The Pain of a Pleasantry
How are you? It seems easy enough, but it’s a farce. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t answer honestly. My automatic response is, “good, how about you?” Lies, all lies.
Over the years, I’ve learned that this can be a loaded question, especially sitting at the front desk at a doctor’s office. The elder community can be real comedians when they’re hit with this question; responding with “well, I’m vertical” or “how much time do you have?” without missing a beat always made me laugh, so I guess it has some good qualities. Take your show on the road, folks.
It comes down to the fact that this question is nothing more than a pleasantry. If we all answered it honestly, nothing would ever get done. The world would be one extensive therapy session after another. There aren’t enough sofas to handle that.
I take this question to another level, especially from someone I genuinely care about. The world’s weight could be on my shoulders, but I’ll never burden them with the truth. “I’m fine” is my go-to response because it’s easier than reality. Child trauma in the house.
I’ve learned that this is a conditioned reaction, and I’ve been trying to unlearn it over the years, but some situations arise where clamming up is more comforting than spilling my guts. Ironically, those closest to me know when I’m a clam, so I’m not even good at it; I just think I am. I’m such a Pisces.
Breaking these dysfunctional habits is a process and a long, complicated one at that. As always, recognizing the problem is the first step. Next is the unlearning process.
One of my favorite quotes on this subject comes from the book “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse” by Charles Mackesy.
I wonder if there is a school of unlearning?
Recently, I took an accelerated course in unlearning. Have you heard of it? Oh, it’s crazy, and the class comes to you at the most inappropriate time. I was driving on a busy highway to see my granddaughter. My sister called, and I suddenly thought I was dying while we talked via Bluetooth. Oh, yeah, it’s called accelerated for a reason.
I pulled over and listened to my sister recite breathing instructions, prayers, and pearls of wisdom for almost 2 hours before my son arrived.
So, back to our original programming. The reason I hate to be asked, “How are you?” It’s a trigger. Yep, three little words sure know how to pack a punch. While I get back to doing my best to openly communicate my emotions without the fear of judgment or criticism, please, take the time to Enjoy the Ride!
Share Your World 2023
Considering I only have one day under my belt in 2023, I will do my best to share.
1. Did you stay up to see the New Year?
I did not see 2023 roll in here in the United States. However, a friend in Italy posted the entire shebang 6 hours before via FaceBook. I watched the fireworks and enjoyed an incredible outdoor concert. So, technically I did stay up. This would hold up in a court of law with the right lawyer.
2. Are there any special occasions or events coming up in 2023 for you or your family?
I have four milestone birthday celebrations this year. Three occur in the year’s first half, and the last is at the end of 2023. Last year broke the bank with three weddings and a baby.
3. Do you keep a diary?
No, but I keep a gratitude journal that I hope to become more consistent with this year.
4. How did yesterday differ from January 1st, 2022, or was there n difference?
It was dramatically different. Last year we were in an apartment in Pennsylvania. It was raining, and I took down all of my decorations. This year I am in a new home in another state. The weather was unusually warm and sunny. I went on a 4-mile hike exploring an area of the state park that’s beauty left me stunned, followed by a stroll on the beach where I put my toes in the water.
Gratitude: Be Kind
Hallmark, Are You Listening?
Here we are, a week away from celebrating our first Christmas in our new home, and when I decorated the tree, I reflected on the 30 that preceded this one. My tree truly tells the story of a life lived well. Time flies.
I took a stroll down Candy Cane Lane to reminisce on the many phases of Christmas we experienced over the years. Whew, that was a journey.
Our first together was nothing short of a corny Hallmark movie. We shopped for the perfect tree and decorated it together, sipping cocoa while Christmas music played in the background. It’s not corny when you wear a new pair of love goggles.
Then we added back-to-back children, and that Hallmark movie quickly turned into a comedy. Early on, the kids didn’t get the concept, and there was no enthusiasm in the room unless you count mine. Hey, someone had to do it.
When they were 3 and 4 and aware of everything about Santa, mainly how that naughty and nice list worked, giving Mr. and Mrs. Claus permission to threaten their young for a good two months, things turned around. We didn’t make the rules; we just played along.
I enjoyed the Santa years. The wonder and excitement on their faces can always make me smile, along with the homemade ornaments that adorn my tree today. Even the one-eyed reindeer and faded baby Jesus make the cut.
My favorite years were when the kids wanted something so badly that they were willing to sacrifice everything. Nothing else in the world mattered to them at that moment. It was a pink Razor flip phone for my daughter, and for my son, it was an ATV. Let the games begin!
Santa and the Mrs. correction, mostly Mrs., made these dreams come true. The strategic planning that this required was on another level, all while doing everything else life needed. The search for the item, working the numbers, the deadline, pulling off the delivery to make a dream come true, and then, during the presentation, pretending like it was a piece of cake. Forget college degrees; hire a mother.
The teenage years transitioned into the smaller boxes, more significant price tags, or cash-only please phase of Christmas, which felt more like a transaction than a holiday. It was tough for this Cristine Cringle, so the dogs were often dressed as reindeer. Hey, someone had to keep the spirit going.
When significant others entered the picture for a stretch, the spirit resurfaced. The excitement of surprising a mate and the joy of finding “just the right gift” ignited some of that old wonder. Things were merrier.
Then the necessary years rolled in, aka the return from college. There was something special about having two self-proclaimed adults back in the house asking Mrs. Claus for gift cards for food, gas, or beer. No worries, I also included socks, underwear, and laundry detergent to add some cheer.
The independent adult stretch has been long and all over the place. It’s all about family, friends, living spaces, or traveling, leaving Mrs. Claus with the option of home decor or travel bags to fill the sleigh. Does Mrs. Claus have a retirement age?
This year we’re entering another new phase of firsts-first Christmas in our new home. First Christmas as grandparents, First Christmas for our granddaughter, and first time in 31 years, it’s just the two of us again.
We didn’t shop for the perfect tree; our old one is already perfect. The “we” in decorating became I many moons ago, and the sipping hot cocoa was replaced with meeting my daily water intake. However, the Christmas music still played in the background, and the love goggles were still in place, sporting a few scratches on the lenses. Now that’s how Hallmark should do it.
Enjoy the Sleigh Ride!
There Goes That News Van
Well, it has finally happened. The moving blues might be settling in over here. I must confess that I miss my Local Newscasters, Meteorologists, and network. A LOT!
I have been watching WPVI, Channel 6 ABC, my entire life, so it’s a big deal to start watching other anchor people at this stage of the game. I feel like I’m cheating.
This isn’t a new feeling, but unfortunately, it’s a permanent one this time around. While on vacation, I was often left with that UGH feeling while watching local news channels. But then I got to go home, where my cool newscasters lived!
Maybe it’s just culture shock. Just thinking out loud.
I’m accustomed to the daily morning banter between the news desk, weather, and traffic reporters. They were the perfect four to send me off into the day. Not to mention easy on the eyes and fashionable.
Not that I want to be judgy Judy over here, but dear lord, stop giving me so much ammunition. All I’m going to say is I may never watch another weather report in my life. Dramatic? Well, a little.
Now, I’m not yearning for negative news, but there needs to be a gentle transition from overnight shootings directly to hampster rescues being “Big Stories.” A robbery? An accident? Throw me a bone.
If I heard this story once, I heard it 20 times in the course of the morning news. Along with the other “big” story regarding the opening of a Lavender Farm. This was day one.
Honestly, though, I can’t imagine the words “murder” or “shooting” coming out of the 16-year-old news anchor’s mouth. She was definitely hampster rescue appropriate and cute as a button.
After scanning around the other channels, which is another challenge that frankly requires a YouTube tutorial, I located a group that I might, just might, be able to tolerate. How is ABC not ABC just two hours down the road?
One thing that is holding me back from a true commitment is the anchorman’s name. I know it must sound petty, but is it? His name, you ask, is Jimmy Hoppa. See!
How often has he been asked, “did you say, Hoffa?” I don’t know whether to laugh or be impressed. So far, laughter is winning.
The silver lining is I have no idea what is going on in the world. Not a damn thing! But I know where to take unwanted hampsters and find lavender soap if anyone is interested. Hit me up.
I’ll be depending on my fellow bloggers to fill me in on important news like a meteor heading to earth, a mass awakening in D.C., empty seats on a UFO, or if something other than a hampster rescue needs my attention. Please write about it before the WiFi goes out.
Enjoy the Ride!
“It’s a small world.” How many times have you heard this in your lifetime? I remember my parents saying it and thinking, “What are you talking about?” Now, here I am saying it at least twice a week! It’s official, I’m my parents.
The community had a huge yard sale on Friday and Saturday at the new abode. According to the neighbors, this is a twice-a-year function that is heavily advertised and equally as popular. Perfect timing for this professional box unpacker.
The weather was damp and rainy, but that did not stop the crowds. Yes, crowds. I made a good chunk of change selling crap left by the previous owners and some of my own crap. I’m very close to getting a “less is more” tattoo or t-shirt.
This lovely couple, Frank and Joanne, stopped by to browse yesterday. There was an instant connection. They had a good sense of humor, especially Frank’s quick wit. People could have been shoplifting, and I wouldn’t have noticed.
As we were exchanging backstories of how the hell we wound up in Lewes, DE, Joanne was surprised to learn that I had never vacationed in this area. I explained I’m a Jersey Shore girl, Ocean City. NJ, to be exact. Her parents lived in Ocean City, NJ.
I explained that my husband was familiar with this area through his job, and my only introduction was when we looked at this house. Now she is intrigued.
Joanne, “How do you just move to a place you’ve never been to?”
Me, “I don’t know, but here I am.”
Frank, “Wow, there’s more than one!”
Me, “You know someone else who just packed up to Lewes?”
Joanne, “Yes, our dear friend from college. She just called me one day and told me her boys were all out of the house; they sold their home in Villanova and bought a place in Lewes.”
Frank, “I asked her if she bought it on Amazon because she never asked us to check it out or inquired about the area.”
Joanne, “We couldn’t believe they made such a big purchase without a second thought.”
Me, “I looked at Frank’s Mount St. Mary College sweatshirt while Villanova and boys ran through my mind when I asked, wait a minute, what is your friend’s name?”
Joanne, “Marie _______ _______.”
Me, “WHAT!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
Frank, “You know Marie?”
Me, “Yes, we were paralegals together back in the day and work besties.”
All of us, “OMG! It’s such a small world!” Along with laughter.
Frank takes out his phone, captures a photo of the three of us, and sends it to Marie.
We are all meeting for Happy Hour on Friday!
Enjoy the Ride!
What’s Your Back Story?
Things are coming together nicely here at the new abode. Setting things up to make it our own. Incorporating some memories of the past with our new upcycled purchases. Facebook Marketplace is my new bestie.
I love the idea that our decor has a back story. Our Ethan Allen dining room set was formally residing in a “home” with a regulation-sized basketball court INSIDE next to the movie theatre. Oh, yeah, that was an, let’s just say, interesting transaction.
Susan, the woman selling this piece, interrogated me online like an FBI agent. I finally had to tell her that we are a middle-aged couple who are too tired to commit a crime, clean it up or run from it. Seriously, Susan!
When we arrived, she answered the door with her phone in her hand, air pods in her ears, and more than once, let us know that her husband was listening to the conversation. If fear were a person …
Once we passed her test, she started pushing other items for sale on us. Bye, Susan, bye-bye.
Needless to say, that experience left a mark, but humanity was restored when I hit the jackpot on a gorgeous 2-year-old retractable canvas awning to shade our enormous deck. I need to enjoy the deck, not fry eggs on it.
Anna had the most beautiful beachfront home in North Jersey and a heart to match. She was handing over this $14,000 plus awning, in mint condition, for a mere $700.00, and she threw in the custom-made cover to boot. She was no Susan, that’s for sure.
Maybe the salt air, her Italian heritage, or both made her so generous. All I know is Anna’s house was right out of Architectural Digest, and it was warm, welcoming, and filled with love. Her only request was a photo of us relaxing under the awning.
Next up, we needed some headboards. One, because we upgraded to a King mattress and handed the sleigh bed over to our son, and two, we now have extra bedrooms for when the kiddies visit. They better visit!
Once again, the Marketplace came through like a genie granting wishes. For $150 bucks, we landed two, like new, Ethan Allen twin headboards that match our existing dresser perfectly. The owner had them stored at Sprinkles, their ice cream shop, and gave us a cone of our choice on the house with the purchase. What more could we ask for at this point?
Well, I’m gonna tell ya. We still needed the king-sized headboard. The challenge was getting one that matched our cherry wood set without looking too Ralph Laurenish at our new beach location. Are you with me?
Just when I thought this would be an issue, Lauren, a young woman with a great sense of humor, posted the PERFECT piece for $100. She was posting for her mom Lisa, who we concluded was a fantastic person based on her name. Yes, my name is Lisa, so I know this to be true.
Today we are on our way to pick up yet another Ethan Allen piece. It is a beautiful cabinet, with a hidden desk for all our electronic devices/crap that we don’t want to expose. Amen!
This beauty has been for sale for four weeks. It is the last piece standing in a sold home that must be gone by tomorrow. Can you say deal of a lifetime?
I love the idea of second chances, backstories, and new beginnings, whether furniture or lifestyles; we can all Enjoy the Ride more than once.
Back in January, when we decided to move to another state, after 58 years of living not only in one state but one zip code, I knew things would be challenging. Correction, I did live in another zip code for the first 15 months of my life.
In October, we purchased a home to use as a second residence while renting our apartment at the complex I like to call “The Resort,” but the universe always has bigger plans. A heads up would be nice.
We landed at The Resort after selling our home of 30 years to our son and surrendering to the inflated, dog-eat-dog real estate market in our area. Sorry, you’re not getting my soul for a house.
A CURVEBALL ARRIVED just when I was getting used to the thought of weekend getaways and vacations at our home. BAM! A colleague of my husband’s announced his retirement in the same area where we purchased our home. He saw this as an opportunity served on a silver platter, while I saw more of a Taco Bell drive-thru moment. Yup, fear, and doubt were playing center stage.
I had more to think about in my defense, like leaving my job of 18 years. Oh, and let’s not forget MY CHILDREN. I compiled a list of excuses a mile long. I presented my case without a single dramatic courtroom moment and concluded that the jury had spoken; it’s time to pack your bags. Maybe it was just the thought of packing for the second time in a year.
Financially it was a no-brainer to make a move. Sentimentally, in my mind, it was just not happening. Meanwhile, I am the first to tell anyone, “why are you holding on to that?”
As the months and days went on, reality sank in that this was actually happening. But I just couldn’t trust that this huge life change was happening for me and not to me. Even though examples were in my face clear as glass every day, without fail. At this point, even the universe had its hands in the air.
What does a girl do when she just can’t seem to get a handle on trusting what’s best for her? Oh, she consults a Psychic. That’s right, folks, if Abraham Lincoln could do it, so could I. Google it; it’s a fact.
How did that go, you ask? Well, I’m currently sitting in my new home writing this post. We moved in over the weekend during a freak Nor’eatser storm. Drowned Rat Moving Company may be a new business venture.
All week I watched the weather report showing a Nor’easter with flooding rains and 50/60 mile an hour wind would be hitting the area. There couldn’t be a better metaphor for what I was leaving behind. Well played, Mother Nature, well played.
Typically I would have looked at this storm as “a sign” that we shouldn’t move. I’ve spent too much time and energy playing victim. Those days are over. Guess what else storms bring? SUNNY SKIES.
I’m entering this new adventure with an open mind, heart, and growth. This chapter is called: Knowing my Worth and Acting Accordingly.
It’s never too late to Enjoy the Ride!
Timing Is Everything
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!
Shit Show — Season 2 The Unveiling
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!
Dust Covered Purpose
I’ve always been an avid walker, trust me, I have the hooves to prove it! I proudly inherited this from my mother; she set this example early on, pushing my sister and me in a stroller all over town. Walking was the alternative when your husband took the car to work. Yes, there was a time when not every member of the house had a car.
So, with gyms closed during the pandemic, I was grateful to have my feet to keep me on the move. Sadly they weren’t moving quite as fast as my jaw!
Now, here I am, four months later, and much fuller than I was in March. Between the stress, anxiety, and bulk shopping, I’m just glad I’m not ready to audition for My 600 Pound Life. Look for those bright spots people.
My gym did open a week ago, but I’m not so sure I want to be in a closed box filled with sweat, or frying out on the blacktop parking lot for a workout just yet. So, what’s a girl to do? She got her creative juices flowing and found herself a used treadmill. Facebook Marketplace has some gems.
Ok, we’ve all been in the position where our intentions far outweigh our ambitions, I know I have. We buy ourselves home exercise equipment, and before long, they’re doubling as a coat hanger. Well, remember this, there is always someone ready to purchase that used like BRAND SPANKING NEW coat hanger for 149 dollars! One person’s exercise/coat hanger is another’s treasure.
At first, I thought 149 dollars, why not round it up? Weird, but ok. I dug a little deeper, zoomed in on the photos, and couldn’t get past the low price for this beauty. Hmm, does it work? What’s the catch? My inner Nancy Drew always surfaces, and she can’t help herself.
Well, after Nancy conducted a brief investigation, it turned out that the owner is downsizing from her MANSION, purchased the treadmill to keep active, and will not need it at her new home. Her headband probably cost more than what I paid for this treadmill.
SOLD! I Google the address and found out my purchase currently resides in a home that just sold for 1 MILLION DOLLARS. It was living in a room designated for treadmills for god sakes! I started to feel bad for an inanimate object.
I had to share this information with my sister. First, because she’ll see the humor of the situation, and secondly, I know she’ll have a comeback that will bring it home, so I shot her a text. “My treadmill is living on the Kardashian’s set, and is heading straight to Roseanne’s set!” Well, she didn’t disappoint with her response of “I bet your house will be a lot more fun!” Truth!
That statement got my wheels turning. Suddenly I’m thinking about PURPOSE. How the hell did I go from a dust collecting treadmill to living my purpose? All I know is I was walking my dogs, and it popped in my head. The universe has its way of making shit happen.
Ok here goes. My initial judgment about the treadmill was that it was somehow living better because it had a room in a million-dollar home, but it collected dust in reality. Talk about an Aha moment.
Is that what I’m doing? Am I collecting dust with my time here on earth? In the end the choice is ultimatley mine. So, what’s it gonna be? Am I going to be the french fry or the badass mf’ing seagull? Deep stuff.
No matter what you choose, always make sure you … Enjoy the Ride!
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