Sunday, March 3, 2019

Missing Mr. Rogers

Missing Mr. Rogers
Witten thoughtfully and with love,
by Ann English

There are three ways to ultimate success.
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind.
The third way is to be kind.
                       -Fred Rogers-

I’ve hit a bit of a rough patch; perhaps nothing more than a cold that has advanced because I simply tried to out run it. The doctor has thrown a little alarm my way, no doubt because she isn’t clear on what is going on, I am older and well, no doubt, her fear of ligation, if in fact, I am suffering from more than just a cold gone wrong. I’m going with cold gone wrong! Having enjoyed robust health for over a year, even though being subjected to all kinds of germs (trust me, I was aware of and grateful for this time), I find myself being alone for most of my days and a  bit reflective. I savor alone time but often am engaged in creative activities. This has zapped my strength so I read, watch an occasional movie. Yesterday, I  watched a documentary on Mr. Rogers, a documentary one of my daughter’s highly recommended. It touched me deeply. 

Solitude is different than loneliness, and it doesn’t have to be a lonely kind of thing.
-Fred Rogers-

Social media has been both a curse and a blessing. Avoiding Facebook was a goal. Posts made me anxious, upset. There is so much rage. When I joined Facebook, I vowed to “do no harm.” My sole purpose there was to connect with far away friends, not to replace face to face contact. But things began to change. People began to express opinions, strong, sometimes cruel opinions out of anger and frustration and sometimes, just because they could. 

I once added to a conversation, posting only my personal experience, and the comment that returned was harsh-it took my breath away. I decided then and there not to respond to people’s opinions. In my experience, people post very strong, personally held opinions. They are not looking for a dialogue, only seeking affirmation. And those who respond are often not looking to create understanding; his/her goal seems to be to call out, demean or humiliate the person who wrote the initial post. In short, people do not wish to discuss, to listen, to understand. They want to be heard and understood, but so often aren’t willing to listen and try to understand.

Mr. Rogers developed his children’s programming back in the late 60s because he felt so strongly about the images being seen by children, the demeaning and disrespectful behavior of what was labeled children’s programming. He wished to promote understanding, to let children feel listened to and valued. He wanted children to explore the world of make believe and understand how best to translate that into daily life. He taught them to tap into their inner feelings-those feelings are real. He helped them to learn to control them. He wanted children to think about where others were coming from, why they may behave they way that they do. He had guests of all races, all abilities. I can imagine what he might think of the world as it is evolving, today; cyber bullying by young and old alike, terrible images shown daily on all forms of media, videos teaching young children how and why they should kill themselves?! 

I was bullied as a kid; I was a soft target: tall, quiet, bookish, introverted, nerdy, and oh, so NOT athletically inclined... Even my sixth grade teacher jumped on the bully bandwagon. I remember vividly the day she embarrassed and humiliated me in front of the entire class at the end of the school year because I was one of only two children who was NOT assigned a 300 word composition for misbehavior. Those children, she said, have no spunk. Those slings and arrows hurt and live on in my memory all these years later, but they weren’t in print (okay, so now that incident is in print. Sigh.) They were not posted for the world to see.

Mr. Rogers was bullied as a child, too. He was, after all, a soft target. Remarkably, he was  chubby in his youth. They called him, “Fat Freddy.” He was bookish and quiet. He played the piano. I’m guessing he was also sweet and kind. Those taunts stuck with him his entire life and helped to create the man he became, the career he sought. He was a musician, a creator of children’s programming, an author, a philosopher, a Pastor, a husband and father and by all reports, an extraordinarily, giving man. 

There is no normal life that is free of pain. 
It’s the wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for growth.
-Fred Rogers-

I am a woman of “a certain age” meaning that I am neither as attractive nor as strong as I once was. Few would describe me as an “old lady”-no, that’s wrong! My six year old granddaughter was incredulous when she heard her parents were born in the eighties and are remarkably, “still alive!” To her little girl eyes, I am oh, so old-she’s not wrong. So, yes, I am old;let’s just say, that there are far more years behind me than in front of me. I have experienced lots of living, lots of changes, lots of joy and lots of heartache. Dear friends have, and continue to depart this realm. My grandparents and parents are gone. I’ve lost a dear son. I cannot bring them back, but they are “in my heart from this day on and now and forever more.” I miss them all.

I miss other things, too. Now, this I know for sure, despite of what reminiscing seniors might engage in, not all was good in the good or’ days but, oh, how I wish we would bring back some of what was best about them. I grew up in a simpler time. The world was fraught with problems back then; it always has been and will be until the end of time. The world is full of people in pain, of suffering, of greed, of violence...but there are kind, caring and compassionate people, too. As Fred would say, “look for the helpers.” There are people who love and care for one another. Never forget that.

A child born in the mid-fifties, I  grew up in an era and a place where children were given the opportunity to be children. I had no idea how very lucky I was. Children need time to play. They need time to be alone, too. They need time to create, to nurture their own imaginations. They need silence, a little boredom. They need to learn about personal responsibility, about working hard and working together, about directing and sometimes harnessing their activity. And, of course, they need love, acceptance, understanding guidance-yes, they need a lot! This, my friends, is not just my opinion based on personal experience. There is ever so much research that backs this opinion.

In my earliest years, I was blessed to live in a neighborhood chock full of children, many my own age. I always had a playmate if I wanted one. We’d make dates as we parted ways in the late afternoons. Friday night overnights were a much anticipated event. We’d giggle and talk before falling asleep-no cell phone to distract from this relationship we were creating. Our schedules were not overburdened with activities-most had just one, maybe two. We played for hours on end often leaving our homes in the morning returning only for a sandwich at noon, and our mothers’ signal to come in. My mother’s whistle pierced the dusk of those late afternoons. 

We got a tv when I was about four. It was black and white. There were three channels. Though my parents didn’t have too much to fear about content, our time and program choices were limited-no tv on school nights! Going to the movies was a family event and oh, so special. The drive-in was a real treat! We had a single phone in the kitchen and a party line. As time went on, we had two phones, and no more party line, but one phone was in my parents’ room and that was off limits. We grew into three televisions before I left home at 18, a couple of them had color, but I never had a set in my room nor did I ever have a phone. We ate dinner as a family every night. I got a transistor radio when I was nine. Oh, how proud I was of that radio. I sold greeting cards door to door to earn the money. My dad ordered it from Radio Shack. My brother and I  shared a recorded player for years. I got my very own from the Singer store for my birthday when in Jr. High and still remember my first two 45 records. I got my first two wheeler for my 7th birthday. It was second hand, and I was so proud. The bike was destroyed when I accidentally left it at school in the sixth grade simply having forgotten I had ridden it that morning. And though my parents sympathized, they did not run out and replace that bike. I babysat that summer as often as time would allow, and when our town had its’ annual sale days, I purchased my own bike-a Raleigh. I was even more proud.

Going out to dinner was a special occasion and involved proper attire. For those of you too young to understand that term (honestly, I’m guessing if you are taking the time to read this, you DO understand), it means quite simply that we “dressed up.” Back then, both children and adults had one or two outfits for special occasions like church, family events, parties and going out to dinner. Different attire really does affect behavior in both adults and children. We tend to carry ourselves differently, speak a little more respectfully, and use better manners.

My parents had plenty of worries back then: polio, childhood diseases (wake up, friends-these are having a resurgence. You don’t know what that world looks like! Oh, dear, a controversial opinion, and I said I wouldn’t...) They worried about politicians, the way the world was going, wars, the economy. They worried about finances, making a dollar stretch and scream, providing for their family. Neighbors were building bomb shelters, and we had drills at school, drills that would save no one should a nuclear bomb hit. They did not burden us with those worries in our earliest youth. Those were adult problems, adult conversations.

As children, we jumped in leaves and played with sticks. We rode bikes. We read and collected comic books. We cut out paper dolls, played with Play Doh, colored in coloring books and kept diaries. The only thing more exciting then pedaling to the library was being presented with your very own book, which we devoured in short order and cared for mightily. My friends and I played with Barbies (Barbie was the mom-we thought nothing of her terribly proportioned figure and never assumed that any adult would ever look like that!) and baby dolls, cars and trucks. My oh, so masculine brother pushed a doll stroller and a carpet sweeper when he was a toddler and rode a tractor, too. He “fixed stuff.” I’m not sure he even realizes how much encouragement and support my parents and grandparents gave him in those early endeavors. By the time he was eleven, friends and neighbors would call my parents to ask if Ricky could come check out their radio or tv.  He could and can fix most anything! 

We reflected what we heard and saw. We played school, house, and office. We mimicked the world the grown-ups showed us. We learned how to talk, to argue without hurting one another. We were taught to respect our peers, our elders-perhaps a little too much, but it seems the pendulum has swung too far the other way. We learned there were consequences for our actions, and that ultimately, we had to make our own way. We learned how to problem solve. We explored our environment, enjoyed and appreciated the natural world. 

Children’s play is not just kids’ stuff. 
Children’s play is rather the stuff of most future inventions.
-Fred Rogers-

Children are observant little beings. They may not always “mind” you, but they are always listening to you and watching you. They reflect what they see and hear. This has not changed, but certainly what they see and hear and are exposed to on a daily basis has changed. Just let that sink in for a minute. It makes my heart hurt. My grandchildren are young and tender, sweet, loving and kind. I can already observe the impact of the classroom, the peers, and the world on who they are and how they respond. 

One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.
-Fred Rogers-

I miss adults shielding the youngest among us from foul language and the ugliest parts of the world. I miss positive role models. I miss civility-oh, how I’d love to see a resurgence of that; caring about how other’s feel, being even just a wee bit less self absorbed. I miss good manners, unbiased reporting, being able to offer a child a gentle touch without it being misconstrued. And, lately, Lord, I miss Mr. Rogers. What positive light that man was. There was a time when I laughed at him-he couldn’t possibly be that sweet, that kind. I now am certain he was the real deal ministering to a few generations of children. His quotes crop up everywhere because they are so necessary in today’s world. 

Today, as I look back and reflect, look forward and hope, I encourage you to be a little softer, care once, again, about what others feel, if not think. Be a little kinder. Give smiles away to everyone you see. Put down your phone and talk to your companions, feign interest and make moments count. Never miss an opportunity to tell someone you love them. Spend time with those you love. I urge you to pause before sending that email, posting or responding to someone. Reread. Sit on it a minute or two. Regain calm. What is your goal? Would you, could you look that person in the eye and comfortably say that without thought of how it would make him or her feel or react? We tell our kids not to worry about what others think. I fear that message was received a little too loudly, a little too strongly. We need to care.

Imagine what our real neighborhood would be like if each of us offered, as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person.
Fred Rogers

Most of this little story is based on my experience and some deeply held opinions, 
many backed by some serious research. 
Nothing here is meant to offend or hurt another only to promote caring, kindness, love and understanding. 

That is all.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Art Impressions-Spring Chicken Set

AI Clean and Simple. 
While I do appreciate a fussy card, my style tends to be "Clean and Simple". I was so glad when someone coined that phrase because it seemed so many of the cards I was looking at were very ornate. I do love them, but they just aren't really me.

Mine felt plain and simple as in ordinary and stupid. I prefer to think of them as Clean and Simple meaning streamlined and not too tough to duplicate! What I really love to do is color. The card is really secondary for me, but in order to share my colored images and justify the time and money I've spent, I make cards. It's amazing how a simple card can lift someone's spirits.

So, first I bought the goats because, well, I am an old(er) goat. I do not NEED the chickens, right? No, seriously, I do NOT need any of these images, but once the seed is planted...
UGH! I mean, how great are these girls?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My Favorite Things-Clean And Simple

My Favorite Things, such a perfect name, because, yes, they are among my favorite things...

love, love, LOVE 

their stamps and die cuts!

I haven't paid close attention to my email lately. This morning, I actually read the MFT email-a contest that ends, today! Oh, my, should I even bother? I mean, seriously, the entries are many and oh, so fabulous. I do not envy the judges. But, there's no harm in trying, so I spread out my MFT stamps sets (Birdie Brown, you're killing me!) Hmmm, what to use...pigs? dragons? unicorns? yetis? otters? bears? gnomes? hedgehogs? a chef? hedgehogs? many choices, all of them just as cute as can be.

Ah, but these little mice-I haven't used them since last fall as I think they are best suited for fall cards. These cuties are small so coloring tends to go faster though I use Copics and love to shade-the bullet nibs come in handy.

The sentiment is embossed. Glossy accents cover the pumpkins.

So, there you have it...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Art Impressions Old Goat Set

Art Impressions-I'm a BIG fan! Oh, how I love the Golden Oldies, and the Girlfriends, and the Tri-Folds, and of course, the critters! These delightful characters and creatures never fail to bring a smile. I am in awe of those of you who do the watercolor stamps. Naturally, I bought a few-very few as I am not sure I am up to the challenge of learning this technique. But, I do so love my Copics, and my Copics do so love AI!

When I saw this set, well, everything about it said,"BUY ME!"

I live in a 55+ community-never did I ever think that I would do that, but it turns out, it was a great decision for us. We lucked out-in addition to a beautiful home, we landed in a truly active and fun loving community with some of the nicest folks. Our community borders a farm-you guessed it, there are goats. My goodness, they are cute, BUT oh, so destructive. Some of our neighbors have had a real issue, and after many polite requests to said farmer, issued a formal complaint-FENCE, please. Our little goat friends are perhaps a bit confused: "Why The Fence?"

Lest you feel sorry for these once free range critters-don't. They have a BIG wide open field in which to romp and play. Their diet no longer includes the flower gardens that some of our neighbors painstakingly planted and tend, but I'm pretty sure, they are eating well!

Limited Edition personal stamp from The Stamps of Life

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Gerda Steiner Designs and Distress Oxides

I have this friend-she's very creative, loves to stamp and design cards and lives right across the street. It's a match made in heaven, right? She teaches a card class-it's much like a Stampin Up event, but it occurs bi-weekly. In addition, she uses a variety of mediums and images from a wide variety of artists. These classes are great fun and as much a social event as a learning experience. Though I am a seasoned cardmaker, I often learn something new and am encouraged to try new techniques. None of those creations will appear in my blog-if she had one, they would appear there!

When Ranger introduced the Distress Oxides, she rushed to preorder them. I wasn't sold-why do I need more ink? Besides, I'm a Copic girl-everything Copics! She convinced me-this is the downside to this relationship! At a time of life when I have far less disposable income, I do not need encouragement to spend those more limited $$$! Ah, but I do it...

I love these Distress Oxides. Admittedly, I need to branch out and find different ways to incorporate them in my cards. Thus far, I use them for pretty much the same thing-pretty backgrounds!

Gerda Steiner Designs

Monday, August 21, 2017

Art Impressions Challenge #215: Orange and Purple

The current challenge at one of my favorite stamp companies, Art Impressions, is to use Orange and Purple in a creation. While you do not need to use one of their images, well, why wouldn't you?! It needn't be a Halloween card, either.

These two oldie goodies just entered the house. They've been on my wish-list for a while. The recent sale at Art Impressions was just too good to be true so I scooped them up. These characters make me smile.

I stamped these marvelous characters using My Sweet Petunia stamp positioned and Momento ink, then colored the images with my Copics. Next, I fussy cut the images. The background was created with Ranger Distress Oxides. This gal begs for bling, so naturally, I added some rhinestones. Despite having positioned the sentiment, I'm not really thrilled with the placement but I decided to accept it because perfection may never happen in this crafty space!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Here we go, again...

As you can see, it's been years since I have posted on this blog. Oh, I've written a few posts, but never actually published them. Seriously, the world is chock full of posts and opinions. We don't need another, but I've recently decided to enter some challenges, again and a blog is just the vehicle. So, here I go...

Two Years Later...

About two years ago, my husband and I decided it was time to move for a number of reasons. This was a very difficult move for me emotionally. To complicate matters, my husband had a serious fall while the house was on the market. Naturally, he was only in the initial stages of recovery when the house sold. Thank heaven for kind and supportive friends who spent a day helping me pack.

Leaving this beautiful home, this bucolic setting, this charming town was oh, so hard for me. I had to practice acceptance and reevaluate perspectives. Within a couple of months, I found new, friends, new community, a thriving creative group. No longer was I living life in the cornfield, but life in this potato field has proven to be pretty good!

I feel like I have the best of both worlds, now. In our new home, I have a studio without the beautiful view. However, it's bright and big and accessible year round. The former studio was much smaller and too expensive to heat or cool when temperatures dropped and rose. My neighbors are close-in every sense of the word. It's like being eight years old, again. We have playdates. Though we moved about an hour away from our former home, I head over to my adopted hometown weekly to visit with family and friends.

My days are busy: clubs, committees, playdates, babysitting, the requisite cleaning and cooking, reading, and crafting! Oh, how I love to color, ink, cut and paste. My friend and neighbor shares here expertise on a regular basis. She's taught me some new techniques and stirred my creative juices. it's good to have community.

Recently, my friend convinced me (pretty easily) to purchase Ranger Distress Oxides. They arrived and sat as I was a bit intimidated by them. It had been years since I had used my Distress Inks. The Distress Oxides have different properties. She encouraged me. We did some projects together, and now I look for opportunities to use them.

Art Impressions, Copics and Ranger Distress Oxides

Stampendous, Copics and Ranger Distress Oxides

So, here we go, again-a post on blogger. Will I keep at it? Time will tell!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One Little Word...2015

I recently went back and looked at old blog posts, pre-blogger, Typepad posts.  When I started blogging, I paid for my platform. When you pay for something, I honestly think you value it more. Initially, I blogged about scrap booking, about healing from a traumatic loss, about life, and then I got involved in design teams. Most of my posts were design team related. One by one, the design teams fell away; my life changed; my interests changed...the blog, for the most part, sits silently in cyber space. But every once in a great while, I remember it's here, and so I post.

I've had the flu. Being ill for an extended period of time tends to make me introspective. It's also that time of year, the time when you think about resolutions, goal setting, dreams...

Now, at 60, I'm so incredibly aware of how fleeting life is, how very fragile we all are, how valuable the moments are. One of my friends asked what my OLW is for 2015. I paused. For the first time in a few years, my word hadn't made itself known to me. In fact, I hadn't given it a thought. My 2014 word, ENOUGH, was always in my mind's eye, but, honestly, I did little with it beyond April. My first thought was GIFTS, to focus on life's gifts, on gratitude. Though I do plan to continue writing in my gifts journal, it just didn't feel like THE word, my ONE Little Word.

My daughters have joined me on this journey for the last few years. Each chooses a word, creates a vision board, reads, writes and paints her word. I hadn't mentioned it this year, but the other day, my eldest sent me this link in a text I clicked on it...a free "course" to help find your word. I signed up. Today was day 3. The exercises are great. Today's lesson had me narrow my list to five, but the word that emerged as I worked through the prompts was not one of those five. It was the key to the five!

It literally found me as I was trying to put my goals, my hopes and dreams for 2015 into words. I started with RELATIONSHIPS, CONNECTIONS, FAITH, CREATE, LOVE...

And what I discovered is that I want to nurture these, all of these! 

I have two more days of lessons, two more days before I nail down my OLW. Today, however, I had an epiphany.  This is oh, so very fitting. Tomorrow IS epiphany, a day that marks the end of the Christmas season, the day my mother got her wings four years ago. This feels like a GIFT- I like that connection, too. It's as if all words lead me here. This year, I will nurture my relationships, my friendships, my faith, my creativity, my own growth and the growth of those I love and care for.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Life Assurance

Nope, not a typo...I meant to write Assurance, not insurance. There is a difference...

  1. a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise
  2. confidence or certainty in one's own abilities


  1. a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium
  2. a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality
Years ago, my mother joked about her unfinished project. She said they were her life insurance policy-just too many unfinished projects to die. Sadly, life insurance does not prevent death-it just provides benefits to your survivors when you do, in fact, die...and, we ALL do. I am the grateful beneficiary of so many of her completed projects as well as a number of her "works in progress."

Now, my mother was not a wasteful woman. She was an extraordinarily creative, talented and totally engaged woman. She never suffered from boredom. There was always a project in the works. Over the years, she made and completed so many, many things: hooked rugs, crewel pieces, needlepoint, cross stitch, quilts, clothes...on and on and on. But there were was those unfinished projects, the ones she set aside when she wasn't sure where to go with them or the ones she lost interest in because something else caught her eye and attention. 

In her final days, our parish priests came to call. She talked to them about her death, sure that it was close at hand. I sat in the corner of the room, heart breaking, eyes streaming listening to my mother tell the priests that she hoped to make it through Christmas.  I heard her tell the priests she wasn't afraid to die. She had a near death experience when she was a child, and I knew the story well. Once again, she recounted the story-a garden, her grandmother, beautiful fragrances, and being told it wasn't time. She was only 4 at the time, and when she came out of her fever induced coma, she described this to my grandmother, her mother, in great detail. So, she wasn't afraid, but up until that point, she wasn't ready. Constant pain and diminished quality of life prepared her. 

In addition to her story, she told the priests she had "No regrets." She paused, and said, "Oh, wait. I have one. I regret not having finished that one crewel piece. I was afraid of the silk and then I misplaced the directions. I'm trying to decide if I should tell Ann to get someone to finish it or just frame it as is." This, my friends, was a life well lived-her only regret was an unfinished crewel sampler.

She died on Epiphany. I had the sampler framed-unfinished. If you look closely, you'll see that she started the man, but left the woman undone. Somehow, this seems fitting.

I am about the age my mother was when she first started joking about her life insurance policy. Well, I have a life ASSURANCE thing going on here. It seems I am the Queen of unfinished projects (though I have friends who claim the title as well!)  Clearly, I have too many interests! Because I am no longer employed, I do have time, but apparently I do not manage it as well as I could. Then, my husband does not hesitate to interrupt or change my plans, because, well, none of my projects are as "important" to our lifestyle as my work once was. And, the dealings-well, simply not as many and the consequences for missing many is nothing more than a shoulder shrug.

This last week, I started a simple baby quilt. It wasn't my first quilting project, but I am pretty much a novice. The fabric was here. The pattern was here. Even the batting was here. once I started , I realized I needed a solid length for the backing as well as a half yard for the binding. The fabric has been in my stash for so long, it is no longer manufactured! What to do...well, I had enough 10x10 pieces to piece the back! And, now, a reversible quilt! I have to admit, at times during production, I wanted to walk away, to color, to play with paper, to read, but I MADE myself continue.  The binding was an entirely different problem so off I went to the "local" (a 25 minute drive each way) fabric shop to find an acceptable fabric. Before I publish this post, I plan to put that binding on!!! 

I DID's finished! WHOO HOO!

It seems as I've gotten older, I have (to borrow a former colleagues expression
developed the attention span of a nat! 

I wonder, is this... 

  • from years of multi-tasking? 
  • because I am totally engrossed in technology where every piece of information comes in abbreviated bursts with bright lights and dazzling colors? 
  • a natural part of aging? 
  • because I am a closet anxiety-ridden, frantic person? 

My granddaughter is coming up on two and a half. In my pile of unfinished projects, now long since outgrown-a baby quilt, two smocked dresses, a little pair of overalls, a fleece jacket, a diaper bag...not to mention the projects that sit neatly folded and stacked, never even started.

I have reams of scrap booking pads and papers, half finished layouts, unfinished books... There are stacks of card fronts-yup, fronts, and piles of colored images with no place to go.

Now, I take comfort in the fact that I am not alone---the crafter's lament! I struggle with the guilt, the guilt of sheer waste, the guilt of money spent on materials that aren't used. My word for (Ali Edwards'-In A Word) was/is "ENOUGH"-fail! So, perhaps my word for 2015 should be FINISH or PERSEVERE, or maybe I try ENOUGH, again. 

Here's a thought---maybe, just maybe, all of these unfinished projects are "life assurance"---the promise of life, the idea that there is still time to finish them. Or maybe looking at them says to me,

" Yes, I CAN do all of these things. 
I've started them- I just need to finish them."

And, so this weekend, a little assurance-I did it! I finished a project or two. I can do it. I did do it. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Blurred Lines-Gammie's Version

I reference a current song title here, though I think, but I'm not certain, this post is completely unrelated to the song. I'm talking about a cultural phenomenon, one I find puzzling if not deeply disturbing.

So, we've established that I am "slightly" beyond what is considered middle age. Anne Morrow Lindburgh labeled this time of life, "the youth of my old age." Youth, I like that! It is really something the first time you can recall your mother at your current age---but wasn't she old?! But hold on, wait until you can recall your GRANDmother at your current age. WHAT? Seriously, she was old!

And, then, all of those things you noticed about "old' people start happening to your once, young, and far less flawed, though you thought you were flawed back then-just wait-body! If you're a woman of a certain age, you know what I'm talking about. "Features" of your person that were once firm, neatly stretched over your frame and perky, well, not so much. Veins that once hid from view now form squishy blue hills on top of your once smooth hands. Your face begins to resemble a road map, lines deeply etched revealing much about the life you've lived to date. Toes begin to gnarl ever so slightly. The fear of the "old age" of old age becomes ever more real-you know where this is going. You've seen it before and now, you're living it. The good news is, you are LIVING it---could be worse! I keep telling myself that. No matter how old I think I look now, my daughter reminds me, 10 years from now, I'll look back and marvel at how I looked in 2014!

I tell you, somewhat modestly, I am not as "old" as my grandmother was when she was my age. However, both of my grandmothers looked younger, in my eyes, than their contemporaries.  And my mother's fashion choices, no doubt dictated by the decade of her 60's were, shall we say, aging. So, part of this illusion of my youth (I like to think I'm just cresting 50* though we all know better) is due to the blurred lines of fashion! (Finally, she's getting to the heart of the matter!)

My wardrobe is not terribly different than the wardrobes of my daughters who are, by anyone's standards, still young. Naturally, I do have some apparel that is too mature for them, too conservative, but nothing (correct me if I'm wrong, kids) that screams, Gammie (except the shoes-yes, it's the shoes---You WILL understand when your toes begin to gnarl and your back aches and your knees hurt...) This blurring of lines sort of works for me though I fear I may carry it too far, for too long. I hope my children will do me a favor and say, "Uh, Mom, time to move on."

I am "Gammie" now, a grandmother! How did this happen? My kids were little just...alright, alright, it's been a while. I relish this new role and am just sad that I don't live around the corner or just downstairs...instead of hundreds of miles away from this precious little munchkin. It is after spending some concentrated quality time with her that I realize, this old gal "ain't what she used to be"!  I marvel at what I used to do. I've lived long enough now to appreciate who I once was-that's a gift because, sadly, I didn't think much about it back then, let alone appreciate it. My 5 kids were born in a span of seven years, the youngest twins. When the twins were five, my oldest 13, I found myself a single parent, and while I was blessed to have my parents close by, I was raising them by myself...but I digress (I do that a lot-you will, too, someday!)

"Well, anyway..." (my mother's famous turn of phrase I'm now adopting as my own), as a Gammie, I am once, again, seriously involved in the world of children's apparel. Baby clothes-Lord, they're cute! Here's the troubling thing...just since my children were small, there has been a huge shift in apparel for little girls, I mean HUGE! Who, is responsible for this, and why do folks support this industry?! My "Little Kiddle" (cute little collectible dolls from my childhood, and what I now use as a tag line for small, adorable children) is two and has outgrown baby clothes. She's tall-gasp- I know. Who would think it since Gammie is (once was) 5'11"-though her Momma is the shortest of my girls measuring a mere 5'8"?  She's thin-kind of a genetic thing, too. She wears a 3T.

Now, I love to buy her clothes. My preference would be little smocked dresses, pinafores, and overalls, but Momma is a modern Boston Mom, and the smocked dresses and pinafores are, I guess, in today's world, a Southern thing (this Momma/Gammie loves Southern style!) She reminds me that they are indeed, impractical and ill suited to my granddaughter's lifestyle, and I try (mind you, TRY) not to impose my will on them.  So, I compromise. We both love OshKosh, not the stuff with Toile or sparkles, but bordering on traditional-a throw back to my children's youth. Thank goodness for Hannah Anderson, (we do, after all, have Scandinavian roots) though, for goodness sakes, why does good taste have to demand a high price tag?! So, Hannah, we limit ourselves to an outfit or two a season, and only when a sale rolls around. Carter's actually tries to cover all audiences-moderate prices with frequent, super sales, cute clothes of the play clothes, functional variety in addition to some garish, loud, but not yet vampy, clothes.

Fortunately, my daughter has good taste (naturally, right?) so she does not like miniature, seductive, teenager clothing. It gets harder and harder to find little girl's clothing that doesn't look like revealing, over-the-top, teenage apparel. Who thinks this is a good idea?! Really!!! Talk about blurred lines. Our girls, as young as two, are being sexualized by the fashion industry, and hey, folks, they couldn't do it if we didn't support it, at least not for long.

A two year old is not a small teenager. A teenager is not a (hmmm, politically correct term here---thinking, thinking...) vamp (definition 2) or shouldn't be encouraged to be one (showing my age, am I ?!) Why aren't all the women who fought so hard to overcome stereotypes in an uproar over this? (Oh, and while we're on the subject female warriors-what's up with stilettos? Really?!) Why are parents surprised when their young children are involved in clearly not age-appropriate behavior? How is this cute?

I think we need to get out the permanent markers and draw a few lines-oh, and wait until they dry so they do not blur. No, it certainly won't solve the world's troubles, but children are not tiny teens and teens are not adults, and old women aren't young women (we'll draw that line in pencil---so we can move it!)

*Author's note.

  • You can trust folks over the age of 30, at least some of them. I'm pretty sure, however that politicians are not to be trusted at ANY age.
  • Be skeptical of those under 30. They have absolutely no clue and many of them, once they hit about 26 will admit that.
  • 40 is young in today's world-actually, one of my favorite decades, the reason I opted to remain in my 40's just adding years of experience to my resume. At one time, most folks were finished with child rearing at 40. Now a days, many are just starting. (P.S. Good luck at 60!)
  • 50 is NOT old're just coming into your own.
  • 60s-not much experience here, yet. I'll keep you posted

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hello, Blogger my Old Friend

Hello "blogger", my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted

In my brain still remains

Within the sound of silence

Yes, I'm old-
Simon and Garfunkel parody, here. If you don't know it, Google it!

But, you know, that's often how ideas come to us, isn't it? I think my brain is more active when I'm sleeping than when I'm awake and may explain why I'm so tired some days! Oh, and the dreams...where DO they come from? Some are pretty obvious, but others? Like where the heck did that octopus/jellyfish come from?! I'm look out to sea at this strange creature and suddenly it flies out of the water! It's coming right at me and BAM, I'm awake-what the what?!

I digress...or perhaps I'm just having random Sunday afternoon, after a busy week, thoughts and can't really organize them. Hmmm...

Project Life was calling my name this week. I have a summer's worth of pictures and now a bunch of fall pictures. Up until this week, I had only touched June---other projects filled my days. Things are a bit slower for the moment so I had the opportunity to do some "PL"-ing.  The nice thing about PL is you can just slip in your fave photos, add a few embellishments (or not) and do a little journaling to jog the memory and call it a day. The great thing about PL is you can then go back, when you're either more inspired or have a bit more time and embellish away! I attended to "nice", not "great" this week :)

Then, there were the cards.

"Y'all know I love me some Sassy Cheryl!" 
I really do---we're friends, now. Thank you Paper Craft Planet---you're gone now (head bowed, a moment of silence---respect), but you introduced me to some mighty wonderful folks. Cheryl's fabulous images reflect her "all about Sassy" attitude! You only have to look at them to know that she's about as tender-hearted as they come (sorry, Cheryl, you're "outed")

I'm really "bad" about finish work---generally leave the inside blank because, honestly, I want to get onto the "business" of coloring. I love to color---am I repeating myself here? Oh, sorry---comes free with being "mature". This was made for a special friend who lives many miles away. I'll put it in the mail on Monday!

One more---Clean and Simple...that's how I roll! I actually did write a little sentiment inside but nothing that begs a photo!  

Then, of course, there's Mo...who doesn't love Mo's illustrations?! I have many (oh, so many) of her little girl images and with the birth of my grand daughter, over two years ago, it made my addiction worse. Thanks, Mo---seriously, thanks. Lately, I've needed a few cards for little boys-these images are equally as cute!

Just in case you're wondering---these little guys have watermarks running right across their cute little tummies! It's a shame we have to do that, isn't it? I'm not going to get all preachy on you, here (well, may be a little), but I just taught a Sunday School lesson on the second most important Commandment---it's actually the foundation of many world religions though people are terribly bad at following it: 
"Love thy neighbor as thy self."  

The Golden Rule is a derivative of this-Do on to know this one, people! 

Not a religious person? I'm sorry---really, I am, but I respect everyone's right to decide for him/herself. This Commandment though-it's about human decency, R-E-S-P-E-C-T (Yes, Aretha! Google it. Thankfully, the recent FB rumor about Ms. Franklin is false)! If you were the artist, would you be okay with people stealing your work? (oops, another Commandment reference and secular law backs me up on this one!)  I think not. 

If you've stuck with me through this entire post, you're either my family so you know who and what I am, a friend (again, you know me), someone who is totally okay with what I have written-agree with it or not, or someone who is livid that I posted a Commandment---if that's the case, well, like I said, you are entitled to feel what you feel. You should not, in my opinion, always act on you're feelings when it means hurting or harming another...there are a lot of secular laws that back me up on that one, too. So if you want to vent, call a friend, okay?

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