I’m in a funk mentally and tired physically. Covid-19 has worn me down. No, I don’t actually have it. Thank God.
Both my eldest and my sister had it though. Both have recovered. Thank God for that too.
Wearing a mask all the time bites the big one. I get overheated and my nose is always itchy beneath it. Working more hours is sapping my energy for all the other things I want and need to do. But I am employed at a place that does amazing things to help those in need and I have wonderful, hard-working co-workers. Thank God for that too.
There are no fun plans on the horizon for me and mine because of Covid-19. But I’m certain there will be fun times further ahead, probably next summer when we have had reasonable adults in the White House for a bit who believe in science and ensure everyone has been vaccinated against this monster. Thank God for that!
I’ve not been as consistent as I like to be with writing and publishing blog posts lately because my energy is going elsewhere. But I managed to write this today. Thank God for that?!
I can’t see my church friends I miss in person because of Covid-19. Yet our pastors and talented musicians and volunteer tech support has come a long way with their ability to put together a virtual service over these past several months. I plan on watching the service this morning cuddled up on the couch with Hubs and Radar. Thank God for that.
Despite not spending as much time blogging these days, I’m still getting views, comments, and followers. I am so grateful for that. It’s heartwarming for me. Thank God for each and every one of you.
I wish all of you a blessed day. I hope you are all well and are able to find things to be thankful for in your lives. Even if you have to work through the things you are not so thankful for first.
Please share with me how you are “rolling” these days. You know I love to hear from you!
For those of you who have been following my blog for a while, you may recall me mentioning the term “Gems”. I believe I at least alluded to my plan for writing about “Gems” on an ongoing, regular basis in a recent post.
The reason I’m bringing it up now is because I am ready to start this series.
One small thing that you ought to know about this new endeavor of mine is that I have decided to go against what I said here about who “Gems” are to me. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized there is no good reason to exclude those of the male persuasion from being a “Gem” that I write about in this little blog.
I mean, not everything I think, say or feel (or publish) is written in stone. I’m subject to change (fyi-the original title for this blog). Isn’t that a good thing?
So here I go. I’m going to start with a recent “Gem” story. Diving in here.
I have been a fan of the online shopping site Etsy for several years now. I love the act of thoughtfully purchasing a handmade gift for those I love. Because unfortunately, unlike Bonnie and Rabbie (both Gems to me), I possess little talent with arts and crafts. And I love to support small businesses and artists.
I started shopping for gifts on Etsy back when I lived in Wisconsin, in our “Grandma house” on 30th St.
Fast forward to now. Living in Colorado. Still ordering on Etsy when the moment strikes. So I’ve got some wall space that needed to be filled in my living room. I found the perfect item on Etsy and placed the order.
A couple of weeks passed and I thought to myself “it should be here by now”. Then I got a call from Linda, the realtor who sold us our house on 30th St., then 2 years later sold that house for us to a nice divorced woman named Kathy.
Linda said that Kathy called because she received a large package via Fed Ex for me. Kathy wanted to know our phone number so she could contact us and figure out how to get the package to us in Colorado.
Oh my! I was embarrassed, as it was then I realized that in my excitement about obtaining this particular wall art, I apparently failed to notice that the address box checked for shipping was the one on 30th St. and not the one here in Colorado (that address on my Etsy account has since been deleted). Of course I told Linda to please give my number to Kathy and we’ll work it out from there.
So Kathy calls me. She noted it was a big package and it came from Lithuania! I told her that I loved shopping on Etsy for handmade items like this and apologized for my screw-up. She said she spoke to Fed Ex and they told her the easiest thing to do is just have them ship it to me. I told her she could go ahead and just return it to sender and I’d re-order it. I didn’t want her to go through any hassle.
Her response? She said it was no big deal, she was going somewhere that Friday and she would pass by Fed Ex so she would just send the package to me. I thanked her profusely and told her that I’d reimburse her the cost.
So how nice is this lady? She’s a gem, that is what she is. In our conversation, we talked about how much we both loved that little old house. She updated me on the next door neighbors, who now have a baby who is just starting to walk. She said she regularly sees the neighbors who lived across the street, Larry and Helen, at the assisted living facility where she works. They sold their cute little house, where they lived for 35 years and raised their 5 kids, shortly after we sold ours and moved out to Colorado. Kathy also shared that after seeing *now* her house her friends declared that the large unfinished basement was the perfect party spot. She said every year now she hosts a Euchre tournament there on New Year’s Eve.
I loved hearing all of this. I love knowing how much she loves and appreciates that sweet little house that was once ours.
About a week after our last conversation, I received my lovely new handmade wall art and put it up above our living room couch. I sent Kathy a check to reimburse the $19 she paid to have it sent to me. I included a gift card to Olive Garden that I had won in a silent auction last year. It was the least I could do.
Here begins the final entry of my Alphabet Soup Challenge.
There are lots of words that start with the letter “O” that I could have chosen to write about. Like “options”, “objectives”, “opportunities”, “openings”. Which, ironically, all have an optimistic bent-don’t you think?
But this is “Pollyanna’s Path”, right? I chose that title for my blog when I started it about 4 years ago for a reason. Because I am an optimist. And my optimism is what I’ve always aimed to share in this space.
Hey, I’m still publishing posts on this blog despite not having as many followers as oodles of other bloggers, right? I continue in part because I am optimistic that my blogging will get better. I also remain optimistic that this blogging habit will become more interesting with time-with how and what I’m writing and with whom I’m connecting via this platform.
So, for all of us who continue to blog; doesn’t it stand to reason that we are all optimists?
As Noam Chomsky once said: optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.
Doesn’t that make a ton of sense?
It’s important for me that you understand that my optimism is not foolish. I do not shield my eyes and ears from the harsh realities of this world: a warming climate, white nationalists acting upon their (based on fear) hate of the “other” in violent ways, immigrant children held for prolonged periods of time in detention centers, incompetent leadership in the White House. These things and more are happening in real time and it makes me sick; though mostly it makes me angry.
But here’s the thing: I think by and large we Americans are smart. There has been much we have overcome and changed for the better since the establishment of this country. We are problem solvers. My fellow optimists surely see it this way too.
But we have farther to go. We just have to be willing to step it up, imagine something better, and work towards creating that reality.
Because the glass for me is always half full. Key word there is “half”. We need to work collectively to fill that “glass” up to the brim with the good stuff that we all can benefit from: cleaner air, a robust education system, compassionate and smart policing among other things. We must do better and I believe we can and that we will.
Because, as Jennifer Mara Gumer puts it in this article (which I highly encourage you to read), optimism is “the truly rational viewpoint”.
Back when we were living in Wisconsin, I attended a church sponsored women’s retreat. I recall being outside among the pine trees and cool spring air with a couple of other women. We were chatting away and for whatever reason the subject of humor came up. One of the women, a beautiful brunette with big brown eyes, stated “I’m not really a laugher”.
What a surprising thing to hear someone say, right? This was a person who was essentially admitting she didn’t possess a sense of humor. I never could get my head around that.
Around the same time, I participated in a couple of “Laughter Yoga” classes at our church with several other women (not the brunette). The theory behind “Laughter Yoga” is that laughing, even if it’s completely fake, is beneficial both physically and mentally. So we would do some stretches then we’d be invited to randomly call out something happening in our lives and then heartily laugh about it as a collective. I remember thinking that if anyone walked into that room they would think we had all lost our minds. Here we are, stating out loud things like “my daughter is in love with a loser” or “my dog is sick” then laughing our heads off.
I wonder if this is still a thing?
Anyway, my point is that laughter is important. Especially in these abnormal times. It releases endorphins and relaxes your body. It is essential to one’s well-being. It’s what gets us through, don’t you think?
Since I’m not aware of any “Laughter Yoga” groups in these parts, I rely on other methods to evoke laughter in my day to day life.
Here’s a sample of the things that are making me laugh right now:
I recently finished the final season of Schitt’s Creek, and I’ve got to say that Catherine O-Hara’s “Moira” is on the top of my list of best comedic characters ever on t.v. Here’s a little clip so you can see why I say that.
This dorky woman cracks me up every time I see this commercial:
I shared with you all recently that I started a new job. What I don’t believe I shared though was that our organization also runs a thrift store on-site. All of the money made goes directly back to programming for low income families and individuals. Pretty cool, right?
Recently, I came across this interesting piece of nostalgia at our thrift store that I found hysterical. It reminded me of the big productions produced for company employees, as featured in my favorite documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway” which I wrote about here. If only I had a basement with a bar….
So, Pals, what is making you snicker/chuckle/snort-laugh these days? Please share in the comments!!
I wanted to pause for a beat to tell you all that I may skip publishing a time or two in the next couple of weeks, because Eldest and our grandson are coming to visit soon. For a whole week! This is the longest period of time they will have ever been here for. Eldest was furloughed from her job until at least the end of this month due to the slow down in business for her employer thanks to Covid-19.
Despite the fact that our grandson just started 1st grade a few weeks ago (in person) it seemed like the perfect moment to have the two of them come for a visit. This is going to be so much better than when they typically come to see us, in November or May, when the temps are not as pleasant as they are in the beautiful month of September.
So instead of finishing a publishing whatever the next post will be in my “Alphabet Soup Challenge” today, I’m going to give the house a good cleaning, dust off the old Fall/Halloween decor (and set up the new stuff I got yesterday) and decorate the house so it’s all comfy, cozy, and clean for my beloveds.
Please click on the link below to enjoy one of my favorite dancing tunes!
I’ve been accused of being honest “to a fault” by various people throughout my life.
Anyone else out there that has experienced this accusation?
Not the “I’m just being honest” type of honest, mind you. You know, that passive aggressive way in which a person tells you that your new haircut makes you look like Joe Dirt.
For me, it’s more of a not-always-thinking-before-I-speak or my facial expression after a comment you just made gave me away. Because I’m just a terrible liar. Lying doesn’t suit me. I can’t do it to save my life.
What’s nice for me, within this little blog, is that it is a space for me to honestly express what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling. In a controlled sort of way, because after all, I am editor-in-chief and in charge of pressing the “publish” button in these parts.
So let me be honest with you all.
I’m honestly happy with my life right now. And I honestly believe that could change at any second. Because, well, life.
So I’m soaking up the goodness.
I started a new job over two weeks ago now. The reason I was hired is because I have experience running a food pantry and the lovely lady who hired me wants to get one up and running in her non-profit.
I honestly love working there. I love that I have autonomy. I love knowing that I am listened to and supported. I love working with people who work hard. I love that there’s a variety of tasks to do each day and that not every day is a carbon copy of the day before.
I also honestly do not want to jinx it. I want to continue working hard and be honest with myself and my boss and co-workers when I’m struggling. I want to be honest in all my communications with everyone involved. I honestly want to succeed.
That’s honestly all I want to say about my current employment right now. And it’s all I honestly needed to say.
The other subject I want to be honest about is my creative writing via this blog. I sincerely love doing this. I have no illusions (perhaps hope though) that I’m going to hit the “big time” some day as a writer.
Honestly, I’m in this blogging thing for fun. To make friends. To brighten someone’s day at least once in a while. To get things off my chest. To connect. To socialize. To learn. To grow. To improve.
An appetizer in list form of what I honestly want to do and/or write about once I’ve finished my “Alphabet Soup Challenge” follows.
Write a letter to someone I admire. Embrace the fandom. Writing about it later may or may not happen. That’s not the point.
Capture in writing a conversation about the state of the world in this moment with the Millenials in my life. That would be my previously-known-as-spawn aka Kid #2 and Kid#1. Now outed as Rabbie and (just for now) the Eldest.
Interview my 6 year old grandson about life as he knows it.
Continue writing posts about all the “Gems”.
So fellow bloggers-what are the specific topics you honestly want to write about in the near future?
I have an almost finished post about how “I” is for “Investment”. It’s about how I’ve been trying to do a better job of investing in myself. Using my time, emotional, physical, and spiritual energy to improve myself.
Investing in myself translates to intentionally going out for walks most mornings, which gives me a lift and helps to collect my thoughts about the day ahead. This investment also includes talk therapy via telephone with a behavioral health counselor. As well as doing more personal journaling and intentionally consuming entertainment that gives me the good feels. I’m feeling better about myself these days. That’s the gist of it.
The it occurred to me that dedicating an entire post to how I, as a privileged white upper-middle aged woman, was “investing” in myself was a bit too much. Too self involved.
That’s when the anxiety I experience on the daily crept into my brain and manifested itself into another “I” word of which I am quite familiar: “indecisiveness”. Because now what “I ” word am I going to pontificate about? There’s so many choices, I can’t possibly decide on which one.
There’s “irony”, which I have a little story about. I mentioned in a recent post how I was reading “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle in which I found some pearls of wisdom that resonated with me. Well, I finished that book several weeks ago. In one of the two all female Facebook groups I belong to, one of the admins posted a picture of herself looking all cute and holding up “Untamed”, notifying us that there was going to be a Facebook live video discussion of the book on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. In a moment of impulsivity, I replied that I would plan on attending.
I had been thinking for a while that I wanted to gain more experience with using video communication, both with friends and family, but also with people that I only know online, not IRL as they say. Zoom and Facebook Live are the tools du jour in the age of Covid-19, and I suspect that will only grow just like the amount of time we will be compelled to stick close to home.
Wednesday rolled around. I remembered about this “happening” about 5:30 p.m., after imbibing in a couple of cocktails. Supper wasn’t quite ready. Kid #2 was out at the local Hookah bar and about to come home soon. I was anticipating Kid #1 calling me at any time based on a message she had sent me earlier in the day. I had taken all my make up off, revealing just how “53” I looked. I hemmed and hawed, thinking about putting on some makeup, fluffing up my hair, grabbing “Untamed” and just doing it anyway.
Then Kid #2 came in the door, greeted by a very happy Radar-ling and his slinky sidekick Karl the cockeyed cat. I felt happy. Relaxed. I let myself off the hook and decided “Nah”.
After having intermittent pangs of guilt mixed with a side of regret about flaking out on this experience throughout that evening and into the next morning, I checked Facebook and learned that the admin hadn’t been feeling well the night before so she cancelled the event. Whew!
Now that’s irony. All that worry for nothing. Ha!
I am very tempted to continue this post with anecdotes on other “I” words that I have a lot to say about like “imagination”, “inspiration”, and “intention”.
However, I’m going to instead head on back to my “A-Z” draft folder and work through my indecisiveness surrounding the remaining letters of the alphabet I have to write about to complete this self-imposed challenge.
And leave you with one of my favorite Alanis Morrisette tunes.
In the summer of 2009, Hubs and I took our two kids on a trip to Washington, DC.
In my mind, it was the best family trip we ever took. I think it had to do with the timing. Our eldest was about to begin her senior year of high school. Her sibling was a year behind her. It was a “seize this moment” kind of attitude we all bought into it which led it to be a memorable and amazing experience.
Part of the planning of this trip was discussing what “one thing” each of us wanted to be sure to see while in our Nation’s capital. Eldest chose the Ford Theater where President Lincoln was shot. The other kid chose the Shakespeare museum. If I recall correctly, Hubs chose Arlington Cemetery. I’m pretty sure I went generic, choosing the Smithsonian (not necessarily one specific museum there, because they are all fantastic).
Something that unexpectedly struck me while touring the Smithsonian Museum of National History was how in absolute awe the kids and I were of the Gems Gallery. Unlike Bonnie (my mom), I’ve never really been the kind of woman who felt a great need to have dazzling rocks adorning my fingers, neck, or ears. Sure, I love jewelry, but honestly I’m good with the costume variety.
I can just think of so many more wonderful things the money spent on fancy jewels could buy. And the experiences the money spent on fancy jewels could fund. The number of mouths it could feed. The amount of school supplies it could fund for under-privileged students. The number of shoes it could buy for the homeless.
We found ourselves gazing at these precious gemstones, “oohing and awing” all the while, deciding which ones we’d most like to wear if we could.
The Hope Diamond was my favorite. Stunning, shimmery deep blue and simply gorgeous.
As magnificent as these gems are, all of them together pale in comparison to all the other “Gems” in my life.
According to Merriam Webster, the “non jewel” definition of “gems” is: a highly prized or well beloved person.
For the purpose of this post, I’m going to expand on this definition : a “Gem” is a highly prized and well beloved female human who has, in no particular order, inspired me, loved me, liked me, taught me, cried with me, laughed with me, challenged me, accepted me, shared with me, and cared with me.
I’m going to be honest here. I have too much to say about the “Gems” in my life to properly capture it in this one little post. That is how blessed I feel for the “Gems” in my life.
So, for now, I’m just going to highlight my blogger Gems. There is more to come as this blog proceeds.
I’ve mentioned them before, primarily when I was accepting a nomination for a blogging award (I know, they are cheesy and silly and to my knowledge there are no official prizes or awards ceremonies-but they are such fun) and having to nominate other bloggers as part of the deal.
But this is not that.
These are the blogging broads that never fail to encourage me. To introduce me to new ideas, new music, new recipes, new perspectives. The broads that also put themselves out there with their thoughts and feelings, opinions and grievances in such a way that make me feel less alone in the blogosphere.
I hope to connect with more blogging broads as I continue down this path I’ve put myself on, but for now, I just gotta say…I adore these 4 women and their creative writing abilities so much.
Christi, who lives in the wonderful state (my home state) of Minnesota and happens to be a very thoughtful, clever, intelligent and lovely human being with a knack for creative writing.
Nicole, who is quite a dynamo. Works full time with a husband and two small kids at home but still manages to pull off regular heartfelt posts about life.
Mona, who has been such a cheerleader for me. She’s brave, funny, sarcastic and surprising with her writing on her blog. And Geez Louise, she’s got some fantastic taste in music.
And then there’s Crystal. I’ve always loved that name. Crystal was the name of a girl I grew up with. She was one of those sort of rare birds in that she was pretty and popular (she was Homecoming Queen for Pete’s Sake), but she was also nice. Not a snot. Liked by everyone. My blogging friend Crystal is like that as well. She has a deep soul and a sharp intellect. I really admire her.
Now onto the question of the day: who are the “Gems” in your life, blogging or otherwise? I would be tickled to hear all about them.
The humorous blogger Mona, over at Wayward Sparkles nominated me for the “Real Neat” blog award.
Thank you, Mona!
Isn’t that nice of her? She’s a very cool chick who has a lot to say, about well..a lot. She does so in a quirky, heartfelt sorta way. And she’s super into music, like me. So of course we’ve become blogging pals.
As a nominee, I have been directed to answer the following questions:
Which five places would you like to visit and why?
What food will you not eat and why?
What super power would you like to have and why? (Anything goes!)
What was your childhood dream job/career?
What current actor do you think would make a great Elvis Presley in a movie about his life? Rhonda would like to know this, I think!
What one thing would you like to see happen in 2021?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and would like to pass on to others?
5 Places: All 50 states in our camper with Hubs. We would take a whole year and work odd jobs here and there to keep gas in the truck and our bellies adequately filled. Of course I’d be blogging all about it and who knows…maybe it’d result in a book!
Then of course, there’s Napa Valley, California because wine. And beautiful scenery. NYC to visit all the touristy sites and of course be in the audience at SNL. Europe (England, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and other places I’m sure). Cleveland, Ohio to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Food I won’t touch with a 10 foot pole: Sweet potatoes. I think it’s weird to have potatoes that taste sweet. Yuck!! Potatoes are best with salt, pepper, and cheese and all that other salty and fatty stuff.
Superpower: To fly. At will. Whenever I need a break from the hum drum of life. To learn about the world through my own eyes and feel free at the same time.
Childhood dream/career: I remember making countless lists of careers I wanted to pursue (I seem to recall it being pretty eclectic: stewardess, lawyer, psychiatrist) but the one I think that was most consistent was being an actress/writer. Think Rachel Bloom from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”. I think had I been 12 when that show came out, I’d have been the president of her fan club and very possibly her stalker.
Who plays Elvis? Let me back up here for a sec. This needs context. I posted about the fabulous musical talent Yola recently. While researching her online, I learned that she is to play Sister Rosetta Tharpe in a new bio-pic about Elvis Presley. I did a bit of pondering with other bloggers in my comments section as to who might play Elvis. Didn’t realize till now that the role has been cast. I do think he looks the part, don’t you all?
What one thing would I like to see happen in 2021? Sorry, Mona, in these turbulent times I simply can’t limit it to just one. First one is a cure and vaccine for Covid-19. Second is much prosperity and equality for humans, specifically those who have been so underprivileged for far too long. Health care for all, more financial equity, a much improved and accessible educational system.
Best advice: Life is Fragile, Be Gentle. It wasn’t exactly advice that another person verbally expressed to me. It was this sign that my Dad had hanging on the wall inside his favorite place, our garage. I think one of the best things we can do to be the best versions of ourselves is to heed this advice. Be kind to others, but also to yourselves. Because life is too fragile and precious to do otherwise.
Now this is the part of the post where I nominate other bloggers that I think are quite neat; well actually spectacular. And they are….