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Archive for June, 2013

Just when everything is going great, WHAM, you’re suddenly out in left field picking dandelions. Nothing good lasts forever maybe, but then again, neither does everything bad. Life is cyclical and ups and downs are part of it. Some of us have more experience with this concept than others, but when you’re hit in the gut, you only have two choices – you can lie there or get up. That just reminded me of the song – I get knocked down. But I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down…by Chumbawamba. The rest of the lyrics are kind of inane but I really like these lines. My creed.

I got great news recently…that I remain completely clean of lymphoma and I am now officially on an annual checkup schedule. I got bad news recently…that one of my very best friends has cancer (type and stage to be determined by biopsy this coming week). Is there a moral here? Not really, except that every minute that is trouble-free should be exalted and noticed and every minute that clouds cover your horizon, believe they are not permanent. They move through the firmament on their own schedule, but do remember they are always moving. They arrive and they also leave…nothing but blue skies from now on. I’m apparently on a musical bent tonight. Okay, deciding not to fight the maestro who has temporarily (I hope) possessed me, one of my favorite songs is I Can See Clearly Now…the rain is gone, all of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is the rainbow I’ve been praying for…it’s gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day. Do you believe that can happen? I do. And I’m counting on it.

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I was just about to sign off when I thought of another favorite (song). Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Now I feel like I’m on a roll and wondering how many more bits of musical inspiration I can conjure up. However, it is nearly four am and this was all running through my head, literally. I can’t sleep when I have something to say, which is often problematic. I have an open house today and can’t sleep in. However, I can come home and take a nap…see how great things always work out.

I’ll leave you with one of the best, Louis Armstrong – And I think to myself…what a wonderful world!

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Our brains aren’t getting any smaller, but our knowledge is becoming insignificant. Last night was Trivia Night at The Pike, a local hot spot in Gettysburg. I and a group of five other women like to play. We were only two points off the lead and feeling pretty good when the second to last question tanked us. The question was “What killed Charlie Harper?” Well, six pretty intelligent women, with a fairly wide breadth of knowledge, couldn’t even figure out who the heck Charlie Harper was. We felt sure we should know the answer or, at the least, properly discern the question…but, NO, we all blanked completely. Imagine our shock to discover that Charlie Harper was Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men, and, not to keep you in suspense, he was killed by a subway train. For all of you who knew that, I certainly don’t want to take anything away from you, but my point is – is this what is going to be important to civilization five or ten years from now?

Each decade it seems we become further removed from intelligent discourse and real learning. People know the name of Kim Kardashian’s baby (first name North, last name West), but don’t have a clue who their representatives and senators in Congress are. Hello…the latter have a direct influence on our lives. People readily and proudly admit they get their news from Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Jon Stewart’s okay, but should not be a person’s one and only source of news. Some folks pay no attention to national and international current events…but they do know intimate details of the lives of celebrities who are so far removed from their daily reality, it seems a colossal waste of time and a terrible waste of our brains.

Our parents and grandparents talked about things that meant something, things that were important to their lives and the lives of their neighbors and fellow citizens. They read the papers and paid attention to what was happening in the world. With more and more media available to us than ever before, it seems we have dumbed ourselves down – even though we have the opportunity, on a daily basis, to absorb more knowledge than our ancestors did in a month or year.

Americans who can’t or don’t want to be bothered knowing history, literature, art, cultures, current events, or other things significant, (and still fairly important to the rest of the world), used to be a minority in our populace. In recent years, their ranks have swelled. Has anyone seen the movie, Idiocracy? I’m wondering if that is not a precursor of things to come…rather like George Orwell’s 1984 was a precursor of what is happening today. I really could become inured of this phenomenon if it weren’t for the fact that all these people vote. I’d be okay if they voted on entertainment issues, like who should replace a particular celebrity on a show or an athlete on a team, or the flavor of a new jelly bean, etc. I am not okay when I hear people being interviewed who don’t have any idea what they are talking about. I could be a good judge of jelly beans, for instance, but I’d be okay leaving that to others.

Even Alicia Silverstone’s character, in the movie Clueless, wised up at a fairly young age when she decided she wanted to learn things and become a better version of herself. It was a great movie but some people missed the message.

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I have spent most of my life trying to find real purpose in my existence, reinventing myself on a pretty regular basis to attain, what seems for me, an ephemeral goal. Of course, for most of us, our families provide a significant purpose if there is love between us, and I’m not discounting that. What I mean is we all need something more – something that is exclusively ours, an accomplishment we can look to and feel like we made a difference in our world. I’m not talking about being boastful, only happy and modestly proud. Perhaps what we do that fulfills us in this way is not even known to our family and friends. I’ve done things for a few people no one knows about, and I have felt no need to announce that fact. I’m aware I learned this from my mother who always gave of herself, her time, her money and even personal possessions that someone else needed more. Of course, I wasn’t happy when I would come home from school and find yet another of my own things gone – donated to another family or worthy cause in her mind. There were dolls and toys that disappeared, my ice skates (I bought another pair), many small things. She always told me where they went, as if my knowing where they were now residing would make me feel good, but that didn’t salve my displeasure at the time. The biggest shocker was the day I came home from school and our piano was gone. The minute I stopped taking lessons, she decided I didn’t need it. I told her, “I just stopped taking lessons. I didn’t say I never wanted to play it again.” It’s a wonder I’m not a hoarder, amassing my possessions and protecting from surreptitious disappearances. I still wish I had her accordion and our piano, which she and my aunt learned to play on and probably their grandparents also. Oh well… She was not famous for anything, but she made her little corner of the world a better place, and that may be enough.

As for me, I never expected or desired to be famous, but I did always want to do something “big”. I haven’t thus far, but I’m not dead yet either. There is still time.

The Amish have a saying, I believe, that goes something like, “Too soon old, too late smart.” I can relate. When I was young, I didn’t think too much about my purpose in life. I went blithely along my merry way making no specific plans for the future. I flew by the seat of my pants, which did annoy a few people who loved me. I had many “projects”, most of which did not come fully to fruition. I’m still somewhat of a project girl…at the moment, in my kitchen, I have a collection of antique picture frames that I feel certain I can learn to restore. I have an artistic background and I painted for a time and sold my art at various shows. I wasn’t prolific but I do sometimes think about the people who have my pieces in their homes, and hopefully, are still loving them. That’s something, isn’t it? I have dealt in antiques on a part-time basis for many years and have cases currently at 17 On the Square in Gettysburg. I feel good that I have rescued some historic pieces from uncertain futures at flea markets.

I decided I was going to write a book. It took me several years, but I finished it and then spent several more years editing and re-writing. During this time, I also started a tiny business – Man In The Moon Cards – my photographs and other art turned into beautiful note and Christmas cards. Then expanded to bookmarks and prints. I’ve been meaning to build this website, but it’s been two years and I’m just getting to it. My excuses, as framed out in my initial blog on this subject, lack of time and money…aarrgh. In fact, I planned to blog two years before I actually started. Now I can’t imagine why I waited. I am at least diligent in my writing…I have two other books started and another sketched out. About a month ago, I made a list entitled Ways To Make Money because, after all, you need to have purpose but you also have to pay the bills. My list, curiously, did not include my real job of Realtor. Rather it included Man In The Moon Cards, antiques, ebay, writing, stories and contests, and hiring myself out taking listing photographs (because I’ve previously been paid to do that). At my request, my kids bought me a bread making machine for my birthday last week. My daughter said, “You can add another “hobby” to your money-making ideas – selling bread.” In truth, I had not thought this far ahead. I pulled out my list and wrote bread making at the bottom.

As you can see, I’ve lacked focus in my life, at least enough focus to be successful at something I love. I have become much more disciplined in the past few years which may have had something to do with being diagnosed with cancer and being told I was going to die (fooled them), but that works wonders for your focus. This is a cautionary tale – don’t wait. Make plans, write them down, make lists, accomplish things…small things lead to bigger ones. As people say, “Dream Big”, but don’t just dream. That gets you nowhere. I would amend this ditty to “Dream Big, But Take Action”.

I am actually planning my life now, and, yes, I think I will act on it.

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Have you ever asked yourself this question? I have been pondering this a great deal lately. It goes well beyond the obvious…because my mother and father created me. So, do you have a large purpose or a small one, and how much control do you have over this? Are you meant to do something meaningful for the entire human race or help one person in their darkest hour? Does a myriad of small, worthy deeds equal something like finding a cure for cancer? We may not think so, but we are not the ultimate judge of these things. It would be vain to think so.

We can find fault with our shortcomings twenty-four-seven, but that would be time spent in an unproductive manner, further separating us from real satisfaction and true happiness. Every day is a new one. It isn’t given to us to look back with regret and see the sun set on the same static set of circumstances we began with.

Some people seem to be blessed, from an early age, to know their purpose in life and drive themselves relentlessly to fulfill that vision. Most of us are not so fortunate. Some of us aimlessly flounder through our entire lives without real focus and the rest of us are somewhere in the middle. There is nothing magical in fixing this. You all know it’s about setting a goal and pursuing it. But, even some pretty brilliant people have difficulty doing this – it’s not easy. The reasons for immobility are possibly endless: It’s too hard; I might fail; People will make fun of me; People will criticize me; I don’t have enough money to pursue my dreams; I don’t have a support system; I don’t have the education needed; It will take too long – this is one of my least acceptable reasons…what will you be doing five years into your future if you do nothing now? Yes, the answer is nothing you will be happy about…

My brain is spinning out of control and there will be more to come on this subject.

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~ a day an old friend calls

~ a day your Amazon book order arrives

~ a day you feel like baking and do it

~ a day someone invites you somewhere

~ a day when there is time for a nap

~ a day you accomplish something

~ a day you see your kids

~ a day you write something/anything

~ a day you can do something artistic

~ a day spent in a garden

~ your birthday and you have cake

~ a day your team wins

~ a day you and your family are healthy

~ a day you hear unexpected good news

~ a day you can help someone

~ a day you feel like singing

Celebrate the very small things and be happy. Feel free to add your own small things.

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Gettysburg Festival

I will get back to stories and poetry soon, but need to take the opportunity today to promote the annual Gettysburg Festival.  If you’ve never attended, you’ve missed a great event.  Nine days of events for all ages in and around our little historic town of Gettysburg…musical entertainment, tours, art events, culinary events, exhibitions, singing, story-telling, fife and drums, brass bands, theatre, garden tours, events for children and all the usual fun things to do in Gettysburg.  Most of the Festival events are free.  Come with good walking shoes and lawn chairs in the car.   Events are outdoors and indoors, all around the town…

Check out the link here or on the sidebar:  http://www.gettysburgfestival.org  You will find a complete schedule of events for this year as well as a great photo gallery from past festivals.  Don’t miss it. 

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Haikus For Fun

When I was younger
I thought I knew just enough
and I often did

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To know the future
do you work harder or less
panic or relax

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The thread theory
is it real…is it fiction
it still intrigues me

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I wiggle my toes
they are little miracles
engineering ‘feets’

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