Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Light winds and sunny - Walking in a winter wonderland!

What a difference a day makes
I never realized how much I needed my Vitamin D naturally until I moved to Texas.  After being here almost four years, I still marvel at sitting outside to eat on a January evening.  My expectations have come to be very high (and my tolerance very low) during the five months I classify as "potentially cold".

When we lived in Kansas City, it could snow on Halloween.  That was no TREAT!  If you have a 50-60 degree day in November through January, it is a gift.  Heck, by the time January comes, a 40 degree day could feel like a GIANT REPRIEVE.  By Ground Hog Day (February 2nd for those of you who don't have a list of holidays) - everyone is desperate for an indication of whether or not the ground hog will cooperate.  March can be a cruel mistress.  I have a March birthday and celebrations are remembered as "feast or famine".  Gorgeous days or bitter gray punishments.

And then came Austin.  When I arrived in March, it rained shortly after I arrived...and then not again until November.  Only twice that first year (of any measurable consequence).  And still I was impressed with how much green this city had on the shoulder months.  I was told to buckle in for the summer, yet I still sported a sweater when it pushed 90+ because (wait for it) it was a dry heat.

I did learn to dress differently (women don't wear hose down here) and appreciate the difference in how weather was described when reported.  It wasn't just a "southern accent" type of learning but the context of the words.  Let me give you an example:  I was getting ready for church one Sunday during the winter months.  I had the news on and they broke in with a weather report saying "Everyone get your hats and gloves out for the first polar air of the season...more to come".  I quickly tuned in to see what was going on - I mean I was going out and wanted to dress appropriately. Well, the high that day was only going to break 62 and there was going to be a breeze.  Ahhhhh, all in context.

Where I walk now
Fast forward four years.  If it only breaks 60 now, I am bundled in a jacket and complaining about the polar vortex that has come too far south.  What happened to global warming??  When we have record lows at nights....grief - I am talking about close to freezing at times, I am at the store stalking up with the entire city of Austin (and surrounding areas) wondering if this is the end.  Because if we have freezing rain and it ices up, we could be home-bound until noon!

But then two or three days pass and our winter "month" is over for awhile.  And I am back outside - living a life full of sunshine and happiness.  Or maybe it's because happiness just naturally follows sunshine, I can't be sure.   My legs ache from my 12,000+ steps per day (you know I count 'em) and I imagine a healthy rose glow on my skin.

This might last until spring (or at least until Friday).  I love Texas!

Until next time,

your pal,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

This is out of order - there is no coincidence #55

Most women and some men too, have a "thing" about their hair.  I will generalize here but for those of us who have curly hair, we wish it were straight.  Women with straight hair, wish it were curly.  Brunettes are certain blonds have more fun and some people say they would rather be "dead than red on the head".  My point is, a lot of attention is paid to our hair.

He ain't heavy, he's my brother 
I have never been one to make a "statement" with my hair.  I never colored it any crazy color just because I could.  I think the most radical thing I ever did was squeeze lemon juice on it during the summer to see if it could bring out any of my naturally lighter highlights.  I have always been a brunette with curly hair that wished I could have raven hair like snow white, preferably straight.  With all that being said, I did not want that color to come out of a bottle.  I was fearful of the botched job that could result and let's face it, coming from where I was at, it certainly wouldn't look natural.  As I have matured (faced gray) I have embraced highlighting and low light techniques seasonally with no objection.

Irish twins
My brother loved to make a statement with his hair.  Nothing radical, he was more passive/aggressive.  He would not shave his head or come out of the salon wearing a mohawk, nor would he dye his hair extreme colors.  What he would do was start missing appointments.  The first one or two, one might think he was busy, but by the third one, I would ask "so, Bubba, what's going on with your hair?"  And because I was his person (reference Grey's Anatomy) he would tell me what he was mad about.  And generally, he was pissed off at someone specific who hated long hair.  He would vent and I would listen, because we each had our role.  The length of his hair would be dependent upon the depth of his anger.  Again, to the outside world, one would assume his hair choice was his style.  To others, they might think he was going through a "phase".  To me, I knew exactly what "phase" he was in.  And quite frankly, if he wanted to manage his displeasure in this fashion, it was harmless....and it was his hair.  His secrets remained safe with me.

When my brother died, everything was out of order.  All of us lost our way and were left to figure out our new roles.  There was no warning and for someone who likes order, it was very confusing.  But in this case, there was nothing to be done, no waiting things out, no changing things up.  It was simply time to face the new day and get on as best we could.  We helped each other up as best we could and said and did all the "right" things, but it wasn't enough.

So I quit cutting my hair.  And now I could make a statement.  It was an ongoing protest that I waged war with every day.  Of course, it was my own silent war. and it didn't change anything, but for someone who always needs to do something, it was enough.

Until the day came when I realized I would never be able to cut my hair....because it would never be enough.  Now I had to reconcile that.  My brother always reached a point when it would be enough.  He reached resolution, he pissed someone off long enough (that could be my brother), but I was never going to be happy with this outcome.  And now my hair was weighing heavy on me, much like my grief.

Return to curl
Giving back - locks of love
I can't give anything directly to my brother anymore - but I can do things for him.  Yesterday I let go of my silent war and gave back - donating my hair in my brother's memory to locks of love.  This 55th blog, published out of order is in honor and memory of my beloved brother on his birthday, January 25, 2015.  He was pulled out of the procession to leave our world to go home when he was 55.  #no coincidence.

Until next time,

your favorite sister,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Is there a list for that?

Before I go shopping, I generally try to make a list of what I need to buy.  Don't get me wrong, I am by no means bound by this list.  There are some weeks that I find more in the cart that wasn't on the list, then was on.  My DIL Lisa has husband Mike do the shopping.  I often wonder how I would fare reversing this role.  Grocery shopping is a whole experience for me.  There are only certain times I like to go, I always park in the same general area; I enter the store from the same doors every time so I can "work" the store from left to right.  There is truly a method to my madness.  Even with my OCD, I don't feel compelled to go down every row (although I do reserve that right).  How would I know if my husband did it right, if I sent him.  And don't get me started on my preferred brands.

After some thought, I made a list of all the things I keep lists on and it is not just going grocery shopping.  I love lists.  One might say they are a main stay of my existence.  There are my daily lists, weekly lists, monthly lists, seasonal lists and lists for such thought provoking exercises as these.

My calendar (which I live by) is really just a glorified list of what I need to do on a high level basis every day.  Then once I get to work, I might jot down a few items I would like to accomplish.  But wait, don't those items need to be prioritized.  That would be a special priority list (if one is called for).  I just noticed next to my phone is my list of frequently called numbers.  On that list (which at one time was neatly typed) there are pencil scrawls of late entries ...or just doodles while I was on the phone.

I also print out my weekly calendar which is a BIG list of my week at a glance.  In respect for the trees, I tend to just pencil in additions (until the doodling gets too bad).  Out of the corner of my eye, I just saw my birthday list for the year, hanging on the edge of my computer.  Not to be confused with my monthly birthday list that I keep at home.

I love seasonal lists - that would include my Christmas card lists, my Christmas gifts bought list, my Christmas gifts yet to be bought list and who they are intended for  (a most coveted list to be on for sure!)

Did I mention my wish list?  I keep that on my Amazon kindle because I don't want to take a chance on forgetting all the books I want to read.  Now, that is kept separate from the 2015 book to movie list I track along with the nieces and sister (Daves family).  This is year two for that commitment and I have to tell you there is strategy involved.

I wish right now that I had an index of all my lists but I will have to add that to my list of things to create so I will be better organized if and when we discuss this again.

Until next time,

and fun paper!

your pal,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I want a do-over

I have been working on a new knitting project, and because I am a bit of a perfectionist, I want what I am working on to look "just right".  Notice, I am not saying perfect, I have given up on that.  But I do have standards.  I will be knitting along and do a look-back and realize, about six rows back, I made an error,  This error is GLARINGLY apparent to me.  Now, I don't know if an inexperienced knitter could pick it out, but I can.

When I first started knitting, I didn't even recognize the error.  I was just happy to be knitting.  But as I became more adept at my craft, and more daring in my stitchery, it became apparent to me when something new I was trying, wasn't working out.  That is when I began "ripping things out",  This isn't so difficult if you have only cast on 16 to 20 stitches, but some of these projects end up with well over 100 stitches on the needles and it's not only painstakingly slow to back track over all the correct work to get to the "error of your ways", it is fraught with danger.

Many times I have made a mess of things and created more mistakes by going backwards then I would have by just letting the "sleeping dog lie" (as it was).   These fancy stitches I am teaching myself aren't as easily "undone".

So of course it reminds me of life.  And the times when I have been too naive to realize I have even made a mistake.  I just merrily went on my way.  Looking back I am embarrassed by some of the chaos I have left in my path (my only consolation was - I was an IDIOT).

Then there are those mistakes that I chose not to correct.  Did I look back at the time and think "let me sleep on that" or did I just forge ahead?  And what about the mistakes I went back and tried to correct?  Was everybody worse for the wear or did the "do-over" save us in the end?

I used to tell people that once you knew of something (generally something wrong) it was yours to own.  Whatever happened after you owed that knowledge - you became a "person of interest", someone who had liability in the outcome.

Now, we all make mistakes.  Most of them we can live with.  Some of them we lose sleep over.  And some of them we think about often, especially if we can still make them right.

Like the damn cowl I am knitting.

Until next time.

your pal,


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Things don't happen unless you count them.

Most of us have been asked the question, "if a tree falls in the forest, and there's nobody around to hear, does it still make a sound?"  Of course, technically, sound consists of waves that may or may not be heard,  But the point is, if we don't hear it fall, we don't really know if it fell or if it made a sound when it came down.  We just see a tree on the ground.

So, lately there has been a lot of reports talking about all the earthquakes in Texas.  Specifically in the past day or two in Irving, which is in the Dallas area.  Now, one of the earthquakes measured around 3.5 on the Richter scale, which is a respectable shake up on a good day.  I have talked to a few people who felt the earth move under their feet (but the sky did NOT tumble down).  For the most part, however, most of the other earthquakes have been significantly less.  In fact, if we didn't have a measure in place, we wouldn't even be able to tell that they were happening.

Which begs the question - at least to me....have these earthquakes been happening all along?  Before we put tools out there to record and measure, how would we know?  We can't feel them; they cause no damage; but now that there have been studies in the area that left behind means to measure - waaaalaaaaa - earthquake frequencies have increased.  Or have they?

I am not a seismologist but I like to count.  And now we have something to count.  Kind of like the trees in the forest.  Or successes/failures; good days/bad days; weight loss/gain; favors/debts.  The list could go on and on because for every side of the coin, once you  have experience the high (and you count it) you become acutely awareness of the opposite effect (which you also count).  Earthquakes/no earthquakes.....Trees up/trees down ...  with sound/without!

We live in a world that is hyper-sensitive to all things.  As parents, how many times have we bought presents for our children in equal number - not to ensure equity but the "appearance" of equity.   Because we know the tree would make a sound when it came down on that one!  

Freedom of speech has become measured as we weigh our words for fear of being misunderstood. Innocent mistakes are blown out of context in our haste to correct our stumbling speech.  Opinions can no longer be shared for fear of condemnation.   Sound waves crashing all around.

I don't know everything but I know some things....too much attention is paid to things out of our control.  Perhaps the waves we should be measuring are the ones we are sending out around us?

Until next time,

your pal,

Look past the water stains

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