Monday, July 18, 2016

ruby ring

When I was a young girl I loved jewelry. Rings in particular. I collected them. I'm sure I had conversations with my grandmother and aunt and one wonderful day my Aunt Teresa gave me a very special gift. A ruby ring. I don't specifically remember its origin, but I do know it was special to her.  When I received it I knew I better take good care of it.  

Although I was a very responsible kid, I was still immature at around ten years of age. 

I lost it. 

I didn't even remember losing it. I just knew I didn't know where it was.

Years went by. Quite a few years.

I grew up in Northwest New Jersey on almost an acre of land that was surrounded by woods, so it seemed as though all this land, woods and hills, was ours to personally explore. My dad loved the property and dug up gardens and planted trees and pursued other construction projects over the years. We also had a septic tank that needed attention from time to time... and an above-ground pool.

Years later, one day when dad was out digging, he came into the house with a discovery. I still vividly remember him showing me a ring that was caked with dirt. He asked me if it meant anything to me and if I'd seen it before.

I was overjoyed! Yes it was very familiar and was the ring I lost years before!

I still have this ring today. Decades later.

A special heirloom.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

how to change a lightbulb

DIY projects aren't all they're cracked up to be. I mean how hard could it be (and what could go wrong?) to change a lightbulb using one of those bulb changing kits with "bonus attachments"? Oh, let me count the ways!

Go to Lowes. Buy Bulb Changing Kit because lightbulb outside my front door is way, way, super-duper high above me and my highest ladder. Buy new bulb.
Go home and see wasps flying around near the outlet. Use attachment and said Kit to unscrew burned out bulb with much effort and saying a few words I can never take back. Look at bulb and see immediately I bought the wrong replacement. 
Return to Lowes to exchange.
Back home again and attempt to screw in correct size using said attachment. Once bulb gets screwed in the attachment cannot be pulled off unless the whole light unit comes with it.. which it did… thus bringing down years of debris, dirt, mud dauber nests, dead bugs and who knows what else onto my sweaty body. 
Finally unscrew bulb again and decide to use a different attachment, the suction type, thinking I’m so smart and now it will be a piece of cake.
Screw in bulb again while on a ladder with bulb changing kit suction attachment and cannot get the suction attachment to let go of bulb once it’s in the proper place.
Finally, miraculously, it detaches, but bulb does not go on with brilliant light as I had anticipated.
I get the bright idea that maybe if I flick the switch OFF then ON again it will reset somehow… IT DID!!!! 
I have success!
Last but not least I spray up there to get rid of the wasps and of course some of the dangerous chemicals come spraying down on my dirty sweaty body.
I quickly take a shower… and now I’m drinking my afternoon coffee!
End of story! Oh except next time, I'll think of hiring a handyman.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

thoughts for today

I love words. Specifically the written word when it describes something so precisely. Enough so that it reaches deep inside to your heart and soul.  I wonder if there is a word for that.... when the description is so beautiful and perfect. Poignant is close.

This one did it for me today. Yes, I will always miss you Edd..... Has it really been four years since you went away? You were so easy to love.... 

This next photo made me feel as though my own mom was speaking to me. I think she would want me to be happy and love life... to be brave and not worry... something she always tried to help me with her entire life. It's hard to be without her physical presence, but her words and spirt still speak to me every day. 

Those we spend time with matter SO much. They either add positive reinforcements in this life or make life more difficult... Oh, how thankful I am for those bright lights in my life... and I hope I can be the same for others.

Even so the heart misses what it has loved deeply... and sometimes mine feels so empty... and yearning....

But I am so grateful for all I have learned, all I have, and the life that is mine!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

this year's garden

I've made some progress since the very first time I tried to grow tomatoes in my back yard here in Texas. That first endeavor was about seven years ago, and I concluded that it was just too hot to grow anything here and I gave up for a few years.

But I was wrong.

It took a while but I'm learning that things CAN grow. Or I should say I can grow something! Each year gets a little better. Of course one might have challenges due to lack of rain, or wrong soil, or squirrels, or bugs, or any number of other things, but I'm thankful that this year I'm having some success! The squirrels have been preoccupied with the safflower seed I put out for the birds which my knowledgeable neighbor told me squirrels do not like. Well they apparently like them here. Also I've been told squirrels do not eat seed that has been sprinkled with cayenne pepper! Hahaha! That's a good one too! These are Texas squirrels (y'all) and hot stuff doesn't seem to deter them! In fact they just might prefer it!

Norman is usually on high alert during the day and has great fun (I think) chasing the squirrels up into the trees and away from the bird seed. I thought I'd save him some trouble by putting an old plastic owl lawn ornament near the bird feeder thinking the squirrels would be afraid of it. Hmmm. That didn't quite do the trick because the birds stayed away too!.... Also I caught Norman staring at it outside with his fur standing on end, trying to see if it was a threat! Mind you, that old owl has been in a different part of the yard since I moved here almost eight years ago!  

There is always something amusing going on it seems!

But it's definitely worth the trouble to try to grow some fresh food of your very own.  I just "dabble" in gardening but it's fun. The abundance of rain we've had this spring has certainly helped too and this year I have lots of herbs... cilantro, dill, parsley, basil, thyme.... lettuce, yellow peppers, tomatoes.....   Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't but seeing lots of tomatoes, or whatever you've planted,  ripening .....and finding new ones ready to pick almost every day is a bit of a thrill I doubt I'll get over any time soon!

Flowers are super fun to grow in my backyard too... and I've had beautiful annuals and Texas wildflowers this year that grew from seed I sprinkled a couple years ago!

My flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds ... and the bird bath provides birds a drink ... and the squirrels?... well, I guess we'll have to learn how to co-exist... somehow.

Friday, April 15, 2016


This thought has gone around and around in my head today. The voice is getting louder.

"I am making the decision to not be afraid anymore."

Fear. Anxiety. The "what ifs". The things out of my control. Worrying about this one and that one. How can I help? What should I do? Do I speak? Do I keep quiet? How can I keep bad things from happening? How can I meet others' expectations?

It's true I can be sensitive and easily hurt. We all vary though in how we absorb a blow. Some people do not like to bleed out in the open or display their wounds. And the last quite-a-few years have taken more from me than I was originally aware of. I've been lost and trying to find my way home.

Living alone as I have for the last four years has taken its toll as well. I've always had someone by my side. I've been a follower to a large extent. I've had no one to follow.

But I choose to not be afraid anymore.

I have been off center by assuming responsibility for the wrongs and sufferings I see around me. I allow myself to feel like the cause of all that is not right with the world. Which is silly and probably ego-centered because it assumes that I have control over events that are truly beyond my control.

I'm not certain where this new freedom is coming from. I have some ideas but hoping I don't slip back into unhealthy patterns because I'm working at changing my lifestyle.

I'm getting glimpses of home again. And it really feels good.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

worry etc.

I remember many years ago when we began dating I was telling Edd about some of my irrational fears. We were talking over the phone and I was revealing my insecurity and being as honest as I knew how to be.  In his wonderful way he smoothly replied, "We are going to have to put that imagination of yours to better use." 

I still think of that conversation and smile. 

Worry is such a waste of time isn't it?

Even though I know that to be true I still struggle with it. I have a little bit of generalized anxiety disorder and I know it. I actually think I have had it most of my life but a strong faith has kept it in check. But after caring for Edd and losing him and then losing my mom shortly thereafter, among other stressful family situations, my symptoms got a little worse. Not bad enough to have to be on any medication, but enough that I have to be proactive and recognize the symptoms and DO something about them. And there is so much we can do. I found the following on a GAD site that had lots of useful information. 

The best methods for self-soothing incorporate one or more of the physical senses: vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch, or movement: 

Sight – Look at anything that relaxes you or makes you smile: a beautiful view, family photos, cat pictures on the Internet.

Sound – Listen to soothing music or sing a favorite tune. Or enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature (either live or recorded): ocean waves, wind through the trees, birds singing.

Smell – Light scented candles. Smell the flowers in a garden. Breathe in the clean, fresh air. Spritz on your favorite perfume.

Taste – Slowly eat a favorite treat, savoring each bite. Sip a hot cup of coffee or herbal tea. Chew on a stick of gum. Enjoy a mint or your favorite hard candy.

Touch – Give yourself a hand or neck massage. Cuddle with a pet. Wrap yourself in a soft blanket. Sit outside in the cool breeze. 

Movement – Go for a walk, dance around, jump up and down, or gently stretch.
Alcohol may ease the symptoms for a short time but it actually makes them worse as it wears off. Eating healthy and getting exercise makes all the difference in the world!

When we have a challenge or struggle in life it can be used to bring out our strengths or make us work a little harder. I refuse to let my challenges limit me, but I find it good that I can concentrate on a healthy lifestyle because of them.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

thoughts for today

This was a bit convicting to me today.... I love words.. and quotes... and inspiring thoughts. I fall short so often though. I have good intentions, but don't always act. I pray I'll be true to my words.

I am finding myself silent more and more. Often I feel my words will fall flat and not have an impact. Should I speak anyway? Not if it's not kind or true, but knowing if it's necessary is harder understand.

We all have hurts in our lives... hurtful things said or done or not done.... that were probably directed at us by people who were hurting themselves. 
We may never get an "I'm sorry".... but we need to let it go....

Do what you can. Some days it may just be giving a smile to someone who doesn't have one of their own. Really SEEING someone. Sometimes my expectations for solving a problem are way too high. We can't solve all the world's problems and it hurts to see the suffering near and far, but do what you can, when you can, and do it over and over again...