Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dance (Naked) In The Rain

Dance (Naked)in the Rain

We feel we are somehow in control of our world.

We make plans for our lives.

We all have things we want to do, people we want to see, and places we want to be.

We set times for which we will do each of these things.

Then something happens, and we suddenly feel as if our plans were ruined.

Every human on this Earth has experienced this. But what do we do when our plans suddenly get interrupted, altered, or changed?

We get indignant, are offended, hurt, often angry, saddened, or even depressed.

Those plans we made were so very important! Those places we planned to go could not wait! The people we wished to see had to be seen right then!

We tend to forget how tiny we really are in this world. We tend to forget that there are much greater powers that control the universe, time, and every single action we might wish to do during our time on this Earth.

Those powers greater than us could be anything, ranging from any force of physics, any molecular substance, any spiritual being, or any atmospheric condition. Whether we choose to believe these things actually exist, or not, they will continue to always have control over us mere humans. It is how we react, or respond to these forces that then determines how we go further in our lives.

I will not even for a moment pretend I do not fall victim to this same thing. I make plans, and am slapped in the face when I cannot go forward with them. I plan places and times I will go, and often am disappointed when something prevents me from getting to that place. I make plans to see other people, and more often than not, those people will cancel before we can see one another.  

Sure, these things affect me, and send me through various emotions, but usually only for a brief period. I have learned that these things happen for a reason, and I need to accept what has happened, even if I do not understand why it has happened.

I am a firm believer in two things:

~“Everything happens for a reason.”

 ~“There are no coincidences.”

Both of these were taught to me early in life, and only once I realized these, was I able to find the positive, and that something even better will happen all because the plans I had made got “Ruined”.

The two signs at the top of this blog sum this understanding up pretty well.

I Did have some wonderful people in my life as a child that were willing to teach me about life, and how to make the best out of it. I cherished the lessons I was taught. I thrived on the times I could look at the pain, the storm, or the trouble, and instead laugh, dance, and find joy.

A great example is the story about how my sister and I would go and play in the rain as small children. I write extensively about that time of our lives in this blog:

We learned that when the rain came, we had two choices: Stay inside and mope, or make the best out of it and go play! We continued to live our lives that way… until we moved to Portland, Oregon in 1980. I was twelve. We had grown up in California, and fully knew how to have fun at the beach. Shortly after moving to Oregon, our family headed to the beaches of Oregon. We loaded the bikes, Frisbees, kites, shovels, swimwear, towels, picnic food, and everything you might imagine for a sunny day at the beach. To our dismay, when we arrived at the Oregon beach, it was raining. We planned for a day at the beach like we would have in California. We did not plan for rain. Our entire family, plus a couple friends, we had dragged along, and our dog all sat miserably in our van. We passed the time sadly playing cards, reading books, and just wishing we could go enjoy the beach. Mom even attempted to make a makeshift barbeque under a dripping picnic table so we could cook our hotdogs. The rain blew in sideways, and kept putting the fire out. We went out for little bits to stretch our legs, and to hopefully keep from wanting to kill one another by being all cooped-up all day. Needless to say, we had gotten wet, and miserable, and piled back into the van again. Finally, we went home. We all thought the day was ruined, and could not imagine how anybody in Oregon could enjoy the beach!
That evening, our neighbors asked us how we enjoyed the Oregon Coast. We told them what happened, and they explained the difference between California and Oregon: In California, you plan to get wet from playing in the ocean. In Oregon, you plan to get wet from the rain. They explained how to just plan to get wet, and have an extra set of clothes in the car. They explained how beautiful the Oregon Coast was… but that you enjoyed it while it was raining, not for the sunshine! You go, and get soaked, then change into your warm, dry clothes for the drive home.  Oh, How simple! Somehow, by moving to Oregon, we had forgotten all about remembering to Dance in The Rain.

From that day on, we always had a blast at The Oregon Coast! We learned to share that joy with others, and never again stayed inside when it rained.

Sometimes, it seems we forget some of the best lessons as we age. Then we find ourselves hiding from the rain again, thinking our plans have been ruined. We are stubborn creatures. We seem to easily forget the joys, love, and fun that can be found when the storm comes and changes our plans. Then, after we get depressed, angry, and feel our lives are not going well, we are reminded once again how to Dance In The Rain!

I seem to be running into many storms in my life lately. I am not as slow at remembering to find the joy, but I still find myself getting upset, and depressed easily when the storm comes. Also, for some reason, there is one particular story weighing heavily on my heart lately. That story is one that happened when I lived in Medford, in the spring of 2003.

I lived in an apartment complex where I also worked as a maintenance man, and an assistant manager. I had to be cautious about what activities I allowed others to see me doing, since I represented the complex in which I lived. At the time, I was still mostly a closeted nudist. I loved to be naked, but did not dare to do so where others might see me. I would still go naked as often as possible, and often did so when I thought nobody was looking, or nobody would notice. I learned that during the night, I could be naked in my own little backyard, watching the stars, and simply relax. I would often spend hours out there, sitting on my porch swing, eat a midnight snack, or just relax. I also found a couple of places where I could dance in the rain naked when everyone else was inside, hiding from the storm.

 I had some wonderful friends as neighbors, and while occasionally some of them would come in while I was showering, or dressing, I had thought none of them ever saw me outside naked. I also had never brought the topic up, since I was still terrified of the reactions that might come from such a “forbidden” topic. I was slowly coming to accept my own nakedness, but not yet willing to be open about it.

One of those wonderful friends was Janelle. She lived a few doors away, and on the second floor. (I lived on the ground floor). She had a three year old daughter. Shortly after I started working there, Janelle’s entire bathroom had to be torn up and replaced. The plumbing from her shower, and her toilet were both leaking into the apartment below. She would be without her bathroom for three days. The office offered to give her a key to the not-so-private club-house bathroom in the rec-room. She was not thrilled about this, nor the idea of having to cross the complex every time she or her daughter needed to use the bathroom. I offered her my bathroom, since I was just a couple doors down, and it was far more comfortable and private than the clubhouse. She gladly accepted, and had access to the bathroom anytime she wished. Janelle and I became close friends, and often spent time together on the evenings, and weekends. One Sunday afternoon, she came over and asked If they could hang out, because they were going stir-crazy cooped up inside for the past several days. It had been raining for several days. It was late in May, so was no longer cold outside, but it was still a gloomy day. I had some other commitments for a couple of hours, and was about to head-out. Janelle and her daughter looked sad, and asked if I had any ideas for breaking the cabin fever.

Since it had been raining for days, there were plenty of large puddles. (The parking lot drains were always slow, and they formed giant lakes.) I suggested that they play in the puddles. Janelle’ s daughter loved the idea, but Janelle insisted she did not have any old clothes that could get dirty. (Parking lot puddles create stains in clothes.) I laughed, and told them they did not need clothes for playing in the rain. Janelle laughed nervously, and said “No way my daughter’s going naked in public!”

I told her the story of how my sister and I would play in the rain naked as kids. Mom always let us strip to our underwear, then have us put on our rain boots, and raincoats. Then off we would go stomping through the gutters, and puddles. It did not take long for us to be soaked inside the coats, and our boots were full of water, too! By the time we would be at the playground, out of Mom’s sight, we would strip naked, and play in the rain, all over the park and playground totally naked, and not one person ever cared.  We knew that as long as it was good clean fun, nobody ever cared if they saw somebody naked. This seemed to apply to anytime we were outside. So we always played naked, got soaked, and had a blast! Then once we were thoroughly wet, cold, and had all the fun we could possibly have in a day, we would put our wet underwear inside the coat pockets, then put the coat back on and splash back home. We would strip out in the garage, and Mom would have a hot bath waiting for us, so we would run through the house totally naked and jump into the hot bath. It was always so perfect, and such a joy!

 As I told this to Janelle and her daughter, you could see the child-like sense of joy and freedom enter her mind. Her daughter was eager to play in the puddles. Janelle looked at me, and looked back at her daughter. She could see the look of joy, and desire to go play in the puddles. Her daughter was not at all worried about being naked, but Janelle was a bit unsure. I said I needed to go, but I could offer a T-shirt for her daughter to wear, and it would not matter if it got stained. Janelle grinned, and asked if I had one for her also! We went into my room, and picked out T-shirts for each of them to wear. In no time, Both Janelle and her daughter eagerly stripped to their underwear, and donned a T-shirt of mine. They left their other clothes on my floor, and went out the door with me toward the back parking lot. As I left, they were timidly splashing a bit in the puddles.

I left, smiling, knowing they would soon be feeling the freedom of dancing in the rain. I never gave it another thought, until almost two-hours later when I returned home.  As I came down the street, I noticed through the rain that there appeared to be two people playing in the puddles in front of The Apartment Complex. As I pulled closer, those two people noticed me, and started jumping up and down to get my attention. Through the rainy windshield, I could not see much about who they were, or what they were doing. I of course slowed way down, and rolled down my window to see why they were trying to get my attention. Then I noticed that it was Janelle and her daughter! Janelle was no longer wearing the T-shirt, she was just in her bra and panties, and her daughter was completely naked! The look on their faces told the whole story… They had found the ultimate joy in Dancing Naked in The Rain! I pulled into the driveway next to where they were, and got out. They both ran up and gave me soggy hugs. They were happier than I had ever seen them. They were soaked, shivering, filthy, and full of joy! They were both excitedly talking at once, and there was nothing in the world that could compare to that level of joy! A few other cars came in and out of the driveway, but nobody ever gave them a second glance. Nobody was staring out their windows at them, and nobody cared that they were playing naked in the rain! I was so happy for them, but also knew how cold they were, so I suggested they get inside and jump in a warm bath.
This was my bathroom. It totally looked, and felt like it was outdoors!
They immediately both asked if they could use my bathroom, so they could pretend they were still playing outside. (My bathroom was decorated to feel like it was outdoors, and this was not the first time others had asked to use my bathroom for that reason.) Of course I said they could! They ran to my apartment, and were in the tub before I even got parked!

While they were in the tub, I heated up some soup for them. When they got out of the tub, neither one wanted to put any clothes on.  I gave them each a blanket to wrap up in and we all went out to my porch swing to enjoy the hot soup. Once we were relaxing on the porch swing, Janelle thanked me for helping her to find freedom again. She told me how many people had come and gone while they were in the back parking lot, and how nobody cared what they were, or were not wearing. Several people told her how wonderful it was to see people playing. She told me how wonderful, and free it was, so they forgot all about staying in the back parking lot, and went tromping all over the entire complex. They even ended-up at the playground, and played in the mud back there! She said that is where they stripped completely. They played on the playground completely naked, then decided to go up to the street and play in the flowing gutters. Janelle decided it was best if she put back on her bra and panties…and realized how difficult it is to put on wet, muddy underwear! (Now she knew why my sister and I always just put our soggy underwear in the coat pocket.)

Janelle confessed that she has sat up on her balcony many nights watching me when I thought nobody could see me when I was naked in my yard. My first thought was to be embarrassed, but then it passed in a second, as soon as I realized how safe and comfortable she was. She had seen me naked (other than showering, or dressing) for many months, and never said a word, and she also was not freaked out by it. She told me that there were others in the complex that also watched me while I was naked. That made me kinda nervous, but she assured me that everybody accepted me, and many had mentioned how they wished they could feel so free in life.  

After a while, Janelle decided it was time to go home. Without giving it any thought, both her and her daughter gathered their clothes, got dressed, gave me hugs, and headed to their own door.  I thought it was odd that they so freely ran all over the complex naked, but to go a few doors down, they got dressed. I did not say anything about it, but it made me realize how much we live in habit, and routine, and often forget to just let go, and Dance in the Rain.

The next morning when I started work, and made my rounds of The Complex, I laughed when I got to the playground. The rain had stopped, but the playground told quite a story. There in the mud were both of the T-shirts, and her daughter’s underwear. There also were footprints in the mud, and every inch of the playground equipment was completely coated in muddy handprints, footprints, and smudges from their naked muddy bodies! I hosed it all down before the manager arrived for work. The manager always arrived at 9 am, and I would meet with her to see what reports she had received, or hear about calls, or other issues that needed to be addressed. I was kinda afraid of what report I would hear on this morning, after having been part of encouraging two tenants to go naked in the rain, and them coming and going from my apartment as part of it. To my surprise, not one single tenant said a word to the manager about it! (But the funny thing is there was a tenant who got home from work at two every morning, and always went skinny dipping in the pool. Almost every morning there was a complaint call about her, yet not one single person complained, or said a peep about the two playing in the rain!)

I lost track of Janelle that Fall of 2003, and have not seen or heard from her since. I am not sure why Janelle’s story has been on my heart a lot lately. This story happened almost 8 years ago. I had almost completely forgotten all about it, until a few weeks ago. Yesterday, when a bus passed me by, and changed the plans I had made, I started to get upset, then realized I had not Danced in the Rain enough lately. Today, the two signs I posted at the top of this blog happened to cross my path again. (I had not seen either of these for at least year.) These two signs really reminded me of Janelle’s story. Then a snag in my plans for doing my laundry today totally got changed, and the events that followed made it so I was at my computer writing about Dancing in the Rain.

I am happy that my plans do not always go the way I thought they should. I am happy to allow the powers that are greater than me to gently remind me that I am not in charge of the universe.

Today, I got to “Dance In The Rain”!

Have you Danced (naked) in the Rain Lately?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My First True Love...

A True Love:

 As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, we all tend to get that longing feeling for some romance.
But what kind of romance do we seek?

Some would say that a fast, short-lived wild-fling would do the trick.

Some would say that something that is comfortable, and has been around a while is better.

Many would rather go for something new, and exciting, rather than old, and comfortable.

There are even some who wish to have more than one love at the same time.

There are those who do not have a current love, or even a crush, and would settle for (almost) anything that happened to be available.

Whichever is the one that happens to be your love of the moment, there is no doubt that we all have the same thing in common: And that is there is no comparison to our Very First True Love!

Whether you call your first a fling, a crush, a romance, or a love, there is no denying that the first always makes the biggest impression on your heart. The first is the one that all others that follow are compared to. The first is the one we learn new thrills, seek new adventures, and see how far, how fast we can go. The first will surprise us, push us to new adventures, and even often help us discover freedoms we never even dreamed of experiencing. The first will also cause great discomfort, and often disappoint us as we learn how to treat our love so as to make the best of every moment, and to keep from causing harm. There are things we expect, but having not had a previous to compare to, we tend to expect the same we have seen from others who already have their own love all around us. We quickly learn that the love we have acquired is completely different, and cannot at all be expected to behave, or even respond in the same manner we have seen work for others.

Sometimes, and actually often, the one we have for our first has already been loved by another, but since this is our very first, we tend to forget that our love has already been around the block. (Or more appropriately, we do not wish to know how many blocks that one has been around.) We like to believe this is as new for us, as it is for our new love.

Often those in our surrounding families, friends, and other acquaintances do not seem thrilled, or even seem to approve at all, of the one we decide to make our first. Or, often we really do not choose our first, but we just happen to end up together. We often do pretty stupid things with our first that those same people will remind us of for life. And no matter how bad the first is, we always defend our decision to keep that one around.

Eventually, we tend to end up moving-on. When we finally do move-on, it is hard to do. We know  how important that first one is, and how many memories we have created. When we do decide it is time to part ways, it is often done with mixed feelings. Those who have watched you and your first go through life’s journey know it is time, and carefully choose their words on how they support us in this difficult time. They often are glad to see this come to an end, but know better than to say anything that could hurt us in the process. It is often only many years (or even many loves) later that we truly find out how they felt about our very first. Sadly, those same people are often the ones responsible for us finding, or meeting our very first.

Seldom can we ever have our very first love again once we have moved-on and parted ways. Occasionally, we see what was once our first around town, but is now the love of another. As we see the way the new person treats what was once ours, we notice they see it the same way we used to. We will often look longingly at what we used to have, and often wonder why we ever parted ways. Many times, though we are more than happy to have gotten rid of that one, and almost feel sorry for the one who has that one now. Sometimes, once we have parted ways, you will never see that one again. Then as the years go on, you wonder what ever happened to your first love. You see one around town that is similar, but you notice all the things that tell you this one is definitely not the one you loved. You know all too well about all the tiny little details, and know for sure this was not your first love. Then you go and enjoy the one that is currently your love.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am reminded that I do not have a current love. Most of the time, this is not even an issue, and I just go about life without any concern about being without. For some reason, at this time of year, I tend to wonder if I should once again seek out one to love. I have had many loves in my life, and there have been many times I have been without. As I am going through old photos, and boxes, files and other things, I am finding many photos, and other reminders of My Very First Love. I am also finding photos and reminders of all the other loves I have had in my life. I chuckle, though when I realize that there were some who I loved that I do not have any photographs of. I often find many wonderful reminders of those loves, but for some reason I have gotten rid of any photos that may have existed.

But I Do have many many photos of My Very First Love. …

My First Love had some wonderful curves, and definitely knew how to get my attention. I was 18 at the time. There were others around town that were similar, but none of them quite got my attention the same way. I knew this was the one for me! I was proud that many others actually enjoyed looking at the one I had chosen. Many people agreed this was perfect match, and of course some thought this was quite a mis-match. But I was devoted, happy, and eager! My first love was actually quite wild, and more than I knew how to handle, but with a little practice, things became quite smooth, and comfortable.

Here are some of those photos:
My 1958 Ford, Table Rock, Or. March, 1987

Fixing My 1958 Ford. Medford, Or. 1988

My 1958 Ford, covered in snow. Tigard, Or. Jan, 1993

My 1958 Ford, Table Rock, Or. March, 1987

Oh! You thought I was talking about LOVE Between Humans?? Hehe!

Sorry, I could not resist! (Now, go back and re-read this, and you will see I never once referred to anything about love with a human… it is ALL about The Love We Have with our Very First Vehicle.)


May you find the love you desire on this day of love and romance! JOn~=:-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I'll Take The Soup!

"I'll Take The Soup!"

In Honor of Superbowl, I feel it is only appropriate to share one of my all-time favorite jokes:

An old man and old woman are sitting in the living room watching T.V.

The old woman wishes to spice-up their evening, and whispers in her husband's ear, but he gets upset because she was interrupting the show.

She thought about it a few minutes, then left the room and went upstairs.

The old man was not terribly concerned, and just kept watching his show.

After a while, the old woman comes down the stairs wearing nothing but a red cape, wrapped around her body. She stops in front of her husband, effectively blocking his view of the T.V.

He notices she is wearing only a red cape, and realizes this is not normal, so he says,"Good Lord Ethyl, What are You Doing?"

She Whipped the cape back with a flourish, exposing her naked body to him, and exclaims,
"Are You Ready For Some Super Sex?!"

To which the old man replies, "I'll Take The Soup!"

So, ever since I first heard that joke many years ago, every time I hear anything preceded by "super", My mind automatically says "I'll Take The Soup!" Often, the soup sounds much more appealing than whatever someone is trying to hype with the word "Super".

Superbowl is no exception. I would much rather have a bowl of soup, than a Superbowl. (and anybody who knows me, knows I do not do soup!)

For those of you who happen to get excited about The Superbowl... Have fun, but do not expect me to share your excitement, let alone show any enthusiasm towards it, the people going nuts because of it, or all the companies who spent billions of dollars needlessly because of it.

I'll be having the soup... hopefully somewhere I cannot hear anything about it. JOn~=:-)