Category Archives: Philosophical Musings

The Smell of Memories


Today as I was washing the dishes, I got three distinct odors wafting under my nose; dish soap, Mexican seasonings and chlorine bleach.  It was quite a combination I can assure you, but it brought to mind my Gramma Lou. That got me thinking about how smells trigger memories.

The smell of chlorine bleach brings thoughts of all the times spent at my Gramma Lou’s house because she always seemed to have her white’s hanging on a line down in the basement.  To this day, the smell of wet, bleached clothing is my favorite smell.

The smell of grilled hot dogs brings camping memories of dear friends, laughter around the campfires, and my daughter’s childhood.

Freshly cut wood makes me think of my husband since he loves to work with wood.

Cinnamon, cranberry, praline, and caramel scented candles remind me of the wonderful days I spent working at my favorite shop years ago and the woman who owned the shop and how I was privileged to help her walk down that pine needle path to her forever home.

The smell of gasoline, tires, and oil takes me back to when my dad worked a second job in a full-service gas station and how he would take my sister and I there when he wanted to wash his car using their equipment and how if we were lucky enough to get a candy bar from the candy machine in the office, how it tasted like gasoline.

The inexplicable smells that came from certain stores like Woolworth’s (it had to do with the lunch counter space, probably the grill and the oil….but I can still smell it in my mind) or Glass Block (once you got in through those revolving doors, you could smell “class”.

The old beautiful musty smell of the libraries of my childhood, the dust sparkling around in the late afternoon sunshine, the quietness…almost a reverence.  I miss that and the ease of use of the 3×5 index cards in the card catalogue cabinets.

The odd smell that would permeate the West End of Duluth (way before the waste transfer system was there), I never knew if it was from the two bread making companies or the Arco Coffee company roasting their coffee beans.

The smell of the girl’s shower room at the old Goodfellowship Club, which by the time I used it was at least 50 plus years old.  The dankness of the  past lingered in those old peeling cement walls.

The overwhelming scent of hairspray and perm solution in the beauty salons where I would wait for my mother and once had my own hair done and they put glittery sparkles in my hair (little did they know they would spark a life-long passion of having unusual stuff/colors in my hair!).

The smell of sweetness and tobacco and old building at the liquor store my grandfather used to bring us to in Oliver, WI.

The awful smell of alcohol and disinfectant at the hospital and doctor’s office.  Just walking in there would make me sick to my stomach.

The feminine scent of talcum powder brings my darling Aunt Mayme to memory.  A beautiful soul who spent most of her life looking after everyone else and had the first place of her own at the ripe age of 81.

The smell of leather recalls the old man at the shoe store who always made me feel a bit uncomfortable for reasons I don’t think I could articulate back then.

The scent that has never gone away of the girl’s bathroom in the catholic grade school I attended and has not been used as a school since 1969 but all through the years I have attended functions there and have used the bathroom, that same smell is there.

The smell of iron in water teleports me back to my aunt and uncle’s house out in the country (I always hated to have to have a drink of their water since it tasted “funny” to this city kid).

Those are just some of my memory smells, the odors that transport me back to the 1950’s and 60’s.

Today’s smells that will take me back to this time in the future are the smell of my grandchildren; the unpleasant smell of decay in my old dog, Maxx; the smell of Mod Podge and chalk paint; and smells that I encounter now that I do not place any value in, once smelled in the future may bring back a memory of just this exact day.

Care to share any Smell Memory with me?  I am sure we all have them but perhaps they come and go and most folks never pay them any mind.

My sense of smell is acute (that is why my nose is bigger!) and my mind is always active so I am more sensitive to “Smell triggers” than many people.

So are you taken down Memory Lane when you smell a certain smell?  Please share.

Until the next thought pops up here,

I remain your smelly Queen




imageTonight as I was scrolling down my FaceBook feed, this came up and I read it and my dad popped into my mind.  He died back in the fall of 1990, nine days short of his 59th birthday.

What came along with the thought of my dad was a rush of all the things I had wished we could have talked about but never did.  My dad was uncomfortable talking about feelings.  He had a hard time showing tenderness and love.  He believed that he showed his love by working hard and making sure we had everything we needed. We never went without material goods.  He was a product of the times and of his own upbringing.

Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night, I think of my dad.  I wonder what kind of childhood he had.  Did he feel loved?  Did he feel safe?  Was there tenderness and kindness in his world?  Did he ever go to bed and cry because he was hurt or lonely or felt unloved.  What did he think of his mother and father?  How did their lives shape and mold his?  Did he have dreams as a boy?  What did he want to grow up to be?  Did he do well in school?  Was he liked by the other children?  Did he have friends?

How did his parents show their love?  Was strict discipline and physical punishment the only signs of love he got?

He met my mom when they were both 16.  What did he think of her?  How did he know when he fell in love?  What did it feel like to him?  Did he have any role model of what a good marriage looked like?  What were his expectations of his bride and how did he think the “man of the house” should act and think?  Was he at all afraid to marry and have a family?

What was his idea of a perfect life?  Of a perfect family?

How did he feel when my mom told him she was pregnant just two months after they were married?  Was he happy?  Did he long for a son?   What were his thoughts on life with a baby?

What did he experience during the 38 hours my mom was in labor with me?  Was he terrified she would die or that I would?  And when they came and told him that they would have to take me by C-section and all he heard was “sections” and thought I would be coming out in pieces, did he cry?  Did he mourn the child he might not have?

And when I was born whole and he got to hold me, what was he feeling?  Pride? Fear? Disappointment that I was not a man-child?

How did he cope with sleepless nights with a colicky baby?  Was he sharp with my mother?  Did he think she should be doing a better job?  Did my constant crying make him irritable and angry?  Was he worried that I might really be sick and he was secretly scared?

And how did he feel when 2.5 years later another daughter was born.  And there would be no more chances to have a son?  Did he care?

How did he cope in the lean times?  Was he ever afraid of losing his home?  Did he stay up nights worrying how to pay the bills?  Did he ever resent us for having to work so hard to keep us fed and clothed and sheltered?

What gave him joy?  What made his heart sing?  What were his adult dreams?  Did he dream big or did he feel he was not educated enough to do better?  What were his fears?

And when we started dating, what thoughts went through his mind?  Did he worry when we were late or did he just get mad because we disobeyed?  Did he ever think we were never coming home again?

He and I had a very difficult relationship.  He wanted strict rules that were to be followed to the letter.  I wanted freedom.  He wanted control over everything.  I wanted control over something.  So we clashed.  I rebelled in every manner I could get away with even though I knew the consequences would be ugly.  I never felt rebellious, I just wanted to do what most everyone else was doing and he was trying to keep me safe in his own way.

How did he feel when I left home after an awful argument? Was he heartbroken?  Was he sad?  Or was he just so mad that I had once again not played by his rules even though I was a 21 year old adult working full time.  Was he ever sorry for some of the things he did when he was angry at me?  Did he ever wonder if I hated him and if so, did that thought break his heart?

How did it feel to have his favorite child get married?  Did he miss her company?  Was it hard for him not to show any emotion at the wedding?  Did he want to weep at the thought of his little buddy becoming the little buddy to someone else?

And when he found out he was going to be a grandpa, how did he feel about it?  Was there an inner excitement in him when he found out it was a boy?

There is one question that never needed to be asked and that was if he loved his grandchildren.  He adored them.  He showered them with love and affection and I wondered where it had been stored when we were growing up!

My dad had his first heart attack at age 36 and from that moment on, we all lived on eggshells.  I wonder what thoughts were going through his mind as he lay in the hospital for 30 days.  He was a boxer in his younger days and was always so strong. Did he feel tiny and vulnerable?  Did he think of his mom who had just died the year before of a massive heart attack?  Did he think he may never see his girls grow up, never walk them down the aisle?  Or were his thoughts more about how the bills were going to get paid while he was off of work?

Then there were the two open heart surgeries and the cancer diagnosis.  What kinds of thoughts raced through his mind?  Did the thought of death frighten him?  Was he more worried about my mom and her welfare than of his own?  Did he ever cry in the middle of the night at lost dreams, chances not  taken,  roads not explored?  Did he regret anything in his life?  Did he wish he had done things differently?  Did he feel all alone?

So many questions I wish I could have asked.  I would have liked to have known my dad as a person not just my father.  I would have liked to have known his history.  Perhaps I could have been more forgiving having known how he grew up and the things he suffered.  I cry sometimes when I think of all the hurts he may have endured that we knew nothing about.  The loneliness he may have felt.

Tonight my arms ache to hold him and to tell him I really did love him even when I thought I didn’t.  To listen to his story and to cry with him and to laugh with him and to look him in the eyes and see the love he had for me that I couldn’t see all those years ago.  And to tell him I am sorry that we never had the chance to be close and to ask his forgiveness for all the times I made him angry or sad or disrespected.  And to tell him I forgive him for not being a perfect father and that I can now see that he did the very best he could with what skills and knowledge he had and that everything he did was out of love for me and my sister and my mom.

I don’t know if I shall ever get to see him again in the next world.  But if I do, this time it will be a perfect relationship, in a perfect place and there will be no tears, no anger, no disappointments, no rebellion,  just PERFECT LOVE FOR ALL OF ETERNITY.

Keep the coffee on dad…it won’t be long and we will have forever to talk.

I loved you when you were here and I love you still, Dad.




ONCE AGAIN I missed an event I had said I would make.

ONCE AGAIN I disappointed a friend.

ONCE AGAIN I feel like such a horrid person.

ONCE AGAIN I look at my future and wonder if THIS IS ALL THERE IS?

My life has morphed into endless days of “nothingness”.

I feel  like a sailboat on a windless sea.   Aimlessly drifting in dead air.  Nothing stirring.  Just bobbing along, day after day.  Not going anywhere.  Not going in any one direction.  Useless. Empty.

And guilty.  Guilty that I can’t keep my house clean.  Guilty that I almost always have dishes in the sink.  Guilty that I have piles and piles and piles of stuff; of ironing, of papers, of bins….bins full of stuff.  Guilty that I can’t seem to make up my mind if I should keep all the stuff in case I miraculously get well and become a ball of ambition and energy and make all those Arsty things I have rolling around in my imagination.  Guilty that I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on all this stuff and it just sits.  Guilty that I don’t have goals or dreams.  Guilty that I am a rotten wife and my poor husband is stuck with me.  I have no end to the guilt I feel.  I feel guilty for feeling guilty.  GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY

Today I never got out of my nightgown.  I feel asleep around 4am and slept fitfully until 1:30pm.  I was supposed to be at a wedding at 3.   All I accomplished today was organizing my pens into one small bin.  That is it.  And I put away some clean dishes and fed my dog and made my husband two PB&J sandwiches to bring for his lunch.  In 12 hours that is all I was able to do.  GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY

I’m sorry to be such a whiner tonight.  I would never in a million years pick up the phone and call someone to whine to, but I sure seem to be able to whine online.

I guess my purpose of this post was to ONCE AGAIN apologize to you all for not showing up at a function when I said I would.  Know that I am there in spirit (dancing around in some funky get-up with my dreads whipping around) but in body I am probably in bed or laid out on the couch much too exhausted to even think about going anywhere let alone actually get ready.

(Speaking of dreads, I took mine out a couple of weeks ago to give my head a rest and a good scratchin’ and yesterday I went to have them put back in but ended up only getting half of them in as it was just too painful.  So now I have only dreads on one side of my head….as if I don’t look weird enough and if feels like someone took tent spikes and drove them into my head and I can’t touch them without excruciating pain.  How can hair hurt so much????)

I love you guys…..




A new day is breaking and instead of being blissfully asleep, I am sitting in my lazy arse chair contemplating life.  

Usually daybreak brings with it an excitement; what might this day hold?  But for some reason today a sadness is being ushered in and I can’t put my finger on the reason why.

Life is good.  Everyone I love is well and happy.  I am taking a leave from my job for a few months.  I have no pressing worries.  So I have no reason to be sad….

Perhaps in part is the knowledge that time is passing by way too quickly.  I no longer have the luxury of  my Scarlett O’Hara thinking.  “Tomorrow” is here and if I don’t do what I have put off for so long, the chances of ever doing it is rapidly fading away.

Perhaps it’s the fact that three of my friends have just lost a parent and eventho my own mom is in excellent health, she is 82.  82….seems impossible for her to be that age. I think because she has always been so vivacious and active, I forget that she isn’t immortal.  That there may be a day when she isn’t the life of the party.

Perhaps it is the state of this world; the random violence, the hatred of one religion against another, the endless tragedies, the calling of “evil good and good evil”, the lack of respect for life, the filth and perversion in the media, the fracturing of families, and I could go on and on.

Perhaps it is nothing more than brain that needs to get back to a normal sleep pattern. To sleep when it’s dark and to be awake when it’s light instead of being awake most of the night and then cat napping during the day and waking up not knowing if it is night or day or if I have overslept or if I should be somewhere.  I have seriously started to wonder about my memory….

The sun is now rising above the tall pines out my window.  The cows are happily chomping down their hay.  I hear the birds chirping and the frogs croaking.  A couple of deer, so gray in color that they blend into the leafless tress, are grazing on the tiny patches of new grass.  The chickadees are at the birdfeeder.  There is a feeling of expectation in the air….what will this new day bring?

I think I shall go now and turn on some soft praise music and sit with my face in the sun and count my blessings and give thanks to the One who has brought me thru this night and a thousand others and offer up this new day to Him.  He knows the number of my days and the trials and tribulations; the joys and the sorrows; the laughter and the tears that each day might bring.  I need only to rest in Him.

Yes, it is going to be a good day after all….



I am at a crossroad in my life.

When do you give up your “dreams” and start to face real life?

As I sit surrounded by all forms of  craftsy clutter,  I am faced with a dilemma: I need to make the decision of what to do with all of it as it has gotten so out-of-hand.

Am I going to make mohair teddy bears anymore?  If not, do I make as many as I have the material for and then what will I do with the bears I have made?  These bears are not for children as the materials are uber expensive and they are not made in a child-safe manner.  The bottom has fallen out of the teddy bear market so to sell them on Ebay would not even cover the cost of making them, let alone give me anything for the 12 hours it takes to make one.

What about the miles and miles of wool I have that I bought for my Rug Hooking store I was going to have?  A lot of it is hand-dyed and gorgeous but I could hook rugs till I die and still have wool left over.

I have vintage jewelry up the ying-yang as I was once going to make one-of-a-kind necklaces.  I have never made a single piece of jewelry.  I don’t even know how and yet I have every tool to do so.

I have enough wool yarn to knit scarves for every person I know and their brother.

I bought tons of charms for my Life Crowns that I had the brilliant idea for and even had business cards made up.

Don’t even start me on all the do-dads and bits and pieces of this and that that is strewn in boxes and bins and baskets.

I have a brilliant, creative mind but a broken -down, lazy body and a screwed up psyche.

I don’t want to be rich or famous, I just want to make stuff that brings people pleasure.  And I love to teach.

My pipe-dream has always been to have a little shop where I could sell my stuff and teach classes.  But how long do I hang on to this dream?  How long do I keep all this stuff I have accumulated?  It is overflowing my space (I have a small building that used to house a lot of this stuff but it is unusable as of now so most of my stuff is jammed into a fifth-wheel camper…and I can’t even get to it if I wanted!) and my thoughts.  I see it everywhere and feel guilty that I am not this creative producing person I dream of being.

When do I say to myself, “Let it go, Roxie” ?

And if I did, would it set me “FREE” or would I feel like a failure and slip into old age with nothing to dream about and hope for. (I’m talking about my creative life, not my personal life 🙂

I had hoped that this year of my life, I would find the answer.  That I would sail into my 60’s settled as to who I am and what I wanted to accomplish.  But I am into this year 53 days and I am no closer to figuring it out than I was ten years ago.

Does anyone out there have any words of wisdom for me?  Any advice?  I sure could use some about now.

This is such a heavy burden on me as I feel the clock “ticking” and a panic is welling up inside of me screaming louder and louder every day, “DECIDE, DECIDE, DECIDE” and I feel I am paralyzed by inaction.   Drowning in indecision and doubt.

Somebody throw me a life jacket…………………



Another new year has started and all of the pages of this new “book” are empty. As I was contemplating this fact, I experienced both excitement and trepidation.

Excitement at the thought of all the new journeys I may take and the new experiences I may have but at the same time, a cold fear stabbed at my heart. These new journeys and experiences could involve pain and loss and all sorts of sadness.

Like most people, I avoid pain and sadness and loss the best I can.  I am a wimp when it comes to heartache.  Give me physical pain any day.  I am used to that. I can deal with it.  But emotional pain…oy vey…don’t handle that well at all.

As I stand at the threshold of a new year, part of me wants to just stay back in the old familiar.  The safe and knowable.  The present past. The comfortable.  The easy.  Experience tells me that I only grow when I am stretched, albeit kicking and screaming, to my limit.  Reminds me of being pregnant.  As my body stretched and grew, it became uncomfortable and hard to manage and as the time to give birth got closer, the fear of the birthing experience also grew.  I prayed to have a C-section as I felt I could deal with the lingering pain afterward versus the acute, short-term pain of natural childbirth (see the correlation?)  I got what I prayed for and the night before my child was born as I was laying in the hospital, I wished I could just keep her inside of me where it was safe and I felt “in charge” of what happened to her.  The unknown was frightening and eventho being nine months pregnant is no picnic physically, at least it was familiar.

I wish I were a free-spirit, someone who just leaps into the unknown.  Someone who’s faith is solid in the fact that they know that no matter what happens, they will be in God’s hands.  “To go boldly where no man has gone before”.

I guess I have the power to write part of my story in the new year’s book.  I can make changes that while they may be baby steps, start the process of rebirth or reinvention of myself.

I have tried to reinvent myself before but it has always involved the “outer” me, the cosmetic me.

This year I am going to try something else.  I am letting the “outer” me be inconsequential.  I am letting my hair be gray and am letting it just grow as it will.  Seems like my hair and all of it’s personalities have taken up way too much of my life’s time and energy.

Actually, now that I think of it, my whole persona has taken up too much energy. “Should I be like this person?”  “Why am I not like that person?”  “Is this look too outlandish?”  “Is this style really more me?”  Blah, blah, blah….  Talk about self-absorbed!  No wonder I’m tired all the time…it’s exhausting “Keeping Up With The Queen”.  How does Kim Kardashian do it?

So I will allow the chapters of this new year book to write themselves.  To see where I will be led.  To hand over the reins to my Lord, to lead me where He wants me to be.  To rest in the assurance that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do by just being available and changeable and malleable.

What an extraordinary journey this could be if I just allow it to happen.  To go with the flow instead of always trying to direct it.  To be swept along instead of fighting the current.  To float down the river of life on a raft of trust. (ooo, that’s a good one…feel free to use it anytime!)

As always I will take you with me (kicking and screaming?) and together we will see what the Book of 2014 turns out to be!

As always,

Your Queen…who may or may not be mad



As I was driving home this morning from the mall area, I ran into four distinctly different weather conditions: by the mall it was blowing snow, by Menards it was clear but gray, in the Pike Lake area it was hazy and snowy but as I drove closer to home it cleared up and the sun was shining and I was struck by the thought that this is what life is like.

There are times where we feel like we are blown around by cirrcumstances beyond our control and we wonder how we will manage to get through it and we can’t see our hand in front of our face.

Other times in which  we can see ahead but are depressed at the life ahead of us.  Our outlook is all gray and unappealing.

The worst is when we are surrounded by chaos and turmoil.  Everywhere we look, we see strife and stress and we lose our way and our focus and we wonder how we will ever make it out alive.

But then there are those beautiful clear spots, where everything is bright and you can see the road and the scenery on both sides and life is good and we are hopeful.

And as the weather in our area changes from moment to moment so does life.  You can move to a different physical location but unfortunately you can’t move away from life.  It has a tendency to follow you no matter how far you run.  The trick is to remember, “This too shall pass” and clear days will return again.

I once read that you should wait three days before making a serious decision about your life, since it is possible things will be different at the end of those three days.  I must admit to not following that advice and by the grace of God, I am still here.

In the time that it has taken me to write this post, my weather outside has changed from sunny to gray, snowy and windy to sunny again.  Much like my life.

So hang in there my friends and be ready for the changing weather of life, never giving up during the storms and appreciating the clear days!

Musings from your Mad Queen