...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature... and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2015. Hootie~

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Art of Growing....Lessons From a Kitten

Aging is something that happens, and yet there is an art to doing it gracefully.  

I am watching my kitten go through the stages of growing.  He started life as a very, seemingly, helpless creature. The cards were stacked against him, and yet there were basic things he could do and did.  Things that just come naturally.  

At first, he just needed to get comfortable on his feet.  He could seek out food, water and his liter box.  To accommodate his little legs, I placed a short box in between the two larger cat boxes I own.  The day I noticed him in the large cat box, I snapped a picture and sent it to my sister.  I was a proud kitty parent.  True story...but I won't post that picture.  

Pouncing was his next stage.  Just like an 18 month old child, who hides his eyes and thinks you cannot see him, Berlioz's little ears will stick up, as he crouches down just as far as he can go.  With eyes out of sight, his hind end wiggles, and then comes the pounce. I am amazed at how quickly Berlioz has transitioned from pouncing to teething, and climbing.  

I have a cat tower and Berlioz is a daredevil. I could easily waste hours watching his antics, expecting him to tumble off at any moment.  Through all his play he is learning.  

Leaping seems to be his upcoming stage.  His legs are becoming more lanky and his body is growing longer.  

I know that there will come a point when I believe Berlioz will stop growing, but I know he will not stop aging.  

How does all this relate to me?  I am still growing...aging.  Just when I think I have life all figured out, I realize I do not.  Even that is progress.  I love having my own place.  I love being able to decide what I want to do, with whom and when.  I am learning as I age, I need to fill my time with activities where I am surrounded by others.  I am a social being, and I think that is a very, human characteristic.  

Just as Berlioz is growing, I am too.  He needs to practice his new skills and so do I.  I think as humans, we do not want to be rejected, so we may be apprehensive to take risks.  I know this is true for me.  My internal battle hinges on Saturdays.  In order to keep from being rejected, and yet have the human interactions for which I long, I head out of my house to blog.  Am I hiding in plain sight?  Can you see my eyes?  (I promise to only wiggle my hind end when I'm dancing!)  I do want to pounce on life.  I will keep practicing, but I'm not really sure how to move forward right now.  The ledge of rejection is narrow and I do not want to risk being hurt over and over.  I admire those who are willing to walk on that ledge.  I think I need to go home and watch Berlioz a little more.  Then, I need to  throw my whole heart and soul into my practice.  

~Lisa Kroll

Blogging music tonight:  Ed Sheeran, of course.  
Please feel free to recommend another artist to me.  
I do enjoy my wordsmith though.  :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

All Hail, the Queen...

The Queen

Away from home.  Alone.  Living life.  Learning.
Meeting new people.  Hearing stories of survival, healing and moving forward.  Witnessing a surprise.  Listening to my favorite music.  Solving car problems.  Smiling and saying hello to strangers...wondering what's their story.  Walking around a former familiar city.  Thinking.

So much strength.  I don't even realize what's inside of me.  The above is just from this last weekend.

In the past few weeks, I have felt very cynical.  It's not been a good feeling for me.  I don't wear it well.  I am a happy person.  But, I have felt that love is not something that will be a part of my life anymore.  Let me clarify...

I realize that love shows itself in many ways.

My students show me daily with their smiles, hugs, notes, and words that they love me.  Winston, Lily and Berlioz show me as well.  Winston nudges me with his head, but I think he might think I've forgotten he's my boy!  He barks to protect me, and tell me when I need to be on alert. Lily...well, maybe not Lily.  She's still upset that I brought a kitten home.  Berlioz, oh my...  He snuggles at night.  When I wake, he takes his little kitten nose, places it under mine and pushes before he gives me a little kitty kiss.  I am totally smitten with this kitten.  My son fixes me gourmet meals now and again (need to work on him doing all the dishes though).  He also shares his time with me, which I savor.  My daughter snapchats, and face times me now that she's away.  My friends check up on me with phone calls, texts and notes in the mail.  My sister is always there too, no matter when.

What I feel I'm missing...is really right in front of me.  Still, I long for that one person, with whom I can share things, good and bad.  Really I am blessed because I don't have just one person.  Sometimes that's hard to remember.  Mentally, my mind hasn't caught up with my reality.  I am truly happier now.  I am still discovering who I am, what I like, and am embracing me.  Not all can do that.  Learning to love oneself is incredibly hard to do.

It's been said that we are our harshest critics.  I know that to be true.  Moments of weakness happen when I am tired.  Loneliness can creep into to the tiniest of spaces in one's heart.

I am trying to learn to trust again, and to trust myself, trust my judgements.  For the past three months, I have been taking West Coast Swing dance lessons.  It's important when dancing to be able to have trust in your partner. The realization that I haven't trusted others for a long time now has become obvious in my dancing.  Dancing is a good way to practice trust.  It helps to do it among friends.  Friends will allow you to lean on them, and they won't let you fall.

Trusting myself is an even harder thing to do than trusting another...hence, All Hail the Queen.  The next thing I have started working on is trusting myself.  I am working on learning how to trust my instincts, my judgements.  How to not settle for just feeling comfortable.  How to not give up ANYTHING I enjoy.

In my classroom, I am the Queen.
In my house, I am the Queen.
In my world, I need to become the Queen as well.  No settling.

I've been the step-sister...cooking, cleaning, doing laundry.  No more.

On the dating sites, a common question is, "What are you looking for?"  Fair question.

What am I looking for?

Well, as I am the Queen, I am looking for a partner to share my throne.
I can do it all alone.
I am strong.
I do ROAR.

I'd like a King who can handle a confident lady by his side.

Sometimes he'll need to let me be in the driver's seat,
while at the same time understand he's dealing with a hopeless romantic.

~Lisa Kroll

blogging music:  Ed Sheehan, again.  "Let it Out", "Homeless", "Lately", "You"

                            Katy Perry, again.  "Roar", "Love Me"

Friday, October 16, 2015

Berlioz...Elsa...and Snow White

I am stepping away from my usual blog posting material.  
Tonight I am supporting a cause.  
If you know me, then you know I am a Disney junkie.  

I identify with Elsa and the whole frozen heart thing.  I am the older sister, have the name L'sa (sans "i" you'll note), love snowflakes, have been known to sing "Let It Go" at the top of my lungs...in public, etc.  

What you might not know it that my inner soul is more like Snow White.  I have always felt Snow was the Disney animal lover.  Snow finds the good in all.  I'd like to think I do the same.  Before Elsa, I felt completely aligned with Snow White.  I think I must be a blend of the two of them.  Tonight, my Snow White side is going to appeal to all my friends and readers.  Please help if you can.  I just started a GoFundMe account for a little kitten that I am calling Berlioz.  Berlioz, after the little black kitten in The Aristocats.  Did I mention I'm a Disney junkie???  :) My daughter, who is doing an internship at Disney World, was actually the one who came up with the name.  It's absolutely perfect!  Donate HERE: Berlioz.


Here is Berlioz's story.  

Yesterday, my sister found this babe as she arrived at her photography studio in South Bend, IN.  She approached him, and he was very skittish.  Still, he allows her to pick him up and cuddled as she wrapped him in a towel.  He was scared and snuggled behind her computer as she worked.  After working for a bit, she found him snoozing in the cords of her computer, he craved the heat the cords offered.  

She sent me this photo to start my day...

...she merely said, "Look what I found."  My response..."Crap."

My sister and I are truly two peas.  We can't walk away from a lost or injured animal.  During the day the next message I received said,  "Your cat is purring."  
Later it was, "Your niece is cuddling your new babe." 
Finally she said, "I'm taking YOUR cat to the vet at 5."

My cat.  

I all ready have a cat...and a dog.  Lily, the cat, is 13 years old.  We adopted her when she was a kitten.  She's diabetic and has been since she was young.  I've given her insulin shots twice a day since 2006.  Twice a day!  When I go on vacation or away, even for a day, I need to make sure someone can help me.  Let me repeat that...insulin (which isn't cheap) shots twice a day, twelve hours apart, since 2006...nine years.  Technically, Lily is my daughter's cat.  Have I mentioned that my daughter has been in college and is currently in Florida for an internship at Disney???  I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say, 98% of the shots Lily has received in her lifetime have been administered by me.  

Then there is Winston, my pooch.  

His picture was in the paper back in November of 2009.  There was an article about adopting out old dogs to older people.  When I saw his picture, it was love at first sight.  I told my ex (I was married back then) that I wanted to go meet this dog.  My ex had told our daughter that IF we ever lived on the road we were currently living on, we could get a dog.  Once we moved on to the road, my ex's memory became faulty.  He claimed he had never said that.  He had.  He just didn't like responsibility.  lol.  Regardless, I went and saw W.  He was so sweet.  My ex went out of town that week and I told the shelter that although I loved W, I could not bring home a dog without everyone in the family 1) meeting him and 2) agreeing to care for him.  I did, however, fill out adoption papers.  They would hold him for me for 24 hours.  48 hours later I was able to bring my children in to meet W.  My ex happened to be coming back in from out of town and he met us there.  We were in one of the visiting rooms with W, when one of the shelter volunteers came and told me, his adoption has all ready been taken care of.  I asked what that meant...because I suspected someone else had adopted him.  I figured we weren't meant to be dog owners after all!  The volunteer told me that someone had come in and paid for his adoption fees anonymously.  He had a guardian angel!  Older dogs, and cats are least likely to be adopted at shelters.  Someone else had seen W's picture too in the newspaper.  They came in, met him, then paid his adoption fee so whomever wanted him could just take him home.  We had the money...but he was free...meant to be ours...meant to be mine.  Due to that random act of kindness, for several years after that, I made holiday, monetary donations to our shelter, especially for older adoptees.  

Winston came home with us that night.  The next day we left for Thanksgiving Break.  We traveled, by car to the east coast.  Fourteen hours.  Winston went with us!  It was amazing!  

Winston's story is unclear before I met him.  He was skin and bones (15 pounds under weight) when I adopted him.  The shelter's director felt he was dumped.  He was not neutered, and wore a nondescript hunting collar on his neck. The director of the shelter felt he had probably outlived his hunting usefulness.  She said it is common for hunters to feel their dogs are not as sharp once they reach six years old.  Winston was six. Although my schooling and new job keep me really busy today, and I feel a tad sad that I have sole responsibility for the household menagerie...I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.  W is my boy and I feel safe with him by my side. He is also about 13 years old.  

Winston has his own blog...but I haven't helped him with it in some time.  Opposable thumbs are to be valued.  Winston Speaks.  Maybe once Berlioz joins the clan W will have more to say.  

My sister spent $90.00 on "my cat"  last night.   Her vet checked him out.  He does not have feline leukemia.  Positive!  He appears to be a healthy babe.  Positive!  He does have  a shattered back leg.  It also looks as if he has road rash on his little face.  Both possible from having been tossed from a car.  :( Being a little, black cat, just before Halloween, has not helped him.  My sister, and I agree, if she takes him to the shelter, he'll probably be put down.  Neither of us are willing to allow that to happen.  

So you see, my inner Snow White is coming out.  I cannot let this little black kitten be lost.  My sister's heart is as big as mine, and it's possible it might be bigger.  She has three cats, a dog and three young children.  She needs to NOT take on this kitten.  But me...I am alone and am a nurturing soul too.  Clearly my furry kids have needed someone who has love to offer.  I can do that.  And my heart is big enough to support another furry kid.  Given all I've been through though over this past year, I just don't think I can pay a surgery bill of $1500.00.  On the GoFundMe site my goal is to raise $2000.00 for Berlioz.  I am anticipating meds, and incidentals will be needed after surgery.  

I am confident this campaign will be successful.  When we go over and above the desired goal, the additional moneys (after medical bills are paid) will go as a donation to the veterinary clinic who does the surgery.  Next, I will spend the rest of the funds by making donations to the South Bend animal shelter, and then to my local shelter and possibly even to my vet.  My sister's vet accepts donations for a fund that is used to offset costs for those who cannot afford large fees.  As an example, Berlioz needed to have X-rays as well as tests run.  His actual vet bill last night was over $300.00.  My sister's vet dipped into this other account to make up the difference.  It seems fitting that any extra money raised should also go towards something like this as well.  

So, friends, please help.  If you can donate even a little to help this cause, please consider it.  If you cannot donate, but know someone who might be moved to help, then please share my blog or the GoFundMe link.  Here it is again:  Berlioz: GoFundMe.  

Tonight ...I've been listening to music from The Aristocats via Spotify.  

As always, thank you for sharing my life adventures.  

~Lisa Kroll

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Traveling with a Calvin Klein Model

Tomorrow I will head out on an adventure.  My grown son is traveling with me on a trip.  

Where does time go?  It seems that it was just the other day when he was a youngster.  He's twenty-three now.  We've traveled  many places together, but it's been a long time since our last mom/kids adventure.  I think the last big trip I had with my son was when he was 15 and we went to San Diego.  The three of us, my son, daughter and myself, explored one of my favorite cities.  I have been to San Diego many times.  I had always wanted to share it with my children.  One spring break, I had the opportunity.  I took them to the famous San Diego Zoo, Coronado, Point Loma, the Harbor, one of the missions, La Jolla, and we drove to Los Angeles so I could take them to Disneyland.  

My children have had the opportunity to visit both U.S. Disney amusement areas.  Spoiled?  Possibly... probably.  Maybe I'm the spoiled one, I have been the one to share these experiences with them.  How wonderful is that?  

One family trip, as we were heading to Florida on an airplane, an attendant came up to my son and said another passenger had a question for him.  Was he a Calvin Klein model?  As a mother, that is NOT something one expects her child to be asked!  He might have been 17 at the time.  Certainly he would have been perfect CK model material.  Lanky.  Longer haired.  Stylish.  It might have been his messenger bag that was slung over his shoulder in such a way that said, I am Carefree.  I am Youth.  I am the Future.  

I wonder what awaits us on this next trip?  He has grown so much.  He has lived on his own for the past four years.  Shopped, cooked, cleaned, graduated from college, and traveled with his friends.  I'd like to take a little credit for the man he is becoming, but I know he's been the one in driver's seat.  I helped set the foundation and he's done the rest.  I can count on him to help without my telling him what to do.  It's amazing how these little ones we bring into the world grow in the blink of an eye.  They make us realize that time moves forward.  They remind us of our blessings.  They remind us that life is short.  

I will cherish my travels this week.  The two of us will be visiting my daughter, his sister.  I've been trying not to blink...she's growing up as well.  Amazing how that happens!  lol   She'll be the one showing us around her world and surroundings.  I don't want the week to go by too quickly, but I can't wait to blog again next week!  I'm sure I'll be sharing a ton of pictures this week on my other social media avenues.  

Tomorrow, I'll have my Calvin Klein model by my side...as we head to visit my Princess!  

~Lisa Kroll 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Daniel Craig is Staring at Me.

Honestly.  He is.  As I sit and ponder what words to type, his steel grey (yes, I know they are usually blue) eyes are piercing my subconscious.

I'm staring back.

He smiles.  So do I.  There is a little knowing smile on his face, mixed with a touch of mystic.  Dang, he's cute for a  youngster.  I wonder what his wife thinks of him smiling at other ladies?  Do I care? I do.  If it's just a friendly smile, than I think it is...fine.  But if it's more than that, ...drats.  I'm not someone who can share.

The hardest part of my being single right now is learning how to trust again.  I am so scared of being rejected.  I have been trying to stay detached.  Not allowing my feelings to enter into the mix of my life.  Unfortunately, they are not cooperating.

I am finding out that I want more than just looking at that pretty face on the magazine.  I am not that person who can separate her emotions from actions.  I want to be feel the connection that being open with another human allows.  Both physically and mentally.  It's not possible for me to have relations with a person and not let my soul be exposed.  But I know I haven't been single for that long.  I'm not looking to get married again.  I'm not even sure I know what I want, but I do know I want to be able to be honest and fully experience a relationship the way it should be experienced.  I want to be ready, but my mind isn't there yet.  The advice I get is go with the moment, have no expectations, just enjoy life.  I am.  But it's scary.  Am I meant to be alone forever?  I have plenty of friends.  What I mean is, I really exposed myself once in a relationship and was bitten.  Am I brave enough to be bitten twice?

If you are reading this and you are in a relationship, then think about this...how well does that person know you?  And what do they know about you?  What do you know about them?  Do they know your bad habits and they are with you anyway?  What kind of things do you talk about?  Random things?  Deep conversations? Things you've done together?  All that is gone for me.  My slate has been wiped clean.  It's so scary starting over.  I miss deep human contact.  Yet, I remain guarded. Maybe that's my mystic.  

~Lisa Kroll 

Tonight's music:  Ed Sheeran, from his EP FIVE, disc 1, 2, and 3. 
Specifically these songs:  Cold Coffee, Let it Out, Sofa, Where We Land, So and Be Like You 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Reinventing Oneself

If Invent (verb) means to create or design, or to make up (an idea, name, story, etc.), especially so as to deceive.  Then Reinvent must mean to create, design, or make up again.  

I have been thinking about this lately.  As I listen to my new favorite artist, Ed Sheeran, singing from an older EP that I recently downloaded.  For those non-techies like me, an EP, Extended Play, is a musical recording that contains more than a single but less than an album.  

On this EP, there are several recordings of the same song.  Different versions, some live, some not.  Mostly I hear Ed's soul coming through once again.  He truly is a romantic wordsmith.  

As I listen to him singing I wonder, is he reinventing himself as he sings?  Or is he just refining what is all ready there?  Do people reinvent themselves?  And if they do, are reinventions really accurate perceptions or just more deception?  Still the 'man behind the curtain'?

Which brings me to me. 

Have I reinvented myself?  I don't think so.  I think what others are seeing is what has always been there.  I liken myself to a turtle.  I pulled my head in to protect myself, and now I feel safe to show myself the world.  I feel like the me that I am allowing to now show has just been waiting to be unveiled.  I feel I was waiting for the right moment to poke my head out from inside my shell.  Maybe I've transformed just a bit...as a caterpillar does when it goes into it's chrysalis.  Does it change or just refine what is all ready there on the inside? 

Sometimes we show ourselves in ways we think others want us to show ourselves.  Silly isn't it?  But typical in our society today.  

Jokingly I was asked recently, "You're so damn happy.  What's your problem?"  

The answer my friends, Life is Short.  

~Lisa Kroll 

Tonight's Music:  My recent purchase, and you can listen to the whole thing for free on Spotify!  Go to Spotify.com and search for Ed Sheeran, albums, 5.  

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Dating in the 21st Century, and Almost Being Over-the-Hill....

On June 20, 1985, 3:20 a.m. my dad died in his sleep.  In that instant, my mom became single and a single parent.  She had a five-year-old under her wing and two grown children, ages 19 and 21.

She had anticipated sharing her life with the man of her dreams.  They had plans.  They had love.  They had one another...through sickness, health, rich and poor times, etc.

Suddenly, she was alone.

I was as sensitive as any 21 year old, who had just met her love could be.  I now wish I had my current life experience hidden away in my pocket.  I didn't give my mom nearly enough time to mourn.  But, when it came time for her to move forward, she had my brother and me behind her.  We were her biggest fans and we gave her as much emotional support as we could.  We didn't want to see her unhappy.  She was too young, too joy filled, too vivacious, too happy of a soul to be alone for the rest of her life.  Simply put, she was an amazing lady.

Oh, history (sigh)...  Thanks for allowing me to learn from you.

After spending nearly two years working my butt off in graduate school, knowing that my marriage was over through it all, and feeling too young to be alone, not religious enough to join the convent (sorry Sister Frances!), and too social...I decided to try my hand at online dating.  

Think about it, how does a fifty-one-year-old let others know she has healed enough to want to get out in her community and date?  I was told I need to join organizations, be active in groups, follow my passions.  Where do all the single 50+ year old men hang out?  If they are in the bars, no thanks.  I don't mind a drink or two, but nightly...not for me.  On one's profile that means I am a "social drinker".

Who has time to, hold down a full-time job, take care of the pets that are now a responsibility, and keep a house uber clean since it's on the market?

Do you know how much courage it takes to go to events alone?  Going to a movie is different than going to say a gala event.  So, gala's are no longer part of my life.  Time for new adventures.  Going on walks alone has it's risks.  As does traveling.  I try to not be scared of this world, but I am cautious. Saturday nights I force myself to go out! I love my blogging nights. 

Enter the world of online dating with me.  This is what I've learned so far.

1) Pay $ and upgrade.
In order to thin out the better choices from the bad choices, one must spend a little money.  I recall as an undergraduate hearing one of my professors say TANSTAAFLE.
There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch...totally applies.
Spend money to have the weeds pulled.

2)  Pictures.
Don't trust anyone who only posts one picture or no picture.  Or at least proceed with caution!  Yes, there are people who are in certain jobs whom need to not post their pictures, I get that.  They really should have another source they are comfortable with sharing...like Facebook!  Telling me you'll send me pictures if I'll give you my email or cell phone number....sorry, Charlie.

I did learn a lesson the hard way (no pun intended).  Someone decided to share his peacock with me without my asking. Skeptical it was really his.  If it was...well...I was not impressed.  He has been blocked. 

3) Meet in Public.
Guys of all age have one thing on their mind.  Maybe girls do as well.  Society today seems a little more promiscuous than I recall from my youth.  As independent as I am, I hope to be sought after.  Maybe even chased a little and made to feel wanted.  It seems that in today's world people don't have to try very hard to find someone who will go to bed.

4) Age.
Yes, it is just a number, but I am NOT interested in someone younger than me.  If you are under 30, definitely DO NOT contact me!  The flattery comes off as creepy.  I feel you might have mommy issues.  I don't want to take care of you!  Even if you are under 50, I'm probably not interested.  Someone my age has experienced the same world that I have.  They will have a past too.  I like that.  Our pasts make us richer souls.  We will have things to discuss.

I do have stories I could share, but not here.  Most of the men I chat with are kind, kind people.  I am looking for someone close to home.  Someone I can share my community with, hopefully this is his community too since I plan on staying put.  As a social person, I need my partner to be social as well.  I'm still learning who I am though and I am still new to this dating stuff.  I don't think people really go out any more.  I think so many people are looking for that person they used to have...just in a different form.  It might not be me they are looking for.  

I have moved forward.  I am NOT looking for the same person I had.  

My reminder this morning:    

I am working on being that magnet.

~Lisa Kroll