All I want to do on my day off is…
Pet my dogs, play Pac-Man, and write stories.
Is that too much to ask?
I lost all my oxygen…
Cleaning out the junk drawer, I found this magical musical machine. I hope you like my lil’ song and can laugh at this absurd “treat” now and again when you get to the end of this post. Mary had a Little Lamb is better replayed.
Valentine’s Day is a “holiday” that can bring out a mixture of emotions all stemming from the red and thorny rose of love. Now, I realize that not all of these feelings are always warm and joyful with white lace wrapped around them. Many are feeling lonely, missing someone, and longing for lost loved ones in a way that makes Valentine’s Day a real downer.
About thirty years ago, I found out how cruddy a forced day of love can be. I was a high school sophomore dating a cute, athletic, and popular junior. This was the first, and only, time I went out with a guy because of his looks and stats. We weren’t even friends and just knew of one another from school, dances, and parties.
Even though we barely talked, he liked me. When he asked me out (via a beautifully handwritten note), I said yes. He was so suave and quiet (unlike me, an excited extrovert.) I really didn’t know how to be myself around him, so I was thankful that we wrote notes (that’s the way we texted in the 80’s). When we saw each other, I didn’t know what to talk about. It was so weird. We awkwardly dated for three months without a real love connection.
He wisely ended it but did so by dumping me on Valentine’s Day with a half dozen red roses. He put them in my locker, and when I stopped there to get my gym clothes, I was surprised to find such gorgeous blooms. The were big, bold, and beautiful. I pulled out the little card from the pink-hearted envelope. In his stupid handwriting, he wrote:
Sorry things couldn’t work out.
I can laugh about this now, but back then, I was humiliated and heartbroken. When my gym teacher saw me walk in with the roses, he praised their beauty and fragrance. I thought they reeked like Aunt Mary’s bath soaps displayed on the back of her toilet. I gave the roses to my teacher for his wife and told him to buy his own damn card. He thanked me then monitored our dodge ball game.
Wow! I was the gym champ of the day! Within a minute after the whistle blew, I took out five people and a red and white stuffed bear sitting on the sidelines. My adrenalin was spiked by thorns and petals, a horrible combo. I may have been unlucky in love that Valentine’s Day, but I reigned as the dodge ball queen. I stood alone waving the ball in my hand like a trophy. What a metaphoric way to end a heartbreaking day of high school!
I learned then that declaring extra love or breaking free from it on a specific calendar date is bogus. It’s indeed sweet and endearing to be treated with “I love yous” in extra ways, but I think it’s better when it just happens, especially on more occasions than one Hallmark Holiday.
I recall when my daughter Elena was in second grade wondering about Valentine’s Day. She asked, “When is the day that we’re supposed to love each other all day long?”
I kissed her on the head and answered, “Yesterday, tomorrow, and today.”
Love is such a curious thing that changes with each breath. I have been in love with the same man for more than half my life, and I know he feels the same about me. Many days are pure bliss, some are just blah, and others are downright bleak, but we keep working at it and get the best out of each other. Falling in love with the same person over and over again is truly special, but it doesn’t just happen because it’s a prescribed holiday.
Happy February 14th and may love be given to you and by you everyday. Now take another breather and listen to my lamb (not love) song. I hope it makes you smile. XOXO
We are thankful for these two furry friends. Because of their coloring, our daughter Cara nicknamed Louie (the sheltie) “Thanksgiving Dinner” and Italia (the golden) “Fried Chicken.”
After my husband let the dogs out on such a brisk, rainy Thanksgiving morning, Italia ran back into our bedroom and jumped right into our bed. This was a big deal, because of her aging body, she hasn’t been able to get into the bed unassisted for months.
I cuddled with her for an extra spell of time. She would have stayed there forever to be pet and loved. Louie, on the other hand, Mr. Thanksgiving Dinner himself, whined for us to get out of bed, so I could continue fattening him up. He basically sees me as the hand that feeds him. It’s all balances out with the unconditional love from Italia.
I’m so thankful to have started out our holiday with extra snuggles.
Hope you had your own special Thanksgiving Dinner (or Fried Chicken).
The actual and metaphoric sky which umbrellas all earthlings sprinkles and showers us with various shines and shadows. It’s a wacky, windy, wildly unpredictable sky, and so is my job as a sunshine.
I know some of you have been wondering what this position entails. Allow me to explain. Who knows, you might be cut out for this line of work too? First of all, neither I nor my co-workers are suns; we are sun-shines who derive our heat and energy from the Big Mac Daddy in the sky, the star around which the earth orbits. The sun is boss. Remember, I’m only a part-time sunshine, so I have a lot of other jobs, responsibilities, and realities that can prevent me from always catching up to the SUN, but I give my best, daily.
Since I’m a part-timer, I get to punch in at any point on the sundial. For example, while I teach my students, I can clock in some sunshine time too. Adolescents can always use an extra ray of light. When mothering my own teen and tween, I’m encouraged to pull out extra beams. Lately, this has been dramatic, sassy, and tricky, but there’s an abundance of brightness to go around. My dogs love when I give them extra sunshine with deep belly scratches and jaunts around the neighborhood. It’s easy to log in sunshine minutes for my timesheet; the minimum requirement is 365 minutes a year. That’s it. A minute a day, to absorb and send out a ray. Flex time is a swell fringe benefit.
Every job has its perks and labors. Some days are easier than others, like on the brightest ones when I can just join forces with the other sunshines, and we can bask and gather together to reap and sow the splendor of the sky. It’s the darker days that are trying when we have to chase the sun and unclog the clouds. Blocked up illumination requires a reliable plunger and a lot of elbow grease. Even though our plungers are golden handled, it’s still a messy process. For the really tough jobs, we get to use solar power; it’s unbelievable how many clouds get sucked up by my Shark Rotator Lift-Away Vacuum. I gotta be careful though because my hose accidentally siphoned a lazy crow sleeping in a cloud. Luckily, he survived with the loss of a few tail feathers.
When the solar path is cleared and glows like a Yellow Brick Road, my job is to record and report the radiance of the moment. Armed with a plume of ultraviolet light, I highlight everyday moments and musings to share. I used to only tell my stories, but the boss wants me to write them down and pass them along to a wider audience. The theory is that if I spread slices of sunshine you may also be able to find, capture, and unclog your own bright spots.
When I complete my paperwork, I get a bonus if I helped you do any of the above. I get to pick from an array of solar powered candles, disco lights, and light sabers (great Christmas presents), as well as vitamin D, bluer skies, friendlier smiles, and happier moods.
Being a sunshine is a rewarding job, and we are currently accepting winter applicants. This is our busy time with so many earthlings suffering seasonal affective disorder, winter blahs, holiday humbugs, and sunshine amnesia (current studies being done on this one). If you want to join Team Sunbeam, you begin by focusing. Find and reveal at least one tiny thing that is special, meaningful, amusing, or magnificent every. single. day.
Fill out the application which requires you to share five favorite ways to soak in the *sun and you might get recruited as seasonal help. (*Remember, this is a figurative sun that denotes warmth, cheer, and happiness.) Be more creative than literally telling us you absorb the sun while laying with your feet in the sand by the ocean with Jimmy Buffett singing on a Caribbean stage while friendly islanders offer mai tais while braiding your hair and teaching the hula. FREE TIP: You are better off telling us how you find sunshine on a cloudy day. Keep it honest and professional.
Should you get hired, you will earn a slick yellow and orange uniform: a bedazzled solar cape, an adorable infrared sunhat, and protective reflective tortoiseshell Ray Bans. (I designed this outfit… and in case you didn’t know, I designed this department’s job.)
All sunshines work with the common goal to spread happiness and comfort, but, at times, we get caught up in turbulent storms, unwavering wind tunnels, and unpredictable forecasts. Sometimes my journey blinds me, and I can’t completely focus on what matters. When this happens, my energy empties and random and painful fireballs tilt me in a game of emotional pinball. I whine, yell, and sob when I get stuck in black cloud movements. I can’t stand wasting my beaming energy like this, missing the sunny parts.
Thankfully, I’ve collected some proven skills and keep learning new techniques for these maddening cloud battles. The biggest thing that I’ve discovered is that I can’t defeat all clouds on my own. Whether you’re on a sunshine team or not, many of you promote the positive in the daily bustle of the mere twenty-four hours we all get. You are vital to our humanity.
Every shadow has a ray of light cast upon it, and there can be no shadow without it. True story on both a literal and figurative level. When slumping through the cold, heavy dark and scratchy times, there is always hope for something warmer, lighter, and softer. Each day starts with a newly resurrected sun, whether or not we see or feel it. Each night ends with the moon, and no matter how full and super it gets, it still has to go to bed. Goodnight, Moon! Time to swoon.
Shine on with the sun, and have a day you dreamed of!
I would love it if you would follow me and my part-time sunshine ventures. All you have to do is sign up with your email address to get notifications of new postings and chances for happiness.
P.S. This is my swimming pool about five months a year. It’s ok. We know a thaw will come.