Author Archive: Life With The Top Down

Flying the Coop​

 

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Oscar & Felix 2018

Well, there have been some big things going on over here at the homestead, one of the most significant announcements is my baby bird has flown the coop. Gigantic sneakers all over my house will not be missed.

My son, along his longtime friend, moved into the hottest, young hip section of the city. Yes, I’m jealous.

These two young men have been friends since kindergarten, and have been opposite since day one, yet they never parted ways. The millennial version of “The Odd Couple.”

The key to their long relationship is they are both logical thinkers. Something tells me this will come in handy real soon.

My son is a tattooed free spirit who could never work in the confines of an office, he speaks his mind and has no problem living out of a laundry basket.  Jon is a neat, organized, corporate world young man who enters a room as if he is going to run for office. It’s an awkward feeling knowing my son is the Oscar of this duo. 

Of course, as a mother, I had concerns about these two living together, mostly because I gave birth to one of them and on occasion have had thoughts of causing physical harm over his living habits. Actually, too many to count.

The biggest challenge for them to date was purchasing everything from A to Z. I will admit I was close to setting up a wedding registry for them at Bed, Bath & Beyond. 

Speaking of the triple B mecca of home goods, my mother saves all the coupons “just in case.” Thank goodness! 

After one of our outings, she summoned me up to her apartment for the exchange. I was slipped a jammed packed, plain sealed manilla envelope. It was all very mysterious. Yes, yes I did question the contents.

Just as I was about to leave I was commanded to “sit down!” Things like this rarely end well.MV5BMTMzMzc1ODEyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMDY2MTU2._V1_

I did as I was told, and proceeded to listen to a sermon regarding her impending death, which according to her calculations based on a few hours of feeling bad at 91 years old, will be taking place before her birthday next month. What?! Honestly, the things I’ll endure for 20% off are alarming. 

No need to worry folks. The following day I asked how she was feeling and the answer was a firm “like Loretta Young.”

All the worry was worth it since those coupons saved a small fortune. But nothing was better than the look of horror on my sons face at the price of bath towels. It gave a whole new meaning to shock & awe. 

It’s been one week since the big move or as I like to call it “the beginning of a lower water bill” for me. I’ve done O N E load of wash all week! 

My son has called twice with chicken-related questions. How do you cook it? And is it still ok to eat? Whew for number 2. 

Everyone is still in one piece, and we’re all Enjoying the Ride into the next chapter.

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

Well, because unfortunately, it’s still relevant.
Happy 4th of July!

Life With The Top Down

31c32a1162447a8ac92a38fc195e2436If this gem doesn’t just scream my name, I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and overindulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of, he said she said while essential issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and Bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

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Got Teeth?

tooth-fairyWhen did filling in for the Tooth Fairy become part of my job description? Last time I checked my title was Surgical Coordinator/Everything else the office needs. I hung up my tutu years ago when my son lost his final fang.

Well, that changed about 3 weeks ago when someone left a couple of teeth in our waiting room. I’ll take a break while you read that over.

Now, perhaps this would be acceptable in let’s say A DENTISTS OFFICE, but I work for a Podiatrist/Foot & Ankle Surgeon, so an occasional cane, umbrella or jacket are the only things that should land in the lost and found. The jury is still out on how you can leave without your cane, he’s a doctor, not Jesus. 

So, I bet you’re wondering what one does in this situation. After the laughter of course. 

First, you start reminiscing with your co-worker about the other insanity that as left you speechless at work. Like that time a HUMAN turd was chilling in the hallway, and your office “manger” (trust me, those quotes are necessary) instructed you to call hospital security.  Umm, maybe maintenance would be better to handle this matter. That’s only one example for the quotes.

Just the thought of calling Security makes me laugh!

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Got teeth?

Ok, back to these missing fangs. If you, or anyone you know, have any form of artificial teeth, you know that they have either paid for their dentist’s summer home while putting his or her children through college, so it was imperative that we channel our inner Tooth Fairy to locate the owner. I was already thinking about how much I could get on eBay.

We had to break it down to who was sitting in that area of the waiting room. Next, it was concluded that I would not be the best candidate to make the inquiries since I have no control over my inner 12-year-old boy who finds this entire situation hilarious. Sad, but true. Then the executive decision was made that our office “manager” call all of our morning patients to see if anyone might be missing a thing or two.

Let me just say that listening to someone struggle through these awkward calls provided me with a great deal of entertainment. When I heard a woman had to check her purse, only to come back and say “no, I still have mine,” I knew the decision for me not to be involved was indeed the best decision. It really is the little things.

This story ends with no one claiming the missing fangs that sit on a shelf in our office as a trophy, and me continuing moving forward with the idea of putting them on eBay,

Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

 

 

 

​I’ve Got The Power

 

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Image via The Atlantic 

As if working with the public isn’t challenging enough on a daily basis, mix in the hostile climate of the world, a stretch of gloomy weather and an overbooked schedule. Such a joy.

 

I’m not sure what goes through the minds of some people before calling for a doctor’s appointment, but it’s evident to me after 20 plus years in this field, that plotting is involved. It should be a crime.

What happened to just picking up the phone and making the damn appointment? 1, 2 3

I’m not sure if our office number is written on a bathroom wall promising a good time, but that would at least explain why it rings off the hook.

On one particular day every time I answered whoever it was calling hung-up.

Ok, at first this was a welcomed break from listening to whining voices, but that quickly changed.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I heard a voice on the other end that left me speechless. Not an easy thing to do.

Me:  Good afternoon, Dr. Blank’s office how can I help you?

The Voice:  I’ve been calling and hanging up to get your attention. I need an appointment because my doctor, who I love dearly, is retiring. How long has this doctor been in practice? Does he know what he’s doing? My doctor was the chief of her department. I can’t believe she’ leaving me. He never came up for air, and I was paralyzed by the first sentence.

Me:  Gave him a salute with my middle finger and stopped listening. Thank goodness facetime is not available on landlines.

The Voice:  I’m having pain on the ball of my foot. I’m walking on rocks. It’s been going on for a year or so now, and I can’t take it anymore. Do you have anything tomorrow around 11:15? No, no you did not.

Me: No. Friday is the doctor’s surgery day. Our first available appointment is the week of July 23rd. Would you like to make an appointment? Please hang up; please hang up.

The Voice: JULY 23rd???!!!! I’m a cripple now. I need an appointment now. I can’t wait until July 23rd. No sir, you’ do not have a disability, you’re just an ass.

Me:  Well, sir, you’ve had this problem for over a year, but if it’s suddenly urgent, there may be other physicians in the area with more availability. Pleading in my head for him to take the bait.

The Voice:  I want to see this doctor. Why do I have to wait? Had to bite my tongue on this loaded question.

Me: The doctor is going on vacation which limits our schedule, and that is the first available for a new patient. Not that you deserve an explanation.

The Voice:  He’s taking a month of vacation? You, sir, are the equivalent to period cramps. 

Me: No, it’s a week. Do you want July 23rd or not? Feel free to add whatever expletives you feel appropriate. 

The Voice:  I guess. Is there a cancellation list? Finally, I can lower my finger and smile.

Me:  Oh, yes and patients do cancel so there is always a chance you’ll get a call. Bawhahahahahahahahahaha! NEVER EVER WILL YOU GET A CALL BECAUSE I HAVE THE POWER you complete and utter ASS. 

The Voice:  Oh great, let’s make the appointment. Hahahahahaha! 

Me: Name …

Avoid the POTHOLES and Enjoy the Ride! 

 

 

 

Panties To Poise Pads

The other night, a weeknight I might add, your friend here made plans with her bestie to see a local comedian that makes us both laugh at the level of tears. I wish he would have brought better eyesight instead! 

My bestie got the tickets without reading that the show STARTS at 10:45 p.m. I’m usually way into REM sleep at this time since I’ve been AWAKE since 4:45 a.m.

Then this Mrs. Magoo failed to notice the address of the venue. We assumed it was in Center City. NOPE! It was at an “upscale dive bar” under the El. (short for elevated train). Hookers, junkies and two middle-aged women out past their bedtimes. Suddenly I’m singing “two of these things is not like the others.”

After endless text messages back and forth trying to decide if going was worth our lives, we finalized the deal with “if we can’t get safe parking we’ll just come home.” Bam!

I head out of my house at 9:15 p.m. on a weeknight, put some 80’s Janet Jackson on the playlist, and channel my inner 23-year-old self to pick up my bestie. The difference between actually being 23 and the reality of being middle aged is I was doing wash before leaving the house.

As soon as my bestie gets in the car, she is happy to hear Janet Jackson doing her thang, and we start to reminisce about our “club days.” We concluded that our 23-year-old selves were either fearless, extraordinarily dumb or a healthy mix of both. 

At 23 we were getting into cars with strangers, at 54 we were worried about safe parking.

At 23 the only thing I had to do before leaving was getting dressed, at 54 I was making lunches and folding laundry.

At 23 I was deciding on which cute panties to wear, at 54 I was deciding between the regular or super-sized Poise pad.

At 23 leaving the house at 9:15 on a weeknight was acceptable, at 54 my son was asking me if I was “going through something.”

At 23 rolling in at 4 a.m., getting a shower and heading straight to the office smelling like vodka actually happened, at 54 it took me 3 days to recover from coming in at 2 a.m., and NO ALCOHOL was involved.

35050245_10216760984636614_2002395649831600128_nThankfully, this section of “under the el” was an up an coming millennial hub of coolness. The venue was, in fact, an “upscale dive bar” as described. Low lighting, sparse seating, but our feet didn’t stick to the floor, so all was good in the hood. The crowd was an excellent mix of ages with the same sense of humor. The comedian, Aunt Mary Pat did not disappoint as we laughed from beginning to end leaving us with sore cheeks and permanent smiles.

YOLO! Keep Laughing and Enjoy the Ride! 

 

World Peace Is In The Kitchen

IMG_0835Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 15th Annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation with members from my Quaker Meeting, and it was an enjoyable experience. This country could use one of these on a daily basis.

The theme for the walk this year was “Recognizing the One in All of Us.” This is appropriate for many reasons, in and out of religions.

Although this is something that has been going on for 15 years, it was my first, but certainly not my last. There is just something fulfilling about being surrounded by a group of like-minded folks that energizes me in a way I cannot put into words.

We started our journey at the Arch Street Meeting House in old city Philadelphia. The Meeting room was filled with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i, secular humanists, and others who share the values of peace and justice.  We sat in silence, as we do in Quaker tradition before heading to the streets.

Our first stop was the Society Hill Synagogue where we were greeted by members lining the entrance. Musicians were playing inside that filled the room with joy. The Rabbi welcomed all of us with prayer and a dash of humor. We then enjoyed a musical prayer performed by the Philadelphia Sikh Society youth group. A reading by Philadelphia Youth Poet Laurite, Husna Hashim, that rose the room to their feet in applause, and a Recitation from the Qu’ran by Muhammed Shehata from the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, which thankfully was translated for all of us to interpret. Notice the Rabbi & the Muslim embracing in the background. Who would have known ….

All throughout the walk, we were encouraged to use this opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone outside of our comfort zone and LEARN. Questions like “does your turban come pre-wrapped or do you do it yourself?” were not off limits. 

Just in case you were wondering they are not pre-wrapped and there are YouTube videos for guidance. According to his smile, I would say he was relieved at the lightness of my question. 

Once we left the Synagogue, we made our way back to the street and headed out for a 60-minute walk to Al Aqsa Mosque. We were greeted by the sounds of music compliments of a woman DJ wearing a hijab and Beats by Dre headphones. Something you don’t see every day.

The parameter of the facility was lined with the World Peace ballons in the above photo. It was indeed a site to witness. The air was consumed by the fragrance of dinner being made by the members of the Mosque, and dessert prepared by the Sikh community for all of us to share. All I can say is …. YUM!

As we were all settling in I took a moment to look around, I mean really look around at the oneness surrounding me.

I watched the men carrying out trays of food, and the women were not only directing where everything needed to go, but they were also getting annoyed if the men did not do it accordingly. Every woman reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The children were running around excited to have company in their “home.”Look what I can do! Look at me! Watch this! Free entertainment.

I realized that the ONE woman in our lives who insists you try her dish over the everyday meals made by the other women even though your plate is already overflowing exists in EVERY culture. You know who you are ladies. 

This was when I understood that the core ingredient to solving World Peace is FOOD. We really need to stop overthinking, start cooking and 

Enjoy the Ride!

 

Let It Be

Something told me it would be a good time to resurrect this post. Happy Easter and Happy Passover everyone.

Life With The Top Down

897d0d663d67107e77eed1f5f1615eceA couple of years ago I found a little pamphlet or should I say it found me that contained the keynote address given by Arthur Larrabee at the Friends General Conference Gathering of Friends, which was held back in 1998. If you weren’t aware, I attend Quaker Meeting every Sunday. It’s where I’ve regularly been going for the last 3 years to … well … get my peace on. 

One Sunday I entered Meeting very troubled. Things were beginning to get somewhat extreme in my head over a particular situation. It wasn’t good. I found myself sitting somewhere differently that day, but it was right where I was supposed to be, next to this wonderful little pamphlet. Psst…Lisa…sit here you need to see this now.

When I opened it up the words resonated so deeply that I found myself unknowingly crying. Whoa-simmer-down-nowI know right? I’m sharing this now because as I…

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Suddenly Is Sneaky Daily Prompt: Suddenly

via Daily Prompt: Suddenly

 

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Me & Mom 1968

The word suddenly indeed takes center stage with what is on my mind.  Friday, like every Friday,  is spent with my mom. Due to the nor’easter that hit the east coast this week, we decided to ditch our outside plans. Mother Nature had another idea for me. 

Our usual Friday consists of errands. Bank, bakery, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods, which means we are in and out of the car a lot. Well, I am. At 91 getting in and out of a vehicle is not an easy task, now add Macular degeneration to the mix, and it’s downright difficult. Not that this stops mom from giving it her best, but knowing her limits.

So, with our change in plans, I was able to spend some quality one-on-one outside of the car. This is where the magic happened.

Suddenly I felt our roles had reversed. Not that V hasn’t given me the opportunity to play worried mother with her in the past. Like the time she didn’t answer her phone, did not let my sisters where she was going or me, which led us to frantically drive to her apartment only to see her laughing around a table with her friends. We all looked surprised as she asked: “what are you doing here?” 

My NERVES!

Macular degeneration is something that little by little, but suddenly leaves you without full use of your eyes, something that has taken a toll on my mom physically & mentally. Just imagine having your independence pulled out from under your feet. 

Now, my once never asking for help independent mother before it was fashionable, suddenly has to have her daughters read her mail. Along with everything else in print.

After reading the mail on Friday, I had the pleasure of reading a letter to my mom. Not just any letter, a letter from a friend, who just happens to be an avid reader and recently read an incredible book about Jackie O., her sister Lee and mother Janet. Knowing my mom shares the same love for Jackie O, she created a CliffsNotes version for me to share. The highlight of the day!

Over the next few hours, we not only discussed the story in the letter, but it also opened the door to discuss all sorts of subjects, including, but not limited to the fact that very wealthy people are weird. Money does not prevent weirdness, but it can pay someone to brush it under the rug.

My mom insisted on making my lunch. Considering cooking and serving are the two things she can do independently I said yes. What was on the menu you ask? A grilled cheese cut into four squares, veggie chips, and applesauce. Suddenly, feeling five years old again felt terrific! 

As we were eating my mom suddenly got serious. Not the norm. Mom began explaining to me that she has been having more bad days than good ones, along with a lecture on the fact that people shouldn’t live this long. What?! 

I’m not naive. I understand that at 91 life has an expiration date, but for whatever reason, it suddenly became very evident. Maybe there was something in the cheese?

Suddenly I realized that my days of eating grilled cheese cut into four squares are limited.

Suddenly I realized the promise I made to marry my mom when I was 3 was not going to be fulfilled.

Suddenly I realized that my daily phone chats on the way home from work won’t be around forever.

Suddenly I realized I’m not young anymore and neither is the one person in this world who loves me the most.

Suddenly has a way a sneaking up on you, so make sure you Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

 

 

 

The Loom of Life Daily Prompt: Fabric

via Daily Prompt: Fabric

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Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the days when we were that fresh warm and fuzzy little piece of cashmere that was cooed and coddled at just the right moments? The answer is yes, yes it would be great.

Sadly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Instead, we must endure life. That’s right folks, our parents and the parents before them and so forth and so on had to make the brave decision to send their cotton balls out into the world to create their own fabric of life. One thread at a time.

I remember my days as a fresh little piece of lambswool, untethered by this thing we call life. Did you know that lambswool is the highest quality of sheep’s wool to be found? Yep, it’s the perfect combination of strong, smooth, flexible fibers just like the innocence of childhood, where everything is magical. Until puberty came along like a hot iron.  

Have you ever put a hot iron on a piece of lambswool? Well, the result was the teenage years, and it came in the form of acne, temptation, “love” and an attitude that included, but was not limited to, thinking I was smarter than, well, everyone older than me.

This is when my life turned into that love it or hate fabric polyester. Not the evolved polyester of today, I’m talking about the one that fell from grace once it went double-knit.  Better known as the lesson learning fabric. 

I spent over a decade living in this durable, lightweight, retaining my shape, easy to wash, flexible, but uncomfortable, unbreathable, cheap, ugly and highly flammable fabric. The keyword here is durable.

However, towards the end of my polyester days, I did recognize that when I blended with other fabrics such as rayon, I began to shine. The rayon in my life were work mentors and friends. 

Then ladies and gentleman, just as I reached my peak shimmer, marriage and motherhood wove its way right into this semi-retired jumpsuit to create the perfect blend of comfort and durability. Once again, let’s focus on the durability portion.

No one fully prepared me for all that this blend was bringing to the loom of life. All I can say is hallelujah Levi Straus for adding denim into the world of textiles. And a double hallelujah to the genius who decided to include lycra for flexibility. Can I get an AMEN?

s-l1000This blend of sturdy cotton warp-faced textile, with a dash of spandex, is precisely what is needed to keep a marriage alive, raise children, work full-time outside of the home while still maintaining a CEO status in the home.  Welcome to the 21st century. 

Now that my children are young adults, still living at home, and my marriage has reached a chapter that is one part wooing and another part tired as hell, I feel like I’m sporting the tattered, torn, stained yet sturdy burlap sack fabric look. Only Marilyn can pull of this look … seriously. 

Thankfully I feel like I still have some thread left on my spool ready for new experiences that can be woven right into my unique design.

Enjoy the  Ride!

 

Micro Adults

largeThe other day I was walking through Target looking for another hundred things to purchase aside from what I actually needed when I overheard a mother/daughter interaction.

The mother was walking ahead of the daughter, who could not have been more than 4 years old. Her micro fashion was on point, and her pink sparkle purse did not disappoint.

 

Mother:  Maddie, keep up you are too far behind.

Maddie:  I know. I’m really slacking today. This is what got my attention. How doe she know the term slacking? She’s just a peanut!

Mother:  You sure are slacking.

Maddie:  Mommy! You’re not supposed to agree with me.

Mother:  Well, you’re not keeping up with me today.

Maddie:  I know that, but you’re supposed to tell me it’s ok that I’m slacking.

Mother:  It’s not ok.

Maddie:  I know that, but I don’t want you to say it because I already know it.

Mother:  Speechless

Me:  Good luck.

This made me take pause. What was I doing at Maddie’s age? Probably eating dirt or glue. 

Not looking like a miniature rock star that’s for sure. I just wore what my sister wore but in a different color.

Not using words like slacking.  I don’t think it was in the dictionary yet.

Not having an adult conversation with my mother in the middle of a store. I did not speak adult at age 4, and we did not go to stores.

Honestly, I don’t think I could handle the likes of  Maddie in my house. It was hard enough trying to control real children, let alone a micro adult. Yes, Maddie, once upon a time, in the United States of America, kids were second-class citizens, and they were all the better because of their status.

Without sounding like a complete fart who thinks things were better “back in the day,” I’m going to go out on a rooftop to scream it loud and clear today.

Parents need to take a step back to realize that their only function is to raise their youngins to be solid citizens. Not superheroes.

They don’t have to be the best student or athlete. They do not need to be micro adults. They do not need to be held up on a pedestal 24/7.  It’s “ok” to be second. 

They just need to be a benefit to the world, and believe it or not there is a straightforward lesson plan. Consistently treat others the way you want to be treatedBam! Mission accomplished. 

Now, let me go find that rooftop before the Maddie’s of the world take over.

Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

 

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