At sixty-five I’ve embraced the power of positive thinking.

I am reading psychologist Kelly Flanagan’s book,  Loveable.  My son Matt, knowing I have embraced the power of positive thinking concept, introduced me to  Loveable.  I immediately ordered it on Amazon.com.  Thirty seconds later I had manifested Loveable into my mailbox.  (How does Amazon do that?  Do they have little magicians waving wands, making mailbox magic happen?)

This book is wonderful.  As stated on the back cover, “Loveable is written to the little one in each of us who is all too ready to be reminded: You are enough, you are not alone, and you matter.”

I’m not done the book yet.  It’s a read  I want to savor.  Sip slowly.  The insights are profound.  The pages I just completed speak to finding our passion.  Our passion can usually be unearthed in the memories of what lit us up when we were kids.  What lit me up was writing.

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I also recently read Deepak Chopra.

My earliest writing memory took place at Grove Point Girl Scout Camp.   (Girl Scout camp was a horrible experience and included my first enema.  That’s a story for another day.)  While at camp I met a Hispanic girl.  I’d never known any Hispanic kids.  She was dark, slim, had an accent, wore a flower in her hair and an air of mystery.  I remember sitting on a bench near the camp lake and writing a story about her.  I loved that story, and like most authors believed my written words were diamonds.  No, not diamonds in the rough.  Faceted, sparkling, brilliant gems.

Fast forward to college.  In the summer of 1969 I was a University of Delaware “summer qualifier.”  Basically that meant I’d had such terrible grades in high school I had to prove myself bright enough to become a U of D student.

The University wasn’t unfair for making be a qualifier.  I’d been a lousy high school student.  Over the years I’ve reasoned that must have been since my sister is rocket scientist bright.  She even skipped her senior year and vaulted right into U of D’s nursing program, where she consistently got 4.0 grades.   I told myself I felt I couldn’t compete so why try?

That’s a lie.  The reason I got bad grades was because I didn’t like to study.  I would use any excuse to get out of doing my homework.  I clearly recollect one evening walking into the kitchen where mom and dad were drinking sherry out of small Welches jelly jar  glasses.   Deep in conversation about Daddy’s miserable day, they barely registered me on their radar when I said, “I have to go to the store before I can do homework. I need a pencil.”

We had a desk filled with pencils.  Yellow Eberhard-Faber wooden pencils with pink erasers.  Mechanical pencils using slim. easily broken lead (Daddy was civil engineer).  Colored pencils.  We had pencils of every possible type.  I clearly did not need to go buy another pencil.   But mom and dad were so engrossed in hashing through his daily grind they simply waved me on.

I just did not study.  Studying wasn’t fun and if something wasn’t fun I wasn’t planning to participate.  I’m still a lot like that.

As a summer qualifier I was required to take two classes.  A history class of some sort that involved dreadful studying and tests using blue books.  I loathed it.

The other class was English.  The professor had us do a lot of creative writing.  For the first time in my school life I began to make all A’s.  I remember one story I wrote in which I created characters a lot like Rob and Laura Petrie of the Dick Van Dyke show.  That particular tale earned me not only an A, but conversation with the professor. He asked me why I was in the class.  He couldn’t figure out why an intelligent kid had accidentally been placed with all the dim bulbs.

I told him, “I’m here because I’m a summer qualifier.”

After that my English grades went to  hell-in-a-handbasket.   Back in 1969 I didn’t put two and two together, but I now see the professor must have begun to doubt.  He doubted his ability to realize I was a dunce.

Consequently I began to doubt.  I gave up my dreams of writing.  I clearly wasn’t smart enough.  I told my little one the thing she was passionate about was impossible.  I moved on to my second best passion:  Art.

My little one and I have happily hooked up again.  We are sharing our passion: Writing.   Little One still sees every word as a diamond.  I know better, but I’m putting them out there anyhow.

Yay for us!   I hope you and your passionate little one get together.  It’s fun.  Best of all, there’s no studying.

Loveable Kelly Flanagan    Click here to learn more

How knitting saved my marriage

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I have a wonderful vintage button collection, but still love to purchase buttons I don’t need with money I don’t have.
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This is my latest project.  I’ve found a victim and will ship it in the fall.  Isn’t the  big green button great?  Found it in a Chicago thrift store, as well as those rust colored ones.  They even have a hint of purple. Perfection.

I am an awful knitter…and that’s good because practicing my knitting makes road trips with my husband way less stressful.

When I first began knitting I dropped so many stitches you could fit your head through the holes in my scarves.  So I’d knit patches to cover the holes.  Then I’d sew buttons over the holes in the patches.  My early scarves were really weird.  Twelve inches wide in spots, four inches wide in other places.  But that didn’t stop me from handing those odd rags out to (long-suffering) friends.  One was so heavy and thick I’m pretty certain my buddy had to crawl when wearing…it dragged her to the pavement.

Here’s how my bad knitting has saved my marriage.  I only knit in the car when Jim and I take long road trips.  He hates the way I drive.  I hate the way he drives right back.  He follows too closely causing me to have to press the imaginary brake in the passenger seat foot well.  And occasionally gasp loudly.

I took up knitting so I am looking down when he’s driving.  Eyes on the needles!  We’re both happier that way.

I suppose he hates my driving because I’m quite a bad driver.  I never knew it until a whole lot of people informed me.  I’m slow.  Hands nervously at two and ten.

In 2005 I bought myself a darling Mini Cooper. I chose the fastest engine, manual transmission, British racing green and SO CUTE.  That zoom-zoom engine was totally wasted on me.  I probably never drove that Mini over 55 mph. I swore I’d NEVER sell that car–her name was Maude.

Then, much to Jim’s dismay, I opted to trade Maude in for a mini-van– a baby blue, Honda Odyssey named Stella. We travel with our beloved dog, Bronson. More about him in future posts. I wanted Bronson to have total comfort and several cup holders.

The day we mini-van shopped Jim brought along Maude’s title. He swore he’d only mini- van shop ONCE, so we’d better damn well find the right car that day.

Well, he was wrong. We mini-van shopped twice.  I traded Stella in for a newer, slicker model. Gracie. She’s gray.  Creative, eh? She has a little refrigerator in the front seat. And, happily, she has a fine brake in the foot well of the passenger side.

We’ll take Gracie to Chicago in August.  Jim will be driving.  I will be knitting.  Anyone want a scarf?  I’ve gotten better! Rarely drop stitches, but still add patches and buttons for fun.  All my new friends are Floridians.  I need some cold weather victims. LMK if your neck needs warming up.

honda odyssey                mini cooper