Thursday, March 30, 2017

I Couldn't Have Predicted

If you're a follower here at Your Mother Knows, you know it's my mission to share with you things I've learned regardless of the fact that it might not be something many talk about... I want to give you some advanced warning about some of these serious life questions.

The other day, my Best Friend Forever, Pam and I were talking about stuff and she said, "I just feel like I want to yell and scream!  I'm going to be 62 years old in a couple of months and I just did NOT think it was going to be like this!!"

Upon talking further, she was stressed over her daughter not realizing that the things she'd like Pam to do to make her life easier make Pam's life harder; things like watching her granddaughter 50 hours a week without being paid in order to help her daughter save money...

Or, her husband figuring that because she's home all day, she can deal with the house work and the gardening, the major home improvement projects, and the finances because, after all, he works all day and since she's home not doing anything important...! Pam's frustrated because doing everything she can for everyone else means that she doesn't have time or energy to do anything she likes to do for herSelf. And not doing anything for yourSelf leaves you worn out and cranky.

Really, it wasn't anything monumental that was so upsetting to her. Just the normal stuff of life being burdensome at times and everyone else thinking that they have it harder than you do, without stopping to consider how many demands they heap on your not-as-young-as-you-once-were head.

Pam uttered, "I feel like I blinked and my life is gone and now I'm this age and wondering how I got here so fast!! I don't have the physical stamina or mental determination to just go, go, go! Nor do I want to, I just want to say, 'Give me an effin' break!'"

Instead, she simply sucks it up and continues to soldier on. To a large extent, I think that's what most of us attempt to do.  We just keep going until we can't.  It helped when I explained that I feel the very same way.  Then I added, "I go to bed most nights and think to mySelf, 'Is this all there is?  Is there nothing more to life when you're older than getting up each morning, going through your daily routine, only to climb back into bed each night?'" While we age, does our scope and ability to influence or be relevant simply slip away?

I couldn't have predicted how fast it all flies by! How do you find the joy and passion in life when who you were is not who you are now?  You don't have the professional cache' you once had. You don't have the energy to attack the chores and interests you once loved. It seems you're more what you're not than what you are.  And, the critical question becomes, who are you when your face begins to show its age and your mind no longer has the elasticity and your Spirit seems to sigh a lot more than it used to?

When you're young, you have a curiosity about what comes next; the next acquisition; the next accomplishment; the next relationship.  When you grow older, the world seems to grow smaller and the thrill seems harder to find.  Why? Is it that way for everyone?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Pam and me, circa 1981. I'm sure you could tell thanks to big sunglasses and bags. Yes, that's me with curly, permed hair which was the rage in the Big Hair 80s! It's a candid that captures what she and I do best with each other- LAUGH!  A lot.  I mean, hysterical laughter over the simplest things. We are best friends even though she lives on the Left Coast and I am here in the east.  We don't get to see each other often, but that's not changed how close we are. We find comfort in our shared experiences because it always helps to not feel alone. I know I took comfort in our conversation because she confirmed a lot of what I feel and haven't said about this entire aging thing. If I feel as if I'm whining about something, I have a tendency to just not talk about it at all.  However, not talking about it sure doesn't help me to gain any clarity.

The fact is, no one tells us how to navigate this phase of life.  We spend way more time telling a young girl what's going to happen once she gets her period!  But, how to love life as your physical self slows down?  No, we don't talk about that at all.

This quote by Friedan is my hope about aging, but I'm not there yet.  I'm almost 62 and I know that by today's standards that's not old.  But it ain't young either.  I know I'm only 28 years old in my head where I live and it's sunny all the time.  While I also know that when someone looks at me driving down the road, they probably see an old or older woman driving.  How does one reconcile who they are in their Spirit with who they have become as a physical entity?  If you know, please tell me.

Friend, Sheena, gave me a missing piece to this big puzzle when we talked recently. She was explaining that her doctor suggested that she get a second opinion about a medical issue that they still have yet to nail down.  Sheena said, "I told the doctor that I would consider that, but not now.  Just now, I don't want to go chasing further; I simply want to take a breath and live life.  I'll give myself time to just be and not worry so much about every little thing."  And, that makes so much sense to me that I want to give her a huge hug.

Maybe the key to aging with joy and grace is to accept it as it comes without putting so much comparison of what used to be on it. Perhaps it's about managing expectations of yourSelf by doing what you can, walking away from what you can't, and being kinder to yourSelf.  Stop comparing who you used to be with who you are currently. When you're tired, stop. When you're fretting, take a breath and let it be. Focus on what you can do when you're sick of obsessing about all you can't do. Don't sweat the small stuff and remember most of it is small stuff.

And, realize that while aging takes a great many things away from your life, it also gives you moments of joy and a richness to cherish.  This picture is Pam and me, circa 2013.  We're at the wedding of that little girl who is sitting in the stroller in that first picture! Aging has given me the gift of some very deep and critically marvelous relationships.  If I can only help mySelf adjust to the day to day of it all, I'm sure I can find a lot more to be positive about, than fearful of, aging.

I sure hope Mr. Lewis is right. I know Pammy is equally hopeful.  I wish all of us the joy of deepening knowledge and understanding as we grow older. I hope we find far better things than those we had to leave behind. Finally, I hold fast to the adage, "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is not." If Peter Pan escaped the growing up bit, perhaps I can as well.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Knows It Goes By So Fast

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Life With A Lion

While it doesn't happen very often, for which I am grateful, there are times when My Lion and I can get heated with each other.  We have our disagreements that escalate into snarls, but generally we see eye to eye and live very companionably.

Not that on occasion, when he might be having a relatively frustrating day, I haven't had to ask a passer-by if they aren't willing to roll his lips back so I can pull my head out of his mouth.

But mostly, with a bit of returning to our corners, allowing both of us to cool our jets, we get to a place where the roaring becomes a discussion and we have the chance to hear each other out.

And peace returns to The Kingdom once again. Why?  Because he is my mate, my beloved, My Lion. A man of conviction and quality.  A man I can look up to and place my trust safely.

But mostly peace returns because I am a smart woman who understands that a lion has to be the King of his jungle. He has to prowl. Must snarl on occasion. And, I know just the right places to scratch and love. He is My Lion. And, I am blessed, even on those occasions when my head is all wet from lion spit.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka A Lion Tamer

Monday, March 20, 2017

Use A Whip And A Chair

My day started out just fine. On Sunday, we all seem to do as we like at the pace we want to move. No real demands, no phones to answer.  And in my world, I thought I'd take the quiet time to do some laundry. It was all going pretty well.

Until the fitted sheet was ready to join the party. And my Sunday became a fight for my life.

I am a pretty awesome house keeper.  I've been taught how to do most everything that's part of living in a structure.  My Family calls me The Laundry Fairy. Hell, I even know how to can and knit.

But handling a fitted sheet?  I need a whip and a chair.  You cannot back down from the fitted when it comes out of the drier.  You must immediately command control.  If you even blink, the fitted sheet will be on you like white on rice and you will be totally consumed by it; especially if it is the most deadly of all the Fitteds...


In my mind, In HollyLand, where I live and it is orderly and sunny all the time, this what I thought I'd end with; look at that!  Isn't it gorgeous?  Can't you just imagine opening your linen closet to see all of the sheets in their contained habitat?  You know you want these little packets of bed linen!  Admit it! Go ahead, I'll wait...

Not one to be outwitted by domestic wild life, I went on-line and studied countless hours of videos and articles.  Here's one that I came across.  First let me say that anything that takes 18 steps no longer falls within the classification of EASY...., and perhaps more importantly, take a look at that woman's vacant, even a tinge fearful, expression.  She knows the fight she's in for and well, she doesn't have much hope of surviving.

So after hours of research and even more time in attempting to replicate the process, this is what I ended with and it is SUNDAY and I don't have to do everything the way it's supposed to be done because it is SUNDAY, (did I mention that?) and it's supposed to be an easy day when I do what I want at the speed at which I want to do it!  So, I am satisfied with what I did. Yes, that mushroom at the very bottom is the dreaded THE FITTED KING SHEET! Don't you dare judge me!! It was Sunday!

But, for those of you who are more evolved than I, and you want to know how to do this correctly so that your closet looks like Martha Stewart sprinkled Magic Martha Dust well, just follow this video. I've watched this so many times, I'm sure this woman has had two more birthdays by now.

You're welcome!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka Her Own Domestic Goddess 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Silent Sermon Sunday

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is Grateful For Her Eyes

Thursday, March 16, 2017

You Have To See This!

It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in the case of this BBC series,  a thousand isn't enough. Picking up where Planet Earth left off ten years ago... 

...Planet Earth II, means most of those words are likely to be, "Oh my goodness!"

"Can you believe that this world of ours is so vast?"

"How does anything live in places like these?  Still, isn't it beautiful?!"

"The amount of wild life sharing the world with us is staggering.  How can we be better stewards of them?"

"Isn't it amazing how vast and open and amazing it all is?! How harsh it can be..."

"Have you ever seen anything like that?  Did you even know that animals do that?!"

"Oh my God, how beautiful and humbling it is to see something as rare as a Snow Leopard?"  or "Isn't it amazing how technology has been able to bring us such sites to see?!"

I'm telling you, that you need a good glass of something to drink; turn down the lights and simply thrill your mind with the sites and sounds of Planet Earth II! On Demand or BBC America.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Is So Grateful For Her Eyes

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Let It Get Cold

When I was teaching Public Relations Writing at Towson Univesity, I told my students to let their writing sit for at least 24 hours before editing. Our brains cannot simultaneously create and correct. So, time is needed for our brains to actually 'see' what's on the page and then the necessary edits and corrections are so much easier to spot. Why? Because the brain resets and sees it as it is, not the way you thought you wrote it. I call this: Allowing Your Writing To Get Cold.

Lately, I've been reading a lot of comments on social media platforms and articles about behaviors in the cyber connection world in which we now live.  And, one of the common threads seems to be the lack of civility and bad behavior we witness or receive.

The real conundrum is the total lack of common sense exhibited by people who simply broadcast everything they do.  Every thought they have.  Every sarcastic or cutting remark goes up for ingestion by the rest of the world.  It's so terribly wrong on so many levels. The absolute lack of understanding that a civilized person does not put their personal stuff out on the sidewalk so people can pick through it, is alarming.

As of the recent election, the amount of stories about bad, horrible behavior and treatment of others on social media has really up-ticked.  While most of us simply thought it would die down post election, which is true to a point, it seems that many people have turned into...

...Internet Trolls.

The Urban dictionary defines a Troll as: “Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it's the internet and, hey, you can.”

You might wonder why the name, Troll, which I find pretty accurate and funny.  If you think about the trolls that we all heard about in fairy tales, they seem to live in dark and unsavory places.  They lay in wait under bridges for unsuspecting travelers. Trolls just love frightening before they snatch you up and eat you alive.

If you've ever experienced troll behavior on your social media pages, you know it immediately even if you didn't know what it's called.  You can't help but pull back thinking, "What the hell?  Where did that come from and why did she/he even write that?!?!?!"

The cautionary tale for all of us is: BEWARE!  High stress situations can bring out the hidden troll in all of us.  It's especially upsetting when you are on the receiving end of troll-like behavior from someone you thought was a 'friend' on social media.  You wonder, "What the hell did I write that would cause him/her to be so crappy?"  And, the answer is generally because...

...Social Media has an immediacy that strips away good judgement and polite behavior, especially during emotionally charged times or topics. And, because you're not in the same space with an actual Human Being, looking them in the eyes as it were, we lose our normal filters.  If you had to look at the person with whom you are talking so shitty, well, you probably would hold back.

We are in the brave new world together.  And it's only going to get faster and worse before, or if, it can get better.  As technology shifts, as the world goes faster in a breathless pace of thought to  broadcasting, we must begin learning new ways of being. We must possess new ways of interacting-- new sets of manners and polite behavior.

Because if we don't, all of us will become infected.  All of us will become more Troll than Human Being.

I don't have the answers to what it's going to take to stem the epidemic, but I can start with this one from my teaching days:

When it comes to any topic on social media, especially those that are contentious or highly charged emotionally, before you hit SEND, let your writing get cold.  It's the knee jerk reaction to things that is getting us into Troll territory.  It's not allowing our polite filter to command our response.

When we're speaking and, in a moment of poor judgement, say something that turns out pretty horrible or passive-aggressive, with enough time, the impact will lessen.  Thankfully, we have short memories on so many levels.  But, if you write that same horrible thought, IT LASTS FOREVER! Unless it's deleted, it will be read over and over.

The best I can suggest at this point is, after you let it get cold...even for five minutes and think about how it might sound, you can stop yourself from turning into a troll.

The ultimate test is to ask yourself, "Is it really contributing anything to say it that way? Does it add value or simply cause further strife?"  If the answer to either of those questions is NO, and you would never want someone to comment that way to you, hit DELETE and be a better person for your commitment to be kind instead of an ass-hat Internet Troll.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Never Wants To Be A Troll

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Women's Day International

Only women can do the things that women do: Love, Nurture, Care, Laugh, Sing, Contribute, Win, Survive, LIVE!  Be Real Human Beings! Men will do it their way and that's all well and good. Certainly necessary. But, today we celebrate Women contributing and making a difference to this world of ours.

And, just because I love the song and the woman who sings it-

May you have a day that reminds you of your importance to the world around you. Sing it out Girls!

 Namaste' Till Next Time,
 Holly aka She Who IS

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

If I Could Do My Home Over

The father of the Arts & Crafts Movement, William Morris, had a golden rule about living in and decorating a home:

"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." Through the course of my various homes, that's what I've attempted.  Living close to Frank Lloyd Wright's, Falling Water and visiting it rekindled my interest and love of this very influential movement.

If I had to do it all again, I'd search for the perfect bungalow.  One with great bones.

A home with a welcoming front porch and painted to blend with its natural surroundings.

A sweet space that makes you want to stop and stay awhile.

And an interior full of honey colored wood with bright pops of paint.

With a fire place or two large and commanding.  One that can warm you from head to toe.

I'd have a Craftsman home that tickles the senses with lots of built-in useful spaces inviting you to rest and renew.

With great attention to detail where no surface is considered to mundane for artistic touches.

And where all parts of a home are useful and ingeniously fashioned. No space is wasted.

A home with tiny spaces that charm and sooth.  A home with an inglenook or two...

And my windows are interesting and allow the home to be flooded with natural light. Light that touches the oak and turns it to honey.

And my bungalow would have stained glass accents; art for the common man and not just the wealthy.

A home where textiles delight with the fanciful colors rich and drawn from nature.

A Craftsman home where a kitchen invites one to create and share.

And, while I might not want the bathroom to go back to the early 1900s, there is something charming about the rustic simplicity of it all.

If I had to do it all again, I'd live in a Craftsman Home with arts & crafts of artisans close at hand to remind me that Human Beings are so very creative and where you'd feel safe and loved when you sat here with me.

I'd live in a home where you feel special and unique and where it seems possible to have days of ordinary miracles all around you.

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Always Has An Open Door

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Silent Sermon Sunday

Namaste' Till Next Time,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Under The Dome

Soaring high above the District of Columbia, at the very top of the Capital Building, the Statue of Freedom has watched since 1863.  She stands on what is called, the Tholus. During the day, one would not notice a change...

...but at night, if you pay close attention, you can see it. Can you tell?

There is a small, but significant difference between these two pictures.

Did you catch it?  While the Capital Dome is illuminated 365 nights a year, the tholus is only lighted when the House of Representatives, or Senate, or both are in an evening session, burning the midnight oil, doing the work of governing.  Well, that's what they say they're doing, even though most of us may dispute how much they ever get accomplished.

I don't know how I've lived this long without knowing this factoid but since I get excited anytime I learn a bit of trivia, I thought you might like to know it, too!

Or, am I the only person who didn't know this?  Did you know? Well, why didn't you tell me?! While most politicians working under that dome don't seem very enlightened or make me feel good...

...the sight of The United States Capital Building always makes me feel good. I feel humble and proud.

It makes me whisper, "God Bless America, her citizens, and those working on our behalf."

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Believes In The Light of Democracy
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