Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Life is Short

We’ve all said it, we’ve all seen it and some of us have experienced it much too close to home but it is a lesson learned no matter how it is presented to us.
                                  Life is short……whatever you are planning……..do it now.
                                                Well, at least as soon as you possibly can.
I hear it now more than ever as I am stepping into my 6th decade of life. It wasn’t until I started talking seriously about retirement that I heard friends, family and loved ones tell me “don’t wait, go as soon as you can make it happen”.
I know it is true and we all have a different format for which we base our final decision of follow through. No matter what our plan, there are hoops to jump through, finances to put in place and a process to follow.
Within the last two years, I’ve heard of freak accidents and other situations involving friends that cost them their lives. One where a simple trip and fall on a 3 step entry caused a perfectly healthy 55 year old man to pass away within hours.
A girlfriend lost a brother AND a sister, within months of each other, both passing suddenly in their 50’s just before becoming empty-nesters, a custodian after 25 years of employment within arms reach of retirement due to heart condition and just last week a good friend of my sister and brother-in-law was found dead of a heart attack at 50.
R.I.P                                                     It is too soon, way way too soon.
There just isn’t a golden age any more where we should start doing, doing, doing. It is all about living in the present.
I’ve had three (3) close calls myself, just in the last month and thank goodness that covers the wives’ tale that everything comes in 3’s.
I’ve tripped on a craggy rock in my back yard and fell flat on my side from standing height just missing another rock within inches from my head.       Unscathed other than a tender upper shoulder.
Craggy rocks around our pond
I’ve had a horrible experience with a dizzy spell (vertigo-like) at work putting me out of commission for 30 minutes. Witnesses were afraid I was having a heart attack. No clue what caused that but it is freaky how I could have fallen off the dock had I been alone without my friend to grab onto.
And while it was happening, in my head and vision, I truly thought I was saving her life as well as mine!

Third, I’ve experienced a close call accident which could have rendered me disabled if not dead had I not been paying attention. Still not close enough attention, apparently, I was reactionary enough to stop my vehicle within 2 feet of the ‘perpetrator’.

It wouldn’t have mattered much that they were in the wrong now would it?

With just under a year for Bill and I to both reach retirement, (don’t think we haven’t crunched the numbers for an even earlier date) we are trying to live right, stay well and tread carefully in our everyday lives.
If something is going to happen, most likely we will have no control but we are trying to be cognizant of our surroundings at all times in all situations.
This weekend, I am spending a couple of quality days with my 5 sisters and an afternoon with our mom. We get together once a year, just us, and laugh and enjoy each other’s company to the fullest. We enjoyr the moments we are together. There is no stress, not too much committment but simply a true bonding of togetherness and love. I don’t want the regret of not having joined this small amount of time, just in case.
Livefortoday1So, in closing, I kiss the ground (figuratively) each morning, whisper a thank you to the powers that be above or wherever they are, appreciate each day as it comes as well as try my best to turn a sad face into a smile with everyone I meet.
I hope you can do the same.images
Thanks for stopping in! I know many of you are doing just the above and have already taught me a thing or two about moving in this direction. Thank you for that!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Don't! Please indulge me my own Advertisement.

It doesn't take a genius to understand that smoking is not good for us. It isn't just one of those wives' tales that our moms told us when we were growing up. That one is a real honest to God dangerous habit, one that you may not pay for until very late in life.

Drugs, are another dangerous habit. I'm not talking weed (marijuana) although that is addicting in itself but instead I am referring to methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine. I feel a wee bit knowledgeable today in particular about this subject because I just attended a professional development day and walked away with a vivid picture. One of my sessions was called Gangs & Violence. That in itself is scary enough but what got me more were the after affects of meth use within a year.

Crack cocaine
I didn't know the difference from crack cocaine and cocaine until today. One is broken down into a powder and often mixed with simple household powders like baking soda and then sold. The other is more a wax-like hard nugget substance that needs to be heated for use. When I saw a picture of a young women before and after a year of meth use,

A true life picture

I felt sick to my stomach that this drug is out there on the street and how harmful it is to our population. I have grandchildren out there living around this day in and day out. My life as a young person was never subjected to such temptations, not 'in my face' anyway and I can only pray that our young'uns stand strong against it

 Some of the things I was warned about. I was told "don't hitchhike" (I tried it twice, both equally scary-I guess Mom was right), "don't smoke" (tried it thrice-didn't like being sick from looking cool), "don't go barefoot until May 24" (woops!), "wear sunscreen" (hmm, don't use baby oil laced with Mercurochrome?), "sit up straight, don't hunch!" (got this one GOLD!) and the list goes on. I have to give her credit, she was a smart lady and I've learned a lot from her. Pretty innocent warnings, really.

Back to the bad habits, namely smoking. Aside from not being one to break rules (for any length of time at least), it wasn't my mom who convinced me not to smoke. It was my dad. Daddy smoked at a very young age, his story of 'out behind the barn rolling his own from 12 yrs. old' stays with me. He was a farm boy and I'm sure worked hard to help around the place before and after school. I don't believe there were warnings out there in the 1930's, instead the tobacco companies encouraged you to try a Lucky Strike, a Pall Mall or a Camel. Do you remember these ads?

"I'd walk a mile for a Camel"
Can you believe this?

Even the ladies were encouraged
to get in on the habit.
Pall Mall

My dad rolled his own for a lot of years. I can remember  sitting at the table watching him pull out his pack of papers, spreading the tobacco in a line, rolling a cigarette and wetting it to seal. I was young and I was impressed.

I'm not impressed now with smokers and wish my dad hadn't smoked all those years. Each one being a silent nail in his coffin, so to speak. My father died in his 71st year with emphysema, a battle he fought since he was 50, at least. Not only did he smoke but he was a farm machinery mechanic after leaving the farm and then a small engine repair man, lawn mowers, chain saws etc. You bring it to his shop or our house and my dad fixed it. Never once thinking of the fumes he was inhaling daily. Kind of like the asbestos scare today. Not good.

My children at a young age saw him, sick, on daily oxygen and knew full well that smoking was a huge cause of his disease. I hoped that would be enough to stop them from picking up the habit. It almost did.
When my son was in his early 20's it was like a knife to my heart when I discovered he was smoking. I took the news like a man (!) in the open, only once showing my disappointment to his face but silently prayed he would stop before becoming too addicted. In two years, he stopped and hasn't turned back. He is now a responsible dad himself and has never fallen off the wagon. It was something he had to try, I guess, and kick on his own.

Put It Out!!

Two years ago, I learned that my grandson, at 18, had started smoking. Aarrgh!! A whole new generation to worry about! Again, I showed disappointment once by stressing how his grandfather passed away as a result of the habit and then left it alone. More silent prayers. It worked. On his 19th birthday when his mom and I took him out to dinner, she said "so tell Grandma". I wasn't expecting the wonderful news that after a year, Taylor quit smoking too. Elation!! I can only hope it is for good.

Of my 3 spouses over the past 40 years (OMG! how did I get to be this old?) all of them smoked when I met them. My first husband quit within the first year after our daughter was born. He 'weeded' himself down to a pipe and then stopped altogether. Bravo! My second spouse quit on the patch after smoking a pack a day for at least 30 yrs bm (before me) when I said I hated rolling over and smelling his pillow. No one had ever said that to him before.

Bill, in the years before I knew him well had tried quitting once and succeeded for 6 yrs before going back. It didn't help that his ex smoked like a fiend and every argument that ensued provoked him to reach for one of her smokes. It did help, however, when the Board of Ed put the policy through that no smoking was allowed on the grounds of any Board building. With me, the day we started a firm relationship in Feb. 1996 he stopped smoking cold turkey. That is amazing!  so proud of him. Never having smoked like that, I still know it takes a lot to break that habit and can't give enough credit when someone quits.

I'm not a saint though, as I mentioned earlier I have broken a few rules too. Really! Sun and sunscreen.......I know what we are 'supposed' to do but for me the sun is my addiction. I know I could have avoided some of the wrinkles and saggy skin had I heeded in my earlier years and every once in a while I tell myself "its not too late to start avoiding the sun!" but I'm drawn to it. *sigh*

My youngest grandson and granddaughter are 5 yrs old. I can't even imagine what temptations they will face in 10 or 15 years. We can only stress to a certain degree what to touch and what to avoid, who to befriend and who to distance themselves from. They will make their own decisions using the information we provide them with and we hope they are the right ones.

I try to post something once a month  so had to come up with something. Thanks for reading!

Don't hesitate to comment if you wish, it would be nice to know who is following!

Take care and stay smoke-free!