A CONVEYOR OF OUR BEST WISHES FOR MRS. ANGLO SWISS

A CONVEYOR OF LOVE AND AFFECTION FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD


Pat Gerber — Mrs. Anglo Swiss, mother of Tabby the blogging cat and wife of Marcel Gerber — took a bad fall this past weekend and has been in the hospital with a broken thigh. Marcel says she is doing okay. At our age, I’m not exactly sure what that means, but hopefully, she will be home soon — at least, by the end of the week.

She and I are always in touch. Every day unless she was out of the country or I was too sick to talk, we always chat a little about something. Cats, dogs, flowers, life, and our world’s worst president.

Please, everyone, send her your best! I am sending virtual flowers in lieu of the real ones I would like to send!

Her site is “CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS” at this address: https://angloswiss-chronicles.com/

She isn’t getting messages right now, except through her husband, but I bet she’ll be glad to see something from her many friends around the world when she comes home. Being a big far away to send bouquets, I thought I’d go wild and send a lot of flowers!

FORGIVENESS AND OUTLIVING THE BITCHES

One Sunday in church, Pastor’s sermon was about forgiveness. He asked everyone in the church to stand up. Then he asked those who had any enemies to sit down. Everyone sat down but one very old woman.

“You have no enemies at all?” asked Pastor.

“Not a single one,” she answered, nodding her agreement.

“Please, come up here and tell everyone how you reached such a great age without having any enemies,” said Pastor. A deacon accompanied the elderly woman to the pulpit and everyone in church applauded as she slowly made her way up the steps. Pastor adjusted the microphone.

“You must have done a lot of forgiving,” said Pastor. “Please, tell us your secret.”

The old lady smiled beatifically.

“I outlived the bitches,” she said.


Life marches on. You get older and after a while, you realize all the people you used to obsess over, the people who hurt you, are mostly gone. By the time you pass 70, a lot of people have disappeared from your life. Good ones you loved and the evil ones you hated. The sickly ones with bad hearts.

Chickens come home to roost. Crazy drivers meet their maker on a dark highway. Heavy drinkers, smokers, drug users find a sad end. It turns out that hating them was a waste of energy. Cancer, heart attack, and other diseases weed out people, the best and the worst, remorselessly and without no regard for personal qualities. Meanwhile, the older generation passes away, one funeral at a time.

Time makes most of the fears and worries of life less important. It turns out, forgiveness is not about repairing relationships so you can be friends again. It’s all about letting go. Passing stuff to your “higher power,” whatever that means to you. Acknowledging you can’t fix everything.

Realizing it’s not your job to fix it.

Shit happens. Some of it — unfair and unforgivable — happens to you. You can make it the center of your world and spend your life brooding and obsessing over it. Or, you can decide you won’t be defined by the worst stuff that happened to you — or the worst stuff you’ve done.

I know people who had wonderful careers full of honor and respect who lost their jobs and promptly declared themselves failures, as if that one bad thing — getting fired — negated everything that had gone before.

I know men and women who were abused as children who still define themselves as victims — 50 or 60 years later.

If you like yourself, you can be pretty happy no matter what life throws at you. It’s that simple. And that difficult. When you start forgiving, forgive yourself first. For the mistakes you made. For the bad choices, the stupid decisions, the asshole(s) you married, almost married, allowed to mess with your head.

perfect path in the woods

The jobs you screwed up, shouldn’t have taken, should have taken (but didn’t). The opportunities you blew. The unfinished manuscripts, the unpublished stories. The times you were wrong and didn’t apologize. Your failures as a parent, the books you didn’t read. All the “shoulda coulda woulda” you’ve accumulated.

If you throw it all out, you won’t eliminate all your problems. The money you don’t have won’t suddenly pop into your bank account. Youth and health won’t return. But, you don’t have to haul the past with you into the future and you can enjoy what you do have without obsessing over what you missed.

The sooner you do it, the better. Life isn’t forever, even if you live entirely on salad and never miss a day of exercise. Then, with a little luck, you’ll outlive the bitches.

PARENTAL ANIMAL PHOBIAS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My father was afraid of horses, so of course I had to learn how to ride. I was terrified of snakes, so my son has had a lifelong fascination with reptiles. Not surprising.

My father witnessed someone being kicked by a horse and killed. Needless to say, he became phobic about riding horses. When I expressed an interest in riding at around age 10, he forbade it. He was rarely this emphatic about anything.

My mother and grandfather didn’t think I should have to live by my father’s fears. So they went behind Dad’s back and took me for riding lessons near our summer-house in CT. I studied English style walk, trot and canter in a ring. Then I decided to follow my close friend into jumping classes. I never got very far. I was not a great rider. I was always a bit afraid of the horses and they always knew it. The result was that I had little control over the horses I rode.

English style riding and jumping

My father never found out about my riding and I eventually stopped. But when I was in college, I had a wonderful riding experience in, of all places, New York City. A friend of my mother’s rode in Central Park and asked me to join her. There is a large reservoir in Central Park that goes from the East side to the West side of town. There is also a long bridal path that goes around the entire perimeter of the reservoir.

Most horseback riding in the Eastern U.S. is ring riding or trail riding, which is basically a walk in the woods but on a horse. The NYC bridal path gave you the opportunity to just ride on a straightaway for miles. As an added treat, once the horses reached the halfway point and realized they were heading home, they would break into a gallop. What a treat! It was awesome.

I pretty much stopped riding after college. I did enjoy it but it wasn’t a real passion for me. I think my father’s fear rubbed off enough on me to dampen my enthusiasm for the sport.

Me riding western style with my son on one of our trips to the Western U.S.

When it came to my turn as a parent, I got to expose my kids to a different animal phobia – snakes. When I was about ten years old, I stepped on a snake and gave myself a scare. I started having nightmares about snakes and a full-blown phobia was born. I would scream and run if I saw even a photo of a snake.

From a very early age, my son, David, was fascinated by snakes and other reptiles. I obviously couldn’t share that interest with him. Then in 1989, when David was nine, I started taking the anti-depressant Prozac. I first realized that the medication was working when I suddenly came across a live snake and realized that I wasn’t afraid anymore. I even petted a boa constrictor my kids and I saw at a local mall. My son was stunned but ecstatic. My phobia was gone. It had been part of my anxiety based depression.

David and I started reading about snakes together and soon David asked to have one as a pet. Once we made sure David understood how to take care of it (because I certainly wasn’t going to), we got our first of several pythons, Turbo. At 37, David now has two snakes, one a python, three Geckos and a Bearded Dragon lizard. He has become quite a reptile expert and sometimes even goes to herpetology meetings with breeders and other aficionados.

David today with his current albino python, Shayna

My mother and grandmother were terrified of cats but, while I loved cats, I prefer dogs and never became a true cat person. However, my fear of snakes inspired a real passion in my son. So I guess it served a purpose – the creation of a positive and gratifying hobby for David.

CHRISTMAS CACTUS BUDDING AND BLOOMING

FLOWERS OF MY DAY


Usually, my Christmas cactus blooms like mad around Thanksgiving, but this year, they looked limp and miserable.

I realized I had done the one single thing that you can’t do to a cactus: I over-watered it. Not by a lot, mind you. A little bit. I let the earth stay moist instead of letting it get dusty dry, which is what you need to do to bring them into flower.

When they failed to flower at Christmas, I stood in front of my mirror and yelled at me. I told me to “PUT DOWN THE WATERING CAN.” I did.

For the past week, I’ve been watching the buds come out on the cactus. Red and dark pink — on the same plant. That’s new. Usually I get just one color per blooming. Most of them are still unopened, but we’re going away for the next few days. I’m afraid i may miss the main blooming, so I shot pictures today, just in case.

I should have used my macro lens, but I didn’t … just a more or less standard f1.7 “normal.” They are still pretty. I’ll try to grab a few more shots tomorrow.