Past and future self

Around this time every year, I gleefully dig out my different movie versions of that classic Charles Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. Having read the book - I must admit that, in my opinion, it is sooo much better on the screen than the pages of a very long book. The best screen presentation is the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart - closely followed by the 1951 black and white film with Alastair Sim. The other film versions only gather dust on a shelf, because they don't really measure up.

I have always been intrigued by the concept presented in the account of Scrooge, where he was given the opportunity to spend time viewing his past, present and future. I have often had a fleeting desire to go back in time, and correct some perceived mistakes made in my younger (and more stupid) period of life. But, like Scrooge, all I can do is look at and think about - but not change my past.

Greek mythology speaks of the three fates; sisters who spin people's life threads, weave them into a tapestry, and finally cut the thread of life at the time of death. What would happen to my life tapestry if I were able to change just one thing from my past? For it is my past which makes up my present - and present acts and decisions lead me to my future. What relationships, events or life lessons would I unravel and destroy in a clumsy attempt to re-weave my past?

I am grateful to have the gift and ability to repent of past mistakes - and grateful that it is not possible to change the past. If it were possible, I'm certain given my "creative skills", my life tapestry would turn out even worse than I perceive it is now!

The past is to be learned from - but we should not desire to live there. I can look back and claim the lessons learned through experience and trial - and bring the best ones with me to the present. This then gives a foundation on which to stand while looking forward with faith and hope to the future.

Faith is confidence or trust that is always pointed to the future - and hope is an expectation of things to come. I need to have both faith and hope in myself, looking beyond my own weaknesses and fears, reaching for promises I have been given.

It is because of fear, and a wish to protect my weaknesses (real or imagined) that I have on occasion thought of a return to a time that cannot be lived in again. Or being dissatisfied with present circumstances, have a desire to jump past the pain of the here and now into the future with thoughts of... "when this happens", or "things will be better after".

When my expectations of the future do not happen according to my thoughts, plans, and timetable - that is when I most need to step back and place my life and faith in the hands of God; to allow His plans and timetable to happen. I recognize a need to continually set aside the destructive thoughts (easier said than done) - for it is not about where I have been, it is where I am now, and how decisions made in the present will take me where I am desirous to go.

The Prophet, Thomas S. Monson (current president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has given us a "guide to your eternal happiness" - comprised of three simple steps...
  1. Learn from the past [your own past, and that of others].
  2. Prepare for the future... remember the promise of the Lord: "If ye are prepared ye shall not fear" (D&C 38:30). Fear is a deadly enemy of progress.
  3. Live in the present. Sometimes we let our thoughts of tomorrow take up too much of today. Daydreaming of the past and longing for the future may provide comfort but will not take the place of living in the present. This is the day of our opportunity, and we must grasp it.
    ("In Search of Treasure," Ensign, May 2003)
In the words of Paul the Apostle, "Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Cor 13:12). Hope leads me to an expectation that someday, like Paul (and like Scrooge) - when I can finally see myself as I am seen, and know as I am known, what I find in the end will turn out to be good and positive.

Invisible me

Many years ago I remember laying in bed at night, before drifting off to sleep, wishing that I had a broken arm or leg - something that others could physically see was wrong with me. I wanted someone, anyone, to "see" the pain I was in, and not accept my lies of healthiness. One of the frustrating things about depression, is that it is not a visible illness. Like others with invisible illnesses, I wanted someone to recognize and acknowledge my reality.

A clinically depressed person becomes very good at building walls, and using creative excuses to explain what is happening to them. They are in effect isolating themselves from others, because there is the feeling that you should not impose yourself on anyone else. Distorted thoughts tell you that by so doing you might drag that person into your world of darkness and somehow infect them. This is something not to be wished on anyone, and so the anguish continues in deafening silence. I am finally at a point where I can attempt to break the silence myself, and allow people a glimpse inside my walls.

Those self imposed walls do not easily allow others to come in. It takes a lot of courage and empathy - along with knowing that often resistance will be given - to break through the walls. Even if that contact of love and friendship is strongly desired, and appears to the depressed person as pure manna from heaven.

In my personal opinion, the worst of all things that plagues someone suffering from clinical depression is that... spiritual thoughts and strengths which offer guidance and comfort are gone. You long for the warmth of the Lord's Spirit, but because of depression are unable to feel it. Emotions felt are guilt and gloom, where reality becomes negative and distorted. Prayers often appear to go unanswered, bouncing off a very low ceiling.

Unable to recognize why the Spirit has seemingly abandoned you - then you start to think that God no longer loves you, and that depression is your punishment for all your apparent failures. You find it difficult to love yourself, so why should anyone, including God, love you. This falsely perceived spiritual abandonment appears to be evidence that you must have committed some sin, and are no longer considered to be worthy. Even though no memory of sins committed come to mind to prove your distorted hypothesis.

I recently read an ecclesiastical leader's perspective on depression that has helped me immensely, and gives me hope... "Guidance by and blessings of the Spirit are still given, but they may not be recognized. Ironically, at a time when the member [of the church] most needs to feel the presence of the Spirit and know that she is loved, depression injures the ability to feel this comfort. Without question, depression colors the perception of the member. Heavenly Father loves all his children, including those with depression, and he still answers their prayers. The presence and influence of the Holy Ghost can still direct their lives." (Reaching for Hope, an LDS perspective on recovering from depression, p131).

My prayers no longer bounce off a low hanging ceiling, I know that God is listening - even if I can't feel it in my heart the greater majority of the time. I have vivid and distinct memories to which I cling with my whole being - of times when I have been cradled in the arms of my Savior, and felt His love for me so real. I may not be able to feel heaven's love now - but I have felt it in the past, and this I cannot allow myself to ever forget. This is what gives me strength to hold fast to the iron rod, continue on, and not give up on life.

Magic wand

It has taken a great deal of faith and effort to open myself up by writing about a life-long battle with clinical depression. I am feeling quite vulnerable by doing this, but for me it is a step towards healing - and not a desire for sympathy from others, only that of understanding.

I have heard of clinical depression being compared to the "magic wand" scenario. Imagine yourself laying on a sofa, completely weighted down with a tremendous heavy burden that leaves you totally unable to move. A mere 10-feet away on a table is a magic wand, which with one simple wave will banish the burden and restore you to health. You truly want to take hold of that wand and give it a wave - but the mere thought of moving to do that is too overwhelming. You are completely unable to get yourself off the sofa.

The apparent simplicity of this scenario is one reason why non-clinically depressed people can find it difficult to understand or relate. Why would someone not be able to move just a few feet to grab the wand - knowing that it will help? Clinical depression is that which keeps you weighted down on the sofa and unable to move. In reality there is no "magic wand" - only hard work, perseverance, prayer, counseling, and in many cases medical prescriptions.

I have been able to mask depression in my life, to hide the problem from other people, and myself. I can be "on" when it is expected, and then have a complete shut-down later that same day. Sometimes it can take every ounce of willpower to just do elementary things like get dressed, go to work / church, or even simply pick up the phone to make a call. I am not sure why it is called "depression" - that evokes thoughts of a dip in the road or something else quite harmless. You feel that you are somehow broken and unable to make decisions, even when it is a choice between two good things. Depression is not a choice - one cannot just "get over it" by going shopping, seeing a movie, going to dinner with friends, or taking a long walk. It is not the same as sadness, which everyone experiences, and relatively quickly can rise above it again.

Depression can entrap a person and cause them to languish in darkness anywhere from hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. I have literally had years of feeling fine and functioning normally. And then with no warning, I again find myself spiraling into cloudy darkness - and start to think that the absence of light is now "normal". That this is just something to be endured, to suffer through, and pray to not yield to the dark thoughts - for they can take you places you do not wish to go.

Maybe in another blog posting I will talk about how clinical depression can have a huge impact on how you view your relationship with God, and other people. But I think this is enough for today.

True confessions of a functional depressive

A little something you probably never knew about me... I have spent a lifetime honing my skills and achieved many years ago the level of "master" in the art of making both masks and boxes. Not the type of mask worn once a year on Halloween; my finely crafted masks are worn every single day of the year. And my one box creation cannot be seen by others, except though the use of an inner light.

I have worn many different styles of masks in my life. Some are reflective of my true self, while others are false; an illusion worn from time to time to help hide, or shield, my true self. At times I even fool myself and am not always certain who I really am, nor how many layers of masks I am wearing at a time. Peal one away and discard it, only to find another mask beneath.

Most often worn are the masks of humor, and its twin, happiness. These are my greatest creation, and I wear these smiling masks often. They are the most effective in my collection. When I laugh, make others laugh, and portray the illusion that all is bright - I can for a moment in time hide, even from myself, the reality which lies beneath.

That which cannot be hidden behind the mask of humor, is easily concealed by wearing the masks of tiredness and exhaustion. The catch-22 of wearing these masks is that at times I really am overly tired, or actually happy. The trick is to be able to recognize when things are real, and when they are but an illusion. It is at night and when alone, when no one else can see me, that the masks finally come all the way off.

True confession time: I am what can be called a "functional depressive". I'm sure you who know me probably don't believe this statement. After all I am very practiced and skilled at portraying the grand illusion that all is well. And I do so with a great measure of success.

Daily I have viewed the outside world from within the darkened confines of my one and only box creation. It is a small but substantial, yet empty, box. It is a place of entrapment. At the same time there is a familiarity that, interestingly enough, provides a certain semblance of security (better the devil you know...). I have often longed to escape, and envisioned myself continually pressing my hands against the walls and ceiling, desperately trying to find a way out (not unlike one of those annoying mimes that you just want to shoot). Every once in awhile a breach in the barricade has been found, and I escape for a time - only to wake up once again back in the box, wondering if it was all just a dream.

Clinical depression goes beyond what is commonly thought of as a down mood, or situational sadness; when a person is still able to have some element of enjoyment in life. This depression on the other hand can totally drain a person of their interest in life and connections with other people. It can, in effect, erase ones personality traits and alter who they really are.

Viewing life through the lenses of depression is analogous to the words of Paul the apostle who spoke of seeing "through a glass darkly" (1 Cor 13:12). This is a very apt description of how a person in depression view themselves, relationships, and the world in general. Everything is overshadowed with a darkness, where joy and happiness are considered to be figments of imagination. Thoughts and resultant feelings are skewed and distorted from what is truth and reality. However, these same thoughts and feelings are so integrated and entwined in a severely depressed person's mind that they are honestly believed to be absolutely true.

I have passed in and out of many episodes of clinical depression in my lifetime - some much worse than others. Severe depression is a scary and dark place full of painful, almost unbearable, despair. It is during these times that I have truly believed things like... I am and will always be completely alone. Friends, light or joy do not exist in the "real" world. Everyone would be better off if I weren't around. If there is a God, then why would He abandon me in a place like this? I must be an unworthy sinner to be left in the darkness like this. And many other such distorted thoughts would fill my mind.

It is a blessed and wondrous thing to announce my latest escape from the box wherein I have lived so many endless days and nights. My hope is that this time my escape may last. The shadow of my former prison is still there, and probably will be for the rest of my life. It is waiting for me to step back inside, should I choose to do so. I do not choose to do so! No one in their right mind would willingly make such a choice - but many times depression is not a choice. I still have my "bad" days, but thankfully they are not remotely equal to my very "worst" days.

I sincerely wish to offer my eternal thanks, first to my Heavenly Father - who I know will never give up on me, even when I have sunk into darkness and doubt. To the few people in my life who I have allowed to know about my struggles. Without their love and constant support, I wouldn't have made it this far. Other people, not even knowing my state of mind, have also been inspired and have reached out to me in friendship. Inviting me into their homes and into their families, at a time when I truly needed it the most. All these acts of love and fellowship have done wonders to strengthen my anchors holding onto life and hope. Without all this (and more), I'm not exactly sure I would still be here.

So here I am... bruised and battered, but still climbing the mountains in this game called life. One day I pray to be able to say, as did Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim 4:7).

My #1 deadly sin

The seven deadly sins are:
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride
Each of these sins deal with not only actions - but also very much with thoughts and desires. The vision that comes to mind when considering "gluttony" is that of someone who is over-indulgent and over-weight due to over-eating. However, gluttony does not apply only to appetite for food. When "wants" overcome "needs" we are not just guilty of over-eating... but of over-desiring.

I am a glutton - I freely admit it. My gluttony problems refer less to food, and more to my thoughts and body capitulating to addictive desires for meaningless so-called "entertainment". How many precious hours have I squandered in the act of devouring such empty activities as computer games, television, or just browsing the internet? Yes, I am a glutton for mindlessness - even as I desperately attempt to justify my wasteful actions.
  • I'm too tired to do anything but sit here
  • I deserve this break
  • This is a good television show (but it is in reality substandard mediocre tripe, soon to be forgotten)
  • I'll do that other thing tomorrow - or maybe the day after
I am convinced that procrastination walks merrily hand-in-hand with gluttony - they make quite the co-dependent pair.

The more I give into these thoughts - the more I seem to desire rolling around in the gluttonous non-action of doing absolutely nothing productive or useful. Laziness at its finest! I do understand the need for downtime - a release from the pressures of life, and recharging one's batteries. However I also believe that if I am not careful, my gluttonous behavior will eventually lead to a full and unconditional surrender - and then what?

Instead of always giving into the gluttonous appetite of my brain's pleasure center and cravings for mindless entertainment - moderation in all things needs to be my mantra! Never give up, never surrender - Temperance shall become my name!!

Mind voices

Do you ever feel like you just don't belong anywhere? Kinda like you are operating in analog, while living in a fully digitalized world - not quite fitting in (and certainly not fully functional). At times I don't even feel comfortable in my own skin - because I know this person I am now is not my true self. She was hidden, or lost, a long time ago (at least it seems that way to me).

I am not really able to exactly remember my true self - the being I was before coming into this mortal realm. Once in awhile I see brief glimpses of her - she is quite spectacular! Then my mind voices harshly tell me it must be a figment of my imagination - and I often believe those cruel voices.

Yes, I have many voices in my head, and they tell me all sorts of things. Some are true, but many are totally false. How can I determine which of those voices I should heed? That is something I am still trying to learn - which can often be a painfully difficult process. There are times when I wish those conflicting mind voices would just go silent - allowing me to ponder and think without interruption!!

I have noticed there are many people who attempt to escape their mind voices using various self-destructive abusive means and behaviors. Then there are others who believe so fully the mind voices, that they lose their current and future selves. Trapped they are not able to see past their own distorted thoughts.

I have decided to not attempt an escape, but instead to take the difficult path of confronting the distorted mind voices - insisting that they prove themselves to be true before I believe them. It is not easy, and I am often deceived by my own mind voices. However with patience and persistence it is my goal to silence the deceitful mind voices, thus allowing the clear voice of my true self to finally come to the forefront. I am sure that I shall be quite bruised and battered before reaching the end of this chosen path. But there is a small voice inside that keeps whispering it will be worth it.

Fears, phobias and dislikes - Oh My!

Like any normal human, I have my share of fears, phobias, and dislikes. I know some of you think I am not necessarily "normal" - and there are times I would agree with you on that point.

I am afraid of heights (Acrophobia)
There, I said it! I am afraid of heights. I do not like peering over the edge of a high place. I don't even like to climb a ladder - if I am going more than about 3-feet off the ground. High places should have sturdy walls, fences, or barriers to safely prevent falling.

That being said, in the past I have been rock climbing - followed by rappelling down. I was much younger then (and perhaps more stupid) - plus I was secured by a plethora of safety gear and ropes. Scared spitless, but fun and exhilarating. The sense of accomplishment and incredible views after obtaining the top - followed by the excitement, and terror, when coming back down. I don't think I shall ever do it again (old bones tend to break more easily) - but I shall treasure the moment of youthful exuberance (and stupidity) for a long time.

Also in my younger days I took a mule ride down into the Grand Canyon. Little did I know that the switchback trail down to the inner rim was steep and narrow. Nothing like one foot all but scraping the canyon wall, while the other dangled over the edge of what must have been a 7000 foot drop (at least it felt that way). I held a death grip on the saddle pommel - closed my eyes frequently and tried to continue breathing. All the while telling myself... if the Brady Bunch could do it, then so could I. In another blog post perhaps I'll tell you what happened later that day when riding back to the top of the rim.
I do not like to fly
Not that I have ever had the capability to sprout wings and take off into the sky. I am talking about being trapped inside a pressurized metal tube with wings - with no way out - and being mysteriously held aloft, thousands of feet up in the empty air (combined claustrophobia and acrophobia). I have flown in the past, and will probably fly again sometime in the future. But that doesn't mean I have to like it!! Perhaps I should see how many days it would be to take a train or a boat instead.
I have a bug and rodent phobia
There is nothing worse than bugs or rodents invading ones home. Ants, spiders, roaches or mice - no thank you!! My weapons of choice are - first don't leave your doors or windows open and unattended, inviting such beasties into your dwelling. If that doesn't work, then immediately reach for poison, traps, or a vacuum hose (for the smaller creatures). I am oh so thankful that I have no such infestations in my home - and I work hard to keep it that way!
Other fears, phobias and dislikes
In addition to Acrophobia (fear of heights) and Claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces)... I also have Apiphobia (fear of bees) - and my Dad was a backyard beekeeper for years! I religiously avoided the backyard as a child, as much as I could.
Someone out there also must have some phobias that they would like to share. Perhaps you have one of these?
  • Omphalophobia
  • Panophobia
  • Politicophobia
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia


I have determined that in order to write entries for a blog - one must be feeling somewhat creative. My lack of posting anything recently is most likely due to my oh so UN-creative mental lapse this past number of months.

Also, I am not able to post bunches of photos of my non-existant children to fill up the space - and in so doing make pretend that I am actually posting something out here. I have considered renting some kids just so I can post their photos on my blog. But honestly I can think of many other (and probably better) ways of spending my money.

So, if anyone reads this and feels truly sorry about my lack of creativity - I welcome ideas or photos, which I can then post on my blog. Of course, I shall take full credit for your submissions. But perhaps then you will not be so bored when on the rare occasion you visit this blog.

Tension wire and tushies

You know how when see a line of posts with wire strung from one to the other - when you reach the last post in the line there is quite often a tension wire angling down from that post - down to the ground and secured somehow. This is done to help keep that last post equally pulled upon from each side - thus allowing all the posts to have equal tension, help support each other, and none of them fall down.

This is the concept my Dad used along the south side of my home - to provide a place for the grapevines to hang onto and grow. There are steel T-posts stretching from the front corner of the yard with barbless barbed wire strung from post to post - all the way to about the middle of the backyard. The starting point of the wire in the front yard is connected to a chain link post, set in cement (that ain't going anywhere). But, when you reach that final post in the backyard - my Dad used this tension wire technique using a very long steel stake he drove deep into the ground.

This steel stake only sticks up a few inches - and I have often tripped over it, and the tension wire attached to it, a number of times in the past. But last night I gave a truly spectacular tripping performance that is not to be matched (hopefully) anytime soon!!

I had my little Mantis roto-tiller out and was merrily chomping away at the offending weeds in the backyard. I was walking backwards (because that's what you do with this tiller to get it to dig into the ground) - and totally failed to remember this tension wire (it's not like it is at eye level you know). Needless to say I stumbled, let go of the tiller (which stops rotating when you do that - thank goodness or this could have been much more disastrous).

In my unsteadiness I plopped down tushie first - and was duly reminded of the tension wire when one tushie cheek attempted to "sit" on it. I say "sit" - but in fact it was a serious and extreme hard tushie to wire contact that occurred. Let's just say that I'm sitting and moving somewhat gingerly today as a result. At least it didn't give me a wedgie - but I'm positive there's a fairly serious butt bruise (which I can't see - 'cuz my neck and body aren't that bendable).

My plan of attack is to place one of those steel T-posts there where the tension wire connects with the steel stake in the ground. This will serve as a more eye level visible reminder of the backyard hazard. You can stop laughing now... it's not nice to mock someone who is in pain!!

Disturbing personal food facts

Everyone has a list of strange and somewhat disturbing facts about themselves - which many people try to hide from others observations. However, I am willing to divulge my weirdness for the world to know - mostly because I am aware that there are really only two people who ever read my blog - and they do so only periodically. So I'm not too worried about putting my quirks out there for the "world" to see - because the two people who might read this already know I am weird (or at least they will after reading this). Just remember - you who are without any weirdness cast the first stone!!

I separate my candy by color and/or type. For example; given a bag of M&M's I will promptly pour them out and proceed to divide them into color groups. I then proceed to eat the candy coated chocolate in a pattern (which can vary - see I'm not as OCD as you think I am).

I always save a small portion of the best tasting item on my plate to eat as my last bite. Warning to waiters: don't even think about removing my plate under the assumption that I am finished - not until I say it is okay, and that bite has been consumed! Unless you are looking for a fork wound in your hand that is.

I prefer wavy potato chips over regular ones (the larger the wave, the better). I love to slowly eat the wavy chips - biting off a row or two of waves at a time - working my way down to the end of the chip. I also like "burnt" chips - and get excited when I see darker brown chips in the bag (they are always eaten first). Why do chip manufacturers do their best to remove those before sending the bags to market? I would pay money for a whole bag of so-called "burnt" chips (mid to dark brown in color - not blackened burnt of course).

At Easter time I usually buy a small box of Peeps. You know, those overly sugar laden marshmallow treats that send you into a severe sweetness coma - or at the very least bestow a sugar migraine. However, I prefer to open the package and let them sit on the countertop for a few days prior to eating them. They are much better when slightly chewy stale, and not so squishy soft.

I love bread and milk. Much to my shock and surprise I discovered later in my life, that there are actually people who hate the soggy texture of bread that has soaked up all the milk goodness. I will sometimes even dip my peanut butter and honey sandwich in a glass of milk - much along the lines of people who dunk their donuts.

I hate it when eating breakfast, and syrup gets on any food other than where it belongs. Syrup belong on pancakes, waffles, or french toast. Syrup and eggs do not go together. Syrup and bacon or sausage do not go together. You may say, "but it all ends up in the same place". My reply to that might be to flippantly sing-song back to you, "one of these things is not like the others". Am I referring to yourself, or to the food? Hummm.... you may interpret that any way you choose.

I very rarely like to put gravy on my potatoes. I think this may depend on the type of gravy - but mostly I prefer to just put butter on whipped potatoes. Baked potatoes also require a smidgen of sour cream, in addition to butter. However, gravy on meat is usually okay.

Tart so-called desserts are an abomination, and must be avoided. No one in their right mind can honestly believe that tart pies (key lime or lemon) should be classified as a "dessert". In fact tart foods should be avoided all together! Give me savory or sweet - but hold the tart please. Perhaps this harkens back to the old adage of, "you are what you eat". I have never desired to be labeled as a tart.

I don't like vinegar. Can't stand to eat anything pickled.
I hate tomatoes (texture, taste, and acidic levels - ick!!).
For the most part onions and peppers don't like me very much.
I love cucumbers and radishes - but they don't love me.

Yeah, I suppose you could say that I am a picky or quirky eater (and proud of it). Just remember, they who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks - or is that people who live in rock houses shouldn't throw glass? Whatever!! At least we all acknowledge that the world is full of weirdness. And now I have brought a small portion of my weirdness to you!!

Ramblings and a bicycle picture

Oh my!! I just revisited my blog this morning, only to discover it has been over a month since I last posted something. Does rambling count as something? Then on with the ramble!!

In my defense, I have actually been busy (for a change). I know that I have been physically active, because my muscles remind me every waking (and sleeping) hour of the day! My yard is slowly emerging, temporarily victorious, from the ongoing battle against weed infestation. I have also planted potatoes in the newly plowed veggie garden spot. As for other veggies or flowers, not for a few more weeks until we pass the supposed "frost danger zone". I would hate to have my efforts decimated by an all too common early May frost.

This week I have successfully been weening myself away from wasting massive hours playing online computer games. They served an important mindless purpose this past winter, keeping me from sinking into total insanity during the surgery recovery time. However their at first tenuous grip on me managed to tighten, as I unwittingly increased the number of online games to play. No more, I say! I shall regain my freedom from game enslavement!! This past week I have actually spent some wondrous time reading a book (wonder of all wonders - I haven't forgotten how to read!!).

Now on to the most important of all news... after 22-plus-years of being bikeless (haven't had one since I was in Japan, serving as a missionary in my early 20's) - I have purchased a bicycle!! Not just any bicycle - but one who's design hearkens back to a more simpler time. It is a pure delightful combination of retro styling, and modern technology (see photo stolen from the internet below).

Notice it actually has front and rear fenders - an uncommon anomaly in today's version of bicycles. I can also sit upright on a non-wedgie giving seat like a human while I ride, rather than hunched over reaching for handlebars placed in an un-natural position. I'm not sure yet what I will do with all the 24-gears it comes with, but am sure I can find something. Now I just need to get a basket for the front (sans flowers please), and a bell (to warn people I'm a commin')!!

All things near and dear to us should have a name (even inanimate objects). I will be accepting suggestions for bicycle names, should you feel so inclined.


I believe that have finally discovered what my purpose in life is...

Oh, honey bee

This morning I was reminiscing (the older one gets - the more likely the habit). Actually it was reading a blog entry from a friend (click here) that got me to reminiscing. Something was mentioned about black stripes - and I started to laugh out loud.

You see, my Dad was a bee keeper for a number of years - needless to say, during that period I did not spend much time in the backyard. Anyway, one day while walking home from school with a friend (I was either in Jr. High or High School) - I noticed some honey bees gathering pollen from flowers in our neighborhood.

"Look! Those are my Dad's honey bees!"
"How do you know they are yours?"
"See those black stripes? We paint them on the bees right after they are born - so we can identify which bees belong to us."
"Really? That's cool. How do you do that?"
"We use a really small paint brush."

Yeah, she actually believed me! Still makes me laugh to this day. And no, I will not reveal the identity of my friend, nor what color her hair was!


With each passing moment it is creeping ever closer - heavy footsteps of its approach echo relentlessly in the hallways of my mind. The "it" I am referring to is the dreaded spring daylight savings time change (which is always much worse than the one in the fall). Worse because it causes me to lose an entire hour of precious sleep (what could be worse than that?). Yes, I could just go to bed an hour earlier (pretending that the time change has already happened). But I think going to bed early like that must be against my religion. I am trying to find supporting mention of this belief in the scriptures - I'm sure it must be in there!! All I need is to be more diligent in reading from them every day, and I shall soon discover words of support.

I do admit that there are a few positive things that this yearly time change event heralds - the fast approaching gifts of spring. I think that I mentioned in a previous posting that spring is one of my four favorite seasons. It is spring that brings with it a total renewal of life, finally awakening from the slumbers of winter's chill. How I anxiously await the tiny leaf and flower buds bursting forth everywhere you look. Sunshine is warmer, and remains longer in the sky as the days slowly extend the blessed hours of light to the northern hemisphere.

When I think of spring, I think of newborn baby animals (puppy's being among my most favorite). I think of plowing and planting crops in the freshly turned earth (corn on the cob to mention one) - crops to be feasted upon in the upcoming months. I think of wildflowers stretching their flowered heads towards the sky - and bees busily humming as they eagerly harvest the pollen nectar. I can hear birds singing their songs of nest building, and laying eggs in every assorted color - from which will burst forth some of God's beautiful creatures. Butterflies are emerging from their cocoons - spreading their colorful wings to fly past - while I stare in shear wonderment at their grace and beauty.

Okay, perhaps the approach of daylight saving change isn't as bad as I may think. After all, it is one of the hallmarks announcing the coming of spring!

Hello birdie!!

On my drive home, I often see a bird of prey (a falcon or hawk) perched high above the freeway on one of the light posts. I like to imagine the bird is there to greet and welcome me on my homeward journey. Or perhaps it is just there to view with curiosity and amazement the strange metal objects hurtling past at breakneck speeds. However, I suspect this bird is merely on the watch for field mice in the large grassy enclosed area, that is often created with an intersection between two freeway systems.

I usually greet warmly the stately bird - and offer up a wish for a good hunt. In the back of my mind I swear that I can faintly hear a personal return greeting - conveyed mostly by a regal look towards my car as it speeds past... my friend in the red car is safely on her way home now - all is good in the world - now I can go forward with the hunt.


It is always nice to be invited into the home of those with large and loving families. My definition of a "large family" is one with three or more children. I grew up with only one brother - but he and I from day one were never close in any sense of the word. He left home when I was about age 14 – but long before that (due to choices he made to separate himself from the family unit)... I often thought of myself as an only child in many respects.

I have often experienced the green-eyed monster I call "envy" of those who have sisters (I always wanted a sister). Growing up I loved the chaos and noise found in the homes of those with multiple siblings. Don't get me wrong - I was most fortunate to grow up in a home that was a fairly quiet and peaceful place in which one could totally unwind from the cares of the day. My parents worked hard at creating this environment of peace. In fact as a kid, some friends with large families who came over to "play" would sit down and actually fall asleep.

Now that both of my parents have passed away and I am alone, my home is even more quiet and peaceful - which I truly enjoy. I love being at home. However I have to express the thought that it is nice to get out and interact with others in a family gathering. I don’t usually understand the long-standing family inside jokes - but the shared laughter is always a bright spot.

One could say that I do have some "sisters" - they take the shape of neighbors and close friends. But as much as I love and deeply care for them - for some reason it doesn’t seem to be exactly quite the same as having a life-long connection with another person that is filled with shared experiences. Perhaps I am trying to elevate the whole concept of having a blood sister into something that it is not in real life. But to those of you who do have sisters, I say... cherish them on whatever level you are able to.


I like winter. It is one of my four favorite seasons of the year - the others being spring, summer and autumn (listed in no particular order). What is it about winter that has me taking keyboard in hand to express feelings about it? Top of the list would probably be... no yard work required!! Except for brief episodes of snow shoveling, winter is a time of sweet respite from the labor intensiveness of other seasons. Here are a few of my other favorite winter things...
  • cold days and even colder nights
  • frosted or snow covered branches on trees
  • turtle necks and fleece
  • ear muffs and gloves
  • snuggling under a blanket reading a book
  • hot chocolate and a good movie
  • warmth and comfort of a wood fire
  • the sounds of winter...
    - how sound carries so clearly on a cold morning after a storm
    - muffled stillness during a snow storm
    - show crunching when walking on it
    - the sound of snowflakes falling (yes, there is a sound)
Winter weather also helps to better justify my home body tendencies - I simply love being at home. The best vacation I have taken in years was a week "staycation" this past summer. In the winter, no one questions your mental state when you stick close to home. Try that in the summer, and your friends start slipping you names of mental health professionals and self-help books to read.

In the future, I will probably write other blog postings expressing my feelings about spring, summer or autumn - and why I like those times of the year so much. But for now I must reiterate that... I like winter.