dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

Markers…

This week is Thanksgiving.  A time when we remember.  A time to point out things in our lives that we are grateful for.  A time to give thanks.

Many of the things we give thanks for are situations with family, friends, people.  Activities we may have had or shared experiences that have touched us somehow.  This time of year prompts us to think back, to reflect, and in reflection we respond with gratitude.

Each of us have certain things in our life that we hold on to.  Things become markers in our lives.  We keep them to remind ourselves.

Today I came in from church.  I came in through the garage and as I headed into the kitchen from the mud room I saw a blue leash hanging from one of the coat hooks.  I smiled to myself and took a breath, somehow arguing that is was now time to take that leash down.  It has sat idle for a year now.  Hanging there as a reminder.  I won the argument with myself and the leash still hangs in its spot.  It belongs there.

The leash is not the only marker I have in my home.  For most of the year I have a little ornament that hangs on my pie server in my dining room.  It’s a simple little ornament that says, “Friends are Forever”.  Most of the time I don’t even see it, it has just become a part of my dining room decor.  But, like the leash, it belongs there.

I have a mini Christmas stocking that looks like it has been through the wars.  It hasn’t, it is just old.  I got it the Christmas I was pregnant for the second time.  It hung beside the stocking belonging to my daughter.  It was full of hopes and dreams as I hung it in 1981.  It was the stocking for the child we lost just a few short days after Christmas.  A miscarriage, but somehow it was Tim’s stocking, the name we had picked out for that baby.  It now hangs each year on our tree, another marker of mine.

I have photos on my refrigerator.  They often times drive me to distraction because of the cluttered look they give my fridge, but each are markers for me.  People dear to me and reminders to pray for those in the pictures.

The markers in our life are important.  They become a landmark for the journey of our lives.  Most of the time we don’t see them.  They are there like stop signs and street signs.  We see them, but they do not stop the activities of our daily routine.  They do not cause us to cease our schedules to ponder them.  They are just there.

Until, that is, we do stop to look at them or touch them, or consciously think about them.  Today I thought about the leash.  A melancholy smile came to my face.  The leash that gave excitement to our Shugo.  The leash that held him at stay whenever another dog was walking in the other direction.  The leash that jingled when we went to the door and he would come running, tail wagging, and we waited for his house bark to go out for his walk.  It will remain there, because it belongs there.

The ornament on my pie holder will remain there, because, it reminds me of my friend Dawn.  My walking companion for years.  I will keep it there to remind me of the times we spent circling Chollas Lake, laughing , talking, crying and making certain the squirrels did not get her.  The strength we got from each other to get through her divorce, to get through my moving, to get through a rough day when walking was just not enough, but a piece of pie did help it just a bit more.

The mini stocking that makes me wonder who that child would be as an adult.  But, also knowing that the child born after the miscarriage has given me so many wonderful gifts that I can’t begin to write that all down.  A reminder that plans don’t always go the way you think, but our God is bigger and His way will give healing to broken hearts and bring us unexpected joys.

The pictures on the fridge, are a testament  of a life surrounded by people who have touched your life, some family, some neighbors, but all loved.

Markers are things we hold onto.  As I head into this Thanksgiving week I am grateful for much, but, I think that in this moment, right now, I am thankful for the markers in my life, for they anchor me to where I have been.  They are a foundation in my memory.  They stir my heart with recognition of a happy, full, and rewarding life.

What are some of the markers in your life?  I’d like to hear about them if you would like to share them.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all,  thank you for stopping by.  Cathi (DAF)

 

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A year has gone by…

I dreaded looking at my Facebook memories today because I knew what would be waiting for me.  I was right.  The pictures of our little pup were waiting for me to look at.

It has been a year since he was underfoot.  A year that we haven’t heard him wheezing and crying in his sleep. A year that we haven’t had to vacuum once a day to keep up with the shedding.   A year that we haven’t tripped over him accidentally .

I have spent the day trying to talk myself into acknowledging how much easier this year has been.  We have saved on trips to the store to pick up his food.  No vet visits.  No stress over how he is feeling and if there was something I could do to make him more comfortable.

We said that we would give ourselves a year to decide if we were going to get another dog.  We decided months ago that he was, in fact, our last dog.  We are still good with that decision.  But, we still miss our little guy.

I went I to the place in our yard where we laid him to rest.  I talked to him even though I know he could not hear, and I did shed a few tears.

As Agnes Sligh Turnbull said, “Dog’s lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”

Image may contain: dog

Thanks for stopping by, Cathi (DAF)

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Just…WOW!…

As I have written many times, my hubby is a retired Navy man.  He served for almost 21 years and it was a great part of our life together.  I stood by and watched him re-enlist many times and each time I felt such pride well up in me.  There is just something about watching someone raise their hand and promise to protect and defend you.  It is a remarkable thing to experience.

Yesterday hubby and I drove over to Atlanta, GA.   We spent the night there in anticipation of seeing our son-in-law re-enlist in the Navy.  He had the opportunity to do this at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, GA.

This morning we gathered at the aquarium to witness this ceremony.  He was going to re-enlist underwater.  His family gathered together as well as several of his peers who came up from the Navy Dive school.

The entire experience was remarkable.  The facility is the best aquarium I have seen, and I have visited many aquariums.  This is a beautiful place to visit.  If you are ever in the area, go, you won’t be disappointed.

We were given instructions as to the time of the ceremony and at the appointed time we went to a viewing area to see the divers swim into view.  We waved to our son-in-law and took pictures, it was all very exciting.   Then the divers made their way to the area where the re-enlistment ceremony was to take place.

We went into this gallery area that overlooked a large tank filled with fish and sharks and sting rays.  The view was breath-taking.  Then in the distance we saw the divers appear.  This moment took my breath away.  You could see the bubbles from the divers and then you saw these men swimming towards you.  What spoke to me the most is that these men do this for a living.  They do this for this country.  My heart swelled with pride in seeing them in this tank.  These are the heroes of our country.  They protect us on land and in the sea, literally.   Tears fell down my face as I saw these young men having a great time.  The contrast of seeing these men among the fish in that tank.  It was all lit up and you could see everything going on in there, but, these men do this when there is no lit tank and the fish are not used to seeing people in their domain.  They have a dangerous job and they do it willingly.

After a staff member introduced the divers to those assembled in this gallery, our son-in-law took his place along with one of his commanding officers.  They stood at attention and because they were equipped with audio equipment we sat and watched as our son-in-law raised his hand and swore an oath to protect and defend this country.   He did this willingly and without hesitation.  I watched as my daughter, who has been to many of these ceremonies in her life,  beamed with pride as she watched her husband repeat the same words she heard her father say.   We cheered and applauded as he concluded his oath and then stood with pride and tears as a staff member sang our National Anthem.

The day was one that will be etched in my memories.  I am a flag-waving person.  I love my country, but today, I was reminded once more how deep that pride of our country and our military is in me.

For those who have never heard the words of re-enlistment here it is.  Men and women freely and proudly speak these words daily.

The Oath of Enlistment (for enlisted):

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 

Congratulations dear son-in-law, thank you for your service that you give so freely.  Thank you for allowing us to share in this special day.

Thank you for stopping by my blog,  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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I can’t be that old…

Last night as I was waiting to go to sleep, I started to think of my oldest daughter.  Her birthday is tomorrow.  Her birthday gets to me each year.  It gets to me because she is getting older and I know that I cannot be old enough to have a daughter her age.

Yes, this is a personal post.  I am truly feeling sorry for myself today.  You see, when I think of my darling daughter, I see her with her Shirley Temple curls falling down her back.  I see her with her tiny tap shoes tapping with her Grandpa, laughing with him.

I see her standing in front of our full length mirror talking to herself.   I see her poking chubby fingers into the side of the crib talking to her ‘seester’.    I see her many ways.

Today, she is the mother of Little Miss.  A good mom.  A partner to a Navy man.  She has done what I have had to do.  Hold down the fort.  Keep the home fires burning.  Take care of the house and it’s occupants.  She does it well.

Yes, I am very proud of her, and yet, with each passing year as I watch her grow in grace and maturity, I feel a bit older.  So, my dear daughter, my first-born, Happy  Birthday!  I am proud to be your Mom, but, this making me feel older has to stop!  I still feel like I am your age, not mine!    I pray your day is filled with the very best.  Laughter with Little Miss and her Daddy and lots of hugs and kisses from them too.  Thanks for being you and for teaching me what motherhood is about.  Love you.

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Aunt Beulah’s Fox Stoles…

Last night while not being able to go to sleep, I thought of my Aunt Beulah.  Yes, I actually did have an Aunt Beulah.  Why anyone would name a young girl Beulah is beyond me, but, I digress.

Aunt Beulah was not a warm and fuzzy aunt.  You did not run to her with open arms to get a big hug.  She was married to my father’s older brother.  She had an air about her that did not belong in Oil City, PA.  She was restricted, I mean refined (?).  She was aloof.  At least that is what I think of when I think of her.

She had a pinched look on her face and that caused these little lines to form all around her mouth.  A few years ago, I noticed I had lines around my mouth.  I almost screamed aloud, “Oh no!  Aunt Beulah lines!”.  Instead, I slathered lotion around my mouth and spent the next few days constantly smiling, hoping those lines would disappear.

Now, I have painted a certain picture of my aunt.  I know we spent a lot of time at her house, especially after my mom died.  I don’t know if she felt sorry for us poor motherless waifs, or what, but I do remember being at her house often.  She would use scissors to cut up nice pieces of meat for her dachshund, Wrinkles, who would yap and snap at your heels constantly.  A very unpleasant dog.    My dad often commented that Wrinkles ate better than his brother.

Again, the memories are most likely not accurate because, we did visit often there.  I remember holiday meals at her house.  Not the food actually, but, doing dishes.  My sisters and I, the poor motherless waifs!  We would spend hours doing dishes.  At least that is what it seemed like.  I am certain she used every dish in her china cabinet.  We washed, we dried, we put them away in their sleeves in these quilted dish holders.  They would then go into a box and then into the china cabinet.  Those dishes were so protected that I think World War III could start in the china cabinet and those dishes would be unscathed.

But, what made all these memories come forward was the thought of Aunt Beulah’s upstairs closet in her sewing room.  It was a small closet, and inside was nothing but fur coats and fox stoles.  You know those stoles that women used to wear over the collars of their winter coats?  They had little fox heads that were actually clips to hold the stole together.  My sisters and I would go into that closet to ‘pet’ the furs.  We would eventually take each of those clips and clip each of the stoles together.

This is what my initial thought of Aunt Beulah was last night.  I saw her in a last-minute rush going into that closet to grab a stole and head to Mass.  Grabbing one, a dozen came out, I am certain.  I can just hear her, in my mind cursing those poor motherless waifs for connecting her stoles while she was trying to get to church.

It’s amazing where your mind wanders in the middle of the night, isn’t it?

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Once Upon A Time at Christmas…

A week ago, my daughter (Little Miss’ mom) and her family arrived for Christmas.  It was the first time in a decade that we were able to spend Christmas together.  I was so thrilled!  Her sister, obviously my other daughter,  was supposed to join us, but, at the last moment, couldn’t.  We were disappointed, but, understood.

The days leading up to Christmas were full.  We had fun, visiting, playing with our Little Miss, who is two and filled with giggles and two-year old conversations.   We went shopping for last-minute gifts, for groceries, for nothing in particular.  It was a lovely few days leading up to the 25th.

Christmas Eve we set out gifts and made plans for the following morning.  My daughter made a breakfast casserole in the crock pot and we planned to get up and head to church.  We each had our outfits ready to go, and it was all planned out.  Get up, have a nice breakfast, go to church, come home and open gifts and have a nice dinner.

Christmas Eve we went to bed.  All was quiet…   Hubby and I got up, showered, got ready for church.  Our daughter was getting up and Little Miss’ daddy was kind enough to discover that our guest room bath had standing water in it.  Such a wonderful Christmas gift for us!  We went to the basement and lo!  there was more standing water.

That lovely Christmas breakfast casserole stayed in the crock pot just a bit longer.  Hubby and I changed from our church clothes into work clothes.  So, for the next two hours the guys worked.  Pumping and vacuuming water from the floor.  Turning off water certain places to make certain it didn’t leak. Moving a toilet to make certain it wasn’t the cause of the water.  Discovering that our septic tank decided to be full.  Full on Christmas Day.  Not Christmas Eve…. no…. Christmas Day.  It could not wait another day… no… full on Christmas Day.

So, we called and got an appointment for the next morning to have the tank pumped.  That was good.  It was going to happen soon.  We had water to drink that did not need to be run through the sink.  So, that was great.  But… cooking.  I just could not think about doing that in my kitchen.   This will be in part 2…

We ate some breakfast, although the guys did not have much appetite after clearing the rooms.  I had the fumes of disinfectant lingering in my nose as I scrubbed the floors where the water had been and where the men had walked.  We ate, not truly enjoying the casserole that was delicious.

We read the Christmas story.  Little Miss was a bit distracted, but hubby was trying to salvage something of the day.  The story ended.  I went to the kitchen and decided that mimosas were in order.   And then we opened gifts.  Christmas, as it is spoken of in  “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  did come.  “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.  Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… He thought …means a little bit more.”   Christmas came even though the tank overflowed…

Christmas came.  We laughed with one another as we sat in our stinky work clothes.  We hugged and thanked each other even though only half of us managed to shower that morning.  We had each other and the cares and weight of the messy morning did not ruin what happens when family sit around a tree on Christmas morning and share with one another.

Christmas came as it did centuries ago.  Christmas came quietly that day long ago.  That day when our Savior was born.  Christmas came without ribbons, it came without tags.  It continues to come even when the morning is filled with shop vacs and buckets and scrubbing.    I hope your Christmas was special like ours, but, not as eventful as ours turned out.   Cathi

 

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Beneath the Irises

I usually take each post I write and share it on my Facebook pages.  This one I will not as I have already posted a picture and most of my friends know what this post will be about.

Beneath the irises, under the dirt, wrapped in a blanket with a favorite toy lies our dear puppy.    I knew I would write this post and it is one that I have dreaded.

In July of 2015 our puppy got sick.  He was so ill that we had to carry him inside and out.  We had just moved and hadn’t decided on a veterinarian.  I went online, looking up local animal hospitals, reading reviews and hoping I would find the right one.  We did.  We took our puppy in, fearing the worst.  They admitted him and gave us the diagnosis.  The vet looked at us upon his discharge and said, “I wish I could give you good news.  But, he could live for the next two hours, two days, two weeks, two months or two years.”  With that, we brought him home determined to love him however long we had.

Two hours passed, as did the weeks and the months.  Each day we woke up and listened to see if he stirred.  His hearing left him.  He could not hear us talking to him, but, that did not stop us from talking to him.

Eventually his eyesight started to go.  His balance was bad.  But, still he clung to us and to his life.

I said good-bye to him several times this past year.  Each time believing that he would be gone when I saw him again.  Each morning he greeted us with a slight wag of his tail and his precious face.

Last week he was struggling.  He would fall down the steps going outside.  He would fall up the steps trying to get back inside.  We knew it was time and yet it was still a struggle for us.

We made the decision last Friday that we would take him to the vet for his last visit.  Hubby walked him around outside and I went in to check him in and to do what needed to be done.   It was a very hard thing to do, but, he was ready.

We went into the examining room with a vet and tech that were so very kind.  Hubby and I stayed with our Shugo.  We did not want him to be alone.  We petted him and talked with him and thanked him for being our buddy.  They started the injection and he relaxed.  The anesthesia took effect.  The vet had to take the needle out as he discovered our poor buddy’s veins were too fragile.  They moved to another sturdier vein and continued.  We cried and petted him as he fell asleep.

We brought him home, wrapped him in his favorite blanket and put his favorite toy with him.  Together, hubby and I buried him.  I planted irises and paperwhites above him.  It is Shugo’s garden, nestled by our gazebo in among the trees.    I miss him.  I always will.

So, rest easy my friend.  We were prepared for this day and you gave us sixteen more months than what we thought we would have.  We could see you deteriorate and still you were a faithful friend.  Thank you for those extra months, I needed them.

You are now pain-free and able to hear and see and run wild.  Enjoy.

 Cathi (DAF)

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Shelter in the Storm…

Many of us watched this week as Hurricane Matthew made his journey up the East Coast of this country.    My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and property.  This has been a difficult week for many.

But, I confess, I was blessed by Matthew.  Matthew brought Little Man and his parents to me.  They came here when they evacuated Charleston.

Little Man was a bit concerned, which is expected.  A four-year old seeing his folks work around the house, pack up things not typically brought for a visit to Grammy and Grampy, and hearing news reports and conversations that he does not usually hear.

Being smart, his folks tried to lighten the mood by suggesting a new name for Hurricane Matthew.  A name less frightening for a four-year old.  It’s a classic name.

So, Hurricane Cupcake Pants, thank you for allowing a Category 5 whirlwind of giggles, laughter, tickles,  playing several rounds of ball, and going on adventures to a local park.  I loved my week, I haven’t smiled and laughed this much for a long while.  Little Man is growing and each visit brings great conversations with him.

Yes, I had a great week.  I know there are many people who haven’t.  I pray things will calm down for them.  Thanks for stopping by.  DAF(Cathi)

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Mom…

Each year I end up writing something about my Mom.  Today is the anniversary of her death.  She was in her early forties when she lost her battle to pancreatic cancer.

I was eleven at the time, but, I still carry vivid memories of her.  I remember conversations and how she smelled and lots of things that have not been erased by time, fortunately.

I miss her often and each year I remember the day and what all happened, that, I think is a given whenever you lose someone you love.  But, this year, it’s not so much her personally I miss, but how many years it has been since she passed away.  50 years.  50 years she has been gone.  That’s a long time!  I cannot wrap my mind around how long it has been.  I don’t feel like I am old enough to remember 50 years.  But, I do.  When I think of this anniversary, my mind just remembers the 11-year-old and her sisters, all young.  Needless to say, we’re not.

When it occurred to me that she has been gone for fifty years, I started to wonder what she would think about life now.  How would she feel about her daughters being in different states and not seeing each other as much as we would like?  What would she think of our husbands?  I know she would share a beer or two with them, but would she like them?  What would she say and think about our kids, her grandchildren?  I am certain they could have done no wrong in her eyes.   Her great grand children?  Well, there is nothing better than they are, honestly.  So, there is no doubt she would have adored them.

Family is one thing to think about, but, this world has changed so much since 1966.  She once told me that one day we would talk on the phone and see each other.  I thought that was a wild dream.  This morning, I skyped with Little Miss and her Mom.  I got to see my granddaughter walk around, read a book, talk with me, eat a snack and wave to me.  We did ‘cheers’ her, with her sippy cup and me with my coffee cup.  Yes, Mom, we can talk to one another and see each other.  You would have loved that.

What type of phone would she have?  Would she have the latest and greatest?  Would she face time and text?  Would she have a twitter account?  Personally, I couldn’t imagine that. What would she think of television shows?  Who would be her favorite actor?  Would she be appalled that there are no western series on television?  She loved Rawhide and Wagon Train.

What would she think of the political climate? What would be her take on the issues in this country?

These are the thoughts that have run through my mind this past week. This has made me aware of the pace of the world today. Life truly was so much simpler fifty years ago.  Yes, there were riots then.  There were racial issues then.  There were wars going on.  Things were broadcast and it seemed fast then, since no other wars had reports given so quickly.  But, now, there is live streaming.  We are able to see events unfolding, for better or worse.

These are all things I will never know.  They will continue to plague my thinking.  I love the  “what if’s” in this life.   All I can be certain of is this, she left us too soon.  She missed so many of life’s treasured moments.  Three of her granddaughters have her name in some form.  Her fourth granddaughter has some of her fiesty-ness.  Her legacy continues in many ways.

Today I will continue to think of her, and my sisters.  We are strong women, all of us.  We love deeply, we think independently, we argue, we laugh, we cry.   I think she would be proud of us.      DAF (Cathi)

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