Wonderings and Wanderings


This morning a friend posted on Facebook about the conversion of a garage to a wonderful living space for a family including their two dogs.  Looking at the photos and the ease of the space, the freedom it offered, I realized that is exactly what I want.

In the past I have lived small and I have in the past six months downsized considerably from upsizing well beyond my need.  Yet I still have a yard to maintain and a house of fifteen hundred square feet which I realize to most, that is small.  Much smaller then what I had.

I really don’t need three bedrooms. Three beds, side tables, chests, lamps and all the extra bedding.  Once in a while my daughter and son-in-law come to visit however I live closer to them now and day trips are possible.

The only issue is, I have five cats and one of them does not get along with two out of the other four.  She has been this way her entire life and now almost fifteen, she simply isn’t going to change.  Yet it could be doable to live in a really small space especially since as the one featured in the post, has a small patio area that could be screened for cats.

The other thing this all brought about this morning which I suppose some can relate to, I want to stop doing what I have been doing and that is feeling the need to paint.  To try to create on canvas with the hope of selling.  That does happen however I am now rather bored with the entire process and too, I don’t particularly like the cost of the paints and canvases.  Plus it takes time from just living.  I think I have reached the point of feeling that I have achieved what I want to achieve in that area.

For most of my life I have been a writer and while not published although came close once and missed that opportunity due to some sideline influence, I still enjoy sitting and expressing.  Be those expressions as this of just feelings, or something of more importance with a purpose.

Recently I felt pressured into becoming a board member in a group I joined when I moved to my new area.  I believe it is keen to belong to museums and such when one moves to a new area because it is not only culture, it is a way to meet like minded people.  Yet with this group, I don’t really want to be a board member nor do I want to do what is needed.  I don’t want the pressure.  I simply want to live quietly and in peace.

So this morning with the post by my friend, I am wondering where to wander and leave all that I have known yet doesn’t seem to serve me any longer, behind. It seems to me I have enough art.  I could perhaps at another time stand before a canvas again yet it just becomes more to have.  More to store.  More to try to sell at some point.  For now I am feeling wanderlust.  Not so much to travel expansively, just to wander down to the nature preserve or drive over to the shore.  Without pressures of or yard, of creating, or belonging to groups, one has the freedom to do that.

Perhaps it is time to fold up the easel, give away the blank canvases and paints and just be for a while.  Return to writing again which doesn’t take space or cost anything.  It simply comes from the soul and the mind.

So I am wondering about wanderings and seeking something more fulfilling. Perhaps we all do with time.  Perhaps we all look at the blank canvas of life and say, well I want a different picture.  I don’t need this and I don’t want that.

Recently I read the book The Abundance of Less and while it was a walk through several people lives, some of which I could not live as they do, it was a nice eye opener to living simply and actually more richly.  Again the post this morning mirrored that concept and offered a more fulfilling lifestyle then dusting stuff or adding to already full closets.

Wondering and wanderings this morning seem to be a nudge by the Universe to look at a different path.  To walk that path with less and to feel lighter, freer as a result.  So perhaps that is the way for all of us to travel in these troubling times seeking wonderings and wanderings.

Peace everyone, simply peace.  Wonder and wander.

 

 

 

 

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Life Flowers


Friendship is much like flowers in the garden.  We nurture those and look forward to the beauty that we hope will eventually show.

Some never bloom.  Some bloom only for a short while and others stay for long periods of time.  We try to pull away the weeds that grow at the base to help the flowers be healthy and have space to expand.  We water to nourish and fortify.  We break away dead leaves and do what we can to prevent the take over of insects.

Just like friendships we do what we can to make those blossom.  We step into a friendship getting to know someone.  Who they are.  Their history.  Their life before us.  We share stories, experiences.  We sip coffee together or savor a glass of wine as the conversation flows.  We do what we can to keep the friendship going for a long, long time.

After all life is about the people we have around us.  They don’t even have to live near us to be a friend.  Yet a friend is someone who is good for one’s soul.  Who is not toxic and cause misery or belittlement.  There is mutual respect and mutual giving and taking.

I have had a friend for a number of years which even from the beginning we really were not exactly like minded.  We had nothing in common other then the same type of job.  It is though a job that feels like family at times.  There is a kindred spirit it seems as related to the day to day duties of the job.

She doesn’t read books as I do.  She doesn’t seem to have any real interest in anything..  She has no hobbies.  She would never share her age as I did.  She told me if I knew how old she was, then she would have to kill me.  A strange comment I always felt.  It borders on what else is hidden.

I met her just before my Mother passed.  She sent a fruit basket jointly with a few others I knew and then seemed to want to be friends.  So as time moved on I sat with her sipping wine mostly talking about the job and then for me about the loss of my Mother and the difficulties that came afterward with her estate.

We had many dinners together which I cooked and she brought nothing other then a bottle of wine for her self.  It was indeed lopsided but then I am a generous person so did not allow it to become an issue when all the while I should have. From time to time she would help me with something like move a small patio settee or a ride when my car was in repair.  That sort of thing that friend usually do for one another.

I moved away out of state and the dinners ended.  The friendship seemed ok from a distance with phone conversations.  The usual birthday, Christmas card.  Nothing really more.  Once in a while I would send cookies which I use to share when I lived nearby.  Something I do for friends.

There is an underlying anger within her which  becomes more pronounced with each sip of wine.  More times then not, I had to end a phone conversation because I was punching the air in frustration at the escalating anger.  I began avoiding talking with her at “wine time” and then seldom phoned at all.

After many years I returned to the same state although not the same town.  The promise was to visit.  To get together.  I made the invitation to come for Thanksgiving and she said she would.  So I bought a bed for a room I had other plans for so that she would have a comfortable place to sleep overnight.  Then all of a sudden there were excuses.  Many excuses.  All seemed to be laced around money.  She has always been one who is very tight and doesn’t like to spend money.  Always complained about this or that when in actuality she seems fine financially having inherited land, money from her Mother.

Dinners out in the past were always stressful because of the cost.  So when this was repeated with the cost being a factor I went overboard making the cost barely anything at all.  I was doing my best to keep the friendship that had actually died long ago alive.

A friendship that when I was punching the air during a rabid conversation, that I should have known was toxic.  That it needed to die.  Yet because my Mother harbored such anger my entire life other then her last five years, I kept feeling maybe I could somehow turn the anger around.  Yet like when a flower just is not going to live, we need to snip it so others that are healthy can grow.

After receiving a very hateful, attacking email, in which I was accused of every sort of thing toward her,  I did just that with the friendship.  When one is so angry they must want to reverse that anger themselves.  There is nothing that any one can do to change it.  We can try to go out of our way to offer kindness, encouragement, compliments, to attempt to nourish the soul.  Yet unless that friend, that person wants to be happy, there is nothing we can do to help.

So when it became so toxic for no reason and no responsibility taken, it was time to go snip, snip.  I don’t wish her any ill will.  I actually wish her well.  I hope at some point she will overcome the anger that is directed at so many in her path from the driver in front of her, to the server at the restaurant, to the friend who sincerely is trying to make things easier.  I so hope at some stage in her life she discovers that there can be happiness.  That it is ok.

I just don’t want to hang around to see if she will ever reach that threshold.  So now there is great space for other flowers to blossom and the ones that have been blooming all the while to beam.  The weeds have been removed.  The toxicity has been wiped away.  And life feels so much fuller, happier and with less burden.

It is something that everyone probably will encounter in their life.  I truly believe some people come into our lives at a time when we need to see more clearly on an issue and those people are only intended to stay for a while.  Not a lifetime as some are.  The lifetime ones are the ones who care and respect.  Those are the true flowers of the garden and the ones to nourish.  We don’t need many flowers to have a garden.  We sometimes only need one beautiful blossom yet we can have a full bouquet when there is a healthy, nourishing environment.

So I encourage all of you who read this to stand tall to your values.  To not try to continue a friendship that needs to just fade away.  To kick dirt as a friend said, if you have to and move on because life is not about anger. Life is about beauty.  It is about joy.  It is about laughter.  It is about peace.

So may your garden flourish today and always.

 

 

 

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Those Highs, Those Lows


We get so caught up in all the activity of holidays regardless of religion or traditions.  We move about decorating, preparing foods, buying gifts for weeks ahead.

There is so much anticipation even for adults.  Older adults who no longer have a need to buy toys or perhaps even make that special dinner.  It remains a time of anticipation.  Anticipation that balloons into consuming us for days ahead.

Then the day finally arrives.  Family comes.  Although that varies with age and location.  Sometimes it is impossible to share holidays with family for many reasons.  One has to move away for a job or other economic demands.  We try to fill the void.  Then years past and it almost seems foreign to share a holiday with family.

This year I had the pleasure after twelve years of spending holidays alone, to spend the day with my daughter and son-in-law.  Two huge pointer dogs in tow which like small children became the focus of the day.  Yet it was not lost on me that we had not been able to celebrate holidays in years.  Even before the twelve years my daughter and I lived in the same town however we were both airline crew members.  Airline crew, like many other professions, police, nurses and such seldom see a holiday off.  So we became accustom to celebrating on other days.  No big deal right.

Well actually it doesn’t feel so right because it just isn’t.  So for me yesterday was very special.  I was winding down on reading the final pages of Joe Biden’s book, Promise Me, Dad. The book is beautifully written.  Very touching.  Very informative and very inspiring.

As I finished those last pages and then gave the book to my son-in-law to read, I realized not only was I grateful for sharing the day with my daughter, son-in-law and the dogs, I was very grateful in other ways.

Those other ways are that I am grateful in my life time that I experienced a President and Vice President of the United States who actually had class.  Who brought no drama to the office.  Who had the well being of the people in mind and did so even when privately, like for Joe Biden, life was not so kind.  I maybe, like others didn’t appreciate how great things were at the time, however I certainly do now.

Other ways I realized that I am grateful on a daily basis is for the people I have met, maybe not all of them are friends yet they brought something beneficial to my world and  I hope me to theirs.  For example yesterday evening, I received a text from a man in the small town where I lived until recently.  A place that brought great strife and sadness to my world.  The man is a council member for that town and oddly when I read Joe Biden’s book, he had come to mind as being so much like Biden in wanting to be the change.  Wanting to make a difference.  His text was to wish me a happy holiday and a good new year ahead.  That is all wonderful but he included “my friend” and that in the realm of things was of great magnitude.

So it made me realize just how grateful I am now for all those years of strife.  For all the struggles.  The meanness of others towards me for no real reason.  I am grateful that I stuck to my values and quietly did things without show and thus walked away with people like this man who consider me their friend.

It has no monetary value.  There is no gift to unwrap and find a place for to perhaps enjoy later yet just like the time with my daughter and son-in-law, it made the day even more special.  It made me so very grateful for all those I have met in my life.  For all those who have left my world for whatever reason, death or just life.  And I am grateful to be reminded there can be happy times again.

I received a grapefruit tree from my daughter and son-in-law which was promptly planted in a perfect spot that at the time, I did not realize I would see from my kitchen or when I walked through the adjacent room.  It stands tall and will remind me of them, the day and the thought behind it.  They also gave me a stereo because I had donated mine before moving and did not have one.  My daughter knows how important music is to me and the void I must be experiencing with out it.

I set that up today and played a CD or two which as music does touches your soul of when and how that music affected you maybe even long years ago.  Music is something else to be so grateful that we have because it brings people together.

So while today I feel the emptiness that comes after an upbeat holiday, that aloneness that settles in. I am very grateful for the hope that I gained from being with my family and the crazy, fun loving dogs.  I am grateful I happen across the wonderful book and all that brought to me in a much deeper way then I had anticipated.  And I am grateful for the text that reminded me that maybe in some way I connected with a few people in that odd little town and maybe in someway I had an impact.

I am motivated to try to do more.  To be more active in life and not just ride the saddle of time.  I have hope again because of all that I recognize as gifts that came to me in different packages.  Different wrappings.  Yet all very valuable gifts.

So may we all move forward into the new year with gratitude and hope in our hearts.  May we all take that extra step to make a difference.  May we all reach out our hand and may our voices be of change.  May we all notice the gifts in those different packages of time.  In those who have different wrappings.  And by doing so may we step forward for peace in the new year through the highs and the lows.

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Moving, Again


The boxes are never thrown away.  Just simply stashed because there will always be IMG_7516another move, it seems.  From this house to a next.  I should be happy that my house has sold and on some levels I am.

It has been a lot of work to maintain the lawn, the house in general and I have never fit into the town where I live.  As much as I tried and as much as I wanted,  I was the one to blame the issues, to be called the trouble maker, to be cast aside.  That is not really so bothersome because I grew up in a small town out in the country and was never able to be included because I did not live in town.  I had created my world, as I do now.  Although, today when I looked at all the stuff I have, all the memories, the aloneness and the burden of another move, feels very heavy.

I am very sad to leave the sweet kitties that have passed while living in the house and who are buried on the property.  It seems a form of betrayal to them.  They were all special.  All came with their history of hardship from this little town.  I worry what the new owners will do to their little graves.  I have placed plants on top of each one however the new owners may dig them up and toss them in the trash.  They don’t deserve that.  So it will break my heart to drive off and leave them even though I know they are enjoying a better life in heaven.

It is the type of heaviness and sadness this town has brought to me.  The other cats are so settled in this house.  So comfortable with the big windows.  The space to roam and I don’t know yet where we are going.  It is as always, life becomes all about money.  What and where I can afford.

I long for the familiar.  I long to be settled and have for a long time.  I long for the chance to just cozy in and know I will stay for a long time.  That the cats will not be uprooted and as they pass, know I won’t have to drive off and leave their remains buried to the chance of a new owner.  I long for all of that.  I long for people to welcome me and include me even though I may not have as much money as they do.  Or be able to put on the show by being flamboyant or phony.

Being a top dog has never mattered to me.  What has always mattered to me is being kind to other people.  Being kind to animals.  Doing what I can so no one goes hungry or that a cat doesn’t have to live a mistreated life or go with out food.  I try to treat the wild animals that venture on my property the same.  Offering them food at night and water because they are beneficial too.

Yet will the new owners do all that.  It is doubtful.  Very doubtful.  They will breeze in to the house, the town and be well received.  They will play the game it takes to be top dogs in  this small village where I have lived for close to twelve years.  In some ways the longest I have lived anywhere.  They will oohed and ahhhed over.  They will play the game and probably enjoy their time here.

So today, I am sad.  Sad that I will be leaving what is familiar even though it is an empty existence.  I am sad that I have to leave my sweet cats that have passed and not be able to care for their little graves.  I am sad because I have memories of them in this house.

Yet it is expensive to live in this little town so I must look elsewhere and hope somehow I can find a place to fit in for a change.  A place where my cats will be comfortable and where maybe, just maybe I can live out the rest of my life.

Moving makes me wish I could just erase it all and go back to the beginning of things.  Go back to how things were when life felt better.  When family still lived and friends were around.  When my old hardship case cats roamed around and enjoyed a peaceful afternoon nap.   It comes with age though when people go on to the higher level.  When our pets leave us too.

It is silly I know to allow a move to bring sadness.  It is silly to long for the past when one can never bring it back.  It is silly to not see the opportunity that lies ahead regardless of where that may take the cats and me.

I know like in the previous times, this too shall pass and I will gather momentum of filling the boxes of stuff I have no interest any longer of having yet for some reason keep packing into the boxes.  Always thinking that maybe the next place I will have a use, or maybe the next place will truly be home.  In actuality, I really don’t need much and would just as soon wipe the slate clean and keep just a few things.  After all life really is about the memories and not about the things.

So I will, I know, rally and when the time comes drive away keeping the memory of the sweet kitties who passed.  The memories we shared in the house that was always a bit too much for me.  The memories of all the efforts to make the place home albeit if just for the cats.  I will move forward and know that there is the chance that the next place may just be it as long as there is a wonderful screened porch for the cats to enjoy.  As long as it is a safe place to live because in my heart, I know who I am.  I know that whether or not I fall into the mix doesn’t really make me any different and I know too that those who build the fence to keep only the chosen ones in, are truly the ones who loose.

One must leave the harbor to catch the wind and that is I suppose is what moving is all about.

 

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Awkward Moments


Time slips up on one.  The holidays come.  The months pass.  Then before long there is yet another threshold birthday.

Those of us who reach a certain age, watch as the young take our place on the stage of life.  We read the body language.  Hear the scoff to what we say or think we can still do.  Yet we know we can and we do not feel any older then the ones who have seized the stage we once danced.

Party invitations no longer come to the cool parties.  Visitors no longer respond to overtures to go to a club to hear a musician.  After all we are not cool.  We do not wear the three inch heels because we are wiser to those and know there is no reason to be that uncomfortable.  So we retreat to the words of a book to loose ourself to the lives and capers that an author presents on the page.

If one is really in tune as I have always been my entire life, given the gift of being able to really read people, they sense more deeply then others the awkwardness that seeps from one trying to find their way away from the chat.

It is not that life is not enjoyable or that there is no fun, it is though the forced awareness that we have become the paper on the walls and not welcome among the chairs, the sofas, the lively world that exists in the room.  We are reversed to what we are told as children back in the day, we are to be seen but not heard.  Our money is welcome, however we are not.

We dress ourselves to go to an event far better then the other younger and sometimes even our peer group.  We attempt in doing so to offer respect to those hosting the event or the person/artist of the event because we know this is the right thing to do.  Yet that doesn’t work either.  We have to face that if it was not an event we paid for entrance to attend, we would not be included.

It is an awkward place to be in life because most who reach the older years really would like to hear not just chit chat, we would like to know what makes a person.  What those avoiding us are really thinking about life.  What their dreams are and what they are bringing to society today.  We really are not out of touch even though the attempt to push us in the corner is always hanging around.

I know this is not true across the world or probably even in a large city like New York or San Francisco.  It is however the way in small towns when a trendy group of wannabes blow into town and become big fish in a small pond.  It is like the ones in high school who are popular and the others who are left out.  It is a strange yet interesting movement to watch.  It is also probably a very short lived movement.  Wannabes are just that wannabes and the time comes when they too age, or they are just no longer cool and they too become the paper on the wall.

Yet that doesn’t ease the awkward moments that come when a wise older woman wants to hear a bit of music,  see some outstanding art or enjoy the fruits of a talented chef.  Sometimes I know this does not just apply to those who have had one or two threshold birthdays, it happens to those perceived as not being cool enough and that is sad.

I wish there was a way for all of us to smoothly blend and everyone pulled from the wall to be part of the party.  Pull those awkward moments into smiles, handshakes and lively, interesting conversation.  Yet it is life.  Life particularly in the small towns, the crevices tucked away in larger places and for sure in the realm of the United States, is just rather superficial and will always be that way, I suppose.  It is wise to just recognize it and move with grace to enjoy what is important to us even though we notice, feel and know there are those who will always feel uncomfortable with someone not quite like them on their stage in life.  Yet the stage is large and they too will perhaps watch as the audience begins to wain and wish they had been more open to everyone because some really wonderful moments were probably missed.  Ahhh  the life of the wannabe so afraid to step away from the stage and embrace those awkward moments that bring depth and beauty to one’s life. That would just not be cool.

And so it is the awkward moments as we step away from those, heading home to our books we sense a bit of peace knowing it is not us, it is sadly them.  The characters in the books are so much more friendly and endearing and that in itself is rewarding for those awkward moments.  And thankfully so, there will always books just as there will always be wannabes.

Life is a big stage, though and we must step down from the wall and dance.  Yes indeed we must dance.

 

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Hello from Heaven


Hey it’s me again, Benson.  I know, I know I am not suppose to be able to communicate since I crossed over on Monday morning but I have a few things to say before I get too busy.

First crossing over that rainbow bridge is not so bad.  Not really.  Oh yeah, it is tough to leave those who love you behind and all those fun times, toys and such.  The bridge is actually rather cool.  There are these gold bricks that glow as you step on them.  Not a garish gold or glow like that broom head has in his apartment, rather a soft welcoming gold and a glow more like a halo.  There are cardinals to show you the way and angel cats waiting on the other side of crossing over the bridge of that big big sky to climb ever so high to heaven.

Oisie and Vester were there waiting for me.  Even though I had only seen them in person briefly, I knew them well from our conversations and touching paws through the door.  We are now roaming around together and reminiscing about our time with our Lady.  We talk about how we drove her crazy at times not liking this food or that.  That she would still go out and find something new for us to try or even better bake turkey thighs for us.  And oh those cans of tuna and salmon that we so love.

Well we all know that was a good life however here in heaven, there are long low tables of every kind of food we could possibly ever want.  There are mice covered in chocolate which on earth we are not suppose to have.  Here though everything is ok.  There are big bowls of treats that we can have any time of the day and not just after dinner to clean our teeth.  So we are quickly returning to our fat ol selves we once were before we became ill.

There is an abundance of toys and an ongoing supply of catnip which keeps us all high as if we are ol hippies.  We cruise around.  Climb big beautiful trees. Take a cat nap on huge cozy pillows.  It really is called heaven for a reason because everything is so nice and there is no fighting just peace and love.

I have encountered one or two of my ol chums and a couple of enemies from the alley.  They did not end up with the good life as I did.  Rather their life was much shorter then mine and not so comfortable.  They are here now and all is better because now they have a really good, safe life with everything they ever longed for or missed out in having.

We all want you to know, we look down over you. We each have our people we look after.  The ones who gave us homes and then the others, who did not get homes like the guys I know from the alley, help us look out for you.

Today we are sending as much love and hope as our little hearts can send because we know so many, so very many are concerned about the broom head.  Please know we are going to mess with that broom head.  We are going to send fleas to be all over his head.  We are going to send mice up his pant legs even though the mice will turn around and run back down because of the awful sight they encounter.  We are going to curl snakes around his waist so he can’t really breath very well and finally we are going to scratch the hell out of those damn ugly gold chairs.  You know the kind of stuff cats love to do yet don’t because they are grateful for their home.  Now we are free to do it to the ones who act so badly.

So know we are up here even though we miss you and we understand how sad you feel because we are gone but don’t do that because we loved you very much while we were with you and all is so lovely here.  We will wait and watch for when you cross over the rainbow bridge just as the others did for us.  The cardinals will sing happily because we are together again.  For now though find peace in your heart and treat everyone as if they were your favorite cat….well maybe not the petting and kissing part but the other stuff.  Share your food, give as you can and be as kind as possible to everyone because just like me, some are rough and tough because of their lifestyle, not because of their heart.

That is it for now….maybe I’ll swoop in with a few wise words from time to time.  Oh and by the way, I am back to creating a bit of art, so I may toss something at you from time to time….so long for now.  Paws up with love.  img_1003

 

 

 

 

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Seeking Roots


Whether or not one’s childhood was stable, good or not so favorable, we sometimes find ourselves seeking the roots we knew.  Even the unstable ones because somewhere in all that there was something that held us.  Some form of cohesiveness.  Again good or bad.

When life feels so off balanced and unsettled we long for that sort of footing.  Something that we knew.  That feeling of belonging to a place or a family.  They say one can not really go back yet I think in many ways we can.  True a place may have evolved and family may long have gone away, yet the memory holds solid.

It is in that memory, one can find the old roots that still hold deep.  The very sense of the basis of our beginning.  The foundation of who we became.

I am finding myself, this seeking of roots, to be with me recently. After so many losses of late and through the eleven years of living where I do now, I am longing to walk the streets with familiar names of my past.  To sense the old memories even if all has changed physically.  To stroll that old beach I knew both as a kid and as an adult.  To drive by the old house where my aunt lived, my grandmother.  To visit the old church where my Dad sang as a young man.  A paid talented tenor.  To savor the lovely traditional interiors and rituals. To hold onto the comfort for a while and perhaps find those old roots, settle down into those and thrive.

My soul longs for that and in someways perhaps it would help to fill the void of so many losses, even if just a little.  We can not bring back the past to change it or have it, yet we can savor the moments in our hearts that were pure and good.  We can walk those ol familiar streets as a different person yet enjoy the comfort the memory of those streets bring.

We can even find a house in this place of familiar streets and somehow I think it can become a real sense of home because we have returned to what we know.  As I look at what is ahead with real concern, it is that sense of comfort and home I think so many of us need at this time.  The ol sense of those roots.  Perhaps in our seeking, we can find as well.

 

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