My weekend kicked off with what I would consider a Hyper-Sensitive day. No, I wasn’t leaving my tears all over Philly, but I was overly in touch to what was going on around me. Some of which could have left tears.
Keep in mind what you are about to read occurred on an 8-minute ride.
I was on my way to pick up my mom for our weekly food shopping extravaganza when I noticed a “man” walking down a very busy boulevard in my area. What made me question his humanness was the fact that he was wrapped in a white bath towel from head to toe and the resemblance to E.T. was uncanny. Call Home …. Please.
As I was sitting at what seemed like the longest light in the world, a woman crossed in front of my car. She was dressed in full Muslim garb, which isn’t something out of the ordinary these days, however the extreme hooker heels peeking out from under that garb took me by surprise. I could feel the blisters forming with each step. These shoes came right out of Lady Gaga’s closet!
Still adjusting my eyes from the hooker heels I made my left turn where I had the pleasure of sitting at yet another red light. This is where a minivan pulled up next to me trying way too hard to be cool. I thought minivans are where coolness goes to die.
This poor guy had all the windows open with the radio blasting on what may be the worst sound system on the planet. His song of choice for all of us within listening distance was Pitbull’s Culo. Here is a sample of my horror:
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Lets go (Let’s go)
Right about now, we need all the ladies to hit the danceflo’ (Dominicana)
If you got a big ol’ booty (Cubana, Mexicana)
And you like to set that motherfucker, let’s go! (Colombiana) (Boricua) Pitbull, Lil’ Jon, Heey, Heey!
The fact that I recognized this song might be the scariest part of the experience!
The car behind me couldn’t get away from the impromptu concert fast enough. It just zoomed right in front of me when the light changed. But no worries she found herself next to me at the next light. So predictable.
When this happens we are obligated to turn and acknowledge such drivers with an expressionless glare a/k/a victory.
What I was not prepared for was the zombie decal covering the entire window glaring back at me. At first I thought it was sporting a friendly peace sign, then I realized it’s clawing to be released. WTF!
Once I put my heart back in place the light turned green and the Zombie mobile cut in front of me again. As I tried to justify the big hurry I noticed a gold glittered dog bone magnet that read “Groomer” going across the trunk of her car. Ok, maybe the crazy driving is due to a grooming emergency.
Just when I thought I was safe she erratically turned into an apartment parking lot. At this point, I was really hoping to see a matted dog waiting for her assistance. Sadly for my corneas the only thing waiting was a young man in a Superman stance sporting an erection. Yerp!
This is when I decided to pause, opposed to heading straight for the nearest pole. There had to be some sort of lesson hidden within all this crazy. What was CC or that cosmic comedian better known as the universe trying to tell me?
M E M O
1. Wearing a bath towel on the boulevard was a reminder to stop letting the opinions of others fuel my journey;
2. Hidden hooker heels could have been a sign to stop holding back and just let my inner hooker heels shine;
3. Poor minivan guy was a little nudge to be more of myself in spite of my current surroundings;
4. The zombie desperately trying to escape was really me knowing that it’s indeed time to move forward; and
5. Erection guy’s message was loud and clear. Confidence is the key to making your dreams come true.
Enjoy the Ride!
I came across this amazing story 3 years ago and believe it should shared yet again. These men and their non-violent sacrifices should be recognized for their service at a time of war and their lifetime commitment to continue that service right here at home.
With Memorial Day approaching I would like give a well deserved nod to a group of very brave men. We rarely hear about this peaceful group, especially on holidays that memorialize war heroes, but they are heroes too. The Conscientious Objectors or CO’s as they were better known, provided services that were not combative. Non-combative rolls served this country long after the dust of the war had settled.
In my personal search for “something more” I began attending a Quaker Meeting in my area. After years of attending regularly I proudly made it official and became a Quaker. It was among this group where I first learned about these very brave peacemakers. Being a pacifist in a country that prides itself on war could not be easy, but that’s how Quakers roll. Throughout history they stood for unpopular injustices without batting an eye.
This story touched me for many reasons, but it hit home since I was raised in a neighborhood that literally sits in the backyard of this hospital. I grew up looking at the shells of these abandon buildings. They were a constant reminder of the horrors that took place.
Please take a minute to read this well written story by Joseph Shapiro. He brings the works of these very brave men and the POWER of PEACE to life. Click below to see and hear the moving work of these men. Their quiet works should be an inspiration to us all.
WWII Pacifists Exposed Mental Ward Horrors
In September of 1942, Warren Sawyer, a 23-year-old conscientious objector, reported for his volunteer assignment as an attendant at a state mental hospital. The young Quaker was one of thousands of pacifists who had refused to fight and instead were assigned to work in places few outsiders got to see — places like Philadelphia State Hospital, best known as Byberry.
“Byberry’s the last stop on the bus here in Philadelphia,” Sawyer recalls. “Any young man on the bus, other people knew that we were COs working at the hospital. And they’d make different kinds of remarks, supposedly talking to each other, but hoping that we hear. And you know: ‘Yellowbellies, slackers.’ ”
Those slurs were harsh. But not nearly as harsh as what awaited the young men inside the gates of the chaotic and overcrowded hospital for people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.
The young pacifists would be changed by what they saw in places like Byberry, and then become a force for change themselves.
Serving The Country At Home
Ten million men were drafted into the military during World War II. But more than 40,000 refused to go to war. These conscientious objectors came from more than 100 religions. But most were from the traditional peace churches: people from the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers. Still, they wanted to serve their country. Many did serve in the military in noncombatant roles. Others did alternative service, like the 3,000 who were assigned to 62 state mental hospitals around the country.
“Well, I called them hellholes,” says Sawyer. “Terribly overcrowded. All we did and all we could do was just custodial care. Because when you have three men taking care of 350 incontinent patients with everything all over the floor, feces and urine and all that kind of thing.”
The smell got into his clothes and was so strong that even after he washed them, the smell lingered. “In the incontinent ward,” he says, “it took a few weeks before you got used to eating supper with the smell all through your clothes and everything.”
The “incontinent ward” was what the men called A Building. It was a large open room with a concrete slab for a floor. There were no chairs. There were no activities, no therapy, not even a radio to listen to. So hundreds of men — most of them naked — walked about aimlessly or hunched on the floor and huddled against the filthy bare walls.
Nearby was B Building; it was called the “violent ward” or the “death house,” because angry men sometimes violently attacked one another. In one room, rows and rows of men were strapped and shackled to their bed frames.
Sawyer wrote frequent letters home, and those letters provide some of the best surviving historical record of the conditions in those grim wards and of the work of the conscientious objectors at Byberry.
“It was in B Building, the death house,” he started in a letter written in September 1944 that explained one day of violence. “Due to the shortage of cuffs and straps and restraint locks that has prevailed in B Building for some time, one of the patients was able to get himself loose. He was a very dangerous fellow. He only had one cuff and strap on and he got out. He had a spoon that had been broken off at the end and was sharpened almost to a knife edge.”
“After he was loose, he went to another patient and jabbed him in the side of the neck on top of his shoulder and drove the spoon down about one inch deep, just missing the jugular vein.”
“Our work was to try to get attendants to realize these were ordinary people with a little problem and they needed help,” says John Bartholomew.
Working in such a brutal and chaotic place tested the men’s own ideals of nonviolence.
“But I found out there, the difference between violence and force,” says Hartman, who at the time was a young Methodist. “We used force. We’d grab a man and we’d pin him. And then maybe get a nurse if we could to give him a shot. But we didn’t use violence. And the difference was: It wasn’t unusual next day for the patient to come around and thank us for not using violence when we could have.”
There was lots of violence at Byberry. Many of the regular attendants were drunks who’d get fired at one state hospital and just move on to a job at the next. Some kept control by hitting patients with things like sawed-off broom handles or a rubber hose filled with buckshot.
Hartman says the patients came to appreciate the gentler manner of the conscientious objectors. “Cause they knew, the regular attendants, one of their tricks was to use a wet towel and put it around their neck and squeeze it. It, of course, choked them awful, but it didn’t make any mark on them so no state inspector could catch up with them,” he says.
Making A Lasting Impact
Still, the young pacifists worried that it wasn’t enough simply to show kindness. With the end of the war nearing, the conscientious objectors soon would be gone, but they didn’t want to leave behind a place where untrained and underpaid attendants ruled patients by brutality and violence.
So the conscientious objectors came up with a daring plan. Sawyer wrote about it in one of his letters home:
“We are working on a carefully laid out plan to blow this place open in two months,” he wrote. In secret, they went to newspapers, with details of the scandal inside the institution. “If we COs do nothing about this place to improve it,” Sawyer continued, “our stay here has been to no avail and we have accomplished nothing. Two other fellows and I are heading up this thing to launch a campaign and gather material.”
One of those other fellows was a conscientious objector named Charlie Lord.
Today, Lord, 89, lives in another Quaker retirement community, this one in Tennessee. In the living room of his brick bungalow, he flips through old yellowed photographs. “Here’s the original one. Here, 1946. This is the day room with dozens of naked men along the left wall.”
At Byberry, Lord sneaked a small Agfa camera in his jacket pocket. It was the camera he’d borrowed to take on his honeymoon. But he’d dropped it in a lake and then felt he had to buy the damaged camera from his friend. Now he could use it to take pictures to show conditions in the A and B buildings.
When no one was watching, he’d quickly shoot a picture without even looking through the viewfinder. “I’d try to fill the frame,” he says. “You know, not just have little people far away. I’d get up as close as I could. I was aware of composition. But the main thing was to show the truth.”
Over a few months, Lord filled three rolls of film, with 36 exposures each. His pictures showed the truth, in black and white. In the past, reformers and journalists like Dorothea Dix and Nellie Bly sneaked into institutions and wrote exposes about the horrific conditions there.
But Lord was one of the first to ever expose institutions by using the power of photography. “I just thought this would show people what it was like. It’s not, not somebody writing to describe something,” he says. “They can use flowery words or you know, do whatever they want. But if the photograph is there, you can’t deny it.”
One of the first people to see the photographs was Eleanor Roosevelt, in September 1945. A meeting was arranged between Roosevelt — whose husband, President Franklin Roosevelt, had died just a few months before — and a couple of the conscientious objectors from Byberry. They brought along Lord’s disturbing photos. But Roosevelt at first doubted them.
According to Steven Taylor, a professor of disability studies at Syracuse University, Roosevelt assumed these were photos from some institution in the South. She said she knew about those kinds of conditions in Mississippi or Alabama. When told that they had actually been taken at an institution in Philadelphia, Roosevelt then promised to support the reform campaign and wrote about what she’d seen to government health officials and journalists.
Lord’s photographs would have their biggest impact several months later, when they were published in Life magazine in May 1946.
Taylor says the images of thin, naked men lined against walls echoed some other disturbing images Americans had just seen. “The immediate reaction by many people to these photographs were that these look[ed] like the Nazi concentration camps. People could not believe that this was the way we treated people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities in our society,” he says. “So it created a kind of mass uproar, nationally.”
Of course, one can’t equate the conditions in American mental hospitals back then — no matter how inhumane — with the extermination of more than 6 million Jews and others. In fact, among those killed by the Nazis were up to 250,000 people with disabilities. They were mainly people with mental illness and intellectual disability, the same disabilities as the people who lived at American institutions like Byberry.
Still, Taylor, who has written a new book about the World War II conscientious objectors calledActs of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions and Religious Objectors, says the photos punctured a national sense of American superiority.
“We saved the world. We stood for human rights; we condemned the Holocaust,” he says. “America’s confidence was soaring in the immediate post-World War II era. We were morally superior; we were militarily superior. And I think this was a stark reminder that America wasn’t perfect. America had its shortcomings.”
In postwar America, the country turned to righting those shortcomings. Conscientious objectors from Byberry started a national association that helped train and professionalize workers at state hospitals. And, most of all, they helped improve the lives of the vulnerable people who lived in those state institutions.
The COs from Byberry continued to work for social change, in political activism and in the jobs they chose.
Charlie Lord became a professional photographer and a social worker. The Bartholomew brothers both went into social work. John Bartholomew worked for a mental health group that moved people out of institutions and into small group homes.
Neal Hartman was a teacher. Warren Sawyer sold real estate and is proudest of the way he helped integrate neighborhoods.
Sawyer says what he saw at Byberry — and what he saw could be changed — fortified his dedication to work for human rights. His work at Byberry, he says “changed my life in terms of appreciation of people who are forgotten. It makes me want to make people aware of the many things that need to be done, that people need to be involved in doing things.”
My daughter graduated from Lebanon Valley College here in Pennsylvania last Saturday. To say we are proud in an understatement.
The commencement address was based on the subjects of truth and knowledge. I sat in the audience hanging on every word. It was as if we were the only two in the room. I was meant to hear this speech.
You see, my daughter didn’t take the typical academic path to becoming a college graduate, her path reads like the plot of a LifeTime movie. It’s best to watch these movies from your couch, not play them out in your lives.
Eight years ago I set out to have some questions answered about what was going on behind closed doors at the grade school my children had attended. There were some red flags on the ground right from its inception, but it was much easier to turn a blind eye than to admit that something might be wrong with this miraculous academic facility that landed in our neighborhood wearing all sorts of bells and whistles with $0 tuition. Why would we ever rock that boat?
We were in the midst of requesting that our daughter be transitioned from a Special Education classroom into a full-time mainstream classroom. Sounds easy enough right?
She was diagnosed with learning differences in 3rd grade and had been in the Special Education system, but while she was in Middle School we felt it was time to move forward since she was doing so well. We were looking at her academic future and our belief that she would be attending college in just 3 more years. Perfect attendance. Straight A’s. Honor Roll. What else would we be thinking?
This is when we, including my daughter, were informed by what I like to consider the Sarah Palin of School Psychologists “your daughter will never go to college, not even a community college.” What?!
Have you ever been floored? I mean stunned to the point that you were paralyzed? That is how I felt in this moment. To this day I’m not sure what happened, but as I sat stunned my husband was reenacting a scene from Pulp Fiction, pushing the table across the room and demanding answers from pseudo Sarah on how a child receiving straight A’s throughout her entire academic career could not have the opportunity to attend college? Yikes!
The answer: She was being tested on what she knew and was not being challenged beyond her own knowledge. As if that weren’t enough to absorb, learning that the person making these educational decisions on behalf of my child was an ex police officer with a high school diploma. Let that sink in for a minute.
Immediately following this meeting I put my Nancy Drew cap on and began digging, but little did I know I was about to open a can of worms that escalated to the size of a vat overnight. Fast & Furious.
Fast forward after months of giving Nancy Drew a serious run for her money. Speaking before the School Reform Commission. Endless emails, letters and visits to the School District of Philadelphia. Visits to our State Representatives and Congressman. Meetings with the Inspector Generals Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But most of all the relentless efforts of Martha Woodall, an educational reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Surprise! Life With The Top Down is a living breathing whistleblower. Yes, its true and I’m still getting shunned today as a result. Learn something new every day now don’t we.
Silly me, I thought people would be happy to know that the reason their kids weren’t receiving services was because millions of their tax dollars were being squandered by the administration, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Learning that everything you believed to be true is a fucking lie doesn’t go over very well among the masses.
The story is a long one that reads so much like a fiction novel it would leave you questioning its authenticity. Trust me, I lived it and still question it.
The bottom line is this … blah, blah, blah:
- Most popular Charter school in Philadelphia is in the middle of a scandal.
- Open the door to more scandals at 18 other schools.
- Millions stolen
- Federal Hearings
- Law Changes
- Justice Served
Here are a few of the many articles written about the insanity. Our First Amendment ROCKS!
Although justice had been served in a Federal Courtroom years ago, it was not served until May 9, 2015 for my daughter. We had put this part of our lives behind us, or so I thought. Two days before graduation my daughter sent me a photo of her transcript that read “Completed” with the words: JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED. Indeed it has ….
All of her hard work, determination and perseverance has paid off. I present to you one of the hardest working students from the Class of 2015.
On this Mother’s Day weekend, I decided to pay homage to my mother … Venita. My mother is the oldest of three children born to her Italian immigrant parents Vincenzo Torcini and Maria/Mary Landini in 1926.
Vincenzo left her life at 4 years old, shortly after the Great Depression entered. This left her mother faced with the burden of raising her young children alone, without any means to do so. After this abandonment, she suffered from what would most likely be considered a nervous breakdown today. No welfare, free housing or Valium for Mary.
Years later my mother was told that the apartment they were living in had caught fire and her mother was under the impression that the children perished. Needless to say that pushed her over the edge and lead her to the breakdown.
Scenarios like this were not uncommon especially among immigrant families during the Great Depression. Many of them could not find work to support their families, because they could not speak English. This frustration, piled on top of economic pressures led to abandonment and in some cases suicide.
This tragic set of circumstances left my mother and her siblings in the care of the Catholic Charities in Philadelphia. They were placed in an orphanage, followed by what was called a Shelter. This was emergency lodging that was set up in order accommodate all the families that had become homeless after the Depression. Some were run privately and were set up to serve cases like that of my mother’s family. These children needed homes until their parents were able to support them again.
My mother and her brother, who were only 14 months apart, were separately placed into homes. Unfortunately, their sister and youngest of the three, died of malnutrition while waiting for placement. The children were taken to several different homes before settling into somewhat permanent residences.
My uncle was raised by an Italian family in South Philadelphia, while my mother was raised by an Irish woman in North Philadelphia. To this day my mother refers to her as “the Irish woman who raised me.” She rarely refers to her by name, which was Ellen O’Malley. Ellen was a widow at a very young age, never had children of her own and never re-married. It was her single lifestyle that allowed her to open her home to these children. Giving children to single women..now that’s a switch.
Ellen O’Malley a/k/a “Auntie” cared for my mother from the time she was 7 years old until she was 16. There were other children placed during her time with “Auntie”, however they had parents that remained in their lives with weekly visitations. These children were just waiting for their parents to get work to rebuild their lives, but this was not the case for my mom. Her father never did return and her mother remained at the hospital until her death. This left my mother to just wait,wonder and hope.
Auntie did the best she could to raise her, however she did not express herself in a motherly way. This is understandable since the other children had mothers in their lives and she most likely didn’t want to impose.
To this day when my mother talks to me about her own mother I can hear the yearning of unanswered questions in her tone.
At now 88 years old she is still left to wonder if her face resembles that of her mother or father. No pictures, no trinkets, no memories of her own and surprisingly…not one ounce of resentment.
What is her secret? How did my mother raise (4) children of her own without ever experiencing the love and nurturing of her own mother?
I have to conclude … Momma, you were born this way. She is humble and naturally loving person who gained strength from her hardship that resonated into the enormous love she has for her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
My mother still enjoys the talents of Lady Gaga and now that she has hooked up with Tony Bennett she loves her even more. My sister gave her the CD so she can rock out to the classics of her day.
At 88 Ventia is representing a slower version of that hip hat wearing, organic eating, interesting, funny, strong Lady Gaga loving Democrat I wrote about 3 years ago.
Today she seems to enjoy Dancing with the Stars in her living room more than going to the movies; looking at the photos in the People Magazine more than solving the crosswords: and returning home by 3 to avoid being exhausted or turning into a pumpkin the jury is still out on this one.
She can still drop hilarious one-liners to make us laugh and LOVE her family with all her heart and I am grateful every day to be on the receiving end of both.
Love you Momma …. Enjoy the Ride!
Well well well Mother Nature, it looks as though you may have redeemed yourself with these much-needed two days in a row filled with just the right amount of heat, sunshine and breezes to make the world good again.
Today was the perfect day to be happy so we rolled out the ole MLC (Mid Life Crisis) for the first time this season. It was so nice out we couldn’t bear the thought of Peanut and Landon cooped up in the house, so they hitched along.
As you can see Peanut is already convertible savvy with his hair blowing in the wind with zero fucks given about how he’ll look once we stop moving.
On the other hand, Landon decided to play it safe chillin’ in his bed for fear he would look like a tumble weed with eyes by the end of this adventure.
We took a ride to the Max Hansen Carversville Grocery, which is an incredible little slice of awesomeness in Bucks County. The food is I N S A N E and it’s loaded with local artisan do-dads, honey, jelly and so much more. It’s a MUST stop for anyone in the area.
We sat in a little picnic area to share a piece of lemon pound cake while being fully entertained two very rambunctious little boys and their newly rescued dog Kingston. Cuteness overload!
The brothers were rolling around on the grass professing in unison “I’m having sooooo much fun!” I would have joined them, but the thought of itchy eyes, a runny nose and hives stopped me in my tracks.
This place is a gem! The second you enter the Village of Carversville, you immediately feel as if you arrived in a DeLorean. It’s incredibly quaint, but with wi-fi and amazing food choices. No doubt this place is the cusp of both worlds. It was like being the third wheel on the simpler times meets good quality food hook-up.
When we first pulled up there was an older gentleman sitting on a bench listening to a baseball game on a small radio with a real live antenna. Seriously, I was waiting for the Beav and Wally to walk through the door.
We will heading back to this new find on May 30 for Carversville Day. There will be crafters, fun for the whole family with free parking and free admission. No doubt Ward & June Cleaver will be making an appearance that day.
This is exactly the type of place I want to settle down in. I would get to experience the simpler life, with modern amenities of course. Then when I’m itching for a sense of city life, I can just hop in the car for a 10 minute trip to New Hope, Pa., where Lord knows I’ll be able to see everything imaginable in 5 seconds for my fix. A win win in my book!
Take time to get your Groove on, even if it’s in a little town thrown back in time and Enjoy the Ride!
pon·der verb gerund or present participle: pondering think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
I tend to ponder when I’m driving from point A to point B. I’m not solving world peace or hunger on my commute to work, I’m not that deep. However, outside of the shower, this is where my mind likes to chat it up.
My thoughts are more about things that happened in my daily life that decided to linger. Nothing earth shattering, just random thoughts that mosey through my head. Yes, I know I’m lucky to get to B in one piece
- No matter how many times I feed my dogs organic, non-GMO, antibiotic, hormone & cage free chicken products, they will always get more joy eating petrified geese turds. I wonder if they freeze well …
- I witnessed a loaf of 12 grain bread sitting on the yellow line of a road for 4 solid days. It looked as if it was there with purpose. On day one it was interesting. On day 4 I was considering calling in a CSI team. So you can image what it was like on day 5 when it disappeared. That’s right, I died a little inside. What was your story grainy, what was your story? I will never know.
- Nothing in this world is guaranteed except knowing that you’ll see at least one person, who is the shade of plain yogurt, wearing flip-flops the first time the thermometer turns 60 after a long winter. This is never pretty…ever.
- The humor I find in farts is a little over the top for my age group, however I find no humor in people covering them up with a shot of Febreze. The fake rain & meadows scent only enhances the fumes. This I know for a fact, but please do not ask how unless you think I can get workman’s compensation for my troubles.
- Peanut loves to climb up on my lap and sit like a human. So I decided to reenact a scene from the movie The Help. “You is smart” “You is kind” “You is important” My sister responded to me with “You is cray” and my daughter “You needs an infant.” Maybe it was a little over the top … maybe.
- Getting the double finger because I didn’t turn right on red into the oncoming traffic is one thing. Having it happen by a woman with a Jesus statue hanging from her rearview mirror, well that was just priceless. Jesus really has his hands full these days.
- I should have given my hiatus living muscles a heads up that I was jumping back into a full-blown workout routine this week. There is always a price and in this case the price is PAIN.
- Switching cable providers in 2015 should be a stress free experience, yet it left me planning a campaign to bring reading books by candlelight back on the table. Pioneers knew the deal.
- Every day I pass a group of cars parked on the shoulder of the road with people smoking inside. It looks like an inferno inside each vehicle. They do this because the building they work in recently went smoke-free. Driving to catch a smoke is truly a hardcore commitment.
- With Passover & Easter hitting the circuit on the same weekend traffic has been very heavy; stores have been full and people have been very rude. A triple play of hypocrisy. Crucifixions really need to make a come back, seriously.
After pondering on this list I’ve concluded that maybe it’s time to invest in some audio books for my commute. But for now, I’ll just keep the wheels turning. Who knows maybe something earth shattering will mosey in and save the world. Stranger things have happened ya know.
Until then I’ll … Enjoy the Ride!
Over the years I have had little subtle pebbles tossed in my direction to get my attention. Sometimes they are just little dings that I usually dismiss, and other times they are more like implosions. 0 to 100 that’s me.
It’s not as though there aren’t “in betweens” so to speak, there are, I just choose not to take those too seriously, and always, always, always give other people the benefit of the doubt about their intentions. Seeing the good in others certainly has its ups & downs.
It just never occurred to me that anyone would really be annoyed by another person happy nature? Seems Effed up if you ask me.
So when people have made sly comments about my happy nature or overly enthusiastic reactions, I really didn’t take them too serious. How can anyone be annoyed by happiness?
What could be worse than that you ask? Pulling in the reins on my happy disposition to please the cantankerous crowd. Oh yes, I did!
This is an old habit of mine that has always been hard for me to break, mainly because I want to make the people around me happy, it’s just my nature. Seeing the line between them and me is the struggle. I’m a Pisces, it’s how we roll.
Last week authentic Lisa decided to go into full protest mode and she was not shy about it at all!
There I was attending an unexpected Yoga class on Friday morning. I normally can not attend on Friday because I take my mother shopping, but she called and for whatever reason changed plans. Let the DIVINE intervention shenanigans begin.
During class, we were experiencing the Fish Pose. Now, I am very new to Yoga, and almost always need some sort of adjustment to get the pose correctly. In my head I’m a rubber band, outside not so much.
I got myself into the pose, sort of like an octopus gets into a paper bag, but I did it. Gracefulness is not my forte.
My instructor came over to compliment me on my accomplishment. She stated “Look at that arch Lisa!” “I’m not surprised, you have such an open heart and happy soul.” Validation in the house.
Right after this pose we went into Savasana a/k/a the Corpse pose. Lay flat and do nothing, of course I’m really good at this one. It is the final pose where you calm your nervous system, and relax your mind and body into bliss. It’s heaven.
Well, as I entered my state of bliss I began to cry. My authentic self just lets loose from the depths of the damn closet demanding her freedom, just as I was getting my bliss on. Pay backs are a bitch.
Even Pinterest got involved slamming this quote right in my face!
The reminders are popping up everywhere I go these days, keeping me in check with myself. Hey, we can’t all be at the top of this class called life.
I started this blog ride 3 years ago yesterday, basically to document travel adventures in my husband’s mid-life crisis convertible, but the universe took the wheel for a different ride. I was not in control.
Instead this blog provided me a place to get real with myself by writing it down and bringing it to life. Can’t ignore that anymore…check.
So, here I am again making it real, learning more crap about myself and Enjoying the Ride!
Thanks to all the folks I picked up along the way, you are the best travel companions a girl could have on this bumpy road called life!
I kept thinking about my Lovers Gonna Love post from earlier in the day when I was chillin’ on Cloud 9 with Cupid, but as the evening went on it was getting harder to hold on. Clouds can be slippery you know.
Early in the day I met my BFF for a Yoga class to get my peace on for the day. Our class was great, and as always I left feeling like I just smoked the best pot ever. Not that I would know anything about that .. it’s just a reference.
Now on to the dinner ….. The dinner that we got all gussied up for I might add. The dinner that was planned for weeks in advance with a reservation. The dinner I STARVED for all freaking day! Yea, that dinner.
We arrived at The Bridgeton Mill Inn. We celebrated my 50th birthday there, so we weren’t going in blind. However, something was off as soon as we walked in. Sixth sense kicked right in.
The seating was the first bump. Have you ever set up camp in a sardine can? Let’s just say I know what that might feel like. We were one with the couples on either side of us, which for me isn’t an issue, but for my introvert husband it was not good. I’ll talk to anyone, the husband not so much.
There was a young couple on our left, quiet as two church mice and a MAGPIE on the right who discussed every diseased ridden family member within a 1,000 mile radius! If unromantic had a face …. well …. she would be a star.
Second bump was that our drinks never arrived. Tragic! After the THIRD request, they made a disappointing appearance. Seriously, for $16.00 my hand shouldn’t be bigger than the glass!
At this point, the napkin was looking succulent. Finally, the soup and salad arrived. The jury is still out if they were actually good or we were starving.
I decided to use the ladies room since I already consumed two goblets of water, along with my spit of a cocktail while waiting for the entree. The bathroom was very pretty…yea for the bathroom! There were two private stalls with sink in the center area. I came out to be face to face with a man washing his hands. What?!
I broke the ice with a “Are we sharing this space?” He responded in a very heavy Russian accent that he was just washing his hands. I swear even “I love you” sounds harsh in that accent. He tossed me a washcloth and left. WTF just happened?
My sesame encrusted tuna was looking sexy on the plate. That lasted about two seconds. The first bite wasn’t even room temperature and the center was FROZEN. Mind you we could have gone out to the ocean ourselves to catch the damn tuna for as long as we waited!
The hostess/manager came over at my husband’s request, stuck her finger in my tuna and said “Sir, it is cold not frozen!” Oh, no she didn’t!
That was the last straw. We paid for my husbands partially eaten entree and left. We did tip the waitress since it wasn’t her fault her boss was an ass.
We came home had a bowl of ice-cream and called it a night. Life was good again.
Yelp was on fire with complaints today, including mine. Apparently this Inn is under new management and yes, we are using that term very lightly.
Take 2 included a delicious dinner prepared with lots of love by yours truly. Mangia’!
Even the best of intentions have bumps along the way. Sometimes it’s best to just breathe deep and Enjoy the Ride!
Valentine’s Day has to be the most dissed holiday on the calendar!
The complaints of overpriced dinners are endless. The push or maybe shove from Hallmark to dazzle your lover with an expensive piece of paper have people bitching up a storm; and suddenly roses are the most hideous flowers, beating out a damn dandelion! Oh, haters gonna hate.
Do you really need to hire the writers at Hallmark to express how you feel? Paper, pens and personalization are priceless.
How about takeout, Netflix and daisies? If Love is already in the air this is all you need.
It doesn’t have to be difficult, just tweak your approach. Love should be spontaneous, simple and special.
Love also comes in all shapes and sizes. Some of my Fellow Bloggers Susannah & Susie shared wonderful examples of how simple gestures of kindness can keep the love going long after the 14th of February. Lovers gonna Love!
The world certainly has enough hate going on without throwing Cupid under the bus today. So get your creative juices flowing and do something to make someone else smile today. I would be beaming if someone else cleaned the bathroom, but that’s me.
My daughter is smiling at college with her Panera gift card. My son is shocked by his extra gas money. The hubby is beaming with the site of a little chocolate cake with his morning joe and Peanut and Landon are on top of the world with their new toys. Knowing that these thoughtful gestures made the ones I love happy is all I need. (But if someone wants to clean the bathroom that would be great too)
Today isn’t just Valentine’s Day for me, it’s my Anniversary … which makes it extra special for us. Love squared! We will be heading out to enjoy an overpriced dinner this evening, but more importantly each others company. Time to ourselves is priceless these days.
All you need is Love to Enjoy the Ride …. It’s Easy!
I wanted to write this while watching the Grammy’s on Sunday night, but when it started to sound more like the script for Scarface II than an essay on WordPress I stopped. Back away from he keyboard.
Some of the things crossing my mind during the show were: Please feel free to read these with or without the numerous F-Bombs that were going down!
What is this?
What are we watching?
What was that?
Why are you famous?
Then, just when I thought the universe was playing some evil game of Talentless People Rock the earth put itself back on its axis and ANNIE LENNOX took the damn stage and hold on to your hats PERFORMED. Something no one else knew how to do.
That’s right, she belted out I Put A Spell On You with such passion I was speechless or spellbound. Even the cameramen were under her spell, considering they never panned into the audience for a reaction. Nothing to see except some wide eyes and open jaws anyway … but that’s none of my business.
No props for Annie. No hot men to divert our attention. No choirs. No dancers. No chucking spreads. Sorry Madonna, you know I love you, but if you still have to chuck a spread for attention in your 50’s …. just saying.
Annie just walked onto the stage with a voice, passion, and the desire to bring down the house. Check Please!
At that moment, it was clear how lucky I was to have grown up in an era where artists, yes Kanye ARTISTS, used their natural born talent to create music, music which is still going strong today I might add. No autotune in my era!
Most of the show was actually awful and I swear it has nothing to do with my age because I really do enjoy Pop music with the catchy tunes and what not, but for god sakes when you put it up against the real deal they are so dull. Do it with passion or don’t do it at all!
I can only hope that Annie put a spell on these young performers and they will start to realize that PASSION is what’s missing from their act, not dancing marshmallows with gold sequins and fireworks! I just can’t.
Listen to this tune and Enjoy the Ride!