I’ve been contemplating whether or not to go to the grocery store for way too long this morning. It’s not that easy anymore.
There are two more factors added this morning. The Eagles game, which I hear might be a big deal, and impending bad weather for this evening. This combo is enough to deter the strongest of shoppers.
I started looking around the kitchen to see if I really needed anything. I could use chicken stock, or I can just make something else. Hmm, maybe I don’t need anything. This conversation went on for way too long. I will never get this time back.
In my defense, going to the supermarket is now a full-blown event that requires decisions that have never entered my mind before 2020.
It was bad enough that I had to make sure I had a mask and hand sanitizer, but now, oh, it’s much more. I long for the days when it was just a mask.
Before I head out, I say a prayer of protection, load my bra with energy protecting crystals; yes, you read that correctly, then, and only then, do I grab my mask and sanitizer.
Covid is frail compared to the energy-sucking, opinionated audience I might encounter in the produce aisle. Some folks are looking for potatoes, and some are looking for a debate.
Believe me, I get the urge to debate; I’m just as frustrated. The never-ending confusion is enough to bring anyone to their knees. We are all tired of being tired. We can’t deal with asses too.
Needless to say, I did not go to the supermarket. Instead, I have a creative meal in the oven. I wrote this essay, and I didn’t have to put my bra on, let alone load it with chyrstals. Good juju only!
Enjoy the Ride!
I’m not going to lie; I love a good purge. Especially when it’s over.
When we decided to downsize our home last year, we had to make big purging decisions. When we went from not finding a house to renting a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment, those decisions were made for us. Thank you, universe.
After many donations and selling items that I would never think anyone would want, we were able to downsize our belongings to the things we use, those we love, and some that the jury is still out on.
One piece of furniture had to go, but not without a heavy heart, our dining room set. This arrived in our home after the death of my father-in-law. At the time, it was just a table and chairs, but that changed during its time at our abode. Love grows.
Oh, if only tables could talk, this one certainly would have a lot to say.
Over the years, many board games were played, puzzles built, parties and funerals planned. Cards written, family meetings held, milestones celebrated, food displayed, eaten, and served. Tears shed, laughter heard, challenging decisions, and many memories were made while sitting around a piece of wood with a leg chewed to pieces by our first puppy, who found it absolutely delicious.
Our children were very young at the time, so big family dinners were not a thing yet. The table mainly was used to celebrate birthdays. I have many photos of my children, with their little friends sitting in oversized chairs singing happy birthday. Just think about the last supper with cowboys and princesses.
The next phase of the table was homework, science, art, and craft projects. It became a place to wrap gifts, cool cookies, and leave baskets for the Bunny to fill. Meanwhile, the chairs were perfect for hanging bookbags, coats, lunch boxes, and purses over the years. I wonder if the chairs were as annoyed as I was about those coats.
We hosted a holiday gathering for our friends and neighbors for about five years. During this time, the table served as a buffet filled with pot luck dishes for everyone to enjoy. We would gather around asking about ingredients and listening to the stories behind them. My favorite was from our dear friend Tom, who is no longer with us. His famous mac & cheese with spicy stewed tomatoes always had a special place.
Now to the good part, hosting holidays. Wow, these years were something special. There were years where the table sat everyone ideally and years where we needed to extend into other rooms. But either way, they were filled with joy.
Long after dinner was served, the table was still hustling and bustling with conversations that ranged from politics to farts. Once you sat down, the magic began.
It was not easy parting with this set that became like a family member, as you can now imagine. At first, there were no takers. We concluded that young people today are not sitting around large tables; they are eating on the go.
Then, out of the clear blue came an offer for the chairs. Ugh, how can we separate the two? They are like peanut butter and jelly! And just like that, within hours, someone just wanted the table. It was meant to be.
A young couple with a newborn named Henry came for the chairs. They were young professionals who moved to the city from upstate Pennsylvania, ironically, about 2 miles from the original location of the set. They were over the moon to add the chairs to their new home, and we felt good that they would be loved.
The couple who came to pick up the table pulled up in a Toyota hatchback, which made me think, WHAT IN THE WORLD!?
When they came into the house, it was evident from their faces that they appreciated quality pieces. They expressed that they recently purchased an old farmhouse and were in the process of renovating. The table would be upcycled to be the centerpiece of their kitchen.
Somehow, he got the table, base, and two leaves inside that hatchback. Granted, the seats were on the dashboard, but he did it.
Life goes on, so Enjoy the Ride!
Is Mother Nature a little extra these days, or is it just winter? It’s winter!
If you’re watching the news in the morning as I do, you might think that this is something new for the East Coast in January.
Over the weekend, the media pushed the ICE fear any chance they got. Beware of untreated sidewalks. Freezing rain. Treacherous road conditions. Ice, ice baby.
This tragedy was to occur early Sunday morning. Now, I could care less if I don’t have anywhere to go, but my furballs, a/k/a Peanut & Landie, have to go somewhere to go, if you know what I mean.
As the best dog mother in the world, I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. to get them out to do their biz before the ice age began.
My bougie fur babies enjoy the comforts of my king-sized bed and down comforter. They’re for the sheets, not the streets.
Peanut & Landie
Living Their Best Life
So, waking them from their lap of luxury to head into the dark artic air is a big freaking deal. It’s even bigger when you have to add coats, collars, leashes, and sidewalks loaded with rock salt.
In the end, it would all be worth it. We’ll be able to cuddle on the couch, knowing we dodged a potential broken back slipping as I tried to wrangle two little fur babies on an ice rink.
I thought ahead. I prepared for the worst. Only to have Mother Nature throw a curveball that ended with a forecast of “It will be warm and sunny unless it’s an ice age.”
If nothing else, this was a reminder that you can have all your ducks in a row, or your ducks can be running wild; we’re not in charge, so do your best and Enjoy the Ride!
I’m off this week, and honestly, I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. My family is occupied being occupied, and the smiling face on my stuffed snowman is pissing me off. See what I mean?
I ventured out for some much-needed self-care. A mani, Pedi & brow wax is a good kickoff for the new year. Little did I know it was going to be a therapy session.
The second I sat down, Julie, If that’s her real name, made small talk by inquiring if I had a lovely holiday. My response was not much more than “eh,” and this is when she began lecturing me on the need to live every day. Good thing I didn’t mention I was already undecorated due to the unwanted smile of a stuffed snowman.
A woman sits in the chair next to me, and she is greeted like a celebrity, or maybe just a regular customer. In the nail salon world, they are one and the same.
Julie lights up with enthusiasm as she asks if a trip is planned. The woman, grinning from ear to ear, responds that she’ll be leaving for a 51-day Caribbean cruise. No doubt my shriek could be heard for miles.
While my toes were being loved beyond measure, I listened to every detail of her upcoming adventure. Talk about living every day.
The short version is her frequent cruising has enabled her to reach a certain status according to the world of The Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, allowing her to live it up for less than $100 bucks a day. The Titanic kept running through my mind.
I was still stunned as I sat down for my manicure. I let Julie know polish will not be necessary, just a manicure. She already got that memo implying more than once that my hands might have been digging ditches recently. I’ve never felt more like a gargoyle in my life.
Of course, my curiosity got the best of me as I examined the hands on either side of me. They were in my age range, so it seemed legit. The jury is back, and the verdict is that I might be lumberjacking, or I’ve been neglecting my hands. Hint, I don’t wear plaid.
Julie kept telling me to relax. So, after the 3rd time, I told her that I was settled. This was not the correct response. It was followed by a quick “no, no, no, you’re worrying. Enjoy this time for yourself.” My stiff hands were speaking some hardcore truth.
After that, I was hesitant to enter the waxing room. After being reminded again about my neglect, but now with a side of hot wax on my face. As always, once finished, I was prompted to look at the finished product. I gave a glance and said everything looked good. At this point, I should have known Julie better.
Julie stopped me from getting up, and she said, “no, get closer to the mirror and LOOK.” I wasn’t arguing. “No more worry, no more neglect for her.” I wasn’t sure if I should ask if she takes Blue Cross or tip big.
The universe is truly magical, and at times hilarious. I needed to hear these truths, and sometimes my squirrel-like attention doesn’t get it but throw me a weird situation in a nail salon, and I’m all ears. Well done.
Don’t ignore the messages carried by angels named Julie. Enjoy the Ride!
Well, it’s been a minute, folks. 5 months and 24 days, to be exact. In my defense, it’s been busy in my world. 2020 changed her dress and rolled right over to 2021 without missing a beat. Gotta love her attitude.
Rewind to January when we were approached by our son inquiring about purchasing our house. He was tied into a lease until July, so the plan was to sell and use the extra time to look for our new digs. I do believe I heard God laughing out loud.
We looked, we liked, we offered, we were outbid. We looked, we wanted, we over-offered, we were outbid. Finally, we looked, we fell in love, we over-offered, including our souls, common sense, and dignity, while being outbid by cash-carrying soulless bidders with nothing to lose. We grabbed our white flag and waved it with our last shred of dignity.
In May, we packed up, donated, sold, and trashed 30 years of our life and jammed it into a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in the suburbs that I like to call “The Resort.” The jury is still out on how this actually happened.
Life here at “The Resort” has been an experience I will cherish for a very long time. The Summer weekends were spent poolside, the cooler weather at the fire pit, and now in the clubhouse, all with a group of people we now consider friends. All of those rejections lead us here to pause, play and enjoy life for the first time in a very long time. The universe knew exactly what it was doing.
Since settlement in October, I’ve been looking back at what I’m leaving behind and finding myself stuck in a time and place that no longer serves me, wrapped in familiarity, but preventing me from moving forward. Growth limbo.
Christmas hit me like a freight train of emotion. My son hosted dinner, and even though he remodeled to make the house his own, the flood of memories from holidays past met me at the door. Not the welcome wagon I was expecting.
As I stepped into the dining room, I felt the past rushing in like an out-of-body experience, and not in a good way. It was a reminder of a version of myself that I no longer recognize. The energy was clear as a bell, including a pounding headache.
On the way home, I realized that chapter had officially closed. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!
It’s time to embrace the new without fear but anticipation. I sit here thinking about what is ahead as we forge into new territory in 2022. A new home, in a new city, in a new state. Go big or go home.
I’m gathering the good, the knowledge, the lessons, the love, and the memories from the past, packing them with care and heading forward to … Enjoy the Ride!
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Over the past year and a half, we’ve been hearing a lot about healthcare workers being heroes. Frankly, I never thought they were anything less. One stint in a hospital is enough to see the light.
Last November, my mother was in the hospital for an extended stay. Unfortunately for everyone, so was the patient a few doors down. I think I’ll call him Pita (pain in the ass).
As if things weren’t bad enough with COVID on the rise once again, the hospital reaching total capacity, and untrained me taking care of one too many Code Browns, use your imagination folks, to count, we ALL had to deal with Pita. Trust me; I earned a cape.
On one quiet Saturday afternoon, mom was resting, and I was reading when we were interrupted by a commotion coming from the hallway. Enough to stop the cleaning woman in her tracks right outside our door.
I looked at the cleaning woman with a WTF glare, and she responded with a WTFK’s. Facial expressions speak volumes.
Now mom was wide awake, wondering what was going on. All we could hear was a loud voice insisting at the top of his lungs to see his girlfriend. I peeked out the door to see a 6’4′ bare assed sock-wearing hands flailing big mouth trying to escape. Superpowers would come in handy.
Without missing a beat, my mom says GIRLFRIEND?! and we both started laughing. It was like that’s all she heard.
The cleaning woman came into the room laughing and said, “she’s on vacation.” Now, we are howling. Mom chimes in with, “she’s not coming back.” The only thing missing was popcorn.
While we were acting like three school girls laughing at all the things the girlfriend probably did after dropping Pita at the hospital entrance, he was making vulgar remarks to the nurses about their bodies. He was a real charmer.
As security arrived, I saw one of the nurses filling up a syringe, smiling ear to ear. Pita was going down!
Mom couldn’t get out of bed, so Juanita and I gave her a play-by-play of the injection. “They’re going to need a big one,” she said. The giggles continued.
Finally, silence took over, and the nurses went back to their duties as if Pita never existed. Night night.
Juanita stayed a little longer to talk to mom about her age, sense of humor, and unruly men. This was the best medicine mom received.
Remember, heroes cross our paths every day, some with needles, some with mops, but all serving a purpose. It’s important to recognize the good in everyone as we … Enjoy the Ride!
As Season 2 of that shit show we call 2020 continues, I must say it’s been interesting. What are we on now Episode 9? All I know is I’ve spent a good portion of it crying at EVERYTHING—my emotions on steroids. Not the happy go lucky ones, the “you look like Alice Cooper” kind. I’ve already lost a pair of contacts to a riptide on my face.
A dear friend reminded me that tears are an excellent way to hydrate. I also believe this to be true. My skin is glistening, and my eyes no longer require fake tears in a bottle. I’m one sad song aways from bottling my own and selling them on Etsy. Tears are Us.
Ok, so back in Episode 1, I was on the brink of losing it. Not only was I grieving the loss of my mother, I had the realization that I was also grieving the loss of the way many things had been for years. I was mostly missing that upbeat call at midnight, wishing me a Happy New Year as I lay sleeping on the couch missing the ball drop. Kind of a bummer for the season opener.
Episodes 2 & 3 were much better. I spent the morning trying to figure out what I could do with this newfound freedom. As I left the house for a fun-filled day with my love interest, I was excited about the possibilities. We walked around a small town in New Jersey that I swear was the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie, and I saw my first sign that anything is possible. It was a plaque with my full name, middle initial, and all, followed by PhD. Not that I have any intention of getting a PhD., but it made me think, ‘you got this world by the balls, now go get it.” All the answers are there if you keep your eyes open.
Oh, Episode 4 was a real doozy! It was my first day back to work after 252727262782 days off, and there was NO INTERNET! I work for a physician, and our entire system is internet-based. The phone was ringing off the hook, patients were coming in with new insurance information, and this one issue was about to paralyze our day. I thought, “No, absolutely not, not today 2021 you 2020 wanna be, NO!” There is always a Plan B waiting in the shadows; no matter what the situation, look and you will find.
Ugh, by noon, the earth was back on its axis, and our internet was restored just in time for the start of Episode 5, which was almost too perfect. These days I’m skeptical of smooth sailing. I’ll assume that’s a little PTSD from 2020. I got into my car, and as always, made sure my phone was on Bluetooth. Why? Because every day for the last, FOREVER days, I called my mom on the way home from work. Another contact fell victim to this cry festival.
Episode 6 began with waking up after a dream that was so vivid and intense it left me lying in bed wondering, “Was that a dream?” I spent the rest of my morning analyzing that bag of crazy before heading to work. As if that wasn’t enough, real-life crazy started with news alerts on my phone about the new Civil War talking place in D.C. Hearing and seeing this footage was alarming, but I was not surprised, to be honest. Was I expecting it so early into Season 2? No, but here we are riding the crazy train. That entire episode shined a big fat light on subjects that can no longer be ignored, denied, or defended.
As I opened my eyes on Episode 7, I thought, “What’s next?” Ugh, while watching the morning news, it became clear that shit was getting very real here in the good ole U. S. of A. Watching the hypocrites surface and take flight was a real highlight. I’m not positive, but I do believe I may have broken a record for consecutive obscenities screamed at an object a/k/a a T.V. Oh, and I was laid off, but I’m happy.
Wow, that is all I can say for Episode 8. The list of flip-flopping hypocrites was growing at record speed. At the same time, our Commander in Lies continues to search for a 12-year-old with more than one social media account he can use, and we are now up to 5 senseless deaths following whatever the hell that was that took place in Episode 6. On the bright side, I had a male and female cardinal show up in the tree outside my window. They spent over an hour watching my every move. I’m just going to call them mom & dad and leave it at that.
Episode 9 opened up with ANOTHER vivid dream that was absolutely exhausting. I really believe this is the universes way of saying “Girl, we tried to tell you while you were awake, but you kept ignoring us.” We all know what this means – change is a coming. Something tells me those cardinals are working hard.
As I look at my personal life and the world around us, the veil is being lifted from reality. On a personal level, I recognize things about myself and those around me who may or may not remain in my circle with a clear lens. The evil and injustices evident to many for far too long are finally getting recognized with greater clarity and an undeniable audience. A change is gonna come.
In the meantime, my griefcase is packed, my eyes are open, and as always, I’ll fasten my seatbelt for the rest of Season 2 and try to Enjoy the Ride!
Growing up, our family’s New Year’s Day tradition consisted of watching the Mummers parade ALL day because that’s how long it took to get to the finale and then to enjoy pork with sauerkraut dinner to somehow bring good luck in the year ahead. Umm, would be roasting an entire pig be too much this year, asking for a friend?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve been doing some research to amp up the whole good luck thing for 2021. According to the Google search box I’m not alone.
It was fascinating and alarming as to how some countries around the world ring in the new year. For instance, in Spain it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each clock’s stroke. Eating grapes seems easy enough, but it will be a hard NO for me without being surrounded by a group of people who can perform the Heimlich maneuver. It’s still 2020 until that last grape hits the mouth.
Denmark knows how to go out with a good old fashioned release of frustration. You’ll have to grab all of those unwanted dishes, or in this house, I could use the 5000000000 coffee mugs that never see a drop of coffee. Now, according to tradition, you head over to a friend’s home and smash them on the front door to ward off evil spirits and welcome good vibes. The definition of “friend” needs to be CRYSTAL CLEAR before you get started.
As if that weren’t enough for this Danish crew of thrill-seekers, they also try to find the highest peak they can, sometimes climbing on top of chairs, tables, and other objects in the home to jump into the New Year. Let me just put this out there, folks. If you’ve been eating and drinking ALL night and are over the age of 5, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, climb or jump. Remember, you’ll be heading to a Corona virus-infested ER alone if something goes wrong.
Ok, considering the political shit show we’ve all endured this year, I think we might need to embrace the tradition of the Ecuador locals who celebrate Los Anos Viejos, which translates to “the old years”—a tradition in which you want to destroy any of your past demons. This is where it gets good.
Locals use this as an opportunity to create dolls, like scarecrows; some are decorated with signs describing sins, while others (here is where it gets good) resemble sinister people. The creations are then filled with straw, newspaper, and anything else that burns fast. As the clock strikes twelve, the look-alikes are set on fire in the front yard, representing the good riddance to the old and welcoming the new. Oh, sweet Jesus, get this girl a match!
If you’re looking for some less dramatic ways to bring luck and love into your homes, you can turn to Italy to get the party started. It is customary to wear red underwear on NYE in Italy to bring love, prosperity, and good luck. Never underestimate the power of your Valentines’ panties. In the city of Venice, people gather in St. Mark’s Square to welcome the new year with a mass kissing session. Who needs fireworks.
In Wales, you’ll see many back doors opening at midnight to let the old year out. The entry is then locked to ensure that the hot mess doesn’t return. This year they might want to open some windows as well, to be sure it’s gone. We shouldn’t rule out a security system.
Well, considering 2020 has been so extra for many of us, I think it might be a good idea to ring in 2021 the same way. Forget what I said earlier. Eat that pork with a 12 grape chaser in your red underwear while setting your sinister scarecrow look-alike on fire as you jump off of a chair, breaking dishes as you open the back door. Take that 2020!
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous, and patient 2021!
Buckle up and Enjoy the Ride!
Christmas morning 2020, quietly sitting listening to the rainfall outside. The deck doors are open, and a nice unseasonably warm breeze is blowing through the room while I bite the limbs off of a gingerbread man and sip coffee.
My children are adults, so there is no need to be awake at this time, yet here I am scrolling through my FaceBook memories of past Christmas celebrations surrounded by family, friends, laughter, and love. Jeez, talk about a mixed bag of emotions coming to the surface.
Last year our house was full to the brim. We were full of Christmas spirit with two new little ones in the family experiencing all of their firsts. They had no clue what was going on, but it didn’t matter to all of us oohing and aahing over every move they made.
Our celebration today will look much different. My mind is not fully committed to the festivities today, but my heart is aching for some sense of normalcy, so I’m going to do my best, and that will be enough.
This year it’s a party of 6, not 16, so I will not need engineering skills to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. Although I’ll be missing the others dearly, it allows me to embrace this crew with extra love. I hope they’re all ready for the hug fest that’s waiting for them over here.
Thanks to technology, we’ll be able to share in the little ones enjoying the excitement of Santa on repeat if we want, and we can FaceTime the others around the country to spread some cheer. As for those who we lost, we will be keeping their spirits alive sharing the many memories we had the privledge of making over the years.
My Christmas wish for the future is to just continue on with life. Continue to see the good and be good. Continue to have patience. Continue to be healthy. Continue to grow. Continue to heal. Continue to recognize the love around us. Continue to surprise a sometimes mean world with acts of kindness.
Continue to Enjoy the Ride!
Well, it’s been quite interesting around these parts over the past few months. The original story is one that no one wants to hear while scrolling through their reader. And lord knows I don’t want to relive it.
The short version is my mother was in the hospital for 10 days with a flare of ulcerative colitis, Covid went through the roof in Pennsylvania, we refused rehab and converted my family room into a replica of mom’s apartment in 2 days so she could move in with us. Honestly, it’s still a blur.
That was back on November 18th, which seems like both 5 years and 5 minutes ago. For the record, let me be clear that I am not a nurse, nor do I exhibit the skills to provide medical services due to my large hands and not knowing my own strength. Trust me.
Mom was over the moon about moving into our abode for many reasons, but mainly to be around family, her family, which was the most essential part of her long life. As a Great Depression orphan, her family was important.
Let’s say mom crossed the threshold into her new digs with a bang or a Code Brown. Use your imaginations, folks. This led to a complete strip down, shower, and both of us feeling like maybe this was one of those ideas that looked great on paper, but the reality sucked—sort of like that 30 foot Homer Simpson Christmas decoration.
Once she was settled and my assistant, Nurse Peanut, greeted her with open paws, we had time to discuss, laugh, and cry about that grand entrance. We were both imagining more of a Scarlet O’Hara strolling down the staircase kind of moment. If nothing else, it was memorable.
Ok, that was Wednesday evening; by the time a REAL nurse arrived on Sunday, I looked like the 94-year-old patient! The bags under my eyes highlighted the dark circles nicely.
Meanwhile, my mom looked like a movie star! She was showered and dressed with her hair, nails, brows looking fab, and any unruly chin hairs removed. Just my two cents, if you’re in the position of caring for an elderly parent, the better they look, the less help you’ll get. Disheveled is the way to go.
If I heard it once, I heard it a million times, “your mom looks great; she’s not sick enough for more help.” Were you ever so tired that you wanted to knock someone out, tie them to a chair, and force them to step into your shoes for a night? Asking for a friend.
We entered week two, a/k/a hell on earth, with a whole new bag of crazy. I gained another patient in the house. Officially declaring myself an RN working 24/7 shifts with no pay.
While mom was downstairs having everything that went in her mouth come out the other end and insisting on eating because she was hungry, my husband was locked in our bedroom coughing up a lung with, you guessed it, COVID! Oh, you can say it, I’ll even join you. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Just when you think things could not possibly get worse, at mom’s request, I made a homemade apple cake because she was craving something sweet. The aroma of this cake makes the house smell delicious, and lord knows with all of the other odors going on, it would be more than welcome. Just one of the many, OH SHIT, no pun intended, moments that followed.
I’m not gonna lie; losing my sense of smell was welcomed for what transpired over the following few days. Can you say a blessing in disguise?
The husband started feeling better, my symptoms stopped at no taste or smell, but mom’s condition was getting worse. FINALLY, she was “sick enough” to get hospice services. They arrived on Tuesday dressed like they were stepping onto the moon due to the COVID colony known as my home.
Wednesday was the last day that I was able to talk to mom. Her last sentiment was, “be kind to everyone, no matter what, this world needs kindness.” Truth!
Mom passed on Friday, December 4, 2020, with me and my husband by her side. Hopefully, at some point, after COVID, we will be able to celebrate the Queen of our family and her life well lived.