Found on the Internet -And then the fight started. . .
A woman is standing nude looking in the bedroom mirror. She is not happy with what she sees and says to her husband, "I feel horrible; I look old, fat and ugly. I really need you to pay me a compliment." The husband replies, "Your eyesight is damn near perfect." And then the fight started. . .
******************************* I rear-ended a car this morning. So there we were alongside the road and slowly the other driver got out of his car. You know how sometimes you just get soooo stressed and little things seem funny? Yeah, I couldn't believe it... he was a DWARF! He stormed over to my car, looked up at me and shouted, "I AM NOT HAPPY!" So I looked down at him and said, "Well, which one are you?" And then the fight started. . . . *************************
After retiring, I went to the Social Security office to apply for Social Security. The woman behind the counter asked me for my driver's license to verify my age. I looked in my pockets and realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the woman I was very sorry, but I would have to go home and come back later. The woman said, "Unbutton your shirt." So I opened my shirt revealing my curly silver hair. She said," That silver hair on your chest is proof enough for me", and she processed my Social Security application. When I got home I excitedly told my wife about my experience. She said, "You should have dropped your pants. You might have gotten disability too." And then the fight started. . . .
My wife and I were sitting at my table at my high school reunion and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. My wife asked, "Do you know her?" "Yes," I sighed, "She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since." "My God!" my wife said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long!" And then the fight started. . . .
After the fire is over, after the ashes cool After the smoke has blown away - I will be here for you. After the stillness finds you, after the winds of change All that is good and true between us This will remain the same.
Slowly, slowly, we turn the page of life Growing, knowing - it comes at quite a price. After your time of wandering along this lonely road There will be many voices calling - I will say welcome home.
Slowly, slowly we turn the page of life Growing, knowing - it comes at quite a price.
I'm sure no one else will find this as fascinating as I do - but recently my mom found something that I wrote when I was 10 years old. Here it is as I wrote it:
When I grow up I want to be a writer. I don't care if I'm famous or not. Just so I can write. If I do become a writer I would want to write about several things. I want to write about my life and add something different maybe or something that I made up about someone else's life. Maybe my days at camp. They were exiting. So many different odd things happened. I might call that book _____ days at camp. _____is for who ever I name the person. Or I could write about one certain thing like a kind of animal or different people from different lands. What I would really like to write about is something that happened to somebody maybe something funny or maybe something sad. I would like to write a book about a half inch thick. Maybe I could write about a girl in girl scouts and what she did, so the people who read it might join if they weren't already a girl scout.
Some of my dreams came true. I did write about my life and someone else's life and I did not become famous. I think my first book was a little thicker than a half-inch, but close enough. I don't remember writing this, of course, but I know that I always thought writing to be a most noble profession and to see your name on the cover of a book would be the ultimate experience - and that turned out to be true also.
That's me being kissed by a dolphin in Mexico. The whole experience was amazing and so much fun. You go in the water with 5 other people and at first the dolphins just swim among the people and let you touch them. The trainers claim that they love being petted and touched. You get your picture taken in various poses and then you get to swim out, lay flat on your stomach, stick your feet out and two dolphins push you across the water by your feet! They also do other tricks like jumping over you. As I looked around at the other people in the water with me, everyone had a huge smile on their face the whole time. It's something I've probably wanted to do since watching "Flipper" when I was a kid. It was just too cool.
I also got my picture taken with an iguana on my shoulder and another one with two parrots, but there is just too much of me in a bathing suit on those pictures to subject the public to.
Yes, we were in Mexico for five days at a resort in Playa del Carmen on the Carribbean Sea. Last year I dragged my husband to New York City for his only week of vacation and that wasn't his type of vacation, so this year was his choice. It was, of course, spectacularly beautiful and relaxing, but it is very strange being in another country - the unfamiliar food, the language barriers, the lack of access to what's going on at home (no cell phone signal there). On a vacation I find that not just my body goes on vacation, but my brain too. Everyone on the beach would be reading or sleeping but then you would see people (like me) just staring out into the pale green-blue water for endless amounts of time, thinking about pretty much nothing. It's a weird hiatus from normal living and one I feel very grateful and blessed to experience. It rained for about a day and a half because of Hurricane Dolly, but we managed to entertain ourselves :) Well, it's time to get to the laundry and sweeping up dog hair and watering thirsty plants, so for today I'll leave you with a picture of what took my mind away from reality for a little bit.
I'm going to take a blogging break until next Friday. I'll miss you all and probably have tortuous withdrawl symptoms. I'll update you on what I've been up to when I return. Feel free to click on the archives while I'm gone!
Sunlight a moment ago, now dark tree limbs sway like dancing partners hanging plants twirl and tip leaves turn inside out white yard machines silenced replaced by distant thunderous moans
squirrel vanish, birds swoop into sheltering trees, then a scarlet streak in the charcoal light a brave one clings to the swinging feeder the tangled wind chimes and pattering drops on the awning make music as I inhale to smell the rain
waves of silver move over the rooftop a whoosh through the downspouts its force pushes the long-stemmed daisies to the sidewalk the overflow streams off the gutters in perfect parallel lines to the ground
out the window, is it a large rock? an ugly, wrinkled snapping turtle has washed down the driveway from the lake across the street I watch it waddle away as the quiet returns
This poem was previously published in The Rockford Review in 2007. It is about my mother.
Hers was a childhood rooted in the Great Depression, the sixth and last baby born in the summer of 1929, the least wanted of a life-weary woman who had born her first twenty-one years earlier.
Steel mills sprang up across the Ohio River, spewing ash and fire into the sky as the Greeks, Italians, Poles Germans, Slavs traversed the bridges daily to toil in the fiery pits.
How did she know it was time to leave when the only world she had ever known was covered in soot, when the only place to live was by a menacing river? When the only night sounds were train whistles and fog horns and the whoosh of flames hitting the air?
What evening was it when she looked out at the orange sky and knew she didn't want to fall in love with a mill worker, didn't want her children's hands and feet blackened every summer day at play, never to know the whiteness of snow or a quiet, black, star-studded sky?
Faith is an openness to the unknown. It is the willingness to walk in the darkness, to proceed in life without certainty. Faith does not preclude fear, it enables us to act in the face of fear. It is not the opposite of doubt; rather it invites us to entertain and examine all that appears inconsistent with our inherited beliefs. Faith is not an unwavering adherence to a way of life, but a radical interfacing with the unpredictable changes and chances of life itself, and with the commitments we make along life's way.
There is nothing I do not love about lavender. I think the plant is beautiful and luscious. I adore the fragrance. I even like the word - I named a character in my new novel Lavender. I am drawn to anything in any shade of purple. I've had a small lavender plant in my semi-shade perennial garden for years and it's all but dormant. It just lives with no growth. So I stubbornly tried again - near the front of our yard there is a little more sun, but not full sun as lavender needs. Well, it's thriving (but so is everything else this year) So this is my first lavender harvest!!! My husband doesn't get it - what are you going to do with it? Smell it, of course!
In this one sacred moment I am thinking about nothing on Earth - as it is in heaven. I feel nothing but a breeze lifting my hair. I hear nothing but bird songs near and far and the low shushing of the leaves moving against each other. It is a pleasing, singular void, a reverie of quietude when every sense is stilled except for God.
I've known how to play the guitar since I was 12 years old. I have a certain amount of ability. But my growth on the guitar, just like so many other interests I've had, seems to halt abruptly at a certain point. Playing the guitar and singing - by myself - in my living room is a summertime pastime. I get great enjoyment from what I can do when I'm alone, and I have the time to build up some callouses on my tender fingers.
I spent years strumming away at camps, coffee houses, vacation bible schools, a summer camp for a nearby private school, and a few times in church. But it's strange to me that I never gained enough confidence to fully use what seems like the perfect instrument for me. I say that because I have an extremely high singing range and generally you can adapt the guitar to your own key with a capo.
A few times in my neighborhood I attempted to play at our lake picnic area and I felt like a real idiot and swore I would not make a fool out of myself anymore. Even though I consider myself a singer I have a light-weight voice and it really needs amplification. Whenever people find out that you can sing they expect you to be able to sing anything, anywhere! My neighbor kept insisting that I could sing like Janis Joplin so I finally gave him a CD I recorded so he could hear that I sound more like Sarah Brightman than Janis Joplin!
Anyway! A couple years ago my dear husband, trying to be encouraging and supportive, gave me a whole set-up to perform - an amplifier, microphone, and a device to amplify my acoustic guitar - and have I used it ? NO! So I'm feeling guilty and confused by something I had made a decision to give up on - especially at my age. I mean, if God wanted me to be the next Joni Mitchell wouldn't I have figured it out by now? The desire is still there. A desire that I have for self-expression of every and any kind I can manage. But will I ever dare to risk being a fool again - an amplified fool this time?
Ruth's Visions and Revisionsis a blog I truly admire and respect, so I am honored that she chose COEXIST for an ARTE Y PICO award! This award is given to blogs who "deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what the language." Arte Y Pico is roughly translated as "Wow! The best art. Over the top!" Please check out Ruth's blog. Thank you so much, Ruth!
Rules of the award:
1) Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to the show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given him or her the award itself.
4) Award winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte Y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award, which is here:" Arte Y Pico
So my choices are:
1. Old, Old Lady of the Hills. This wonderful lady lives in the Hollywood Hills and has been in just about every area of entertainment. She has great photos and memories to share. She also takes great pictures of the wildlife of southern California.
2. The Moohaa - dear Kelly shares honestly from her life, her heart and her faith.
3. Daughter of Eve - this blog looks beautiful and has beautiful writing to match.
4. Writing in Faith - Sandy has an abundance of talents in writing, sharing and photography. Always meaningful.
5. Kathie's Poet Tree - Kathie is a great poet and artist and shares both freely.
A blog takes a certain amount of committment, and strangely you are committing to people you don't know and probably will never meet. But it is a unique way of reaching out to the world and sharing the gifts God has given you. I think all of these bloggers do that beautifully - including Ruth!
The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north, round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, where they return again. All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been done will be done again; there is nothing newunder the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:5-9
If you look back on my June 2 post I had a photo of a pathetic looking hibscus. That's it against the back. All it needed was some sun and rain. In northeast Ohio we've had a lot of rain this summer and every perennial plant I have is thriving. There is some miracle in the rain coming down from the heavens as compared to the water that comes from a faucet. I think the perennial garden (top) is actually out of control! Everything seems twice the size of last year.
Did you ever feel guilty for being alive? Today I have gone through each moment noticing all that I am here to see, hear, touch, enjoy and love - all that my friends Jeanne and Jacquie are not here for anymore. (see today's earlier post) Maybe that is only one of the gifts that those who go ahead of us leave behind. New eyes to see what they cannot any longer. From the moment I awoke this morning - in a healthy body, in a soft bed that I share with someone I love, to buying a new plant for the house, to getting books to read from the library, to precious time with both of my parents, (still here, still nearby) - I have thought of Jeanne. I walked out on my side deck just now overwhelmed by the sight of the sky and the blooming flowers all around me. I heard my daughter's voice today, I feel the coolness of the rain that is about to fall outside, my little dog is at my feet, keeping me company. I did not spend the day getting chemotherapy or in pain. I did not worry about how to pay my bills - yep, feeling mighty guilty, and yet, aren't all of these things good gifts from God above? Don't we spend our lives striving to attain some kind of peace and contentment?
Both Jeanne and Jacquie touched many people while they were here on Earth. We waited an hour last night at the funeral home just to express our condolences to Jeanne's family. My friends were both loving, wonderful people who loved and knew God personally. This earthly life is all we know right now. We think it is the best of everything and we do all we can to hang on to it, but my friends are now experiencing what we have not. They are in the loving arms of Jesus - where we should all pray to be someday. Any peace or contentment that we experience here on Earth is nothing to what we will know someday. Can I prove that? No, but I believe it with all my heart - no matter how blessed your life is - there is something much better. This can't be it.
So, I've had my moments of guilt today. I'm sad that Jeanne's children have lost her so soon. I am sad that Jeanne will not see them grow to adults. But I also am happy for her. She's already there.
My husband may never know how much it means to me that he always takes a day off for us to celebrate our anniversary. We've gotten into the habit of spending a day riding our bikes along a beautiful wooded towpath trail that follows the remnants of the old Erie Canal. Yesterday we rode 7 miles one way, had lunch in a little town and rode the 7 miles back. The only thing hurting at the end of the day was the result of inadequate bike seats - ouch! It's quite an historic area and there are markers to teach you about the building of the canal. The photo is of one of the remnants.
The dichotomy of the day was because after we came home from such a pleasant time together, we showered and dressed and visited another funeral home. My friend Jeanne lost her 6 year battle with cancer. She left behind two teenage children and her husband, Jay. We became friends in junior high and then, in the 80's she moved next door to me. I'll never forget walking over to meet the new neighbor with a plate of brownies and Jeanne opening the door! Jeanne loved butterflies and the room where we said goodbye to her was filled with them - in the flower arrangements and decorating the collages of photographs of her life. Looking at the photos I realized that I couldn't even imagine what Jeanne looked like without a smile on her face. She loved her God and I have no doubt that Jeanne has left her cocoon and is now a beautiful butterfly.
I have once again become entranced by the writer, Anais Nin. (anna-eese). She lived from 1903-1977. She was a woman ahead of her time, most notably for her sexual exploration and expression at a time when women weren't publically showing interest in sexuality. But above all she was a writer. (She did write erotica, but only to make some money at a time when she needed it badly.) She wrote novels and a study of D.H. Lawrence, but in the end her diaries brought her attention as a writer. She filled so many journals that eventually she had to store them all in a bank vault. (see photo) While in New York City my daughter took me to Strand - a two-story book store of old and new books. I purchased one of her diaries and read it, and now I am delving into her other writings. She wrote the kind of books that you want to underline because there are so many beautiful passages. The diaries are edited, but there are also unexpurgated copies. Either way they are a little disconnected and confusing as reading anyone's diary would be - but fascinating just the same. I think I mentioned that a main character in my new novel is named Anais, and I've become extremely fond of the name itself.
Anais Nin is of French and Spanish parents, but raised mostly in the US. She was one of those writers who lived in Paris, lived in New York, lived in LA - that always intrigues me - how writers and artists could just pick up and move thousands of miles away for the sake of their work. It somehow appears that it was easier in the earlier part of the twentieth century. A Parisian writer would get up one day, pack up her pen and journal, hop on a ship, land in New York, walk down the street, find a small apartment and start writing again. So easy!
Here are a few Anais quotes:
There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.
There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch it, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.
This is my 200th post on COEXIST and time to reflect on this blogging trip I've been on since September. In the beginning I was sure I would quickly run out of ideas, but to my surprise I have experienced just the opposite. As I wrote on June 20th, blogging has taught me that I no longer write for healing and understanding, but out of the abundance of love and experiences that God has blessed me with.
Most surprising is YOU - yes, you who are reading this right now. You have blessed my life more than you can imagine. The knowledge that people all over the world can read what I write and the kind, encouraging words of my dedicated "commenters" have renewed my faith in the goodness and generosity of people. What a phenomenon to grow friendships with people I have never met. Thank you.
Living in this world takes a little piece of our spirits every day. We can let it be chipped away until great damage is done, or we can find ways to repair and renew the little injuries we experience throughout our lives. This blog has been just one of the ways I nourish my spirit and my brain.
I hope and pray that when you visit me here you will be refreshed by an inspirational thought, a piece of art or a poem, a rant (that you agree with or not) a photograph of the limitless beauty of the sky, or something that just makes you smile.
I am a retired special education teacher, poet, novelist, first soprano, occasional painter and guitar player living in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. My two adult children continue to bring joy and laughter to my life, and now I am a grandmother as well! I am blessed with a smart, generous, loving husband and a constant canine companion, Stella. I love God. Talking to Him saves me from myself everyday. I also maintain a blog called COEXIST because I believe He loves us all and simply expects us to love each other while we're here on Earth.
If God gives you something to do, why in the world wouldn't you do it? Stephen King
Proud to be an American today
There is hope everywhere. Today God gives the milk and I have the pail. Anne Sexton
Think About It
"Coexistence - or no existence." Piet Hein, poet and scientist 1905-1996
I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. I may not complete this last one but I give it to myself. I circle around God, around the primordial tower. I've been circling for thousands of years and I still don't know: am I falcon, a storm, or a great song?
Rainer Maria Rilke
Check out this wonderful movement. It's about time.
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too can become great." Mark Twain
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Stella on squirrel patrol
She will station herself at one of several spots in the backyard just waiting for something to chase.
Sometimes writing well is like wetting your pants in a black dress. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices.
LISTEN and SILENT are made from the same letters.
Blog Archive - click on drop down menu to view titles
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong. Mohandas Gandhi
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin
Life isn't about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw
What good will it be if a woman gains the whole world, and loses her soul? Matthew 16:26
Seek your passion - then do it.
Poetry is, above all, a singing art of natural and magical connection because, though it is born out of one person's solitude, it has the ability to reach out and touch in a humane and warmly illuminating way the solitude, even the loneliness, of others. That is why, to me, poetry is one of the most vital treasures that humanity possesses; it is a bridge between separated souls." Brendan Kennelly
VisitPen Me a Poemfor an online interview with me from July 17, 2008.
An artist brings something into the world that didn't exist before, and he does it without destroying something else. John Updike (1932-2009)
I believe that all creative expression springs simply from the desire to be known.
I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. Abraham Lincoln
We write to taste life twice; in the moment and in retrospection. Anais Nin
I painted this vulnerable pose just because I thought it was beautiful.
When morning gilds the skies...
November sunrise in my back yard.
Want to know more about Cleveland? I know you do!
Click on this photo
It's a sad waste of energy to defend oneself in the shadow of the mercy seat - forgiveness being part of the unfathomable mystery of God. Amy Grant
Artwork by B. Matthews Platt
"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it." Pablo Picasso
This hour in history needs a dedicated circle of transformed non-conformists. The saving of our world from pending doom will not come from the actions of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a dedicated minority. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
My church - September 2008
Come, Listen, Love
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E.B. White
Poets are soldiers that liberate words from the steadfast possession of definition. Eli Khamarov
Life is like a recycling center, where all the concerns and dramas of humankind get recycled back and forth across the universe. But what you have to offer is your own sensibility, maybe your own sense of humor or insider pathos or meaning. All of us can sing the same song, and there will still be four billion different renditions.
The soul is healed by being with children. Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself. Anais Nin
It looks like she's tried my cooking.
This was the view from our restaurant as we celebrated our anniversary.
Central Park - NYC June 2008
"I know that I can write, a couple of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, there's a lot in my diary that speaks, but - whether I have any real talent remains to be seen." Anne Frank April 5, 1944
Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.
Flying Over Midnight
God Bless America
Now blooming. . .
We are fortunate to have an acre of land. But the first spring we lived here this was the ONLY thing blooming in the yard!
I don't remember getting to do stuff like this in elementary school for being "good".
A view of our neighbor's yard from our deck. Thank you !
To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest fight any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.e.e.cummings
The west bank of the Cuyahoga River
Sunrise over the Western Hemisphere
Coexisting - even animals can do it!
Poetry would be dull indeed if we limited ourselves to the things we think we already comprehend. Robert Frost
Everyone who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. Gertrude Stein
When you are talking about art, you are talking about God indirectly; all experience of art is an indirect experience of God. Sister Wendy Beckett
Easter Saturday in Ohio- we will still sing Hallelujah!
It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent. Vincent Van Gogh
Ernest Hemingway's writing place
While in Key West for a day I got a big thrill by visiting the home of Ernest Hemingway and seeing where he wrote his novels at this little table above a garage. How cool is that? My husband said "eh" and shrugged his shoulders. I thought it was extremely cool. No word processor.
INSANITY - doing the same thing over and over each time expecting a different reality.
If you are a dreamer, come in, If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer. . . If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!
Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be. Fanny Brice
Picnic tables in hibernation
These are a few of my favorite things.
My Stella in the snow
M & M's
Last summer the first place we visited in New York was the M&M's store!! Three floors of heaven right in Times Square! This is just a sampling of the colors you can get!
I Love New York
Winter in Ohio
Mozart's birthplace in Salzburg
Wolfie and Me
Second Thoughts by - Bruce Holwerda
A view of my neighbor's lovely yard
And the neighbors are lovely too.
A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song - Maya Angelou. I think the caged bird sings because it still has wings.
Adorable neighbor children
I promised myself I would not put cutesy pictures on my blog - but this one's too good. It reminds me of summer too. (For those who think my love of snow is weird.)
Bridge to a Millennium
This is my only published piece of art and one of the very few completely original ideas I've ever come up with. It was for the cover of a CD.
Where's my bone?
A Red-Tailed Hawk
My Mother's Art 10-03-07
A painting by my mother, Martha Vogel, of my children and me.
Born to the Purple 9-23-07
This is not me. It's a painting by my uncle, Glen Heberling. It's a purple person.It reminds me that it's OK to be purple.It is entitled "Born to the Purple".
I Love Flip-Flops
and I refuse to stop wearing them even though it's December.
Let it Be 10-31-07
A mural of the Beatles that I painted on my basement wall.