Techno vs One-on-One

WELL, I MISSED THE FIRST FRIDAY Art Walk in Salinas last week—I’d promised a new friend I’d make sure to attend. But, alas, it wasn’t on my calendar … my portable brain, so completely forgotten. Maybe today. Maybe …

I didn’t even get out and about till 2:30 or so that day. So, I also missed the Friday Farmers Market at Monterey Peninsula College, with all their lovely fresh fruits and veggies—and eggs. Plus the chance to walk around in fresh air. I just might make it this week (yay) as it seems I’m getting a better handle on getting my blogs done “on time” for a change.

“Curses to this computer!” I say … and to my smart phone! Sigh … too much—way too much—of my life is attached to it: blogging, my manuscripts, maintenance of my websites, keeping up with friends and associates on FB and the other social media sites, attempting to stay on top of emails (and failing miserably) … enough to make ones head spin. Unwillingly tethered to the technology to do the things I need and want to do to pursue.

Wonder how many other things I have forgotten and will miss because they are not on my portable brain(s)? I have the smart phone and a huge wall calendar that I try to remember to manually sync on a regular basis. I did so much better when it was just the monster wall calender. Now, many times I’ve had that nagging feeling there was something I was supposed to be doing, but when I find nothing on my wall calendar or in my phone … what can I do? (insert very sad face)

Getting out and being social is a good thing—away from the extremely non-personal social media of the internet. Yes, it’s fun to interact with near and far-away friends, plus it’s virtually (no pun intended) free. But, getting away from all of the technology is very freeing and allows for connecting on a more personal level. Sigh. I haven’t had much of that lately—the one-on-one stuff in real time—but when I have, it’s been delightful. Invigorating even.

I did manage to spend some time with a friend on Tuesday—it was delightful. An overcast—and eventually drizzly (yay! we need every tiny bit of it)—afternoon together, starting with a drink at Starbucks (well, I brought my own tea—I know, bad girl).

We continued walking around the Alvarado Street Farmer’s Market in Monterey, lingering at too many booths a wee bit too long (I eventually end up buying if I stay too long. Sigh). One place my friend wanted to check out was a used clothes store—we were there for a quite a while, managing a lovely chat with the clerk as we browsed the merchandise. I left with a beautiful pale green scarf. After even more meandering in the Market, we had a delightful dinner chicken special with artichoke and mushrooms at Rosine’s (I planned on having their salmon, but when he mentioned the special, I began to drool—oh, it was delicious!). There was absolutely no room for dessert!

Then, we popped into Old Capitol Books where a friend was doing a book reading (a tiny bit late—she’d already started her reading). My friend browsed the books while I listened. This is a neat store that I must revisit very soon and check their book selection. The monthly reading is definitely something I’ll have to sign up for. Looks like fun—and terrifying … intimidating for me with a fairly intellectual crowd of adults (country bumpkin that I am). Maybe a little too intellectual for a fantasy storyline? I did ask the group if they’d be interested in a MG/YA fantasy. They sounded surprisingly enthusiastic. I’ll be brave—remember, I’m a one-on-one kinda gal. I do okay in groups, but prefer small … very small. Perhaps I’ll even ask the proprietor if he’d be open to a book signing one of these days. We’ll see.

After even more wandering the streets of Monterey, we said our good-byes and I dashed home to take care of my critters. It was already dark. Five hours of exploration, interactions and fun. All in all, it was a wonderful reprieve from my time in the house (or coffee shops) on the computer. And for someone that hates shopping, all the outdoor walking made the shopping/browsing excursion far more enjoyable. The walking was delightful!

Guess I wouldn’t make a very good hermit 😉 I enjoy the company—personal, one-on-one (or three) interactions—of people too much. I do like my solitude, but … yeah.

I know I keep saying it, but I really do think it’s time to get back to Old School Ways. Get away from the Electronic Age we are so entrenched in. Ways I can do this is by working my manuscript by hand (to be transcribed into the computer later—can’t get away from that part completely), switching to a flip phone (just forward my calls from the smart phone to it), hand scribing my blogs (again, to be transcribed later) … so many things I could do to disconnect without completely giving “IT” up. Just stepping back a bit. Putting some space between me and all those electronic techno gadgets.

Engaging life again more fully.

Then again, there are days that are just the opposite—crammed full of things that I do, leaving very little time to breath. A little too engaged with life. Thankfully, those are only peppered into my calendar schedule … but some how this week had an abundance of those days scheduled in. Thankfully, a few of them fell through.

I know God helps me balance those chaotic days. Absolutely. Especially when I forget to do it myself. The unexpected call from my friend to spend some time together is one perfect example. Another is the last minute cancellations. He wants to remind me that balance in my life is important.

Now, it’s up to me to keep that balance. With His help, of course. It’s never wrong to lean on God when needed.

May your days be filled with blessings and balance.

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.