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Out with the Old, in with the New

9 Jan

Out with the Old, in with the New

It is over. Christmas passed by, and here we are already into the New Year of 2019. Now, Twelfth Night is done and it is beginning to be a little bit lighter each day.

Taking it all down, putting it all away, starting a new fresh year, even while trudging up to the attic and down to the basement, getting things out of the way. It is a bit ironic. Start fresh, but not for a few days. Right now, much of the house is clear of decorations, but the dining room table is full of every thing taken from the other rooms. These decorations in my mother’s house are sometimes as old as I am. Some of them are from my earliest childhood. I wish I knew their stories. Where did those Art Deco angels come from? A whole choir of them sit in the window near the front door. When I was very little, they sang on the dining room table. They are reassuring to me. Time passes, but some things remain the same.

Fresh starts are marvelous. We can always start fresh. But, the New Year makes a logical place to begin anew. And since I am not as fastidious and neat as my mother, I need excuses. My latest book has been languishing as a rather boring first draft, since October. I have not touched it since then. But NOW, I am ready. It is time to add the meat and the spice to that first effort. It is something like cooking from scratch. The first draft is a rich, but bland soup stock. It is sitting, simmering, ready to be changed into something much more interesting and tasty to read. There are many lessons to be learned in the book, but they are subtle. They don’t shout about their benefits. You could call them the meat of the soup.

Next comes the spice. The fun stuff, some gossip, some speculation, and some outright shocking stories that may, or may not, be family stories, or those of close friends.The question always is; “How much do I want to upset my family?” How much spice shall I add? The spice is the best part, in my opinion. But, there is more to the soup than meat and spice.

There are the veggies, these are good for you and useful. Like life tips gained from living a full life, and surviving. Younger readers might gain an insight here or there and older readers may identify. They need to be part of the story, whether it is anyone’s favorite part or not. I am good at mixing things together to make a delicious stew or soup. I am betting that the end result will be fun to read, informative and in the very best cases, life changing.

Of course I suppose that is what every writer craves to hear. “You changed my life.!” Those words are magic. Magic for me, as well as the speaker. And it has happened to me before. That is why I know how exciting it is to hear them.

Back when my entire focus was on childbirth, I was able to really help some women empower themselves. They were hungry for some support in their beliefs about giving birth. I was right there, with as much information as they were ready for. And in some cases they heard me and they took action. Those are the ones who later told me what I wanted so much to hear. They told me that if it were not for my council they would not have dared change doctors, or hospital or they would never have dared hire a midwife. Not everyone needed that knowledge, but for those wanted it, I was available with books and contacts and my own story of empowerment. Those were happy times.

Now, I am a different sort of “pregnant” and getting ready to birth a book. A book about my life and it’s transformation over the last 4 years from desperately unhappy, to a joyful existence in the same place, with the same cast of characters that made me miserable before. Now every day is a good day. I want to share that journey with others.

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

Happy New Year 2019

31 Dec

Happy New Year 2019

My favorite day of the whole year, the day after Christmas tops them all. Perhaps it is only an illusion, but this day seems to be such a clean and fresh 24 hours. It is a reward for the frenetic pace that we are forced to keep right up until Christmas day, sometimes long after midnight, at the finish of Christmas Eve.

As the mother of 5 and a real “Christmas lover” I threw myself into holiday preparations with my whole heart. It was an enormous undertaking, and no one else was really able to help me. Later I had helpers for wrapping presents and cooking meals, but in the beginning I did everything. All the time, visions of sugar plumbs danced in my head. I always had a mental image of what I thought should be the “Picture” of a happy family day. It was all Norman Rockwell family happiness, but with a great deal of money spent to make it fall together. And of course no one else besides myself knew what was involved in my vision of the entire holiday package.

In my imagination everyone was happy and grateful. In these visions, everyone was in the mood for Christmas and all the trimmings. Yes, the reality was less romantic. Over the years many things interfered with the sweet images in my head. There were bills, often big ones. Nature combined with power outages, from snow or wind storms which stole my peace of mind. Other mishaps or missed packages, sick horses or dogs, more than once the Christmas tree fell over, but all was patched up and righted. And of course there were family squabbles and hurt feelings. Awkward, family relationships and unequal family situations. All this was made worse by the fact that no one else shared my personal idea of what should be happening. The beautiful image was only in my head. However as my children grew the image began to be shared by them. That made me so happy. I loved the fact that they knew our family traditions and helped perpetuate them. They knew where the Santa was supposed to go, which mantle held the Lladro angels, when this decoration or that one, was bought, made or given and the story behind each of them. They arranged the Christmas Creche and cherished each piece, putting the baby Jesus in last.

And Christmas was a happy time for my family. Not perfect, but happy. Some memorable things have happened on Christmas Day in our history. The last day of alcohol for one, the birth of a grand-baby on Christmas Eve, and even one on the day BEFORE Christmas Eve, and later a baby that waited until December 30th to be born, the first day of all sorts of resolutions and prayers for the future marks it as fruitful. One year I gave a horse as a present to my husband, one year a pony to a daughter, and on two Christmases that I remember I received puppies from my family. Serena and Lord Byron many years apart but among the great loves of my life, thank you my dear children and Charley. Christmas has been magnificent.

But now I am more than 3/4 of a century old. Christmas is more for my children and grandchildren than ever before. I feel like an observer, rather than a participant. And it is restful to have done such a good job for so many years. Now I can watch my family with their own traditions, incorporate some of ours.

Now hearing the worlds Peace on Earth and Good Will towards Men resonates on a different level. This year 2018 has been a very intense year for this country and the world. It has been eventful for me and my family, as well. Over all it has been a very important and beneficial year. I wish the same for everyone out there. Happy New Year! 2019

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

What can be done about the young people growing up today?

1 Dec

It is absolutely unbelievable to me how impaired young people are today. Political correctness gone wild … I am so tired of being called a racist, homophobic, Nazi, Elitist! I am not any of those things. But, I do say my truth. It may be different than someone else’s truth because of their background or indoctrination!
The fact that our colleges and universities have become so expensive and yet they are turning kids against their grandparents is shocking!! One of my favorite grandsons is refusing to talk to me right now, because of my views. Specifically, I said in my blog that I agreed with Meagan Kelly that “blackface” as a costume is harmless and no insult to blacks. And I believe that!
Now in my 70s I have more and more friends who are black. I consider them a blessing in my life. And yet, I am frequently called “racist”. Go figure!   When I was young and knew no one except casual servers who were black, then it was probably true.  If you want to end racism, you need to get people together.  Keeping them separate does not do it.  And yet, there is a black history month, and black students Union at some schools.  It is true that sometimes it is easier to be with people who are exactly like you, but no one is.

 

I don’t have an appropriate photo, so here is my dog, Magnus. He has manners and civility, both.

Today I went to a luncheon where most people disliked the President of the United States.  That is allowed, in this country. No one will arrest them for their views.  But, one man said something that has really made me think.  Someone asked “What ever happened to civility and manners?” And He said “That was before they began to calling manners and civility ‘Political Correctness’ and mocking them.”

This surprised me.  I NEVER think of manners as being politically correct.  Manners are simply manners.  But, it is true that Political Correctness stops conversation. It is true that it shames people, on purpose. To me Political Correctness is the thing that keeps us from being able to speak truthfully about anything that might be called a stereotype.  Where do you think Stereotypes come from? It comes from things being lumped together, rightly or wrongly.

Stereotype threat describes the experience of “being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype of one’s group” (Steel & Aronson, 1995).
I had never heard of Stereotype threat until I began writing this blog.  It is a perfect example of the nonsense we are told daily. I “get it” but I do not agree that forcing people to avoid any possible chance of running into a stereotype is helping them.  People simply must “get a grip”.
I want to be free to say what I  believe without being traumatized by the threat of breaking some code of political correctness.  I have no intention of using bad manners. There is no reason for anything but civility.  So I do not understand that man’s saying that those who “mock” Political Correctness (that would be me) are contributing to a lack of manners or civility.

My contention is that we need a lot more of both of those things.  Manners are not taught to children like they once were.  And Civil disobedience is encouraged on school campuses.  No wonder we are living in a time when both are lacking.

A friend wrote about the young today:

“They need a taste of reality. For our parents, it was a World War, for us it was Viet Nam. These kids have seen no suffering. They have been been indulged, have no manners, and are incapable of serious logical thinking. “
I agree with him.

 

Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

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