Throwback Thursday….Beauty

They say symmetry is an important component when we judge whether we find someone’s face attractive or not.

When your face turned from stone to one in motion, that is when I began to find you beautiful.  Who could resist the light in your eyes paired with the charm of your crooked smile.

I first wrote this in 2016. A man with a crooked smile is one I often find charming.  Those subtle imperfections give the face character whether it is a small scar there or those darn crooked smiles.  They will get me every time.  As we age we all gain more of those subtle imperfections, and with age most of us gain an appreciation of those imperfections and find them beautiful.  I have yet to find my grey hair charming though, so I use a toxic mixture every so often in attempt to persuade others my hair is perfectly radiant without a trace of grey.  

Pearls

pShe sits in a bar with a nautical theme and little white Christmas lights.

Her drink has become watery as she contemplates life’s latest complication.

Does she go forward with her parents’ plan to find someone to marry, and transform into a sedate society matron adorned with pearls?

Or does she detour from the plan for the man sitting next to her, the man with the Southern accent who spins words into a web in which she has already been captured?

Is it she who is the pearl, trapped inside a shell that has started to open just a little as she sits next to the silken tongued man. She lets him open the shell the rest of the way with his words to discover what she has hidden deep inside.

This is a repost from a couple years ago, along with some new commentary.  The bar mentioned is inspired by one in my hometown where the preppy, wealthy sorts would hang out.

The man with the Southern accent…..he is someone different, someone who is not in her parents’ plan.  She hopes to be understood by him.

The post also represents a more old fashioned way of thinking.  The woman only sees that she has two choices, but doesn’t see she has a third choice, to be independent.

Independence Day

This week the United States of America will celebrate Independence Day, on July 4.  242 years old.

I’ve been studying my roots.  I have new appreciation for the struggle my ancestors had to move to what they thought was the greatest country on earth.  I’m sure the rest of the world’s view changes day by day as Trump continues in his bizarre, irrational presidency.

All of my ancestors were Christians of one sort or another.  They were allowed to come to the US to pursue a better life.  Somehow though, the portion of American Christianity that helped elect Trump doesn’t think we need to extend this same kindness to our neighbors South of the Border.  How can these Christians reconcile the brutal behavior of the Trump administration with the teachings of Jesus?

We can do better.28085916085_11763ff751_c

Throwback Thursday…Suitcase

She snooped in the suitcases, looking for clues.  Clues about the owner of the suitcases.

She found neon colored bras and sparkly panties galore, enough to make a stripper jealous.  All brands outside of the snooper’s price range.

Bottle caps and receipts for the liquor store.

A planner with many entries, of tasks never accomplished.

Overdue bills and credit card receipts.

Potions and eye shadows, enough for a year, not just a short trip.

Bottles of pills with no labels.  Not Motrin or Tylenol best she could tell.

She stopped snooping, more bewildered than ever.  Clearly over the years the gap had become ever wider, and she wasn’t sure she would ever understand the owner of the suitcase.

This is another one inspired by my sister.  Almost a year ago, my sister came to stay for a while to act as a paid caregiver for my mother.  I am mystified by the person my sister has become, and nothing seems to make sense.  Things my mom had hinted at, that I did not believe, were not only true, but even more bizarre than one could realize.

 

 

Taking Mom to the Store

I head down the interstate to see my mom.  Today I am taking her to the doctor.  After that we’ll have lunch and then go grocery shopping.

The doctor is very patient with her.  At times I wish he would take control of the conversation.  Hearing her odd tales in front of another person is somehow more painful then hearing them when it is just the two of us.

Dementia is a strange thing.  Things that would have been forbidden once upon a time, my mom now does.  She has some grapes in the cart.  She starts eating them one by one as we stroll through the store.  She would never had allowed us as kids to eat the grapes unwashed, before we had actually paid for them.  During another trip, she has a bag of pastries in the cart.  She starts eating them before we get to the register.  She remembers to tell the cashier how many pastries there were originally so she can pay for everything.  She would have never done things like this years ago.  I don’t try to redirect her because I don’t see it will be effective.

I encourage mom to load up on the groceries.  I want to set up grocery delivery for her, but she gives strange nonsensical reasons why this won’t work.  When winter comes, though, we’ll need to have this conversation again.  Mom has helpers come into her house a few times a week.  She explains to me a bizarre reason why they can’t take her to the grocery store.

At the end of the grocery store trip she is exhausted.  We need to sit a bit before we get in the car.  I gather that she hasn’t had adequate fluid intake on this day in an effort to decrease her urinary incontinence.  She doesn’t seem to follow me when I tell her that dehydration will make her feel dizzy and weak.

When we get home, she has to rest in a chair for a while.  I give her some water to drink, make sure she is feeling better and then get back on the road.

My mom was fit for many years and then something happened.  Arthritis?  Fear?  Pain? If I lived locally I would try to take her out every day to get more exercise so a trip to the grocery store wouldn’t be so exhausting.

The day is exhausting for me, not physically, but emotionally.  Being a spectator to the cruelty of dementia is hard.

 

Throwback Thursday….The Seedy Side of Town

Everywhere she goes she always can connect with the seedy side of town.  In her hometown it is the dividing line where old money sits across the street from the very poor.  Nestled nearby is a “charming” historical district with many bars.

In the seedy side of town the golden rule does not apply.  The predatory and the opportunistic easily find the most damaged of society.  Sometimes it is hard to tell the predator from the prey.

In the dim light of night she looks attractive.  If you look closer though you can see her smudged mascara, dirty fingernails and unwashed clothes, and you might turn away.

She mostly seeks her own type, those who cannot say no to another beer.  She seeks validation and affirmation that she is still something.  She doesn’t care the price she pays as long as she gets her fix for the night.

Not content to sit at home and fall asleep after one too many drinks, she comes alive in the night.  For just one more night she can tell a sympathetic stranger her tales of woe.

In the hot blinding daylight of summer, life is just too harsh to face.  Better to sit in the dark air conditioned bar where no one cares if she is sober or drunk.

I plan on selecting some old posts to republish, scheduled on Thursdays.  When I republish the old posts I plan on giving some more background on what inspired me to write the post.  I wrote this one about a year ago during one of my sister’s chaotic episodes with alcohol.  There is a historical district with several bars in  our hometown that would be a frequent landing place when she came back to visit.  She would often “run away” when visiting my mom to have a few drinks.  At least one of the bars has asked her not to return.  I have no idea why.  If you met my sister sober and cleaned up, you would never imagine the person she is drunk.  When sober she can often have a sweet childlike manner when she first meets people that fools others about what lies beneath.

We Don’t Have All The Answers

I often write about my experiences with depression on this blog.  Whether you are talking about depression or diabetes, anxiety or arthritis, you can surely find someone who has ALL of the answers about your condition.  Bonus points if it comes with a “natural cure”.  Negative points if you have succumbed to BIG PHARMA and Western Medicine.

I think the last time I wrote about depression I was angry.  Angry because I can find plenty of people out there who could tell me where I am going wrong.  It could be that I don’t pray enough, or maybe I need to eat more broccoli.  Or maybe I just need a “natural” supplement with the same price tag as my “unnatural”  antidepressant.  Because don’t you know every cell in my body claps with glee when that natural supplement enters my bloodstream.   Oh wait that doesn’t happen because I am not taking a natural supplement for my depression.

I was angry because there are others that think they had all the answers when it comes to mental health struggles.  For a dollar you can buy their ebook.  Or maybe they will get a kickback for whatever natural product they are promoting.

People with mental health struggles need compassion.  Everyone needs just a little kindness in their lives.  You just never know who is struggling or why they are struggling.

I would hope that with the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain people would say to themselves “We don’t know all the answers” and “We need to find out more”.

I didn’t know either of these individuals.  I don’t know what kind of pain drove them to suicide.  I do hope the individuals who try to simplify mental health struggles into a sort of checklist of easy changes you make in your life will now think twice.

This turned into a bit of a rant.  I did want to clarify that I am not against herbal or natural remedies, I am against those who would say “natural” remedies are the only answer.

Dad

My dad has been gone for almost one third of my life.  I think of him often at this time of year.  In my mind he is a tall quiet guy, waiting for something….what that might be , I am not sure. After my dad passed away it struck me how similar my dad and I were…I wished I would have realized this when he was still alive.

I came across some old census records from when my dad was a child.  It is hard to picture him as a child.  He was the youngest in his family.  His family had lived comfortably before the Depression came along. When my dad was born though they were struggling. From what I gather my paternal grandfather never bounced back after this, either economically or psychologically.

I sense my dad knew from a young age he would have to make his own way through life. He started working at a young age. Later he would join the military and finish college. After that he would meet my mom.  I admire that he took time to serve in the military. He’d always taught us to be respectful of veterans.  He’ d always wanted to make sure that we were aware of dates such as the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in which US military personnel had lost their lives.

My father always struck me as an old soul. Perhaps it was because I sense he didn’t have many years of a childhood that were carefree.   He had very old fashioned beliefs especially in terms of religion.  He was extremely intelligent in certain respects, but in navigating relationships with people,  there was always some awkwardness.

Beyond the quiet intelligent man that the public saw, he had another side. His other side was controlled by alcohol.  While it was not entirely the alcohol that made my dad sometimes difficult to get along with, the alcohol sure didn’t help.  Why did he drink..who knows, I can only guess.  I’ d always  thought there was an element of depression and anger that he was trying to manage.  Along with that I also thought there seemed to be a ghost of sadness that haunted my dad’s side of the family.  This ghost was only hinted at though, people just weren’t  open about the it struggles with mental health.

Despite my dad’s inner struggles, I always admired his work ethic. He didn’t want to stop working.  He had already become sick, and his death would only be a few months away when he finally quit his job.

While I never talked about it with him, I always suspected my dad and I both had a strong need for quiet.  Sometimes our shyness made it difficult to communicate with others.  Our words sometimes tumbled out in a way that seemed awkward to others.  I’ve really tried to work on this especially in the past years.

If I could go back in time I wish I would have tried to get to know my dad better.  I wish I would have been able to figure out how to let down some of my own walls and get my dad to do the same.

I originally posted this 2 years ago.  Since then, through researching my family tree, I found an old class picture from when he was in the eighth grade.  He is the tallest in his class but somehow gives the impression he wants to be invisible.  Or else he just didn’t want his picture taken.  I was happy to find the picture as there were few childhood pictures of dad.

As I have mentioned elsewhere in my blog, my sister is an alcoholic as well.  I don’t know if my dad and sister had a genetic vulnerability to alcoholism, but it sure is a tough disease.

I apologize if you have already seen this posted.  I am confused about trying to repost an old post and I am not sure if  it had went through on the other tries.

 

The Circle of Life

14549882916_0032a05d95My son has his driver’s license now.  I wasn’t quite ready for this, but his dad and I certainly appreciate being released from some of the chauffeuring about town.  On the other hand I used to have some good conversations with the kid in the car.

As our kids become more independent, my husband and I are watching our parents become more frail.   I watch my mom struggle with with both cognitive and physical issues.  How long will my mom live in her frail state, a decade?  Mom’s struggle to stay independent means she’ll see suggestions to make her like easier as people trying to boss her around.  I’m a nurse.  Spending time on the other side though, as a family member, through ER visits, hospitalizations and doctor’s appointments is eye opening.  Many wonderful caregivers, some not so wonderful.  Some definite concerns during the ER visits, the most basic of nursing care needs to be addressed along with the more complex tasks.

My husband is watching his dad become more frail.  I sit on the sidelines and watch the difficult family dynamics.  Dynamics that are perhaps changed by the presence of my father in law’s second wife, who he married very late in life. His children have less of a voice as his wife claims to know what is best for him.

I frequently visit the website of my “hometown” newspaper.  This week I saw that a former classmate had died.  She was a woman.  As far as I can tell, it has been the guys I grew up with who died early.  I was surprised to see her name.  We weren’t close, but I still wondered what happened to her, what caused her to die relatively early.  I also a former coworker in the obituaries, see her name was another surprise.

The circle of life comes with much joy, but also sadness.  I’m not ready for the s.adness

Your Words Are Not Okay Samantha Bee

Alert: post contains the word cunt

Sometimes I really do wish I lived in a cave.  If you hadn’t heard, comedienne Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a “feckless cunt”.  Samantha Bee claims to be a feminist.

Growing up in a religiously conservative family there was always this background thread of women hating other women.  These sorts of women still exist today, the menfolk are fabulous, but the womenfolk are often prone to irrational, emotional mood swings, blah, blah, blah, you know because of our hormones and menstruation.  I really don’t expect much of these people.  If I hear they have daughters, I shudder.

But when I hear a woman use the words feckless cunt to describe another woman, I also shudder.  I am not crazy about the word cunt to describe the body part.  Using it as a gendered insult is another thing all together.  Most women in my world get that.  Maybe I do live under a rock and those in the know pepper their conversations with the word cunt.

Samantha Bee should know better as a feminist.  As the mother of a daughter she should know better.  All the feminists who rationalize and justify her use of the word cunt should know better

If she doesn’t like Ivanka Trump, surely she can resort to other word choices if you call yourself a feminist.

I have tried my best to teach my children that using words like cunt to tear  someone down is not okay.  Again, using the word as a phrase to attack is different than using it as a word to describe a body part.

Sad, sad, sad.