Synchronicity or just weirdness?

It’s 3AM and I’m just now starting to wind down after flying home to California from Texas. My 91-year-old mom lives there. How a liberal democrat wound up in a Texas county that was dry (no alcohol sold in it) until a few years ago, is another story entirely.

Right now, I need to document the weird coincidences that happen in my life with absurd regularity.

I arrived in Dallas via Southwest Airlines and then picked up my rental car. After getting up at 4:15AM/ aka “0’dark stupid” to catch my flight, a 2.25 hour drive lay in front of me, through some of the poorest areas of Texas (look up Wood County). I had a huge iced coffee and decent music so the trip wouldn’t be too bad. In the last eight years I’d come to know where to stop for any reason along the way, although many miles still contained a whole lotta nothing ( and roof antennas on trailers). I swear every time I’d do the drive Waze sends me on a new route out of Dallas. This time it was through an area that was very un-typical Texas like: Tattoo parlors, vegan restaurants, new apartment buildings, and funky rehabbed Victorian cottages lined the two-lane road. But the five lefts and six rights still led me to the familiar highway and car traffic thinned out as trucks multiplied as I headed east.

When I arrived at my mom’s winsome, cottage-like yellow ranch house, she and her sweet little white dog Happy, (who is now 12 and more like Grumpy) were very glad to see me. For 91, my mom is doing exceptionally well (still lives alone), but hugging her, I was aware of how she’d aged in the nine months since I’d seen her.

I wanted to cook her dinner a few times while I was there, so one morning we headed to the “local” grocery store.

A.

Twenty.

Minute.

Drive.

I am not kidding. She lives in a gated, heavily-wooded, and narrow-roaded, community where there’s a definite divide between vacation home owners, retirees, and lower income people. Some residents ride around in golf carts (even ones who don’t play), there’s a lake, a pool, a weight room, and a clubhouse/restaurant that’s had a series of owners and managers all of whom simply couldn’t make the business viable because the HOA refuses to open it to the public and most residents can’t afford to eat there. Despite all the amenities, most people here have shallow pockets, a handful of retirees, and a few mansion dwellers/golf players being the exception. There’s even what mom calls “the rich section”.

Said grocery store is the closest one to her (?!?) and has a selection of BBQ/barbecue/barbeque sauces that takes up nearly half an aisle, but no Paul Newman Dressing, cuts of pork I’ve never heard of, but no lamb, nine brands of white bread and five brands of wheat, but no pumpernickel, a five-pound bag of gold potatoes, but you can’t buy just six, salsa, salsa and more salsa, and ice cream prices as high as a 7-11.

We collected what we needed and arrived at the checkout where my mom was on a first name basis with nearly everyone and they were very glad to see her. The man bagging (plastic!) our dinner-to-be looked to be in his sixties.

And here’s where it gets really weird.

He grinned at me, “You’re from California!”

I looked at him, dumbfounded. How in the hell would he possibly know that?

“I am. But how…”

“The license plate on your car!” He said, “I saw you pull in.”

God as my witness, I never noticed what state the car was from when I picked it up at the car rental lot. After all I was in Texas, I didn’t give it a second thought.

“So where are you from in California? He asked with slightly too much interest for this introvert, as he continued to bag our purchases.

(No one recognizes the name of my town when I say it, so I always just say “San Diego”).

“Where in San Diego?” He pressed.

I named the town and his grin widened “My kids went to that high school!” He exclaimed. “I used to live in R.” (The the town right next to me.)

An tingle-like shiver went over the top of my head. My younger son goes to that high school RIGHT NOW. I laughed out loud nervously and he joined in as he pushed our cart to the car. (Everyone gets this service here, whether you want it or not. It’s southern hospitality and wanting to visit/chat. I’ve actually seen a cart tug-of-war between a customer and an employee and immediately assumed the customer has never been in the store before).

We chatted more as he put bags in the trunk, as he hadn’t been back to my town in several years, and wanted to know if some things hadn’t changed.

After pleasant goodbyes, my mom and I got into the car and closed the doors. I looked at her as I started it up. “And this is my synchronistic life.” She smiled.

Coincidence?

I say no.

You see: Two months prior I was in Las Vegas on business and my Uber driver on the way to the airport struck up the usual conversation:

Driver: “Where are you headed?”

“San Diego”

Driver: “Really? I used to live in MY TOWN.”

Me: “Seriously? That’s where I live.”

Driver: “I was a teacher at ‘THE HIGH SCHOOL MY SON GOES TO’. I retired four years ago and moved here.”

I decided I have to start writing these down. It happens so often I nearly question my sanity. I need witnesses and documentation.

Because the next book I write will have the title Synchonicities: My Life is Weird.

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How my mind works…

And I succeeded in capturing my thoughts this time.

I just figured out why our government spends so much money and has mountains of debt.

It’s all hush money to keep those that know about the fake moon landing, the contrails that are poisoning us, the fact that Obama is a Muslim, that 911 was an inside job, that JFK was an inside job, the existence of Area 51, the cure for cancer that the government is hiding, that secret societies rule the world….

……all of the conspiracy theories you can google require hush money.

Musings

  
1. ARE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? My first name is my paternal grandpa’s aunt’s (sorta, she was Jennie. I was supposed to be Sarah but we had a dog with that name, the family lore says my dad balked at naming me after an English Springer), my middle name is misspelled as Ellen and was supposed to be Elin after my maternal great grandfather’s middle name. 
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED? I cry watching the news, the Olympics, when my kids are kind. Really cried? I don’t remember. A good sign. Probably last summer after my PEs. 
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It depends on the pen I am using. 
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Salami!
5. DO YOU HAVE ANY KIDS? 2
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes. And I’d be nicer to me than me. 
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM? Fluent.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope 
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? For $5M
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? They don’t make it anymore: Post Fortified Oat Flakes. Their Oatmeal Crisp is close. 
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Nope. Not when I take them off or put them on. Confounds my husband. My kids do it too. 😂
12. DO YOU THINK YOU’RE STRONG? No. Despite evidence to the contrary. 
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Coffee
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? Smile
15. RED OR PINK? Red
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF? I am very mean to myself. 
17. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING RIGHT NOW? Cropped jeans. Barefoot. 
18. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? Pork potstickers from Trader Joes. 
19. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? ❤️husband loading dishwasher❤️
20. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Peacock blue
21. FAVORITE SMELLS? My mom. Horses. Neither of which I smell often 💔 My husband <— and that is really weird. LOL
22. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? One of my besties : Christina
23. FAVORITE SPORT TO WATCH? Nada
24. HAIR COLOR REAL? Not since 2001
25. EYE COLOR? green. I am the 3%
26. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? nope
27. FAVORITE FOOD? Maine lobster roll
28. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Happy Endings
29. LAST MOVIE WATCHED? The Words
30. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Floral
31. SUMMER OR WINTER? Winter
32. HUGS OR KISSES? Hugs
33. FAVORITE DESSERT? Tiramisu 
34. What book are you reading right now? It’s about writer’s block and I cannot remember the name. 
35. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? I don’t use a mouse.
36. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT? The Olympics
37. FAVORITE SOUND? My kids laughter and my husband’s contented sigh. 
38. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES? Beatles
39. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME? Tuscany ❤️❤️❤️
40. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? I can write, but since I currently have writers block and think I suck, I’m going with “no” for now.
41. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Danvers, MA
Your turn! Entertain me. 

Morning cacophony… 

  
There’s a hell of a noisy tree on the other side of my backyard fence. It constantly chirps and squeaks. Sometimes there’s even a squawk, and then the branches shudder and something falls out of it. Then it gets quiet for a minute before starting all over again. 

The leaves are small and densely packed along the branches. The neighbors trimmed it way back a few years ago and it seemed to recoil and rest awhile, figuring out a strategy. Then it got angry and the period of dormancy stopped. Now it’s twice the size it was before the trimming and reaches over my fence in numerous places. I’m wondering what kind of tree.

Planes, Ghosts, and a Daughter’s Love

Originally appeared at More.com.


A visit to an air show helped her connect with the planes that fascinate her and with the pilot father she lost.

It started before I was born. My “plane thing,” as I call it. My dad worked for a large oil company as an aviation fuels marketing manager, and the job gave him liberal use of a 1959 Beech Twin Engine Bonanza for business and personal trips. He was based in Boston in the early ‘60s, and transferred to Illinois when I was 2.

IMG_1358Planes had entered his life long before I had. When he joined the Navy in 1942, he first flew a Stearman he dubbed “the Yellow Peril.” It was his first Navy trainer as he learned to become a flight instructor. Then he flew an SNJ trainer, and finally, an SBD Dauntless. He left the Navy in 1945 when he got married and later told me he wished he had stayed in.

plane2
I am the smallest one here. 

So the Twin Bonanza wasn’t a leap when it “arrived.” He knew planes. While my mother was carrying me in 1962 and into the summer of 1963, I was in that Bonanza going to Wisconsin to visit relatives. This didn’t abate when I arrived. I have a photo of my family in front of it. My dad stands tall and thin, aviator glasses over his blue eyes and his hands on his hips, looking very much like a pilot (all seriousness). The family stood to his left: my auburn haired mother, a kerchief on her head; my sister, tall and blond also in a kerchief; my oldest brother John, in the same glasses and displaying the same pose as my dad; my 5-year-old, dark haired second brother, in overalls; and then a tiny blond girl in overalls that (horrors!) matched her brother’s (2-year-old me).

My fascination for planes — their noise, their lines, the very concept of being that high in the sky — continued unabated into adulthood. But I kept my distance in a way. I wasn’t remotely interested in learning to fly. I have an overdeveloped sense of balance, and my ears and stomach would not allow it. I settled into finding out which ones flew when, the difference between a turbo prop and a jet, how a jet worked. I recognized their sounds when they flew overhead, wanting to be able to identify them in the sky.

When my dad passed away in 2005, I knew I was missing some pieces of his history. I didn’t have regrets, really, just one more day with him, knowing in advance that it was the last one. That is when I would’ve have picked his brain more, and written things down. Instead, I’ve settled for learning more about his aircraft experiences through my older siblings and my mother. (And these conversations generally include large amounts of Wild Turkey and laughter).

So when the opportunity arose to see one of the only, still flying, SBD Dauntlesses at the Planes of Fame Chino Air Show in California, I knew I had to go. My  then fiancé, an aerospace engineer by training, a World War II buff by hobby, found my plane (and car, but I digress) fascination unusual. The fact that I had completely lost track of time in the Seattle Air Museum when he and I had gone there, and honestly, was not ready to leave when he was, bordered on the downright weird.

If asked to explain why airplanes were such a big deal to me, I could never do it. Perhaps, like my green eyes, it’s genetic. All I know is it has always been there. Always will be. A plane going overhead will stop me in my tracks, as my eyes seek it, wanting the catalog in my head to determine its type: 737, 747, 767, Beech, Airbus, Learjet, Citation, King Air, Cessna. I recognize engine types when I hear them.  I even liked the names: the simplicity of the numerical varieties made some sort of weird Soduku sense to my otherwise mathematically-challenged brain.

We got to the airshow and parked in the middle of a dark brown farm field scattered with nearly white pieces of hay. The earth had been mashed down and slightly watered to contain the dust as SUVs, cars, and trucks bounced over the uneven terrain to park. The hot sun was tempered a bit by a fairly stiff breeze. An introvert to a fault, I am overwhelmed by crowds at times. (When I go to the mall, I go directly to the store I need and leave, I never wander). But on that day, I simply didn’t notice all the other people. my fiance’s son and a good friend of his were with us.

Initially, we wandered around and looked at the planes parked so that we could get close to them. Then my fiance looked down at me, and asked me where I wanted to go. “I want to find it,” I said simply. He took my hand and led me down the wide aisles, winding through the accumulating crowd. I kept my head down, focused on pavement, suddenly wondering if this had been a bad idea. I seemed to be overcome with emotions I had forgotten. I missed my dad in a new way: I wanted him there to tell me about that plane. About places, times. I wanted to hear his sarcasm, his laugh, his repetitive stories. Just once more.

“There she is,” he said, coming to a halt. I took a deep breath, held it, and looked up. Sitting there, 20 feet behind a metal gate, among Helldivers and Spitfires, its nose to me, was the dark-blue, propellered, dive-bomber with the Navy insignia that I knew from photos on my parents’ walls. I let the air out of my lungs. “You’re awfully quiet,” he said, watching me, as I observed the show volunteers remove the chock blocks from behind the plane’s gear. I could only nod from behind my dark glasses. The pilot jumped up onto the wing and climbed inside the front cockpit as I watched. The engine started up noisily, blue smoke coming out from it in protest. The prop rotated slowly once, then twice, until the motor caught. The gear started to move, and as the plane turned to head for the runway, I let out a gasp when the side of it presented itself to me revealing the number 39.

I slid my sunglasses up off my eyes to turn back and look up at him. “The number,” I said quietly, feeling disbelief, total belief, sadness, and delight. “That’s how old my dad was when I was born.”

He smiled. “He’s here again, isn’t he?” he said. I nodded and slid the glasses back down to watch the small, blue dive-bomber lumber down the runway and take off. Its gear went up, and I had to blink several times to fight the tears that welled at the edges of my eyes.

I didn’t want to breathe. Oh he was there.

As I watched the plane turn and climb toward the sun, the poem he loved, “High Flight” by John Magee, went through my head:

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue,

I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untresspassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

People wonder whether those who have died can see what is going on “down here.” I can only speak from my experience when I say: Not only do I know this is true, but I also know my dad has had his hands, wishes, and thoughts guiding my life since he passed on in ways he never did when he was alive. And the gap created by his death, while in no way overshadowed, is lessened at times, when he lets me know, in his own way, he’s still got my back.

 

 

People who talk to the dead..

  

I have started watching a TV show called Monica the Medium.  The woman in it is 22, in college, and talks to the dead. (Or rather, the dead seek her out and talk to her.) She was raised in a religious family and struggled with this gift. It’s fascinating to watch her in it and how she knows things she couldn’t know and touches lives in a positive way: giving them closure, hope and love. (I know this is a TV show, FAKE! STAGED! You say, but stay with me and you’ll understand my perspective).

 I think I’d love to have such a gift. 

I confess that after my dad passed away in 2005 the thought of dying no longer frightened me. Is this what faith in something is, I wondered. I “just know” he will be waiting with a Cosmo and a “hey kid!” (He called me “kid” up to the day he died, when I was 41 and had two children, three if you count my ex, but I digress.)

I saw a medium one year after he died. A friend of mine had told me about her and she was supposedly the real deal — helped the police solve crimes, things like that. I had started reading a lot of books after he died about near death experiences in an effort to understand what I will probably never understand until I die. It wasn’t so much closure I was looking for. It was more of a “I want to know he’s OK” kind of thing. I ran into some pretty wonderful books which I will list in my next post. 

My medium was tiny and British, quietly confident, and gave off this glow. The minute I walked into the reading room she looked at me and said “your dad is laughing and says the four wakes were overkill. Who’s the brown and black dog with him?” My mouth dropped open. 

We’d had four wakes: FL, WI, ME and off the coast of Texas thanks to the Navy. None were public. 

The dog was Molly, his Yorkie, who died in 2002.

 I sat down at a table and she pulled out some tarot cards. 

She shuffled them in silence, had me pick six, and laid them in a spread on the table. She flipped over a card. 

“You have his watch.”  

I do. 

“He’s spending more time with your mom’s mom than his own.” 

(Eva was one of a kind. Love in its purest form.)

“He says he hears you.”

I talk to him every day.

She told me other things but the one thing I will never forget is “be aware.” 

Doing that has changed death for me . I’m sure my dad communicates. There are far too many coincidences for them to be that. I’m sure he was involved in my second husband and I finding each other. (He’s a bit like him and my dad would love him and say I finally found the man that deserves me.) Every year on his birthday and death anniversary he sends me a sign. It’s an obscure song on the radio, or a Stearman flying over the house (he flew them in the Navy), a passage in a book, a tv commercial, or a car (a 1992 Olds) in traffic…a light blinking, the fact that he appeared in my husband’s dream, before we married, giving his approval (and my husband never remembers his dreams.)

And weirdest of all: my cat Luna’s death this week. I asked my dad, that night, when I couldn’t sleep, in my fog of grief, to please give me a message that he had her and she was no longer in pain. 

And tonight the red Stearman flew over my house. 

She’s fine. She’s with my dad. He loved animals. And it makes sense to me that anything connected to me and that I love on earth goes directly to him. 

It’s my way of communicating with him. 

 And it’s working. 

Just for you! Secret! Final Step! Limited Time!

Email subject lines are becoming… 
Damn misleading
Annoying
Repetitive
Just silly

Here are a few gems from today:

Final Steps Required! Do not ignore!

Exclusive invitation!

This one weird trick for _____________

What can you change in seven years

CONFIRM Product order (when I didn’t order anything!)

Free test! Predict your future!

The SPAM folder ones are even better!
Your ATM card worth $1.5M!
The best multiple streams of income EVER!
Understated but sexy

Makes me want to OPT-OUT of everything today.  But then I found this, laughed, and deleted a ton of crap from my inbox…

subjectlines

 

Always Bad News?

wakeuphaiku

 

In the last couple of weeks, between trying not to watch the news, with all the shootings, and the presidential debates, I have come to the startling conclusion that the news simply likes bad, loudmouthed, mentally disturbed/prone to violence, people more than those who pay their taxes and pay it forward in life. Why are we giving so much air time and thought to BAD NEWS. Why is there no “GOOD NEWS” channel, where we all celebrate the good things that happened today?

I am uncomfortable being a human lately. My head and heart both hurt after seeing how awful we are to each other. Like the main character, John Koffee in The Green Mile, who says he feels all this too much, I confess I suffer from “caring to much for it all” as well. I want to fix everyone. Take away their anger, their hatred of others. I want go get humanity on the same damn page.

Impossible.

So I frequently go down the rabbit hole of human despair in a week. I am unable to change the big scary world. So I hunker down and try and “control”, or put my arms around, my own little world instead. I am nice to check out people, to bank tellers, to medical people, and especially to anyone I run across who is stressed out. (And I absorb that energy simply by being near it and that is exhausting.)

My world is becoming smaller and smaller as I avoid others in some sort of whacked self-preservation efforts. This is bad. I know it is. I am a social being and need people. But negativity sucks what little light of hope I have left in me. I need to laugh more, not listen to people who want to rule this country (rule! like a king!) spout hatred for each other and for various other humans.  This is what it has come to? No more tolerance? “Fuck you, I want my share of stuff!”

Sigh. Blech! I need a change of scenery and my physical state and bank account say: NOPE.

So I watch Golden Girls, (Betty White IS my mom),  and I laugh and remember the 1990s. Were things simpler then or was I less aware?

That’s another topic entirely.