Tuesday, July 29, 2008

All Tuckered Out

I had planned to spend Sunday afternoon puttering around happily in my garden. I had put my sister, Suzanne, on a plane back to Atlanta that morning. We had a great visit and I enjoyed her company immensely, but I was looking forward to getting my house back and to a quiet afternoon with my dogs and my flowers.

I had a little plumbing problem, so my nephew came over to fix it. It took 3o seconds. Duh! He had 20 month old Shannon, my great niece, along. He mentioned that Shannon's mom was working that afternoon and he and Shannon would be doing errands all afternoon. I looked at little Shannon and felt she shouldn't be dragged in and out of a car on such a beautiful afternoon , so I volunteered to watch her for a couple of hours.

Oh, silly me.

Now, for a toddler, Shannon is very good and very sweet. She talks, she laughs, she plays well and thank goodness, she kept her diaper clean for those couple of hours!

She also loves dogs.

Lucy Lou stayed as close to me and as far away from Shannon as possible. I couldn't believe how she squeezed behind my chair when Shannon approached. But, I don't think Lucy Lou would ever nip or try to bit Shannon.

Gracie, on the other hand, has on previous occasions nipped at Shannon - always missing her, thank goodness. However, on this day Gracie was in a better mood and after 937 times of reminding Shannon to stay away from the doggies, it all worked out.

My house isn't exactly child proofed, either. However, Shannon left most things alone. We spent a lot of time outside watching the birds, looking at flowers, playing with a balloon that had floated into my yard. We ate blueberries and had juice. We counted as we went up and down and up and down and up and down my staircase. She can now count to 13! Well, maybe she misses a few digits in between. I marveled at her sense of wonder, how everything was new to her. She loved watching the birds take a drink at the bird bath and giggled with delight when one took a bath. She repeated the color of the flowers and laughed when a snapdragon flower kissed her nose.

When her mom, Pam, came to pick her up I was ready for her to go. Pam suggested we all order pizza and that Patrick join us. NOOOOOOOO! I told her I had a ton of stuff to do (which I did) that I didn't get done with Shannon around. So, we each ordered our own pizzas and off they went.

And I fell exhausted into my recliner. Whoosh! I was toppled by a toddler! I was tired! I realized the last time I watched a child her age for any length of time was when I watched her father at that age. He is now 34. Do the math.

The main reason I never had children of my own is because at the time I should have been having kids I had no patience. None. I knew I could never be the type of mother I would have wanted to be. Older now and with some patience, I wonder how I would do if I would have had the patience I have at 52 when I was 32. I still don't think I have enough, but I did very well with Shannon. Although there were no tears, no screams, no accidents. That made a big difference on how I enjoyed our time together. And, I did enjoy being with her.

Shannon can come and stay with me again. For 2 hours. Maybe in a month or so when I recover.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Happy Nine-Oh, Dad!

On July 23, 2008 my Dad turned 90 years of age! On the 26th we gathered at the health care center where he lives to celebrate.

Above and to the right are his daughters - me, Suzanne & Linda and on his lap is great-granddaughter, Shannon Erin.

Above and to the right are his grandson Patrick and great-grandson, Aaron (Shannon's big brother)

Dad was confused (he has Alzheimer's), but once we got him outside he recognized his daughters (!), sang, enjoyed Shannon and had a good time. Therefore, so did we.

Afterwards, we all went out to lunch (minus Dad) and had a very nice time. Amazing!

Here are some additional pictures of Shannon. I know it was Dad's day, but she is just so darn cute! And, one of me, Aaron and Shannon

Monday, July 14, 2008

Spoiled Rotten

My sister, Suzanne, has always said that if there is such a thing as reincarnation, she would like to come back as a spoiled American house dog.

I tend to agree.

That's my Gracie, with whom I made the huge mistake of letting her sleep with me in the bed. Poor Lucy Lou. By the time I got Lucy Lou I had learned my lesson. She has a nice, comfy doggie bed on the floor next to where Gracie and I sleep.

Notice I said, "Gracie and I?" This 10 pound dog takes up 3/4s of the bed. I kid you not! Plus, she likes to stretch out, jabbing her legs in my back. And, since she insists on sleeping facing the door (to protect me from any intruders who might wander into my bedroom, I have no doubt) I get to experience the oh, so NOT thrill of rolling over in the middle of the night to face a dog butt!

Most nights she starts off wanting to sleep under the covers, curled up next to me. I will admit, on cold winter nights it feels good. I don't understand how she can breathe under there. More than once I have woken up in the middle of the night to Gracie crawling and pawing her way out of the covers, gasping for breath.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Water is Wide

Did you ever hear a song and/or melody that haunts you and you can't find the name of the song or who wrote it? During my life time I have heard two such songs. One I found the name to very quickly. It is the Ashokan Farwell by Jay Unger. This lovely melody was widely used during the PBS series The Civil War. Most people might think it was written during the Civil War, but it wasn't and there is a very interesting story behind it. However, that's another post and you can google Jay Unger if you wish.

I probably heard the music to The Water is Wide in my teens. It took me until my 40s to finally learn the name to the music. It is an traditional Irish or Scottish song, probably brought over here in the 1700s. Even more so than Ashokan Farwell, this melody lingers on my mind. There are several videos below of the song embedded below, some with great slide shows which really compliment the song perfectly. However some versions are over 4 minutes, so, it back and enjoy.

One more thing, the both the Water is Wide and Ashokan Farwell are waltz's and I would love to dance to one of them at my wedding.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference

Seems there is a dispute about who originally wrote this very simple, very powerful prayer which you can read the article by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.

However, after a friend sent me the article, it got me thinking. Not about the dispute. That doesn't matter to me. But, about how important those 27 little words are to me.

Having sat through dozens of 12-step meetings where this prayer has been discussed in detail, picked apart and analyzed, it is amazing to me how important and meaningful each line of the prayer is to me and to others, as well. In my opinion, it is far and above any other prayer ever written and/or used today. It is short. It is simple. It is easy to remember. And, if used with all sincerity, it works.

You might remember by post of a couple of months ago when I wrote about prayer in my life. Seems I had a mind dump at the time and completely forgot about the Serenity Prayer. Duh. So, now I will back track and pick it apart myself, as I understand it. Here goes:

God grant me the serenity
Who doesn't want serenity? At some point in time we all crave it, want it and wonder where it is in our life. However, in order to truly find serenity, I must deal with all that is going on around me and find that right "place" in my mind and heart to be serene. Not as easy as it sounds. Yet, it can be found. On more and more occasions I find it - usually in nature and it other places, too. And, if I use this prayer as I should, I find it more and more.

To accept the things I cannot change
Ok - this is soooo hard. I'm a controlling person. Not a control freak, but I do have issues with control. So for me to say, "OK - this is what is happening. I can't alter what is going on so I will step back, let it go is like pulling all of my teeth. Since I tend to believe I am always right (until proven otherwise, which happens a lot!), I want things to go my way. Oh, acceptance - - - how difficult you are! Yet, this prayer, as a whole, helps me to find that acceptance.

The courage to change the things I can
I'm don't believe this means the type of courage it takes to run into a burning building to save a child. I'm believe these words are more personal. I believe I can basically only change myself. Yes, I can change my curtains, change my residence, change my job, but I can't change other people (as much as I would like to). To change myself take courage. To right a wrong I did or a flaw within me takes courage. I use to think I was an "afraidy cat." Afraid of all kinds of things. Once, while talking my friend, Sally, I told her this. She stared at me with a stunned look on her face. She then said, "Girl, you have supported yourself all your life. You have cleaned up your act when you stopped drinking, got out of an unhappy marriage, bought a 116 year old house, travel like crazy when you can and basically take care of yourself very well. Look at all you have done. You can't be "afraid" and do all that." That was a verbal slap upside the head. She was right. It took courage for me to realize that I wasn't afraid to take risks, to take leaps of faith. It all takes courage.

And the wisdom to know the difference
Aha! This is the kicker. The wisdom to know the difference. This is the hardest. To recognize what battles to fight, what steps to take, what decisions to make - whoosh! To know when to hang in there and when to walk away - it's hard! The courage to accept or to accept the courage to act? But, slowly, very slowly, by using this prayer the answers, the wisdom, will always come, if I am listening

I have seen and heard many variations of this prayer. There all the same - the meaning and intent is always the same. I even have a Pagan version written down some place. But it really doesn't matter if the words vary a little. If used, it works. At least for me.