Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Out On The Dance Floor

Grandma belongs to a neighborhood writing and reading group. This year they have been focusing on their life stories. This is the story, Grandma wrote for their meeting last night.

My Favorite Place
I think of all the places I’ve been…. I went to many fun places on School Lunch Conventions.… Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Texas, Hawaii, and many more. I’d like to go back to some of these places but I can’t say any of them are my favorites. Just one visit to any one of them just doesn’t do it.

I finally decided that my favorite place was any place Ross & I could dance. The reason I went with Ross at first was because I knew he was a good dancer. But, not me…. I didn’t know how. He had a challenge teaching me to dance. On our honeymoon we danced at Banff Springs Hotel in Canada. We took dancing lessons… fun, fun, fun.

We joined the Elks Club so we could go dancing every week. One of the first times we were there, Ross twirled me around, let go of me, and I went flying across the floor…. and he just kept on dancing The man and his wife who picked me up turned out to be some of our best friends. He liked to jitterbug. He wanted to dance the fast ones and sit out the slow.

It was fun to go to Park City. A three piece band played lots of polkas. I know they played them just for us. They kept playing faster and faster just to see how long and fast we could go.

One time we went to Barstow, to the wedding reception on Marilyn & Byron. My mom and Pam went with us. They had a dance band that played our kind of music. Ross was having a good time dancing with Byron’s sister. Mom walked out to the middle of the floor, tapped Ross on the shoulder and said, “Pam is ready to dance with you now.” His answer…. “Pam will just have to wait.”

When we retired we planed to go as many places as we could find to dance, but it didn’t turn out that way. Ross had both knees replaced and that was the end of my favorite places.

**Can't you just see Grandma sliding across the floor while Grandpa just waltzes on? It makes me laugh imagining it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Moment

This morning on the Today show they had a segment on the psychology of satisfaction and how to have more of it. They emphasized:

1. Pay particular attention to the good times so you can revisit later and get that feeling again and share it.
2. Express gratitude and write down 5 things every day you're grateful for.
3. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of you.
4. Focus on your strengths
5. Wish others well

Wait a minute. What's going on here, you're probably saying. Where is this focus on the positive coming from? Is mom totally off her rocker and lost her marbles? Where could this be leading?

So with #1 in mind I'm going back to one of my unhappiest places, South Carolina, where I'm reminded of a time when I experienced a moment of, "living in the moment." I was so taken back by it when it happened... I just had to write it down. Yes, I've had plenty of happy moments since then but this one stands out more than any others, probably because it was a lot like finding that pony, in the room, underneath all its do-do. And because when I'm down, looking for the positive isn't exactly my strong suit. So I'm going there for a revisit.... and sharing it with you as I wrote it then.

The Moment
Another day and I am getting by. I must carry on through the doldrums, and tediousness, the quarrels and unfulfilled dreams. I haven't come this far to shrug off hope or let down the people who have come to depend on me, in ways I probably don't even know. How was that? The beginning of my daily pep talk that has usually faded by the time my feet hit the floor.

I sometimes feel as if life is passing me by. When is the butterfly of happiness due to arrive? Where are the moments you get to savor that aren't attached by the stranglehold held by the ropes of another, just waiting to reel you in as you are about to make your move? I can hear my footsteps plodding along to the rhythm of my thoughts -- I must, I must -- but where is the joy? When this song is singing in my head, as it often does, even it is drowned out with a silence that turns to resignation.

This weekend, tired of the fight, I settled into resignation mode, and with a silence louder than my words as my companion, we headed to the beach. I wandered a bit down the shore, content in my aloneness. It wasn't long before the warmness of the water splashed over my feet, then to my knees and drew me out beyond the shore. No one existed in the world but I. I dove into the waves, rolled in their curves. I was no longer Denise, but a dolphin frolicking without a care in sight with each new wave. Over and over again. I looked up and saw Ken on the shore looking after me. He dislikes the spaces away from shore. The rock of the family, rolling with every crisis, is scared of sharks. I saw him rebuking Andrea's pleas to come out further in the water. Leave me alone and let me enjoy my space I am content in, he implored. I smiled and dove into another wave.

So this is the joy of experiencing "the moment". How long has it been since I last felt this way?? I can't remember. And why don't I create more of these moments? I wish this story was going to wrap up in a nice happy ending, full of wisdom and insight into life, but I haven't figured that out yet. I'll take what I can get.

"Enjoy or live in the moment", seems to be the panaceas in the new millennium for happiness and "finding ourselves". As if that is a guarantee it will all be ours. If we can just do it right enough our problems will disappear. I have to say, I have experienced fully many moments, and many weren't that great. I haven't figured out that process yet, either.

I do know really connecting with another brings me a similar happiness as that brief moment in my life as a dolphin, whether it is comparing family news, our pasts, hopes, fears, and joys. In all of this I do find myself. An unexpected wave has reminded me of the contended soul that is within.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Quilts For Cancer

The Utah Quilt Guild is collecting quilts this year to give to children that are going through chemotherapy. This is a quilt I just finished to donate.... titled "Butterflies In The Window."
It is made from 30's Reproduction fabric that Jill gave me out of her stash (material that is left over from other projects) This is the first quilt I've finished, quilting by machine. It looks ok from a distance but if you look up close it looks like a kindergartner learning how to write their name for the first time. As the old saying goes.... practice makes perfect. I hope to take a machine quilting class sometime soon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Valpal From Arizona

With Annie - Aren't they cute together?
With Grandma

My niece has been here this week on her Spring Break. It is nice to see her looking healthy, happy and self-assured after her "harrowing" time adjusting to her first move out of Utah. (you can read about her adventures first hand by following the link on the right.) Her family had a dinner Sunday night and she entertained us with stories about life with the Evan and Toni clan, (I've got to go down there and join in the fun - this is your warning guys..... I'm inviting myself for a visit) her boss, and court reporting school. She even gave us a demonstration on her steno machine. She is right.... it is like learning a new way of thinking and looking at the world. I'm sure you have to have a special gene to understand the most garbled shorthand combinations I have ever seen.

She is a special blend of liveliness, good humor, and insightfulness. Her honest self-assessments remind me of just what a process it is to integrate all of our experiences into a life we are happy and proud of. She always makes me want to be more thoughtful about my life..... We'll miss you until next time....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Boys

I have so many cute pictures of "the boys", it's hard to pick a favorite. They are all edited and on a CD so give a holler if you want one. (Jana yours is in the mail as soon as I get your CD.) Yes, your boys are being held hostage.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Damn It All To Hell

So my thumb has been hurting for the past month, clicking in and out of joint anytime I use it. I finally went to the doctor yesterday and I have a cyst on the ligament around the thumb. He shot it full of cortisone and put on a half cast to keep it immobile. After a month if that works I won't need surgery to remove it. In the meantime I won't be able to do any sewing which as you know is my life. I guess it will give me a chance to do some of my handwork. I am doing some finishing embellishment on a quilt I'm making that depicts a near death experience I had. (I'll post my story) and I always keep a quilt going that I embroider on.

Disclaimer: To my family who reads this and hears my same old "stuff" again, I am also writing to all my friends I've met out inbetween the spaces of the great cosmos, and a few quilting buddies.....

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seasoned By Life

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under the sun.
A time to be born and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill and a time to heal ...a time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance ...
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to lose and a time to seek;
A time to rend and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent and a time to speak;
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Once upon a time I thought I would tame life, and become my ideal self by the time I turned 25. Anyone over thirty should find that incredibly amusing. Instead life said, "Let me show you a thing or two." And it did. So perhaps I'll share some of the things I've learned... a favorite quote or two... a book I've read .... or the latest quilt I'm creating. I love reading my kids blogs so I thought I would join in.