A Shift In The Universe

mountain

I have been living in a topsy turvy world for a week. This election delivered so many enormous emotions, newly discovered truths, and paradigm shifts I have had a difficult time unravelling them all.

We all have certain truths we believe about ourselves, secretly. We might decide that we would have been an Olympic athlete, had we just applied ourselves more. We didn’t deserve to be fired…the boss was a jerk. We tell ourselves things to make ourselves feel better about our lives and our actions. We want to be the hero in our own story.

I have always secretly felt that my life had been harder than most people experience. That I had suffered more and had more bad things happen to me. After all, I was bullied as a child. I was a square peg. I was the tallest kid, boy or girl in the whole elementary school. I had to wear ugly shoes because my feet turned in. I was teased for my glasses.

I was born with a very rare birth defect that meant 10 years of tormenting surgery in my childhood until everything was put right. This is the first time I have written about it publicly. THAT was hard. THAT was suffering.

I was raped when I was a teenager. I lost two loved ones to horrific bicycle accidents. Not one, but two, 30 years apart. I was in an abusive marriage. I had a man tell me he would kill me if I left him. And he meant it. I have been in a damaging car accident. I have had a couple of serious illnesses. I have locked myself in a bathroom with a man walking through my house with a loaded gun. My parents went through a years-long damaging-to-all ugly divorce. I was told that I couldn’t do a job because I was a woman. I had four miscarriages and was told I couldn’t have children, and I wanted them. More than I can express. I have had friends betray me. I have been ghosted by a man. I have had my heart broken several times. I have been so poor I tried to sell my blood to get enough gas money for my car but they couldn’t get a good vein.

Through it all, as I got knocked down, I picked myself up every time. I got off the floor and kept going. I have always felt that hardship and suffering temper us and make us stronger and wiser. It’s made me the woman I am today and I like who I am. I am proud that I was able to get through everything that I have been challenged by. It’s been part of my personal life story to be able to feel that I have suffered more than most and yet be a strong happy person.

This week changed that for me. I no longer feel that I can say I have suffered more than most. It struck me like a hammer BOOM. I HAVEN’T SUFFERED MORE THAN MOST. There are millions of people on this planet who’s day to day lives are much more challenging than mine. I am a white woman who grew up in middle class suburbia with two loving parents and many privileges. I am not a person of color or gay or transgender or Muslim or a minority. The fear I face because of this farce of an election is NOTHING compared to the fears others face.

I have been incredibly humbled by this revelation, this paradigm shift. It’s not that I was oblivious to the troubles other people face. I have always genuinely cared. But it was always at a remove, as it didn’t affect me in my day to day life. I have never had to see it first hand. And now I do. I am a little late to the party but I am finally here.

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Just When I Thought I Couldn’t Shed Another Tear

Oh Leonard…I knew your time was near. I first fell in love with you years ago in an art gallery in Montreal. As I slowly drifted around, looking at paintings, I heard this magnificent voice and that was it for me.

You were a gentleman, poet, storyteller and artist. One of the finest songwriters of our time. A true Renaissance man. And you will be greatly missed.

It will always be part of my most cherished memories being so fortunate to see you sing not once, but twice. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Rest in Peace, dearly beloved, Leonard Cohen.

leonard

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The Beautiful Things Of Life

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. -Anne Frank

EPSON MFP image

When I opened my vintage shop this morning, it was with a weary and aching heart. It felt like such an effort to do the normal things, like putting vintage furniture outside to display on the sidewalk and turning on the glittery holiday lights. I moved slow, each step plodding and uncertain.

An elderly woman came through the door of the shop and asked if it was a good time to show me some items I might be interested in purchasing. She had brought in her family’s collection of vintage postcards, some dating back to the early 1900s. Lovely Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine cards, most with inscriptions on the back. I love the old handwriting, with the large showy swirls and the fading burnished ink.

I decided to buy them all, and was studying them as she browsed through my shop. One caught my eye. It featured a boy carrying boxes of flowers and wearing wooden clog shoes. It read at the bottom BONNE ANNEE, “Good Year”, in French. And handwritten down one side were the words…..

The Beautiful things of Life.

I turned it over and written on the back….Germany November 9, 1944

72 years ago. TODAY.

Dear Pearl, Here’s wishing you a merry Xmas and a Happy New Year. Always, Marvin.

EPSON MFP image

I asked if she knew the history of this card. Yes, she did. Pearl was her mother. At the time of this postcard her mother and father were engaged to be married but had decided to wait until after the war was over because her father didn’t want her mother to be a widow. Her father had been at Pearl Harbor during the attack, and stationed in the Figi Islands for a great part of the war. Marvin was her father’s brother. He was fighting in Germany, when he wrote this card.

Marvin was thinking about and fighting for the beautiful things of life.

Imagine what Marvin saw every day. The horrors. The devastation. The worst impulses of men. And yet, he was able to think about higher things.

I am keeping this card and placing it where I can see it every day.

If Marvin could keep his heart unsullied by the horrors of war, if Marvin could still think about beauty and the things that truly matter, then I can too. Despite the hate and the ugliness displayed so horribly yesterday, I can look above and beyond.

I will seek The Beautiful Things Of Life.

Thank you Marvin, from a lightened heart… exactly 72 years in the future.

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I Am Building My Own Damn Wall

Old wall

I am heartsick and devastated. I have always thought that there was more love in the world than hate but I found out differently tonight. It’s going to take me some time to get used to this new reality.

I am ashamed to be an American tonight. We are no longer the greatest country in the world, and won’t be for some time to come. We may achieve that again, but we have some dark days ahead.

So I came up with an idea of how I am going to survive the next 4 years.

I AM GOING TO BUILD MY OWN DAMN WALL.

and here’s how it looks.

  1. I will never refer to him as president. He’s not MY president. Y’all who used to say that about Obama…get used to it.
  2. When I travel I am going to start telling people I am Canadian. After all, they are kind, nice and civilized people. And we aren’t.
  3. I am turning off most media starting now. I don’t want to see his face or hear his voice or hear the countless second guessing. The media helped create this monster, so I am pissed at them too. I don’t really need to know what is going on, day by day. It’s going to be mostly bad, so why do I need to hear about it?
  4. We have certain values behind my wall so only people who reflect those values will be let in. Values like kindness, compassion, tolerance, and acceptance.
  5. Behind my wall there is love and joy and art and creativity. We support each other and inspire each other.
  6. Behind my wall we embrace people of all races, religions, sexual preferences and identities.
  7. We only allow intelligent and reasoned thought behind my wall.
  8. We don’t talk about him behind my wall. We don’t think about him much, behind my wall. There are better and more positive things to think about. And frankly, I have already spent more time thinking about him than I should have in an entire lifetime.
  9. And finally, I refuse to let my day to day life be affected by his presidency, whenever possible. He may have won the popular vote because we have so many ignorant people in this country, but he hasn’t won the right to be a significant part of MY life.
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You Don’t Get To Take This Away From Me

You don’t get to take this away from me. You just DON”T.

I won’t let you.

I won’t let you diminish the joy I will feel when Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman president of the United States.

I don’t care if you are a sour-grapes Bernie supporter or reluctantly voting for Hillary because you can’t stand the idea of Donald in the White House. I just don’t care. I really don’t. And if you are supporting and voting for Trump? Go read someone else. This is not the place for you. Just go away.

I am just done. I am done with the negativity and rhetoric. I am done with the attacks with no evidence and no merit. I am done with the lack of outrage over how Hillary Clinton has been treated in this campaign. This election cycle has sunk to a depth never seen before and not enough people are up in arms over it. Why is it okay? Is that who we have become? When we don’t immediately chastise and repulse a candidate who has the audacity to say and act towards his opponent in the most horrifying ways ever seen?Who is verbally abusive and worse? Who are YOU that that’s okay with you?

I did some phone banking for Hillary during the primaries. It was challenging and hard. I got hung up on several times and told off several other times by Bernie supporters. But I also had several really wonderful conversations with women and men who were absolutely thrilled to be voting for Hillary and I could tell they were so eager to share their excitement with a kindred spirit. The joy in their voices was lovely to hear.One was an elderly woman and her voice quivered with emotion as she said how she couldn’t believe that she was going to finally have a woman for her president. I said…well isn’t it about time? We laughed together and she said she hadn’t been sure she would live long enough to see it. And then we both sighed. That sigh women share.

The glass ceiling is real. I ran into it myself. In the mid 1980’s and early 1990’s I worked for a corporation that had 332 managers and around 30 of them were women, including me. I was told by my regional manager that women shouldn’t be managers. He didn’t feel we were capable of doing the job. And yet, I did the job and did it so well I was eventually promoted to being a regional manager myself, much to his surprise. I was lucky that not everyone at that company had his attitude towards women. But I could see the writing on the wall, as upper management were all men and when I left the company I started my own business.

There are millions of stories like mine and part of the dynamic of this election is the over-whelming sexism shown towards Hillary, by both men and women. And yet, she has forged ahead, with grace and dignity, and courage under fire. I love Hillary Clinton and I think she’s going to be a fine president. I will vote for her proudly and will be cheering loudly as the results come in and she is elected in a landslide….and I already have the champagne ready.

You don’t get to take this victory away from me. You don’t get to take this moment away from me. I am not going to let you.

Either celebrate with me or don’t.

But if you choose not to….take your sulking and ranting elsewhere. It’s not allowed in my little part of the universe. Here we are happy. Here we are gleeful. Here we cry tears of joy.

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My Father Is Batman And It’s Terribly Terribly Wrong

dad-batman

My 84-year-old Dad dressed up as Batman for Halloween last night and there’s a big part of me that thinks that’s the best thing ever. Seriously. How cool is that? He was visiting his grandsons in Colorado and they were dressing as superheroes so he decided to be part of the fun. I LOVE that he did this! I want to be that amazingly cool when I am 84.

However. HOWEVER. I have had a serious Batman fetish since I was in my early 20s. And I do mean serious. I could have a long conversation with any Batman fan about the comics versus the movies, which Batman actor was the best and which ones were awful, and on and on and on. And if my guy wants to have the best time of his life EVER? Dress up as Batman for me. And watch out. Batman is dead sexy for me. And always has been.

Except that now my dad has dressed up like Batman.

That is seriously messed up.

I am not sure how I am going to recover from this.

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A Visit From Cackle

veronica-lake-witch

There once was a witch

Named Cackle,

Who liked to eat fingers for breakfast,

Big toes were delightful for brunch,

ear lobes perfect

For a midnight snack.

Her tastes were peculiar,

No soft flesh for her,

She liked a satisfying crunch

To her meals,

Although she was partial

To the chomping pop of an eye.

Where is Cackle now, you ask?

Oh, I thought you knew.

She’s standing right behind you,

And what a delicious meal you will be!

Happy Halloween!!!

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