Love and A Ton Of Plastic Surgery
That and the coming of the New Year and the fact that my industrial sized tub of concealer is empty, so I accidentally dipped my hand into a sample pack of face cream that turned out to be either a mixture for stripping wallpaper or for resurfacing concrete driveways. Either way, I stand here looking in the mirror at a face I have not seen in many many years. There are many stories in the naked city, and many more on this naked face staring back at me.
Wrinkles and crinkles, lines and creases where my dimples used to be. In fact, lots of stuff that isn’t where it used to be. Sagging and bagging into the light. Droopy eyelids, age spots that once were freckles, and ah yes, the errant chin hair spiraling out of my face.
When, I think did my nose grow so large or has my exterior receded.
Never mind the jowls where my cheeks used to be or the fact that I amwearing a turtle neck to hide the turkey neck that lurks beneath.
I will not bore you nor embarrass myself with the details of the rest of my remaining body parts now waiting to be hoovered up somewhere between my knees and the floor.
Time for a joke that is not on me. Ha!
Once upon a time a fellow went on a crash starvation diet, as his New Year Resolution to be a new man. He lost almost 500 pounds in six weeks. At the end of his fast, he gazed at his new reflection in the mirror. Amazing. However, he glanced down to see a ginormous puddle of leftover skin resting on his ankles. Simple. He thought. I just need a little lift. So he gathered up and lifted all his extra skin over his head, secured it neatly with a large rubber band and cleverly covered it all up with a jaunty felt fedora. He hopped into his new sports car, a reward for his dieting success, and roared off down the road. Idling at a stoplight, he noticed the two elderly ladies idling in the next lane. Since they were staring at him with such obvious envy of his new good looks, he tipped his hat and smiled. When the light changed, the women turned to one another and spoke. The first woman said, “Nice looking man.”
The other replied, “ Yes, yes indeed, but there was something rather odd about his tie.”
And with that said, I confess that I spent a ridiculous amount of time online, reading up on minor cosmetic surgery. Nothing serious, just a bit of a lift. A touch up. A pinch or a tweak. Botox. A cheeky lift.
Chemical resurfacing. A little sandpaper dermabrasion. Some vacuuming, you know, a little bit of suction, delicate contouring, a tuck here, a patch there, new tread on old tires.
Just a bit of an intervention.
To slow down the erosion, to buff out the scuff marks. But what I read involved a lot of heavy LIFTING.
Let’s get real. I’m not as young as I used to be and a lot of HEAVY LIFTING ? Hey...I’ve got a bad back. I’ve had a frozen shoulder, a bum knee and now a naked face that needs a dumpster full of concealer.
So I made a call.
A plea for help.
For a little bit of new and improved.
An about face...a new space that made me look a bit younger, a bit fresher...and perhaps even, a bit more like..like...
In my yellow wellies. In the garden.
I found a friend. A similar soul. Someone to play with in the garden. To help imagine Spring in the midst of Winter.
And so, I had her do all the Heavy Lifting, while I backed away from the mirror, the sharp tools and dangerous chemicals.
Together, we held hands and did what has always worked for me, and for most of you...
We returned to the garden...opened the gate...walked right in...and sat down for awhile. For as I have told you, and I
now gladly remember, everything can be mended.
Everything old, can be new again, here in the garden.
Here, change is not only expected...
It is respected.
Happy New Year to you and Happy New Facelift for me...may your spirits always be lifted when you come in for a visit.
P.S. In your haste for closure, sometimes it’s good to leave the door slightly ajar, just in case second chances come calling.
BTW...that new friend I mentioned has a name. Willa Cline
Stop by and pay her a visit at:
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Do we know...
There are angels about and around us. I believe it so sincerely that I promise to believe for you even if you do not. The tiny holes in the sky at twilight are merely peeking windows, for the precious souls watching over us in the best and the worst of times.
But do not be fooled into thinking that this is fantasy, for wherever you walked today, whatever path you chose, there, walking right beside you an angel, hugging their wings tightly so as not to startle you. Ah yes, perhaps you thought you heard a hummingbird’s wings or a rustle in the brush, I can assure you that it was much more significant sound, a truer bell ringing in the distant light. For though you might like to think that you are independent, strong and true, you will stumble. You will lose your way. You will miss a step or drop the key to the door you must enter.
Then, my loved ones, then the angels step in.
They raise their voices in the most glorious choir...
their song a simple refrain...
We have much to be grateful for...
You and you and you and you and you...
From Here to There and all the pinpoints of light in between...
Tonight I pray, that you will let a child lead you...
To a place where peace and joy no longer out of reach..
Come into your heart and rest for a long long while.
Do not tell yourself that there is no room in the inn.
There will always be a resting place for you here...in the garden.
Your flight is cancelled...fear not. Angel wings will fly you home.
Snowdrifts block the road and you feel trapped.
No, there is a beacon in the dark.
Follow it. Follow it to where only your faithful footsteps may lead you.
There is nothing, mind you, no obstacle, no grief so great, so separation so wide, no hill so high that you cannot climb over.
Rush if you must, into the waiting arms of those you love and those who love you in return.
The garden is covered in snow, ‘tis true. The trees cast a giant shadow in the forest. The days are short and the light is fleeting. But if you rub your feet into the soil, there lie the tiny souls silently sleeping, patiently waiting for the coming of the season.
A gardener, you see, is patient and kind. A gardener knows that beneath the snow, the cold and harshness of winter, lie the dormant shoots of Spring. The yet unborn. The seeds of an idea, the chance of a new beginning.
Be ye patient. Be ye kind.
What has yet to be revealed will come in its own time.
And while you wait, while you yearn for summer sun, be grateful that the snow is a gentle blanket keeping the Earth warm, incubating the next generation of gardens and flowers waiting to unfurl their blossoms.
It is a time to rejoice.
For as everything must end, it too will soon begin again.
The cycle of life is a perfect circle.
And it all begins in the garden...won’t you come and sit for awhile?
Archived Christmas Blogs:
Friday, December 12, 2014
Remember That We ...
Today our 2nd grade choir gave a performance at the local mall. We sang our hearts out, at least I did, but then Curtis is pretty shy and Viola likes to show off in the front row with her really cool dance moves and Ben, well Ben is just Ben, making faces at the camera, and Natalie, well Natalie just needs some encouragement, because her voice, her voice is like that of an angel, it is so soft and pure, but I am not sure people notice her voice. I am not sure if Natalie’s family notices her. I hug Natalie everyday. Partly because she is my best friend, and partly because Natalie just needs hugs.
There we stood in our Santa hats. Our teacher made us wear them. She said sometimes a prop or two helps steady one’s nerves. I am not sure what she meant by that, but it did help me imagine I was someone else, a real performer, on a Broadway stage, and I belted out “Must Be Santa” as if I was Ethel Merman and I think the crowd loved me, because they applauded wildly and asked for more. Well, actually, some parents applauded and a few of the people in the mall stopped their rushing around and paused long enough to leave a smile in their wake, as they hurried by. Curtis said I sang off key, but I know he didn’t mean it. He just felt bad that he couldn’t smile, ‘cause his front tooth fell out on the playground this morning.
I want you to know that I looked EVERYWHERE for you. I expected to see you in a chair surrounded by elves in the middle of a gingerbread house lined with candy canes. I know, I just know that I have a memory of you sitting and waiting for me. I was smaller then. Smaller than I am now. In fact, I think my parents might have carried me up and placed me in your lap, because you scared me a little that first time. Your beard so white, your cheeks so rosy, your laughter so hardy and mellow that your belly shook like jello.
Yes, yes I do remember.
I sat on your lap. My parents were jumping all around scaring the poor little elves, taking pictures and yelling at me to smile. But, you, you dear Santa, you ignored them. You leaned down so close I could feel your whiskers tickle my chin. I heard you. I did.
I heard you ask me most sincerely, what I wanted for Christmas.
This, I said.
I just want a moment with you Santa.
To let you know...
That I believe.
I know that you believe in the Wise Men, even though I hear my family talking about a bunch of Wise Guys who think they know EVERYTHING and that EVERYONE should think exactly the way THEY do.
I know that you believe in the three Kings, the Magi, even though I hear people arguing that there should never be Kings. That we should all be the same. Nobody better than the next. I mean, I don’t understand that ‘cause I am terrible at soccer and Cleo is amazing. But, I am terrific at Geography and she can’t name the seven continents. Does that make one of us better than the other, or merely, different in our abilities? I worry, Santa, is it such a bad thing if we like different things? Believe differently? Is there not a place for each of us to be the person we long to be?
Oh Santa, I am only in the second grade, but, it sure seems as though life in Kindergarten was so much easier. We all sat on the rug, or tried to, and we just wanted to learn, to grow up, to read and write and of course, have a mid morning snack and a little nap.
I know my parents need a nap, because my father falls asleep in front of the TV, and my mother does the laundry at ten o’clock at night and looks like she could fall asleep in the piles of clothes at her feet.
Oh, and Santa, dear Santa, the star. I know you believe in the star, because everyone needs a GPS. A navigation system. A way to get from Here to There. Especially you Santa. You have so many stops along the way, so many deliveries to make. Your reindeer trust in you. They trust in your agility, your fleetness of foot, the purpose of your journey. The reindeer, Dancer and Prancer and all the rest, know most assuredly, like UPS, you have places to go and people to see and you MUST BE ON TIME.
Oh Santa, I am only in the second grade, but I stand here watching people rush by, packages in hand, and they do not look happy. They look as though they would like to stop, to peek in at us, to pause a moment to hear our song. Maybe to even sing along. To join the chorus. To raise their voices in the joy and the celebration we all know is coming. Knocking on our door.
I wish for them Santa. I wish that they will be like me, young at heart, and find a way to remember what it is like to be full of joy. To make gingerbread houses out of cake and gumdrops. To hang stockings above the fireplace. To put cookies on a plate and to snuggle under the sheets, one eye open to dare a peek. To be a sneak. To see YOU.
Because, dear Santa, I know with all my heart, that you see THEM.
That you see them, love them, and long to whisper in their ears...
I do, Santa, I do...believe in you.
For you are the gift to all of the children all over the world, who go to sleep hungry or full, blessed or in need.
I know dear Santa, that you are listening to our song.
One voice, one song, one life...
...the children of the world know that if we believe, deeply, truly and with all of our hearts, that you will come and bring us peace.
And that in each of us, the bigger folks too, the light on the horizon, the star that guides you to our homes, is waiting to shine...
If we only believe in each other.
I love you Santa. I really really do. And so does Ben and Cleo and Amy and Andy. Bella and Simon and Peter. Sonja and Inez and Dylan.
I am going home tonight, dear Santa, and after I memorize the names of all the oceans, I am going to write to you at the North Pole. Afterwards, clad in my favorite flannel footie pajamas I will crawl into my bed and wish for your gift of love in every child’s stocking...
Please, Dear Santa, Visit the Child In All Of Us...
Because Dear Santa...
All of our lives matter...
Whether we can sing on key or not.
Yours most sincerely,
Thursday, December 4, 2014
On a road trip
Across the frozen tundra...
To and fro
And home we go...
‘Twas the week before Thanksgiving and we headed out across the not so fruited plain. The land so flat and desolate, the wind howling and tossing our car around like a tinker toy. Stiff hands from gripping the steering wheel, stiff knees and stiff backs from sitting end on end for way too many hours with 95 mile gaps between rest areas, the prairie oases for the wearied travelers, we.
Ten mind numbing hours of confinement, fights over the tunes on the radio, and lectures on proper road safety etiquette from the one in the navigator’s seat, whispered between nerve shattering snores.
All this. All this to do our due diligence. To be good parents. The turkey wishbone tugged on each end by one sibling and then the other. We needed to be in two places at once and as Robert Frost once declared...”two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both...and be one traveler long I stood to where it bent in the undergrowth...then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear;though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same.”
Parenting, is about choices, and equanimity among siblings. Their demand and need. We somehow have managed to seesaw our way back and forth, but this time we were stuck. Both in need, both indeed, but if we timed it right, if the weather cooperated, and we kept our eyes on the road, perhaps, just perhaps, we could be where we were needed and return to when we were needed.
But in between, the long dismal stretch of highway. Tumbleweeds tangling up in our tires, and tumbleweeds tousling up our thoughts.
Demented mindless abstract cobwebbed thoughts that were seriously, in hindsight, rather funny. Actual conversations, meaningful conversations, about the most mundane trivia imaginable sustained our desolate voyage.
That and a bag full of peanut M&M’s.
We discussed the relative speed of the end tips of wind turbines, over 100 mph, although they looked as though they were barely turning, just as we were barely marking our sanity. We bemoaned our failure to ever visit the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene, the Flint Hills, Dodge City, Kansas and the Garden Of Eden in Lucas, Kansas. Mind you, we did not stop, we merely complained that we had never been and I doubt that we will ever go, but in times of greatest conversational desperation. one will say anything to fill the time, to mark the miles, to keep the car on the right side of the road and to keep from strangling each other after too much time together in a small teeny tiny space, with no means of escape.
And so we drove on, into the light, the light of the setting sun, only to arrive home, and to pull up our parental pants, and meet head on the child left behind. In time. In place. On duty. Ready to listen to comfort and soothe. As it is written. On page 972 of the secret society safety manual of Parenting Guidelines, the one you and I have never seen, but know must exist somewhere as we have tried over our lifetimes, to uphold defend and honor, disregarding the pages and pages of footnotes and special exceptions to the rules...
...that change EVERYTHING in one single beat of a heart.
Now, in the quiet aftermath, of plotting and planning and timing and organizing, we sit stunned and silent amidst the Christmas songs on the radio and realize, as all parents do, that we....
We only ACT as if we do.
For in this precious moment of silence,
we fully comprehend that parenting never stops.
Parenting is unconditional love. Nothing more.
But most certainly, nothing, nothing, nothing ever less.
The Star Trek Enterprise Captain bellows in our ears that is time to ENGAGE. The Season is upon us and our walls are bare. The decorations lie dormant in their boxes.
Lights are tangled in mirth, and wagging their bejeweled fingers at our tardiness, our late-to-the-party inexcusable bad manners, at this mere weeks before Christmas, lack of spontaneous and combustible Christmas Cheer.
I have the irresistible urge to yell....Shut Up...but my mother taught me well...and her preferred shooshing statement comes to my lips...
...a magic mantra...
I don’t know where YOU have been, whether the gravy was lumpy, the company shrill and whining, or if perhaps you celebrated the perfect Martha Stewart, butter pats carved as turkeys, placemats hand stitched, turkey covered in hand rolled pastry, pumpkin puree soup drenched in fine liquour, extravaganza. However, if you relate in any way to Martha, perhaps you should find another blog to read, as I doubt Martha ever made the 600 mile trek WE did with a green bean casserole perched on her lap.
No, my friends, I am not walking in a Winter Wonderland nor decking the halls with boughs of holly. I am not sucking on candy canes, nor having visions of sugarplums dancing in my head.
I am in a Time Out.
I am instead sitting silently, hands folded in my lap, eyes shut, and searching my mental landscape for the perfect gift.
The perfect gift of a perfect memory.
A memory of a moment when I was happy. A place, a home, a town, a trip, a place, a space...a soft lingering memory of the gift we all endear...life.
A short, yet sweet, lingering of a time...
Very much worth your attention and mine...
Shut off the technology...abandon the obstacles...move down the road...shift gears and find yourself at the true oasis...
A rest area...for tired souls...a place to harken back to...a memory so warm and gentle it fills you completely.
Your senses, your heart...and especially your soul.
For each of us hold within our hearts, a memory of Christmas, so sweet and tender, that we are filled with a comforting joy...a resonance...a string on the harp echoing a soft refrain...to come home again. To return to the simple pleasure of a life well lived. To honor the blessings, to reestablish the faith, to open the window and let the freshness of the winter chill rosy our cheeks and return us to a simpler time when life was easy, when life was divine, when life was most simply...
The most perfect gift.
And so I will take you back with me...to that moment in time, when Cookies For Santa...was enough. When the dreams of our childhoods lulled us to sleep, reindeer dancing on the roof, packages under the tree, and the promise of surprises in the morning...
Go there with me...find that sugary sweet memory that sustains you when all else fails...retreat into time and wrap up the package..with a ribbon and a bow...
With your name on it..under the tree...
For as children and as a parent grown...there is only one gift that matters...
Hold onto it...
No matter how many miles you may travel or wherever you roam...