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Stop and Smell the Daisies

daisiesStopping to smell the flowers and/or roses, depending on how you heard it, is actually a misquote. Thanks to google, I now know the true quote to be…

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

~ Walter Hagen

On the way into work today I saw a huge bunch of beautiful white daisies in full bloom on the side of a forgotten shack. I stopped.

I didn’t pick any. I didn’t even get out of the vehicle. I simply pulled over on the side road, smiled at them for a few minutes, and let the flowers do what the cloud covered sun couldn’t this morning—warm my insides. I heart a good daisy. They’re like dandelions to me. More weed than flower, more wild than tamed, will grow anywhere and do whatever they please. Little rays of stubborn sunshine no matter the cloud cover.

It’s been a rough week or so. I’ve had dayjob hell getting quarterlies done with new tax crap we have to deal with for the locals and preparing for the upcoming tax season. I’ve had fun with teens (who can be as fickle as daisy petal plucking—I like him, no I don’t, I like him, no I don’t). I’m still fighting with the insurance people from the car accident. We have two new kittens (because one cat cannot replace a lost needy cat, it takes two!), a critter in the garage and a graveyard that stands alone (oddly, I haven’t decorated much this year. It’s not cold enough here for my brain to trigger October). And because I cannot be one of those that sits by and watches, I reported abuse and played safe haven for an adopted teen or two that needed us. Life is crazy.

Daisies are nature’s way of saying, “chillax, dudette.” So I did. I stopped and smiled. And as I sat there I thought about other little things that make me smile. Silly things. Simple things. Things that earn me both an eye roll (for being 12) and a chuckle from the Hippie—bubbles in the house, talking to bugs, sidewalk chalk, cartoon bandaids, jumping in puddles, crayons. Even when I want to hide or scream, I can smile…

So. It’s Thursday. You know what that means. What was the last silly, stupid, little nothing of a thing you smiled at? Not your kids or your partner, that’s cheating. Something out there that is just for you. That warms your internal sun and heats your blood. What was your last daisy?

And if you can’t answer, perhaps you should look around and find something… Instead of watching a child, play with them. Or better yet, just become one for 10 minutes a day. It does a psyche good!

Stop and Smell the Daisies

Stopping to smell the flowers and/or roses, depending on how you heard it, is actually a misquote. Thanks to google, I now know the true quote to be…

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

~ Walter Hagen

On the way into work today I saw a huge bunch of beautiful white daisies in full bloom on the side of a forgotten shack. I stopped.

I didn’t pick any. I didn’t even get out of the vehicle. I simply pulled over on the side road, smiled at them for a few minutes, and let the flowers do what the cloud covered sun couldn’t this morning—warm my insides. I heart a good daisy. They’re like dandelions to me. More weed than flower, more wild than tamed, will grow anywhere and do whatever they please. Little rays of stubborn sunshine no matter the cloud cover.

It’s been a rough week or so. I’ve had dayjob hell getting quarterlies done with new tax crap we have to deal with for the locals and preparing for the upcoming tax season. I’ve had fun with teens (who can be as fickle as daisy petal plucking—I like him, no I don’t, I like him, no I don’t). I’m still fighting with the insurance people from the car accident. We have two new kittens (because one cat cannot replace a lost needy cat, it takes two!), a critter in the garage and a graveyard that stands alone (oddly, I haven’t decorated much this year. It’s not cold enough here for my brain to trigger October). And because I cannot be one of those that sits by and watches, I reported abuse and played safe haven for an adopted teen or two that needed us. Life is crazy.

Daisies are nature’s way of saying, “chillax, dudette.” So I did. I stopped and smiled. And as I sat there I thought about other little things that make me smile. Silly things. Simple things. Things that earn me both an eye roll (for being 12) and a chuckle from the Hippie—bubbles in the house, talking to bugs, sidewalk chalk, cartoon bandaids, jumping in puddles, crayons. Even when I want to hide or scream, I can smile…

So. It’s Thursday. You know what that means. What was the last silly, stupid, little nothing of a thing you smiled at? Not your kids or your partner, that’s cheating. Something out there that is just for you. That warms your internal sun and heats your blood. What was your last daisy?

And if you can’t answer, perhaps you should look around and find something… Instead of watching a child, play with them. Or better yet, just become one for 10 minutes a day. It does a psyche good!

Hindsight

Outlook

“May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, The foresight to know where you are going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far”

~ Irish Blessing

Ah yes, all those times we should have shut our mouths and actually listened to what was being said to us. With an open mind. Either by others or our own internal narrators. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Hindsight, that’s the crux. Learning after mistakes rather than in lieu of them. Hindsight that could have easily been foresight but for the lack of insight. If we even learned something from them…

My mom rocks. Sure you guys hear me say that a lot, but you need to understand just how serious I am. Those that have met her will agree 100%. Those that haven’t should be jealous. She’s full of hindsight that can be turned into insight, and yes, foresight. And after one particularly important phone call last spring I went and found this image. And then summer happened and life got insane and I forgot all about it until today.

The thing with hindsight is that it comes with an evil step-sister, fear. Fear is a funny thing. Hindsight makes you feel silly. Fear makes you pause. Keeps you from moving. It holds you in its clutches and preys on your worry to do exactly as it wants: nothing. Hindsight and fear work in tandem to pick scabs rather than letting things scar over.

Fear never met my mom.

During that phone call last spring, I requested she be a friend, rather than a mom, and had one of those really serious adult conversations we have with our parents as we age—you know, like the one where you realize you didn’t know everything, they weren’t stupid, and you are compelled to apologize… sometimes through laughter, sometimes tears. As is true of the wisest woman I know, she was dead-on accurate with both her assessment and advice. And I’m old enough and wise enough myself, to listen to advice when I hear it. One particular gem from that day is this week’s garage talk: Forgive yourself.

She told me to forgive any and all guilt associated with anything in the past that I didn’t actually have control over. To let it go. To clear the blackboard of misplaced blame and be able to move forward. It wasn’t about forgiving those who had wronged me, but forgiving myself for being naive, for listening, for believing, for falling for whatever I should have been wise enough to see for what it was. I listened. I heard her. I nodded, though she couldn’t see me. And when I hung up I sat quietly and contemplated what exactly she meant and how to put it into effect. Hindsight. That’s what it boiled down to. Accepting hindsight and moving forward with it tied up in a pretty little bow, a Bitter Box™ of sorts. A lesson learned. A hindsight to be used as foresight for future situations that may be similar.

For garage talk this week there is no question. I want no stories or tall tales, no tears or anger. I don’t want to know what you chose, only that you chose. Nothing beyond that silent nod I won’t see. This week, I want you all to forgive yourself for some 20/20 hindsight mistake.

Get your coffee. Go sit on the stoop, porch, couch, wherever, and think of one thing from your past that that holds you, but has no business doing so. Forgive something you feel guilty or stupid about, something that shouldn’t be a scab from but a well-healed scar. Something unhealthy to your psyche, to your chi. Perhaps that one thing that is forever a trigger of anger or anguish. It’s in the past. Let it be the past. Allow yourself to have been wronged or a victim or just plain naive about something. Forgive yourself for whatever it was and your part in it.

And then move forward…

Scattered

metaphorAsk me no questions…
And I’ll tell you no lies.
~ Oliver Goldsmith

I googled “metaphor” and got this image. The gypsy said “what?” and the child said “use it!”

I don’t have the wit today to properly tell you about the baby squirrel.

I don’t have the strength to discuss Chaos.

I don’t have the fortitude to allude to unspoken truths.

And I don’t have the energy to explain why the sky is blue.

I thought about blogging in metaphorland. Debated discussing secrets and desires, wishes and hope. Briefly toyed with the idea of relationship tricks and the sheer amount of words that go unspoken. Unexplainable pain and frustration flitted across the thought process and were spit out the other side looking very much like a car after the junkyard has reduced it to a cube of useless metal. I even erased several sentences worth of a scream I’ve been holding in, that wants nothing more than to be heard from the tallest building.

But no. I can’t. I won’t. Whatever.

Instead, I’m going to go to work and lose myself in numbers. Then, I sense a very hot shower, nap and possibly some journal time before I emerge from my cocoon—family none the wiser—to sing while I cook and smile at the little things in life that people don’t usually see.

As I’m expected.

Because I am the gypsy, the wench, the twelve year old, and the tomboy. I am the best friend, the little sister, the daughter and the danger. Today, I am a puzzle purchased at a garage sale. I can still be put together and appear wonderful, but missing one piece…

What Counts

prettyflowerI suck. I know. I haven’t blogged this week. Been busy. Been dealing with the emotional void of my kids being gone for the summer and busying myself with cleaning the house and editing. Here are some fleeting thoughts I’ve had since the roadtrip home…

My son still gives me flowers (see image). He may be gone for a few months, but I had the picture on my desktop and saw it. And smiled. Of course, nothing has changed since was old enough to pick them—he still steals them from random yards. But the thought is what counts.

Amanda “cleaned” her room before she left for the summer. Clean is apparently subjective. I’ve stolen all the laundry baskets back and set mousetraps and mothballs. The crime scene tape will be put up soon. I could clean it for her, but I don’t know what she’s hiding in plain sight (aka the disaster zone) and wouldn’t want to appear to be snooping. I may want to strangle her some days, but I will always respect her privacy. That counts for something, right?

A spotted fawn staggered in front of us on the road trip last weekend. Hippie’s eyes lit up, “I want to pet it! Do you want an adventure?” I pulled over, turned around, and we went back to make sure the stagger was youth not injury. It was motherless but not hurt and ran away from him like a canadian covered in bacon grease. Thank goodness, because then he told me it was the metaphorical midget goat and he was going to grab it and bring it home. No live specimens! But he was trying to be helpful to what he thought was an injured critter. Failed or not, the thought is what counts.

Finally, as you may have gathered from twitter and/or facebook, I threw my back out. Holding the hose in one hand, I tried to heft the mostly empty and now clean pool with the other. The combination of weight (it’s filled with air, it should have been light!) and the twisting action was more than this old gypsy body could take. I froze when my back made that horrible “pop” sound. A few moments later, I realized I wasn’t breathing because I hadn’t taken Lamaze classes. See, this past weekend my sister and I were talking about Lamaze because I didn’t have it and told her I knew how to breathe. My sister claims that Lamaze is to teach you to breathe through pain because it’s our tendency to hold our breathe in pain. I disagreed. The universe proved me wrong. Rather than make up new swear words, I laughed as the thought flitted through my head and began breathing again. Yes, I hurt myself, but I laughed at myself. And so long as we can laugh at ourselves, that’s all that counts…

In the big scheme of things, when life is throwing water balloons at you and stress is breaking your sense of humor, remember what truly counts. If you can’t think of anything off the top of your head, stop what you’re doing and do something that truly counts. Whether it’s a thought, an action, or simply a gesture. In the end, some things count. Others just don’t.

The Devil’s in the Details

1255480563-9202_full“There was a hot chick.” Doesn’t do the same thing as “There was a hot blonde.” Because if you’re a blonde-lover, we’ve now got your attention—and yes, I’m using female examples because I know most of my readers are men. Even more so, “There was a hot blonde in fishnets,” will really get their involvement in the conversation. And if you want to cement every guy in the place, “There was a hot blonde in a short black skirt with fishnets, thigh high boots and red lipstick… sucking on a lollipop.”  Yeah, I’ll wait for the guys to pop in and out of their little fantasy lands…

Back now? Okay, the point to that exercise was the details. And as much as I heart metaphors, I’m not going to use any here. This has nothing to do with characters or setting or anything at all to do with writing. It’s about life in general. Every day occurrences we often take for granted.

I’m a detail-addict and easily distracted by shiny objects. I notice the little things. I always have. I notice weird things and odd things and simple things that make me smile. And until recently, I didn’t realize that most of those little details were outside my bubble. I noticed the flowers in someone else’s garden. I noticed the style on someone else’s hair. I smiled at the irony of … and laughed at the silliness of… but I didn’t have any details of my own. None that were pleasant anyway. I didn’t have those little things in my day-to-day life that made me smile or feel special or understand that life should be enjoyed for its moments rather than celebrated for surviving it.

I’m done surviving. I’ve been done. I’ve been living. It’s time to take stock in what I have. Time to notice my details. I had flowers in the yard for my birthday, rather than snow. I have beautiful roses growing in the yard that I haven’t killed by merely existing within their boundaries. I have a field of fireflies that puts on an amazing show. I have children that laugh and play, and say things that become in-jokes beyond just me. I have a relationship that exceeds anything I could have ever expected. My best friend is still my best friend. And the coffee talk in the garage is still filled with flavored creamer.

Look around you today. See the details. Notice and appreciate the silly little things that surround you. Acknowledge what in your life makes you smile. Celebrate the moments rather than surviving the day…

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