Growth ans Fireflies
My sister is in the process of moving, most likely a plane ride away. Over the past two years, we’ve endlessly talked about her plans while I was processing my own.
A lot of significant changes were on the table. Relationship status, home sales, employment, and aging into a new decade.
Along the way, there were ups and downs, and all around with it, but in the end, everything fell into place as intended.
Now that we’re in the final stretch, the reality of getting on a plane to visit is sinking in on my end.
At 15 months apart, we were raised like twins dressing alike and doing everything together until our teenage years when we had different circles. As we grew into ourselves, we were back together again, having our children together and, most recently, becoming grandmothers.
We’ve been so busy cheering each other on that I haven’t thought about the enormity of this potential distance apart. Yes, I’m happy, proud, and excited about her future ventures, but suddenly I feel nostalgic about what was.
These feelings showed up in my dream last night. I dreamt I was approached by someone requesting I write a passage for their book. It was based on a missing woman, and I was to write it as if I knew the character when we were children. This is how it went.
We were two little girls with big imaginations playing in the basement of our rowhome. We always had each other, never needing outside playmates. As the younger of the duo, I would pretend to be a mother of 4 at the tender age of 9, providing our dolls with the nurturing they deserved. At the same time, my sister, who loved school, bypassed the teacher and went directly to playing a principal, making policy changes, and firing the Barbie and Dawn doll staff members.
On hot Summer nights, fresh from the bath and dressed in matching babydoll pajamas, we would grab our Maxwell House coffee cans with holes punched in the lids to catch fireflies in our yard. We went as far as adding grass to eat while they were being held captive, then, after counting our inventory, we let them go before heading to bed.
I woke up with mixed emotions as I wrote everything down not to forget a signal detail. It shook me on some level. The passages were vivid, and the memories were something I hadn’t thought about in decades. Why now?
Laying in bed, eyes wide open, I thought about those two little girls in the basement. Those roles now look more like survivor skills. Me providing the nurturing, I hungered while my sister did her best to gain control that was nowhere to be found in our house, both happening as we were still playful little girls catching fireflies.
Like us, our parents did the best they could with the knowledge they had at the time. I’m grateful for the consciousness to recognize this for what it is without casting blame on myself or my parents.
Now, off to work where things won’t be so deep ❤
Enjoy the Ride!
The Morning Dawdler, 1/10/22
The Morning Dawdler is Season 2 of Questions Over Coffee with Rory.
There is something about the word dawdler that I find attractive. Anyway, that’s what I’m doing over here before I head out to work.
Can you find the mistake in this lineup A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z?
Oh, aren’t you tricky? The double the in the question is the mistake. But, I will admit, I examined the alphabet for far too long.
What old-fashioned way of doing things is better than how they are currently done?
Having Sunday family dinners. Not just with our immediate families, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This connection provided an opportunity to connect, converse and sometimes solve world problems. Today, you’re doomed if your older relatives are not on FaceBook.
Are we consuming too much information and data, and is the modern world bad for us?
Yes! I, for one, have stopped doomscrolling and don’t watch the news. Removing these two things from my life has helped me tremendously. Negativity has a way of creeping in on its own; I don’t need to hand it the keys.
If global warming continues, what will happen in the future?
I have faith in the fact that some brilliant climate-conscious folks are working hard behind the scenes to ensure this does not happen. In the meantime, our small efforts add significant changes, and we should continue implementing them daily.
Question Time Over Coffee 24th December
Tonight it’s hot chocolate for me, with a dash of egg nog and whipped cream. Rory is our generous host, and you can join in here to answer some inquisitive questions.
1. Are you more socially or community-minded regarding people, or do you not think there is a difference between the two?
I’d like to think I’m both. I care about the folks close to me and those in the community.
On a scale of 1 – 10, how ethically minded do you think you are?
What behavior do you consider to be ethical?
Hmm, I believe I once was ethical to a fault, probably a 10, due to being conditioned to fear not following the appropriate rules of society compliments of my Catholic upbringing. Now I take the hypocrisy of those teachings into account and drop myself down to a 7.
3. Tattoos are a very personal lifestyle choice by those who have their bodies inked.
So – Do you think tattoos make people more confident or less?
Do tattoos look good on everyone?
I don’t think it’s a matter of confidence, especially today when young people don’t think twice about inking up. My son got his first one when he turned 18. He now has an arm sleeve with an ocean theme and a leg sporting a wilderness theme. It has not stopped him from being a successful member of society.
I think some tattoos look better on some people; for instance, Jason Momoa could sport a turd across his chest, which would be stunning.
4. What enrichment do you personally receive from being social?
Have you become noticeably more socially isolated or socially interactive after the pandemic and the lockdowns? There may be no difference in your social behaviour; if this is the case, let me know below.
I get energized from being social. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brief conversation at the supermarket or a deep conversation with a friend.
I think, if anything, I’ve become more socially selective. The lockdowns certainly spotlighted who and who I don’t want around me. I believe this resulted from my learning more about myself during that time.
5. What would be your top sustainability tip?
Be consistent, and don’t think that your one small change can’t make a difference.
6. We live in a world that treats being open and vulnerable as a taboo and something to be frowned upon, so –
Do you find it easy or hard to talk to your friends and family about your health?
I was raised in a generation where things were not discussed; they were buried under a rug. Therefore, being vulnerable was not front and center. I don’t have a problem discussing health, but I admit I don’t discuss it with everyone.
The younger generations today seem very open, almost shocking us when they start dropping their vulnerability. I love that they feel free enough to do so.
7. What will you be doing this weekend?
Our daughter is in town for the holiday. Today we did some volunteering and went out to a late lunch. Tomorrow we plan to have a big breakfast, open gifts, and go for a walk once the temperature hits 30. It’s brutally cold here today, so staying warm is also on the list.
8. As the writer and author of your blog, how connected do you feel to your audience?
It’s funny you asked this question. I was just saying I feel closer to some of my fellow bloggers, whom I’ve never met, than I do to those in my life.
9. Does your blog reveal too much, too little, or just the right balance of you to your readers?
It’s a potpourri of information.
10. If you were granted a day at being one of your favorite book characters, who would you choose to be and why?
Ok, my choice comes from a series of children’s books I read to my daughter called Eloise. I loved her spunk and the fact that she lived in the Plaza Hotel in NYC.
11. What do you believe is the greatest threat to our planet today?
What In The What?
One of my early childhood dreams was to be a mailman. I say “mailman” because when I was a kid, women were busy being housewives. We did not have “carriers”; we had “men.”
To this day, I can’t explain my attraction to this career path, but if I were to guess, it was probably all of the “hello, how ya doings?” Everyone loved to see him heading down the street.
What was not to love? He was the bearer of cards celebrating special occasions, letters from loved ones, and an occasional check. A celebrity every day.
Don’t get me started on the idle chitchat with folks on the route or an unplanned life-saving event due to mail piling up and actually noticing. I do this now for free.
We’re not going to discuss the bills; they were a given.
I was probably deterred by the rain, snow, and sleet motto, only to find out when writing this essay that it was all a LIE.
“The U.S. Postal Service has no official motto. Nope, it’s not this: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” But we certainly appreciate the sentiment.“US Postal Service
No doubt I heard “gloom of night” and said, “I’m out!”
Anyway, fast forward to yesterday when I went to the post office to mail a package containing a book. The book recipient informed me of a book rate that cuts the shipping cost. Who knew? Not me.
However, I was not informed then that an FBI-like interrogation went along with using this discounted rate. Folks, there is always a damn price to pay!
As always, I waited in line for the lone over-worked employee to address me.
Me: I want to mail this box at the book rate, please.
Overworked employee: Is there a book in the box?
OE: Is there anything else in the box?
OE: Is there a card in the box?
OE: A letter?
Me: Um, no.
Me: There’snothing else in the box.
OE: Ok, fine. Can I get you anything else?
Me: Yes, can I get two books of Christmas stamps?
OE: Which ones?
Me: Not the religious ones, the other ones.
OE: The Elves or the Otters?
Me: One of each, please.
OE: You know they’re brown?
OE: The Elves.
Me: (Looking at the stamps.) They’re Elves.
OE: Yeah, but they’re brown.
Me: Elves aren’t real.
OE: I know; I’m just saying they’re brown.
Me: So are the Otters.
I got my tracking receipt, turned around to leave, looked into the dead stares of a long line of people, and went my merry way. What in the what?
Enjoy the Ride!
Ratty Robe of Worry
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!
Bye 2020 Bye
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!
Blue In The Blood
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!
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!
The Loom of Life Daily Prompt: Fabric
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!
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