Recently, a friend was going through a medical issue and gave what I like to call “the runaround,” having to go from one doctor to the next and shelling out co-pays all along the way. Without thought, I told her Peace of mind is costly.
Later, when the dust settled, she asked me how I came up with that response. This really made me pause since, well, I had no idea. It just came out of my mouth without an ounce of thought. That’s usually where the truth lies.
The truth is I don’t think I’ve ever had Peace of mind, in the true sense. Being born into a household with an older parent, a lot of my childhood was spent worrying about death.
I was 10 years old when I realized my dad was older than my best friend’s grandmom, and in that instant, my carefree childhood began worrying about the future. Fear is so much cheaper than Peace.
If you were wondering, my dad died when I was THIRTY-ONE.
This pattern of worry or fear of the future has been with me for a long time. It didn’t get buried with my dad; it followed me into each phase of my journey. I’ve mastered this behavior.
Now, here I sit at the point in my life where my kids are productive members of society and my parents are ironically resting in Peace. This is supposed to be “my” time. So, why the hell am I sitting in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop? It’s like being in a foreign land without a translator.
Apparently, I’m not comfortable in a state of settled awareness. I don’t even know how to react to being present. I prefer the ratty robe of worry. Currently, I’m training myself to keep that robe in the closet and unify myself with the now. Did I hear good luck with that, Lisa?
There are days, even weeks, when the struggle is real. Why? Well, life. I’m not made of stone, and I have a T.V.
I know for sure that unlearning is a hell of a lot more complicated than learning. Trying to untangle decades of trauma, behaviors, and thought processes will take some time and effort. I’ve been doing the work, as they say, for a year. Yes, I’ve made some significant strides, but the world as we currently know it has me grabbing that ratty robe more often than I’d like. There are no back-to-school sales for unlearning.
Now, if only I had an eraser. Enjoy the Ride!
Growing up, our family’s New Year’s Day tradition consisted of watching the Mummers parade ALL day because that’s how long it took to get to the finale and then to enjoy pork with sauerkraut dinner to somehow bring good luck in the year ahead. Umm, would be roasting an entire pig be too much this year, asking for a friend?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve been doing some research to amp up the whole good luck thing for 2021. According to the Google search box I’m not alone.
It was fascinating and alarming as to how some countries around the world ring in the new year. For instance, in Spain it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each clock’s stroke. Eating grapes seems easy enough, but it will be a hard NO for me without being surrounded by a group of people who can perform the Heimlich maneuver. It’s still 2020 until that last grape hits the mouth.
Denmark knows how to go out with a good old fashioned release of frustration. You’ll have to grab all of those unwanted dishes, or in this house, I could use the 5000000000 coffee mugs that never see a drop of coffee. Now, according to tradition, you head over to a friend’s home and smash them on the front door to ward off evil spirits and welcome good vibes. The definition of “friend” needs to be CRYSTAL CLEAR before you get started.
As if that weren’t enough for this Danish crew of thrill-seekers, they also try to find the highest peak they can, sometimes climbing on top of chairs, tables, and other objects in the home to jump into the New Year. Let me just put this out there, folks. If you’ve been eating and drinking ALL night and are over the age of 5, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, climb or jump. Remember, you’ll be heading to a Corona virus-infested ER alone if something goes wrong.
Ok, considering the political shit show we’ve all endured this year, I think we might need to embrace the tradition of the Ecuador locals who celebrate Los Anos Viejos, which translates to “the old years”—a tradition in which you want to destroy any of your past demons. This is where it gets good.
Locals use this as an opportunity to create dolls, like scarecrows; some are decorated with signs describing sins, while others (here is where it gets good) resemble sinister people. The creations are then filled with straw, newspaper, and anything else that burns fast. As the clock strikes twelve, the look-alikes are set on fire in the front yard, representing the good riddance to the old and welcoming the new. Oh, sweet Jesus, get this girl a match!
If you’re looking for some less dramatic ways to bring luck and love into your homes, you can turn to Italy to get the party started. It is customary to wear red underwear on NYE in Italy to bring love, prosperity, and good luck. Never underestimate the power of your Valentines’ panties. In the city of Venice, people gather in St. Mark’s Square to welcome the new year with a mass kissing session. Who needs fireworks.
In Wales, you’ll see many back doors opening at midnight to let the old year out. The entry is then locked to ensure that the hot mess doesn’t return. This year they might want to open some windows as well, to be sure it’s gone. We shouldn’t rule out a security system.
Well, considering 2020 has been so extra for many of us, I think it might be a good idea to ring in 2021 the same way. Forget what I said earlier. Eat that pork with a 12 grape chaser in your red underwear while setting your sinister scarecrow look-alike on fire as you jump off of a chair, breaking dishes as you open the back door. Take that 2020!
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous, and patient 2021!
Buckle up and Enjoy the Ride!
Election Day is upon us, and it’s more important than ever to exercise our civic duty and cast a vote. Below is only ONE reason it’s essential!
This is a section of the new patient registration form required by our office, and this is what someone chose to claim as an allergy. Seriously now …
Now, at first, I did laugh thinking that this guy is pretty ballsy to believe that this would go unnoticed by the two LIBERALS working the front office.
However, in hindsight, I need to remember that people are actually crazy and maybe next time I will refrain from calling to remind him to double up on his Benadryl before his appointment. Oh yes, I did!
It has never been a question for me whether or not I would vote, but in light of the current atmosphere in this country or even in our local communities, the bar has risen to light a fire under our friends, family, neighbors, and anyone with ears. It’s in my blood, my blue blood to be exact.
I was raised by two dedicated democratic servants of the community. The polling place was in our home for god sakes. No excuses.
My mother would stay up the night before making homemade meatballs with gravy for the women on the board, while my sister and I rolled lunchmeats into fancy schmancy cylinders to be displayed on a platter, and my father would go to the neighborhood deli first thing in the morning for fresh rolls. My parents fed both sides of the aisle because they were NORMAL!
During my childhood, I witnessed my parents taking on local government to ensure that our newly built, but quickly growing community, was safe with the installation of much-needed stop signs, rescue wagons, and larger street signs to make it easier for police and fire to respond. My mother walked up and down endless steps to have petitions signed, sometimes going back more than once to catch the man of the house after work.
It was definitely a family affair, whether you wanted to be involved or not, you rallied your friends to stuff envelopes and canvas the neighborhood like a chain gang. This was in the 70’s when kids had enough critical thinking skills to make things like this fun.
Fast forward to 2018. My father is long gone, but my mother will be turning 92 this month. Her goal has been to live to cast her vote in this election … oh yeah … this is what I’ve heard for months.
She has been following this election like a hawk. Well, a legally blind bird, with a sharp mind who is outraged at the behavior in Washington. When a 92-year-old tells you they’ve NEVER seen anything like it, be alarmed.
I will be voting before I go to work. I’m leaving on my lunch break to assist my mother in the voting booth, and I will be sending my children unlimited text messages until they get over to the polls. Threats are not off the table to the children.
Now, if you haven’t already done so, log off and get your ass to the polls and V O T E!
Enjoy The Ride!
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!
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?
This 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!
Shells, shells, and more shells. I was just a tad obsessed with collecting these beauties on my morning walks. Maybe a little more than a “tad.”
Look at them, all beautiful in their own way. All different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some with fractures, some dull, others shiny and bright, but all with their own individual characters that make them beautifully unique. Hmm, sounds a lot like people now doesn’t it.
There isn’t a hateful one in the bucket.
As always, my children thought I was losing my mind as I ventured out every morning to see what treasures the ocean left behind. When will they realize they are the cause of any loss of my mind?
Anyway, shell searching is in my genes. As children, my mother taught us how to comb the beach for shells, and I followed the tradition by doing the same with my daughter. Why is this not on my resume?
I remember sitting in a hotel room with my sister going over our inventory from the day. We would break down our loot by size and style. Yes, serious records were kept with shells & Halloween candy.
Back in the day, we had an abundance of large clam shells waiting for us. That is not the case today. I’m not sure if it’s the ever-changing climate, Mother Nature’s hoarding or the loss of sexual urges amongst the clam community, whatever the reason, there were slim pickings. Feel free to now Google “how do clams reproduce?” I did.
As kids, we returned from vacation with a bucket of blank canvases. On rainy summer days, we would break out our watercolor sets to let our inner Monet surface. Our talents were displayed in our garden for all to view. It was like an ongoing Gallery opening without the wine & cheese.
It’s funny how some memories, no matter what, have the ability to leave a smile on your face. I’m glad that one let itself out of the vault.
The million dollar question around here now is: “What are you going to do with all those shells?” The response: “Something fabulous!”
Now that I’ve set the bar high, I’ve been unleashing my creative juices for this project. Hmm, how hard can it be to rustle up something wonderful, yet not too overwhelming, while meeting all the criteria necessary to be F A B U L O U S? What the hell was I thinking?
After some pondering while scanning the internet for inspiration, there is something on the horizon waiting to come to life. Will it be fabulous? OF COURSE! I’ll be working my magic shortly.
Embrace the differences to create something fabulous in the world. Enjoy the Ride!
In honor of Labor Day I thought I’d share a little something from my first real job out in this big bad world. It was the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of PA. FYI: I didn’t even know what a Bankruptcy was at this point.
I was fresh out of serving my sentence at an all girls catholic high school. At the tender age of 18 I was officially thrown to the wolves. I was literally out of school 4 days so the wolves were sympathetic.
Needless to say my worldly experiences up until this point were void. I grew up in a cookie cutter section of the city. Attended school with a group of girls who were also raised in this environment and my exposure to urban life was slim. Until it was slammed in my face all in one day.
I’ll admit going into this job could easily be compared to a lamb being led to the slaughter, but I survived. My boss was a wonderful mentor and the co-workers … well … they were certainly an eclectic crew. Some I’m still friends with, others just provide flashbacks of shock & awe.
Since this was a Government job they didn’t always hire the sharpest tools in the shed. Let’s just say there were the brains and the who the hell knows whats, but somehow it was a good balance. This is where Judy comes in …
Judy, which is her real name … sort of. You see, Judy was born in India so I’m not sure if her parents were huge Wizard of Oz fans or she just Americanized herself upon arrival. It really didn’t matter to me Judy was easy to pronounce.
At the time Judy came on board I had a good two years under my belt. At 20 I was already a seasoned employee. Judy was a nice middle-aged woman assigned to the desk behind mine. She would be working with me to send out mass mailings to creditors. Easy enough.
It was clear early on that Judy did not receive the memo on this procedure when she summoned me to turn around, because she wanted to tell me something. I had an odd feeling that I was about to hear more than I needed to know when she kept insisting that I roll my chair closer. Baaaa Baaaa …. off I went.
In her broken English she introduced herself with this opening:
Judy: “I once had frostbite on my feet.”
Me: “Oh” Translation: WTF is frostbite? A shoe designer?
Judy: “My toes can fall off at any time.”
Me: ……………………. Translation: Wait … What!?
Judy: “I could just be sitting here and loose a toe.”
Me: ……………………. Translation: Umm, I don’t pick up loose toes!
Needless to say I spent the rest of the day staring into space patiently waiting for a toe or two to roll on by. Once the initial shock wore off I thought that maybe I didn’t understand her correctly through her broken English, so I went back to the slaughter-house for round two. Probably not one of my better decisions.
Honestly, at 20 years old this information could barely be processed. I was not schooled on the health hazards of frostbite. For god sakes I was too busy preparing to marry Mr. Wrong!
Me: “Excuse me did you say your toes could just fall off?”
Me: “Oh …. like …. when?”
Judy: “It can happen any time.”
Obviously this occurred before the hype of suing anyone who dared to infringe on your personal space, especially with their loose toes, otherwise I would be writing this from my beach front home. Stark & Stark missed the boat on this case!
I just continued being a good citizen by going to work with the added unpaid duty of checking my workspace for random toes. No piggy that went to the market … good. All clear on the piggy that stayed home … check. The dynamic duo one with roast beef the other with none … nowhere in sight. That little rascal that went wee, wee, wee …. back at home.
It really is ironic that I now work for a Podiatrist and Judy is not a patient … with or without her toes.
Enjoy the Ride!
In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend I am once again sharing a post that I wrote in honor of my own mother Venita Momma You Were Born This Way.
I am blessed to be celebrating her once again this year, considering she was 37 when she brought me into this world, I never imagined that at 50 I would still have this privilege. Feel free to insert a big ole Awwww.
Mom is now 87 and I am so grateful that every Friday we spend our day going from one place to another. It’s usually food shopping, banking or a doctor’s appointment here or there. Nothing out of the ordinary, but we have the opportunity to be together and that is certainly extraordinary. A priceless gift indeed!
A few years back when my mom gave up driving, on her own unlike my father who didn’t give up without a fight, my sisters and I came up with a schedule to get mom out from behind her four dull walls. I for one can honestly say it was the best thing that could have happened. This gives us all the opportunity to spend quality time with our mother, which we may not have gotten if she was still whizzing around town on her own. A blessing in disguise!
These weekly outings have certainly provided me with a chance to sit back and ponder on my own challenges in raising my children who are now 21 & 19. I have to look at my mom and ask “how the hell did you survive these years … TWICE? See, I have older siblings and my brother turned 19 just a few days after I was born! Yea…let that sink in for a minute…
Just as she was about to receive her “I survived raising my teenagers” t-shirt she had to change the shitty diapers of my sister and I since we are only 15 months apart! I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.
Oh, as if this wasn’t enough to warrant a statue being erected in her honor, factor in that she went to work full-time when I was about 7 and was still required by Archie Bunker/my dad to fulfill her “wifely duties” of cooking, cleaning and waiting on him hand and foot. Oh … dear … lord how did she have the restraint not to murder?
I never thought I would actually say “changing diapers and breast-feeding are looking pretty good right now”, but I find myself saying it DAILY and one day I said it to my mom. Her laughter was genuine, but I must admit it was a little unnerving. Then I realized the truth usually is right? You know when there is nothing left but to laugh you don’t have a chance.
- When my mom said “believe me you don’t want him to walk too early” I thought she was crazy until my son started building his own scaffolding to unlock the front door and the gray hairs began.
- When my mom said “let her take her time driving, she doesn’t need her license yet.” Well, I was tired of waiting up to go fetch her from wherever she was, so she got her license. Yea, waiting up until she gets home safely is so much more relaxing…not!
The list could go on, but frankly it’s becoming a little embarrassing at this point. Look, motherhood does not come with a manual for a reason … it’s too fucking scary! No one is going to see that movie after reading the book .. capisce?
So, take time to listen to the wisdom of the
survivors other women in your life … your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins or honestly anyone with a vagina.
All women are mothers of the world. All of us give birth to something bigger than ourselves. All women are badass and need to be celebrated, so get out there and as always … Enjoy the Ride!
The other morning I came across a reblogged post by Mimi over at Waiting For The Karma Truck that really struck a nerve. Well, it wasn’t actually the blog itself, but Mimi’s comment that got my nerve going. Read on…
I have been having many conversations with friends of mine about what the second half holds. The key perhaps is in re-defining one’s understanding of the concept of ‘doing’ – turning that energy inward and valuing it as much as one valued all those years of externalized effort. Some thoughts for this morning…
The subject of the blog was about aging, a conversation I was also having recently with a dear friend. Calm down we weren’t discussing nursing homes, if fact it was the polar opposite. There were a number of things that brought this subject to the surface, especially our looming “Special Birthdays.” One has already been celebrated, but I must wait with bated breath until February to celebrate mine.
Mimi made a wonderful point in her response to my comment. She said, “I think some of us are just at the age where we realize that we need to move not just to another chapter, but perhaps another story entirely.” Reading Mimi is like having my own personal Yoda around for a daily dose of wisdom. Shit! I hope she doesn’t bill me.
Her words immediately had me thinking about all the chapters and several stories in my own life. We all start out with the same story “New Beginnings” , but the rest, well … they’re on us. I decided to compile a Cliff Note version of some of the more noteworthy stories/chapters of my life.
- Mommy, Will You Marry Me?: When I was my sister/best friend had to go to school and leave me ALL day. In that moment I vowed to marry my mommy. That’s right I had amazing sense even at 4. I knew this woman was the best thing that ever happened to me and damn it I wasn’t going to let her get away. We had two wonderful years alone together before I had to join my sister at school, but I never forgot how special I felt as we watched Pixanne and I proposed.
- Catholic School or Scarred For Life: I think it’s safe to say these two go hand in hand. I didn’t have a chance between following in my over achieving sister’s shoes, constantly being reminded about it every time I entered a classroom and being the emotional punching bag for a group of bitter, sex suppressed woman a/k/a nuns. This may come as a surprise, but I really didn’t enjoy school…can’t imagine why. This story lasted 12 long years!
- Love Goggles: Over the years this story has also been referred to as “What The Fuck Was I Thinking?” and What The Fuck Were You Thinking?” on more than one occasion. I fell hard at 16, sealed the deal at 21 and ended the farce at 23. This story lasted close to 8 years! This was more like a series of short stories that always ended with a clear lesson for the readers, however the author was somewhat of a resistant learner who tightened her love goggles to the point of blindness and missed her own lessons.
- Cupid To The OR … Stat!: This is one of my favorite stories. Cupid certainly had his hands full with me. I walked around with my heart on my sleeve for all to see and when I fell, I fell hard. I went from doormat to a wall to wall carpet while in this relationship, so Cupid had to really push the envelope for me to open my eyes. The procedure took place over a holiday weekend in 1988. Cupid scrubbed up and prepared to surgically remove my “Love Goggles.” He led me right to my bedroom where I saw my husband in bed with another woman…**BAM** they flew right off and I never looked back. There are times when extreme measures are necessary, this was one of those times.
- Love, Marriage & Baby Carriages: After a few years of recovery from my procedure, Cupid put my name on another arrow. This time he dulled the point just enough for me to recognize what true love was all about. After 22 years and 2 great kids later I can say “Thank you Cupid, thank you very much.” This story is still going strong with new chapters being written every day.
- Lisa, Is That You?: Considering the amount of years I spent answering to Mommy, Mom, Momma, Momma Bear, Emily’s Mom, Zac’s Mom and Yo Mom, it’s no wonder that LISA was put on the back burner alongside her underwear. That’s right folks, her underwear! Those cotton sacrificial lambs that went YEARS not being replaced because “Mommy” had to make sure the little asses of her offspring were covered first with their latest cartoon character obsession. Oh, how their big smiles over Rug Rat briefs made me forget all about the missing elastic on my own panties. Until the next Chapter…
- MOM! You’re Fired!: Talk about not seeing the warning signs of this happening. I went from “Employee of the Year” to the unemployment line overnight. All my loyal service and they left me in the dust…with semi worn underwear. Of course they still “need” me, just not nearly as much. I’m proud of the young adults they have become, but I am a nurturer, so I missed shelling out the love, until I realized I had been neglecting the one person who needed my love more than anyone else…ME.
- Who Loves Ya Baby?: It took a few years of therapy, an extreme panic attack, a good honest look in the mirror and the big 50 on the horizon for me to realize that Lisa was overdue for some much-needed loving. Here I am challenging my mind, body & soul in ways that I never thought possible. I am physically seeing changes that make me proud of my accomplishments. I am participating at my Quaker Meeting in ways that enable me to walk the talk and feed my soul, but most of all, I am realizing that I am able to take pride in being whoever the hell I want to be.
Untitled: I’m not sure where I’m headed, but I know I’m going in the right direction and with a lot less baggage. You may want to brush off your sunglasses and be prepared to squint, I have a feeling I’m going to be giving off quite a glow.
Remember, if you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave and Enjoy the Ride!