Christmas Don’ts

I seem to have had an on again/off again relationship with Christmas-time. As a child, I loved it. The excitement of lists, gifts, family, baked goodies, pine cones, fake snow, real snow, assorted candles and lights, and the ridiculous legend of some fat guy, wearing a red suit and hat while flying through the galaxy with a reindeer-powered engine [airborne pimp?] seemed marvelous to me. As I got older, I simply enjoyed the traditional smells and ‘spirit’ that this time of year seemed to invoke.

I believe that for the sake of raising a ‘critically thinking Christmas-time generation,’ some things have just got to be considered. Thus, I’ve compiled a list of things that we should raise an eyebrow, should we find ourselves committing these acts or should we simply stumble upon these acts already committed.

CHRISTMAS DON’TS:

1.) Do NOT get yourself involved in Christmas trees, decorations, Santa outfits, nor attend any gatherings if you’ve been a complete ass to anyone that may be able to connect you to any of these items. You just may ruin Christmas celebrations for that person and their children, thus extinguishing an important world-wide tradition for generations to come. Such behavior is selfish and you should sit this season on the sidelines. Consider being nicer next year.

2.) Do NOT place tags on gifts proclaiming: “From Santa,” then get mad at me b/c I tell the truth: “From TRACY.” I’m not a plagiarist; I want my credit. Thanks.

Frosty & The Mrs.

3.) Do NOT try to convince the children of your Floridian community that Frosty and the Mrs. can happily survive here. When they move to a ‘real snow n melt’ community, they’re gonna be pissed.

Fire these reindeer.

And do NOT let this same community try to convince you nor your kids that Santa could possibly clear this tree so late. Teach them real world concepts. Santa will destroy this tree and his reindeer should be fired. Period. They can live off of Rudolph’s song-royalties.

4.) Do NOT tell your kids that Santa enters your home via the chimney when you don’t even have a fireplace. Please consider creativity in your story-telling. It’s okay to change things up a bit; make them your own. As a child, I spent many an Xmas Eve staring at a blank spot on our living room wall, where I imagined the “fireplace like in the stories” would magically appear. “Hmm, maybe next year.” *Dummy.*

Christmas & Cats? Hmm.

5.) Do NOT allow your mother to come decorate your house without a proper orientation for your cat. Remember, the place that all this Xmas stuff now consumes was once the domain of your cat. You picked him. He didn’t pick you. Watching the poor fella stumble sideways, from gadget to gadget probably isn’t cute to him.

6.) Do NOT haphazardly fling lights onto your house and bushes, yell to your wife to “OKAY, Cuttem on Irma Jean!” then step back to the curb for a full view and nod proudly, as if you’ve put forth your best effort. You have only served to lower the property value of your neighbors, who either hate you for being so tacky or love you for making their house look even better to the Neighborhood Decoration Judging Committee. Be a good sport and skip the curbside nod. Just throw up your lights and walk back inside. (And mark your calendar for Feb 2nd. By then, you should’ve removed these lights; It’s painfully obvious that some folks need a reminder to follow this rule of thumb.)

7.) Do NOT give Dollar Tree-evident gifts. If you’re strapped for cash this year, MAKE your gifts. It says so much more about your character. Buy a box of brownies from the Dollar Store and actually bake them. And if you absolutely cannot afford to buy gifts of any sort, then refer back to #1 and consider your character again. If it’s in good standing, simply write a post-dated check for next December. They know you’re good for it.

8.) Do NOT overspend. If you find that you’re stressing over your budget, look back to last year’s events. Did you overspend then? If so, you’ve still probably got some post-dated IOU’s awaiting some specific cash-in date this December. In this case, STOP all shopping and go home. It’s over. However, if this is the first year that you’re considering this nonsense, go ahead and knock yourself out. Hell, withdraw a lil ‘sum sum’ from your 401k or IRA, whichever you feel most comfy with. Penalty fees are nuthin!  Just be sure to maintain your credit score in the mid 700s.

9.) Do NOT re-gift the scarf that you got from your Granny last year, to your Alzheimer’d great-aunt. She was at the family gift-giving ceremony last year too. Her mind may not remember what transpired, but her soul does. For more details about memory and souls, consider my blog: Mind, Soul, and Wheelchairs Brakes.

10.) Forget much of this nonsense & just Enjoy the holiday. Jeez! ;o)

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Mind, Soul, and Wheelchair Brakes

If you’ve read a few of my other posts, which you probably–ok possibly should have, you may have noticed that many of my photos contain water/beachy-type stuff. That’s because I live in a waterfront town, along Florida’s Gulf of Mexico (even though Mexico isn’t up the corner and down the street or anything). I don’t really like living here, but I figured I’d better try to make the best of it cuz this is where I’m at for now. Me being who I am, I’ve decided to try to find some beauty in this place. And it really is a gorgeous place (to visit). I live a short 5 minute drive from the beach and a short 5 minute walk from my door to an inner waterfront/boatslip. Soooo, I have begun frequenting some of this beauty.

I was walking along the waterfront as I was thinking and babbling some nonsense to myself. I’m sure it went something like this: “Gawd, I have NO life. I eat lunch alone everyday as I sit in my car and listen to AM radio talk shows. But I’m supposed to be practicing this beauty-finding stuff, so here I am, back at the waterfront. Maybe I need to stop being a wimp and get out and meet folks and visit new places. Yeh sure, but for now, I’m back at this waterfront.” As I began my walk (picture a woman looking lonely and poorly dressed with a faded bandana on her head), I looked out to the pier. What sat at the end of this pier made me laugh out loud. Literally. This is what I saw:

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What you may be able to see is a little old lady in a wheelchair. She’s fishing with a man, possibly her middle-aged son, who is taking a smoke break just on the other side of the landing. My very first thought was, “Wheelchair locks, don’t fail me now!” I just had to get close enough to snap a pic without being detected as doing such. Had I a better camera with some nice zoom on it, instead of my cell phone, I’d have been able to get this pic without having to walk halfway down the pier and act like I was simply looking at my phone while texting and such. I was fake smiling, making texting-like finger movements, and all. I needed some reason for why my phone was out and held upright while I was diligently concentrating on the screen. That stalker feeling was horrible; knowing that there are people who do this regularly and with a smile is creepy. But I got the best pic that I could.

This was like a sign to me, that I should consider a chuckle even if it’s unexpected. It certainly changed my hum-drum-wanna-be-beauty-hunting mindset. I covertly snapped my picture and then left the pier to continue my walk along the waterfront. On my way back from the waterfront, I noticed that the little old lady was now parked along the sidewalk. The man had wheeled her there while he went to get their stuff from the pier. Once I made my way onto the sidewalk from the sand, the little slightly hunched over lady looked up at me with a huge smile and said, “Did you catch anything? Did you catch something? Anything?” I wasn’t expecting her to really notice me, let alone speak to me, let alone smile at me, let alone ask me the same thing 3 different times. But…she did. I immediately smiled, and not because I’m just usually friendly–which I am–but because her smile was so pure. And because she noticed me, either while I was playing paparazzi or just at this very moment. Or maybe she just assumed that anyone on that waterway must have been out there fishing. Who knows? Maybe she does? Maybe she doesn’t. I told her that I wasn’t there to fish, but to just enjoy the view and fresh air. She looked pretty unphased by that. Her next words were, “Well I don’t think they put fish out here. They forgot to put the fish out. Can you ask them?” Still looking into her face, I felt that I was very familiar with this scenario and that unphased and unbiased look in her eyes. I assumed that maybe she had a memory-deficit issue, like Alzheimer’s. I didn’t know what to say to her, and I didn’t feel like doing what I usually do at work (I’m a nurse) when I’m in this situation. Usually, I’d first try to re-orient her to person, place, time, and event. Then, if it’s obvious that this isn’t going to work, I proceed to stepping into her world. I just go with the conversation as if it’s related to what’s really accurate. So, I would’ve said something like, “Nope, didn’t catch any fish. Maybe they did forget to put any fish out. You know how they can be sometimes!” To many of my colleagues, this is NOT the right way to handle this situation. But I’ve found that it usually puts my patient at ease and they feel comfortable dialoguing with me as I participate in their care. I’ve also learned A LOT about history because during the early and middle stages of the lives of such patients, short-term memory seems to be effected, but their long-term memory is still somewhat intact. Trust me, you find this out when you’re referred to as colored!.

This got me to thinking…are people with memory loss still able to have a sense of “self?” And if they do, is their sense of Self limited only to what they are able to remember? My mother once took care of a lady with Alzheimer’s. When I would go take Mom lunch while she was working, the little lady (let’s call her Sandra) would say to me, “You’re such a pretty little colored girl. What’s your name?” This happened like 98.9% of the time. And she’d always talk about her Daddy, whose portrait hung proudly on the wall in her living room. I always wondered what stories were told around the hearth in his home. My mother usually corrected her, and would say something like, “She’s not a colored girl, she’s my daughter. Her name is Tracy.” Though my mother is also brown, like me, Sandra never referred to Mom as a little colored girl. Not even colored, at all. I would imagine a young Sandra playing in huge grass-filled fields, a la Laura Ingalls, with her little colored assistant. Perhaps Sandra liked her assistant, but knew that her being colored meant something less than snazzy to the society in which she lived. Hmmm….
So back to the pier, this little old lady, and Tracy (ME!). Something about this lady’s smile seemed genuine. I think she genuinely just wanted to know if I had caught some fish. Nothing more, nothing less. Her smile seemed to be a reflection of, what I thought, might be her soul. I’ve taken care of some memory challenged folks who are just plain MEAN. Confused, Alzheimer’d and all…just MEAN. Sometimes in my mind, I think that if you’re confused and treat people like crap, then you’ve possibly always been that way. But this lady seemed gentle, soft-spoken, engaging. Soon after I walked away, I texted Daniel and asked him what he thought about this. He said, “I think her sense of self is probably off and on, but just cause it might be off sometimes doesn’t mean that it’s gone for good.” I think that I may have met the essence of who this woman was. And I, too, believe that she does still have a sense of Self. No matter the level of the mind, I think that the soul has secrets of longevity that outlive the body and its parts–namely, the mind. I’ll bet the soul first sees beauty in things, even without a memory; the mind first questions things because of a memory…or lack thereof. For the sake of myself, I sure hope this is accurate because should I ever be in a wheelchair on a pier, I really don’t want to think about what would happen should my brakes fail.

But while my mind is still able to remember things, I’ve asked for this for Xmas!:

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1. Was I wrong for thinking about Wheelchair brakes and water-entry?
2. What are your thoughts on the mind and soul? Same thoughts, used interchangeably, or completely different?
3. What about the camera?! I’m new to photography, so I have NO clue what kind of camera is good, but the Best Buy man seemed to think the specs of this one should do me just fine.

I’m a Lil Crockpot …

I’m in the middle of so many changes right now that it’s not even funny — at least not to me. Instead of writing a lengthy paragraph, which would probably encourage me to put lots of extra unnecessary words to try to either make myself look like a victim wrapped with a bow, or come off totally disgruntled because I often times do feel like a victim, but without the extra-ness of the bow. If you’ve read the About Me section , then you already know why this sentence seems like an almost-run-on. Soooo, back to these changes:

  • Motherhood. Teenager. Only child. Off to college soon. Empty nest anxiety.
  • Medical. Fibroids. Anemia. Medications. Hot flashes. Looney as hell. Surgery. Fewer body parts.
  • Missing. Work. Money. Mortgage payments (thank the previous bulletin & poor Money Management for this one)
  • Mourning. Him. Me. Us.

Given the bulletinized M’s that I’ve figured out how to bulletinize, perhaps you can sorta understand why this blog is going to be a bit nick-nackish, hodge-podgey, slowly evolved, and eclectic.

As I neared the end cooking of my Sunday Crock pot meal today, I realized that I’m a little crock pot short and stout, slow cooking my life with my hi, low and warm buttons embedded in my 14 or 17 second left spout? Umm, but this Mexican stew (carne guisada) is going to be so fulfilling. And Memory Lane-ish. Because, it relates to one of my bulletins. But ok, I’m gonna just eat it!

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What the Hell is it?

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Is this a tree? Does it still qualify to be a tree if it’s pretty much dead? Are the roots still alive? Maybe this is a property divider? What’s the use of the branches if there are no longer leaves on them?

Oh I know…it’s a big oddly placed, sit-at-your-own-damned-risk bench. That’s what the hell it is to me right now. You can make it be whatever your clever little mind can conceive it being! Isn’t that glorious? It’s all about subjective perception. Or is it objective perception? I think I’ve been beleiving it was only subjective; yah, but the subject wasn’t me. My scientific self can’t ignore its nagging need to look, see, and feel for itself. I’ll keep considering everybody else’s blah blah blah-ness, though. But it better be so detailed and beleivably backed up that I want to eat it b/c it conjures up some kind of ‘wow, the way that roast beef was described makes excites my sense of smell, taste, & texture.’

AHHHHH, Life–and it’s possible shrubbery!

When We Were Ducks

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Little children, especially boys, are usually at such awe with the words that fall from the lips of their mothers. It’s as if she were producing uttered platinum without even knowing it.  I was told of the most precious story about a boy who’s mother allowed him to dream that they onced belonged to a family of ducks.  She did this because of his curiosity with animals and the way many of them (ducks, in this instance) function as a family unit, yet have some autonomy at an early age. One day while looking at a some ducks at a pond, he blurted out to his mother, “Look Mommy, that’s us…when we were ducks!” Instead of killing his little dream, she probably marveled at the idea of her boy feeling connected to trust in her words and with being okay that he may once have been part of a glorius family of ducks!

Today, I give honor to this day in history in which I birthed a little boy who is much the same. Now that he’s a teenager, he may not believe my platinum utterance as simply as he once did but he still lights up at the trust in my presence. (Yes, I take prideful ownership in this!)That’s good enough to remain part of a family of ducks!

HAPPY BIRTH-GIVING DAY TO ME!

*Thank you Daniel, for reminding me that my son’s birthday is a celebration to both child AND mother. For both are born into something something that they never were prior to that day.*

A Progression

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The last several months of my life have been some of the toughest I’ve encountered. Ok, so maybe my tough is tiny in comparison to somebody else’s tough. I’ve been the cheerleader for the “It-Could-Always-Be-Worse” movement. The tough things have as much a right to have form and presence as the easy and feel-good things. Why should I expect to only have one or the other? The difference I’m learning to learn about is that it matters

HOW I POSITION MYSELF.

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At times, I’ve felt strong then weak then hurt then thankful then victimized then guilty then then then & then some more! There’s no easy way out of any of this. I have to create my way through. And nobody can do this work for me.

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But AHHH, there’s so much beauty in the process of consciously creating myself. It is empowering to know that I’ve got the option of whom I choose to be no matter the storm or the triumph. I have the option of where I decide to stand in any given situation. I have the option to STOP and live from only my mind, or to dig deeper & include my soul. And I can tell the difference in my energy when I refuse the balance. I like the beauty of a more complete package. I am beautiful!