coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pics from a Bike Ride

T and I went for a long bike ride yesterday morning along the right side of Lake Apopka.  I have a new zoom lens for my camera and wanted to try it out.  Lots of fun.

I think these are cormorants? Correct me if I am wrong.

A cute racoon way up in a tree. I would have missed him if not for T's eagle eye

Red Shouldered Hawk

The same hawk

Blue Heron pretending it doesn't see me

Interesting "stuff" left over from when this part of the lake was a farm

An Anhinga on more of that interesting "stuff." I love seeing Nature take back her own

A noble predator, per comment below it is an osprey

Big old alligator, happily snoozing all covered with duckweed

Friday, December 23, 2016

I'm with the band

There were years when a big part of my life revolved around being the wife of a band member. Okay, it would have been cooler to be the girlfriend, but whattayagonnado? I loved seeing him perform on stage. It was always a good time and I got to dance like a maniac. This lasted for about 10 years, through a couple of different bands and musical genres. 

I was a wild child, as was my husband. I realize that is kind of shocking because I'm an older woman now. But don't kid yourself, older women have a past. Expand your mind to allow for it!

Because we were born in 1951, we were considered teeny boppers during our hippie years, which for me started about 1968, for T a little earlier. We were usually some of the youngest hangers-on in that scene.

I loved British punk music, especially The Clash; however, by 1977 we were a little too old for punk. At 26 years-old, NYC style New Wave fit us best.

I wrote about that period of our lives in a post last year. One area band he was in (not going to say the name because it is a little vulgar) opened for Talking Heads when TH was an up and coming band still playing in clubs. I have a great picture of T and Tina Weymouth talking backstage that night. They both played bass in their bands.

I loved seeing a woman like Tina Weymouth playing in a band. She wasn't trying to be sexy, wasn't the lead singer, and didn't try to draw attention to herself. She was just trying to be an authentic musician, and she had a great sound. I wish there had been more women in rock and roll like her. Mothers, please let your daughters grow up to be bass players.

T and Tina 1977, Ithaca, New York

These are my random Christmas Eve thoughts for 2016. In the words of the repairman who came to our house yesterday, "Merry Christmas or whatever you celebrate."  Cheers.

Monday, December 19, 2016

My Mother's Christmas Tree

When I was young we did not put our tree up until 3 days before Christmas. My parents were quite strict about that. My mother said that when she was a child the tree always went up on Christmas Eve after the children went to bed. They woke up thinking Santa had brought it. As an adult she must have felt quite modern putting it up so far in advance...  

The tree was my mother’s pride and joy. She decorated it herself, no children allowed.
Great care was taken to get a tree with the perfect shape and density. They were always beautiful, real works of art. Mom liked to spray the tree with canned "snow" so it looked like it was frosted. It must have been a 1950's thing? No one does that anymore, do they? For a couple of years she covered the tree with "Angel Hair", a fibrous fiberglass material she painstakingly spread over the entire tree, making a spider web effect as it encased the large colored lights. I distinctly remember the fibers got into our clothing and became an itchy mess on our backs. Ouch. It is probably against the law now.

The most amazing part of Mom's tree was the tree topper. It was spun glass featuring a paper angel with foil wings who seemed to be floating in a cloud. I was searching for a new tree topper this year and came across an antique one online just exactly like my Mom's. I didn't buy it; however, I have a picture of it.

When I was a child I thought this was the most beautiful thing on the tree


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Some flounder, but this isn't fan mail.

Here are some end of the year musings if you can stand me yammering on:

We all know that kind of person, the one who means well but falls short. No doubt we all ARE that kind of person, imperfect and floundering as we are. I thought more highly of myself before I retired. Now I have time to think, remember, and analyze my actions in depth. There are many things I regret having said or done. Some things I did because I fell short of kindness. Other things I did because I just did not realize, did not consider, how my actions would affect another. Sometimes I was just plain foolish.

I can forgive myself for those things fairly easily because I know I was not trying to be mean. I am imperfect. I will try harder.
I just wish I could apologize to the zillions of people who suffered because of my imperfection. Interestingly, as I begin to forgive myself for being less than perfect, I find I can begin the process of forgiving others who fell short with me. Except for the occasional psychopath, we all live and learn.

Still, the ego-driven transgressions are the worst, and the hardest for me to come to terms with. How could I have been so self-centered? All these years I thought I was trying to be good. Instead, I look back and realize all too often I was trying to make myself "look" good. There are casual things I have said or done because I thought I was better, smarter, or was just trying to dominate the conversation with me, me, me.

I am NOT referring to blog posts, by the way.  Blogging is the absolute right forum for talking about oneself. It is a place for self-exploration, expression, humor, sharing, and grief. I'm good with my blog being about me. My real-life actions are what I feel a bit oppressed by.

A twisted tree still grows, just not straight

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Glitz

The tree is decorated. T put up the outside lights. No tasteful white here! We go full-on gaudy in this house, dontcha know. Not that I dislike white. I quite like other people's all-white lights. I find the all-white shtick soothing and calm, as well as exquisitely beautiful. However, Christmas decorating is personal. It is folk art, so I gotta be me. I have always wished I was a soothing and calm sort of person, but I'm not. I'm shooting for the overstimulated, bouncing off the walls, bacchanal effect. I am happy to report that colored lights and sparkly glitz have made a positive difference in my attitude. I am now feverishly in frenzy mode.

I made my mother's fruitcake. I went ahead and added those red candied cherries I was insufferable about avoiding in previous years. Bring 'em on!

I live in constant fear of chocolate fudge. Homemade fudge is my nemesis. One piece on Christmas Eve and I'm off and running, eating everything in sight until Saint Patrick's Day. Oh gee, now that I've thought about fudge I just know I will end up making some.

I mailed out all my Christmas cards; however, I mailed most of them without putting our return address on the top left. Sheesh. This is what happens when an old lady in complete frenzy mode tries to do more than one thing at a time. Then I had to go on FB and post that I did that.  Why? Well, I didn't want anyone who got the card without the return address to think I didn't realize what I had done.

A postcard my friend Chilly Hollow sent in 1988.  On the back is the best fudge recipe ever.  Damn you Chilly!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our first Christmas tree

We were 16 when we found each other. We were not exclusive those first few years, times being what they were. In 1970, I was in San Francisco and he in Upstate New York. We kept in touch via love letters. I took LSD one night and came to realize that he was the one I was meant to be with. Sheesh, it is a little embarrassing to write these things, but this is our truth. We were part of a generation of magical thinkers. It is only by the grace of God or the luck of the universe that we managed to stay alive and reasonably sane. Some didn't make it.

On the Winter Solstice of 1970, I left San Francisco and returned to Northern Indiana specifically to be with T. His father had recently died. He hitchhiked back "home" from the commune he was living on in Upstate New York to spend time with his mother before moving on.

We started our life together "crashing" on the living room floor of a friend's apartment. We were your average crazy hippie kids with neither resources nor life skills. The first two Christmases we did not put up a tree. Like all our friends, we went to our parents' houses for Christmas in those glory days before responsibilities and real jobs caught up with us.

That third Christmas, in 1972, we had a nine month old baby, entry level jobs, and a scruffy apartment all our own. Some kindly, concerned relative gave us an old, artificial table-top tree and we decorated it with pipe cleaners and construction paper. It was glorious, our first Christmas tree. We put it on the card table we used as a kitchen/dining room table. The presents went underneath the table. Santa came to our house for the first time that year.

I fancied myself an artist so most of the decorations are ridiculously abstract

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Getting in the spirit

Yeah, it's December. I suppose it is time to get serious about this Christmas stuff. My immediate family is reasonably small, and for the most part I have stopped buying for nieces and nephews. T and I do not need anything, so I would skip the whole "present exchange with my spouse" thing if I could. However, he seems to want to continue and I want him to be happy. It is also fun to get presents.

When I was a young mother I lived for this holiday. I worked myself up into a Christmas frenzy for the entire month of December every single year. I burned with a bright eyed fever, lusting after the perfect present, the best deal, the cutest stocking stuffer. I would bake at least ten million cookies, decorate with abandon, and loved it all. I used to have trouble sleeping throughout December because of those damn sugarplums dancing in my head. I must have infected my daughter with the Christmas bug, because she is "that person" now instead of  me. 

I am not sure what or when it happened, but I am cured of that bug. Perhaps because it is December 4th as I write this and I am still wearing shorts and flipflops? I have a hard time believing the holiday is approaching. Or maybe it is because the world seems to be falling apart. Whatever. I need to get with the program here! Christmas is fun. I need some fun.

My daughter lives only 12 minutes away, and she is definitely in the spirit. Are the holiday senses dulled as one ages?  Does the capacity for joy diminish, or does it just mature?  Oh no, have I grown up? 

An old friend from Christmas 2007 to help me get in the holiday spirit