Thursday, July 17, 2014

A spot of sunshine on a rainy day~

Lots of rain has resulted in lush plants and showy flowers!


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Becoming aware is freeing...

While driving home from work last night I heard something on the local news that caught my attention. A recent study of autistic adults revealed that they were much more likely to suffer from depression, high blood pressure and obesity, and were found less likely to be smokers or alcohol partakers. It struck me that other than the depression I had all of the aforementioned signs of adult autism (now if you’ve ever met me you know I’m not even mildly autistic), but hearing this report also brought to mind everyone with autism I’ve come in contact with over the past 10 years. Sadly prior to that I‘d never heard of the condition.

The first time I encountered autism was when I ran into an old classmate, she had her son with her; he was 6 years old and in a stroller. I didn’t know what his issues were, but at a glance I could see that whatever it was, it was severe. Now I’m not a clod, I didn’t stare or ask questions, but my friend was perceptively uncomfortable and that made me uncomfortable for her. We only spoke for a minute and then she was gone. In later years when I ran into this woman again, she was totally different and I was freed from the memory of that day when I wasn’t introduced to her son and he was ignored. He still has severe autism, but he is the most adorable young man, and although he interacts differently he is a human being with feelings, a sense of humor and a wonderful personality.

I am thankful for the Autism Awareness movement; it has proven to have helped educate everyone (including me!) about this condition. There's no need foe embarrassment or being uncomfortable; all of our handicapped loved ones are to be embraced, not shunned and ignored; parents and caregivers are true heroes and I want to applaud them for their love and faithfulness.

If you know of anyone who cares for a child or adult with a physical or mental disability, please give them your support. Being a care giver is constant and seemingly never ending, even an hour of your time can make the world of difference.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lift me, won't you lift me above the old routine? Make it nice, wear it clean…

The first time I laid eyes on you I fell in love, you melted my heart and made me feel like a new woman. You were everything I’d ever needed or wanted, it was as if we were made for each other. How uplifting it was to have you near, I couldn’t get enough, and we became inseparable.

Then after a few years had passed to my utter dismay and horror something in you snapped. It was as if you had pierced my heart and as a result I couldn’t breathe because of the pain, so I very quietly and without a word extricated myself from you and walked away. Every token and fond remembrance of you was discarded, this was the only way I could cope with the loss at the time.

Now it’s been nine months since that fateful day; through it all I’ve found that life has been less constrictive and more comfortable without you. Memories have faded, but those that haven’t are overshadowed by the heart stabbing wound, that pain has forever been burned in my mind. I will never look back and am thankful that I will never again have to experience the physical let down and heart stabbing pain of an underwire bra gone bad.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Being a Winner in the Game Show of Life

Mr. T told me a story the other day and I didn’t know why, but it really annoyed me. Then as I thought about it I realized that it bothered me, because the person in the story was a brilliant, well-off, well respected, catered to, lived in a million dollar home, etc. type person. Although as with it as this guy appeared to be, in reality he proved that no matter how much education, money or to what social heights one can climb, nothing can fix stupid. And of course this guy proved to be dumber than dirt.

After the holidays this doctor decided to use the Christmas tree as firewood instead of recycling it. Okay, you may think this is innocent enough and not an issue, but he cleared a path to the hearth, lit a fire in the fireplace, and then laid the tree on its side with the intention of feeding the tree into the fire as it slowly burned. And yes he followed through with his brilliant plan, which worked famously until the tip top of the tree touched the small kindled fire and the whole thing exploded into flames. I would have loved to have seen the surprised look on his face...but I digress. Needless to say the entire house was incinerated.

As Mr. T told me the story my mind screamed, “WHAT KIND OF IDIOT doesn’t know that the needles of a dried out Christmas tree IGNITE and spread as quickly as when a spark hits a trail of gun powder?!? And as I shook my head at the ignorant stupidity of it all, it crossed my mind that the best way to sum it up would be to cross “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” with “Are You Smarter than a Third Grader?” to get the new smash hit, “Are you Smarter than a Millionaire?” And it made me happy to think that if I were a contestant in that show and pitted my wits against someone from the upper crust, and the question of burning a Christmas tree were posed to me I know I’d win hands down and would proudly confess, “Yes, yes I am smarter than a millionaire.” 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Floating on the Pool Waters of Time

During a quick stop at Home Goods in early May I came across a whole bunch of pool blow up toys. The first one to peak my interest was an island; I closed my eyes and imagined how fabulous it would be to swim up and sit on my own island under a lone palm, but then I looked at the size of the thing and realized that it would take up way too much room (I’m so practical!). Anyway, there was this really cute seahorse sitting on the shelf next to the island and it wasn’t humongous…I could tell, because it was in a much smaller box (duh!). I picked it up, looked it over, thought twenty bucks…okay, and tossed it in my cart.

Well sad to say most of June had passed before I even remembered I’d bought the little orange creature, but once I did I got out my handy dandy electric pump and in no time at all got air into it and tossed it in the pool. Instantly it was as if this thing had come alive circling the waters, and then making a bee line to the corner under our butterfly bush along the walk where it bobbed on the water’s surface. Amazingly the birds put up a tremendous racket at the sight of the big orange monster, but it kept them away from the flowering shrub. I’d been having problems with the birds stalking the butterflies and finding only the wings on the ground; who would have thought that a pool toy driven by the breezes and water current would appear menacing and deter the birds. We had our very own “scare seahorse”, lol, it was great!

Anyway, for twenty bucks this inflatable has turned out to be a lot of fun; we even named it “Nessy” after the Loch Ness Monster (it looks more like a sea monster than a seahorse), but don’t let the big blue eyes and wide smile fool you, she’s a wild one, we’ve all tried to ride her, but no one has lasted more than a nanosecond before they were dumped unceremoniously into the water. There are moments that Nessy gives the appearance of being alive, we’ll be in the kitchen and see her “watching” from a vantage point in the water; it’s a large pool, but there are only a few spots you can see it from the house due to the shrubbery. And when you’re not paying attention it’ll glide across the water and park itself next to you as if it wants to be near you. It would be very creepy if you were superstitious; thankfully I’m not.

It made me wonder how weird it was for us to treat this colorful piece of air-filled plastic as if it were alive, but isn’t that the tendency we see in our society today; aren’t we accustomed to treating inanimate objects as if they’re living and breathing? Whether it’s our cars, ships, our dolls and toy trucks, don’t we imbue personalities on them all? Advertisers know this and their approach to selling a product capitalizes on it; a current orange juice commercial has the spokesperson talking to an orange, and even turns it away so it can’t see him drink the juice, fearing it would be upset, there are commercials where little foil covered chocolates work in a factory, and we can’t forget the candy coated chocolate characters (they melt in your mouth and not in your hand). What is it that causes us to do this; why are we so Pygmalionesque? Is it because our imaginations were influenced by the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland that we treat things in an anthropomorphic manner? We’ve been bombarded by everything from paintings of dogs playing cards, to bedtime stories of three little kittens losing their mittens, Peter Rabbit evading the farmer, pigs building homes and we also watched cartoon after cartoon of animals working through human situations…the pink panther was always my favorite, but I digress.

Who knows what impels us to want to give life to the lifeless and non-human form, but whatever it is, we’ve been doing it for centuries, perhaps even since the beginning of time.  Even I fell into the same trap with Nessy treating it like it was alive, and it causes me to wonder that if it isn’t caused by Bugs asking “What’s up Doc?” incessantly, then maybe it’s as simple as us striving to imitate the One who breathed life into the mud sculpture of a man 5,000+ years ago.  


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shop Till the Evil Eye Drops You!

There was the time when my friend dimples’ father asked everyone in her family what their dream vacation looked like. Her mom wanted to go to the Caribbean, her sister wanted to go to a dude ranch and ride horses all day, her dad wanted to go to a fancy tennis spot, but dimples, all she wanted was to do was spend a week shopping. Everyone got their wish except for dimples, because well, it was too expensive and boring. To that I say, “HA!”

Many years and three kids ago, right after dimples and her husband were wed he was transferred to Illinois, so they moved into a middle class suburbia neighborhood on the outskirts of Chicago. He was working full time and going to school for his MBA, which meant that she was home alone day and night, and knew no one. After a month of not finding work and going stark raving mad she phoned and asked if I wanted to take a trip out to visit her; of course I jumped at the chance. Neither of us was into the nightlife scene; we didn’t drink, smoke, or chew, no, we spent every day shopping, and always in a different store. It was during this time that dimples told me of her dream vacation. We both laughed, because it was quite obvious she was having the week of her life!

One of the days was spent in TJMaxx, which at the time was a new chain of stores popping up around the country. It had everything, and of course we had to walk up and down every aisle and inspect every item. While we were in the housewares section I spotted a Chinese fishbowl, not a glass bowl for fish, but a huge piece of pottery with depictions of chrysanthemums and birds on the outside, and koi fish swimming on the inside. It was fabulous and I had to have it. So I lifted it up and placed it carefully in my cart, it was so large it actually took up the entire basket. No sooner did I have it in place when a woman of Middle Eastern descent pounced on us. She pointed her plump finger at the bowl and said she had had her eye on that for several weeks. Not being put off, my response was, well, why if you liked it so much didn’t you buy it while you had the chance? She just glared at me and followed dimples and me throughout the store harassing us incessantly. Finally we lost her in the lingerie section, where we quickly pulled bras and slips off the rack. We crouched down and scurried into the fitting room where we each proceeded to try on the mound of intimate apparel we had piled in the cart. We must have been in the fitting room for over an hour, and as it turned out 18 of the bras I picked up fit fabulously (I told you there was a mound!), and I bought them all…but I digress.

Our hiding tactic to lead this crazy woman into thinking we had left the store appeared to have worked, until we spotted her in the children’s clothing, it was then she spotted us and rushed over only to say that she had placed the evil eye on the bowl and although she hoped it didn’t break, it probably would. Dimples and I looked at each other, rolled our eyes like errant teenagers and hurried to the checkout counter. We couldn’t get out of that store fast enough and once we were in the car dimples drove while I watched to make certain we weren’t being followed. Amazing what intimidation can do to you!

We laughed about it years later and agreed that it was the most interesting shopping expedition we’ve ever had in our lives, and it was also the only time we’d ever purchased so much underwear at once! And the bowl, well it’s just as beautiful as the day I bought it and doing quite well; so there crazy lady in your (evil) eye!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Banana Strings to My Heart

It’s interesting how an inane task can evoke poignant memories, and somewhat strange that the same memory may not hit you every time you perform that inane task.  

For example, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sliced a banana onto a bowl of cereal.  Take the box from the cabinet over the fridge, grab a bowl, pour in the cheerios, peel the banana, get a paring knife out of the deadly knife drawer, slice plump coin sized pieces of banana onto a toasty mound of whole grain cereal, pour on the cold milk and you’re good to go. Yummy! 

This morning however, as I peeled the banana, strings detached from the peel and dangled from the fruit; memories flooded into my mind of a nanosecond in time shared with my father years ago.  As we stood side by side at the kitchen counter preparing our breakfast, we each peeled a banana, but as I was slicing, dad was carefully removing the strings.  I watched him for a minute, as he meticulously stripped them away one by one, it was apparent he really didn’t even want to touch them.  I chuckled and asked him what he was doing, and without losing his focus he said, “I hate the banana strings, they’re bitter”.  So, being the teenager I was I just rolled my eyebrows and made a mental note that dad was weird. 

As I stood at the same kitchen counter that I stood at on that morning so many years ago, I chuckled to myself, lovingly thought of my dad and meticulously removed the offending banana strings.