I came to terms long ago with the fact that I’m not going to stride through life.  I have watched the striders with no small amount of envy.  They seem to simply step over life’s hurdles without losing a beat.  These karmic titans have a confidence and determination beyond my grasp.  They are resourceful and quick-thinking.  They see problems as opportunities and opportunities as the fuel to continue ever forward.  I don’t know if they were born this way or they are privy to some secret I have yet to discover.  As I said I envy them . . . their strength, their success, their competence and their power.

I’ve known people that wander through life and once thought myself to be one of them.  When wanderers come up against a barrier, they turn right or left or go back.  When necessary, they leave the path undaunted and meander until a way presents itself.  It may take them longer, but they always find their way sooner or later.  They often learn more on their circuitous course than those taking a more direct route.  Life has a way of making them wiser for their travels and provides them a calm serenity that makes their passage look somehow easier.

I have even known a few folks that float along their feet never touching the ground.  I’ve seen that which they need miraculously provided time and time again through no effort of their own.  I don’t really begrudge the floaters this ease as I’m aware they don’t learn to overcome adversity and someday there will be an obstruction they can’t glide over.  Some very small number of them never experience tribulation and they appear to exist inside the glamour of a fairy tale or sweet dream.  The rest are inevitability crushed when faced with hardship . . . their psyche too fragile to suffer the rigors of harsh realities.

I’ve had association with those unfortunate enough to fight every moment cradle-to-the-grave.  My heart goes out to them.  They throw themselves against each obstacle repeatedly until they batter it down.  They charge headlong through their misfortunes emerging bloodied and bruised, but emerging nonetheless.  They are the warriors that frequently blaze the trail for others to follow.  They are courageous and fearless and selfless.  Even when they end their journey tired or broken, their valor must be respected and we should all give thanks they are in the world to lead the way for those of us lesser beings.

Then there are those that stumble through life.  They take a stride or two, only to falter.  They wander, only to become lost.  They leap attempting to float, only to crash.  They beat their heads against the proverbial wall, only to knock themselves silly.  Mostly, stumblers fall.  It’s what they do.  They often bounce up after a tumble quickly dusting themselves off and assuring others everything is okay.  At other times, they are more like a brain-bruised boxer that doesn’t know the knock-out punch has been delivered and stagger back to their feet only to fall down again.  Stumblers are easily distinguished by the bloody scrapes on their hands and knees.

I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.  It sure feels like I can’t get up, but I know I’m a stumbler.  I’m not bright enough to throw in the towel, so I’ll lay here for the start of the count resting a bit.  I’ll be on my knees by the count of eight and manage to get my feet under me before the count reaches ten, because — as every stumbler knows — part of falling down is getting back up.

I’m trying very hard to normalize my life after all that has transpired this past couple of years, but this Alice, alas, has fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. I tumbled . . . rolled . . . lurched . . . lunged . . . plummeted and finally crashed. It was truly one helluva drop. I did not land on my feet or gracefully arrive. Rather, I came to an abrupt, teeth-jarring halt flat on my ass. Blessed be an ample and cushy posterior. You never know when you’re gonna need one.

There was a bottle at the bottom tagged “Drink Me” and, as it was not also marked “Poison,” I drank. This served to shrink me enough to get a job. Now, from 8-to-5, I am a wee, tiny version of myself. There was much concern that my significant experience, out-going personality and self-confidence might topple the precarious arrangement of cups, saucers and other china at the Tea Party; therefore, I must regularly spike my tea in an effort to remain adequately small as to be non-threatening . . . mostly.

We all know the importance of appeasing the volatile Queen of Hearts when in Wonderland. I strive accordingly during my daily rounds of Croquet to keep myself and my flamingo out of the way of my personal trio of Red Queens. Despite numerous cries of “Off with her head,” I have to-date managed not to get the axe. I – like Alice – realize common sense and sanity have little to do with surviving in this world on the other side of the looking glass.

My training is by osmosis with the dormouse designated my primary source of information; at least, they keep telling me – figuratively – to “remember what the dormouse said.” When I ask what it is the dormouse said, they go all Mad Hatter on me and can only respond, “I can’t remember.” I keep telling myself there will be an “aha” moment and suddenly Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum will start making sense or the Cheshire Cat will solidify. Instead – for now – things just keep getting . . . curiouser and curiouser!

When Gail was a baby, she took longer than usual to start talking.  She didn’t need to talk.  She had a big sister to speak for her and make sure she got what she wanted and needed.  Perhaps there is a symmetry to life as I find myself speaking here today.  Gail was my baby sister.

There was less than three years difference in our ages, so we grew up together.  We were constant playmates when we were young.  I remember the hours we spent in Barbie fantasy land.  We made clothes for the dolls.  We were years ahead of Mattel in developing Barbie couture.  We fought over the Ken doll that had two arms.  The other Ken lost one of his in a tragic backyard accident.  We even dyed my blonde Barbie’s hair with a black marker so it would have the same color hair as her doll.  After all, sisters are supposed to have the same color hair.  We also got in big trouble over it as the process resulted in black marker getting on much more than just the doll’s hair.

I remember the great fun we had teasing and, yes, torturing our little brother.  Being the youngest and outnumbered, he never had a chance.  Standing outside the screen door with him trapped inside, chanting “Bruce, the Goose” never failed to send us into fits of laughter and him howling to Mom in anguish.  We found infinite ways to entertain ourselves and, most definitely, endless reasons to bicker and brawl.  Just because she was the quiet one, no one should even be deceived that she did not instigate as often as I.  She had great curiosity, creativity and mischief in her soul.  I don’t believe I have any early childhood memories that don’t include Gail.

We shared a room with matching bedspreads.  We shared toys and books.  We even shared the same bad haircut for far too many years.  Sorry, Mom.  We shared clothes and shoes.  We shared our secrets and our dreams.  We shared our disappointments and our tragedies.  We shared our lives.  We shared everything . . . as only sisters can and we fought   . . . as only sisters can, but through it all we loved each other . . . as only sisters can.  A lifetime is a long time to spend sharing with someone.  Right now, I can’t imagine life without her, but I know she will always remain in all things I was lucky enough to share with her and never further away than my heart.

My sister lost her battle with ovarian cancer last Saturday, February 4, 2012.  She will be sorely missed.

For any wishing to make a contribution, we believe Gail would have wanted to help others fighting the battle she did and would suggest donations to The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).  Your gifts would support OCRF’s mission to fund the best and most promising ovarian cancer research to find better ways to prevent, treat, and cure this disease.

https://www.kintera.org/AutoGen/Simple/Donor.asp?ievent=475938&en=lgIJJONAJbLJK4PzG5LPIYPCJkLQJ1PGKiLQI7OMLuH

Under the “Donate/Tribute Information” Section please indicate Gail Smith as the Honoree.  Please use James Tuba at email j.tuba40@gmail.com for the contact and select e-mail notification.

I want to start by acknowledging all the unbelievably kind and caring people I have met here on WordPress.  You are the best people I could have ever hoped to know.  You represent every race, religion and lifestyle imaginable.  You live in countries around the world.  You come from every conceivable background and walk of life.   Through you, I have come to know that we are so much more the same than different.  We are bloggers! 

I’m not talking about the big-timey, commercial blogs or the experts plugging their products and services.  We are the heart and soul of the Blogosphere.  We put our words out there for many different reasons, but mostly I think we do it to make contact.  We are the global village so talked about in years past.  There is no profit, but there is gratification.  There is no expectation, but there is hope.  We take the risk and we make ourselves vulnerable, but it is worth it when someone visits our site, “likes” a post, makes a comment, or does us the enormous honor of following our blog.  

You have brought me great joy these past few months.  I could never fully express my gratitude for the support you have shown me and this blog.  You have been a gift I could not have anticipated or even imagined.  “Thank you” is so inadequate, but they are the only words I have to offer you in exchange for the comfort and joy each of you has given me by being part of my blog community.

My life is such right now that maintaining this blog properly is simply impossible.   I had thought to say good bye in this post, but when I went to my e-mail and saw all the comments, likes and new followers, I just couldn’t do it.  Instead, I’m going to do what I can to keep it going.  I’m not sure how often I will be able to post.  I know I will not have time to answer all the comments and visit everyone’s blog with any regularity.  I’m going to break all my own rules until things settle in my real world.  I’m also going to turn off my comment moderation, so comments will post when they are made.

I hope . . . no, I know you will understand because that’s just how you guys are.  I’ll post when I can and I’ll be reading as many of your blogs as time permits.  So, here’s wishing all of you a happy new year and I’ll being seeing you when I can.

What would happen if I woke lost in the woods?  Well, there’s a bit to take into consideration when pondering such a dilemma.  There are some rugged individuals that love the wilderness and “roughing it.”  That’s not me.  I deem “roughing it” to be staying in a hotel that doesn’t have room service.  I don’t want to wake up to the sounds of wildlife just beyond a thin piece of polycotton fabric.  I don’t want to wake up to animal noises at all!  I want Eggs Benedict delivered to my room, not bacon half-cooked on an open fire.  Besides, when is the last time anyone managed a decent 24-ounce soy, vanilla latte without the assistance of a well-trained barista?  It just don’t happen people!

I have needs, especially when I rise in the morning.  There are things I have to do before I’m ready to face the world.  Believe me, the world wants it that way.  The first requirement to start any day is a shower.  Standing naked in a cold stream, river or lake is torment, not cleansing.  Any proper shower includes hot water, lots and lots of hot water.  The purpose of this ritual is to slowly re-introduce my psyche to consciousness.  I must have a minimum of 30 minutes of basting in perfectly-regulated, temperate H2O to wash away the wicked witch that occupies my body upon waking.  She is not something any human or animal wants to make contact with . . . trust me on this.

I further find it essential to have another 30 minutes for my hair care regime.  In addition to applying the necessary “products,” any hair dryer must have the requisite diffuser to effect proper styling of my hair.  I am in complete agreement with The Sheeple Liberator when it comes to the inadequate nature of hotel dryers and find it necessary to transport my own hair care appliances with me wherever I go.  These devices only operate with electricity.  Last time I checked, there are no electrical outlets available in the woods.  This is really ironic when you consider, the only hair style obtainable without electricity looks rather like I’ve stuck my finger in a socket.

Lastly, I put my face on in the morning.  It is for the protection of small children and those easily frightened.  I’m considerate that way.  I wouldn’t want to scar anyone for life.  I know what I look like without the benefit of Loreal, Cover Girl and M A C . . . it’s not pretty.  It would be a crime against humanity to run around without making every attempt possible to protect the general public.  It would only be good manners to extend this courtesy to woodland creatures.  I have also learned I need a mirror with very good lighting or I’m liable to look like Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?  Still, there is an argument to be made for that being better than nothing at all.

The outcome to my waking lost in the woods is fairly easy to predict.  There would, of course, be the screaming . . . ear-piercing screaming with intermittent pitiful wailing.  Anyone tracking down the source of the shrieks and cries would come upon a very ill-tempered, smelly ogress obscured by a mass of unruly hair with a terrifying visage dominated by wild eyes.  All trace of humanity gone with the loss of my modern conveniences.  I would surely be mistaken for some long-lost missing link.

Now, this train of thought brings me to a simple conclusion.  There is a mythical monster that roams the woods issuing strange bellows; angrily bashing the woodsy foliage; covered in a coat of matted, stinking fur with glowering orbs.  What else can be made of this?  Big Foot is nothing more than some poor woman forced into a wilderness vacation – most likely by some Bear Gryllis-wannabe spouse – unexpectedly awakened in the forest . . . lost, scared and deprived of the most basic necessities.

Written for The MindSlam Write Wednesday prompt.
Week 9 Idea: Create a short little story about you waking up in the middle of the woods being lost…make it scary or fantasy.

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