Question

How can I find the answer if  I don’t know what question to ask?

Life is more confusing to me now.

My naivete perished long ago.

I’ve been told that life is a gift, not a puzzle.

Whys get in the way.

Mutt Love

I had a childhood friend named Nancy.  Nancy had this big dog named Critter.  Critter was a mutt.   Critter was big with mostly brown and white fur.  He had a big long skinny tail that curled up over his back.

Nancy said that Critter just showed up in their yard one day a couple of years prior and never left.  He was full grown and from the look of him had had a hard life.

Critter was nothing special in the looks department, but he was sharp as a tack!

Critter reflected the lifestyle of his owners.  Now don’t get me wrong.  Critter Never went hungry and he never longed for love or attention.  But he was just rough around the edges, like the rest of his family.

Critter had one ear that always laid down.  When a dog would normally perk up their ears, Critter’s were at half mast.  Critter was missing a patch of fur about 6 inches across on one side of his rump.  Maybe a fight during his younger days?  No one knew.

If Critter had been a Mean Junk Yard Dog, he looked the part.  But if you saw him play and wrestle with Nancy and her brothers, you would see a very gentle side of him too.

Nancy and I would walk downtown in the summertime and wander through the stores.  It was something to do on a hot day and Critter would often tag along.

Nancy never used a leash with Critter.  Critter didn’t need one.  As we walked along, Critter might run up ahead a little ways, but he was never out of sight.  If he lagged behind, it wasn’t long before he ran to catch up to us.

If Nancy and I wanted to go into a store to look around, most of the time Critter would just lie down on the sidewalk and wait for us.  Once we emerged from the store, Critter would fall into place alongside us again and we would continue on our way.

I can recall Critter waiting outside half a dozen stores for us as we made our way in and out of these different businesses.

One day we came out of the Woolworth’s lunch counter and Critter wasn’t there.  I looked at Nancy in a little bit of a panic and said “Critter’s not here!”  She said, “He probably just got tired and went home.”

We were on the opposite side of town from where we had started.  I thought for sure that poor Critter would be lost!   Nancy told me not to worry.

We finished our wandering and headed home.  As we neared Nancy’s house, I was looking for Critter but didn’t see him.  I had a knot in my stomach.  I didn’t want my dear friend to lose her dog and I loved Critter too!

Just as we stepped onto the front lawn a squeal came from around the side of the house.   Here came Bobby, the baby of the family, with Critter hot on his heels!  Bobby had one of Critter’s toys and the two of them were play some sort of chasing game.

Nancy was right.  Critter just went home!

I don’t know what ever happened to Critter.  Nancy’s and my lives took different routes.  But I’ll never forget that big lovable mutt.

Signs!

“Signs, Signs, everywhere a sign.  Blocking out the scenery and breaking my mind.”  I guess I’m dating myself.  Some of you will get that and some of you won’t.   🙂

Looking at the picture above, the first time I was faced with going through this intersection, I kinda freaked out.  At first my brain could not decipher what the hell I was looking at!   I’d never seen a sign like this before!

I managed to figure it out without causing any fender benders going through the intersection, but it sure caused my heart to skip a beat at first!

Living in rural Oregon, “traffic” is when you have to wait for more than 2 cars at the stop sign to get onto the main road.

When I first moved to the Fort Worth area, I was pretty intimidated by the traffic here.  Just getting on the freeway was daunting!  Where I used to live, the freeway looked a lot like this:

But where I live now, they look like this!

Actually, it looks more like this:

In Oregon, I lived about 8 miles from work.  It took me roughly 10 minutes to get to work.  Here, I live Less than 8 miles from work.  On the average, it takes me about 25 minutes to get to work.  On a good day, 20 minutes.  I’ve had it take as long as 40 minutes to go those less than 8 miles!   Crazy!

But I digress.  The reason for this post is the Sign! The Sign!

That Crazy traffic sign!   I really, really hate the traffic here.  So coming upon a Crazy sign like this just blew my mind.

I have a Wonderful life here in Texas and I do my best to show my gratitude to the Powers That Be.  But Dear TXDOT people, please, please, no more signs like this!

The Owl-Girl

This was not written by me, but it gave me such a smile I just had to share! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Please take a moment to check out Richard’s blog. He writes wonderful stuff!

Richard M. Ankers

barn-owl-1107397_1920

“I’m an owl,” she said.
The wide-eyed stare I gave her looked far more owl-like than she did.
“You don’t believe me?”
“You have no feathers,” I replied.
“My feathers are on the inside.”
“Inside?”
“Yes. I was born with my wings inside, my feathers, beak and talons, too.” She cocked her head to one side as if to prove it. “Do you believe me now?”
“Honestly, I don’t know what to believe, but I doubt very much you’re an owl even if you think you are.”
“I could eat a mouse,” she suggested.
“No! I mean, please, no.”
“Too late,” she hooted and reached inside her fluffy coat.
The girl pulled out a white chocolate mouse, licked its nose, then swallowed it whole.
“My apologies,” I said in an effort to humour her. “You are indeed an owl.”
“Yes,” she said licking her lips. “Now, tell me, how…

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Ordinary Miracles

I mention a poem by Erica Jong in a post that I did previously called The Ruined Book.  You can see that here if you’d like:  https://pennylanethoughts.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/the-ruined-book/

I was asked why I did not include that poem in my post.  An oversight on my part.  Here it is.  Enjoy.

Spring, rainbows,
ordinary miracles
about which
nothing new can be said.

The stars on a clear night
of a New England winter;
the soft air of the islands
along the old
Spanish Main;
pirate gold shining
in the palm;
the odor of roses
to the lover’s nose. . .

There is no more poetry
to be written
of these things.
The rainbow’s sudden revelation–
behold!
The cliché is true!
What can one say
but that?

So too
with you, little heart,
little miracle,

but you are
no less miracle
for being ordinary. 

Erica Jong

Spring Fever?

Anybody else have spring fever?  I do!  I’ve been looking at my wardrobe lately and I’m WANTING those bright colors of spring, like in the picture above.

But instead I get Spring Blah….

Nothing I own seems to reflect what I’m feeling inside!  Is this a possible indication of my recent gloomy stint?

Since I am on a strict No Spending policy right now, I’m going to have to get creative with what I have!

Happy Spring All!

A friend in Need

I don’t usually repost something.  But recently another blogger brought this post of mine back into focus.  It’s a tribute to my Best Friend.

Recently this Best Friend has discovered that with her illness, she will not get any better.  There is nothing else to be done and from here she will just continue to deteriorate.

This little woman that has always been such a positive influence in my life is now struggling to see the positive in her own life.  Her youth is behind her.  The present seems to hold little in the way of joy for her due to her pain.  The future, she sees as only bleak and dark.

I love this woman so much.  I would do almost anything for her because she has always been there for me.   I can’t take away her pain, or find a cure for her illness.  I do my best to “be there” for her and be supportive.  Each day, I try to find something to make her smile.

In light of all this, I feel my tribute to my Best Friend is worth repeating.  See below.  I hope you enjoy.

I originally titled this A Lifetime of Thank Yous.

friends 

How do you say thank you to someone who has always been there for me?  She has been my biggest supporter, my biggest cheerleader, no matter what I wanted to do.  She always had my back.

This little woman is a ball of dynamite.  She is a true lady in every sense of the word, but will cut you down to the stumps like a she-bear protecting her young if you dare hurt anyone she loves.

She is an enigma.  She has been ill off & on most of her life.  She’s been misdiagnosed and was supposed to die several times.  But you cannot keep her down.  She powers on and has proved the doctors wrong over and over again.

The doctors did finally come up with a diagnosis, but that hasn’t stopped her.  Although her condition is degenerative, she keeps on keeping on.

Despite her hardships, which have been many, she is the most positive and optimistic person I have ever met.  She has been the most positive influence in my life.

This woman has seen me at my best and at my worst.  She loves me no matter what.

She’s been there to hold my hand through the hard times and to cheer me on when I try something new.

Through her eyes, I have seen the power of prayer at work and believe; where once I did not.  How can you repay someone for a gift this precious?

We met as young women, not much more than children.  We have seen each other grow, change and age.  We have known each other’s children, loves and siblings.  We have known birth and death in each other’s lives.

Once we had the world at our feet; a lifetime ahead of us.  We laughed at the thought of tomorrow.

The next day, we share stories of our aches, pains and wrinkles.  Where did yesterday go?

Who is she?  “Friend” is not a strong enough word.  She is my Best Friend.  But she is also the Sister I never had.  She’s been confidant, a shoulder to lean on, a hand up, and just someone I could always turn to.  She is also that person that will give it to me straight when I need a good kick in the butt.

A lifetime has passed between us.  I cannot imagine how empty my life would have been without her in it.  I am richer, wiser and a better person because of her.

We have shared births, deaths, marriages, divorce, tears, sorrow, happiness, joy and laughter.   Most of all Joy and Laughter….

To this amazing woman, I say thank you.  Thank you for sharing your life with me.

 

Gluttony

We have become a society that expects instant gratification.  We all want more and we want it now.  With same day or one hour delivery even from Amazon, it’s like there’s nothing we can’t get if we just want it.

I grew up dirt poor.  My mom was a waitress that was raising 4 kids mostly by herself.  We lived on commodities (remember those?), lots of pinto beans and peanut butter.  I wore hand-me-downs and second hand.  I learned early on how to stretch a dollar, pinch a penny, make do, use it up and wear it out.

I have fallen prey to the lure of consumerism.   I’ve always been good with money.   I’ve had to be and I thought I still WAS good with money, until just recently.

I’ve decided I want to buy a house.  I put pen to paper and figured out what I can afford to spend and have it paid for in less than 10 years so I can afford to retire.  That’s the grand plan anyway.

In order to have my plan work, I need to save some money for the down payment, closing costs, moving, etc, etc.

I thought I would have a yard sale.  What a great way to make some money and pare down what I have before I move.  Brilliant!

This is when I realized how awful my spending has become.

I moved to Texas in the fall of 2011.  I came here driving a small Uhaul truck, 10′ long and towing my car.  The truck was about half full of my possessions.  I sold or gave away most of my belongings before I left Oregon.  I moved here owning NO furniture.  I brought only the essentials and the sentimental I items I could not part with.  It wasn’t much.

I now live in a 2 bedroom house with a 2 car garage.  Every room has furniture in it.  Some rooms, have too much furniture!  Every closet is full.  I’ve run out of places to store my linens!

The storage of Stuff goes out to the garage too.  The garage has Christmas decorations, luggage and boxes of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in years!

In one corner of my living room I’ve started to stage things for the yard sale.  I am floored at how much crap I have acquired!  And I’m not done!

Why?   Why have I done this?

One of the main reasons I moved to Texas is because of the pitiful state the economy was in where I was living in Oregon.  Let’s just say that my income is much better than it was in Oregon.

I count my blessing all the time.  I tell my boss that I am thankful to work where I do!  I have enough money to have a nice place to live.  I’ve not over extended myself, so if I need a car repair, I get it repaired.  I eat well.  If I see a blouse in the store that I want, I get it.    I have some money in savings.  I’ve been able to help out friends and family in Oregon.

Looking at the stack of boxes in my living room, I am flat ashamed of myself!  I added 10 pairs of shoes and 6 or 7 purses to the stack of crap.   There are 2 sets of dishes for sale and I have 2 sets of dishes still in the kitchen!

In light of this gluttony, I’m putting myself on a strict no spending diet.  I’m going to start with the month of April.  NO unnecessary spending At All.   Let’s see how I do!  I’ll keep you posted.  Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

Cozy

I want to be here today.  Doesn’t this look cozy?  Today is overcast and the temp when I was out earlier was just slightly cool.  This makes me want to snuggle under a soft fluffy blanket with a hot beverage and read.  Delicious!

I know that summer is just around the corner and here in Texas, we won’t get many more days like this.  So I savor each one.

Happy Spring!