Once upon a time…

Nugget 2

I happened upon a vendor, at the flea market, this weekend. She was selling old beaten, yet still useful, metal trucks. My heart was happy at the memories stirred by these relics. Days spent riding them over the grass hills of my backyard with my brother. Tumbling and laughing …oblivious of their sharp edges and lead paint…we used them in the unintended ways kids do with toys.
Out of nowhere, I remembered Halloween and the fun we had roaming our neighborhood until 10:00 pm! I reminisced for a moment with the vendor. We shared a happy talk of pillowcases filled with candy and the knowing we were safe because we knew our neighbors.
“Now, Halloween is limited to an hour and a half .” I sighed. “Oh well, the kids won’t miss what they never had, I guess.”  I walked away with a heavy heart.

The next vendor had a metal Popgun for sale. He wanted $20.00 for memory’s sake and I held the toy, not daring to buy, but allowing myself the memories of me, as Annie Oakley once again. Jamming the barrel with dirt that would go off, with a pop and a puff, was not the intended use, of course. Such happy times…

I’d just had a birthday so reminiscing was near, anyway. The rest of the morning held flashbacks to the happiest times riding in the back of pick-up trucks and on top of hay wagons, with the breeze and treetops at my cheek.
Building campfires on an old dirt road and learning to swim without life vests in the ponds and creeks, came back. Using a wood-burning set without incident and at an “inappropriate” age and the “Thing Maker” with molten goop producing plastic bugs. Riding an, at least 1000 lb horse, bareback at the age of 6 and wandering about the cows, who weighed the same, without fear nor injury because I had been taught about caution. Oh yes, and building bows with arrows of sharpened sticks with the Barlow pocketknife grandpa bought for me. Building jumps for my spider bike and riding with no hands…feet upon the handles…producing some scrapes and bruises, but what a ride! Climbing to the tops of trees and silos and getting scared but holding tight and cheering “like a gold medalist” when I, once again, found the ground.
These things are dangerous and won’t happen any more…why? Because no modern child would attempt them. They haven’t any way to test themselves…to learn caution as they grow by “uping” the ante of self-reliance. All they know is “You mustn’t try. You mustn’t risk. Your judgement is flawed.Don’t get hurt.”
Kids are taught to fear, now.  A fine beginning to taming them…self-reliance is dangerous, you know.
Wild colts can turn into sheep.

Kids won’t miss, what they never had…

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The Whole Picture

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle

a drawing of a 4 piece jigsaw puzzle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Life is a mystery. ”

I prefer to think of it as a jigsaw puzzle. The gathering of information and ideas for us to fit together, all the while, hoping to “get the picture”.

If you’ve ever made a jigsaw puzzle with many pieces, it seems an overwhelming task, at first.

Childhood teaches us to recognize the colors and shapes.

Adolescence is a time when we can start to recognize that flat edges go on the outside… a framing. But still, so very chaotic when we realize how many pieces are left to organize.

Adulthood is the time the sky pieces are bundled and, using the colors and shapes from childhood, we start to build.

As we move along, we make new bundles. Like pieces are organized, by color, giving us a plan and a vision of becoming whole. Then we start to examine the shapes because the shapes, are the true means that, enable us to build.

Colors are the events, both good and unfortunate, that we carry. Shapes are the way we react to and use the events. Learning to live takes practice and how we deal with events,( our scruples, our curiosity and our ability to forgive) give the shapes clarity and makes them interlocking.

Finally, we find that there are few pieces left. The organizing is done and there is an ease with which we build. A life, lived well, is now a beautiful picture. Even if a few pieces have become misshapen or lost, it is a wonder to behold.

Remember to help children to recognize and define. They will need that.

Forgive adolescent disorder and marvel at their framework, instead.

Enjoy the busy, colorful adulthood that you have worked for.

Take time to reminisce with the elderly, there’s much to be learned from people who see the whole picture.

Mud Pies vs Easy Bake Ovens

My Smarty Pants!

My Smarty Pants! (my granddaughter at our camp.)

Memories from my childhood are very precious to me. I’m sure that there were occasions when I proclaimed,”I’m bored!” like any other kid, but the ways that I used to entertain myself, are sadly, less popular today. Some have been lost to the allure of technology for entertainment. Technology in the form of games and computers is an awesome way to learn! Many “over 50s” shake their heads with condemnation of these modern toys. Watch them closely though, they are the same folks who have saucer-sized eyes on Christmas morning, with their grandkids, and whisper to themselves, ” I would have given my right arm to have had one of those as a kid!”  Childhood, after all, is a magical time not a place.

In my day, the amount of fun a kid had was directly proportional to how dirty they got. Digging holes, wading in puddles, and pounding rocks to powder were a few “biggies” with me. Yes, I really DID make mud pies and cakes. Adding pebbles for cherries and sticks for candles made them quite appealing. No wonder, having such a soil based culinary background, I continue to be baffled by the Easy Bake Oven‘s popularity. First problem with EBO is that it requires adult supervision. A universal kid Truth…Fun does not fit in easily when there’s a direct adult presence. Why? Messes are seriously culled by adults, and as I’ve stated, messes are required for fun. Secondly, EBO takes time and waiting. Waiting is the second most deadly element to kid fun, as you know. The last and most important drawback, Easy Bake Ovens are used only indoors. Yikes! Kids need to be outdoors. Fun, the best kind, happens outdoors!

Still, the commercials and sales roll in for Easy Bake Ovens. Heck, now I realize why I see them at every tag sale. Their boxes are usually pristine with only one single cake mix missing. 😉

The Weight of Parenthood

I came across and old photo of my son. It reminded me of some “heavy” criticism that I received while he was growing up. Parents are a particularly susceptible group when it comes to criticism , in general, but I had my reasons and here’s my story:

My son was a difficult child from the start.(Actually, three weeks before he was born, he kicked me hard enough to bruise me internally.) They call it ADD but I am aware that many folks use that diagnosis as a ball park term for naughty kids too. Anyway, he never seemed to foresee consequences and danger.

It started with a toddler who walked at 9 months old. That boy could literally get burned and go back for more. He’d walk off the end of a dock into a lake. He’d climb to the top of a playground slide and throw his hands up, drop his weight and holler, “Watch this Mommy!”

As he grew, his careless nature did not mature. I still think he may have other emotional disorders. But, in my day, that was considered bunk and he is now 30 years old and therefore was never diagnosed.

There was a time, that he became very “chunky”. Actually, he was quite overweight. This added to teasing at school and compounded every attempt to get his self-esteem lifted but he was alive.

Yes, it was THAT simple. His snacking and sedentary habits were, in my mind, a trade-off for his life.

We lived on a busy street next to a river and railroad tracks. To encourage my son to “go out and play” was too big a risk because I understood his inability to sense danger. Video games kept him happily occupied and he felt successful and proud of his gaming prowess. He had so little to feel proud of himself for. At school, he’d sought negative attention because he was unable to accomplish normal goals in a classroom. He became a chronic “bad boy” and hated school which hated him back. One foot note from a teacher described him as a good kid, at heart, but a trouble maker, just enough, to be disruptive.

Childhood obesity is a real problem in our country. I’m “on board” with kids becoming more active and taking in fewer calories. But I want folks to realize that letting kids go out and play isn’t like it used to be. Child predators and dangers are out there. Parents are busier trying to make ends meet and not available for supervision in many cases. Even healthy foods in large quantities can add weight when kids sit around. My son visited the refrigerator as an activity. We had yogurt. grapes, whole wheat bread and he ate them all. To this day, he will not eat a fatty piece of meat and chicken is his favorite meat.

Well, there I go explaining again. I heard many comments, secondhand sometimes, they all came down to,”Why did she allow him to get fat?”. (BTW-He is a trim and fit adult now.)

My answer…because I loved him, that’s why.

Next time you feel like criticizing an obviously attentive parent. Remember this post, and, please, keep it to yourself. They just may have their own reasons. 🙂

Not the same old feelings…

Hosta

Hosta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Funny how our minds work. Just a photo of a hosta plant in another blog got me thinking. Yikes!

Here goes:

When I was a kid, we were very fortunate to have a family cottage on a lake. Along the side of the cottage was a patch of hosta plants. They grew every year even when mowed down to make a better path. I thought that they were homely, good for nothing, weeds. I’d trip over them while playing twilight games of hide-n-seek. But…there they grew with a tenacity that I could not appreciate in childhood.

I now have my own piece of outdoor heaven in a wooded area. There were barren, shady spots where nothing would grow. I discovered hostas in a new light. Their name even “put me off”. I had already decided, years ago, that I did not like hostas. At the local greenhouse, there was a larger variety of them than I had ever realized.

The happy ending is a lovely, much appreciated shady garden. Hosta does not mean the same to me now, although I can “drum up” a shudder, still, when reminiscing.

If I were to return to life as a plant, I think I would like to be a hosta. Rather plain…shade loving… and tenacious.

Up We Go~Poetry Challenge #5 Games

Book illustration, pen drawing

Book illustration, pen drawing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter called them “We goes.”

What a funny name.

“Up we go!” is what I said.

Swinging was the game.

It appears to have no structure.

Silly, you don’t know?

The object is to kick the sky,

The higher that you go.

Now comes the end and dismount.

                                                    Timing is so fine.

                                     I ‘ll stop pushing and you’ll jump.

                                                  Now, the turn is mine.

Story from Random Words #3 “Life Noticed… Life Inspired”

Sharing MY moment with you.http://www.creativitygames.net/

The Creativity Games site has a random word generator for folks who wish for prompts for stories, poems or discussion. It has offered me a lot of fun. I am about to create my third story using 5 words that I got there. My personal exercise rules consist of developing a story in one sitting and as quickly as I can. Today’s words are:

galvanise…button…title…leaf…value

Here is my story:

A blank stare and idle hands were not unfamiliar to me. It’s called “writer’s block”. As I waited for my creative juices to stir, my heart pounded. Creating a story is equivalent to giving birth in emotional satisfaction. When thoughts galvanise,  and a unique piece results, an extraordinary birth occurs. Even more than a normal birth, which takes two DNA donors, the new title comes only from myself.

Today my mind contemplates Mother Nature. She is a favorite subject and ever inspiring. I had a kid game that I used to play when I took long rides in the car on”old style” family vacations. There were no video players or hand-held electronic games in my childhood. The value of having nothing to entertain a child but their own imagination can not be measured or underestimated.

I called the game,”Never, Ever, going to see that again.” It consisted of one player, Me. Not a button, controller or battery needed.

I’d focus my attention on something outside my window. It was usually so small and insignificant that I knew only I would ever witness it. How often do we direct our attention to the ordinary, plentiful items that make up our world?

You’d think a bird would be a good subject. No way. That bird was bound to be witnessed by someone, somewhere, at a feeder or casting a shadow from above. My subject, most often, was one single leaf. A marvel of nature that was mine to behold and witness alone. The power in that “view of the world” has made me appreciate small things to a degree that I’ll always treasure.

This story was not only fun but true.

Discovery and Sorrow

When I was young, I spent lots of my time on my grandparents’ farm. I played alone for the greater part of my stays. While amusing myself, as the adults did chores, I learned so much about the world. One of my favorite activities was rock collecting. I was too young to know the names of them but took a great interest in what, I discovered, were so many types. There’s so much to be learned when a child does her own discovering.

I used to search for “nests” of feral kittens. The farm cats often chose to birth their babes between the hay bales in the loft. I spent hours watching the mothers and learned to mimic the sound they made when they brought home a “catch of the day”. After a while, I realized my skill could locate those kittens. My yowl proved to be an excellent tool. Once perfected, I was able to call out and have the hidden babies respond. Once located, I’d handle and cuddle them. I’d name them and teach them not to be afraid of people. Ultimately, the lives of feral cats are worth little. Once in a while, my mother found a home for one but most were often taken by disease and disaster.

I cried a lot on the farm. My heart wanted better for each an every baby. It was on the farm that I learned one person can not save the world. But one person could offer comfort and love to another creature, even if it were for only one moment in time. It would have been so sad if those kitties had never known the warmth of a lap and a kiss between their ears. Don’t you think?

Sharing Happiness

Why do we remember some things and not everything?

Except for a few unique individuals, most people “weed out” their memories. We don’t remember what the weather was on a specific day unless it connects to another saved memory. For example, we may remember that it rained on the 4th of July because we spent that weekend feeling miserable living in a tent. Special events are remembered and just what we consider a “special” event can vary greatly. If you are a pessimist by nature, your memory of that soggy 4th of July would be about the miserable weather and the plans unrealized. The optimist may well remember the same event but have very different feelings. The way the coffee tasted better or the fact that the rain kept your family inside where they played games or talked more than they may have if outdoor pleasures were available.

What we “choose” to remember says so much about who we are. Whether our memories are primarily pleasant or not,  says more about our attitudes and less about what actually happened.

The whole of this discussion comes down to our personal capacity to experience happiness. A subject that really fascinates me.

Can we learn to be happy?

It sounds so simple, but in my opinion, happiness is relishing ordinary things and remembering them positively.

My Aunt was surprised at a special memory I had of her reading her favorite poem to me when I was a kid. (The Raggedy Man)

I can picture her on a bed where I was tucked in cozily beside her. I was looking out of the window as I listened to her.  I still remember the farm scene and can hear her soft voice. The love and appreciation she had for those written words filled the room.

My mother read to us when we were kids. She loved what she read and the stories and moments stay with me as well. They are among my calm happy memories which I choose to visit much more often than any other kind. Both my parents laughed readily and often.  🙂

I guess what I am trying to say is to share yourself with kids, as often as you can. Show passion for what you love freely and turn every moment possible into a happy memory for yourself and those around you. Don’t ever forget to laugh!

Procrastination Station

I consider myself as the person who put the “pro” in procrastination.

I’ve read about habitual procrastinators…as usual, it is blamed on the parents. I disagree.

I do agree with the assertion  that procrastinators are “made” not “born” but I feel that the deciding factor is the person’s internal dialog. As I am a strong proponent of nature over nurture…my mother is off of the hook 🙂 .

I believe we who procrastinate are “Hyper” sensitive to making a decision that is “wrong”. Making NO decision is easier than making the “wrong” one. As our lives progress, the “waiting” has fallen into our favor often enough to be worth the continuing of that pattern.

After all, doing things immediately can leave a person wishing that they had considered more options. Paying your whole insurance premium can have you waiting on rebates that are as slow as “molasses in January”. Doing your Christmas shopping ahead of time causes people to “over buy” and “over spend” . Last moment sales can be great! Those who finish their shopping in September, literally pay for their relaxation in December.

I am writing this blog as I procrastinate the chores of my day. How cool is that? Bet you I’ll make it!

There has always been a part of me that needs to test deadlines…I used to run down to the Jr. High ball field during the 2 1/2 minutes allowed for changing classes. I got back just as the second bell rang every time! (What were the consequences anyway? I was a good kid and used that reputation for limit pushing!)

What I have learned in life is, almost every deadline has an extension and every delay has a potential reward.

So here’s to procrastination, the force of challenge and relief from the mundane!