“Saturday, In the Park”

For some reason, this old Chicago song popped into my head this morning. Do people go to parks much anymore? When I was a kid, there were several parks we could walk to, and the city had kid-sponsored activities every afternoon. The little green shack opened just after lunchtime, I believe, and stayed open until probably 4 or 5 p.m. For a nickel or dime, we could do a little craft thing, or they had tether ball, box hockey, and maybe horseshoes. Teenagers worked the shack daily and our harried mothers got a little bit of a break from us during those hot, summer days.

When I had kids, the green shacks disappeared from the city parks, you were basically on your own. We just walked across a very busy street, and we had access to basketball, tennis courts, and of course, swing sets and adventures on some low to the ground climbing devices. It was the old days, and the devices were made of wood, which didn’t wear well in the extreme weather we have; blistering heat or frigid cold. They developed splinters, and were deemed unsafe. We’d take lunch over to the park and have a picnic sometimes. Sometimes we had a picnic in our own yard. Do people still do that? Aside from fire pits and barbeques? I loved being home with the kids.

Once we finally had grandkids, we would babysit for Addison quite a bit. Her Grandma Sandy was alive then, and we’d share babysitting when the kids went out of town, etc. Sandy worked close to our home, and she’d drop Addison off in the morning, and pick her up after work. We worked well together. Usually ex-wives and current-wives don’t get along. Sandy and I had more in common than the Babe. Oh, and having one wife in between Sandy and me probably made a lot of difference. I never met that wife, although I bowled with her mother forty years ago. Small world.

At any rate, we’d take Addison to the park a lot. It really was fun taking her. There was a small park two blocks from our house, and we’d take her there nearly every time we had her over. As she got older and didn’t like the park as well, we’d go to a soft serve ice cream place nearby and get ice cream. She remembers that a lot. Even now, at the age of 14, if we mention “Ice Cream” she smiles and says, “Let’s GO!” I’m glad she has those memories. Now, our park experiences are going to ball fields and watching Gavin play baseball. I love that, expecially at this age.

My daughter Becky sends pics of Kayla and Cody playing in the park. She puts cute little hats and sunscreen on them. Adorable. I hope we get to see them later this summer. She and Brian have very busy work schedules, and with COVID variants occurring, we can only pray we aren’t locked down again. Get your shots! I have, the Babe did, and we’re fine. Just please don’t be the part of the population causing the problem. Sometimes we have to think of the “greater good” before our personal beliefs. Period.

Mom put me in Junior Bowling in seventh or eighth grade. Our neighbor coached it, and we were close enough to walk. Jan Matya, my friend and I stuck with it until we were seniors in High School. The reason? It was fun, and we were the only two girls in the league. All boys. The odds were in our favor. She dated a guy for awhile, I had one ask me to the Military Ball for his ROTC. I didn’t like him, I was 15 and used the excuse my folks wouldn’t let me date until I was 16. Mom told me, “No one turns down a date to the Military Ball.” In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea. I only went to one prom and no homecomings at my school. None to other schools. I felt so crummy no one did.

So glad times have changed where kids actually go solo, and hang out with their friends. How nice. No one would feel less than enough. I really feel for kids who feel that way. There is so much buried in them that makes them good, talented people. It’s so bad when you lack confidence in yourself and your abilities. Remember; You ROCK!

I think families with kids have their time occupied by organized events. Sports, Dance, and a whole host of other things. That’s great, I hope they enjoy their experiences as neighborhood kids used to when they’d do a pick-up game of baseball, kickball, and even dodge ball. My brothers didn’t participate, and there were no girls sports. I did play volleyball, but Sister Mary What’s Her Name? didn’t put me in, she said I was too nervous, I needed to relax.

After growing up, I wondered if it occurred to her to let me play and I’d be less nervous? That would make sense to me. I also learned as an adult I probably suffered from anxiety. Our mom had a temper and as a kid, I thought she was always mad (at me). It seemed her moods swung from nice to degrading whoever was around. I think this was inherited from her mother. Zero to Sixty in 30 seconds. She scared me. I spent a lot of time in my room. My sanctuary.

I have forgiven her. She didn’t know any better. Many of us followed suit until we learned how damaging that was. Sometimes I think to myself, “If I was Mom, I’d probably say, “Don’t you know blah, blah, blah.” For someone who lost her cool a lot, it’s funny we were forbidden to say words like, “Hate, Shut Up, he’s stupid, you’re a dummy, I could kill you! (believe it or not, people used to say stuff like that).” So glad that type of speech is not acceptable anymore.

For today; Speak Kindly, Sit in Nature, Relax, Remember You’re Enough. Pet a Dog. Go for a walk. Attend a benefit. Always be kind. See you tomorrow!

But Wait, There’s More!

Everyone has seen an infomercial where the narrator says, “But Wait! There’s More!” Followed by a pitch that makes a good deal even more good. Better. Hard to pass up. Will this pillowcase made of some cotton grown near the Nile Riverbed complete your lifelong search for peace? Probably not. But many still buy one, anyway.

The Babe and I love to go through the “As Seen on TV” sections of any store. Things that look massive on TV are miniscule in person. Things that look small on TV may also diminish in size in person. How to distinguish a good deal from a bad one? I suppose you can abstain from purchasing; you can purchase with caution; you can purchase in person if possible; you can research the company, the products, their complaint resolution process, and so on.

When I engage in any investigation of a product, I search to see if they send it from China. Those are a little shaky. I have purchased some beautiful tops and leggings from a company called Zulily. I love their clothes. Trouble is, I feel some sort of betrayal for purchasing so much from China. It’s unfortunate we closed down all of our textile mills in the 1980s (cue the Bruce Springsteen song, My Home Town), sending not only production of dry goods but also their construction into clothing overseas. It was all about money. We couldn’t do it as cheap as they could. But wait, so much more happened because we were all about the money. Look where we are now. It seemed like a good idea. Ironic how things happen.

After all of this thinking about China, I’m going to make my clothing when I’m ready for smaller sizes. We’ve done well so far and want to continue becoming healthier. At our ages (68 and 70), it’s not about looks or anything, it’s about healthy choices. We want to live to see all of our grandkids graduate from high school. A challenge, since the grands range in age from 11 months up to 13 1/2 years. Quite a span!

So, the Babe likes to tease me about having a fabric store in the hobby room downstairs. I have both quilt fabric AND clothing fabric, so my stash is pretty big. And I make the commitment to use it, as much as I can, in 2021.

And, I want to publish a book in 2021. I am looking at creating my LLC and getting a young artist to help me with illustrations for my children’s book. We’ll see what January brings. It’s exciting, you know? And I need to get back to the novel. I want to finish that in 2021, possibly publish it a year from now. The future is bright, folks. For all of us. We’re learning what’s important, and we’re making some serious changes in our lives. And it’s all for good.

Join us in making 2021 the best. We all need this! Start by being more positive, learn to relax. Be on time. For everything. For everyone. Be Kind. Be Courteous. Be Supportive. Be Grateful. See you tomorrow!

It really IS this simple!