Tag Archives: Dogs

It is all messy

17 Aug

Today I saw an Instagram meme from Share and Inspire that just made my day!!! It spoke of one of those UNspoken truths that everyone resists in spite of the TRUTH of it.

Truth.

Life is messy. And it is wonderful, so we need to get over the desire to make everything neat and tidy. It just frustrates us. Something I learned about myself years ago surprised me. I am a closet perfectionist. It is so nice to walk into a neat room, see a tidy closet, or well-organized drawers. However, I have five children. We lived in the country and had five dogs, sometimes more, sometimes less. The same could be said for the children because they always seemed to have friends over. It was entirely normal to have 8-10 for dinner night after night. It was necessary to give up trying for perfection in any way. To save my sanity, it was best to let that idea go.

Was my house neat, tidy, clean or even slightly picked up? No. I made sure that everything on those floors, rugs, carpets, and even painted canvas had to have at least some shades of Virginia clay color in the design. Because clay was part of my life. Children played in it. Dogs rolled in it, horses ditto. It got tracked in on shoes, boots, paws and blown in by the wind.

And that is not all.

Horses, dogs and children…

Marriage is messy; lovemaking is messy; having a baby is messy; cooking is messy; being a child is messy; raising a family is one big mess. Would I have traded any of it for a neat life? No. I loved every minute that I was not cleaning up, and even then, I was pretty happy most of the time.
Relationships are messy, but that does not mean we shouldn’t have them. Divorce is messy, but it does not have to be mean. And when the dust settles you may find you are still friends with each other.

Sibling relationships are often messy. Sometimes they are close and comfortable, and then sometimes they devolve into enmity. Friendships are messy and yet who would give them up?

We should never regret anything in life. If it is good, it is lovely, if it is terrible it is ‘experience’. How do we become better people? Through bad experiences, that is how.

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

Heat Wave

24 Jul

Now that I am sitting in a mildly air-conditioned room, my thoughts are clear once more. But last Sunday I was staying at a cottage in the country near The Plains, VA. When it was time to leave I could only find one of my dogs. One was missing. My brain nearly fried, when looking for my dog ‘Sisi.’ It is a big farm and it was impossible to tell which way she had gone. Outside in the oppressive, debilitating, indescribable heat, and humidity, I was miserable. It was necessary to find her before driving home to Washington, DC.

I found Sisi, my missing dog after only a few minutes, though it seemed longer. I believe that little rascal came back because she was also simply too hot to continue to hunt. Her tongue was hanging out so far I was afraid she would trip over it.

By the time I got into my car, my shirt was soaked with sweat. I was wearing white pants and a white cotton tank top. But to disguise my belly, I wore a periwinkle blue linen loosely fitting shirt over the tank. Since it is a natural fabric, it was not as hot as a synthetic one would have been. It wicked away the sweat from my body and soaked the shirt. I stopped by my daughter’s studio to say goodbye. It is evident that my shirt was wet or at least damp. Even though my car was air-conditioned, I had driven for less than 10 minutes, and I was still hot. It was only later after another 10 minutes or so in the car that I finally began to be comfortable and cool. That drive was fine, but what about the old days before cars were to air-conditioned? How did people do it?

I know just how she feels

Actually, in the mid-60s before we had an air-conditioned car, it was a real problem going to a party or event. One extremely hot day in 1965 I was preparing to go to a very elaborate wedding from our house on Kalorama Road. I had arranged my hair and makeup, and my dress was lovely and slightly snug as I was still into the wasp-waist look. As I looked into the mirror, I was happy with myself. The image smiling back at me was cool, calm and rather splendid. It was still extra fun for me to realize that people considered me grown-up. Even though I was married and the mother of 3 children it seemed only yesterday that I was in school.

So we got into our sweltering car and began to drive to the wedding, and immediately I began to melt. If we left the windows up the car was unbearable. If we put them down, my hair blew in my face, and the styling began to crumble. We had no choice but to continue, but that was the day that I determined that the very next car we bought MUST have air conditioning. And that is what happened. Very soon, we purchased a new vehicle. At that time, I believe we had the (un-air-cooled) Jaguar for Charley, and I had a blue station wagon. (not air-cooled, either)

Now, so many years later, it is hard to remember what exactly came next. My father presented me with a maroon Oldsmobile Station wagon to replace the blue one. And it was modern. Air conditioning was extra and expensive, but it was pre-installed. It was a big deal at that time to have an air-cooled car. I have rarely been so grateful. Hard to believe now, but we all expected to live without this new luxury. When we were able to move into an air-cooled vehicle it was a milestone.

It seems strange that cars weren’t cooled until 1939. Even then air-conditioning was only for luxury cars. Most limousines had it. Some privately owned fancy Buses were cooled. It was not until the mid-60s that it became relatively easy to find in new cars. That was the end of an era in Washington DC. The heat used to be a factor in the workplace. Offices closed during heat waves, even government offices. But air-conditioning the buildings cured that problem.

Now everything is under control here in DC. (Well, not EVERYTHING!) We may wilt walking from our car to the building we are going to, but inside we are OK. We can even wear long-sleeved dresses or a light jacket. Sometimes this is a good idea in case it is TOO cold inside.

Progress with air-conditioning does not, however, make it any easier to chase a tiny dog who is intent on hunting, in the middle of a hot, VERY hot, day in Virginia.

Copyright©. 2019 Bonnie B. Matheson

Gratitude

21 Feb

 Thursday, Feb 21, 2019 —

                                                                            Gratitude

 I am spending a weekend in the country, at an adorable cottage on my daughter’s farm, near The Plains, VA. The weather has gone from a temperature of 67 degrees when I arrived on Friday, to a cold wet rain with the threat of snow or sleet on Sunday night.  It’s typical Virginia late winter/early spring weather. I don’t believe it will snow tonight. But still, the weather is a constant mystery. And I love it. The fact that it is so changeable is fun. I have plenty of warm clothes. And I am so grateful for everything. So grateful to have the chance to come here and decompress.

The fireplace in the cottage is made of stone, not firebrick, and it throws off a lot of heat. There is a joke around the farm, about how much wood I use. It is true that I am profligate with wood burning; I love the sight and sound of an open fire so much. I could stare at the fire for hours–It brings all sorts of imagination to the fore. Before I knew about meditation, I loved to look at the fire in a fireplace and let my mind rest. “Sometimes I sets and thinks, and sometimes, I just sets” is an old Virginia expression to which I relate. And a fire in the fireplace is one trigger for that same sort of non-thinking that meditation brings about. Restful in the extreme.

Everywhere I look, there is beauty, and peace. A huge pond ripples and glistens with reflected light from the sky– no sun today but a glistening, rippling expanse of water that seems to be trying to move outside its banks. Hundreds of daffodils are emerging, halfway up out of the ground. They must be confused by the different signals that Mother Nature is sending them.” Rise Up!” “No, never mind. Hang tight.” And though the leaves on the poor little struggling spring flowers have brown tips where frost has tainted them, the stems will soar, soon enough and blossoms open. Yellow blooms will extend soon down the driveway and we will know for sure that spring is here. We are on the way to the month of March now. More than halfway through February.

The gratitude I feel extends well past this farm. The entire countryside, unblemished by commercial space or even many houses, is open to all the wildlife that lives here. Deer herds are actually a problem. Bears are sighted regularly, and possums and raccoons and squirrels and rabbits and chipmunks abound. Birds are plentiful; even hawks and eagles soar in the sky above this county. Riders on horseback and runners on foot share these roads with bicyclers, who seem to come in droves. No wonder they are here. We have hundreds of miles of dirt roads. We also have wonderful two- lane, paved roads, which many people wish the bicyclers would stay off. I do worry about someone running them down, by accident.

When I wake up here in the cottage, my heart is full the moment I realize I am in my own bed, my old bed from my own, former house.  Here in the cottage, of course, it is different from city living. Sometimes the heat is off, or it is intensely windy. At times like that I am grateful for the curtains surrounding my bed, and I draw them the moment I get in. It makes a little house for me to stay, snug and warm, and cuddling my dog, Magnus, for added warmth.

Most of the time, I now live in Washington, D.C. with my 101 year old mother. I sleep in my old room, in my childhood house.  There is already a bed in that room, SO, there was no point in bringing my bed to Washington. Besides, my bed is a four-poster, with high posts. We did measure to see if it would fit in my bedroom at Mother’s, but it would not because the eaves in that bedroom come down too close and too low. So. I sleep in the bed that was there, missing my own bed in the cottage, with its pretty hangings which I can draw if it gets too cold. At Mother’s, the central heat is very effective. There is no need for bed-hangings.

My sensitivity to gratitude has been heightened by meditation. I believe that meditation has altered something in me, and I am forever changed. When such intense gratitude engulfs me, I wallow in it. Being grateful for the gratitude may sound silly. But that is how I feel. And I believe it is contagious. Be careful. You might catch it from reading this.

If I let myself, I will never be able to stop thinking of things for which to be grateful. For the peace that engulfs me, and all the things around me. The sheets on the bed, the feather pillows upon which I rest my head and the duvet that keeps me cosy. My warm dog, who sleeps beside me every night. My fireplace and tiny kitchen, indoor plumbing and central heat and air conditioning.

Best of all for daily comfort is Magnus. What a marvelous thing it is to have a loving dog. I appreciate him for the companionship he gives. We all need something to love and if you do not have a partner, it is important to find something else upon whom to bestow your affection. Dogs are super easy to love, and they love us unconditionally. Never underestimate the power of love, even the love between a dog and its owner. That feeling of love actually sends positive physiological signals to our bodies and our souls. Thank goodness for pets, all varieties.  I am grateful.

Magnus

                                                                                         **

Copyright©.  2019 Bonnie B. Matheson


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