There seems to be a thin line between sanity and insanity.   Between brilliance and narcissism. Between genius and mental illness. Between visionary and cult leader.   Between strong leadership and dictatorship.   Between amassing wealth and  being driven by greed.  Between republicans and democrats.   And ultimately, between life and death.   I think about Adam and Eve. God gave them everything they could imagine and want - beauty beyond measure, the position of ruler of all the created world.   All that was intended for good. Evil and hurt lay only one degree off that mark. The result created sin and death and heartache and struggle. Bad altered what was intended for good.   Don't leave me hate comments quite yet.   Finish reading.   Hitler had quite a bit of brilliance.   Study his earlier life leading up to the part of his being the purveyor of the Aryan race theme which orchestrated and carried out the murder of millions of Jewish people.  Brilliance became narcissistic.  I quite like my definition of narcissism; a way of living, functioning, and thinking in which you don't see yourself as anything less than king of the world.  Narcissism is a common thread of those who have crossed that thematic line of brilliance, genius, sanity, visionary, strong leadership. History is riveted by examples of brilliance gone awry... Of charisma leading people to give up all their belongings and ultimately their lives for causes that were short-sided and finite...   Of people groups being ethnically cleansed and poverty being perpetuated... And maybe even to the national debt increasing:)  Whenever it becomes more about us and less about others the line between just becomes thinner.  Our agenda, our intelligence, our vision, our wealth, our political bent, our __________ (you fill the blank) must be connected to morals, to ethics, to common decency, to respect for all humanity, sometimes even to restraint.  Or, we have crossed the line between what is intended to what is not intended.



I have a confession I need to make.  It's not something that I share with most people.  This is a thing that could polarize people.  Really since my goal is to; a) write, b) grow readership and c) eventually have groupies in numbers greater than just Big D and my daughter, I'm not sure this coming out of sorts is the way to obtain any of those 3 goals.   Some of you readers have created a mental image of me, of Lynn Cherry, solely based upon what I have written about, how I deliver thoughts into words, my over-use of the phrase "of sorts", and a few facts I throw in about my physical appearance/outrageous humor/lightening speed and impatience.  I am now giving you yet another defining thing which paints a clearer image in your heads.  I love Glen Campbell.  He is in my love category which also passionately includes; all raw vegetables, a good cup of coffee, Christmas music, John Mayer, and no socks.  Maybe it doesn't make sense to you that I would love the voice of Glen Campbell. To some he is a bit obscure and yet he holds a place in musical history.   He physically epitomizes all that I find tacky, used car salesman like (no offense) and not necessarily appealing (it's his head and hair and clothes).  My mom had the Glen Campbell album,"Wichita Lineman" when I was growing up.  I listened to that thing over and over.    I thought the lyrics to those songs painted great images, which for me is the mark of any good song - leaving a visual and emotional brush stroke.  I read about his life - his childhood of deep poverty, of being a migrant farm worker with his parents.  That no doubt left deep scars on a young child.  I cheered inside that he had made it out of that into an industry that only a few succeed in.  Through the years I followed his struggles with drugs and alcohol.  His victories over it and then his plunge into the addiction yet again.  At some point, he had an experience with God (most of us do at some point).  His faith experience evidenced itself in an album he made that I have called "The Boy In Me".  It tells of his turn to the things of God and how that changed the power of his past (God does have that ability).  I saw him in concert a few years after that album.  The venue was held in the gym of a small Christian college, sponsored by one of the the local Christian radio stations.  He sang a mix of Christmas music, his newer songs that he had penned himself, and of course, some old standbys; "Like A Rhinestone Cowboy", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", "By  The Time I Get To Phoenix".  He whipped out his bagpipes and played the infamous "Amazing Grace" in this mix of mournful and hopeful sounds.  A gifted musician, Glen plays an absolutely amazing guitar and banjo.  His guitar playing alone  easily rivals the Eric Claptons of the world.   The small concert made me love his music even more, his amazing instrumental abilities, and his gift of lyrics and notes that can pierce me.  To my sisters out there who used to join me in belting out our own cover version of "Like A Rhinestone Cowboy" - thanks for indulging my love of Glen Campbell as a kid!



If you are a Seinfeld fan you might remember the episode where George, abandoning his normal responses and decisions in life which have garnered him mediocrity, decides to do just the opposite of what he would normally do.  His new found method brings him everything he'd never gotten; a girl, a job he really wanted, people finally taking notice of him.  He was almost in disbelief because he was so patterned to a lesser way of life.  I feel like George.  It continues to be the strangest experience that I am presently living.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't have a "George" measure of disbelief, a pinch me if this is real, or am I dreaming moments.  I never knew what it was to share a life with someone.  To be an equal partner with another.  To have a fluid flow with a mate.   I didn't know that every day could be magical.  That the journey of living daily life could be salted with heart and soul connectiveness.  My husband and I were talking over the weekend about how we felt the very first time we talked, had dinner and kissed.  He claims he knew from the moment he saw me walk in the restaurant that I was the woman he would love.  I knew from the words I read on his eharmony profile that he was the man I would love.  How you know something of such magnitude by a look or a word has only occurred twice in my life.  For both of us everything about our lives together is the complete polar opposite of our previous lives.  I mean everything.  Everything includes; going to bed with each other every night at the same time, being held in each other's arms throughout the night, getting groceries together, doing a house or repair project, being equal partners in life/work/play, communicating on the same level, intellectually matching, sharing the same vein of reverence and irreverence, cooking together, being surrounded by the other daily and still wanting more, operating fully in giving and receiving each other's love languages, having deep passion.  It was 11 months ago today that Doug and I went through all the stages of eharmony with each other in a mere 4 hours.  At 8 p.m. that same night I walked into McCarthy's for dinner with a man I had just met via the world wide web.  That instant changed my life forever.  I have crammed a hell of a lot of living in the past 11 months.  I texted Doug today....."11 months ago today I walked into McCarthy's to find you and a whole new life. I orchestrated none of it - God did it all as a deep answer to my heart's cry.   I feel like you have known me way longer than that.  I suppose that is because you and I live fast and love even harder."  (This blog is copyrighted so you cannot use that last sentence for lyrics to a song:)  When my lyrics are fully penned I hope they are sung mixed in with some strings, possibly a bit of banjo and most definitely a sweet simple picking accoustic guitar refrain.)



Who came up with idea of definitions?  If we point all beginnings of the basis our society and its underlying isms to something, it would ultimately be God.  I have a friend who seems to love silence.  There is some comfort, some restorative strength that can be garnered from silence.  It's the philosophy of the monks - words are excess, distractions.  They go for long periods of time without words, living daily in silence.  Maybe for them it magnifies and intensifies everything else around them.  I don't know.  I could not be a Monk for obvious reasons - my gender.  And, for less obvious reasons - words are a form of music to me.  They make me think.  They cause pictures to play upon the screen of my mind.  They make me understand someone or sometimes even myself better.  They define into written and visual ways what I am feeling, thinking, experiencing but can't nail down always.  They erase the wondering that silence sometimes brings.  It says in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, that God instructed Adam to name all the created world - plants, bird, animals, reptiles, maybe even the stars.  He wanted them to have a name - a definition of what they were, what he intended them to be.  I find it interesting too that God spoke the created world into being.  He used the word SPOKE.  As God, He could have created it with a wrinkle of his nose, the pointing of his index finger, bolts of lighting from his hands, or just a thought.  But He didn't.  Why?  Maybe because there is power in speech, in words.  There is power in speaking out loud into the universe the existence of real tangible thoughts, products, things, ideas, struggles, affirmations.  In essence, like God, we are creating something from nothing through words.  We are taking what has been silent and making it alive.  On this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for so many things.  I am thankful in that mix for words and what their definitions do to motivate, change, affirm, and create passion in me!



I grew up on a farm.  We, from time to time, raised chickens and turkeys.  When they were full grown we ate them.  Ok PETA people back down!  It was simple - circle of life sort of stuff.  I don't feel bad about that nor did I really ever get overly attached to a chicken or to a turkey. Though I did get attached to my calf named Bear, but that is a whole other story.  When the poultries were full grown, we would get up before daylight to catch, cage  and transport them to the slaughter house.  Maybe slaughter house is loose term.  The slaughter house consisted of an older Mennonite woman and her one daughter. They processed (nice way to say killed and dressed them) chickens and turkeys for local folks who raised them.  Turkeys are big.  And, they can be mean. They will run at you and peck you if you try to mess with them.   Trying to catch a turkey, even in an enclosed barn by its legs and turn it upside down, was a challenge.  This year for Thanksgiving we decided to buy a fresh farm raised turkey.  I wanted my husband to taste the difference between a Butterball frozen one and a farm raised killed and processed and cooked the next day turkey.  When I called to order my turkey, I asked for anything at least 25 pounds.  The turkey raisers couldn't pinpoint exactly what the weight of the turkey would be several weeks before Thanksgiving, just that it would be close to 25 pounds (give or take a pound or so).  I mean there was still  fattening up to do.  We picked our turkey up last night.  It was ginormous, weighing in at a hefty 31 pounds dressed.  Fully undressed, before they chopped its head and feet off and plucked all its feathers, it topped the scale at 40 pounds!   According to all my google searching last night and this morning, that turkey needed to be baked 15 minutes or so for every pound of meat.  WOW!  That works out to 7.75 hours at 325 degrees.  We put it in the oven this morning at 8 a.m. before we left for work today.  It has a whole stick ofP butter smeared on it along with some honey and every herb and spice you can think of.  I don't know who thought of turkey for Thanksgiving (the whole Pilgrim thing was probably fish) but I support the it whole heartedly.  I popped that fat bird in the oven and mentally thanked God for the goodness that awaited me and those who would gather around my table tomorrow on Thanksgiving.   At work today, as I sat eating my shaved turkey sandwich for lunch, I laughed at its irony while a big ass 31 pound turkey cooked in my oven.  Gobble, Gobble!



Someone recently told me about a story they read.  A woman decided to take a picture of herself every day for 4 years.  She took the picture at the same time of day, in the same light, in the same place for 4 years.  The result was a pictorial of the passage of time.  How even though we think we are relatively the same day to day, our looks change over the course of time.  There were some small changes in 4 years.  What a great experiment!  What would happen if she continued that through the course of her life?  If all those pictures were put together and flipped through like an animation deck of cards, we could see the cellular changes.  We would see the minute deteriorations, the reconstruction of our faces over time.  Isn't it funny what we say sometimes; "Look at him!  He is losing that baby face and looking more like a toddler."  "She is changing into that teenage face and leaving behind her little girl looks.  Growing up!"  "Have you seen Deb lately?  She is looking old."  "I haven't seen him in years.  When did he get so heavy?"  "You know this funeral home does a great job of making people look good.  Didn't Henry look like himself laying there?" A couple I knew from my childhood saw me recently after having not seen me for 28 years.  I asked them if they knew who I was.  They said I looked familiar.  They studied me.  They mused over it with each other.  I gave them hints; grew up in your town, went to school with so-and-so, and finally who my parents were.  Their response, "You are little Lynn!  I can see it now!"   I laughed out loud at still being seen and referred to as "little Lynn" - as a notation of being the youngest of my sisters not necessarily due to my size or stature.  I love to look at the anniversary postings in the local newspaper.  Especially the ones that print a wedding picture and a current picture side by side.  Sometimes it is a 30, 40, 50 or even 65th wedding anniversary.  I try to see if I can see their initial features somewhere still in their faces.  I think God is amazing.  He created living, breathing works of art - the human race.  Not stagnant paintings that never change, never morph into something different, stay one dimensional always.  God created us as a form of silly putty art - sculpted by a DNA, our environment, our choices, gravity and ultimately our proximity to death.  I am so glad I am not a still life.



I watched part of the movie "Benjamin Button" last night.  It is a long movie.  I think the editors should have cut some scenes to shorten it and to eliminate a few that really didn't serve a purpose.  The problem is that the previous time I watched this movie, I watched it over the course of 3 nights while using my sister's treadmill so I was unaware how LONG it really was!  Even though I am critiquing its length, the concept is brilliant.  The take on aging and reversing it to highlight the common enormity of it is very creative.  If you have not seen the movie you will need a five gallon tub of popcorn for its nearly 3 hour length.  My suggestion is a two-part viewing.  In the movie, Benjamin, for whatever reason that is never fully disclosed, is born both physically and inwardly chronologically old.  The story line is about his journey from being born in his 90's as an infant in New Orleans in the year 1918.  He was left on the doorstep of a retirement home found by a black woman who worked there.  His growing up, or growing younger years, was spent in this old people's home.  He observed and developed relationships with people who were nearing the final leg of their lives.  There are three quotes in the movie that I think are very relevant, very descriptive:

For what it's worth; it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

It was a wonderful place to grow up (in the old people's home). 
I was with people who had shed
all the inconsequences of earlier life. 
Left wondering about the weather,
the temperature of a bath, 
the light at the end of a day.

Life can only be understood looking backward. It must be lived forward.

I love what the movie shows us about aging.  Its joys, its sorrows, its explorations, its eureka moments, and ultimately its limitations.  When something that is common is set in an uncommon way we are more able to see its separate threads.  That is exactly what "Benjamin Button" does.  It reminded me again that nearly 5 months ago it was the 4th of July and in another 6 months it will be Memorial Day all over again.  It reaffirmed to me that to live fully is the best way to live.  I have choices in so many things in my life.  The passage of time is not one of them.



Do you remember those holiday decorations that were displayed in your elementary school classroom around Thanksgiving?  I'm not sure what exactly the technical word for the genre of decorations that folded flat but when unfolded and turned circularly jumped into 3-D.  They were made of tissue paper.  I definitely remember the pumpkin and the turkey that Mrs. Cripe had in our 2nd grade classroom.  I was always somewhat mesmerized by them.  Still am:)  What an ingenious storage idea!  A bit B-rated, kinda of tacky decoration though.  I saw one at Target the other day and laughed out loud.  Paper chains of brown, gold, yellow, and orange were strung around the room with construction paper pilgrim hats galore!  My mom always got into the Thanksgiving tchatchkeness with her cornucopia that sat atop our dining room table.  She went through different phases of creativity as to what she placed in that cornucopia.  One year she was really into decorating appropriately Styrofoam shaped fall items (apples, pumpkins, ears of corn) and pushing glittery beaded doo-dads in them.  It was long before the movement of bedazzling hit the scene.  That year the cornucopia was filled with her glittery beaded display.  Other years small pumpkins, leaves ironed into wax paper, gourds and Indian corn splayed out of the cornucopia.  I saw a cornucopia the other day and fondly thought of my childhood and my mom.  I didn't buy it though.  Holiday craps just aren't my bag.  My mom is a crafting queen.  She is amazing grandmother who has entertained her now grown 6 grandchildren over the years with her crafts at holiday times.  Thanksgiving usually involved a huge meal, men in the basement watching football and napping, the women playing games and then my mom busting out the holiday crafts for the grandkids (ok and my one sister who loves them too!).  One year she did an edible craft when the granddaughters were young.  Turkeys made out of chocolate shortbread cookies, candy corn, frosting, a Reese cup, and other sugary treats.  Like they had not eaten enough crap already that day!  All 6 of her grandchildren (all girls) lived for those crafting times every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  If there was a best grandma in the world award she would be the recipient.  Sometimes late in the day, after bellies were stuffed, crafts made, the grandkids would beg her to take them to the movies.  She always obliged:)  That's really what Thanksgiving is all about isn't it.  Enjoying the presence of those that hold a deep place in our hearts.  It's getting to focus on them, stop life for a day and think about the things, the people, the purpose of life - being thankful and loving.  Now where is that paper mache turkey for my table top!



I let my haters be my motivators.  What a great quote!  I heard it on a movie trailer last night. It was some sort of movie about a babysitter which appeared to be very unremarkable and devoid of a premise that would hold most people's attention.  To be honest, I can't even recall the title of the movie!  What I did though glean from this very forgettable movie trailer was the quote.  I let my haters be my motivators.  It was spoken by the lead girl character who was the cause of much angst to her babysitter.  I would suppose she was referring to those around her who couldn't stand her overly self indulgent ways.  I thought about that quote all day today.  I just let the words soak into me.  I am not a very competitive person.  Just ask my high school tennis team captain, Joann.  I can still hear her words screaming at me, "Cherry!  This isn't a social club!!  Move it!".  Competing against others never motivated me.  Still doesn't.  My motivation, my drive comes from what I am passionate about, the satisfaction I get from something, how driven I am to get or be.  My haters are varied; time stealers, people who ceiling me or assume things not true, fear of aging and/or illness, fear of not achieving goals in certain areas of my life, urgent trumping important too many days in a row, being paralyzed in the journey to get where I want to be, doubting my own abilities, falling short of grace.  How can those things I hate or impinge me, motivate me towards the good, the goal, the belief in faith, the work it takes to be different or to keep on the path towards what I know will come to be?   Hating takes a lot of energy.  In fact it takes so much energy that it doesn't always leave room for the good.  I want to take those things, including those few persons that I feel some measure of dislike for, and not park my bus there.  I don't want to be immobilized by other's hatred (loose word) toward me, my own hatred for others, fears, lack, or the bigness of the task before me.  Catch and release.  That's what some fishermen adhere to.  Maybe that's the key to letting my haters be my motivators.



Should a foodish item come in an aerosol can?  Can anything that can be altered enough to be packaged, presented through a metal can and out a plastic nozzle that dispenses when pushed on be good for you?  As a child it was a thing of wonder.  Cheez Whizz in a can and whipped topping that could be sprayed directly in your mouth.  My mom never bought either of those products though.  Occasionally I would partale of them at slumber parties or friend's houses.   Side note; I never had Kraft boxed macaroni and cheese until I was 5 years old at a friend's house after kindergarten.  Literally it was the first time I knew there was such a thing.  My tastes improved with age.  My Grandma June rarely used Non-Dairy whipped topping like Cool Whip or any off brand variation.  My fondest taste bud memories, and the reason I love genuine heavy whipping cream, is because of her.  She would pour a pint of cold whipping cream in a glass bowl and beat it on high while gradually adding sugar until it changed from liquid to real whipped cream.  Nothing tasted better on her nut torte, pumpkin pie or on bowls of jello than real whipped cream.  I only ever use real whipping cream for anything calling for Cool Whip.  Pure ingredients; real whipping cream and sugar period.  Nothing named polydextrose, hydrogenated vegetable oil or something or other casenate. Food that spoils or breaks down is a good thing folks!   I hate to admit this.  This week I was out of half and half for my coffee.  In my refrigerator, awaiting thanksgiving pumpkin pie, was a pint of heavy whipping cream ready to be whipped in to whipped cream on Thanksgiving day.  I used some in my coffee.  It's thick rich creaminess left half and half in the dust.  I poured some in my cup, mixing it with a bit with 2% milk to lessen the guilt and fat.  May I recommend real whipping cream as the only whipped cream you use.  On pie or even in your coffee:)  



Operas are stories set to music with some acting and over exaggerated emotional vocal expressions.  They use a musical score which includes vocal music.  It's fairly easy to tell a story with words even if you aren't the greatest wordsmith.  If the words of an opera don't paint a big enough picture there is the vocal interpretation of them laced with the appropriately emphasized emotion to showcase the words.  Purely instrumental only music has both an advantage and a disadvantage over music with lyrics.  It can, without the support of any other means, take you on a mental and emotional journey purely by hearing notes or combinations or swells or discords.  It cannot though overcome mediocrity by creating a diversion within it.  There is no lyrics, no real visual, no one person standing and singing distracting us by their appearance.  When it is grand I can think of little that is as powerful as orchestration.  My mind is a bit like a big screen inside.  Orchestration, symphonies, instrumental only music allows interpretation by me both mentally and emotionally. I get to be part of the music in its exegesis - feeling inside how it is received, felt, and translated to my ears, my mind, my emotions, my spirit.   I love orchestra music.  Scores that move and speak without a word.  To me there is nothing quite like a string section or the amazing layering of sounds.  A lot of music in general can speak to me, can create thoughts and emotions.  But, I am brought to a halt inside by an orchestra, by a symphony, by the power of a string section in a piece of music.  Isn't it funny how our minds and emotions are connected?   How do I know (mind) what emotion (spirit) to experience when I hear a certain sound?  If I hear with my ears the sound of a door opening when I am in bed at night I experience fear.  Who is there?  Is there someone in the house?  The same is true of music.  When I hear the orchestration of "Freedom" or "The Giving" I can feel my spirit open up, my heart let loose.  I can experience emotions of breaking free and walking forward.  God is the maker and creator of all things good.  Music is one of them.  God must have known that we needed another medium other than speech, touch, sight, and taste to experience and feel.  He created hearing.  Those senses give us the ability to manifest emotions.  Music is heard and felt.



How are you? That phrase is a bit overused and under meant.  Wouldn't you agree?  It's a cultural version of sorts for hello.  They are hollow words mostly used as a sentence acknowledgement over a single hello or hi.  But for the most part, in most circumstances of use, they mean hi.  It's a way to verbally note someones presence who is in proximity to us.  Sometimes they are said by store clerks.  Sometimes they are said between two parties when hi seems too short and both want to acknowledge the other.  Neither though, expect a sincere response to the how are you.  Culturally we have done to how are you much like we have watered down the words I love you.  I guess it bothers me.  Because I am a person who says exactly what they mean, saying a word, a phrase without the real meaning behind it saddens me.  How are you really isn't a hello greeting to me nor do I typically use it in that context.  If I say how are you to a friend, family member or even a total stranger it is followed up with another phrase designed to let them know I really care to hear how they are.  Or it is followed up with a response to their answer purposed to get them to really speak about how they are - to be real.  I'm going to venture to say that in the insincerity category men probably use that phrase more times as a greeting than as a real question that they are seeking a real answer to.  It's a guys way to sort of tip their hat to someone, give a farmer wave (that is a nod combined with a one finger raise without taking their hands off their tractor or truck's steering wheel).   Culture has morphed words and phrases into things that were not their original meanings or use intentions.  The word gay used to mean simply; happy in sort of high spirited kind of way.  Words are adapted to culture.  That's not all bad.  I love words and have created a few versions and meanings of morphed words from time to time myself.  But I am beyond bothered at the insincere use of how are you.  Questions are to be asked and answered sincerely.   I know, I have a highly inquisitive mind.  Questions are not taken lightly by me.  I ask when I want to know about anything.  Even, how are you.



Have you ever taken something out of your closet, off the hanger, only to find a shoulder nipple in the shirt?  I am an ironing maniac.  Seriously.  I iron nearly everything I wear just before I am ready to put it on.  Jeans included (I don't make a severe crease running down the pant leg - please!).  Once in awhile I take something out of the closet and it does not necessarily need ironing.  Then I see the shoulder nipple.  You know the stretched out convex marking from it hanging on the hanger.  Shoulder nipples are created from a number of variables.  First, any sort of stretchy material over a hanger will create the invariable shoulder nipple.  Second, sweaters are notorious for getting shoulder nipples if hung on hangers.  I hate when I put on a shirt or a sweater only to look in the mirror and realize I have two nipples on top of my shoulders besides the two on my chest which are permanently attached.  Third, certain hangers, especially metal ones are the culprits of these unsightly fabric formed nipples of sort.  Shoulder nipples are also a bit tricky to iron out of the article of clothing.  There isn't an easy way to remove them once they have sprouted up.  I do though highly recommend the "steam" setting!   Metal hangers most definitely are the worst culprits of the shoulder nipple.  Especially if you reuse old dry cleaners hangers that your husband's starched shirts come back on.  Plastic or wood hangers are a little better, but combined with the wrong fabric, they will also create the occasional shoulder nipple.  I take issue too with the simplistic manner in which word hanger was created to describe what it does.  I suppose it's both good and bad that the word cannot be misunderstood or interrupted for anything but what it is.  Did someone say, we need something to hang our clothes up with...let's call it a hanger.  My breasts aren't exactly up where they were when I was younger.  This whole shoulder nipple thing has got me thinking.  It could possibly be a great non-surgical way to create a diversion of sorts, for onlookers that is.  A passerby might think, "Those seem too low, yet those shoulder nipples are a bit too high."



There has been a bit of anticipation for me this week.  I have an IPhone and an app on it for the weather.  Every morning I have looked at the forecast for the next 5 days.  Partly to see if it will be sunny on a weekend day so we can get the yard raked and mowed one last time and clean out the gutters which are stuffed with leaves.  The other reason is for indications leading to the first snow.  I'm not a huge winter lover like I was in my younger years.  But, once the leaves fall off and the air turns cool and windy, I look forward to my yearly tradition - running in the first snowfall.   It happened today on this November 10th.  Snow blew through the air as the wind whipped it around.  The first flakes that fell were huge big ornate ones that almost didn't look real.  As the evening was starting to dim and turn to night, I embraced the 30 degrees for a run in the first snowfall.  It wasn't a peaceful snowfall, the kind that lazily makes it way to the ground.  This snow was driven by wind and bordered on heavy and wet.  It didn't matter so much.  Running in the first snow was just an experience that I actually looked forward to yearly.  There is a feel when out in it as if you are witnessing a sort of changing of the guard.  Like Buckingham Palace, fall marched off as winter stood guard now.  As I ran, my mouth slightly ajar, big wet snowflakes pelted my face and dripped down my sunglasses.  A few of them landed on my lips and in my mouth.   The cold shoved its way to my lungs, irritating and constricting them.  I silently saluted the passing of the baton from fall to the first showing of winter.  I had a VIP pass to the event.  No one was out.  A rare few venture out to experience the changing of the guard, rather merely watching it from inside.  I ran in awe once again.  I felt privileged, almost voyeuristic.  I got to usher in a new stage, a fresh season.



The human race is diverse.  Nothing is duplicated in total exactness.  Nothing.   Further out than the human race, the universe is diverse, varied and not symmetrical.  Nothing in the universe, in creation is duplicated in total exactness.  It is said that no two snowflakes are identical.  Their variations are due to things beyond really my scope of understanding; a cocktail of hydrogen, oxygen, spinning electrons and an ever changing amount of water molecules.  I like the not uniform way of the universe. The God of the universe is a master artist.  God's works, His paintings, His creations are one of kinds not prints.  I love that!  It makes me feel deeply loved by God.  That allows me to operate as me.  I don't like cookie cutter houses, furnishings or clothes from department or box stores.  I love things with texture and variations, slight hue differences.  I have four lamps in my living room.  Four lamps - one floor and three table top lamps.  The floor lamp is pewter with carvings in it.  It is heavy and its presence shouts richness.  Sitting on the end table next to the sofa is a  tall ceramic lamp variegated in color with creams and tans.  Atop it is a coarse linen lamp shade.  Perched on the three ladder bookshelves is another lamp that I sprayed with textured brown paint.  Its lamp shade is a linen color with a bit of brown around the edge.  And lastly, a small light creamish lamp sits on my small entry table paired with a square topaz colored weaved lampshade.  None of them match each other.  But, they all bring out something magical in this room.  My daughter has a dining room table.  The table is stained a dark color and the chairs are painted different and varying colors.  Sounds strange, but the disorderly color matching, the lack of uniformity creates this beautiful display.  Beauty is so varied.  I can see a sunset, like the one a couple of nights ago with pink, purple and gray streaks reaching toward heaven as the dusk faded to black and say it's breathtaking.  I can also see a stark gray November sky and say it is beautiful as well.  Differences, incongruity, variations, dissimiliarness, non-exactness show us the creator not just the created.  I was looking at a dish in a resale shop recently.  I loved the dish and at first thought about if it would fit with other dishes I had.  It didn't if I went with uniformity.  Uniformity is not the way of the universe.  It's not the way of God.  I bought the dish.



When I started this blog over a year ago I let out of my mind many of the things I think about daily.  There is not a day that goes by I don't think a "who does that, "I can't figure that out", or "why in the world is that like that" about most everything. Something usually reminds of something that leads me to a train of thought about something connected to the first something.  Sometimes those things are deep heart things.  But many times, like the post on who uses a washcloth, they are colloquialisms that others feel and think but don't always say.  I have loved Andy Rooney, CBS 60 Minutes Verbal Letter To The Editor Correspondent, all my life.  Long before 60 Minutes he wrote and produced.  Some years back I read his memoir - snippets of his life, pieces of his stint as a WWII war correspondent.  It was a great read.  Not that I agreed with his political leanings always, or his take on everyday things all the time, nor did I like his annoying voice, or remotely admired his total disregard for personal eyebrow trimming hygiene.  But, there was something about the things that he said that were akin to things that I thought, that I think.  A cultural poet of sorts, Andy penned and ultimately spoke what we just couldn't quite articulate, didn't take the time to form into words or passed over too quickly daily.  He spoke the know in our heads into tangible words.  Quirky in the dictionary probably now shows a picture of Andy Rooney beside it, drawn in pencil caricature form next to the noun meaning of the word.  In the beginning weeks of this blog in 2010 I shared that I wanted Andy Rooney's job.  I made no bones about it.  I told CBS, in my obscure mostly unread blog, that I wanted his job and would be great at it.  I am a lot of things, probably quirky to some degree as well, but curmudgeonly I really am not.  Andy seemed unkempt.  Possibly a messy of sorts both externally and internally.  Maybe that is from free thinking, being creative.  Even if I didn't side with his thoughts, I applauded him for just being who he was in this unashamed-defiant-at-times way.  There are iconic people in our world that when they pass their absenteeism is felt.  An era comes to a screeching end.   Erma Bombeck, Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, Ronald Reagan.  Andy Rooney, January 14, 1919 – November 4, 2011.  CBS still hasn't called me.



My digestive tract doesn't work properly.  That is just the image you wanted in your head.  Stopping short of the reasons why, it just doesn't.  It is predictably unpredictable:) You can read about one of my many explosive diarrhea episodes in an earlier post entitled, "Can I Get Any Worse - Depends:)" from 9/25/10.    When I first met my recently wed husband, I didn't fully disclose my diarrhea issues.  I mean how do you say on an date that it is a "regular" part of your life.   One of my close friends who knows me well kept goading me about my "diarrhea disclosure" moment that would surely have to come eventually with him.  I got marred to Doug 30 days after meeting him on eharmony.  It has been one of the greatest things in my life.  Very shortly after being married, we travelled out of town for me to meet his kids.  Mind you I loved him from the first moment I read what he wrote, but 30 days is still 30 days:)  Staying the night in a hotel we were getting ready to meet his youngest daughter and her husband for church.  My husband was in the shower.  It hit me.  I mean diarrhea was moving through my colon at the speed of light.  I couldn't go in the bathroom where he was trapped in the shower and use the toilet.  I mean really, 30 days or 30 years, not sure I can do that.  While he showered, I bolted from the room running full speed down the hall, down the stairway hoping to find the lobby bathroom before it was too late.   I hit the bathroom stall door as I am whipping my pants down.  It was a split second too late.  Thankfully no one was in the bathroom.  Now I had a dilemma - how to clean up, discard the panties and get back to the room without having to confess.  I laughed in the stall at the irony of this moment.  Cleaning myself up, throwing my underwear away,  I put my jeans back on commando style and went back to the room.  He was still showering.  I didn't share that story with him until the 8 or 9 month mark.  It was then that I confessed my "diaries of diarrhea" with him.  He laughed at some of them and reassured me that didn't change his love for me at all.  And, if need be in the years to come, he had to clean me up, he would!  Now that is a conversation bracketed in deep love.   Digestively this week was a rough one.  One day in particular.  I have a routine of sorts.  I get up early usually to go to the bathroom.  When up, I brush my teeth (I have a brushing addiction), and weigh myself.  The scale read 112.  Back to bed I went.  As the day began I was hit with a single massive bout of diarrhea.  There couldn't have been anything humanly left inside of me.  I decided to weigh myself again.  The scale now read 111.4.  I laughed out loud at losing 12 ounces in one sitting.  Immediately I texted my husband with my diarrhea tale.  Holy crap:)



It's Sunday.  The time changed at 2:00 a.m. today.  I hate when the time changes as I can't quite get into the swing of daylight savings time.  For the first month I find myself looking at the clock, especially when my body is getting weary close to bedtime or I am hungry, and think, "It's not really that time.  Really it's an hour later.  That's why I'm tired.  That's why I'm hungry."  Since I am pretty much a morning person, the fall behind time change is a blessing in the morning.  It gets light an hour earlier (Let's not talk about how I hate the evening getting dark earlier though!).  This morning I rolled out of bed at 6:45 am (just the day before it would have been 7:45).  I looked out my big four foot kitchen window at the wind lightly blowing.  I brewed a cup of southern pecan coffee in the Keurig as I watched light rolling across the sky.  There is now that combination of mid fall fading quickly into late fall toward Thanksgiving.  As I looked down the street there were trees that were barren, stark.  There were also trees that were still holding onto their thinning colored leaves.  People's flower pots were now emptied out.  Patio furniture was stacked or put inside for the coming winter months.  It was beginning to look like the countdown to Thanksgiving.  Late fall becomes increasingly unadorned in nature.  It pares itself back.  I pulled on my running pants and one of my husband's long sleeved running zip shirts, pulled my ear band down over my morning hair, double knotted my shoes, stretched good, pulled on my thin gloves and went out.  There was a coldness in the air and a breeze already at 7:30 a.m. telling me that it would be a windy day.  No one was out.  Just the way I like it.  I ran wishing everyday was like this - cool, quiet, no people out driving hurrying to get somewhere, no school buses.  I thought about Thanksgiving season and why I love this brisk and quickly becoming barren and stark time of year.   I thought about my family and how many years I have gotten choked up as I shared out loud before prayer how much they mean to me.  I thought about all the fond memories I have of extended family gatherings at Thanksgiving - my now deceased grandparents, the joy in the room, the familiarness that love and traditions bring, those special dishes that my grandmother used, her famous pineapple whip, the numerous homemade pies.   Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Always has been.  It appeals to the simple, free, unadorned, basic, and connected-to-life way that I live.  The combination of the Midwestern scenery, the weather, the sky, the focus on just being with those we love (no gifts involved), limited decorations, the array of fall foods, the ability to simply think on all things that are blessings putting aside momentarily the things we don't like in our lives, literally fills me up.  Running today I passed houses with pumpkins and mums till on the porch withered from frost.  The last few Halloween decorations still adorned a few yards.  They though were starting to give precedence over to the next big decorating season - Christmas.  It made me love Thanksgiving all the more for its raw, peaceful, meaningful simplicity. 



I was cleaning out my bill/letter sorter on my desk this week.  It's the place I put bills that need to be paid, paperwork in process, 3 blank legal notepads, an envelope of coupons that sometimes expire before I use them, miscellaneous email addresses written on sticky notes, health insurance explanation of benefits forms, random papers that need me to call about something, remind me to do something or set an appointment for something.  I found one of the latter in the mix this week.  It was a mammogram brochure that my gynecologist gave me this summer while at my yearly appointment.  It's the same one she gave me last summer.  The one with the phone number for the mammogram center listed and the paragraph circled that read, "It is recommended that women 40 and over get mammograms yearly."   I smiled as I read the brochure.  Feeling extremely free, I threw it in the trash can.  One less paper clogging the bill sorter I thought.  I remembered I had done the exact same thing last year - kept the brochure designed to make you set your mammogram appointment for a few months and then threw it away.  It's not that I'm scared.  I've had mammograms before.  They are what they are, a necessary part of an over 40ish woman's life.  Nor am I intimidated by a woman named Verna in her mid 50's handling my breasts like the bean bags used in the game Corn Hole or like a raw hamburger patty being prepared for the grill.  "Parts are parts", as my friend, a former EMS worker, says about body parts that need discretion.  Texting back and forth several days ago with my friend Big D, she filled me on the end to her work day, "Oh yeah baby, nothing like getting yer boobs smashed....mammogram!"  Being abundantly full of cleavage I asked her, "Did you lose a cup size?"  Her comeback to my cleavage lack, breast deficit, 4 lane-highway of a chest was, "How the hell do they get your wee mounds photographed?"  I slung back acerbically, "They usually crack a rib:)"  Since I am not well endowed, it is rather difficult and painful to go through a mammogram.  Cracking a rib for a thin, small chested woman isn't too far off.   Mostly what I don't like about mammograms is what you cannot do in preparation to go to your yearly boob smashing appointment.  You cannot wear deodorant or perfume.  Why, I'm not totally sure.  Possibly it messes up the machines, gives the tech a headache from all the scents.  I don't know.  To me it would make sense to let the women wear deodorant and perfume as the tech is basically reaching her bare hand partly up your underarm to find every last ounce of breast tissue that is hiding there!  Like a spatula scraping the last bit of dough from a bowl, the tech kneads and flops the found tissue further under the metal plates.   I am a deodorantaholic and never like to leave home without my signature 6 swipes under each arm or without my 2 sprays of perfume - neck and chest.  Not only do I have to subject my small and shrinkie dink breasts to being sandwiched between two metal plates till flesh breaks open or ribs begin to crack, but I have to endure that nerve racking procedure without the aid of my Degree deodorant.  I really have never longed for cleavage or large breasts.  Who I am I love.  Only for one day would I like to be bustie, like my friend Big D.  On Oh Mammy Day!



My minimalistic ways do not require a lot of "stuff".  I have some stuff though.  Just maybe not as much as you have.  Christmas is always a bit puzzling to me.  As a mostly non-stuff person, I can't for the life of me see the fuss of gifts or spending large sums of money.  I think a small well-thought book, someone's favorite fragrance, gift card to a store you know someone loves, a cd, concert tickets, a well-thought little something can say love just as good.  Hundreds of dollars per person is insane.  I am not trying nor can I out give God who gave us the biggest and best Christmas gift of all - Jesus!  A gift is about focusing on love not on the stuff.  A lot of things in my kitchen I did not buy.  I have a very nice Kitchen-Aid stand up mixer, my mom bought it for me.  She also bought me my magic bullet (I use it regularly), a small food processor, a waffle iron (only used it a handful of times), great Cutco knives (I love them) and more!  Many things in my kitchen were handed down from my grandmothers - a rolling pin, a cast iron dutch oven, big tupperware bowls, a small brown ceramic dish I use for cheese dip.  I have bought some big things - dishes, pots and pans, etc, but many things I didn't buy.  For instance, I love bowls.  It must be a sort of fetish.  I have lots of beautiful big bowls - clear glass ones, ceramic colored ones, old antique ones.  Many were gifts from my sisters.  The rest, I picked up when they caught my eye.  I also didn't buy my paper shredder.  It came from my mom.  I didn't buy my electric hedge trimmer - my parents.  I have a great big recipe box which was a gift from my parents after I tried to get my dad to make me one in his workshop.  My silverware was bought at an auction years ago.  Most of the cookie sheets I have, baring one or two, were gifts from my ex-husband's grandma at Christmas time through the years.  I have two beautiful red casserole dishes with lids.  Away one weekend with my parents we were shopping at an outlet mall.  I found these great red casserole dishes in one of the kitchen stores.  As I stood in line to buy them, my dad came up beside me and took them out of my hands.  He bought them:)  Sitting here thinking about all the "things" of practicality, ease or just beauty that were bought by others but take up residence in my house makes me feel loved.  There was a reason that those people gave me those certain things.  Tomorrow when I fill my cast iron dutch oven with chicken to bake it I will think of my grandma.  On Thanksgiving when I make pies with my other grandmother's rolling pin, I will smile and feel love.  It doesn't take much to make me smile; a butterfly necklace from a friend, a book wrapped in gift paper, my favorite fragrance, a beautiful bowl.  But mostly I love the gift of presence.  Love on a daily basis from my friends and family is the best gift I could ever get.  It is a comforting, beautiful, perfect gift. 



When I was in high school in 1980 pants were very high waisted.  There was no low waisted, extra-low waisted or can't wear underwear with em waisted pants.  Just the opposite.  On your rearside, the pants pants rose up travelling far beyond the boundary of your butt to nearly halfway up your back.  I never knew if it was an attempt to give people a small waist OR to make your ass appear 2 or more feet long.  I hated that style.  I felt trapped in high waisted pants.  But since that's all there was and I couldn't think outside the style box, I wore them.  Invariably they would ride up your crack a bit if they were even ever so slightly too tight.  Those pant styles really never put any one's body in the best light.  Except if you were as tall and skinny as Cher.  I have been noticing while shopping, reading magazines, or watching tv that high waisted pants are back:(  One day I declared to my husband, "There is no way in hell I am wearing those again.  I hated them when I was in high school.  I don't need my butt to look longer than it presently does with gravity at full tilt!"   My passion runs deep over this deeply world changing issue:)   Now I am 45 years old.  I'm still too young for totally old people clothes, but too old for the young, hip styles.  I love lower waisted pants though.  Sometimes it can be an issue as I am long waisted to start with.  Wearing low waisted pants requires longer shirts for me.  I recently bought a pair of blue jeans that were a bit lower waisted than my normal lower waisted ones.  Wearing them recently I noticed, as I bent over to check something in the oven, that my husband could conveniently slip his finger down my plumber's butt that was showing.  That was definitely a plus.  But I wondered if they were really appropriate - did anyone in the world really desire to see a 45 year old's butt crack?  I must say that I do spend considerable time hoisting them back up even if ever so slightly.  Since they are slung across my hips rather than above them, there is nothing for them to catch on.  I was in a store this week in those blue jeans.  Bending over slightly to look at something on a bottom shelf, I felt air on my skin!   At that exact moment of recognition, that I either needed to pull my pants up or snug my top down further, I caught a man's gaze.  He looked at my plumber's butt and grinned with either enjoyment or possibly horror as he strode away.  My ego can only take that it was enjoyment:)   I am caught in a style conundrum - hating high waisted pants or anything close to the true waist, but struggling to keep my low waisted ones up.  What is a plumber to do?



I am not a huge fan of Ted Nugent the rock musician.  Though I did once see him in the hall of the Merrillville Holiday Star Theatre Conference Center years ago when I was there for a conference and Terrible Ted was performing a concert there as well.  The man might be more brilliant than anyone might give him credit for.  Something rises up (it could be a bit of jealousy) in me as I tell you he has written several books, including one that made it to the New York Times bestseller list!  I think his voice is mediocre, doesn't match his face or demeanor or the way in which he lives his life.  His guitar playing out performs his voice by far.  He actually owns a ranch/game preserve just outside of Jackson, Michigan. Terrible Ted Nugent had his own reality show in 2003 called, "Surviving Nugent".  It was interesting to say the least. Far from the rock star stereotype, Nugent has always advocated an alcohol and drug free life - a part of his strict religious upbringing.   He is a purist with food also believing in a healthy way of life.  A strong hunting advocate, he eats what he raises and kills on his ranch including deer, etc.  Possibly Ted is onto something.  I too think our food system is tainted.  That we ingest far too many chemicals, chemically altered foods, antibiotic enriched foods - seed and food designed for larger yields and faster time from seed to harvest to our tables.  For being one of the greatest nations in the world, we have one of the worst standards governing allowable food growing and production processes in the world.  I am convinced that a large portion of our health issues have to do with what we ingest.  Even the healthiest foods and grains included have been affected by pesticides and chemical engineering.  Thanksgiving is coming soon.  We are having out of town family here at our house.  My husband and I were talking about what to serve on Thanksgiving and post Turkey Day.  When I was growing up my parents raised chickens and turkeys.  Just like eating a potato dug fresh from the garden is so much better than a potato bought in the grocery store.  So does a turkey taste different and so much better freshly butchered as opposed to the Butterballs frozen lining the stores.  I ordered a fresh turkey, a 25-30 pounder, from a local farmer who raises turkeys, chickens, ducks and geese.  Fresh means it is killed and dressed the day before I pick up it up and two days before I bake it in the oven.  Read the label on most chicken packages; No added hormones or antibiotics added.  Do you know what that really means?  It just means that even the though the chickens are fed feed doused in both antibiotics and hormones, once killed and packaged no more are added:)  This whole arena of food is one of the areas that I could possibly become a tree hugger over.  When I buy bread or anything, I look for the ingredient list that has the least amount of ingredients and of which I can pronounce, understanding what they are.  Ice cream included.