Memories …

MEMORIES CAN BE GOOD … OR THEY CAN BE ones we don’t particularly want to remember because they are so terribly wrong and/or bad. But, no matter what memories there are in our lives, they are what makes us who we are, whether we like it or not.

Last Friday, I was trying to get my head into the “blog space” of getting my current one finished when my mind flooded — literally flooded with memories. What brought it on? The simple act of slicing up an orange. Oh, so many memories. It was like the domino-effect of one memory on top of another, cascading in my mind. Good memories, mostly, but some sad memories came too. Because, that’s life. The memories centered around my dad. As he climbed the business ladder as a chemical engineer into management, he managed to keep our lives rich in family things, like simple meals: sliced oranges (yup, remember, this was the trigger) with powered sugar, usually followed by eggs and bacon, or cornmeal mush, and fresh squeezed orange juice with our breakfast. Or there were the family vacations he was able to squeeze into his busy schedule: camping trips to the Sierras, to Trinity, Twin and June Lakes areas, to Tuolomne Meadows (my personal favorite destination); a trip up into Oregon and another time through Four Corners and the desert and mountain states … the list goes on. I caught my first fish (later — much later — I was told they’d just stocked the lake … sigh) on one of those trips; watched my dad as he floated a the highly saline June Lake, spouting water like a whale … all fond memories.

But, I also remember taking care of him as he slowly and painfully lost his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. The agony he (repeatedly) went through when he found out mom died (how does one deal with this while you yourself are trying to deal with it??). I finally stopped telling him when he’d ask. I couldn’t stand seeing the fresh pain that stabbed him in the heart each and every time he heard of her death; discovering he felt abandoned — he thought his mother had deserted him (she died from an illness when he was very young and he said no one ever told him — not sure this is true, but not important … he did feel abandoned) and trying to help him understand that. Falling then being stuck in a wheel chair as his fractured hip healed, he could not understanding why he couldn’t get up and walk around like he used to … and calling me his wife — I learned to constantly give him verbal clues (“Daddy”) to help keep it straight in him mind what my role in his life should be. Other things like his wandering off — scaring me half to death when I found out he’d somehow managed to get across the freeway with his dog to buy a leash; his time in the hospital with “good-intentioned” doctors and staff that didn’t know how to handle him (wanting to restrain him!) — or properly medicate him when medications he’d been taking ulcerated his stomach. These are part of the sad memories of my dad, but each experience (and how I handled them) has helped shape who I am.

I am a better person for having encountered each experience:  each has helped to shape how I respond to new experiences; how I handle encounters with people — of all sorts; how I live my life. Through them all, having a good foundation (thanks to my parents) — something to fall back onto when things get sketchy — is paramount. First and foremost, my dad was a stickler for attending church. We all grumbled (to varying degrees) about it, but we learned about God and what an awesome pillar of strength He could be if we allowed it. For that, I am forever thankful.

That one thing — having God to lean on — and each experience building upon the next helped me through the deaths of my parents and my husband … and through all the ups and downs in life.

I was too young when my first grandmother died — I don’t even remember being allowed to attend the funeral. When my grandfather (her husband) grew ill, I was not allowed to see him in the hospital, but when he died, It was felt I was apparently old enough to attend the grave-side burial services. All I remember is sitting in the back with my cousin, goofing around and giggling (and being shushed by my mom) — obviously not old enough for the proper decorum. With the death of my dad’s father, then mother, I was much older and the gravity of their deaths was felt deeply. As my aunts and uncles passed away (both before and after my parents and husband’s deaths, each one was a blow, but God helped ground me, helped get me through. And before his death, with each of my husband’s catastrophic illnesses, again, I remained calm (people kept commenting on it and I was beginning to wonder if I was not engaged with the gravity of the situation, but finally realized it was simply because I leaned on God for my strength — and that was a good thing). I was able to come through to the other side in one piece, at peace … and refreshed.

Repetition, life experiences and leaning on God. Yup. That pretty much sums up how we build our lives. Well, it’s how I formed mine, at least. And, it seems to be a good formula for me.

…And in light of the news from today: the loss of an icon, Leonard Nimoy … a all-time favorite of mine, that’s what I’ll be doing — definitely shedding tears, but mostly, praying for his family and friends and leaning on God

May your life be peppered with ups and downs, triumphs and defeats, creating the strong, vital character that is you. Hopefully you too have someone to lean on to make it through to the other side, in one piece and at peace.

Fandom

YEAH … IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY FIGURED IT OUT, I’m a Doctor Who fan:  “FAN noun | a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art form, or famous person : football fans | I’m a fan of this author. DERIVATIVES fandom |ˈfandəm| noun
image  ORIGIN late 19th cent. (originally U.S.): abbreviation of fanatic.”
I’m not as — hmmm … how do I say this without offending? — not as crazy about it as some … like I was as a Trekkie when I was a teen. The über enthusiasm. Willing to queue for hours just to get an autograph and/or photo — with my Swinger camera — of my fave actor (Spock aka Leonard Nimoy). The encyclopaedic facts … I knew everything about the program, about the actors, wanting to attend anything remotely connected to Star Trek … about … well, everything. I just loved it. A lot. A true fan(atic). As a Doctor Who fan, image I can’t tell you all the minute details, or even remember all the Doctors (they are adding up — there are twelve of them now). I don’t feel as vested as I did as a young adult. I’m sure this change has to do with my age. At least, I think (though I do know a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan that is at least my age that borders on fanatic — both my daughter and I were a bit creeped-out at his level of interest). In addition to the hundreds (thousands?) of youngsters in attendance — infant through teen and young adult, there were quite a few in and around my age (older and a wee bit imageyounger than I). I was completely surprised at the age span of attendees that were there for the entire weekend, milling about, attending the seminars, getting their photos taken with the writers, production crew and the actors … and generally, having a terrific time. Now, had River Song (Alex Kingston) been

David Tennent Lookalike

Pretty good look alike of David Tennent, the tenth Doctor. Kinda fun to see such a good impersonator. Very quite guy…

there, I might — just might — have taken the time to queue up and pay for a photo and autograph with her. Unfortunately, she couldn’t get away from a imagecommitment in NY (weather & production delays) — insert huge pout, so I’m hoping she’ll be at the Gallifrey One convention next year — and hopefully, I can get a ticket. Apparently, it’s a tricky thing getting tickets — they are gone in a flash. Sure hope I can. I have such great plans!

(Sniggle) Oh, I can see this is going to be one of those blogs that have a myriad of tangents … and is super long. I’m going to apologize now image(insert impish grin). Oops. Just try to follow along.

Now … I can go without it — the tv show — without knowing all the minute details, not being current with the ongoing series — without going bonkers. As a teen watching Star Trek, and even as a young adult following the antics of the at-the-time current Doctor, I never missed a weekly episode — and agonized when we went on a trip or when  they went into their annual hiatus. Now, it’s not such a big deal. When I could, I’d go onto the internet (when it was finally an option) and search for any new-to-me episodes. But I am so far behind it isn’t funny. I don’t have NetFlix … just Amazon Prime (and have just figured out how to use it). And it doesn’t really matter. I love it when I can watch it, but I don’t get bent out of shape when I cannot.

After this weekend, I am now “current” … I saw the last Christmas Special and it was good — except there is a huge gaping crevasse with only a few

Lighted Hat with the TARDIS

Had to laugh…this guy had a harness at waist level (hidden under the outfit he was wearing) that he used to either light up his hat with a solid image, or flashing (as in when it slowly disappeared) or in off mode.
Loved it!

stepping stones (some episodes of the newer Doctors) in between linking me back to the classic series where I began the Doctor Who journey.

The “old” fan me (is that grammatically correct??) would dress to the nines, wearing and buying all the “stuff” from the conventions and from PBS’s quarterly pitches for money when they offered up Dr Who swag as incentive to dontate. I still have quite a bit of my Trekkie stuff and even some old books, etc from the Classic Doctor Who series. Somewhere in storage. Maybe, before next year, I’ll have to see if I can find it.

The TARDIS at Marriott Hotel

Someone brought a TARDIS to put on their balcony. I love it!

That may be a monumental task not worth taking at this time. I do know (not knowing the value at the time) that I gave away some of the Doctor Who books and goodies (gasp) to my daughter and friends. Sadly, at my age, they really are just things.

The “new” fan me did purchase a bunch of little inexpensive goodies to give to my more avid Doctor Who friends…gifts to be dispensed at the weekly NaNoWriMo writers meeting. It was fun seeing who wants what. I love to gift things. So much more fun than hoarding things, don’t you think? I did buy a Fourth Doctor scarf (Tom Baker was my introduction to the series through the local PBS stations … and my favorite of the Classic series. I think David Tennent, the tenth Doctor, is my favorite of the newer Doctors) — I’ve been wanting one of Baker’s scarves from the very beginning, but I was too much of a scrooge to justify the cost. It was expensive, but well worth it. The weather back home is not frigid like the Midwest or East Coast (thank goodness), but for us, the mornings are pretty chilly — nearly year round! And it’s great to wear when I have the top down on my Miata. So, I’ve already enjoyed wearing it in the mornings and when I’ve taken the Miata out for a spin. Snuggily warm (insert grin). I also (last minute) purchased one of the cute little dresses — really made for teens, right? It has many hand-drawn TARDIS, Cybyermen, Daleks and Weeping Angels (in black, on white). It’s cute — but if I wear it in public, it will definitely be with leggings … or pants — it is a wee bit too short for this old fogey — don’t want to damage anyone’s eyes. Oh, yes. I also bought a Sonic Screwdriver (tenth Doctor’s, I think), but it’s a bit wonky. Works when it wants to (even changing the batteries didn’t help).

I did have fun with the fandom’s ribbon thing … many, many participants and attendees came with bags full of ribbons (with an adhesive strip so you can stick them together) that had not so random things printed on them  most referencing something said in an episode. My favorite was:

Ribbonated

Some of my collection of ribbons

“Permission to Squeee” — I love to squeee, right? I loved it … that is, until I saw the episode at the convention where the character asks permission to squeee, then he gets vaporized (insert frown). LOL. I received my very first one at the registration table (since it was my first year) and was told I’d been “ribbonated” as she handed me a black ribbon with gold block lettering: “THING”. I laughed. At first, I thought, “right…I’ll probably get two or three of these…” but found it was quite addictive. I found myself keeping an eye out for either clusters of people swarmed around a person, or people with little baggies in hand — both clues that there were ribbons for the asking. My hotel roomie, Renée is a wee bit bashful and in past years has collected only a few. With my help — I just politely asked for two … one for my roomie and one for me (99.9% of the time, they said yes) — she ended up with enough requiring her to clip them up so she wouldn’t trip on them. I plan on bringing my own next year so I can hand out and exchange (some were only available as an exchange, so I missed out on those). Renée and I put our heads together and figured out a phrase for one of them … something to do with books being dangerous. I think I may

Secrets Beyond Scymaria Swag

There were multiple tables participants/attendees could leave brochures, bookmarks, etc. I couldn’t pass up the chance to do a little advertising…
Next year I’ll be prepared with ribbons!

try to come up with one more. I’ve got a year to figure it out. And cross my fingers I am able to get a ticket (they are sold out within ten minutes, I think, and in 2016, there are no transfers … which is how I acquired mine for this year). Here’s hoping…

My apologies that some of the photos have captions/descriptions and some don’t. When I loaded them, I filled in all the important info, but I’m not seeing it on the first ones, as I insert them into the blog. I’m really not sure why. I will hopefully have this resolved before I post this, but in case I can’t figure it out, there should be a description when you click on the individual photos. We’ll see.

To say I had fun was an understatement. Not staying at the hosting hotel was not a negative — with it about two blocks away, I got a good amount of walking in, which for me is a very good thing. Especially with my poor choices in food, it helped to keep me from adding unwanted pounds. And the walking was good for me. I’m just glad that the smog wasn’t bad — the weather was actually quite excellent … blue skies, temps in the 75-85 degree range. In fact, terrific! I’m only sorry I didn’t venture out to the outlying area (which happens to be my old stomping grounds) — I didn’t want to lose my parking space … a very precious commodity in the city. I would have had time, but I’m not complaining. There was plenty to do and see at the convention. Next time, I’ll plan time before or after the convention to visit the various places I grew up in and around.

Wow. Time to close this rambling post. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. Even as I’m polished this one, my mind has begun pondering the next blog — triggered by memories. (Insert huge grin…)

I wish you and your family a week filled with discoveries and memories — big and small, precious and heart wrenching — they make us who we are.

 

 

 

Slow Down . . . You’re Movin’ Too Fast . . .

I KNOW. SO MANY OVERUSED SAYINGS, but I have found a few that I truly feel are very appropriate: the oldies song by Paul Simon, 59th Bridge Song: “…slow down, you’re movin’ too fast…gotta make the mornin’ last. Just kickin’ back…”, the often quoted “Stop and smell the roses” (can’t find where that one originated). They seem to come to mind—much more often than in the past.

How many actually listen to—and act upon—the “slow down” muse that dances in our head?

In the past, I’d listen, but not act. Now, there are still times I don’t, but more and more (is it because I’m getting olde—or wiser?) I heed the call. Slow down. Look around. Take in the view. Be glad…and thankful for what you see around you. Find something—anything, no matter how small—and revel in it’s simplicity. It’s beauty. The benefits are amazing. I find myself more relaxed, seeing things that I’d otherwise miss in my rush through the day.

The same applies to driving. Slowing down reduces the stress on our crazy roads (so does courtesy). Are you able to carve an extra fifteen to thirty minutes out of your day to slow down…maybe even find an alternate route to your destination? This is something my dad did routinely. It used to drive me crazy as a kid—how on earth was I to learn how to get somewhere if he was always changing the route. Right? He was, by the way, the most mellow of people (definitely not a Type A personality—no-no-no—definitely a Type B).

Well, this week, in the midst of my travels to the Southland (So Calif), I’ve had so many opportunities to choose either being stressed about traffic—oh yeah…crazy traffic—or chilling, enjoying the scenery, letting my mind (carefully) wander on a million tangents as I negotiate stop and go freeways, accidents and construction. Then, with no deadlines (other than the constraints of how much fuel is in the tank—unfortunately less than a quarter tank), I was able to wander into the mountains to simply be. Take in the stark beauty of the high desert.  Breathe in the scents that waft in the clean warm air of the mountains. Oh my. Delightful.

The stress is gone. Definitely gone.

Even in the fast-growing metropolis of Corona, with all of the crazy construction plus the “me-me-me-first” and “need-to-be-there-yesterday” mentality on the freeways, I am enjoying the beauty and did manage to make it into the heart of LA unscathed—and actually relax. Yay!

So, this is a short blog (and done on the fly, so my apologies if I didn’t catch all my mistakes)—I’m off to the Gallifrey One (Dr. Who) Convention. I’m getting plenty of walking in (yay!) since our hotel room is a couple blocks away from the hosting hotel.

My wishes for you are to find a way to stop and smell the roses this week. Enjoy life—even if it seems to be one small, insignificant thing—to help bring peace to your mind, heart and soul.

Have a blessed week.

 

It’s All About The Focus

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN SO FOCUSED ON SOMETHING that you lose sight of everything else? I find that happens to me on a regular basis before I remember to stop and think about what I am truly after. Then I take a step back and look at things from a different viewpoint. Makes all the difference in the world.

Take for example the quest for a well defined photo of the full moon. Every month, I am foiled by weather (too many clouds or fog) … or merely too tired to drag myself outside. I’ve tried to snap shots with my iPhone, but details are useless. Bright white light in a dark sky. Boring, right? (What I really want is a photo like the one just below—taken on a previous full moon, with a  clear sky.)

IMGP5208

Near Full Moon

Well, last night, I was looking out my kitchen window—the window to my back yard and easterly sky. There it was. Bright as could be…nearly full, but puffy little clouds blanketed the sky in patches obscuring in now and then. Just enough light in the sky, cast by the moon, to make the framework of trees just barely visible. Beautiful. If I was patient, I could get a good shot of the moon.

Immediately, I went out to shoot—tomorrow it will be heavily blanketed with clouds, for sure. In the rush of the moment, I took only my iPhone. What was I thinking?

Cloudy Moonlit Sky

Clouds lace the sky, lit by the moon

Shapes in the clouds

Moonlit sky highlight fascinating shaped clouds.

But, as I pondered my mistake (seriously considering on trudging back in and pulling out my Pentax), trying desperately to focus on the moon alone, taking shots as the clouds kept obscuring the moon. Then I realized I was missing out on the beauty the entire sky was so grandly presenting me. (Note: remember, you can click on the individual photos to see them enlarged)

I stood silently for awhile, taking in the magnificence of the scene, then

Moonlit Cloudy Sky

Oops…forgot to rotate. In my rush to upload, moon should be at the bottom—sorry.

Moonlit Sky

Again, right side should be at the bottom.
Perhaps I’ll play with this later in curves to bring out the beauty of the clouds.

Hiding Moon

Well, I can tell this should be rotated (right side to bottom). Sorry.
It looks like an inverted photo—a negative. Do you see the strange, ghostlike face?

More Shape-Playing

Some fascinating images. What do you see?

shifted my focus from photographing details of the moon to the beauty of the shadows and light reflections the moon was casting in the sky. I am so glad I did.

I love the shots I took, even if they are grainy (night shots, iPhone…what can I say). Still have to upload to my computer, so I haven’t seen them on a big screen yet. I’ll do that right now—you’ll get first shot at viewing them. Nor have I edited them in any way—some are sideways (sorry) and some do not reflect the magnificence of the moonlit shadows on the clouds. I may play with them at a later date and re-post (or add them to the end) them so you can see the delightful light-play on the clouds more clearly.

This post was a last minute endeavor—my apologies. I’ve been dealing with the fallout of a lovely sinus infection all week—I am definitely on the mend now, thanks to antibiotics. I’ll be leaving on my delayed sojourn in Southern California tomorrow (now that I’m up to it), with stops in various places on the way and I’ll be sure to have my camera(s) out so I can share my adventures with you. Promise.

In the meantime, may this Friday and the upcoming week be one filled with adventures, ups and downs that are manageable and a delight or two to keep you bouyed. Don’t forget—Valentine’s Day is just around the corner (no pressure…wink-wink), so start thinking about your loved ones.

My Valentine’s Day (and weekend) will be at a Dr. Who convention. This ought to be interesting.

Have a delightful, blessed week.