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Friday, August 31, 2012

A LIFE in the DAY

Some days are a lifetime long. Seriously. Other days just fly by. Recently I had one of the rare and unwelcomed lifetime types.

No alarm for this girl, just opening eyes and clearing the fog telling myself what day it is, looking at the clock, thinking quickly of what is on today’s list and then getting my old and sometimes unwilling body out of bed. Straight to the Keurig for the morning brew. Back to take care of personal matters while coffee brews. Add cream to the coffee and if possible head out to the deck in PJ’s with coffee and smokes in hand. Seven days a week, I do this. Until the weather won’t allow for the deck perching, then I sit at the kitchen table or curl up with a blanket on the loveseat.

This particular day, I had a short list of things to do. The toy chest needed to be reclaimed. It had gotten out of control and needed a total purging. I know my limits so I didn’t put anything else on today’s list. Just go attack that toy chest, after coffee, smoke and deck time, of course.

I gathered myself together and headed for the shower. After which I noticed my bathroom needed some attention, so I cleaned it up and put up fresh linens and tossing the towels into the basket decided to throw in a load of laundry on my way to the toy room.

Those little unscheduled tasks done, I headed toward the toy room.  The family room, aka sports arena, was a mess. Roomy had been snacking and packing. Next to his chair were water bottles, cf diet coke cans, some wrappers and dirty socks. UGH! Picking that crap up and taking care of it was not on my list, but okay, that was done and the vacuum needed to be run, so I might as well do that. That lead to washing the table covering and dusting and oh, the washer shut off, drying the first load and starting another.

Now, on to the toy room passing through the downstairs guest room, I remember I didn’t pull the sheets off the bed when it was last used. I’m going to be down here today, so I may as well get those sheets washed, too. Pulled them off, carried them to the washing area and dropped ‘em on the floor.  Back to the toy room.

The little kitchen set that the kids all play with needs a good scrubbing so I empty it of all sorts of crazy things and toss out a couple of things in the process. When I was finishing that, the dryer buzzed so off to the laundry area to fold, dry another load and wash another. Done.  Back to the toy room.

Opening the toy chest, I see so many tiny little pieces of fake food that I am a little overwhelmed. Where am I going to put these so that they will stay reasonably clean and handy for the kids. How about the shopping cart? In little cloth bags?  YES. Great idea. Now, where did I put those little cloth bags? I have several, but where did  I store them? 

This room has many cupboards; they must be in one of those. As I open the first one, I realize these are full of crap. Really full of stuff I will never use and don’t have a clue why I saved. Yet, here it is. I grab some garbage bags and start chucking.

Did I mention there are many cupboards?  Yes, 8 uppers and 8 lowers…all pretty much full AND the counter top between them, loaded with JUNK.

The washer interrupted several times or the dryer did, but I managed to get the entire counter and all cupboards cleaned out AND found the cloth bags. What did I want to put in those?

The laundry got done, but not put away. The sheets got washed, but not back on the bed. The toy room got purged and cleaned, but not the toy chest. The bags got found, but not filled.

I made about 53 trips up and down the steps with junk removal and my back was killing me, but I did accomplish a lot of stuff on this extremely LONG day. I felt as though I had been working for days when I decided to quit and order dinner in.

I went to the kitchen, made a cup of coffee, my first since morning coffee.  Looking over at the clock, I was sure the power had been out. It said it was 1 o’clock! WHAT? I’m exhausted, it can’t be 1 o’freakingclock!  It has to be 5 or closer to 6!  I have 4 clocks in my kitchen, coffee pot, stove, micro and one just cute clock. They all said 1 or a few minutes past.  UGH.

I did the only thing I could do at that point. I took my coffee out on the deck and sat my tired butt down. I watched the birds, stared into the pool and I enjoyed the rest of my afternoon. Leaving all those undone things, undone. Not something I am usually comfortable doing, but on this longest day of the year, I left it all undone.

Now the odd thing, the rest of the day flew past. Before I knew it, Roomy was home and it was dinner time. I was sitting for more hours than I was working, but the working time dragged and the sitting time flew. Hummmmm.  I think that is odd and it has taught me; sit more and let the time fly. I was very happy that afternoon and the next day’s list was already made.

Finish the undones and then clean out the toy chest.

The toy chest has still not been cleaned out and the bags are still empty.

Well, fall is approaching and those kinds of chores will be easier to do when I don’t want to be outside or even see outside and those days are not too far off.

Organization…I need more organization of my time.  One thing does NOT have to lead to another. Focus. I need focus. Oh, FB notifications…gotta run…..


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Hopelessly Devoted
August 28, 2012

Devotion is such an all consuming decision. In my own life I have not been devoted to a lot of things, but those I have are things which still have my complete devotion. 

I am devoted to keeping my family a unit. Not a bunch of individuals who share me, but a real connected body of humans who genuinely enjoy each other’s company. I am devoted to having my grandchildren grow up knowing and loving each other and having memories of spending time with Grandma Jo and Punkin. I want them to remember our house as a fun place with lots of hugs, kisses, laughs and good food.  I want their parents to be close throughout their lives, even after I am gone. So often you see families disintegrate after the mother passes. I so hope that isn’t the case for my family.

I am devoted to my marriage. I will not divorce again and I will not live in a miserable marriage, so I have devoted myself to making this marriage a good one. We like each other and I find that to be a very helpful tool in keeping us close and out of harm’s way. Our arguments are few and far between and I am pleased about that. I do not like arguments. I do not like drama and I do not like being angry. It has taken a few years to figure it out, but I now understand no one can really make me angry, I have to get there on my own. Someone can give me a reason to be angry, but it’s up to me to go there or stay calm and in my happy place. Sarcasm sometimes helps me out with that because sarcasm makes me happy.

My husband is not a push over, but he can be persuaded many times with logic and if that fails, threats. It works for me and sarcasm is often lost on him, so that works, too.

If he cannot be persuaded, then because I am devoted to him, I understand the issue is important to him and I give in. That works, too.

I am hopelessly devoted to being the best daughter my mom could want. I want to know that there is nothing she wishes I would do that I haven’t already done or plan to do very soon. Her comfort and her needs and wants are my priority as this point in my life and I am devoted to her simply because I love her and she needs me.

Devotion comes easily when your target is something or someone you admire, love, worship or need. My devotion is given to those people in my life who mean the most to me and also to a few causes or charities that I hope will change the world and also to my own mental and physical health.

I am devoted to God. I am devoted to living my life in grace. 

I need to maintain a certain amount of good health in order to carry out my devotion to others, so I try to do that. Sometimes, I’m good at it, sometimes the Twinkies, the  chocolate cake, Belgium Dark Chocolate, chips with Nutella or French fries win.

My mental health is preserved (?) by writing. All the words that bang around in my head all day and some nights must be written or typed. The stories must be shared. The thoughts or lessons or ideas must be documented because being hopelessly devoted to sanity seems a good thing.

And right this minute I am devoted to getting this posted and getting some sleep. 


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Moon over Durand August 27, 2012
photo~Jo Heroux

Don't know how it happens
Nor do I know if it matters at all
But this night of a full moon 
Brings me back, back before the fall.

The fall, falls
Leaves are all over the ground
They aren't bright, they aren't alive
They're just there.
It's not lovely, it's death all around.

Tho' the chill in the air brings me down
The shimmering light warms my soul
It's that ball of bright light 
Which fools me, if only tonight.

Still the darkness fills every pore
It seeps into my battling self
I can't keep it at bay
I can't fight it off anymore.

Fall is death for all things that I crave
My flowers, the trees and the grass
The pool is not open nor sparkling
My bones will stay chilled until May.

Closing eyes to remember my summer
Wrapping tighter inside my big robe
Seeing sunshine and blooms and the water
Getting through this is oh, such a bummer.

Winter comes and it goes and I live through it
I even smile at the first sign of snow
It cleans otherwise nasty browness
But I don't venture out to feel it.

Spring arrives and my heart feels lighter
I clean up and I plant and I putter
I open that pool with great vigor
Every cell of my being is brighter.

Waking to hot, humid days
My eyes are covered with shades
Coffee on the deck
Hummers feeding and chirping
I'm alive again, I feel again. 
The water glistens again
I am warm. I am happy. 
I am ME in Summer.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bff Post "Moon"

A beautiful super moon from July 2012.  ♥ full moons.



Living in peace is my choice.

Some of my life I have lived with drama and fed off it and been eaten alive by it. Some of my life I have lived in darkness, mentally incapable of pulling myself out and there is no peace there. Some of my life I have lived in sadness and longing. I don’t think I am unusual. I believe most people’s lives have all or most of these components if one lives long enough and endures each of them in order to move on to something else. Not always something better, but something else. Peace is hard to find if your mind is at war with your body. It is hard to find if your morals are at war with your desires. It is very hard to find if you are in pain either physically or mentally.

I have also lived much of my life in happiness and peace.

I have found now that acceptance is the basis for my own personal peace. It really is that simple for me. I live relatively physically pain free. I am blessed. I also live primarily mentally free of pain; again blessed. But I know that even when one or the other of these invades my life, it is temporary and if I can DO something to make it less painful, I do it. I just do it. If not, then I accept that I cannot fix or change it and I ACCEPT it. Truly and completely accept it. That means that I live WITH it. I do not live in spite of it or because of it. I live with it. I make it part of my thinking, part of my actions and accept that for this day, at least, I will have to live with pain of some kind. I will not allow it to control me or be what I am about; instead, I will live my life, my way with the pain in the background. If the pain keeps me from being as physical as I’d like to be, I’ll just be less physical until it passes. If it is mental pain that is trying to take me over, I will remind myself of all the blessings in my life, grieve or ache or whatever for a short time and then live with it. Live my life with smiles and laughter and love because the pain cannot take that away; it is who I am. I am happy, I laugh, I smile a lot and I enjoy life. This is how I have peace in my mind.

Peace in the world is possible, but highly unlikely because it requires people to be nonjudgmental and accept others as they are. Our own morals or beliefs will never be everyone’s and for many people that is unacceptable. Peace requires that be acceptable. I pray for world peace. I pray for war to be something in our history that my grandchildren would read about and understand that dying for a principle or dying to spread democracy may never again be necessary, but instead a lesson learned. Allowing others to live by their own standards and their own beliefs means we stop going to war to protect our freedom because no one will be trying to take it away. I know that is a pipe dream, but I continue.

Peace in my life means I cannot judge others. Is that difficult? It was. It isn’t now. I have come to understand that my beliefs work for me. I know that my moral conduct works for me. It isn’t necessary that everyone agree with me. I can completely love someone who believes nothing close to what I believe. I can love the person for who they are, not what they believe. I can respect someone who is on the complete opposite side of absolutely everything I think is right because that isn’t who they are, it’s what they believe. It is none of my business. I can discuss our differences without becoming defensive, or offensive. It’s good for me to hear both sides or all sides of a subject and I enjoy doing that, but I do not enjoy arguing or fighting or taking a stand or drawing a line in the sand or whatever, so I will often just bow out of a conversation if it is going that way. Religion, Politics or Morals are all subjects about which I have an opinion, but I will not engage in arguments to defend my thoughts. I simply respect the opposite view and move on to something else.  This is how I have peace in my life.

Besides praying for good health and happy thoughts, I also pray for everyone in my life to have peace of mind and a quiet heart. Know, my dear and precious readers, I wish this for each of you. 

The old hippy in my sends you peace and love!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


There is a happy snapshot! A clean, freshly bathed Sadie.  She is 11 years old and HATES having a bath. Well, to be fair, she likes the bathing part, it's the blow drying and trimming part she hates. Unfortunately for her, she was born a Bichon Frise and must be blow dried or her curly hair mats tight to her skin, which would be big trouble. So, blow dries are required and her human is relentless about insuring she is well groomed. Let me share with you, quietly, it exhausts me! That sweet and precious little girl turns into Dogzilla during the brushing and trimming part of this process. She is all teeth and fast as lightning. Usually choosing my hands as her hated target. I am not as quick as I once was and I was never fast. So far, I have only received a few puncture wounds and none for a few years. She is now just threatening and reminding me she COULD, if she was so inspired, tear me up. She weighs 17 pounds. I outweigh her by well over 100 pounds and yet, she believes I will stop if she persists. I have never stopped and for the last 9 years, the baths have been completed without serious injury, to either of us. ♥ her.

Now this would be Jake (furbaby) and Jack (human baby). I took this photo in 2009 and chose it because you can kind of see the attitude of the rat terrier in this shot. On a mission or asleep, that's Jake. He has very few moderate moments. This is without question the most affectionate dog we have ever owned. He craves love and attention and he gives as good as he gets. He will swim or play fetch as long as someone will throw something either into the pool or down the hall or even across the room.  Run, fetch, swim, fetch...endlessly and by the way, Jake is 12 now. Jack is 3, in case you wondered. Still cute as a bugs ear, too.

This picture was taken during Jack's fascination period with Jake. He constantly wanted to touch him. Jake was a little afraid of Jack and honestly, with good cause! He was escaping the bedroom before Jack could fall down and crawl after him.

♥ my boys.

Here is my favorite rose bush in full bloom. This past summer it bloomed longer than it ever has. Nearly 3 weeks of blooms. It's a one time bloomer, so when it is finished, that's it until the next summer. Sure do wish I could see this bloom all summer like the other roses.

I love this bush not only because it is beautiful, which you can see, but also because it was a gift from a neighbor who I adored. Since his death this bush has become a piece of my friend left for me to tend. I love the feeling I get taking tender loving care of this very special rose bush.

It always makes me smile. It makes me smile and remember how lucky I was to know Gary and call him my friend. ♥

Three little snapshots that make me smile...hope you did, too.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bff "Elvis"

Elvis   ♥

No pictures and no music links...just ♥.

As many of you, my loyal and precious readers (both of you) know, I am a gigantic and fanatic Elvis Presley fan. I own every song he recorded and I have duplicates of several. I have a lot of his movies, though not all of them. I have a few of his concerts on tape and CD and I do now and then, just have an all Elvis all day kind of day.

I once had an Elvis room in my home. Okay twice. I had a large collection of memorabilia that rivaled some of the museums I have visited. I still have a porcelain Graceland (his home) and have visited the real one in Memphis 4 times. I have the Elvis and Barbie dolls, some beautiful music boxes and have sold a good deal of the other fun stuff I used to display in my room. It was fun for a long time, but I was tired of it and kept only the things that I really love to have near me. Some special things that one day my grand daughters might like to share among themselves. That would make me very happy.

I not only think his voice was perfection, I love his gospel songs and the fact that contrary to what many people believe about his life, he was a deeply spiritual man. He believed he answered to God and that he would be judged. I listen to his gospel music often and sing along because it makes me feel so peaceful.

A love song sung by Elvis is a LOVE song. I have so many favorites that listing them would be ridiculous. I am particularly obsessed with “The Hawiian Wedding Song”, for two reasons. I love Hawaii, I love “Blue Hawaii” (one of his movies, for those of you who are uninformed) and both reasons make that song so romantic and so meaningful to me. Mike and I have spent several anniversaries in Hawaii and have always managed to hear someone do that song while there or we have played it ourselves in our hotel or car. It is a beautiful and loving song. “I do, love you, with all my heart.” The ending of the song.

I have several books about him. “Elvis and Me” by Priscilla Presley…very revealing and very good read for any fan. The complete book of his movies is another I love to read. The movies he was so disgusted with making because he wanted to be a real actor in a great movie, turn out to be some fluff and a few very good movies. “Blue Hawaii”, “Stay Away Joe”, “Charro”. “Love Me Tender” to name just a few of the really good ones. He made a very good western star as an Indian, Half-breed or cowboy.  And may I add, he made a very nice Hawaiian boy. J

Many people think Elvis was just a drug addicted waste and basically killed himself by overdosing.

The doctor who provided his basic care was called on the carpet but not prosecuted because Elvis got pills from several sources and since no one told him he couldn’t, no one told him he couldn’t do anything. He was Elvis and he could get what he wanted when he wanted it. I believe, he never thought he was endangering his life or his health. They were prescription drugs and I think he believed them to be safe. It is important to remember this is a southern boy with little education and scholastic endeavors were not his strong point. He didn’t drink and smoked only a short time because he felt they weren’t healthy. He practiced martial arts and earned several belts in Karate to keep in shape and to protect himself. In later years, he became an expert marksman for the same reason, self protection. He was a bit paranoid, but also had fans chasing him and hanging at his front gate relentlessly, so perhaps it wasn’t really paranoia.

This man lived a big life. He was rich beyond his imagination and could buy whatever he saw that he liked. He did that. To marry the girl he fell in love with he managed to get her moved into his home before the wedding, with her parent’s approval even though she was still a teenager, at the time. They shared a bed, but did not have sex until their wedding night. Priscilla became pregnant immediately and gave birth to their only child 9 months later on February 1, 1968. They seldom had sex after her birth. Elvis had a problem with intercourse with a mother, speaking volumes about his mother issues. He loved his mother more than anything or anyone and her death changed him and also removed his touchstone. She kept him grounded, without her, he was wild and careless. Priscilla left when Lisa Marie was a mere 2 years old. Elvis loved her until the day he died, but they never reconciled or even came close. They remained friends always.

There is no singing voice before or since that will immediately stop me mid sentence, to hear, to listen and to love this man and his amazing talent. He was a beautiful young man and a bloated and drugged middle aged man who still managed to look incredibly sexy and confident on stage, though he never felt confident in performance. He continuously wondered why people paid to hear him sing. He loved it, but never knew how incredible he was. He was a humble man, contrary to public opinion.

“Aloha from Hawaii” was a concert he did in the seventies for charity and now most fans agree, it was without question his best concert performance ever. He sang nearly every hit song he had in that show and each was done to perfection. He was heavy, he was sweating profusely and I still watch it and feel like a teenager watching her idol all over. The man is a one of a kind. Never before and never since, absolutely no one compares with his success or his talent.

A true national treasure. Southern born. Rags to riches. Served in the Army. Loved his God. Became a star far too quickly and was never handled correctly. He was used and marketed and unfortunately never lead and guided.

His run here was short, but the man lived. He lived and he left a legacy for my children, their children and all generations to come. His music is forever and my adoration of him eternal.

Rest in peace my inspirational singer. Thank you for the gift of my lifetime, the music of my life.


Sunday, August 19, 2012


BFF prompt is Trees

Below is my poor sad maple from my front yard. The drought and apparently some sort of disease has made it appear to be going dormant or actually dying. :-{

We are hoping....she will revive in the Spring.  

Photo taken by me on August 17, 2012.  


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Hi there and welcome to the HOME page of
My Wandering Mind.

You will find me here, oh, I'm JO!  Hi, *waving* and *smiling*, a couple times a week. Now, in the summer months I may be absent often because the sun and the warm pulls me outside and I find other things to occupy my hands and my mind. Writing does take a backseat until early fall.

I add something three times a week or more if I can't comfortably be outside without a coat. That's my guide for outdoor activity, if it requires a coat, I'm not playing.

Sometimes I write about my family. I would write about my friends if I had any. I make up people to write about quite often. And I LOVE writing about myself.  ;-)  ♥

If you're interested, I have books on Kindle and  nook.

1) The Island Princess...the story of a girl I knew online for over 3 years and never met. Her life was inspirational to me and I tell her story with all the love I felt for her.
(currently off line for rewrite.)

2) Beautiful Betsy...purely fiction and it tells the story of Betsy's life from before her conception until her first grand child is born.  This one takes place in Durand, Michigan. What a coincidence!  I live in Durand!  Wow, weird.

3) Summer in Martinstown is all about the Brady's who live in Georgia and we follow them through one summer of their lives. Some very high moments and some very difficult times. This one begs for a follow-up, but I haven't been in the mood for a Georgia visit since I finished it, so not yet.

I do not blog about those books. But the audio versions of them are available →→→→→→→
over there.  Just in case you're traveling and want a nice read.

I am 63 and married to a really good guy. He is talking retirement this Christmas and I hope he does. I retired a few years ago from hairdressing and haven't looked back. I loved my job and it was good to me for many years, but retirement is my life now.

We have 9 grand daughters and 1 grandson and my momma lives 2 miles from us in a lovely little apartment.  I am her taxi and I really enjoy spending time with her. October 2012 she  turned 90 and is in really good health.  We are so lucky in so many ways.

Did I mention that I have won many beauty contests?  NO?  Probably because I haven't. I hardly ever lie, so that's why I didn't say that, probably.

That's it....find some title over there that might interest you and clickity click away!  

Feel free and some moderate pressure to comment after reading.  I would hold a grudge, but I can't remember long enough for that to be effective.

Lovely meeting you...btw....Jo  ♥

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Two Perspectives

The Proposal
August 12, 2012

GBE2 prompt is to write a story from two perspectives.

“Mom, I have great news. Josh finally proposed!” Vini spoke into the phone just above a whisper to her parent’s home phone. Her mom was thrilled and her dad, not so much. He wasn’t a big Josh fan, but then again he had never really like any of her boyfriends. Josh made a big effort in the beginning to befriend Frank, but since he failed at every turn, he had given up and remained just pleasant and polite around him.

“Tell me all about it!”

“He just fell to his knee after dinner last night at the kitchen table. He looked directly into my eyes and said, ‘I love you; have loved you a very long time and I want to marry you more than anything. Will you marry me?’ and I just started crying! I didn’t even say yes, I just cried! Then he pulled out the ring. He picked out a ring all by himself! Can you believe it? It’s perfect! It’s my size and it’s beautiful and I finally said, ‘yes, of course, I love you so much.’ We stood and hugged for like 5 minutes!”

Wiping her own tears, her mom replied, “I just couldn’t be happier. He’s a good man.”

They talked a few more minutes and Vini hung the phone up and tiptoed back to their bed to cuddle with her fiancé. She had never felt more loved in her life.   ♥
Answering his phone while driving to work he hears. “So how did it go?” It’s his brother Jim who is the only other human who knew he was proposing last night.

“Okay. Almost like I planned, well, the last plan I made!” Laughing he continues, “She said, ‘yes’ and really that’s all that matters.”

“Did you get on your knee?”

“Uh, well, yeah.”

“And said what?”

“Are you a girl or what? Who cares what I said? Jeezopete. I mean I asked her to marry me and she said yes. It’s all good Bro!”

“Cool. She’s cool and you need to settle down. Good choice. Later.”

“Yep, later.” They both hung up and were both perfectly satisfied with how it all went down.        ♥


Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Michigan usually has spring temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s with an occasional jump up to the 80’s and then for summer we enjoy 80’s and 90’s most days. In an average year, we see a good deal of rain in May, a fair amount in June and July will have a few rain out days leaving August to be mostly dry. In most years our grass and flowers begin to brown and die toward the end of August from lack of rain. September is often quite rainy. Many lawns green up again and many flowers will come back for their last hurrah!

This year we have had a near drought if not a full blown drought. We have had Dog Days of Summer most of the summer. Our temps have been in the 90’s and over 100 with high humidity several weeks running. Not normal, but I have enjoyed it very much. I would have liked a night long rain every now and again, but we have finally had some and everything is all green and happy again.

The Dog Days of Summer are the wonderful hot, humid and hazy days in Michigan. The days when the air is so heavy it’s a little hard to take a deep breathe outside. If you are out more than say 5 minutes, you will be sweaty and uncomfortable. If you have yard work to do, you will probably want to do that early in the morning or late in the evening, it might be cooler.  Our Dog Days don’t always cool off at all.  It’s my favorite time of the year.

I am happiest from the first signsof spring and warm air until the first sign of fall. Even when the air is still warm, if the trees begin to turn the vibrant colors of fall, I’m all done being happy girl with a smile and a good attitude. I become the girl who is battling depression. 

Not wasting a single one of these fabulous hot humid summer Dog Days, you’ll find me outside most of the time. I really love summer.  ♥♥♥



Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Who thought running for President was a good idea? Tom fell heavily into the car as that thought ran through his head over and over. His life was so simple before…

At 8 a.m. he had gotten out of the shower and stood square in front of the full length mirror of his bathroom. Drying and looking himself over, head to toe, not much had changed in the last year. He may have gained a few pounds from all the junk food he had eaten on the campaign trail, but otherwise, he looked about the same. Truth was the extra weight was a good thing. He had been on the thin side and now looked healthier and maybe, turning a bit to examine himself further, yes, maybe even more muscular. Dare he think more handsome? Yes, quite possibly a little more handsome and obviously he had something going for him, women were always chasing him. Some just to lay with him so they could say they had, or maybe come back later and claim he fathered their child. He would never fall for any of that; he had sense and oddly for a modern day politician, he also had morals. What he did not have was a woman in his life. His long time girlfriend had walked out a few months before the decision to run had been made. They had discussed the possibility, but he couldn’t decide. She was completely neutral. He still missed her very much. Phone calls and messages didn’t get returned. He believed she had moved on.

Today was more of the same. Speeches to give, well the same speech 4 different places. Lousy food and another hotel tonight would round out the day. He would try to get someone to find out what she was up to and if she was seeing someone else. He surely had someone on staff that could discretely take care of that. Thinking, thinking and finally, Paul. Paul would be the one; he was very discrete and very good at getting info so he could find her and check on her. Tom needed to know if he was really going to have to forget how much he loved her or if maybe at some date in the future, she’d be with him again. The thought of it made him smile for a moment until reality hit and he finished his morning grooming routine.

“Morning Tom, coffee?  I have some notes to go over with you when you’re ready and we have about 2 hours to get to the meeting with the whole crew.  The first engagement is at 11, less than 1 hour for that one. Quick and easy, all your followers. Just pats on the back for their hard work and moving on to the Civic Center for the big gathering, mixed crowd…”

“Bo, please stop. I haven’t even had a sip of my coffee and you are giving me a headache.” He had intentionally interrupted his manager because this endless list of the day’s activities drove him crazy before coffee.  They had plenty of time for all of this in the car going to the first meet-n-greet. Bo was a good, hard working man, but he did get on Tom’s nerves with his non-stop chattering.

Bo looked over his papers and then looked at Tom, “Sorry, I just want to keep you informed. I’ll just go make some calls while you enjoy your coffee, sorry, really.” Excusing himself from the room he thought how lucky this country would be if he could get this man elected. He was a good man with a sound plan for financial health and growth and quite possibly it would work, but congress would have to be on his side and that would be up in the air until the ballots were tallied. It was a long shot, he was new and clean and very personable, but it was also his first time running for such an elite office. His history was state government and he had jumped over the House and Senate openings where he could have gained national recognition and a voting record to run on, but still, his state records were good and maybe a handsome, likable man from Arizona could win. Bo would do everything he could to make that happen because besides believing in Tom, he was very well compensated for being his biggest cheerleader.

The speeches went well. The day ended just like every other day on the trail with dinner at the nearest decent and securable restaurant and then back to the hotel room alone. The only place he could hide and relax and reflect.

So far no one had found out about the life he had walked away from at age 15. So far all the kid years had remained unknown and unquestioned, but there would come a time and soon, he would have to tell his story. He had not changed his name or done any of the things he considered at the time, but now it felt right to just keep quiet until someone asked him about the first 15 years of his life. His parents were deceased and he was an only child. Everyone knew that, but no one knew about the hidden 15 years. Not even the woman he loved. She had never asked and he had never told her or anyone else. It was his for now. His own hidden years and his hidden pain. Alone in this room every night he would remember. The men who came and went. The money on the dresser. The lack of food. The school clothes given by neighbors or charities. The drugs. The booze. The bruises, his and her’s.  It was a horrid 15 years and her death nearly broke him, but it also saved him. The aunt who had taken him in was on his father’s side and she did not care for his mother, but she did love this teenage boy with all her heart. He was the spitting image of his father, her brother and she adored her brother. When he went to Viet Nam, it never occurred to her, he wouldn’t return. A sniper’s bullet had gotten him as he drove through a small village ahead of his company. Tom was born a month before his father died a hero in service to his country. He was a much loved man and the wife he left behind fell to pieces both physically and mentally. She gave her child love and cared for him as best she could. She turned to men callers to pay for the drugs and booze she now needed to breathe. In the end, she died suddenly in her bed. Tom had found her.

This history was hidden. Nothing he couldn’t live with, but so far it had remained his history and he knew it would be shared with the world soon enough. Tonight was one more night he could pray for her soul and send his love and his apology to her again. He had never thought he was enough. Not strong enough for her, not smart enough for her and he never loved her enough, though he clearly did. He let her down and she died. He felt such sorrow.

Tomorrow would be another long day of smiling and schmoozing with voters and Tom eased himself down on the bed and immediately fell into a deep sleep filled with dreams of the woman he hoped would be by his side in due time.  Paul was on her trail and it felt like she would be with him soon. No reason, it just felt that way to Tom.

Thomas Charles Badgerton, the next President of the United States. Holy Cow, he could win.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You Are Beautiful

The year is 2012 and I will celebrate my 63rd birthday before this year ends. My days of being beautiful on the outside, if they ever existed, are most certainly over; my days of inner beauty have only just begun.

It is difficult not to notice how each generation of women especially, but some men also, become more and more obsessed with their physical appearance. I’m not saying my generation wasn’t interested in looking good or being cool or sexy, I’m just saying it didn’t consume our lives. We wanted the latest hairstyle and the latest clothes, if we could afford them, but it didn’t cause us to like someone more or less if they didn’t have it all, maybe it was just my group of friends. In my teen years and even my early adult years, I don’t remember being a slave to make-up or ever freaking out about what I would wear to something. I do remember back-combing my hair into oblivion to get the perfectly round helmet hair and then spraying it with Aqua Net so it couldn’t move…EVER.

Today’s girls I see spending an inordinate amount of time and money on make-up, hair coloring, and clothes and being incapable of NOT looking in a mirror if one is in the room. Studying, making faces, turning, posing; what’s that about? How did we raise these people? Nothing inside matters nearly as much as what is outside?  This makes me very sad. Truly heartbreakingly sad.

I spent many years applying make-up every single day, working or not, because I needed to look my ‘best’ or so I thought. I was a hairdresser. I needed to look like my clients wanted to look or so I thought. If I wore the cool cuts, the cool colors and my make-up was just right, people would feel confident sitting in my chair or so I was told and I, in turn, told many young hairdressers. In hindsight, there is some truth to that. To succeed you must look like you already have. To be the most requested hairdresser in the salon, you must look like you already are. I believe that and I believe if you are in the beauty business, as I was, you do need to wear make-up and have your hair done nicely every day. What I am not so sure about is whether your clients really care about that as much as they care that you give a killer haircut that they can style when they get home. The ‘package’ only sells you one time. The work sells you repeatedly. Treating every single client like your favorite one, sells you forever.

Isn’t life the same? Don’t we make acquaintances because of where we are more than how we look? First impressions may be based solely on how we present ourselves to the world, but is it really about make-up and hairstyle? Is it really about whether or not you are wearing this year’s outfit?

I hope not. I hope it’s much more about what you said. How you said it and to whom you paid attention I hope, matters more in the long run. Are you sincere and do you engage people or just talk at them? Do you listen? Do you HEAR?  This has to be more important, otherwise this old gal is lost. And so are many other people I am very fond of.

I have heard our generation being called the invisible generation. No one notices us anymore. Our hair is just hair. Our faces are lined and forgettable. Our clothes are probably 20 years old or older and our shoes are just for comfort. Make-up, if used at all, is expected to be over-used since we can’t see anymore.  Yet, we have real friends. We have people who actually care whether we live or die and in fact, care HOW we are. Why is that if it’s all about how we look?

Is it really about how much you weigh?  Nope. Your health may be or may not be about the number on your scale, but your friends don’t care. You are equally loveable at 250 pounds, 150 pounds or 95 pounds. Because your belly and your butt are not the reasons people do or don’t like you. Your heart is. Your personality is what attracts or repels people, not your fat or your bones. Just like the hairstyle and the make-up, they are not who you are, they are what you do; being heavy or too thin, being too short or too tall is not who you are, but rather how you are built.

I know I have rambled on here and I know that I have not really addressed beauty, but I have addressed my irritation about a world of women growing into their invisible years with zero chance of being happy because they are obsessed with not looking like they did when they were 20. Of course, when they were 20 they thought they were fat and had a big nose or some other unforgivable flaw. They didn’t then and they don’t now, but they will never believe that because they have never developed the beautiful personality. The giving, the sharing, the hugging, the loving personality that would always make them friends wherever they go, was never nurtured into fruition. It doesn’t leave anything for the golden years, but sadness and grief over the lost physical beauty and nothing to replace it.

My face is far less than pretty. At one time, I guess it was okay, but never pretty to me. I never felt as desirable as I knew some of my friends were, but I always managed to be happy enough with my appearance. I had a great deal of confidence and I believed I was a good person, even as a teenager. I knew I had good friends and I knew my family thought highly of me. I assumed from all of that, I must be a good person. My teenage years were happy and social and I would dare to say, though my memory is vague about a lot of things, I am quite certain I made some lifelong friends back then and I am still very blessed to have many of them in my life again. It had nothing to do with my looks or theirs, then or now, it has to do with who we are inside. The kind of people we have become and the kind of people we were back in the day. We are and we were good people with good hearts and a decent set of morals. That has served us well into our 6th decade of life.

I no longer wear make-up every day. I put on a little mascara and lipstick and out the door I go.  I comb my hair, but it’s not a 20 minute style, it’s very simple and neat.  I dress to be comfortable and try not to wear anything too wrinkled or stained. If I like it, I wear it. I care much more about who I am and who I am with than I do about how I look. I think I care more about being clean and being kind than I do about being gorgeous. That’s a good thing or I could never leave the house!

I can’t change the world away from all the emphasis on physical beauty, but I can change one thing. I can stop judging other women based on their looks or their weight or their outfit. I can stop judging everyone by what I see and decide instead who I like based on who they are and how they live their life. I choose this one.

I choose to find the beauty within the people in my life and oddly or maybe not so oddly, they are all positively beautiful people.  Yes, if you live a good life, if you care about other people and their needs and their lives, if you are a giving human with empathy, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.