Sunday, March 31, 2013
My good friend Kitty is always working on a clever project. Every time I visit her, I see the fruits of her labors: a new quilt, a wall hanging, a project made for her granddaughters. This time, I saw a large, bright yellow bowl filled with dyed eggs, each intricately decorated with beautiful pen-and-ink designs. As our visit ended, Kitty tucked into my arm a little egg carton with two decorated eggs for Larry and me and a little Spanish moss in which to nestle them. It wasn't until I got home and arranged the eggs and moss in a wooden bowl on our dining room table that I realized that these weren't any regular Easter eggs. These had been personalized exclusively for us, designed with our initials and little hearts on them. They are beautiful. I plan to store the fragile, blown eggs adequately so that they become keepsakes, just as my friendship with Kitty is a precious keepsake.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
When I awoke today, a new season greeted me. Today is the vernal equinox, the first day of spring. Spring is my favorite season. I love the return of the robins, the increased daylight, the warm breezes, the gentle rain, the blooming flowers, the budding trees, and the overall cast of light spring green (my favorite color) that covers the landscape. Inside tasks fall lower on my priority list because all I want to do is be outside to celebrate this wonderful time of year. Spring is symbolically a season of renewal. The harsh reality of winter is cast aside for the hope that spring represents. With the beginning of this new season, I have decided to give myself a break from the daily postings on this blog. When I started writing Time to Be nearly 1 1/2 years ago, I had hoped to blog daily for a year (done) and then I hoped to compose 500 blog posts (done). I'll still keep writing, but not daily. I hope you'll check in now and again to follow along on my writing journey. I realize that I need to revel in all that spring has to offer right now and draw inspiration from this favorite season of mine for future blog posts. Meanwhile, I'll simply enjoy some Time to Be.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Spring is nearly upon us and the weather continues to be fickle, as it usually is in Wisconsin in March. In one week, we experienced heavy snow, then warm sun, then rain and fog. I keep a range of coats in the closet at this time of year, ready to grab whichever one seems to meet the day's needs. One day, it might be my heaviest, longest coat, along with a hat to pull down over my ears and a thick scarf to keep the winds away from my neck. The next day, it's a lighter winter jacket. The hat goes on and off as I get warmer and the scarf doesn't have to be tied quite so tight around my neck. The following day, I don my raincoat with its zip-in lining and ample hood, just enough to keep me dry from the raindrops. No matter what, boots and gloves are staples, whatever the weather. My hands and feet won't know what to do when spring finally arrives and I can put those items away for a few months of freedom.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Just recently, I made a comment about someone having been given a lot in life. What I meant was that some people are burdened with their lot in life, where life seems to be extra-hard and good luck difficult to find. Then, I thought about my statement and realized that I could turn the meaning around so that it was focused more on blessing than burden, that we are each given a lot in life -- a lot of good things, that is. Sometimes, it's easy to get caught up in the hardships, forgetting that each day is blessed with many wonderful experiences and gifts, as well. Some of those hardships can even turn out to be blessings as they teach us how to look at our lives with new eyes of appreciation, compassion and understanding, and then choose to live our lives differently because of those newfound lessons and blessings. Truly, we are each given a lot in life.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Each winter, our local Baraboo Public Library offers a monthly series of free concerts to help warm our souls and prevent cabin fever. Fortunately, due to the success of the program, the library is going to extend those concerts into June this year. The March concert featured Irish and Celtic music, performed and presented in a most professional fashion by two local, high school-age young men. It's obvious that they practice faithfully, for they were proficient in the music they selected and the variety of instruments they played. Their entertaining music was interspersed with equally entertaining commentary that educated the large audience of young and old alike about the musicial selections. There's something about Irish and Celtic music that makes me just have to tap my feet. As I looked at the feet of those around me, I realized that I wasn't alone. Whether you were five or seventy-five, this delightful concert brought out the foot tapping in us all.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Recently, I had the occasion to visit a local elementary school to watch children participate in a program that the foundation for which I work had sponsored. The program, called Grade 3 Fun 'n Fit, encourages physical activity and fosters an understanding of the importance of such activity, as well as good nutrition. Each week during the six-week program, the children receive a free gift, ranging from water bottles to refrigerator magnets. That particular week, the children received their free jump ropes and even demonstrated some of their jump roping talents. All of a sudden, someone in the group asked if I'd like to join them jumping rope. It's been years and years and years since I jumped rope. I had always loved jumping rope as a child. I did so during elementary school recesses and the minute I got home from school. Did I still have the skill? Did I still have the stamina? I surprised myself by grabbing the rope, and as if the years melted away, I was a third grader once again, reveling in the joys of jumping rope.
Friday, March 15, 2013
I had the pleasure of attending a shower recently for a special young woman in my life who is anticipating the birth of her first child. The shower was a joyful occasion, filled with lots of baby love. The mommy-to-be was surrounded by women of all ages who have been part of her life from childhood on. She received a host of lovely gifts, necessities for the baby that she and her husband are so excited to welcome into their lives. With the opening of each package, she expressed her sincere appreciation for the gift and to the person who selected the gift for her. This young woman has always radiated beauty, but her beauty is even deeper somehow during her pregnancy. She embodies love in every way. After the lunch, the games, the cake and the opening of gifts were done, she walked up to each one of us, hugged us and spoke personally and profoundly about what we mean to her. Although it was she who was to be showered, she characteristically showered each one of us with love and bestowed on us gifts of the most precious and memorable kind.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
It's that messy time of year again. There's as much mud as there is snow. The floor of the garage is full of sand. The door mats at every entry to our home are caked with salt. The cars need washing badly, but they manage to get dirty again as soon as they're washed. We're in those strange weeks in March when winter is giving way to spring and everything has a dirty cast to it. Just when I get a big dose of spring fever because the sky has that spring look to it, we face another snow storm. It's as if King Winter is hanging on with his fingertips, not wanting to quite let go to Lady Spring and her fresh breezes, refreshing rains, and warmer temperatures. I'm starting to get impatient and restless, but the restlessness is probably a good thing. It'll make the renewal and rebirth of spring just that more precious when it does finally arrive.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
My friend Nancy asked me recently if I had ever learned how to shimmy and I told her I had not. In fact, I told her that I was likely glued too tightly together to be able to shimmy. People who can shimmy are able to shake their cores with such speed that they appear to vibrate. I've never seen a person shimmy in the flesh, only in the movies. My most vivid recollections are of a blonde girl from old 1960s beach movies. The girl wore fringed clothes that showed off her shimmying abilities and shimmy she did, every time the music had a pulsating beat that lent itself to her shaking and quivering. Perhaps as a teen, I might have entertained the idea of learning how to shimmy. But now that I'm in my mid-50s, I wouldn't even attempt it. I'd either dislocate something or parts of me would keep shimmying even after I'd stopped. I'll keep dancing, but I'll choose the kind that allows me to stay tightly glued together.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
It didn't take a lot to pull us out of our winter blues recently. After days of frigid temperatures, bleak skies, freezing rain and measurable snow, one recent Sunday revealed a brilliantly bright sun, clear blue sky, and temperatures in the high 30s. Nearly every conversation at church centered on the weather and everyone's happiness to be experiencing such a beautiful day. Universally, people said, "Feels like spring today." As the thermometer registered 37 degrees, I decided to take to the streets. Although I wore my boots for safety for that occasional patch of black ice, I was able to walk at a rapid summertime pace most of the time, soaking in the fresh air, feeling the warm sun on the little bit of skin exposed on my face, hearing the birds singing joyfully, and saying hello to the many others I encountered along the way. The fine weather brought out several walkers and runners, anxious to take advantage of the nice afternoon, knowing that the weather forecast for two days later was calling for three to five more inches of snow. Although we knew we'd have to endure more winter, that one day, just that one day felt like spring.
Monday, March 11, 2013
If my skin has an orange tint to it these days, it's because I've been dining on organic, pureed winter squash - every night. My husband Larry eats just about anything. He'll gobble down beets, munch on spinach, make an entire dinner out of Brussels sprouts, but offer him squash and he'll politely, but firmly, decline. So, while Larry's work took him away for a few evenings recently, I made up for lost time by eating pureed winter squash every night for dinner. You'd think I'd be tired of it after so many consecutive meals, but the gentle, sweet taste still appeals to me. I added other vegetables to the squash some evenings, some whole wheat pasta to it other evenings, even some walnuts and pecans. No matter how I prepared it, the squash was a delicacy to me. So, if my rosy glow looks a little Halloweenish these days, you'll know why.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
At 17 years of age, I had been exposed to a certain variety of music, but as a college freshman enrolled in a music appreciation course, I expanded my musical horizons and became a fan of light classical music. The classical piece that changed my world was Ravel's "Bolero." This was in the day before the movie "10" had come out featuring the memorable running-on-the-beach scene. Just recently while in the car, I tuned in to public radio and what should be playing but "Bolero." The years melted away. I vividly recalled hearing the piece for the first time in that freshman music appreciation class, being pulled in to the mesmerizing rhythms, the pulsating music growing in volume and intensity until it was sweeping and swirling all around me. That recent day, the music moved me just as it had that first time so many years ago. Listening to "Bolero" on the car radio was truly a joy ride.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
I got into a conversation with a dear friend after church one recent Sunday. She is in her 80s and lives in the country, happily alone and independent. She mentioned having a generator for those times when the electricity goes out and having a cell phone that gives her security when on the road alone. We got to talking about those modern conveniences that we now consider commonplace, things that we can't envision living without and wondering how we ever lived well without them at all. The cell phone has now become an ordinary, everyday device, but I can recall when the last thing we could have imagined was having easy access to roadside assistance by telephone from our cars. My dad's work caused him to travel by automobile for years. While dad was traveling, my mom and I lived in the country, often driving in treacherous wintery conditions to get into town. Thank heavens for today's great mod cons.
Friday, March 8, 2013
My husband Larry loves music, but is rarely seen on the dance floor. I, on the other hand, could dance the night away. Larry and I attempted ballroom dance lessons several years ago, but gave up after disagreeing over who should lead and who should follow. We each experience the beat of the music uniquely and differently, making dancing a challenge to us and likely an eyesore to others. However, one recent Saturday evening, we attended a party at which a D.J. played some old 1970s tunes to warm up the crowd. The minute that one particular piece came on, I urged Larry to join me on the dance floor for just one dance. It was a slow number, so we felt pretty secure that we could sway back and forth and not look too silly. The song to which we danced was a staple of school dances of the 70s and often a prom theme. Larry admitted that it was his junior prom song. So, as we swayed to the music, I started to giggle. Looking around the room, with rare exception, most who were dancing around us were of an age that the song could have been their prom theme, too. Pretty soon, I was laughing right out loud, for I envisioned us at an Old People's Prom where everyone has gray hair and is still in that 70s version of slow-dancing, draped over each other, shifting their weight back and forth. My totally strange reaction may be the reason that that was our only dance that evening.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
I've always loved The Beach Boys. Having never been a "California Girl" or ridden in a "Little Deuce Coupe," you'd think that I'd have no appreciation for their songs, but the danceable beat has always lured me in. I've even seen The Beach Boys perform live in concert -- twice. Recently, I couldn't help but think of The Beach Boys and their album, "Endless Summer," while grousing to a friend about February in Wisconsin and the sense of endless winter. And I haven't been alone. The latest storms only made the main topic of conversation the weather and the sincere hope that winter would be over soon. We Wisconsinites are resilient souls. While others to our south complain of everything grinding to a halt when three inches of snow fall, we Wisconsinites consider that to be a "light dusting," barely an issue for travel at all. Despite our resiliency, I think a bit of cabin fever may have set in toward the end of last month, causing us all to crave (if even for a brief time) a bit of endless summer.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
I was so relieved when a good friend revealed to me recently that she rarely watches movies and doesn't even derive great joy from doing so, for I'm rather in the same camp. If I see one movie per year, it's a big deal, and it's usually what my husband Larry refers to (with a wink and a smile) as "one of those women's movies." I would much prefer to see live theater or attend a concert than sit through a two- to three-hour movie in a darkened theater in a comfortable seat tilted back just so. Such an arrangement only invites a nap. With that confession, it was all the stranger that I would be drawn to watching the Academy Awards recently. But, I turned on the TV, tuned in to the awards show and watched star after star receive his or her award for the year's greatest acting, etc. I tend to like watching award shows, even if it's for things I know almost nothing about. And that particular Sunday evening was no exception.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
It seems that every magazine or book I pick up these days has an article or passage about change, trying something new, embracing your passions, getting out of a rut, reinventing yourself, all in the pursuit of happiness and a sense of purpose. It might be my age, but I've been devoting a lot of thinking to such things lately. Perhaps my seeing so many references to these topics isn't just happenstance. I believe that we have some kind of ability to attract what we are seeking. And I must be seeking answers to questions I carry at a deeper level. I read a magazine article about a man who decided that he had reached the stage in his life where it was important to give back, so he had reinvented himself to do just that, leaving his comfort zone behind, taking a risk that would give him renewed vigor, satisfaction and rewards of the everlasting, but not tangible, kinds. I don't find it easy to leave my comfort zone too often, so I have great respect for those who don't just dip a toe into uncharted waters, but seriously take the plunge. It makes me wonder just what kind of a plunge that would be for me.
Monday, March 4, 2013
I sound so old saying this, but modern technology still amazes me. I was reminded again of how much electronic communication has changed our lives while talking with a friend who has become acquainted with relatives in another country, thanks to social media. He is busy connecting with these people who barely share the same language, getting acquainted, learning about the ties that bind them through mutual ancestors. Thanks to this mode of communication, he and his wife are hoping to make a trip to see these relatives, to learn more about their expansive family tree. It got me to thinking about other amazing stories I've heard recently, primarily due to the act of my writing a history book for the hospital where I work. The ability to reminisce is powerful, for it seems to draw an even stronger link between people and their loved ones who have now passed on, erasing time between today and their cherished memories. I believe we all wish to belong, to understand where we fit into the continuum, to have roots that run deep.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
I am faithful at exercising, for it makes me feel healthier and stronger. I especially love to be outside, taking a long walk. At this time of year, however, I don't get outside as much as I'd like except to bundle up and scoot as fast as I can to and from my car. By early March, I can't wait for the weather to cooperate so I can walk outside. Throughout the winter, I exercise indoors. It's OK, but it gets a tad boring. With the addition of the converter boxes on our ancient televisions, we now get channels we hadn't received before, including a series of music channels. One Saturday evening, while spinning around the dial, I landed on a few that provided music from the 1960s and 1970s. Pretty soon, I couldn't stop myself. I was out of the comfort of my big leather chair and dancing to the music. Now, when I'm bored with my indoor exercise routine, I simply flip on one of the channels and start dancing. A little music, a little dance makes the time fly by. Now, every night can be a Saturday Night Dance Party.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
While browsing Facebook recently, someone posted a quote attributed to Dr. Seuss: "Thinking and wondering, wondering and thinking." I couldn't help but be reminded of myself in that quote. I've been doing a lot of thinking and wondering, wondering and thinking lately. I have been using my quiet time, my alone time to ponder great adventures that have been coming my way and how to keep pursuing my passions with more gusto, vigor and persistence so that such adventurous opportunities keep coming my way. Such answers don't usually come readily or easily to me. They require thinking and wondering, wondering and thinking on my part, sometimes for several days before I come to an answer. What I've learned is that, sometimes, I simply need to let go of my thinking and wondering in order to tumble to just the right solution. So, perhaps my personal version of the quote would be, "Thinking and wondering, wondering and thinking, then letting go, relaxing and listening to that deep inner voice for just the right answer."
Friday, March 1, 2013
Ah! March is here! A new month, time to think about spring, youth, beauty and hope. Recently, I had the opportunity to think about youth, hope and goodness as I was engaged in conversation with two young dads. While they talked comfortably about their careers and the state of their businesses, I found that they were equally comfortable talking with me and each other about the joys and woes of potty-training their children. Their words were spoken with ease, grace and a good dose of humor, as they shared how they urged their young children to move into the next stage of maturity and the adventures they encountered doing so. Some people have rough edges, where their words and demeanors reveal the hurt, disappointment and anger they have lived, but these two good daddies were genuine, kind, caring, smooth spirits (as are their lovely wives). I have more assurance in the hope of spring and the hope of the world, knowing that there are such loving fathers bringing up children of today who will be the good daddies and mommies of tomorrow.