Category Archives: Reality

Slip-sliding along

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All the preparation in the world will do nothing to lessen the silent explosion that descends upon us the only way time knows how to travel. Defying lasers, cat gut and high end facial abrasion, gravity descends in subtle waves and full-on attack, claiming new territory by the minute.

I began mental preparation when I was 59; a lot of good that did.  By 62, I was in a quiet state of panic.  By 65, denial had become impossible to sustain, even on good days.

I would like to say I made the transition from bud to fading blossom gracefully, but I cannot.  I never judge another woman’s choice for surgical intervention; it simply wasn’t for me.  I’m an old nurse; saving things is what I am trained to do.

Also I am a collector and admirer of junk and antiques, finding comfort in well-worn patinas boasting generous use.  I love chipped paint and rust, and admire the simplicity of unsophisticated lines and primitive art.

I patch, re-purpose and restore, but never refinish.

So treating myself differently than I would an old crate made no sense no matter how much time I spent standing in profile in front of the mirror pulling a cascading chin back to a more flattering pre-menopausal position.

I wrung my hands for years fearing the great evolution would morph my lovely pear into an awkward apple, feeling as if that day would strike like a bolt of lightning, or like a tragedy at sea, the captain of a sinking ship lost to sharks in uncharted sea.

But if anything, passage was silent and endearing as I fell in love with the soft, loose texture of my own skin, and the pinkness of my scalp shining like new planet in an unexplored galaxy of snowy hair. And I was oddly amused by the sound of my voice, the way it creaked like sore knees around words spoken more slowly and with less certainty than before.

Like a memory of the chair I rocked my babies in, I can see our history in my hands.  And I like that.  A lot.  So now I am between a walker and heels.  I never hold my stomach in.  Hate Spanx and the likes.  Wouldn’t wear one even if it was a gift.

In my sewing studio I have a photo gallery of women who inspired me in life.  They have all passed away now, but I see them in my face every day, with my glasses on, of course.  And I want to be like them.  Graceful, full of joy and palpable peace,

a mischievous spark shining in my eyes as I creep toward 70.

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the truth about leaves

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I think it’s pretty arrogant of people to think they’re superior to other living things.  We’re all part of nature after all.  Maybe it’s just ego , but maybe it’s something more basic and widespread like social and religious indoctrination/orientation that bloat our sense of standing on planet earth.

Personally I trust dogs more than I do most people these days.

I’m not particularly fond of squirrels but if I see one lying dead in the street, my stomach still drops to my feet, and I feel an emotion akin to lose for the rest of the day.  Make that a dog or cat, and I retch.

So this morning I’m drinking coffee in my favorite rocker on the front porch watching trees sway in a rather brisk breeze, and my brain starts doing its thing.  All of the sudden, I remember having had a light-bulb moment about twenty years ago when I had a moment of absolute awareness concerning leaves.  That’s right, leaves.   I usually keep a running dialogue inside my head with my spirit guide, so I asked DreamWalker if there was any significance to the presence or sequencing of leaves growing on trees or bushes or plants in general.

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It’s not like I can hear any voices or anything, it’s just suddenly I become aware of something or another; and in this case, it was an answer to my question about leaves.

So, leaves are the emotional expression in the plant world, it seems.  In spring everything is still a little bit hungover from winter’s sleep but starting to get worked up.  By mid-summer, everyone is singing.  Fall brings a blush of warm emotion as plants remember carefree days of warmer weather while preparing for a long well-deserved sleep.  (Hey, you bake in the sun for a couple of months and tell me how you feel.)  Winter is pretty obvious; it’s about resting and restoration.

So this morning I took it a step further by comparing myself to the trees I was watching.  And within a few minutes I could see another similarity, this time concerning the seasons of trees.  Spring is to a tree what childhood is a person; it’s that amazing time of life when everything is beginning.  Bud by bud, we begin to expand the perimeters of our world.  Sometimes we find bees or spiders, scary, but that’s only a tiny bit of what turns out to most often be flowers.

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Summer is late adolescence through the latter part of mid-adulthood.  By then life has proliferated beyond our wildest imagination and we are bursting with emotions, positive or negative.  By fall, later life, we’ve grown quite reflective. This is definitely a time of beauty and preparation.  By winter, we need more rest so we spend time watching sunrises and sunsets, being thankful or remorseful, depending, and waiting for whatever comes next.

bare tree

Ahhh, it was a good cup of coffee.  And so enlightening.

sweet innocence

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After some pretty significant health problems the past few years, I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to find a good balance between what I want to do and what I can.  I’m more Fall Chicken than Spring Chicken as an aging Baby Boomer, but my bucket list is still pretty long.  And while I won’t see the Aurora Borealis in person, there are many other goals I’ve made throughout life then set aside for whatever reason seemed pertinent at the time.

There are promises I’ve made myself and then dismissed as too grandiose.  Even worse, from time to time I find I’ve limited myself using the excuses that some of the dreams I dream are selfish or silly.  Just thinking that makes me nauseous because I’m not one who buys into the Selfish Guilt Trip Philosophy society sometimes uses to restrain us from reaching for the stars, rather than keeping our noses to the grindstone, asking no questions.  Also to say a goal is silly is to diminish personal potential and only shows I have more work to do in regards to self-esteem.

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Maybe no one out there knows I’m a somewhat of philosophical rebel; if not, that’s because I haven’t spoken up.  What I have done is share one aspect of my life, keeping the rest under wraps because it’s easier that way.  That’s a back track on my behalf.  In 2000, I quit approaching life from a non-adversarial vantage point, deciding direct attack was a more effective choice.

It was during that particular revolt I changed my perception of the word selfish, exchanging the word with the more gentle term: self-is.

Things got a lot easier for me after shifting that perspective.  By ditching an overused word and altering its definition, I removed the negative implication.  Although a rather simple concept, it was necessary for me to overcome my overwhelming tendency to make choices dependent on pleasing others, rather than considering my own needs and wishes.

Like any habit, practice is involved.

I recently received notice from WordPress it’s time to decide whether or not I want to renew this account.  I’ve given the question a lot of thought and decided, Yes, I do want to continue Aunt Bea Me, but I want to come at it from a different point of view.

It’s almost as drastic as Betty Crocker saying she’s decided to produce shoes.

I have another WordPress site, ittymac, it presents a different side of me; but without realizing it, I seem to have been sharing a tamer side of myself there too.  I think I slipped into such a good place after marrying Richard and experiencing unconditional love, I got a little lazy.

No one likes conflict.  Well, maybe some people do, but I’m not one of them. And as I mentioned before, I waver a bit when it comes to issues of self-esteem.  Even so, I’m stepping out of line and drawing a bit of attention to myself.  I’m not trying to save anyone.  I’m not trying to steal the spotlight either; I’m not trying to do anything.  I’m just opening my mouth and letting all the stuff inside come out.

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Home

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It’s so easy to get lost.  You don’t have to be running errands or traveling for it to happen.  Actually, you don’t even have to “know” for certain you really “are” lost to “be” lost.  Mostly it’s a suspicion you have that something’s not quite the way it’s supposed to be, that things, or you, seem sort of unsettled.

lost sign images

Being lost is different from being confused.  You know that feeling you get when you walk into a room, or open a drawer and can’t remember ‘why’ you did it?  Well, being lost isn’t like that.  It’s more subtle, not as obvious.

Sometimes being lost is so imperceptible you don’t even know that you are.

Being lost is a sentence without a period.  It’s morning without coffee.  It’s incomplete.  Rationalization is an excuse we use not to have to look at something too closely for fear looking means you’ll end up having to deal with unpleasant things.  Often we rationalize the sense of being lost with explanations like “I didn’t sleep well last night”, or “anyone would feel like this if they lived here”,  or “I’m just stressed out like everyone else is.”

Trying to figure out why we feel the way we do isn’t easy. Sometimes looking past the surface requires full-on-excavation.  Reaching the bottom of anything can mean a lot of work. But what if it didn’t?  What if we could resolve most of our feelings and fears without making ourselves miserable during the process?

All anyone has to do is to be a little observant to see the world is pretty much in chaos on one level or another.  And all we have to do is practice a little empathy to understand the grief and misery of others.  Unfortunately, we can’t heal the wounds of the world easily, nor can any of us do it alone.  But maybe we can change the way we respond when bad things happen.

Like charity, most everything begins at home, inside of us.  Our hearts and souls and minds are the most powerful tools we have at our disposal.  Our egos and inflated, self-important opinions are garbage, just more junk in an already overwhelming pile of useless stuff.

When we focus too much on the details of all the “bad” things we can’t change, or we compulsively “react” to them with anger or profound sadness, we throw away our power and common sense.  That’s never good.

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I got lost for a while.  It took time to figure out that was what was going on.  When I finally “got” it, I was too tired to dig for solutions.  I’m old.  I savor my energy for things that hold purpose in my heart, for things that make me smile on the inside.  Going through another inner journey was too much to undertake.

I had to be smarter this time; I had to be careful with my time, I had to respect the realities of my health and abide by stamina restraints while still looking for a way back to the innermost sanctuary of my heart.

Every day I worked to maintain emotional strength and positive energy, especially when I heard bad news.  Every day I asked God to help me find an “opening” in the resistance that disguised the entrance to the way “home”.

I practiced patience, which isn’t my strong point.

I waited.

I asked again and again.

I waited some more.

I was observant, watching everything around me, listening to everything everyone said, and even those things intentionally or unintentionally left unsaid.

I watched for signs, striving to connect what happened day-to-day with a bigger, more comprehensive, more compassionate vision.

The first reward I received was an amazing sort of peace that settled on me as I worked making a Christmas gift for my sister.

That sensation proceeded other incredible instances of grace on ensuing days.

On Christmas Eve, riding in a car, on the way to visit family, suddenly I felt as if a cloud moved from the inside of my head passing into the landscape outside. Although foggy and gray, the sky unexpectedly shone with phenomenal clarity; and without warning, I understood that through some sort of inexplicable mercy, I had found my way back home.

I was at peace on a level that had been missing for far too long.  Memories of battles I’d fought that seemed to have depleted me faded away and I felt strong and capable again.  I felt light and full of hope.  I was a helium balloon free-floating through clear, fresh air.  I felt safe and sure of my place in the world.  I felt needed and valued.  I was in love with life again.

Maybe someday I’ll lose my way again, I hope not; but if I do, I won’t pretend nothing is wrong.  I won’t waste precious time again.  How I see the world and what I hold in my heart is up to me.  And then, of course, there is grace.  And God.

sweet innocence

Little Life: When what you dread is exactly what you need

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Little Life: When what you dread is exactly what you need

Dinner last night was a success, although I didn’t eat much having worked myself into somewhat of a tizzy over a series of small annoyances: the kitchen was hot, the pizza dough unusually difficult to throw, and of course, these new meds.  Rick heard my huffing and puffing all the way in the living room and rushed in, his white-knight armor gleaming, offering, no, insisting on lending a hand.

The new recipe was A.O.K. for diabetics and the Classic French Salad Dressing was really good too.  I was in a mood so mostly I ate salad.

Today it’s a different kind of mood.  Rich is in the doctor’s office for his quarterly cardiac and diabetic labs, and as for me, well, I’m sitting in the car writing this blog.  Rich has already telephoned once with questions concerning signing the new HIPPA papers and which pharmacy we use.

Now he’s called twice.

old man on cell phone

This isn’t something I didn’t expect; paperwork is generally my territory; Rich hates doing it.  But this time, I begged off; I’ve spent so much time with doctors lately, I just couldn’t make myself go in.  I only came along for a free meal; we’re going to breakfast at a favorite Mom and Pop cafe when Rich finishes.  Once he clears the paperwork and medication review, I know he’ll do fine on his own without further teleconferencing.  Then I can rest.

It’s starting to rain and the wind is picking up now.  A murder of crow just descended into a groove of trees surrounding the car.  They sound like old men complaining.  Maybe I shouldn’t have said that out loud; the remark must have been offensive because two crows just pooped on the car.

pushy crow

With all this silence, my mind takes off.  If all goes well, I’ll get a couple of loads of laundry done today, and maybe pull a few weeds in the herb garden.  I’m hoping there’s fish at the market later this morning because  I have a tenative menu set in my head already, and I hate revisions!

A thousand little thoughts swirl through my brain; it’s nearly impossible to focus on any single thing anymore.  The older I get, the bigger everything seems.  It’s like climbing mountains or running against the wind, only it’s all inside my head in succcssive waves of angst and concern.  My once big life seems to have splintered into a million tiny pieces, losing itself in mediocracy, and too often I don’t know where or how to make sense of it all anymore.

But as daunting as it can be, CHANGE is in the air because we’re going home; we’re moving back to Texas.  We’ve lived in the small, sleepy town we’re headed back to, so this move will be somewhat of a repeat performance, except that this time, we are far more vulnerable than before.

Old age did not come gracefully.  It did not sweep gently around us easing us into the next phase.  For Rich and I, old age was a speeding train ramming us without explanation or apology.  It was an instant tsunami of subtraction that just kept taking assets away.  Recognizing what was happening, giving it a name, and mustering a little respect for it all, was a humbling experience that brought us to our knees.

There is no way to blithely accept this kind of sweeping change.  Fighting is useless, and  bargaining is a waste of precious time.  For all things there is a season whether you’re ready or not.

Eventually the process altered the ways Rich and I see and interact with the world.  We didn’t see that coming but as a result, we’ve down-shifted and actually began smelling the roses instead of always planting and tending more.  So far it’s working.

In the most unexpected way, I feel like someone turned off the blender and I crawled out of frappe’.  It’s time for the next party, the party attended by children and grandchildren and the timing coulndn’t coouldn’t be better for these two old folks.

Look out Texas, here we come!  Aunt Bea-Me is ditching the polyester jersey and moving toward a more casual look these days….

well not quite

well, maybe not so much

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sweet innocence

A New Chapter in an Old Book

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A New Chapter in an Old Book

Heelllooo!  Having circled the drain for months, I am back as strong and stubborn as a Borax and liquid Dawn resistant stained shower stall!

dirty shower stall

 

Let me start by saying I’ve absolutely NO intention of returning to health-worry purgatory ever again!  As miserable as it’s been, I must admit I have learned a great deal about myself, and others, while suspended in the goo of uncertainty amidst approximately a million gloom-and-doom predictions from a team of expert bearers of bad news. 

grim reaper

 

I won’t try to fib here; it wasn’t easy trying to find a way to turn this level of manure into something less offensive, but long story short, we did it, and almost as soon as we did, we discovered Rich DOES NOT have ALS, in spite of about a million and one contradictory diagnostic indicators, and a million and two test results supporting that miserably serious contention, and about a million and three earnest specialists working diligently to prepare us for the fact that he did.

 

And, oh by-the-way, that coronary artery of mine, the one the cardiologist punctured during a stent insertion three days before Rich’s tentative diagnosis, is healing nicely now, and every day I feel a little more like my old self, (except that now I’m living 100% in the world according to itty).

burst pipe

 

When the whole drama began I was living life through a lovely filter, and during the Four Month Wars I came to appreciate the benefits of having chosen to do so many years ago.  Throughout the ordeal, I successfully fine-tuned the comforting perimeters of my mental Mayberry existence by using the greater world’s insensitivities and arrogances that spin like tornados as motivation.

 

Surprisingly, I discovered real peace in the horrible truths that scalded Rich and I almost daily, realizing and embracing there was nothing, absolutely nothing that anyone could say that could change the time we spent together.  Whether time is spent playing or meeting the physical needs of one another, it remained time spent together.

 

There are consequences to every life lesson, and Rich and I have emerged with a short  list of Things to Do resulting from this slight twist in our path through life, (and beyond), together.

loving old couple

 

Morgan, our granddaughter who lives with us, is moving into an apartment on her university’s campus to finish her senior year, and Rich and I are down-sizing for an eminent move to Texas where our children are waiting with open arms.  Morgan will join us all later, doing her graduate work there.

 

I am so excited to get to share this new adventure with my readers!  I’m even more excited about life in general these days.  Back on the home front, Aunt-Bea-Me is comfortably sitting on half of the double recliner, rose-colored-lenses in place, the Food Network murmuring softly in the background, as she compiles a list of details necessary to pull off yet another glorious life-style change.

 

In the kitchen for tonight, a new diabetic friendly recipe for Orange Chicken!  And two loaves of wheat bread rising.

 

Lord-of-mercy, my friends, it’s good to be back.

 

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Aunt-Bea-Me’s Pearl of the Day:  Sometimes it’s necessary to deafen your ears to the roar of the storm, and instead to appreciate the soft breeze slipping through imperfect window panes.

 

 

 

Not doing dishes, ladies, but up to my hips in yucky stuff..

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I’ve been away for much longer than I intended.  This blog is my happy place, and I’ve missed it like crazy; but crazy is a pretty good word for describing what’s been going on in my life lately.  I haven’t been washing dishes for a couple of months, though I really wouldn’t have minded doing so.

Even for perky homemakers, every day isn’t particularly bright, and I’ve found myself living in a lot of gray space these past few months.

If I thought nailing a raw pork chop to my front door might keep evil spirits away, believe me, I would have done it, and the flies would be buzzing by the dozens by now.  But currently my front door is surprisingly bare and ahh-errr, shall we say, unkempt.  No long sad story on this site, but for anyone whose curiosity is getting the best of her, I suggest you visit my heavy-sided blog for a full explanation.

http://www.ittymac.wordpress.com

Until the water calms at my cabin, keep being beautifully yourself, and smile, and love, love really hard, and never look back.

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