Busy? Not so Much.

A Ramble.

It is a snowy, blustery day, but warm enough that there is no accumulation on the ground.  Terrific.

I have swept and mopped, dusted and polished, scrubbed and scrapped, fluffed and folded.  I have also watched a bunch of TV, checked everyone on Facebook, deleted a bunch of emails, and sat with my little Shadow on my lap.  Just the mention of my sweet black cat brings a smile to my lips.  Me and my Shadow.  You would never know I have another cat, Blue, and a Boston Terrier named Brutus Buckeye who does accompany me on walks.

While doing these things my head was a buzz with ideas.  These are the same ideas that keep me from a good nights sleep.  Ideas that sound really great, until I actually give them attention.

Today those ideas include a family saga that my Dad thought I should write.  Not just the random pieces I heard growing up, but a real story, based upon actual events, that I really know very little about.  All of the people who could tell me details have passed.  A large historical family saga seems completely beyond my abilities.

The house, the one that caught fire, had to be gutted, and has been sitting empty since mid December, finally is ready for inspection of its new wiring.  When you buy a house from someone who thinks they can do everything themselves, and codes are only for other people.

Some very creative solutions, that are illegal, and possibly dangerous, were found within our walls.  Such dangers as bare wires inside a wall with just a little electrical tape to keep things together, or faux grounded outlets (outlets lacking any grounding) near areas of water usage.  The new wiring is ready for inspection and will meet all codes.  Codes which really are for our protection.

I can hear someone thinking that communities can really get picky with their codes, especially when the exterior is concerned.  Live in a historic district and you will really know the pressure code can exert on a homeowner can be worse than the pickiest of homeowner associations, but these codes ensure the maintenance of historically valuable architecture.  Fortunately, I live in the country.  Nobody cares about historical accuracy and general cosmetic stuff, but safety is the concern.

There were also at least ten blog ideas that flitted through my brain, but those are gone.  I live most of my life in the comfort of my own brain, full of stories, and ideas that I just can’t get out to share with anyone else.  There is too much going on.  As I jump from one thing to the next, ideas disappear into the hidden corners of my mind.

Write it down you say?  Ever find those notes later and ask yourself, “What?  What ever possessed me to think that’s a good idea? Nobody cares what I think about that!

Politics?  I don’t even want to hear about politics, why would anyone care what I think.  CNN, FOX, MSNBC, CBS, PBS… all have better sources and, people more politically educated than I.  Recently, I stick to the major local networks, and PBS.  I just want the news.  I can make my own political determination about it, and so can you!

Our house?  It is coming along, agonizingly slowly.  I do not want to bore you with counter choices and flooring.  I like it.  I will share pictures as available.  I can’t wait to see the results of all this planning.  It has been emotionally trying at times.  Repeated moves, make me feel like a couch surfer.  Sleep disruptions, general anxiety, and overall stress is the rule of the day.   We are in a nice place, and have what we need, but I am plagued by stress over my own klutziness and worry over pets and the damage we may cause.

Interpersonal conflict.  No.  Either to personal, or to mundane.

I could just write about my cat.  Shadow is curled up on her stand in the window.  Just a warm little body who plants herself on my lap whenever I make myself available.  Her silky fur, and gentle purr are soothing.

Give your pet, or someone you love, a little attention.  It is a great stress reliever.

Panicked Pleas

When a parent gets a panicked call from an adult child begging for help you have a choice.

Some people don’t  believe they have any choice, but do whatever is necessary to provide aid and relief to their child.  It doesn’t matter if the child is four or forty, some parents will swoop in to save the day.

I don’t know what your experience is, but in mine, there are adult children who will use their parents as a loophole for accepting the consequences of their actions.  It doesn’t matter how often a parent bails their child out (and you can read that both literally and figuratively), there will come a time that the parent will be helpless to correct the situation.

For example, times:

  • when your child gets into a financial situation that you can’t possibly cover,
  • when an unexpected pregnancy occurs,
  • when they break their relationship,
  • when their relationship breaks because it was a bad choice to begin with,
  • when they lose their job because the car you were against from the beginning breaks down, resulting in another day of no pay,
  • drug or alcohol dependency
  • when all of these things happen at the same time.

Unfortunately,  I can’t give you any insight into the handling of these pleas for help.  I’m struggling to find a solution to this problem myself.  Each parent must come to a decision about what they are comfortable living with.

Some parents go the tough love route; the “you made your bed, now lie in it” approach.  Other parents devote not only their money, but their lives to taking care of the lives of their children, and by extension their grandchildren.

The majority of parents are struggling to find a happy medium,  that place of providing assistance where it is most needed, without taking over the responsibility for our child’s life.  That spot that protects our own emotional and financial wellbeing, while maintaining the true responsibility, and any lessons to be learned, strictly with the responsible person (your child).

It is difficult providing advice and emotional support to a child without rushing in to save them.  But hopefully, experience will teach our children those things we couldn’t teach.  Hopefully, our children will figure it out and become truly adult, because we will not be here to help forever, no matter how much we might want to be.




You can’t look at me and see which half of my face is white and which is black.  A person from another world would see us as completely the same.  Just by looking at each other we can’t tell who is Republican or Democrat.  If we could tell the difference at a glance, we could avoid interaction, or know when to keep our inflammatory comments to ourselves.  Our communication with others could be pleasant and peaceful.

At the beginning of the American Experiment there were no political parties.  The person who got the most votes won the election and became president.  The runner up became Vice-President.  Our new country quickly learned having a president and a vice-president with opposing views made things difficult.  Candidates began selecting a running mate with similar views.  The two party system was born.

Today the two major parties have become polarized into very different camps.  Republicans claim to be fiscally and socially conservative.  Democrats claim to be inclusive and socially liberal.

It is not obvious who is on which team, but I hear people talking about it.  At the YMCA, the local hospital, area restaurants, people talk politics and who is in which party.

We live in the same neighborhoods, maintain our property, raise our children and send them to the same schools.  We stand on main street with our flags for the Fourth of July parade, and the annual Christmas parade to welcome Santa to town.  We shop in the same places, work in similar jobs, pay our taxes, and deal with the same issues of health and happiness.  We belong to the same clubs, organizations, and churches.

The representatives we choose should represent all of us.  The party label should be used as a guide of a similar political approach, but not as a guarantee that a party candidate thinks like you.  Look past the party rhetoric at the entire person, their record and service.

Our political views may be different, but our ballot is secret.  Say whatever you need to get along in the world.  Vote for the best person.  If that isn’t the party candidate, no one will know.


Two Peas

“What was your expectation” she asked.

Not what I was expecting from a getting-to-know-you cup of coffee.  What I expected was something more along the lines of what do I do for a living?  Do I have any hobbies?  I glance at the door, “I don’t really expect anything except a little pleasant conversation to see how we get on together.”

“Really!  You weren’t expecting someone taller, thinner, more glamorous,” she asked.

“I was expecting to meet the nice girl I saw in the photo with your profile,” I said, and when she didn’t respond I added, “She looked nice.”

She blushed and looked nervous.  “I’m so sorry. I was just at the store picking up some donuts and a movie for my nieces and a college student in the store told me I should do the world a favor and lay off the donuts.  I guess, I was taking it out on you.”

“That’s body shaming.  Was that young man a perfect specimen of manhood,”  I asked with disdain.

“Well, No.  He had skinny little arms, and too much grease in his hair,” she said.

“Then maybe someone should tell him to spend some time lifting weights in the gym,” I suggested.  “Maybe he could wash that hair, but that greasy look is probably in style now.  With a little luck, maybe he will grow up!”

After a moment she relaxed and tentatively said, “I apologize for taking my anger out on you.  Can we start over?  What is it you do for a living?”

Laughing I answer, “Now that’s more in line with my expectation.  I’m a manager with a boring office job.  I could go the gym a little more often myself,” I said giving my stomach a pat.

“You look fine,” she said with a blush.

“You look fine,” I said taking her hand.  “I think we look just fine together.”


Thoughts for All Saints Day

Old Stone Church, Public Square, Cleveland Ohio

On All Saints Day we remember and honor those who have died in the last year.  I offer these thoughts to all of you who may have lost someone.  

Giving thanks for your blessings upon our lives, your mark upon us still.

For those out of our reach, beyond our sight, yet still held in love.

Separated, but held dear, memories held close, hearts still full of love.

For those departed, the hand not there, we reach for you, hearts never separated.

One Small Point of Light

The flame of a candle is one small point of light.  One standard candle is estimated to give off 12.5 lumens.  One candle shines brightly in a dark space, but doesn’t reveal much about that space.  Each candle added increases the light, until every dark corner is illuminated.

There is a darkness that is being brought to the light from a surprising source, the political arena.  Being brought to light is something women everywhere have to deal with, from the most progressive societies to the most socially repressive.

I am not going to try to make a judgement on the political firestorm, because it seems that everyone has already decided the importance of the language or possible reality of the sexually aggressive, bullying actions.  I do want to do is share my experience with men.

I know many wonderful men.  My husband, my father, uncles, brother, sons, cousins, many men I went to school with, and many men I worked with are all wonderful, respectful men.  However not all men are respectful.

At age 12, greeting my uncle with a kiss after not seeing him for a long time, he made it clear that such actions were “asking for it ” and would deserve anything that happened. Our relationship was never the same again.  After this I avoided not only this uncle, but men in general.

In Junior High School, a boy grabbed me roughly, and I couldn’t get away.  Every boy in the school let him know this behavior was not going to be tolerated.

Sitting in a high school English class, a couple of boys were putting their hands down the blouses of some of the girls.  Everyone was laughing, even most of the girls.  If they came near me, not only would I clock them, but so would my marine boyfriend, his friends and every other male I called friend.

At age 18, I was talking to a fellow student about my brother studying Judo.  My brother, several of his friends, my sister’s boyfriend,  were all black belts.  The man I was talking to said, “A man would have to be crazy to mess with you!”  It was at that moment that I realized how important it was to be under the protection of the men in my life.

At age 19, two weeks after getting married,  a man I had known for several months offered me a soda while waiting for my ride.  I thought I knew this person, but found myself in a sexual situation that I was lucky to talk my way out of.  Exactly the type of situation my Mother had warned me to never get myself into.

The next day he grabbed me, and wanted to press his case, telling me how I should be complimented by his attention.  I informed him that my uncle was the head of the radiology department in the hospital where he was a resident, and if he ever came near me again, I would report his behavior and he would be out of the hospital.

I had more than one husband of a woman friend “make a pass,” and I have had to give up long term friendships with women when their husbands would not take no for an answer.

I’ve had to work with men who described their exploits and considered themselves a gift to women.  They could not believe any woman would be serious about not wanting his attentions.  These were men I had to be careful to avoid being alone with in the workplace, but they “did the job.”

Why complain?  Nobody would do anything.  It was just something women had to put up with.  Men were the sexual aggressors, and women should be complimented.  But no means NO!   At best, we would warn each other of the danger.

Sexual aggression must be stopped by men.  Only men can stop the locker room bragging.  Only men can keep these aggressors in line, but only if they care about their wives, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and other women they know and work with.

Quirky or Eccentric?

Here I am sitting on my back porch, on this beautiful fall day of clear blue sky and 70 degrees with no humidity.  I might have to get a sweater or move to the sun, but that is an easy fix.  I wish we could have more of these not too hot, not too cold days.

Do you think mother nature is looking for flattery by offering us this beautiful weather?    If you have been following, you have probably guessed that flattery is the word prompt for the day.  My readers are the brightest in the blogosphere!

Is that laughter I hear?  I hope so.  I would hate for you to stop reading, because you have decided I’m an insincere twit.

A woman I know prides herself on her ability to use flattery to hide the fact that she dislikes you.  Somehow, we do know that she is insincere.  In addition, she exhibits what is called “thirsty” behavior, or fishing for compliments.  This is a term I learned today while researching flattery.  “Thirsty” behavior, was written about by fellow blogger  Darnell R. Mckinnon.  (Don’t you love when your Google search brings you to a WordPress blogger?)

Perhaps both sides of the excessive giving of flattery and the excessive desire for flattery can be attributed to low self-esteem.  She compliments to curry favor, and engages in behavior to draw compliments from you, but the result is not the intimacy that is craved.

Instead of intimacy, a superficial relationship is formed, because sincerity is missing from the relationship.   How do you pick up on the insincere flattery?  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we realized no-one can like everything we wear, everything we do, and think everything we say is the smartest, funniest thing ever.  We just don’t think that highly of ourselves!

In addition, when we don’t respond with flattery about her clothing, her every choice, and are less than awed with everything she says…?  Well, she implodes.  She finds us judgmental, because she herself questions her acceptability without constant positive reinforcement.   No neutral comments are acceptable.  The position that it is none of our business is not acceptable.  Only 100 percent, explicitly stated, fawning agreement is acceptable.

I have been known to compliment a color a person is wearing when their clothing is otherwise unflattering.  I do this to be nice, but the compliment is a sincere attempt to tell them something they can use in the future for a better choice next time.  If I was shopping with them, and asked, I might say let’s try something else.  Who knows, the next choice might be much more flattering.

The bottom line is; do what you want for yourself, not for others.  If it pleases you, that is enough.  Your friends will consider you quirky or eccentric, and love you anyway.  You don’t need to do anything for anyone else. Now that is self-esteem!

(Note:  Hubby came up with the title.  What do we think?)



My Radical Idea

Is this what retirement is like?  I really hope not.  Hubby hasn’t had a job to go to for three weeks.    I thought it would be wonderful to have my husband around all the time, and maybe it will be, once we get a few things worked out.

I’m trying to work on my blog, and Hubby calls from the other room.  “April, you’ve got to see this,” campaign updates, news tidbits, organizational tips.   “April, you’re interested in this,” new hairstyles,  fashion and makeup tips.  Really?  Does he know me?  Has he seen what I wear.  I look more like a What Not to Wear before rather than after.  What I am wearing is perfect for working around the house and garden, or sitting and writing.

I finally tell him, “Writing requires uninterrupted time, focus, concentration.”  Apologies are extended.  I have a sign for the door that says, April’s Special Alone Time,  Do Not Disturb.  A lot of good that does me.

As boring and simple as my routine was, it gave me plenty of time to think, contemplate, research, and review whatever captured my interest.  It was great for producing posts.  It was great for reading the posts of others, not to mention the comment sections.  Plus, I still had time to take care of my wifely duties.  You know, housekeeping, letting the dogs in and out, and making sure everyone gets fed.  Now I have no idea how that stuff is going to get done.  Do I just vacuum around Hubby?

I longed for the day Hubby would retire and take over the cooking.  I imagined long walks, intimate conversations.   Its been three weeks, and I miss the TV.  The TV that kept the house from feeling so empty and quiet.  Cooking is negotiable, but I can’t get out of it, apparently.  Hubby sits with his book, and the house is quiet!  I fear my checking the weather on TV will disturb him.  So I sit down to give my blog some attention, and Hubby calls from the other room, “April, I have to read this to you.”

Hubby is a fungi fun guy.   His mind races from one thing to the next bouncing all over the place, from jokes to puns to random ideas.  He makes connections I can’t even follow, and it is exhausting.

An Example

“I should write something funny.  When have I written something funny,”  I ask as we were traveling to the shoe repair.  It is a radical idea, I know.

“You mean on purpose?”  Hubby said.  I am as weird as he is, and we have been married since the beginning of time, so I thought this was hilarious.

When I spend too much time on the computer he asks,  ” You aren’t getting paid for this, are you?”

“No, but it makes me happy.  Notice how I am not depressed!” I tell him.  But I have to wonder if I get paid would that make a difference?  Maybe I need to go to go play Mahjong with the girls.


A Total Eclipse

Before I get into the story, you need to know a few things.  Hubby and I have worked hard at being partners, but sometimes that included me taking a subordinate role as he was the primary breadwinner.  Other times Hubby took a subordinate position to my pursuit of my dreams.  In the world outside our home, I was little more than a supporting player.

In the world outside our home, salespeople, usually men, would talk exclusively to Hubby. This eclipse occurred when we purchased insurance, cars, homes, anything else of a major nature, but even though salespeople would not make eye contact with me, nor offer their hand in greeting, yet they were sure to get my signature on the second signature line of a contract so I would also be responsible for the bill when it came due.  

When I called workmen, I had trouble conveying the proper level of importance to the issue.  Even the teachers of our children, most of whom where women, seemed to brush off any feedback from me.  If Hubby was willing to take time out of the business day to deal with workmen and teachers, things were dealt with in an expedient manner.  The fact that I was the ventriloquist of the act made no difference.  For action to be taken, Hubby had to do the talking.  

Now that you understand the background, you are ready for the story.

The Dream

I went to sleep a woman, but I awoke in my dream as a man.  I marvel at my strong, well-developed, manly muscles, I’m 10 to 12 inches taller than my female self.  My hair, well, who cares, I’m a man and it doesn’t matter!  Yet I recognize I am a very handsome man by any standards.

I am also the leader of a space armada, and we receive an urgent SOS.  A planet near by is under attack.  I lead my armada into battle.  I am brave, respected, and my crew jumps to my every command.  I skillfully outflank the invaders, and while basking in my victory, I am invited down to the planet to meet with the planetary leaders.

I am greeted on the planet by a male/female delegation, each in equal number.  The highest ranking female of the delegation invites me to meet the Princess of this world. (My sleeping self thinks, this really is a male fantasy!)  The Princess is beautiful, petite as my sleeping self.  “You were very brave in battle, and I wish to offer you the highest reward in my power.  My hand in marriage, and you will sit beside me in rule of this world.”  Oh wow!  That would make me a prince of this world, a ruler?

She continues, “Before you answer you need to understand some things about our world. Couples are joined in such a way that they can’t be separated by more than 12 to 15 feet from each other.  This necessitates that couples always work together.  The members of the delegation that met you when you arrived are all couples working together.  We would have to be together in all we do.

“With your tactical abilities we could work well together, but you must know, my duties are here.  You would have to give up space, give up your rank and service to the armada.  Once the coupling is completed, it cannot be undone for any reason.  This is not just a social convention, but it is physically impossible to sever the connect without resulting in death of at least one member of the couple and possibly both.  Separation has been tried many times, always with tragic results.”

So as husband to this beautiful Princess, I would rule close by her side, over an entire planet.  A device is inserted into my spine and into her spine.  As we take our vows of marriage before the priest of this world I can feel the connection growing.  While we can’t read each others minds, we do know what the other is feeling.

We begin our duties, working side by side.  The commanders come with their reports, and I am consulted on planetary defense, but no action is taken without the approval of the Princess.  Reports are brought to the Princess, she consults with me, and others listen as I make my recommendations, but nothing is done without the Princess giving an order.

Irritated, I test the limits of our bond.  At 12 feet I start to feel uncomfortable in a vague way, nothing specific hurts, but I do not feel good either.  At 13 feet I start to feel a little queasy (like morning sickness my sleeping self thinks).  I notice concern in the bond from my wife.  At 14 feet, I feel not only queasy, but pain throughout my body.  At 15 feet the pain is intense, but I am still on my feet.  Through the bond, I sense my wife’s concern.   I look over at my wife, and see her pain is as great as mine.  I remember that if the bond is broken one, or both, of us could die.  I have to move closer to her.  She never says a word, no anger, no admonishment.  We go about our work.

I attempt a different approach.  Instead of speaking to my wife first, I give an order directly to the commander.  The commander goes directly to the Princess to hear her orders.  I look around.  Of the couples that go in and out, it is the women who give the reports, and consult with the Princess.  The men, working with their wives, are barely recognized, except in a superficially polite way.  Around our command center, I notice the same thing  with all the couples around me.  While working alongside their wives, all interactions, all business, is conducted by the women.

My wife senses my confusion, and asks me what is wrong.  “I led the fleet that saved this planet, and now it is like I am invisible.  No one hears a word I say, until you repeat it.”

“My dear, I am the leader here.  In fact, men are subordinate to their wives in all things.  Husband, I thought you understood this.”

My sleeping self awakes shouting, “NO!  Even as a man in a dream I can’t be in charge.”

Life’s Melody

Life’s melody starts with a cry.   Notes of laughter follow, and the song of words.   Tripping along the scale of friendship, and love with staccato accents of hurt, tears, and anger.   Through the interlude of classes and learning, with a brief interlude of adulthood before the movement of family.  The beat never falters, laughter and the counterpoint of tears. The music swells in a great crescendo, joining in harmony with others.  One, two, three children swell the music, filling the chorus with a beat of laughter, and tears as counterpoint.  The fanfare of falsetto heralds weddings as your melody is left in duet with your partner.  The flourish of grandchildren, the sweetest grace notes to the melody of your life, a signal of the final movement.  A decrescendo to a time of peace, returning to the purity of the original, simple melody, ending with one beautiful sustained note.

April E. Sutton, Friday, September 2, 2016

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