Facing facts

There’s a quote from “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”, “Argue for your limitations and they are yours.”  Quotes like that can be both inspirational and maddening.

“Act your age”

There’s truth in facing facts, but sometimes creativity comes from flying in the face of them.  Sometimes discovery, sometimes inspiration … sometimes cracked ribs and a possibly lacerated spleen.

Quotes can inspire you. They can also get you into trouble.

“You’re only as old as you feel”

That’s the one that ended with my doctor saying, “You could have a lacerated spleen” and dashing me off to an emergency CAT scan.

Was I ignoring my limitations?  Was I acting my age or was I only as old as I felt?

Being a native Floridian, my winters were spent at the beach … snow was something of legend and I grew up only experiencing it twice.  A dusting, but – in Florida – a dusting was front page news.  So, after 50 some odd years, I was now in Northern Virginia and winters here were actual seasons!  There were ski resorts just a couple of hours away, and it wasn’t long before I was geared up and ready to go.

I knew nothing about skiing of any kind.  Not water, let alone snow.  It wasn’t long before mental enthusiasm met with physical reality and towards the end of my first afternoon skiing, I took what would be my most spectacular fall of the day.  I spun across the run, like one of those fidget spinners, eyes closed (how would seeing improve the situation?), hearing and feeling bits of gear being ripped away, the swishing crashing sounds of underbrush and finally the solid thud of hitting an immovable object.

Cautiously I opened my eyes, the blue sky of the open run replaced with green trees and a bit of fencing.   I didn’t feel any injury, just cold and wet from being half buried in snow.  On the drive home, my side began to ache.  I ignored it as simply sore muscles.  But after a week where the slightest movement resulted in significant pain, I finally saw a doctor.  He never said, “At your age…” but it was implied.  The two cracked ribs were not implied, they were quite real.  My spleen, thankfully, was fine.

So, are you “only as old as you feel” or should there be an * at the end of that platitude?  Where’s the line between “young at heart” and the emergency room?  What should we seek adventure or play it safe?

If we believe too much in our age, we might miss out on new adventures or never discover a new activities.  However, if we throw too much caution to the wind – we might end up seriously injured, or worse.  We don’t bounce as easily or recover as quickly as time goes by.

Argue for your limitations and they are yours … just remember to argue both sides, for and against …

and don’t be afraid to act your age because you’re only as old as you feel!

Deceiver in chief

It is something to marvel at … the lies coming out of the white house and the absolute conviction with which they’re being delivered.  Imagine having a conversation with someone and you both look up at the sky about which they remark is a bright shade of pink.  100% dead sure of it when any other right thinking person, no matter which side of the aisle they live on, would argue the sky is blue.  You may not believe in climate change (although, how can you not?!) but you can agree the sky is blue.   You may not believe the Russians had anything to do with affecting the presidential election (although, again how can you not?!) but you can agree the sky is blue.

Yet there stands delusional don, and his clown car of a white house (more and more silliness keeps pouring out, as if from an infinite source) spouting absolute nonsense.  Trump claims to have certain people have called to heap praise upon him … these people, for the record, said they did no such thing.  And whatever he does, it’s the greatest in history … he’s the greatest speaker, the greatest deal maker, the greatest –fill in the blank- EVER.  I’ll happily fill in that blank with something he’s the greatest one of.

He keeps announcing the impending death of the Affordable Care Act … and then, gleefully, states “I was right” when even the “Skinny repeal” failed to pass and insurance industry experts expressed worry at the uncertain future.  Of course, he was right!  He was right in the same way a burglar, upon robbing a house, says “you failed to install a burglar alarm, so you got broken into.  I was right!”  He’s cutting the legs out from under the plan, and then claiming victory over its assumed failure.  That isn’t being right.  It’s stacking the deck and gloating over the outcome.

Every day, since the election, I’ve been a mess of anxiety and worry.  What will he do or say next?  What shady appointment, conversation, or email will stir the pot next?  What if the situation were reversed, and Hillary Clinton at the center of this insanity, what would happen?  I’ll tell you what would happen … the republicans would be handing out subpoenas like free samples in front of a new lunch stand.  There would be so many charges filed, hearings held, and calls for immediate impeachment flying around, it would be like a political hurricane was sweeping through.

It’s time to stand up to this insanity – republican, democratic, independent – whatever your political affiliation.  Insanity is insanity.  And in this case, it’s in sitting in the white house.

He’s the ultimate pot calling the kettle black.  “Investigate those people, nothing to see over here.”  “Do as I say, never mind what I’m doing.”, “it’s not my fault” … in other words … the buck stops wherever it’s convenient in order to avoid responsibility.  If it benefits him, he crows “look at me!” but if it doesn’t – well, blame anyone else.  The trump reality … for him it’s cherry picking what to believe … for us, it’s living with a temper-tantrum throwing child posing as president.

There’s a magnet on my refrigerator, “I love my country … it’s the government I’m afraid of”

Ain’t it the truth.

Shear indecision

I’m thinking of cutting my hair.  This isn’t a trivial “do I or don’t I” moment as I’ve had long hair for most of my life.  The last time it was cut in the true sense of the word (I don’t count trims or anything where the length is at least mid-back) was approximately 1973.  And that time wasn’t my idea.  My mother, having threatened that if I didn’t take better care of my long locks, she would have them cut to a manageable style.  I didn’t and she did.  The horror of that moment, of the scissors slicing through my hair, has stayed with me to such a firm degree that I avoided the hairdressers for decades and trimmed the ends myself or (oddly enough) only trusted my mother to trim them.  Guess I figured that seeing the trauma I went through, she would be reluctant to repeat the experience and thus would trim cautiously.

As the years passed, and my hair grew, I took great pride in it.  It was long and thick and set me apart from the crowd.  I was “the girl with the long hair”.  Of course, not all the comments were positive – one time on the school bus, as we were going home and I had my ever-present sketchbook and other art supplies, some girl made the comment, “Long hair and glasses, you’re either smart or an artist.”

Where do we find our identity?  Why does so much of it seem to be ruled by external devices – how we look, what we do, where we live.  We are so many things, only a small fraction of which are outside ourselves – yet, it’s so easy to get lost in those outside things.  We don’t realize we’re doing it until one of those things is gone and we’re no longer the one who lives in that house or has that job.  We’re no longer who we thought we were.

Who will I be when I’m not “the girl with the long hair”?

Love Bugs

Well … thankfully they aren’t up here, but if you’re from Florida or have been “lucky enough” to visit during certain times of the year … the pest of the day (month and year) is the nefarious Love Bug.  This winged menace swarms twice a year, May and September, and they get their name by virtue (?) of the fact they are joined together.  You rarely see a single Love Bug.  They prefer the long grasses that border highways and long lonesome stretches of road and will absolutely plaster your car with a thick sheet of bug guts.

It gets worse.

If you don’t wash the bug remains from your car, some mysterious acid component of their bodies will actually eat away at the paint.  I’ve seen semi’s with their windows and grills so completely coated with love bugs that the original paint of the vehicle is a mystery.  Car washes will come out with “Love Bug” specials.  People will actively avoid driving certain stretches of road, or driving altogether if they can help it, until the swarms have passed.  They’re a right menace and a part of Florida that I really don’t miss!

via Daily Prompt: Pest

Time to get political (it was unavoidable)

The “Skinny” repeal has been defeated and it’s one of the few times since the election, I’ve had cause to relax a little.  Living with trump as president is like living with a full blown addict.  You never know what they’re going to say or do next, nor what will set them off and every moment is a knifes-edge of worried waiting.

Pre-trump life had enough shit to dodge, but the current environment is like one big mine field.  I’ve been a solid mass of anxiety since the election – alternatively going from denial to depression and back to denial … rather like the stages of grief but for the fact I can’t imagine entering the stage of “acceptance”.

One of the proudest times of my life was participating in the Women’s march on Washington, the day after the inauguration.  It was an amazing experience.  There was little, if any, of the kind of conflict that would draw the attention of police – at least I didn’t see nor hear of any.  There were plenty of police all right, but all the officers I saw – while observant and no-nonsense – were likewise relaxed and non-threatening.  They didn’t engage the crowd nor did the crowd taunt or tease.  There was a palpable feeling of co-existing.  Of live and let live.  Of respect for the right to protest as well as the right to keep the peace.  There were no arrests.  No scuffles.  Nothing set on fire.  People bore up under crushing crowds in the streets with amazing tolerance and civility.

Now it feels like I’m mourning the death of tolerance and civility.  My neighbor had an anti-trump bumper sticker on his car which earned him several near road-rage encounters and more than a few “birds”.  He finally removed the sticker out of fear should his wife, driving alone sometime, become some zealot’s victim.  Now, there are people who despised President Obama – but I don’t recall hearing of any Obama supporter flipping off or driving to intimidate anyone with an anti-Obama bumper sticker.  It seems that to be anti-Trump, at least publicly, it to risk being attacked.  Since when was it permissible to disagree so physically and abusively?  When did bullying become the new normal?

It’s bad enough there’s a narcissistic, self-absorbed, megalomaniac child with the attention span of a housefly as the leader of our country … and it’s bad enough he can’t seem to control himself, but that doesn’t mean we have to act the same way.

Surely we’re better than that.  He may not be able to act presidential, but we can act like adults.


Ch-ch-ch-changes (an ode to David Bowie)

A co-worker made an interesting observation when I was grousing about the existential crisis I seemed to be going through.  We were talking about the stages and changes of life.  I was lamenting the fact I seemed to be poised on the edge of something but didn’t know what the something was.  There seemed to be a change coming, but what kind?

“Maybe you haven’t had many changes lately.” my co-worker commented.  “Maybe your next change is no change.”

The thought stopped me in my mental tracks.  No change?



Really?  I was completely surprised by the idea.  Is it possible?

Life is change, or so the popular platitude goes.  And, truthfully, it is … everything is always changing.  Sometimes – most of the time – on a scale we see and interact with, but sometimes it’s slow and off to the side.

I have issues with change.  Basically, in a nutshell, I don’t like it.  Stability is my middle name (or would be if it wasn’t Elisabeth).  But when nothing changes, things begin to stagnate.  Life becomes stale.  As much as I gripe about change, it is the breath of life.  It’s what propels us forward.  It’s just that, much of the change I’ve experienced has been on the traumatic and life upending side.

Psychologist will tell you the most significant changes include getting divorced, job loss, major illness, death, and moving.  There are more, of course, but those are the ones I’m focused on because I ran through those five in a relatively short period of time.  After a while, I felt like a tennis ball between the Williams sisters.  Change was really slamming me around.  One particularly strong lob landed me in Northern Virginia where the “fun” continued.

I was living in a hotel with my two dogs, one of which became mysteriously ill and died after racking up medical bills approaching $10,000 (not an exaggeration) , and six weeks into my new job, the contract I moved up to work on changed companies which meant I’d soon be unemployed again!

Is it any wonder the word “change” does not fill me with positive vibes?

Amazingly (to me) I landed on my feet.  The company who won the contract offered me a job and I found a place to live.  My surviving dog adjusted to life without skipping a beat.  But, true to life, the changes continued.  I’ve had further career modifications but am still with the same company.  I’ve lost one dog to cancer, but adopted another.

Even as God as looked out for me (a concept I’m still struggling with, and the subject for another blog), I find myself constantly on alert.  Always on the lookout for the slightest hint of change and convinced that doing so will protect me from a nasty surprise.


It doesn’t work like that.  Constantly being on guard doesn’t protect you from anything.  It may, some small percent of the time, give you a little bit of a heads up – but the majority of the time it is spent on the lookout for nothing.  Or worse, it might do the opposite, blinding you to opportunities right in front of you.  Being, as I am, so fixated on what could be coming around the corner, who knows what I walk right by?

Day Two

Actually, it’s been a couple of days since my first post.  No hits yet, but I would be pretty surprised if anyone had found it so soon.  Guess it takes time to “be discovered”.  In the meantime, I shall continue to write, ponder, observe, and record …

Still looking for the mojo but I had a better day with the mindset “fake it ’till you make it’ … of course, it’s hard to sustain and is best suited for bursts of activity.  I recalled a few weeks spent with a personal organizer (I will find her name and post a link to her site, as she was amazing!) while staring at a stack of magazines and catalogues.  There’s something to tackle with relative ease.  Or so I thought.

A tendency to collect things runs in the family – and when you’re into arts and crafts, collecting is that much easier to justify.  I might use (fill in the blank) for (fill in the blank) or (fill in the blank) gives me an idea to (fill in the blank).  So, an innocent stack of magazines and catalogues became a real soul searching task and … God, it’s hard to let go.  I don’t mean of things, although it is or I wouldn’t be in this internal struggle, no – I mean of the idea behind the thing.  For years I have been trying to learn French.  I’ve taken classes, hired a private tutor, tried computer programs, bought all kinds of books and CDs … and know barely more than when I started.  As I stared down at the pile of magazines (half of them in French), I had to acknowledge the truth of the current situation … I am not going to be studying French at this point in time.  I’m just not, and I’m tired of pretending.  So, like ripping off a band aide, I took all the French magazines, the CDs and books and put them in a “donate” pile.

Instantly, I felt … lighter.  Buoyed up from the murky depths of clutter by this sudden jettison of weight.  Granted, it was just a stack of magazines, catalogues and books … but the psychological impact was huge.  I might have even felt a bit of the missing mojo, ever so faintly, like a sailboat on the horizon.  Almost imperceptible to the naked eye, but it’s there and that gives me hope.

First blog post

My first blog.  Pardon me if I seem a little nervous … but, you see, I’ve been  troubled by something lately and I’ve chosen it as the theme of this blog.

“Where’s my mojo?”

Maybe it’s something you’ve struggled with, maybe you have some advice or are just wondering if anyone else has the same problem.

I don’t know when or how it happened, but I seem to have lost my mojo.  You know, that thing that inspires, motivates, moves the spirit … that nebulous thing that runs through our life and gets us out of bed in the morning.  Not work, which is that thing (unless you’re too rich to work) that we have to get up and do … sometimes willingly, sometimes grudgingly, many times with the promise “the weekend is almost here!” No, I’m talking about motivation, interest, passion … that thing that moves us from the couch and the tv to go for a bike ride, a kayak trip, to work on a project of some kind.  It’s what drives us to invest in hobbies, and it’s where my mojo used to live.  Artists will refer to “it” as the muse – that spirt of creation that drives one to paint or draw or write or whatever medium one has chosen.

A short bit of back story:  I’m of a certain age where, if I were a man, the old “mid-life crisis” explanation might rear its stereotypical head.  I know this much, they’re not restricted to men.  Women have them too.  Maybe that’s what’s happened to me?  After years of going through the standard routine: college, first job, subsequent jobs, establishing a career – I find myself feeling one overwhelming and persistent thought:

Now what?

I’m still a decade plus away from retirement, so the work thing still demands attention – but at the end of the day, when I’ve come home … there’s that thought

Now what?

The hobbies of a lifetime are scattered around me like so many Christmas presents.  Played with obsessively, to the exclusion of all else, and now discarded and gathering dust.  The problem isn’t what to do, it’s why do it?