Sunday, September 10, 2017

30 YEARS LATER... and still riding a merry-go-round

This year is thirty years since I graduated from high school.  Thirty years was the time jump that Marty Mcfly made in the Delorean in the "Back to the Future" movie.  So I am thinking maybe there is significance in the thirty years.  I know this blog is all about fifty, but let me journey away from fifty for this post and go back in time thirty years ago (give or take a year or two).

I found two pictures of me taken during my high school years and decided yesterday to recreate the moments at Fort Edmonton Park.  The first picture was taken at a fort in Saskatchewan on one of our class trips.  It could have been Carleton or Batoche.  I am not sure which one it was.  But I have this picture of me on this old cart.  

So yesterday, at Fort Edmonton Park,  I went looking for a cart to pose in front of.  I didn't really climb in the cart, because there were too many staffers walking around.  I didn't want to attract any attention, so I took out my selfie stick and posed in front of it.  This cart was in the actual Fort itself... so good re-creating.

The next thirty year old picture came from Disneyworld... so it is actually thirty-one, because that trip was in 1986.  One of my family members took a picture of me on a carousel horse.
I thought I was too old then to ride a merry-go-round, but I proved myself wrong then and yesterday...

I proved again I am not too old to ride a carousel. It is just getting difficult to climb on board. I didn't realize how high those mounts are and just how "out of shape" I am.
But I made it and have the photographic memory of the day to compare.  I am thinking I haven't changed much.  My hair is a little greyer, but you can't tell that because I was wearing a hat.  I think it's the same girl... just thirty years apart.  (a bit of irony... my horse's name was Memory)

Yesterday, I spent a few hours just walking around trying to feel like I was in a time period that my Grandparents knew.  

 I longed to be in a simpler time when people weren't hanging out with their iPhones, they were hanging out with each other.  But in reality I was there, hanging out with my iPhone. 

 It is a beautiful place, these parks designed to bring us back in time.  It is a reprieve from the crazy world we find ourself in in 2017.  I was wondering if, in 100 years from now, there will be a park that will have iPhones on display as antiques.  

Back to the carousel, I was on that horse thinking, I could check off something from my "Things to do before I turn 50" list.  And then another idea came to mind.  So last night at my computer I started a letter.   I started a letter to the Ruby of 1987.  Thirty years ago... that was me.  Just graduated from high school and starting bible school in Camrose.  So I wrote to her... here is a segment of the letter.  

"I am going to tell you something that you may not want to admit right now.  You are naive.  You grew up sheltered from the world, and now exposed to it, it wants to suck you in.  I don’t want to scare you, I just want to prepare you for the road ahead.  Mom and Dad love you.  They just wanted to protect you.  What parent wants to expose their child to the dangers of life at any juncture?  So now you are finding your way into a world that you aren’t prepared for.  If I could travel back in time to 1987, I am sure I would be there with a big stick trying to protect you too.  

You have a good heart.  You love well and Love will be with you on this journey.  You will learn how to love in good times and in hard times.  Some of those hard times aren’t that far away, some are down the road aways.  I want to tell you, that it is worth it.  Love is worth it.  "

It is an interesting exercise... something I saw on someone else's  "Things to do before 50 list".  

 This morning I started writing the Ruby of 2047, my 79 year old self, thirty years from now.  That is more challenging... here is a segment of that letter to explain why. 

So yesterday, I wrote a letter to Ruby of 1987.  My 19 year old self.  And since I am hot flashing at 2:30 in the morning, I thought it appropriate to write my 79 year old self a letter.  Jumping thirty years in the future is a lot more uncertain than going back thirty years.  I don’t know who you are.  I knew who I was thirty years ago, but I don’t know who you are.  I didn’t know the Ruby of 2017 back in 1987, and those two Ruby’s have so much “not in common”  but still a lot in common.  

Are you hot flashing?  Funny that I would ask myself that question.  Maybe I hope it is finally over.  I would like to sleep without waking up sweating.  I don’t like that part about getting older.  Am I making you laugh right now... talking about getting older.  You are probably wishing you were my age again.  

See what I mean,  here I am walking towards fifty... and wondering what I will be like at 79.   Yikes.  Going there seems scary.   But maybe writing myself a letter that I will open in thirty years has its blessings.  I wonder what kind of letter I would have written to my fifty year old self when I was just starting out on life.  

I hope at 79, I will find myself on a carousel with the strength and agility to climb on that horse once again, if only once more for a picture and a ride down memory lane.  

Sunday, August 20, 2017

To have loved and lost... Better or Worse?

"Tis more painful for the one who has loved and lost, than the one who never had the chance to love in the first place. "  Ruby Neumann  with apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I can go in a lot of different directions for this post.  Maybe Tennyson was thinking about man/woman kind of love, but this year,  I am compelled to take this thought in a different direction.  Here's a story.

There are two sisters.  One was married in her twenties and had two sons,  the other married in her forties and has no children of her own.  The first sister found fulfillment in being a mother.  She discovered a love the didn't exist for her before she had children.  That love was born when her first son came along and that love grew as her boys grew.  

The second sister lived her life through her twenties and thirties and forties witnessing that love in her sister, but not understanding it for herself.  It didn't exist for her.  Oh, another love grew instead, but that love that her sister was experiencing, didn't grow in her.  

Strange thing happened.  She found she didn't miss it.  She was so engrossed in the new love she had been given, she wasn't missing the love her sister had.  She had her own.  It was different.  

There were people who crossed her path and reminded her that she was missing love in her life because she wasn't growing the same love that her sister had.  She couldn't understand why they were convinced she was missing out.  That love didn't exist for her.  What was she missing? How could she miss something she never had in the first place? 

I have often wondered if, one day, I will feel a void in my life for not having children.  So far, it hasn't happened.  I had an tubal surgery when I was single and in my late thirties.  At that time I couldn't see around the next bend in my life.  Was I going to get married?  I didn't know.  But I thought if it did happen sooner than later, I needed to take the possibility getting pregnant out of the equation.  I had health issues that helped me and my health professionals conclude that it was unwise at my age to give birth.  Being single at the time, there was no emotional attachment that I had to consider.   It seemed like the perfect time to do it, so I did it.

The story continues:

It is an early winter morning.  The first sister is awakened to a knocking at the door.  Some police officers are standing on her porch.  They have news to deliver that no mother wants to hear.  There was an accident.  Her first born son... is dead.  

Then it starts.  Like an explosion in her very soul, the pain in born and it grows, it grows fast.  It is a pain worse than any broken bone or laceration she has ever experienced.  It's a pain worse than childbirth itself.  It's the pain unique to a mother who has lost her child.  

Later the same day, there is another knock on another door.  This time it is the other sister that opens the door to her awaiting mother.  It is the same news the police had to deliver to her sister.  When that sister hears of the death of her nephew, another explosion takes place, another pain is birthed in her own soul.  For this is the love, the different love she knew instead.   

How could I miss something I have never had? It never existed. Nothing was born in my soul.  There is still no pain in that for me.  Maybe one day, there will be a loss, but right now.  I am not missing the love I didn't have, I am missing the love I did have.  It was a different love, but it was good.

Maybe Tennyson was right, but to use the word "better" doesn't really describe it.  What is better?  Does that mean I am worse off for not having children of my own?  Others may think so, but I don't think so.  I am blessed for having 26 amazing years with my nephew.  But it is a blessing that I had because it was a love I was given.  Had he not been born, I would not have had that love birthed in me to grow.

At this juncture of my life... You know... almost 50... I find more peace and purpose on the Journey of Love than I do in the Valley of Regret.  There is no good in looking back wondering what would have been, even through I have moments where I wonder.

 I am reminded of my Great Aunt Bernice.  She was the only daughter of my great grandparents that didn't have children.  But the family would say of Aunt Bernice that she had 60 children, for that is how many nieces and nephew she had.  She too had love growing in her heart and soul.  It just wasn't the same as her siblings, it was different, but for her... it was good.

Friday, August 18, 2017

"How do you spell kerfuffle?"

I found myself asking this very question yesterday at work.  And in the next moment, I had a brilliant revelation about myself.  The older I get, my use of the English language is deteriorating as fast as my joints are.  I needed a word to describe a recent chaotic event and all I could come up with was "kerfuffle".

Then I was amazed to find that the word kerfuffle was of Scottish origin.  Going back over 100 years.  Maybe my English vocabulary skills are not deteriorating.  So this is the word of the week.  In case it wasn't already in your list of viable words...  

  1. a commotion or fuss, especially one caused by conflicting views.
    "there was a kerfuffle over the chairmanship"

Education, knowledge, brain exercises... these are all things I still pursue at almost 50.  My last class was this spring.  I took a course in American Sign Language.  It was challenging for the most part.  It was my fifth attempt at learning a second language.  I've tried French, Spanish, German and even some Greek (I learned the alphabet so I could find words in the Greek new testament.)  

My sign language class was taught by a deaf instructor.  It made me want to learn fast so I could effectively communicate with her.  At the end of the course, I decided that it was a good attempt and I am better for having experienced ten weeks learning to talk with my hands.  As all language attempts, it went by the wayside, because I don't have anyone to practice with.  So I am back to learning German words and phrases with my hubby.  

I am already looking ahead to the next learning adventure.  I understand that it may not turn into a full time career, but I value every effort I can make to stretch my mind and learn new things even if I don't get paid to use them.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Letting someone else throw it out.

Let me start this post by apologizing to the person who has to clean up my stuff when I am gone.  I would like to do the job myself, but chances are good someone somewhere will have to clean up something I've left behind.  Whether it is the messy office, the cluttered kitchen or the stuff filled basement.

I am sorry.  I really didn't want it this way.  I want to be free of the mess, clutter and stuff so someone else doesn't have to deal with it.  Why would I want to put that on someone else's list to do?

But my Mom has a different perspective.

"You don't have to throw it away, let someone else do it."  

That's right, that is the advise I got from my mother.  Let someone else do it.

Okay, here goes.  Here is a list of things I am going to leave behind for someone else to throw away.

1.  My Abba 8-track.  

That's right, I have an Abba 8-track.  It was the first music recording I bought with money I got from my Grandpa.  I don't play it anymore, It just sits in my cabinet with the other memories I am not doing anything with.  But I can't throw it out.

2. Figment.

Figment is a stuffed dinosaur that is stuffed away in a storage container with the rest of my stuffies I can't throw out.  How do I depart with this friend.  It was nineteen eighty something when my dad, mom, sister and I were in Disney world.  I fell in love with Figment the first day we visited the park.  for three days I waited.  The last day, Mom wanted to know if I wanted a t-shirt as a souvenir.  I told her I wanted Figment.  I brought the little guy home with me.  To this day, I still have him.  Had I got a t-shirt, it would have been in the rag bag years ago...  But I still have Figment... In a box in the basement... but I still have him.  I have cleaned out my stuffie collection a few times over the years, but I can't throw him out.

3.  The Picture Bible and Pilgrim's Progress. 

I am warning whoever... there will be books... Not a whole ton of books, but there will be books.  I have tried to weed out my collection of books, but some just stay.  I may be done with reading them, but I can't let them go.

The Picture Bible was given to me by my Mom.  I was a teenager and I think she was appealing to my short attention span or my lack of interest in long term reading.  I devoured this thing.  I loved the stories and pictures and though it held the same stories as my other bible did, this book kept me reading.  I have often thought of handing it over to someone else to read, some other child that also has a short attention span, but it remains here.  Not read in a while, but still on my shelf.  I just can't let it go.

Pilgrim's Progress is a book I bought at a book sale at the CLBI library in the early eighties when I was a student there.  It is the real thing.  Not an updated Canadian English version.  This is the Geoffrey Chaucer inspired English that John Bunyan originally wrote it in.  I still have it and to be perfectly honest, I made it about three quarters of the way through it.  I didn't finish it.  I know...  It is sitting on my book shelf waiting to be finished.  Maybe that is why it is still there.  On my book shelf... waiting.  But I am impressed I read that much.  Mom would be impressed.  After all she's the one who got me the Picture Bible.  Nope... don't know why, but can't get rid of that one either.

So there you have it.. It's only a portion of the stuff  I am leaving behind for someone else to deal with, but I am taking my Mom's advise.  After all, that is what she is doing... leaving stuff for someone else to clean up.  

Oooohhhh... And who will be cleaning up after her???  Maybe me. 

Okay.  I will work on that pile and hopefully cut it down so there isn't too much to toss. 

One more thing.  To that person who will be cleaning up after I am gone.... if you find a cockroach in a plastic container and a tooth in a little blue box... Toss them.  I am helpless.  What can I say. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Too old to be jacked up on caffeine.

Good Morning!

3:00 am

Right now, at this very moment, I am awake. Probably not a big surprise since I am writing. It is just the fact that it is 3:00 am and I can't get my body to rest and shut down. Me thinks the two expressos I had yesterday to get me here may be a factor. This can't be good for my 49 year old body. It needs rest. (Which isn't usually a problem to attain for me. )

It's a big day Saturday, which is technically today. The Andersen Family Reunion is on right now, which means I am in Saskabush. No, I'm not home, sleeping in my own house, I am at my cousin's house, not sleeping.

I am ready to hunt down my mom's sleep aids right about now. This is nuts. I am too old for this. I need my beauty sleep. I was staring at a dark ceiling for an hour and then figured I might better entertain myself if I pick up my iPhone and start a blog post.  If isn't as much fun to type on a keyboard the size of my thumb.  But what else do I do...

Oh, oh.. Mom just woke up.  I have some one to talk too.

Be back later... Or earlier. Mom's sleep aids are wearing off.  Maybe they aren't the be all and end all for maximum sleep effort.

7:00 am.

I am back. It is actually officially morning.  You know, the morning where you are supposed to be awake.  Mom went back to sleep.  I hear the movement in the rest of the house. Maybe it is time to meet the morning.  I've already been outside with my camera to grab some pictures of the sunrise against the barn.  I am hoping some of that caffeine that was keeping me awake at 3:00 am will still be in my bloodstream to sustain me through out the day. Who knows,  maybe pure joy at being with family will do that without the help of the caffeine.

In a perfect world, I would eliminate caffeine from my list of needed beverages, and I am not even a regular coffee drinker.  I just injest Timmie's Ice Caps with Expresso on occasion to get me from point A to point B.   Don't like falling asleep at the wheel.  Did that on occasion and it's not a good thing.

Mmmmm.... maybe this is enough blogging for this post.  I have a family to connect with.

Until later... but not before I leave you with my new Road Trip Caffeine rules.

1. Stay away from energy drinks.
2. No more than one expresso a day.  (Did two yesterday and I was up at 3 am blogging on my iPhone)
3. Drink more water than coffee.  Caffeine dehydrates.
4. Caffeine substitute: Eat Veggies, (not "junk food")
5. Give the body at least day to recuperate before jacking it up with more caffeine for the trip home.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Another light goes out!

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the massively popular rock band Linkin Park, has died at the age of 41.
According to a report, the singer hanged himself at a Palos Verdes Estates residence in L.A. County.
Bennington struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life and career. He was married and is survived by six children. 

It is Sunday morning.  6:26 am to be precise.  I find I get most of my inspiration popping out my head into my fingers and on to my computer screen on Sunday.  This morning I found myself interested in the life and subsequent death of Chester Bennington lead singer of the band Linkin Park.

Until the notice of his death by suicide came across my Facebook feed, I knew nothing about him.  I think I vaguely heard about the band, but can't recall listening to any music from them.  My apologies to Linkin Park fans... I think all good music is resigned to two decades: 70's and 80's.   I can't tell you who the big bands or musicians of this new millennium are.  In my mind they don't exist.  But today, I read some songs from Linkin Park and found my conclusions a little short.

As I write this, I haven't listened to any Linkin Park music.  I might totally hate it, but I read the lyrics to two songs and came away inspired.  You see... songs without music are poems.  I know poetry.  Poetry is the language of the soul.  As I read the lyrics of the songs,  I was moved by emotion from the writer.  It captured me.  I scrolled down to the bottom hoping to find Chester Bennington as the poet that wrote such lyrics.  But I was disappointed to find the whole band was given credit for the writing of the lyrics.

That didn't make sense.  Poetry is something that comes from one person.  A poem is the expression of heart manifested in words.  How do seven people manifest the same heart in the same poem.  To me, a poet, that seems unreal.  Maybe it's a marketing thing.  Maybe one person wrote the poem and the rest of the band is credited for the music.  That would make sense.  But I would think the writer of the lyrics would get special kudos for the poetry.

I read Chester's bio and figure he could very well have birthed the emotion behind the lyrics of the songs.  Read this chorus from the song "One more light".

"If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone's time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We're quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do"

I think a lot of amazing poetry gets lost in raunchy music.  I have discovered this by reading songs as poems instead of trying to understand them from the music they are wrapped inside.  Music is a different language of the soul.  So a finished song is the combination of poetry and music.  There are songs that have crappy lyrics and beautiful music and there are songs that have crappy music with amazing poetic inspiration.  The marriage of both is a beautiful thing, but sometimes... the music is better off without the words and the words are better off without the music.

You may be wondering why this subject in my fifty blog... Well, Chester died at forty-one.  He hung himself.  I remember forty-one very well.  For me, it was a beginning of a new life.  I woke up the morning of my forty-first birthday in a new home, with a new husband and a new journey.  Chester made it to forty-one and didn't find a new journey,  just the conclusion of an old one.

In his words... "Who cares if one more light goes out?"

I do.  I care when another poet has stopped writing.  I know what it is like to lose inspiration and stop writing.  I also know that a poet needs to write.  It is our language.  It is how we feel, how we shine,  how we communicate, how we love and how we live.

So what do I do now.  I keep writing.  I keep feeling; I keep shining; I keep communicating; I keep loving and I keep living.  I am a poet, it is what I do.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kanalima: Hawaii makes 50 sound so festive.

When I was looking for a name for this blog, I went looking in Google Translate.  I already had landed on the Journey idea, because most of where I am now has been a portrait of the journey.  Now I am heading towards this place called Fifty, I wanted to find a name for it... you know... other than Fifty.  Fifty sounds... old?

I perused the translations for the word fifty in over twenty different languages and landed on a word that sounded more like a tropical destination than number.   Kanalima is the Hawaiian word for Fifty.  

Journey to Kanalima... sounds like a trip worth going on.  Like a trip that's going to land you somewhere with palm trees, white sandy beaches, lots of water and dancing orcas. I figured that would be a journey worth going on.

So here is the thought for perusing...  How do I make the next ten years something to look forward to?  (Much like someone waits for a tropical getaway).  I am more reluctant  of the scary possibilities that await me, than I am anticipating the journey with joy.  

"It's just a number!" 

Is it?  Is it just a number or is it a period of transition?  If it was just a number, people wouldn't spend so much money on big fancy parties.  There must be something significant about the jubilee year.  I know I am past mid life.  I had my mid life crisis when I turned 40... and I solved it by getting married at one day shy of 41.  

Significance... now there is a word to sit on for a bit.  Am I still looking for significance as I "Journey to Kanalima"?  (Now my new code word for turning fifty).  At forty I had published my first book.  Its kind of hard to beat that milestone.  Now it's ten years later and I am wondering what lays in wait for me, at Junction Highway #50.    

30 YEARS LATER... and still riding a merry-go-round

This year is thirty years since I graduated from high school.  Thirty years was the time jump that Marty Mcfly made in the Delorean in ...