A Week of Season’s

What a difference a week makes. Last week at this time it was cold and snowy, this week we are at a high of almost 80. The sun us shining, the sky is blue again and the weather warm. I am wearing short sleeves and planning the dimensions of the garden once again.

And that is the thing about life – the storms don’t last forever. Neither do the Winters.

No matter how well prepared we are, how well educated or well paid, there are times in life that are bitterly cold, extremely difficult and hard to manage. Loss of jobs, divorces, death of loved ones, or a million other happenings in life. But it is during those times that we must know, deep down past our bones, where the heart meets the soul, that the touch times do not last. You will not be in the same place or situation 10 years down the road, or even 5 years, 1 year…6 months even. You will be in a defferent space all together.

When I was 19 I Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet and it changed my life. It gave me a new perspective on so many things. Indeed, for a book that was published in 1923, it was far ahead of it’s time and is still relevant today. BEcause it tlaks about things that we expereince in the Human COndition.

And on Joy and Sorrow the books says:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And so it is. And we cannot experience one without the other. So in the long dark nights, know within your heart that it is only temporary. It will soon pass just like a strom. All you have to do is mke it through. And you can.

Life is short. And a full life is a full mosaic of colors and experiences. That is the only way to life it as fully as possible. Soon the sun will shine.

The Normal

As what usually happens after a weather event, things have gotten back to normal for most of the state. Indeed things were bad for many, and still are for a few. Busted pipes are being repaired, the power is back on, temperatures are cooler than normal still, but the ice and snow is melting here in Southern Texas.

Our particular neighborhood handled the entire storm quite well. We checked in on each other, took care of each other, made sure there was plenty of water and food for everyone, shared laughs and drinks. The houses that had the generators gathered up the kids and had sleepovers for the night. There is a deep sense of community here and it shows.

I learned that am definitely not a pioneer woman who enjoys roughing it. I am spoiled and enjoy my morning coffee, favorite TV shows and a warm blanket at night. Though one day without heat and one day without water was stressful, it wasn’t the worst thing in the world, definitely not the hardest thing I have been through. It was nconvenient and extremely uncomfortable however.

In the meantime, the power grid in back and running, water has been restored to most, and damage is being repaired. We went from 1.2 million being without power Wednesday night, to only 30,00 the next morning. And that was before the grid was back up. I love my home state of Georgia, and Atlanta where I lived for almost 20 years, but they could not have brought that many people back on line in one night. And neither could many other towns – even the northern ones.

Yes, there are some things that could have been handled better, and no doubt those things will be fixed. But over all, the people have come together and come through. Because people here are tough, even when struggling. Mattress Mac, who made national news for opening up his furniture store and letting people stay there, sleep in his beds and use his furniture, opened up to people in need once again. “It’s Furniture, it’s meant to be used. The people aren’t going to hurt it. After everything is over we’ll just sell that furniture at a discount.” We love him and his wonderful generousity. He is truly a treasure.

A grocery store that lost power, told customers to leave without paying. No doubt this helped many people. And while stores, restaurants and business were closed, there was no looting. No stealing, or breaking in. There was no taking of anything, like we see in New York, Detroit, San Francisco and other cities across the U.S.

Because the people here are extremely generous. Which is why I believe that the leaders will not let Texas down. The issues will be rectified.

I love living in Texas. While no place it perfect, this place fits me just fine. #texasstrong

My Best Interview

It wasn’t Nancy Regan. It wasn’t the Dalai Lama. It wasn’t Francis Ford Coppola. And it wasn’t Brad Pitt.

It seems like it was a lifetime ago, when I was in news, media and broadcasting. At one point I was working in TV, radio and theater. Looking back I am not sure when I slept. But you really don’t need much sleep when you are in your early 20’s.

I was working in news on 9/11. Terrible doesn’t begin to describe that day. I got out of hard news after that, I couldn’t take the heartbreak.

For a while I reported the regular headlines, reported the Dow, and current political happenings. It was thrilling to be around that much information all os the time. It was also overwhelming. What we see on the news, or read online is a minute fraction of what is actually out there. And that was before social media (yes, I was old school journalism.) But working in the news was also exhausting. So I switched to mostly entertainment,. where I could have fun and not feel so depleted at the end of the day (or night, depending on what shift I was broadcasting)

I often interviewed many celebrities and some politicians. And I am often asked about my favorite interview. Nancy Regan is in the top 5. Francis Ford Coppola was cool. Brad Pitt was HOT. and The Dalai Lama was my second. But my favorite was Walter Cronkite. He had retired but was giving a few interviews to promote his books. I pulled every string I could and called in every favor possible, to get an interview. And by lots of work., prayers and promises, I got him on our little station. He was a call in, not in person, that that was fine.

It was the morning show, and I had the list of questions his publicist has sent. The mic was hot, it was time. I opened my mouth and …nothing…I couldn’t speak. It is the first and only time I have ever been star struck. What do I say to the man who reported the moon landing? Watergate? Three Mile Island? The Iran hostage crisis? The Civil Right s movement and the assassination of Dr. King? Vietnam?

What could I possibly say to the man who reported the assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

He was a legend, a real journalist, not these fake opinionated hosts that call themselves reporters. He was my career hero. After seeing the look of sheer panic on my face, my morning show partner, and boss at the time, spoke up and welcomed him to the show. I think I was only silent for about 2 seconds, but it felt like an eternity.

I snapped out of it and continued the interview. And he was delightful. And he had the most charming laugh. He was generous with his information and very professional, just like I knew he would be. i had to be careful not to gush, which might happen when you interview your idol. It was a sad for me, and for the world, when he died.

We only had 15 minutes booked with him – that was all I could get, but I was happy to get it. It was such a long shot, and no one thought I could get him. No one thought it would happen. But it did.

That was in 1995, which seems impossible. I am showing my age, talking about an interview I did 26 years ago. But it always stayed with me, as well as some advice he gave me before we ended the call.

Life is short. Go after the long shot. take the chance on trying. It’s worth it, trust me. It is amazing when those long shots come to fruition. And if they don’t, at least you tried.

The More Things Change

As a naturally inquisitive person, sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me. Such was the case today. I have been missing my Mom a lot this week as I start a new job and am working on the garden. Every time I started a new project, I would call Mom on that first day and tell her what I thought about it and how it was going. We would talk and laugh as I told her the details of who I was meeting and what I would be doing.

Mom also had a green thumb, well, green arm actually. She could grow anything. It was pretty amazing. She and Dad always had gardens, both for vegetables and flowers. No matter where we lived, Mom always made it a green paradise with lots of everything that was beautiful and lush. I could use her advice as I dig up and plan for this years gardens. What does best in the sun? Partial shade? What needs a lot of water, or not much at all?

So I looked up the family compound online. Or least the property that used to be ours. And it looked beautiful. The new owners, as of Dec. 2018, had added a few things, cut down a few trees, and changed a few of Mom’s gardens, but it looked great. They added walkways between the houses, built out the outdoor kitchen and extended the workshops. The trees fruit trees that they had were Mom’s favorites. There were a few small changes, but it looked like the place was well loved and enjoyed.

And in that sense, the more things change the more they stay the same. That property meant so much to our family, so many great memories of family times. No doubt the new family that lives there now feels the same. As I looked at the pictures online, I remembered Mom planting those flowers and bushes. I remembered sitting on the front porch drinking morning coffee, talking while Mom smoked. And the many nights of wine and conversation on the back porch. I remembered helping Dad in his workshop filled with every tool imaginable.

Life is short and it is nice to know that the important things have passed on to others who enjoy it just as much.

Hoeing Around

It’s that time of year, that time to start working on the garden. Last year I really couldn’t do it because I had just moved and was still unpacking. By the time I started working in the garden it was almost June and the ground was hard. I ordered the seeds late so they took forever to come in.

This year I am starting on time. It is shortly before the last freeze and I am getting the garden and the ground ready. A few weeks ago I mapped out where the gardens would be. This week it is hoeing and shoveling digging out the gardens. Over the weekend it will be taking stock of the seeds and deciding what I want to grow and what needs to be bought. It will be soaking the seeds in water to get them to sprout, then planting them in starter pots, then out to the garden.

If I work on it a few hours a day, I should have it done and hollowed out in about a week. There will be flowers and vegetables, pretty and yummy side by side.

I was amazed at how easy it was to shovel the dirt under the grass and weeds. So much easier than just a year ago when the soul was hard as a rock. And isn’t that how life is sometimes? When we first try something, it seems so hard. And then later, when the timing is right, it’s so much easier as everything slides into place. A lesson I should and do remember. And sometimes you just need to get good and dirty to remember that. To roll up your sleeves and give yourself to the work that bear the fruits of your labor, and make your dreams come to fruition.

Life is short. And timing is everything. And now is the time for me to have the time of my life.

How the Wonder

As I read the church bulletin, looking at the letters that makes the words and create a sentence, I am extremely thankful that my parents, specifically my mother, instilled within me the value of reading. She would read to us as children, and then as we grew older she made is read out loud to her. And she taught us vocabulary beyond our grade level. Indeed as a 3rd grader I knew 6-8 syllable words, and how to properly use them and in what context.

She would make me read to her out loud as I moved around because I couldn’t sit still. She would never make me sit still as I read to her and she would hold the book for me as I squirmed and read. She would quiz me on vocabulary words that she taught me as well as my school words.

And she would stop and ask me what I liked about the story, and what I didn’t. She would ask me questions to make sure that I understood it. And then we would talk about whatever it is that I had read. She would ask me if I would change anything about it, and what would I change and how would I have the story end?

And I wonder if she had any idea that she was forming a young writer? 

The Birthday Month

It has been a minute since writing last. January was my birthday month and it indeed was quite a month of celebration. It started New years Day, reading the memories of the past year from the Joy Jar, laughing, smiling and giggling sharing all the wonderful moments. I had the best birthday I’ve had in years, and the month just got better from there. A great gift of my dream job.

And now I am balancing that dream job with working in the garden, editing my book, studying to become Catholic, writing for myself (because I have to) and having a wonderful life. And isn’t that the way life is? It is a magic balancing act.

The night before my birthday there was a quiet moment where I looked over at my handwritten journal as I was getting ready to write and it occurred to me…while my life is not prefect, it is exactly what I want it to be. I am exactly where I want to be and with whom. In this precarious, amazing, complicated, happy, crazy balancing act.

Life is short. There is laundry to fold, lessons to learn, a few more pounds to lose, a kitchen to clean, and life to live. And in those quiet moments, between raindrops, between the hands on the clock, between heartbeats and the right an the wrong…we should always remember what makes us happy. And go after it. Beleive it in it. Thrive on it.