Tag Archives: relationships

The Day After Christmas

Christmas Love

My bed was warm and cozy this morning. I managed to sleep until almost 8 a.m. I have made an executive decision that most of the day will be spent in my flannel pajamas and thick fluffy robe, tube socks, and slippers that are faux fleece lined. They look ridiculous because several years ago I covered them with green felt when I went to a Red Hat sleep over. I wore a huge sleep shirt with a picture of a gigantic frog perched on a lily pad. The slippers were converted to frog feet. There were toes at one time but I had made them too long. I kept stepping on them and almost falling so they now have a toe-ectomy. Since no one will see them, I continue to wear them because they are the most comfortable and warmest in my closet.

I’m staying in this attire because it is the warmest and coziest outfit I can think of. I have given up trying to stay warm in my house when the thermostat is set on 68. As the years go by, I have made staying warm more of a priority. It is now set on 70 and the furnace is running almost constantly since it is in single digits outside. My home is as insulated as I can make it, but there is still a slight chill. I give thanks for warmth on cold winter days.

Every once in a while I am given the gift of realizing that I feel really well…not just physically but also spiritually. Today is one of those days. Even though Christmases are a little hard for me, I found comfort in this one.

A birthday buddy I found about seven years ago has included me as part of her family. She has reunited with her estranged father and so she hosts a dinner for him and his wife. After so many years there seems to be a bond forming between them again. I kind of envy that since there was never enough time for me to experience that with my own father.

After the dinner the two of us went to the candlelight service at church. It is the same every year, but this year I felt a solace that I don’t usually sense. Ill feelings about Christmas go all the way back to childhood. It was a little sad when she confided to me on the way home that she is thinking of changing churches. There has been much conflict the last couple of years in our congregation and we split almost in half. She stayed as I did but she is thinking of moving on.

Yesterday I was invited to the gathering at another friend’s home across the street. She cooks a huge pot of tortilla soup, tamales, beans, and makes wonderful chip dip. They buy a honey baked ham which gives me my pork fix for the year. Her family and friends arrive whenever. I walked across the street around one and had a nice visit while all was calm. It was very nice visiting with her and watching huge snow flakes fall outside. As the day went on, her two daughters and their families appeared, and a short while later two more relatives and their families arrived. The house was getting crowded so I decided to come home, full of her delicious food.

Her home is a little more drafty than mine so I had wisely chosen to put on another layer of underwear. By the time all those people had gathered, I was getting a little toasty. My introversion kicked in and I realized it was time to move on. I weary after four hours with any group.

Before I went to bed, another friend called to share her success about hosting her family for Christmas. She has so many best friends I can’t count them all, but she has chosen to add me to her “club”. It is one of those rare honors one is given in life to find a friend like her.

Back in 1968 I was dating a young Marine. He surprised me at Christmas and came home on leave. It was during that time we got engaged. Since he was in officer’s school and knew he would be heading to Viet Nam, I had no idea what to give him as a present. I decided to borrow a negligee gown and wrap from my aunt, (which had remained unworn in her drawer for several years), wrap a ribbon sash around me and sit under the tree with a gift of a big smile. It was a wonderful Christmas. I believed I had been given the gift of love. Things didn’t work out with him, but if I concentrate, I can connect with the good feelings of those few days.

I woke up this morning realizing I had been dreaming about him. I realized that the dream was probably because of “King of the Hill”. John reminds me very much of Hank Hill.  If I wake during the early morning around 4, that show is usually on. I guess I was hearing it in my sleep and started thinking of my love. After all these years I accepted the fact after fighting it for almost fifty years that for a number of reasons there will always be a part of me that loves him, but I realized today that I am setting myself free. Maybe the memories will now fade and I will recognize that that relationship also had its toxic moments that I have too long suppressed and all worked out for the greater good.

Whatever the cause of my feelings of joy today, I am grateful and will relish every minute. It is a new feeling to associate with Christmas and I will hold onto it as long as possible. I hope your days were as blessed as mine. Namaste. Attic Annie

holly

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It Should Pain ALL of Us

Syria-Kid-Close-up-Face-Paint-Girl-English1

http://www.democracychronicles.com/hillary-clinton-attending-meeting-about-syria/

Hillary Clinton says “It pains me.”

She was talking about her feelings concerning the “plight of women in male-dominated societies.”  The little Syrian girl in the picture above is expressing a viewpoint about desiring freedom and peace in her country. It would be very common to assume that she could also be demonstrating a feeling about being a girl if she is old enough to know what it means to be a second class citizen.

If one takes time to view the status of women in the world, it is easy to find examples of what it really means to be born female. Female babies in China are found abandoned or thrown out with the trash reported as recently as July, 2012.  In an effort to stem population growth, China instituted a one child policy in 1978. Although in cities females are more likely to be abandoned, in the rural countryside they are often just killed. If the couple is allowed only one child, they prefer that child to be a boy. The girls who are allowed to grow up are often called worthless and are frequently treated as servants to the parents.

It is dangerous for girls to speak out in these countries. Just think of the Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban just for expressing her desire for an education.

On February 14, One Billion Rising is sponsoring a protest against rape and violence against women around the world. Knowing that to protest is to invite beatings, jail, or even death, women are still willing to rise against inequality and violence. A UN report stated that 250,000 women in sixty-five countries reported rape. That is LESS than 1/3 of all countries in the world and less than half to one fourth of all rapes that occur. Even if the case is reported, more than 97% of the men who rape never spend time in jail. One Billion Rising protests these dismal statistics.

Women in the US can not even today say that they live in equality with men. Discrimination and exploitation are still rampant. Things are improving, albeit extremely slowly. Just one example is how long it took for American women to achieve the right to vote and the treatment of those who spoke up for that right.  These were the stories that were never taught in history classes.

This is still a country where women can parade in ads on TV wearing the skimpiest Victoria Secret lingerie and well covered women breast feeding their babies are kicked out of establishments.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is pained. We should ALL be pained for all women all over the world. The sad part is for every ten men who openly abuse, limit rights, and feel superior to women there are probably at least five women who condone their behavior and accept it as part of life. Many of those who “stand by their man” are in comfortable positions with their husbands and are afraid to rock the boat.  They prefer inequality for others over freedom and personal responsibility for themselves. Just look at the number of women who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s.

I often wonder why men have to feel superior to women. Is it something genetic? It certainly is something culturally engrained around the world. Women are slowly rising in status. Perhaps there is hope in the world that by doing so, the world may come to be a safer more peaceful place. It will not happen in my life, and probably not in my granddaughter’s life, but hopefully seven generations from now we may see progress. Namaste Attic Annie

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Shakespeare Didn’t Corner the Market on Tragedy

photo from Star Telegram

Shakespeare did not corner the market on tragedy.

The play that has been unfolding in the past month here in Fort Worth is worthy of a Shakespearian nod along with the best of his works.

Last month there was a two vehicle accident in the middle of the afternoon. The driver of a pickup veered into the path of an Escalade EXT. The teen age driver and one of his passengers was killed. Another passenger was seriously injured. The driver was drunk. He had left school at lunch time to purchase a 32 oz. bottle of malt liquor. He was seventeen. The dead girl and the injured one were both fifteen. I’m sure they were probably excited to be with “an older man” who was showing off his skills of being able to drink and drive at the same time. That was a fatal flaw in their thinking.

As if that were not enough of a tragedy, the event took another life yesterday. The teenager had a friend who tried to stop him from driving. The newspaper article does not go into more details of how the friend tried to stop the driver. In any event, the friend failed in his efforts and instead decided to follow the truck to make sure his friend and passengers arrived home safely. He witnessed the fatal accident and tried to help, but it was too late. The girl died at the scene. The driver died the next day.

The friend was left behind with a terrible sense of guilt  . He blamed himself for the death of his friend. He had failed to prevent the accident. His self-reproach was unimaginable.

The teen age years with their normal angst are hard enough to navigate. Adding to that the death of a friend, for which rightly or wrongly one takes on full responsibilty, is a load that few people can handle.

The friend succumbed to the pressure.

He died a few days ago from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to his head, leaving his mother and a younger brother to find him.

He also left behind another who claims he was the young man’s “best friend”.

The clerk who sold the boy the malt liquor was arrested in a sting. The mother is left with her grief. There was no gun in the house. She will always wonder how he was able to obtain it.

The boy had returned some borrowed clothing from his “best friend” and talked about what good friends they were…like brothers. The friend is now probably wondering why he didn’t pick up the signals that the boy was saying good bye.

The teen age years are difficult enough to get through without the addition of guns and alcohol. The DARE program presented by the police just isn’t enough. They try to teach the kids tools to help them through the gauntlet until adulthood is reached. Sometimes they are successful, sometimes not.

Do I have the answers? Certainly not. I have felt blessed every day that my son made it through those years of drinking and driving in spite of me more than because of me.

Tragedies happen. If someone knows the answers to how to keep drivers from drinking, teen agers from obtaining guns, and friends from committing suicide because of the guilt, I hope s/he comes forward. We have been involved with these problems too long.

I’m certain Shakespeare with his command of language could even come up with a quote that would wake us up to the fact that what we are doing is not good enough. Enough is enough!

My knowledge of Shakespeare in extremely limited. The quote that kept running through my mind as I read the paper was this:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep:
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to…

It is sad that the friend who tried to help decided “not to be” and all too sadly, “there’s the rub”.

Namaste  Attic Annie

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Do “They” Really Just See Us As Crabs In A Bucket?

Crabs in a bucket

How and why did our country become divided into two such hostile camps? What will need to happen to begin to mend the tears that have occurred in the fabric of our daily lives?

Some days I give in to the urge to turn on the television in the morning to take the edge off the silence of the house. This morning I tuned into CNN during the discussion of the Romney victory in New Hampshire.

Some spokesperson was being interviewed. He was talking about the number of people who are jealous of those who are “successful”. He said many Americans are against achieving success. I assumed he was saying too many people have a sour grapes attitude.  I didn’t listen to the rest of the interview because, as is often the case, my mind was already reeling with what could be a rebuttal.

If those who are “successful” feel that the only reason they are being singled out is because the vast majority are envious or jealous, I think, to a certain extent with a few exceptions, they are not right. The great majority, I believe, do NOT have a crabs in the bucket attitude as he seemed to be saying.

However, I think they are missing the point and trying to fool themselves. I don’t agree that Americans are against success. Many children in today’s classrooms are still hopeful of achieving that status. By success, I am assuming this spokesperson was referring to monetary success.

“They”, the successful, are resented when the success is achieved through fraud, greed, and manipulation of laws. I don’t think many would resent someone who gained success simply because of honest hard work without the exploitation of others. After all, that’s the American Way…or we believed the fairy tale that it is.

“They” the successful, feel attacked when the rest resent that the amount contributed to the upkeep of our country is not their fair share. One of the things I remember learning in church is Luke 12:48  “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” That adage has been around at least 2,000 years. Why is there so much resentment among the successful that they are still being reminded of that fact?

Yes, among the successful, there are those who are very philanthropic. Their gifts to the public are very beneficial. Some do it for the reason stated above….much has been given to them so they give. However, I would love to be a tiny mouse in the offices of their tax accountants who tell them how much to give in order to avoid x amount of taxes, thus avoiding their fair share of the fair share they should be paying.  I was reminded of that when the minister on Sunday commented on the increase in giving the last week of last year stating how grateful we are for such contributions. We are grateful. They money is sorely needed. However, how much tax is avoided by those who gave for such reasons?

It is sad that we are, or are rapidly becoming, a nation of haves and have nots. It is even sadder when the majority only want the minority to gain their wealth honestly and pay their fair share. Namaste  Attic Annie

I found this article about Romney‘s interview on the Today Show this morning. Evidently the talk of envy is coming from him.

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We Have Only Today

I was watching TV last week and came across an episode of 8 Simple Rules. I never watched it when it was on the first time. I soon realized what was happening. The wife played by Katey Sagal was deciding she couldn’t sleep in her bed because it was the first night after the funeral of her husband, played by John Ritter. Since that was the only episode I have seen, I realized the series was using the death of Ritter as part of the script. I remember how quickly he had died. On the series, they took the attitude that life goes on.

Last week a member of the choir sang two solos during church. He has been through some very rough spots in his life but as he sang, it was obvious that he was in a very good place. Things were coming together for him. One of the songs he sang was Carolyn Arends song “New Year’s Day.”

I buy a lot of diaries 
Fill them full of good intentions 
Each and every New Year’s Eve 
I make myself a list 
All the things I’m gonna change 
Until January 2nd 
So this time I’m making one promise 

CHORUS: 
This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 

I believe it’s possible 
I believe in new beginnings 
‘Cause I believe in Christmas Day 
And Easter morning too 
And I’m convinced it’s doable 
‘Cause I believe in second chances 
Just the way that I believe in you 

This will be my resolution 
Every day is New Year’s Day 
This could start a revolution 
Every day is… 

One more chance to start all over 
One more chance to change and grow 
One more chance to grab a hold of grace 
And never let it go 

He’s the type of guy who can really make others feel good. We believed him when he sang of changing and growing and grabbing grace. He made  us all feel good. He made us believe that every day we should resolve that this is our best day. That was Sunday.

Yesterday morning he posted on FB for his friends to pray for his daughter. She had stopped breathing and was rushed to intensive care in Tennessee where he had spent days at Christmas. She was on a ventilator. He updated last night that neurological signs were not good. An hour ago he posted that his daughter was with her mom among the angels in heaven.

The 8 Simple Rules script had the teenage children talking about the last things they said to their father. They were deep in grief for suddenly losing him.

I’m sure my friend is in deep mourning for the loss of his daughter. As far as I know she never regained consciousness. I wonder if he remembers his last conversation with her.

Our lives can be as normal as ever and then suddenly without warning everything can come to a screeching halt. Both the show and my friend’s loss brought that home to me. We are not able to always have that last moment to say good bye.

My father and I were not on the best of terms. He was in the hospital and I should have gone to see him even if it would have been out of a sense of filial duty. However, I really didn’t feel like it. I remember exactly where I was when I decided I would wait until the next day. After all, the doctor had said he was doing OK.

About six hours later we got the call from the hospital that he was dead. I did not take the time to say good bye. I can’t remember my last conversation with him. Those times during my senior year in college were few and far between.

I had that one day. Only one day. To tell my father I really did love him…to ask him if he really did love me. I let that opportunity slide by.

I talk with my son a couple times a month and email him a few more. If you have adult male sons you know this is very normal. He is living his own life. But one thing I have realized that we do more often is end up writing or speaking “I love you.” He often initiates it. He is able to do something I had great difficulty in doing. He is teaching me the importance of letting him know and his letting me know that we love each other. It is then that I realize we have only today. If I die suddenly he will remember that the last time we communicated he ended the conversation with love. Namaste. Attic Annie

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The beginning of my bucket list to change the governmentt

If you could heavily influence the running of the United States government, what would you change?

Ever since I started blogging, I’ve become much more interested in what is happening in the world around me. I’ve paid more attention to the military and political situations than at any other time in my life. If there is truly a moral law that allows for righteous indignation then I am claiming that state of mind many times as I read what is going on in this world.

If I had the power, I would act on a bucket list of changes before I leave this plane of existence and move to a higher consciousness. These are just some of the things I would consider changing.

I would instruct the military to stop telling the young privates, airmen, seamen recruits, ensigns, and lieutenants in our armed forces that they are fighting for America’s freedom and our Constitution. I would make them completely inform these men and women concerning the purpose of their missions. “To make the world safe for democracy” is a cover up for the real reason we are engaging in conflict about 99% of the time.
There have been very few conflicts since the Revolutionary War that make that a righteous claim. I would scale back the U S Military to where it was a defensive force only. If we are not being attacked, we do not join in any one else’s wars. I would stop the aggression of our forces and the major bullying we do. Eisenhower warned of the military industrial complex a long time ago, but the American public has allowed an all out expansion ever since his presidency and made it seem like it was for  the good of the people. I would make service to our country mandatory for all young persons for two years to rebuild America’s infrastructure, roads, schools, hospitals, etc. instead of sending them out of our country to destroy.

I would set term limits to our Congress and our Supreme Court. I do not believe the framers of the Constitution EVER visualized the length of terms that some of those senators, representatives, and judges  have achieved. I would ban all inclusions in a bill that do not pertain directly to the bill. This to me is an insidious, heinous practice that has led us down the wrong path to pay offs, vote buying, and corruption.

I would end the parade of lobbyists that have mushroomed into an army unto itself with their deep pockets and one sided corrupted information that is harming the American public in so many ways. I would also change the law that allows corporations to be counted as people with the privilege of using money to buy our government. I would change the tax structure to be more equitable getting rid of all loopholes and ways of hiding extra income. All persons would pay according to their ability, if not in money then in service to the community.

I would force all those who deal with our health to give us all information for us to make correct decisions. The pharmaceutical companies would have to conduct unbiased tests on the drugs they force on the public. I didn’t realize until recently that if drugs are expected to cause negative side effects, the companies just don’t test for those effects or they don’t test long enough to discover effects over time. The idea that drugs should be sold until enough lawsuits for damage force them off the market is pathetic. I would stop the insurance companies from selecting only to cover the young and healthy. I would make hospitals and health personnel charge reasonable and fair prices for their services to stop bankrupting those who are least able to pay even with insurance.

I would do whatever necessary to clean out the vipers in the corporate world who put massive profits over the health and safety of our citizens. The food that we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the cleaning products that we use in our households and on our clothes and body all contain chemicals that are known to cause cancer or are producing super infectious organisms, weeds, etc. as a byproduct.

There is so much to be done to get us back on the path I feel we should be traveling. These few paragraphs are just the beginning of what I would do if I could influence the United States government. Which way would you lead us? Namaste Attic Annie

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Parents, Before you yell when you hear “Is that All?” …

Since I’m going to be a grandmother next year, even if it is long distance, I’ve started reading some of the mommy blogs like the one on The Today Show Moms blog just to see how things have changed since my childhood or my son’s. Last week they were talking about spoiled kids at Christmas. A couple of the moms commented about their children saying, “Is that all?” after opening the presents. One mother talked about immediately punishing the child and letting her know her attitude was not appreciated and sending her to her room. I tried to add a comment but I couldn’t get signed in so I let it go, but it brought back memories.

I have very few recollections of Christmas and opening presents while I was still at my father’s home. I remember my aunt complaining about having to decorate the tree by herself. She never once in my memory invited me to join her or try to make it a festive time of sharing. One year she just talked about how lazy I was not to help. It was her “chore” and she resented it. I didn’t know it was something I was allowed to do. If she had smiled and invited me to help her, I would have joined in willingly. Most years she did it when I wasn’t around. It was just suddenly, “I’m tired of doing this all by myself. You do it.” But at the same time, I could never hang the single strands of tinsel to her satisfaction. Dad’s job was to bring home the tree. There was never an invitation to help pick out the “best one”. It just appeared. It was stuck in the corner of the room next to the couch. Christmas in our home was just a time to do and not a time to share.

The opening of the presents was fairly joyless as well. I do have a memory of a couple of years running downstairs to see what Santa had brought, but that stopped when I was still pretty young. Showing excitement was only barely tolerated in my memory. Exchanging presents was just something we did. There was no oohing and ahhing or prolonged and excited thanks.

I am unable to remember exactly what year the big transgression took place. I’m assuming it was some time in between seventh and tenth grade. I seem to remember my sister was still at home. One by one my sister or I doled out the presents. The wrapping paper was strewn around. I was on the floor close to the tree. My father was seated across from me sitting on a dining room chair. My sister was on the couch and my aunt was in the chair.

The passing out of gifts had stopped and all presents seem to have been opened, but I wasn’t sure. Since the tree was in the corner, it was easy to miss presents behind the tree. I uttered the most grievous words I could have said all day. It was either “Is that everything?”  or maybe “Is that all?” I simply meant have all the presents been passed out, should we start picking up the paper…something along that line. I did NOT mean to infer I thought I didn’t get enough and that I wanted more.

My father did not interpret what I said that way. He very seldom even recognized when I was in the room with him. We just didn’t talk with each other. Suddenly he simply erupted! He must have ranted for five minutes about how selfish I was and how ungrateful and how I should be glad for what I did get. He even turned red in the face. In the meantime, if I could have dug a hole in the floor to escape into the basement, I gladly would have. My cheeks were positively burning with chagrin. I couldn’t move. I just sat there and took the blows. I couldn’t even defend myself. One thing I don’t remember doing is crying. I refused to cry in front of my father.

My father ran out of steam and the room became silent. I started collecting the wrapping paper to give myself something to do. In those days we opened the presents carefully and folded the paper so that it might be used again the next year. I have no idea what happened after that. I guess we all went our separate ways in the house. The memory fades.

I wanted to yell at the mother in the blog who talked of immediately punishing her child for her “attitude”. She knows her child better than I. Perhaps the child was being a brat. But on the outside chance that the child simply meant, “Are we done with this activity?” or something similar, he or she should at least be questioned before the parent goes into such an action. It’s only fair.

Do I remember what I got for Christmas that year? No way. Do I remember the chastisement? You bet I do…like it was last year. I have pretty much blocked out any memories of Christmas at our house. It was not a time for joy.  That episode made Christmas something even less to be thankful for.

Parents, give yourself  and your child a break. Question them calmly before acting. It may save a lot of lingering bitterness. You may never know. Namaste Attic Annie

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