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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Don't blame me

A couple of days ago I had a conversation with my ex-husband in the grocery store parking lot. He was going, I was coming. He had some interesting news to share with me. First he said he had been in the hospital for 10 days, with all sorts of things wrong with him, including pneumonia. Perhaps he should stop smoking? He also shared without emotion, "my kidneys finally gave out and I am on dialysis three times a week".

I also had no emotion hearing his news. He has probably been drinking and smoking since he was 10. Whatever is about to happen, I feel he did it himself. I was drug into his drama for 27 years until the day, 15 years ago, when I had reached my limit and said enough.

Looking back at our relationship I see that we lived in a circle. He drank, then I yelled and called him names, then he drank some more; using me as an excuse for his habit. For many years I think I took the blame, not having the courage to walk out and face life alone.

People don't realize how difficult it is to be married to an alcoholic who is still able to keep a job. On the outside everything looks good, but behind closed doors it is a totally different story. The children of the relationship are not able to understand how emotionally stressful the situation is to the spouse who doesn't drink. Their view is that of a child and they often grow up blaming the wrong parent.

It has taken years for me to realize that I was not to blame. I never once took a bottle or a glass and forced the contents down my husband's throat. He did that all by himself. Hopefully before the end he will take responsibility for his own actions and not blame me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flash back

Wow! This morning I saw a Facebook post from a friend stating that she was a 5 year endometrial cancer survivor. It immediately brought back a memory of the fact that I had the same experience 24 years ago. Back then my surgeon told me I would eventually not even think about what happened and he was right. Unless something comes up to trip the memory I leave the whole thing in the past.

The last time I thought about it was 2011 when I faced another surgery for a blocked bowel, due to my previous cancer and radiation treatments, which caused scar tissue. I thought that was totally unfair. Come on over 20 years! One of my funny nurses commented, "Hey you've got time to do this again!" I don't think so.

Every once in a while I bring my cancer experience up because I want people to realize that a diagnoses of the big C does not automatically mean death. I truly believe a positive attitude can work miracles. When my doctor informed me of the facts my response was, "Fix it so I can get on with the rest of my life." She sent me to the best oncologist in the area and he did just that.

This morning's flash back reminded me to be grateful for the people that have come into my life in the form of helpers. Some of them have become life long friends who share the same experiences.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I don't care

What is the message being sent when you ask a family member, what he/she wants for dinner and the answer is "I don't care"?

It has only been since my son moved back home that I have had to think about someone else when planning meals. I personally don't have a problem with eating the same thing a few days in a row. Odd combinations of food were not unheard of. In the last four months I have made a concentrated effort to put more thought into the dinner menu. This morning I ran out of ideas and while he was getting ready for work I asked if he had any brilliant ideas for dinner tonight. His answer was, "not really."

I suppose the positive reaction to that would be that I am doing a good job so far, keep up the good work and just do your thing.

Alright then! Yesterday I made a big pot of green chili stew, tonight I'm going for spaghetti, salad and Texas toast. If you wanted something else- I don't care!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Last anniversary post- I promise

Today's post in celebration of the almost 5 year history of my blog is from 2013 and it was published on 12/25/13 and is titled A True Christmas Story

My Christmas began yesterday when my young grandson,who is the most special person in my life, asked to spend the day with me. It started with bacon and pancakes for breakfast. We then took a short trip to the store to pick up a couple of last minute gifts, hung out the rest of the day and last night enjoyed a peaceful dinner out. Oh I almost forgot we did exchange gifts along the way.

Although it was a very positive experience I knew I had an even more important one coming up this morning as a messenger for our Creator. I got up early and dressed in warm clothes for an errand I knew I was supposed to do, which began with collecting edible goodies in a bag.

Just before I put on my winter coat and gloves to brave the very cold Christmas morning I decided to check the Facebook status of a spiritual friend whom I have unfortunately lost touch with. The words I found on his wall were like a message from the Universe telling me that what I was about to do was exactly what I was supposed to do.

They were: "Was blinded by the Xmas (Christmas) spirit when I found a bag of non-perishables on my back doorstep left by a gentleman from the area- whom I had "helped" on occasion. The man is homeless."

That one word homeless motivated me to move on with my mission. I drove to the Riverwalk with my bag of goodies. I kept praying "lead me to the people I am supposed to give this to". In our little town the homeless can be found most mornings wondering around this area. As I entered the parking lot I saw three people, two men and a woman and knew they were the souls I was assigned to meet. I approached them and asked if they were hungry. They said yes and I handed them my bag and suggested they share the contents. The woman gratefully took it and thanked me.

I'm sure what I offered them must have seemed like a feast on this cold Christmas morning and I hope it restored their faith that someone cared about the true meaning of Christmas.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A day ahead

I decided not to wait until tomorrow to offer the next anniversary post. This one was apparently chosen by my guide/muse. When I tried to print the one I had selected this one printed instead. It was originally published on August 6, 2012 and is titled Play it again. Here it comes...

I just responded to an online test that was supposed to tell me what I wanted from life. The results were: experience,love and health. Oddly, before going to bed last night I wrote down what I believe I am searching for: good health, security and a mate.

The main difference was experience and security. My experiences have taught me what not to do and if I had another chance I would make different choices that would probably have led to current security.

First, I would not have listened to my ego telling me that compared to others I had little value as a person and had no special talent. I would not have listened to my mother and found a way to obtain an education beyond high school, perhaps finding out that I actually am worthy of the best the universe has to offer. That's called self-esteem.

I would have listened to my intuition and not married either of my two husbands; thus avoiding being subjected to their negative addictions. I also would have learned a lot earlier that I am quite capable of taking care of myself without the assistance of a husband. That's called independence.

As far as children go I may have stopped at my first born. Of course, that would have meant no grandchildren. Sometimes we have to deal with the negative to get to the positive. That's called a reward and is often worth the price we have to pay to earn it.

Unfortunately, I only have one chance to live my life. Approaching age 75 and knowing that where I am is the result of the choices I have made is causing me stress. Why didn't I listen to the guidance I was offered? Why didn't I trust that God made me perfect just the way I am?

Compared to many women my age my life would be considered wonderful. I own my house, my car and owe no one anything. I have enough of everything for today and I am truly grateful.

I guess the only thing missing is love.

Well that's it for today. Tomorrow will be my last anniversary post and like my readers I have absolutely no idea what that will be!

Second anniversary installment

This submission was posted on 12/25/11 and it was titled, The big C is here

The big day finally arrived- Christmas is here!

This morning I spent some time thinking about that first Christmas so long ago; about the mother who gave birth in a stable. In some ways I don't think that birth was anymore special than the birth of any other child since that night. We all came from the same source and that pretty much makes us brothers and sisters. I also believe we all have a mission to spread the love of our Creator. We also posses unique tools and a path to accomplish that mission. Some souls just become a little more elevated than others because that's the way it was meant to be.

Probably the tradition of gifts originated with the three wise men bringing their simple offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh. In today's world the gifts have gotten way out of hand,in my opinion at least. It makes me very sad to see what is piled under the trees when so many would be grateful for a simple meal or a warm place to sleep. I wish I had lived in the days of old when gifts were all hand made with love.

As I look out on my driveway still covered with a foot of snow everything is beautiful and peaceful. The untouched snow is sparkling from the light reflected by the sun. It is going to be a quiet day of reflection for me. Perhaps it will be a day of focusing on what I can personally do to make 2012 a more loving positive year.

Seven more days and it all begins again. It has been a traumatic year of devastation for so many and if people of the world have not learned their lessons there will be more to come. I hope that I will live long enough on this planet called earth to see the positive changes that are possible when love becomes the mantra to live by.

Tune in tomorrow for the third installment titled Play it again.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

If the glove fits...

I just noticed that I started writing this blog in November of 2009 making it almost 5 years old. As the memory of my first post came back I asked myself, "what are you trying to accomplish?" Well as I scrolled through the years I found my answer through a post published on 11/7/09. "Yea! I just took another step on my creative journey."

I simply have a desire to share my experiences with others with the hope that something I write will help someone else. If the glove fits...

For the next couple of days I am going to offer one post from each year that I really like. If it fits you are welcome, if not try another. They are free!

1/22/10 Man in her Dream

This is my submission to a recent short fiction contest. It received great feed back from readers including: humorous, a tease, original, clever, well thought out and made the reader think what if?

One morning Kate woke to the sound of a phone ringing. A man with a very pleasant voice said, "good morning, I hope I didn't wake you."

"You did", she answered, "but it was time for me to get up anyway."

"I am the spirit that guided you to where you are today", the man said.

"No way!", she replied,"spirits can't make phone calls to humans."

"They can if God makes it possible", he countered.

"I have not felt your presence for some time, I thought you were gone", she said.

"Not gone, proudly watching you finish the job of becoming who you really are. There is only so much a guide can do", he adding laughing.

"I am grateful to have this opportunity to thank you for helping me grow. I sincerely hope you have been rewarded for your hard work", Kate replied.

"Reward is the reason for this call. Our Creator has instructed me to tell you that your time for harvest has arrived. As a reward for your hard work and willingness to take every opportunity offered to align with your soul anything you desire is yours for the asking. The only question is- will you allow you to accept the reward?"

After a few moments of silence he repeated the question adding, "God is waiting for your answer."

Taking a deep breath, Kate's answer was, "Yes, I have worked my tail off and I am ready to accept everything God believes I deserve."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Memories are made of this

Yesterday I listened, via the Social Media, to a talk given at the Center for Spiritual Living in Florida, by my friend Rev. Bob Luckin. The title was "Cleansing the Doors of Perception" and as I listened to his recount of experiencing a recent stroke and being admitted to a hospital, memories of my own hospital experience, just about three years ago, came floating back to me.

I had been in severe pain for two days and finally around 2:00 am I decided I had better go to the emergency room. I had hesitated because I had no insurance, not even medicare B. For the same reason, I drove myself to the hospital and as the result was chewed out by the emergency room doctor who said, "I can't give you anything for the pain if you are driving". Somewhere along the line someone decided to take some xrays, which told the jerk that I had a blocked bowel and would probably need immediate surgery.

Nobody told me that as I was moved to another part of the emergency room. When a doctor, who I had known for over 30 years came in he greeted me with, "Hey Barb what are you doing here?" My answer was, "You tell me!"

He did just that and two hours later we again met in the operating room where he proceeded to take care of my problem, which I didn't know I had. I wrongly assumed I had the flu.

Although he expertly did his part, my body decided to take its time healing and I spent the next two weeks as a captive in the hospital with a tube shoved down my nose, throat and it began pumping gross purple stuff from my stomach into a container. Inquiring where all this stuff was coming from I was told by the surgeon's nurse, "everywhere, your body was hurt and it is crying". Well picture that!

There wasn't much I could do about the situation. I wasn't going anywhere, except to take daily walks around the halls. I finally decided that someone thought I needed a vacation from my regular life. I made the decision not to worry about the bill, which ended up being around $40,000,and enjoy the rest I had been given. It wasn't easy with that tube stuck you know where.

I had a great time getting to know the nurses and learning about their lives. As a writer I was the one who had a captive audience. Before I left I asked a friend to bring me several copies of my first published book, Wake Up!, which I signed and passed around to the staff. It was the least I could do after being treated so well by everyone.

My friend's talk was something I could relate to because, like me, he chose to consider his experience as an adventure and learn from it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Soups' on

At the request of a loyal friend and because the weather has turned a bit frosty I am posting a couple of delicious soup recipes today. The first is one I dug up from long ago when I had a family to cook for. It is a one pot very filling dinner to warm your bones on a brisk evening.

Lentil Soup

2 cups lentils 2 quarts water 1/4 cups dry onion flakes 1/2 tsp. minced garlic 2 bay leaves 2 cups diced tomatoes 2 cups diced carrots 2 cups shredded cabbage 2 cups sliced zucchini 1 Tb. salt 1/4 cup soy sauce 1-1/4 tsp. pepper

combine lentils and water, bring to a boil, simmer 2 minutes, cover and remove from heat for 1 hour. Add onion flakes, garlic, bay leaves, tomato and carrots. Cover and simmer 1/2 hour.

Add cabbage, zucchini, soy sauce, salt & pepper and simmer 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves. I have also added bean sprouts.

Next I am offering a new recipe I found on the internet and recently tried. Both my son and I enjoyed it to the very last drop.

Broccoli Potato Soup

1-1/4 cups instant mashed potato flakes 4 slices bacon 2 cups frozen cut broccoli 2-1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth 1/4 cup minced onion 2 cloves minced garlic 1-1/2 cups milk 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 0z.) 2 Tb minced parsley

Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towels. Add onion and garlic to pan, stirring about 2 minutes until soft. Remove from pan, draining any fat. Crumble bacon and set aside.

Combine onion and garlic, broccoli and chicken broth in large saucepan. Mix well. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in potato flakes. Reduce heat to low. Gradually stir in milk, add cheese and crumbled bacon. Cook over low heat until cheese melts, stirring constantly. Sprinkle each serving with minced parsley.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chill out!

As I was raking up leaves this morning I was thinking of my grandson and wondered if he is going to help me bag them this year. He's a big teenager now and very busy with sports and school activities. It isn't so easy to get his attention anymore. As I was recalling the memories of seasons past a photo I had taken of him about four years ago popped up. It was a cool fall day and we had raked up a big pile of leaves when he suddenly said cover me up grandma and take my picture. How could I resist? The picture was so cute I framed it and he gave it to his step-father for Christmas that year. It could have been titled chill out!
After posting it on Facebook a friend saw it and asked permission to share it, stating that it should go viral. She said "he looks so blissful- my kind of fall feeling".

The smile on his face just says- Chill out, a suggestion we should all consider now and then.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It's all in the attitude

Be nice and treat me with respect and I just might reconsider my decisions and say yes.

A couple of days ago while exercising in the fitness room at our family center I had a couple of interesting one on one conversations that changed decisions I had previously made. The first was with an office employee, who like me had been treated with disrespect during the time I had worked there. (That would be the last school year.) There was a whole lot of negative energy going on during that time, partly due to the controlling attitude of the director. That person has now moved on and has been replaced by someone else. The energy in the entire facility has suddenly changed to positive instead of negative.

Looking back I can see that most of the negative energy was in response to how people were treated. It was like dust bunnies under the bed; if they aren't taken care of they just get bigger and bigger.

I was very happy when school was out and my job ended. It was a real struggle to finish out the year. By the last day I just wanted to get out of there! I commented to another employee that I wanted nothing more to do with the facility unless things changed. Little did I know that they were about to.

I probably won't consider working there again because I AM RETIRED, but I am still listed as a volunteer and have said yes to helping with the Halloween Carnival for the 5th year in a row. I wasn't going to help, but because the attitude of the person who asked me has changed to positive I said yes.

It would be nice to adopt the way Buddhists think and not react to negative energy, but it is hard to just let things go. That reminds me of a very helpful quote: "The loudest noise you can make is to quietly walk away". It is all in the/your attitude after all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Read what you write

Since my last part time job ended in May I decided that I was really retired and firmly stated it in a previous blog post. I think it was called "This is it!"

Yesterday I noticed an ad for a part time activity assistant at our local Good Samaritan Center. I could do that I confidently said to myself, forgetting that I am now retired. I proceeded to copy down the web address and collected my resume, a list of additional volunteer jobs and current references. All set, I began to fill out the online job application.

Everything was going well, I thought, until I tried to send the document. In bright red letters I was informed that there were errors in the form. There was no mention of what those errors might be so after checking it I asked my son to also look it over. He found a couple of minor things that might be the problem and I corrected them,thinking now it would send. Well it didn't!

One nice thing about living in a small town for over thirty years is I know people and I happen to know both the HR Director and the Activity Director and as a matter of fact the Facility Director. I decided to stop by Good Sam to state my situation. After making my problem known I decided to ask a couple of questions about the job. I wasn't thrilled to be told that it was for the evening shift, which is either 4:00-8:00 or 5:00-9:00, 5 days a week, including weekends. I also wasn't happy finding out that everything has to be electronically recorded.

Even though I use a computer daily and have written several books, a newspaper column and a blog, I am not electronically inclined. I'm having trouble operating my new trac phone. Do I really want to learn how to use another new electronic instrument? I don't think so!

The hours weren't to my liking either, when I realized that planning and cooking dinner is something I really like to do. Since my son has been living with me I have enjoyed re-visiting recipes I haven't used in years and digging up new ones. It has also been nice having another human to eat with. Do I really want to give that up? No!

When I went to bed last night I sent out a message to my guides that I really needed some guidance on this matter. When I woke this morning I had pretty much decided that I should have not only read, but believed, what I wrote earlier. I am retired!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Be careful what you ask for

Yesterday a facebook friend and fellow author, Sadie Lydon, offered to share one of her books with me. I had never read her work and was curious. I had no idea what genre she wrote in. When she emailed her book, Lou Lou: Book One of the Front Row Series she warned me that it was all about "sex, drugs and rock-n-roll in the early '80s. I replied that I had been reading a lot of Kindle books lately so nothing really upsets me.

I started reading and found that she was right about the content. Although I appreciated the fact that it was well written and had a nice flow I really wanted less explicit sex and more story content. I kept asking myself, what else can the characters do? Even though I had, in my life, been married for 40 years to two different (wrong) men I realized my sex life left a lot to be experienced.

For some strange reason reading this book kept prompting memories that I had lived through. Even though my life path is certainly nothing like Lou Lou's I can relate to her and completely understand what motivated her. We both had controlling over critical mothers who were unable to offer enough love, encouragement or support. That sort of "lack" can often lead to bad decisions on the part of the child as she/he matures. It can also cause growing up way too fast.

After finishing the book this morning I followed my own writer's intuition and Googled Sadie Lydon, author. I found a wonderful quote that I would like to share because it is exactly how I feel about what I write.

In her words: "Watching my books circulate by word of mouth is like watching my children move around in life as they discover where they want to be and who they want to spend their time with."

I recommend this book, which is available on Amazon.com, to anyone who enjoys erotica; and even though I would still caution being careful what you ask for, sometimes it is worth it to take a step in a new direction.

P.S. Just so you know, I also shared my book Journey of an Enlightened Egotist with Sadie.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The wait is over

Four months ago I offered my oldest son a place to live because he could not find a job in the state that he lived in and was going to be forced to surrender his house to the mortgage company. There have been many times in those months when I thought, what in the hell did I do?

Today I see that I wasn't so stupid after all. The wait is over. He has finally secured a job that could lead him to a new career, if he just remembers to be grateful for what he has been given.

If he had not taken me up on my offer he would be homeless, jobless and moneyless.

I am also grateful that I have been given an opportunity to help but not control his life. There is a big difference between the two. I have had to hold my opinion many times in the last four months, which is difficult for a recovering controlling parent.

Perhaps the wait is over and I can finally let my children go and concentrate on my own life.