...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Castle on the Hill

Lyric excerpts from Castle on The Hill, by Ed Sheeran

"Found my heart and broke it here
Made friends and lost them through the years
And I've not seen the roaring fields in so long, I know I've grown
But I can't wait to go home
I'm on my way
Driving at ninety down those country lanes
Singing to "Tiny Dancer"
And I miss the way you make me feel, and it's real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill

One friend left to sell clothes
One works down by the coast
One had two kids but lives alone
One's brother overdosed
One's already on his second wife
One's just barely getting by
But these people raised me and I can't wait to go home
And I'm on my way, I still remember
This old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way you make me feel, it's real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill"


Sunset over the Castle in Chicago
Shared pains.
Growing up.
Being Real.

Friendships are precious.

What does a boy of almost 26 know of reconnection's?  Recently, Ed Sheeran released two new songs, his next album is due out on March 3rd.  When I initially listened to both songs I was immediately drawn to the sure-to-be number 1 dance song, Shape of You.  Upon further listening...it is his song Castle on the Hill that touches my soul. It's a song about returning home.  

In January, I reconnected with a few of my high school friends.  We spent the better part of a long weekend in Chicago.  What a blast!  I grew up in a community that was nestled in the cornfields of northern Indiana.  Most of these people I shared the weekend with, I first met when I was 11 years old.

Back in our high school days, we branched out from the safety of the cornfields once in awhile, and headed to the big city of Chicago for fun.  I recall thinking Chicago was ginormous.  My parents wouldn't let me go there without an adult present.  Thankfully, we had teachers who realized, high school students who live among the cornfields, needed to be exposed to culture.  IN MY DAY...teachers could drive a carload of students places without worry of accusations.  More likely accusations happened, but the teachers really knew the families of the students they were putting in their cars.  I think I grew up in a smaller world.  

We had an English teacher who would periodically take a group of us into the city to eat pizza at the Rathskeller, or Gino's.  We would also go to see Second City.  That was in the day when comedians Mary Gross, and Jim Belushi were on the main stage.  Occasionally, we'd head to Chicago to see a musical or eat an authentic meal: Mexican or French depending on what language one was studying. My love for live theatre was born when I was in high school, as I recall seeing both Evita and Annie live. I am thankful for the English, Spanish, French, Music and Band teachers I had growing up.    

The take away from my teachers...respect other cultures, and the Arts are important.

Today I am that "adult present" my parents long ago required. I drove my own car north into the Windy City from my little Southern Indiana town.  I was one of seven high school friends who came together for a mini-reunion.  We came from Northern and Southern Indiana, Southern Illinois and California.  We dined at Gino's, then headed to The Second City Main Stage.  Some history is worth repeating.  One in our group announced to our waitress that we were celebrating our high school reunion.  He told her if she could guess how long it's been, he'd give her a one hundred dollar tip.  Seconds later there was a loud, collective burst of "Oh My Gosh!!!!" when she said, "thirty-five." Amazing!  Or was it?  *wink, wink.  She did get that one hundred dollar tip.  

The show was a blast.  When it was over, 10:15 seemed too early to end the fun even though I know personally, my life as a first grade teacher finds me ready for bed shortly after I get home each night.  It was suggested we should go to a nearby (Uber ride away) bar, called The Original Mother's. Apparently Rob Lowe was in a movie that featured this bar.  Sadly, he wasn't to be seen on our visit.  We did play a non-traditional game of Beer Pong where we did not consume beer.  Two of us sang a karaoke duet to "Summer Loving," from Grease.  There is a video, but it's not blackmail worthy.  Both singers had a blast, with one having his own doo wop posse. 

The next day was filled with shopping at The Water Tower Place, followed by a decadent late afternoon lunch at the Ralph Lauren Club.  

When it was near dinner time we weren't anywhere close to being hungry.  One in our group made a small mention that her daughter is managing a hotel nearby.  Off we went on another short Uber ride; we all wanted to meet this beautiful young offspring of our childhood friend. As it was still too soon for dinner, we decided to catch a show before we dined.  This weekend was filled with many firsts.  

We headed to the world famous Baton Show Lounge that features female impersonators.  Holy crumbs, were they great!  Despite the group next to us embarrassing themselves with a party member who had too-much-something before they arrived, we had a wonderfully, entertaining evening.  All of the females in our group commented how intimidated they felt by the performers. The performers were sensual, curvaceous, owned their bodies, were flirtatious...and, yes a little outrageous!  As we were leaving, I stopped to tell the owner how much I enjoyed the evening. When we arrived that night, playing on a large screen over the stage was a video loop. The video explained how The Baton got it's name.  The owner, Jim Flint, twirled baton 47 years ago.  Well, so did I.  On a whim, I asked if he twirled and competed against another fairly famous Indiana baton twirler.  He had!  I knew it!  So had I!!!  I recall just one boy in the area who twirled when I was growing up...not including my brother and friend, Gordon, who were made to take a year of twirling due to complaining and competing with their sisters.  I am sure it was likely Jim.  Small world!

As we left The Baton, the male in our group was asked if he was follicly challenged?  Gathered on the sidewalk was a bachelorette party, on a scavenger hunt.  They needed to take a picture of the bride-to-be kissing a bald head.  My friend is such a good sport!  Payment came in the form of small jello filled cups for all.  Have you seen the movie, The Hangover?  I was sure one of us was going to end up sleeping on the roof of our hotel!  Strangers, on the streets of Chicago, offering Jello Shots out of a plastic Wal-Mart bag.  Oh my goodness! This evening really was to be filled with firsts.

At 10:30, we were now ready for dinner.  Off we headed to The Purple Pig where we shared, gourmet tapas plates.  Perfection!  Laughter filled the rest of the waning evening.  We opted to walk back to the hotel so we could enjoy the global warming effecting our January visit to the Windy City.  The walk home was filled with questions and curiosities about the performers from The Baton.  The costumes were very revealing...

Our weekend came to an end the next morning.  We shared breakfast at another wonderful eatery, the Tempo Cafe.


What I have failed to mention is that all weekend long, there were little conversations that happened.  Sometimes two of us would get a chance to have a private conversation and rediscover who our former friends had grown to become.  We re-discovered...we are all beautiful human beings, and discovered we all survivors. We are survivors of the challenges life has offered.  In our presence was kindness, authenticity, acceptance, and maturity.   There was a realization of deeper connections that happened over those few days we shared. When you are older, and reconnect with those you knew growing up, you realize you didn't really know that person as a 17 or 18 year old.  How could you?  That person wasn't finished become the person they were meant to become.  Or maybe, they hadn't yet been colored by life.  They hadn't had the time to develop into the layered, intellectual soul they were meant to become.

Some people have things happen when they are young that does color them.  Most of us are able to survive our teens, and twenties without much damage.  I think it's typical that one hits 30, and life becomes more challenge filled. Not Adulting is NOT an option after a certain age is reached. (adult used here as a verb) By fifty, many are married, may have kids and/or possibly have gone through a broken relationship.  Our parents are starting to age, and their, or our, own health issues may be starting to rear their ugly heads.  The realization that one's career/dreams are not being reached means we start to re-evaluate what it is that we are really chasing.

When connecting with old friends, one can reminisce about events from one's youth, but the real connections begin when one realizes that none are completely comfortable in their own skin.  That doesn't mean we aren't comfortable.  What I am trying to say is that what others may presume to be true, may in fact not be true. Before I met my friends that weekend, I was thinking...these people were so beautiful when we were young.  Today they are even more beautiful AND successful. How can I even compare?  What ended up happening was I shared my weekend with real people.  They ARE beautiful and successful, but they are also very human.  I didn't really know that before.  My definitions for beauty and success are so different now than what they were when I was young.  For some reason, I was stuck with those old definitions in my brain.  

There is a certain safety in returning "home".  I ask again, how does a boy of almost 26 know of such reconnections?  Ed Sheeran, I admire your insights.  

~Lisa Kroll, healing with the help of my friends. 

Tonight's blogging music:  

Inspired by Ed Sheeran's, Castle on the Hill single to be released on his new album called Divide. Due out on March 3, 2017.  

Editing music: Music from the album Spirit by Amos Lee. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Loose strings...Don't pull, cut them!  That's the rule.  If one pulls a loose thread, the edge of whatever the thread is attached to will unravel. Then what?  The edge may slowly, or quickly, fray.  

On the other hand, when given a helium-filled balloon, one holds tightly to the string.  Sometimes, the string is circled around, and around something, before being tied securely, and anchored down.  Time and again, strings for balloons work their way lose.  They either aren't secured properly, or they slip through fingers, whose owner was sure they had a tight grip.  Once untethered, helium-filled balloons drift, higher and higher.  It is believed they reach a certain height and then explode, shattering into many tiny shards, before returning to Earth.  

Lately, I have felt untethered.  When my marriage ended, I was left with most of the responsibilities we had shared together.  A major part included the family pets.  One was a diabetic and needed shots twice a day.  Never mind the cost of her medicine and needles, she required a lot of time management. I was tied to her by time constraints.  The other responsibility was the family dog who was 14-years old.  The typical lifespan of his breed is 10-12 years, which makes me realize he had a purpose for coming into our family. Dogs can't be left for days without human interaction.  He needed companionship, food, fresh water, and walking.  So did I.  I was tied to being home for him each night. New, to the full-time work force, and as a first year teacher, I couldn't spend as many long hours as I would have liked working in my classroom.  I'm sure that was a blessing in disguise. The end of my family pet responsibilities happened when both had their lives come to an end, within three months of one another.  The emotional fallout from their loss is still with me. It's only been a few months.  Sitting near Lily as she took her last breath in September has seared a spot in my brain, and on my heart.  I had no partner to be by my side.  For better or worse... I had to do that night alone.  I am capable.  I can do alone, and I did.  In early December, Winston started having troubles.  He was a large dog, and Lily's passing was so fresh in my brain...I knew I couldn't handle him dying at home.  Again, I had no partner to help make that decision.  I had to do that night alone too.  I am capable.  I can do alone, and I did, again.  But something broke in me that night.  The ties to my past life were suddenly gone.  I was set free.  I am untethered.  I am drifting.  I wonder if balloons can look down and see the beauty beneath them? Actually, I wonder if there is beauty below?  I search the Internet, I see pictures from satellites of planet Earth...Is that beauty an illusion?   I am not seeing the beauty yet beneath my untethered self. 

When a person is married, there are constraints.  Expectations.  Roles to be filled.  Different people perform different roles.  As I grew up, I believed the roles to be more defined.  Nowadays, the roles are neither defined nor are they gender specific.  I believe marriages today need to be more like partnerships. I don't believe my ex and I were very good examples of a true partnership. There was give, and there was take.  But there was not real give-and-take. Narcissists are incapable of giving without taking.  I look at my adult children and know they will find someone to share their lives.  They will likely grow with that person. At least that is my hope. I hope they form wonderful partnerships. I know, that won't happen for me at this stage. I think at my age, I'm not sure I can grow with anyone. I am fairly well defined as a person. I am more than capable.  I can do alone. I am responsible. I can take care of myself. I can pay my mortgage and bills. I can cook for one, although I have experience cooking for many.  I can manage my yard. I can work full time. I can go wherever I want: traveling, the movies... whenever I want... and I can do it by myself. I don't need to be taken care of.  I can solve my own problems, although I am grateful that I have friends I can call when I need.  Calling on others for help is not something I am used to doing.  For 27 years, when I showed weakness...and needing help was weakness...I was made to feel there was something pathetic about me.  So, my being able to ask for help...that's a big deal.  

Untethered.  Will I drift higher and higher until I shatter into a million little pieces?  What will happen after that?  Is this the time when I need to embrace myself for whom I am?  Learn to love myself?  Give myself a break?  Oh, my heart is so broken.  Maybe it's all ready shattered.  I want to be brave and let someone else in to help me piece my heart back together. I need someone who is farther along on this journey.  I need someone to enter my life who has what I have, but maybe he has even more.  I need someone who has more to give; someone who enjoys the things I enjoy, and can offer me new experiences. I need that person to not only help me see the beauty, but want to experience that beauty with me by his side. Yes, I want to be swept off my feet. I want to be romanced. I want to be wowed, and wooed. I am drifting. I am not ready to shatter.  I've done old married couple, and I don't want to repeat my past. I'm not saying I don't ever want to be married again. I just know I need more now.  Looking back, I feel I let myself be made to play a certain role in my marriage, I was being put into a well-defined box.  I no longer see myself as fitting into any box.  As Laura Petrie found out when she opened a box delivered to her house, once out, it's hard to stuff something back into a container that is so confining.  (view video from 20:35, for fun.  From: The Curious Thing about Women episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Air date: January 10, 1962) 

If asked, my defense mechanism is to say that I've had my chance at love. My heart doesn't really believe that, but I am so scared of being hurt again.  Maybe, I'm just not healed enough yet. Time...please work your magic. I do feel very untethered right now, in this place and in this time.  

~Lisa Kroll
        untethered, wanderer, animal and nature loving, romantic, adventure seeking soul, who cannot be contained...still eating, praying and loving, but working on loving me these days as I continue to find my voice. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Crazy, Gorilla, or Trash?

Relationships bind human beings together.  Maybe you believe in love at first site?  Or maybe you are one of those people who thinks a friendship must grow first before love can blossom. I'm still learning to love that person who makes up my soul. I know that before I can love another, I need to satisfy my need to know and love myself.  I'm still working on untangling my life, or at least learning to run my new life parallel to my old memories.  Little things can trigger emotions.  


When two people get married, they share so much, and it is understandable that their lives become intertwined.  Even the bible defines how deeply this bond will become: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ~ Matthew, Chapter 19.   

It won't kill you, but it does shatter life.  
It may shatter a family, other relation -ships, and traditions.  When something shatters one contemplates, is Crazy Glue, or Gorilla Glue best to be used to mend breaks?  As with some broken things, sometimes the trash can is the best option.  What isn't meant to be, needs to be tossed away, or released so a fresh start may happen.

After my divorce, I made choices that were good for me.  I chose to stay in the house I love, my burrow.  If you look around, you'd see I haven't changed much there.  The house was always a reflection of me.  The love that has flowed through my veins, oozes out and fills that space.  By choosing to live in the burrow, I chose to have my ex-mil right next door.  I accepted, and knew that.  I knew I'd have my former family in and out of my space.  I didn't realize how challenging it could be at times.  Things happen next door and I am not a part of them.  Of course.  That's how life is after divorce.  Things happen in my house too, and my neighbors are not a part of them.  Still, it can hurt.  Mail arrives at my house with his name on it.  Because he changed his physical location, he never has to see my name in his mailbox.  Old habits were that my mil could walk right into my house.  She continues to bring me mail that gets delivered to her.  Even pieces of junk mail, that have his and my name on them.  I know she has to accept things he has done.  He is, after all, her blood...her son.  I am not sure I'll heal enough to mend my relationship with her in this lifetime.  I admit, I hold her responsible for raising him to become the person he has become.  I am not able to separate her from him.   

Shattered ..... friendships.  

Social events I used to attend, and be a part of, are no longer in my life.  Someone else fills the space I once occupied. I do realize that the community doesn't have to go home with my ex, so it matters not to them if they hang out with him for a few hours.  It doesn't matter if he attends these events with me, or with someone new. The community is natural curious.  What is she like?  Who is this new person who thinks she can fill Lisa's shoes?  Maybe the hardest things for me to handle are friend's vocal curiosities.  Some have the gall to ask, 'Is he married now (to the woman he left you for)?'  Think about that...I am asked about HIS state of affairs?  I wonder if he is asked about me?  What can the community possibly say to him about me?  Hopefully, it says, and he hears again and again and again, "Oh, my gosh, Lisa is AMAZING!! She seems to be thriving more than anyone I have ever seen." I certainly feel I am thriving in most areas of my life.  My once contained spirit is feeling comfortable stepping out into the world.  

Some moments I wonder, 
who is this woman living inside my skin?
Where has she been hiding?  

Those moments are getting more frequent, but I do get knocked back down now and again by reality.  Once in a blue moon, someone will say to me, "I looked him up on FB." "I saw pictures of...." O.M.G. I don't need to hear this!!!  

I wear invisible chain mail over my heart. 
I fake being strong better than most anyone knows, but I do have a breaking point.  Sometimes, when I am asked certain, thoughtless questions, I wish to just die.  
Then I remember, 
divorce doesn't kill.

Shattered ..... family traditions and in-law relationships.  

Suddenly, children find they need to split their time, or make choices.  They know how things have always been and may expect all around to make life seem normal.  Life is anything but normal.  Former mother-in-laws may act much like children, and hope life can go on as if not much has changed.  Divorce changes everything. There is no handbook that states how long it takes for one to get over such a deep hurt. 

Feelings ..... shatter, they cannot be collected and mended with glue.  Nor can they be tossed into a trash can.  My traditions have been shattered.  There isn't a glue strong enough to salvage these important parts of my heart.  I have had to toss my old life aside.  New traditions are emerging.  Sometimes parts of those old traditions I have loved, are woven into the new traditions I have started.  I suppose that is natural.

Coming off the heels of Thanksgiving, where one should feel thankful for all they have, I sometimes am reminded of all no longer in my life.  My parents are gone.  My own children are grown and no longer live under my roof.  My family by marriage...well, divorce changes everything.  I no longer have a place there.  

draws an image of millions of tiny shards. 
But shards, 
when looked at in the right light 
twinkle brighter 
than the object they formerly formed.  

My heart knows I sparkle more now than I ever did.  I feel there might be a super nova beneath my surface.  I wonder if 2017 will be the year it is released?   

~Lisa Krolleating, praying and loving
...always thinking about life
 and finding beauty in the thinking and in life in general

Blogging music:  Home Alone - Soundtrack (1990) by John Williams

Sunday, November 27, 2016

For the love of siblings....

Siblings = longest family relationships
Thanksgiving 2016
With my Sister and Brother
This recent holiday, I shared my home with my siblings, and our children. There were 11 of us in and out of my house over Thanksgiving.  
I spent 16 years growing up with just my brother in my life.  Our baby sister arrived as a surprise blessing long after my brother and I had ironed out our hierarchy.  She was, of course a band camp baby.  Have I told this story?  I was 15 and my brother 13 when our parents sat us down.  "Do you remember that baby you always prayed for, Lisa?"  Yes, of course I do.  "Well, next summer we are going to have a job for you." Really?  But I all ready have a job, at Hannon's.  "Next summer you will be babysitting too."  I was slow on processing what was being said.  My brother, on the other hand, made the connection faster than I.  "What? That's means you did it. Gross. When did it happen?" "We don't know exactly when it happened." "Ugh, that means you did it more than once?"  My brother and I decided it MUST have happened while we were at summer band camp, never mind that the timing didn't work out.  

Our sister missed out on puddle playing, sandlot war games, tree climbing, cousin navigating, family camping/vacations, l-o-n-g car rides, after school latch key-ness, summer babysitter training(we had to train them to deal with us), several months of farm living, new house construction, new schools, boy/girl friends being tortured, car radio dial controlling, calling shotgun, dish washing rituals, Friday night euchre games, weekend chores, becoming invisible when dad paid bills, Sunday dinner at grandma and grandpa's combined with the lack of Sunday night Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color watching when grandpa was sleeping in front of the TV with 60 Minutes on instead of our favorite, and the birth of a sibling.  

A few years after her birth, our sister did experience our father's death with us, but she was 5 and we were 19 and 21.  We felt our roles shift from siblings to caretakers of our mom and little sister.  I know my brother felt a weight on his shoulders as the man of the family after dad died.  Our mother struggled with the loss of her love, and I know I felt responsible for helping life remain normal for my sister. I was set to stay home from college, I had three years completed.  I thought I should stay at home, go to the extension maybe, and help, as did my brother.  Our paternal grandfather wouldn't hear of it.  He said the best way we could honor our father would be to go back to campus and finish college.  Grandma and Grandpa said they would be there for mom and our sister.  And they were.  Still, there was so much my mom needed to go through and they couldn't help her emotionally.  Hindsight is 20/20, and my recent life experience has made me understand that mom needed time to grieve.  Which was exactly what she was doing. 

My brother and I spent many hours during the summer of our dad's death sitting by his grave and talking.  We were supposed to be at church...but we weren't.  We'd take turns running into church to pick up a bulletin as proof that we went, then we'd go buy donuts and sit with dad.  We reminisced about our past and pondered our future. Mom didn't question us when we returned from church.  Christmas was her favorite time of the year.  That first Christmas, both my brother and I were at IU and working retail.  We worked Christmas eve, then headed home to attend midnight mass with mom and our sister.  After church I discovered that mom was still mourning...what did I expect: her loss was just six months old.  Mom had bought Christmas gifts, but she couldn't bring herself to wrap them.  After church, I went to the basement and wrapped all the gifts.  The next morning was our first Christmas without dad.  Mom was so depressed, she struggled to get out of bed.  My brother and I pleaded with her to get up.  She had a five-year old and Santa HAD to come.  Somehow we made it through that Christmas, together.  After that, each Christmas was easier.  I was home for the two summers after dad died.  I watched my sister by day then worked nights so my mom could work days, and my sister didn't have to go to summer daycare.  

Being together as a family has always been easy.  In our early years, my brother and I had spent a significant amount of time pounding on one another, "He's touching me!" "She started it!" "He's in my airspace!" "She coughed on me, on purpose!!!" "He ate the bigger half of the...!" "She took the last...!" "He's looking at me!" "She laughed!" It was how we worked out our hierarchy and it was what bonded us together. I was good at punching my brother, then timing it where mom or dad would see him retaliating.  I think it was a gift I had.  We were experts at driving Mom and Dad a little bonkers.  But in times of crisis, I do know I can count on my brother for anything.  All the experiences we have shared, have made us a strong family unit...even as we have grown and now have our own families.  My sister and I have shared experiences too, but mostly they started as the ones surrounding the seven months of our mom's battle with cancer. We walked that walk together with our brother, but it was mostly my sister and I who took the reins of that beast.  Since then, my sister has helped me celebrate points in my life.  She traveled with me to Disney World where I turned the big 5-0, she helped celebrate my receiving my Masters, and she's been my rock through my divorce.  

My sister and her husband grew up as only children.  These past few days together, I watched their children be normal siblings.  They argued, they socked one another, they played together, they laughed, they negotiated, they snuck around, they mothered/fathered one another, and they shared, always having the others in mind.  My sister worried that her kids were being too loud, too rambunctious, talked too much, were too messy, etc.  They were being kids.  What I saw was family bonding in progress: love building.  They were away from their home base and yet they had one another.  I am a little sad for my sister and BIL that they didn't grown up with siblings close to their age or at all. They stress out when their kids are being normal kids.  It's a kids job to stress their parents out a little!

I wouldn't trade my life experience of having siblings for anything.  My sister, my brother and I were all lucky, and brave enough, to give our children siblings close to their own age.  I trust all our kids will know they have someone they can truly count on when times get tough.  Hopefully they can look at their parent and Aunt or Uncle as good examples of how one should love, respect and stand by their siblings as they age.

After our mom died, I felt even more responsible for the family.  I'm the patriarch now.  I hope I am doing things correctly.  If I don't hand down family traditions, how will our legacy go on? New traditions happen, but I don't want my parents to be forgotten.  What a huge weight of responsibility.  

~Lisa Kroll
          sister, mother, aunt (spelled ant at times), friend, and family member

Tonight's blogging music had me thinking of my mom mostly as she loved Christmas.    Straight No Chaser: all their Christmas music...but my favorite, Indiana Christmas.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


From an early age, I heard...'when you finish high school, you will go to college'.  What was implied:  People who had an education were better than the people to whom I belonged.  I know my parents just wanted the best for me, but somehow they made me feel I wasn't enough as I was. As I read what I have written, I know they were really saying I could achieve so much more than they had.  A child's perspective can be skewed in the wrong way.  Sometimes children think they have more world experience than they really do.  Life is meant to take a long time.  We need time to work through all the challenges that come with the ride.  

Through our life, we play different roles.  We take our cues from those around us. I knew what was expected of me.  I grew up in a gated community.  My parents were blue collar workers.  I remember thinking, how are we allowed to live here?  We were not anyone important.  In fact, we were nobodies.  Rich people lived in gated communities.  I grew up feeling someone was going to find out I wasn't the same as everyone else.  I wasn't elite.  I didn't fit in with the members of this gated community.  True, my parents were hard working individuals as were many of the other parents.  But these people played golf.  They played tennis.  They swam. The evidence was in the golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and the tags needed to do these activities.  I had these tags.  Yes, I played golf.  Yes, I played tennis.  Yes, I swam.  However, both my mom and dad had to work in order for us to live in the house we lived.  Money was tight.  The budget didn't have much wiggle room.  When I needed dental work, and I needed a lot, I felt incredibly guilty.  I felt I owed my hard working parents for all they sacrificed for me.  There were fights over money spending.  I don't recall there ever being a fight over money spent on my issues, but I was a sensitive kid.  I took things personally.  I'm a sensitive grown woman.  I still take things personally.  I knew growing up that rich people were popular. I was cute, and I was smart, but I was not popular. At school, time and again I'd watch boys go for the pretty girls.  No one really wants a cute girl and when you add smart to the mix, they definitely don't want you.  Cute and smart are not part of the popular group.  So, I spent my growing up years feeling like I was going to be found out.  Someone had let my family into this gated community and we really weren't supposed to be here. Rich people were the popular group and that wasn't me.  I didn't feel that was my family either.  I sighed an audible sigh when I was able to escape the social expectations of growing up, daughter of blue collar parents, carefully living to not be discovered in a gated community. I made it through high school and no one found out.  

I went away to college.  It was my way to repay my parents, and I was still looking for a way to not be found out.  I wasn't that rich girl some thought.  Maybe through my education I could prove that I was capable.  I could take care of my parents, or at least not be a burden to them.  I could take care of myself.  Relief filled my soul when I met people who didn't know where I came from.  I met boys from all over the state, country and world.   They seemed to like cute, smart girls.  Maybe they were just being boys away from home...no social norms to follow.  They didn't know they weren't supposed to be looking at some imposter, non-rich, not popular girl.  I was scared I still couldn't measure up. College was an interesting playground for me. I struck pay dirt when I was asked to marry a boy who had parents that were BOTH college graduates.  My M.R.S.  

Educated people were better than the people I belonged with, right?  This thought constantly went through my brain.  I know I felt I had finally been welcomed into the popular group of life.  Yes!  Success!!!  I made it to the elite group.  To the big kids table.  I was finally worthy to live in the gated community. Academia leads to aristocracy...right?   

It took me over 25 years to learn the lesson: just because someone appears smarter, doesn't make them so.  Nor does smart make one better than another.  See, my whole lifetime I've felt that even though I was smart, I really wasn't as smart as __blank__, some-undefined-one else.  You can randomly fill in the space for that someone, it just depended on the situation or the circumstance.  The truth I know today is that I am not like anyone else.  I am still cute and smart.  My smarts are not the same as yours, and that's a really good thing.  

I once thought there was a perfect family; my fairytale.  This family was educated, and I was allowed to join their "team".  I thought they could do no wrong.  It turns out their story wasn't what I thought.  From the outside, one can only see a fraction of whatever someone else allows to be seen.  That perfect family...turns out they were human.  They are just as dysfunctional as the rest of us.  Being educated just meant they learned their life lessons a different way.  It didn't mean they were better. 

Reflecting on my youth, I had grown up in the perfect family and I realized it much too late.  My own parents had hearts bigger than anyone I may ever know in my lifetime.  My parents may not have had degrees signed from an academic facility, but they were smarter, happier, more loving, more honest, more community minded, and more respected than anyone who has yet to cross my life path. Those are wonderfully big attributes to have and to live up too.  

My mom passed away 10 years ago today from Glioblastoma Multiforme.  I was blessed to be by her side for the seven months we knew about the cancer.  When roles reverse and you need to take care of your parents in the ways you did your infant children and beyond, a part of your soul awakens that you didn't even know existed.  You become a much stronger version of yourself.  Version 2.1.  You realize truths that may have always been around.  Previously acceptable ways no longer become acceptable.  Subconsciously you do change.  You realize that life truly is short.  You start living that thought:  Life. Is. Short.  That means that you start to speak up for what you want in the time you might have remaining on this wonderful Earth.  You realize unfinished dreams, and you reach for them.  You realize how precious the time you have left really is with those you love.  If you are lucky, the person you married as young twenty-somethings is also changing in these ways and your lives will align so you may share the rest of the journey.  Unfortunately for me, I had a different path of challenges yet to face.  In addition to today being the anniversary of my mom's passing, it also would have been my 30th wedding anniversary.  My divorce was official 17 months ago.  Bittersweet day.  Yet life moves forward.  

No regrets.  I do realize I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.  I am thankful to no longer be confined, nor limited. 

Love, my friends.  
Be thankful.  

~Lisa Kroll, definitely eating, praying and loving these days
Feeling thankful for my family and especially for how I was raised.  

Tonight's blogging music:  
The Lumineers, Cleopatra

"Things I knew when I was young.  Some were true and some were wrong."   - the Gun Song, The Lumineers, Cleopatra Album

dedicated to Patricia T. Scubelek-O'Conner
written on 11/19/16 and edited and published on 11/22/16


Saturday, October 29, 2016

This Mustang chases Porsches....

The highway was straight and flat.  The black Camaro entered the highway and pulled up alongside a red Mustang, both young male drivers, were doing over the posted speed limit.  IROC-Z vs. 5.0 GT. Testosterone kicked in and the battle heated up.  The needle in the Mustang had reached over 100 mph, when the red and blue candy bar lights were noticed approaching from behind.  The Z took the next exit.  The GT was from out-of-state and the state line was just 12 miles away.  Rolling the dice, the driver of the GT stupidly thought he could outrun his fate.  Several miles later, he pulled over.  The car that pulled behind him was a nondescript black police car.  

"Where're ya headed, Hoss?" The southern draw was clear.  Pause.  Driver response noted.  "See here's the difference between your car and mine.  Yours is all show, and no go, while mine is no show, and all go. I'm gonna need to see your registration and drivers license, and you're gonna have ta step out of the car." 
Not the Porsche chaser...all show and no go

..."all show and no go"...  

An imitation.  
A wanna be.  
Needing to make an impression. 

Hindsight is 20/20. We cannot out run our fate.  

In the late 80's, the California State Highway Patrol teamed up with Ford to produce a different car to meet their needs.  Formerly used were heavier Ford sedans.  The new design for the highway patrol was the Mustang SSP, Special Service Package. They were all go and no show, and highly effective.  

Their tag line was...This Mustang chases Porsches for a living.  

~Lisa Kroll, story teller, amateur historian, student of life.  
Oh, and former Mustang owner.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fall Break...

During Fall Break this past week, I had a little visitor outside my house...

He kept flitting back and forth, flying around the yard then back to my house.  I happened to be sitting out in the sunshine for a few minutes when our paths crossed.  Later in the day I decided I needed a little more of the old me around.  It used to be that I would walk in the woods and absorb all the positive energy nature had to share.  

I grabbed my camera, and the dog leash, then set out.  

I saw my bat near the neighbors....

...ears popping out of a hole in a tree...

 ...was watched by a doe....

 ...drank in the beauty of the green tulip tree leaves over head in the fall sunshine...

...and made Winston a very happy dog.  

~Lisa Kroll, Nature Enthusiast.