Back to school…

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It’s September and I’m pulled by the whisper “back to school, back to school.”

Most consider New Years Eve/Day the start of a new year. (I mean, it’s in the name.)  But for me, that’s just another party.  The REAL new year starts in September.

When I was young September meant fresh lined paper, big orange erasers, pencils and glue. Ooooo and that crayon box.  As I grew older it meant seeing my friends again, new clothes, spiral notebooks and pens. College life was packed with new adventures but still had the same rhythms.

As I transitioned from student to instructor many of my supplies were purchased by the University or college.  Yet there were always special items here or there purchased for the pure joy of a new year (I’m looking at you, multi-colored post-it notes).

I’m retired now. Education was my calling.  It was hard and exhausting, joyful and exhilarating in equal parts. While it was never EVER easy, I still felt lucky to be able to earn a living by doing something I loved. Early retirement was a choice I don’t regret. As much as I loved teaching, it was time for me to pass the baton to others with the passion to teach.

Still, it’s September and I hear the whisper “back to school.”

“I’m a kitty …”

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“E” is a kitty.  Proof, you ask?

  1. She recently had a kitty birthday party (turning 7).
  2. She loves cheese, can purr, crawl, and snuggle like a kitty.
  3. She gets along very well with other kitties.

If any of you still doubt, click this short clip with proof that “E” can joyfully be a kitty anywhere.

Two wolves fight…

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Two wolves fight

Within my heart

One is fear and hate

The other openness and acceptance

Which will win?

 

The one I feed.

 

(My wording is inspired by an author unknown.  There is still much debate online as to who originally told the story ranging from a tribe in Oklahoma in the 1950’s, a book by Billy Graham, or an Irish author.  To whomever first spun the wisdom, I give him or her credit and appreciation.)

 

What makes a community?

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My mother recently died and her memorial service was in Kansas.  I wrote about that in the post: Maxine Bowman

Soon after returning back to Oregon, a dear friend of mine died.  It was to be a relatively uneventful procedure which surprisingly turned into two horrible months in the hospital before she decided that her body had had enough.  I was honored to be a small part of the service celebrating her life. More than that, I was honored to be her friend.

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During the days and weeks before my friend died, many of us had a type of phone tree.  Any update would be sent through text, tweet, FB share, phone, or voice.  Those receiving messages would send them on to their friends and family. We requested prayers, chants, and good thoughts for the family and doctors.

Those who make fun of the “coldness” of social media – just aren’t doing it right. A pebble, dropped into a clear pond can make waves that reach a bank unknown.  That’s how I felt when texting out prayer or support requests.  Grandbabies drew hearts and gave extra hugs.  Twitter friends sent supportive messages that lifted my spirits.

So, a community can be old school (face to face) or a wish sent, in the blink of an eye, half way around the world.  I like that we can re-define community and I want to thank those who have given me such support.

Whatever you do….pick up the phone, text, send a card, tweet.  It’s not nothing.  It can really make someone’s day.

When my husband and I returned from the memorial service, there was a hand crafted card (pictured above) tucked in our mail box from my sister.  Sweet words of support were written inside.  A great model for us all. Reach out to your community, however you define it.

We heal together.

 

Whirled peas

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Whenever we order something, we often get the question, “Will there be anything else?”

My husband’s answer is almost always, “Yes, World Peace.”

This almost always catches cashiers by surprise, since they don’t know if they have heard him right.  So while I cover my face with my hands, my husband cheerfully repeats, “I’d like World Peace, please.”  The cashiers, while not amused, are usually patient.

Robert is a regular of “Joe Mocha” in Salem where he has used this “World Peace” response with the wait-staff enough times that he came home yesterday proudly displaying his coffee cup.

“Whirled Peas”

Made his day.

 

 

 

Laughter and Friends

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A dear friend, Lucy MacDonald, sent me this image today.  The artist’s name is Vince Pezzaniti who sells his work through Society6. (Check him out!)

I had written this long and boring post about my frustration with greedy insurance companies, media using scare tactics about people addicted to pain meds, red tape, waiting lines, and doctors trying to balance all the pressures when trying to coordinate pain management.

This poster made me laugh.  Nothing makes me lose my sense of humor faster than pain, so her timing was perfect.

I deleted my original long and boring post and leave you with this image.

Whatever is going on in your life, I hope this little goldfish makes you laugh.

I won the lottery!!

With all the hype about this most recent lottery, I’ve reflected on my personal winnings.  I’ve been lucky enough to watch my two step sons grow to be fine men, husbands, and dads.  I hit the jackpot when it comes to my daughter-in-laws…such fine women, wives, and moms.

Robert and I live in the same town as our four grandbabies and have the honor of seeming them often.

Recently with my Robert in a cast and my own tumble on ice, there have been a few tasks that we’ve not been able to do.  While I know our kids a super busy, I texted out a number of things we needed.  Instantly my phone was beeping with “consider it done” “no problem” and the like.

They were as good as their word and brought treats, changed light bulbs, stored boxes in the attic, took down outside lights, and basically did things that were too high or too heavy for me to do alone.

This morning my battery was dead.  The trickle charge that my step son and daughter-in-law helped set up for me the night before did not work (because the battery was beyond help).  So my daughter-in-law left work to jump the car and then follow me to the battery store.

Such blessings.  Instead of “making it rain” with money, they have showered us with such love, trust, support, and thoughtfulness that we feel we’ve hit it big!

 

 

Remembering a Special Halloween

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A Halloween I will always remember happened when I was new to my present home.  I did not know at the time that I had a neighbor down the street who graciously hosted a dozen or more of her students to her own neighborhood to experience ‘trick or treating.’

They were from the Oregon School for the Deaf, and I would guess 5-7 years old.  Many had never “trick or treated’ outside the protection of the dorms or classrooms.  This was high adventure.

Dressed as ghosts, goblins, princesses, and monsters, they approached the house laughing with hands flying.  They thought I’d be like every other house.  Hand over the candy and nod.  Though I had not expected them, I knew something they did not.

I stepped out on the porch and greeted them in American Sign Language.  “Happy Halloween.  Good to see you all.”

They froze as one and just stared.  It was like they were seeing some kind of strange animal in the wild. They didn’t race for the candy.  They lined up and each took a turn.  The first question is usually, “Are you deaf?”

“No I’m not deaf,” I explain.  “I’m hearing.  But I know sign language.”

Once the ice was broken they smiled and each presented themselves so I could make the appropriate responses to their costumes.  They were more eager for conversation than sweets.

“Oh my….you scare me!  Are you a pirate?”  “What a dress. I love the yellow and orange colors.  Are you a princess?”  “I can see your wings!  Do you do magic?”

I signed with each one until every costume was appropriately appreciated.  Then, they were off –laughing and signing —  to the next house.

I closed the door feeling that I had been on the right street, just at the right time.