Sunday, August 28, 2016

What makes you smile?

Blooming where I’m planted has been a challenge since retirement nine years ago. Oh, I love retirement--it’s the way to live! It’s where I live which has been irritating during that time.
I’m a city girl-I love the bright lights, shops, coffee houses, malls, museums, the symphony, and all the other opportunities not afforded by a gated retirement community. Quite simply, I didn’t like it here when I came, and I don’t like it here now.
But I like Arkansas with its shorter driving distances which gives access to a major airport and an abundance of historical sites and scenic state parks. Consequently, I stay happy and busy while I sift through my options for moving.
In 2008, when I first realized I could either bloom where I’m planted or sit around and sulk like a two-year-old, I blogged with a list of twenty-five things which made me happy at that time. Perhaps it’s a good time for an update!

25 Things That Make Me Smile

1.      My grandchildren (see Friday’s blog!)
2.      My re-carpeted, totally organized house
3.      Finally having found a church which nourishes my soul and spirit
4.      Planning three or four trips a year:  Coming up--Eureka Springs, the Stockyards at Fort Worth and Natchez
5.      Planning shorter hops, “day trips” usually for Mondays
6.      Sunshine
7.      Gentle all-day rains which make great writing days
8.      Strolling around an airport during layovers
9.      The wonderful library/library staff in town which provides so many opportunities
10.   Getting my hair cut and eyebrows waxed once a month
11.   Feeling like melted butter after a once-a-month massage
12.   Getting an early start in the mornings
13.   Sleeping in on Saturday morning
14.   Happy Hour at Sonic
15.   Shopping at the Dollar Tree
16.   Bringing home flowers for my desk
17.   Finding what I need at a thrift store
18.   Daffodils
19.   The hummingbird(s) which visits my feeder every year
20.   Learning to do something new on my computer, iPhone, or Kindle Fire
21.   Discovering something new about an old ancestor
22.   Watching documentaries and coming away with new knowledge
23.   Working in my cozy study (especially on a rainy day)
24.   Finally knowing where all my things are--and making it clear I’m not the dumping ground for other family members’ things
25.   Connecting with friends via phone, Skype, email, and in person

I could probably add another twenty-five, but these will do for now. What makes you smile? I’d love to know!

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Post from the Past


The blog I had planned for today is on hold for a bit, so I trolled past blogs for this little "gem".  

In the news today, the story of a 10-year-old girl in Essex who listed her grandmother on Ebay for $3500 because she was "annoying". There were 27 bids, but regulations forbid listing human merchandise, so the lady has been withdrawn.

I wonder what I might fetch? I don't think I'm annoying, at least I try not to be. Hmmmm.

One Mimi, slightly used, still in good condition
  • loves to read aloud
  • believes in rocking babies
  • sings oldies but goodies
  • knows where the best sing-along videos on u-tube are located
  • bakes cookies
  • likes to remember "the olden days" when she was young
  • able to teach simply embroidery that she learned from her own grandmother--on tea towels made from flour sacks
  • has doll complete with wardrobe that she would love to play with again if she had a playmate
  • doesn't spend time watching soap operas--would rather spend time watching little faces
  • politically conservative--believes in disciplining children
  • believes children WANT to know their limits
  • has soft lap
  • has big box of old costume jewelry for little girls to use playing "dress-up"
  • can give basic piano lessons
  • likes to build garages from shoe boxes for little boys' cars and trucks
  • loves Disney movies--never tires of seeing them over and over
  • believes in fairy tales
  • thinks every child should be a child, unhurried to grow up
  • has set of 1939 Child Craft with stories and poems found nowhere else in the world
  • is looking for set of "Dick and Jane" books for teaching reading--when those were used, kids learned to read!
  • doesn't mind sticky fingers and welcomes sticky kisses
  • listens well
  •  reminds children to say Please, Thank You, and Excuse Me
  • says No and means it
  • would love to be part of a child's life forever or as long as possible
 I work cheap. Give me a hug, and I'm content.

2016 UPDATE:  I went from 0 to 5 in 8 years!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Abandoned Memories

In a retirement community such as the one I live in (but would leave in a New York minute) is to understand the natural progression of events when someone dies or leaves their home for the last time for a nursing home. Estate sales are big business out here. Adult children who often live hundreds of miles away go through their parents’ things, take what they want, and hire one of several companies to dispose of the rest so the house can be sold. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, signs dot the roads advertising such sales.
While I understand the necessity for such clearing out, something about picking through someone else’s home and life leaves me cold. When I first arrived, I did buy a large china cabinet at such a sale because I needed it desperately--to house the china and Fostoria belonging to my mother and my grandmother and would never have thought of selling to strangers. After that, I reflected on the whole sad business and swore off.
I did make one more purchase--a small double-keyboard organ from my across-the-street neighbor’s home. I didn’t go to the sale but rather heard it was going for half-price on the final day of the sale--and I walked over to look at it. For twenty-five dollars, I re-homed it and think the sweet lady who’d never play it again would be glad to know it hadn’t traveled far and would be loved.
Thinking of strangers pawing through my things some far day hence bothers me. To that end I’ve shared out much of what I’ve cared for all these years with my daughters-in-law. Other items have numbers stuck to the bottom, and a corresponding list tells the history of each keepsake and even designates it for someone. Beyond that, I can’t control what happens to each precious memory--only hope it doesn’t go to a stranger for whom it has no meaning.
But the motivation for this blog came from an unsettling experience this morning when I loaded my car and drove to the recycling center. After I’d disposed of everything in the proper bin, I was getting back into my car when my eye caught something gleaming on the edge of the huge metal bin designated for recycling metal items. 

Immediately I thought of my own baby shoes which sit atop my grandmother’s china cabinet (circa 1903). In an era of non-political correctness, they share the base with an ashtray. Years later, I had my oldest son’s first walking shoes bronzed for his daddy, but a picture frame replaced the ashtray! (The youngest son’s shoes are still packed away somewhere--perhaps by the time he’s 50 I’ll get around to having his bronzed!)

Whose baby shoes were abandoned on the edge of the dumpster? Whose little feet took their first steps encased in their soft leather? What mother wanted them to remain a forever-memory? Did they occupy a special place in someone’s home? Where is the mother now--and where is her obviously much-loved child? More to the point, who carelessly tossed them aside with unfeeling hand and heart?
Seeing them there, destined for destruction, hurt my heart this morning and made me think again of all the memories I want to pass on to my children and grandchildren. Memories abandoned are lost forever. I don’t want mine to be so.