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Archive for May, 2014

For the past 2 days I have thought of little other than the fires that are burning to the North and East of my home here in San Diego County. It’s been unusually hot in San Diego County – over 100 – and windy. The sort of weather we expect in September or October – certainly not in the middle of May. And yet – here it is.

Susan and I are safe – We have electric – We have the internet – We even have a portable Air Conditioner that keeps us quite comfortable. We have food and water and a bed to sleep in. Our children and grandchildren are safe – but  others are not so fortunate.  My heart breaks to watch the devastation and see homes going up in flames. I feel helpless and without a sense of stability. There is this sense that all is not safe in our world.

Southern California is dry – I mean – 100 year drought dry.  The canyons that surround our home are filled with things that would probably ignite if someone just has the thought of a burning match.  Add to that the signs that tell me there could be unexploded weapons buried there – and you have the formula to keep me awake at night when fires are burning.

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I’ve also been thinking the past 2 days about the people in the world who live with the threat of fire and bombs and gunfire and death every day of their lives.  I can’t imagine how their lives must be. In certain parts of the world – this is their life – this is what they know. There fears are mostly a reality, and my fears seem minuscule compared to what they face.

But, the thing is – these are my fears, and this is my home – mine and Susan’s. I understand that most of our things can be replaced. Still, I love where I live and my neighbors could never be replaced. I’ve never lived anywhere where I have been so loved, so cared for and accepted for exactly who I am. Susan and I are safe here; and that means more than you could ever know.

Everyone wants and needs to feel safe in their home. Safe from abuse, safe from violence, safe from prejudice, safe from harm, safe from a world that sometimes chooses to belittle and judge.  We all deserve such a life, such a home, such a refuge. We are blessed with such a place.

Now – if I could just do something about those unexploded weapons that are scattered all over this place I call home…

Keep San Diego County in your thoughts and your prayers.  We need all the goodness we can get…

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I was informed by an email awhile back that my family wasn’t a “real” family. The woman who wrote me this email went on to explain that my family couldn’t possibly be a “real” family because I’m a homosexual. God would never deem to allow me to have a loving family since I am a sinner in the largest sense of the word.

Susan, my partner of 33 years has 4 children and in the course of those 33 years – her children have also become my children. I love them – I worry about them – I support them – all the things that Mothers feel for their children – I feel for these 4 children.

Along with the children have come spouses and grandchildren and pets and friends. Girlfriends and boyfriends and proms and graduations. School plays and competitions and dressing as angels and wise men in Christmas pageants at church. Weddings and divorces and fights and hugs and love and yelling and laughing and adventures in Las Vegas! Standing in front of Stonehenge crying on my sons shoulder, sitting with my daughter in a courtroom trying to be the strong one for her and my grandchildren. Picking kids up at school, driving all over town to find just the right gift…

Does any of this sound like a real family to you?

Sitting at my daughters house yesterday laughing with the grand-kids and just enjoying all the love in the room – I understood how blessed I was to be surrounded by this family that makes my heart so happy.

I thought of the woman who wrote me that vile email and I sort of felt sorry for her – sort of.  I feel sorry she will never understand or accept the love that flows through our family. I feel sorry that she will never, ever know the joy of loving someone for who they are – and I’m sorry that her “faith” is such that she is filled with such loathing.

I’m sorry that she doesn’t know that “family” is all about the people who love you and accept you and support you – no matter what. It’s not always about blood – it’s about love. Sometimes the whole blood thing is just too complicated and way too judgmental. I don’t know why that is – I don’t know why the people you want to love you the most just can’t… or won’t…

I never thought I wanted to be a Mother – I never thought I’d be a very good Mother… I was wrong – on both counts.  I love these children and grandchildren more than they will ever know – I hope they know they can count on me – I hope they know the joy they have brought into my life, I hope they know how they fill my heart with such joy just being in the same room with them. I tell them – I just hope they know.

That vile, email woman is wrong…   2 Mothers – 2 Grandmothers loving you, supporting you, accepting you, baking for you…   Who doesn’t need that?   Who doesn’t want that?

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I was in Palm Springs last weekend for some fun and relaxation. I walked into a coffee shop and noticed that every single person there was looking at a phone or a tablet.  Not one person looked up or even noticed I was there. There was no conversation going on – it was people being one with their electronics.

As much as these said electronics have made the world smaller by allowing me to call my son in England by simply touching a few numbers, I have to wonder if these said electronics have not also separated us from one another.

We wait in a line for coffee or groceries or food and we don’t speak to the person in front or behind us because we have to check our Facebook or email or Instagram or Twitter on our phone because someone may have said something about us or we need to post a picture of our coffee or muffin or perhaps our scone.   Are we seriously that self-absorbed? I believe the answer to that question is: Yes, Yes we are that self-absorbed.

I’m not passing judgment on anyone, for if I were honest: “My name is Barb – and I’m a phoneaholic.”   I have email and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all installed on my phone – and yes – I do post to all of them.  I also have the Nook and Kindle App and more books downloaded that you can imagine. I have Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Bejeweled Blitz, Pet Rescue Saga and Juice Cubes. I have my Starbucks app, Netflix and my bank – I even have a flashlight! There’s so much more, but I think you get my point.

Do I need all of this? No, of course I do not. But apparently I am so self-absorbed that I do believe I need all of this.  I believe that people want to see my coffee cup and scone, and I believe I’m so important that people will “follow” everything I have to say…  Seriously?

Perhaps I need to get over myself.

I don’t think of myself as a vain person – However – to believe that people need to see and know what I’m eating and where I am and what I’m doing every moment of the day? Well – that’s pretty vain now, isn’t it?

I love the part of Facebook that keeps me connected with friends – and also allows me to make new friends.  I love looking at pictures of friends and their families and I love the travel photos my friends post of places I’ve never been.  I love this part of Facebook – it makes me feel that my friends are close when they really are scattered all over the world.

The thing is – I don’t need to check my Facebook page every five minutes… The messages, the pictures, the posts will be there even if I only sign on once a day.

And Twitter? I never understood Twitter – I still don’t. I’ve tried, I just don’t get it – so I believe my account can just go away…

Instagram?  Well – I’m a photographer, so it will stay. I won’t post as much – but I do like looking at other people’s photos.

I’m breaking up with my phone – well – with some of the apps on my phone. I’m going to go into a quiet room and uninstall a few of them and grieve in quiet solitude.

I don’t want to be one of those people with their face in their phone and miss my life as it goes by. The faces of my friends and family and friends I’ve yet to meet are there waiting for me to see – and not through the eye of that camera on my phone!

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When I started writing my first blog I had no idea what I was doing. I just started writing because I needed to vent. There was no method – there was no point – other than me writing down how I felt. It was therapy and the more I did it – the more I enjoyed it – and the more I started to feel better about who I was.

Writing changed my life. I was in a pretty dark place when I started writing. The more I wrote about the darkness the lighter my world became.  The more I let things go, the easier my journey became.  My bitching and complaining became embracing and rejoicing.

Then somehow my writing became about how many people were reading and commenting and tweeting and retweeting and liking and sharing.   When no one would comment I started to think I wasn’t writing well and wondering what I was doing wrong.  I started writing what I thought people would want to hear, and I started questioning my writing ability and wondering how I could change to get more likes, more hits, more followers…

This is so not who I am. So – I’ve decided to go back to the beginning – Back to where it’s just me and my laptop having some therapy time. Back to writing about what matters most to me – back to not concerning myself with the numbers but concerning myself more that the content comes from my heart –

I don’t know if this happens to you; But I most certainly got too wrapped up in getting validation from others that I am indeed good and kind and thoughtful and all those others things that puffed me up!

I’m just going to try and be good and kind and thoughtful every day, and not really worry that others might not know that.  I will know that I’ve tried my best and that I don’t need likes, shares, tweets and comments to validate who I am.

Don’t get me wrong – I love when people read and I’ve helped them or they feel better or they see something from a different point of view – I’m just choosing to not let their comments or lack of comments define who I am. I just need to write – that’s all.

So – those of you who are reading this – I thank you – genuinely thank you – for taking the time.  I know you have a million other things to do – and I appreciate that you spent just a little time with me.

Remember – you don’t need others to validate who you are – look in the mirror and smile at that face looking back at you.  Be kind to yourself and to others.

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