The Reminder

Stark cold concrete built into the ground, you are a reminder of the fear and turmoil that we humans create while on this earth.
Yet as the sun sets for another day, the fleeting beauty covers everything like a blanket to remind us,
 if we will listen,
that the one thing we have for certain is this present moment.

Beautiful Fall Morning

I woke to see the morning wrapped in a cold fog, winding around the trees

and hiding anything beyond a stones throw of my view.

I readied myself anyway and made my way through the fog to the park for a morning walk.

As the sun climbed higher in the sky, it slowy dissipated the soupy cloud.

Walking along, I caught a glimpse of natures ‘bling’.

I stopped and lowered my view to see the tiny droplets of dew in all of their beauty.

I carried on, walking along my path, bathing in the crisp air,

the smells of a fresh morning and enjoying for the moment the peace of being alone.

I looked down again this time to see a bright leaf on the exposed root of a tree.

The beauty in the colors and patterns intrigued me.

I sat myself down in the wet dewy grass and went in to capture the small scene.

Lost in my own little world, I was brought back by a rustling of feet through the leaves.

I looked up to see I had a curious visitor obviously wondering what I was doing.

Eventually, I thought it time to head back home, a lot of things on my list to be done.

It’s times like these, I wish that list could wait just a bit longer.

As I left the park on this crisp autumn day,

I was thankful for the warm, fleeting color,

knowing that it would all too soon be replaced with the chill of winter.

 I’m even thankful for the chill of winter

 it’s only with being aware and knowing that change is definate

that we can truely appreciate the little moments as they come.

My Baby is Looking at Colleges

Monday I took my baby to look at a college.

Ok, so she’s not exactly an infant as that may sound, she’s 17 and a Senior in High School deciding where to go to college.

But she’s my youngest of 2, so she’s one of my babies. Don’t judge me, they will always be my babies.

She’s my artist child, my right-brained thinker, my music lover.

My oldest will save the earth and the animals, and my youngest will paint the world with beauty and music.

No pressure though kiddos.

So she’s 95.5% sure she’s going to a college close to home, it’s a commutable distance but she still wants to dorm it. I completely understand and am just glad she will be close. She’s also decided that while she wants to be an artist, she also loves kids and wants to major in either Music or Art education as a career.

We went on the tour of the college Monday. When we entered the Arts Auditorium, her face lit up and I could see the excitement in her eyes. Then came the old familiar welling up of tears. I choked them back, after all, I didn’t want to embarrass my baby girl almost grown daughter. I’m all too familiar with this feeling, I had a similar feeling when I took my oldest to college. I unloaded her stuff, walked around the campus with her, ate lunch in the cafeteria then we walked together to the parking lot for my 4 1/2 hour drive home. I had been choking back those tears all day too but I thought it was mostly because she would be so far from home, and I’m sure that was a lot of it. As I got in my car that day, I told myself, “Stay Strong!” and somehow held back the flood of emotion and sobbing until after I had driven out of her sight. I wanted to remain strong for her and I didn’t want to embarrass her. As soon as I was out of sight though, I had to pull my car off the road and let loose. I had to release the flood as the dam walls were going to explode. I cried and I wasn’t even sure why. It wasn’t that I was horribly sad, it was more a cry for the swift passage of time, the pride, the fact that she was 4 1/2 hours away, and something else I just couldn’t put my finger on. After I gathered my composure, I got back on the road & called my oldest baby girl and admitted to her that mommy had to pull over and sob. She chuckled a little and admitted she too went back to her room and cried a little. Let me tell you mom’s & dad’s, cutting that umbilical cord is a strange mix of emotions.

So back to my youngest baby girl (something tells me I haven’t completely cut the cords yet….hmmmmm). The entire tour I choked back those feelings again. I was puzzled because I am pretty sure she’s going to be close to home. I’ll be seeing her often (like when she needs her laundry done!) so why these feelings now?

I looked around at these kids, young adults milling about, busy on their way to class, some sleeping on the sofa’s in the library, some studying diligently, some giggling with their friends,  that is when I realized this feeling encompasses so many things.

It’s about pride.

It’s about the realization that these little bundle I gave birth to, what seems like just yesterday, is getting ready to move on to the next phase in her life, she’s getting ready to cross that bridge from teen to adult.

Being a parent is about caring for these little lives, feeding them, loving them, nurturing them, guiding them and watching the milestones pass one by one then sending them on to make their mark on this world and start the cycle all over.

It’s such an exciting and unsure time for them, such a mixture of emotions for us.

It’s All About You! Again!

Again today, it’s not about me. It’s all about YOU! Yes, You!

Ok, I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised when my idea for “It’s All About You” post last Friday was received so well.

Even more, I enjoyed the memories that the picture I posted brought forth in some of my readers. I mean I REALLY enjoyed them!

The word ‘really’ doesn’t describe my feelings well.

I authentically, categorically, honestly, no…INDUBITABLY enjoyed them. You guys are awesome!

I was touched by every one of your memories.

It evoked memories of loved ones,

childhood,

camp,

 family vacations,

 peaceful moments

 and even memories of a favorite movie.

I think its a great chance to remember how similar and how different the experiences that shape our lives can be.

Ok, ok, ok, enough of me babbling and getting all sentimental.

As I was saying, I enjoyed this so much, I’ve decided to make this a regular or semi regular part of my blog.

On Fridays I will post a picture and I will ask you to tell us what memory or feeling it brings out in YOU. You can post your memory or feeling short & sweet in the comment section, or if it inspires a tale better left for your blog, please link said tale back to the comment section so we can all share in your creation.

This last Monday, when I took a day off work to wander aimlessly around the country side with G2 (my camera) and a good friend who lives in the area, we stumbled across something interesting. On some winding country road that I probably couldn’t find again if you paid me, we decided to pull onto a gravel road to turn around. As we did, we were at first taken by the view, but as I was turning around, something caught my eye down a slight hill off to the side.

After I knocked away the “What a shame this classic sits here, rotting away” feelings, I remember weekends during the decade of big hair (yes the 80’s) and teen angst. I remember a local Hardees parking lot where everyone cool cruised around in their cool, and not so cool cars and hung out sitting on bumpers, walking around, some smoking, until the cops came and chased us all away.

Ahhhh, the memories…..

Wait, this isn’t about me today, it’s about you.

Close your eyes (ok, wait until you’ve read this first) then close your eyes and go back, or not so far back…….

What memories does this picture bring forth?

Today, it’s all about You!

 

Hello! Today I’d like to try something different.

I would love to hear about YOU! Yes, you!

One of the things that attract us to artwork, whether it be photography or something different, is the emotion or memory it stirs.

Sure, sometimes its about aesthetics but most of the time it’s not.

So this is where you come in.

See this picture below?

Does it stir a memory or memories for you?

If so, what are they?

Does it stir a feeling or an emotion? If so, tell us about it.

Maybe, just maybe, you don’t like to go outside and you’re a complete homebody or city person and this just doesn’t stir up any emotion or feeling at all,

thats o.k. too.

We all have different experiences & perspectives in this tapestry of life.

Rules, there are no rules. Just tell us all about your memory short & sweet, OR,

if this has inspired a longer tale, you can link the story about your tale in the comment section below.

For now, I will save the memories that this picture reminds me of for later.

Today I want to hear from you.

My Sunday A.D.D. Moment

 

So there I am, watching my taped Oprah shows from the week, getting ready to paint my nails, when my  hubby, G1 came into the room to ask me to check the email and print off his Football picks while he cleans one of his man caves aka The Garage.

“Sure honey,” I say, “I’m glad you caught me before I started my nails!”

– I get up and go to the computer.

– Where I first check MY email.

– Then I have to check another one of my emails.

– OH, my friend Pam emailed, need to respond now.

– Check another Blog that I love to read.

– Moderate a comment left on my blog.

– Check link from comment.

– Leave a comment.

– I look over, see I never made the bed.

– I go make the bed.

– Pick up clothes, take downstairs to do the laundry.

– While doing laundry, realize I forgot to print the picks.

Dangit

– Go back to computer.

– Check Twitter.

– Oh look at that link.

– Check link (another several minutes go by).

– Check the weather for the week.

– Crud, I need to go start supper.

– Half way to the kitchen remember I forgot to print the picks.

Dangit

– Go back to computer.

– Check printer for paper.

– Put more paper in printer (Finally, progress!)

– Oh, I haven’t checked Facebook today.

– I go look at Facebook.

– Go back to WordPress to check my blog.

– Start this blog post.

– While I’m writing this post, G1 comes in and asks for the football picks.

– I laugh hysterically at myself.

– G1 thinks I’ve finally lost it and goes back to his garage, shaking his head.

I wonder if those picks will ever get printed.

I wonder if my nails will get done.

I wonder if dinner will ever get made.

Oh, what’s that? I’ve received a new email…..

P.S. After I screwed my head back on straight, the picks were printed, my nails look beautiful and I will be posting my recipe for a different kind of Delicious Chili later this week. This chili even won an award! Well, kinda.

Help! My Melanin is Missing!

 

Ok, so I’ve never had much melanin, but.. 

 Its time to stand up and say something, for all of us Melanin lacking people!! I’m tired of being quiet!

To all of You who were blessed with a thing called Melanin, please read this….

From Dictionary.com

melanin  [( mel -uh-nin)]

A dark brown coloring found in the body, especially in the skin and hair. Produced by special skin cells that are sensitive to sunlight, melanin protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Note : The amount of melanin present in the skin determines the color of a person’s complexion: people with a large amount have dark skin, whereas those with very little have fair skin. Melanin is also responsible for tanning.

So basically when I was created, someone forgot to dump in a generous helping of melanin to my genetic makeup. My mother, God love the melanin hogging woman, can be outside for 5 minutes and her skin glows with her melanin doused genes. My father however, passed on every single bit of his melanin lacking genes to my sister and I.  I don’t fault him, he didn’t have it to begin with. I blame mom for keeping so much for herself.   (Don’t worry mom, I’ve since forgiven you!)

 And before I begin the “awareness” part of this post, let me preface it by saying I’m not a terribly vain person. Yes I do bathe, and I do like to look nice, but thankfully, I don’t obsess over it, I am who I am, and I’m good with me.  

Having said that, I must now venture on to the awareness part:

For some reason, people think its ok, when you’re pale, to make public statements about it. Its usually when in the company of more than one person, better yet, a group of people, when someone decides its ok to exclaim, “Dang, you’re pale, why don’t you tan more?” For some reason  people don’t consider the rudeness of this type of statement before they speak. My theory is when they go in the sun Wha-la, they no longer look like the walking dead,  so they ASS-U-ME I can do the same thing. Well guess what Einstein, I can’t.

 Let me explain. First I’m going to repeat something from above:

 Melanin is also responsible for tanning.

 Its simple science, Melanin, or lack thereof, is responsible for my paleness.

 When you make your ‘pale’ comments or ask things like, “Are you a recluse? Don’t you ever leave the house?” you are, possibly unknowingly, bringing back all of the teasing in grade school, all of the self conscious memories of youth like a speeding freight train, to the present. Just because you can go from pale, to a more tanned state with a little exposure to the sun, does not automatically mean all of us can.

Think for a minute about your most self conscious issue with your body. What is it? NOW imagine if I point out your most self conconsious issue in a group of people and go on and on about it. Get the idea? It is very hurtful. I am surprised almost daily, by the amount of people who don’t consider this.

 Usually we all have something about ourselves we wish we could change and even if we’ve moved on, and in our wisdom & age accepted ourselves the way we are, whatever that issue was, that “thing” can still have stabbing effects on your psyche if someone points it out in a rude tone. So please remember this: Just because I’m pale as the moon does not mean I can help it.

Let me give you an example. I once joined a tanning salon, I would burn after 10 minutes, so I would go 8  minutes at a time, increasing the minutes a little at a time, 3 times a week, FOR 3 MONTHS. Oh I could tell a difference, every extremely pale person can tell when their skin shows an ever so slight, almost imperceptible glow! But after 3 months, and who knows how many minutes of my life, I would still be asked the same rude, pale questions.

Heres one more thought, if melanin protects you from the harmful effects of UV rays and a person has only a smidge of melanin, it not only means it would take  10 times as long to tan, but in the meantime, said person is 100 times more likely to get skin cancer than melanin blessed people. I have to say, in the long run, I think I’ll be glad I didn’t give in too  many times to the pressure of others saying “why don’t you tan more?” Why expose myself to those dangers if, in the end, I’m the only one who could tell? I gave up fake baking to hopefully save my future self from suffering from skin cancer, call me silly!

So the next rude question is, why don’t you go spend your hard earned money on the tanning sprays? Let me tell you, I tried it once, before a trip to Florida where I was afraid people would really gawk. Once in the tube, I HATED to not be able to breathe. Yep, that’s right, You’re enclosed in a space age tube and you can’t breathe lest you inhale tanning chemicals. When the gusts of paint stop, you turn around, and still enclosed in an airtight tube, you can “breathe” for a few seconds before the next gust of paint starts, only, you still have these paint particles floating everywhere so you’re still inhaling them. Not my idea of a good time. Oh and the result of this paint torture? One of the sprayers was clogged! I kid you not. I had streaks down the back of my leg! Being the positive person I normally am, I am truely thankful it wasn’t the sprayer that covered the face! 

Still, STREAKS….

down

my leg. 

Yep. That looked really nice!

 I can definitely accept my situation & I see the humorous side. 

Once, after watching the movie “Dances with Wolves” with my melanin blessed husband, G1, I decided to give us both American Indian names. I dubbed myself, “Glows in the Dark” and we laughed hysterically for a while. He still lovingly calls me by the name at times. I also volunteer myself  as a guage for my friends to compare their tans to, because like I said earlier, I’m me, this is who I am. 

It’s only when people ask previous stated pale questions with a tone in their voice that conveys they think you actually have a choice in the matter that it can come across as insulting. I find myself wanting to proclaim,

 “I’m not an animal!!!” 

 So all I ask of you is to think before you speak when talking to us Melanin challenged people of this world.

We have feelings too.

 

Wildlife in the Morning

Sometimes I read about places people have been, or even where they live and I see pictures of these places and ‘wanderlust’ strikes hard.

 I want to see things, go places, enjoy this world of ours in all its beauty.

And then a morning like the other morning comes about and again, I remember to be thankful for the area I live in.

I wake up earlier than normal for work, grab G2 (my camera, yes thats its name, hubby is G1) and I head out.

I am fortunate to work close to a wildlife preserve, Busch’s Wildlife.

Its an area of many lakes and walking trails. The scenery is beautiful nature.

 It isn’t anything spectacular, there are no mountains, no canyons, no oceans, no craggy rock formations. Just the outdoor basics.

Its a place of peace, to be quiet with nature.

Wait, did I say it isn’t anything spectacular?

Well, maybe I was wrong….

I am wrong once a year.

Ok, maybe more than that…<cough> slightly more.

As I walked from the lake, back to my car, the crisp morning air wrapped around me and made me feel alive,

 and thankful.

This earth is our gift and we should appreciate all of its wonders.

The utter quiet of the morning was shattered by their calls, it was a stark reminder that autumn approaches.

I am fortunate to live in a place of seasons.

(Remind me of that in February ok?)

 I drove the gravel roads, from one lake to another, admiring the different ways the beauty glowed in the early morning light.

 

Then the clouds moved in, and covered the sun.

Did you know the best time to photograph outside is on an overcast day?

Unless of course you are photographing the sun.

Then maybe not so much.

I digress. 

I broke out my Macro lens, just a few more shots,

 its getting to be that time,

time to go to work.

I doubt there are many better ways to start one’s day.

 

 

 

Earlier, when I said ‘nothing spectacular’,

 well

I guess that depends on when

 and where

 and how you see it.

That Old Diner Took Me Back in Time

 On our way home from the farmers market, my husband suggested we stop at this small diner-type restaurant for breakfast. I had been curious about it for a long time so thought it was a great idea. Just from the outside I got the feeling of nostalgia, it was a small town diner from yester-year.

You see, the town I live in is the town I grew up in. I’m nearing the big 4-0 but when I was a child, this town was “out in the stix”. It was country. I lived in one of the ‘new subdivisions’ that started popping up here in the mid 70’s. Our main highway was a winding 2 lane country road. We had to drive ‘into town’ a whole 5 to 8 miles to get to the store, unless the “Hucks” gas station just down the road had what we needed.

 Yes, a subdivision surrounded by corn fields & country roads is pretty much where I grew up.

Only, as I was growing up, so was the area around me.

One by one the corn fields became subdivisions. The fields for grazing cattle became bigger highways or shopping malls or strip malls. More land was dozed to create schools to handle all of the people moving to the burbs. I guess since it happens so slowly, yet in retrospect, so quickly, you dont notice as much the little things that you miss about ‘small town’.

The abscence of traffic.

The abscense of stop lights & stop signs at every intersection.

The hustle & bustle replaces the slow & steady.

 Rooftops now fill my views where once you felt like you had elbow room.

Gone are the lines made by the rows of corn that now seem almost theraputic to the eyes.

Maybe its just the simplicity of it all that I miss so much. Maybe its the quiet.

 

This is what going into that diner this weekend reminded me of. It was so ‘retro’ in that small town, country way. License plates, old & new hung on the walls along with signs from the old diner days. The seats were the old formica type of booths, room for 4. It amazed me that places like this still existed in the middle of a thriving, overpopulated suburbia. The waitresses called people by their names and as some of the customers left, they said “Bye, see you next Saturday!” Yep. it was a cozy, familiar, time warp that made me long again for the country way of life.

 I’m a country girl at heart, surrounded by a suburbia that came in and took over like a rash. Oh there are positive sides, like the fact that before the economic downturn, more jobs were created closer to home. It used to be you’d have to drive into the city of St. Louis (about 30 miles) to get a decent job. Now there are more out here, in fact , I work only 8 miles & 21 stop lights away from home. (I’m not kidding about the stop lights, I’ve counted). 

The people here, even though there are literally tens of thousands more than when I was young, they are mostly good. Its still a freindly, clean, safe place to live.

There are still places within driving distance that have not been taken over by suburbia, but now, since acrage is more scarce its also much more expensive. Usually the only homes built with any acrage now are beyond my price range by far.

Even my old High School is no longer recognizable. It used to sit on an old army base. Where the old army barracks used to house the offices for the school, now have long been torn down and a huge new state of the art gymnasium now stands. The school used to be an interesting mix of farm kids and the first suburbia subdivision kids (like me) to inhabit the area. Now the kids are all suburbia kids with possibly a few farm kids but I doubt there are more than a handful of those.

A big new super highway is under construction that replaces the four lane highway that replaced the 2 lane highway. I shake my head everytime I pass the construction because it is most definately a monumental task. Earth movers, pavers, buildings being moved, the landscape has definately changed, its almost unrecognizable.

 Life is change, I get that. I accept that even.

I love my town, in fact, I’ve never lived anywhere else.

Sometimes though I can’t help but miss the way it used to be.