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Gonna cut myself some slack…

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Not the best pic despite my multiple photography classes, but note the curls. I have spent ages on my tresses, yet when it looks its best, I have done the least amount of work. Sometimes I try too hard…and not just on  a hairdo, or a hair-don’t, an unfortunate, yet frequent occurrence.  I obsess about wanting things to be perfect. There is nothing wrong with striving to be the best you possible, but I need to remember that I am not perfect and never will be. And that is totally okay.

Are we losing our humanity?

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If you ever question whether society is losing its humanity, the answer is yes and no. I was driving on one of the crazy busy highways I warn my mother about for its’ short entrance ramps. I saw a car stopped on the side of the road, and my first thought is that they probably broke down. My inhumanity was that I didn’t even tap my breaks or think about stopping. In any major metropolis, people have cell phones and AAA insurance, so more than likely they were fine. Also, there are scams and bad people out there, so you have to be alert. Then from my rear view mirror, I see a young man crawl out of his car, stumble to the median and fall down. I immediately circle back while dialing 911, and direct the agent to the location of the wrecked car. The guy had hit one of the barriers leading onto the highway. It hadn’t been visible to me at first, since I approached from the rear of the car, and I didn’t see the actual accident. Several civilians stopped to report the matter and assist until the EMS arrived on site.

Here is where my story changes. The EMS arrived but didn’t seem very urgent about attending the victim. The three mull around looking for the best way to get the stretcher close to the young man- my guess is he is eighteen. One of the EMS gives the victim a shake and says “Stop playing, we haven’t got time for this bullshit…It’s too hot out here, now stop playing.” I may be wrong in the order of those exact words, but he definitely said all of that to the victim. I was shocked, and I told the EMS that the young man had not opened his eyes, and could barely respond. I didn’t think he was playing. The EMS said to me that he had been doing his job for twenty years and that the guy was more drama than hurt. He referred to the victim’s eyes moving rapidly under the closed lids… Maybe this is accurate, or maybe it was a symptom of a seizure? I am not a nurse, so I will not presume I was right or wrong, but the lack of humanity or urgency the EMS seemed to show was shocking. Another civilian sided up to me and whispered he thought the victim was really hurt. We both agreed it seemed highly irregular behavior for the EMS guy. The EMS continued to randomly put his hand in the middle of the guy’s chest and shake him, repeating for the victim to quit playing with them. I never saw him once take vital signs.

When a police officer arrived on the scene, she told us we could all go home. I didn’t know what else to do, so I went home. It bothered me so much that I called the EMS headquarters in Houston and reported the matter, stating I didn’t want to report someone, if the EMS’s were right in their assessment, but that it seemed odd and should at least be mentioned. I have firefighter and EMS friends. I know their job is hard. They see horrific things and probably have a lot of calls they feel are a waste of time. When my sister died a few weeks ago, the EMS came to the house, and tried to save her life. I have all the respect in the world for amazing people who do this very important job, but if it were me laying on the ground, after hitting a median head on, I would hope they wouldn’t have treated me that way. No matter what the circumstance, doesn’t everyone deserve help? The victim was just a kid.

To answer the earlier question of humanity…I think it is a matter of statistics. The larger a population grows, the more good and bad you will see. Six people stopped to help a stranger on the side of the highway. I still have hope.

Back to school….

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I am accompanying a friend to a college campus today for moral support. She is brave enough to go back to college mid-life, and like many of us, she has had a change of heart about what career she would like to persue. I received a degree in social work long ago, but never became a social worker. Life has designs on all of us, and unfortunately we don’t always know what we want to be when we grow up…. Until we grow up. Lots of non traditional students are back on campus giving life a second whirl. I think it’s great that so many have risen to the challenge to reinvent themselves for economic or self fulfillment’s sake. Move over iPad toting, backpack carrying, Nike wearing, young whippersnappers! Forties are the new twenties and we we are nowhere near giving up!

One for the Road!

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Yesterday I had a wake-up call in two important aspects of my life. The first was a reminder to be alert and not to take the simple things for granted. The second was to not be stubborn and to think past myself. I like to ride my Harley in Austin at my cabin by the lake, and I also like to ride a road-bike around the neighborhood in Houston. We usually race around, what we call our velodrome, with two or three other cyclist. We were intending 6 loops, but on the fourth loop I collided with the bike in front of me. I saw the car ahead. I even shouted, “Car,” as a warning to the others….but while I was assessing the situation, the rider in front of me was breaking! My response time was too slow. I bike often and have rarely had a fall. I am guilty of day dreaming from the methodical pedaling and familiar scenery. At fifteen-seventeen MPH, I could have broken a limb. However, I was lucky to have skated away with a little road rash and some bruises to flaunt for a week or two. It reminded me, that even though something is familiar or routine, I should still keep my head in the game. Sometimes expecting the usual can get you hurt….

I insisted on continuing the ride, even though my co-rider insisted we stop. I didn’t want to be weak, and I knew there was a mileage goal we agreed upon for the week. The next lap proved to be disastrous, because the concerned rider took a dive at the same spot. His helmet was destroyed, along with the eye glasses, and his face was peppered with bruises immediately following impact. He was so caught up in the near catastrophe of my earlier collision, that he missed seeing a parked car. We have all biked for years. This was a highly unusual day, and I think the stars were telling us to get off the road. We are all responsible for our actions, but in this matter I should have listen to someone’s earlier plea to stop. I knew he was upset about my welfare, and my insistence to ignore him led to more damage for the day. I have a hard head, and luckily so does he, but next time I will remind myself that what really matters is that we all enjoy the ride.

Getting Old

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My cat Andy had to see the vet recently. Nothing wrong, just the annual check up. The vet asked his age and when I answered, remarked that Andy was a geriatric.  “No wonder he’s been acting like a grumpy, old man lately,” I commented with a chuckle. Andy was adopted from a shelter. He was tiny and covered with fleas. He was so weak that he couldn’t climb the stairs. We also adopted his brother, Leo who could manage the stairs. When he did, poor Andy would look up at him and meow pitifully. We lost Leo to feline leukemia. Andy, however, thrived. The vet visit reminded me how lucky I am and how far the wee, feral kitten I rescued nine years ago has come.

It’s a first!

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This summer, my husband and I traveled to Alaska. I could write a book, (and I might), about the many fond memories made. Seated on our room’s balcony, I sipped wine and snuggled in a blanket as we gazed at icebergs bearing seals and the vibrant, deep blue Sawyer Glacier.

Long, long, long pause during which Zoe stared at screen, took sweater on and off, texted Minette to whine, went on a champagne quest (sweet success!), and thought seriously about borrowing her son’s favorite endings for his first grade writing assignments: “It was good and it was fun” or “it was fun and it was good”, (whimsy-dependent).

 

Remember the expression on the students’ faces in “A Christmas Story” when the teacher says, “I want you to write…a theme”? Pretty much how I felt when Minette gently pointed out I needed to contribute to the blog. I don’t know why this is so hard for me. For years I kept a journal of some sort. I am constantly scribbling at a book (yes, I do write longhand) and I do plan to write more about my Alaskan experience, but I will probably use it in a story. So bear with me, dear readers. I will try to be more diligent.

 

Wonders how long she can put off writing another one.

Time races by…

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I woke up this morning thinking about time. The older you get, time seems to speed up like a formula one race. It was on my mind and oddly enough my friend’s young cousin, who feels like my own niece, brought it up in her email to me. She has just turned nineteen, and said everyone was warning her to enjoy this time, telling her it would pass all too quickly. I told her not to worry. She has plenty of living to do.

Time is like a vacation. Waiting for the special moment to come takes forever! When the vacation finally arrives, you want it to last, but all too quickliy it is over. If you are lucky, you will have fond memories to reminis.

I still have a lot of time left and when I look back it has been forever since I was a child, a teenager,… 20…30…. So it isn’t really all whizzing past. It just feels that way when you have a great life. Time flies when u are having fun😉

To be Remembered…

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Today is someone’s birthday. Today someone will marry and start a new life. Today has a new beginning for so many other’s hopes and dreams. It is on this day that life is also doling out loss, hardship and weighing others down. A loss so great that if it doesn’t kill you with grief, it somehow defines you with a certain darkness that will never let the sun shine quite so bright. We are the sum total of our experiences. The choices we make direct us. We cannot control all the events of our days, but we can define ourselves by what we do with the light and dark moments we are given.

My mother once said that I was a sunny child and my sister, Rebecca, was night. Cinderella and Snow White she called us in one photograph. It wasn’t that I never saw sadness or that Rebecca never saw happiness, it’s how we chose to wield the light and dark moments in our lives. My sister took her experiences and used them to inspire her to write. Her intellect, dramatic flair and wit is what defined her. Even through her periods of sickness, she could still find a reason to laugh… or to be a little surly and make us laugh. A stronger will to survive is not known to me. I, myself, do not possess that strength or half of her intellect. I am not an actress. My emotions are quite transparent, and I am not a charismatic bull-shit artist. My sister described me as a cold-pretty in our youth. Apparently I’m only sunny to those who know me. I think this is part of my sit back and see what cards everyone is playing. My sister often had a Royal Flush. Someone you didn’t want to find on the other side of a heated debate. We often disagreed, and for years of our adult lives, I do not think we really knew each other. She was reading Shakespeare by the time she was nine and I wanted a Barbie Dream House.

When she had her stroke two years ago, they told us that would be the end. I suffered greatly thinking we would not have time to say goodbye. I think she heard the doctors and decided to prove them wrong. That night she did a complete turnaround, and started repairing her heart. The speech therapist said she had never seen a language center so peppered with damage and that Rebecca would never speak again. For an English Professor, this is a death sentence in itself. We never gave up on her speaking, and more importantly, she never gave up. She came a long way in her two years, and she struggled with multiple health issues that complicated reading further, but she had read three novels in her last four weeks.

She was the one person I depended on to point me to a good book, and I often told her I needed her expertise again. There is a lot of junk to wade through before finding something to savor. I think this inspired her. I talked often of books I have read or something I was writing myself. Rebecca was much loved by our small family, and though she would have rather lived in New Jersey and taught right up until her last breath, I know she was happy to be loved and at home when she made her grand exit. My contemplation for the blog today is about taking the time to appreciate the strength in others and celebrate their accomplishments. Direct your life into the light and celebrate your own feats in a way that will impact others to speak well of you when you are gone.

Back to Work!

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I found lots of inspiration in Greece. Yesterday I spent the day reading then fleshing out the first scene of the sequel to DDCB, our first book. I have been itching to write, but have been trying to practice finishing what I start. I have a book that is 20,000 words into a story that needs attention, and we are editing a second book that is complete for future submission. I promised not to start anything else until the editing is complete, but I was inspired and needed to work! The manuscript that has been accepted is with an editor now, so I would be wasting my time to edit what’s currently being edited. We are a third of the way through editing book two, but we put it aside to focus on book one. This leaves me hanging in the breeze, so I decided to do what I love. We always knew the second book would be about our bad-boy, Lenny. He is Brad Pitt hot with  lots of issues. We created him in our first novel as the antagonist. He was supposed to play a very small part, but he is the character you love to hate, and are routing for redemption in the end. Lenny will be redeemed in book two and have a chance to score love. I’m so excited to write a happy ending for someone, who in real life would have fallen through the cracks. Swim Suits drying, so I think I’ll work a little more.

Edge of Tomorrow….

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My time in Greece is coming to an end. I will spend a few more days in the city of Athens, but alas I am checking out of the Arion Hotel. I highly recommend the oceanside bungalows. The infinity pool at our room was amazing, but the view of the Agean and the sound of the waves lapping the shore has truly unknotted my core. Matsuisha has the best sushi and outdoor dining in Athens, though hotel Grande Bretagne had a wonderful night time view of the Parthanon. The Spa was nice and the massage therapist skilled, but swimming in the ocean was my favorite part of the whole trip. I have renewed my creative energy and have many paths I will explore in my research. Scotland is a mere three weeks away and I am hoping to get a few things done before then. Holidays are good for the soul. Treating yourself to time spent relaxing is essential for good health and inner speculation. Appreciation of life’s gifts are what gets us through the rough. I have enough Agean moments now to sail me through a few choppy seas.