Four score and a lesson in compassion

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Was I guilty of ageism?  Perhaps.  But when the senior’s euchre tournament bus tour arrived at the lodge on Sunday, I was admittedly dreading the three days that would follow.  I made an egregious error in judgement.

Admittedly, the tour did not begin well for the 42 participants but the fault was not ours.  A slight hiccup in their agenda had caused them to arrive an hour and a half early and we were thoroughly unprepared for the sudden onset of walkers, luggage and upset elders.  We did our best to scramble and be as accommodating as possible.   I made a witty speech welcoming them on behalf of the owners and staff and my words were met with sullen stares and moderate contempt.  It was a bumpy start.

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(image credit)

Once we regained control our momentum increased and we began getting everyone settled into their rooms.  Betty and Rose reached their three stairs and Betty took the lead.  Once she was at the top, Rose began to follow.  Betty reached for the door frame and found nothing but a handful of air.  As I turned to look behind me, Betty, doing her best impression of a tree being felled in the forest, fell straight backwards and took Rose out, using her as a cushion for the fall.  The two ladies I had escorted to their room had just fallen and couldn’t get up.   Thankfully we got them into an upright and relatively stable position and, after many unqualified examinations, we deemed they were medically stable.

The group’s first dinner was an interesting event.  Still unsure of their surroundings, many uttered complaints that hung in the air like cartoon balloons.  There were threats of husbands being called to retrieve them the following morning and the night was punctuated by another woman being hit in the head by a heartily kicked-open kitchen door.  In the span of six hours, we had potentially concussed three women.

But then something changed.  Over the course of the following 60 hours, attitude and understanding rapidly evolved on both sides.  We understood the nature of their initial frustration and they understood the nature of our good will and hospitality.  By the end of their three night stay, I was calling them all by their first name and I was truly sad to see them climb the stairs to get back on the bus.  There were many hugs and talk of seeing them again next year.  I will admit that I was close to tears saying goodbye to these lovely souls.

Perhaps it was the sideways glances I got from Rose that reminded me so much of my mom.  Maybe it was that bond of parenthood I have been missing since my mom and dad passed.  Whatever the reason, I will be ready and willing to welcome that next bus tour with open arms and use this enlightening experience as a lesson for the future.

Of portents and hints, and frogs behind Chintz

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I should have expected something strange to happen after finally getting my mind back into the creepy place where it likes to linger when I write fiction.  I crossed back into that dark place in this blog post and felt a sense of relief knowing that I could still find refuge in the shady corners of my brain.  Perhaps that energy drew the unexpected visitor to my window.

The overcast sky left the early evening completely devoid of light.  The dense bushes and large overhanging trees did everything in their power to make sure no illumination was cast on my little house in the woods.  From my nest on the couch, a slight movement diverted my attention from the television.  In the ambient light given off by the TV, three discernible fingers were visible between the window frame and the cloth blind.

Although startled by the movement, I quickly ascertained, by the size of those little digits, that I would not find myself in harm’s way.  I lifted the blind to get a better look at my late night visitor.  This little tree frog spent several minutes jockeying for a higher vantage point on my window.  I don’t think he was too appreciative of my flash blinding him every few seconds and the sudden burst of light seemed to make him lose his grip.  He slid down to the bottom of the window and hung there for a while.  I’m not sure which of us lost interest first but he left and I immediately Googled “frog on a window”.

My little visitor is a symbol of transition, transformation and cleansing.  I had already begun to formulate a plan in regards to making myself a writing schedule and changing some things in my life.  Cutting out the mindless hours I spend in front of a TV would be a great start.  Getting back to my healthier way of eating will be a close second.

It’s time to feel better and put my brain energy to good use creating ideas instead of digesting other’s ideas.  Thank you little froggy.  Next time, pull up a chair and stay a while!

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How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

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There is a myriad number of things I have seen on Facebook.  Most are mindless, time-filling, nonsensical things that I waste too many of my spare moments looking at, but every so often I come upon a sign or saying that really strikes a chord deep within me.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

~Satchel Paige

It was a simple question but those words really resonated with me.  Sometimes I forget the number of my authentic chronological age.   I have honestly never felt that my time on this Earth truly reflects the age I feel I am on a daily basis.  I have always thought that I have an old soul but I have a young energy.  Time strings us along, giving us a sense of comfort as we grow older and we are more comfortable in our own skin.  But time does not have to make us feel any older than we want to be.  Wisdom does not always come with age, wisdom comes with understanding and acceptance.

live your life

Too often we are classified by our age.  The year on our birth certificate does not have to define how we must act or how we should feel about ourselves.  Age really is a state of mind.  I will never define or categorize myself by the number of times the Earth has orbited the sun since I was born.  Nor will I let the stray grey hairs that peek out from under my Garnier Nutrisse #535 hair color affect how I live my life because of the number of years I have been alive.

When we are told as children to act our age but what does that really mean?   How can you behave as a number?  To prove my point, Yoko Ono said it perfectly, “Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90 – time is a concept that humans created.”

How old would you be if you had to pick a number?

 

 

First dates and possibly never wanting to date again

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Internet dating is not a new concept.  Since its inception, many singletons have flocked to cyberspace to meet people and make new connections with the ever lingering hope that they may encounter “the one”.

Living in a small town with limited ways to meet new people, a much younger version of myself decided to take the plunge and start seeking that ever elusive cyber match.  It is extremely overwhelming in the beginning.  Pictures of smiling, fit, tanned men apparently ready and willing to meet a potential partner leapt from my monitor. The array of photos of yachts in the Caribbean was astounding and they all seemed so perfect, on paper.

Although each site boasts different capabilities and features, the fundamentals are the same.  You can search for similar likes and dislikes, physical characteristics you find attractive, political positions you agree with, religious beliefs and personal aspirations that you share.  The underlying goal is that the potential cyber-mate entering that information from the other end of those intergalactic particles is telling the truth.  Once you have sorted through the innumerable prospects, eventually you are ready for that first encounter.  A smile is shared, witty repartee ensues and, as the relationship progresses, the true conversation begins.  And then you decide to meet in person.

Before I regale you with my story of face-to-face contact, I will say that I know several people who have met on the internet and have formed loving and lasting relationships.  We had a wedding at the lodge two weeks ago and the adorable couple met on eHarmony.  My story, however, does not involve that happy ending.

After a lengthy online courtship, our relationship evolved into conversation over the phone.  Eventually, we thought it was time to take the next step and we agreed I would drive to his home town to meet him.  I rented a hotel room so I would have a safe haven if it all went pear-shaped, which it most certainly did.

The initial meeting was unnerving.  I was sweating more on that early spring evening than I would have been if I had just run a 5K marathon in mid-July.  He seemed sweet and was excited to show me the town.  He tentatively reached for my hand as we walked.  The conversation seemed easy and we decided to grab a bite to eat.   Cocktails and appetizers eased us into easy communication but during the main course his behavior became quite odd.  There was a very noticeable down-shift into direct eye contact and his words became slow and sedate.  When I had reached the point that it had become uncomfortable, I finally asked what was going on.  His honest to God response was, “I’m trying to hypnotize you”.   Really??  I’m not sure if I was more shocked at the fact that he just admitted that or the fact that my sense of perception, when it came to him, was so far out in the ethers that it was irretrievable!!  Needless to say, dinner ended abruptly and I went back to the hotel and double-bolted my door.  I relived the entire relationship over a few glasses of wine, admitted great defeat and drove home very early the next morning.

The experience certainly left me with a feeling of immense distrust.  Perhaps that distrust was more in my judgement than it was of a relatively benign dating website.  But regardless of where that skepticism truly lies, I will certainly be far more cautious if I ever decide to once again dip my foot in that dating pool.

Taking back my life

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Time

Time had marched on,

aimlessly walking over me,

crushing me with its weight,

burying me under its pressure.

My body was leaden,

 unable to stop the parade of seconds,

watching helplessly as they turned into hours,

and slipped relentlessly into days and weeks.

 But I have begun to fight back,

to battle the oppressive tyranny of lost moments.

Time no longer guards me,

holding me captive,

only able to be governed by its rules.

I now hold the reins and make time do my bidding.

I am in control,

no longer bullied by its endless cycle,

released from its shackles.

A small speck on my window was a huge eye-opener

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Yesterday I had a bug on the outside of my driver’s side window.  I know that sounds like a strange statement but that bug, after 5 kilometers of stubbornly hanging on for the ride, began to represent something much more than a bug on my window.

I had all but written him off during the first kilometer but I became more amused as one km stretched into two, then three, and his sheer determination would not allow him to let go.  His tenacity began to rekindle my creativity.   His utter disregard for common sense made my brain kick into writer’s mode and that bug made me realize how important it is to hold on to the things you truly want.

bug on a window

Although I had a few giggles thinking of how that little insect reminded me of Kevin Kline hanging on to the plane at the end of A Fish Called Wanda, I was reminded of an important life lesson by a 6 legged black and red bug with a stinger and an attitude.  If it’s worth hanging on to, do everything in your power to make sure you don’t let it go.

I have since grasped my writing a little bit tighter.  I am fervently holding onto the window that is my blog and doing everything in my power to not let this journey slip away.

In the clouds

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My head is here,

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lost in what looks like a painting.

Texture emulates emotion, freedom.

The horizon represents reality,

meeting effortlessly with creative indulgence.

There are no rules in the clouds.

My heart is here,

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 swelling with emotion,

nurtured by nature and blessed by light,

comforted by the embrace of the essence of life.

free to move in a path that is meant only for me.