Let me get something out of the way right from the start. I have never had a teacher in a traditional school setting who I consider influential. Sorry, not sorry.
The first person to teach, influence or guide me through a learning process was Lawrence T., a partner in one of the largest law firms in Philadelphia. He was a man who perspired wealth with a reputation for being complex yet brilliant at his craft. For whatever reason, we clicked.
I was 24 years old and in the process of divorcing my high school sweetheart, who left me in a financial disaster. The mortgage company seizing my wages was only one of my many hurdles.
This time in my life was challenging, to say the least. I was trying to navigate selling a house, negotiating payments to creditors, and accepting that everything I believed to be true about love and marriage was a lie. I’m sure I was still doing laundry for my kids when they were 24.
Somehow, by the grace of God, that slate was cleared off in a little over a year when Lawrence T. approached me with an employment opportunity that would change my life, not because of the job, but the chance to replenish that emptiness with positive challenges. I was scared to take this plunge but had nothing to lose.
On my first day, Lawrence introduced me to the department in a way that had me looking over my shoulder, swearing he couldn’t possibly be talking about me. He handed me a title with all the perks without the formal education required. He convinced me that my experience outweighed any certification from an institution. He clearly saw something I never saw.
He gave me free rein to make decisions, which I was not accustomed to. I was drafting legal motions without any direction aside from the order. My face was undoubtedly asking, “are you insane?” because I was quickly told, “you know what to do; give it a shot.” I felt like a first-grader asked to do calculus.
Lawrence always used a Montblanc fountain pen, which was something foreign to me. I didn’t know anyone who used a fountain pen daily. I didn’t know they existed outside of signing the declaration of independence.
Over the next several months, I drafted many documents, and they were returned to me with so many revisions I was left thinking, “why not just write it yourself.” FYI: Those revisions stand out when someone uses a Mont Blanc pen.
This process continued until he walked into my office one day with a clean document, a big smile, and the words, “I knew you could do it.” I hadn’t felt that good since, well, forever.
While sitting here today, thirty-five years later, I was forced to remember what his influence taught me to do and recognize things within myself that had been beaten down by the world around me.
This daily prompt came at the perfect time. I haven’t thought about Lawrence or this blip of time in my life for quite some time, yet it was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the question.
There are no accidents. Thank you, Creator, for showing me the lesson I needed to see today.
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
Suddenly Is Sneaky Daily Prompt: Suddenly
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?”
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!
Verb: demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal.
This right here is the story of my life Monday through Thursday as I’m slaving away at my job in the healthcare industry.
I’m not sure what occurs before a potential patient contacts our office for an appointment, but it’s not a moment of zen.
I imagine more of a good look in the mirror for a one on one pep talk. “You got this!” “Pick up that phone and DEMAND to be seen TODAY because everything is ALL about YOU!”
The other explanation would be that they just live their every day lives like the entitled e’ffers they are, and this is their norm. This right here is the winner.
Me: Good morning Doctor’s office.
PITA: I need to be seen today around 1. Have you been eating your make-up again?
Me: Are you already a patient?
PITA: No! Bitch in the house.
Me: Did you have a trauma?
PITA: No! Ok, I see where this is heading.
Me: Are you a diabetic with a wound?
PITA: No! God help us all.
Me: Why do you need to be seen today?
PITA: I have a painful corn on my toe, and I’m leaving for Florida tomorrow. Tragic, absolutely tragic.
Me: Well, that’s not something we would consider an emergency.
PITA: But I’m in pain, and I have things to do before I leave. Sounds like a first world problem to me.
Me: You would be a new patient, which takes extra time and you do not have an emergency.
PITA: You mean to tell me you don’t save time for emergencies? Can you please Google emergency?
Me: Yes, we do, but your situation is not an emergency.
PITA: Being in pain isn’t an emergency? You are being inconvenienced, there’s a difference.
Me: Not the type of pain you’re experiencing.
PITA: Well, what am I going to do? I hoping for death.
Me: Call around to see if you can get in with another physician.
PITA: I don’t have time for that today. I told you I needed to come today at 1:00. Because you are who again?
Me: I’m sorry, but I already told you that would not be possible.
PITA: Huffing and puffing. The agony of defeat is music to my ears.
PITA: I guess I’ll have to try someone else since you don’t want to help me. Bye Bitch!
Me: Silence. CLICK! BAM! BOOM!
Enjoy the ride!
Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?
Hmm…this is an interesting question. The only time I even considered going to the ends of the earth for food was when I was pregnant. Travel, kill, maim they’re all the same … right?
All I know is when these hormonal tastebuds spoke, I listened. Womb service is no joke.
Every single day I HAD to have Kellogg’s Raisin Bran cereal or someone was going to die. Not in an OCD kinda way, but in a murderous sort of way.
Then there was the pasta salad served at a little place several blocks from my building that was as necessary as air during this pregnancy. Rain or shine, snow or sleet, I was getting that damn salad!
Anyone who has ever been with child, or in the presence of someone in this position, knows when the baby wants a ham & swiss cheese sandwich with mustard slathered between two pieces of Jewish rye, you better get it, even if it’s 8 a.m. Hormones do not wear watches.
At the time of my first pregnancy, I was working at a very large law firm in Philadelphia. I had the BEST secretary in the world. She was 100% Italian, which meant she knew how to feed the masses or me when necessary. If the baby started making ridiculous demands at random times during the day. She delivered.
She was my Foody Godmother.
One day I just mentioned a cake that I had at some point in my life, the next thing I knew her brother was standing at my desk with a bakery box. Bam!
If I wanted a juicy navel orange in the middle of February, which I did for most of the month, I got it. I didn’t ask questions, I just ate.
So, to answer the question: I wouldn’t necessarily travel for the best meal of my life, but I certainly would enjoy if it magically appeared on my plate.
Enjoy the Ride …
“What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?”
This question is by far one of the easiest I’ve ever had to answer. I am what some might consider an easy laugh and they’re right.
My answer to this question came on Friday, February 5th while sitting in, are you ready? the dentist chair. How many people can say that?
I’ve been going to my dentist for years. My mouth is a dental Disneyland so it’s a win/win. Always exciting, always something new, and always guaranteed cash. What’s not to love about that?
We really have a wonderful relationship, especially now that I’ve put both his children through college, and I’m currently helping him with a real estate deal in Center City. I’m such a giver … really.
Well, on Friday I was going in for a quick $418.00 visit. Off with the temporary cap, on with the permanent one. In and out. Nothing ever goes according to plan with this mouth.
As he was getting started he signaled his assistant to get the suction going, but something was off about the conversation. I could tell he was getting frustrated. Um because I was right there with my mouth opened like the Holland Tunnel listening.
Dentist: Are you hungry?
Me: I motioned “no” with my head. Since I had a hand, vacuum, and some sort of light in my mouth at the time. I followed up with a shrug which was my way of asking “why?”
Dentist: You seem to have a lot of saliva today. The suction can’t keep up. I’m about to bring in the wet vac.
Me: Lost it!
Dentist & Assistant: Lost it!
** The rest of this conversation took place through laughter, which just made it funnier, which led to yet more laughter.**
Dentist: Can you swallow?
Me: Not without drowning.
Dentist: Bite down on this. A small piece of cotton.
Me: You might want to get something more absorbent. Just the thought of a roll of Bounty in my mouth cracked me up.
Dentist: I hate to say this … rinse out.
Me: Practically crying with laughter.
Dentist: In my entire career I never had to change gloves in the middle of a procedure.
Me: Laughing at his now serious manner. Well, I got 99 problems, but extra saliva isn’t one of them.
Everyone: Uncontrollable laughter
Enjoy the ride!
By Hand Isn’t Always Dirty
Todays Daily Post Pens and Pencils asks the following:
When was the last time you wrote something substantive — a letter, a story, a journal entry, etc. — by hand? Could you ever imagine returning to a pre-keyboard era?
Well, considering I was born and raised in the “pre-keyboard era” it’s safe to say that I will continue to keep the art of handwriting alive and well in my circle. I love pens and pencils!
Just this week I wrote a note of well wishes to a sick friend and good luck wishes to friends who are starting a new chapter in their lives. I would consider both of these notes substantive, because they had the personal touch of the written word …. my words.
As a matter of fact, I can’t return from the pre-keyboard era because I never really left. I love giving and receiving a written note. I don’t care if it’s a simple “Pick up milk” on a post-it or a loving reminder inside a card that someone out there in the world is thinking of me on a special occasion. Handwriting Rocks!
Let me toot my handwriting horn now. My handwriting truly rocks because I went to Catholic school where penmanship was far more important than anything else on the planet. You haven’t lived until you completed an entire copybook of the handwritten alphabet!
My children, ages 20 and 21, will never ever master this craft. There are chickens in barnyards across America with better writing skills! Although my daughter had a brief stint with penmanship, my son had less.
He has voiced his dislike for my hand written notes claiming he struggles to read cursive, while insisting I print. I refuse to resort to wall drawings on his behalf!
At work I still have the pleasure of using a sharpened wood pencil, along with a date book that has real paper pages. Don’t faint.
I use these old school tools to schedule the doctor’s surgeries and I love it! Sharpened pencils make me smile, erasers … well, they make me smile even wider. Trust me, when you’re dealing with the public erasers are a dream come true.
Honestly though the pen and pencil people of the world have to have some empathy for this keyboard era. What are they going to do save a text message from their lovers on their phones? Ugh … that is just depressing.
I guess if they don’t know any different they’re really not missing anything. Ok, now that’s even more depressing.
I am grateful to have the skills to write a note; the ability to appreciate a written note; and the sense to frame a note written by my husband on our first anniversary. Husband and writing are rarely used in the same sentence.
This little beauty has acted as a reminder over the past 24 years on more than one occasion and I cherish its existence. It has also acted as a life saving tool more than once as well … just saying.
Doing things “by hand” isn’t as dirty as it sounds. So take a moment today to write a note and as always … Enjoy the Ride!
Save The Dust Bunnies
The Daily Post has a great subject line No Time To Waste.
Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.
Over the years I’ve heard this wonderful “Life is too short” line many times. But it’s not every day that a seasoned life liver crosses your path and hits you up with valuable words to live by. This happened back in my crazed mother of young children trying to “do it all” days. Ugh …. I think I just got a chill.
I was at the playground with my little angels when a grandmotherly type woman approached me. Apparently she recognized that I was dressed in stress from head to toe when she started a very important conversation. She obviously recognized this look.
This lovely woman began asking me about my children and motherhood in general. After listening to my ramblings about the pressures of having an endless messy house, she calmly stated: “Life is too short to worry about dust bunnies, you’ll have plenty of time to clean when your kids are grown.” Who was this woman of wisdom dressed in grandmother clothing? Gandhi? …. Yoda?
I often think about her wise words and pass them along to other young mothers on the brink of exploding from trying to DO IT ALL. She was so right!
Now that my kids are at an age were my needs no longer include pushing strollers, holding hands or driving from A to B and back again, I do have plenty of time to worry about those dust bunnies. But guess what? Now I’m at an age where a heard of full-grown dust kangaroos could hop over me and I wouldn’t care. Talk about a silver lining!
How would you fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.”
Save the Dust Bunnies and Enjoy the Ride!
When Crazy Ideas Shack Up…
Daily Prompt: The Excitement Never Ends
Tell us about the last thing you got excited about — butterflies-in-the-stomach, giggling, can’t-wait excited.
Well, recently I did something so far out of my normal realm I’m still not sure what came over me. Maybe I’m going through a little MLC of my own. Was I excited to jump into this venture head first? That would depend on your definition of “excited.” Did I have butterflies-in the-stomach? Um, it felt more like a flock of geese, but yes. Was there that giggling, can’t wait excited feeling? In my world there is always giggling, but in this case, it was the let’s just make fun of ourselves in order to survive kind of giggling, so yes, there was in fact lots of giggling.
I bet you’re on the edge of your seats wondering what the hell I’ve been keeping from you all……Drum Roll Please.
The answer is CrossFit (this is in red to signify the fires of hell I endure every time I attend class). If anyone is wondering “what the hell is CrossFit?” The official definition is: CrossFit is a strength and conditioning brand. CrossFit combines weightlifting, sprinting, and gymnastics. My definition is: CrossFit is a love/hate relationship that will push you to thoughts of self demise and euphoria in the same hour. CrossFit does not discriminate against any of your muscle groups, in fact, parts of your body will hurt that you weren’t even aware existed.
This all came to life after meeting a long-time friend for coffee. Maybe someone slipped something into our Lattes. My friend started telling me how she wanted to try CrossFit, which I never heard of and I shared that I wanted to try one of those Mud races….Muddrella to be exact, which she never heard of and this folks is how insanity was born. Two crazy ideas shacking up in the middle of a Starbucks produced a bundle of over zealous confidence that brought us to sign our lives away to a CrossFit facility.
You see, my dear friend and I are approaching milestone, or as I like to call them, “very special birthdays” soon. One of us (not me) isn’t venturing into this next chapter with the same vigor as someone else (me). You see, she confessed that this is the first Summer she hasn’t worn a bikini. Tragic, I know. She was looking for something challenging so she wouldn’t turn into “one of those hideous older people” as she so eloquently described it. She could never be hideous, but I knew exactly what she meant.
This conversation provoked me to do some math and I came to the horrific realization that this is my 21st year without wearing a bikini, along with my 5th year without wearing a bathing suit of any kind, so I think it’s safe to say that I was just a Christmas sweater away from a catastrophic level of hideous aging. YIKES! All I can say is … THANK GOD for whatever divine intervention led us to meet for coffee that day!
Yesterday we concluded our second full week of CrossFit and believe it or not we are both making significant strides. For starters we’re still alive! Everyone, including all of the young what the hell are you doing here with that amazing body guys and girls are very supportive of our endeavours. They encourage us, answer our questions and cheer us on one WOD (work-out of the day) at a time. It’s really nice having your own personal cheerleaders … a girl could get use to this love.
We are running, the actual verb form of running too, not the “I’m running to the store” adjective kind. We are also jumping rope. Do you have any idea what happens when middle-aged women run & jump rope? They begin to laugh out loud at the prospect of wearing a diaper and they actually start to justify it! Hey, Lisa Rinna wore one on the Red Carpet, she says so in the commercial!
We are lifting weights, dangling from gigantic rubber bands, contorting our bodies into positions we didn’t know were possible, but most of all we are having a great time….a very sore time, but a great time. No pain, no gain … right?
As of this morning I am 20.2 pounds lighter. Um, yes, she did include that .2. I am healthier, happier and more determined than ever to continue on this path of Non-Hideous aging. I think I feel a bumper sticker coming on…perhaps a t-shirt.
Honestly though, the best part of this whole journey has been spending time with my dear friend. We make each other laugh through our inadequacies while we celebrate our personal milestones, which to date include running without stopping and staying alive. Enjoy the Ride!
Why The Hell Not!
Daily Prompt: We Can Be Taught!
Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure – not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.
I have spent the majority of my life in self-doubt. What can I say, not everyone is blessed with the ability to ooze confidence from every pore. I must have stepped out of line when it was being distributed.
This weakness was nourished in my house and reinforced throughout my school years. Let’s just say I could totally relate to Jan Brady … Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! So there I was, without an ounce of effort, neatly placed in the shadow of my older sibling. I was cool and comfortable with no reason to face the heat.
When I look back, I realize that I did step out into the light on more than one occasion, but didn’t even take a minute to put on my sunglasses. I chose to squint and hurry back to that shady spot.
Over the years, I had the pleasure of being in the presence of some very good people, who little by little enforced my confidence, but none more so than my children. They allowed me to see the sun when that’s all I was able to see were the clouds. Hey, they thought I was the greatest thing since sliced bread because I knew how to tie my own shoes!
But unfortunately there were also those who just loved to remind me of my weaknesses, especially myself, which left me overvaluing my lack of confidence and undervaluing my badassness, until one day when I was suddenly forced to unleash all of me on the world. An emotional Tsunami if you will.
I was faced with fighting a battle on behalf of my daughter, after quietly being told by the school psychologist (we will be using that term very lightly) “Mrs. G. your daughter will NEVER go to college.”
Her educational future was as stake and no one was going to take that away….willingly. My daughter believed I could do anything and lord knows I wasn’t going to let her down. Have no fear…Underdog a/k/a Mom is here!
Although I gave myself permission to spend a good amount of time silently sitting in the shadows, no one was going to force my daughter to do the same…she deserved the opportunity to shine and someone else’s low standards of her abilities were not going to stand in her way. Do not Ef with my cubs!
So there it was, bigger than life…the LESSON. Up until this point I spent my life believing that being the underdog was a FAULT and all along it was a GIFT. Never underestimate the quiet one sitting in the shadow, our sparkle is contagious.
I will always treasure that time in my life, not because of winning the battle although it felt pretty good, but because of the look on my daughter’s face when we went on our first college tour. Priceless!
We were walking on the campus of Lebanon Valley College, on a sunny freezing cold day, when she just stopped in the quad and said “Mom, I can really see myself here.” There it was, smack in my face, my daughter was shining in her own light. I just put my shades on and thought damn straight you can…Why the Hell Not!
I am proud to say that this Fall she will be entering her junior year … still shining strong.
Never let anyone dull your sparkle … Enjoy the Ride!
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