Monday, November 23, 2015

What are you afraid of?

Is it fear itself?  Fear is a funny thing (and not the kind of thing we laugh about).  Webster says fear is "an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause us pain, or is a threat".  What Webster fails to tell us is that fear is different for all of us.

I am a relatively successful, extremely educated woman.  I have enjoyed a full life combined with a variety of opportunities and experiences, all which add up to who I am.  Yet, I have fears.  Many are unfounded, some are very dated and I even have one or two I have overcome.

The fear of mice is not one I have overcome.  Plural or singular, this is a fear of mine.  I can become completely undone by the very presence of a small, furry rodent in my midst.  Houses lose appeal (to me) should a mouse be spotted (or maybe even a sighting reported). Now, is everyone afraid of mice?  No...of course not.  Is that a rational fear?  Well, again, Webster does not define fear as something that is rational.  I wholeheartedly agree that it is very unpleasant. 

The fear of mice was not something I was raised with.  I had an unfortunate experience with a mouse when I was around eight years old that has "scarred me for life".   Earlier in that fated day, my mom had "us five kids" bring in the cat because she heard a mouse in the cupboard.  She opened the door, the cat retrieved the mouse and outside they went.  Mission accomplished.  All was well.  Moments later, while my mom was on the phone with my grandma, I thought I heard another mouse.  I opened the door and the mouse leaped out on my leg, ran down to the floor and took off.  (Yes, I realized later I forgot the cat).  I SCREAMED BLOODY MURDER!!!!  Apparently, this was a source of humor to my mother as she could hardly contain herself to assure my grandma that I was NOT BEING MURDERED. this day, I am afraid of mice.  I know they aren't necessarily dangerous, that I am much bigger. blah, blah, blah. one said fear is rational.  Megan (oldest daughter) has grown up unscathed by my experience and keeps rodents in her house...she calls them gerbils.  Yet, when she was nine and I tried to pay her good money to remove a dead mouse from the stairway, would she help me?  Hell. No.  Marissa and Madison have a little more common sense.  They recognize that mice are nothing more than vermin that can ruin your life.  We have all spent quality time on chairs, tables, and any other available furniture during an alleged invasion.  If you spot one, there are at least three.  THEY NEVER TRAVEL ALONE.

So what are you afraid of?  Certainly today in this world we have our choice of things we might be fearful of.   On any given day on Facebook, Twitter, the news, etc. you can read differing opinions on how we should handle refugees, terrorists, politicians, I think you get the drift.  We all have as many differing opinions as we do fears and while we may not always understand or even agree with each other, I believe we all know what it feels like to be afraid (or have an opinion) of... something. Fears (and opinions) aren't always rational.  If based on faulty "knowledge" these fears and opinions can be unfounded.  And sometimes fear drives opinions.  We all know of people who didn't make the right decisions when they were afraid. (thinking right now of a story I saw on the news of a mother who jumped out of a moving car while her child was still in it, because of a bee.....she was afraid).

Where does that leave us?  I am just wondering if maybe, we all took the time that we spent espousing our opinions (and fears) and actually put our intent into action, what the end result might be in our own little world?  I might not be talking about mice anymore.  For example, if I am afraid of being hit by a car, I don't demand that all cars be taken off the roadway, or that there be no more imported vehicles brought in the country.  What I will do is learn safe behavior so that when I am around cars, accidents are less likely to happen.  Obviously, I don't want to live my life in fear, so I need to be as proactive as possible and still be the person that I believe God intended me to be.  I might not be talking about cars anymore.

We can all afford this!
There is only so much we can do, but there is SOMETHING WE CAN DO.  In my world, if I see someone hungry, I can offer food.  If I know of someone who is lonely, I can visit.  I can take a name off an angel tree and buy a gift for a child less fortunate.  I can drop canned goods off at the food bank.  I can smile at all I pass by, without judging or profiling.  And in return, maybe they will afford me the same opportunity. When someone asks me to pray for them, I will.  I can ask others to pray for me.

This is what I know.  Everyone is afraid of something.  Education, understanding (and tolerance) of others who fear can be beneficial to all.  Actions speak louder than words.   Let's work together.  If you take care of any mouse situations for me....I will kill your spiders.

Until next time,

your pal,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ask my mother!

When I was young, (let's start with the teenage years first) I believed there were appropriate time lines associated with just about everything we experience in life.  When I would see young married couples in their twenties, just starting a family, I thought they were very mature and grown-up. Worldly, even.  I would imagine my life in just a few short years and how much more "together" I would be.

My original three
When my grandmother died when I was 15, I truly believed for awhile that I would never smile again.  I was appalled at those laughing and visiting at the church luncheon put on immediately following the funeral.  Was there no decency or respect left in the world??  Surely, this wasn't appropriate behavior given the circumstances.  I also believed that if I only could have been older (grown-up) when this happened, I would have handled this loss so much easier.

Oh, the fallacies of youth.  Obviously, I have learned since that time that there is NEVER an appropriate age to say good-bye to anyone. It will always be too soon.  And I have been through loss that is prolonged and expected along with sudden without warning.  For those who say "it must be easier if you are prepared", I beg to differ at this time.  I am still wondering what "prepared" looks like.

Little Megan 
Which brings me to my mother.  I recall when my oldest daughter (Megan) was in her twenties.  I don't remember what was going on with her at the time, but I was talking to my mom and I very seriously asked (Keeping with my theory on time lines)..."how old will my kids be when I don't worry about them anymore?"  She said, "I'll let you know."  Wow!

Riss and Madi
Considering that I was my mother's firstborn, this was not comforting news.  It was like a full realization that the baby I was so excited to welcome into my world (times four) would be an active part of my thought (er worry) process EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!!  Now, don't get me wrong, I love my kids (and a few others I didn't even birth), but WOW!!  I guess I always knew I would be worried when they were little, probably concerned and even annoyed when they were teenagers, but as adults - come on.  But wait, there's more!  Then they have children for you to add to the list.

Obviously, I wouldn't trade the joys and experience of being a mother (or Mimi) for anything in this world.  It's just that I wonder how many women (and men) really understand the emotional commitment they are making when they believe they are ready to have a child.  Surely, this should be a relationship of a lifetime, for a lifetime....without the vows of "for better or worse". should be!

I know this, when you think about something that involves EVERY SINGLE DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, it could sound like a sentence.  And to me it is....the best sentence I have ever read!!!

HA- Play on word intended!!

Until next time,


your pal,


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My dad - The Veteran of Blue Light Specials!!

Serving proudly
It's true.  Today is Veteran's Day and my Dad was a Veteran.  He proudly served in both the Norwegian Underground and the U.S, Army during World War II.  And I thought it appropriate to mention that today, as we honor all our Vets who have given so much so that we might have so much more.

But then I saw the commercial and we all know that if it is on TV - it is gospel. The Blue Light Special is back.  For those of you  who DON'T know what a Blue Light Special is (and I can't image who that might be)....let me tell you.

Not that I care to date myself, but I recall the Blue Light Special from my days of youth.  Back when K-Mart was the premier variety store of choice and you could get just about anything you needed at your local store.

Growing up, we frequented the one on 29th street (between Adams and Topeka Boulevard).  This was a nice sized store and a quick 15 minute drive from our house.  When the holidays were "just around the corner" you could load up on all your Christmas presents and put them on layaway; making regular payments right up until Christmas.  You never had to worry about the store running out of the particular item you needed before you had the cash.  But wait....I digress.

At any given time, while you were shopping, the store might feature a BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL. When this was announced, you usually had ten minutes to get to the flashing blue light and purchase whatever the featured item was for the day!

So, not only was my Dad a Veteran of World War II, I think it is safe to say that we are all veterans of other things.  And one of the things my dad was a veteran of was the infamous K-Mart Blue Light Special.  Now, some of us were more selective than others when it came to shopping.  Every time I think of K-Mart, and specifically - a Blue Light Special, I will always think of my dad.  HE COULD NOT PASS UP A BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL!  If the item was camping equipment - he bought it.  Did we go camping?  Absolutely NOT.  But, this was a BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL.  Pet food???  In the cart!  Did he have pets?  Of course not.  I never could quite get him to see the irony of purchasing things on sale that we had no use for.

My dad struggled with shopping in general.  He loved to buy "us five kids" clothes for the holidays. The trouble was, he thought our size was the same as our age.  So, by the time we reached our teenage years. he had us unwrapping gifts in sizes ranging from 14-18.  For us girls, none of us weighed more than 100 pounds and once we topped 5'2 - that was the milestone.  I recall one Christmas when cowl necks were very popular.  My sisters and I laughed so hard as we got lost in those size 14-18 cowl neck sweaters that he insisted we try on for him.  Good times....

Another blue light special item was boxed bubble bath.  He thought it was bubble gum so he picked up several.  This was a Happy Birthday surprise for my sister Katy.  Not sure but she still might have some left.

Dad and Ann-life of the party!
My dad has been gone for just over thirty years now.  It seems like yesterday.  For those of you who have experienced my irreverent sense of humor, in large part that comes from him (although my mom can be pretty funny, too).

I don't know everything but this much I know for sure.  My dad was never one to pass up a blue light special.  I know the next time I am in K-Mart and I see that light go flashing, I won't be going alone to see what's up for grab.

Until next time,

Your pal,
(for you, Dad)


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Will it go round in circles??

My world view
So this past week I have walked 76,292 steps.  That equals 31.35 miles.  Why, you ask?  Because I can.  Most of the 30 miles have been spent downtown, walking my life away over the lunch hour.  I am amazed at the accumulation of miles in basically a one mile radius.

From my office I am about four minutes away from the State Capital grounds. which is approximately 2.25 acres.  It is a people watching mecca at all times and often there are protests, rally's or some other event for me to skirt around as I walk.

The complex is criss-crossed with sidewalks which I go up and down in a very obsessive compulsive manner.  As I face the north entrance of the capital, it is imperative that I "go west" as I begin my relentless pursuit of steps in time, always then varying my route by slight degrees.  I like to keep things interesting.

All the time I am walking, I am so busy...inside my head.  Often times I wear earphones,  as I like a musical background while I process.  Some days I solve world affairs in short order.  Other times, I stick to solving my own affairs,  On those days, I win resounding arguments in my head.  I AM BRILLIANT!!!  I am gentle but firm in all rebukes that I must deliver during my 30 minute exercise in solving work conundrums.  When I fall off my "always half full" wagon, those are the days spent walking in silent despondency.  Thankfully, they don't come often.  They are usually followed by prayer walk days.

I know my face must attest to my thoughts at times.  And I know I am not alone.  As I traverse the maze of opportunities each day (and with this beautiful weather, most of my travels have been outdoors), I often see people like me.  The solitary walkers.  And I watch their faces.  Sometimes their lips move wordlessly, or the eyebrows will raise slightly....but they are working things out in their head too. We are an army, all marching to our own beat.

Sometimes I try to divert from the Capital grounds but I am always drawn back before the walk is over.  It's not a mystery, really.  When "us five kids" were growing up, we could not wait for the first real snowfall.  We had a nice sized backyard, and once the snow had stopped, we would run around in a circle, until it was well defined.  We would then create connecting paths within the circle so that soon it was one, big maze.  Now, we were ready to play snow tag.  And the rule was, you had to stay within the lines of the maze.   (and so also began my odyssey with obsessive compulsive disorder).

I don't know everything, but this much I know for sure.  I love to walk, and I don't mind walking in circles.  In fact, as evidenced, I can walk for miles this way....and go absolutely nowhere.  But in my head, I have seen it all!

Until next time,

your pal,

It's never too late to do the "right" thing

Even this is my opinion! What is "the right thing"?  Many times over the years, I have heard people say "I want to do the...