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There, but for the grace of God, go I. (OT)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

About two weeks ago, I was driving my daughter to a bead store about thirty miles from home (nearly everything is at least thirty miles from home.) On a set of S curves around the lake, two lanes each way separated only by yellow lines and with a 55 mph limit, a car going the other way cut off another. The one swerved and missed the other, but I realized in a split second that if the cars clipped one another and one spun out, with the trajectory of that curve it would hit us head-on, and that would be it for us. That didn't happen, of course, but I was seriously shaken. I tried to tell my daughter about the close call we'd just had, but she wasn't looking at the time and didn't have my perspective - and at 22, she probably still feels immortal.

I spent the next couple days feeling, as my grandmother would say, like a goose had walked over my grave.

This morning's front page has a picture of that same stretch of parkway. Apparently there were two accidents there last week, and one was a fatality - one car clipped another, causing the first to slide into opposing traffic and take out a car going the other way - exactly what could have happened to my daughter and me. Now, of course, there's another debate about putting up a median, but everyone knows it won't happen.

The point here isn't about driving, or even near misses. It's about, well, what would have followed had I not been quite so lucky that day. A whole cascade of bad things, from dirty dishes left in the sink to sick husbands with no one to care for them. Obviously, there's not a whole lot I can do about the husband, other than maybe finding extended care insurance, but there are a myriad things that I can take care of. Does anyone else in the family know the location of the safe deposit box key? What's in that safe deposit box, for that matter, and where are the other policies? Can anyone else identify all the people in those old photographs? How about the family histories of all those two hundred year old things? How were we related? Where are the relatives all buried? (And how about the good stuff, like the skeletons in the various relatives' closets?) I'm willing to bet I'm the only one who knows most of those answers.

So while I'm decluttering and cleaning up in general, sorting through the boxes and boxes of my mother's belongings, her attic, my attic, all that nonsense, I'm taking a few extra minutes to make some notes. I don't want to leave all this Stuff for someone else to deal with, but I also don't want to leave a bunch of mysteries. I went through a bunch of paintings and photographs the other day, identifying the people, the settings and the circumstances as far as I know them. I intend to do this with anything I come across that has a history I know about. I spent a couple hours on the computer and wrote down all the family history and genealogy I could come up with. If I think of more, I'll add it.

I fully intend to live another forty years, hale and hearty to the last. But just in case - in case I do get run over by that bus or get struck by lightning - I'm vowing to take care of some of these details. It would be a shame if it got lost, and it will if I don't do this.

But I'll tell you one thing: I'm going to be taking a different route to the bead store from now on.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 8/26/2010 1:05PM is SO precious and SO fragile. I remember all the close calls that our Josher had...a collapsed lung and WAY too big at birth he almost didn't make it into the world to begin with. Then the car accident when he was only 9 months old and we almost lost him again. Then the 24 hour nurse that was on duty in our home while I and DH were working to keep our insurance alive who left him unattended with a rectal thermometer that impaled him when he rolled off the changing table...ALL of this and he was only 9 months old. We thought he was a cat with 9 lives and hovered and protected him like a protective eagle would her nest. Then...lost him in spite of ALL of that when he was just 3 weeks from his 23rd birthday~ ~ Fate is fickle! Love the one's you love with all your might, and all your soul and leave nothing for granted...there truly are no guarantees beyond the moment in which you are living! emoticon

As for the special stories and the memories that you have to share..get them out there for prosperity's sake..your family will love you for that!

And yes, yes, yes...please find another route to that bead store...obviously the universe is telling you the prior one isn't safe!

I'm SO thankful that it wasn't your time during that scare...and I'm so thankful that you realize the lesson's that it taught you. emoticon

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EUPHRATES 8/26/2010 11:13AM

    My mate and I are putting things in place because I worry what would happen if I became incapacitated - how would he access the money I'd get for disability? How would he get disability going anyway, since we're not (nor do we intend to be) legally married? My mom had her stroke at the age of 44 - I've beat the record already (I figure I win), but's something I think about, maybe more than most people 'cause I lived with the fall out as a kid.

Glad it was just a close call!

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HIPPICHICK1 8/26/2010 10:12AM

    While on vacation I got to see my Great Aunt Nelly who is 95 years old now. She put to rest the rumour that there is Gypsy blood on my father's side of the family. Apparently there is none, but then I found out that there IS gypsy blood on the OTHER side - my mom's! Irish Gypsy! I'm part Pikey!! LOL! Family history is indeed important and mostly super interesting!
Glad to hear that you are going to find a new route to the bead store!!

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PENNYAN45 8/21/2010 11:42PM

    I had a close call one day on the road - and realized that I was seconds away from having been killed in a terrible accident.
I remember going home and telling my husband about it - and then asking him what he would have done if I had died that morning. We spent the next few days on and off discussing what either one of us would have done if the other had died suddenly that day. It lead to some interesting talk.

It is such a narrow thread between what could have been and what is.

We should take nothing for granted.

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ANDYLIN90 8/21/2010 6:59PM

    I'm sorry you had a scary incident, but you certainly have taken positive steps since. My Mom is 84 and I'm very lucky she is in good health. As I look forward to retirement in the next several months, spending time with her sorting, discarding, writing, listening, saving is something I'm very much looking forward to doing. Thanks for posting.

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STARLASUE 8/21/2010 6:18PM

    I am glad that you and the other drivers were being watched over that day. Things like that certainly do get us to thinking. It is a good reminder to make time to do those little things we know are important and that we really want to do.

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JANEDOE12345 8/21/2010 5:59PM

    I think it was Don Juan in one of Carlos Casteneda's books who advised us to think of death as a little brother always watching over our shoulder. Not a bad thought, just a reminder something like that curve in the road, kind of like our mom's warning about that fated bus that seems to have stalked all of us all our lives.

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    This is a great idea and I need to do it too!!

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UUCEEJAY 8/21/2010 5:04PM

    I certainly understand the need for me to do this, but I don't have the energy to deal with it. I have been trying to get myself motivated to work on it all summer but have made no progress. Maybe reading about your scare will be added motivation for me.

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SUZYMOBILE 8/21/2010 4:14PM

    My parents left behind a number of secrets and mysteries, one of whom called me out of the blue one day. So, you're doing the right thing!

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1THING 8/21/2010 3:55PM

    you were blessed! might be helpful to you meanwhile. emoticon Be blessed!

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

I was all the way down to S before I realized it was in alphabetical order. This could be interesting...

A - Available or married? Married. So very married.

B - Books? Yes - enough to open my own branch of the library. Currently, a couple paperback cozy mysteries, a book on welding techniques for artists, a book on Woody Landscape Plants, and Chi Running. Also the usual armload of magazines.

C - Cake or pie? Pie. But not cream pie.

D - Drink of choice? Gin. Failing that, water, no ice.

E - Essential item? Duct tape.

F - Favorite color? For what?

G - Game to play or watch? Backgammon. Preferably for money.

H - Hometown? Philadelphia.

I - Indulgence? Jacuzzi.

J - Job? No, thank you. I've already had more than my share.

K - Kids and names? Annie and Alexandra.

L - Life is incomplete without? A sketch book and a dictionary.

M - Music group or singer? At the moment, Etta James.

N - Number of siblings? Zero by birth, but many recognized along the way.

O - Oranges or apples? Apples.

P - Phobias/fears? Spiders and polar bears.

Q - Favorite quote? Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
H. L. Mencken

R - Reason to smile? I'm still here.

S - Season? Whichever one we're currently in.

T - Tattoos? Yep, a Celtic on my left calf.

U - Unknown fact about me? I have an excellent sense of direction outdoors, but indoors - even in a largish house - I get hopelessly lost.

V - Vegetable you love? Anything but okra, and even that is okay if it isn't cooked to the glue stage.

W - Worst habit? I tend to wander off.

X - X-rays you've had? Feet, hands, wrists, teeth, knee, lungs, left side of head, sinuses, spine ... God, you name it, I've got a picture of it around here somewhere.

Y - Your favorite food? Tiny new potatoes with sour cream and caviar. Anything with fresh basil. Callard and Bowser toffee. Espresso with real whipped cream. My mother's pot roast.

Z - Zodiac? Pisces, Scorpio on the ascendant, moon in Capricorn. Grand trine in water signs.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UUCEEJAY 8/17/2010 10:02PM

    I like your quote! LOL

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FLORIDASUN 8/16/2010 11:51AM

    Now I know why I LOVE you so much...are we sister's of a different mother...I'm sure it's so! Love your books...we could start our own branch library I'm sure...ditto on the mags! Essential Item...too funny...wish I would have thought of that one...houses have been buildt with duct tape! emoticonLove life's essentials...yes on the sketchbook...can you believe I actually drug home dictionaries and encyclopedias from the grade school library...I mean 5 miles I hauled those babies! Love Etta James...yes on the only lonely...but good at adopting family! LOVE Pisces...married one! And...did you know they say your physical self is your SUN sign but your TRUE personality self is your MOON sign...Cappy says it all! and if I do say so myself thats a GOOD thing. My moon sign is Pisces by the coincidence there either! emoticon

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STARLASUE 8/13/2010 4:37PM

    We have several things in common but I never doubted we did. LOL Thanks for sharing this.

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    Love the favorite quote. LOL.

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SUZYMOBILE 8/12/2010 10:17PM

    Love it! "I tend to wander off." "Etta James." Jesus! You are fascinating and should blog more!

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1NIMUE 8/12/2010 9:56PM

    Very interesting!

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21 Day Meditation Challenge from The Chopra Center

Friday, August 06, 2010

One of the many newsletters that show up in my inbox periodically is one from the Chopra Center. I'm passing this info along for anyone who might be interested.

It's free and open to anyone, from complete beginner to advanced practice.

Here's the link:

Meditation is easy to do and healing in many ways. There are links offered to various Chopra Center products and classes, and drawings for prizes and the like, but none of this is necessary to participate in the Challenge. Each day's lesson comes via email - maybe we'll learn some things to start our practice of meditation or deepen one already in place.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUZYMOBILE 8/13/2010 11:52AM

    Drat! I signed up, got an introductory welcoming email, but nothing with links to daily guided meditations.

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SUZYMOBILE 8/12/2010 10:28PM

    Oh great! No sooner do I accept not having to do everything in my day, now I've joined a new challenge. Seriously, I've been feeling kind of empty lately because I didn't have a fresh, new project to take on, and this might be just the thing. I don't really know HOW to meditate but have always envied those who do.

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    I love Chopra!! Thanks for the link!!

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UUCEEJAY 8/6/2010 11:22AM

    Thanks for the link! emoticon

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KRICKETTWO 8/6/2010 11:09AM

    Deepak is a favorite! Thanks for sharing the link.

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JANEDOE12345 8/6/2010 8:42AM

    I signed up for this. It sounds like a good grounding to start the day. I am one that does better with s reminder than trying to stick to a routine for long. Thnaks for the link.
PS Ever eat a mango?

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Response to ANGELLYBELLY's blog

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The link is here:

I started leaving a quick comment, but got carried away (gee, isn't *that* unusual? LOL) and seeing that it had turned into it's own blog, thought I'd post it over here.

Good for you, for your awesome insight. Because you know what? Beauty is like money - you always want more and more, and then when you're not looking you lose it anyway. All these movie stars and models, with the bodies we supposedly want, and they mutilate themselves with surgery and then drown the fear of growing older in men, drugs, alcohol and general misery.

My daughter and I were sitting in a parking lot the other day and noticed a couple of young teenagers walk by. She pointed out how very slim they were - maybe a size 2 at the most - and asked if we'd ever get there. Truthfully? No. I'm 5'6" and muscular. When I was at my goal weight a few years ago, I was still a 12 - even skeletal, my hip bones would be too wide for a 2.

Many people over the ages have pointed out that the best beauty products are confidence and happiness. There's something to that.

And besides, life is *way* too short to go through it putting off doing, putting off enjoying, putting off *anything* until... until we're the "right" weight, until we find the "right" mate, until we make more money, get a house, get out of college, *whatever*. Operate from a place of envy, shame, insecurity and "if only..." and you push happiness away. Love and work with what you've got, and you'll set up for getting more. And if it never comes (the weight thing you've got covered - I meant the more vague hopes) you won't even notice, because you'll be too busy enjoying what you've got.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUSSELLORAMA 8/4/2010 11:03PM

    That's so right! We have to live our lives right now, instead of waiting for the so-called "perfect" time.

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FITKAT2010 8/4/2010 7:48PM

    Three cheers hon! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VALI_T 8/4/2010 6:52PM

    I'm with you....I'm never going to be a size 2 and I really don't aim to be one anyway. I'm 5'6" tall, for goodness sake! Even if I got down to my skinny high school weight again (which I doubt I'll ever actually do) I'd still be too big to ever be a size 2. And so what? Who is it that decided for us that a model who's probably super skinny because she's anorexic should be the "perfect" ideal that we aim to be just like? Thank God for my late husband, who told me from the time I first knew him that he preferred a real woman with some meat on her bones. He made sure that I always knew that he thought I was beautiful. (Every woman should have a guy like that, regardless of her size.)

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JANEDOE12345 8/4/2010 6:29PM

    I am still tied to an ideal based on my 104 pound self. The blog gave me some nice jolts of optimism, but I know that I honestly cannot claim to be free of deep concerns about how I look. Just not that evolved, but very honest about it anyway.

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ISHIIGIRL 8/4/2010 11:09AM

    I agree with you. Everyone comes in different shapes and sizes. It is what makes life interesting. If you hurry up and wait life will pass by without you having accomplished anything!

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SHEALUNA 8/4/2010 11:03AM

    Amen and amen. I absolutely agree 100%!!!!

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SHERYLDS 8/3/2010 6:33PM

    I still want to see the day someone tells me I'm too thin.
Love the blog.

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    Amen. Great blog. I am happy and confident.

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ANGELLYBELLY 8/3/2010 1:54PM

    This is a great blog (that stands on it's own!)
Living in the now, loving yourself in the now, while still working toward future goals..I think that is the balance we are looking to strike.

Confidence and Happiness.. definitely are the best beauty products!

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NORASPAT 8/3/2010 12:06PM


Thanks for stopping by my page It led me back to yours once more.I read your Blog. It made me think these thoughts.
Scooter all I would like in life is-Satisfaction Guaranteed.
I want to do what i want to do, when i want to do it.
Life seems too short to miss out on things you would like to do.
I have found though , life is full of compromises, some satisfying and some not so. One must find the boundaries that meet our satisfaction and choose to stay within them as we wish.
I would love to travel more DH does not and I am satisfied to travel less and be home with him. I know he satisfies me more with his love than travelling to unknown places might satisfy me. I like my compromise it is a good fit for me at this time.
Take it easy be happy and try not to beat yourself up.
Pat in Maine. PS I love to see the OWL!

Comment edited on: 8/3/2010 12:08:34 PM

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4ANEWME2DAY 8/3/2010 11:23AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Serious note for water safety

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm pretty well read, a parent for a lot of years, and am a thoroughly trained, card-carrying first aid person. I did not know this, however.

Thanks, IMPROVINGME, for bringing it to our attention.

"Drowning Looks Different Than You Think"
owning-looks-different-than-you-think -2010225/

I can't seem to get the link to work, so here's the address to cut and paste:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARLASUE 7/29/2010 8:04AM

    Good to know thanks. Makes perfect sense when it is stated like that. we have had 3 people locally that have drowned in pools with other people and lifeguards around and I wondered how they were not noticed. Sadly, this explains it.

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BETHGILLIGAN 7/28/2010 6:51PM

    Thank you!! I had no idea!!

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GRAMMIE1959 7/28/2010 6:37PM

    I had no idea. Thank you so much.

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SUZYMOBILE 7/28/2010 5:03PM

    Thanks for posting! That's chilling but important to know!

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SHERYLDS 7/28/2010 4:20PM

    i didn't know that. thanks

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SEWICKED 7/28/2010 3:45PM

    I once had a close call with drowning & this article covers exactly what happened to me.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/28/2010 12:39PM

    Thanks for the link. I'm a former lifeguard but it's nice to have a reminder.

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IMPROVINGME 7/28/2010 10:18AM

    This information really struck a chord with me, especially since I had just witnessed the water rescue a few days before I saw the article.
I'm glad you saw my blog and posted the article again. I wish more people would read it.
Thanks for visiting my page, and best wishes on your Spark journey!

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YOMAMA128 7/28/2010 10:16AM

    Thanks very much for posting this. Certainly there are a lot of misconceptions about what drowning looks like, and we all need to know the true signs. There's not much time for error.

The link worked fine for me, btw.

Many thanks!

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