Question Time Over Coffee 12/3

Put on another pot and join in with Rory’s coffee time questions. This week’s questions gave my brain a good workout with 15 thoughtful, deep queries to fill this rainy Saturday morning.

Join in or Enjoy the Ride!

Do you sometimes ‘just’ LIKE posts from those you follow but don’t often read the content, and if so, why do you do this?

Yes, but not often.

Is it a time restraint or something else that motivates this action?

It could be time, or the content is not something to be read; it’s visual.

What do you do with gifts you have received but have no use for?

I either give them to someone I know will appreciate them more than me or donate them to a charity looking to fill up raffle baskets.

Inspired by Sadje

Have people become lazier concerning cooking do, you think, or is it more a case of people not knowing how to cook?

Oh, it’s not lazy or lack of knowledge as much as living in a society where chicken nuggets are on every corner and our time is held hostage by employers or the million extracurricular activities of our children.

Is cooking considered a valuable skill by you?

Yes, it’s a survival skill for me. Takeout is a treat.

What news stories, in your opinion, have so far defined the 2020’s and what do you think they have taught us personally as individuals?

Have there been news stories in the 2020’s? If we are now considering fear-mongering, hate, and divisiveness news stories, then this is what has defined the 2020’s.

It has taught me that if I want “news,” I can get that anywhere. If I want truth and facts, well, now, I’ll have to be my own non-paid investigative journalist.

What would you never swallow even if you could?

First of all, this is a question an Aquarius would ask. Random, yet interesting enough to quiet a room in two seconds flat.

Anywho, I would say a sword. I’ve watched this sort of act on various variety shows, and I’m always left with questions. Where does it go? What is it stabbing inside? Why would someone do that?

How many hours of sleep do you get a night, and how many hours do you think you need and why?

I usually get the required 7 or 8 hours. I’ve gotten less, but never more. I do not need more and can function fine on less. I’ve never been a sleeper.

How important is it to you to have a clean house or environment to live in, and does it have to be pristine?

I function much better without clutter, but I prefer a lived-in look over a pristine one. Pristine homes create awkwardness for their guests. I like people to feel welcome in my house.

Could you give up your Smartphone and break your addiction to it?

Absolutely, but let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be easy, and it could get ugly.

What have been five of your best TV shows from the dawn of dot to today?

Whew, this is a tough one because there have been so many over the years.

The Brady Bunch

The Carol Burnett Show

The Golden Girls

Seinfeld

Real Time With Bill Maher

Why were they good?

They are relatable, make me feel good, laugh out loud, or teach me a thing or two.

Why is life not a bed of roses but a bed of thorns?

Is it? I think it’s perception. If you have certainty that everything is happening for you and not to you, then things won’t be so bleak, and those thorns won’t stand a chance.

What makes your life good and or bad?

Not to sound too Hallmarkish, or like one of those weird signs. I’d have to say family, friends, laughter, and love.

Toasted waffles or toasted bread, and why?

Bread. Only because there are more varieties.

How do you feel about the aging process and you?

I consider it a gift. My mind is much younger than my body. In fact, decades more youthful.

What is the last rebellious thing you did?

Hmm, are we talking about marching on Washington rebellious or on a smaller scale? I’ve done both. Women’s March in 2017 and driving over the limit, yesterday.

What would be your ideal ‘you experience’ of the following …. museum, theatre, spa day, bungee jumping?

Hands down, live theatre, that involves music. I have yet to go to a theatre performance without leaving energized, lasting for days. The Elton John concert I attended at Madison Square Garden lasted weeks.

Could you easily step off the planet and away from society and your friends and being social and also away from the Internet for 12 months?

No. No doubt there have been moments when I wanted to do this, but in reality, I need human interaction to survive. I enjoy the company of others, even if it’s just the cashier at the supermarket who refers to me as a “young lady” when I’m not.

Share Your World November 28

Pensitivity 101

1. Do you have any family traditions?

Not really. Do we do certain things and eat certain foods? Absolutely. I wouldn’t say they are set in stone. As we aged and our children aged, the traditions were tweaked. We always took them to a light show in our area. Over the years, it has grown into somewhat of an extravaganza with a price tag to match.

Now, my “children” are full-grown adults, yet they still inquire about going to the light show. Of course, we oblige and now include pets and significant others because the price has jacked up to 50 bucks a carload, and you better believe my car will be loaded.

2. With December on its way, have you ever been carol singing?

When I was a kid, doing kid things in the 70s, a group of friends decided to go caroling one night when we were bored. We had a grand plan to go door to door singing the classics like Jingle Bells, and like the good Catholic kids we were, donate the fruit from our labor to the church.

We hit the jackpot when we knocked on the door where a Christmas house party was in full swing. A tipsy dad answered, we sang, and he yelled for more tipsy parents to join him like we were the Tabernacle Choir on the front step, and the cash started flowing.

Well, all I’m going to say is once that fruit started pouring in, all thoughts of being good Catholics went right out the door. Hey, we were kids and suddenly rich.

3. Do you decorate your home for the Christmas holidays?

I sure do. This will be our first Christmas in our new home, so I need to make some adjustments. Over the weekend, I decorated the outside, and my creative juice flowed like a river. I was able to upcycle some pieces from the past and put a new twist on them, which worked out very well.

4. Do you enjoy the Christmas rush for preparations and shopping?

I do not like the rush or pressure of going shopping. Christmas should not be filled with unnecessary anxiety.

Question Time Over Coffee 25th November

I stumbled across Rory’s questions this week and thought I’d give it a shot. I always wanted to be a guest on The Late Show or any talk show that would have me, for that matter. However, that doesn’t look like something that may happen, so it’s good that Rory provided this opportunity.

You have a dinner party and may invite four guests from the following categories one fictional, one dead, and one alive, and a naked chef [wearing an apron only but no clothes underneath – or if you wish, for whatever reason, your chef can be wearing underclothes – pants/top].

Who will you invite to eat, and who will you ask to cook for your dinner party?

Ok, let me see now because these lists would typically be long, and narrowing it down to one of each takes some thought.

Tony Soprano, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Melissa McCarthy, and Michael Symon.

If nothing else, lord knows this room would be loud and passionate. I would like to listen to Tony and Ruth discuss justice since they have, shall we say, different techniques. Melissa McCarthy is a quick wit which makes me laugh out loud. It would be fun to watch her moderate the Tony and Ruth debate. As for kitchen duty, I chose Michael because he is passionate about food. He is animated in the kitchen, so he probably should be wearing something for protection, but I’ll leave it up to him.


Inspired by I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! 
Have you ever slept on/in a hammock?

That would be a no.
Do you find it easy to maintain friendships with other people?

Yes. However, it’s usually because of the effort I apply.
Are you a person of ethics?

Yes.

If so, how does that impact your daily life?

Have you seen the world lately? Indeed it does.
Are you decisive or indecisive as a person?

It depends on the question. Do you want a piece of cake? I’m very decisive. Do you want to take off tomorrow for an adventure? A million things immediately rush into my brain.
Why do people hold double standards?

Because they lack the ability to look at situations with the greater good in mind. People of power are the masters of double standards.


Inspired by Kristian and That Really Burns my Biscuits #10
What is your unhealthiest but guiltiest pleasure, and why?

Hands down binge watching mindless television because sometimes you just need to be numb.
What is your process for writing a new post for your blog?

Going out in the world and engaging with people. Human contact makes the best stories.
If you were asked to create a Top Fifteen Book List holding books that you felt everyone should read at least once in their life and would never regret reading, what titles would you include?

The Four Agreements
All of David Sedaris’s books.
Autobiographies or memoirs that were written by someone you admire.
Goodnight Moon
All of Anne Lamon’s books.
Poems by Maya Angelou
A Boy, the Mule, a Fox and the Horse
A Gift from the Sea

How important is it for you to know a person’s real name?

It never occurred to me, so I would say it’s unimportant.

[Be this online, offline, social media, or blogging]
When at school, what were your top five subjects that you were passionate about?

5?! English, gym, lunch, art, music

Why was this – what did you love about them?


They were not as restricted as the other subjects.

Are those five subjects still present in your life today in any form?


Hahaha, yes, especially gym, lunch, art, and music.
With regard to the paranormal, do you choose to not believe because there is nothing to believe or because you feel it is safer to not believe?

I’m a believer to the fullest extent of believing.

Are you a non-believer or a believer? Same as above
How are you with meeting strangers/new people who might or could become new friends?

I’m a professional people meeter and friend maker.

Is there a process you adopt to identify if they are the right fit for you?


Yes. They must have a sense of humor and the ability to hold a deep conversation.

Today, The World Is A Better Place

We’ve been waiting most of the year for this! Oh no, not the day spent enjoying delicious food in the company of those we love most in the world. Not to say this isn’t nice.

I’m talking about the birth of my very first grandchild. Drum roll, please …

Little Miss. Olivia Marie arrived on 11-23-22 at 4:00 a.m., weighing 7lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long. Immediately making this world a better place. Yesterday, If you thought, wow, the sun seems just a little brighter, you know why.

Mommy, Daddy, and Olivia are all happy, healthy, and anxiously waiting to go home to big brother Calvin. He has paws.

I did learn quite a bit more about my son over the past few days. The most evident is he did not, I repeat, did not pay attention in any form of a health education class. Ever.

Whew! His ADHD was front and center on Monday night when I inquired if mommy was dilated, and he responded, “what does that mean?” I can hear your gasps.

I made the mistake of asking again on Tuesday afternoon when he informed me she had contractions and received an epidural.

Me: Any word on how dilated she is?

Daddy: I told you, I don’t know.

Me: I know, but that was yesterday, and now she’s having contractions.

Daddy: I’m not asking. I was already yelled at for yawning.

That seems about right.

Me: Have you heard the words 2, 3, or 4 centimeters come out of the mouth of any medical professionals in the room?

Daddy: Oh yeah, she was 2 centimeters a few hours ago.

Still giving me gray hairs.

The rest of the day was spent jumping every time my phone notified me of a message. I am officially a trained rat.

Hours passed without a word. So, this soon-to-be grandmother, and not a pushy mother, assumed the silence meant things were progressing nicely and I would hear any minute. What’s that saying about assuming? Yeah.

I finally received a text around 9:00 p.m. that went like this:

Daddy: Every movie ever made with a birth scene is a LIE.

Me: For the record, so are the death scenes and crime solving.

Daddy: My back is killing me from this chair. The food is awful, and I can’t sleep.

Someone, hold my glass; it’s about to go down.

Me: Have you said any of this out loud in the room?

Daddy: I’m not on a death wish.

Me: How is mommy?

Daddy: She’s doing good, uncomfortable, but good.

Me: Great! Be patient; I know it’s difficult for you. Once Olivia arrives, you’ll forget about all of this.

Daddy: I will never forget this concrete slab they call a bed. I love you!

Me: I love you too!

I don’t have a concrete slab for a bed and still didn’t sleep wondering how things were progressing. I woke up at 4:30, jumping out of my skin to send a text.

Me: Is everything ok?

Daddy: Yes, her water broke at 1:30, and Olivia arrived at 4:00 a.m.

My phone rang with a Facetime call, and by 4:34, I was looking at my wide-eyed granddaughter after just 34 minutes of entering this world. She was nestled in her mother’s arms while my son gushed with joy. Clueless at how lucky he is lucky to be alive.

I have a lot to be grateful for each and every day. Including this Thanksgiving that looks much different than the ones pre Covid when my house was busting at the seams, with loved ones, food, and laughter.

This year it’s the hubby and me going for a morning walk, maybe on the beach, enjoying an early dinner at our table for two, and heading out to meet our first grandchild for the first time. The bar has risen!

Enjoy the Ride like it’s Thanksgiving every day.

Gobble Gobble.

What In The What?

One of my early childhood dreams was to be a mailman. I say “mailman” because when I was a kid, women were busy being housewives. We did not have “carriers”; we had “men.”

To this day, I can’t explain my attraction to this career path, but if I were to guess, it was probably all of the “hello, how ya doings?” Everyone loved to see him heading down the street.

What was not to love? He was the bearer of cards celebrating special occasions, letters from loved ones, and an occasional check. A celebrity every day.

Don’t get me started on the idle chitchat with folks on the route or an unplanned life-saving event due to mail piling up and actually noticing. I do this now for free.

We’re not going to discuss the bills; they were a given.

I was probably deterred by the rain, snow, and sleet motto, only to find out when writing this essay that it was all a LIE.

The U.S. Postal Service has no official motto. Nope, it’s not this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” But we certainly appreciate the sentiment.

US Postal Service

No doubt I heard “gloom of night” and said, “I’m out!”

Anyway, fast forward to yesterday when I went to the post office to mail a package containing a book. The book recipient informed me of a book rate that cuts the shipping cost. Who knew? Not me.

However, I was not informed then that an FBI-like interrogation went along with using this discounted rate. Folks, there is always a damn price to pay!

As always, I waited in line for the lone over-worked employee to address me.

Me: I want to mail this box at the book rate, please.

Overworked employee: Is there a book in the box?

Me: Yes

OE: Is there anything else in the box?

Me: No

OE: Is there a card in the box?

Me: No

OE: A letter?

Me: Um, no.

OE: Chocolate?

Me: There’snothing else in the box.

OE: Ok, fine. Can I get you anything else?

Me: Yes, can I get two books of Christmas stamps?

OE: Which ones?

Me: Not the religious ones, the other ones.

OE: The Elves or the Otters?

Me: One of each, please.

OE: You know they’re brown?

Me: What’sbrown?

OE: The Elves.

Me: (Looking at the stamps.) They’re Elves.

OE: Yeah, but they’re brown.

Me: Elves aren’t real.

OE: I know; I’m just saying they’re brown.

Me: So are the Otters.

I got my tracking receipt, turned around to leave, looked into the dead stares of a long line of people, and went my merry way. What in the what?

Enjoy the Ride!

Knock, knock

I had quite the encounter this week at work. It was love at first site. No, my husband shouldn’t be concerned, well maybe a little.

The door opened mysteriously. I didn’t see anyone at first, but then a tiny hand appeared on the window. I had to get up and look down to realize the cutest little boy trying to get my attention.

When I opened the window, I was greeted by, “Hi, my name is Merrick, my birthday is January 13th, and I’m 5 years old. He really did have me at hello.

He presented himself with purpose and eyelashes for miles, quickly capturing my attention.

Considering his excess energy, we had the pleasure of keeping him busy while his mother was taking care of business. A dream come true for me.

It turned out that little Merrick is an aspiring entertainer, stand-up comedian to be exact, and he hit the jackpot because I am the perfect audience.

The show started after we drew a dinosaur and colored it with what I thought was a green crayon. However, I was corrected and informed that it was, in fact, asparagus, followed by an introduction to the spinach and celery crayons in the box. Alrighty then …

Showtime for me began when he signed our artwork with “Poop” in all capital letters. I asked, “Is Poop your artistic alter ego?” I don’t think he heard anything other than “poop.” Unless the big laugh that followed was a yes.

Boys and the joy they get from saying, writing, and hearing the word poop remains a mystery.

Once he started his set of knock, knock jokes, there was no stopping him. At one point, I thought I was watching a blooper reel. He could not keep it together to deliver the punchline, but in reality, that was the best part of the show. Robin Williams reincarnated.

I’ll leave you with one he closed the show with before his mother came to collect him.

Who’s there?

Knock, knock

Who

Who, who?

What are you, an owl? Falling off the chair, grasping for air from laughing.

Merrick was much more than an aspiring comedian; he was a reminder that life is too short not to stop and appreciate the joyful innocence of a knock, knock joke,

Enjoy the Ride!

Where’s Rosie?

Here we are on election day 2022. There was a time in my life when I thought by 2022, the state of my world would consist of a robot maid named Rosie, a cute space dress, and a jetpack to get to the office. Nieve or wishful thinking?

Instead, my world is filled with negative news on every channel, children shooting children, endless wars, a Supreme Court that has lost its way, and half-assed celebrities looking to fill seats in the most important houses in our country. What the actual f*#@k is happening?

Oh, and did I mention the lies upon lies, corporate gouging, misinformation, and division? Well, now I did.

All elections are important, but this one is personal to me. In just a few weeks, I will welcome my first grandchild, a baby girl, to this hot mess society. How can I not be concerned for her future?

I’m sure historically, my sentiments crossed the minds of many soon-to-be grandmothers before me, but this time it’s different. We’re not fighting for the future; we’re fighting for what we had in the past.

How is it in 2022 that a granddaughter will be born with fewer rights than her grandmother, mother, and aunts who came before her? There is not a mother in the world who wants this to be true, not one.

In my lifetime, the “horror” of Roe v. Wade has loomed over my head. Literally decades. It has been a never-ending story told by a select group of white men for division and political leverage. Talk about losing sight of something.

Our leaders, former leaders, and wanna-be leaders have been out on the campaign trail screaming our “democracy is at risk” or “inflation is through the roof” Really? This is all you got? I guess the powers-to-be have decided that the American people can only handle 2 catchphrases, so here we are. I’ll just be here shaking my head.

Meanwhile, the bodily autonomy of an entire GENDER of human beings is under siege. Our existence is at risk. I guess that doesn’t sell as well as democracy and gas prices. Dumbing us down one election at a time.

The word democracy comes from the Greek words “demos,” meaning people, and “kratos” meaning power; so democracy can be thought of as “power of the people”: a way of governing that depends on the will of the people.

So, what am I going to tell my granddaughter? Well, first things first, I’m going to cast a VOTE.

Once she arrives, I will introduce her to nature’s artwork. The ocean, flowers, trees, rivers, and mountains. I will ensure that the beauty in her world outweighs the negative dialog. I will tell her she is strong, kind, and loved beyond measure. I will let her know her voice matters. She matters. I will hope that her future is filled with opportunities and choices. Most importantly, I will love her unconditionally.

Enjoy the Ride with the WILL to protect the freedoms of all the females in your life.

The Show Must Go On

Just sitting here pondering about life. Concluding that, if nothing else, it’s engaging as we navigate through our individual and collective journeys. I say collective because we’re in this together. Who’s crossing your path today, and why?

Have you ever viewed life as a movie with yourself as both the writer and star? I have.

Of course, there will be significant co-stars. At the same time, God, the universe, creator, or whatever term you refer to as a higher power is trying to direct scenes that include, I don’t know, millions of extras and a storyline that changes daily. Spielberg gave it a hard no.

It all started when I began recognizing a pattern of who I was attracting onto my set. Yes, we’re sticking to the movie theme here. My awareness heightened when someone or something got under my skin. Ugh, what is it? Why are you so f@#$ing annoying?

The answer is simple and complicated. Oh, you thought it would be easy too?

Remember the millions of extras and those co-stars? Well, they play crucial roles in our stories, some more than others, but they’re all critical in their own way. It’s no accident they auditioned.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the disgruntled cashier, a family member, a boss, or someone in between. If they show up, I ask myself whether they’ve been cast as my mirror, a messenger, or a teacher. A memo from the director would be nice; just saying.

The other plot twist to remember is that everyone you encounter is also starring in their own movie. What could possibly go wrong? Without ever being in Hollywood, I think it’s safe to say things can go wry when too many stars are on the stage. Why? Well

We’re all walking around the studio lot we call this world with unhealed wounds while our particular audiences sling salt at them daily, provoking us to choose between reacting or learning. It’s not a Hallmark movie out there, folks.

So far, I’ve realized that our movies do not include stunt people, which is sometimes unfortunate but necessary if we want that blockbuster; we have to feel the bumps along the way. They don’t call it growing pains for anything.

Another important lesson learned is improvising or using our free will during production makes it very difficult for the director to navigate the script. Ego is always trying to steal the show.

So, until we allow the spotlight to shine on us with certainty, the problematic scenes in our movie will play on a loop until we decide to heal or learn. It’s all about the light.

This perspective has allowed me to view my movie more transparently and ask the director for guidance; this has led me on a path to winning the Best Picture award.

Enjoy the Ride!

Innocence In Motion

We headed over to the beach on Sunday. I was on the fence about going since the heat index was over 100, and lord knows we wouldn’t be alone. In the end, I packed up and headed out.

The next decision was which beach would be worthy of our chairs. We decided on the McBride Beach Bath House in Cape Henlopen State Park. This was named after Senator David McBride, who served in the General Assembly for 42 years. I don’t know; maybe that warrants his name on a beach.

Anyway, this area was beautiful and occupied by families. Young, old, and, in between, enjoying their vacation. Making memories.

I’m not going to lie. I was not jealous when I saw them schlepping all that gear across the sand. I served my time in the beach schlepping department. Now it’s just me and my chair.

To date, we’ve visited The Point and Gordons Pond beaches, where dogs definitely outnumbered children. Both of these areas have a different vibe. More of a just let me sit and enjoy the beach crowd. I’m grateful to have these options.

After 5 minutes and a toddler showing me his sand-covered spiderman, I knew we had made the right decision. I’ve been missing my adult children recently; this was just what my heart needed. Being in the presence of children brings joy to my soul.

We sat and watched sandcastles and motes constructed by the young fathers. At the same time, the mothers organized sandwiches and applied sunscreen to the children, who were excitedly running back and forth at the water’s edge. It was like being transported back in time.

My little spiderman buddy was busy being busy. I was getting tired just watching him running back and forth. His grandparents brought him to the beach to celebrate his 3rd birthday, and celebrate he did in a total 3-year-old fashion. Dinosaur bathing trunks, bucket hat, and more energy than all of us.

No doubt his grandparents slept well that night!

We moved our chairs closer to the water, which turned into a stage for two little beach angels. Out of nowhere, two little girls, tiny, with diapers peaking out of their bottoms, started dancing on the wet sand. One with wild curly hair and big blue eyes, the other in a leopard bathing suit, a white sun hat, and white hair to match, were dancing in circles like they were at Woodstock. Innocence in motion.

Watching the innocence of children forces you to take a step back from yourself and Enjoy the Ride.

Can I Get A Pound Of Love?

Love

I’m finally settled in at the new abode. Learning how to navigate traffic patterns, grocery stores, finding new medical providers, and a job has been, shall we say, an experience, but being near the beach has made all of this more tolerable. Salt air works wonders.

One thing I’ve learned for sure is this place is a vortex. Not the hellish whirlpool kind. This area is loaded with people that bring it to life with their energy. There’s a vibe.

I’m not sure if it’s a recipe of transplanted people mixed with the locals and a dash of vacationers for flavor or something else, but there is something extraordinary in the air.

Recently I met a woman who opened her hand to reveal a fist full of glass hearts. I was instructed to pick one, which I did with a smile. She is spreading love, literally.

Cupid and I got to talking, and she explained that since 2003 she has given out approximately 80,000 of these hearts worldwide. That’s a lot of love.

My face must have been saying, “Damn! That’s a lot of hearts/money.” Because without a word, Cupid explained that she purchases the hearts by the pound, and like everything else, the price has escalated. Come on! Gas is one thing, but love?

There was something about this exchange that I couldn’t shake. Over the next few days, the experience kept playing over and over in my head. I would pick up the heart several times daily, hoping for enlightenment. It was nagging.

Well, once again, the universe came through. This time in the form of a website. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this extraordinary woman has a website that came to my attention in a way that genuinely confirms there are no coincidences. Well done, universe, well done.

I couldn’t get to Google fast enough to check out her site. To my surprise, but not really, the first thing to hit my eyes was the statement, “Kindness is the Foundation of Peace.” It sure is.

At this moment, I was overcome with emotion. As some of you know, my mother passed in 2020, but she left this world with an exceptional last sentiment. “Be kind to everyone no matter what; this world needs kindness.” https://life-with-the-topdown.com/2020/12/17/be-kind-to-everyone-1926-2020/

Now, here I sit 7 days later, writing this essay, wondering what my next step will be in this world that desperately needs more kindness. Hmmm …

You can check out her story and more about her mission at https://www.radicalkindness.com. It’s proof that it doesn’t take much effort to impact the world positively.

Enjoy the Ride, with Kindness!

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