Ordinary Idioms

So my mind wwalkaboutmindent walkabout recently. Actually, for this ordinary lady, the mind taking a trip is not an uncommon occurrence. I will start down one path (at work or home) and the train of my thoughts will branch off again and again until the original topic is lost.  Tangential thinking I call it. Wandering far afield might be a better explanation.  What can I say, I like where a tangent can take me. Sometimes the trip is fun or vastly amusing. My recent walkabout mind trip was while listening to a guy talking while standing in a checkout line. The guy two customers ahead of me was talking, and talking, and talking. He talked to anyone and everyone. This guy’s speech was filled with idioms. Fairly positive that not one sentence he spoke was a direct statement.

So I am considering all the idioms this man was using when questions started popping into my head. Has anyone ever noticed how often we use animals in idiomatic speech? Where did they come from? Do most of them even make sense? How many have I used? That last question started a list in my head.

  • Blind as a batcatgottongue
  • Busy as a beaver
  • Drunk as a skunk
  • Gentle as a lambsickasadog
  • Poor as a church mouse
  • Scared as a rabbit
  • Stubborn as a mule
  • Black sheep of the family
  • Bull in a china shop
  • Cat got your tongue
  • Cry wolf
  • Let sleeping dogs lie
  • A dog’s lifebullinchinashop
  • Hold your horses
  • Sick as a dog
  • Raining cats and dogs

(The above is not the complete list in my head by any means, just what I could remember when I sat down to write.)

Blind as a bat – point of fact, bats are not blind. That is correct, bats can see, just not perfectly in complete darkness (who can). Bats compensate for the complete darkness with a really great echo location system. So this idiom makes no sense, yet I have used it.

Drunk as a skunk – cannot remember the last time I have seen a skunk belly up to the bar. I did a bit of research on this without definitive results. Some speculate that the term comes from “stinking drunk”. So stinking becomes skunk, because the poor maligned skunk sprays a foul spray when scared or annoyed. Again, illogical, yet I have used it.

Poor as a church mouse – do any mice have riches? Why is a church mouse so much worse off than a field mouse? At least the church churchmousemouse has a roof over his head.  I would think that makes him better off. Yep, I have used this one as well.

Bull in a china shop – Mythbusters busted this one! Amazingly enough the bulls were very delicate footed in the mocked up china shop.  They nimbly avoided the shelves even when multiple bulls were pushed through the shop.

Raining cats and dogs- do not get me started on this one? Was there a tornado? Hurricane? I could not find an origin for this idiom, though some believe its origin is in that after large storms dead animals are washed up in the streets, ect. Reallyrainingcatsanddogs this idiom is sort of gory if you really think about it. Yep, use this one too, but thinking on it might need to remove this one.

The examples can keep going and going. The point this ordinary lady is getting at is why do we need to use animals in our expressions? Ramblings of a mind on walkabout.

Death is Never Ordinary

Each of us throughout our lives will lose to death a friend or family member. Death is inevitable. The old axiom that no one gets out of life alive is the absolute truth of the situation. From the very moment we are born we are racing towards our death. Not the best visual, I know, but still true. Yet, even knowing that death is an inevitability we are often caught by surprise. Some folks have a long life, and others are taken much too soon.

poem-of-lifeMy family recently lost a member, my cousin. He was much too young (only 55), and his loss was unexpected. He was my cousin, but also one of my best friends. We did not live in the same state, did not get to see each other very often face-to-face but we talked at least once a week for the last 35+ years on the phone, text, instant messenger or Facebook.  I remember reading a long time ago that a cousin was God’s promise that you would have a friend for life. R has always been the embodiment of that promise. He has always been the best friend a person could have. He was funny, cheerful, loving, irreverent, bawdy, loud, and persistent. God, he was so easy to love.

Oddly, we were not “born” into the same family. I met R while I was a teen, when my aunt married his Dad. I am pretty sure that R never met a person he could not get along with. It always amazed me how he could pull the most reticent person into a conversation and get them to laugh. The most outrageous things would come out of his mouth at times. He told me once that since we were “step-cousin-in-laws” that it was ok to flirt and be bawdy around me. I remember laughing until tears streamed down my face. Like he needed a reason to flirt? Be bawdy? Not ever! Not sure he had any filters – but he was never mean. From the day we met we were family.

tucked-safelyI remember when R was getting ready to propose to his wife, he was so excited. He was so proud on his wedding day. Then the kids started coming along, and with each one that excitement and pride grew in him. R was definitely a family man. And he loved to brag about his kids. Every achievement was proudly proclaimed. I loved listening to him spout off about how wonderful his kids were. Family for R was pretty broadly defined, eventually everyone he met became part of his extended family.

Often very early on a weekend morning, I would login to Facebook and R would be online. He would send me a message “Good Morning Beautiful, what are you doing up this early?”… Which is funny when you consider that my time zone was three hours ahead of his. Did he ever sleep? R and I would talk about everything and nothing at all. His family, mine and our extended family. I read one of the posts in Facebook after his death that said R was the family historian. I find that insightful. He always knew everything going on. A one stop fount of information. I think he had this information because he genuinely cared, and would ask the right questions. I know he always asked about my kids/husband questions that showed he listened to previous conversations and that he was genuinely interested. He will be genuinely missed.

Death hittimelimits hard.  I find myself lost in thoughts about this wonderful man who was taken from us much too soon. I reach for my phone early in the morning to see if he is online so I can tell him some silly story or another. I have lost others, my grandparents, a son, and a few friends to war. So, I know that this dark time will slowly fill with light again.  It just takes time. Even more than 10 years later I still occasionally reach for the phone to call my grandfather to ask his advice or share something special in my life.  Life goes on, and we keep living, sometimes one breath at a time. So, R, my cousin, my friend, I love you and will miss you until the time we meet again, Rest in Peace.

Ordinary Water Curse

Government quarters are not without their challenges. The biggest challenges I faced as a dependent spouse always happened during one of my husband’s deployments.  This ordinary lady faced many cursed quarters moments over the years. This blog is about the water curse deployment.  I spent a great deal of time actually cursing during this curse.  I look back now and laugh. Back then, it was not that funny. Ok, it was somewhat funny then too. It is always better to laugh than cry! Choose laughter my friends!

The deployment started out normal enough. We said good-bye to our soldier and started the fun adjustment time of moving from a two-parent family to a single parent family. Not sure what trespass I committed, only there must have been one.  A couple of weeks in, I was going through the normal nighttime take a bath/shower routine (ok, fight) with my two boys. It was while the second child was in the shower that I went into the downstairs powder room.

drowning-bathroomIt was raining in the powder room. Water was pouring in through the wall, the ceiling, the vent, and the light fixture. I immediately called in a work order. Calling in a work order for government quarters is  like calling the maintenance folks in an apartment only less reliable. I ended up calling in a work order repeatedly. I came to realize that the water raining into the powder room was from a burst pipe inside the walls taking. This broken pipe was moving the wastewater out of the shower and sink upstairs. So a little over four weeks and about 100 showers later, someone finally showed up to look at the “leak”.  He had the nerve to tell me I should have called the issue in sooner! As if! GRRRRRRRRRRangry-face

Understand that our quarters only had two bathrooms, the powder room on the first floor and the full bath on the second. We had no choice but to use the one and only shower. I suppose we could have avoided showering, used the kitchen sink to clean up? No that is just gross. Therefore, for weeks it rained in the powder room.  Every night after shower time, I washed all our towels so we would have dry towels for the next mop up job.  The powder room was a total loss. The wood cabinet was beyond salvaging, the lights were water logged, and the floor warped.  It took two full days to repair it all.  No water at all in our home for those two days.  I took us to a hotel during the repairs.

Three weeks later, our dishwasher filled the kitchen, powder room, and some of the living room with water. After mopping up, I again called in a work order and proceeded to wait for a response.  At least I could avoid using a dishwasher. I did dishes by hand for about two weeks while waiting for a new dishwasher.

hotwater-heaterA few more weeks later, the bottom fell out of the hot water heater. I kid you not! The whole bottom just rusted all the way around dropping the bottom to the ground. Thankfully, the hot water heater was not in the house, but in a small shed just outside the kitchen door.  It was nearly six weeks before we were the proud recipients of a new water heater.  Six weeks of cold showers, cold-water cold-showerlaundry, and dishes.  The shed thankfully survived, mostly because of the two-inch gap between the walls and the concrete floor. The plants on that side of the house really thrived. I guess they liked a constant supply of water. I had no way to shut off the water trying to go to the water heater without shutting off the whole supply to the house! Who comes up with these freaking designs?

The final straw was the garden hose. Yes, I still had to water the plants on the other side of the house. I was using the hose watering plants and trees when it failed spectacularly. I was drenched. I think I stood there a few seconds sort of stunned speechless. Then I burst into tears and the cursing commenced. I gathered up the hose and tossed it into the dumpster. I was done with water. The plants could survive or not on their own.

For months, I managed to hold on to my sanity (if not my temper or sense of humor) through one water-based crisis after another. Not exactly positive about what finally appeased the curse, but for these small things, I am grateful! An ordinary year made extraordinary by a water curse. Building memories that still can make me laugh aloud at a sequence of very water full events.

water-drop

Ordinary Guilt

Guilt is an interesting emotion. Guilt can have positive and negative ramifications – though most will consider it negative. As a rule, this ordinary lady does not often feel guilty over something that I did (or didn’t do).  Mostly because if I didn’t do it, then there is no need. If I did do something, I probably had a pretty good reason and therefore no need of guilt. Wouldn’t life be great if it always worked that way? Oddly the rare times that I did feel guilty about something were usually times where I had no control at all. Of course, there is even an exception to that as well. So if I am not in charge, did not make the decision to do something a specific way, how come I felt the guilt?

Part of the answer is that I was raised Catholic and being Catholic takes guilt to an art form for many. So maybe I was not that great a Catholic? With the not feeling guilty over the least little thing. Growing up I remember the church teaching/preaching feelings of guilt on a number of topics/taboos including abortion, sex before marriage, masturbation, birth control, divorce, marriage to someone not catholic, not attending regular mass, not agreeing with every word out of the priests mouth, jay walking, talking out loud in class, or any topic of the moment that fits a need of the nun or priest talking. I was a fairly intelligent kid, caught on pretty quickly to the theme. If the religious figure said it was bad and we did it anyway, we should feel loads of guilt. What a crock!

I just could not get on board with feeling guilty about sins I had not yet committed. Or feel guilty about something silly like disagreeing with Sister Mary Catherine about the exact color of a tree. Yep that happens and by the way it really is not healthy to disagree with a nun, they have rulers and know how to use them!  I have never understood why I should feel guilty about something normal such as birth control or sex education classes or disagreeing with someone. Even some of the sins I was accused of couldn’t really get me upset. I mean really, was it my fault in first grade that my long hair moved when I moved my head? Why should I feel guilty over brushing someone’s paper off their desk with my hair? I did not mean to do it. I did not do it on purpose. There was no malice intended. Besides, I sort of think that this falls under one of Newton’s laws right? The law of motion? Sister Mary Catherine thought it was a sin that should send me to my knees.  Sister Mary Catherine had a huge list of sins, most of which are nonsense. I am pretty sure all the nuns tickets1I knew had sin accountability quotas and worked diligently at making sure they made those quotas. Sort of like speeding tickets for the police, nuns hand out a large variety of sin tickets to repent.

On the serious side, guilt can paralyze, cause resentment, and depression.  Each of my miscarriages left me feeling guilty. Truly a painful time that the head and heart cannot seem to adjust to the fact that there was nothing I did or could have done to change the outcome. The failure of my body to carry the baby to term without complications was devastating. In my own head I was guilty of the greatest sin ever, killing my unborn child. Yes, that is absolutely how I saw each miscarriage. Statically, one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. The reasons are many and varied but not often as a direct result of anything the mom did or did not do. The absolution from this guilt was years and years in the making. Still, at times the old guilt haunts me, but my brain is a bit stronger now and can hold off the heart’s insistence that I should be guilty of something.  On the other hand guilt can motivate positive change – though according to Psychology Today, guilt is not the best motivator.

The most memorable time that I truly and sincerely felt guilty and was motivated to change something I had done was when my youngest was six years old just starting out in first grade. Some brain trust faculty member thought it would be a good idea to have a speaker talk to the kids about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. I did not get to see this lecture first hand. I am pretty sure that I would have objected to some of the content if I had. Or at least objected to the fact that the content completely traumatized my youngest son. No one can lay on the guilt trip better than a traumatized child.

When you add in a precocious child that likes to read and knows how to research a topic both online and in a library. A child with a very sharp mind who can ask very pertinent questions you have the makings of a great guilt trip.  This lovely child came home and the trip on the guilt train began. Cue the crocodile tears, wobbly lip and very dramatic dialog. Seriously, I felt like I was on a Hollywood sound stage as part of an unfolding after-school special. The dialog went something along these lines:

Me: hello, how was your day?

Son: (tears, lip wobble, slight sob in voice) you are going to die.

Me: What?

Son: You are going to die! and I will be an orphan with no mommy to see me grow up, and go to college, and get married. I will be all alone! (heavy sobbing here)

Me: WHAT? Who told you I was going to die?

Son: (more sobbing) the lady told us at school, that if you smoke cigarettes you will die, and you smoke so you will die! (barely coherent)cryingchild

Me: I am not going to die

Son: YES YOU ARE, the LADY SAID SO! (hysterical crying)

So, this conversation went on, and on for quite some time (hours, days, weeks even). The whole time my lovely youngest child would sniffle and sob about all the things he was going to have to do without a mom. You know, since he was destined to be an orphan and all. No idea where my husband was in this orphan thought process, but I guess since he did not smoke he did not count. Every day my offspring had some new bit of data or information to toss at me. (Trust me, there is not a nun out there that could have done a better job of guilting me!) So the end result of all this guilt being heaped on my shoulders, I have not had a cigarette in about 16 years. That is right, I let a child of six guilt me into quitting smoking. I suppose there are worse things in life. But seriously, I had to get off that train, the load of guilt was guilt-tripkilling me. Not to mention the child who was up for best actor in the Oscars for that year!

So the moral of this little blog entry about guilt – little kids are as good as or better than nuns at tossing guilt. Seriously, guilt can be a heavy load for an ordinary lady (or man) to carry around. If the load you are carrying is getting to be too much for you, reach out for help. A parent, friend, sibling, pastor, priest, nun (yes even a nun), or a medical professional can provide help. Sometimes simply talking an issue out with someone you trust can make all the difference.  A little guilt is good for the soul, but too much can really damage us.

Ordinary Pregnancy

Being a mother has been the most terrifying and joyful role I have ever taken on. I sit here and seem a bit frozen on what to say about the topic of pregnancy. I know it is extraordinarily important part of shaping the life to this ordinary lady. So I guess I will start at the beginning and see where my rambling leads.

I met my husband at 19 years old. I was on active duty in the Army. My first day of my first permanent duty assignment. We were married nine months later. Yep we met and married in nine short months (a story for another blog I am sure). On our wedding day my mom accused me of being pregnant. She was convinced that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. Even told me that she gave our marriage less than six months. Go mom, nice cheerful things to tell your daughter on her wedding day!

Mom’s heart was in the right place. (That is the only safe thing to believe).  She is just not the greatest at expressing things without offending people. Or maybe just offending me? She wanted me to be happy – my take. Mom also wanted me to know that being pregnant was not a good reason to get married. I could not convince her that I was not pregnant and that I was getting married because I was in love. Nope, she was not going to be convinced. She hated my husband, really hated him. He was a hick, a career soldier type of guy from a family of career military. He had no social skills, etc… the list was exhausting even though I tuned out most of it. Of course he did not help at all. He found the whole thing amusing and actually worked to keep mom’s impression going. He would whistle random tunes at random times. Throw in random “hick” words or phrases like “welp, see ya’ll in the mornin”.  I was not sure if I wanted to smack the crap out of him or roll on the floor laughing at the pained look on mom’s face. Pretty sure my dad caught on to the game almost immediately, but he never said a thing to mom. Dad is the best ever!

So three months after our wedding I was in line at the health clinic. My military unit was scheduled to get our annual flu shots. So there I was standing in line not feeling so hot. Queasy, blah, just feeling all around off. Next thing I know I wake up on a cot with a doctor congratulating me on being pregnant. He told me I was a little over three months along. So first thought that pops into my head – damn it mom was right, I will never live it down now and never ever convince her that I did not get married because I was pregnant. The next thought was the hell I am pregnant – I am on birth control pills! That thought was actually shouted. Out loud, in front of my entire unit, the doctors, nurses. Yep no filter there. In fact I argued with the doctor about his verdict for several minutes much to the amusement of all viewers.

I lost the argument. Let’s face it I did not then or now have a medical degree and therefore not a leg to stand on in the argument. Also, the doctor had blood test results. Sort of difficult to keep arguing (even though I tried). I was pregnant, and angry. Birth control pills were supposed to prevent pregnancy otherwise what is the damn point of taking them? I did not miss any pills, I was not sick during that time. I did not take any other medications that can interfere with the effectiveness of the birth control pills.  Medical science had failed me utterly. I think this was the first time I realized that medical science is not an exact science, more like a best guess sort of science. Damn it all I was too young for kids. My marriage was too new. I was still learning how to be part of a couple and now we were adding a third to our family. It was too much. I remember this time as mostly angry. Anger so hot that it seemed to almost consume everything including my impression of how my husband took the news.anger

I find it odd now looking back that I am not sure how he felt about our impending parenthood. I know he held me when the anger lead to tears. He helped me find a GYN and went with me that first appointment where we listened to the sound of our baby’s heart. But I do not know how he felt and part of me is glad and part is sad because five weeks later at 19 weeks pregnant I had a miscarriage.  Our son died and I blamed myself because I did not want to be pregnant. Was in fact angry that I was pregnant. The loss was devastating. What I had not seen through that anger was my growing love for that life growing inside of me. My 19 year old self shouldered the blame for the death or her son. She did not want a child yet so she wished it away and it happened. It went away. So she killed her child. That is utter nonsense, but to that very young woman made complete sense.

What my 19 year old self did not know was that miscarriages are much more common than many realize. Some statistics say that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. That is 25% folks, huge. The number jumps to 1 in 3 when you count pregnancies before a positive test result. In other words, women lose a child they never knew they were carrying in the first place. Mind boggling really. I am not sure if the knowledge that my 49 year old self has would have really helped that 19 year old. Her path lead me here so it worked out, but I would have saved her some of the pain if I could.

Six months later, shortly have my 20th birthday I became pregnant again. I think I was a little obsessive over this pregnancy. I mean I caused the death of my first child I was not going to make the same mistakes. Again, utter nonsense we cannot wish things away or I would be a skinny little toothpick with all the wishing away of fat cells I have done over the years! (Trust me when I say I am not skinny, more born in the wrong era to be fashionable – Rubenesque yep that is what I am going with!)

This pregnancy did not go the way I had planned out in my head. At 25 weeks pregnant I found myself in an ambulance going from my regularly scheduled monthly appointment to a hospital. Then two hours later in a helicopter heading to a much larger hospital with neonatal facilities. I had a very severe case of pre-eclampsia, where my kidney’s and liver had shut down. In the short period I was in the doctor’s office (before the ambulance) I had gained over 40lbs. By the time I was in the operating room I was up over 100 lbs. Things were critical, my blood pressure was out of control the only choice was to deliver.

Our son, Cody, was born weighing one pound 15 ounces at 12 inches long. The doctors did not have much hope for his survival. Seven days later Cody passed away. Another devastating blow. This time nearly costing my life as well. One good thing that came of this time: my mom got to see my man, the real man. Suddenly the son-in-law she hated was now worth at least two of me. Mom and hubby spent a great deal of time together while I was in the hospital healing. Silver linings are there if you look hard enough, and I need this one no matter how thin it was.

RadiantMy odyssey to motherhood took many hits in the next six years. Overall, I was pregnant seven times. Three live births, with five total pregnancies going far enough to tell the sex of the child. All boys if anyone was wondering – two of which I have raised to adulthood. So for a total of seven years I was the glowing picture of pregnancy woman. Yea, that is what we are going to call it. I think I am still trying to lose the weight from that second pregnancy.

The two son’s I have been privileged to raise were both born in Germany. During both of those pregnancies I was put on complete bed rest. I can tell you, that bed rest in a foreign country is exponentially more boring that one can imagine. Only one television channel in English, and it was about 6 months behind the states. So I took to watching German Soap Operas and making up my own dialog. I am pretty sure that my dialog was much better than the real thing! Beyond my German Soap Operas there were not enough books, magazines, movies or entertainment of any sort to make it through a week, never mind 40 weeks. No family nearby to help out with the little things, cooking, cleaning, laundry… instead I had the USO sending a parade of wonderful women over – strangers every one.

These USO women were a both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that someone was at my home at least three days a week, making sure I was not bored, lonely or trying to do things that were on the “no-no” list. This was necessary because my husband was deployed for both pregnancies, the lucky dog! So, a whole long host of someone’s paraded through my life, rarely did I see the same women more than once every other month. These women cooked and cleaned for me for the entirety of two pregnancies. Wonderful selfless women who gave up their personal time to go to the grocery store, plan meals, and keep my life moving forward in such a way that I did not have to spend those weeks in a hospital bed. Staying in my own home was much preferred to spending weeks in a hospital room.  These ladies helped set up my home so that I had the sofa bed with a real mattress on it. So I could “go to bed” in the evening and spend my days in the living room. I was brought a small refrigerator to use as a night stand in the living room. The small fridge was kept stocked with fresh fruits, veggies, sandwich makings already cut and easy to eat. A tea pot sat on top of the fridge with a variety of herbal teas and plenty of water. Everything I needed was within reach from my prone position.underware

Sounds fantastic doesn’t it? The curse comes when you consider that complete strangers are stripping the sheets off your beds, rummaging through your cabinets to put things away or cook, washing your UNDERWEAR! I am sorry, there is just something that is so many levels of wrong having someone you do not know (and are not paying) cleaning your underwear. Maybe that is just me? No clue, it just sort of bugged me and made me feel helpless. Plus, I spent both pregnancies feeling guilty. Here I was in bed while others did all the work and I did not feel sick. I felt fine, and I guess that is the point, I needed to keep staying fine, so bed rest. But I did not feel sick so the guilt train was running me over and I could not figure out how to get off the track!

In the end, I survived the inadequacies of my body during pregnancy and gave birth to and raised two beautiful boys into two wonderful young men. I would not have wished my particular journey to motherhood on anyone at all (even my worst enemy – if I had one). Though excruciatingly difficult at times I am pretty sure I would not change the crazy path I walked. Life is a gift. I treasure the gift I have been given. I also learned through my many pregnancies to accept that some paths we are lead to are more arduous than seems possible to survive– but as long as we keep moving we can reach the destination. I learned that an ordinary lady can survive extraordinary circumstances to achieve the goal of motherhood. That the destination we reach is not always reached in the way we sought to reach it, but can bring joy just the same.

 

Ordinary Lady Tries to Blog

Blogging is an interesting concept. A place where people can express individual experiences, observations, opinions (yep paraphrasing from dictionary.com). I have considered the idea of writing a blog off and on for a number of years. A walk in the life of a very ordinary lady as it were. But that seems sort of boring right? Who really wants to read about an ordinary lady? So many blogs I have read or hear about seem to be by people with more than ordinary lives. Extraordinary people sharing their extraordinary lives with the peons like me.  So I have always hesitated to even get started on the path to blogging.  I might never have given it a go if it was not for a wonderful young woman I met through my youngest son. This brave soul puts her heart out there for the world on a regular basis in a Blog called “Lady as F—K”. A bit of an eye catching name but a wonderfully written saga filled with humor and creativity (and really much more writing talent that I can ever hope to achieve!) So, here I go, giving this a chance on the premise that if someone who is more than half my age can do it, it can’t be that difficult right? Maybe? I guess we will see. So here is my blog, a story of an ordinary lady.

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I am not much of a writer (says the lady who writes contracts for a living. Really very boring contracts for really very boring things. Contracts are exhausting and written almost exclusively in the passive voice – so I apologize in advance for the very passive writing) (reading is much more fun). And really, who cares how bad the writing of this blog is? I am writing this for me! <grin> Seriously, who cares, because if no one reads the blog at least I have one more thing to dramatically cross off my bucket list! Yes, I have a bucket list – don’t you? If not why not? Surely there are things you want to do/accomplish in life? If not why not? Sheesh slackers! <grin> Oddly, most of the things on my list are accomplished, only a couple more things left. I guess I am going to need to expand that list. I am too young to die, and we are supposed to die as soon as we finish our bucket list right? At least that is what I learned from the movie “Bucket List” with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. I loved that movie, I should watch it again. Wonder if it is on Netflix. Ok, off track now. The list, absolutely have a list – you should have one too, nearly completed mine, must add new items before I kick the bucket much too soon. There back on track!

Interesting thing about a bucket list is that the things you want to accomplish change dramatically as you age. I remember as a teen wanting to conquer the world. Well, at least that is how I would have put it because I was going to be the world’s greatest forensic pathologist! Not reaching too high there at all right? Yes I was a huge fan of the old T.V. show Quincy, M.E. But life has a way of changing who we are and what we want to accomplish. So I did not conquer the world. It happens that I still have a fantastic (to me) life that has had a variety of twists and turns. These twists and turns were at times quite humorous and devastating. I am sure as I take this blogging journey I will be touching on all the extremes and the very ordinary middle of the road that is the majority of my life. A nice happy middle of the road for a very ordinary lady.

So a little about me to begin the journey – I will be turning 50 soon! Oddly, I am excited about that milestone when not too long ago I would have said I was dreading it. Half a century that is old right? Shouldn’t I be sad or depressed? Why do we let outside expectations guide how we feel? The truth is 50 is just a number. I do not feel old, my hair is not all grey. My face is not a road map of lines. I am healthy and getting more so each month. I have a lot of things that I still have left to accomplish it’s not like I am death’s door so what is the big deal. So, hey half a century old and still looking forward to a great many things in the future. ageisanumber.JPGThe ability to look forward as I approach this milestone rather than backwards is a huge accomplishment all on its own. I am learning new things every day. One of my more recent lessons learned is that we each need to celebrate our accomplishment from the past, but live in the now while looking to what the future can provide. I have accomplished a great many things, some large some small. I look forward to accomplishing a great many more.  But I cannot live in the past or the future. If I do not live in the now I will miss those big and small things that bring peace, happiness.

I am a wife, mother, daughter, adopted daughter, granddaughter, sister, half-sister, step-sister, sister-in-law, aunt, one time soldier, dependent spouse, retiree spouse, current employee, leader, team mate (the list is really too long every time I read the draft I added more). I believe that all of us wear a variety of hats or carry a whole host of titles throughout our lives. These things shape us, help us to grow (or I would imagine shrink for some).  How we embrace each of our titles (or avoid) as we move through life is really what matters the most. We can love them or hate them (or both in some cases). The list grows and helps us define who we are to the world, but more importantly to ourselves.

I find the order of my list of who I am interesting. Why did I list wife first? Why not daughter? Clearly I was a daughter long before a wife. I am sure there are feminist cringing at the wife first and those of Freud’s bent would have a field day finding the hidden meaning behind it all. For myself, I do not believe there is a hidden meaning in how I started my list. I am certainly not taking anything away from my feminist leanings. Also, pretty sure I do not have any of the Freud type issues (he was a bit nuts in my humble opinion). I would say that my list began the way it did because even without knowing we are influenced by mainstream media. For whatever reason wife and mother are often listed first for a woman and when I was writing my list I followed a common path. Let’s face it following the common path is in most cases easier.  Not always wise, but easier.

So which of those titles is most important to me? It really depends on the exact moment in my life that I am discussing. Each role played a major part in my life. Some of the roles were short term or barely embraced. Others are ongoing and will likely endure though the rest of my life. The shortest role I have ever taken was that of an active duty solider in the Army. I was on active duty for three years a short span of time that has had a long and enduring impact on my life. That short span lead me to two of the longest roles I have currently in my life that of wife, and of mother. There is a life lesson there – beware of the little things, they get you in the biggest trouble with the longest consequences imaginable! Yes, I am saying that the roles of wife and mother are trouble! Stay single girls, raise umbrellas! Wife and mother are so much trouble, but really more, just more of everything. More joy, more sorrow, more love, more work… just more. Ah who am I kidding, I would not give up any of my roles and I would not have wanted to miss the adventure of being a wife and mother.  I embrace all my roles in life – short and long just so I can enjoy the journey and marvel at where the path leads.