3 Suppositions and a Conclusion

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1. I am created in the image of God.

  • Genesis 1: 26; “And God said. Let us make man in our image….”
  • Genesis 1:27; So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” KJV

2. A dream begins with an image.

  • The American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed.)  defines the transitive verb form of the word dream as “to conceive of or imagine.” 
  • The intransitive verb form of the word dream is “to have a deep aspiration.”

3. I was formed in my momma’s womb by ADONAI.

  • Psalms 139:13b “You [God] knit me together in my mother’s womb.” TLV
  • Isaiah 49: 5a “So now says ADONAI, who formed me from the womb….” TLV
  • Jeremiah 1: 4 and 5a “The word of ADONAI came to me saying: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you….”

Conclusion:

Dreams, in the sense of having deep aspirations, begin with an image or a vision.  Dreams such as these require hard work and dedication to manifest into reality: There is no magic bean to produce Jack’s beanstalk. 

Therefore, because I am made in the image of God, that dream conceived and imagined, and aspired to by God’s forming of my body in my mother’s womb, I can safely conclude that I am a dream come true! 

#Where Did My Belly Button Go?

Health experts say sitting is the new smoking, meaning consistently sitting long hours is just as detrimental to one’s health as is smoking.  I have spent the last five years sitting on my fanny an awful lot while pursuing a higher education.  Since graduation, binge watching my shows seems to be more enjoyable than cleaning out the pantry. Consequently, me ol’ belly button has moved.  

I used to be an active person. In a far-away past I had always found ways to move that was enjoyable to such as walking trails, riding bicycles, or aerobic stair stepping routines via VHS tapes in the 1990s. I even started taking backpacking camping trips.  

My outdoor, fun-in-the-sun activities came to a screeching halt in 1999 due to severe burns. Although healed, being in the sun became physically painful. It’s akin to having a sunburn and stepping outside under the UV rays. 

Yet in my pre-burn youth I never did like going to the gym: For one, I couldn’t afford the fees. So, in inclement weather I found plenty of ways to stay fit. I’ve been known to walk in circles inside my house––I had a house conducive to doing so––until I reached a mile or jumped rope 45 consecutive minutes or danced around for a pre-set time allotment. Ah, those were the days, my friend! 

The kids were always commanded ––yelled at––to stay away from Mom during these times. A daughter and I were reminiscing, and she surmised that it was because I didn’t want them to see my red face! I didn’t have the heart to tell her it wasn’t that but my sense of “me time” was being invaded. (Sorry, kids, if you happen to read this.) I’ve concluded this is why I don’t fully enjoy going to the gym––chalk it up to my introvert tendencies. (And yes, my face does get very red.)

But I digress. 

Over the years, I have participated in Yoga, Zumba, and aerobic classes, none of which I have truly enjoyed doing as a group. But my all-time favorite gym experience was at the local YMCA: Drumming. These routines entail pounding sticks on a yoga ball while dancing around. I suspect I loved it because I sometimes play the drums and I do own a drum kit. I’m the one air drumming and crashing cymbals while everyone around is strumming riffs at air guitars or singing-into-the-spoon. 

In the few weeks before the required Stay-at-Home orders went into effect, I met with a personal trainer once a week to work on strengthening my core. I was blessed too find one to come to my home once a week until COVID19 showed up in a fast and furious way. 

There is a plethora of opportunities to subscribe to virtual work routines, yet I want to recommend Dale Maynor at https://www.dalemaynorfitnesstraining.com.

I’ve kept the routine going sans trainer; but I decided I needed to get the whole body moving. So, I dug out the plastic aerobic step system from storage.  Two days later (yep, I tend to procrastinate), the search began on YouTube for a routine to follow and I was delighted to find an original Susan Powter video.

In the early 2000s, I was faithful to Powter’s “Lean, Strong and Healthy” aerobic stair stepping video.  I thought she was pretty cool although I never figured out exactly what insanity she wanted to stop. I was too busy huffing and puffing and blowing the house down to give a rip.

It was from Powter that I first learned a more proper posture that promotes better results in working the core: pull your belly button in as if to touch the spine.  Within two minutes upon my reunification with my old friend Susan and the “Lean, Strong and Healthy” routine, I began to wonder if I still had a belly button and if so, where is it?  

As it turns out, I do have one but there is much more distance to cover these days until it reaches the lower spine. Still, I did my best to bring a meeting of the twain––obviously much easier when I was 50 pounds lighter and a tad younger.

This pulling-in-the-belly-button-to-spine activity helps open up and lengthens the spine: It’s especially therapeutic for those who have been under the influence of gravitational pull longer than some. It’s good to practice throughout the day as well and helps relieve back pain. 

Many people’s social lives revolve around faithful gym attendance like some society’s neighborhood pub serves as a social center.  My introvert-self is quite content to step up and practice my belly-buttoning-pulling-in routine in the happy and sometimes bored confines of my home. 

For the curious or like-minded souls check out Powter’s video:

NOTE: The music as well as the video quality really sucks. One pet peeve to video routines is the music. Sometimes it reminds me of porno tunes––so I’ve been told; please, don’t ask. So, I muted the sound and streamed my Amazon Music workout playlist to a Bluetooth speaker.  Things really got a-movin’ and a-groovin’ to Lover Boy’s “Lovin’ Every Minute of It.” 

They lied: I only loved the first two minutes. 

As the World Turns…

As the World Turns Pauses

It’s obvious that as the crisis of COVID19 looms over the globe, we the people have put our normal lives on hold. Life as we know it has paused.  The hardship of this unprecedented time is unfathomable; for everyone. Yet, I have observed a few personal benefits since Shelter-In Place (SIP) orders were established. 

I never thought I would see the day when one buys five years’ worth of toilet paper, leaving the rest of the community with none.  The plus side of this marvel  is that I visualize the astonished expressions on my great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren’s faces when I regale the tales of “back in the day.” I’m confident they will be googling to verify that Granny’s story was not the crazed rambling of an old woman. 

I am, by nature, a homebody. My only so-called social outing these days is the essential business of buying groceries. Staying six feet away from fellow customers is no problem for me because my innate need of personal space is just about that. Also, bringing a bag from home means I must bag the items myself, saving me from the idiot check-out person who places a loaf of bread and dozen eggs under the weight of a gallon jug of milk. 

On the plus side of SIP, I have only burned through ¼ tank of fuel in the past 3 weeks or so. Another plus is that I have had less laundry to wash because I dress in my stay-at-home clothes (que images of sweats and ratty t-shirts) rather than rocking business attire. Due to my having the nature of an introvert, I have truly enjoyed free curbside-pick up when ordering items online from local stores. I wonder why I haven’t been doing this all along until I remember the convenience fee attached to the total bill. 

I also have much more time available to declutter the house, write, enter the rabbit hole of Ancestry.com, shred oodles of piles of snail mail, learn a few software programs purchased and downloaded many moons ago such as Scrivener.

You may have picked up on the “time available” verbiage in the above paragraph. My busy pre-stay-at-home schedule often had me lamenting if I had more time, I would clean out the garage, the pantry, etc.  This season of SIP illuminates the great self-revelation that behind those excuses, the reality of “I JUST DON’T WANT TO” is starkly exposed. 

The bald truth forces me to confront me. As we ogle each other, one of me vocally gives permission to sit on the couch and stream movies all day.  While the other me simply wags a finger and the inner monologue says tsk, tsk, tsk, what about that to-do list?  

Even though I have strongly suspicioned that particular character flaw exists within for quite a while now, I can no longer deny I have a problem.  It is not that I’m totally lacking in self-disciple.  For the past few months, I have managed to complete a list of five things I do daily.  I say this flagrant revelation is a benefit in the fashion that one must lance a wound before healing can begin. But perhaps the biggest roadblock to getting things done is that of procrastination: I can happily talk myself into the wait-until-tomorrow phenomena. 

I once bought a self-help book on how to stop procrastinating.  I kid you not that in the 14 years I have owned that book, I have yet to read further than the title page. I imagine a group akin to AA in which I introduce myself “Hi, I’m Janet and I’m a procrastinator” followed by a group reply, “Hi, Janet.” 

 And the dance begins.  Should I give myself permission to do nothing but watch movies and binge serial shows (all the while visualizing a wagging finger and hearing tsk, tsk, tsk) and wave the flag in surrender to the screen? Or wait until I finish all items on that supposed list, the list that has turned into a short novel? 

Tada! I have found the perfect strategy. (Turns out, I am also great at compromise with inner conflict.) I will watch an episode; check an item off the list––after completion––of course and repeat. By the time the SIP order is lifted, only a small number of things will be checked off the list and I will be lamenting once again that I just don’t have time to do it all.  And it will be legit. 

Trash Collectors ––An Underappreciated Profession

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In my last post I wrote about completing a daily gratitude list of a minimum of 20 items. Some things that I am most thankful for show up repeatedly, such as indoor plumbing. (See previous post for the reason I don’t take indoor plumbing for granted.)

 

Why purposely practice an attitude of gratitude? As it turns out, according to the Psychology Today website, author Amy Morin, claims there are seven scientifically proven reasons why one should practice gratitude. Gratitude improves one’s physical health, mental strength, psychological health, opens the door to more relationships, build’s self-esteem, reduces aggression and builds empathy. Interestingly enough, thankful people sleep better and longer. 

 (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude).

For the past couple of weeks, gratitude for garbage collectors has cropped up on my list a couple of times.  This also ties to my childhood, country living days when our household was responsible for hauling our trash to the local landfill­­ (or the dump as we called it­­), burning it, or sometimes Dad would even bury it. That’s country living.

In my country-living days, we children were responsible for getting trash outside of the house. Once outside, getting it off the property was up to Dad.  There was a special, sturdy barrel for burning. Once, a can of hairspray escaped our notice and it exploded sending shards that hit my younger sister near the eye. Dangers abound with this method. Some things were burned inside the woodstove, our only source of heat. 

Things that couldn’t or wouldn’t burn were piled up until a pickup truck bed was filled. Then it was off to the landfill. The few times I rode with Dad were father/daughter bonding moments until he began backing the truck to the edge of the stinky gorge. Panicked cries of warning­­––“Stop, Dad! You’re going too far!” and “We’ll fall in!” –– were met with chuckles. It didn’t occur to me that Dad didn’t want that to happen anymore than I did. 

I know some city dwellers who opt out and carry away their trash to the local waste disposal site thinking it will be cheaper. Tally up at least twice monthly trips at an expense of about $27 a load, it works out about the same amount of money as the city charges for curbside service.  Not to mention garbage sitting around stinking and attracting vermin for weeks at a time. EW! 

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com

I’m thankful that all I need to do these days is collect from the house, toss it a bin and wheel it out to the street curb and wait for man and machine to haul it far away.  Besides, I don’t quite   trust myself to stop the truck before it rolls into the reeking ravine. 

So, This Happened.

Now what?

It’s been an arduous journey, but I now have a BA in English/Writing  Specialization and a minor in Journalism. Notice it’s Writing Specialization, not Writing Expert! 🤓

Bedpans and Walther P38s Part 3

Part Three of a Family Christmas Past

The moment the kids had waited for 365 days arrived. I beamed at my family­­–– mostly for the expectant joy on all faces. I donned my Santa hat and began dispersing gifts. The family rule was to wait until everyone had all their gifts piled at their side. The teenagers offered to play Santa’s elves to speed things up. 

I gave the traditional secret Santa signal and madness ensued. The neat freak son-in-law trailed behind, best he could, crumbling shreds of wrapping paper into large, black trash bags. 

Holliss, seven, shrieked, “How did Santa know I like red foxes?” 

Her mother, Rebecca, the family baby, gave me the look that she was famous for and I asked what was wrong. 

“Really, Mom? You gave my daughter a water bottle that reads “‘What the Fox’?’’ 

I couldn’t answer. 

“Mother!” 

It was Christa, my second-born and mother to seventeen-year-old Janessa, who screamed, “What are you thinking? The Kama Sutra? A book on sex? She’s seventeen!” 

Oh boy, I thought, I know I’m in BIG trouble. Still, I said nothing.

“Gram-Gram.”

I turned toward the voice. It was Nathan––his face was as white as Christmas snow.  He told the room that Cohen had just opened his present. As he spoke, he twirled what looked like a toy gun in his hands. Nathan, 15, was a sharp shooter whose goal was to become a Special Ops sniper. 

“Did you know this gun is real? It’s a Walther P38. You bought a five-year-old a gun?”

The room was still, not-a-creature-was-stirring, not-even-a-mouse kind of still. And quiet.

I felt the blood drain from my face as I stammered, “I-I-I.”

“This is a mistake, Amazon doesn’t sell guns,” I yelled, and I snatched the gun away, “You all how Amazon is, remember the fuzzy elf slipper incident?” The details are best left unknown. 

I proffered a weak defense that I knew nothing.

Dylan started blubbering. His mother clutched him at the elbow and escorted him into a bedroom. 

Everyone began gathering their things. The grandkids begged to stay and be entertained by the annual reading of The Night Before Christmas, and the parents acquiesced. They helped themselves to a glass full of my home-brewed eggnog. I was thankful this year’s batch was alcohol-light. (The cook may –– or may not have––consumed the 32 ounces of rum the recipe called for.)  I noticed a flask being extracted from Rebecca’s pocket. 

I was called into the bedroom and Dylan tearfully told me the tale. He noticed my Amazon page open and thought he was being helpful. When questioned about the book he said he added that to the cart because Janessa likes to exercise, and the book cover looked like people were exercising.

He admitted he looked at toy guns for his cousin because he knew Cohen wanted to be a policeman, but insisted that he didn’t order one. I knew he was being truthful, making the mysterious appearance of a real gun even more puzzling. 

“How did you order?”

“Easy. Buy now with one-click, Gram-Gram.” 

“What about your mother’s stack of ten road signs that read ‘Drive like your kids live here’?”

“I have little sisters.” 

I was thankful he didn’t order a sleigh full of toys. Or an Oozie. 

Gram,” Dylan added, “When I was playing Minecraft, you got an email attachment that I clicked on. They might have downloaded spyware.”

“It’s O.K., Dylan. I’m not mad and you’re not in trouble,” I comforted, “I’ll get to the bottom of this after Christmas.”

 I remembered getting a package that didn’t quite look like it came from Amazon, but the gift inside was in wrapped in Santa Claus paper so I shrugged it off.  My imagination exploded like gas on flames and visions of ruthless arms dealers in Nigeria popped into my mind. 

As I turned to the hopeful crowd waiting for their story, memories of my own childhood prank streamed like an Amazon Prime movie. When I was nine, my little sister, Lisa, and I walked across the field to Gramma’s house. She was outside hanging clothes on the line and unaware of our presence. I had a flash of brilliance and coerced Lisa (so she claims) into making the house appear ransacked. Then we hid while waiting for Gramma’s reaction. 

No one laughed at that either. 

Bedpans and Walther P38s–Part Two

BedPans and Walther P38s
(Part Two of a Christmas Past)

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Photo Credit: Jessica McCollam jessicasvisionsphotography.com

It was seven days before Christmas, and I still had to purchase gifts for 21 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and 10 adults. Technically, Christmas was eight days away, but our family gathers for dinner on Christmas Eve, opening gifts after the grandchildren wash the dishes.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Oh, here I go. I snuggled into my favorite love-seat position: blanket; feather-pillow; pajamas; steaming mug of coffee latte at the ready, with the Amazon page brightly shining and resting on my lap. Christmas / Saravejo 12/24 by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra transmitted via Apple TV. The music  was so loud that I thought I heard the neighbors singing along.

I read that Amazon Prime members were extended an offer-of-the-day to have purchases gift- wrapped for free. I started to clap my hands. I had forgotten I was holding the latte, and nearly doused my shopping cart.

The doorbell rang. I was greeted by a small crowd; my third-born daughter, Angela, her six-month-old twin daughters, Annakate and Adeline, and her ten-year-old son, Dylan. I welcomed them in, and as they were seated, Dylan spied my computer and asked if he could play Minecraft on it.

“Of course,” I said with a wink at the platinum-haired boy, “That’s why I downloaded it, silly Dilly.”

He carried the laptop to the dining table and I set my attention to oohing and awing over the twins.

They left. I returned to my Amazon shopping, made my selections and set about washing dishes, making the bed, and tossing clothes into the washing machine.  As I cleaned, I made a mental grocery list for the big dinner. Then, it came to me; a jolting revelation, so jolting I swear I heard the angels sing. I could order all my groceries on Amazon.

*     *      *     *     *

I opened the door to the UPS delivery truck driver asking for my signature and I happily signed, although I wasn’t sure why this particular delivery required a signature; she didn’t look happy. She must have made 12 jaunts––truck to doorstep, using a dolly–– getting more red-faced each time, as I gawped. Her parting words were something about why I thought I needed 42 Christmas hams and concluded with a caustic Merry Christmas as she offered a hand signal that may or may not have signified her IQ level.

I smiled, dripping with saccharine to shield my consternation, I called out something about her job security. I ogled (my face as frozen as the hams) for a few minutes at the mass covering the front porch and decided the Amazon SNAFU could be dealt with in the morning and began dragging the boxes inside.

The new day arrived; the sun shining in a clear blue sky despite putting my order with the Big Guy for snow. I wondered if I should have checked for availability with Amazon Prime.  I hoped and prayed that the one special gift would arrive before dinner as I baked all day for the expectant, hungry horde.  The gift was delivered at last, and I placed it upon the swollen mound that exceeded the ‘under the tree’ notion.

I rang the Amazon office contact number only to reach an automated response: closed for the holidays, please try again December 26, 2017.

Walther P38s and Bedpans

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Photo Credit: jessicasvisionsphotography.com (Jessica McCollam)

Bedpans and Walther P38s

(A Christmas to Remember)

Part One
*A short story that is loosely based on true events of Christmases past: 90 percent pure fiction.

Many people escape via expensive out-of-the-country vacations or by weekend get-a-ways. Some escape by watching movies or by playing games. Me? I Amazon. I’m addicted to seeing that brown box (the box with a questionable phallic logo) resting on my front porch as if to say, “Pick me! Open me!”

Amazon’s intrusion began several years ago. My ‘old-school’ wariness would not release me to commit such sin as shopping online. The realization that I could stay in my pajamas and get the all the grandkids their Christmas presents convinced me to risk everything.

True joy begins from that moment I see a screen-full of possibilities on my lap-top or iPhone, items to feed my addiction. The beautiful (sometimes ruinous) journey is afoot.

It didn’t take Amazon long before they offered the best marketing scheme ever: Buy Now With 1-Click? If ever a sentence could be described as delectable as hot chocolate topped with marshmallows this would qualify. But they didn’t stop there ––Prime Delivery––why, you can have this in two days for “free.” Free for an annual fee––ingenious. A recent addition is the all-you-have-to-do-is-tap-it button, ‘buy again’ red circle. Extremely convenient. What will they think of next? Telepathy?
I mesmerize.

As I sit pondering potential deliveries, I remember past disastrous purchases: the Christmas ornaments that looked huge on-screen but arrived a mere one-eighth inch diameter; the children’s farm-animal book that failed to pique interest of a one-year old; weirdly (and putrid) colored shoes; wall décor, museum-sized, for the 12 x 18 inch empty spot near the window, so large it could have covered the entire window. I have learned to read with care (and read between the lines) as my hand hovers over the keyboard ENTER key, I think twice¬¬––three times––before making the final click. That is, unless I have a Freudian tap.

I choose my items, and proceed through the steps: would you like the arrival date to be this Tuesday, postage-free; for $3.99 more you could have this on Monday; add to your dash (just tap it) button? It would be ever so easy to reorder. Thanks, Amazon!

I’m always eager to help family find just what they are looking for.

“Gram, you need a bedpan? Let me look for you.” I’m giddy.

If only hindsight had been my guide. I now have a bedpan in my Face Book feed; subject lines of countless emails read: because you bought a bedpan; just click here or tap to buy again; people who have purchased a bedpan have also purchased the following items; and finally (although, I’m sure it won’t be) I have a picture of Gram’s bright, shiny––thankfully still unused––bedpan in that blasted buy again? button. Or just tap it.

*Stay tuned for part two, coming soon.

Day 364

I am ending day 364 doing what I love: writing for the pure joy of writing.  The little ditty below contains 16 names familiar to my childhood. Can you guess what they refer to?*

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16 Candles.  Who am I kidding? It’s 61 candles.

Through the days of my life,
I have ascribed to a guiding light,
While leading all my children
through the edge of night.

The young and the restless,
Search for tomorrow.
The bold and the beautiful,
Look in dark shadows.

As the world turns,
Ryan’s hope rests
In another world,
In secret storm.

One life to live,
Yet, love of life
May end within the general hospital
Hounded by the doctors.

* Before the days of talk shows, cooking shows, courtroom dramas and game shows, American day-time television was dominated by the juicy drama of the soap opera. The sixteen listed above are some of the longest running. A few soaps continue today: General Hospital (1963); Days of Our Lives (1965); The Young and the Restless (1973); The Bold and the Beautiful (1987). My mother loved to watch As the World Turns. I can still see the spinning globe on the small electronic box as the show came on the air as I was scurried outside to play.