Monday, October 29, 2012

November: I Intend to Drop My Leaves

The leaves at home have started their annual migration as they release themselves from the trees and fall to the ground. By shedding their leaves, trees drop the potential of pests and disease following them into next years growing season. Let's just say it's Mother Nature's way of providing a healthy balance.

Like the trees, I will follow suit by dropping my leaves before the sap starts to rise. As we close in on the end of the year, I intend to drop any undesirable habits or negative mindsets I might have accumulated during this past year.

Now is the time to consider what leaves you might want to let fall to the ground. Join me, shed a leaf or two, and rid yourself of the pests you have accumulated. After all, Mother Nature knows best.
Red trees photo courtesy of joiseyshowaa

Monday, October 22, 2012

Name That Tune

“Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key.”
"With a Little Help From My Friends" Lennon/McCartney

I can name that tune in 3 notes, sometimes less. Really, I’m pretty good at it. My mom’s side of my family tree has music in their hearts. Whenever we get together, someone sits down at a piano or pulls out a guitar and starts to sing. We can’t help it⎯music seems to move us and comes from somewhere deep inside.

My Grandpa John seemed to be attached to his accordion. That is how I picture him today even though he died many years ago. I think he was happiest when he was with his family making music. We would all sing and play various instruments, and he would smile from ear to ear no matter what kind of sounds we were making. When I was a child, I wasn’t the performing type. I did what was expected of me at family gatherings, but it just was not my thing. I was much more comfortable with a baseball mitt in my hand, lobbing pitches over home plate or swimming down the stripes of a pool. Nonetheless, my mom made sure we were exposed to many different kinds of music, and seemed to always have music playing in our home as we grew up. Many nights I fell asleep to a stack of records playing in the background of my dreams. 

Whether oldies but goodies or rock and roll, song verses from somewhere in my past history come to mind when just a note or two, or a word or two float through my head. My husband says it’s a bit scary. Recently we were scrolling through Netflix movies, and I saw the title, Once a Jolly Swagman, roll by. Immediately my “Name That Tune” mind started searching words like an old jukebox listing in my brain. I said, “That movie title is in an old song.” My husband looked at me and just shook his head. I could not let the name go, and before you knew it, I was singing "Waltzing Matilde," …once a jolly swagman sat beside a billabong… Just a few weeks prior, in the background of a movie we were watching, I could barely hear a group of children singing some sort of tune. I started singing along but could not quite get the whole song to come to the surface. Low and behold, before I went to bed, I was belting out "The Gypsy Rover,"...ah dee doo ah dee doo dah day...

Music can set the beat of whatever I am involved with. Like the stack of records of my youth, I have music swimming in my head while I’m gardening, cooking, showering, skiing, running, and of course swimming. I have a tendency to hum and sing a little tune when I am happy. Although, I have found that planting a seed of a song when I am not so happy has a tendency to give me a lift.

Scary as it may be for my husband, the gift of music in my heart is happiness unfolding in a song. It is this can’t-help-it kind of happiness I embrace as each note leads to another. More of us need to let our voices sing and celebrate⎯whatever the song may be. The momentum of the song will lift your spirit and help move you through turbulent times. Name that tune and let music guide you through your dayeven if you do sing out of key. My grandpa would love it!
Music notes picture courtesy of Koji Minamoto

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Should've, Could've, Would've

A few weeks ago I was driving in a city I was unfamiliar with. I had two people riding with me. Ann needed to catch a bus at the city station; Kay needed to attend a meeting at work. All was great; I had turn-by-turn directions to the bus station on my smart phone. We made great time, exited the freeway, made a few turns, then oops⎯no directions on the smart phone. I was on a one-way street in heavy traffic, so I pulled over at the first opportunity and tried to get the last few turns back on the phone. I could not, for the life of me, go back to where I had been on the smart phone screen. I tried to start over and got nowhere, and I tried a GPS (Global Positioning System) application to no avail. In the meantime, I could hear tick-tock, tick-tock in my headwhat time was that damn bus leaving?

Finally, after much consternation and feeling my blood pressure going through the sunroof, Ann said she would get directions and hopped out of the vehicle. A moment later she returned with the comment, “When you need directions, ask a homeless person.” Off we went, and a few turns later, I was able to drop Ann off at her destination.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. Looking at the clock and feeling a bit more composed, I once again tried the GPS app on the smart phone. I had not used this particular application more than a time or two in the past, and had struggled with it just a few moments prior while I was having my complete technological breakdown. Now, more focused, I had the GPS babe calling out my turns while making my way back onto the freeway through the one-way downtown maze⎯simple, and easy. Oh, and Kay made it to her meeting with a whole minute to spare. Tick-tock.

I was not happy with how I handled this situation at all. I am a normally a more focused and composed person, but as all of us do at one time or another, I lost myself in the moment. Losing one’s self in the moment is great if it is an amazing moment⎯this was not even close to an amazing moment! Not wanting to be in this type of situation EVER again. I mentally reviewed what I should have, could have and possibly would have done differently.

  • I should have read through all of the directions before starting out. I could have had a better impression as to what I needed to do and would have more than likely arrived at the destination without pause.
  • I always print a hard copy to take with me when I need directions, but was unable to because I did not have an available printer⎯I could have made a few handwritten notes.
  • I should have known more about the available technology I hold in my hand. If not, then perhaps I could have done it the old fashioned way and carried a map.

Should have’s, could have’s, would have’s⎯not something I like to reflect on. Ultimately, rather than allowing the negative energy to escalate, I should have taken a time-out  to breathe and focus. I would have been able to think through the problem in a more rational manner. This doesn’t mean I won’t have another technological breakdown somewhere along the way, but at least I will know how to get to where I am going. If not, then I'll take it from Ann and ask a homeless person.
Which way to go photo courtesy of sjsharktank

Monday, October 8, 2012

On Being Vulnerable

My dad is disabled. One could say he is physically challenged. You see, he died 21 years ago this past July. There is not a July that goes by without a flood of thoughts about him flying by in my minds eye. I am fully aware of what July represents to me⎯the loss of one of my very best friends. I don’t dwell on his memory or go around morose on the anniversary of his death or anything like that. But I do find it interesting how many feelings crop up for me.

I think of him off and on throughout the year, but it is July when my loss seeps into so much of my life. We were much more than father and daughter. We were two peas in a pod, somehow an ageless connection. He got me, I got him⎯it was that simple. We shared many ups and downs of life, and it is that particular thing, the sharing, I miss through the ups and downs of my daily life without him.

It is interesting how vulnerable and disabled I am to these feelings as they percolate to the surface from time to time. I still think of him anytime I want to share the good or the bad news, as we always had in the past. As these thoughts surface, I smile to myself or comment to him out loud as I express myself to the universe.

I never know when a story, a song, a word or a glance from some unknown person will set my thoughts of him reeling. Sometimes these thoughts bring an immediate upwelling of tears. Again, I find myself chatting to the universe as I say, “Miss you dad.”

I know he is as much a part of me as he always has been. His little sayings or singsongs come to mind often. I smile to myself as I use them in my everyday chattering. Yes, I may be vulnerable to these feelings after all these years, but these feelings help keep me linked to one of the best friends a girl could have, disability withstanding.

Vulnerability crops up in our lives when we least expect it. This vulnerability can disable us if we allow it. Death gives us a glimpse of mortality and the fragility of life. There is nothing wrong with any of this, but it is up to us to realize it all for what it is, deal with it, somehow cherish it if need be and move on; after all, as my dad would say:

  • “It’s enough to make a man drink his own bathwater”
  • “Don’t take any wooden nickels”
  • “No skin off my teeth”
  • “Try and try again”
  • “Sometimes a little rain must fall”
  • “Onward and upward”
  • “Home again, home again jiggity-jog”

I write this in an attempt to deal with the fullness in my heart, which I carried in July of this year, as I celebrate the life of a man worth knowing. I now share my feelings with the electronic universe as I say, “Miss you dad.”

Note: the above dad sayings are phrases we have heard from past written words in rhyme, books and movies. These dad sayings must have meant a great deal to my dad as he used these and many more throughout his lifetime.
Together photo courtesy of Spirit-Fire