Friday, June 23, 2017

Rainbow Connection

"Each one of us has a chance to be a rainbow in somebody's cloud."
~Maya Angelou

Rainbows. From what I've heard no two people see the exact same rainbow. And even our right eye versus left eye takes in a different image. So what better metaphor for people?

Two people can see the same third person in very different ways. They could be seen as a threat, a danger, different, beautiful, friendly, familiar, ugly, funny or worthless. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could rid ourselves of old biases and see everyone as a person of great value until they show us otherwise? Let's face it, there is evil, hateful people of every race, religion, and cultural status.  But what if we never judged by just a skin color, tattoo, piercing, religious garb, disability, or profession? What if we assumed everyone is unicorn level awesome? If they open their mouths and turn out to be hateful trolls that would most likely eat a unicorn then, by all means, feel free to walk away and search for more rainbows and unicorns.

Last night I was surrounded by six of my favorite rainbows. As we talked for three hours we once again discovered that every one of us had a battle we were fighting and by sharing our strategies, battle scars, tears, and laughter at least for an evening made the battle seem less daunting.

We as a society get so wrapped up in our own schedules and problems we forget to ask for rainbows let alone be one for each other. But what an amazing and beautiful thing happens when we do. It's as precious as gold.

Kermit the Frog said it best, "Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers, and me."

***And don't forget to celebrate the rainbow that is Pride Week!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Goodbye Old Friend

" Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too hard to read."
~Groucho Marx

This week we said goodbye to Cassie. She was otherwise known as Larry and/or the cockashit.

I found Cassie about a year after my childhood dog finally had to pass at age 17 (about two years longer than I should have made her suffer). My then husband had said no more dogs. But I found Cassie in the newspaper under puppies for sale. A farm in Lititz (yes, maybe a puppy mill disguise) had three female cockapoos. There was a black, a tan and a black and white.

I came with my newly one year old and five-year-old. The tan puppy was terrified of the kids but the black and white one followed them around like crazy. Sold.

That afternoon when Drew got off of the bus we were in the yard and let the puppy run to him. He remembers that as a pretty great day. Ethan named her Cassie after a dragon in a PBS cartoon. This was the third choice after I said no to Sinky and Hermione. He was five.

She was a strange dog. She was a runner if you let her get out. She had a small bladder so four to five hours were max before an accident. She was completely devoted to me. When my ex-husband and I were headed for divorce I either slept on the couch (mostly) or occasionally in one of my kid's rooms if they were at a friend's house. She would insist on being on the couch with me, in the crook of my legs, instead of the king size bed upstairs. In my house on my own, she would scratch the hell out of any door if she thought I was on the other side. She was special.

When Dan came along she was another challenge. He had never had a dog so it took some time but she immediately took to him. I had always referred to her as the cockashit since she had very little bladder control. Dan began to call her Larry on occasion because she would sometimes pee with one leg up and had a tendency to hump small children when the mood hit her.

For twelve years I heard that she was the healthiest dog for her age. And then it all went south. She became deaf and her eyesight diminished. She had small growths all over her body. She had trouble walking up and down the steps, could no longer jump and only on rare occasions would even go for a walk. And the bladder surprisingly became so bad she had to wear dog diapers with a human Depends inserted. She would pee every hour or two.

Tests showed that she did have some internal breakdown but we decided not to do extensive exploration with her age and decline. So we came to the family decision that it was time to let her go. Having waited way too long to make that decision with my last dog we felt it was better to do such a thing before she was clearly suffering.

A Lap of Love vet came to the house and we all gathered around Cassie's bed. It was peaceful, sweet and sad.

At night I wake up missing the lump by my feet. During the day a fleeting thought of "I have to take the dog out" is quickly realized as unnecessary.  I would often joke that her parents had to be related as the explanation of her lack of intelligence. But what she lacked in brains she made up with sweetness, devotion, and endless energy in her younger days.

You weren't always a good dog but you were our dog and we loved you.

R.I.P. Cassie

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."
~Will Rogers

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Grateful and Thoughtful

"To live, to truly live, one must consider each and every thing a blessing."
~Kamand Kojouri

All of you who read my blog are in a lucky state to have first world problems. I've even, lately, heard complaining about what would be considered Gold Status First World Problems.

I get it. We all need our moment to complain. I am an expert at times (just ask my husband). That is usually the best moment to take a step back and count your blessings followed by investigating ways to help those less fortunate than you.

A gratitude journal is one way to continue to spin the positive in your life. Every day write down anywhere from one to one hundred ways you were thankful, happy or successful. Every day take a moment to celebrate what you have and who you are.

I saw a Word Porn today that was just a paragraph of the best things the author has in her life she can celebrate. I encourage you to do the same.

And to be fair....

My family laughing together, a great round of jumps on a horse, my cat Fred on my lap, days the dog does not pee in the house,  hugs from my kids, my husband's love, vegetables from my garden, kindergartners, the sweetness of my four hooved baby, my deck over the summer, traveling to new and familiar places, the ocean, friends, my mom and dad, music, a great book, good comedy.

A first world list. I could have said a roof, food, shoes, fresh water, education, freedom of religion or sexual preference, basic human rights.

So have your bitch sessions. We all need them for our own therapy. But recognize how lucky you are. Fight the good fight against those who deserve our voice. And if you are one of those, speak louder than anyone. Relish the wonders we have today and help, fight for, speak for, donate to those who do not deserve to be denied what we enjoy.

Be grateful, be thoughtful, be kind.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seize the Day

"Believe it or not,  each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die."
~Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

The clock is ticking. We have 24 hours in a day 365 days a year. For how many years none of us know. Carpe Diem right?

Last night my sweet husband told me that he wants to do that more often, seize the day. That used to be our relationship I have constant Facebook memories of our crazy long distance romance. I would travel to Amsterdam a couple of times a year. He would travel to Lancaster. And once a year we would meet somewhere, Australia and Iceland to name two.  At that time I shared custody of three kids and he had minimal expenses.

Things change.

Now married with stresses of house repairs (money pit), jobs, an aging pet and full-time parenting changes your freedom, both emotionally and financially.

But I married someone who understands that we only have 365 days a year. So let's take our daughter to see dead president's houses (she's an amazing 14-year-old) and get her to Germany this summer combined with a reunion with Amsterdam. She's a straight A student that does her own laundry, packs her own lunches, and cooks dinner once a week because she wants to. She is a way better person than I ever was (sorry mom).

We all have dreams and goals that we hope to accomplish. Our conversation motivates me to keep working on my dream of getting my book published. It motivated me to finally jump a jump that intimidated me on my young horse. I finally did it and it was beautiful. I could have done it awhile ago.

Our fears, insecurities (I suck, this sucks, I should give up, I will ruin this horse, child, career, relationship.....), often stops us from going that extra step. We don't push forward, take a leap, expose ourselves as the amazing individuals all of us are.

So this Earth Day, what are you pushing aside? What amazing talent, dream, or wish have you buried because you are afraid, insecure, or simply don't believe it's possible? What could you do to change your health, life, the world?

In the musical Hamilton, he asks, "What is a legacy? It's planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."

True. But others will see.

So what will be your legacy?

"There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live."
~James Truslow Adams

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Celebrate Women

"Well-behaved women seldom make history."
~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

It's International Woman's Day, an event that has been around since the early 1900's. Here in the United States women were encouraged to not show up for their jobs or, if that was not an option, at least wear red in support of education and equality.

I've had some women ask what their own gender is so upset about.  It's a comment that is a true testament to the bubble many in our society have created for themselves.

Internationally we still have our world full of countries where women are treated no better than livestock  Violence and torture in some places affects the majority of the population of women. If you look up the worst places for women in the world the stories, descriptions and pure hell our sisters endure makes our woes truly seem trivial.

Then Google the best places in the world for women and the United States does not even make the top ten. The fact that women's health care and equal pay for equal work is still something we need to argue about is incredible and quite frankly ridiculous.

But even if you don't give a crap about what might be happening to those other people in other countries or you feel that every right is yours here in America, let's just discuss how much harder it is in general because we are women.

Ask a male friend the last time they felt nervous walking alone. Ask a man the last time they were catcalled, groped, or even sexually assaulted. Ask a man how often he has to go to the doctors for a list of medical issues that start when you're about 14. Ask when the last time was they had to pee on a stick and feared for a plus sign.

Ask the same number of women the same questions.

Do the math.

Celebrate, support and protect each other ladies. Be active here and around the world whenever the opportunity rises. Educate, communicate, and pop some bubbles.

"There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. there is a third power stronger than both, that of women."
~Malala Yousafzai

"A guy asked me today why we need a Women's Day. I told him it's because men took all of the others."
~Lily (my daughter)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Gone With The Wind

"Air, I should explain, becomes wind when it is agitated."
~Titus Lucretius Carus, On The Nature of Things

Love, understanding, acceptance. These are all words expressed fantastically among some in our current nation and disregarded as weakness by others.

Christians will say "love thy neighbor," and most Christians believe that ideal beyond color, race, religion or border walls. But in the midst of an administration where name-calling, exclusion, paranoia and conspiracy theories are daily news it empowers some people to dole out hatred whenever it seems fitting. They now have the presidential right to bully.

Think of it this way, if your neighbor's house is on fire, depending on the wind, your house could be next. If you are casting hate towards a group of people, a community, a society, a religion, an ethnicity, or an individual, when will the winds change?

If you've never felt the sting of gender inequality, racial inequality, or religious profiling count yourself very blessed. If you've never had a government persecute you or your family, if you've never feared for your life or personal safety, if you've never feared that something your government is doing will unnecessarily target your children,  you are one of the lucky ones. But what if the winds change?

Love thy neighbor. Try to understand their fears and concerns rather than point fingers and label and call names. Hug your children or grandchildren and hope they never face adversity due to a life choice you or others don't agree with and adamantly try to make their lives harder for it.

No country should be first. We are a global community that only survives by working together. When one of our neighbors is on fire we step up, because the winds could change.

No one racial or religious group should be first. If your friend, relative, or even acquaintance is being targeted when will your turn come around?

Can you feel the breeze yet?

"Wind does not discriminate-it touches everyone, everything. He liked that about wind."
~Lish McBride, Necromancing the Stone

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Political Victims

"Things you don't need in your life targets you the most."
~Michael Bassy Johnson, Master of Maxims

In speaking over the last few weeks with people on the other side of the political fence there is one word that comes out over and over: victim. I can't tell you how many times I've been called a victim.

In the words of Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that word means what you think it means." And if you get that reference we were made to be friends.

In one way I have been the victim. I was personally slandered on social media because I joined a post "movement" where you shared where you went to public school. But because my middle son went to private school for one year someone decided to call me a hypocrite and invite others to criticize me. Apparently, if you celebrate public schools you hate any other form of education. Similar to how celebrating Christmas means you despise all other religion's holidays. You see the logic, right?

But when I speak out about our current government or defend myself or those I love from personal attacks I am called a victim. I don't see it. Fighting back is not the way of the victim.

You see I have four groups of people in my life right now. The first are the snowflakes like me hell bent on causing some frostbite and amputating some dangerous political limbs along the way. The second are my liberal and Independent friends who see the issues but remain quiet. The third are my Republican friends who know my stance and either partially understand it or know me well enough to know that politics is not personal unless we make it so. Then there is the fourth group, who wish I was a part of the second group, who take every political news story they don't agree with and somehow get their feelings hurt. An entire group who has dismissed me as hateful.

I just went back and looked at every political item I posted (not counting those on my wall by others) and except for one where the wording was misunderstood I can't find a single time I shed hate towards my Trump supporting friends. Not one. And I BEG you to show me specifically. Please! Enlighten me so I can do and be better. I will always own when I am wrong and be the first to apologize. I am far from perfect as you all know by now.

Yet I have been called stupid and a disgusting and shameful mother for taking my daughter to a historical march. I've been told that as a liberal I wouldn't know the truth if I fell over it. I've been called weak, a snowflake, and of course, a victim. Yet if I so much as try to defend myself, DEFEND being the word, because let's face it, you can only be insulted so many times by people who claim to be your friends before you have to say something. Right?

Wrong. What I've learned is there is no arguing. There is no defending. There is no point. When you are these things in the mind of someone who has decided all they want to do is hate these things the only answer is to apologize for even trying and walk away. They call it victim. I call it rational soul saving.

I'm not sure what the next four years will hold. The extreme supporters of our leader will always be so, even if lawsuits prove true and an impeachment happens.  But I will continue to try to be thoughtful and careful about what I say, post and share. My daily alternative facts will end when the government also stops doing their own. And most of all I will try to be kind to everyone. I have too often lately felt the hate so deeply I could barely function.

And apparently, I deserved it. Yet still, no one can show me how.

I'm waiting with an open mind and a willingness to change if needed.

Snowflake out.