Tag Archives: happiness

Writing 101 Day 20 final assignment: Most Prized Possession is Not a Possession

For our final assignment, tell the tale of your most-prized possession. If you’re up for a twist, go long — experiment with longform and push yourself to write more than usual

The final assignment for Writing 101 was posted for us 2 weeks ago. Many things have happened since then, most of them just life happenings both good and bad. They interrupted, precluded and overrode my attempts to get back to blogging. But I was writing in my head the whole time (who doesn’t???).

For the second part, I am pleading exception because I tend to rattle on about the most mundane things, I am sure you don’t want a War and Peace sized post.

My most prized possession is not a possession. There are so many things in my life I love, but most of them, like my children, are not possessions. They are people, events and of course books – but maybe I should say reading. So this is what you will hear about. It is nothing I can physically possess (altho the books could loosely fall into that category) but the non-things I treasure the most.

First has to be my family. Hands down, no contest, can’t imagine life without any of them. My husband, whom I have been with for over 40 years still makes my heart happy. We argue and disagree and make up. If you’ve followed any of my other posts, you will see him pop up time after time simply because I love and trust him with my life.


Next are my children. They are grown men now, ages 30 – 35. If anyone thinks they can tell their kids what to do, good luck with that. The only thing I can hope for is that they listened when they were younger – they had no choice since they lived with us 🙂 They have grown into fine young men, I’d like to think because of our influence, but sometimes maybe in spite of it. I miss the toddlers they were, but love them as they are, funny, intelligent guys. One of them told me a few years back that he was appalled to hear my words coming out of his mouth when someone suggested something stupid. HA!! Thank goodness they actually listened sometimes.

My extended family is also treasured. My dad, my father-in-law, aunts, cousins… the list goes on. I talk to at least a few everyday via email (don’t be a hater about electronic communication, it beats NO communication these busy days) and know in a heartbeat I can call on them if I need to. And they know they can call on me and I’ll be there for them. We laugh and cry together. Every Friday is Family Night. Whomever is free comes to eat. It could be 5 or 15 of us, but it is a fabulous way to stay in touch, end a busy work week and start the weekend in a feel-good way. Life is good.

Events are what I prefer to give and get as gifts now that we have more possessions than we really need at our house. For example, I now give my hubby trips such as a day in Chicago, or tickets to a play or show (he was really, really thrilled with the Penn and Teller tickets for Father’s Day). He does the same for me. Our sons got him tickets to a “driving experience” and went with him. They had tons of fun and hubby got what he cherished most – spending a day with 2 of his sons (the other lives out of state or he would have been there too!).

Gen Washington

We also do things on vacation to make more memories. Sometimes good, sometimes bad 🙂 The 4th of July we spent the day at Mount Vernon with our youngest son and his wife. I is an awesome place to visit, but going on Independence Day ramps it up even more. We toured the house, the museum and grounds. We watched reenactments and had birthday cake to celebrate our nation’s birthday. If you are on the east coast, you have to go see General Washington’s choppers. And the Pioneer Farm on the grounds, right now they have the cutest baby pigs! So much history and pride in our country all around. And, like 2 years ago when we were at Monticello on the 4th, there was a huge naturalization program. It is so cool to see the excitement on the faces of brand new citizens of the United States. Happiness all around, and no physical possessions needed on my part.

Mount Vernon 7.4.14

Books. What can I say? I live to read and write. It is my escape when things go bad, my joy when things are good and takes me to places I will never go to in “real” life. The reason I don’t truly consider them possession even though they fill my house, is that I can read new books online, from the library or borrowed from friends for no cost and without keeping them. That said, I am really fond of my signed book collection. It is fast outgrowing the bookcase. I would be sad to lose it, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t live without them. Just don’t tell my super indulgent, patient hubby who rolls his eyes when I ask for a new bookshelf – then builds it.

So my short long version is: my greatest possessions are not possessions, but are the people I love, life experiences I have and reading.


Filed under family, writing101

Someone Shook My Ant Farm

Did you ever get the feeling something is wrong? Nothing that you can put your finger on, but the world isn’t spinning in the right direction. My aunt used to say we go along fine, thinking we are in total control, then someone shakes up your ant farm.

For those of you way younger than me, once upon a time you could buy an ant farm. It was two pieces of clear plastic held in a bright green plastic frame that had a sliding opening on the top to feed the ants. It came with white sand inside, between the clear panes.

There was a postcard in the box that you completed and mailed in to the “ant people” for lack of a better word. They mailed you a glass tube of live ants to add to the farm. You watched them build roads, hide the little bits of food you dropped in and even move the dead members of the ant farm to the end of an ant road and fill it in like a tiny ant tomb.

Lots of kids carried their ant farms around and if you jostled them – or worse shook it – the little roads would collapse and the ants would be buried. The struggled to rebuild, some died, some just kept rolling along doing what ants do.

SO – someone majorly shook my ant farm this week. I must have sensed the big sweating hands of a bully grabbing my nice little farm. He tilted it a bit, then shook the living snot of it. That icky feeling I had was spot on unfortunately.

What kind of ant will I be? For the first day or so I wanted to be the curled up ant that can’t take any more of the nonsense that is happening. Then I decided to put on my big girl anty panties and start making a new tunnel. Who knows where it might go?

Life is about choices. I seriously have to decide some days to choose to focus on the great things in my life. I have a terrific hubby and 3 grown sons I adore. I am lucky enough to have a 2 daughter-in-laws that I love like my own. My extended family is great, my job is not awful (it is still a job, let’s be serious!) and I get to do fun stuff like write, read wonderful books and knit. My ant farm is quite cozy.

What can possibly make me grumpy with all this greatness? My dad’s health isn’t good. He just called tonight to say he has to have heart surgery. He is coming up by us to have it done, that is a huge relief. We’ve actually found a house that might be perfect for him up here. Keeping my fingers crossed the bully keeps his hands out of this mess.

One of my sons has been extremely sick the over the last two years. He is MUCH better now and looking for work. And looking. And looking…you get the idea. What we thought was going to be a sure thing fell through. Maybe his ant road on the way there just caved in? Again, the Susie Sunshine in me tries to beat up the crab. Two years ago the doctors told us he had a 30% chance of making it. Now he is so good he is trying his best to get a job and restart his life. His ant farm wasn’t just shaken, it was drop kicked down the side of a mountain. Yet, his new roads are looking great – one will lead to a job, he just needs to keep on digging.

Where there is hope, there is life so whenever your ant farm gets a little shake or a major, plastic cracking, ant killing incident happens to you go ahead and take a day or two hunker down and be grumpy. But after that, take a breath and start digging a new road, you never know where it will lead you.


Filed under Choose to be happy