The WALKER

Would just like to share this with you

Nimz revealed

I peeped out of the main door.
There was a striking innocence in his small eyes buried under those thick eyebrows. He had a long beard & a green hat over his rough hair.
In a moment Grandpa paused their conversation and turned to me. His eyes too pointed towards me. I gave the most innocent smile that a six year old can give. Grandpa gestured with his hands to come. I quickly made my seat over his arm rest of the easy-chair. I kept eyes on at the old man who is still smiling at me. I exchanged looks with my Grandpa in a confusion on what to say.
‘This is Divakar.’ He said to me. I looked at him. He is still wearing that smile.
‘My granddaughter. Shaji‘s little one.’ Grandpa introduced me to him.
I gaped gratefully at my Grandpa for introducing me to an Old man. They continued the conversation…

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For Whom The Bell Tolls

Written in response to Shafali’s Creativity Carnival picture below

 

Just my thoughts on this one….

Look at that spider, huddled in the middle of his home, comforted by the stillness of his surroundings. Is he waiting for that bell to ring? Is he waiting for the bell to toll signifying the loss of another loved one? Look at the rain, how it caresses the side of the bell, like tears cascading from above.

Sad to say, the only time I hear bells chime are at funerals. Furthermore, funerals, I think, are not how they are supposed to be these days. (Were they ever? Please enlighten me if that is the case.) They have turned more into a family reunion. A time where we gather to catch up on our lives. A meet n greet with a casket beside us.

Take for instance the most recent passing in my family – my Great Uncle Pete. He lived to the grand age of 92. It was a small gathering, with a typical church ceremony, and a quaint eulogy spoken by a dear family friend. Afterwards, we sat at tables, eating delectable dainties and asking each other questions. “What’s new? How are you? Are you enjoying retirement? ” Not a word was spoken about poor Uncle Pete. Not a word.

It fills me with guilt. Certainly we should have sat around and marveled over his life, his accomplishments? He lived to 92! Imagine the changes he had seen through out his life. And the knowledge he gathered? Should we not have shared some of his words of wisdom? He was always so happy to share what he knew. His mind was sharp up until his last breath.

I tried to initiate some conversation by asking questions about the stories he shared, but no one replied. They glanced over those questions just like they glanced over his body in the casket when they walked by.

Nope, not one word was spoken about the man we buried. Not one word.

The Blazing To Do Lists

I just have to get this off of my chest.

I have come across several, lovely posts recently about utilizing lists to achieve success. The advice has been great. The wisdom I gathered boils down to this: Keep It Simple Stupid. Make an achievable list with no more than three to five items and get to it!

I admire all of you out there with your lists, making boxes to check off, getting your shit done. I used to be one of you, flinging my arm with a dramatic flare when a list was complete. Let me tell you something – two months ago, I burnt those lists and I have never felt better. And I don’t think I will ever go back to making lists again.

Oh no! Blasphemy! How could I dare to do such a thing?

Easy. I hated those fuckin lists. They were not simple and were not achievable. What began as a daily task maker, turned into a Monday to Sunday chore grinder. By Saturday afternoon, I had whiney kid syndrome. I would stomp my feet and cry around. My time was up and I couldn’t conjure up the gumption to finish things. I would transfer the items to the list for the following week. I began to cheat. I wrote down simple things like “do laundry, wash floors, do dishes” just so I could feel good about crossing something off. You know what ended up happening? I neglected my floors and began to despise my dishes. As if! I have a dishwasher!

So like sonofabeach96 posted here, I had to rewrite my pages. I didn’t like who I was becoming. I was impatient, crabby and near tears most of the time. So I tore up those lists and sent those pages ablaze. I began to breathe again. I took notice of my beautiful surroundings. I started to do things for me, things that were good for my soul. And I feel fabulous.

So if you ask me if I have accomplished a lot this summer, my answer will be “Hell no”. I really haven’t. I have been walking around in a postcoital bliss with myself, nurturing parts that I feel were neglected for too long. Does this make me a success? Depends if you are looking at my “not done list” or if you’re looking at me through my daughters eyes. I bet she likes this version of me better.

A Picture of a Picture

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”- Dorothea Lange

I love photographs. They give us the ability to peer into people’s lives, into that instant that their life is captured on to a chosen medium. All we can do, after that, is to contemplate the details and imagine what life was like during that time.

This particular portrait was taken in 1905. You will notice, first, that the family sits in their Sunday best and that this photo was staged to capture their most prized possessions. You will not see a home on display here, but a well constructed straw barn on the right. Take notice of the way the limbs of the trees were cut to support the weight of the sod structure and the layers of straw that were compressed into that space. You will see a large herd of cattle in the middle and may not truly comprehend the labor required to feed all of those hungry mouths. (Take a moment to imagine it). Your eyes might not even notice the dark figures of the two draft horses on the left. These were their work horses. The ones that pulled the cultivators, seeders, rakes and other farm implements. These horses performed all of the arduous tasks on the farm, always with a man behind them, encouraging them on.

If you are like me, your sight will be drawn to the front, specifically to the boy sitting bareback on the horse. And yes, that is a gun he is holding. How old can he be? (Take a guess.) He looks so comfortable with his rifle that it leads me to believe that he all ready knows how to use it. Notice how the barrel is pointed down, proper, just like his papa had taught him.

Of course we cannot neglect the buck on the left, the family pet. If you look closely, you can see he is wearing a collar. The boy, and the father, are looking at him through the corners of their eyes.The father has shaken the leash he holds in his hand to grab the buck’s attention and to make sure that his face is turned and is visible in the photo.

I have to applaud them for the effort they invested into capturing this moment, this instant in time. I have spent hours combing over the details in this photo. It forced me to research how homesteads survived in the early 1900’s and the hardships they faced. It has taught me one thing – how luxurious our lives are now, in comparison.

Now, nature enthusiasts, can you tell me what season this photo was taken in?

Swearing as a Second Language

If the use of profanities offends you, please do not read any further.

As a child I was taught not to swear. These were bad words and mom would threaten us with mouth washings of soap if she ever caught us swearing. I don’t think she ever accomplished it. We were bigger and let’s face it, soap tasted like shit and there was no way I was going to let her near me with that crap. We never dared to swear in front of dad.

When I became older, my mind held the firm belief that this was not appropriate speech. It was naughty. I remember trying the words on my tongue, softly first, a mere whisper, in the safety of my empty back lane. There was no one around to hear me. There was no one around to tattle to mom with a bottle of dish soap in his hand (fuckin brother). I remember trying the words with my friends, blurting them out on a speedy exhale because I wanted to be naughty but it was awkward to do so.

When did all of this change for me? It was defining a moment and I can remember it very clearly…

I held a lot of waitressing jobs when I was younger. It was great – I spent my tips on booze and good times and used my cheques to pay my bills. Initially, these jobs were at family restaurants where I was mindful of my p’s and q’s. If I encountered a difficult patron, I would smile politely, turn around and mutter things like “fuckin prick” underneath my breath. Then I started to work at The Valley – a small truck stop on the outskirts of the city. The owners were fabulous – they didn’t want us taking shit from anybody and the clientele were honest and up front people. They widdled hours away at that restaurant telling jokes and arguing over everything from politics to the weather.

Okay here it is, that moment. Picture this: a quiet, petite, young girl with her brown hair pulled into a ponytail at the base of her neck. She has a polite smile and is hesitant to maintain eye contact. She drops a glass onto the red carpeted floor and it busts into pieces. “Oh shoot.” she says. The lady (Anne) sitting at the table eyes this young girl up for a moment and says “That was definitely an oh shit.” Anne tosses her long red hair back and laughs. The sound begins at the base of her chest and erupts forth; it is whole-hearted, genuine and makes her belly shake. It wraps around that shy and quiet girl and makes her feel… comfortable.

And that`s when I said “Fuck it.” Next thing I know I am slinging out swears like a sailor. ( I have never met a sailor but I assume the phrase has to be true). When Fred tells me that his eggs are not as runny as he would like, I smile and reply “They are fuckin cooked aren’t they?” I am flipping my co-workers the finger and yelling at them to “Hurry the fuck up.” Like I said, the owners of that place were fuckin awesome and The Valley did a lot to boost my confidence.

So come back to present day. Swearing is a part of my everyday vocabulary now. These words are dispersed throughout my conversations like they are my native tongue – similar to a person who knows two languages and interchanges between the two when they speak. Granted, I have a two-year old, so I am back to muttering things like “for fuck sakes” underneath my breath. And when she used mustard to paint the walls and carpet, I couldn’t help but say “what the fuuu….”. I was pretty proud that I stopped there. But piss me off a little and I am back to being a sailor. Just the other day I was giving my goats a two-handed finger salute and yelling “Fuck you, you little fuckers!” Don’t ask, it’s a long story but I assure you they deserved it. I am grateful that my girl is just learning how to talk and lacks the dexterity to mimic me.

Why am I rambling about this bullshit? First, I feel like I have been censoring myself in my posts and I will continue to do so only because of the beliefs my parents instilled in me. Secondly, like a good blogging 101 student, I put the tag ‘chocolate’ into my reader the other night and found this: Chocolate Dreams .It wasn’t just funny, it was fuckin funny. There was something about the way she typed ‘bitches’ that made me feel like I was a hip hop artist wearing baggy jeans and putting my hands in absurd poses.

So I need to ask those of you who have read this far if swearing offends you when you read a post? Do you cringe when you see the ‘f’ word? Or does your brain bypass it like it is nothing?

And I have to leave a special thanks to this girl for getting me rolling on this one.

The Openness Scale

My husband says I have trouble communicating. For the life of me, I cannot understand why he feels compelled to constantly tell me this. I suppose, in his defense, that it stems from years ago when I used to bottle everything up and explode in a slew of screaming swears and wild and violent hand gestures. I imagine he just says this in case I am withholding some pertinent information that he will only hear about during my next angry outburst.

I should add that my outbursts, now, are less angry and more of a highly emotional variety. I am pretty sure it’s a woman thing. And I am pretty sure my hubby can’t tell the difference between the two.

I am hoping that, by the end of this article, I will have some solid answers for him but I all ready have my doubts. Please bear with me while I work through this.

My husband works away from home and phones me every morning. A typical conversation goes like this:
Him: ”How are you?”
Me: ”Good. How about you?”
Him: ”Alllllriiight. What do ya got going on today?”
Twenty ideas flash through my mind. My reply? ”I dunno…”

That’s communicating… right?

He asked me the other day “On a scale of one to ten, how open are you? I am about a nine.” I agree with his number – there is some crazy shit that comes out of his mouth.
”Six.” I say. My stomach clenches and curls inward – I know I am lying.
”Really?” His tone is disbelieving.
I concede.”Okay it’s more like three or four. Six on a good day.”

Why is the real question. I love him and trust him and do not fear his judgement. While there is a certain amount of tongue biting and holding back in every relationship, I do not feel like I do this (often). Granted, it is not my first response to phone him as soon as something funny or tragic happens but I do intend to tell him during our next conversation. If I am honest, sometimes I just forget. So, why then, would I only give myself a score of four?

The more I searched for an answer, the more I began to realize a few things.

1. My to do lists are consuming my brain. Initially I created them as a way to focus my time and energy. I could be proud of my accomplishments – look at what I got done! Now they are a source of frustration and guilt. A large portion of my day is spent glancing at the list I made three weeks ago and wondering which one of those things I could conquer and scratch off. The other portion of the day is spent grumbling because I don’t want to do any of them.

2. I am not one to reiterate every small thing that transpires in a day. It doesn’t appeal to me . My sister can do it. Just yesterday she told me about her trip to Wal-Mart, the new sale items she picked up and how, at the end, she debated about stealing cherries because the guy never looked in her bag as she was leaving. The conversation lasted 120 minutes and I was thoroughly entertained through them all. I do not have this talent.

3. My husband isn’t a part of the day-to-day things that occur here. I know he wants to be that is why he asks me all the time. It is his way of being supportive even though he is miles away.

4. We are what we know. My parents were not very open. Sure, we had the normal conversations at the supper table – my dad would ask what we learned in school and we would give the common reply of ”nothing”. Their sentences never started with “When I was your age..”  When we weren’t getting along my mother would say something threatening like “Should I get the spoon?” And dad would shake his big, thick index finger and offer us “tsks” of disapproval. They didn’t tell us how they solved disputes when they were younger. They never entertained us with stories of their past.

The meager amount I know of my mother’s childhood, I learned on her deathbed. And my father? There were some amazing, eye-opening facts that I learned from his sister as she read his eulogy.

I am crying now. I cannot help it. It is not necessarily because I miss them – because there will never be a part of me that doesn’t wish they were here. I am sobbing over the missed the opportunity to learn about the things that shaped their lives. The small insights that I do have only make me realize how similar I am to them. How, a generation later, I can see both of my father and my mother in me.

I refuse to lament and say ”if only we had more time.” Because the time and the opportunity  were there – they just didn’t take it. And I was too young to ask. It saddens me to admit that there is more to parenting than teaching your child what is right and wrong. It is about you, who you are, and how you came to be. Your life experiences will reflect on your child’s.

So I implore you to tell them. Tell them how when you were little you used to skip out on chores and run to the creek to pick flowers. Tell them that you dropped out of school at the age of fourteen to hunt and trap fur-bearing animals to help support your eight younger siblings. Tell them that everything you learned in your life was self-taught, through a lot of experiments and errors. Tell them about your trials and tribulations and the dreams you surrendered in lieu of being the provider that your family needed you to be.

Because years later, as they grapple with grasping aspects of their own personality, they will remember your tales. And it is only then that they will truly have a better understanding of themselves.

Needing Some Spice

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How many people in your life do you need? I mean actual people that you can touch, or swat mosquitoes off of their arms, or squeeze gently if the situation warrants it. Recently, I have been wondering about the amount of my real, touchable friends.

Years ago, I scoffed at my teenage stepdaughter whose time was encompassed by checking Facebook statuses. I was astonished at how irate she would become at somebody’s post. I even remember her getting into an arguement with someone – fingers furiously typing, impatiently waiting for a reply and then, finally, throwing her phone to the side in disgust. I thought it was ridiculous. “Why don’t you go out and meet some real people.” I said. “People that you can make eye contact with.” It never ceases to amaze me how life has a way of throwing things you say back into your face. Because now I find myself in the same boat. I get it now.

I have a few good girlfriends and some family that will stop by for a visit. These are tangible, touchable people. And I can count them on one hand without using my thumb. I also have a number of texting friends. These are other women whom I communicate with almost daily. Every few months we say we should get together but we never do. I think we just say it to be ‘old school.’ Add Facebook to that list and my socializing list is complete.

Is this sad or normal or what? Should I be branching out and trying to meet new people? And how does one go about making friends when you are in your mid thirties? I don’t drink so becoming inebriated and laughing about the consequences won’t work. And I think “Hi I like your hair.Do you want to be my friend?” is just socially awkward.

Anyway, back to the picture…I saw somebody post it on Facebook and I immediately filed it into my excuses folder (the one I keep around in case I need a quick cop out). I remember thinking ‘Yeah that’s it. That’s the real reason I don’t have a pile of friends.’

But that’s not it.

The truth is I haven’t put myself out there or anywhere in a long time. I have surrounded myself with docile, real, undramatic people. I love them, but let’s face it, they are boring. We are boring. We are all busy being wives and mothers and caretakers and fixers of our own little worlds. We work and eat and sleep and pay our bills. Where is the crazy one that drags you into some unknown bar only to find out that it was S&M night? Where is the one to push you into frigid lake water in the beginning of June? I gotta find me some of those people because they are fun and unpredictable and have an infectious zest for life. And, although I was never that woman, I was always game for whatever a night with them would entail.