Souls Carried by Inanimate Objects

Grandpop's WWII bracelet

Grandpop’s WWII bracelet

Connecting with the past is something that’s intrigued me since I can remember.  The idea of tangible objects being held by another person, in another time is overwhelmingly fascinating to me.  I used to think it was only the ancestry aspect, because I find so much joy in genealogy.  But it’s more than that.  For an old soul, being among old items, with or without a direct connection, allows the mind to wander and dream.

Not every old item leads me to a faraway daydream.  I don’t find old paint cans mesmerizing but as I stood two feet from Van Gogh’s Postman the other night, I envisioned him standing just in front of me.  I could almost see his left arm poised in mid air while he determined the next vibrant stroke to complete the subject’s whiskers.  I saw his right hand Continue reading

“That’s Not a Reason”; a Fruit Story

When I was really little, let’s say around three or so, I still over-thought things a bit.

I wasn’t a bad little girl but I had strict parents who kept me in line and helped me be a proper little lady. Looking back, for that I’m grateful. I was reminded lately of something my young mind used to ponder…and though it’s just a goofy little kid story, I’m sharing it anyway.

Mom: “Mae, why did you do that?” (Envision wagging finger and some sort of naughty childish behavior.)

Mae: “I don’t know…”

Mom: “That’s not a reason.”

Mae: No words, just staring blankly at Mom.

She must’ve thought something was wrong with me. As a matter of fact, I’m sure she did, because apparently I always had this crazy look of confusion. But to be perfectly honest, I was thinking about raisins. Raisins were my favorite snack, I’d eat them out of the little boxes with my “pinchers”. I didn’t understand why Mom would bring up raisins at a time like this, when raisins had nothing to do with what I did wrong. Maybe it was her accent, maybe I was hungry. But I remember trying to process this thought for what felt like years, whenever I got in trouble.

Oh, reasons are different from raisins. Got it. I finally told my Mom about it recently and luckily, I got a good laugh out of her. She’ll probably reward me with a box of raisins the next time I see her too. Unfortunately, my pinchers probably don’t fit in those miniature boxes anymore.

Could I Have Been An Olympian?

As everyone knows, the Olympics are in full swing. Even though I’m a fan of the games, by next week the Olympic theme song that is played throughout the day will likely drive me mad. Two weeks straight of the same ten second piece of orchestrated music at the start, end and every commercial break in between will cause my ear drums to reach for the remote and hit mute. Maybe it’s because I have the games on while I go about my business each day.

Regardless, I love the sense of pride and the dedication from Olympians. There is always a heart wrenching story or significant feat embodied in the spirit of the games.

I grew up as a fish. My parents could not get me out of our pool to eat and my summer attire consisted only of a bathing suit. I dreamed of being a real swimmer with a swim cap and goggles and eventually joined a swim team where I did fairly well. During the summer of ’92, my bathing suit transitioned into a gymnastics leotard and my poor Great-grandmother suffered the “look at me, I’m a gymnast” phase, cartwheels in her rowhome and all, when I stayed at her house during one week of the Olympics that year. Poor Grandmom. She never dared to crush my dreams either, though quite frankly, I don’t remember her appeasing me and saying I’d make it either.

Toddler Mae fashioning summer attire for the rest of her childhood.

I don’t remember really ever trying very hard to be anything I dreamed of. I was the queen of one season sports or clubs. I’m probably not in the memories of any of my teammates or fellow members because I dashed in and out, never leaving behind anything substantial and never hanging in to form real memories. Until recently, I thought it was me. I thought maybe I’m just a flake and like so many things in life, I just never knew was it was to give my all and keep persevering. But it’s not true. I’ve come to only understand recently that my Mom discouraged me. But before a judging finger is pointed her way, I understand and I do not place blame. My Mom had severe anxiety and taking me to events was very trying on her. I don’t believe she held me back from anything that I carried full potential in, but I guess we won’t know. I don’t think I would have been an Olympic swimmer, but I wonder if I had stuck with something now and then, if I could have had a different mindset in life. Maybe I could have fought harder.

Now that I’m an adult, I can’t base the rest of my life on the fact that I played one season of softball or did one year of Girl Scouts. I am in control of my own fate and if I don’t try or stick with things, it’s my fault. It’s time to learn a new mindset.  And maybe because I’m not an athlete, that doesn’t set the baseline for other things. I’ve stuck with the things that really do matter in life; I’m not a complete failure.

I didn’t even mean for this post to go in this direction. It was supposed to be a lighthearted joke about my Gram who used to say constantly, “If my parents had had money to get me singing lessons, I could have been a famous singer”. Gram had not a lick of a voice or an ear for keys, but it was something she dreamed about as she grew up in a family of fourteen children.  I found myself saying to my husband the other night, “If I had been able to stick with swimming, I could have been an Olympic athlete”. We both knew it was wrong, but we laughed anyway.

If you think about it, it is funny how at the still-young age of 29, it is so easy to see dreams that are too late to happen in the faces of young Olympians. I’d like to think that I’ll encourage my future and non-existent children to follow their dreams young and be able to support them along the way, and without trying to make them accomplish mine.

Double Your Dad’s

As a child of divorce and an optimist, I found myself always looking for a reason to be satisfied with my family arrangement. My situation is not exactly ideal. It is however, particularly easy now that I’m an adult with a family of my own; well the start of one anyway, by snagging a great husband and a humanistic pug.

I’ve got two dads. I’ve got my paternal “taught me how to ride a bike” dad and my “see, this is how you drill into concrete” step-dad. I’m lucky because they are both wonderful men who have devoted so much of their lives to me, and I to them. Even luckier, they get along. Step-dad has referenced real dad as his “husband-in-law”, which sounds a bit goofy, but we laugh.

 

The cool thing is that, since no one is identical, I find that I always have the right man to help guide me, no matter what the problem is. Both are handy, but in different trades. They are both wise, but from different backgrounds and perspectives. They both can make me laugh and sometimes roll my eyes, but they both have traits that I found to be absolutely required in the man I’d marry; amongst them, respectful, honest, smart, hardworking and loving. I now have three men in my life that mean the world to me daily. I soon look forward to four, as I watch my little brother mature into a man and learn from three elders that care for him as much as I do.

There’s no one in the world without flaws, but their goodness supersedes any negatives, usually. I know this is true because I got nearly weepy at each Father’s Day card I read at Hallmark. I felt so lucky to have people fit the cheesy sentiment, even if I felt entirely lame taking twenty minutes reading through each card option available. If the hardest part of divorce for me is to choose two cards for two dads, I think I won.

I’ll save the stories of skinned knees from my competitive father trying to beat a five year old on her bike for another day.  Who does that?

 

Creep at the Carnival

Last night I felt like a creep. I didn’t do anything wrong, mind you.

We are preparing to go on a trip soon. I like to call them adventures; we don’t have much planned out yet. But we bought new heavy duty backpacks and we’re feeling pretty ready to go. My husband wanted to try them out, so since we were going to the local Catholic School carnival, we’d get some walking in and this could be a good opportunity to try them out.

He loaded mine up with books and water bottles, which I thought was a bit excessive, considering it won’t be our main luggage, but used mostly for a large daypack.

We got some pretty strange looks when we show up childless, huge backpacks and taking pictures. I felt like a predator trying to take pictures of carnival rides and treats for sentimental and blog sake, while trying to avoid capturing the children belonging to the parents eerily watching us. Maybe we should have gone on a ride or two, or not acted as awkward as we appeared. Maybe we should’ve played another game besides the one where you use a big rifle to shoot out the paper star. Maybe we shouldn’t have run off with that stroller…

Just kidding.

We aren’t creepy generally, but we definitely appeared odd. Needless to say, I captured some decent shots and we determined that our backpacks are sufficient enough to join us.

Note to self: Next time bring friends with kids so we don’t feel so out of place; or at least don’t look like we’re surveying prospective kids to kidnap and take camping.

I Turn 29 today…the real 29

I Turn 29 today…the real 29. But not until 2:45pm Eastern Standard Time; my parents are very particular about birth times. Mom says it was 2:45, Dad says it was 2:46…I don’t think it matters at all, but I generally throw my two cents in and say it was 2:45 to give Dad a hard time. He always says, “I was there Shan, I saw what time it was”; I always follow-up with “So was I, Dad”. Then he rolls his eyes.

I don’t know exactly what this year will bring. It’s a manmade fascination to divvy up time into little compartments. All these little compartments are building blocks that add up to a life. I have a lot of goals for this year and I’m hoping to create a solid foundation, to build a solid and sturdy existence.

I’m also finding that the more I’m inspired and the longer the daylight extends, the harder it is to sit down and complete my 365 project. I get antsy when the sun is shining and there are things to do. Then I fall asleep on the couch.  I’m happy, isn’t that all the matters?  Honestly, I do get slightly disappointed with my time management though.

Not today.

Today I head to Brooklyn.

No.  Sleep.  Till Brooklyn….Brooklyn!

I’m sure to find inspiration there and take lots of photos. I’ll be visiting one of my oldest and best friends, which should give me a proper shot for the “Friendship” weekly photo challenge this week. I’m excited and I think it’s a great start to the last year of my 20’s.

Let’s hope it’s not as hot as the day I was actually born. It was unbearable…so I’m told.

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

Moving On and Finding Mae

I’ve written over the last few months about changing gears.  I’ve written somewhat whiney posts about the purpose of life and how to achieve a balance between success and living.   The ideas I had a few months back have changed.  I no longer have the plan I had set in place, because my gut instinct told me it was the wrong path.  Still, I know I’ll find what I need to.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that if I live life by giving, learning and not conceding to the easy route, that I’ll find the success I need to find professionally, to feed my soul.

I have so much to be grateful for in my life and I’d really like to amplify that happiness outwardly.  I miss giving to others, I miss feeling pride in what I do.  Even though I don’t know which path I’ll take, I know that I’ll try the hardest I can along the route.  I know that I have the support of my husband and my Mom.  I also know that I’ll be judged by people who don’t understand.  Continue reading

Past Lives: Who Were You Before?

This post could be the one that pushes me into either crazy territory or a relatable one.  I’m supposed to be truthful and share who I am in this blog, so I’ll get on with it.

Do you believe in past lives? Whether your religion abides by this belief or not, it might have crossed your mind.

I wasn’t raised to believe that we were reborn but there is something in me that leads me to believe that maybe I’ve been here on earth before. I don’t know who I was or where I was born. I don’t even know when I was here or how many times. I know that there are things I’ve been drawn to since I was a child, and these feelings drew me despite the fact that my family never led me there.

I grew up Irish/German Catholic, in America and in the 80’s. I have had a subconscious fear of someone stealing my shoes since I was a child and I’ve been drawn to 30’s and 40’s music even before my peers went through a rap and bad pop phase. I have however, since the time I began school, had a fascination with the Holocaust.  I’m not going to sit here and say this means anything, nor will I claim any actual connection to this time, but it’s a very odd feeling. I longed for Continue reading

I’m Not Having A Cuban Baby; I Don’t Think

I don’t want to rush life but I also don’t want to watch it pass me by either, while I sit there and try to convince myself that “there is always more time”.  There isn’t.

I’m coming up on my 29th birthday.  This will be my last year to add one more notch to the belt of “awesome experiences of my 20’s”.

I always thought I’d have a child by now.  I thought I’d have a baby at a younger age because I liked that my Mom was one of the younger ones in the school parking lot.  I suppose that isn’t a good reason, but we all have reasons we don’t realize until it’s spelled out; and now that I’ve done that, it seems silly.

I met my husband last night at our local pub after work.  Technically we met nine years ago, I’m not a floozy but this was the first time we’d seen each other since we left for work.  He had been there with a friend from work and had asked me to drop by.  His friend is little more than twice our age.  We are both old souls, so we fit in well with this crowd, mostly if they have a sense of humor.  This man is quite intuitive though, which I noticed quickly the first time we met.  He also has awareness for things that most common people lack.  As a recent widower, he talked about how he senses his wife around him and various other experiences he’s encountered over time.

He told me yesterday that I’d be pregnant Continue reading

How Do I Become A Girlfriend?

Growing up in a neighborhood of boys, I only played with Barbies in private, unless they were invited to a GI Joe game and they needed a nurse doll present.  I was an only child till I was eight and I was fascinated with so many things.  My parents never led me to understand what was meant for boys or girls because I think they wanted me to experience childhood the way they both had.

I didn’t really have girlfriends until I started grade school.  Still, I played ballerina or Paula Abdul (don’t ask) with the girls and then army or Pogs with the boys.  As I got older, I found girls like me.  My best friends in high school were not girlie.  They could play rough with the boys but dress pretty for prom too.  We were a perfect fit.  We still are, except out of the group of girls I cherish the most, we are scattered amongst four states in separate geographically regions of the United States.

I’ve been hopelessly awkward since I began college.  I left home and found myself having to start from scratch.  Southern California does not give an East Coast girl the same kind of welcome a surfer girl gets, particularly Continue reading