Life is Out to Get Me

So we’ve packed the car with Pull and Peel Licorice, Tootsie Pops, something from the salty food group, lots of Diet Pop, and off we go on our road trip. BUT we can’t get out of our parking space because some assholes are parked an inch away from both bumpers, all our tires are flat and the car won’t start.  We are going nowhere!  In situations such as this, I cycle between rage and despair and neither gets me even close to problem solving. This last week has been an exercise in practicing patience, and learning that rage and/or despair are not conducive to serenity or problem solving.

It all began Saturday, November 17th at 12:30 p.m. in the middle of the intersection of College Avenue and Swallow Road. I was in one of two cars that met in the intersection and my forward motion was abruptly stopped. Nothing like the sound of a car being crunched. I was O.k.the other driver was O.K. (Thank God),  but our cars were not. I was able to get my car off of College, the busiest street in Fort Collins, but the crunch impeded turning my right front tire more than a few inches. After the police came to visit and assess people and cars, the other driver was cited for an improper left turn and my car was towed to a lot awaiting an estimate and repair. 

It gets worst. Snafus with the claim with State Farm, and State Farm determined that their driver was 85% liable and I was 15% liable. I was expected to pay 15% of repair and rental car. How is  liability divided like this? Why not 90% for their driver and 10% for me. Or even better—100% liability for their driver and 0% for me. Fed up, I filed a claim with my insurance and asked them to fight it out with State Farm. I needed a rental car, so since last Tuesday, 1 week ago, I am on my third rental car. One was too big, one had a leaky tire and finally today I found a car that is just right. I am feeling like Goldilocks, but my fingers are crossed.

On the tip of my tongue is a good whine: Why is everything always so screwed up for me? A sure path to resentment is feeling like bad luck always hits the bullseye on my backside. Is God or the Universe really paying the shit forward to only me?  I have thought about this theory and have concluded I am not that important for so much personal attention focused on my ledger of positives and negatives.

 It’s not personal!  Rage and despair are not my only options when things don’t go the way I think they should. I will have some more stories to tell after this experience and maybe it will seem funny even. I deal with it, do the next right thing and keep it in perspective. I remain calm and carry on. Shit Happens!

Midterm Elections

I lost the election. I didn’t ride the blue wave, nor did I claim a seat in the House of the Homeowners Association. There will be no recounts, but I am suspicious of election fraud. The biggest fallout from the election is my sense of shame at losing, and rage at the current board President who is not “doing the right thing”.  You know how it feels when you are the last person picked to be on the team, that’s how I feel.  It’s all about power, who has it and who doesn’t. If you don’t have a seat at the table you may only get scraps. Cynical? Maybe.

Power, what is it and who has it?  power: the ability or right to control people or things

Some people are powerful because the electorate has voted them into power. Some people are powerful because they have billions of dollars, they buy their way into power.  Some people are powerful because they have superior physical strength. I don’t have enough votes, bucks or physical strength, so what power do I have? I have to think about this because it’s hard to see myself as powerful.

Lately I keep hearing “words matter”, I think this means that words can be powerful. I know that some writers and speakers have moved me to tears, laughter, awe, or rage. I read or hear their words and I am inspired to open my heart and/or my mind. I may take action in response to what I read and felt. Words that inspire are very powerful. The influence that a well written piece or a good speech can have is not easily measured, but we have all felt it. In the current social climate I can only hope that the truth is more powerful than propaganda. Are words of love and tolerance more powerful than words of hate and racism?  Are my words powerful? You decide.

Kindness can change the course of a day or even a lifetime. A hand offered in kindness can save a person in despair or stop a fist raised in anger— that’s powerful in my view. When words are being spewed at us, kindness may be the last thing we think of, but we do have the power to pause and consider our response. Kindness is soft and quiet but wields more power than hard and loud anger or indifference. Speak softly and carry a big stick. Theodore Roosevelt,   “carry a big stick” part means be willing and able to defend yourself if you have to. Pragmatic power! I worry the “big stick” would be too available and may not be the last resort.

I don’t have the power to change other people. Oh, how I wish I did. My power lies in being able to control my own actions and attitudes, and much of the time I can’t even do that. A work in progress for sure. Another view of power is “Knowledge is Power”. I am kind of an egg-head so I subscribe to this theory. The danger is that my  “knowledge” may lead me to think I know best, or if I just know enough I will be able to stop bad things from happening. And then we have the school of thought that what you don’t know can’t hurt you. It’s all very confusing.

Power (plural:powers)  The Powers are an order of angels in the hierarchy of angels. The Powers have power over the devil and can prevent demons from harming anyone. They can help humans repulse temptations too. Now this is real POWER.

Sing the Chorus with Me

I am writing a song.  If you’re thinking, “I didn’t know Danita knew how to write a song”, you’re right! I don’t have a clue, but I do have a teacher, a great deal of motivation and something I need to say. I have gotten this far, 66 years old as of Halloween, and it seems to me that making a life is all about learning, having mentors and teachers and lots of motivation. I’ve got a sharp pencil, a good eraser and blank music sheets.  I have good hearing but I doubt I have what’s referred to as a “good ear” for music; what I do have is “”me” and the desire to write my song come hell or high water . I don’t have to create my song as much as I need to uncover it and write it down.”I got the music in me.”

Lyrics and a melody are the first elements of a song. I play banjo so I use a  scale on my banjo to find notes to arrange into a melody. Those years of piano lessons really pay off now and I can use my keyboard too. Notes is notes whether on a banjo or a piano. Mozart, Bach and Lennon and McCarthy all had the same raw materials to work with but their music is vastly different. Of course I will not ever be in such talented company. Do I want to write my song country, or rock and roll or folksy? I could rap it, but banjo and rap do NOT go together. I want to use Adele and Lady Gaga as my muses. The song in me is one of a kind, boisterous and wonderful. I may write a bad song but the cost of not writing even a bad song is too high.

So I play a note and question how it fits in my song and with my lyrics. Which pitch is better-like an eye exam, “1or 2?” fiddling with the lens and again “1or 2?” These choices get the doctor to the best correction for my eyes and this seems to work for writing my song too. There have been lots of times in my life when I have been unconscious of myself in the world, but I am very conscious of my process right now. I am closer to the end of my life and wasting moments is turning my back on myself. When is now.

There’s a mess on my kitchen table, which is always the epi-center of my home.  My keyboard, my music sheets, my lamp and that ever present cup of coffee. Oh yeah there’s also some beads that I am threading unto the fringe of a cowl I crocheted.  My banjo is in its stand next to the table. I sit in the chair that gives me the best view out the window and let my fingers do the talking. A lot of the time I sit and look out the window and listen to the sounds in my head  I hope I can channel onto my music sheets. 

What’s the point? The chances of my song becoming a hit song are 1 in a million, unless of course Lady Gaga sings it. It’s an experiment, it’s learning something new, and right now it gives me joy. Reason enough. It does seem to be banging me on the head lately, Sing Me!

My Star was born a long time ago and my light is finally reaching the earth. We are all stars, everyone of us. Join me on the chorus!

Irish Twins

My brother Neal and I are the same age from Sept 14 to October 31. Let’s just say we are both Medicare eligible this year. The other day I introduced my brother to a co-worker and explained we were the same age for 6 weeks of the year. She said they call that Irish Twins. This was news to my brother and I, but I liked the name, it sounded endearing, and I  wondered what the source of the name was.  I was surprised to find out that the term was rather derogatory.  “Irish twins” is actually an insult. The term was used to ridicule Irish immigrants who were low on the totem pole.

From the Urban Dictionary: Firstly, the term pokes fun at the stereotypical fertility of Irish Catholic families, which traditionally do not use birth control. In addition, it implies that the Irish lack the ability to plan ahead or control themselves, having children in quick succession rather than responsibly spacing them. Finally, it suggests that the Irish do not understand the medical definition of twins, which involves two children conceived and born together. 

Not very flattering is it? We did come from a large Catholic family, but not Irish— actually  from German and Bohemian stock. My parents most certainly did not use birth control as Neal and I are members of a crowd of 13 siblings. I would never call my parents irresponsible, just rather devout Catholics who followed the no birth control pill edict of the Catholic Church. Whatever the religious and cultural values of our rural farm neighbors, most comments that were made mentioned the “two in diapers” or  “ that was quick”. I can’t speak for my brother, but I thought it was pretty cool to be the same age for part of each year. I still do.

There are a couple of photos of Neal and I: in a crib together or proudly standing together with a tractor tire as a background. I do remember a couple of episodes of giggling in church. We did get the giggles fairly often. Because of the cut off birthdays for assigning grades in school, we were in different grades.  Neal’s “footprint” in school, especially high school was bigger than mine. He was popular and dated all the pretty girls and was into sports. He married his high school sweetheart who is the light of his life and a wonderful, much loved member of our family. My life wandered a bit but I found love too. 

My brother visited for a few days last week and I still like him!  In high school he yelled at me( under the influence?)as I came into the gym “Hey Sis!” and I gave him a small wave. I liked his attention.  What I know for sure is that we have the luck of the Irish because we are Irish Twins. I am so lucky.

To Plug or Unplug?

On my kitchen counter is a basket I use to corral all of my charging devices: phone, iPads, Fitbit, Waterpik, etc. Its a tangled web of plugs and cords but they are in one location so I can  locate what charger I need for what device. Oh shit! I only have 10% battery charge on my phone. What does my phone charger look like? I plug one end into the outlet and the other  into my phone and the magic little light says my battery is charging.  Crisis averted! It’s like  Star Trek Captain Kirk tells Scotty “I need full power” and Scotty says “Aye, Aye Captain.” and off they go where no man has gone before. 

So am I addicted to my electronic devices? Just because I become very nervous when I realize I left my phone at home, or the internet is down, doesn’t mean I can’t do my day without them. Of course I can be a social techie user, I can control myself and use like normal people. One hour on my IPad  doesn’t mean I will be unable to stop….  I think I may be self medicating! I am running from something or I have a hole in my soul I am trying to fill. I don’t have a charger or any power source to plug into, how do I recharge myself?

If watts or volts of electricity can’t power me up, I need to think about what can. Unplugging from worry and resentment allows me to rest my mind and experience some peace. I meditate every day for at least 10 minutes and usually I will feel more clear headed when I am done. I worry about checking out too much and just hiding and isolating from life. I just realized that overuse of my electronic devices serves the same purpose— I can isolate and hide from life. Damn! That means I need to find some balance of plugged in and unplugged, but living in balance is not one of my strengths.

Taking a walk is one way I know to recharge my soul but still feel at peace. Life is a marathon, so resting and recharging means I can be ready to run when I want to. Regularly allowing my muscles and mind to rest gives me a reservoir of energy to draw on. Constant stress and power surges increase the amount of cortisol in my body.  I am simply overloaded with bad ju-ju and my body is so stressed that I can’t respond anymore. Too much of anything is not good for me. I can eat to give my body energy but if I overeat I am a lethargic sofa slug. When my phone or IPad is 100% charged, leaving it plugged in for 24 hours more will not increase the charge more than 100%.

I wish I knew where the sweet spot of energy use and energy recharge was. Until then I will just need to experiment and keep my devices charged up. Put me on a desert island with no electricity and I would still try the tin can and string Walkie talkie to reach you!

Raspberries and Toads

There are times when life brings together two words which appear to be totally unrelated. Toads. Raspberries. Friendships formed with nothing in common. The “odd” couple that defies the rules of engagement and cultural expectations. The bond or connection that is real and felt strongly, but can’t be explained because similarity or shared culture are absent. Trust me, raspberries and toads do fit together, so follow me….

My sister, who lives in Alaska, is fortunate to  have a “public” raspberry patch in her neighborhood.  She picks them, eats many on the spot, and brings some of the sweet and tart fruit home.  Unfortunately she blames her raspberry picking, and all the  reaching and straining, on a muscle pull in the middle of her back. Besides the thorny bush, there is a cost to picking raspberries! A few days after she told me her story I was walking on a path behind houses in my neighborhood and I spotted a raspberry patch in a “public” yard. I smiled and mused how many times I had walked past it and not noticed it. My hand reached for one of the raspberries and I smiled as I ate it thinking of my connection to my sister thousands of miles away.

So that’s the raspberries, but what about toads? Labor Day weekend I had family visitors and  we decided to walk through the sculpture park in Loveland. Walking at a leisurely pace we viewed and discussed each sculpture. There was a frog sculpture and the question was posed “What is the difference between a frog and a toad?”  My answer was “ You know toads have bumpy bodies like raspberries.” Whoa!!  There’s  the connection!  I know I have a million bits of memory stored just waiting for the opportunity to connect with something. Missing pieces are filed away just waiting to be needed again.


The connection between toads and raspberries is really part of a much larger connection I share with family. We are connected by blood, but what really counts is our connection by love. We walked at our own pace through the sculpture park and walk our own pace through life. One of us may lag behind, but family “waits up” so we can all walk together. If someone runs ahead we know they will circle around and join us again. Family does have an “I” in it so we are all individuals , but family is a indivisible bond.

connection :

c : a relation of personal intimacy (as of family ties) 

Breaking News

We have breaking news, this just in.….We are all going to die. Physical and emotional pain will happen to all of us. Some days are better than others. And truth isn’t truth.  I must confess that I get a little thrill or trepidation when I hear the announcement  We have breaking news.… I am a news junkie and I am speaking literally not figuratively!  I can ride the gym recumbent bike hard if I am focused on MSNBC on TV or on my phone. Sweat pours off me as I am focused on how f-upped the world is. I am incredibly biased against Trump and am very over-invested in his political ruin. There is a lot of breaking news about Trump. I know because I pay close attention.

Should I be worried about my news addiction and my obsession with the current, sad state of U.S. politics.?  I am a little bit worried or I would not even be asking the question. When I hear from my friends who say they binge watched a series on Net Flix,I feel better, but then I remember they did use the word “binge”and I realize that I binge on the news. I am insatiable for current political news so I am acutely uncomfortable if I don’t have access to it. What’s the deal?

If my focus is on the news, what am I not paying attention to? My mind is filled with news bites and headlines so it’s too crowded for much else. What is my emotevation——what emotion motivates me to bury my head in the news feed? Fear is a primary motivator for me, so knowledge, or current news is power over fear. Nothing happens in the Trump Administration that I don’t know about. I am informed, an expert, but I can still be surprised, shocked and disgusted by the news. There is simply no way to insulate and isolate myself from the “bad news” in my life. Breaking news can break my heart: my husband dies or my sisters get cancer, and I am way past the halfway point in my life. My dreams of being a famous author or a dancer are old news now. 

What if “breaking news” are also the moments when life shows me something new or I am surprised by beauty or joy? Am I looking for good news or bad news? This morning I saw a hummingbird flitting around a bush, breaking news for me and it was good news. I enjoyed the sight and felt gratitude for seeing the hummingbird. Then there was a cute dog to see, a smile on a friendly face and a nice breeze—all news to me. When I was a young girl I used to pretend that I was a newscaster, I had a desk and looked into the “camera” to report the news. Even then I felt the power of news. I wanted the truth to be told, to expose the lies, to talk about heroes and storms. Today I still want to know “What’s going on?”