Appreciating Clouds

As a child, I used to throw myself on the grass and watch the clouds go scudding by. I could make out the ever-changing shapes of them as well. Often the clouds gifted me with big white poodles, fish, teddy bears, ships, elephants and such; sometimes even faces. It was always fun to see what the sky presented me with each time I did my cloud watching.

To this day, I appreciate clouds and their formations. It’s almost as though some magical creature is busily concocting different forms and shapes to delight us all. The thing about clouds is that they are capricious and tease us with their shapes that can turn into other shapes in the blink of an eye.

I’m never surprised at the formations I see. I’m sure that any of the weathermen could give me the explanations of why and how the clouds change into different shapes, but quite frankly, I’d rather be surprised by them.

Advertisements

Fathers Day

Today we remember and revere fathers everywhere. Sometimes I think that fathers don’t always get the attention and applause that they deserve. Back in the 1950s, moms stayed home to care for the children, keep the house in order, cook, clean, iron, dust, polish and more. The men went to work each day, and on the weekends they tended to the outdoor work; in winter they shoveled snow, in the summer they mowed the grass and kept the vehicles running.

But even back then, fathers who really fathered stood out. I don’t remember my biological father at all. I was aware that all of a sudden he wasn’t around, and that Mom and I were on our own. Mom, being the amazon she was, handled everything and did everything.

The years passed, and when I was about three or four years old, Mom met the man who would become a father to me. His name was Ned Bullock, and from the very start, I loved him. He took Mom and I on picnics, and one day on one of those picnics, he and I picked buttercups together. I asked him if I could call him “Daddy,” and he said yes.

Looking back over the years, I now realize that he and Mom had already decided to marry, and even as young as I was, I knew he had come to love me as well as Mom. As soon as they were married, Dad adopted me, and we were now a family. He took fatherhood seriously, and was a consistantly good dad to me.

When I was nine years old, he taught me how to change a tire, how to use a jack knife without cutting myself, and to make a good camp fire and put it out responsibly. Of course, I really didn’t want to learn all that boring stuff and I asked him why I had to. His explanation was this: “you need to know how to do things like this so that you will be independant and not have to rely on some man to do things for you.”

I remember thinking at the time that I would gladly have “some man” do all the stuff I personally didn’t want to do in the first place. No other girl I knew at the time had to learn this stuff; why did I? But years later I understood and was grateful to have such a proactive dad.

My dad was a father who really fathered. He made a committment not only to my mother, but to me. He stood by us through thick and thin, and I loved and respected him. I miss him every day.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad.

News Flash

I wanted to let you all know that my children’s book, “Lulu’s Book of Children’s Stories” is available now at the Water Street Book Store in Exeter, NH. It’s right in the center of downtown Exeter, so if you’re in the area, do stop in and check it out.

As always, I am grateful for your reading my daily posts. This one is a blatant push for my book; how’s that for being pushy?

50th Class Reunion…Yikes!

My class graduated from high school in 1969, a date that now seems so ancient, but yet so significant. Every ten years, there was a class reunion, and I’m sorry to say that I only attended the 20th one. At that time, we were still sort of the people we were in high school (at least that’s what I thought at the time). But a 50th class reunion, now there is a real milestone.

I am sure that we all are grandparents now and will spend a lot of time showing off pictues of our grandchildren to everyone. We will not be the shy kids we used to be. We will not be the cool kids we used to be. We will not be the weirdo kids we once were, and we will not be as consumed with fear, doubt and worry as we used to feel. At this time in our lives, the playing field is pretty much the same.

We all will have had life experiences, some good, some bad, and we will see life and old school mates in different ways. At this stage in our lives, we know who we are. We know what works for us, and what doesn’t. There is no longer a lunch table where only the cool kids sit; we are all the young people we once were, and are now adults with more life experience that we possibly could have imagined.

Some of us will have lost parents and friends and some, sadly; children. We will have lived through joy and sorrow which we never would have imagined on that sunny day in 1969 when we left school forever. The old rivalries are over with and forgotten. The one-up-manships are buried deep into the past. It no longer matters who made the final score in sports, which couple were the prom king and queen, who did a flute solo that brought down the house, and who starred in the plays and musicals.

What matters now is who we are and what we have learnedWe are so much more than prom queens, sports stars, straight-A students, theater geeks and pranksters. We have lived through challenges that changed us forever. We have loved and lost and loved again. We have amazed ourselves and disappointed ourselves. In short, we have gone through life experiences that have brought out the best and the worst in us. We have becomes the sages we used to look up to; we are older, wiser and far more forgiving than we once were.

Life goes on and so do we.

Acceptable (Sort Of) Swears

I wrote this a few years ago, and am still trying to clean up my swears!

********

Alas, the habit of swearing can really trip you up. Like any other habit, it doesn’t take long for it to become part of your regular vocabulary. This would be ok if you never left the house, but trust me-–if you get in the habit of swearing, it’s not a question of IF you will drop an F-bomb in front of the wrong person, but WHEN.

I had gotten lazy about swearing, and it had became so routine that I didn’t really give it much thought. However, during a visit with our fabulous granddaughters, Ava and Juliette, I happened to drop the S-word for poop. Well, I could have cheerfully bitten my tongue off for saying it in front of them. I quickly explained that Lulu (my grandma name) had made a mistake and said a rude word and was sorry. Luckily they didn’t really pay much attention to my saying it, but they did catch on that Lulu made a mistake and crowed about it all day. Nothing less than I deserved.

So, I decided to exfoliate my expletives and sanitize my swears. We all know how satisfying it is to blast out some good old Anglo Saxon swear words such as f*ck, d*mn, cr*p, h*ll, sh*t, b*gger, and so on, but it is a tough habit to break. So I came up with a list of words that have some of that same satisfying explosive effect, but are not offensive. I am saying them often to get used to them.

Here’s my list:

  • For f*ck: frickity-frack (or ‘frack’) or fidacaducia or fish or *feck (this one’s risky as it’s too close to the real thing)
  • For d*mn: ding-dang for just dang
  • For cr*p: Kazakhstan or crap
  • For h*ll: hal, halcyon or hoolies
  • For sh*t: Shostakovich or scheisse (German); ok as long as you’re not in Germany
  • For b*gger: boggart or beggar

Wish me luck–it’s perfect hell–sorry–hal trying to clean up my mouth!

*By the way, the Celts often use this word in place of “f*ck.” 

Picking Your Own Name

Have you ever wanted to change your name; your first name, that is? Back when I was in grade school, I skiied at our local ski slope every chance I got. My dad taught skiing, and I skiied for free. At that time, I loved speed. I would often abandon my ski poles and point my skis straight downhill and ski like the wind. At that age, I had no fear. I also was a bit moody about being a girl, so I always told my dad to tell people that my name was “Hank.” As I stuffed my hair up inside my ski hat, no one really knew.

So, have you ever wanted to change your name? It’s not all that hard to do; it’s all in making up your mind as to what name truly fits. I hadn’t really thought about name changes once I got older, but I did remember fondly being “Hank” for a while.

When I was in college from 1969 to 1973, it was the age of hippies, and the Age of Aquarius. Many babies were given interesting monikers, such as my personal favorite; “Wolf Starblanket.” (I always wonder where he is and what he is doing.) It was all about peace and love and rainbows and unicorns.

Which makes me wonder: would you like to change your name? I had this discussion with my oldest granddaughter, Ava, who is 8 years old. She said that if she could have a new name, it would be “Ocean.” I told her that was a great name (actually, I kind of wished that I too could have that name!), and it would suit her well. She has great interest and compassion for all creatures who live in our oceans.

For myself, I always liked the name I made up: “Moon Water Lily.” So, if you wanted to, what name would you choose? Think about it; you might surprise yourself.