The Garden Dawdler
Every week Rory posts 9 questions to pause and get the juices flowing.
What do you find yourself splurging on the most?
My ideas on splurging have changed significantly over the years. At one time, it was clothes and shoes, followed by special things for my children and vacations; now, it’s organic fruits, vegetables, and meat. Which are equally as expensive these days.
What is your top writing tip?
As Nike says, Just Do It.
Are you a regular recycler, and if so, what are five of your top recycling tips?
Yes, reuse what you can for as long as possible. Be creative. Rinse the glass. Break down the boxes. Be mindful of the long-term effects.
Are you someone that wants to be or needs to be heard and seen, or are you content to be found behind the scenes?
It depends on the circumstances. I want to be heard and seen if it’s something important to myself and the common good. Otherwise, I’m very content behind the scenes.
How approachable do you think you are in real life and away from the keyboard, and do others feel the same way about you?
Apparently, I am very approachable. How do I know this to be true? I am constantly approached by strangers asking questions or just starting a conversation.
Do you sit more on the fence or the edge of the knife?
Over the years, I’ve spent a good amount of time on the fence, and I find that it causes anxiety. I’ve been learning to trust my instincts more as I’ve gotten older to become more comfortable jumping in when necessary.
What do you remember the most about your grandparents?
I did not have grandparents, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to witness my children be loved unconditionally by theirs.
How important to you is validation from your readers to your written content – do you need acknowledgment from others to create?
It was important in the past. However, after reading that my favorite authors of all time struggled with validation, I let down my guard. It just doesn’t matter; do it for yourself, and the rest will follow.
What is it you would have liked to have been asked about your life but have yet to be?
I feel I’ve told a good amount of my story before it was ever asked of me. One thing no one really inquires about is how did it all make me feel along the way.
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!
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!
Hold My Halo, I Got This
Many moons ago, I started this blog because of significant changes in my personal life.
My kids were growing into independent beings. My husband rolled up in a convertible wanting to re-light the flame we had when we were dating, leaving me wondering, “what the hell is happening?”
I often referred to my children moving on with their lives as being fired from the best job I’ve ever had, and I stand by that statement today. I quit a high-powered job where I worked endless hours for a big salary to raise my kids for endless hours, years, days, minutes, an eternity for FREE. Hey, wait a minute!
Regrets? Eh, not while I was in full swing of rearing young lives, but there were some questionable moments after I was abruptly let go. Not even a goodbye lunch?
No worries, I wasn’t unemployed for long as I jumped directly from the pot into the fire of caring for my mother for the next 14 years. Until this moment, I did not realize it had been 14 years. I need to let that settle for a second.
The changes following my mothers passing two years ago came so quickly that I barely had time to think. Is this how it feels when you’re shot out of a cannon? I’m going with, yes, yes, it is.
There is no question in my mind that this happened at the hands of a higher power. The Creator, Universe, God, or another term you want to use to describe something bigger than yourself.
I had been asking the Creator to help me grow, and I see now that it wouldn’t happen without being physically transported to another state. So, considering I’m writing this from a new home, in a new state, with a new job, new friends, and a new title, “grandmother,” all happening in the last 365 days says a lot. The Creator doesn’t play around.
As soon as this higher power got the memo that I would soon be a grandmother, there is no doubt that it was a “hold my halo, I got this” all hands on deck moment in the higher realm. No one knows you better than the Creator.
My anchor, also known as people-pleasing, needed to end fast, especially with a grandchild entering the mix. The ultimate pleasing opportunity for this girl.
It left me wondering if this was a test. I’m finally free of responsibilities that diverted my attention from myself forever, and this is when I’m presented with a grandchild? Come on!
For too long, I had been stagnant in my career, friend circle, living situation, and life with one common denominator preventing movement … me. I was getting something from all of these situations, but it wasn’t growth; it was comfort.
Fear of change wasn’t holding me back; I needed to please people. God forbid I disappointed someone other than myself, of course.
It’s essential to break free from what we have been trained to do our whole lives, so saying no and setting boundaries can sometimes be challenging for me, actually, a lot of the time.
There is a quote from my favorite poet, Maya Angelo, that I have truly embraced as a mantra for many avenues in my life, but especially when I fall off of the people-pleasing wagon, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” It’s like a big ole hug.
I’m inundated with statements like, “Are you upset you’re not near your granddaughter?” Are you going to move back?” “Awe, you’re never going to see her?” I remind myself that I am a 2-hour car ride away with a healthier mindset, living a happy, active life for myself.
I can’t think of a better gift for my granddaughter than this improved version of myself, who continues to grow as 59 peers in her window.
Enjoy the Ride!
Here we are on election day 2022. There was a time in my life when I thought by 2022, the state of my world would consist of a robot maid named Rosie, a cute space dress, and a jetpack to get to the office. Nieve or wishful thinking?
Instead, my world is filled with negative news on every channel, children shooting children, endless wars, a Supreme Court that has lost its way, and half-assed celebrities looking to fill seats in the most important houses in our country. What the actual f*#@k is happening?
Oh, and did I mention the lies upon lies, corporate gouging, misinformation, and division? Well, now I did.
All elections are important, but this one is personal to me. In just a few weeks, I will welcome my first grandchild, a baby girl, to this hot mess society. How can I not be concerned for her future?
I’m sure historically, my sentiments crossed the minds of many soon-to-be grandmothers before me, but this time it’s different. We’re not fighting for the future; we’re fighting for what we had in the past.
How is it in 2022 that a granddaughter will be born with fewer rights than her grandmother, mother, and aunts who came before her? There is not a mother in the world who wants this to be true, not one.
In my lifetime, the “horror” of Roe v. Wade has loomed over my head. Literally decades. It has been a never-ending story told by a select group of white men for division and political leverage. Talk about losing sight of something.
Our leaders, former leaders, and wanna-be leaders have been out on the campaign trail screaming our “democracy is at risk” or “inflation is through the roof” Really? This is all you got? I guess the powers-to-be have decided that the American people can only handle 2 catchphrases, so here we are. I’ll just be here shaking my head.
Meanwhile, the bodily autonomy of an entire GENDER of human beings is under siege. Our existence is at risk. I guess that doesn’t sell as well as democracy and gas prices. Dumbing us down one election at a time.
The word democracy comes from the Greek words “demos,” meaning people, and “kratos” meaning power; so democracy can be thought of as “power of the people”: a way of governing that depends on the will of the people.
So, what am I going to tell my granddaughter? Well, first things first, I’m going to cast a VOTE.
Once she arrives, I will introduce her to nature’s artwork. The ocean, flowers, trees, rivers, and mountains. I will ensure that the beauty in her world outweighs the negative dialog. I will tell her she is strong, kind, and loved beyond measure. I will let her know her voice matters. She matters. I will hope that her future is filled with opportunities and choices. Most importantly, I will love her unconditionally.
Enjoy the Ride with the WILL to protect the freedoms of all the females in your life.
The Show Must Go On
Just sitting here pondering about life. Concluding that, if nothing else, it’s engaging as we navigate through our individual and collective journeys. I say collective because we’re in this together. Who’s crossing your path today, and why?
Have you ever viewed life as a movie with yourself as both the writer and star? I have.
Of course, there will be significant co-stars. At the same time, God, the universe, creator, or whatever term you refer to as a higher power is trying to direct scenes that include, I don’t know, millions of extras and a storyline that changes daily. Spielberg gave it a hard no.
It all started when I began recognizing a pattern of who I was attracting onto my set. Yes, we’re sticking to the movie theme here. My awareness heightened when someone or something got under my skin. Ugh, what is it? Why are you so f@#$ing annoying?
The answer is simple and complicated. Oh, you thought it would be easy too?
Remember the millions of extras and those co-stars? Well, they play crucial roles in our stories, some more than others, but they’re all critical in their own way. It’s no accident they auditioned.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the disgruntled cashier, a family member, a boss, or someone in between. If they show up, I ask myself whether they’ve been cast as my mirror, a messenger, or a teacher. A memo from the director would be nice; just saying.
The other plot twist to remember is that everyone you encounter is also starring in their own movie. What could possibly go wrong? Without ever being in Hollywood, I think it’s safe to say things can go wry when too many stars are on the stage. Why? Well …
We’re all walking around the studio lot we call this world with unhealed wounds while our particular audiences sling salt at them daily, provoking us to choose between reacting or learning. It’s not a Hallmark movie out there, folks.
So far, I’ve realized that our movies do not include stunt people, which is sometimes unfortunate but necessary if we want that blockbuster; we have to feel the bumps along the way. They don’t call it growing pains for anything.
Another important lesson learned is improvising or using our free will during production makes it very difficult for the director to navigate the script. Ego is always trying to steal the show.
So, until we allow the spotlight to shine on us with certainty, the problematic scenes in our movie will play on a loop until we decide to heal or learn. It’s all about the light.
This perspective has allowed me to view my movie more transparently and ask the director for guidance; this has led me on a path to winning the Best Picture award.
Enjoy the 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!
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!
We hired a new girl at work. She’s the same age as my daughter and very sweet. This week I was training her on the dynamics of the office. Considering her age, I knew I didn’t have to say too much about the computer system beyond a password. I was right; she’s a wizard.
As we talked and got to know each other, I noticed a common thread in her language. Fear. Not just your common fear of, let’s say, spiders, I’m talking fear of life. What in the world?
I was drained by this negative energy by Tuesday, which was a new reaction for me. Typically, the mother in me takes over, but I stopped noting she has a mother. Who I now know is 11 years younger than me. Next up would be my inner Therapist, who I had to tackle before she started to take on another non-paying patient. Boundaries baby.
On my ride home, I could not shake the thought of our conversations. There was almost a sadness about them, and usually, I’m very understanding. So why the hell was I so annoyed? What is it about myself that I don’t like in this girl? Ding, ding, ding!!!
Then I remembered a chapter from a book I listened to recently, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer titled Removing Your Inner Thorn.
I highly recommend reading or listening to this book for a broader explanation.
This is a complex subject, so I’ll do my best to explain it in the simplest form, and even that is complicated. I think I listened to this chapter 1,000 before it started to sink in.
Let’s say you have a thorn in your arm, and the pain is excruciating because it’s touching a nerve. Of course, you’re not going to let anyone near it because it will cause too much pain. This makes your life very difficult. The thorn now becomes a constant source of disruption in your life. Protecting and hiding is a job.
To solve the issue, you have two choices: One, you continue to protect the thorn, or two, you take it out. As simple as this sounds, it’s actually the most complicated thing a person can do to heal and grow.
Where am I going with this? Well, let me tell you. I’ve had thorns stuck in me for decades! You could say I was a professional thorn protector, or so I thought. I didn’t realize everything I was missing while my energy was focused on creating airbags to keep my thorns at bay. The thorns ran/run my life.
No matter what solution you choose, the thorn will continue to run your life until you remove all the layers, dig deep down to the root and give a good long hug and a quick yank. Free at last.
Through growth and higher consciousness, I’ve learned that my thorns are nothing more than stored energy from the past that sits in my heart. The good part is I noticed my thorn was being poked, but I didn’t have a reactive response; it shows my growth. It’s about time!
When I look at this girl, I see my twenty-something self looking back at me full of thorns. Talk about being tested; she’s my teacher.
The low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, an unhealthy relationship, people-pleasing, and fears out the wazoo were front and center, staring me in the face. Taunting me. Forcing me to feel my own thorns. Oh, not today, Mother F@$#ers, not today.
I thought if I had to sit three feet from my twenty-something self four days a week, I’m going to need a plan that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol. This was not in the job description.
I asked myself, “what did I need in my twenties?” “what would have helped that wounded girl?”
I had to really dig for an answer without getting too complicated. The answer, drum roll please, I needed someone to see me, the me I didn’t see. In 2022 terms, someone to give an actual f**k.
Now, I’ll have to be subtle. My challenge will be controlling my inner cheerleader to quietly assist this young, intelligent, beautiful soul on her path. Pom-poms in the face could be scary.
Of course, I know I can not heal her thorns, but I can have compassion and not judge her journey. We’re all human. We all have pain.
Recognize the teachers; they seem to show up in the strangest circumstances.
Enjoy the Ride!
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