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Three Years Stronger

Annually, I re-post my very first blog post.

Written on Christmas day 2014, it reflects the pain I was feeling then, as well as my resolve and hope. The latter, thankfully, still remains, but the loneliness and pain have left me. I’ve grown and changed since that day, and while the truth of what I wrote still reflects a part of myself, I’m standing stronger, in part because of the process of writing and the support of fellow bloggers. Thank you.

So here’s the original post, just as I wrote it then. Many of you likely haven’t seen it, but I know some of you did when I previously re-posted it.

Blessings to all of you!

resolutions and revelations

you bought me the book

I’m not motivated by New Year’s Resolutions. No surprise there, most people aren’t. No surprise what does motivate me either: trying to impress someone important to me is always a big one. Problem is, that comes and goes. Here’s the reason that actually works: finally realizing my life is truly better and I’m going to attract better things when I do things the right way. And typically it has taken failure in my life, and some humiliation, to get to that realization.

My friends say, oh, we each worry about those things a lot more than others do. After all, we have to live with our own failings, our stupidity, our repeated efforts to resolve what’s gone wrong with yet one more foolish gesture.

Right now I’m faced with what seems to me to be huge failure brought on by circumstances I had no control over. Wisdom from others tells me to learn to control what I can and live with what I can’t, but what I can’t control has taken over and felled me. Now I need to stand up and return to where I was only a short time ago. But will I fall again? Probably. That which I do not control will always be with me, and I fear that those I care about will leave me.

So I must do what I can to perhaps ward off the beast that follows me everywhere for longer than before. I must learn from this and pray I have another chance that will allow me to succeed. I weep at the thought I won’t, and realize I now have little control over that, but in and of itself there could stand a truth I need to learn. Truth that belies what I have held so dear for so long.

I face difficult yet not insurmountable odds. I tell myself I can take advantage with hard work and fierce resolve, with fortitude and purpose. No trite quotes for me, but strength of mind and character prevail. This year was better than last. I can’t guarantee next year will be better than this, but I’m hopeful it will be.


Image Credits (header) © Bigstockphotos.com

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Merry Christmas!!

With love from Belinda, Mimi and Walter.

Kitties and Santa Bears

As the Santa Bears watch over them, Mimi and Walter slumber.


Cat Images © geosap — stock.adobe.com; Background © malija – Fotolia

 

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don’t mess with the original — “Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt

How many women have put on their sexiest voices to sing this campiest of all Christmas songs? Unless you’re Eartha Kitt, it’s an act. But she had the voice and the spirit to make this song more than a novelty.

Here’s the original, recorded in 1953 by a 26-year-old Ms. Kitt:

Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day in 2008, after nearly 82 years of a fascinating and at times poignant life.

Born the child of a black mother and white father, possibly as a result of rape, her mother had a challenging time finding a home for her small family because one daughter (Eartha) was “yellow” — light-skinned — and illegitimate.

She grew up to enjoy great success as an entertainer, but it wasn’t without its challenges. And despite limited education when she was a child, as an adult she reportedly spoke four languages, including French, and sang in eleven. Her roles as an actress ranged from Helen of Troy to Catwoman in the Batman TV series (replacing Julie Newmar).

About a year before she died, she made this comment about “Santa Baby” in an interview on NPR:

“every time I sing “Santa Baby,” I laugh more at myself when I’m singing that song because I know what I’ve gone through and the song says Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree. Well, all the men who have done that with me had never stayed with me, so I realized everything that I want in life I have to pay for myself, and I really love that because then nobody owns me, but me, and my public of course. “

Merry Christmas to all who struggle, whatever your pain may be. Find strength in the victories of others, knowing the same can happen for you.

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Dive in — The Water’s Fine

My world is changing, once again.

Actually there are lots of changes…the end of a truly difficult time is approaching, and there is hope for a future project. Someone I relied on is out of my life and isn’t coming back, but someone new has stepped in. I’ve been working full-time as a temp at a job that soon may be permanent. What’s more, it’s a job in my field — something I never thought I’d see again.

A few years ago things looked so bleak I couldn’t see my way out. Slowly the wind turned, and a fresh breeze began winding its way through my life.

I am grateful for the good in my life.

Still, I find myself sometimes focusing on my failures and shortcomings. I notice I still don’t have a sofa to replace the aging futon that sits in my living room. I struggle to pay my bills many months. There’s a difference in that struggle now, however. I do get the bills paid, I can buy groceries, and I can even buy the occasional treat for myself.

My makeup is running low and I’m not sure how I’ll afford to replace it, but I believe I’ll figure out a way. For so long I couldn’t afford it and went without. As someone who likes the way she looks better when there’s a little (just a little) war paint on, that was a challenge.

And I always have a ton of toilet paper. As God is my witness, I will never run out of toilet paper again. I think I said that once before.

I’m mindful of what my dad has told me: whether times are good or times are bad, we always think they’re never going to end. I’m enjoying the good times, but I know life, being what it is, will present me with challenges once again.

The good thing about surviving the storm is you feel prepared for the next one. Not that you want it, but it doesn’t scare you.

Jump. The water’s fine.


Photo Credit:  © raduga21 — stock.adobe.com

 

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Misunderstood

For several months now I’ve been avoiding a man I used to work with.

These days he’s the manager of the grocery store I frequent, and I refuse to drive an additional five miles to the next store just to keep from seeing him. Why have I been so reluctant to so much as say “hi”?

Because I assumed I knew why he was avoiding me.

The reasons for this awkwardness aren’t important, except to say, it has nothing to do with a failed romance (or any matter of the heart). We got along well when we worked together, but events transpired and each of us made an uncomfortable departure from that company.

Finally, I decided yesterday, enough is enough. The opportunity was right, so I started the conversation.

Turns out, he had no idea what had happened in my life. He thought I didn’t remember him, or worse. His discomfort had more to do with what he believed I thought of him than vice versa.

I’d seen him once shopping with his son, who’s adopted, and interracial. I asked if that was his son I’d seen him with, and he said yes, his eyes lighting up.

“He’s tall, like you,” I said.

He agreed, and smiled. Then I remembered what a friend had told me years ago: adoptive parents like hearing about nothing more than connections with their children, no matter how small.

Later I sent a text message to a friend who also had worked at the same company. “I completely misread his reaction,” I wrote.

My assumptions about what he was thinking were logical and consistent with what had happened with others, yet, they were completely wrong. How often do we assume we know what’s going on, even go so far as to say, “what else could it be?”

We don’t even have all the puzzle pieces of our own life, let alone others.

It could be plenty of other things.

You don’t know what you don’t know.


Image Credit: © Dashk — stock.adobe.com

 

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Five Classic Holiday Films

By classic, I mean going back to the days of black & white.

Some of these you’ve no doubt heard of, others may be new to you. If you’re a classic movie fan, you’ve seen each one a dozen times or more, watching and re-watching every holiday season.

I’ve reviewed each of these on my other blog, Classic for a Reason, and I’ve conveniently linked to those reviews (click on the title).

Miracle on 34th Street
Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood

Edmund Gwenn and Natalie Wood bond in Miracle on 34th Street

This classic stands out as one of the best holiday films ever. The cast is clearly as charmed by the story as the audience, and it reminds us maybe — just maybe — there really is a Santa Claus.

Macy’s employee Doris Walker, a single mother who doesn’t believe in fairy tales, is in charge of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Much to her chagrin, the man playing Santa Claus shows up drunk. She enlists a reluctant bystander to replace him, a man who turns her whole life upside down, for he claims — with utter sincerity — to be the real Kris Kringle.

Maureen O’Hara and John Payne remained proud of their connection to this film for the rest of their lives, with Payne going so far as to write a never-published sequel. Their pride was justified.

Holiday Affair
Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh in Holiday Affair

Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh surprise us in this sweet story.

This one will catch some of you off guard. Not because of a remarkable storyline — rather, it’s pretty formula — but because of the cast. Robert Mitchum stars in (as far as I know) his only romantic comedy, with a very young Janet Leigh as the object of his affection. Despite the predictable nature of this film, it’s a pleasure to watch, in large part because of the performances of Mitchum and Leigh.

She’s a secret shopper scoping out the competition; he’s the salesperson who recognizes what she’s up to, but doesn’t report it as required. When he loses his job because of his inaction, the two meet up and start getting closer in a manner that soon disrupts the comfortable relationship she has with her would-be fiancé. They’re not the only ones with a stake in what happens — she has a son from her previous marriage to a soldier who died in combat.

As I said, a formula plot, but a charming movie. Mitchum’s brooding loner persona translates well to this light romantic comedy, and Leigh’s youth and gentle spirit is a welcome contrast.

Christmas in Connecticut
Dennis Morgan, Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut

Dennis Morgan and Barbara Stanwyck are falling for each other, but a tiny lie stands in their way.

A movie for the times it was made. War hero Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan) longs for a home-cooked meal. In a publicity stunt, magazine publisher Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet) arranges for such a meal, a holiday meal, no less, with his popular writer, Martha Stewart-like Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck). Elizabeth exemplifies the perfect wife of her time with her culinary and creative skills in the home. Problem is, she is lying with every word she writes. She not only isn’t a wife and mother, she can’t cook, sew or change a diaper.

The world was changing when this film was released. With so many men off to war, women were joining the work force in larger numbers than ever before. There are some who say Elizabeth’s career exemplifies one of the few socially acceptable options for a working woman at the time — make a good living as a housewife.

The rest of us say, phooey.  Don’t analyze it.  This is a fun movie with a creative twist on the standard comedy formula of confused identity. If it reflects the standards of the times, then consider how films of today might be viewed in fifty years, and enjoy the fun.

The Bishop’s Wife
Cary Grant, Loretta Young in The Bishop's Wife

Cary Grant helps David Niven and Loretta Young find joy together again.

Cary Grant is Dudley, the debonair angel who visits Bishop David Niven and his wife, Loretta Young. Sent to set the floundering couple’s marriage right and steer the Bishop back on course with his life’s work, Dudley starts up a romance of sorts (but not quite) between himself and the lonely woman.

How the Bishop comes to see the truth about his life, as well as the poignant struggle his wife faces with her lot, makes for a heartwarming tale. This film moves a little slower, and includes some beautiful performances by a boy’s choir, as well as a moving sermon near the end of the story. But it’s not a religious tale — it’s a love story.

The Shop Around the Corner
The Shop Around the Corner starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart

Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart discuss why they could never fall in love.

A perfect blend of sentiment and sophistication, director Ernst Lubitsch later called this “the best movie he ever made,” which is saying a tremendous amount given his legacy. It’s no exaggeration, either, for this is one of the finest romantic comedies ever made.

James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan are sparring co-workers with one thing in common: each is corresponding with someone they believe to be their ideal mate, even though they’ve never met. It’s Stewart who realizes the truth first, and the gentle way he handles first hiding, then revealing, the truth to Sullavan is immensely satisfying.

It’s a simple story with so much more going on than what you see at first glance, and one you don’t have to wait until December to enjoy. But it is December.

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My Lovely Moon

Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

The moon outside my window tonight. It’s more beautiful than any image my humble camera could capture, but it is my lovely moon.

Lovely moon, from age to age, you continue to lit our dark path, to inspire our hearts, to reflect a greater glory.

Go slowly.


Age

 

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