Aaaack!

It seems like the online world waits patiently until I have gone to sleep and then it begins a crazed middle-of-the-night party to change the systems and stuff I thought I learned. I wake up to a new world of internet rules and regulations!! I have to Google new definitions and new ways to maneuver the programs that I really thought I had a handle on.

Not fair you guys!

But, as always, there is good that comes along with the confusing.

I have learned about Patreon – a wonderful new platform that helps artists of all types find patrons to facilitate the creation of their art! People can commit to a small amount of money or a large amount. The Patron receives special consideration from the artist in exchange for their support or at the very least the Patron has the satisfaction of knowing their artist is not going to die from lack of coffee.

I am in the process of setting up a Patreon page to help make it easier to write and publish my book as well as get the dogs and myself relocated to Europe. I’m sure it would be a much easier process if I was in one of the generations that were born after all the world wide web was created.

Please don’t get me wrong – I love the internet and all the wonderful avenues and libraries and countries I can explore in my pajamas from my own little desk with a big furry dog snoozing on my feet. I love that I can be reading a book on my Kindle (dark screen) in the middle of the night and look up a word or name I don’t know and then continue on with only a minimal interruption. In the old days, I had to make a note to find the answer the next day or  the next week when I went to the library. I feel so spoiled. That, however, does not guarantee that I am not without major confusion from time to time when I hit a wall of new acronyms!

In the time I have been away from this blog I have discovered an interesting new program called Scrivener – it is a book writing tool that is supposed to make the life of a writer so much easier. And I have confidence that that is true. I also know that the learning curve is not insignificant.

Add that to the other fact that I have purchased an iPad! Oh how I have wanted one for so many years and lusted after my friends’ iPads. Now that I have my very own….. AAAACK! again. Another learning curve and the discovery that apps and programs are two very different creatures with their own personalities and rules.

I have installed the apps on the iPad that correspond to my programs on the laptop. That’s not so bad but then I have to make the two computer devices ‘talk’ to each other and then I need to learn each of their languages in order to function in the corresponding format.

Well, I am not beat yet! Soon I will have Patreon installed and a summary of my new book. I will also be asking you to send me information and stories about your experiences with the loss or death of different people or pets that you wish to share. I have learned that each relationship is unique in life as well as in death. Losing a sibling is a lot different than losing a parent. Feel free to send me your stories and I will share my progress on the book with you.

Now…. I need another cup of coffee to tackle the new app!!

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Good fences make good neighbors…

MENDING WALL by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
 
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
  
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
 
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
 
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

 

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When I was in the 9th Grade we were required to memorize a poem. I picked this one – MENDING WALL.

I was terrified that I would not be able to do it – the poem is a long one and I was in awe of Robert Frost back then. I still am. How could I do him justice? But I did a good job of it and all these 54 years later I can still recite it with only a few lines that stumble.

During this latest election cycle I have thought of this poem. Talk of walls and savages and the decay of systems have made me wonder about how our society is breaking down.

When I was young I did not worry about that sort of thing.

When Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President of our United States I was 9 years old in the 4th Grade. That was the first time I remember being aware of politics and of a larger force in our country. Until then I only thought of my immediate family. I did not consider that there were bigger rules and a bigger society.

I was impressed by the words of this powerful man. I believed what he said and trusted his judgment. I did not question that he had the best interests of the entire United States of America in his mind when he spoke and when he acted. I TRUSTED him.

For many years after that I trusted the politicians of our country. I knew there were differences in the parties but overall I believed they were honest people and wanted our best interests to prevail.

TRUST….. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It is something we don’t find so easily now. There is too much information being shoved in our faces and most of it is false… lies manufactured to benefit someone else’s agenda. I find it amazing that any person in a position of that much power and trust would be comfortable telling outright lies to the people they have chosen to protect and serve. But power is a strange companion. It asks us to do things we might not otherwise consider.

Lies build walls and make us rebuild them time and time again. Do we need them? What would happen if we did not walk the wall and rebuild it every season? Would it be so terrible if one of us walked in another’s field or talked to the neighbor on the other side?

I don’t believe in walls. I don’t believe in 95% of what I read on the Internet. I do believe in research and doing something I call “turn-it-around.” Turn-it-around means you put on their shoes and see how the world looks to the other person… how they are interpreting what you have just stated to them. It means looking at the world through their eyes. Sounds easy but if you really do it with an honest effort, you will see things that may amaze you. Try it.

And think about that wall….

 

 

Mexico

It rained last night … I heard it somewhere in the back of my dreams.

I woke to that heavenly sweet smell and my very first thought was how lucky I am to be here and retired.

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I can lay in bed quietly enjoying the first sweet jungle breezes of this new morning without having to think about where I have to be and how soon I have to be there. What do I wear and how will I get there. Those anxious thoughts are left behind me now. I can watch the white curtain move in the doorway and let all the guilt I learned over my lifetime of hard work float away.

Now I am enjoying the ability to do pretty much whatever I want. If it rains all day I can read an entire book. If it doesn’t rain I can ride my bike to the nearby beach and float in the warm water. If I want to write or draw or just think… I can do those things. I can choose to do the household chores … or I can just play with my dogs and enjoy their world.

Worries can come or go… depending on what I feel like thinking. My responsibilities are few and I have no desire to add more to that list. In fact, I am taking some off the list (as short as it is). Is that selfish? You bet! Does anyone else care… nope! Not even me. I am enjoying this time I have carved out in my Mexican paradise.

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I love my bicycle – it is quiet and costs me nothing. I enjoy the weather – it is the rainy season now but soon that will turn into the other 335 days of sunshine. I love the heat and the sun. I love the green on the mountainside and how plants grow as you watch. I love the Pacific Ocean and how its color changes from deep blue to turquoise to gray to light blue – depending on the clouds above it. I love the light airy clothing and the bright colors that spring from the Mexican way of life. I love the music all around me. I especially love the people – they are patient and caring.

It will not be easy to leave this paradise. And, luckily, I don’t have to go yet. But in a year I will move on to another beautiful place and I’m sure I will enjoy that just as much.

For now I will soak up all the wonderful experiences Mexico and her people are giving to me. I will hold them dear and never forget.

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Just the beginning…

I am a reader who is about to become a writer.

Scary territory. I’ve never done this before. I have written things of course – reports for school and business, letters to friends and relatives (in the old days), and notes to myself (secret journals). But I have never written words from my own heart and mind to be shared with the rest of the world.

Adventurous by nature, I have traveled over a good portion of the world. This journey will be a new one. It will be a path I have never taken. It will be the great unknown. It will be beyond scary. It will be the mother of all challenges. WTF… if I don’t do it I will always wonder if I could have done it.

So….

I have begun work on a book. It is a memoir about the deaths that I have experienced beginning with my father’s death when I was five years old through my son’s death when I was 42 years old. I will explore experiences I have had surrounding death. It is not going to be simply a story about the facts of those events. But it will be about my thoughts and how I was changed.

We never know what will happen until it happens. We think we know what we will do and feel but we don’t. Events can shake our very roots and cause us to fall apart. We go back together eventually but the pieces never quite fit the same. New ideas, new philosophies are born from tragedies.

Please follow me while I travel this road and share my adventure – good or bad.