She shoots! She scores? Had a fun time missing it.

Almost at the end of August and it’s a beautiful day.  A bit of a cool breeze while the sun shines above.  Summer is almost over.  Kids are getting ready to go back to school.  Kids.  I am sure that summer is never long enough for them.  We adults like to say that we remember what it was like being a kid, but the actual playtime, gaytime, fun feeling, is a distant memory.   The stories are there, but the actual excitement we felt playing the games are not as apparent.  So, when I saw an empty playground with one child, one basketball, and a very high basketball net, I couldn’t help doddle at the stop sign to see what would happen.

Playgrounds have come a long way from the equipment we used to play on.  Everything nowadays seems to be tamed to the point that I’m surprised safety harnesses aren’t in use for each jungle gym.  The components from slide to monkey bars have your basic menage a trois…red, yellow, blue, happy colour scheme.  Our slides used to be made of nice steel.  So shiny and slippery, until the sweltering heat of summer.  Then, you either lay down to burn your back and slide down quickly, or your calves and thighs left skin behind as you melted your way down the burning hot slide.  WHAT FUN!  And it sure was!

Swings.  To be able to fly like a bird was incredible!  Learning how to use your legs in that back and forth motion to propel yourself was a talent.  Then you would get daring and lean your head back and hope that you wouldn’t behead yourself.  Or how about the “jump off the swing in midair” trick?  Yeah there were a few miscalculations and you would land flat on your back.  Some broke ankles.  Meh.  It was all in a day’s play.

Now the tire swing.  There was a dizzying experience.  Truly.  Four youths, hanging onto rusted chains, sitting on a rubber truck tire.  Now, does the pusher of the tire swing it straight? Heck no!  You grab that tire and you start running in a circle. Then as you are about to spin out from dizziness, you grab that chain and spin your best friends around and hope someone barfs.  Oh yeah!  Goal accomplished!  If no one vomited, then you had the pleasure of watching them get off the swing and fall down cause they couldn’t walk straight.  Glory days!

Of the painful child apparatuses, I would declare that the see-saw was the most butt fatal.  True?  Yes.  I believe the term “see-saw” came from a child exclaiming the following:

Mom:  Jr., where is your brother?

Jr:  First I see him on the wooden lever.

Mom:  See?

Jr:  Yeah, then I saw he were gone.

Yup, something like that.  You see them go up then you saw them fall on their behinds as the best and unfairest part was that someone would always rather jump off and watch you flop down on your derriere.  It wasn’t about going up and down.  It was about who would torture who first.

The good ol’ days. So much fun.  It was all about having laughs…ahem…the last laugh.

But, I digress.  Truly, more than usual this time.

Back to my pretty girl in the park.  Crouching ball player, wishing tiger.  Wishing that she would jump up high enough with the ball and slam dunk it in the net.  Crouch low, ball set in palm of left hand and clutching with right hand, spring up, MISS!   I noticed that she was by herself. Perhaps if a parent had been around there  might have been tears of woe.  Since there were no witnesses, she seemed content to pick up her ball and try again.  Crouch, hold ball, lay up, jump.  Miss again.

Sadly, I had to leave my stop sign and continue driving before a cacophony of horns could sound off.  I smiled.  I was proud of that little girl.  I was happy for her.  It also made me think.  Was she playing or practicing?  Was someone hoping she would be the next great basketball player?  Was she going to try out for the basketball team at school?  Was she trying to outplay a sibling or friend?  Was she just having fun and trying to see if she could get the ball in the basket?  So many questions and no answers.

Driving away I smiled.  First, I loved seeing a child playing outside.  With video games and tv shows and DVDs many children don’t see the outdoors.  Second, I loved her tenacity.  I loved her precarious approach to getting the correct stance in order get the perfect shot.  Then, watching in slo mo as the ball went up…straight up…no curve to actually get it up and over.  Ball in air.  Ball drops.  No biggie. She crouched right back down and picked it up again.

Still smiling, I thought about how, yet again, a child had taught me an important life lesson.  The basket was the goal.  You crouch, get ready, get set…miss.  It happens often in life.  High school.  Bad marks in a class.  Fail..  You could go for your driver’s license.  Fail.  You could get married and have it not work out.  Fail.  You could apply for a job and not get it.  Fail.  You could sit at home and do nothing, ensuring that you never fail at anything.  That too is a fail.

Life is about trying things.  Life is about exploring.  Life is about failing.  Through so-called failure, you win.  Failure is about learning.  At first it might not work out, but that failure taught you something very important.  It was a guideline.  It was a message to you.  Many great inventions were created by oopses.  I admire that kind of failure.

Nowadays, I don’t worry about failure.  My life is about what I haven’t failed at.  There were many wishes and dreams I gave up on because I was worried someone would laugh at me or criticize me.  Now, not trying new things is my new definition of failure.

So, if you see pictures of my fantastic artwork (sale of canvas and paint at art shop).  If you see pictures of lopsided casseroles or flat birthday cakes, enjoy them with me.

She shoots, she…could’ve scored…but she had a fun time missing it.

 

 

 

Pork and Beans and the Prized Nugget

Schools of thought.  I myself have been on both sides of the fence depending on my age and/or necessity to explain or justify what I’m doing.  Sometimes my own thoughts just don’t seem as intelligent or convincing enough so why not borrow from the tried and true?

Too many chefs spoil the broth OR many hands make light work

Absence makes the heart grow fonder OR out of sight, out of mind

The pen is mightier than the sword OR actions speak louder than words

I could go on, but you get the idea.  What got me pondering and processing proverbs?   This weekend was one that I had been happily anticipating for a few days.  Social calendar full, beautiful weather, and Wiseguy not working.  Trifecta! Perfection!  Or so we thought.

Earlier in the week I had learned that a lovely lady had passed away.  She was only 51.   (Yes, for you youngins in your 20s that’s old, but we middle agers find that to be baby status to old age).  It came suddenly and unexpectedly in the form of a heart attack.  After some tears and hugs and grieving at the funeral home I again began to look forward to my happy weekend plans and enjoy life again.   Three days later another life jolt.  Another beautiful,  young woman in her 50s had passed away.  A kind and happy person who enjoyed life and made others feel happy, comfortable when you were around her.  The question you can’t help but ask is why?

When the week was done, I looked in my rearview mirror of wisdom to try and decipher what it all meant.  Death is shocking.  There’s anger and guilt and fear and mostly denial.  Death is so final.  Death is also illuminating.  My thoughts and beliefs on death have changed many times over the years.  Maybe that’s where the wisdom kicks in, or maybe, I find more comfort in disbelieving what I had learned before.  If this was your last day on earth how would you feel and what would you do?

What about life itself?  Is there a purpose?  Is there a meaning to our lives?  We wonder how we really fit in.  We promise to take time for ourselves.  We see family at funerals and PROMISE to call and visit because the mortality punching bag hit us hard.  And then, we go back to “life“.  Work.  Pay bills.  Buy necessities.  Maybe a few days vacation.  Is that life?

As I age (gracefully, of course) I look more at children and their approach to life.  Take a 3 year old and watch them get upset when they don’t get what they want.  Tears.  Tantrums. They know.        They deserve more.  Why do we adults accept that we can’t have better?

Each person derives a message upon hearing about the death of a loved one.  Each person goes through the stages of denial and guilt and anger to final acceptance.  It’s an emotional journey that can either leave you emotionally drained and looking consistently at the sadness and unfairness in life or it will lead you to finding a new sign or life message leading you to a happier more fulfilled life.  Which side of the proverb are you on?

I am trying to find positivity in the negative.  I believe that this is a sign to live life to the fullest.  When asking why people have to die and leave us, I remind myself that we don’t know how long we have here on earth and that we do need to take time to have fun.  We assume that we will wake up the next day. I am starting to rethink my life.  I am in the baby stages of redefining the living of my life by actually making myself follow my dreams to their realization.  No more giving up for fear of failure.  I will be grateful for that first deep breath in the morning because I know I am alive and my surrounding world is full of adventures that I need to explore.  I will let myself float in the pool of happiness around me.  I will love myself and share that love with others.  I will live and love and know that when my time comes I will be grateful for this thing called “life”.

Pork and Beans.  (Stay with me here, all will be explained.)  I think it is the simplest explanation to my conundrum.  Have you ever had a can of pork and beans? I remember reading the label and thinking there would be numerous chunks of bacon with the beans.  Can opened and contents extracted.  Hmmmm, one little wee piece of bacon and MILLIONS of beans.  This can of beans was like our weekend (told you I’d explain it).  Our disheveled weekend plans became a blessing in disguise.  You will have many experiences in life that all seem the same and monotonous, like the beans and one prized “nugget” of pork experience.   That one nugget, that one day, when everyone’s life coincides in togetherness and love is as large as the full moon.  It’s magical.  Wiseguy and I did get to spend time with people we love.  We did to get to appreciate and feel good about life with the people who are still with us.

Moral:  There will be sad times in your life.  Cry, be sad, hurt, grieve.  It’s a process.  Then move on.  Change your way of life.  Stop living with the simple monotonous beans of life.  Go searching and experiencing numerous and exciting prized pork nuggets. (My analogies, you must agree, are not conventional but then, neither am I.)

For those who have lost loved ones, I understand, I feel your loss, and can only give momma hugs. Words cannot heal what you have lost, but the good memories to follow will.  XOXOXO

 

 

 

 

 

How to Save a Drowning Orchid

I have never been very good with flowers. I even managed to kill a harmless, small “cannot kill” Ikea, cactus.  That takes quite a special kind of Killer talent. After ridding my house of any beautiful, living blossom, I actually felt relieved. I knew that there would be no little white bugs flitting about my house. No fear of anything being knocked over. No need to wonder if I had watered (or drowned) any plants. And surprisingly, my family did not die from lack of flora breath in the air. All was well.

Fastforward 10 years.  We had just completed a much dreamed about kitchen renovation.  Being an avid fan of makeover shows, I realized there was always a stunning arrangement of fresh flowers to accent and complete the transformation.   After years of plant freedom I decided that I was older and wiser and would somehow miraculously inherit Mother Nature’s whimsical and illustrious talents.  Whilst grocery shopping one day, I saw a magnificent white orchid that asked, nay, demanded: “TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER.”   Nope.  Overdramatizing (a little).  It looked really bright and happy and cheerful and appeared to say (if flowers could speak) “I’m yours.  Take me home”.  I was happy.  My new flowerage (?) was happy.  My newfound blossoms would reign over my new regal domain.

My orchid was astounding! I was amazed at the elegance and beauty of each petal and how it seemed to lord over my new dream room. What started as five blooms became six blooms and then seven and then eight. Amazing too, that the Curse of the Serial Plant Killer did not strike. For weeks I ensured that I followed the instructions: just a little warm water daily. I did well. Always just enough. And it always stood there beautiful and proud.

One day, while rushing about, I realized that my majestic orchid looked…well…droopy. When was the last time I had watered it? Two days? Three days?  How did I forget to add that ounce of warm water?  To compensate for my lack of care, I dispensed a whole waterfall of life giving liquid. That would do the trick. That decision was the beginning of the end. What was once beautiful, elegant, sturdy flowers became serial floral demise.  Whole blossoms began dropping. One at first, then two at a time. It was over. Serial Plant Killer struck again. Egad! “Waaaahhhhhh!!” I screamed out to the sky: “HOW DO YOU SAVE A DROWNING ORCHID?!” That death sentence actually made me suddenly ponder the similarities between plant life and human life.

How do you save a drowning orchid? How do you save a person that is drowning in fear or unhappiness and is having kneejerk reactions to life? How do you get them to search for that lifeline that will drag them out of their drowning fear or anger or hurt or regret that they feel? Oftentimes we forget about those around us and when we finally remember them we give a “quick fix” through gifts of sorts and then move on believing everything will be fine.

Love, like water, needs to be given daily. It doesn’t need to come showering down like a big party then leave you feeling hung over and alone for days after that. A nice, kind, gentle, daily dose is what keeps true love on the right path.

True love is about friendship, kindness, and understanding. It is always there, like a slow trickle of water that will never leave you feeling dried out or thirsting for love from others.

My dear orchid, I am sorry that I let you down as I now know that I let myself down. Tough lesson, but a lesson well learned. I need to take time to love myself. Don’t love myself only on some days and not others. I am always worthy of love and by loving myself and not expecting it from others, I will never thirst for it or hope that I am worthy to receive it. My water trough of love will always be full. And by having great love for myself, my love for others will be stronger and the love I receive will be even more appreciated.

Rest in peace, my dear orchid. Lesson learned.