's Pear Honey
3 lbs fresh pears
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
8 oz. can crushed pineapple

Core, peel and finely chop all pears. Add all ingredients in 6 quart pot. Bring to boil. Simmer 40 minutes, stirring over low heat.
Spoon into hot jars and seal. (I usually run my jars through the dishwasher and time the making of the pear honey so it coincides with the end of the dishwasher's cycle.)

Delicious on hot biscuits or toast. Wonderful on a ham or grilled pork chops.

Wednesday, October 18

Blue's Birthday

Yesterday was Blue's Birthday--he's a whopping 7 years old.

Blue was so small when I first saw him that he fit in my husband's hand and was able to concealed comfortably behind his back. He has since grown to 22 pounds.

My girls were hesitant to accept him right away... they were still mourning the loss of our 13 year old German Shepherd. Besides that, Blue grunted like a pig and had a tendency to sneeze right in your face (still does!).

He is a bit of a pig--my oldest has dubbed him a "food whore"--the only animal I have ever seen that will eat anything and everything. He stands by the island in the kitchen anytime I am cooking. He is so sure I'll drop something!

If he's not eating, chances are he's taking a nap. And yes, he snores.

He made the trip--and the transition--from Texas to Virginia with me. He's my daily companion and confidante.

I forget where I heard this, but it is oh so true: "If you want undying love and affection--get a dog."

Thursday, October 12


Ever get the feeling that life is on fast forward?

I have been doing the usual fall cleaning and found my journal tucked way beneath a pile of neatly folded clothes that I just know I can fit into again one day. The clothes part is not so disturbing. I have come to understand that I will not be a size 6 again. If I hang in there and behave I may just be an 8 again one day soon...

When I found the journal, of course I sat right down in the floor and read the entries. Last one was done on my birthday a year ago! I had written how delighted I was because my other half actually baked me a birthday cake--from scratch. A wonderfully delicious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! I didn't get one this year--not that I NEED it or anything. I just have all these photos of me all through life taken with my birthday cake (see October 4 post), so somewhere in my subconcious, I feel a bit cheated if I don't get a birthday cake. I started to buy one--but that would be all wrong.

I read on... the thoughts and issues that consumed the pages are the very same thoughts and issues that plague me on a day to day basis... a year later, no less.

Was it Einstein or Mark Twain that said "Insanity is doing the same thing day after day expecting different results?"

Tuesday, October 10

He Killed A Village

Have you ever seen anything like this?

My other half dug it up a day or so after filling the hole in the ground with gasoline. He finds it amusing that I did not know yellow jackets built nests in the ground. This one looks like a village with all its layers!

I guess I'm still noticing and appreciating the differences between living behind six-foot privacy fences in the city and living where you need binoculars to see your neighbors. Needless to say, I appreciate the latter.

The leaves are turning and early mornings are a bit chilly. When I put the fat cat out this morning, I couldn't help but notice how beautifully clear the sky is at 5am. I could clearly see constellations! When my youngest was interested in astrology, we'd have to drive out to the deer lease in an effort to escape the lights of the city.

There's talk of snow... I'm doubtful at this point. But, the talk will push me into getting those loose ends tied up. I think I'll dig up those two big beautiful hibiscus today and place them in my bedroom to brighten my winter days. I have a south window that heats things up just enough to make them bloom all winter.

Wednesday, October 4

A Crone is Born

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature

but beautiful old people are works of art
. - Eleanor Roosevelt -

I've done a bit of research and it appears I am a crone. Actually, hag is also accurate given my age and menopausal state. I'm afraid slang definitions have taken over for the later word and ruined its chances of ever being uttered in a positive light.

I'm not 50 yet, but I see it in the not so far off distance.

“…you only begin to discover the difference between what you really are, your real self, and your appearance, when you get a bit older…A whole dimension of life suddenly slides away and you realize that what in fact you’ve been using to get attention has been what you look like…It’s a biological thing. It’s totally and absolutely impersonal. It really is a most salutary and fascinating thing to go through, shedding it all. Growing old is really extraordinarily interesting.” (Quoted by Germaine Greer: The Whole Woman)

I'm shedding it, for sure. I look the same to me, except for the gray hair and a few ever-growing lines. I realize, though, that I am now the
new and improved me.

“She would be a woman who did not exist to embody male sexual fantasies or rely upon a man to endow her with identity and social status, a woman who did not have to be beautiful, who could be clever, who would grow in authority as she aged.” (The Whole Woman).

I’ve always spoken honestly… some may even call it bluntly. But I accept responsibility for my thoughts and make a real effort to communicate objectively, without blame or disrespect.

I realize that we each are responsible for our own happiness. Self acceptance and forgiveness is at the very core of this. Having done whatever necessary to heal my own wounds, I now have a deeper compassion for others.

“Weaving a cocoon out of the substance of one’s own life is the necessary prerequisite for the emergence of the psyche: in withdrawing we create a way out….Going down into the subconscious and coming back out again are vital parts of the soul’s search for meaning…which is what the crone represents. Through having to complete nearly impossible tasks, the Crone earns her healing power. Turning away from a world to discover whether you are really alive is unquestionably painful. But it is in the conscious acceptance of loneliness- when there is nothing else to do- that a natural process of healing occurs.” (Vicki Noble: Motherpeace Tarot).

Sunday, October 1

Let's Get Real

I feel like crap today. I did yesterday as well. I barked and snapped and my sarcasm had a real sharp edge. There were several times my other half looked at me like I had three heads.
In spite of the fact that I didn't have the first Diet Pepsi and limited myself to 2 mere cups of coffee, I am feeling a tremendous sinus headache this morning. And to make matters worse, I'm going to have go out and face the general public--and read labels--just to improve my outlook today. That is, if I can find the energy to shower and dress.
I am proud of the fact that I have acknowledged to myself and to others that I don't feel good and have duly informed them, as a result, I may have the tendency to go off. I know I'm blunt and straight-forward but today things may go a degree or so more honest -- or raw.
Armed with this information, I declined the breakfast invitation from my mother-in-law this morning. When she called this morning, to tell me she had started the biscuits (she lives a mile away), I very openly admitted that when I don't feel good I have less patience and more sarcasm, and because of this I felt it best my other half go by himself. She told me her two sisters were coming. My husband's brother and his wife are there for the weekend, too. I sent banana nut muffins and some pear honey I put up yesterday.

I think I'll make some Comforting Chicken Soup.

Thursday, September 28

Morning Coffee

For nearly two weeks the White House and rebellious Republican senators have fought publicly over whether President Bush's plan for detaining and interrogating terrorism suspects would give a president too much authority.

Many believe this is legislation Republicans likely will use on the campaign trail to assert that Democrats want to coddle terrorists.

The American people have been tortured enough... please, no more.

New information released today is just another indication of how human nature has a tendency to just take things for granted. A group of researchers believe, based on the clothing she is wearing, Mona Lisa was either pregnant or had recently given birth. Evidently the veil-like head garment that she wears (the veil that many of us have never even noticed) can be considered maternity wear. Seems the 500 year old paint is holding up fine, but the poplar board that Leonardo used as his canvas is warping just a tad.

Time has tendency to slip away, but here's proof that some of us seem to have an unfair overabundance. This lady in the UK has knitted a "to scale" English flower garden.
Click here for a gallery of pictures from the knitted garden!

Fall is definitely here, casting long afternoon shadows.

Monday, September 25

Give Peace A Chance

I caught something interesting on VH1 last night: The Drug Years. It was a 4-hour documentary that explored drug use decade by decade.

I had read about about the observations of Timothy Leary and found that part interesting. The 60s review was the most entertaining with it's laid-back pot smokers and love for one another.

Things started going sour with the Vietnam war when heroin was made available to soldiers and so many returned to the US as addicts. This documentary hinted that the government not only knew of the drug use during the war, but assisted in making it readily available. That's disturbing, to say the least.

Another thing that really rattled me was watching the protests and demonstrations. I was taken with the outpouring of genuine concern for the direction of the country and the insistence that "Love and Peace" were the preferred order of the day for so many. Granted they were high or getting high or whatever, but the fact remains they had the gumption, even in their somewhat altered states, to recognize what is fair and just and what is not... and they took a stand. Some even lost their life at the hands of those who just wouldn't hear what they were trying to say. (sigh!)

The world is pretty much the same now. We have a conflict that is suspect. We are still a nation of drug users--and the government still doesn't recognize the plight of the common man.
Nearest I can figure, the message of those who demostrated and marched somehow got lost along the way. History is repeating itself and America is turning a deaf ear.

Monday, September 18

Hell Freezes Over

"Discretion is being able to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice."

I lived in Texas in my previous life. I have been back in Virginia for almost 5 years now.

In fact, there have been numerous changes in my life in the past 5 years. My old friends in Texas would get a fit of the giggles if they caught a glimpse of "a day in the life."

My daily companions are four-legged. I live out in the boonies, so to speak. I can leave my keys in the car. I'd really have to think about where I've put the keys to the house. Nope, I don't lock the doors.

But the biggest change is probably that I've learned to (sometimes) keep my mouth shut. I'm learning to pick my battles, or better yet, recognizing the difference between a brush fire and a forest fire.

I've always admired those who could keep it all together so eloquently and never get ruffled. Ann Richards was that way (see last post). So is Bill Clinton.

Perhaps the path to this type of lifestyle is in doing the right thing... to provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

Friday, September 15

"The here and now is all we have..."

"The here and now is all we have, and if we play it right it's all we'll need. -- Ann Richards - September 1, 1933 - September 13, 2006

After a short but valiant battle with cancer, former Governor Ann Richards has died at her home in Austin, Texas. She had just celebrated her 73rd birthday a couple of weeks ago.

Richards was the quintessential Texas woman, with a sassy homespun charm, sharp wit and tough pioneer spirit. With bright silver hair, a weathered face and an affinity for cobalt blue suits and pearls, Richards was instantly recognizable to national television audiences.

One of her most notable public appearances was in 1988 when Democratic National Chairman Paul Kirk asked her to be the keynote speaker at the party's national convention that summer. Her speech was to draw differences between the parties and take aim at a fellow Texan: Vice President George Bush, the GOP nominee for president.

Richards thrilled her national audience with some of her feminist humor on the ability of women to equal men: "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."

What became memorable, though, was a line she delivered to show Bush was out of touch with the economic and family issues that were important to poor and middle class Americans.

"Poor George, he can't help it — he was born with a silver foot in his mouth," Richards said.

That speech set the stage for Richards to run for governor in 1990.
As a Democratic politician, Richards' race for governor against Republican cowboy oilman Clayton Williams became a battle of the sexes. She was the image of the modern Texas woman, while Williams projected the cowboy aura of the state's heritage.

Williams was a cowboy who had become a millionaire oilman and had expanded his empire into telecommunications and banking.
Richards played off his mistakes. Williams once compared bad weather to rape, saying there is nothing to be done about it, so "relax and enjoy it." He also refused to shake Richards' hand after she had criticized some of his business practices.

Her victory symbolically broke down gender barriers for a generation of Texas women who were seeking professional careers.

Richards labeled her administration the "New Texas," appointing more Hispanics, blacks and women to state boards and commissions than any previous governor. She pushed for increases in public education funding and promoted business expansion in the state.

A recovering alcoholic, Richards also pressed lawmakers to increase funding for drug and alcohol abuse treatment programs.

Polls showed Richards was the most personally popular governor in 30 years. Late in her term as governor, the Houston Chronicle asked Richards how she viewed her gubernatorial legacy.

"How about, 'She changed the economic future of Texas,'" Richards replied. "And that really beats what I feared my tombstone was going to say, and that was: 'She kept a really clean house.'"

During her first year in office, Richards signed a $2.7 billion tax bill to balance the state's budget. The state also adopted the lottery under her.

Her most notable achievement was opening the doors of government to people other than Anglos and men. About 44 percent of her appointees were female; 20 percent Hispanic; and 14 percent black. Her two predecessors in office had given more than 77 percent of their appointments to Anglo men.

Richards described herself as a "two-headed cow," a curiosity that corporate leaders allow through the door just so they can see her.

She could brag about getting General Motors to keep its Arlington plant open, as the company was partly motivated by a package of state incentives. She persuaded Southwestern Bell to move its corporate headquarters from St. Louis to San Antonio. She convinced computer giant Apple to consolidate its customer service operations in Williamson County.

Richards went into her 1994 re-election campaign against the younger Bush with the highest personal popularity ratings of any governor in 30 years. She questioned Bush's experience to serve as Texas governor and his criticism of her record. She called him "some jerk who's running for public office."

In her farewell news conference as governor, Richards said she was ready to move to the next phase of her life. The homemaker-turned-politician wanted to earn the money that would make her secure in retirement.

"Life is like a layer cake," Richards said. "You put one layer on top of the other, and whether you frost it or not is up to you. I'm looking forward now to a little frosting."

Official portrait and brief biography at the Texas State Library & Archives
Ann Richards on a motorcycle and more Richards photos (Texas State Library & Archives)
Quotations from Ann Richards (About Women's History)

Democratic National Convention Address by Ann Richards

Ann Richards buying the first Texas Lottery scratch-off ticket in 1992 (the Texas Lottery started during Richards' term as governor).
KVUE News / AP Story on life and death of Ann Richards

Thursday, September 14

Perception vs. Reality

I've realized the mind will play tricks on you.

We all see things the way we WANT to see them. And we all see things through our own window, or viewpoint of the world (See photo: my favorite window).
What makes life interesting, or humorous, or a real challenge... has to do with what happens when we forget the simple fact that we are all not looking at life through the same window. Sounds simple enough to correct, doesn't it?

Just remember we all don't see things the same way. With that thought in memory, maybe no voices will raise and all patience will remain intact... no one will "lose it."
Another thing I have found to be very helpful is to "listen with the intent to understand, rather than with the intent to reply."
I'm even putting in a little 5-10 second delay before I speak, just to be sure.

Tuesday, September 12

Just Fix It

I read in the paper this morning scientists believe that global warming has caused the strange weather we've been experiencing.
It makes me absolutely ill to think that we are all responsible for Hurricane Katrina.
The religious right has stated that God was just punishing the sinners in Louisiana -- I doubt Washington D.C. would still be standing if that were the case! (Or Crawford, Texas for that matter).

I'm trying my best to stay off the old soapbox. It isn't easy.

I truly hope that everyone realizes what is at stake in this next election. Please don't wait for your neighbor's vote to make the difference. Step right up to the plate and cast your own. And please let it be your own. Don't be swayed by news propaganda or viewpoints of friends or family.
Please research candidates just as thoroughly as you would anything else you plan on being around for at least 4 years. Bear in mind also, how expensive the president is in terms of salary... and factor in the damage they may be capable of in 4 years time.
I'm pretty upset with the current state of affairs. Somewhat embarassed for the country as a whole.
What do you say... how about we just fix it?

Friday, September 8

Sir Walter Raleigh Goes Down

I'll never forget how horrified I was when I first heard my history professor, Mr. Trussell, quite nonchulantly refer to Sir Walter Raleigh as a pirate.
I grew up in Virginia. I have always loved history and spent a good portion of my childhood visiting all those wonderful museums that celebrated Virginia history. I remember peering through the glass cases at the old clothes and relics. Sir Walter Raleigh was a celebrated explorer. Never once did I see or hear the term "pirate" associated with his good name...
Until one Texas professor laid it all out. He explained his position once I confronted him after class. If I remember correctly, I think he was a bit amused with my reaction as well.
At any rate, Mr. Trussell explained that I had put Mr. Raleigh up on a pedestal and in doing so, had neglected to see some things. He went on to say this is not an uncommon practice -- for individuals such as myself to fail to realize that individuals like Sir Walter Raleigh are human just like the rest of us and indeed may possess character flaws and bad judgement.
Wow! Denial perhaps?
I guess we all see what we want to see. Then one day, it slaps us right in the face and there's no escape. No denial. Just piracy.
Yesterday, I discovered another pirate in someone I had believed had the utmost integrity. Tears slipped down my face as I silently cried.
Funny thing, I'm not sure if I was crying for them or for me.

Thursday, September 7

TMI: Not a good thing.

I heard something the other day that really made me think. I overheard my uncle telling my mother that he was going to try and be more like me by staying out of other people's business.
He's right that I try to mind my own business. I've just grown very tired of all the mess. I really would prefer to NOT know all those little tidbits of information that feed the rumor mills and keep tongues wagging.
And in turn, maybe they'll leave me along. HA! Fat chance.
I was speaking to the husband of a close friend just yesterday. He was concerned by the inconsiderate curiousity of the local folks when inquiring about the recent death of her mother. He couldn't understand how folks weren't through probing until she was in tears.
Gossip. You see, they need the all the details to pass it on. If they were genuinely concerned, they would have been through after "I'm sorry" and "What can I do to help?"
You have to feel sorry for those who live for this stuff. They have no real life and live though the trials and tribulations of others. These are very sort who would go to the trouble of typing you an anonymous letter (or poem) to forewarn you of impending doom.
I steer clear of all things related... I don't want to know, don't need to know.
I think maybe maturity is knowing when to shut up. Or maybe learning which battles to pick.
I'll just keep busy here on this 26 acres with my dogs and my flowers.

Wednesday, August 30

My Women's Cult

I remember one day, back in my previous life, I got an invitation on the mail to visit with a group of women during one of their regularly scheduled meetings. Someone had recommended I'd be a good candidate for membership to this group. To this day, that someone is still a mystery.
At any rate, I went. I visited... and the rest is ancient history.
This photo was taken the last time we all got together back in 2003. I had travelled back to Texas for my youngest daughter's graduation from high school and that mischievious redhead (second from left on the back row) graciously put me up for two days. I remember we had dinner out one night (Gossip Night, I think they called it) and I got to catch one of the lunch meetings while I was in town also.
I miss them.
Small group, but all females. We really got together as often as possible and had such a good time just being female. We were do gooders too, though.
One such instance, we all had a day at a Habitat for Humanity all-female home build. That day, Ann had to slip out early because she had an appointment with her manicurist (first one on right, bottom row). I had my first (and only) experience putting in insulation that day.
Each year at Christmas we adopted a single-parent family and provided wrapped gifts for each family member. The year I divorced my husband of 18 years, I was tasked with delivering a trunkload of gifts to the chosen family. Looking back, I wonder if they all got together and decided it was just "my turn."
My youngest daughter, Jeni, is the one that deemed this group my "women's cult." Whatever it was, it helped me celebrate being me.

Friday, August 25

Everyone Deserves a Blue Day

No matter how wonderful things seem, a little rain must fall to keep us on our toes.
We're moving along, seemingly making progress, and them two or three situations may hit us all at once... and BOOM! we have a bona fide pity party before it's all said and done.
It's all too easy to lose sight of progress if there's a few consecutive bumps in the road to rattle you out of gear. I had a day like that today.
I had some individual with his underwear (or her panties?) in a knot today, giving me crap I really didn't have the patience to deal with effectively. (It's an ebay thing.) I run a little short on patience most days anyway. Most folks, it seems today, want everything for absolutely nothing. When they find it's not possible, they blame the first individual in sight.
Then I had my youngest call from the school bookstore needing an authorization in excess of $400 for books for this semester. Let me interject: I am so proud of her. She is a junior this year and is damn near starving to death while trying to get her education. But see, my pity party had already started so I ignored her needs and focused on my own. I needed attention. I wanted her to tell me soemthing wonderful... like maybe she missed her Mom or some equally self-absorbed bullshit... Needless to say, that conversation did not go well. I inadvertently added stress to an already stressed-out kid. (I DID call back and apologize profusely!)
I went to the pharmacy to get my "crazy pills" (hormones) refilled. That went well, I think. They are going to call my doctor for a refill. What sane man will NOT refill a menopausal woman's hormones????
By the time my other half arrived, my eyes were leaking. He asked me what was wrong with genuine concern.
He then summed it up, just as he always does: "I go out and work and bust my ass everyday. I can't be coming home to a balling woman. This is bullshit. You need to get your act together."
I know it sounds a bit crass... but he's right.
We have three children between us. None together. One in school, one self-sufficient and one we're working to get that way. It could be worse for sure.
Bottom line: We all are responsible for our happiness. But for some odd reason, we think it's up to everyone else to make us happy and in turn, we think we are responsible for the happiness of everyone we hold dear.
Moral of the story: Deal with it. Do the best with what you have to work with...

Monday, August 7

Who Were You?

Who were you before you were you?

You see, we're all shaped by our environment-- whether we are willing to admit it or not. For more on this: visit

I could get high upon a soapbox about how children are influenced by the environment their parents produce. Geez! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look around at some of the folks we encounter on a day to day basis and get a good notion what their childhood was all about!

It doesn't end there, though. Every experience, every encounter creates a wrinkle in the fabric of our lives. Some wrinkles end up permanent creases and others a damn big ole hole.

All is not lost, though. Maybe the fabric is just in need of repair. Shake it out, patch the holes, straighten out the wrinkles as best you can. Maybe get a bit crazy and add an applique or two.

Or as my other half says: "Make chicken salad out of chicken shit."

Saturday, August 5


Ah the joys of being a southern lady! You swap vegetables with friends and relatives.

I have an abundance!
I'm not complaining (or trying not to--I keep thinking of those people who don't have).
I am just trying to keep up. I've gotten very creative. Did a bit of research and found new and different things for cucumber.
I found a recipe in a Southern Living cookbook that is quite wonderful. I have found that Southern Living will never let you down. Anyway it's a cucumber sandwich recipe. Now, don't go turning your nose up until you try this---it's wonderful tasting and very light and refreshing.

2 packets Ranch dressing mix
1 8 oz tub of spreadable Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Miz these two items up really well. Then use this as the spread on whole wheat bread. Thinly slice cucumbers and onions. Crunchy, fresh and tasty.

I also have a cucumber spread that is great on crackers. Grate cucumbers (2 medium). Then mix with a couple of diced onions and 8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream cheese. Add Lowry's Seasoned Pepper. Chill.
If you want to get real fancy, you can put little cucumber wedges on your crackers, once spread.

I spent 20 years of my life in West Texas, so the surplus of tomatoes, peppers and onions are turned into Pico De Gallo.

But--I would love to have some new recipe for yellow squash!

Here's a little gardening humor:

Thursday, August 3

All that Energy and No Direction

I was reminded earlier this week, quite by accident, how important is to set boundaries and to appreciate the boundaries of others.
I have a relative that comes to visit quite often. Maybe too often. I've been coming up with all kinds of ways to drop subtle hints to let him know that a day to myself would be great. I have to remember that it is ultimately up to me to set those boundaries--and enforce them.

I introduced him to my neighbor. Now he has another stop on his list and less time at my house.

People only do what we allow them, right? (I tell my Mother this all the time and she gets a bit put out with me, I think).

It's too easy to spend all our energy getting upset, rather than using that energy in a more positive manner -- perhaps to focus on what we CAN change in an effort to alter the upsetting situation.

Thursday, July 20

"You're not the boss of me."

After spending most of Saturday discussing the meaning of life with my other half, I ran into an old friend of my Mother's who summarized it quite beautifully: You don't have to always be the boss.
She was actually making reference to how she has racked up 43 years of marriage. (My parents have been married 53, but that's another story altogether.)
I imagine it has a bit more to do with trust, than anything. If you're not the boss, then you have to able to trust the judgement of the person who IS boss. That may be where the struggle comes in.
My daughters are the boss of them-- One 22 today (Happy Birthday Jessica!) and the other 20. They have young men in their lives who are learning what "sharing a life" is all about. Now that is wonderful.
I keep telling my 70-year old mother that Dad is "not the boss of her." Some days he is, other days he hasn't a chance.

What a relief! If I'm not always the boss, then I am not always responsible. That takes a real load off. I might actually have the time now for myself that I've heard is necessary for my sense of well-being. Maybe work on my belly pooch, stray eyebrows and pesky dry skin.

"I've been pretty vain most of my adult life. Before that I was acutely and embarrassingly aware of my exceptional unattractiveness. Now I consider both attitudes a big waste of time---and when I think about it, two sides of the same coin: vanity and self-absorption. I've decided to get over it. I think it's working."

Monday, June 19

The More Things Change...

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I've posted! But I am happy to report I now have two working hands again.
Well, more like one and 85-90% of the other, but I'm not complaining.
I can thank my cut and dry, no-nonsense other half for my recovery. He pointed out that I really should quit my job. So I did.
Funny thing, the surgeon and the hand therapist were very pleased to hear I had quit my sit-in-front-of-the-keyboard-job, but neither had the balls to suggest I just might recover more quickly and perhaps prevent further damage until AFTER I had quit. I thought I was paying them to work in my best interest!!
No matter. I am happy to be able to dig and plant and cook and sew.
And I love my other half even more.

Monday, May 22

Learning Patience

I had a friend once tell me that God will give you an opportunity to learn patience. If you don't take advantage of that opportunity, it's okay--He'll give you another.
I'm hoping that won't be necessary.

I am learning to live with one hand (more like, trying to live with one hand). All the things I truly enjoy require two-- cooking, sewing, gardening, etc.
Looking at this whole situation from a different angle, I'm thinking perhaps God's intention was to divert my attention away from my daily "busy work."
I enjoyed a visit from my daughter this week filled with candid conversations and long embraces. She was a tremendous help to me in both a physical and emotional capacity. The best part is when we pile up on the couch to watch movies, all hugged up together, just like when she was a little girl.
This carpal tunnel surgery may have very well been intended a "smell-the-roses" injury.

Tuesday, May 9

Getting Better All The Time

Today marks the one week point for me and my carpal tunnel surgery. I'm still in pull-on pants as zippers and buttons prove to be too much of a challenge.
I am sucked down more than my share of Diet Pepsi and cigarettes... and have confirmed what I always knew--there is absolutely nothing on daytime TV!
I have managed to learn to type one-handed, and load and unload the dishwasher and fold clothes!
Everything takes much longer. Is this yet another lesson in patience??
Here's some photos of my view of the world:

My garden:

Blue enjoying his morning nap:

Thomas stretching out

I'm going to drive today: I am running low on Diet Pepsi and cigarettes.

Thursday, May 4

On The Mend

I am recovering from carpal tunnel surgery done Monday Afternoon (May1). I am bored to tears and medicated.
This is the view from my bedroom window. It is killing me because I am one-handed and can't work in the yard.
I am really very lucky I share this place with a long-legged broad-shouldered handsome man.
I think I'll nap now...

Wednesday, April 12

The Great Outdoors

This photo was shot April 2nd while walking the property line with my uncle. I came across this tree and thought it so unusual. It 's very reminiscent of staring at clouds to see what unfolds, don't you think?

I always enjoy my time at home, especially outdoors. This 26 acres provides space for many a fantasy. In five years, we've moved fences twice, opening up a 5-6 acre yard. The other half mows... and mows... and mows. Then he walks around the house like a rooster, admiring the yard from every window.

I plant and prune and move rocks.
This year I've started my tomato plants from seeds. I have a pot of 6 I need to separate.
I have a bit of the rooster syndrome too, I think. I make it a priority to plant the majority of things so they are visible from one of the many windows inside the house.

I've been battling a bit of the dreaded carpal tunnel with all its delights and tests, and as a result, neglected my blog. In fact, today is the first day I've checked my email in 3 days! I don't know what has come over me.
I have an hour commute to work each day. Time spent darting in and out of traffic and eyeballing the side and rearview mirrors for state troopers. I listen to the radio and use the windshield time to ponder over the meaning of life. I used to play catch up--returning phone calls and making appointments--but the dreaded "CT" puts too much pinch on the elbow area. So I think. And analyze. And replay life's moments in my head.

I don't play the "what if" game anymore. I'm thankful I have realized this is a waste of time. I find that I worry less and try to take life for what it is--day to day.