Tag Archives: joy

A Christmas Carol (1951)

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This movie was originally titled Scrooge in Great Britain, they changed the title to A Christmas Carol when it premiered in Los Angeles. It had disappointing box office returns in the U.S.  but was a huge hit in England in 1952. Alistair Sim plays Mr. Scrooge in this very popular version and most would agree he is the best, but not to me.

This IS a wonderful version. I love the charwoman, Mrs. Dilber. When Ebeneezer wakes up from his night of frolicking: he is giddy and dances madly around the room, and looks completely insane to poor Mrs. Dilber. He grabs her to spin around, and she sees her life pass before her eyes, shrieking at the top of her lungs. It’s one of my favorite scenes because seldom does any servant get noticed or rewarded in any of these films. Just imagine what that poor woman must have put up with!

My two favorite “Scrooges” are coming up in the days ahead. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if I could combine all my favorite moments in all the “Carol” films into one movie. Bet it would be a block buster! Each film has characters brought to life or highlighted that were not in Charles Dickens book. That is why I re-read it every Christmas to remind myself what really happened. Soon I will know the dialogue by heart.

We left Zippy at home while we ran around today. I returned home for something I forgot, and as I’m inserting the key, Zippy trots up to the glass door, looking happy as a clam with a pot holder hanging out of his mouth, like a bone. I laughed until my stomach hurt…he looked deliriously happy. I try not to think about how he got it.

Zippy is having aging issues that involve his hind legs and my daughter was lamenting his slower gait. After we arrived home, I tossed a toy to Zippy and he blitzed back and forth in excitement. My daughter couldn’t believe it was the same dog. I know I couldn’t do that. Well, I’ve never been able to do that, come to think of it. Happiness and joy gave him the ability. It’s something to think about isn’t it?

Pumpkin Land, Here I Come!

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Surprise!! I am in Iowa this weekend. My room mate, by some God-like-universe planning, is from Sioux City and was driving here for a family reunion. She asked me to ride along and my daughter lives just an hour away, so here I am in my daughter’s living room for the Labor Day weekend.
I lived in Iowa until last March, when I made the decision to move back to my hometown, in Colorado via Oregon, (but that’s another story) and live near my son. My daughter and I are very close, so our separation has seemed long.

I brought along my lap top because I have been on a roll with my job search. I designed two new resumes last week, so I have three now that cover just about everything I’ve ever tried. It was excruciating making them. I feel like I birthed a baby! I am proud however, that I have a lot more skills than I thought. In fact, I am pretty versatile, if I don’t say so myself, even if it is on paper. 

Flexible? Check. Innovative? Check. Reliable? Check. Computer skills? Check.Thinner? Check. Employed? Nope.

Still networking. But, I have learned SO much in the past five months. I am not the same person that left Iowa. I am losing the old me and gaining a whole new perspective. It’s a cliche I know.  Lose everything that is familiar, and watch it happen! I’ve faced down the biggest fears I had, and it really does change you. And I haven’t even found a job yet.

Now, I didn’t WANT it to happen this way, I’m not THAT stupid, and I certainly wouldn’t repeat it. But it happened none the less and I am glad that I have gained something from the experience. I feel a lot lighter, like something has been lifted from my shoulders. I am experiencing more joy and serenity. I like that. And I am laughing more, I am grateful for every little thing. No matter how small. For instance… 

My room mate is a long distance truck driver. She has been doing this for twenty years. I admire her because I can’t back up a compact, let alone a sixteen wheeler. In winter no less! She told me hilarious stories on the drive to Iowa that had my sides aching. I heard about “Too Tired Tammy” who likes to take long naps  (and is always late) after a sugar binge, and there was “Scary Sherry” who’s removed more than her fair share of side mirrors from cars. Truck drivers have their own culture and she has seen it all. I was let into her world and it was really nice. We owe a lot to truckers, things that we take for granted. Like pumpkins!

I went to a couple workshops in the past week and hooked up with a labor-coach from the labor department and I’m feeling energetic again. Job searches have changed dramatically in the past five years. It is astounding how much work is involved in finding a new employee. That is why employers would rather find their workers through recommendations made by people they know. It cuts a lot of corners and saves a lot of time and money. I was relieved to find out that I have an advantage, if I put myself out there, make the rounds, and shake peoples hands. A job search on your lap top can be very tedious and solitary. I don’t want to be sized up just on paper.

I applied for two positions I am excited about this week. Follow up is crucial (and a strong skill of mine), so I’m not too daunted. I’ve had some time to grow my skills, which grows your confidence . I am so grateful for the time I’ve had to do that. I’ve held myself back, done things differently this time, and it has paid off big. I couldn’t have done that if I wasn’t willing to walk through a lot of self-doubt and indecision. It is difficult to not feel pressure from well meaning friends, who’s expectations blossom from their own fears. Everyone in this situation react differently. I have learned a lot from them, and being in this situation. Say…maybe I’ll take that with me in to the next job?
I am grateful for the time I spent in Iowa, so much kindness and good friendships. I had the opportunity to stop by  Pumpkin Land today, owned by Dave and Helen. I am crazy about pumpkins and gleefully started a tradition of going there every Labor Day weekend and buying the first of many pumpkins. Today I had an unexpected pleasure when my daughter insisted we stop by, so she could get me one to take back to Fort Collins. A little bit of Iowa on my door step.

I know I am meant to be in Colorado now, I didn’t know that when I moved here. Funny, how moving can sometimes tell you where you are supposed to stop?

Toni

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Toni is the second, pivotal, Fairy Godmother that I met as a result of my relationship with  Alice. She also attended the same church regularly, and we also began to chat afterwards. Toni frequently attended with an elderly man who I later learned was her father. I was struck, at first, by Toni’s beauty. She is Italian and had a curvy, exotic, Sophia Loren, look about her. I soon learned that her beauty extended from within. She welcomed me into her family as easily as Ken and Alice did, but with Toni I had the added bonus of connecting with two of her off spring that were around my age.

Rich was her youngest son and Judy her middle daughter. They died much too soon and they could make me laugh like no other. I wrote about them in “Legacy of Laughter” and they both, truly live on in Rich’s three sons.  At the time I met Toni they were full of life and mischief. These three, enfolded me in a journey with their large Italian family, that has lasted decades. Toni became the mom I never had. Always there with love, encouragement, and consistency. Judy and Rich, a cherished sister, and brother.

Toni was a single mom before it was fashionable. She divorced young, after the loss of her first born daughter Karen, who was killed by a car. She was four years old,when  someone learning to drive lost control of their car. Divorce was not a popular choice in her family, but she raised her children on her own under challenging circumstances only to lose these two tragically early as well. Those remain two of the saddest trips I ever made home.

How does a mom recover from losing all three of her children before their time? Her family, her life… forever changed. For a long time after, when I would visit, Toni had a frozen look. Like someone just existing and I frankly thought she would never come back to us emotionally, but she did. It’s taken years of dedication to prayer, volunteering, therapy and her faith but today she is living a life that all three of her children would be proud of. I am BEYOND proud of her and have been a lucky recipient of the love she has shared so generously She has always taken me in.

In her eighties now, she looks decades younger than she is. She told me it was her good-old-peasant-stock. She still remembers my favorite foods and worries about my life. Her yard is crammed with rose bushes and angels. Her home has been an oasis for me- where happy memories and pictures of her kids, abound. My family of angels.

Motherless Woman

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I didn’t like the way I was mothered. My mom disagreed with my assessment. Come to think of it, isn’t that the definition of denial? She passed away in October after years of estrangement. I’ve had years of therapy to patch the holes she made in my heart. Sadly, I know I put some in hers. I learned more than I wanted from the experience, screamed uncle more than once, but it shaped me into a much better mom. The price of admission.

On a scale of crummy she would rate somewhere on the left side of middle. Bad enough to leave scars. Good at some things, horrible at others. I never felt she connected to me. In order to move past my momma-pain I had to look at my whole family. It is like putting together a puzzle with lots of missing pieces. You have to accept it will never be complete.

She grew up amidst alcoholism, sexual abuse, poverty and misogyny. Not a good foundation for marriage let alone parenthood. My surviving dad, sister and brother have lead chaotic, rage-filled lives. Uh, they would disagree with that too. I was the lucky one chosen (or did I choose?) to escape. I got out.

I am more grateful than you can imagine. I spent years grieving the loss of my family and wondered why I had a different outcome than my siblings. I realize now they didn’t choose Fairy Godmothers like I did. I CRAVED mothering. Something that has taken me decades to admit, because there is nothing I find more distasteful than being needy. You know…to have NEEDS. I was ripe for divine intervention and I was smart enough, (or needy enough depending on your definition), to open my heart to it.

When God gave me the opportunity to choose a new family he supplied the cream of the crop. I was gifted with six of the most amazing women that ever walked the earth. Are they crisp, sharp, examples of perfection? Nope. God DOES have a sense of humor, and they all became close friends.

Alice, Toni, Sandy, Bev, Alma, and Marian are smart, noisy, quiet, feisty, determined, sassy, outgoing, introverted, funny AMAZON women who modeled for me what it is to be a wife, mom and friend. In the beginning I only saw their magic. I was dazzled and hungry for it. With time and experience I began to observe from them what it truly means to be a success, accepting that life isn’t fair, that all we really have is love.

They are experts in the field of love. Unconditional, messy, fragile, enduring, unbreakable bonds of love. P.H.D.’s at love!

I have decided to profile their stories here in the next two blogs. Stories that are funny (my wedding dress saga is a classic still told today) and inspiring. When ever I leave their company my heart is full of joy. I’ll share (some of them read my blogs so I’ll respect their more personal details…I’m NOT stupid FGM’s!) what I learned from them and how I was able to forgive my mom for not being like them.

They chose to see me through, my mom chose to quit. I can’t fathom giving up on my kids. I want to be a Fairy Godmother! What that means? Next.