Wednesday, April 30, 2008


"Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society." Mark Twain

Yesterday at lunch, the talk turned to fashion.  Much discussion on what people wear, some ideas about clothes we have seen on co-workers and much laughter at choices that some people make.  There are even television shows that tell us what not to wear, or how stupid we will look if we were this or that.

It has always been my opinion that people should express their own sense of "fashion" in any way they choose.  Most of us want to look nice and up to date. It is just that each of us see ourselves differently that most other people see us.  Let's face it not all of us have bodies to be able to wear the current trend in the fashion world.  In fact, some of us would look entirely stupid if we tried to wear some of those trendy clothes.

So when the talk turns to laughing at the choices some people make, I get somewhat uncomfortable.  I am sure that I wear things, that I like, that may make people laugh at me.  I don't care, let them laugh, I am comfortable with myself.  Guess I am not much into fashion and more into being comfortable with oneself.   I feel the same way about hair and makeup.  I may not think a persons hairstyle is becoming on them, but it is their choice,  not mine.   I am a live and let live kind of person.  Also, returning to my Four Agreements,  such discourse about other peoples clothing and hair, certainly is not being impeccable with your word (first agreement).   I am always ashamed of myself when I let my self be swept up into these conversations.  But, I am still always trying to to my best(fourth agreement). 

Which brings me to today little bit of wisdom from "I've Learned":  "I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best that others can do, but to the best you can do.  Age 68.

I'd like to think it won't take me that many years to figure that one out for myself!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


"Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good."  Ralph Waldo Emerson 

I have been working on a project at work that I am truly enjoying doing.
Some projects are not as satisfying as others.  My mind has also been totally preoccupied with thoughts of the upcoming surgery my daughter must endure.  It is not life threatening, and she will recover and everything will be grand. 
Outside of her apartment is the most beautiful flowering tree. I have been wondering what sort of tree it is.  Today I found a picture of the tree.  It is a corneliancherry dogwood.  We are thinking that we would like to plant this tree in place of the black walnut that we took down.

My mood has been less that cheerful lately. I don't feel unhappy, just plain dull. So along with my favorite and always inspiring Ralph Waldo Emerson, I have a nice little "I've learned" to keep me inspired.   

"I've learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you.  But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. Age 65

Thursday, April 24, 2008


The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.  Albert Einstein

Today more fun from Live and Learn. Now I am really excited about these tidbits of wisdom from ordinary people.  I don't think that I have had so much fun with a tiny little book in a very long time. Here is my favorite "I've learned,  at least for today.

I've learned that people who wear Mickey Mouse watches are usually creative and fun to be with . Age 33  

What a wonderful idea.  Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a mind like Albert Einstein? I would love to time travel and to just get to watch this man to see how his mind worked. Wonder if he wore a Mickey Mouse watch?  No, seriously, I am always fascinated when I read anything about Einstein.

Mickey Mouse is an icon and an amazing bit of animation.  Have you ever seen Steamboat Willie.  Now I know there are lots of people who dislike Walt Disney. True he was a business man and very much a corporate entity, but he gave us Mickey Mouse and so much entertainment for the masses.  It is true that we had to endure the heartbreak of Old Yeller (I can't watch that movie anymore)  and we were introduced to death at an early age (remember Bambi's mother?)  but Mickey Mouse is the undisputed best carton character for me.   

Oh yeah,  I just happen to wear a Mickey Mouse watch!  I got it when my niece and nephew took me to Disney World to cheer me up just after the collapse of my marriage.  I love that watch, and I love my niece and nephew!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What have you learned?

"I've learned that the great challenge of life is to decide what's important and to disregard everything else."  age 51

Some time ago my sister gave me a little book entitled Live and Learn and Pass It On.  It is a wonderful little compilation of good lessons people ages 5-95 have learned about love, life and other fun stuff.  It has made me think about things I have learned in my 53 years.  I have been enjoying reading this little gem and will probably be using some of life lessons to spur me on to write more. 

So for today; I've learned that no matter what you do in life, you cannot please everyone. 

Having the tree taken down yesterday made me feel sad and unsettled.  I have never had a tree removed, I have only planted them. But I thought long about doing it and I plan to plant a new tree in the backyard, farther away from the fence that won't be so worrisome.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


"Don't be too timid and  squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today is Earth day. I can't quite believe I am about to say this but I am preparing to have a tree removed from my yard.  Me, tree hugger, tree lover, Earth lover, and I celebrated the very first Earth day by walking the 5 miles home from high school instead of taking the bus. I respect the Earth and treasure it in any way that I can every day, not just Earth day.  So the decision to take down the tree was not an easy one.

You see it is a black walnut tree.  It is growing on the fence row between my property and the neighbors.  It makes a mess in both yards.  I adore black walnuts, especially in ice cream, but this tree is making me crazy.  It is also close the house and is getting bigger every year.  When I first moved in, 10 years ago, it was too immature to produce nuts.  I should have had the foresight to take it down then.  But, I just hate to take down trees.  The older  I get, the more nervous I get about this tree. Black walnut trees belong in the woods, not in the city along the fence row. I don't know how the tree even got there.  Did a squirrel plant it?  So I made the decision to get rid of  it.  I hate making decisions.  I am not sure it is the right one.  But, according to Emerson, I need to be less timid and squeamish about my actions.  

I think I would like to plant a white pine in place of the black walnut. Wouldn't that be lovely?

Oh and just so no one thinks I am totally terrible,  I have a huge maple tree, some other young tree, a mullberry tree and a pine tree in the back yard among the lilac and forsythia bushes.  And in the front yard I have planted a Shiloh maple, two red bud trees and an apple tree.  Plus my other neighbors have a huge maple that just borders my driveway.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A foggy morning

Driving to work this morning the sky was lost in a light fog.  It was rather dull out. 
It rather fit my mood this morning , as I woke up with a bit of a headache and feeling quite dull myself.  I was just about to feel that the drive into work was going to make me feel very unsettled,  when I looked out over the area just south of me, just before the softball stadium, and the fog was settled just above the ground, like the mist hangs in the air in Scotland.  I never felt dull or unsettled on my trip to Scotland. I was always just amazed at how the mist hangs over the land and then clears to show the beauty around.  The sight of Wallace Monument through the mist was quite lovely.  
So except for the fact that central Illinois is pretty flat, I got much the same feeling as I did when I was in Scotland.  The trees abloom in colors of white and pink and red, the sunny daffodils and the bright yellow forsythia where all still visible, but shrouded in a foggy haze. 
Oh yes, and perhaps part of the unsettled feeling for me this morning was the sensation of another aftershock of the earthquake that hit the area last week!  It is so odd to be awakened by the sensation of movement, the stillness of the night and the slight rumble of the shaking of the earth.

Friday, April 18, 2008



Normally,  I do not feel afraid.  I get a wee bit tense when the tornado sirens go off. But, I am not usually afraid of things that go bump in the night. This morning however, at 4:39am I was awakened by my bed shaking.  It was totally quiet in the house.  I could hear no sounds from outside and my 5 animals were all quiet.  So when I realized the bed was shaking I felt really afraid.  My first thought was this is an earthquake.  Then my next thought was New Madrid.  Having taught Earth Sciences I have come to feel a healthy respect for this place we call Earth.

For the first time I felt how all alone I really am.  I was shaking, no one else was around for me to talk to, so I didn't even get out of bed.  Why would I ?   I am a talker and when I am afraid I need someone to talk to.  So I sat there frightened, and tried to just slip back into sleep.  My alarm was going to alert me in about 30 minutes,  but I just didn't want to get up.  

I have tried for many years now to be good to the Earth we live on.  I don't use paper towels and paper napkins, I recycle everything possible, I have finally found somewhere to get my milk in reusable glass jars instead of plastic, I don't use petroleum based laundry detergent or dish detergent, but there is not much to be done about the structure of the Earth.  Fault zones are going to create earthquakes.  The earth is dynamic.  It moves.

When the alarm went off I hit snooze twice! Then when it went off again, the local broadcaster said that what I had felt was indeed an earthquake with the epicenter near West Salem Illinois. The next little alert told me it was a 5.5 magnitude on the Richter and was felt as far north as Chicago and felt in Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

So for a long time I have been waiting for the big New Madrid quake,  you know, like the one that hit in 1812.  If that one comes you can bet there will be much damage.  With all the development that has happened since then,  buildings will fall.  This is the first earthquake I can remember feeling in my life.  I know there have been small ones, but this is the first I can truly say,  I felt the earth move.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008




There is nothing dream to create the future. Utopia to-day, flesh and blood tomorrow. Victor Hugo



Giving up on a dream is one of the hardest tasks that I have endured.  The day I married I had a dream for the future.  I felt like I was living in that dream.  I had that dream for 17 years.  I brought two wonderful daughters into the world while living in that dream.


That dream died when my husband walked out for another woman.  It took me a long time to get over that dream.  But I finally began to dream new dreams.  The first dream ended abruptly and shattered my faith in men, again. 


But I dreamed a new dream.  Now finally that dream I have to put away.  I have to find a new dream to work toward.  It is not an easy task to give up on a dream for me. When someone hurts you and you know the best thing to do is walk away, leave the dream and move on, it is easier said than done.


The weight of the world seems to get heavier each year. The idea of being alone in this world is truly frightening. What I do know is that I must always find a dream, something that fills me with hope and joy and a longing to carry on.  I will be thinking of a new dream while awake and while sleeping.  I know I will find one.   I think perhaps my new dream will include a trip to County Cork Ireland and a visit to Cape Cod.


"That's the secret to life...replace one worry with another." Charles M. Schulz

So I guess my secret is out, I am a worrier.  There is always something to worry about.  Now my worries over being single forevermore are replaced by mommy worries. My children may be grown up,  but they will always be first in my heart and in my thoughts and worries.

When I went on my mini-break to Arthur with my girlfriends,  I purchased several hankies.  They brought back memories of childhood.  I had quit using hankies regularly.  I like the very girly ones.  The ones with flowers and scalloped edges.  I have some of the manly blue polka dotted ones or with the curly things on them.  I have one that was my grandfathers.  But the  hankies I bought in Arthur are very feminine.  I bought two really old ones, and some new ones (made in China-yuk, but I bought them anyway.)  The new ones are very scratchy cotton.  I am trying to figure out how to soften them up.  The old ones are wonderful.   I wish I had purchased six more! One of the best memories was ironing my dad's hankies.  When I was a little girl I thought watching my my iron was so much fun.  I always wanted to help.  So she would let me iron the hankies.  Of course she used a new spray on starch when she ironed my dad's shirts, so they would be crisp and neat.  Well I wanted to use the starch too, I was very young!   She just laughed and said "How would Dad feel when he goes to use that hankie and it is stiff and scratchy."   I hadn't thought of that.  So I got to spray the starch on the shirts as she was ironing.

I think I will be using my new hankies soon.  My girl has to have an awful surgery in early June. I will be brave and smile and get through the entire ordeal.  Then alone in my room after she is asleep and comfortable,  I will quietly break down in tears and dab my eyes with my new hankies!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How to beat the blues

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Lately, I have been feeling extremely blue and very dull. I have not had much interest in anything. I realize that much of my problem is hormonal, however, there is more to it than just hormones.   

I am feeling the lack of male companionship very deeply.  I have a treasure trove of friends, who I greatly enjoy being with and having fun with.  The absence of a man in my life is affecting my greatly at this time. Women and men are truly different creatures.  I have not felt like writing, or thinking or creating.  But, if i let myself fall into this pit, I may never be able to crawl out.

So I am going to put these thoughts on a shelf in the closet of my mind and find something to occupy myself.  I think a trip to the library is in order.  Hopefully, I will find some of the writings of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who never ceases to inspire me.  I may also pick of my copy of Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson and seek some inspiration.

Some people enjoy going through life alone,  and some it is forced upon. Whatever the case may be it is important to just keep going on.  Like Dorrie says in Finding Nemo,  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Glooms

"Nothing is permanent in this wicked world-not even our troubles." Charlie Chaplin

The glooms have gotten hold of me.  For days I have been feeling them. Feeling them so much I haven't even felt like writing.  I just feel dull.

Two things are on my mind today, one is happy and one is not.
I will begin with the unhappy thought.   Being a mom, whenever something is happening to my children, I worry and feel sad.  My girl R, has to have some oral surgery to close her open bite.  It is getting increasingly worse and the time has come to face the surgeon.  The surgery is very scary sounding,  it has her worried and me too.  I just hate for my girl to go under the knife.  She is the happiest, kindest, most delightful girl. First she has to have braces again, then the surgery to resection her maxilla and then 6 weeks of liquid diet!  The surgeon is fantastic, he did her wisdom teeth, we feel confident in his abilities.  I know things will be fine, when it is all over, she will have a closed bite again, and  her life will be much better(well her dental life that is) again.  But, still I worry.  She is my baby! (even though she will soon be 22)

On a happier note, tonight is game night with the girlfriends again!  We will eat and drink and make merry with fun board games.  I came across this picture of a board game that my daughters and I used to love to play when they were little.  Grandma always had board games and puzzles for the girls when we came to visit.  Since we always lived away from the grandparents, when we came to visit we stayed a few days.  When I saw this game, warm and happy memories flooded my mind.  I think it is just what I needed this morning.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


War may sometimes be a necessary evil. But no matter how necessary, it is always an evil, never a good.  We will not learn to live together in peace by killing each other's children.  Jimmy Carter 

Driving to work I often see the soldiers from the ROTC on their morning run. They are dressed in sweats, usually. Today was a different sight. Today they were dressed in combat fatigues with their packs on their backs and helmets on their heads.  It made me feel really sad. It is getting almost too much to bear to think of our young men and women going off to fight in a war that our country should not even be involved in.  I heard on the news of another soldier killed in Iraq.  The count is so high now, and seeing these brave souls preparing to do battle, just deflated me.

Jimmy Carter is one of my favorite people in the world.  War is never good, sometimes necessary, but always evil.  It is my belief that the war in Iraq was never necessary. 
I hope that the new administration begins the withdrawl from Iraq and ends the involvement in this evil. I dream of peace in the world.  It is our only hope for the future.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Th Devil's Snare

"Whether happiness may come or not, one should try to prepare one's self to do without it." George Eliot

The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend. What I think of as perfect weather for April in the midwest. As I had not fixed plans for the weekend, I woke Saturday with a desire to work in the yard. When you own a home you are supposed to enjoy working in the yard, correct?   Well by midday, I was ready to put the house on the market and move into an apartment.  I guess the bottom line is, I don't like yardwork!  It feels like work and I work all week.  One of the tasks was cleaning up after the dogs.This was the first time since the snow melted, that I was able to get out and clean up their messes.  The second task was to take down the "Devil's Snare".   I planted a Wisteria bush next to the trellis around my deck. I had thought it would make a nice shade under which to sit and read a good book, and the flowers are quite lovely, really.

The only problem is that the thing started taking over the yard!  It grew under the deck, on top of the roof, around the tree and that was when I was cutting it back regularly. It has gotten to where I can't stand the thing.  Now cutting down is not an easy task.  I started to become disheartened.
R. called to ask me if any mail had come for her, and I guess my disheartened state came through in my voice!   She said I sounded so depressed she was worried!  So I took her the mail she needed, and we drove to Dairy Queen and got a little treat.   My spirits were much improved, I tackled some more of the bush, then sat and watched a movie!

So waiting for happiness,  always!  Does it come often,  rarely.  The R can put a smile on my face most anytime.  Yard work,  take it in stages ( at least for me).  Keeping the house?  Yes I am.

The Devil's Snare, on it's way to being gone!

Friday, April 4, 2008


"It"s a recession when  your neighbor loses his job; it's a depression when you lose yours." Harry S. Truman

I don't watch the news regularly any more.  I check periodically and catch stories on I listen to NPR in the morning as I get dressed for work.  Frankly, the news is just to depressing and full of negative energy.  I hear the denial that the US is in a recession, the dollar is the lowest it has ever been and the politics of the day leave me cold.

Every day in the inner recess of my mind I have worries of "what if";  what if my job suddenly is no longer there, what if I can't come up with the money for my property taxes, which go up ever year, what if the car breaks down and I don't have the money to fix it,what if the price of natural gas gets higher and I can't pay the energy bill, what if I never find a soul mate ( yes even though mine left, I still feel like it is possible to have a soul mate).

I once read a marvelous biography of Harry S. Truman by David McCollugh and I  was very impressed with him as a man. One of his most famous sayings is " The buck stops here."  I like someone who is willing to be accountable for his actions and takes the steps to achieve goals.

I will be happy when the democratic party gets its act together and backs the proper candidate. In my mind, they blew it when they didn't support John Edwards.  However, I will be happy to see it end, happy to see the end of the Bush administration, and happy to think of a better life where people have jobs,  big corporations are limited and the oil and gas industry could pass on a little of the gazillion dollars in profit they make to the American people in the form of affordable fuel.

For today, I am happy that it is Friday. I am excited for the premier of the final season of Battlestar Galactica.  I am happy I get to spend some time with my daughters this evening, eating popcorn, and watching the show together!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


"We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe    

This morning as I drove to work at the usual time, I was aware of how much more light the morning has become.  Sunrise is getting earlier and earlier. Spring is truly arriving.  I was about to become a little sad, as I rather enjoy driving in the darkness in the morning, just before the dawn. I love to see the moon going down, and the stillness in the air.  

Then I gave myself a little mental shake and said " hey, just enjoy the light, it means the earth is turning, warm days are ahead and it can be just as beautiful."  So I did enjoy my short trip in to work and reveled at the thought of Spring.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cake for Breakfast

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." J. R. R. Tolkien

One of the  lovely things about being single is getting to eat cake for breakfast!  My girls and I ate cake for breakfast, after church on Sunday.  It is lovely not to have to try to decide what to eat for breakfast,  just eat cake!  It happened to be my birthday, we were going out for lunch, one daughter had to go to work later and one had to do homework,  so we celebrated with the cake for breakfast.  What a way to start the day, cake with candles and a Happy Birthday song.   It was marvelous.  I don't ever remember eating cake for breakfast when I was married.  It would have been considered silly.

Food is an essential part of camaraderie at my workplace.  We celebrate Spring Day, Summer Day, Fall Day and Christmas  with food.  

We also take the chance to share food away from work.  Linda, Kim and I went to Yoders Kitchen  in Arthur Illinois for lunch and a mini break from work.  Sometimes simple food is just what the body wants.  I try to eat properly most of the time, but I indulged in the buffet yesterday!  I ate really tasty fried chicken, green beans with bacon and onions (green beans any way are my favorite food),  mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and delicious slaw.  I threw in a lovely iceberg lettuce salad with red onion and peas for good measure.  Then it was bread pudding and ice cream for dessert!

Now I enjoy many types of food.  I usually get taken to Basmati for the buffet for my birthday.  You can find me at Siam Terrace or Rainbow Garden frequently.  But for Tuesday the simple pleasure of plain food was in order.  As Julia Child told us "You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces-just good food from fresh ingredients."

No I am hungry!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


"Make yourself necessary to somebody. Do not make life hard to any."  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Am I necessary to anybody? Well my answer would have to be yes.  When you make the decision to become a mother, you have also made the decision to be necessary to somebody.   Sometimes I feel all alone.  Living a considerable distance from my dad and my sister and brothers and my son, at times makes me very lonely.  For now, at least, I have my daughters near.  I received a birthday card from my son and it filled me with a longing to see him.  In my heart he is that laughing, funny, precocious child who enhanced my life 31 years ago. Now he is a grown man,  still beautiful and gentle in spirit. So how could I ever question that I am necessary to somebody?

"Do not make life hard to any."   This is an important aspect of character that I so want to possess.  A person should never make life hard for someone else.  We need to treat each other with kindness and respect and not be overly critical of another persons thoughts or  decisions. We may not always agree with someone on any given action, thought or decision, but if we remember "not to make life hard to any", I think we will be happier with ourselves.

So when I want to get deep into thought, and sometimes I do,  I turn to the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  He never fails to make me think about myself in critical terms.  Am I the person I want to be?  Do I have many hurdles to jump to make myself the person I want to always be?  The answer is yes, I stumble along the path, but I get up and keep trying to be a better person.