Day 19

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The blogging challenge is challenging but not impossible. It’s not impossible to find something to make a comment about for 30 days in a row. But today is only day 19. There is still time for me to drop the ball.

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On day 19, however, that’s not my concern. My concern is this – can I conquer the fear that constantly dogs me.

This blog, up ’til now, has been a place for me to put into words the thoughts that swirl in my mind and my observations about stuff that happens in our world. That’s it. I offer no expertise on any topic. I can’t help anybody lose 20 pounds in 10 days. I can’t help anybody get rich in 5 easy steps. I can’t help anybody get published. I can’t help anybody find inner peace through spiritual advice. I can’t wax poetic about anything political. All I do is share what I’m thinking. But it is with much trepidation every time I share.

Here, at day 19, I either have to get over this block, this fear of sharing what I’m thinking, or find another blog format. I’m a good cook. I could blog about food. I used to be a great gardener. I could blog about plants.

There was a time when I wasn’t scared of much. I’d launch into projects and projects would turn into businesses and all heck would break lose, in a good way, but I was never afraid. The only thing on the line then was money. I’ve never been afraid of losing money or any thing.

So what’s on the line now? When I was a youngster I must have been a hellion because my daddy would look at me in exasperation and say, “What will people think?”

Is that what I’m afraid of ? How do I get past the fear of what people will think about what I’m thinking?

 

 

 

 

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Longterm Care Insurance?

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“Many baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, are expected to fall so far into poverty trying to provide themselves with paid care that they will qualify for Medicaid — the medical care for the deeply impoverished.” … from an NPR special series, Family Matters.

Well that’s pretty dismal.

My husband and I fall right in the middle of the boomer timeline. We’re at our peak, career-wise, activity-wise, and probably health-wise. We’re just now getting around to actually doing things that we’ve been talking about doing for years. Fun things. Things that people better do before the odds of good physicality and mentality aren’t in their favor. It’s hard to ignore the ticking clock as key birthdays come and go faster and faster each year.

Since we’re just now getting around to the fun things we have also decided to address the elephant in the room that is our AARP eligibility status. Neither of us is a member although I have played one on TV. (I really did … I had a fleeting appearance in an AARP commercial once … best paying gig I ever had.) By addressing the elephant we acknowledged that it’s likely we’ll live long enough to need someone else to take care of us. And with that acknowledgment we decided we didn’t want that “someone else” to be either of our sons; not that they’re not great and caring human beings.

My parents had long-term care insurance before anybody ever heard of long-term care insurance. My daddy was quite the planner. He died before he ever needed the insurance, but it was there and it was a comfort to him. My mother still has hers and it’s likely she’ll need it. There’s no telling how much money they have spent over 30 years of paying the premiums. I guess I could do the math but I’d rather not.

My aunt and uncle were amused that my parents were insured for so long and they would chuckle when the topic came up in conversation over the years. My gentle aunt would quietly say, “If the day comes when I need a nursing home, Charles will just have to take me out in the yard and shoot me.” And they would all just laugh and have a good time. It was my aunt who could’ve used the insurance the most, as she, and her beleaguered family, battled her Alzeimer’s for over a decade. But she couldn’t have known that the odds were going to be against her.

So it was last year that my husband and I decided to bite the bullet and buy the insurance. It’s expensive but I’ve tried to soften the blow when the premiums are due, his quarterly, mine twice a year, by setting aside money every month. I know we’re fortunate to be able to buy the insurance; hopefully our minds and bodies will hold out for a long time and we’ll be fortunate enough to not need it too much.

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Guest Post: Meet Barb!

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Barb is a food writer, a travel writer, a recipe developer and an artist. But mainly she is my friend. Today she is a guest blogger. You can experience her “art journey” at http://yearofpainting.wordpress.com/ and her artful food blog at http://www.babfeasts.com/.

Here’s Barb …

I Paint

Pat’s blog walks a line of creativity and spirituality without being religious…for me, at least. I don’t know if she means it to be that way, but that is what I find when I read it, and I love it. I think it is down to her lovely writing and her seeking a path. She shares that. I write a guest post today with that in mind.
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I pick up a brush and stare. A blank white sheet of paper stares right back. The water is ready. I have more brushes than I could ever need, “art porn,” as my husband calls it. I have all the colors I could possibly need.

I have a lovely scene I front of me.

And yet.

Sometimes I am hard-pressed to make the first stroke, the stroke that turns the blank page from paper to painting. It is a classic fear of failure. Something in me wants to turn out a masterpiece every time I sit down to paint.

I went to an opening for an art show put together by three acquaintances, and I nearly despaired when I saw their beautiful works and looked at the vast chasm between my paintings and their elegant efforts. A good friend reminded me that I have been at it for just more than one year. They have been at it for decades.

Am I failing?

I go home and pull out my own work. I am nearly 300 pieces In to a year of painting daily..or nearly, at any rate. When I got the idea, I just wanted to get better. I have blogged it every time I painted, with very few missed days.

As I go through them, I see an improvement in my drawing skills for sure. And the truth is. I set out to paint daily, and I have really done it almost every day. It is not a chore. It is a reward.

And if I am really, really honest? I have improved. I have miles–and decades–to go before I get to the level of those paintings that I saw in the gallery, but in the meantime, they inspire me. No need to despair.

A little skill, a lot of determination, plenty of practice and remaining open to learning what I don’t know (and, perhaps, learning it over and over and over again).

Bit of a metaphor for life.

Barb's Art

Maybe Next Year

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The wound is too fresh. Healing takes time, I guess. It’s been six months.

Images of fathers dominate social media this weekend. It’s difficult to look too closely at pictures of my friends’ fathers, those departed and those still celebrating life. It’s easier to not look, to take a break from Facebook for the weekend.

I knew this day would come, just as other difficult days will come – his birthday, their anniversary, Christmas. I had my daddy for 56 years and for that I am so very grateful, but I can’t talk about him this Father’s Day. My throat constricts and tears pool.

There will be a time when I’ll write about my father because he was quite a guy – a loving husband to my mother and a true friend to his friends. But I’ll not write this weekend, because he was my daddy. And he’s not here anymore.

A full moon on Friday the 13th … gotta be good.

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There’s something delightfully scary about a full moon. Odd things happen but you’ve got an out. If you bake your never-fail pound cake for the church bazaar and it falls, blame it on the moon. If your grandmother takes a stroll around the block but forgets to don her shoes, blame it on the moon. If your toddler has a meltdown in the grocery store that so eclipses any previous meltdowns that you’re sure he’s a shoe-in as the star in the next Damien movie, blame it on the moon.

I love a full moon. I’m really hoping that something freakishly cool will happen, so, my senses are heightened, my antennae up; I don’t want to miss a thing.

Friday the 13th is another matter.  As a rule, I’m not superstitious (except when it comes to sailing, and then any sailor worth her salt will hedge her bets and bow to folklore and the forces of wind, water and weather.) The only time I bowed to Friday the 13th was when our younger son was to be born. A Caesarean was planned and d-day was a Friday, the 13th of July. The doctor was hellbent that he be born that day. Maybe he had golf in mind for the weekend and wanted to take no chances should the baby decide to present himself to the world early and interrupt his plans.

I, on the other hand, had a differing opinion. I wanted the baby to be born the following Tuesday. “Discussion” ensued. I won.

Our son was born the next Tuesday, the 17th, safe and sound. I don’t remember exactly how I convinced the doctor to come over to my way of thinking but there’s the strong probability that a hissy fit was part of the equation. I’m not prone to hissy fits, they’re just not my style … there must have been a full moon.

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Life Gotcha Down? ReBoot!

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My husband and I travel looking for adventure and romance. We usually find it.

Lorrie and I travel because we are daughters of the dirt. We have a deep connection to the earth, to terra firma. A connection that’s almost primal. Our journeys always end the same – we vow to package our experiences in such a way to encourage other women to come along with us the next time!

By the time we had returned from a trip to Catalina Island, we had, on paper, an outline of how to share “how we travel” with other women. We even named it – The ReBoot Camp. The purpose being to show women how to reboot their lives through self-discovery, fellowship with others and an intentional effort to get back to the earth, to terra firma.

For us, traveling is ReBooting. It defrags and reorganizes things in the head, gets rid of malicious viruses, revitalizes and infuses new possibilities into life via a clean slate.

Lorrie and I figured we should model The ReBoot Camp after a basic kids camp. After all, what’s better than campfires and canteen? So here’s what we came up with.

1. Craft time – enlist the help of a real artist and create something tangible to take home as a remembrance of a special trip.

2. Campfire – socialize with other women; forge bonds and create supportive friendships.

3. Naptime – spa! exfoliating dead skin and tired thoughts.

4. Canteen – happy hour!

5. Nature – examining the natural beauty of destinations – visiting gardens, walking beaches, rafting, ziplining – the possibilities are endless.

6. Mess hall – the food has to be 5 star; there’s just no way around that.

7. Journaling – self-examination and naming demons. The journal goes home with the camper or she can stomp on it and burn it in the campfire the last night of camp.

At the conclusion of camp, campers have honed their intuition, asserted their independence, collaborated with other women and have had boatloads of fun.

This, we know, is a great “camp” model. Lorrie and I always come home with perspectives that have been altered for the better. We have yet to figure out how to package and launch this camp. Until we do, I reckon we’ll continue on our adventures … just conducting research, of course.

Pat zippin'

 

 

The Sign Says It All

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friends don't let friends eat imported shrimp

McClellanville is a tiny coastal village in South Carolina. Shrimp boats slide in and out of the small marina and some of their catch ends up for sale at the small marina. There’s nothing better than local shrimp. Shrimp and grits is one of my specialties. But today I’ll barely boil the shrimp and maybe serve them up with a little homemade cocktail sauce.

Local, hours-ago-swimming-in-the-ocean, shrimp deserve to be cooked well, with the least amount of fuss.

shrimp $9.50 a pound

 

YOLO

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“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done – yesterday and tomorrow. Today is the day to do just about anything.”

The words of the Dalai Lama, framed on a plaque, were the first things I saw as I entered a home interiors shop today. I took a few liberties with the wording just now. But I like the gist of it.

I’m finishing up plans for a trip in a few weeks to California to see my son. Yesterday I began to think about accommodations. Thinking there could be some funkily awesome airbnb sites in LA, I started looking. Our son’s girlfriend gave me some guidance with geography because I’d like to be close to where they are. As I went through the links she sent it became clear that I’ve waited a little late. Everything in my price range is booked for the time I’ll be there! So, she sent me some more links. And this time she added a couple that were a wee bit beyond my price range – ‘just in case I wanted to look at them.’

Well, look I did, and wouldn’t you know it the first thing I saw is the cutest little bungalow on the beach. You can walk or bike everywhere. The perfect location. And it’s got just the right amount of LA funkiness that I was hoping for. But the price … shoot. My friend, Page, was helping me look through all the airbnb options and heard me whimpering about the price. “Look,” she said. “The difference is only going to be about $200. This place is perfect. YOLO. Book it!”

Huh? YOLO?

She looked at me as though I had crawled out of a cave. “Hello? You only live once?!”

Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that. I even have a “rest of my life” plan that pretty much jives with the YOLO philosophy. But for the immediate, the right now, the today … I admit I don’t do so great.

In the words of the Dalai Lama, there is only today; yesterday and tomorrow don’t count. In the words of my friend, YOLO!  With both of them ganging up on me, I caved – and booked the bungalow. Already glad I did! YOLO, y’all.

YOLO