“When you’ve written to your president, to your congressman, to your senator and nothing, nothing has come of it, you take to the streets.” Erica Bouza
“He don’t take shoving.” Jerry Parsons
“I resist, therefore I am.” James W. Douglass
“Don’t let them tame you!” Isadora Duncan
As you may remember, once long ago the three little pigs were sent off on their own to build their own homes and to find their own way in the world.
So shortly after the coup in Washington D.C., my husband and I were watching TV late one afternoon. When from the corner of my eye I saw a movement and I thought it was a big dog wandering into the garden of our four-plex apartment. Then I took another look and the dog was actually a large pig. I guessed it weighed nearly 200lbs. Now how in the world did a pig find our apartment building in essentially downtown Kingston? Ok, it is a small town.
But then I looked out our front window again and a second pig followed the first pig into our garden, and then a third pig traipsed in after the other two. My God, the three little pigs are no longer little!
Now, you have to realize that one of our upstairs neighbors is dedicated to feeding wildlife – raccoons, opossums, birds, cats, or whatever wanders into the yard. So there is an abundance of corn cobs, bread pieces, seeds, celery, and I don’t know what all was laying around in the garden. Well, the pigs immediately discovered their gourmet meal and dove in!
As I mentioned, we live in an urban area where people walk up and down the sidewalks and cars drive up and down the hill. While the three pigs were indulging, a family with a couple of young girls came walking down the hill and were shocked to see the pigs. The girls ran into the garden to pet the pigs, but the pigs while friendly had no interest in being petted especially since the girls interrupted the pigs’ meal. So the girls were chasing the pigs around the garden while the parents took pictures of the situation.
Then, with this commotion cars driving up the hill stopped to take pictures of the pigs and the young girls. The pigs developed quite an audience. Eventually, two trucks pulled up with the owners of the pigs. The owners of the pigs thought they could quietly convince the pigs to climb into a big plastic garbage can so the owners could lift the pigs, one at a time, into their truck to take them home. However, the pigs decided they liked their freedom, and the gourmet meal provided for them so they definitely had NO intention of being carried off. The owners cried, “Here piggy, piggy” motioning toward the garbage can. Heck, the owners even tried to entice the pigs into the carrier with slices of bread, but the pigs were too smart for them.
After hours of the pigs roaming around our gardens while avoiding their owners, one of the pigs made a mistake!
Picture our building’s side, with a fenced off area at the back-end of the building connecting to the fence that separates our property from the development next to us, in a “U” shape. The pigs’ owners cheered as they had a big piece of plywood that they used to block off the open end of the “U”. Then the owners ventured into the new pen to capture a pig. The battle started! The noise was horrific with the squeals from the pigs, as the pigs tried to fight off being captured in the garbage can. There were garden tools on the side of the apartment along with hoses so the pigs used the tools to fight off their owners. We heard “EXPLOSIONS, CRASHES, SHREEKS, SQUEALS” that sounded like a full-scale war, similar to the sounds that happened at the Coup of the White House.
Since we didn’t have a window on that side of the apartment we couldn’t tell who was winning, but eventually, the owners struggled to carry a vibrating, shrieking garbage can to the truck and put the pig in the back of the truck. One by one the pigs were trapped despite their fight to avoid capture and arrest, and they were thrown into the truck. One of the owners was kind enough to try to straighten the remnants of our gardening tools that had been tossed around – like the remnants of a battle. Then the owners jumped in their trucks and took off with The Three Little Pigs. I wonder if the pigs are STILL battling and if they escape again whether they will return for a visit?
“Only the fairy tale equates changelessness with happiness… Permanence means paralysis and death. Only in movement, with all its pain, is life.” Jacob Burckhardt
“One never knows what will happen if things are suddenly changed. But do we know what will happen if they are not changed?” Elias Canetti
“Nothing is stable. Nothing absolute. All is fluid and changeable. There is an endless “becoming.” Benjamin N. Cardozon
Webster’s Dictionary defines “Change to alter or make different; to put one thing for another; to shift; to quit one state for another; to exchange, to become different; alteration; that which makes for variety; a child left in place of another taken by the fairies.”
Ahhh, a fairy tale, where everything is happy and never changes. I grew up with so many fairy tales, I assumed life would be just like Sleeping Beauty’s or Cinderella’s life. Then life changes, my story changes, my ideas change, and I don’t know which direction to head. How do I deal with change?
I feel like my life has been Photoshopped as I morphed from one figure to another without even realizing it. How did this happen? I thought I would grow up in the wilds of Kirkland, but I had no idea of what I would do when I grew up. Then change happened! We moved to a new state, a new culture, and new people in my life – I can’t call them friends as we never connected. Then we moved again, more and different schools. I drew further and further into myself. I tried very hard to become invisible, as I didn’t know what to do to fit in and I always felt like a freak, especially since I am tall. I was afraid to talk to people.
Most of my life I have been independent as I didn’t know how to connect with people. So now, here I am in my 60’s. I have a bad back, so my Physical Therapist recommended I walk for exercise. I started walking a route that was a teeny bit like a roller coaster ride. I was walking up and down mini hills. I was bored as there was nothing exciting to look at and no people to say “hi” to on my walk. But my back decided I needed a new route to walk as it would constantly go out as I reached the end of the street, and then I had to figure out how to get back to my car. Did I crawl or call 911 or what? So, my Physical Therapist recommended a flat route for me to walk. The route we picked for me to walk was circular, so I could park in a convenient location should my back go out. I walk along the Poulsbo waterfront, walk up a few stairs to the town and walk back toward the waterfront. Along the route I periodically would see people to say “hi” to. Plus, lots of people walked their dogs, so they let me pet their dogs. I was in Seventh Heaven! I figured I would be alone most of my walks, but I could enjoy the greenish/blue of the bay, and the crystal-clear sky as the Bald Eagles, Osprey, Heron, and Seagulls flew over my head. I started walking my laps around Poulsbo five times daily. Periodically, I would hear “I JUST saw your twin sister go ‘that way.’ We would laugh, and I might reply “I wondered where she went!”
Day after day for nine years I walked my circles around Poulsbo and slowly I would meet more people and repeatedly run into the same people, so we would say “hi” to one another. I would pet their dogs too. Gradually, my old self who tried to be invisible became visible, open, and friendly. People in the shops would wave at me. People driving by in their cars would honk and wave at me. What in the world happened to the quiet, shy Gwynn? Plus, I would be shopping away from Poulsbo at Costco or Trader Joe’s and strangers would come up to me saying, “I see you walking in Poulsbo all of the time!” Now, I talk to strangers and some of the homeless people. Nearly everyone knows me now.
But change still occurs as some of my Poulsbo friends move or pass away. Plus, old buildings that have been vacant for years are being renovated and even the construction workers say “hi.” I’m learning that change is constant, and the exciting part is that I AM dealing with it. The old Me is now a changed new Me. Or maybe I should say the young me is NOW old, but I’m having way more fun. Change is good after all!
What do YOU love doing? Has it impacted your life? If so, how?
I have always LOVED the water. I wonder if I was an otter or a dolphin in a different life? But when I was 13 I had a friend, who lived out in the wilds of Upland, California where there was a reservoir near her home. My friend had an older sister who had two toddlers, one was about 3 years old and the other was approximately 5 years old. Then to add to the fun, my friend’s mom had a surprise pregnancy, so my friend had a 2 year old brother.
One day the three toddlers were out playing on their own. Why they were not being watched, I have no idea. But the three little boys managed to wander over to the reservoir which had no fence around it. Evidently, the 2 year old was curious about the water in the reservoir, but he got too close to the edge where it was muddy. The toddler slipped in the mud and fell into the reservoir. The 3 and 5 year old little boys went to rescue their uncle, only to have all three of the little boys fall into the reservoir and drown.
I had just moved 80 miles away to Hermosa Beach. I remember receiving the letter from my friend telling me about this horrific tragedy. Since I LOVED the water, as I grew up I remembered this tragedy. In school I learned to do synchronized swimming, and later I learned about water safety, and how to teach babies and toddlers to swim.
When I married and had children, I immediately started teaching my babies to swim and to not be afraid of the water. I wanted them to be able to swim if they fell in the water as my in-laws lived on Lake Washington and did not have a safe beach for the kids to play. I took Life Saving lessons so that I could teach my children and the other children in the neighborhood to swim. Plus, I went to my children’s elementary school and taught Water Safety, so that if these kids or their friends fell in, the kids would know how to run to get help, or help the child who fell in without falling in too.
As the years have passed, now I teach my grandchildren about water safety, as I always remember the tragedy of the three toddlers drowning in the reservoir. I talk to parents about this situation too, as I want them to be mindful of what their children are doing when they are near water. Tragedy can happen so extremely fast when children are near water. Please Watch your children and teach them to swim. You are NEVER too young to learn to swim!
“If it was a worthwhile fight, it didn’t matter who won; some good was sure to come of it.” Richard Brooks
“Conflict is the gadfly of thought. It stirs us to observation and memory. It instigates to invention. It shocks us out of sheep-like passivity.” John Dewey
“Out of opposition, a new birth.” Carl G. Jung
I seriously debated in participating in this year’s A to Z Challenge, but if you heard a crashing sound that was my head smashing into the wall. I went so far as to pick a subject to write about “happiness,” and then I found words for every letter of the alphabet relating to happiness. But, did I step forward… No, I chickened out.
However, I think I’m going to do my own version of the Challenge as “happiness” is critical for my sanity. This is where Helen Keller’s quote comes to my mind. “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
Due to life’s challenges, I feel like I fell into a mud pit of quick-sand and can’t get out. The fact is that I need to put my best foot forward and start moving. So with that rant, this is what I have learned about happiness!
A = Amused, amusement
B = Bliss, bust-a-gut,
C = Chuckling, chortling, crazy
D = Delirium, delight: My delight for today was walking the Poulsbo waterfront enjoying the beauty of nature, and petting people’s beautiful dogs. I even laughed when one pit bull that I pet bounded over to visit me for his pet nearly pulling her owner across the lawn on her tummy as the dog was so strong and exuberant.
E = Enjoyment
F = Folly, fits of laughter
H = Howling, hysterics
I = Interest, interjection
J = Jest, Joyfulness
K = Kid around
L = Laughing
M = Mirth, Merriment
N = Nearly dying of laughter
O = Optimism
P = Playfulness, pleasure,
Q = Quip
R = Rejoicing, roaring with laughter
S – Sniggering
T = Twittering
U = Uber cool
V = Vivacity
X = Xylophone
Y = Yacking with laughter
Z = Zany, zeal, Zest of life
“A good laugh is sunshine in a house.”
William Makepeace Thackfray
Victory comes, at times, just when one no longer expects it.” Martin Buber
“The greatest of victories is the victory over oneself.” The Dhammapada: The Path of Perfection
“The first step towards victory… is to gain courage.” Plutarch
“How in the world were you ever able to do the ‘frog-kick’ and the breast stroke? These were the first words my University of Washington’s Back Specialist spoke to me as soon as he reviewed my MRI report. The report showed my severely twisted pelvis. To add to the fun my vertebrae are in backwards due to the twist in my pelvis. Now, they tell me! I was JUST learning about my deformed pelvis at 61 years of age. Just call me “Twisted Sister!”
The twist in my pelvis and back meant that I never had full range of motion for golf, baseball, or tennis. I couldn’t do backbends in gym. Plus, attempting to do the frog-kick along with my synchronized swimming stunts definitely was challenging, BUT I managed to succeed! You know what? I didn’t know that I could not do these activities so I kept plugging away. It is amazing what one can succeed at doing when you don’t know that you CAN’T do something!
So you might wonder… “How in the world did I end up with a corkscrew for a pelvis and back?” When my mom was approximately seven and a half to eight months pregnant with me, someone threw a firecracker in her car. I had been in the down position until the explosion went off and then I decided that I was going to stay in hiding and reversed my direction. Mom had to go back to the doctor and have him turn me back to the “down” position. In those days the doctors used forceps to help deliver babies. There are many cases where the forceps squished the heads of babies or did other things like squish my pelvis and twist it when the doctor turned me around to the down position so mom could deliver me.
My mom was a nurse, so I have no clue whether she knew what the doctor accidentally did to my formation in the delivery process or not. Now that I’m grown, and especially after I learned about my twisted pelvis and vertebrae it so explained all the difficulties that I had to work at overcoming after so many years as a child and young adult.
It also explains why I’m so DETERMINED to be the Little Engine that Could… “I think I can, I think I can!” I did play a bit of golf, tennis, and baseball, but I was terrible at these games as now I understand why. I used to beat myself up and call myself all sorts of names because I was so terrible at playing these games, BUT my success was in my synchronized swimming. So REMEMBER…