dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

So over it…

Today I am using my blog as a place to air my opinions.  I do not want to cause a discussion in my comment section, I just want to state some things.

I am a Northern born Yankee.  I lived the first part of my life north of the Mason-Dixon line.   I learned about the Civil War in school.  I learned that the war started in my former hometown of Charleston, SC.      I also learned that states rights were the reason for said war.

I am a very proud Yankee.  That is just me.   That said, we moved to the south in 2009.  I made several jokes to my hubby that I would never be ‘genteel’…    I did not have the gracious and soft manners of the stereotypical Southern Woman.    I am just me.

But, the one thing I have discovered in the past few years of living in the South, is their fierce pride in their history.  Their pride is also the same pride I had when living in the North.    It is a pride of their heritage.  It is a pride of who their ancestors were.  The pride that is inherent to us all as individuals.   It makes us who we are as people.

I do not understand why monuments are being torn down.  I find this ridiculous.  I find it very offensive to me, a Yankee, to have monuments of great men being removed from perches they have been on for generations.  Why,  in this day and age, are they being taken down?  Have we become wiser?  I think not.  Has something about them changed?  I think not.

I think it arrogant for this generation to think they have a right to do such things.  I am appalled at the actions of people I see lately.    I do not see respect.  I do not see honor given to anyone.  This  is a sad commentary on the state of minds.

Like I stated previously, these are my opinions.  I have read and read and read so many people stating what they believe, I see so many spewing hatred and anger and then they speak of love and how they want and need hugs.   A well cannot produce sweet and brine water at once.    What does your heart say?

I am not a learned person.  I do not have a lot of education.  I have had experiences though, and I know that anger is not a good thing.  We each have a choice in how we react and act.  We can jump on a bandwagon and adopt a mob mentality, tearing down monuments and tearing down our President, or we can choose to  act in graciousness.  We certainly will not agree on everything.  But, reacting with violence and hatred is not the way either.

For months I have read and hidden posts on my Facebook account.  I have shaken my head at things I have seen.  I have chosen not to engage people on things.  This has been my choice.  I have tried to accept their opinions as that, their opinions.    This morning I went on to Facebook to see pictures of my Little Man’s first day of school.  I saw those, but then was hit with everything I have mentioned above.  I told myself that it is their right to speak.  That they have freedom of speech in this beloved country of ours.  I went to hide a post and realized in doing so, I was denying myself of my freedom of speech, thus, this post.

Again, I do not want to have any discussion of this, but, I had to stand for once and state my opinions.  DAF

 

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Baseball Adventure…

I was born and raised in Northwestern Pennsylvania.  Since this is a fact, I also was raised to believe that I am a fan of three teams ~ Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins,  and Pittsburgh Pirates.   I am perfectly fine with this.  All three teams are excellent teams and deserve my fandom (is that a correct word?).

Now, I have never been to a Steelers game, although I would love to someday.  I have gone to a Penguins game and loved every minute of it.  Nothing has truly compared to  that hockey game for me, it was magical!

My first professional baseball game that I went to was in November of 1978.  I was seven months pregnant and a group of us took the train and bus up to Yokohama, Japan.  We sat on wooden bleachers to watch the Yokohama Whales play the Cincinati Reds.  We basically tail-gated by taking thermoses filled with hot chocolate and picnics of American food that we would get if we were in country.  It was my first baseball game ever.  Not one of my finest moments though, as in the bottom of the third inning I asked when the game was going to start.  Everyone turned to look at me, and without thinking I said, well, they haven’t sang the National Anthem yet…   Yes, it was not one of my finest moments, I chalk it up to pregnancy brain…   I thought that this was going to be my only time seeing a baseball game, and I carefully tucked the memory away so that it could be remembered always.

A few years later, we moved to San Diego.  San Diego, the home of the San Diego Padres.  This is where my love of baseball really came to be.  I do not follow the stats.  I wouldn’t know an error if I saw one (which, by the way, I know I have seen several in my life)  I can follow RBI’s, but I can’t explain it to anyone.  All I know is, I love the game.  I love watching the players,  I love the atmosphere of the game, I love the crowds, I love baseball.  I especially love the Padres.

Padres games fill the memories of raising our family.  We would go several times a summer to see our boys play.  When the girls were young we got the cheap military seats in the nosebleed section of the stadium.  We would smuggle food in so that we could eat during the games, since buying the family tickets was close to breaking the bank at that point.  I remember holding our youngest on my lap as she would cheer for her favorite, Tony Gwynn.   The girls grew up watching the Padres.  Our seats changed through the years, as did they.  One of the last things we did as a family was a ball game together.  I love my San Diego team.

We lived in San Diego for 27 years.  During all that time I never saw my Padres play the Pirates (who remain my 1.5 favorite).  I don’t know why I never did, but, I didn’t.  I know hubby took his father to a Pirate/Padre game one year, but it was just the two of them who went and I stayed home watching and listening on t.v..   I never missed an opening game, I would make certain I was watching on t.v. or listening to the radio.  I never did make it to an opening day, as that was when school was still in session for the girls and once they graduated, I was just in the habit of catching it like I always did.

Three years ago I went to my first Pittsburgh Pirates game.  We were in our hometown and we went with our friends.  I was so excited to see them play for the first time.  We had since moved from San Diego and I had not seen a ball game in five years at that time.  The Pirates lost that game, but it did not diminish the thrill of seeing them.   It was a childhood dream come true for me.

So, when we knew we were going to be home this summer, I went online to see the Pirates schedule.  In our time frame of being here, we would not be able to see a Pirates game since they would be on the road.  I was disappointed, but, I did realize that the Pirates would be in San Diego.  I packed my Padres shirt.  I knew I could watch it on t.v. (hubby and I do not have sports packages on our t.v. at home).    Last week I donned my shirt and watched as the Padres beat the Pirates two games.  I was a happy girl.

During those games there were advertisements for the games this current weekend. The Pirates would be home and they would be playing the Padres.   But, we would be on our way home by then, or so we thought.  Our trip was delayed and last night, after all these years, I got to see my favorite team play my next favorite team!

I proudly wore my San Diego shirt (I counted and saw three other shirts!).  I was so thrilled to see my team on the field!   They scored first and I smiled.  They ended up losing the game, but that did not matter to me.  I don’t know if I will have a chance to see them live again, but, for now, my heart is content.  I saw my Padres play.

This of course was an adventure in itself, as there was a rain delay of two hours before the game started, so, from 7:05 to 9:05 we waited.  The time was spent watching those in the good (uncovered) seats scramble out of the rain,  watched the rain, looked at the lightning and talked with our forever friends. The time passed quickly and the game ended around 12:30 a.m..  We of course, stayed to the end, not that we are that die-hard fans, but there was a concert following the game.  We saw Chicago perform.  The concert started shortly after 1 a.m., and it was incredible!

We returned to the house around 3 this morning.  I was a great adventure. one that I won’t soon forget.  Together with lifetime friends, we laughed and talked and yes, she and I even cried…  even though “There’s no crying in baseball.”

Thanks for stopping by…  Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

 

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Lunch with a Friend…

As I mentioned in my previous post, a little over 42 years ago I left home.  Home, as in my hometown.  The past few weeks  we have been staying with close friends who are, in reality, family to us.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to spend the day with my forever friend.  I haven’t had a day like this in a very long time.  It was wonderful.  She had an appointment in the morning, so I tagged along and after that we were on our own, a dangerous thought, considering how long we have known each other and, also, being left to our own devices with our husbands safely ensconced in their house.

Most of the time I do not think about having a girl’s day out with a friend.  It is something that I rarely have the opportunity to do anymore, so I tend to not think about it.  However when I do have the chance it is a gift to me.

We had lunch, tea, chicken salad on croissants, potato salad and conversation that you can only have with someone you have known since kindergarten.   From there we went to an antique shop.  To some, a mundane day.  To me, a day that makes memories to cherish forever.

I write about friendships often, for they are important to me.  Friendships are like the seasons of the year… they can change, they can be challenged, they can grow, or they can lay dormant.  But, true friendships can survive all of the changes.  They can weather storms of life and temperaments.  They can produce conversations that are both difficult and healing to each party, they are a gift.

During this time my friend and I have laughed and cried and cried some more.  We have giggled like we did in high school, we have shared memories that neither of us have heard before.  We have been friends.

Also throughout this time, I have heard from friends who are not in the vicinity, friends who are close to our current home, or friends who are always there.   These women have called and checked in and kept me in their hearts.  For these women, I am so grateful.

Friendship is a dear gift, one that too often we take for granted.  Today, I want to acknowledge these women, they are my strength, my joy and my heart.

Thank you for stopping by ….  Cathi (DAF)

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Reflections in the Rain…

We have been visiting our hometown.  Today, I decided to go to a neighboring town to browse some shops.   Of course, the day I decide to go anywhere is the day that it is stormy.

I drove through town and started down the four-lanes, the closest thing there is around the immediate area to a highway.  I was watching the clouds and the rain coming up the river valley.  It is a wonderfully, familiar sight to see for me.

As with any visit to our hometown, memories, both good and bad, flood my mind.  Each bend in the road brings a new thought to me, a new memory.  This always leads to the next train of thought for me, which is: “I wonder what I would be and what I would have done if I never left home so many years ago?”

As if on cue after this thought,  I saw a bolt of lightning and thunder came close by…  just like those movies where the main character somehow finds themselves in an alternate reality of what if’s…..  I half expected to somehow be transported into a life where I had never left Oil City….

But, no, instead I kept driving and parked the car by the park in Franklin, PA….   I smiled to myself as I fed the parking meter and went across the street to  where the shops are.

Looking through several of the stores I remembered times when I had visited the downtown section with aunts and cousins.  But, no longer are there Isaly’s  (a wonderful place for ice cream and chipped/chopped ham), no Murphy’s (a five and dime store).  Those days are long gone, nevertheless there is a lingering trace in my mind of the times when you dressed to go to town and you would see women in hats and gloves.

Yes, the past few weeks have brought forth many memories.  I have seen people from elementary school, I have walked streets that I walked as a child, I have driven past the place where I had my hand held for the first time, I drove by the church where I married my hubby.    Times change and people change, but somehow buildings will echo things to you and memories spring forth.

No, I really don’t know how my life would be if I had stayed in Oil City so many years ago, but, I know how rich and full my life is because I did leave.  Oil City will always be a part of me, deep down, however I am now just a visitor here, someone who comes infrequently.

It is always good for me to come back home.  The time here causes reflection, and that is a good thing.  I think of my life and gratitude comes flooding in.  I have been blessed in my life.  I had a great start in a small town that was safe and secure.  We grew up being able to explore and go in safety.  I was then thrust into a life of adventure where I traveled, seeing sights that some only read about.  I experienced foods and places I never dreamed of.  I met people who have graced my life in so many ways.

Yes, on this rainy day in my hometown, I have traveled in my mind and have realized once more, that my life is good.   Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi(DAF)

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Being with a sister…

A couple of months ago hubby and I traveled to Michigan.  It was a quick trip and a fun one.  I had driven through Michigan before, but, we had never stopped there.  I have to say I was surprised by the state.  It is beautiful, and I can see why people love it there.

The best part of the trip (although several things were right up there to the top) was the time I got to spend with my sister.

I am the middle sister.  Right now, I am perfectly in the middle, three years behind my oldest and three years ahead of my youngest.  It happens for only a few months of the year, but for some reason, I love it when I know I am truly in the middle…  no, it doesn’t take much to amuse me.

Anyhow, since I got married 42 years ago, I have not had much time with my older sister.  It is just how it has worked out.  Not exactly what either of us thought would happen, but it did.  So, having an opportunity to spend some time with her was a wonderful gift.

I thought I would write this post immediately after having that time with her, and in fact, I did start this post several months ago.  But, something happened and I just put it in with the drafts.  I thought I wanted to capture immediately the emotion and the fun we had, before it waned in my memory and it lost it sparkle.

I was wrong.  That time spent with her and her husband is etched forever in my heart.  I have frequently gone back in my mind and relived those short hours with her.  I can see her eyes shine while showing me her property, the deer stands that she feeds her deer at.  I can hear her laughter as she talked.  I can remember how much I loved being with her.    It truly was a gift being there with her.

Sisters are a strange breed of family.  They love fiercely and have a deep sense of loyalty.  They argue, disagree and go toe to toe with one another.  They can go for periods of time without talking, but when they finally have an opportunity, it is like time has no control and conversations continue, not begin again.

Such was the time with my sister.  I long to have that in person conversation continue again.  It was not long enough.

My younger sister has a milestone birthday in a few weeks.  We are hoping to have time for the three of us again.  I have thought of times when the three of us have been together.  But, mostly what comes to mind is our marathon monopoly games we would have each summer.   Those days-long games where we bent rules and broke rules and yelled at one another and gave each other deeds to help each other out.  I usually was the one that quit several times and got mad several times.  But, in thinking of those moments, I know that is what memories and families are made of.

So, to all of those out there who have siblings, I encourage you to talk with them, if you haven’t for a while.  It is like an elixir to strengthen your heart.  I know mine was touched and treated and as I hugged her and walked away, I was better for those precious moments we spent together.  Thank you Dottie, I love you.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

 

 

 

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Grace and Mercy VS Control

One of the definitions of control is to have power over.  I once heard control described as a reasonable response to unreasonable pain.  I have lived with control before.  It is a hard life to live with, it brings out the very worst in me.  I react strongly when faced with control issues.

We each have issues with wanting to control areas of our lives.  I know I have controlled and have tried to be controlled.  When I am trying to control something the result is I am angry all the time over everything.  I try to recognize that quickly and ask forgiveness for it as soon as I can.  When I am trying to be controlled, I react strongly.  I stand my ground and I won’t budge.  I set my jaw and I look at the person who is trying to control me and I verbally resist.  It is not unlike a temper tantrum.

I have been pondering the subject of control.  I know it is something that has run its course in our family.  But, issues get dealt with and circumstances get resolved and life goes on.

The thing is, though, when control rears its ugly head, the only positive response is to act with grace and/or mercy.

Grace, as I have learned through years in church and in reading my Bible is unmerited favor from God.  Grace is new every morning, which is a wonderful gift that I am grateful for.    Another definition of grace is this, a temporary exception .

Hand in hand with grace is another concept, mercy.  Mercy is also mentioned often in the Bible and again, for God’s mercy, I am very grateful.  Mercy has this definition, a compassionate treatment of those in distress.

My thoughts today have had a ringside seat to the battle of grace and mercy versus control.  It has gone many rounds in my mind and I have seen so many views of this battle.  Arguments have been made for every side.  Reason can be made for each side.   But, personally, I think control should be ousted from the ring altogether.  Control can only bring harm and anger and disappointment.

It may not be easy to do, but, again, my opinion, is that we need to give grace and mercy a chance in our individual lives.  We need to show grace and mercy to everyone.  We need to give favor in little things, show grace in times that we want to control.

I have heard so much this past week that life is fleeting.  Things happen and life changes or you begin to see the end of your life as you know it.  How much more important is it to give reasons for joy in others.  To give someone a reason to smile, a reason to laugh, a reason to celebrate little things.    As I have grown older, I realize that too many of my memories are of the hard things.  The tears, the disappointments, the what could have been if only I had done things differently.

I now see that grace and mercy are the things I should always carry in my hands.  They are the things I need to reach out with.  They are the things I should lead with.  They are the foundation for wonderful memories.

These are my mind ramblings today.  It may be the result of a cloudy day, or a week with not as much sleep as needed, but here you have it.   I close with Proverbs 17:22 (Amplified Bible)  A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Cathi

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Another Visit to the V.A.

This morning my hubby had to have some blood work done at the local V.A. (Veteran’s Administration) clinic.  We have gone there numerous times and I always sit and people watch.   Today was no different.

The V.A. is not a place to go if you don’t want to be reminded of what men and women do for this country.  The waiting room is like every other waiting room in the country.  Chairs formed so you can either watch the television, or read old magazines.  The chairs are no more and no less comfortable from any other waiting room.   On first glance it could be a waiting room for any medical facility in the country.

So, why do I spend more time people watching here, then in other rooms?  It’s easy.  Most of the clients are men.  An occasional woman comes and goes, but for the most part the only women are those wives who have accompanied their husbands.  You can tell the wives easily.  They are quietly waiting, because being military spouses we got used to waiting years ago.   It is a way of life for us.  The men fidget.  Their eyes are never still, they glance at the television, they look at their phones, they look at their books or magazines, but, their eyes dart all around them, as if knowing they are in a military facility they return to old habits of making certain of their surroundings.

Often you see young men there.  Young men who look like old men.  They have witnessed too much for their young lives.  They are crippled and you can see it, even if the wounds are not noticeable.  Their eyes say it all.  The mother in me wants to hug them all, somehow make it better, but, that is not my role in their lives.

Today, though, there was only one young person I saw.  He came out from being seen and waited impatiently in the queue to schedule his next appointment.  He didn’t want to be in line and you could see from his body language that he just was annoyed for having to be there at all.

The others that filled the waiting room were relics from a time when war was called a conflict or just a cold war.   These relics were once the best and the brightest.  They were strong men.  They were well-trained and ready to move in an instant.  Today, they walked stiffly and their eyes were not as sharp.  Many of them wore pony tails in long silver hair, one last outward sign of rebellion after years of high and tight haircuts.

I sat in a corner chair studying these men.  My heart was filled with pride and heart-ache.  It is the same feeling I have each time I go there.  These men served when it wasn’t popular.  They served when no one noticed and no one thanked them.  They served because they love our country.

So, thank you to all those vets who are now a bit crippled, a bit hard of hearing, a bit old.  I think that on the outside there is age and it’s deterioration, but on the inside that young man filled with fire and strength is laying dormant.    I left that clinic feeling grateful for all you did.  You paved the way for the young strong men of today.  Well done.

Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF, retired Navy wife)

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Words…

I haven’t been on my blog much the past few weeks, but, I have been writing.  I have spent the past couple of months writing, thinking and preparing for a Bible Study that I have shared with a wonderful group of ladies at my church.  It is always an honor to speak and this time was no different.

What I have really thought about these past few weeks is words.  How we say things is as important as what we say. Wording is so very important, isn’t it?

I know I have failed miserably in the past to put thoughts into words and also writing before actually thinking things through.  But, I suppose we are all guilty of saying things to others before thinking of how they may come out and how they may sound to the other person.

We truly do not know what is going on inside another person.  We do not know the pain or anguish or stress they may be carrying, yet are not showing it to the outside world.  How we respond in words can make a person’s day or ruin it.

Several times this past year I have spoken without thinking.  I know it has caused pain, but, even after apologizing, the pain, for me, was still there.  Words can damage a heart if spoken in haste or without thought.  So, for the past few weeks, I have been cautious as to how I am wording conversations.

This experience has revealed several things to me.  First, the adage, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all, should be tattooed in my eyelids so that  I can always see them.  Secondly, don’t expect forgiveness to come easily if you have harmed someone with your words.  I am the type of person who can flare up, but within an hour, I am sorry, and have recognized that I have been wrong.  I have learned not everyone is like me.  Thirdly, lack of words is worse than an abundance of words.  It is a very fine line and I am learning, unfortunately, how to be a tight rope walker.

I have thought in the past that a blog is where you can write things you may be feeling and with that you can release emotions that may not be an easy part of yourself to reveal.  I am rethinking that.  A part of my Bible Study has been to encourage women to be themselves and to not hide behind masks that are so much a part of being a human being, especially a woman.  We tend to hide and only reveal our strength, our firmness, and not allow our fragile side to come out.   Sometimes, in writing words, we reveal a soft side and it can be poked and bruised easily.

I am hoping that through these past few weeks, I have learned much about words and wording and coming out behind masks.    I have always loved words, and putting them together.  I have always loved being able to have a few close friends that I can share spoken words with.  My love of words is still a very present part of me, and I look forward to learning more about how and what to write.    Cathi (DAF)

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Love at First Sight…

Today, being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to write a love story.  A love story dear to my heart.

Two years ago last night we saw our house for the first time on the outside.    Two years ago today, we walked into our house for the first time.  It was empty and filled with the winter sunlight.

We walked from room to room.  We searched each closet, each nook and cranny.  We didn’t leave for two and a half hours.  We walked around inside and outside.  We tried to see something we didn’t like.

But, as what happens with cases of love at first sight, we did not see anything.  We went ahead and now it is our home.  Like any relationship, we have come to see some flaws in our home.  We have been discouraged with some things.  This home, though, has grown with us.  It has seen visitors and loved ones.  It has witnessed much love and laughter.  It has seen our tears and heartaches.

Two years ago, on Valentine’s Day, we fell in love with a house.  A structure sitting on a parcel of land.  It needed some work and still does, but, when it boils down  to it, don’t we all?    Two years ago, this was our gift to one another.  A forever home for us.  A place to grow old in.  A place to make memories.  A place to shelter us and provide a setting where love and peace live.

Happy Valentine’s Day.      Thanks for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

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Homesick for what was…

Today was just another day.  We had a lot of rain last night, so I decided to go out and pull some more English ivy from around one of the tree gardens in our yard.  It is growing and choking out some azalea bushes and spring flowers. I spent a short time out doing that. Afterwards, I had a wonderful conversation with a friend from California and while talking with her, I realized some branches had come down during the rain last night.

So, after the conversation.  I went out to pick up the fallen branches.  It was a lovely day out.  Daffodils are blooming all over the yard and the hyacinths are budding.  I love this house in the spring.  Each place I look I see signs of spring and new life.   I picked a bouquet of daffodils and placed them on my kitchen counter.  My kitchen is a dark blue and the daffodils are a beautiful contrast.  I have been content today.

Later this afternoon, I heard a car drive into our driveway.  Several times I heard the locks beep.  I got up, and went outside.   A young woman was standing there.  I asked if I could help her.  She said she used to live in this house and wondered if it would be okay to sit in our driveway for a bit.  I told her it was not a problem and told her how much we loved our home.  She then asked if it would be okay to walk around a bit.  I agreed to that.  She thanked me and I told her it was nothing.  I then said, you’re homesick, aren’t you?  With that she started to cry and walked around to the side yard.

My heart broke.  She stood by our little wishing well, gently touching it.   I watched a bit from a window and could see her crying.  Hubby went out to talk with her and they stood and visited for a few minutes.  He asked if she wanted to come in, but, she declined.  She told him that the room that is now our guest room was her room.

As I have thought about this unexpected visit from a stranger, my heart broke for her.  She told my hubby that her folks divorced and they could not keep the house.  I know, for her today, she needed to see something that was a part of a past for her.  A past where she grew up and had love and laughter and memories.   I have prayed for her since she left.  I don’t know what she is going through now, but, I know there have been times in my life where I have longed for the past.  I have longed for the familiar, the comfortable.    As she drove off, I prayed that she would be okay.  We told her she was welcome to stop by anytime.  I hope somehow she felt a bit comforted by her visit home.

Many times we walk around lonely.  I hope that if any one of you who read this are experiencing such loneliness that someone will provide that bit of security and comfort for you.  Thanks for stopping by.    Cathi (DAF)

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