Objet de Linda?

Object Lesson
Sherlock Holmes had his pipe. Dorothy had her red shoes. Batman had his Batmobile. If we asked your friends what object they most immediately associate with you, what would they answer?

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Honestly?  I have absolutely no clue. None. I have no trademark item of dress that I’m aware of, or anything remarkable that I carry. I’m pretty ordinary.
Wait.
Earrings?  Maybe. I do love earrings.  I was 44 when I finally got my ears pierced, and it opened a whole new world for me. So much fun!  Clip-on earrings are just not comfortable. Once my holes were healed, it was just a blast to start finding unique earrings.  I love them little and dainty, clunky and outrageous, dangly and sparkly.  Especially that one–dangly and sparkly.
  
Boy, looking at all these pictures makes me want to go right out and find some gorgeous, dangly, sparkly new earrings.
And that’s all I can think of, folks.

Bread and Lavender

Nosey Delights
From the yeasty warmth of freshly baked bread to the clean, summery haze of lavender flowers, we all have favorite smells we find particularly comforting. What’s yours?

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Dear Daily Post,

Since you’ve already mentioned my top two favorite aromas, I don’t know if there’s much more I can say.  Well, sure there is.  I just had to let you know you horned in on my faves 🙂

When I was a kid, my mom baked all our bread because we were poor, and store-bought was more expensive.  I loved baking day, especially when school was in session.  Coming home to that incredible, indescribable aroma wafting out through the windows and filling up the house was such  a treat. I never got tired of it. In the kitchen, all those loaves of toast-brown bread, their tops greased with butter to keep them soft, were sitting in a row like plump pigeons puffing out their breasts. And usually, mom would take one batch of dough and make cinnamon rolls, so there would be those to look forward to after supper. 

Today, I bake bread because it’s just better.  I’ve baked our bread for 45 years now, and I still love the smell.  When my kids were still in school, their friends would ask to trade lunches with them because of my bread and, often, homemade cookies. The staff of life, bread is precious thing—and good homemade bread should never be traded for the mushy white stuff that store-bought bread often is. Ever!

Lavender.  MMMMmmmmm.  I love lavender.  Some people think it’s fusty and old-fashioned, and only little old wrinkled grandmas use it. Maybe.  I don’t care.  I have bath soap, body wash, bath salts, bath oil, pot pourri, and sachets of lavender.  My daughter keeps me in good supply with liquid hand soap, too.  The smell is relaxing and comforting.

So–freshly baked bread during the day, and a lavender-scented pillow at night.  Life is good.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/nosey-delights/

No Way, José!

Full Disclosure

A mad scientist friend offers you a chip that would allow you to know what the people you’re talking to are thinking. The catch: you can’t turn it off. Do you accept the chip?

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Absotively, posilutely  not.  I do NOT want to know what anyone else is truly thinking, ever!  Too much information.  Too much responsibility.  Too much everything.  Good grief, I have enough trouble with my own thinking to be bothered with anyone else’s. 

Nope. Not me!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/full-disclosure/

‘Scuse Me While Rant a Little Bit

(PS. If you want to see what’s on the truck, just put your cursor on the picture and scroll down a tad.)

 

I don’t rant often. Really.  Most of the time, I’m pretty level.  Hasn’t always been that way, but as I approach my 70’s I’ve been finding myself less likely to get tied up in knots over the small stuff.  What I’m about to decribe to you may seem like small stuff, but I don’t think so.  Obviously.  There is too much behind what just happened to make me believe it’s a lot more than small stuff.

I was at the Walmart during a break between my morning clients and my afternoon batch.  Needed a couple of things.  All went well.  I found what I needed, headed up to the checkout, and happily pulled into an aisle where there were no customers ahead of me.  Chatted  comfortably with the checkout guy, who was, if memory serves, either Hispanic or Black.  I don’t remember for sure.  I don’t really care.  It makes no difference to me.

I am not a racist. I don’t see people as skin colors or facial features that are different from my own. There have been a few times when I’ve been entranced by the unique beauty of a woman of color, and it’s hard not to stare. I don’t stare, because I don’t want the gorgeous creature to think I’m racist.

From now on, I just don’t think I’m going to worry about that. I’m sick of the media tellling me I can’t be racist, have to be green, have to tolerant, can’t be conserative because conservatives are mean-spirited, and so on and on. Phooey on the media.

It seems to me that everyone else besides me and other white Americans-by-birth who claim Christianity and conservative values gets a pass to be intolerant of ME, prejudiced against all that I hold dear.  Their definition of tolerance includes everyone who is NOT a conservative white Christian who works for a living and did not vote for Obama. I’m thoroughly tired of it.

All right, back to what happened that produced the above rant.

So, I finished at the checkout, loaded up my cart, and proceeded to the exit.  It’s clearly marked both from the inside and the outside.  You can’t miss it.  EXIT in big white letters on a red background. 

I was heading there, minding my own business, waiting for an elderly couple ahead of me who were obviously very arthritic and making slow progress. “Won’t be long before that’s me,” I think to myself. Patience is a cultivated virtue for me.

From the sidewalk outside the exit door, a large group of what could be a mix of Hispanic and/or Black girls came running in through the  exit door.  They were laughing, having fun.  But the little old couple ahead of me just about got knocked off their pins, and the girls paid no attention whatsoever.

Oh dear. My sense of teacher, mom, and defender of all helpless things rose up in me so fast and so high that I never stopped to consider. I moved across their path with my cart, forcing them to either stop or go around me. Two of them stopped. They did not look pleased to say hello.

“Did you girls realize you came in through the exit?”  I asked, quiety giving them my “don’t mess with me, I’m a teacher and you can’t scare me” look.

“Yeah, so?  None of your business, old lady.”  Uproarious laughter.  They went to move around me. I pushed my cart in front of them again.

“Do you see those two really old people on the sidewalk?  Do you see that the woman is in tears because you piled into her husband and just about knocked him down?  Do you realize the damage you could have caused?”

“Hey, old white bag, you just sayin’ this ’cause we Black. Outta’ my way!”

Sometimes I lose the fairly adequate amount of intelligence with which God has gifted me. Again, I used the cart as my shield. “I don’t care if you’re purple with pink polka dots!  You came in the wrong way, you scared that poor old couple out of a year of their lives, and now you’re giving me attitude because I got up in your faces about what YOU did!”

About that time, an Hispanic man of about 35 or so, with his little boy in hand, came up beside me. He stood quite close, and he said, “This lady is right.  I saw what happened.  She would have said the same thing if you were white, and you know it. You were wrong.  You need to be more considerate.”

Then he put his hand on the handle of my cart and walked me out the door, and stood by my car while I put the bags inside.  He didn’t leave until I was in the car.  I rolled down my window to thank him, and he waved me off.

“Maybe you’ll return the favor sometime,” he said.

You betcha.

Freddy, Emma, and Pip

Fictional Intruder

Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?

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Not knowing what else to do to pass the time, Freddy decided to waft over to Emma’s house to see if anything was going on.  He told Jeeves, his devoted valet and dependable rescuer, to prepare an afternoon visiting costume while he bathed and shaved. Jeeves, of course, impeccable in his taste and manner, did a fine job of turning Freddy Wooster out as a proper gentleman should be when he makes an aftejeeves and woosterrnoon visit. 

It is important to understand that Freddy had no designs on Emma, who was the neighborhood beauty and most eligible single woman.  Freddy’s design, of course, was to remain unentangled from the bonds of matrimony, a goal at which he had succeeded quite successfully in spite of the machinations of aunts, and various mothers of available females. 

Emma always prepared for possible afternoon visitors.  A girl who was good at heart, but somewhat spoiled, she always did what was right and proper.  Dressed in a sprigged muslin afternoon-tea-on-the-lawn sort of outfit with a lacy fichu tucked modestly over her bosom, (have you ever wondered how all these extremely modest young females, who would never think of showing an ankle in public, seemed to have no problem whatsoever showing their bosoms?) she was a picture of fresh-faced English beauty and in every way a gentlewoman of class and distinction. Except that she truly didn’t care for one of her elderly neighbors. Her only flaw of spite was sometimes directed toward this poor soul, who just didn’t seem to understand how tEmmao go on. 

As Freddy allowed Jeeves to dress him for a visit to Emma and, he hoped, a substantial high tea; as Emma groomed herself and checked the preparations for her possible afternoon guests–unbeknownst to all, our Pip happily made his way to Emma’s from the opposite direction of Freddy. He was in an open carriage, happily tooling along the road and enjoying the beauties of the English countryside. Seated beside him, I too enjoyed the scenery, but I was a bit worried about how our companion would be received. Abel Magwitch was no one’s idea of an English gentleman.  However, he was Pip’s benefactor, finally revealed after many years and many trials.  Pip looked on him as a father. (I know, I know, I’m messing with the story line. It’s MY post, ok?)

Abel was a bumptious-looking man who had no refinements and didn’t care a button for the niceties of the English upper class. Magwitch He was fairly clean, but his clothing was ragged and his hair long, straggly, and unkempt. His face showed the results of his hard-lived life. One had to look into his eyes to see the kindness and gratitude with which he favored his young protegee, Pip, who had learned to look beyond Abel’s exterior and saw the big heart under the spotty waistcoat. 

Because I knew Emma, I wondered how she would receive someone of such careless appearance and manner,  I wondered how Pip would respond if she were rude. And of course, I had no idea at all that Freddy, who was rather a dim sort of fellow, was also on his way to Emma’s.  

I wondered. . . 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fictional-intruder/

Exercise! Blah!

Now? Later!
We all procrastinate. Website, magazine, knitting project, TV show, something else — what’s your favorite procrastination destination?

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Procrastinate?  MOI??

Oh yes.  I’m terrible at putting off things I don’t want to do. I procrastinate because I’m not sure how to proceed (writing my book), or because I just don’t like what I have to do (dust the knicknacks, clean the toilet) or because I find it terminally boring (exercise).garfield

I sincerely do not understand people who enjoy sweating, grunting, groaning, and hurting. That’s just weird.  Look, I KNOW all the reasons I should join the ranks of gym rats.  Good for my heart, good for my weight (another area of procrastination), good for my brain, blahblahblah.  I get it, really I do. I_Hate_Exercise

I just don’t like it. At all. So I put it off, suffering  tons of guilt for what I didn’t do–again–that day. 

Sigh. 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/now-later/

Dinner Party

Seat Guru
You get to plan a dinner party for 4-8 of your favorite writers/artists/musicians/other notable figures, whether dead or alive. Who do you seat next to whom in order to inspire the most fun evening?

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“Welcome, everyone, to my dinner party.  I’ve done my best to provide you with delicious food. You, however, will be your own entertainment tonight.  Here are the rules of the game:  You will be seated in a new position following each course.  You will find a small basket by your salad fork.  At the end of the first course, you will instantly end your conversation with your dinner partner. You will draw a card from your basket. On the card, you will be instructed to move to your next position around the table.  The baskets must stay in the same place. Your place settings, of course, will not be re-used. New plates or bowls, goblets, napkins, and silverware will be provided with each move.

“There will be six courses.  Soup first, then salad. There will be a fish course followed by the main entree. The entree will be removed with a savory, and then coffee and dessert.  By the time the meal is finished, you should have had the opportunity to converse with everyone at the table, including my husband and me, of course.

“Your conversation need not be restricted in any way unless  you can see that you are causing offense or discomfort.  All of you are mature, wise about human nature, and capable of conducting an interesting conversation on a multitude of topics.  So, it is time to begin.

“Miss Jane Austen, you will start on my husband’s right, at the head of the table.  Mr. Dickens, you will start on my husband’s left.  Piano Guys: Mr. John Schmidt,  you will start next to Miss Austen.  Mr. Steven Nelson, you will start on my right. Miss Louisa May Alcott, you will start next to Mr. Schmidt, and you, Mr. Tchaikowsky, will start on my left. Mr, Andrea Bocelli, you will start next to Mr. Dickens, and finally, Miss Emily Dickenson, you will start  between Mr. Bocelli and Mr. Nelson.

“My husband and I will remain in our places.  I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to this evening.  I am very certain we will have excellent conversation.  Now, if you will all be seated, we will have our soup.”

(In alphabetica order:  Alcott, Austen, Bocelli, Dickens, Dickinson, Nelson, Schmidt, Tchaikowsky

 LouisaMayAlcottJane AustenBocelliDickensEmili_DikinsonSteven_Sharp_NelsonSMschmidtTchaikowsky

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/seat-guru/

 

So Different!

Long Exposure

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

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Dad was born in 1923. A product of his era and environment,  he was a tough, get-it-done, suck-it-up kind of a guy.  When the market crashed in 1929, his dad lost just about everything. He moved them from California to the Arizona Strip, a place in the Utah desert where he built them a dugout to live in. Life was hard. The Great Depression was settling down over the country. People’s lives were changed, often overnight, from relative security to no security at all.

As is often the case with young kids, Dad really didn’t pay much attention to how poor they were. He loved the desert, and he loved the freedom he had to roam wherever the itch took him. He had a dog, a gun, and it seems I remember him talking about a pony, too. His mom made the dugout into a home, but he spent as much time as he could outdoors.

My grandfather was old-school German. He taught my dad to be racist, really, and it was a strongly ingrained belief in my dad’s mind and heart that there were flaws in every other race, but not in his own.  He wasn’t hateful about it, that I remember.  It was more just a matter of fact. He knew, and used, all the epithets that can be applied to those of a race not his own. It wasn’t unusual in his day.

He also grew up under the autocratic dominance of his father, whose word was law, and often enforced on his two oldest sons with what we would look at today as physical abuse.  My aunts don’t remember that. They and my youngest uncle were treated differently. It’s always fascinating to me how children reared in the same family often seem to have been reared by totally different parents.

In any case, Dad was indeed a man of his time, of his environment, of his background. And it wasn’t all bad. He was part of the Great Generation, the ones who endured and survived the Great Depression because of their strength of character, their determination, and often their faith in God.  They were the ones who went off to war and died by the hundreds and thousands for their love of country, family, home, and the American way of life.  I have infinite respect for them. Without their strength, we would have lost our freedoms sooner than we are now. I don’t think the Great Generation would have stood silently by while government exploded into what it has become today, although the seeds were sown back during the Depression and even before that.

Fast forward now. Dad had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was a boy of 12 or 14, but he never grew in his faith. At age 19, only a month after he married my mom, he went off to do his part in World War II, having joined the Navy and been assigned as a torpedoman in a submarine.  He came home from the war filled with hatred for the Axis enemies. And then God began to work, and my dad’s world tilted to a different angle.

Fast forwarding again, Dad went to Bible college and became a pastor. It would never have been his prediction for his life, or even his choice. His real dream was to teach history on the college level, and he would have been good at it. He was a great teacher. But he knew that God was leading, and he couldn’t resist that call. And it changed him.

Keep up now. We’re moving ahead many, many years. Dad got a call from a little church in the South, where he pastored for about 25 years. Living in the South was a revelation for him, and yet another change was taking place. He was learning that people of color, whatever the shade, were no different than he was.

The last ten years of his life, his heart changed him physically. His first heart event was when he was only 60, and for the next ten years he was in and out of hospitals, in and out of surgeries that saved his life but weakened him physically.And with his physical debility came a dependence on the care and kindness of the Black doctors and nurses who took care of him time and time again. It changed his already altered belief in the inferiority of other races. DAD

I’ve read that people who undergo open-heart surgery are often emotionally affected by it. Dad was. He grew softer and gentler as he progressed through his illnesses.  I was especially touched by his tenderness toward my niece and nephew, my brother’s kids, who loved their Papa as much as he loved them.  They were the only grandkids who lived nearby, and he saw them nearly every day.

One day, to my great amazement, as I was talking with my dad on the phone he became clearly emotional, and ended the conversation with “I love you, Linda.”

Could have knocked me over with a feather. He just didn’t say things like that. I knew he loved me, although there was more than one time when I was almost sure he didn’t, but I can’t remember ever hearing him say it before. The closest I can remember being keenly aware of his strictly hidden emotion was the day he walked me down the aisle, and then switched places with a pastor friend who helped with the wedding. As he turned to face Terry and me, I saw the twitch of his eyebrow and the tightening of his lips and jaw that was a dead giveaway of his effort to control his emotions.

God knew that the work He gave my dad to do was going to be hard, and that it would take a strong man to do it. He also knew that Dad’s heart needed to be softened and changed. And it was. People still talk about how Preacher said or did this or that; how something he taught them changed their lives. The changes he experienced made him better. The little boy who loved being alone in the desert became a man who was loved by the people he pastored.  He was loved by his family.  He’s been gone 21 years now, and I still miss him.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/long-exposure/

Fearless Fantasies

Fearless Fantasies
How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

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I googled “fearless,” looking for a good illustration, and I came up with dozens of shots of Taylor Swift with her hair blowing all over her head. I guess she sings a song by the name of Fearless. Shows you how out-of-the-loop I am when it comes to pop culture.  The only reason I even know who she is?  She’s a native of a city near where I live. That’s it.

Anyway.  I saw this prompt two hours ago. Had an appointment, needed to do a couple of other things, so I’ve had some time to think it over, and I’m still not sure what I want to say. So pardon me for thinking out loud. This could be a bit of a ramble.

I would love to be fearless about a lot of things.  I’m terrified of snakes. It would be nice not to have such a visceral reaction if one of the scaly creatures shows up in a TV program or photograph. I would love to be fearless about hiking through a snaky place like the Appalachian trail, or maybe the desert where diamondbacks and sidewinders sun themselves.

I have a fear of high places that drop straight down from where I’m standing, with no guardrails to stop my fall.  When we were in Sioux Falls with my son and his family, we went to a theater like an IMax. We entered at the very top level. I got a feeling of vertigo, and it’s terrifying.  I had to grab rails and turn my back, facing the chairs until I could sit down. It’s horrible.  I’d love for that to go away.

There’s really not much else that gives me such a  ghastly sense of fear and helplessness. Wait!  Aha moment!  Helplessness!  Yes!  Okay, enough exclamation points already, but I do think I’ve stumbled onto something.  It’s the helplessness, isn’t it?  I mean, I don’t like centipedes, but I’m not helpless with them. I can smack’em. Gone. Same with spiders. I hate the way the skitter, but I can always catch them and send them to spiderly heaven. Gross.  But snakes and steep drops?  Helpless.  I’d be a great subject for one of those big dudes that hypnotize their prey.  Here I am, just look into my eyes and hiss, and I’m done for. Kaput.

Well, I’m generally of a pretty practical frame of mind, so I’ve been thinking about  how fear can be, and often is, a very helpful thing.  The fear of sudden and painful death keeps me from playing in the traffic. The fear of extremely painful death keeps me from tasting bleach or inhaling a combination of ammonia and bleach. The fear of losing a limb keeps this granny off the ski slopes. That doesn’t seem like a negative thing to me; it’s just good sense. If I weren’t afraid of ending up in prison, there may be a trail of seriously maimed or comatose people in my backtrail. It is often fear of consequences that keeps of from doing something foolish, harmful to ourselves or others.

Other side of the coin?  I love the way the kid in the picture is just standing there calmly facing down the wolf that’s about to make lunch out of him. That kind of fearlessness I admire. Standing up to bullies, standing up to difficult things we can’t avoid, standing up to fear itself.

I have a client I’ve been working with for over a year. She was having serious PTSD symptoms due to an accident she had witnessed. I can’t go into detail, obviously, but this poor woman hadn’t slept well in three years, and is still struggling with some fears that have changed her life.  One of her problems is the inability to speak up in her own defense. I’ve helped her find her voice, and grow a backbone. She was afraid she didn’t have the right to speak up. Now she knows she does. Not only is it a right, it’s an obligation to stand up to the bullies, to back them down, to let them know you are NOT afraid.

I love my work.

And I’m not afraid to do it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fearless-fantasies/

NOOOOOooooooo!

Can’t Stand Me
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

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I watched the video in absolute disbelief.  See, over the years I’ve trained my eyes to see me as I wish I were, not as I am.  The video playing so heartlessly before me was bringing all my years of denial crashing around my feet.

No denying what is on the screen. No denying what is on the scale. No denying the size tags on the clothes in my closet.  Well, on the clothes I can presently wear, at least.  I have several wardrobes that I’m going to get back into. Someday.

I hate seeing pictures of myself.  I’m always twice as wide as I should be, and cameras add ten pound. So they say, whoever “they” is.

Making jokes about my size is one of the ways I deal with it, but don’t ever believe  that old “fat and happy” nonsense. No one is happy about being fat.  I’m happy about a lot of things in my life, but fat is not one of them.

The good news is, I’m making just a little progress right now.  I’ve learned, over the years, not to talk about it if I’m making a serious effort to lose weight.  Seems as if I no sooner say it, than it comes to a screeching halt. So I’m really taking a chance here today, folks.

The thing is, my numbers were ALL too high on my last doctor visit a couple of months ago, including my A1C, which got me started on taking Metformin, Diabetes is a really nasty way to die. I don’t want to go there, and I don’t want to take pills, so I HAVE to get back on track with eating and exercise, and I am. For now.

Sigh.

 http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-stand-me/