It is February 3rd, 2016 with my first post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh. My friend, Patricia Anne Pierce-Garcia Schaack invited me to join. I have a feeling I’m going to learn how to adjust my backbone here.
“It isn’t like a big thing of, you know, you gotta take a thunderbolt and throw it at Zeus, except every once in a while, but that comes on its own. Zeusie and thunderbolts come on their own; you can’t call them up. They’re products of circumstance, and time, and history, and yourself, and your metabolism, and your love affairs, and your money, and your lack of money, and your food, and your drugs, and your shoes, and your Brooks Brothers, and your Empire State Building, and the winter snow, and your mother’s living death, or something. So you can’t combine all those things on your own. You have to wait for nature to throw up a great wave.” Allen Ginsberg
“Inspiration cannot be willed, although it can be wooed.” Anthony Storr
My friends encouraged me to join the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I find it hard to believe that anyone out there could be more insecure than I am about my writing. I suppose I’ll find out.
Frankly, I never thought of myself as a writer. I love to read, but write… nahhhhh. However, I DO love creativity. I used to sew, knit, do cross-stitch, embroider, make hook rugs, paper flowers, and create! I love music so I danced and did synchronized swimming. But life keeps flicking its’ tail in my face, so it is time to acknowledge my experiences… good and bad so I can cleanse my system. I love learning new subjects, so here is my opportunity. One problem… I’m a devout perfectionist! This is a trait I learned from my critical and judgmental family… so now I have to deal with these habits too.
Right now I feel like I have fallen into a bleak, black hole. My husband had a serious surgery and I’m playing Nurse Wratchett. I’m stressed and angry. I didn’t expect old age to be like this… ok, NOW you tell me! I thought I wanted to write about interesting, informative, and fun subjects, except how do you do that when you are SO angry that it looks like a stream of burning coal wafting from my ears?
However, in talking to friends I’m learning that I’m not the only one to feel angry and scared when you have a seriously sick spouse on your hands. The feelings go along with age and illness. PHEW!! One starts thinking about the dreams and hopes we carried in our hearts, but now realize these visions will never come to fruition. This is part of the anger I feel with my husband’s serious illness. Realizing and identifying the frustration that is rushing through my brain, like a flash flood, helps to start dry up the waters as the sun starts to peak out from behind the bleak clouds. Then I feel the release of emotion from my system.
So now I have a group of friends who have pulled my brain out of the grave so that I can go laugh and enjoy life. Now, if only the rain outside my house would stop!
Now, this is one of my many excuses for not working on my blog. I would love to write a book about my brother, but he didn’t write enough details about his life, and his life was quite different from my boring life. Everyone suggests I use my imagination… what imagination? Do you see a pattern here… me too. Now you see why I joined the Insecure Writers’ Support Group. Boy, am I looking for your support too!
“Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind
Memories, sweetened through the ages just like wine
Quiet thoughts come floating down And settle softly to the ground
Like golden autumn leaves around my feet I touched them and they
burst apart with sweet memories Sweet memories” … Elvis Presley
I took a photography class and I LOVED black and white photos… remember black and white film? Yup, there was such a thing! So I went out into the world attempting to capture nature and life. Life comes in a variety of ways! Look what I FOUND!!
This part of my life jumped right out at me.
Other parts of life peeked out at me while hiding in plain-sight!
Ah –HA!! There he is! Spying on me! He says, “You CAN’T find me!”
Duchess hopes I don’t see her, so she can sneak off to the neighbor’s yard… I caught her!! 😉
Then there is life that is subtle and watches you when you aren’t looking; then it sneaks right up on you!
Life can take you by surprise and be a whirlwind!
OR… throw you for a curve!
Ever find yourself going in circles?
Life can even be so crazy we don’t know which direction we are going or even if we are going to find our way through the mess.
But THEN we have a normal day, so we can relax to enjoy the serenity and beauty in the world.
Other days we wonder WHAT the future will bring.
Life definitely IS a journey so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!
Do you ever have one of those days you simply know is going to be Magical?
The sun glimmered off the water, while the seagulls squawked above me, as I was about to walk the Poulsbo waterfront. Previously, I noticed an elderly gentleman walking his dog so this time I stopped to say “Good Morning.” In chatting, I learned this man and I had several commonalities in life. We both loved MAGIC! William Mash, kindly gifted me with his book, The Magical Pen. This positive and fun book delights me as it is a series of stories about the successes people create in their lives due to the discovery and use of a “magical” pen.
This pen draws people together as they miraculously generate success in their formerly traumatic lives. Who would suspect that due to finding and using an ordinary pen that their life would suddenly turn around and bring them the joy and success they dreamed of owning? Often times we give up on life or our activities, but this pen helped people succeed by using their own resourcefulness. We just have to TRY.
The Magical Pen also brings its’ magic into my life through connecting me to charming people like Mr. Mash and his artistic talents. You can find this fun and charming book on Amazon.
First, I want to Thank Dr. Gulara Vincent for publishing my “Family Threads” story on her blogging series The Story Behind the Story. I truly am touched. Here is my “Family Threads” story.
Recently, my granddaughter was asked to interview eight people regarding their family history for her high school history class. Since she wanted to know how I was treated by my family and family beliefs from years past, I realized how the thread of cultures impacts each of us. When I say “culture” I don’t necessarily mean foreign culture as the way each of us is raised impacts us and the next generation of family. However, in my case I did have two foreign cultures involved in my growing up as my dad’s grandparents came from Conwy, Wales and my mom’s family came from Duederode, Lower Saxony, Germany. So not only foreign cultures, but the ‘ways of the times’ strongly impacted me, and I suspect it impacts others in their growing up too.
So the Story Behind my Story is the way I was treated as a child because of my family’s belief systems. I didn’t start writing until I was nearly 60 years old as I had to deal with family dynamics during my mother’s five years of strokes and her ultimate death. By the time mom died I was an emotional basket case so I needed to purge my system of my pain. This is when I started writing.
When I was a small child, I only remember my dad’s Welsh grandmother as my mom’s family died shortly after I was born. My great grandmother on my father’s side was so stern and strict that I think if she ever smiled, her face would crack. Great grandmother Edwards was not a loving person that I enjoyed being around. I know that since my dad’s mom was sick a great deal while dad was growing up, that dad lived with his very stern and strict grandparents. Their belief was that children obeyed their parents no matter what or the punishment was quite severe. Because of this abuse my dad’s father became quite abusive and beat his wife, his daughter, and my father. When my dad finally out grew his father, dad said that he would kill his father if he ever laid a hand on dad’s mom or sister. Where dad stopped the physical abuse he didn’t understand about the belittling and verbal abuse that existed in his family, so it was carried forward to our family.
My mother was raised in a very strict manner also. As an only child she was very much a loner and did not know how to get along with other people. A book was her best friend. What totally shocks me is that mom grew up to become a nurse. In my mind I think of a nurse as being a caring individual, but I did not see that aspect in my mom. The other problem is that as a child I was a sleepwalker. Mom had no concept of what caused sleepwalking… trauma in a family. Mom nursed her dying mother while she was pregnant with me. Shortly after my birth, mom’s mother died. Then 23 months later mom’s dad died suddenly of a heart attack. By then mom had birthed me and my brother. In addition, we lived in a rural area on acreage and my dad was a traveling salesman so he was only home one weekend out of a month. Mom definitely had a great deal of stress going on in her life as she dealt with two toddlers, growing our vegetables, and caring for the acreage.
Since mom was distressed, I picked up on her anxiety, thus causing my sleepwalking, but mom did NOT understand this. I would wander around the house at night and sometimes out in the rural area of our yard. One night the neighbor way down across the road and down by the lake heard my crying. She dressed, found me out in our rural yard down by the gravel road, picked me up, and returned me to my bed. Mom would ask me why I did the things I did and I had absolutely NO CLUE. I would tell mom that I didn’t know what I was doing. Mom didn’t believe me, so she would threaten to beat me. To prevent being beaten, I would make up a story to tell mom, but of course the lie was discovered and I would be beaten anyway. Thus, until the day my mom died she always said she could NOT believe me. This did not create a healthy or loving relationship between us.
As my brother grew up, he became very rebellious and would not put up with my father’s orders. Consequently, there was an enormous amount of animosity between my brother and my father. Because of the way my parents were raised mom and dad did not understand why my brother and I would not conform to our parents’ ways of thinking and their rules. This is the “thread” I’m talking about. Mom and dad carried forward the rules from their homes to our home. Over the years, I would try to conform to my parents rules, but my brother grew more and more rebellious until my father beat my 16 year old brother up and he ran away from home to support himself selling drugs.
Eventually, due to numerous issues, my brother got off drugs, finished his schooling, college, and eventually received his Master’s Degree in psychology. However, I still was in an emotional hole as I never did receive acceptance for who I was as a child. I was exceptionally unhappy and my family rules were not fitting with me, so years later after I married, I went into therapy for eight years.
During the time I was in therapy I was taught that family is not necessarily blood relations. Family can be created by people who accept us as we are, enjoy us, and provide us healthy support. My parents were extremely angry about this reasoning and eventually took me out of their Will. Mom and dad did not understand that their way of life and thinking did NOT work for me or my brother. My parents did not connect with the idea that what I wanted to do in life did not match their expectations of me or my brother. Unfortunately, my brother died a few days short of his 42nd birthday, so I miss the loving support of my brother now 22 years later.
The good news is that the therapy helped me break the threads of abuse in my family background. One day my daughter remarked out of the clear-blue sky “Mom, you sure have changed!” My reply was “Is that a good change or a bad change?” My daughter’s response was “A GOOD change!”
Now years later when my daughter had her first child, I wondered why my daughter did not do things the way I did when I delivered my daughter. Rules had changed for caring for children. Now there were parenting classes and special car seats. Parents had so much more help for learning to be a good parent than when I or even my parents had our children.
Realizing that life changes, styles change, technology changes, and rules change can be a hard concept so HOW do we accept our children for doing things their way? It is important for children to make their own mistakes and learn from their actions. Yes, it is very hard to let go of our ideals, but sometimes we have to. I have a saying that I have kept near since my children were born. “There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots; the other, wings.” Author unknown.
So this thread of family culture and breaking this thread is the beginning of recognizing the Story Behind the Story. We can be different from our family. Also, in my case, breaking the thread means standing up for me and my beliefs. I don’t have to do things my parents’ way anymore. I have a right to my own opinion and being heard.
An Abbott and Costello Evening
“ Cooking Rule: If at first you don’t succeed… order Pizza!” Unknown
“I came… I saw…I decided to order take out!” Unknown
“Old cooks never die, they just get deranged!” Unknown
Friday afternoon the creativity bug bit me! I decided to make the super delicious Chicken Pot Pie recipe that my daughter gave me. I pulled out all the ingredients: chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, peas, celery, chard, onion, and started sautéing away. Heck, I even rolled out a crust for the top and the bottom of the dish. It even calls for some cream, thyme, and sherry… YUM! I spent all afternoon throwing ingredients into the pot pie as it only takes 30 minutes to bake. I even had leftover dough to make a sugar and cinnamon pastry for dessert.
I threw the potpie and the pastry into the oven, closed the door, and set the timer. About ten minutes after I closed the oven door, I heard a sharp click. Lights started to light up on the oven’s control panel and I KNEW that my oven had just automatically popped into the self-clean mode. I yelled at my husband to flip the power breaker as I scrambled to fan the smoke alarm that is now screaming at us as the steam poured out of the stove’s burners. Since the auto-clean had not been going for long, I thought and hoped that I could easily pull my meal out of the oven before it overcooked.
We waited for a while, until the oven was cool then flipped the power breaker back on. I didn’t receive any crazy messages on my panel, so I thought all was fixed… UNTIL I went to open the oven door and noticed the red glow shining through the glass door. Hmmm, what is that glow? Next, steam billowed out of the burners on top of the stove. The smoke detector is NOW screaming at the top of it’s lungs at me. I’m jumping up and down fanning the detector while I cussed at it. I screamed at my husband to flip the breaker again. But even after he finally reached the breaker in the garage, the smoke continued to stream out of the stove. I’m yelling at my husband to pull out our floor fan as the fan on the oven is insufficient to stop the boisterous smoke detector. One problem-my husband doesn’t know how my fan works so he can’t figure out how to turn it on. I convince him… OK, I yank my husband over to the ceiling smoke detector to fan it with a hot pad while I set up the floor fan.
I’m screaming orders, the smoke detector is yelling back at us, and smoke fills the house. The house now looks like a haze-filled haunted house just waiting for a ghoul to jump out at us, and my husband and I are Abbott and Costello reincarnate as we fall over one another!
Now, keep in mind that this is the third time this oven decided on its’ own to move into self-clean when I had dinner in the oven. Now WHAT is this oven trying to tell me? I actually thought I was a pretty good cook! The first time the oven flipped into self-clean the power had flicked due to a wind storm, but we were eventually able to open the door and rescue my salmon, albeit a tad bit overcooked. Then two weeks ago, I had just finished cooking a pizza and the oven went into self-clean. Fortunately I had pulled the pizza out BEFORE it was cremated. I did notice the next morning that the oven was much cleaner.
Friday, this time when the excitement took place it was slightly after 5:00. I called the property manager. The first number I called I received a recording. The second number I called connected to a live person… as if that did me any good. The response I received was… “Well, after all it IS Friday night after 5:00 all the appliance places will be closed.” (I think it was more that she wanted to go home and didn’t care about my cremated dinner… still locked in the oven.)
Saturday morning, my husband went on-line to find out how to unlock the oven and it worked. Oh MY!! My pastry looked like a charcoal briquette. It immediately vanished into the garbage can. However, my pot pie is in a 9’ x 13” pan. How do I throw all this food away? I scraped at the crust and discovered it could be peeled off. So the crust visited the pastry in the garbage can while we put the pot pie in the refrigerator. Then I managed to connect with the property manager as she assured me that she called five appliance companies and that NONE of them were open… Yeah Right!
Now Monday morning with an oven and stove that don’t work, I heard from an appliance company that they would have someone come out on Tuesday. The question of the day is… Will they be able to fix the oven OR will the oven have to be replaced? How much longer will we be without an oven and stove? Don’t you LOVE caring property managers? Ok, she did save the owner of the house a few dollars… but WHAT about us???