Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Once Dreamt of Fame ----- Now I Dream of Peace

As a teenager I had many dreams and fantasies that fame would somehow give me the ultimate achievement.  I was very enamored of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and watched it many late nights observing and weighing how the interviewees talked and responded to Johnny Carson's schtick and his patter and comedic strategies.  I had a deep crush on Johnny and many of my fantasies revolved around being interviewed on his show for my great talents as a writer or performer.  Maybe I would be a rock star who was supremely talented in a band like Three Dog Night or Blood, Sweat, and Tears.  This was how I built up my self esteem at a time when my ego was fragile and not well bolstered at all.

I guess I ought to feel embarrassment for those long ago fantasies and yearnings that would somehow make me valuable and worthy in the eyes of the world.  I didn't feel valuable and worthy in the life I was living.  I'll spare you the long litany of why I didn't feel valued.  These feelings followed me into adulthood but eventually I've somehow managed to find some peace and acceptance of myself.

My faith has been helpful to me in realizing that I have worth.  In the words of one mentor, "God don't make no junk."  At the lowest depths of darkness, I've been able to hear God's lesson that I am a child of the Creator who exists in a light-filled,world  Even though I was deep in some very dark places with the shadows surrounding me,  I was able to hold on and know God was with me.

The peace and acceptance have gradually followed from those dark days of pain and panic.  I have experienced much spiritual growth.

In many facets of my existence, I do experience peace.  With gratitude, I welcome that peace that God has given me.  I may never have been on The Tonight Show yucking it up with Johnny Carson, but I have something now that I value more than anything like that would have been.  It is something much more valuable to me.  I have peace and the gratitude that accompanies it.

And my dear Johnny Carson,   hope you have found peace in the afterlife.  You gave our culture much laughter and entertainment in your time, and me, as well.  And I have the lesson I have learned from those long ago days of my teen years when what I thought I wanted was not to be and what I didn't know I wanted, came to be.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Overthinking About Overthinking

It's almost 6 am on a Wednesday morning.  It is calm and cool as I look out the window in front of my laptop.  What shall I write?  I'm not able to think of a title for this post.  My mind has not kicked in to thinking mode this early in the day.  That is a possibility.  Sometimes thinking mode is over-rated.  I read posts in different venues about how over-thinking can be problematic.  It's quite often associated with addictive behaviors.


I love to get in the place when my mind is involved wholly in a task such as crafting or reading.  I don't find watching television conducive to this mindful place that I like to be in.  The analogy of television as junk food isn't lost on me.  There are times when I like junk television and it is an escape.  I admit I watch Let's Make A Deal with Wayne Brady or Big Brother as a sort of calorie laden bag of potato chips for my brain.  I'm not able to do this as a constant.  It saps my inner reserves of self discipline if I watch a lot of television.

To achieve the mindful place where I'd like to be, I quietly meditate and pray, I crochet on the prayer shawl that I'm making for Ernie who is seriously ill, or I listen to music.  It is such a gift to me when I am able to focus my attention and do these activities.

Reading has been a difficult area for me to re-establish.  Due to depressive episodes, the focus and attention to it has been lost to me at times.  A lot of my childhood and youth were spent in this beloved pastime.  The rewards to me of achieving the focus I need to read a book in its entirety are limitless.

I listen to the vehicles speeding by on the US highway I live on and I hear the birds with their tweets and song.  It is an interlude of sound that sends me on my way this morning.  I have hope that I may achieve some mindful time such as this as my day progresses.  It may include some reading, crocheting, or music.  That is a bonus in any day of my life.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Day 2014

Three days after Easter of this year and I'm listening to some inspirational music by Amy Grant.  It is her album, The Collection.  I look out my window and the evergreens and branches of the birches are gently blowing in a chilly spring breeze.  El Shaddai  El Shaddi  God of Light, You set Your children free.

How many can truly say that we are free?  I think of friends and family in genuine struggles of daily life.  The national and international news is discouraging and doesn't give a positive picture of where humanity is going forward.  What is it forward that we go to in our journeys?  Is it simply movement from a point in one place to a linear point down the time lines of our lives?

Count your blessings.  Accentuate the positive.  Are you able to do this under the crushing weight that life hands some of us?  A facebook meme states there always something to be grateful for.

Our local nursing home is closing in May in our small village.  It was endowed by a local philanthropist and now has been running in the red for years and the NY State Department of Health has signed off on closing it.  The few residents left must now find a bed available somewhere.  It is so terribly sad that these residents and their families cannot even find beds close to our area because there aren't openings.

Jesus....He'll never let you go...

Each one of these individuals is a human living spark with feelings.  They have family, friends, nursing home staff, who care about them.  

I spent a quiet day in my own home on Easter.  That day I listened to Amy Grant, Sandy Patti, and Aretha Franklin's early gospel music.  I had food for my body, as well as music and literature to feed my soul.  I could read my Bible without interruption and ponder the words of the Scripture writers, His Word.  This is my freedom.  Theses are my blessings.

Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet....When I feel afraid, feel I've lost my way...You'll be there untill the end.  

Freedom?  Find it in your spiritual life and hope that humanity will be moving forward to a better day. Let us hope that the vulnerable, the innocent, the hurting, those with disease, the young and old, all who suffer can find freedom.  This is what discernment I find this Easter.





Friday, March 7, 2014

Christmas Busted---Ice Here and Back Again

Many places in the Northeast experienced the weekend before Christmas 2013, an extreme ice storm with power outages and states of emergency to prevent unnecessary travel.  The unnecessary travel allows emergency vehicles, utility trucks, and law enforcement to get where they need to go without having to deal with as many stranded motorists or accidents.

Many of my concerns centered on power being out at my home where my heat source requires electricity and worries without heat the water pipes will freeze and break.  Just being cold seems secondary to this worry of broken water pipes.  I was very fortunate because the power outage lasted  5 hours on a Saturday afternoon.  It was about 6:30 pm when the power was restored by a utility truck on the highway in front of my house with the eerie sound of the linemen on loudspeaker talking to each other.  It was disorienting, but in a grateful way, I welcomed this strangeness of hearing them in the darkness of the early evening talking to each other as they did the necessary work to bring electricity back to our neighborhood.

This was my backyard:



It's March as I finish writing this blog segment.  It's been a long, difficult winter.  There's somewhat of a touch of spring in the air, but it seems snow and cold are wearing on.  Hanging on to hope that spring will be here soon is a difficult task for me at this time.




The Bitter Sweetness: I Get Dressed and I Show Up

I'm feeling bitter sweetness and loneliness tonight.  To assist myself in working through these feelings, I've been listening to soft music that evokes some of the emotions I've been feeling.  And I scribble and doodle in my Windows 7 Paint program.  It helps me to feel peace.  I turned here to my oft-neglected blog to soothe myself and find hope rather than loss.

This is a self portrait that I did once in Paint.




I am progressing to upper middle age, where I guess 50-ish is the new 60-ish, in my case.  My face looks old to me and I wear cosmetics very seldom.  I don't color my hair, nor do I get the latest hair style and trips to the beautician are few and far between.  I seem to have a "kick me" tattoo on my forehead that invites weird and off color comments at times when I go out in the community.  I have to tell myself that maybe someone that comments like this will know what it's like some day.

Today I talked to two people who have suffered great trauma in their lives and I feel defeated and sad for them.  I wonder why it has to happen and why the healing must always be so painful and filled with anger.  There is no sweetness in this for those who have been traumatized by violence and horrendous acts.

A scan of the brains of those who have PTSD,  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, show there has been an actual change in the make-up or what I will call the "wiring" of the brain as compared to that who has not experienced such trauma.

This is a picture I did this evening in the Paint program that I titled Archangel:



And here is another that I titled Scribble:


I don't think I've ready for the MOMA, but it helped me to paint and doodle my way out of the sadness I'm feeling tonight.  And maybe there are angels or archangels looking out for the vulnerable, the prey of the predators, and the lost and alone who feel no sweetness and may only taste the bitter.

I will just keep getting dressed and showing up.  It is sweet to be able to do that and hopefully the bitterness I feel will take care of itself.



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Have You Heard the One About the Psalmodikon---or An Amateur Luthier Makes One

My friend, whom I shall refer to as The Luthier, tinkers with and creates many types of musical instruments. These instruments can include those with bellows and reeds, such as accordions and pump organs, or stringed instruments made of many types of woods or cobbled and cannibalized from various other stringed instruments.  It is quite a creative process this requires speedy searches by myself on the internet for types of wood The Lutheir seeks or specific mandolin or viola strings, whatever the heat of the moment is requiring.

As far as the psalmodikon goes, I found it fascinating and even the pronunciation of the word required some education on our part by The Hermit.  The Hermit is another character in this process who also provides internet searches and information on tech processes and of course, pronunciation coaching.  It was determined that the best pronunciation for this instrument of Scandinavian origin is "som-OH-dick-on."

It is a long wooden instrument with one string that generally has a low, almost guttural sound.  It is known in states such as Minnesota where many Scandinavians settled in the 19th and 20th centuries.  The one string is often played with a bow used on other stringed instruments and they will be played in quartets of the instrument to provide a variety of notes.



The Luthier did build his psalmodikon and it looked fine.  I would have liked to play it and it held a fascination for me.  Maybe because the Scandinavian culture has always been an interest;  probably ever since seeing the Viking ship model my oldest brother made when I was a young child and sneaking into  his bedroom too look at it, but never daring to touch the model.  And I must admit those Midwestern Scandinavian lumberjacks are some fine looking specimens, too.

The Luthier's creation did not remain whole very long.  It was disassembled and the spruce that it had been composed from became another musical project.  This is someone who has the specifications for the Stradivarius stringed instruments posted on the refrigerator in large font to refer to when needed.

Here is a link to some music by a psalmodikon quartet:


The psalomdikon quartet music is well-suited to sacred music, as you will see, if you viewed and listened to the music on this web page Nordic-American Psalmodkonforbundet.  This page has lots of information on the topic, if my article has piqued your interest.

The Luthier, of course, is on another project, and the Hermit and I just shrug our shoulders and know the Lutheir will be requesting new internet searches and information soon for the next and the next and the next...





Monday, March 4, 2013

Laundromat Musings

Washing and drying clothes at a laundromat involves a whole set of skills, that many may not be aware they might need.  Take a couple loads of laundry to the local laundromat when you've never been to one and it will become apparent that it isn't as simple a process as it might look.  Not to be gender biased, but if you're a man standing around waiting for someone to feel sorry for you and tell you what to do, you might get some sympathizers, you might not.  A lot of the women that are going to the laundromat may have children or grandchildren with them , as well as having hauled on heavy loads of wet and dirty clothes and don't see this endeavor as an opportunity to assist the clueless male on how to do his laundry.

Hopefully, the male in question, had a parent who taught him the basics of laundry when he was growing up and he will not be as clueless as originally conjectured to be.  Note, I was once asked to sniff and smell a man's newly laundered pair of pants to see if it still had a burning smell left from the fire he had his house recently.  I asked myself internally, "Is he serious?" but I played along and did as he asked.  I couldn't smell any burning smell, and there might have been a slight odor of kerosene, but I'm not the best person to ask, because my sense of smell is practically nonexistent, except after a superb night's rest, which can happen very rarely.

This was going on as two young children were rolling the laundry carts back and forth and coasting on them as entertainment, while their harried grandmother finished drying some bedding she had washed.  One sincerely enjoys silence after an experience like this, believe me.

Using the same laundromat all the time, one gets acclimated to which washing machines and dryers are the better ones.  One learns the washer that sounds like it will launch into orbit when it is spin drying or the dryer that will leave one with a mass of wet clothes after an hour of drying on the highest setting.  On the opposite side of things, are the washers that don't spin dry at all and leave sodden clothes and the dryers that may melt  the polyester shirt back to its roots as a  product of crude oil.

Who would have known the adventures that await at the local laundromat?