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Mama. Oh Mama.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

In the grey dark of dawn, gentle hands began to minister to my little mama and with that human touch, she took a breath ... and then she slipped away.

And with that snip the last thread that held her body here on earth was cut. My precious beautiful little mama - who had grown so tiny and so soft - has died. And how I will ever be able to pay tribute to the mama she was to me ... I haven't a clue. This cut is so deep that I'm not sure the words can bubble up through the loss. She left us so gently. There wasn't any drama to rip away the scab and make grief easier to empty out. With Daddy (see? he is still butting into her story with his drama) there were crises and there were hospitals and sneaking of dogs into rooms and beeping monitors and all that stuff. With Mama there was just a whoosh. And then emptiness.

How to pay tribute to the Importance that was Mama. Mama was the sun around which I orbited. She was my lodestar. She was my mirror. She was even a Wrong Way Sign I heeded, making different choices with my life so that I did not wind up quite where she was. She was the font. She was where the stories came from and the songs. She was the only Druid I ever knew - and not some sort of cute modern day Wicken Druid but a woman who would look at me slightly vaguely and say "I'm sure God can hear our prayers in the woods."

In my two earliest memories, admittedly mostly about me, she is there - on the edge, close enough to pick me up if I fall. In the first she was in a car with the rest of my family listening to my 15 month old self cry. I asked her how long it went on and she said, airily, "Oh - the whole trip" which was from Richmond, VA to Lake Worth FL. 1,000 miles. I asked her how they could stand it and she said "The trip was planned and paid for. You were going to cry that long anyway and we were going to have to listen to you." Which is exactly the sort of Glenda the Good Witch pragmatism she practiced throughout her whole life. What must be endured will be accepted with a shrug and some sort of management procedure will be brought to bear upon it.

What a woman.

I have a-zillion memories of her - and though I shan't fill up this post with them, I have promised myself and LD that I will write them all down into The Story Of Mama - for him and for P and if we are so blessed, any grandchildren that come along. I love those memories. I like to pull them out of the treasure chest of my brain, like so many rubies and emeralds from a jewel box, and look at them, savor them - feel them again.

She and I had a special time together in those early years. By the time I was born, my older sister was in school so I had long days of being her Only Child and yet, because I already had a sister, the New Babies who came along were something she and I shared. There was never any sense of being supplanted. We were a team.

This team had formed before there were New Babies, of course. We did stuff together. She did not know how to drive before I turned 4 so we had to go everywhere by bus. We'd take a county bus to the city line and then walk across the street to a different corner to catch the city bus. Once when we were coming home from downtown - which is where people shopped when I was little - I started to cross the street to catch the county bus. She asked me what I was doing and I told her I was going to the bus stop. I was across the street by then. We argued for a while about which side of the street was the correct one and then she said "When the bus comes to my corner, I'm getting on it."

Well. I knew one thing - nobody was going to let a 3 year old get on a bus without her mother so I walked back across the street. And then the bus came to my corner, paused a moment, and seeing nobody at the stop, drove off and left us. We had to walk home and we laughed the whole way.

It wasn't long after that, she learned how to drive. Not because public transport was so difficult but because of a near disaster caused by me. Big sister had started school so it was in the fall. Mama was heavily pregnant by then with the first of the New Babies. (those poor girls were still being referred to as TheBabies when they started high school) She was napping in the afternoons then and usually I loved to nap with her because she'd let me sleep in her bed with her. But this particular time I kept thinking about the candy in the bathroom - I must have just gotten over a cold. That candy in the bathroom was so delicious. It was orange flavored. It melted on your tongue. And if you climbed up onto the toilet and from there onto the sink you could get the cabinet open and you could pry the lid off with your bottom teeth. I took a few and let them make my mouth juicy. I went back to bed to try to nap. That candy called my name. I went back for another few. Then back to bed. Then back to the bathroom again. When there was only one candy left I figured I'd get scolded for eating the candy without permission but so long as I hadn't eaten it all it, I would probably not get a spanking. Much of our childhood decision making pivoted around the odds of the spanking. And then I went back to sleep with mama, on the Big Bed.

Of course, I had forgotten all about the moral dilemma by the time my sister came home from school. Instead, I bragged, "I had some tandy" (Always fun to get one up on the Big Sister) "Where's mine?" big sister demanded and I remember Mama saying "she didn't have any candy" and, completely forgetting the strategical advantage of silence I said "Yes I did. I had the tandy in the bathroom"

After that everything was pandemonium. No car. Couldn't drive anyway. No ambulance service in the county. Call Daddy. Call the neighbors. Most of the women neither drove nor had cars at that time. We were starter families in starter homes during the recession following the Korean War. Finally a neighbor took Mama and me to the hospital and I distinctly remember her saying "Now be a good girl and don't kick" so I asked her to hold my legs, which she did for me .... and then great big men with noisy silver machines did things and I threw up.

Yes. I was the sort of kid that inspired those pesky childproof caps on medicine bottles. Sorry.

After that Daddy made her learn how to drive, left the car at home while he took the public transportation - for the rest of his working life. He found he liked not having to be bothered with a car during Richmond's modest rush hour.

Oh the memories. Oh the flood of memories. Mama knew more songs and more stories than any other mother in the neighborhood - in the world, I was sure. and I would brag on her and tell my friends they ought to hear my mother sing. And then I'd take them to her and she would sing. And when the ballet teacher wanted wooden milk buckets for her little tap dancing milk maids, it was mama who suggested using contact paper printed like wood to cover old paint cans. It was also mama who sewed our tutus and the milk maid costume. Black and white striped satin over red net tutus. Oh mama. mama mama mama.

and it was Mama who had the faith to drag me to every violin teacher in the city till she finally found one who would take a chance on a 5 year old. This was before Suzuki and the wunderkinds of today. And it was Mama who kept a scrap book of every program I ever played, every newspaper article, every award, certificate and medal. And when all her kids grew up and moved away ... she bought herself a violin and learned how to play it - and even won 2nd place in the Chesterfield County Fair Fiddle competition.

And Mama could draw. And she sewed. Oh she could make anything. She taught me how to make the Seven Dress for my dolls. You say you want to know how to make a Seven Dress?

You fold a square of cloth in half and then in half again
Snip out the corner where the folds all meet, diagonally opposite the 4 loose points.
Then cut away those 4 points in the shape of a 7. Open it up and you see a t-shaped garment with the neckline where the first snip was cut away.

You can leave it like it is to make a pull over or snip it down the center to make a coat. So long as you make the body wide enough to wrap around your doll or teddy bear or G I Joe, you can just tie it at the waist or if you want to get serious you can glue the edges or sew them. I've taught countless little girls how to make the 7 dress but it came first from Mama.

Mama Mama Mama. Oh Mama how could I ever describe all that is you? How to explain that you didn't believe God could only hear you in a church. How to demonstrate the tenderness you showed us when you said "don't come crying to me. I can't help if you're crying" How to tell the pride I felt when you told me "If you need a day off from school, just tell me. I'll write you a note. But never tell me you are sick if you aren't"

How does one describe the utter joy of sipping coffee with the grownups after being invited by Mama into the living room, to sit on the sofa with her in the morning before school. What about the lessons in How To Catch A Man - which was the title of a book she bought and shared with us. "Stare directly into his eyes, then lower your own - twice, swiftly - and say "You are just so cute."

What about the hilarious laughter we shared watching comedy shows together. The way she managed to get us in the summer children's plays, the youth orchestras, the drama classes and the art shows. We were always everywhere doing cool stuff because Mama thought it would fun to try. "I mean, what's the worst that can happen? You had a few hours of trying something new." and the complete freedom in the kitchen - so long as you cleaned up after yourself. Yes. It was Mama who taught me to always have good toys - and to share them with abandon. Just ask any little girl who's spent time at Bess' Girls Camp.

Oh Mama. Mama. How could you go away?

And yet she has been going for a long time. She has been in a skilled nursing home now for almost 3 years - bedridden for the most part - and probably as much by choice as anything else. She no longer drew. She no longer read. She knew us all and remembered the new family members - the grand-daughters in law. The great grandchildren. But she only really roused herself when she talked about the old days. Old photos. Old stories. Old diaries. I had them all and I took them all to her bedroom. We could spend hours with these mementos of decades gone.

But on our last visit things were different. She is right handed but she picked up her diet Pepsi with her left hand and poked her face with the straw. She didn't recognize any of the photos, though I took big ones of her and Daddy and TheBabies. She smiled and did the polite thing but if I asked "recognize her?" she'd say "No. Who is this?"

After a while there were no more pictures. She lay back. She stared at me and said "I love you so"

And I crawled into bed with her and I held her close and I whispered to her all the words of pride and love and tenderness I had. I told her that she was the best mama ever in the whole wide world. I told her I loved her and would always always always love her. And we cuddled till the lunch staff came with her lunch.

And I went away thinking "she's going. She will be gone soon."

And now she is gone. In fact - she may have gone before that nurse gently touched her in the darkness of a Saturday morning. I hope they came for her - the way they did for Daddy. Perhaps it was Daddy himself. However it was, though - I am glad it was gently and I am glad the last words we shared with each other were I Love You.

Mama. Oh Mama. Goodbye.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 9/16/2014 11:10AM

    You wrote the most beautiful blog at such a difficult time... Thank you for sharing your Mama with us. I cried a lot as I read all this. I am glad you were close with your mother and that you have such special memories of her growing up as well. And I am glad you had time to say good bye these last few months, realising she was going, taking the time to tell her you love her. This is so precious.
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NUOVAELLE 9/10/2014 3:41AM

    I'm really sorry for your loss. But I'm also thankful that you shared such a beautiful piece of writing with us. Thank you for opening your soul and showing us even the tiniest images of the wonderful person that your mom has been.
You have my deepest sympathies. May God grant you strength through this difficult time of mourning.

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JCMSMILE 9/9/2014 11:20PM

    What can I say? This was beautiful! I'm glad you were able to tell your mother you loved her & she to you. My dear mama passed from this life in 2007 and I miss her every day. So, of course I'm writing this with tears in my eyes. Please know you are loved and supported!

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KANSASROSE67 9/9/2014 10:18PM

    Dear Bess,

Your writing is a true gift. What a lovely tribute to your mother...she became real to me with your words and I could feel your love for each other.

I still miss my mom more than words can say. But how lucky we are to have had them.

Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers,

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ICECUB 9/9/2014 6:45PM


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NASFKAB 9/9/2014 10:38AM

  wonderful tribute to a great lady sll the best may she rest in peace

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TUTUNAN 9/9/2014 10:18AM

    What a wonderful tribute you have written to your Mama. So many lovely memories. Savor them, and let them help you through this so very sad time.

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MSLZZY 9/9/2014 9:54AM

    Your words touched my heart. My mama slipped away from us over 17 years ago, the day between my birthday and my younger sister's. She wouldn't have wanted to ruin either of our birthdays that way but she chose a day that we would never forget. She was my rock, my defender and the light of my world. When you have a mother like that, you never forget all the wonderful memories and just want one more minute to talk with them. So sorry for your loss. HUGS!

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JUSTYNA7 9/9/2014 8:32AM

    BessHaille you are a wonder. You are a gift to your Mama in memory and prose. I am so sorry for you losing her in body. You captured her on this page. What a gift this is. I hope you keep it and perhaps send it to an editor. I have a best friend going through the same and she is just as gifted in writing.. and will appreciate these words. Thank you.

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SLIMMERJESSE 9/9/2014 8:26AM

    Very sorry for your loss. You are so lucky to have had such a wonderful relationship.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 9/9/2014 8:20AM

    Beautiful blog!!!! emoticon for sharing emoticon emoticon

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BETHGILLIGAN 9/9/2014 7:31AM

    What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your mama!! She sounds like an amazing woman and a wonderful, loving mama. I am so sorry for your loss.

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KANOE10 9/9/2014 7:18AM

    Your mother was a wonderful warm woman. You were blessed to have her in your life. I am so sorry about your loss. I know she felt your love. Your love for her and those beautiful memories are precious and are forever.

Your blog was a great tribute to her,

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RASPBERRY56 9/9/2014 7:10AM

    I am so, so sorry about the loss of your beloved was 5 years ago today I lost mine..........while we weren't always close (for some unknown reason she favored my younger brothers, while my major-league alcoholic dad favored me - sheeaah, thanks a lot!), toward the end of her time on earth there was some "thawing out" of the relationship, as it were..........

That "Seven Dress" is sooooooo cool! What a wonderful memory of a very special talent she had!

There are two Spark Teams ("I Miss My Mom" and "Motherless Daughters") that you may want to look into should you feel ready to do so.........

My best thoughts to you and your family at this difficult time.....


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STEPH-KNEE 9/9/2014 7:05AM

    You sure do have a way with words!! emoticon I am so so so sooooo sorry for your loss. She was clearly a beautiful and amazing woman! emoticon

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SANDICANE 9/9/2014 7:02AM

    You pay tribute to the mama your mama was everyday, by being the person you are, and she must have been truly wonderful!

This is a beautiful blog and, yes, it is very hard to lose mom...very hard. No matter how tiny and soft she had become, it's hard to say goodbye, and even harder not to have her in your life through the coming weeks, months and years. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/9/2014 7:00AM

    So sorry for your loss. emoticon

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KELLIEBEAN 9/9/2014 6:23AM

    What a beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing your memories of your mom. You are a great daughter.

Im so very sorry for your loss. I hope these beautiful memories help you feel her arms around you for many years to come!

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GRANJERRY1 9/9/2014 6:14AM

    This is so beautifully written, and I can feel the pain about losing a mother. I have tears streaming down as I read your blog and though I lost my mother 28 years ago, it brought back all those memories.

My deepest sympathies and condolences to you and your family.....

Be strong and God Bless.
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Early Birthday Gift - And a Goal Met

Monday, September 01, 2014

Early in the summer I set a new goal - to find an additional form of exercise to add to my routine. No - to add to my life. I love the gym. I love the stationary bike. I love the elliptical. I love weights and strength training. But I wanted more. I wanted some exercise that was more like play or sports; though the problem with me and sports is that ... ugh. competition. Bleh. Yuck. I mean - let's just take all the fun out of movement, activity and exercise. Let's just coat things with words like Failure, and Looser, and You Loose and Score - just to be sure you don't have any fun.

Yeah. I am the calisthenics girl - NOT the sports girl.

Okay - off the soap box. The opinions expressed here are strictly personal - they're NOT a comment on anybody or anything in general.

So - I was longing for More Active Play. I set the goal for Summer 2014 to Find a New Sport to Add to My Life. I knew this would be fun to do as well as enriching. In July we took a long bike trip in a state park and oh my goodness did I ever love it. We actually came home thinking we'd like to buy a bike but after a day or so I knew that since I live at the end of a long dirt lane, at the end of a long dead end paved road - I would either have to bike over the same 8 miles every time I wanted to go someplace or I'd have to load it on a car and take the bike someplace.

Uh. I know this. If it involves getting into a car and going somewhere ... it ain't going to happen.
I wouldn't even go to my beloved gym if I weren't already in town for working or grocery shopping.

I will still go on bike trips but they will be on trails where there are bikes to rent.

So. What else?

Ahh - well, remember, I live on a river. Or rather, I live up a little gut that's up a little creek that's on a river. That means I can walk to the water. WALK that's important. I will walk almost anywhere. Walking through field and forest ( or city or town, or even shopping mall) is my main outdoor play.

Now - we have boats here. Even boats that I can handle - with effort. But they're really more Big Strong Guy sized boats. Our canoe is an 18 foot Grumman aluminum ship - and if I'm the only person in it - the bow comes out of the water and has no steerage. I have to either take dogs - who move around and even jump out - or fill up buckets with water to hold the bow down. Like Goldilocks, this boat is Too Big.

And there was a kayak - but again - guys have altered it, taking out the seat, so it's ... another Goldilocks allusion ... It's Too Hard.

And then - there is always the fear that the most darling, wonderful, Himself in the world, will try to dominate me if I step into his hobby. (He's the Boat Guy) He's extremely bossy. Most of the time it's hilarious and I just laugh and make faces and ignore him - but when it comes to his areas of expertise I tend to yield. And loving him as I do - I don't want to resent having to yield my pleasure to his instruction.

Still and all there was this little voice inside me that said "You are always sniping at people who live on the water and never go out on the water ... and You Are No Different From Them!"

Yes. There was a spiritual component about the lure of the water. There was almost a spiritual duty to connect with it. When I go out with Other People - while I love it, love them, love sharing .... I am coming out as a tourist. What about getting to know my water - my marshes - my little birds and dragon flies and marsh roses? When am I going to go out and honor the blessed gift I've been given?

So I began to make kayak murmurs. Then I tried someone else's kayak. Then I talked about kayaks to Himself - who immediately leapt into action! He looked up every dealer in Virginia. He made calls. He read articles. He had a list. He tempted me away from work early on Wednesday so we could go look at a shop. And he took me to Fredericksbug and the Virginia Outdoor Center where I could try some out.

I had an idea I'd like the Old Town Vapor 10. It was small (Important to me) and seemed comfortable enough. and best of all, they have some. I tried it and liked it. Very stable. Very easy to paddle - though even an 8 foot paddle knocked against the gunwales. It was good. But there are quite a list of kayaks in my price range, at several different places around VA. This was just my first stop. I was still shopping.

Then the owner brought down an Old Town Loon 11.1

From the moment I stepped into it I knew this was a different experience. Even the launch felt different. It was narrower and slightly tipsier. I don't really mind tipsy because heck - I go on the water expecting to get wet. But it wasn't VERY tipsy - just slightly more so. Then I sat down and it clove through the water like a fish. The first try to cross the current in the upper Rappahannock was a success. I shot across like an arrow.

This did not feel like a boat. It felt like an extension of my body. It made me think of my sister, a dressage horsewoman and when she sits a horse you can't tell where she ends and the horse begins. This was what I was dreaming of but hadn't realized I would find.

I had to get back in the original Vapor and then back in the Loon and after that - well - I didn't really need to try any more boats. I thought I ought to. I did. We drove all over VA to look at boats - even up to the James River State Park where I could try out some other brands of kayaks.

But the memory of feeling like I was a boat, instead of I was paddling a boat, sat in the back of my mind whispering "you already know - you already know". So at the end of the day I told Himself "look - I have seen enough boats. I know what I want"

I still had to give Other Good Reasons for not looking any more ... because I was with a man with Boat Fever - On A Quest.

II can borrow one from Bill for a few weeks and see if I reallio trulio want one.
I can get one used - so I won't be timid about dinging it up
I can save on the boat and spend on a better paddle
I can sell it easily if it turns out I don't really use it

And So

And so on Sunday we called up our friend and I borrowed a lime green Old Town Loon 11.1

And doesn't it look like fun?

And don't I have a lovely place to play?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

52BINCE 9/7/2014 11:48AM

    From the pics in this blog you look like a happy kayaker!!!!!!

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MSLZZY 9/2/2014 9:55AM

    Makes me wish I lived closer to the water. Enjoy!

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STEPH-KNEE 9/2/2014 7:10AM

    You are fabulous and I am so excited for you! This looks like it's shaping up to be the best birth month ever!! emoticon emoticon

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SANDICANE 9/2/2014 7:05AM

    Ha ha ha ha! When I bought my kayak, it was an extremely different experience. I went to my Home Hardware store where they had Ocean Kayaks on sale. They had 1.5 man and 1 man. I bought both without trying them. They are "sit upon" kayaks which means they are unsinkable and that suited me just fine since our water is swift. I bought the 1.5 man for me and my then dog, Tayah. Her first time on, it was too tippy and she ran off...affeared!!! Still, I've taken all my grandchildren out on it now and one of their little friends. The one man is mostly for anyone who might feel like accompanying me (NOT DH...he's only a motor boat guy!!!)

I hope you love your kayak as much as I love mine!!!!

Happy Kayaking!

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SHEILA1505 9/2/2014 2:55AM


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KANSASROSE67 9/1/2014 9:52PM

    So happy for you! I dream of living on the water. But I CAN bike lots of places from my house so I need to be grateful for that blessing.

Enjoy your new love.

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JCMSMILE 9/1/2014 8:39PM

    Looking good!! emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 9/1/2014 6:30PM

  What a beautiful place to live and play!

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ICECUB 9/1/2014 6:16PM

    emoticon LOVE THE PICTURES

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WATERMELLEN 9/1/2014 5:56PM

    Perfect!! I would LOVE a kayak -- but I can't walk to water from my house, would have to put it on top of my car and drive it to a launch etc. And nearest body of water is a lake full of motor boats.


But your lime green kayak looks glorious and the sensation you describe is exactly what I love about kayaking.

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123ELAINE456 9/1/2014 3:16PM

  Wonderful Blog. Enjoy Yourself out on the River. A very Lovely Play Ground. Have Loads of Fun. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Take Care.

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JUSTYNA7 9/1/2014 11:30AM

    WELCOME! to my world. I went through such a similar process mourning not being able to canoe and the frustrations of not being able to use a traditional kayak... but then sitting on a sit-upon style and voila I was "free". So happy for you. You listened to your inner voice that knew what you needed. Very nice writing too, loved it. Justyna

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DIANNEMT 9/1/2014 10:37AM

    How wonderful!! I also have a hubby who does MORE than I need sometimes. Hope you get what YOU want ASAP!!

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LINDA! 9/1/2014 10:34AM

    Looks like fun,

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NASFKAB 9/1/2014 10:11AM

  lovely post enjoy yourself

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The Year Without A Summer

Saturday, August 23, 2014

No doubt about it, I'm an autumn baby. My birthday is in September (I like to celebrate all month long) and I live in the south - in the muggy buggy sleepy swampy coastal land of Virginia. Secretly ... well, not really all that secretly ... I am proud that I can endure a tidewater Virginia summer. But most of all I have always been glad to see those mosquitoey days draw to a close. I can't wait for the crisp bite of a north wind, the clear blue of a humidity free sky - I even like the song of the cricket - so long as he stays outside to do his wooing.

It has always been a mystery, why so many of my friends (including Himself) prefer the summer and sigh wistfully at it's closing. Till this year. This year we have had AIR CONDITIONING! I have only spent one summer in my life living in a place that was air conditioned and I had a sore throat all that summer. So I have always known what the weather is like out there. I have always felt the stifling heat of a second floor bedroom, gasping beneath a wet washcloth on my chest as I waited for sleep to take me away from the hotness. I have kicked off the sheet in my sleep. I've gotten the ice pack out of the freezer and wrapped it in a towel so that I could lie on it till my chilled blood circulated through my body to cool it down.

Not This Year.

This has been a summer of closed windows, clean floors, bug-less window sills. This year there have been no stuck dresser drawers, no mildew spores creeping across leather shoes and no no-see-ums whining in my ear. But this has felt like the year without a summer. This year, since I haven't "felt" summer, I can't really feel like there has even *been* a summer. I know. It's a Right Brain Thing.

And here we are, facing the last week of it. (you might think summer lasts till the 21st of September, but ask any 4th grader and she will tell you it's over on the first day of school) I feel like I've been caught off guard.

And what does this girl do when she is caught off guard?

She pulls out her Notebook and Starts A New List!

First I listed all the wonderful things that have filled the past 10 weeks. Then I wrote down everything I could think of that I want right now. And then I started the list of steps I need to take to get the things I want right now.

And number one on the list - no duh - is to drop the added lbs that an air conditioned summer has allowed to creep back onto this body.

ooooo. Notice how I found SOMETHING ELSE to blame for the weight gain?

No - just joking. The weight gain came from choices made over and over and over again. One more bite; an extra ice cream bar; wine AND dessert at the same meal - two days in a row. Hel-OH-oh.

But there is nothing like a new month, a BIRTHDAY month - heralding in a New Season - to inspire a girl to revamp her could-be-more-healthy lifestyle. First on the agenda is to do a new assessment with my WW ActiveLink activity monitor. I will start that tomorrow. The initial assessment was done at a time when I was lifting weights with a personal trainer. I haven't done that since my shoulder problems flared up in December. I can plug my little monitor in to the website and it will assess my daily activity and suggest ways to improve it. I'm ready for a fresh start and new challenge.

Second will be to commit to eating in the weight-loss zone. I know what that needs to be. Time to be like Nike and Just Do It.

Between those two choices runs the golden path to the body I really do want; the body with the energy to do all the other Fresh Start Things on my Autumn 2014 list.

So. That is my pumped up post for a Saturday morning - at the tail end of August in my Year Without a Summer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CORNERKICK 9/12/2014 2:42AM


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MRSRIGS1 9/6/2014 2:24PM

    GREAT blog! Thank you!

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MAYBER 9/4/2014 12:30AM

    Thank you for sharing your inspiration blog
One day at a time love prayers peace God Bless

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NUOVAELLE 8/28/2014 2:03AM

    I really enjoyed your blog!
Until two weeks ago I was also under the impression that we'd had a year without a real summer, mainly because it hadn't been the usual hot summer that we have here. But August had kept it all for the closing scene!!! It's been awfully hot the last couple of weeks!
I'm an autumn person like you and I'm looking forward to it.
I hope your birthday month is as enjoyable and as fruitful as you want it to be.

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CLAIREINPARIS 8/27/2014 4:37AM

    Paris never gets hot enough to need AC... and each time I have been somewhere with AC, I have been very sick (I remember completely losing my voice in Haiti, twice, which was awful for doing all the interviews!!!). So I know what you are talking about, and I am glad you weren't sick this summer. We didn't really have a summer here either actually, not because of AC, but because it has been so wet and so cold. Only 1 hot day in the whole of summer so far! I am off to Italy next week, and then to the Gulf, so I'll have hot days for sure, but I won't see much of Paris in September, and it makes me sad as I love that time of the year so much. Ah well! :)
Enjoy your birthday month, I look forward to hearing about your new goals and results!

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MSBEKANATOR 8/25/2014 8:06PM

    So glad I was able to read your blog. I enjoyed it!

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JWALKFORFUN 8/25/2014 10:30AM

    Beautiful blog. Have a great Birthday month.
I love Fall and my autumn crocus are blooming now, makes me feel good. congrats on featured blog emoticon

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STEVIEBEE569 8/25/2014 8:42AM


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FORBANDE 8/25/2014 7:03AM

    I love autumn too! I know what you mean by missing the summer. I can remember going to the beach and just being outside more. Now the desk jobs, air conditioning and all the other conveniences, I can barely stand a little heat.

Here's to meeting your goals (which I know you will do)! And here's to a wonderful birthday month!


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STEPH-KNEE 8/25/2014 2:52AM

    You are so fabulous! emoticon

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JSEATTLE 8/25/2014 2:15AM

  I will miss the longer days the most. Hoping for a mild winter.

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BLUEJEAN99 8/25/2014 2:02AM

    You are a good writer girl!!!!!!!!!!!!! emoticon

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JIBBIE49 8/25/2014 12:36AM

    Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail.

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ROCKYCPA 8/24/2014 11:13PM


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SJKENT1 8/24/2014 10:58PM

    I love the fall... I love living in an area with all 4 seasons amply displayed. Well.... actually we see a whole lot more of winter than anyother season!

Here's to a great fall!

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KIPSTER52 8/24/2014 8:46PM

    emoticon thanks for the smile

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BEATLETOT 8/24/2014 7:47PM

    I really enjoyed this blog!

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LIVELYGIRL2 8/24/2014 7:27PM

  I can get what you are saying about the contrast of this states summer, and having that lovely air conditioner.

But here in CA, it is lovely, except for a heat spell for 3-7 days. I am sad it leaving, because it's my FAV!!! But I am going to have my last hurrah for awhile. My b-day is Tuesday and I can milk it. stretch the summer wanta be until Sept. when we get rain. Actually this is year 3 or 4 of drought .

The only bad thing we have in CA is earthquakes and outrageous pricing on housing. They call it supply and demand, but it is tough , in that regard.

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DALID414 8/24/2014 6:45PM

    I'm a September baby, too!

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CICELY360 8/24/2014 5:33PM

  good blog

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HOLLYM48 8/24/2014 4:24PM

    In Minnesota, the humidity can be horrible so I will take the air conditioning on days like today when it is close to 85% humidity. I love to walk outside but at the end of that walk, I am heading indoors to the air. I also sleep better because of the air conditioning and spent my childhood in a 2cd floor bedroom with no air so decided when I bought a house, we would for sure have central air.
Enjoy your bday month, there is nothing better than celebrating for the whole month!

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SDEHNKE 8/24/2014 3:32PM

    September is my birthday month too and I'll be the big SIX OH. I thought you were going to say that you didn't have a summer just like we didn't really have a summer in Indianapolis because it never really got hot until the past few days. We had highs in July and August in the 60's. I've lived with air-conditioning most of my life. I'd much rather have the windows open but it has to be perfect weather for my husband to let me.


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NONNAOF2 8/24/2014 3:08PM

  My summers are very hot, but dry and unbearable for me to be in with the bad air that accompanies it!! I sure don't want muggy weather, I'd have to move if that happened! Your birthday is coming up, so it most definitely a good incentive to re-group and plan for your next year ahead! Congratulations, you have set up a list of what you will do in the coming year to be successful! Enjoy your summer soon being over, ours will last for a couple more months! :-)

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JUSGETTENBY42 8/24/2014 2:54PM


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MARYJEANSL 8/24/2014 2:44PM

  I too have a September birthday, and I too am all-too familiar with trying to sleep in the hot, hot summer... My survival technique when I woke up in the middle of the night gasping for air was to stagger to the shower in my nightgown and get in, nightgown and all, for a quick spray. The resulting wet nightgown would cool me enough, as the water evaporated, for me to get back to sleep.

Now that I live in Texas, which is hot ten months of the year, I do have central air, which I so appreciate. But I haven't forgotten the old days...

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PATRICIAANN46 8/24/2014 2:22PM

  I emoticon ed this blog!!!!! You brought back a flood of memories of the upstairs bedroom of my youth.......NO Air Conditioning............NOT even a fan...........NOT even a screen in the only window in my room............Just 3 circles on the bottom of the storm window with screens over them!!!!! I finally got a fan when my parents found me sleeping with my head on the window sill trying to get any kind of air from those 3 circles!!!!! emoticon

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GARDENCHRIS 8/24/2014 12:14PM

    love summer, hate hot sticky weather, the air goes on.

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NEPTUNE1939 8/24/2014 11:03AM


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IDICEM 8/24/2014 10:58AM

  I leave the AC off as long as I can (refuse to turn it on at all before June) and love the summers it isn't often necessary. This isn't one of them. lol

Love that you are taking stock before your birthday month. Happy celebrations!

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ALEXSGIRL1 8/24/2014 9:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TINY67 8/24/2014 9:31AM


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SHOAPIE 8/24/2014 9:26AM


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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/24/2014 8:47AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DJSHIP46 8/24/2014 8:40AM

    emoticon Glad your summer was more comfortable emoticon

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CARRIELYN56 8/24/2014 8:26AM

    ...happy soon to be fall....

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TRYINGHARD54 8/24/2014 8:11AM

    i prefer spring and fall.. don't like the hot sticky weather.

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PENOWOK 8/24/2014 8:01AM

    Ugh...our "summer" was pretty wet and mosquitoey. We didn't sue the air conditioning as much as our system that dries the air because the humidity was so high. I'm sure yours was too. The crickets, though, have found an entrance to our house...2 so far! I am with you on needing to start again. It's time!! (we started school last week, so thus ended our summer!)

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MICKEYH 8/24/2014 7:41AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JERICHO1991 8/24/2014 7:31AM

    Good goals for September.

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CHERYLHURT 8/24/2014 6:57AM


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MSLZZY 8/23/2014 10:34PM

    Sounds like our summer, only a few nice days but DH HAS to have the AC on all the time. I am not fond of it so I go outside anyway and let him sit and veg. Only problem is the garden is almost at a standstill. We need rain, but the tomatoes and eggplant need the heat. What's a girl to do?

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ICECUB 8/23/2014 6:39PM


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KANSASROSE67 8/23/2014 5:45PM

    I truly prefer no A/C. Our house stays reasonably comfortable with fans unless the temps get into the mid-90s or above. Right now, I'm loving the option to have it on because it's REALLY hot here! But I'd much rather sleep with windows open and a cool breeze scented with mown grass.

Sounds like your September plans are exciting. I love this time of year, because it makes me think of back to school and fresh starts and newly sharpened pencils.

Enjoy celebrating!

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JUSTYNA7 8/23/2014 5:33PM

    A lovely blog and beautifully written. I was right there with you kicking off the sheets and hiding my hands from mostquitoes under pillows... which explains why still today I do that... Especially as I age and get hot flashes I appreciate A/C but I prefer the window open, the fan over my bed creating a breeze or better yet a wind coming in through the screen. Love fall. You are right to celebrate all month... me too but in Spring. Do things with the people who are important to you.

Could A/C cause weight gain?... I do think so because I lose my appetite in summer when it is hot and tend to gravitate towards fruit and raw veggies to not have to cook... but with A/C there is no reason not to make and eat a hearty meal.

I have only passed through Virginia and read the license plate... "for lovers" with a chuckle. I imagine you are much like us in the Ottawa Valley of Ontario Canada. We get the extremes of cold and hot but we also get the glory of spring and fall. I love it.

Good luck with your to do list. I'm still fighting my food dragon and have started the writing diet again with a couple of spark members. Two things I love, writing and walking so might as well write myself to the right size. Happy Birthday!

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SLIMMERJESSE 8/23/2014 11:06AM

    I celebrate my birthday month-long also. And I have a very tough time in a/c; sometimes throat stuff, but it mainly makes me feel lightheaded and dizzy. Very nice blog.

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123ELAINE456 8/23/2014 10:19AM

  A Wonderful Blog. Enjoyed it very much. Thank You for sharing God Blessings Always. Have a Terrific Day. Here is a Lot of Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!For You. Take Care. And Stay Safe. I Love the Spring and then the Fall. Not to Hot and Not to Cold. Winters are to Cold and Summers are to Hot. Enjoy Your Birthday Month of September. It is just around the Corner.

Comment edited on: 8/23/2014 10:19:58 AM

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BETHGILLIGAN 8/23/2014 9:04AM

    I love autumn--just wish winter wasn't right behind it! I love the smells, the colors, the air, and the first cool day when you can wear a sweater in the morning and be comfortable when you take it off in the afternoon. As a teacher, I always thought of September as the new year. Even though I've been retired for 5 years, I still see September as fresh start and new beginnings. I always feel energized and focused in the fall. I'm already in a pretty good place with exercise and diet so, hopefully, I will be able to kick it up a bit in September.

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BUTTONPOPPER1 8/23/2014 8:48AM

    Wow! Every once in a while, when I have time, I browse new blogs and click on them randomly. I happened to click on this one and found some poetry! I loved this blog about air-conditioning and how you missed the summer because of it! For some reason, it made me feel so nostalgic for the old days. Good luck with your Saturday! I love crickets, too, and autumn is my favorite season!

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Sea Change - a LB/RB conversation

Friday, August 08, 2014

A sudden shift in the universe has lifted the stress off of my shoulders. A potential family issue melted away like ice in the summer and a new county employee came by with an idea for a cooperative project that really pumped me up. It's got The Brains whispering excitedly. Wanna hear?

* * * * *

emoticon Whoa. Was that a victory last night?

emoticon Shhh. Don't talk so loudly. I think it was but we don't want to tempt fate.

emoticonWell. It sure felt like a win. And if we had to hear some weird back-handed insults as SomebodyWeLove conceded defeat , well, who cares.

emoticon Yeah. That's just little boy talking. I remember reading somewhere that when you tell your kid "don't do that one more time" you have to be prepared for him to do it one more time before he quits. I think that was what happened last night.

emoticonWell. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud ... in fact - in the end we were both laughing.

emoticon In the end we were ALL laughing. Whew. Dodged that bullet. Man - I've been sick with worry about that issue.

emoticonYeah, me too.

emoticon And how about that new Parks and Rec guy? Isn't he something?

emoticonOh la, yes! all of a sudden we are going to have so durn much fun this fall I can't stand it.

emoticon (with a huge grin) Think of all the planning we can do. All the lists! The power point presentations we get to make! Think of the explosion of productivity and interesting work.

emoticonFeel the excitement. Feel the joy we'll be able to spread around town. I feel like dancing.

emoticon So what do you think. Can we start one of those Whole Town Loses Pounds things - the sort of thing we've read about in People magazine - with this guy? Rope in the hospital? And the schools?

emoticonOh yeah. Cool.

emoticon Something like 2015 lbs gone in 2015? wouldn't that be fun?

emoticonIt feels like it'd be a ton of fun!

emoticon OMG yes! A ton of fun found, a ton of weight lost.

emoticonWell I wish now we were going to work today just so we could share that idea with him.

emoticon LOL Finally get a day off and now you want to go to work?

emoticonWell, we are going in to town. We could give him a call.

emoticonI know we could ... and maybe we will - but it's an idea that can wait till next week.

emoticonOh please. don't let the momentum die out.

emoticon If we stop by his office we may get delayed buying all that reunion stuff. You know we have that appointment at 12:30 that we really can't miss.

emoticonOh. Yeah. Okay. Well. I won't whine and insist just so long as you promise to remember.

emoticon I swear I will. I'll send us an email immediately so we'll remember on Monday.

emoticonFair enough. Now - let's go have a great Friday.

emoticon You betcha!

* * * * *

Well. Isn't that interesting. so if you read about my little town in People Magazine next year - remember - you heard it first, here. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

123ELAINE456 8/8/2014 11:24PM


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POSITIVEHOPE 8/8/2014 5:26PM

    Love the idea and your enthusiasm for it. Everyone's journey is easier with friends. Be sure to include your local restaurants and grocery stores in the effort.

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JCMSMILE 8/8/2014 1:59PM I'm pumped up too!! emoticon

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MSLZZY 8/8/2014 9:35AM

    Just share the name of your little town and I will anticipate a great article. Let those 2 happy brains enjoy the weekend! HUGS!

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KANSASROSE67 8/8/2014 9:10AM

    I'm so happy you've found an exciting project and I'd love to hear more about it! I've been in a work slump for a know how it is when you've done the same thing for a long time. We're lucky to work in a profession where we can implement new projects and bring fresh ideas into play, plus make our communities better. I need to remember that!

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ICECUB 8/8/2014 8:57AM

    emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 8/8/2014 8:22AM

    That sounds like an exciting fall and potentially a great health project for the town. How nice that new person will help you. I am also happy you resolved your family issue and are at peace.


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BETHGILLIGAN 8/8/2014 7:49AM

    Love the enthusiasm!! Reminded me of how I felt at the beginning of each school year!!

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WATERMELLEN 8/8/2014 7:40AM

    Full of great ideas and zest and enthusiasm!!

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ELRIDDICK 8/8/2014 7:05AM

  Thanks for sharing

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WDIPIM 8/8/2014 7:02AM

  Good luck! - your blog is fun to read

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The Brains Just Chatting

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

In looking for something else deep in my blog archives I found the first post I'd ever made from The Brains. I hadn't realized I'd been doing this quite so long - but then - in my 60's now I tend to forget just how long ago something happened. It ALL seems like long ago.

Anyway, rereading the first Right Brain/Left Brain conversation woke them up and now they're chatting. Let's listen in:

* * * * *

emoticonHey look at this! A record of our first conversation! Isn't that cool?

emoticonWell - that's not exactly true - we have always communicated.

emoticonYou would say something like that.

emoticonJust stating the facts, m'am

emoticonHuh. And missing the point. It's the first time I ever had a chance to articulate.

emoticon(smiling) True. It was good to hear what you were thiniking

emoticon I wasn't thinking. I was feeeeeeeling. Nothing more than feeeeeeeeling emoticon

emoticon You nut. But yeah - it was great to hear in words I could understand - what you were feeling. It's so hard for me to understand your feelings when they just come as ... well ... feelings.

emoticon I know. I can feel that too. Or rather - when you're not trying to hear me I get all tense and feel worse and worse ...

emoticonYeah - till you act out and consume an entire bag of cheetos.

emoticon heh heh. Haven't done that in a while, though - because you ARE listening to me a lot more now.

emoticon(looking sanctimonious) I do my best.

emoticon(giving RB a pinch) Smartypants

emoticonJust teasing. And I am really glad to hear from you too, because when I do listen - well - I can be me - only better. Like last night. Remember? How we were sinking into the black and gloomy pit, arguing with Himself. All the Iron Gates were clanging shut. but we really have to not just work this issue out but carry the day. And after a while I just shut down and quit answering.

emoticon Yeah. I did notice. And was just beginning to feel hate and rejection. It was awful. Till you opened up the channels and let me flow into your mouth so I could say the right words.

emoticon Yeah. Boy. That was magnificent. You were really fabulous.

emoticon (blushing) Thanks.

emoticonBut we're not out of the woods yet. We still haven't actually won this fight. And we must.

emoticon Sigh. Yeah. I know. But maybe we've figured out how to win it.

emoticonYou know, I think you're right. Hmmmm.

emoticon(nodding, smiling gently - peacefully)

emoticonHmmm. Hmmmm. You know you're absolutely right. This looming argument has been so daunting - so ...

emoticon I know. I feel it. I've been almost sick about it. Yet afraid to bring it up. Afraid to go there because ... gad - that man can swamp us with words.

emoticonI know. And I really think he's .... well ... well ... so WORDY.

emoticon(laughing) And so WRONG!

emoticon(laughing with her) Oh la. He is, isn't he?

emoticon And we really have to change his mind.

emoticonYes. we do. Sigh. Oh well. We have time. Thank God we have time.

emoticon uh oh. I can hear you now. "I'll think about it tomorrow. At Tara"

emoticonLOL. Well. you're the one who pushes me to procrastination. Besides, I don't think I'll think about it all that much. I think I will tap into your deep honest true good strong and CORRECT feelings and let you do the talking.

emoticon Woo woo. Me? Cowardly me? In charge?

emoticon(smiling) yes. You. Cowardly you who will still do what's right when it has to be done.

emoticon Oh. My. what a nice thing to say. (gives LB a kiss)

emoticon(hugs RB tightly) We're a team, aren't we?

emoticonYes. We are. And we'll get this thing sorted out. I feel it in my bones.

emoticonAnd I know it in my heart.

emoticonSo. How about that spa visit in Colonial Williamsburg. Don't you want to do that again?

emoticonOh la yes. But we're a little short of cash right now. And time. That's an even scarcer commodity.

emoticon Oh but wait! Isn't a window opening up in that 3rd week of August?

emoticonOooo. It IS. Hmmm. Let's talk to Suzanne today. I'm sure she'll want to have lunch with us. Let's just see what we can plan.

emoticonSounds good to me.

emoticonGreat. Off to werk we go then. High ho, High ho. It's off to werk we go.

* * * *

Well. Who knew? Those two brains can really come up with some plans when they work together. I never know what's going to come out of one of their conversations but my goodness, I really ought to listen in to them more often.

Now it's time for ME to get to werk. Ta.

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123ELAINE456 8/6/2014 1:27AM


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OSDOWNS 8/5/2014 4:31PM


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KANOE10 8/5/2014 9:58AM

    Nice blog. I was reflecting that very often not identifying your feelings causes problems in life. You are doing a good job of respecting your feelings and trying to understand them. Hope the two of them find a good solution to your current situation.


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IFDEEVARUNS2 8/5/2014 9:20AM


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BETHGILLIGAN 8/5/2014 8:46AM


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NASFKAB 8/5/2014 8:18AM

  interesting great

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LJOYCE55 8/5/2014 8:12AM


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