Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A HERO? WHO ME?

 
"We can't all be heroes,
because somebody has to sit on the curb
and applaud when they go by."
Will Rogers
 
I suppose we've all had our 'heroes', right?  I don't really know who mine were...but I liked Superman.  Possibly because he sat beside my sister and me on a bus once, later on that day he spoke to us again and we even had a table near him for dinner and he spoke to us once more.  It was Christopher Reeve (my fav Superman of all times)...let me tell you he was awesomely blue eyed, handsome (of course) and totally down-to-earth.  Nice, nice.  And he wasn't even busy saving Gotham City!  Just relaxing in civvies!  Like Will Rogers said, 'we can't all be heroes' and frankly, I don't aspire to be one...just call me 'chicken little'. 
 
But there are times...sometimes out of the blue, when we least expect to be stepping up to help in a way we might not dream of...when oops, there it is...in your lap.
 
 At least that's how it seems to be in my life. 
 
Some years ago, I was office manager for a dentist and was a pretty cool cookie; having four sons in college had something to do with that.  Kept my reflexes/responses sharp...good thing.
 
One day a patient came in for her initial appointment; very pretty woman but ha, we couldn't take care of her...she was so drunk she could hardly walk.  I got a tad tipsy just talking to her but she was sweet...we hit it off.  She was quite happy that I re-scheduled her for another day, hoping for some sober time!
 
Okie-dokie, she made the next appointment, sober...yay!  Success!  Only problem was she had a different name, okay by me.  She told me the 'other one' had died and pulled out a picture to prove it...there she was, in a hospital bed with flowers on her chest!  That was put to rest and voila!  I met the 'new woman'.
 
We became friends and even the doctor found himself listening to our conversations from the other rooms...in total amazement.  Said he'd never heard such conversations in his life...oh brother.  We had some goodies...but we were comfortable with each other...trust me, she needed someone/something to hang onto and I became a strap.
 
Some days she would just drop in for a visit...lonely as all get out.  In some cases I suppose things she revealed might have been figments of imagination...sadly, in her case, they were true.  Her life was a mess along w/a med problem mixed with alcohol...not a good thing.
 
"Heroes represent the best of ourselves,
respecting that we are human beings.
A hero can be anyone from Gandhi
to your classroom teacher,
anyone who can show courage when
faced with a problem.
A hero is someone who is willing to
help others in his or her best capacity."
Ricky Martin
 
One day she came in with her arms loaded with purses...all sizes and shapes...she put them on my desk and asked me to keep them for her...I said I would but asked her why? 
 
Seems she was going downtown to crucify herself...I wasn't alarmed because I rationalized she couldn't do that by herself. 
 
Don't ask why I didn't call the police...didn't notify the authorities; I did what I thought would help...in my best capacity.  Trust me, I do not consider myself an authority on anything...but I felt okay with the situation.
 
So, off she went.  Before long she returned, very contrite...teary-eyed... apologizing for everything she'd ever said and done; my heart ached for her. 
 
Long story...short.  Roosevelt said, "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."  She and I hung on...together.
 
Happy ending...thankfully she accepted the advice and help I proposed...and after some time, professional counseling/treatment worked.  She became healthy, finished her degree, found and kept a wonderful position. 
  
So, can anyone be a hero?  Oh, I believe so, I know so...I really do! 
 
From my heart...to yours,
Vasca  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

BLOOMIN' PROGRESS...



 
(Me...at 14)
"I'll tell you, there is nothing better in life
than being a late bloomer.
I believe that success can happen
at any time and at any age.
Salma Hayek
 
Once, back in the late 70's, our youngest son asked..."Mom, is it true that love is blind?"   I told him that's what was going around; then I asked why he was interested.
 
"Well, Dad must've really loved you...a lot."  Oh son, you've stepped in it...big time!  Ever the young diplomat, he didn't miss a beat with this..."Mom, you're just a late bloomer!"  Right off the hook...really!
 
He had been looking through our wedding pictures (very lovely)...next were the photos of the honeymoon in Colorado (not so lovely).  Okay, so I wasn't exactly Miss Gorgeous.  I weighed in at a light ninety-eight pounds and my wardrobe was zero to brag about.

Desiring to know an exact definition I looked up the phrase 'late bloomer':
An adult whose talent or genius in a particular field only appears
later in life than is normal – in some cases only in old age.'...who wants to wait that long? 

At 11: I began working (outside the home).  Child labor?  No way 'cause it was educational, a good thing...hey, 25 cents an hour was good! 

While living in California I moved to the big time...soda jerk and clerk in a drugstore.  Imagine me selling cigarettes?  Ha!  I rode the public bus to and from work...did the same to school...thru' the defense plants yet!  And paid the fare.
 
At 14: I remember walking to school the day after Franklin Roosevelt died and Harry Truman became president!  That vision is etched in my memory and I'll never forget my feelings, my thoughts that day...I was very concerned; worried about what would happen next for our country.  We were still at war...what a time for FDR to up and die on us!

The Axis was defeated and the world survived; Truman was a good president and the future looked bright.  Except for conflicts; seemingly unavoidable.   
 
At 21: My future was outstanding...downright rosy. 
I found the one...or perhaps M found the one...
I believe someone powerful was the instigator...
we found a rare thing. 
“If you find a man who trusts you,      
who isn't afraid, who sees you for
who you are, and if it feels like he
knows you for who it is that you
simply are...
and thinks all of that is beautiful;
know that you have found a rare thing."
C. Joy Bell C
 
At 27: Future was full motherhood...oh wow!  Married six years w/four boys...more than 'oh wow'...it was 'oh boys'!  What can I say, 'M & I were madly in love'
At 30:  Who would've imagined?  M and I jumped into an entirely new environment...military life and I would live in exotic countries w/foreign people and see much of the world...make many wonderful friends. 

At 49:  Wife of a retired military officer...what's next?  Lots of new experiences, that's what.  M settled into a new career and, as always, I was along for and enjoyed the ride.  Life was good!.  Someday our sons would marry and grandchildren might be in our future...you think?  Stuff happened and we have ten grand ones!

At 70:  My heart was in my throat; America was stricken a most horrible blow...9/11.  Our youngest son worked in a building adjoining one of the twin towers...we later learned he was ill that day and didn't go in.  Like millions of others, I will never...ever...forget that day.

At 71: Talk about the surprise of a lifetime?  Well, maybe not 'the'  but it's up there w/our unplanned family expansion!  M and I moved to China to work for one year and stayed longer to do a few important things for a most important one!

At 80:  Okay, so what now?  I/we had yet another surprise...Michael was diagnosed with a killer condition, something most had no knowledge of, Amyloidosis!  Talk about a few hours of gloom and doom...we were in the dark place.  As it always does, the Sun/Son came out and we were once again upbeat...we remain so.  It's about faith...trust...and more!

At 83:  It's today...once again I'm thinking of 9/11 and my thoughts at that time...sad, with a broken heart.  For some strange reason, for more than a week, I've been singing and thinking "Battle Hymn of the Republic"..."Star Spangled Banner"...and "Stars and Stripes Forever".  I haven't a clue as to why...I only know it's persistent and looks as if those songs are going to be my companions for a bit longer.  And that's okay!

Well, here I am...me, the late bloomer but don't you know, better late than never?  To me, the wonder of it is that I remain full of curiosity...I want to know, to learn...I want to 'pass it on'.  
You only live once, but if you do it right once is enough."  Mae West
                                                                         
While continuing to bloom I pray to be a stream of living water, fresh and flowing.  Even late bloomers need water!  And who's to know...perhaps by some humongous stretch of imagination I might even bloom with some hidden talent or genius like the dictionary says 'in my old age!  'Bout time.

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

BEAUTIFUL MORNING...

 

 
 "The moment when you first wake up in the morning
is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. 
No matter how weary or dreary you may feel,
you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you,
absolutely anything may happen. 
And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. 
The possibility is always there." 
Monica Baldwin
 
 
My personal past week has been a roller-coaster ride...lots of yank-ups and gut-wrenching downs...w/some curves thrown in.  Quite frankly I'm surprised at how well I've handled it...must say prayers have gone up and good things are taking place with more to come.  I'm thankfully confident, composed and cheerful...I believe it's the only way to go! 
 
Fortunately for me (and for Michael) I wake up happy and smiling...mmm!  Anxious to see what's going to take place during the day...who knows?  And just as the quote says 'absolutely anything may happen...the possibility is always there.'   Inspiration can come anytime...anywhere...from anyone!
 
Example: Last Thursday afternoon M & I were in a medical waiting room.
Since there were only four of us in the waiting room, I couldn't help but notice the older lady sitting across the room w/her aide. I supposed she was also there for a procedure...she was a busy bee...talking and laughing with her helper, a very attractive woman.  All seemed to be going well. 
 
After a short time a technician came out to talk to her; explaining (due to her condition) they would need to do a different procedure.  They told her why the change was necessary and she would need to return another day.  She very slowly processed the change and eventually let it sink in...all was still well. 
 
The tech left again, to reschedule her, got a date/time then returned to notify her.  That went well until the helper said, "Sweetie, I can't bring you then because I'm not with you that day."  She explained again...and again.  It just wouldn't process.  This little lady politely went to pieces and began crying...enter the second tech.  The woman wept...then wailed...she didn't understand...she misunderstood...and sadly, she was crushed.
 
I was in tears, watching...listening...witnessing the heart wrenching drama.  She sobbed that no one ever paid attention to her...no one understood her...she had given her all for her family...her life?  At that point in time, to her, life was finished..."Don't you understand?  No one...no one understands...no one."
 
Those two techies?  Her aide?  Angels sent from above...one was bent over her, with her arm around her shoulder...the other one was squatting on knees in front of her and they soothed and comforted her incessantly.  The aide completed their circle of caring concern.  It took much talking, lots of time to pacify her but they were most reassuring.  Finally she seemed to relax...and everyone took long, deep breaths!
 
Imagine the relief when she began smiling...apologizing...assuring everyone she had it together again.  Then she stood, braced herself in her walker as she and her aide began moving toward the door.  The two techs followed; all the while talking ever so gently to her. 
 
Ah, made it to the door but wait a sec'...she stopped, flashed one big smile and said, "How about we have a group hug?"  Of course, of course.  There, in the doorway, all four shared arms in an awesomely sweet hug.
 
That was one, touching experience!  One of the techs came over to me and apologized for the lengthy wait (I was next in the chute)...not a problem...no way!  That could be me one day...who's to know?   This sweet little lady was only two years my senior. 

On an ordinary day in a medical waiting room a wonderful possibility took place; inspiring me to be a better person...imagine, just imagine!   

Shifting gears, please indulge me as I share w/you a bit of personal history that occurred once upon a time...when I was one totally different person. 
 
Waking up 'happy and excited' to see what a new day brings?  That was definitely not my cup of coffee...no way!

                                      

All my thoughts were on sleeping;
"Leave me alone;
I'm not getting dressed,
I'm not going out,
I'm not talking to people,
I'm not seeing people!
And I'm certainly not
sleeping in a toaster.
Get it???"

 
                                                                     
'They'...whoever 'they' are...say about some things...you can't get well 'til you hit rock bottom.  'They' pretty much know what they're talking about 'cause I was there...no where to go but checking out which was not a good thing...no way!
 
I'm eternally grateful for those who loved me enough to step up, force me to face reality...told me the truth about myself which broke my heart and hurt, oh so much... but it worked and gave me a new lease on life!      
 
These days I open my eyes each morning, stretch and wonder what possibilities might pop up today...I smile and think how wonderful Father is to give me a beautiful new day filled with possibilities. 
 
Hmm, maybe I'll have another inspiring example to lead me to...who knows what?   Twenty-four more wonderful hours filled with lots of good things...all kinds of goodies!
 
Want to know something?  I'm totally excited thinking of what lies ahead! 

From my heart...to yours,
Vasca