Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Purple is not just for Barney

OK, I can admit that as a teenager, I was completely and utterly smitten with Donny Osmond. What a cutie pie he was! That hair. That smile. And SUCH a nice guy in every interview, every talk show, on American Bandstand, The Andy Williams Show and on "Donny and Marie." Now most people's teenage crushes fade away with time. I can fully admit, after this "season" of watching "Dancing with the Stars", I am still smitten with Donny. A true fan. He's adorable.

He's not the BEST ballroom dancer technically of this season, but man-oh-man, he is a good entertainer. His last dance tonight was just wonderful. A gazillion 50-year-old women are swooning tonight, I'm positive. He just made us all fall in love with him all over again. I've been faithfully tuning in all this season to watch his progression. Always a gentleman, always gracious, (compare to Mya, who spoke tonight about how hard her participation has been on her personal life. Boo Hoo. Whiner) always trying his best and really being hard on himself when he messed up, he has been a pleasure to watch all season. And only a true Osmond fan would realize that his signature color was worn nearly every dance - purple. I puts a grin on my face just thinking of it. When I mentioned it to my daughter she just rolled her eyes at me with that "oh Mom, how lame!" expression. Ah well. That argentine tango was so sexy it was eye popping. Wow.

When I was in about seventh grade (maybe eighth), I needed a new winter wool coat. Naturally the ONLY color I would consider was purple. To this day, I would count it among my favorite colors, particularly periwinkle, which is a purple-blue, a combo of BOTH my favorites. I actually remember that coat of mine though, along with some dark purple velvet bell bottoms and a sweater vest in that same shade. How funny we teens are with our crushes. When I pledged a sorority in college, imagine how delighted I was to find the house colors to be royal purple and white!

When I was in college and was dating my husband, I remember he told me he was taking me out for a surprise to a concert. I had NO idea what it was going to be. We went to a place (no longer there I don't think) called Mill Run Theater, which was in the round. Lo and Behold, it was the Osmond Brothers, featuring Donny and Marie. WHen the Osmonds were in their huge heyday in the early-mid 70s, my parents had never let me go to a concert, though I wanted to desperately, of course. THey called it Osmondmania at the time. So imagine how fun it was for me as a 21 year old to FINALLY see Donny in concert. And he was 22 at the time - really still a young guy and at the height of "Donny and Marie" fame. The concert was so great - that whole family is incredibly talented. At one point in the show the lights went out and a spotlight across the hall shone on Marie Osmond, up at the top of the audience tiers, directly across from us, singing..."I'm a little bit country..." Of course, everyone knows the next line. Boom - a spotlight goes on right next to me. John sat on the aisle, I was one in. Donny was RIGHT THERE next to us! "I'm a little bit rock and roll...." I didn't hear it over the PA system, I HEARD it right next to me. WOW. So exciting. And my, my, my was he handsome. Well...at 51 he STILL is handsome. I'll never forget that concert (or John, for taking me. :)

Over the years I have always liked "boy bands". It started in second grade with the Monkees. And the Beatles too I suppose - it was my era. But the Osmonds really were special. Last year I went on a cruise with my Daughter, Niece and a friend of my daughter's. One evening I was thrilled to see that the main entertainment on the ship was none other than Merrill Osmond (who was my second favorite, after Donny of course). My daughter (Jen) and her friend Trevor ended up going up on stage with Merrill that night - he did a little impromtu dance contest that Jen and Trev WON. So surreal to have my daugher onstage with an Osmond. It was almost too much - so thrilling for me in so many ways. And Merrill was terrific - still with that great voice.

Once a fan, always a fan. So, Donny, I faithfully voted - and hope you win tomorrow night. For the legions of Osmondmanics out here. Purple power forever!

In the Clouds

Yesterday I attended a holiday (well, pre-holiday party) at a friend's home. Fun time. I saw lots of people I really hadn't seen in a few years and met some new folks that were interesting to talk with. In short, I enjoyed myself. Except for one thing. At this party, I'd say over 50% of the attendees were smokers. This wasn't a problem for the first half of the night, but as the booze flowed, the smokes came out. By the time I was leaving, I could barely stand it any longer. I found myself wheezing and had a terribly scratchy throat - even through a good part of today.

I used to smoke. Not alot, and mostly during times of extreme stress or when pretty drunk. I haven't smoked now with any regularity (I'd say maybe I've had 10 cigarettes now in about 10 years) in a decade or more. I had forgotten, in fact, how bad it actually smells, to tell the truth. Now people can do what they want with their own bodies, but I really have become of a mind that says that indoors, where there may be non-smokers, lighting up is rather awful to some of us in the room. I care for these people...why are they doing this to themselves? Haven't they seen ANY literature in the last ten years? Watched Oprah or Dr. Oz, perhaps? Even as they all puffed away, I could literally envision the blackened lung on the table on an Oprah show, exhibited by the enthusiastic Dr. Mehmet Oz. It's enough to make one literaly gag.

The hosts of the party are smokers, and hence some of the issue. THese are great people that I really care about. Seeing them smoke just hurts me thinking of the self-destruction they are committing. I came up the stairs (looking for one of those goat-cheese stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates) to find my DAUGHTER with a lighted cigarette in the kitchen. Augh. I've seen her smoke before. It's awful. Not pretty. Smells bad. Looks disgusting. ANd she's just getting over a bad case of bronchitis. I was not only a little shocked, but maybe a little mad too. Doesn't she care enough about her health? How in the world have I failed? It was she and her brother who convinced me to stop years ago.

I am all for the "take it outside" campaign. No reason to pass secondhand smoke to anyone, anywhere. I can't believe I ever did it, frankly, and am patently sorry for anyone I ever blew smoke in the direction of or near. The clouds of smoke last night turned me off in such a huge way I am certain I will never ever pick up even one more single cigarette. Blech. ANd I hope I can find the right words to convince my daughter it's just not worth it either.

In this day and age, you'd think people knew better already. Yikes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I looked at the calendar this morning and realized that today is (was) my Grandmother's birthday. This was after receiving a sad phone call first thing this morning from a cousin's wife (Marianne) whose Mom (Anne) had passed hours before. I knew her Mom - a very sweet, brave woman, as were my own grandmothers. This morning's phone call had me thinking all day about the importance of not only grandmothers in my life, but in my children's lives, And of the roles grandmother's play in general. I really started thinking about both of mine, their homes, and the time I spent with them.

In a way, the reason I am blogging at all is because I have been inspired all my life by the life stories of both of my grandmothers. I wrote a play about the early life of my mother's mom for my capstone project for my bachelor's degree in English. I am beginning to write the story of my father's mom from her younger years during the Great Depression. How both women coped with adversity and kept on moving is not only admirable, it's remarkable. I was in awe of them both, for different reasons. Grandma Shine was educated and from a well-to-do Irish-Catholic Chicago family, but settled for much less and made it work for her family. Grandma Horecny was from a small rural village in Slovakia - Podhradie, which I visited a year ago, a lifelong dream to see the village she spoke so fondly about. I turned out to me JUST as I had imagined from her stories.

Now I admire my Mom in every way, but my Grandmothers lived difficult lives by contrast and were made of stern stuff. They lived through extreme economic hardship as adults, saw sons off to war (Grandma Shine had THREE sons at war at once - all of her children) or in the case of Grandma Horecny, buried three of four children and her husband before she left this world. I learned so much from them both. They were faithful to their church and families to the end.

Grandma Horecny taugh me about traditions, taught me to bake and sew. I spent a lot of time with her growing up. She babysat for the three of us more than anyone else. I loved going to her house. On Halsted Street I remember sleeping in her front bedroom and listening to the nearby trains at night. I can remember the smell of Grandpa's aftershave in her bathroom, and the three choices for toys in her closet - Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs or colored wooden blocks. She had a small child's desk with pegboard in it in their first house that sat out on their screened-in back porch. Oh, and inside the lid of that desk was one of those plastic critters like a Mr. Potato Head that came apart into like 10 legs, three body parts and antennae, like an ant. Cooties? Something like that. At both houses she had a large garden that I remember helping her with (well, a little). I love tomatoes today becase of her gardens. And Grandpa H. took me up to the lumberyard with a bucket in hand to bring back a little sand for me to play in next to the garage. Later, in their newer home close to my house, I went each week to set Grandma's beautiful white hair, for which she unfailingly gave me $5, no matter that I didn't want a penny for doing it. I remember many nights sleeping on the couch in her living room at that house as a young teen, listening to the furnace kicking on and off. She had a cookie jar on the counter in that house which was always full of her own sugar cookies with the slivered almonds on top and chunks of sugar cubes. Delicious. I have finally figured out how to make them.

Grandma Shine's house was a different kind of adventure. I went there every friday for 12 years of my life to take piano lessons. She was a music teacher and gifted pianist herself. I don't remember ever seeing her cook anything, really - although of course she must have. She loved tea, not coffee. She sat in a fluffy gray linen chair in her living room that nearly swallowed up her shrinking frame in her late years. From this position she talked about life in Glenwood when her boys were young and they shared the house with her sister's family for several years. My father has many great stories of life during this time. She was the parish organist too. I will never forget her piano recitals and how she would patiently bring over the music during our performance if we faltered. I was always determined that she should not have to do it for me, but alas, she did at least once have to bail me out when memory failed me. An extremely proud woman, I don't think she ever asked for help from anyone.

Her house was an adventure to me - large and very very old as it had been her summer residence when SHE was a girl. The stairs leading down to the basement were warped and worn down on the treads. There was a real cellar down there that was cool and I think even had an earthen floor. In her front hallway on a coat ack was a mink wrap whose clasp was the mouth of the animal, so it was made as if there were three minks hanging onto the tails of the one in front. Creepy, but kind of fascinating too. In the three bedrooms upstairs that weren't either Grandma's or Grandpa's rooms were loads of STUFF. She called them her "glory holes". They were filled with artifacts from her family's life. Pictures sent home from her sons during WWII. The crutches my Dad used in high school when he broke his leg and was laid up for six months with the compound fracture. Law books. All kinds of things. As a child I really wasn't allowed to go into them, although I did sneek in with older cousins a few times during family picnics in their yard, which was acres large. The outhouse served as first base during clan baseball games, and the rhubarb patch was third base. There was a hand pump for water in the yard that I remember being there and using when I was small, but it had to have come down by the time I was in high school or earlier. Yes, there was indoor plumbing - it was put in some time in my father's high school years. I've seen pictures of Grandma there by that pump in the yard with buckets to bring into the house. Dad said there used to be a large barn on the lot, and a cookhouse too. The small building I knew as Grandpa's garage had been a children's playhouse when my grandmother was small.

It wasn't just their houses that were fascinating. It was the stories they told. I have always loved hearing a good story, and theirs always seemed so different than the life I lead - like something from a book. Grandma Shine served as postmaster for her town during the war. Grandm and Grandpa Horecny were insturmental in getting a catholic church built in their hometown to serve a large Slovak community. There is a mural on the wall in the church dedicated to my mother's brother, who died in WWII. My son visited his grave in Belgium last year. Both of my Grandmothers told stories of raising their kids, my parents, which is always fascinating to a grandchild. "What was my mother or father like, Grandma?" was a popular theme in the barrage of questions I always had for them. In other words, am I like them? This was particular of interest to me as I have known since birth, practically, that I am adopted.

After I had children of my own, I was lucky enough to be able to work outside the home and know my kids were being cared for by their grandmother, my mother-in-law. My Mom babysat from time to time when they were infants, but when my youngest was just one and a half, we moved out of state, taking my mother-in-law with us. Both of my kids are particularly close to her, protective of her. Sometimes I admit to even being a little jealous of this connection they have for her. Maybe it's just the guilt for being away and working, I don't know. I am grateful to know they weren't left in a stranger's hands though. They were always watched over with loving eyes. Such was my own upbringing too.

I am blessed to have spent so much time with both of my Grandmothers. I learned from them. I modeled myself after them. I loved them both so much. Each have now been in heaven a long time. Grandma S passed in 1982, less than a year after I was married. I love knowing she was at my wedding. Grandma H passed in 1994 or 5. (Can't remember which). My children actually remember her as..."Grandma Tilly." Ryan in particular remembers her. I am glad that my kids have grown up knowing both of their grandmothers so well. Next year Ryan will marry and will have both of them at HIS wedding - a blessing, for sure, along with his Grandpa too. I hope he gets how lucky he is. I know how lucky I have been to have them all in my life.

So tonight, I will say a liitle prayer for Marianne's mom, "Grandma Anne Genge" = a truly sweet woman that I also really liked and admired. She lived with cancer for over 20 years. Talk about perseverance. God Bless all of the Grandmother's in heaven. You have special places in all our hearts, especially mine today.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I have always known that staying at home and working instead of drawing a paycheck elsewhere is an utterly thankless task. It never occurred to me all those years of being in school what my mother did all day at home. Until I had to do it all day at home myself, I suppose. In fact, the list of things to get done is always so endless, its a wonder anything does get completed. That is why, whenever my husband refers to me as "retired" I really am not very happy. I am actually rather insulted.

When I think of the word retired, I think of my parents, now in their 80s and enjoying their days in Florida together, pursuing activities just for fun, alongside all the daily chores that have to be accomplished (which they do together, by the way.) I don't think of myself as retired in any way, shape, or form, because my husband still works outside our home (and very hard, too) - and we are not at liberty to pursue activities "just for fun" at this point of our lives. TO the contrary, life seems to be about "getting stuff done." It certainly isn't about spending time together, that's for sure.

It is difficult to think that what I do all day has no value to those earning a paycheck. I think of all the tasks I accomplish as important in our day to day family life. My days are comprised of a million small things. Wiping counters, taking in mail and sorting it, taking garbage out, throwing a load of laundry in, folding another load, cleaning out the fridge, making a meal or planning and shopping for other meals, paying bills, putting things in their place, taking mail to the post office or things to a dry cleaners...and so on and so on. What would happen if I suddenly wasn't here? Who would get all this shit done?

When my grandmother was in her 70s (I think), she was hospitalized for several days with some cardiac problems, as I remember. My grandfather was still alive and healthy. He'd make his meals every day, or eat what my mother would bring over to him. Mom thought it was so nice that he kept everthing so clean and neat, particularly in the kitchen while Grandma was recovering. Until Grandma came home from the hospital and went to take a shower the morning after returning to the home and discovered where all those dirty dishes had really gone. The shower! I mean, how funny is this? I have often wondered - would my daughter just keep piling her dirty dishes in the sink or resort to the shower if I suddenly took ill? Who does my family think does everything that needs to be done? It's not the tooth fairy, I can tell you. Retired my patootie.

No, I don't earn a paycheck or benefits. I live off the good graces of my husband and his hard work. Am I to be ashamed of that? Is it so terrible that I am not drawing a paycheck elsewhere? Is that the only way to be seen as valued? If that's how he feels (and I'm not sure he does, exactly), then why would he make comments to business people referring to my "retirement" in a condescending way? It's humiliating and demeaning. It places no value on the hard work and family contribution that I make. And it probably happens to other "housewives" every day.

Raising kids, and keeping up a home (or two homes) is hard work that is never reviewed or evaluated. THere are no pep talks for homemakers. No pats on the back for a job well done. No bonuses other than pride in our homes and children and husbands. Maybe occasionally a family member will compliment a meal, but more often I tend to hear how something was not right, rather than how it was. Surem working in the home is a tenured position - after all who's going to kick the house elf to the curb, anyway? My family has it good, and I think they know it.

Wouldn't hurt them to say thanks every now and again. Or offer to lessen my load. I'd love to get up on a Saturday morning and have others bring me my coffee (or in my case, iced tea or a Diet Coke) and cook for me without having to ask for it. I'd love to come in from work, or working out and know there will be a meal available to me, already planned out and done. I'd love just once coming into the house to find not one dish left in the sink. I'd love one 0f my children to ask, every once in a while, what they can do for me, instead of expecting things to be constantly done for them. How can that be considered retired? I'm perpetually doing for other family members.

I have a new appreciation for what Mom must have been doing all those years I was in school. I've told her I understand now what a thankless task it was, but that I appreciate all those things she did for us. It doesn't take much to make us "housewives" happy. A little recognition, people. A little respect and appreciation. And certainly, not being referred to condescendingly as "retired." I will never again take my mother for granted. It hurts too much to be discounted.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Facebook for Fifty Year Olds

I confess that I love Facebook. My daughter calls me a Facebook "stalker". Who I am stalking I have no idea. Apparently reading the random posts of people I have become "friends" with makes me a stalker? All I know about Facebook it that it has allowed me to reconnect with many old friends and colleagures that I would have otherwise lost contact with. It is a little bit of joy to see a "request" to be a friend on my page, or a little number show up on my inbox, alerting me to a friend's message.

Ok, sometimes it's a bit shocking to "meet up" with friends you've known so long ago via this medium. I saw a recent "Castle" episode where the main character's mother - say late fifties, early sixties was learning how to navigate a social networking site. Her dilemma was whether to post a recent photo of herself or a more flattering image from, shall we say, a "few" years back. Hilarious. I know just how that character feels. It's standing on that teeter-totter between being totally honest and being just a bit nervous about what others will think of the current "you," and what that may mean to me. For the record, I have not posted old photos on my site. I am who I am - whatever. I have both good and completely unflattering phhotos posted on my site. But I can see the temptation to do it - just post the good ones, or the OLD ones. Some photos of old friends are shocking to see. No hair, gray hair, wrinkles, heavier, thinner...etc. We tend to think of people how we knew them, not what they have become. That's why reunions are so strange. (There were many I barely recognized at my 30th class reunion.) Still - the voyeuristic aspects of remeeting old friends is positively intriguing and fascinating.

It's funny - our kids think we are on Facebook to see what they are doing. Honestly I could care less. Yeah, it does hurt my feelings that my own daughter won't be "friends" with me online. How ridiculous. I can't even tag photos of my daughter on my own page because we're not "facebook friends." I have this discussion with lots of my friends though. We really could care less about the drunken goings-on of our 20 something kids. We are there to meet up with OUR friends and former colleagues. To reconnect with some aspects of our OWN youth. Honestly, we aren't interested in living yours, kids.

I don't play the games or rarely do the weird little quizzes that the young people play on Facebook. I guess lots of people do play the Gangster Wars or Farmville or whatever. To me, I'd rather be having real conversations. Or IMing with nieces and nephews, etc. It's just such a wonderful thing to be connected. It makes me feel like there is someone out there who cares enough to look me up. Or to IM me. Or to post a funny video they've seen so friends can share it. It's the new email. (Does anyone use regular email anymore?)

So I'm going to keep facebooking little comments to friends, and throwing my two cents in on political debates and have long conversations with friends and cousins online that I otherwise would never have had if I was emailing (do I have the right internet address?) or using (God forbid) snail mail. And if that makes me a "stalker", well, then I guess there is a new definition of that word. Facebook friend.

Raising Cain...Abel and the rest of them

What I want to know is this: at what point are we done raising our kids? 21? 23? Is every conversation a teaching point with our kids? How is it possible to "teach" anyone to accept responsibility for their own lives, decisions, bodies, jobs or lack thereof, relationships, grades, timliness, and so on? Not just kids...anyone? Can I be the only reasonable, sane person in my little world?

The drama of raising kids never gets easier, according to my mother, who is now 81. I guess she's still teaching me, so I get that - sort of. Still, it ought to be easier at some point, wouldn't you think? My daughter doesn't like living at home and I don't blame her. I didn't want to live "at home" when I was 21 either. But I was realistic enough to know I had to make a whole lot of cash to support myself if I were to move out. That I had to finish school OR get a job making enough money to support everything. Car insurance, health insurance, groceries, rent...the works. It seems no matter how old our kids get, they still expect us to keep helping them. Had that conversation with cousins today who are feeling the same way as parents too. Why can't some phone calls to us just be to say hello and not ask for a favor of some sort?

Accepting that I have done a disservice to my kids by providing SO MUCH to them as they have grown up is a hard one to bear. But maybe that's the case. Perhaps both of them need a good swift dose of cool reality - of paying ALL their bills themselves. Maybe I shouldn't have helped them so much., given them so much, provided so many opportunities. But isn't that what a parent does? Tries their best for their kids? Baby birds get pushed from their nests in a burst of reality. Why not our kids too? Maybe it's just easier to keep them closer by helping. Have to think on that one.

My daughter wants to take a vacation by herself with a cousin next year. I'm all for it, providing she now pays for that vacation herself. Hell, she's 21. And she was up for that until she heard that her Dad and I may go on the same trip. All of a sudden it's not the trip she wanted for herself. She won't be 'free". I say what were you planning to do without us that you coudn't do with us/near us/around us..? It's not as if we haven't been permissive. I started thinking about when it was that I was "allowed" to take my first vacation without parental permission, other than a school trip my senior year of high school (which I paid for totally myself) fully chaparoned by nuns. (OK, they HARDLY chaparoned, but that's for another blog.) I think my first vacation without my family (read: parents, brothers, etc) was probably my honeymoon with my husband. I know, I know - different day and age. And I was 22, the age she will be when she goes on this trip (cruise). Still...I do worry about her taking a trip independently of us. It's a much more dangerous/scary world than when I was 22. So yes, it's hard to let go as a parent.

So how can we understand one another at this juncture - both of my kids wanting autonomy, independence from us, but expecting some measure of financial help as they clamour onto their feet and find their wings out of the nest? I find it so hard to explain (and why should I HAVE to) why I worry for them. That when they lose a job it keeps me up at night. That when they stress over relationship woes it keeps me up at night. That when they are chomping at the bit to gain freedom it keeps me up at night because I see they haven't accepted full responsibility for that freedom just yet, and the sacrifices that have to made for it. Maybe I have failed as a parent in some measure because they aren't so ready.

This parenting thing sometimes just plain sucks. No other way to say it. Just when you think you've done good and that things are going swimmingly with your kids, they have a fit disgorging thier emotional distress and point out how terribly wrong we are as parents that we can't figure them the hell out and what they need at any given moment. That we just can't possibly understand. Huh? I was once 21, 23 years old. I get it. Give me a damned break! But give me the benefit of experience too. We don't dispense advice because we're some know-it-all-sage that can't help themselves for the passing on of their wisdom. (OK, maybe my husband becomes the sage on equal measure with the amount of red wine he's imbibed.) We give advice to you (our kids) because we are afraid you will hurt yourself, or find yourself in a situation you can't get out of, or because we've been there before and know what you may be headed into. Generation gap indeed.

Was I as stubborn with my parents? I'll have to ask them. I hope to hell not. In the meantime, I'm not stopping my parenting ever. They are just going to have to suck it up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Yoda Mantra

One of my favorite quotes from the Star Wars franchise is the famous line uttered by Yoda; "do, or do not, there is no try." And so it goes for me. I tend to be an all in type of person in most everything I do. Either I'm super organized or just let stuff run to shambles - it seems there is no in-between. My kids laugh when I'm reading something (anything). I literally dive in the other world of that written piece and do not hear or see anything going on around me. I'm all in. I guess there must be a medium for me in some things, it's just that when it comes to doing a project, or STARTING a project, I am either all in or just not doing it at all.

And so I have a dilemma. I've been asked to volunteer time and talent for a worthwhile organization. It's pro bono work, and could be a nice challenge for myself. My problem is the exact type of work I have been asked to do is not what I'd like to be doing for this group. There are some things I could do that I'd like to be doing for them. I did sort of tell them this - but not perhaps strong enough. And I like the people involved so much it's really difficult for me to not go all in on the project and do what they need me for. Lately I have begun to be more protective of my time though. Not sure how to tell them that I cannot do for them what they want. Yikes. I have always been a "do or do not" person. Why is it so hard for me to say no when a person asks for help? And I think my husband is right when he points out that why would I want to put that amount of time in and not be paid? Shouldn't I just find a job if that's what I want?

Problem is, I don't want just any old job. I want to be all in on a project all right, but I want the project to be MY project. Don't I owe it to myself to try that which I have now set out to do - write? If I get deeper into this pro bono work I know myself - my own needs and project will once again be relegated to last on the list. I'm sick of being last on the list. At 50, I am beginning to think maybe it's my turn. So no, I don't want to go work at Williams-Sonoma (as my daughter suggests) or substitute teach (as my son suggests). I want to live the Yoda mantra, but I want to guard my time more fastiduously than I have in the past. It will mean saying no sometime. It's gonna be really hard for me, but I'm ready. I'm just not all that good at letting people down. I hate that part.

I have to find a way to balance the all in or all out mentality. Couldn't I carve my time up to accomodate both? Or will it just end up being another one of those things that just ends up being an excuse to not get on with what I really want, to not face up to the work of the thing? I really want this time to be different - to have some tangible proof to myself that I can focus and write. This business of proving oncself is exhausting. And it's only me that I'm trying to prove anything to.

Today I saw an interview with the author of the Twilight books. She had a vivid dream that she awoke with. Turned out to be chapter 13 of her first book. Never had written so much as a short story before. And JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame was riding along on a train when supposedly the whole of that series hit her. If it can happen to others, why not to me too? The difference between them and me is that they had the balls to write down their ideas. It seems to me my choices are really no choice at all. Do or do not - there is no try. Time to do.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

As the Ad Says, "Just Do It!"

I don't know why in the world I am starting a blog, honestly. I just know that deep down in my soul, I need to write. I've thought about this a very long, bloody time. It's not that I'm lazy or can't do it - I just haven't ever felt the NEED to do it. Recently that has changed. Everything is changing, really. Maybe it's the time, or my age, or that I have the time (well, sort of.) So basically I have to go back to the question, "why now?"

It really began a few months ago with a near emotional breakdown that lead me to seek the help of a counselor (read: psychologist.) to clue me in that life was changing, and that I had better begin adapting. No, she didn't tell me that, I figured that out all on my own. With kids grown (or mostly) and a husband working A LOT, I found myself alone way too much of the time, and frankly depressed. In roll the feelings of self-doubt, musings about what the future holds, etc. In other words, full-blown mid-life crisis stuff. In all this self-discovery that I have been going through, the idea hit me that I need to be writing.

Several years ago I lost a dear friend to an overdose of bi-polar meds. She had been a rock for me since high school, and someone I communicated with via email nearly daily. We told each other everything, but more importantly some days just let ourselves ramble about this and that and anything that popped into our heads that day. It was a great outlet for both of us, who didn't feel the need to comment or advise each other by any means, but were content to just listen (or read, as in this case) without judgement. I miss her dearly. It has been since her passing that I starting feeling adrift. Lately I figured out it is because I no longer had that outlet of writing. Enter a niece with a blog, and presto - an idea is born for a blog of my own. So right up front I have to say that these little musings will now and forever be dedicated to Kate. I wish you were still here reading, but perhaps you know anyway...

In September of this year, and not long after that mental fizzle, I received a phone call out of the blue from an old friend who knew me 15 years ago and with whom I have spottily communicated through the years. Our conversation seemed as if no time had passed. Great to hear his voice...wonderful, in fact. Through our long talk we got around to writing. He had been a poet, and a good one. I wondered if he still wrote (sadly, not.) He asked if I was working on "Sin of Pride." Good grief. Hadn't thought about that in probably 12 or 13 years. A story idea based on the life of my grandmother (loosely) and that I had not worked on. I began to wonder why, but more importantly, began thinking about her and that story again. Pretty soon ideas were coming to me, and I felt not only that I COULD write, but that I NEEDED to write that story. He lit a fire again whose ember had nearly vanquished. I am grateful.

Today in the counselor's office, we spoke of leading a life that is not just filled (with to-do lists and events, tv shows to watch, places to go, groceries to buy...) but is FULfilled. It's a point I have been missing for QUITE some time. So I have decided to blog about these efforts to write again, and to simply muse on the world around me and my role in it. We shall see where this takes me, but for the first time in a while, I am hopeful, and excited to have something to DO that has real meaning to me.

Thanks Kate, and Paul. I'm about to "Just Do It." :)